Living Within Our Means

Will we mark the earliest yet Earth Overshoot Day in 2019? This month, we look at ways organizations are doing their part to help us better live within our means.

Groundbreaking Report Provides Government with Road Map to Cut U.S. Food Waste

WASTE NOT - While more than 42 million Americans lack access to a sufficient amount of food, a staggering 40 percent of the food produced in the U.S. is uneaten, resulting in at least 62.5 million tons of wasted food annually. Meanwhile, a mere 10 percent of food is recovered each year across the entire supply chain. Tackling the growing problem of food waste has become a top priority for governments and businesses across the globe, but many laws and policies designed to enhance food recovery fail to address the needs facing the evolving landscape of food donation.

Rethinking Ownership: Making the Shift from Consumer to User

PRODUCT, SERVICE & DESIGN INNOVATION - The way the majority of the world’s economy works is ‘linear’. We take materials out of the earth, make them into marketable goods that we consume, and dispose of the goods when we’re done with them. It’s a system that accelerated since the onset of the Industrial Revolution, when there was an abundance of cheap and easily accessible natural resources. Mass production made a lot of sense at the time and has since arguably raised our standards of living exponentially.

Earth Overshoot Day Continues to Creep Up the Calendar

BEHAVIOR CHANGE - While Olympians are desperately competing in Rio for the fastest times and highest scores, humanity has achieved a different world record – we have used up nature’s budget for the entire year in record time. Earth Overshoot Day marks the date when humanity’s annual demand on nature exceeds what Earth can regenerate in that year and arrived earlier than ever, falling on August 8, 2016. Unfortunately, there are no winners in the race for natural resources.

If Humanity Were a Corporation ...

LEADERSHIP - ... what would it take to make Sustainability its Brand and the Sufficiency Economy its Value? While at this moment, every social unit recognises that we all need to take action NOW, the most challenging question is always: HOW? What should be — would be — the best solution to enable us to achieve sustainability? So let’s think big and try a little thought experiment: What if humanity were a corporation — what would it take to make sustainability its brand? How can we create value that will set the framework to build a sustainable brand?

Lessons from Spirituality, Nature and Business on the Meaning of Purpose and How to Activate It

BEHAVIOR CHANGE - The purpose of business is changing. While historically, business students have been taught that the purpose of business solely is to increase investors’ profits — known as the Friedman Doctrine — the most successful brands are searching for a deeper meaning. Defining and activating purpose in business was the key theme of Tuesday evening’s plenaries at Sustainable Brands 2016. While Millennials often receive credit for compelling companies to embrace higher ideals, this actually is something all generations of demanded, said Shannon Schuyler, Chief Purpose Officer at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). However, because Millennials are such a large demographic and constantly communicate via technology, their voices are being heard.

New Research from MorningStar Farms, WRI Illustrates Environmental Benefits of Eating Less Meat

CLEANTECH - This week, both the World Resources Institute (WRI) and MorningStar Farms — producer of veggie burgers, sausages and other faux meat items beloved by vegetarians across the U.S. — have unveiled research asserting that the average American could cut their diet-related environmental impacts by nearly half just by eating less meat and dairy.

What Difference Does One Make?

BEHAVIOR CHANGE - My family eats a mostly vegetarian diet. Some kids at school were making fun of my 9-year-old son, telling him how great meat tastes. Before diving into the challenge of dealing with childhood peers, I asked him if he knew why we’re vegetarian. When it was clear he didn’t (that’s on me), I started to tell him about the environmental impacts of meat as it’s currently produced, health benefits, and animal welfare.

'Sea the Possibilities' Healthy Eating Challenge Not So Healthy for the Oceans

BEHAVIOR CHANGE - For Chicken of the Sea, the new Dietary Guidelines for Americans give the right recommendation: People should eat more seafood, and it should replace of other protein foods for two meals per week. In response, the company launched the “Sea the Possibilities Challenge,” a behavior change campaign that encourages consumers to lead “happier, healthier, and more adventurous” lives, in part by increasing their seafood consumption.

UK Chef's New TV Show Waging 'War on Waste'

WASTE NOT - The latest celebrity chef-led TV show is going beyond delicious meals to dish out hard truths about waste. Chef-turned-food-waste-activist Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall “is on a mission to reduce the amount of waste that Britain produces,” in the new BBC One series, "Hugh’s War on Waste."

IoT: The Solution to Sustainably Feeding 9 Billion?

CLEANTECH - A 2014 National Geographic article, “One-Third of Food Is Lost or Wasted,” reported that 3.5 billion acres of land, an area larger than Canada, was plowed in 2007 to grow food, support livestock and dairy production that was never consumed. As for water waste, nearly 70 percent is consumed by agriculture, more than twice that of industry at 23 percent, and municipal use bottoms out at 8 percent.As UNEP’s Nick Nuttall acknowledged in the piece: "Food waste is a stupid problem. But people love stupid problems because they know they can do something about it."

