Nearly 40 percent of all shareholder proposals filed in 2013 came from the environmental and social (E&S) category, representing the largest category overall, according to a recent report by Ernst & Young.Taking flight: Environmental sustainability proposals gain more attention identifies the specific requests investors are making in environmental sustainability proposals, company practices referenced by shareholder proponents in their supporting statements and examples of company actions that have led to withdrawals.The top five E&S proposal topic areas were:
Continuing a positive trend of transparency in the food industry, Starbucks' latest campaign focuses on the quality and sourcing of its coffee beans, as sustainability and health concerns continue to motivate consumers to ask, "Where does this come from?"Launched on Sunday during the Emmys, the new documentary-inspired TV ad shows the heritage of the cafe chain's Arabica coffee beans. "The bean matters, because you cannot roast in quality, you cannot roast in complexity," the voiceover says as black-and-white footage of coffee plantations and the roasting process runs.
In this series, Christophe Fauconnier & Benoit Beaufils, respectively CEO & founding partner of brand consultancy Innate Motion, present the tools that the company uses to develop purposeful, mission-driven brands with their clients. Benoit & Christophe view their tools as a free “thoughtware” suite, and propose that readers borrow and reapply. Read part one in the toolbox: people immersions.
Corporate reporting on sustainability issues in Africa remains patchy and should be expanded in scope, according to the Africa Sustainability Barometer, which gauges the state of corporate sustainability reporting (CSR) on the continent.A new joint initiative of the United Nations Global Compact (GC) and the Financial Times, the barometer covers more than 1,000 international companies with operations in the region, as well as local and regional companies.
New research released this week by the Carbon Trust reveals that, while consumers see business as the key to economic recovery, they do not yet see it as key to fixing our environmental problems, with over two-thirds (68 percent) of respondents unable to name a company taking the issue of environmental sustainability seriously.Respondents who could name companies they thought were walking the sustainability talk were quick to mention retailer Marks & Spencer (the most popular answer), followed in order by the Co-operative Group, Tesco, BP and Sainsbury’s.
The UN Global Compact (GC) yesterday launched a new stock index of companies committed to the GC's ten principles, which shows a total investment return of 26.4 percent during the past year.The Global Compact 100 was released in partnership with research firm Sustainalytics and is comprised of a representative group of GC companies selected based on their adherence to the Global Compact’s ten principles, as well as evidence of executive leadership commitment and consistent base-line profitability.The GC 100 tracked the stock market performance of these companies during the past three years, comparing the results against a broad market benchmark, the FTSE All World.The data for total returns is as follows:
Around the world, governments, companies and consumers are thirsty for ways to support responsible business practice and to trust that the products they endorse are making a measurable difference for people and the planet. With so many options now at their disposal, one of the big questions is: Which tools provide the highest return on investment, the biggest sustainability bang for one’s buck?
Marks & Spencer (M&S) has signed a one-year deal to work with social enterprise technology provider Good World Solutions to facilitate direct communications with workers in its clothing supply chain via mobile technology.M&S will use Labor Link, technology that returns anonymous, quantitative survey results to M&S direct from supply chain workers. Workers listen to questions on their mobile phones in Hindi, Sinhalese, or another local language, and respond using their touch-tone keypad.
On Sunday, evōx, (pronounced e-vokes), the new online marketplace and entertainment network geared toward sustainable lifestyles, hosted the premiere of “On Begley Street” at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in Pasadena, CA.Produced by Make it Happen Productions, the show features one of the most prominent eco-celebs, Ed Begley Jr., and his family as they build a LEED Platinum home, with the specific goal of building the ‘most sustainable house in North America.’
Intelligent streetlights that turn off when streets are empty; an electric city bus with a 250 km range; and a piece of paper that reduces food waste. International innovation platform Sustainia has launched its list of the top 10 best sustainability innovations for 2013, featuring projects and technologies from Europe, Israel, Zambia, USA, China and the Philippines.The selected projects will compete for the Sustainia Award, presented by the Sustainia 100, a committee headed by Arnold Schwarzenegger and Dr. Rajendra Pachauri, chair of the UN’s panel on climate change (IPCC).
