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Latest BSR/GlobeScan Survey Reveals Many Execs Not Sold on Significance of COP21, SDGs, More

Despite all of the hubbub and calls to action from business leaders around Climate Week NYC and the release of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), corporate minds at large have yet to be convinced: Survey results released this week reveal that even in companies with sustainability commitments, about one-third of business leaders believe that a new agreement from COP21 in December will have

How Much Are Divestment Pledges Worth? No One Really Knows

On Tuesday, Divest-Invest proudly announced that “Fossil fuel divestment pledges surpass $2.6 trillion.” However, as Tim McDonnell reported on Mother Jones, that “flashy number” might be a little misleading.

Survey: Most Americans Expect Businesses to Behave Ethically; 10% Trust Them to Do So

Americans expect companies to make a positive difference in the world and have major concerns about corporate ethics, according to study results released this week. When it comes to earning their trust and support, they say communication from companies is key.

CEOs, Entrepreneurs Share 'The Best Advice I Never Got'

In Spring 2014, the Social Venture Network (SVN) began asking its conference speakers to share words of wisdom that they wished they’d heard on their road to success - and the tradition has continued ever since. Here, we hear advice from companies large and small on the importance of transparency, listening to your customers, believing in yourself, and being ok not having all the answers.

General Mills Commits to 28% Absolute GHG Reductions from Farm to Fork to Landfil

On Monday, General Mills announced a commitment to reduce absolute greenhouse gas emissions by 28 percent across its full value chain — from farm to fork to landfill — over the next 10 years. The commitment was calculated using science-based methodology to achieve a level of emission reductions that science suggests is necessary to sustain the health of the planet.

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Study: Consumers Are Willing to Pay 30% More for Fair Trade Products

A new study from the University of Bonn finds that consumers are willing to pay more for products with a Fair Trade logo, and they also perceive them to taste better. Published last week in Frontiers in Neuroscience, the research identifies potential neural mechanisms that explain why Fair Trade products are evaluated more positively.

The Ripple Effect: Unilever on Why Women's Equality Hinges on Water

As World Water Week draws to a close in Stockholm, Sweden, issues of gender equality have been brought into sharp focus with a growing acknowledgement among business leaders that the global water burden still falls overwhelmingly on women.

'Sustainable' Is No Longer Enough: Tim Gnatek on the Future of Sustainability Messaging

As climate issues, resource depletion and social issues begin to inform corporate strategy, brands need to communicate their values, experiences, and solutions. New crises demand new strategies, and San Francisco-based PR and media strategy firm Blue Practice prides itself on offering companies a unique range of tools for effective sustainability storytelling.Just after the firm’s recent relaunch, we spoke with co-founder and president Tim Gnatek about the top trends emerging in the field and the future of sustainability communication.

Starbucks Facing Increased Consumer Pressure to Go Deforestation-Free

Like one of its baristas, Starbucks has given consumers warm words but has been a bit slow in delivering the goods.In 2013, Starbucks announced it would source 100 percent of its palm oil from certified sustainable suppliers by 2015, but the company has been slow to take meaningful action, and a SumOfUs.org campaign is calling on Starbucks to strengthen its policies.

Survey: Most U.S. Consumers Would Choose Renewable Packaging to Help Mitigate Climate Change

A new survey suggests U.S. consumers are largely unaware of the severity of global resource scarcity, but their choice of packaging would be impacted if they had readily available information on how renewable materials mitigate climate change.

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Study: Investors Increasingly Factoring Companies' ESG Practices Into Investment Decisions

A World Federation of Exchanges (WFE) survey shows investors are increasingly studying the sustainability practices and policies of companies as a factor in their investment decisions. 39 percent of respondents to the global exchanges survey (22 out of 56) stated they had received ESG (Environment, Social and Corporate Governance)-related queries from investors, of which 10 said that such inquiries are on the increase. The finding shows how ESG concerns are becoming widespread among global capital market participants. Exchanges provide an important informational and regulatory nexus on ESG issues between companies and the capital markets that serve their financing needs.

