We have entered a new era: the Anthropocene, an era characterized by humans as the dominant influence on climate and the environment. We are causing changes at such an unprecedented rate that it has been called ‘the Great Acceleration.’ We are well on our way to exceeding planetary boundaries, and while science has established some understanding of this, it is still rather abstract for us in our daily lives and in our business planning.
“I think we’re upright and we’re walking, but there’s no higher cortex functions yet,” said Gregory Unruh, sustainability editor at MIT Sloan Management Review, discussing where we stand in sustainable business evolution during a Tuesday breakout session at SB'16 San Diego.
While awareness and valuation of sustainable practices continues to grow overall, investors are demanding more data, better data, and deepening engagement with their investment prospects.
On the week’s theme of Activating Purpose, ThriveAbility Foundation co-founders Robin Wood, Ralph Thurm and Bill Baue led a Monday morning workshop on “thriveability,” their model for a regenerative, multi-capital economy.
This morning at SB’16 San Diego, BSR and Forum for the Future launched the Net Positive Project, a cross-sector coalition that aims to expand the number of companies that go beyond reducing their negative sustainability impacts to contribute in a “net positive” way to society, the environment, and the global economy.
Global index and data provider FTSE Russell today announced the launch of its LCE data model, which measures the “green” revenues of 13,400 public companies, representing 98.5 percent of total global market capitalization. Revenues from a broad range of large, mid- and small capitalization companies in 48 developed and emerging markets are mapped to 60 new green industrial subsectors, with FTSE Russell assigning each company in the model a low-carbon industrial indicator (LOWCII) factor, representing the ratio of its green revenues to its total revenues.
A sustainability manager at a large auto parts manufacturer recently explained the company’s lack of interest in water management this way: “It's not worth our time. Water is too cheap and no one cares." Moreover, the executive acknowledged that even if they did care, they had no idea how to tackle an operational issue that is largely unseen and highly distributed. Doing nothing is a common response, and indicative of the second-class status water still has in much of the business world, including the boardroom.
Oil company shareholders are voting on resolutions today that propose to cut spending on opening new oilfields and change how they report reserves, among others. In Dallas, Texas, ExxonMobil shareholders are voting on four climate change-related resolutions, while Chevron has four such issues on the ballot for its Annual General Meeting in San Ramon, California.
The same firms that convinced ExxonMobil to report on climate change and carbon asset risk in 2014, Arjuna Capital and As You Sow, are leading the charge again with these new proposals.
In the first initiative of its kind to publicly benchmark corporate chemicals management, the Chemical Footprint Project has published its inaugural report. The results provide valuable insights into how leading companies manage chemicals in their products and supply chains, and how all companies might manage these issues in the future.
Forty-one companies have joined the Science-Based Targets initiative since the COP21 climate negotiations in December. On the eve of the Climate Action Summit in Washington, D.C. last week, the initiative announced that a total of 155 companies have now committed to set emissions reduction targets in-line with the global effort to keep warming well below 2 degrees Celsius.
Luxury goods and responsible consumption need not be contradictory terms — that was the core takeaway from a livestream Q & A session held earlier this week by Kering, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of luxury apparel and home to brands such as Gucci, PUMA, Stella McCartney and Alexander McQueen.
Materiality is murky – especially when it comes to sustainability. Reporting on material issues in the financial context has been legally required for decades and is widely understood. It is less widely understood – and not yet well applied – in non-financial contexts.
This clearly has to change – and quickly. Various stakeholders, including shareholders, are increasingly demanding greater identification and disclosure of material sustainability issues. They have become ever more aware of the opportunities, as well as the risks, of these matters.
Nine of the “Big 10” global food and beverage companies - Associated British Foods (ABF), Coca-Cola, Danone, General Mills, Kellogg, Mars, Mondelez, Nestlé, PepsiCo and Unilever - have improved their ratings by at least 10 percent in three years since Oxfam began keeping score through its Behind the Brands scorecard.
Cross-Posted from Leadership.
Two decades ago, John Elkington introduced the Triple Bottom Line (TBL), a disruptive corporate tool to measure a company’s success based on three Ps: People, Planet and Profit. TBL and its derivatives are widely used by companies around the world. While some companies have embedded the TBL into the core of their business, many others loosely practice it to varying degrees.
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and other forms of sustainability reporting can be a painful process. Whether you’re a one-person sustainability, health and safety manager or your company has staff around the world who share reporting responsibilities, it can be challenging to effectively collect, assess, and communicate your company’s sustainability metrics.
Fashion brands’ sustainability performance has lacked independent verification and true transparency. European non-profit MADE-BY is hoping their ‘ground-breaking’ new tool, called MODE Tracker, will change that.
That investing to make a positive impact as well as a dime has evolved considerably over the past few years has turned on its head a long-standing worldview that the sole purpose of business and investing is to make money, while solving social and environmental challenges is the domain of government and charity.
While some may remain skeptical that for-profit investment can be both a morally legitimate and economically effective way to address social and environmental problems, impact investing is moving swiftly from concept to convention.
It has been my pleasure to edit this tour-de-force 6-part series — now an e-book — by my colleague, Ralph Thurm, in which he lays out his vision for how integral thinking and true materiality can catalyze a regenerative and inclusive economy, leveraging the work of the ThriveAbility Foundation, the Reporting 3.0 Platform, and the Global Initiative for Sustainability Ratings (GISR).
Last August, I published an article here in which I described what, to me, is the most compelling business case for corporate sustainability or CSR extant: the fact that it literally drives the market values of publicly traded firms up or down in measurable ways.
To be clear, I believe there are two fundamental business cases for CSR: an intrinsic one and an extrinsic one. The intrinsic one involves the pursuit of sustainability for its own sake; the extrinsic one involves the pursuit of sustainability for financial gain – a means to an end.
This is the final part of a 6-part series about integral thinking and true materiality. It proposes a new impetus to develop reporting that is able to serve the idea of a green & inclusive economy.