5 ways to drive sustainability in procurement

5 06 2023

Reusable grocery bags for sale at Whole Foods. David McNew via Getty Images

The majority of a company’s emissions stems from their suppliers. Here’s how to work with them toward a greener future. By Praveen Kumar Soni from supplychaindive.com • Reposted: June 5, 2023

With sustainability priorities becoming one of the biggest components of a company’s reputation, they can often be the competitive edge needed to become the brand of the choice.

Procurement plays a pivotal role in ensuring sustainability goals become reality, especially since a business’ environmental footprint is largely tied to their suppliers. But cost pressures and other risks can make it difficult for many teams to know where to start.

Below are five key steps to drive sustainability:

1. Make sustainable procurement compulsory

For existing products, it may take time to switch to sustainable options based on feasibility and cost impact. However, wherever possible and for any new product, make it mandatory to go for green options. It’ll help to steadily progress forward on the sustainability journey.

When green materials are harder to find, seek out partnerships with companies that are working toward new solutions. For instance, L’Oréalrecently partnered with biotechnology platform Geno to develop sustainable alternatives to ingredients.

2. Develop supplier sustainability scorecard

Management visionary Peter Drucker once said: “What gets measured gets improved.”

Procurement folks should take this to heart in all matters, including sustainability. Develop a dashboard to measure Scope 1, 2 & 3 emissionsto inform future decisions.

Additionally, organizations can start recognizing and rewarding the suppliers on an annual basis for their sustainability efforts to keep them motivated.

3. Share experiences and learn from others

Sustainability is an evolving field and procurement may not have all the answers. Meaningful engagement with suppliers or other industry experts can help you to find a fix for your problem.

For instance, I once noticed that my carton supplier had switched from plastic shrink wraps to reusable belts for pallet storage. I shared this practice with our manufacturing teams and it helped us, too, cut down on plastic.

Being connected to external world, procurement people can bring in lot of value through learning and sharing.

4. Invest in technology

Technology can help fine tune the processes and help make decisions around sustainability.

For instance, the use of digital twin technology in our manufacturing setup helped us to optimize the consumption of energy and water, leading to positive impact in sustainability KPIs.

Similarly, AI has the ability to assess millions of data sources and come up with the recommendations for sustainability alternatives. Procurement should invest in technology to get the benefit at scale.

To see the original post, follow this link: https://www.supplychaindive.com/news/5-ways-to-drive-sustainability-in-procurement/651357/


Americans Are Ready to Change Their Behavior for the Sake of Sustainability: Are Brands Willing to Help?

2 06 2023

Image credit: Bluewater Sweden/Unsplash

By Mary Mazzoni from Triple Pundit • Reposted: June 2, 2023

We hear it time and time again: People aren’t ready, willing or interested in changing their lifestyles for the sake of sustainability. They’re too busy, too broke or too ambivalent to think about how their choices impact the world around them. And until they change their tune, there’s nothing brands can do about it — except sell them more stuff. 

This prevailing narrative has been around for decades, but data continues to show that it isn’t representative of how people really feel. The public is increasingly aware of the environmental and social challenges we face — from climate change to wealth inequality — and they want to be part of the solution. 

Over half of Americans say they’ve already made lifestyle changes like shopping secondhand, purchasing products in reusable or refillable packaging, and buying less overall in order to reduce their impact on people and the planet, according to a December survey conducted by TriplePundit and our parent company, 3BL Media, in partnership with the research technology firm Glow. 

Let’s break down what U.S. consumers are really saying about sustainability, how it factors into their own lives, and how brands can respond differently than they have in the past. 

what people view as the most pressing challenges facing society - survey findings
Americans rank climate change and economic inequality among the top three challenges facing society today, only behind their anxiety about keeping food on the table. Download the report to learn more.

People are willing to change their behavior for the sake of sustainability 

Shopping secondhand. Purchasing products made from, or packaged in, recycled materials. Choosing items in reusable or refillable containers. Shopping in the grocery bulk aisle to avoid packaging altogether. Some would have us believe these lifestyle shifts are too expensive or too cumbersome for Americans. But more than 60 percent of respondents to our survey said they’re already making these changes or intend to do so within the next six months. 

