CHEMISTRY, MATERIALS & PACKAGING -
Asia Pulp and Paper (APP) Group chairman Teguh Ganda Wijaya today joins a number of companies, governments and NGOs to sign the New York Declaration on Forests at the UN Climate Summit 2014. The declaration is an unprecedented international, multi-sector commitment to safeguard the world’s forests and to help tackle climate change.
ORGANIZATIONAL CHANGE -
Thousands of workers took to the streets of Phnom Penh, in Cambodia, last week to protest for a near-doubling of the minimum wage for retailer workers there to US$177 (£110) a month. It seems their calls for fairer pay have sparked a response from the fashion industry, as eight leading retailers have now pledged to pay more for clothes produced there, according to the Guardian.
THE NEXT ECONOMY -
Seven months ago, this series kicked off with CVS’ surprise announcement that it would no longer carry tobacco products in its retail stores. Fast forward, the company announced Sept. 3 that it had met its goal a month ahead of schedule and had a new name to match its bold, new vision of a tobacco-free America — CVS Health.
H&M and WaterAid on Tuesday launched a new global partnership aimed at improving the health, education and future prospects of students by delivering safe water, sanitation and hygiene education programs in schools throughout the developing world.The initiative will not only transform the lives of students by delivering immediate and long-term improvements to health and education, but also influence national and international policies around the right to safe water and sanitation, H&M says.To make this happen H&M, through its philanthropic arm the H&M Conscious Foundation, will donate $9.3 million.
The IKEA Foundation has launched a two-month campaign to raise funds to provide solar-powered lighting and other renewable energy technologies to UN refugee camps run through the sale of light bulbs in its stores around the world.For every LEDARE model LED bulb sold at IKEA from February 3 until March 29, the IKEA Foundation will donate €1 to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
BEHAVIOR CHANGE -
On Feb. 5, drugstore chain CVS Caremark announced that it will stop selling tobacco products.It’s a big deal. Here’s why.It signals a step towards more businesses saying, “It’s wrong. So we’re stopping.” Even when the financials — what the sustainability world calls “the business case” — don’t support it in the short term.I’d like to suggest that CVS’ announcement moves the ball downfield for more business decisions based on social and environmental impacts. It creates new, safe middle ground to operate more openly from the “morals” argument as a valued partner to the “money” business case argument.
BEHAVIOR CHANGE -
In a bold yet intuitive move for a pharmacy, CVS Caremark announced Wednesday that it will stop selling cigarettes and other tobacco products at its more than 7,600 stores across the US by October 1, 2014. It is the first action of its kind by a national pharmacy chain.With more than 480,000 deaths annually, smoking is the leading cause of premature disease and death in the United States, CVS says. While the prevalence of cigarette smoking has decreased from around 42 percent of adults in 1965 to 18 percent today, the rate of reduction in smoking prevalence has stalled in the past decade.
SUPPLY CHAIN -
Bacardi Limited, the world’s largest privately held spirits company, has pledged to obtain 40 percent of the sugarcane-derived products used to make its rums from certified, sustainable sources by 2017 and 100 percent by 2022 — an industry first — as part of a new global sustainability campaign.Marking the 152nd anniversary of the company’s founding, Good Spirited: Building a Sustainable Future builds on current programs and efficiencies that reduce water and energy use and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and sets new goals in three primary areas: responsible sourcing, global packaging and operational efficiencies.
PRODUCT, SERVICE & DESIGN INNOVATION -
I have been leading a research effort to understand the impacts of the growing Collaborative Economy trend. In case you are new to the collaborative economy, there's an unstoppable wave of people trading, renting and borrowing all kinds of services and goods. The disruptive impacts to brands are potentially very high. Consumers are already buying and trading among themselves, often without purchasing items directly from the brands themselves. Companies that don't pay attention to this trend are leaving themselves in a state of risk, as technology and society continue to quickly innovate.
CHEMISTRY, MATERIALS & PACKAGING -
Procter & Gamble announced this week that it will eliminate phosphates from all of its laundry detergents — which include brands such as Tide, Ariel, Cheer, Gain, Ace and Bold — by the end of 2015. The company says the goal of the change is to provide consumers with superior cleaning performance while eliminating the harmful effects of the chemicals on the environment.
The Coca-Cola Company, AB InBev, Diageo and other members of the Beverage Industry Environmental Roundtable (BIER) recently published a document that creates the industry’s first common framework for greenhouse gas emissions reporting.