Tree-Falling-in-a-Forest Sustainability: Can (or Should) We Get It to Make a Sound?

Earlier this year, the Des Moines Water Works announced plans to sue three Iowa counties over high concentrations of nitrates from agricultural runoff. At the same time, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation issued its biennial report on the state of the Chesapeake, giving it a D+ and highlighting phosphorus runoff from agriculture operations. And then there was the city of Toledo shutting down the water supply in the summer of 2014 due to a harmful algal bloom that may have been caused, in part, by runoff from over-fertilized fields.You’d be forgiven for thinking that water quality impacts of the food and ag supply chain are on consumers’ radars.But they’re not.

When It Really Isn't Business as Usual: Can There Be Principle Without 'Principle'?: Part III

In Parts I and II of this Series, we gave evidence to support the unlikely hypothesis of an emerging conscience amongst some mainstream companies.

The Best Quotes (and Key Themes) from the Pope's Environmental Manifesto: Part II

Yesterday, I posted a piece about the Pope's "encyclical" on the environment, released last month. I summarized what I saw as the key themes and takeaways. I also provided the first half of my list of the best quotes from the essay. Yesterday's excerpts covered climate science (and denial), environmental ills in general, and the Pope's critique of modern technological society.

The Best Quotations (and Key Themes) From the Pope's Environmental Manifesto: Part 1

I doubt you missed last month’s release of Pope Francis’ powerful “encyclical” on the environment. It’s sure to be considered a very important document in the history of sustainability – perhaps a turning point in the debate on climate change.

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Report: Here's How to Engage Employees in Brazil, China

To assist corporate responsibility practitioners as they help international employees give back to their communities, Silicon Valley Community Foundation (SVCF) has produced a report offering practical advice for establishing successful programs in five countries — Brazil, China, India, South Africa, United Kingdom — but the lessons also can be applied to other countries around the world.To create the Global Employee Engagement Report, SVCF conducted in-depth interviews with 65 corporate practitioners and nonprofit organizations dedicated to promoting employee engagement, as well as completed a review of existing literature on the topic.

COP21, Global Inequality, Resource Scarcity Among 15 'State of Play' Sustainability Trends

Today, think tank SustainAbility released its view of the key sustainability developments during 2015 in a webinar, “Mid-Year ‘State of Play’ Sustainability Trends.” Its latest research identifies 10 global trends and five region-specific trends in Latin America.“These are not this week’s headlines,” clarified Mark Lee, Executive Director of SustainAbility. Instead, the trends highlighted in the webinar reflect long-term movements within the international sustainability community that his team expects will continue throughout the year and beyond.

Making ‘Green’ a Bonus, Not a Focus

The “green gap” is alive and well, yet many companies and marketers still don’t seem to notice. On the one hand, we continue to see a massive influx of passionate consumers telling us they are willing to pay a premium for products from socially and environmentally responsible companies.

When It Really Isn’t Business as Usual: Can There be Principle Without “Principle?”: Part II

Years before the surprising examples of bold sustainable business actions discussed in Part 1, we had the writings of Jem Bendell, Wayne Visser, John Elkington and Jeffrey Hollender, who have long seen the limitations of c

When It Really Isn’t Business as Usual: Can There be Principle Without 'Principle?': Part 1

Can a mainstream company have a conscience? As ridiculous as that might sound, more common-than-realized examples of bold sustainable business actions over the past few years may come to soften reasoning against the possibility of this possibility. We will look at some of the evidence for a conscience and the implied fundamental shift in the role of business, as it may eventually be difficult to continue to explain the motivation for certain actions in any other way. Then, having explored and given evidence for the idea here and in part 2, in a third and final part we’ll clarify what we’re not talking about, as less radical versions of this framing question are no longer so controversial, although potentially instructive.

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