Of course the say/do gap — which refers to the difference between what people say in surveys and what they actually do in their daly lives — is always a factor. Even so, the interest in these lifestyle changes is significant and runs counter to preconceived notions that consumers don’t really want — or aren’t really ready — to change their lifestyles for sustainability reasons. 

People even expressed interest in behaviors that are commonplace in other countries but often dismissed as something that could “never work” in the U.S. For example, over half of respondents said they would be willing to take packaging like bottles back to a store for wash and refill.

people are willing to change their behaviors for sustainability - survey findings
More than 60 percent of U.S. consumers are willing to adopt lifestyle changes like shopping secondhand, opting for the bulk aisle, or choosing items in reusable or refillable packaging. Download the report to learn more

Our findings support existing research on general readiness for behavior change: In another 2022 survey, for example, half of responding U.S. adults said they’re willing to accept 95 percent of the changes needed to avert the climate crisis and restore ecosystems. The survey also revealed the extent of climate anxiety among the public, with 1 out of 4 respondents worried they may have to give up long-term goals like starting a family. 

When it comes to packaging in particular, our findings indicate that 75 percent of U.S. consumers are willing to choose reusable alternatives — echoing 2022 polling from Trivium Packaging which found the same. The trade publication Packaging World recently declared reusable and refillable packaging to be a “global opportunity,” with sales forecast to grow by 4.9 percent annually to $53.4 billion by 2027.

75 percent of people have purchased a product in refillable packaging or would be willing to do so - sustainability survey findings
Download the report to learn more

How brands can respond to shifting consumer preferences

Many advocates point to the calls for consumer behavior change as merely a delay tactic from large companies: If the narrative keeps people focused on their own behaviors — analyzing everything from cup preferences to clothing choice — they won’t have energy left to push for a shift in corporate practices or government regulations.

In the past, this may have been true, with consumers and brands pitted against each other in a cyclical blame-game while the poor get poorer and global temperatures rise. But findings like these indicate we’ve reached a critical moment when ideologies can align, and brands can show up as partners for consumers looking to play a role in the future they want to see. 

Leveraging our nearly two decades of experience in communicating about sustainability, TriplePundit and 3BL Media’s Consumer Insights and Sustainability Benchmark report includes key action items for businesses looking to respond to consumer sentiment in a positive way. 

“Understanding people’s uncertainties and anxieties about the future, and what they want to see from business, gives companies the opportunity to communicate and present themselves as part of the solution that consumers are looking for,” the report reads. “The next piece of the puzzle is to figure out how businesses can tailor their communications to appeal to consumer interests and bring them on board their journey to a more sustainable world.” 

In particular, we highlight how brands can adopt a more meaningful role of partner and educator — rather than simply another purveyor of goods and services. “Since consumers want to be part of the solution, help them do that by sharing actionable information,” the report reads. “It may be as simple as telling them how to make your product last longer or how to lower their personal carbon footprint with a checklist on your website. You can celebrate your company’s successes by applauding theirs.”

For more insight on how brands can — and should — respond to shifting consumer attitudes about sustainability, check out prior reporting on TriplePundit or download the report here

To see the original post, follow this link: https://www.triplepundit.com/story/2023/consumer-behaviors-sustainability/775591

How to close the corporate accountability gap on sustainability

2 06 2023

A fire burns in a in Porto Velho, Brazil, 09 September 2019. Photo Credit: FERNANDO BIZERRA JR [Fernando Bizerra Jr (EPA-EFE)]

If businesses are to take corporate sustainability seriously, they will need to add relevant sustainability expertise to their boards, argue Nicolas Sauviat and Sanjini Jain. By Nicolas Sauviat and Sanjini Jain from euractiv.com • Reposted: June 2, 2023

On 1 June, the European Parliament is due to take a plenary vote on a Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive (CSDDD), legislation which aims to foster sustainable and responsible corporate behaviour throughout global value chains. If it’s formally adopted, it will require companies to identify – and, where necessary, prevent, end or mitigate – the adverse impacts of their activities on human rights, in terms of issues like child labour and worker exploitation, as well as the environment, for problems like pollution and biodiversity loss.

The Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF) was heralded internationally as the ‘Paris moment’ for nature to lead the world towards a more harmonious relationship between nature, people and the economy.  If we have any hope of living up to this moment and fulfilling the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – the blueprint for how we achieve a better, fairer and greener world in the short time left – the private sector must take responsibility for its actions.

One key issue in this vote up for debate is whether now is the time to challenge boardroom’s traditional focus on generating wealth for its shareholders, and to reorientate their focus to provide value for all its stakeholders.

With scientists projecting that the crucial 1.5°C global average temperature threshold will be temporarily breached in just five years, we are running out of time to change direction. But do boards have the needed skills and expertise are required to meet this challenge, and should legislation be used to accelerate their action?

This could be a crucial moment to close the corporate accountability gap on sustainability. As things stand, business action remains largely voluntary. And yet, we cannot keep this planet viable for life without the private sector.

At the World Benchmarking Alliance (WBA), we assess corporate progress against the SDGs. From our experience we know that company boards are key to action on sustainability. Only by ensuring that they have the right knowledge and expertise can the accountability gap be closed, and progress made.

As things stand, most big companies have set sustainability targets. Many have pledged to a net-zero carbon objective. However, very few actually provide the necessary details on how they will go about accomplishing these ambitions. The data reported by businesses often lacks substance. Knowingly or not, many companies oversell their sustainability credentials.

A major reason for this is a skill and knowledge gap, especially within companies’ top executive forces. This impacts the boardroom’s understanding and subsequent ability to address Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) risks. Indeed, a recent survey by the professional services experts at PwC found that only 27% of boards fully understand ESG risks.

Our own research delivered even worse findings. Assessing corporate progress on protecting the natural world, WBA’s Nature Benchmark examined the governance structures of 400 of the world’s largest companies. It looked into whether they have accountability systems in place for achieving their sustainable development goals – including governance bodies with the right expertise to understand the material pressures on nature created by their business activities.

While nearly 70% of companies assigned responsibility for their sustainability strategy to their board, just 2% of boards possessed the relevant sustainability expertise. This stark discrepancy highlights the fact that boards are accepting their sustainability responsibility without a clear understanding of what it actually entails.

Boards must rapidly adapt to their new sustainability role, lest they become an obstacle to their companies’ futures. In this context, we desperately need corporate board members with CVs beyond banking and accounting. Specialist scientific committees can also help provide boards with credible information.

Businesses should ensure that boards have the expertise to tackle their most relevant sustainability topics. This could be done by demonstrating that they have undertaken training by a certified organisation. Alternatively, they could have board members with previous experience in specialist organisations, like consulting firms or NGOs, or have authored academic studies.

As we hurtle towards irreversible environmental tipping points, we hope that European legislators pass the CSDDD with a legal mandate for boards to have a duty to oversee and sign off on their due diligence policies. This mandate should be accompanied by further guidance to ensure boards demonstrate relevant ESG expertise. That’s how to close the corporate accountability gap on sustainability and drive action.

Now is the time for boardrooms to shift from their traditional focus on generating wealth for their shareholders towards generating value for all stakeholders. After all, no company will profit from an uninhabitable planet.

Nicolas Sauviat and Sanjini Jain are researchers at the World Benchmarking Alliance (WBA).

To see the original post, follow this link: https://www.euractiv.com/section/economy-jobs/opinion/how-to-close-the-corporate-accountability-gap-on-sustainability/

B Corp: Are they really the gold standard of sustainability?

1 06 2023

Graphic: Seismic Change

B Corp certification has become the gold standard of sustainability – we explore whether it’s a valuable credential or a glorified greenwashing tool. By Lucy Buchholz from Sustainability Magazine • Reposted: June 1, 2023

Sustainability has become a somewhat murky term. With businesses fighting it out to be the biggest, the richest and, nowadays, of course, the greenest, it can be hard to know which ones should actually be trusted. 

Luckily, the business world has B Corp certifications, which puts businesses to the test to ensure their credentials have been earned honestly, rather than being artificially dyed green. 

What is a B Corp?