BEHAVIOR CHANGE -
16 of the nation’s leading food and beverage companies sold 6.4 trillion fewer calories in the United States in 2012 than they did in 2007, according to the findings released last week by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF). The companies, acting together as part of the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation (HWCF), pledged to remove 1 trillion calories from the marketplace by 2012, and 1.5 trillion by 2015. The independent evaluation found that the companies have so far exceeded their 2015 pledge by more than 400 percent.The 16 companies committed to the HWCF calorie-reduction pledge are:
H&M has announced a partnership with Civil Rights Defenders (CRD), a Swedish non-profit organization that works to support human rights around the world. The fashion retail giant says it will donate 4 million SEK (~US$609k) to support their work for human rights.CRD says the support is a welcome addition that will enhance the organization’s long-term commitment to human rights.
“We are delighted that H&M has decided to support us in this way. The donation will allow us to fund our ongoing human rights work and in particular to ensure assistance is available for vulnerable human rights defenders who operate in some of the world’s most repressive states,” says Civil Rights Defenders executive director Robert Hårdh.
SUPPLY CHAIN -
McDonald’s announced this week that, by 2016, it will begin sourcing “verified sustainable beef.” The pledge is an effort to reduce the environmental impact of the fast-food chain’s meat production, as well as to be kinder to the animals on which its livelihood rests. Though there is, of course, plenty of debate over just what “sustainable beef” is, or whether it is achievable.In its pledge, McDonald’s vows, rather vaguely, “to improve environmental practices in the way beef is produced, support positive workplaces in the beef industry, and drive continuous improvement in animal health and welfare.”
MARKETING AND COMMS -
A 60-second ad released by Pantene last month in the Philippines called "Be Strong and Shine," which tackles the dichotomy of gender labels, has gone viral far beyond the island country, with more than 5.9 million views and thousands of comments to date from around the world, according to Pantene parent company Procter & Gamble.The video exposes hidden gender double standards in the workplace — a prevalent theme, not just in Filipino culture, where the notion still exists that women should not be too assertive or strong-willed when it comes to getting what they want. But does the connection of the ad’s message to using Pantene products diminish its power?
A group of the country's leading consumer brands have formed a new coalition to persuade Congress to update the nation's out-of-date and ineffective chemical safety laws. Strong lobbying by other industry groups has given policymakers the impression that business is monolithic in its support for weak legislation. The new coalition, Companies for Safer Chemicals, will make a business argument for strong reforms that support the industry innovating to create safer and cleaner products.
WASTE NOT -
Today, UK grocery retailer Tesco unveiled food waste figures for its operations and supply chain, alongside figures that show 68 percent of bagged salad in particular is wasted and that 35 percent of this waste occurs in the home.As a first step in reducing this waste, Tesco announced it will end multi-buys on large bags of salad and is developing mix-and-match promotions for smaller bags in a bid to help customers reduce the amount they are wasting at home.Bagged salad is just one of the 25 best-selling grocery products that Tesco has tracked from farm to fork to gain a detailed understanding of where food waste occurs. This is part of the grocer’s commitment to lead in tackling food waste and to work with suppliers and customers to address this.
Solazyme, maker of algae-based oils and bioproducts, today announced a commercial supply agreement with Unilever for the first partnered Solazyme Tailored™ Algal Oil, a culmination of five years of collaboration between the companies. The agreement covers the first of Solazyme and Unilever's jointly developed tailored oils with an initial supply of at least 10,000 metric tons (MT), which Unilever says it will use in its Dove and Brylcreem brand personal care products, according to the New York Times.
The Nature Conservancy (TNC), the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), and the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS) today announced the launch of SNAP (Science for Nature and People), a collaboration aimed at solving the world’s most pressing conservation and human development challenges. The announcement was made at the annual meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative.SNAP is designed to find practical, knowledge-based ways in which the conservation of nature can help provide food, water, energy and security to Earth's fast-growing population. SNAP will tackle high-profile problems where the solution has a clear pathway to implementation.
Business calls for strong climate change action are getting louder. A half-dozen more leading global companies including Microsoft, Owens Corning, Diageo, Thornton Tomasetti, and Acer America Corporation last week joined hundreds of other U.S. businesses in signing the Climate Declaration, which calls on federal policymakers to seize the economic opportunity of addressing climate change, according to CERES.