With Earth Day 2017 quickly fading in the rearview mirror, I’m reminded of the challenge we face every other day of the year: maintaining high awareness and action on sustainability issues. Government agencies and nonprofits have traditionally shouldered the greatest responsibility for year-round efforts aimed at influencing behaviors that benefit individuals and society. But a growing number of forward-thinking businesses and brands are beginning to invest in the kind of genuine behavior change programs known as “social marketing” – or, when done by a corporation, “corporate social marketing.”
Seventy-five million people work directly in the fashion and textiles industry. Many are subject to exploitation; verbal and physical abuse, unsafe working conditions and poor pay. While some progress has been made since the collapse of the Rana Plaza garment factory in 2013, which killed 1,138 people, there is still a lot to be done.
Walk to work. Recycle your aluminum cans. Remember your reusable shopping bags. These modern-day sustainability mantras help consumers take small steps every day to lower their environmental footprint, keeping plastics out of the oceans and carbon emissions down. But have we considered the footprint of our clothing — one of the biggest polluters in the world?
Cleaning up supply chains and designing impacts out of products through the application of circular principles are essential components of reducing waste, but a more holistic approach to the problem of waste is needed. Consumers are increasingly educated on matters related to sustainability and recycling is more prevalent now than ever, yet litter continues to be a major issue across the globe. To initiate sustainable behavior change, the nonprofit Keep America Beautiful and the UK Government unveiled new litter strategies.
Obesity, mental health problems, air and noise pollution, heat stress and social exclusion — these are just a few of the health and social challenges Europeans face today. But according to a new report released by Friends of the Earth in conjunction with the Institute for European Environmental Policy (IEEP), increased exposure to nature and green space could help improve both physical and mental health.
Many businesses measure growth by selling more stuff to more people, and consumer markets are expected to expand in the decades ahead. The world is on pace to exceed 9.5 billion people by 2050, with far fewer living in poverty than today. Thanks to the rapid industrialization of developing countries including China, Brazil and India, 3 billion people are projected to join the global middle class in the next 15 years alone. These demographic shifts represent both a human development victory and an enormous business opportunity for those companies positioning to meet the needs of added consumers.
This week, sustainable menswear brand Outerknown launched #ITSNOTOK, an evergreen giveback program designed to bring awareness to environmental issues – particularly the declining health of our oceans, mostly due to pollution – all over the world. #ITSNOTOK is a call to action to consumers to become part of the solution, rather than the problem, by helping to clean up the oceans.
Installing more efficient equipment is often at the forefront of an energy manager’s mind when it comes to driving down carbon emissions, but even the most energy-efficient kit still requires human involvement. Making that link, and understanding how people’s behaviour impacts on technology outputs, is crucial if building management systems are to be optimised.
This is where carbon psychology can help. It’s a technique that can be used by companies to understand the drivers behind staff behaviour change and from this, develop strategies to reduce energy consumption.
Government-led initiatives designed to cut carbon emissions and reduce air pollution in cities, though well-intentioned, often come under fire from those who stand the most to gain from them — the public. Clean air is a high priority for government and citizens alike, but the burden of measures such as carbon taxes on vehicles that don’t meet certain environmental criteria often penalize citizens who commute and don’t have the resources to expend on the purchase of a less-polluting hybrid or electric vehicle — or inner city rent.
Marine plastics pose a serious problem for both marine ecosystems and human health. In fact, with between 4.8 million and 12.7 million tons of plastic ending up in the world’s oceans every year, it could be considered one of the most dangerous environmental catastrophes the world currently faces.
The question is no longer if an organization will engage with society, it’s how. Yet, from Brexit to Trump to Black Lives Matter, how is now harder than ever before.
So, throughout the year, we will illuminate the “how” for business and societal impact.
We started by asking the Purpose Collaborative – North America’s largest community of purpose, corporate responsibility, and sustainability experts: “What key recommendations would you share with clients to accelerate the impact of their work in 2017?”
Their wisdom follows.
Every year, nearly 70 billion animals are farmed for food. With rising public awareness of the way animals are raised for food, animal health and welfare is an increasingly important area for businesses today — particularly for consumer-facing brands. Now in its fifth year, the Business Benchmark on Farm Animal Welfare (BBFAW) provides companies with a clear set of expectations on farm animal welfare management practice and reporting, enabling them to benchmark themselves against industry peers and to progressively drive up welfare standards in their supply chains.
Once upon a time – back when we first started marketing energy efficiency and sustainability – we told our clients that if you wanted to get consumers to save energy, the last thing you should do is talk about the environment. It’s too polarizing, we said. Why take the risk of alienating a big part of your audience?
But our story is changing – along with the American mindset.
That’s why we’re excited to bring you this year’s Energy Pulse™ free special report based on a brand-new poll of more than 2,000 Americans.
The City of London broke its 2017 air pollution limits just five days into the new year, a whole three days ahead of its 2016 record. In response, Greenpeace enlisted the help of Mary Poppins to call on politicians to clean up the UK’s air to protect children’s lungs. A silhouette of the childhood champion was spotted flying high over Parliament, armed with her iconic umbrella and a new accessory — a pollution mask.
Has a water crisis touched you or your community this year? You probably know that 2016 was a big headline year for water, from California’s lingering drought to Flint’s public health disaster. Here in East Tennessee, where we rarely worry about the availability of fresh water, the idea of scarcity hit home this fall in an unprecedented way: We endured our most severe drought in nearly ten years, setting the stage for a massive wildfire that ripped through the tourist town of Gatlinburg and killed at least 14 people.
The New Hampshire Liquor Commission (NHLC) and Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey have teamed up to offer tips and techniques to emphasize safe and responsible alcohol consumption for this holiday season. The award-winning Live Free & Host Responsibly campaign offers holiday-themed food and drink recipes, along with videos outlining techniques for responsible entertaining.
The importance of minimizing food waste is nearly as universally understood as the importance of good health. But in both cases, it’s easy to convince yourself that you’re doing a better job than you really are.
Put yourself in the shoes of someone looking to shed a few pounds. You might decide to go to a 5-day fitness boot camp. Even if you achieve your desired weight during that intensive period, you wouldn’t expect to maintain any gains if you went back to your old ways after, would you? It is exactly the same with food-waste prevention programmes in your business — it requires adopting a daily routine, as well as changing your diet.
In a new CDP study released last week, global companies — including Colgate Palmolive, L’Oréal, McDonald’s Corporation and Marks & Spencer — report that, on average, 24 percent of their revenues depend upon four deforestation-linked commodities: cat
Alcohol and spirits giant Diageo has unveiled “Decisions,” a first-of-its-kind virtual reality (VR) experience that puts consumers of legal drinking age in the middle of a fatal drunk driving crash. This launch is Diego’s latest effort to educate and meaningfully impact consumers about the importance of responsible decision-making when drinking.