B Corporations, informally known as B Corps, are businesses or organisations that have voluntarily met the highest standards for social and environmental performance; in other words, they’re doing everything they possibly can to create a better future for people and the planet. 

To more accurately define them, B Lab – the nonprofit behind B Corps – explains: “Certified B Corporations are businesses that meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose. B Corps are accelerating a global culture shift to redefine success in business and build a more inclusive, sustainable economy.”

So, in other words, B Corp Certification is for businesses what Fair Trade is for products and goods. 

What to expect from the process

It’s not easy to become a B Corp. 

Certification is holistic, meaning it’s not exclusively focused on a single social or environmental issue, so businesses have to achieve rigorous standards that require engagement from every aspect of a company. And these standards don’t just relate to the businesses themselves, but to every company or organisation affiliated within the value and supply chain

Yvonne Filler, Marketing Manager at Good Innovation – a certified B Corp – shares that B Corp certification is a way to hold businesses accountable for their actions and statements. As a Social Impact Innovation Consultancy, Good Innovation finds creative, cutting-edge solutions to the world’s most difficult social problems by helping organisations that want to make a difference do it smarter, faster and, crucially, with greater impact.

“Becoming a B Corp is a fairly long process, with around 150 questions requiring lots of data – but it wouldn’t be a quality standard without it,” Yvonne shares. “You need a certain score to pass and be certified. Your score will then be published on the B Corp website, but there’s no ranking system.”

To become a certified B Corp, businesses must abide by stringent requirements, including completing a comprehensive assessment, which then must be verified by founding company B Lab. Any controversial operations must be disclosed to B Lab, and businesses must commit to the transparent public disclosure of their performance.

“It’s easier to apply for B Corp certification when your company is smaller or just starting out, because you can see all the areas upon which you need to focus,” says Heidi Schoeneck, Co-Founder and Chief Creative Officer of Grounded. “This is largely because it can be costly and time consuming to ensure all ground is covered correctly.”

Yvonne supports this idea, stating that larger businesses will be required to provide more data. “For us, the process is really beneficial. It’s required us to hold ourselves accountable for our actions,” Yvonne adds.

Is B Corp right for your business?

Those considering applying for B Corp certification will most likely have sustainability and environmental impact at the forefront of their business model. But how can a business owner or CEO be sure that it’s the right step for them?

“Applying for B Corp certification can be costly and time consuming,” Laura Harnett, founder of sustainable cleaning tool brand Seep, explains. “But for business owners contemplating whether or not to make the commitment, I would urge them to consider why they want to achieve it and what they want to gain. Fundamentally, are you a business for good? Can your business improve the current situation with the climate or social inequality, for example? 

“If you believe that your business does play these roles, the B Corp certification is a really great structure to guide you through that process. As a founder or CEO, you may not have the time to come up with your own framework, but with B Corp, it’s already been done for you and it’s constantly evolving to keep you on top of the game.” 

“We thought we were a shoo-in to become a B Corp because we had built our whole business around sustainability,” Heidi says. “But once you get into the criteria, you see how much more can be done. It’s something you have to check in with every few months to make sure you’re on top of everything.”

Abiding by sustainability rules has become akin to a box-ticking exercise for many companies. As consumers have become increasingly concerned about the impact their purchases have on the environment – with 75% of US consumers reporting it’s a priority for them – more businesses are pledging eco-friendly standards, only to fall spectacularly short. In fact, 42% of companies have been said to exaggerate sustainability claims, according to research from The European Commission.

B Corps are, therefore, an avenue that businesses can venture down to prove they’re living up to their claims. But the crucial question surrounds whether B Corp really is the gold standard it’s claimed to be?

“As so many companies greenwash, it can be hard to know which ones are genuinely prioritising positive change,” Laura says. “B Corp certifications hold companies and founders to a standard that they need to adhere to across five key areas: environment, governance, people, communities, and customers. I’ve found that, as a business owner, B Corp has made me think more deeply about the decisions I am making and the impact Seep is having on society.” 

Reaching B Corp status will therefore help to eradicate greenwashing, with Heidi stating there’s “no room for it” in the B Corp community. She continues to state that, although the certifications have sparked debate as to whether the growing number of companies achieving the status weakens its validity, Heidi believes that more companies should strive to reach the criteria. 

