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Microsoft, Diageo Among Latest Companies Urging Policymakers to Address Climate Change

COLLABORATION - Business calls for strong climate change action are getting louder. A half-dozen more leading global companies including Microsoft, Owens Corning, Diageo, Thornton Tomasetti, and Acer America Corporation last week joined hundreds of other U.S. businesses in signing the Climate Declaration, which calls on federal policymakers to seize the economic opportunity of addressing climate change, according to CERES.

Rubies in the Rubble: Fighting a Culture of Waste One Chutney at a Time

WASTE NOT - In 2010, Jenny Dawson was a couple of years out of university working at a hedge fund company in London. One day, she found herself at a wholesale market where she saw pallets of edible fruit and vegetables going to the waste bin. The food had been grown in neighboring countries in Europe and as far away as Kenya.To Dawson it was sheer madness and an environmental and social travesty that so much good food requiring great resources to grow and transport to London would ultimately end up in the garbage. “Seeing pallets of perfectly good fruit coming in from Kenya destined for the garbage evoked a reaction in me. There must be something we could do. We can’t be this wasteful,” says Dawson.

Putting Sustainability Data into Context

NEW METRICS - Many companies have been publicly reporting on sustainability metrics for more than 20 years, and others are just getting started. As the practice is maturing and becoming more commonplace, stakeholders are beginning to ask, “Are these metrics really measuring sustainability?”For example, most companies do report on their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and water use, but what they’re not doing is putting these metrics in context. In other words, does a company’s goals and performance meet the need to decrease emissions by 80–100% by 2050* in order to stave off the worst impacts of climate change? And how does its water use measure up to availability in water-scarce, water-stressed and water-sufficient areas?

Inspiring the Supply Chain: Sprint's New Supplier Booklet

NEW METRICS - As the sustainability world places increased focus on supply chain issues, there’s no doubt that any corporation on an authentic CSR journey needs to carefully examine the impacts of its entire supply chain. In fact, according to the United Nations Global Compact’s recently published Global Corporate Sustainability Report, supply chain management is the single greatest barrier to large companies advancing to the next level of sustainability performance.

E&S Topics Comprised 40% of Shareholder Proposals Filed in 2013

MARKETING AND COMMS - Nearly 40 percent of all shareholder proposals filed in 2013 came from the environmental and social (E&S) category, representing the largest category overall, according to a recent report by Ernst & Young.Taking flight: Environmental sustainability proposals gain more attention identifies the specific requests investors are making in environmental sustainability proposals, company practices referenced by shareholder proponents in their supporting statements and examples of company actions that have led to withdrawals.The top five E&S proposal topic areas were:

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Lack of Reliable Metrics Impeding Sustainable Business Growth, Study Says

NEW METRICS - Less than a third (32 percent) of CEOs believe the global economy is on track to meet the demands of a growing population, while two-thirds (67 percent) report that the private sector is not making sufficient efforts to address global sustainability challenges, according to a recent survey by the United Nations Global Compact (GC) and Accenture. Still only 38 percent say they currently are able to quantify the business value of sustainability.

Investors Ask General Mills to Step Up Packaging Responsibility

WASTE NOT - This week, investors are asking General Mills to take responsibility for recycling its post-consumer packaging waste.

Reality Check: Climate Counts Launches World's First Science-Based Carbon Rating

NEW METRICS - On Tuesday at the New Metrics of Sustainable Business Conference, Climate Counts will present initial findings of the first-ever science-based rating of corporate carbon emissions. The study, conducted by Center for Sustainable Organizations (CSO) Executive Director Mark McElroy and Bill Baue, applies CSO's Context-Based Carbon Metric, which compares company carbon emissions to science-based targets.

Starbucks Jumps on the Sustainably Sourced Wagon with New Origins Campaign

MARKETING AND COMMS - Continuing a positive trend of transparency in the food industry, Starbucks' latest campaign focuses on the quality and sourcing of its coffee beans, as sustainability and health concerns continue to motivate consumers to ask, "Where does this come from?"Launched on Sunday during the Emmys, the new documentary-inspired TV ad shows the heritage of the cafe chain's Arabica coffee beans. "The bean matters, because you cannot roast in quality, you cannot roast in complexity," the voiceover says as black-and-white footage of coffee plantations and the roasting process runs.

Developing a Purposeful Brand: A Practitioner’s Toolbox, Part Two

MARKETING AND COMMS - In this series, Christophe Fauconnier & Benoit Beaufils, respectively CEO & founding partner of brand consultancy Innate Motion, present the tools that the company uses to develop purposeful, mission-driven brands with their clients. Benoit & Christophe view their tools as a free “thoughtware” suite, and propose that readers borrow and reapply. Read part one in the toolbox: people immersions.

