We live in an increasingly dynamic and interconnected world. Conflicts in the Middle East are causing demographic shifts in Europe, e-waste from the West is being recycled in Africa and emissions from China are affecting air quality in the US. These are just a few examples of how megatrends are shaping today’s world.
Not so long ago, there was a large disconnect between doing good and good business. While the idea of corporate social responsibility has been around since the 1960s, businesses have historically approached CSR and sustainability as a “feel good” silo or regulatory requirement — a means to improve public image reputation and mitigate risk, but not much else. It wasn't until recent years that companies discovered that social impact programs could benefit a company in more remunerative ways — increasing revenue, creating new markets, driving innovation, retaining talent, and opening the doors to new business opportunities. As such, it was rare for CEOs and CFOs to even nod their heads towards citizenship and sustainability, much less make it a priority.
On October 25, panelists representing both global brands and smaller local organizations convened in San Francisco to discuss their successes and potential in incorporating climate-friendly agricultural practices into their supply chains. The panel took place at The Perennial, a Bay Area restaurant committed to sustainable farming with the conviction that “food has the power to reverse climate change.” The panel discussion built on that theme, with further exploration into how the textile industry also has the power to enact positive impact on climate.
Consumer demand for more socially and environmentally responsible products continues to rise, a trend that is increasingly putting pressure on companies to embrace materials and processes with less pronounced impacts. The business case is clear — act now or risk falling behind — yet the road to sustainability is not so cut and dry. Adopting innovative methods and exploiting new business opportunities while making them understandable and attractive to customers is a considerable challenge.
Energy efficiency is a simple, quick and cost-effective method to reduce both costs and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. That’s why companies are scaling up their energy-efficiency projects in an effort to achieve greater results. And it’s important that they do: Buildings play a considerable role in GHG emissions: Commercial buildings, in particular, make up roughly 20 percent of total U.S. energy. So, it’s no surprise that optimizing building systems is on the rise.
For many retailers, circular thinking involves redefining products – and the raw materials contained within them – as assets that need to be kept in circulation for as long as possible. During each use phase, these assets may need to be reintroduced into different markets, requiring new customer relationships to be built.
Four in 10 telecomms and consumer goods companies reporting to CDP fail to capture or report any financial value from strong environmental performance, according to new research released Wednesday by Accenture, CDP Hermes Investment Management.
Bringing the business case for sustainability to the forefront, Fortune has released its third annual Change the World list, which highlights companies who are having a positive social or environmental impact on the world through their core business strategy.
The fifty selected companies, which span a variety of industries, come from all across the globe and have annual revenues of at least $1 billion. In partnership with FSG and Shared Value Initiative, Fortune ranks companies across three main criteria:
Swarmed by a crowd of cross-country ski fans all under the age of 12, I felt like I’d just won my first World Cup. In the beginning, I wanted to be a soccer star. I, along with most of the girls my age, idolized Mia Hamm and tried desperately to snag the #9 jersey on every single one of my teams. By high school, however, I realized that my future on the field looked grim. I made the soccer team as a freshman but not because I could bend it like Beckham – I simply ran more than anyone else on the field. By sophomore year, I turned my full attention to cross-country skiing, a sport that better suited to my somewhat uncoordinated long limbs, my love of the outdoors and my seemingly endless supply of energy.
Winning the hearts and minds of the Millennial generation has been a dominating narrative for corporations over the past years. Surveys, reports and opinion pieces continue to analyze the ambitions and demands of this generation; but what would the world look like if businesses embodied Millennial values at the core of their organizations?
In the weeks since the announcement that the U.S. would be pulling out of the Paris Climate Agreement, there has been much debate about the impact this may have on the country’s and entire world’s push toward a more sustainable future. One of the biggest takeaways from the conversation has been that cities, states and especially businesses remain committed to moving forward in the fight against climate change.
While telegraphed for days and choreographed down to the military band playing soft jazz in the background before the announcement, President Trump’s June 01, 2017 declaration that the U.S. will pull out of the Paris Agreement still jarred and dismayed.
Learning from Detroit: Designing a More Diverse, Prosperous and Equitable Economy
by Mara Slade
Image credit: TechTown
In an afternoon panel packed with Detroit leaders, we heard firsthand how they are working in human-centered ways to grow the local economy and support Detroit entrepreneurs.
It’s been a busy year for Nestlé – joining various initiatives and making strategic investments aimed at everything from boosting recycling infrastructure to developing bio-based packaging to improving consumer eating habits.
We spoke with Nestlé’s President of Corporate Affairs, Paul Bakus, ahead of his appearance this week at SB’17 Detroit, to learn how the food giant is leveraging partnerships to achieve its many sustainability goals.
It's time once again for the Sustainable Brands Innovation Open (SBIO) — our annual competition for startups that positively impact people, planet and profit, sponsored by Target — and we’re excited about our 11 semi-finalists in what has been our most competitive selection process yet. This year, we have startups poised to revolutionize several industries, from natural body care products to responsible mineral mining, to repurposing previously wasted food and clothing.
This week, Procter & Gamble published its 16th annual sustainability report, which reveals how the CPG giant made far-reaching — and as it turns out, lucrative — improvements to its global operations years ahead of schedule.
The second day of SB '14 San Diego kicked off with a morning full of inspirational plenary presentations examining how we can reimagine business to become a positive global force.Gil Friend, Chief Sustainability Officer at City of Palo Alto, gave the opening remarks, reminding attendees of how the US transformed itself during the Second World War to respond to problems that would not wait. Friend suggested that the several social and environmental issues currently afflicting our planet represent a call to action to transform our economy just like our forebears did.