“There has been some talk about whether the number of businesses joining the B Corp community dilutes the message; I think the more the merrier. It’s a great achievement to meet the 80-point benchmark, and we need more businesses to commit to making an impact.”

Good Innovation’s Yvonne supports this idea, suggesting that this is often where B Corps are “misunderstood”. “Some people might say the number of companies becoming a B Corp is weakening its impact,” Yvonne explains, “but if you look at it in terms of what it was set up to do, then more certified members can only be a good thing.”

For companies that go above and beyond, B Corp awards the ‘Best for the World B Corp’ status to the top 5% of B Corps. Seep was one business that achieved this status last year for their environmental impact. 

“As a founder, you can easily beat yourself up thinking you’re not doing enough,” Laura says. “Although there’s a lot of discussion around B Corps, I truly believe that it is the most robust system to demonstrate that a company is sustainable.”

To see the original post, follow this link: https://sustainabilitymag.com/esg/b-corp-are-they-really-the-gold-standard-of-sustainability

Circular Platforms: Unlocking Sustainability And Material Security

31 05 2023

Photo: Getty Images

By Peter Evans, Chief Strategy Officer, McFadyen Digital; Co-Chair, MIT Platform Strategy Summit and Faculty, Fast Future Executive via Forbes • Reposted: May 31, 2023

The world is grappling with a sustainability crisis, but the emerging circular economy shows promise as a solution. Circular platforms, which combine digital marketplaces with circular models of production and consumption, can play a vital role in increasing the reuse, repair and recycling of valuable resources.

To date, platform marketplaces have largely supported linear consumption, with products and packaging becoming waste after use. Through the examples below, I hope to show how businesses can use circular platforms in consumer and B2B markets to help reduce waste, improve material security and drive innovation.

Consumer-Oriented Circular Platforms

There are several circular platforms emerging that are facilitating the sharing, leasing, repairing, refurbishing and recycling in consumer markets. The following are some lessons I think we can learn from them.

Building Community

One benefit of using a circular platform is the ability to build community. As an example, Poshmark, a popular online marketplace that connects users to buy and sell things like used clothing and beauty products, has a social media-like interface that helps foster a sense of community among its users. Including a community aspect in your platform can enhance the overall user experience, increase user loyalty and boost the visibility of users’ listings. Look for ways that users can connect with each other, share inspiration and receive feedback.

Giving Assurance

Platforms can also help provide quality assurance. Backmarket is an online marketplace for refurbished electronics that ensures the quality of products sold through its marketplace through rigorous testing and certification processes. This gives buyers confidence in the reliability and performance of refurbished electronics, overcoming concerns associated with second-hand purchases.

Providing Affordability

Too Good To Go offers a platform to purchase surplus food from local restaurants and grocery stores, reducing food waste and enhancing affordability. Any way that you can find to increase accessibility to sustainable options is a smart move in this economy.

Enabling B2B Transactions For The Circular Economy

Circular platforms also facilitate circular transactions between businesses. Like their consumer-facing counterparts, platforms in the B2B marketplace can showcase benefits.

Obtaining Data

One main thing you can take advantage of with platforms is the ability to gather otherwise hard-to-obtain data. For example, Scrap Monster connects buyers and sellers in the scrap metal trading industry and is able to provide unique data for scrap metal pricing that cannot be found elsewhere.

Enhance Discovery

Often the “waste” from one industry can be a valuable input into another industry. Platforms can provide discovery engines that help procurement teams in one industry find useful used materials from another industry. Rheaply, which enables buying and selling of construction waste, recently expanded to play this discovery role when it acquired Materials Marketplace and its network of 2,600 partners.

Allow Cross-Broder Transactions

Rebound Plastic Exchange is a trading platform for recycled plastic and is just one example of how you can significantly reduce friction associated with cross-border transactions. To illustrate, Rebound Plastic Exchange provides standardized processes and procedures for listing, communication, pricing and compliance with complex international rules governing the moment of waste materials. When it comes to complex processes like this, customers appreciate a platform that can streamline and simplify.