Advertising Age is releasing a report today entitled “How to Make Credible Green Marketing Claims: What Marketers Need to Know about the Updated FTC Green Guides.” Co-authored by Jacquelyn Ottman of J. Ottman Consulting and David Mallen from the National Advertising Division of the Better Business Bureau, the report comes just in time for the one-year anniversary of the most recent update of the Guides.The FTC published the first edition of the Green Guides in 1992, to help advertisers avoid deceptive or misleading environmental marketing claims. These Guides are now the go-to standards for green marketing claims and have counterparts in Canada, UK and Australia.
Chipotle keeps sticking its neck out for "sustainable," locally produced food — now with an animated short-film attack on "Big Food" and with the promise of more expansive and aggressive efforts to come."The Scarecrow" is a 3-1/2-minute film that Chipotle Mexican Grill released online last week that depicts what the brand calls "a dystopian fantasy world" in which "all food production is controlled by fictional industrial giant Crow Foods. Scarecrows have been displaced from their traditional role of protecting food, and are now servants to the crows and their evil plans to dominate the food system."
The Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA) has launched its first sustainability accreditation for food destinations, developed with retail landlord Hammerson.The first initiative of its kind, SRA says the new rating will be rolled out to a variety of destinations, including shopping centers, airports, stadiums and stations.Hammerson’s WestQuay shopping center in Southampton, UK was the first location to achieve the new Sustainable Restaurant Association Food Destination rating, which now allows its 17 million annual shoppers to select from a range of restaurants that source ingredients more responsibly and manage food, water, energy and waste more efficiently.
Fifty of the world’s 500 largest companies are responsible for nearly three quarters of the group’s 3.6 billion metric tons of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, according to the CDP Global 500 Climate Change Report 2013.Most of the top 50 carbon-polluting companies operate in the energy, materials and utilities sectors, the report says. The carbon dioxide emitted by these companies has risen by 1.65 percent to 2.54 billion metric tons over the past four years — equivalent to adding more than 8.5 million pickup trucks to the streets.
S&P Dow Jones Indices, one of the world’s largest providers of financial market indices, and RobecoSAM, an investment specialist focused on sustainability investing, today announced the results of the annual Dow Jones Sustainability Indices (DJSI) review. Launched in 1999, the DJSI were the first global indices to track the financial performance of the leading sustainability-driven companies worldwide.
Seven motorsports facilities operated by the International Speedway Corporation (ISC) received the NASCAR Green track operator award during the recent 2013 NASCAR Green Summit.The award recognizes motorsports facilities for ongoing contributions to developing effective and sustainable green policies and practices. Now in its fifth consecutive year, the 2013 NASCAR Green Summit examined the substantive initiatives that have helped NASCAR make notable strides toward reducing the impacts of its sporting events nationwide.These facilities were recognized for their individual efforts:Auto Club Speedway of Southern California
In this series, Benoit Beaufils, founding partner of brand consultancy Innate Motion, along with several of his partners, presents the tools that the company uses to develop purposeful, mission-driven brands with their clients. Benoit views their tools as a free “thoughtware” suite, and proposes that readers borrow and reapply.Tool #1. People immersions.Jack* rushes into the meeting room, and goes straight for a seat. “How was it?” the others ask. “Unbelievable. Unbelievable.” He pauses, and tells the story:
In the past decade, corporate sustainability and corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs have come a long way, with companies putting real money and staff into the efforts. Increasingly, companies have appointed top executives to be held accountable in these areas, and just about every big firm issues some kind of sustainability or CSR report.But despite the continued focus, progress remains slower than hoped. Why? After all, studies continue to show that CEOs rank sustainability as one of the most critical business drivers that will affect their company’s success — and financial performance — in the years to come.
The 20 biggest world economies have agreed to use the resources of the Montreal Protocol to initiate a global phase-down of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), a significant group of super greenhouse gases (GHGs).According to The Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA), HFCs are primarily used in refrigeration and air conditioning and are thousands of times more potent than carbon dioxide. However, climate-friendly alternatives are already widely available.
There is a major gap between what companies say and do about sustainability, with 65 percent developing policies at the CEO level and only 35 percent taking action, according to a recent survey by the United Nations Global Compact.The Global Corporate Sustainability Report 2013 includes survey responses from 1,712 companies from 113 countries, and reviews the actions taken by companies to integrate responsible practices outlined in the Global Compact Management Model into their strategies, operations and culture. The survey paints a picture of how companies are addressing sustainability issues including human rights, labor, environment and anti-corruption.