The world is complex and interconnected. When we pull one lever in a system, it ripples throughout. Pull the right levers and you can solve some of the most complex problems, pull the wrong one and it can be disastrous. This is why it is critical to take a systems approach when solving complex, or what Sally Uren, CEO at Forum of the Future, calls “wicked” problems.
As we at Sustainable Brands — and anyone working to rectify the damage people have done to the planet — are well aware, it's all too easy to ignore pressing social and environmental issues if their effects can’t be seen or felt in our daily lives.
After a life-altering excursion across three continents, SoulBuffalo CEO and founder Dave Ford was determined to find a way to change this, by taking those just as responsible for causing as solving many of these issues — global corporate decision-makers — out into the wild to experience the effects of their business decisions with their own senses.
This is the ninth in a series of articles examining how business leaders and companies can transform their corporate culture in order to succeed in the midst of the impending Purpose Revolution. Find links to the full series below.
By 2050 there will be over 9 billion people on the planet, and food production will have to increase by as much as 70 percent to feed everyone. We are already struggling to feed everyone today, even in America.
A new report has found that more than 1 in 4 British managers would take a pay cut for a purpose-led job, a third would leave their job if the company’s overall purpose was unclear, and more than half would leave if their company’s values and purpose did not align with their own. Purposeful leadership is no longer a ‘luxury’ CSR exercise — its becoming critical to staff engagement and commercial resilience.
New research from the University of Waterloo suggests that small businesses have enormous potential to advance sustainability in Canada. 86% of SMEs surveyed think that sustainability is important, and more than half have taken steps to make their practices more socially and environmentally-friendly.
Larry Fink’s recent clarion call to capitalism that managing “environmental, social,and governance (ESG) matters demonstrates the leadership and good governance that is so essential to sustainable growth” should not fall on deaf CEO ears.
Smack in the middle of the third year of its groundbreaking #OptOutside campaign, which began with a bold stand against the shopping rampage of Black Friday and has expanded into a global movement to empower its customers to embrace the great outdoors, REI Co-op today debuted a set of product standards aimed at elevating sustainability across the retail and
Companies including Apple, Google and IKEA earned top spots in a new ranking of the top 20 business leaders calling for more ambitious climate policy across the globe. To make the A-List of Climate Policy Engagement, companies must showcase sectoral leadership, be vocal in calling for ambitious policies and align these calls with their own strategic activities.
I know it’s lonely at the top. Each day you contend with a boiling stew of global competition, digital transformation, labor issues and challenging board members, to name a few. You walk this tightrope while hewing to a notion of shareholder primacy that has guided you throughout your career — the need to maximize financial profits and consider shareholders above all other stakeholders.
And now, here comes society nipping at your heels, demanding that you incorporate social purpose into your corporation.
The adage, “behind every great man, there is a great woman,” has officially — and irretrievably — been relegated to the history books. In its place comes the understanding that behind every woman is a powerful and growing network of women who have, and are helping to, pave the way.
When I joined Ceres more than a decade ago, I was privileged to experience firsthand the power of working under a female CEO and a gender-balanced leadership team. Today, even as the organization has quintupled in size, Ceres maintains this gender parity.
“If life were easy, it wouldn’t be difficult.” — Kermit the Frog
As a sustainability professional, I am drawn to this Muppet wisdom. Over the many years I’ve worked in the field as an advisor and strategist, I’ve witnessed a slow but steady awakening on the part of organizations to the real challenges of long-term sustainability. It takes intention, commitment – and pivots.
Are businesses ready to respond to the existential threats posed by social and environmental issues such as wealth inequality and climate change? Not yet, it seems. A new report from the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL) has found that businesses need to “develop leadership to respond to the unprecedented changes brought by the Fourth Industrial Revolution,” or miss out on the opportunities presented by new technologies and innovations.
For Big Oil and lobbyists of legislative bodies, money talks. Unfortunately, keeping investors and corporate bigwigs happy often takes precedence over any environmental concerns. Trying to effect real change for the good of the environment can seem impossible at times given the vast amount of power in play.
Right now, almost four billion people live in a city somewhere in the world. By the middle of this century, that number is set to jump by a staggering 2.5 billion, with 90 percent of that growth happening in cities located in Asia and Africa.
However, with many cities doubling in size every 15 to 20 years, our urban environments currently lack the resources necessary to adapt to the forces of urbanization. Our cities will need to accommodate spiraling numbers of people, servicing their needs and stimulating trade and investment to create jobs, all within the constraints imposed by mega-challenges, such as climate change, poverty and employment. In Europe, two-thirds of people already live in cities.
Though the private sector has largely been leading the charge against climate change as of late, local and national governments are starting to step up to the plate to further catalyze the shift to a more sustainable economy.
As the UK and EU ramp up efforts to slash plastics pollution, the Scottish government has announced plans to impose a ban on the manufacture and sale of plastic-stemmed cotton swabs. Once in place, the ban is expected to reduce Scotland’s marine plastic pollution by a staggering 50 percent.
I had the good fortune recently to sit next to Richard Liroff at a dinner — what I learned made me very thankful. He is retiring after over 45 years of serving the environment, and hearing his story made me think that we all could benefit from remembering where we came from and being grateful for those who made it their mission to save the environment for future generations.
Last month, when news broke that Unilever would begin the search for Paul Polman’s successor, it sent shockwaves through the business world. As the poster child for Purpose in business, what would this mean for the future of businesses that aim to grow while prioritizing sustainability?