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.
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?”
SB ‘14 London got underway Monday morning and appropriately, one of the day’s first workshops presented some of the key market insights that will help to guide brands in the continued development of sustainable business models.Early in the session Forum for the Future’s James Goodman pressed home the need for brands to adapt to a changing consumer environment. He highlighted Greenpeace’s recent viral campaign against toy manufacturer Lego as a stark warning of the dangers of ignoring your customers’ concerns about sustainability.
Generation Z — children and young adults born since 1995 — is just beginning to produce today’s voters, shoppers, workers and parents. What are the chances that this generation, which has grown up amid the constant hum of social issues and environmental causes, is the one that steps up to address sustainability concerns seriously?Five factors suggest it might be. It’s early days yet, of course, but for those who worry that the social and environmental problems facing the world are insurmountable, this young generation does offer five reasons to hope — as well as opportunities to brands who can embrace sustainability authentically.
First, let’s clarify what assurance is.In this context, assurance is a third-party review of the reliability of a sustainability or corporate responsibility report. It often includes the checking of the data and claims in these reports. Best practice also includes confirming the report focuses on the right things (material issues).The intention is to increase the clarity and trustworthiness of information, while improving the robustness of the methods used to gather it.Assurance is what we are seeking to achieve, building stakeholder confidence and internal engagement by helping confirm that a report appropriately and reliably describes what’s happening within an organization.
Procter & Gamble just announced expansion of its sustainability goals with ambitious new initiatives for 2020 aimed at water conservation and product packaging. But when you’re a company as big, old and sprawling as the Cincinnati-based consumer packaged goods giant, nothing comes easily — including accomplishment of a huge sustainability agenda. And some in P&G’s diverse body of shareholders are making sure to hold the company’s feet to the fire.CEO A.G. Lafley was able to boast about P&G’s “promises kept” on sustainability at the company’s recent annual meeting.
On average, Americans are willing to spend 31 percent more per week on grocery food produced safely and responsibly, according to the Conscious Consumer™ Study issued today by Gibbs-rbb Strategic Communications.
Child hunger is often seen as an issue that only affects the developing world, but it’s actually a lot closer to home than you might think. In America alone, there are an estimated 16 million children (under the age of 18) living in “food insecure” households — homes where it’s not known when or from where the next meal is going to come.
Why is the transition to a sustainable economy going so painfully slow? We have known the challenges for decades. We have the technology needed at hand. Financing has never been much cheaper than now. The sustainable business models have proven viable, and we have had dedicated top-level political focus on the issue (albeit on and off) since the first Earth Summit in Rio.But all that aside, things are moving at a glacial pace (as glaciers are supposed to move: slowly forward, not as many do now) compared to the challenge.
For the NFL to rebuild trust with women in the wake of the ongoing domestic violence debacle, and repair its bruised brand image, Commissioner Roger Goodell will need to do more than apologize, beef up education programs and promise to do better. To truly overcome the damage that’s been done to the reputation of the NFL and its sponsors, Goodell will need to change the way the League thinks about marketing to women, take a zero tolerance stand regarding domestic violence, and ultimately redefine the brand’s purpose toward developing players who are real heroes and role models for kids and families. Here’s a game plan for the NFL and its sponsors:1. Think of women as more than a marketing opportunity
The floodgates have opened: Hot on the heels of Google’s Monday announcement that it was severing ties with controversial conservative lobbying group the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and Microsoft’s move last month to do the same, Facebook has confirmed it will join them, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
Anheuser-Busch InBev today released the results of its first international survey on consumer attitudes toward the responsible serving and selling of alcoholic beverages — adults of legal drinking age in eight countries were asked about the impact that bartenders, waiters and store clerks have on encouraging responsible drinking. The survey provides new data to highlight the importance of ongoing training and the opportunity to expand these efforts.
“There are two things a person should never be angry at, what they can help, and what they cannot.”PlatoJust because we want one thing, must we want all that comes with it?It is a peculiar fact of human existence that the mass effect of individual actions can produce an outcome at odds with or likely to undermine (even if in the long run) their original intent.This not-exactly-earth-shattering observation reflects the challenge of balancing individual and collective freedoms; the subject of philosophical reflection on the nature and limits of the rights of the individual since the times of Socrates and Plato.
It is no secret that the private sector, for the most part, is failing to tackle today’s evolving social and environmental challenges, caused in large part by the nature of current standard business processes. It is getting more and more overwhelming for people to relate to businesses and their old-school practices. The main reason, some would argue, is that we fail to radically think and step out of the proverbial box we have been taught to exist in for generations. We seem to be collectively lacking either an agreed-upon vision of what to look for outside of that box, or the courage to pursue it, or both.
I always see images that portray nature with different shades of green. This is totally unfair to nature, which is multicoloured. This shallow portrait of sustainability has made the subject eco-boring - limited, distant and rather immature.