An Intro to ThriveAbility: The Next Stage of Development for Sustainability

NEW METRICS - You all know the classic quip for our field:John: “My marriage is sustainable.”Jane: “Oh, I’m sorry to hear that…”You get it: The notion of “sustainability,” while vitally necessary, inspires enthusiasm like a hairshirt. What we humans really want to do is thrive! The problem sustainability confronts is that the human pursuit of thriving (as currently enacted) wreaks havoc — we overshoot planetary boundaries and erode social foundations.

UK ‘Borrowing Hub’ Challenges Consumption Economy

THE NEXT ECONOMY - The “sharing economy” has become a buzzword of sorts in recent years. Everything from cars to homes and even people’s dogs can now be “shared” with strangers connected through digital technology. But what about everyday “stuff”? That old guitar collecting dust, the hammer buried in your drawer or even… your trusty unicycle?The sharing economy is particularly popular in the United Kingdom, where research has shown some 65 percent of adults already are part of it, benefiting from £4.6 billion ($7.1 billion) worth of savings or earnings.

The Nebulous Nexus: Collaboration Is Key to Ensuring Success of COP21

COLLABORATION - The threats climate change poses to the private sector are significant and the need for international agreements on climate change to keep global warming below 2°C is ever more pressing. The challenge that we all face now is in finding consensus and a common vision that is applicable not only to all countries but to all corporate sectors too. So, as we reach #100daysToParis, how can the ambitions of COP21 be met and what is the role of collaboration in achieving this?

Happy Earth Overshoot Day (or Congrats - We're Overdrawn Even Further Ahead of Schedule)!

THE NEXT ECONOMY - In less than eight months, humanity has used up nature’s budget for the entire year, with carbon sequestration making up more than half of the demand on nature, according to data from Global Footprint Network, an international sustainability think tank with offices in North America, Europe and Asia.

#SB15sd Workshop Explores Engaging, Equipping Key Players to Solve Food Waste at Scale

WASTE NOT - On the opening afternoon of SB ’15 San Diego, a much-anticipated workshop on reducing food waste — featuring Sally Uren, Chief Executive of Forum for the Future, and Raphael Bemporad, Chief Strategy Officer for BBMG — provided an interactive and enthusiastic forum on the subject, engaging audience members from all sectors for both personal and professional reasons.Bemporad began by reminding everyone that to make lasting change we need a better understanding of the human heart as it relates to sustainability and particularly food.

Sustaining Purpose — Why We Work

ORGANIZATIONAL CHANGE - These days, the only constant is constant change. People are on the move from rural regions to densely populated cities, straining urban infrastructures and vital resources. Economies are in flux — once-discounted markets in developing countries will soon dominate trends and needs. Migration is an everyday reality for millions of people — the workforce must be retooled to accommodate greater diversity. Climate change and population growth have led to increased demand for energy, water and food. Technological breakthroughs are opening up investment opportunities and governing relationships with partners and consumers — everyone is expected to connect in real-time.

O2: How We're Measuring Up Against Our Think Big Blueprint Goals

CLEANTECH - In 2012, we launched the Think Big Blueprint, our first sustainability plan that set big, ambitious goals that we hoped would transform our role in the world around us. We set three goals and 40 commitments, and gave ourselves three years to achieve them.The idea at the heart of the Blueprint is that not only do we need to continuously improve our own social and environmental impacts, we also have a unique opportunity to inspire and enable millions of others to live more sustainable lives through our products and services.

Sustainability Comes at a Premium: Creating a Race to the Top Through the Luxury Goods Market

PRODUCT, SERVICE & DESIGN INNOVATION - Is it really possible for both businesses and the planet to thrive while providing people with the luxury goods and experiences they want?Luxury has always been a key component of international trade. We have historical records and archaeological evidence across several millennia of human history, showing the importance of items such as porcelain, silk, furs, wine, jewellery, fragrances and spices.There is every indication that human demand will continue for the positional goods and experiences that display status and wealth: travel to exotic locations, perfumes with exquisite smells, foods that taste delicious, or objects that look beautiful. But meeting this demand creates a consumption challenge.

National Pass It On Week Encourages Scots to Get Swapping, Sharing and Donating

WASTE NOT - This March, Scotland will promote a national week of swapping, sharing and donating, encouraging citizens to join in a reuse revolution. Pass it on Week begins on the 7th and continues through the 15th of March. The event is backed by Zero Waste Scotland (ZWS) in an effort to get people to pass on things they no longer want to someone else, rather than throwing them away.

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