Paul Polman is CEO of Unilever, a member of the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement Lead Group and Chairman of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development. This is his observation following his involvement at Lima COP 20.
Many companies today view sustainable business practices as an integral part of their overall strategy — and much more than an opportunity to enhance their brand image. A natural extension of this trend is increased demand for experienced executives who can help companies meet their environmental goals. According to a 2014 report by the International Renewable Energy Agency, approximately 625,000 ‘green’ jobs were created in the renewable energy sector alone in the United States last year. In many cases, these are well-paying positions requiring higher education and/or specialized training.
The Hershey Company, in partnership with Project Peanut Butter (PPB) — a project aimed at ending child malnutrition across sub-Saharan Africa — has announced that the Project’s newest manufacturing facility (in Kumasi, Ghana) is now beginning full operation. Thanks to a nearly $1 million investment from Hershey, the new plant will produce PPB’s peanut-based Ready to Use Therapeutic Foods (RUTFs), which the organization calls the world’s most effective treatment for severe childhood malnutrition.
McDonald’s unprecedented corporate-transparency marketing campaign, “Our Food. Your questions,” is the fast food giant’s attempt to reduce the impact of one major aspect of its brand and operations — low prices and massive amounts of highly processed foods have led to questions about what exactly is in its food, whether it is all safe for human consumption and how integral various aspects of sustainability are to its supply chain.
Innovation. We love it! Especially in the trending world of sustainability.And rightly so: The potential impact and influence of sustainability innovation in the shaping of a more positive human existence is immutable and immeasurable.Innovation’s role in reinventing and reimagining the way the domestic, private and public sectors use, reuse and replenish the limited resources we have at our disposal is critical to our survival as a race. So anything that inspires us to escalate our ability to innovate, whether that might be of the incremental, process or radical kind, deserves all the help it can get. We cannot really afford for sustainability innovation to stall or fail — but it does so, all too often.
How do you engage corporate employees to focus their determination and creativity in working toward business goals? Sparking and capturing the imagination, and dedication, of employees is a core issue for any company — particularly for those focused on sustainability issues.
John Meynard Keynes once said: “Practical men, who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any intellectual influence, are usually the slaves of some defunct economist.” I think most business leaders would scoff at the idea that an economist guides their business decisions, but a step back in time might challenge their skepticism.
Karen Little, Director of Development at Kiva, and Ann Ewasechko, Global Manager of Strategic Partnerships & Innovation in Education at HP, discussed the great success of their joint social campaign “Matter to a Million” during a Wednesday afternoon session. Matter to a Million is a 5-year global partnership between HP and Kiva aiming to support 1 million entrepreneurs around the world through microlending and, as Ewasechko said, to empower employees to make an impact and a difference.
Julian Borra of the Thin Air Factory and Thomas Kolster, author of Goodvertising, provided another immensely entertaining and engaging presentation from SB ’14 London’s main stage in Tuesday’s afternoon brief session. Every footballing cliché in the book was employed to warm up the expectant audience, and we weren’t disappointed.This sustainability tag-team took us on a journey towards new thought processes in problem-solving. They pointed out that innovation for sustainability is often more about the way the innovation process is approached and managed, rather than the innovation itself. To illustrate this view, the team offered two thought-provoking quotes:
As Marks & Spencer’s Plan A programme moves into a new phase — that of engagement — the company’s director of sustainable business, Mike Barry took to the stage Tuesday evening at SB ’14 London to offer his insights into how companies can build long-term, restorative models that are as much about inclusivity as they are profitability.
UPS, the world’s largest package delivery company, boasts some of the highest sustainability scores, credentials and rankings brands can earn, including reducing its total GHG emissions while increasing its shipping volume in 2013. How has the company achieved all this? What can others learn from its success so far? SB was recently invited to UPS HQ in Atlanta for the company’s annual Global Forestry Event — and we gained some insights:1. Start with low-hanging fruit
The Carbon Trust and the Sustainable Energy Association of Singapore (SEAS) today announced that they will be working together to help small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Singapore to improve their energy efficiency. The announcement of the collaboration is being made at Kew Gardens in London as part of the official state visit to the UK of Dr Tony Tan Keng Yam, President of the Republic of Singapore.The SEAS is leading a S$17 million SME Energy Efficiency initiative, with support from SPRING Singapore, the National Environment Agency (NEA) and Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA). The goal is to help some 300 SMEs achieve at least 10 percent savings in energy costs over the next three years.
Companies often set targets for memorable milestones and landmark years, such as 2015 or 2020, as this makes it easier to communicate and refer to them — there are 17 companies in the FTSE 100 that will be held to account in 2015 for meeting the targets that they themselves publicly set for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Caesars Entertainment’s fifth annual Corporate Citizenship Report, "Serious Play," highlights the gaming resort chain’s progress in areas including Responsible Gaming, Employee Development, Environmental Stewardship and Community Investment Performance. The report details the company's societal and environmental impacts in 2013, highlights its corporate citizenship efforts in action, and elaborates on how Caesars is fulfilling its mission of inspiring grown-ups to play responsibly.
In the spirit of this week, which has seen global leaders convening in New York City for the UN Climate Summit and more than 400,000 citizens filling the City’s streets for the People’s Climate March, NYC Mayor Bill De Blasio has committed to reducing the City’s greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) by a whopping 80 percent by 2050 from 2005 levels with plans to renovate its public and private buildings.
Thousands of workers took to the streets of Phnom Penh, in Cambodia, last week to protest for a near-doubling of the minimum wage for retailer workers there to US$177 (£110) a month. It seems their calls for fairer pay have sparked a response from the fashion industry, as eight leading retailers have now pledged to pay more for clothes produced there, according to the Guardian.
All businesses value consumer and employee loyalty and the opportunity to shape the playing field in which they operate. Mission-driven businesses such as B Corps Seventh Generation and Ben & Jerry’s are finding that having an authentic purpose that resonates with their customers opens the door to exciting approaches to activism that engage their base in powerful ways. The union of company and employee passions not only boosts loyalty but also can lead to successful advocacy for shared causes. Conventional companies seeking to emulate their successes should follow three key steps:1. Build a mission that is relevant for your consumers
On Sept. 30, supply chain education will take a major step into the digital age with the start of SCx, an online educational program developed by the MIT Center for Transportation & Logistics (MIT CTL) for thousands of professionals across the globe.The SCx curriculum is part of the MITx initiative, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s selection of massive open online courses (MOOCs). SCx is one of the first “XSeries” offerings that award certificates for successful completion of an entire sequence of courses.MIT says more than 9,000 individuals have already signed up for the first course of the three-course program — CTL.SC1x Supply Chain and Logistics Fundamentals.
In conjunction with the release of its 2013-2014 Corporate Responsibility Report and hot on the heels of a new commitment to sustainable seafood, Hyatt Hotels has unveiled a set of the ever-popular 2020 environmental goals — the hotel chain says the goals are “designed to strengthen Hyatt’s collective ability to collaborate, inspire and further its commitment to environmental stewardship.”Hyatt says it is significantly expanding the scope of its existing sustainability initiatives and will continue to focus strongly on measuring and reporting progress.
Microsoft has announced that it is ending its relationship with the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a conservative public-policy lobbying group. The decision was apparently made in response to ALEC's anti-renewables lobbying efforts, including measures to repeal renewable energy standards and block the disclosure of chemicals in fracking.