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.
I recently visited Tokyo on a business trip and had the chance to meet with a number of Japanese companies. At the end of a three-hour meeting with sustainability professionals from a dozen or so multinationals, the host asked me for my impressions of Japanese organizations and their sustainability efforts. My honest answer: “I’m confused.”
Customer experience design is the forgotten dimension of sustainability. We need to transcend what have now become well-defined approaches and definitions of customer experience, to help companies understand why their offerings are no longer resonating with people, and how to develop a profound understanding of the lived experience of every single person whose lives our organisations touch. This understanding is just as applicable to those businesses and organisations developing sustainable products, services, technologies and initiatives.
Corporate social and environmental responsibility has developed to a point where the world’s leading CEOs believe it is essential to their companies’ long-term business success. The movement is growing, and companies around the world are approaching social and environmental problems as opportunities to drive profit as well as progress for humanity.
In response to the federal government’s failure to take action against climate change, Michael Bloomberg and California Governor Jerry Brown have launched a new initiative to track and quantify the contributions of local governments and businesses to tackle greenhouse gas emissions in line with the goals outlined in the Paris Agreement.
Cross-Posted from Cleantech.
As further evidence of the global corporate momentum behind renewable energy, the RE100 initiative has reached 100 members, following new commitments from AkzoNobel, AXA, Burberry and Carlsberg Group to transition to 100 percent renewable power.