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?
France has once again topped the Food Sustainability Index (FSI), an annual ranking of major countries on their commitment to food sustainability created by The Economist Intelligence Unit in partnership with the Barilla Center for Food & Nutrition.
Volvo Ocean Race (VOR) is considered one of the longest and toughest professional sporting events in the world; sailing’s toughest team challenge and one of the sport’s Big Three events, alongside the Olympics and the America’s Cup.
Dr. Eban Goodstein is a contradiction of sorts.
Trained in “the dismal science” — economics — Goodstein is an inveterate optimist about the prospects for business to lead the way to a sustainable future, and sooner rather than later. He is turning that optimism into reality as director and founder of the Bard MBA in Sustainability program in New York City. That Goodstein is at the forefront of the sustainable MBA world is not surprising when one considers his career path.
In a country infamous for being the second-biggest contributor of plastic waste to the oceans, a city in West Java has achieved a close to 100 percent segregation rate. This is how Depok transformed its waste system.
Waste is rapidly becoming one of the most pressing issues of all time. More than a decade after Bandung’s Leuwigajah dumpsite disaster in West Java, in which 143 people died buried under a waste avalanche, there is still no strict law enforcement to divert waste from filling up landfills.
Trust. It can sound a lot like a buzzword or business jargon, a word or phrase thrown around by leaders when trying to identify, define or solve a problem. Sometimes it’s not even a consideration until it’s lost.
According to the 2017 Edelman Trust Barometer, only about half of the general population trusts business, government, media and nongovernmental organizations to do the right thing. Trust in business fell to 52 percent, and CEO credibility also fell globally.
Zero emission-cities are the way of the future and the mayors of London, Paris, Los Angeles, Copenhagen, Barcelona, Quito, Vancouver, Mexico City, Milan, Seattle, Auckland, and Cape Town are taking strides to bring the far-reaching goal to fruition. The aforementioned mayors have signed the C40 Fossil-Fuel-Free Streets Declaration, a pledge to procure only zero-emission buses from 2025 and ensure that a major area of their cities are zero emission by 2030. The policies outlined in the agreement aim to drive down air pollution, improve the quality of life for all citizens and tackle climate change.
Starbucks is harnessing the power of new media to highlight the efforts being made by real people across the United States to effect positive changes in their communities. The coffee giant has brought back its Upstanders original series for a second season, which features stories of ordinary people showing extraordinary courage.
With the signing of the Paris Agreement, governments resolved to pursue efforts to go beyond the agreed 2°C goal and limit global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. However, nearly two years later, national and organizational commitments that align with a 1.5°C pathway are practically non-existent. A new report from Carbon Trust, however, aims to help position businesses to lead the low-carbon transition.
Today’s companies are being tasked with the impossible: How can we make money for our shareholders, pay our employees well, and positively impact the environment and society as a whole? The purpose of a business used to be specifically to increase value for the shareholders. While this still clearly holds importance today, there is a growing pressure to expand this value to all stakeholders, and the perception of value is changing.
Creating a sustainable, inclusive future requires helping a diverse range of individuals realize their fullest potential — particularly women. On Saturday, September 30, HEINEKEN USA will lead a workshop in Washington, D.C. at Vital Voices’ Global Freedom Exchange (GFE) Program, a two-week dynamic educational and mentoring opportunity for emerging women leaders.