On Sunday 8th March, the world celebrated the economic, political and social achievements of women - past, present and future. The theme for this year’s International Women’s Day - Empowering Women, Empowering Humanity – could not have been more accurate.
Ten miles outside New Orleans stands a two-million-barrel per day oil refinery, surrounded by the Meraux, Louisiana community. On low-lying ground along the Gulf coast, an elaborate network of pipes and smoke stacks looms beyond double-wide trailers, rows of single-family homes, and a playground. By 2050, the refinery and surrounding areas could be underwater, given intermediate sea level rise estimates. But this won’t be the first time the refinery has seen high water levels.
Alternative food start-up Back to the Roots has launched its first U.S.-grown, 100 percent stoneground breakfast cereal, which is made with just 3 ingredients.
The cereal product, called Stoneground Flakes, is made from 100 percent stoneground whole wheat (grown and milled in California), a pinch of sea salt from the San Francisco Bay and organic cane sugar grown in Florida. Unlike refined or even whole wheat flour, 100 percent stoneground whole wheat has more nutrients and more taste, the company says.
In November, Domtar Corporation — North America’s largest manufacturer of uncoated freesheet paper — conducted a national survey fielded by Taylor Nelson Sofres (TNS) Global that revealed, perhaps not surprisingly, that while many Americans have good intentions when it comes to sustainability, they’re stumped when it comes to the details.“There is a strong opportunity for businesses to step up to the plate and provide information to help consumers make more informed decisions,” said Paige Goff, Vice President of Sustainability and Business Communication. “Whether you are choosing between two products or deciding how to dispose of an item after use, Domtar wants to be there as a valuable resource.”
How do we make sustainable fashion … fashionable?That was the question that launched the sustainable fashion consumer research project with Mistra Future Fashion conducted by professors Lucia Reisch, Wencke Gwozdz, and me. While it sounds like a relatively straightforward question, the answer was decidedly less so. When it comes to sustainability, fashion it is out of style.
UK sustainable development consultancy Forum for the Future has launched The Futures Centre — a platform for decision-makers to track trends, share resources and spot windows of opportunities for sustainable innovation and collaboration.Launched last week at an event in Singapore, the goal of the tool is to provide business leaders access to "a vast online bank of futures knowledge" to help them consider the business impacts of environmental risks such as climate change, ecosystem health and resource scarcity, and opportunities to respond to them.
For third-sector organisations, the fundraising environment has rarely seemed so tough. One aspect of this is the prevalent belief that digital media and technology is creating a culture of 'slackivism’ — people replacing direct involvement and engagement with causes and campaigns, with clicks and Facebook likes.
Corporate Knights (CK), the Canadian corporate sustainability reporter, has published its 10th annual Global 100 Index, which attempts to rank the 100 Most Sustainable Corporations in the World.This year marked the first that the Global 100 Index fell behind its benchmark. From its birth in February 2005, through to December 31, 2014, it delivered a return of 90.76%, lower than its benchmark, the MSCI All Country World Index, which returned 96.98%. CK has attributed this to the rising US dollar, since 81 percent of Global 100 companies traded in non-US denominated currencies, versus only 50 percent in the MSCI Index.
Business leaders globally have strong confidence in their own ability to turn sustainability challenges such as water scarcity and fossil fuel dependency into new business opportunities, particularly in the manufacturing and finance sectors in emerging economies. This is one of the key findings of the first Global Opportunity Report, released today by the Global Opportunity Network — an initiative launched in August by DNV GL, UN Global Compact and Monday Morning Global Institute.
While Maurice Lévy called 2014 an "annus horribilus" for Publicis Groupe, life for most agency leaders was a bit merrier this holiday season – but not by much. As Steward Elliot wrote in one of his last columns for the New York Times: "’the situation is hopeless but not serious’ seems to sum up what several Madison Avenue thought leaders believe lies in store for the industry next year."There’s not much certainty for us these days. The ad agency business can be described in tectonic terms: Giant forces and trends scrape each other while triggered by small yet reverberating disruptions that place it on the cusp of a cataclysmic release.
On Wednesday, forest conservation NGO ForestEthics released Peeling Back the Eco-Labels, a report comparing the rigor of forest audits conducted in Canada by the two leading forest certification systems: the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI). The report found that the SFI certification program has serious flaws in comparison to FSC.
Three in five Americans say they will make a New Year's resolution to live a more environmentally responsible lifestyle in 2015, according to a nationwide public opinion poll released this week by advocacy marketing consultancy Tiller, LLC.
The story goes that in a recent conversation with a large, multinational client, yet again, at the mention of the ‘S’ word, the brand people did everything from polite wincing to effectively spitting their coffee across the room.Now to be fair, it was mentioned not in splendid isolation, elevated as some false god — the hero of the day — but in context to Shared Value and Social Brand, seen as a set of three pillars on which to build a more resilient, inclusive and adaptive Brand Story.So, no Sustainable evangelism — just an eye to rigour and a wish to build something of substance, built to absorb whatever turbulence and volatility our fluid and accelerating world might throw at it without losing its shape.
For the last three years my firm (Terrafiniti) has had the distinct pleasure of supporting CorporateRegister.com’s annual CR Reporting Awards (CRRA 15), the unique global, non-financial reporting accolades.Our role has been to support shortlisting; reading and scoring all awards entries, which gives a fantastic snapshot of current practice in reporting across the world. This year (2014, for the 2015 Awards), the CRRA had a record number of entries, with around 100 organisations submitting reports.
As this year comes to a close, we at Future 500 wanted to take a step back and reflect on all of the momentum we’ve seen in stakeholder engagement over the past year. While it’s easy to focus on the negative, we challenge folks to focus on the positive. Below is a summary of the highlights we feel best represent examples of the “Best of the Best” in stakeholder engagement in 2014.
At SB ‘14 London last month, one thing that really stood out for me was the focus on how storytelling can be used to help brands engage their customers with the theme of sustainability. For example, on the first morning of the first day, Daianna Karaian and Stuart Duncan from Futerra ran a workshop that focused on how to tell a sustainable brand story that customers will listen to.
On a holiday created to remind us what we are thankful for (which has mostly become an excuse for us to stuff ourselves), many of us would probably rather not think about our country’s problem with food waste. Well, here it is, anyway: The average U.S. family trashes $1,500 worth of edible food each year while one in six Americans struggles with food insecurity. And this Thanksgiving holiday, our food waste is expected to spike as high as 25 percent in some households.How might we change our culture of waste? And what is the role for retailers and food manufacturers?
More clothing manufacturers and retailers are going out of their way to tout their sustainability credentials, from the use of organic cotton and recycled PET bottles to even accepting clothes in stores for recycling. But in recent years, the social side of sustainability has proven to challenge major fashion brands and retailers: Witness last year’s controversy over the Bangladesh factory fire and strikes at big-box stores such as Walmart over working conditions and pay.
Martin Chilcott, CEO at 2degrees, led this Tuesday afternoon panel on how to engage young people in order to create social value.As Chilcott stated, future generations represent a key asset for society, and companies will need to engage them in order to create social value. But what’s the key to engaging and mobilizing them?
Michael Dickstein, Global Sustainable Development Director at Heineken International, and Kirsten Barnhoorn, Heineken’s former global sustainability leader, led this interactive Q&A session following Dickstein’s morning plenary presentation.The first question coming from the audience was: “How was Heineken able to convince marketers to look into sustainability issues?”