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Redefining Value: The New Metrics of Sustainable Business - The SB Community Weighs In, Part Three

NEW METRICS - We believe that nothing can drive faster organizational response to a changing business environment – or facilitate realignment between corporate functions or within value networks — than a shift in the metrics used to track success.

Report: Greater Corporate Sustainability Reporting Needed in Africa

MARKETING AND COMMS - Corporate reporting on sustainability issues in Africa remains patchy and should be expanded in scope, according to the Africa Sustainability Barometer, which gauges the state of corporate sustainability reporting (CSR) on the continent.A new joint initiative of the United Nations Global Compact (GC) and the Financial Times, the barometer covers more than 1,000 international companies with operations in the region, as well as local and regional companies.

New Animated Video Asks: 'How Much Is (Your Mother) Earth Worth?'

NEW METRICS - Joss Tantram, partner at UK sustainability strategy firm Terrafiniti, LLP, has conceived and written a short animation on the challenges of pricing nature — comparing it to getting a good price for selling your mother. “How Much is Your Mother Earth Worth?” takes a fresh look at one of the most complex issues of our time.“The idea of pricing the value we get from ecosystems, literally pricing the Earth, has been with us for a couple of decades,” said Tantram.

M&S the First of Few Companies That Come to UK Consumers’ Minds as Being Environmentally Responsible

MARKETING AND COMMS - New research released this week by the Carbon Trust reveals that, while consumers see business as the key to economic recovery, they do not yet see it as key to fixing our environmental problems, with over two-thirds (68 percent) of respondents unable to name a company taking the issue of environmental sustainability seriously.Respondents who could name companies they thought were walking the sustainability talk were quick to mention retailer Marks & Spencer (the most popular answer), followed in order by the Co-operative Group, Tesco, BP and Sainsbury’s.

Study: Cultivating Employee Passion Can Give Firms Competitive Advantage

ORGANIZATIONAL CHANGE - Organizations that hope to address perpetually mounting competitive pressures need workers who bring passion to their jobs to navigate challenges and accelerate performance improvement, according to new research from Deloitte’s Center for the Edge.Unlocking Passion of the Explorer found that only 11 percent of U.S. workers are passionate and possess the attributes needed for sustained extreme performance improvement.

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Intel Plants in Arizona Recycle 60% of Water Used

WASTE NOT - Intel treats at least two million gallons of industrial water a day at its plants in Chandler, Ariz., then returns the water to an underground aquifer, according to Bloomberg.The company, which is the city’s largest employer, recycles 60 percent of its water. It also is expanding the treatment facilities and increasing the amount it reuses while it constructs a $5 billion plant that will make more efficient computer chips.Bloomberg says Intel’s Chandler plants use nine million gallons of water a day, of which five million is reused or reclaimed.

NGOs Challenge Asia Pulp and Paper to Prove It Has Turned Over a New Leaf

SUPPLY CHAIN - Global environmental organisation WWF is urging Asia Pulp and Paper (APP) — the largest paper company in Indonesia and one of the largest in the world — to agree to a list of performance targets in order to improve its current status as one of the world’s most notorious deforesters and back up its commitment to become an environmentally and socially responsible company, the NGO announced today. The performance targets, released by the European and North American Environmental Paper Network today, provide guidance for the assessment of APP’s implementation of its 2020 Sustainability Roadmap and Forest Conservation Policy (FCP).

Peering Into the Future: The Sharing Economy Gets a New Megaphone Thanks to Peers

COLLABORATION - On July 15, the sharing economy shifted with the launch of Peers: The movement became more centralized and acquired a more powerful voice. An advocacy group that strives to involve sharing economy users in conversations between business and regulators, Peers is a collaboration between leaders in the industry such as Airbnb, Zipcar, Meetup and TaskRabbit with an internal team experienced in entrepreneurship and organizing for social causes.

Clariant Releases Paraben-Free Alternative to Cosmetics Preservatives

CHEMISTRY, MATERIALS & PACKAGING - Swiss chemical giant Clariant today announced the launch of Nipaguard® Zero — a powerful line of optimized preservative blends for cosmetics that contain no parabens, yet deliver a comparable performance.Clariant offers a broad portfolio of single actives and optimized blends under the brand names Phenonip®, Nipagin® and Nipaguard. Due to growing end-user demand for alternatives to parabens, the company has developed four Nipaguard Zero blends for use in rinse-off and leave-on applications, wet wipes and difficult-to-preserve formulations, including an Ecocert®-approved option.

Redefining Value: The New Metrics of Sustainable Business - The SB Community Weighs In, Part Two

NEW METRICS - We believe that nothing can drive faster organizational response to a changing business environment – or facilitate realignment between corporate functions or within value networks — than a shift in the metrics used to track success.

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