Cross-Posted from Cleantech.
Corporate sourcing of renewable electricity can be a major driver of the transition to a robust, zero-emissions economy, according to the RE100 Annual Report, released last week to coincide with the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos.
According to the USDA, demand for organic foods and products have grown significantly every year since the 1990s. But despite increasing popularity, organic acreage hasn’t been able to keep up. Only one percent of US farmland is currently dedicated to organic farming, and those looking to make the transition to organic face real barriers.
In a world where consumers are increasingly buying into brands that stand for more than just positive gains in profit, having the ability to clearly communicate your company’s social good efforts is more important than ever. From educating consumers on how to make better consumption and lifestyle choices, to inspiring other business leaders and decision makers to follow suit, the opportunities that come with being a purpose-driven company (and being able to effectively communicate this differentiating factor) extend far beyond the sales numbers.
As with most things in life, however, these opportunities don’t come without challenges – challenges which tend to stem from the lack of both strategic and creative communication knowledge and leadership skills.
According to a new report by Germany’s Öko-Institut, Europe has its work cut out for it if it intends to stop the planet’s temperature rising above the two-degree limit agreed upon by world leaders at COP21. As it stands, the EU will need to cut global warming transport emissions by 94% by 2050 — a lofty goal that will require significant efforts be undertaken by all Member States.
The Paris Agreement, which came into effect in November 2016, sets the cap at two agrees above pre-industrial levels, with an aspirational goal of 1.5%. But climate experts warn that even a two-degree rise could have catastrophic impacts.
In collaboration with Climate-KIC, South Pole Group and ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability, Gold Standard — a global benchmark for climate and development initiatives — has announced a new framework designed to unlock billions of dollars needed to scale-up clean technology and sustainable development in cities around the globe.
Just one month from the inauguration of Donald Trump and the appointment of his cabinet of climate deniers, an international coalition of human rights and environmental groups is appealing to President Obama to take one final action to advance justice and action on climate change in spite of Trump.
Boards are the last great sustainability frontier. They set the sustainability tone at the top, which then cascades throughout the company.
It is essential for boards of directors to be engaged in the sustainability agenda. They define the long-term view, anticipating and addressing risks from social and environmental impacts. Progressive boards recruit and incentivize leaders to build sustainability into the company’s business model and value chains. And now that the sustainability ROI has been proven, sustainability has become part of the board’s fiduciary responsibility.
Bangladesh is no longer one of the world’s poorest nations. Today, this emerging nation is steadily growing as one of the world’s leading apparel manufacturers. However, the country’s economic structure remains fragile due to its heavy dependence on textile exports and overseas remittances from emigrant workers, and the country’s manufacturing base and infrastructure require urgent improvement.
A cross-party group of British MPs has launched the ‘Divest Parliament’ campaign, with the help of environmental group 350.org.
‘Divest Parliament’ aims for greater transparency on the Parliamentary Pension Fund’s £589 million investments and demanding a commitment to divest from fossil fuels to tackle climate change.
Despite uncertainty as to whether the U.S. will continue to play a part in global renewable energy adoption and fossil fuel reduction, business and other countries’ governments continue to ride the wave of commitments that have arisen from COP22 last month.
In the aftermath of the U.S. presidential election, the Facebook pages of most people who care about sustainability read like a grief or suicide support group. Amidst the weeping and gnashing of teeth, there is a sense of everyone looking forward to the next election in two or four years.
While I understand the sentiment, it is important to remember that election cycles are always at the whim of a small group of swing voters, whereas every person who cares about sustainability and social justice has a chance to vote many times every single day and that vote might ultimately have as much, or even more impact on the future (and present) as elections do.
Note: In the aftermath of last week’s Presidential election, we at Sustainable Brands were struck by the parallels to a recent, similarly polarizing political situation abroad with an equally shocking result – the UK’s Brexit referendum – and how Andy Last’s astute observations at the time, about the breakdowns in communication that led just over half of Brits to vote to leave the EU, seem applicable to us here in the States now. We share it with you below – enjoy.
Oslo, Norway has a much more ambitious plan than most when it comes to cutting greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The city plans to cut its GHG emissions in half compared to 1990 levels, in only four years – faster than any city or country has made changes in the past, according to Fast CoExist. At the same time, if we want to keep global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius, it’s the pace we need.
The host of food and drink company members of the United Kingdom’s (UK’s) Food and Drink Federation (FDF) have developed a series of new sustainability commitments. The newly-released “Ambition 2025” document builds on the group’s previous “Five-Fold Environmental Ambition” and includes goals related to climate change, food waste, packaging, water, transport, supply chains and natural capital, as well as case studies highlighting some of their members’ best practices.
It’s time to look beyond sustainability. As a term, it just isn’t enough anymore. Sustainability orients us to a zero sum equation, trying to maintain the status quo. But what exactly are we trying to sustain? What kind of value does that create – for ourselves, for our clients, or for our communities?
“What keeps you up at night?” Solitaire Townsend, co-founder of Futerra, asked this question to 50 sustainability leaders from around the globe on the third and final day of SB ’16 Copenhagen. The core issues most people responded with were inequality, climate change, recession, refugees, biodiversity loss. “It’s the ‘parade of horribles’ that makes sleep tough at times,” said one survey responder. The theme that came out of the expressed fears was division on multiple fronts: Division of opinions, incomes, outlooks.
In this volatile time of unceasing change, the opening night plenary presentations at SB’16 Copenhagen explored the characteristics an organisation needs to not just be resilient, but be ‘fit’ for the future. They unravelled the challenges and successes of their journeys through activating the purpose that moved them to more sustainable, future-fit organisations.
What is the most effective way to lead change? Some would argue for a top-down approach focused on execution, while others believe in an intrinsic, sense-and-respond style.
For Leith Sharp, director of executive education at Harvard University’s Center for Health, the answer is that organizations need both a command control operating system and adaptive sensing capability to lead transformation in the 21st century.
“The challenge for adaptive organizing champions is to learn both languages,” said Sharp. “A healthy command control is putting purpose first earnestly so the whole system can survive.”
A new forecast by DNV GL concludes that while progress will be made towards many of the United Nations’ (UN’s) 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs, or Global Goals), there is a very real risk that they will not be met by 2030. The report predicts that action will not be fast nor fair enough, and will come at an unacceptable environmental cost — but reminds us that there is still time to reset the course of our “Spaceship Earth.”