The Overall Power of Platforms

One of the strengths of platform business models is their ability to scale rapidly. As they facilitate user interactions, they can quickly grow to reach a large audience, creating a positive feedback loop where more users attract more users, leading to exponential growth.

You can also use platforms to leverage discovery engines to reach a wider audience. Discovery engines help users find new content and products, which can attract more visitors to the platform. Using data and algorithms can personalize recommendations to individual users based on their interests and behavior.

Circular platforms, specifically, can aid in responding to the growth of extended producer responsibility (EPR) laws. These laws assign responsibility for managing a product’s end-of-life environmental impacts to manufacturers or brand owners, reducing the burden on taxpayers. By joining a marketplace, industries can improve recycling rates, reduce resource consumption and prevent pollution.

Emerging Opportunities

In addition to participating in existing circular marketplaces, I see new emerging opportunities to establish circular markets. One area is around battery recycling. The shift to electric vehicles is creating significant demand for the materials for EV battery production. Ideally, circular platforms can orchestrate the collection and recycling of batteries, thereby reducing the pressure to expand mining capacity.

Another example involves recycling plastics used in the construction of new cars. BMW is already using recycled fishing nets to make headliners and floor mats for a few of their other models. Imagine if a marketplace was established in which all car manufacturers participated in a used plastics exchange. Given the size of the automotive sector, such a marketplace would create significant demand for waste plastics that are increasingly choking landfills and the world’s oceans.


Creating and growing circular marketplaces is not without challenges. Like traditional platforms, circular platforms also must overcome the classic “chicken and egg” dilemma of attracting enough supply and demand to secure sufficient transactions.

Circular marketplaces often meet resistance as they can require changes to traditional procurement and supply chain management. Companies may need to rework business processes and align incentives with various stakeholders to create a closed-loop system.

Other barriers to acknowledge include the need for trust to ensure the quality and reliability of recycled materials. This requires things like testing and digital twin technology to capture, store and update critical information. Like other marketplaces, circular platforms must also ensure timely delivery, manage inventory and handle returns and refunds, which can all be complex, time-consuming and resource intensive.

Circular platforms offer a promising path toward a sustainable future by enhancing material security, reducing waste and driving innovation. While the transition to a fully circular economy may take time, I believe significant progress can be made by adopting circular platforms. These platforms can help incentivize companies to design products that are more durable, repairable and recyclable. By shifting from a linear “take-make-dispose” economy to circular models of production and consumption, we can pave the way for a more sustainable world.

To see the original post, follow this link: https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesbusinesscouncil/2023/05/30/circular-platforms-unlocking-sustainability-and-material-security/?sh=6fbd4c766d01

The Carrot or the Stick: Which Inspires Business to Be More Sustainable?

30 05 2023

Image credit: THIS IS ZUN/Pexels

By Riya Anne Polcastro from Triple Pundit • Reposted: May 30, 2023

Corporations are more likely to embrace sustainability when it benefits the bottom line. That isn’t surprising considering they are ultimately in business to make a profit. For many, purpose may very well come in second — if at all. Still, there’s more than one way to encourage businesses to do better by people and the planet.

TriplePundit spoke with Dr. Steven Cohen, a professor of public affairs at Columbia University and author of the new book “Environmentally Sustainable Growth,” about how the profit motive can catalyze the desired effect where shame and guilt have failed.

Incentivizing sustainability can be easier than it sounds

The best way to make corporations behave is by creating an environment in which doing so will help them make more money, Cohen argues. “In some cases, you don’t have to do anything other than educate people and say, you know, this will be a profitable item,” he told TriplePundit. 

Cohen advocates for a carrot instead of a stick approach. He’s hopeful that making good behavior profitable will hasten more wide-sweeping changes at the business level than punishing or charging companies for the negative impacts they have. And he’s not alone in that opinion. 

“Sustainability is on the cusp of an evolutionary leap,” Georgia Makridou of the ESCP (École Supérieure de Commerce de Paris) Business School wrote in an impact paper on the challenges confronting sustainable energy companies and their resulting tactics. “Sustainable companies are becoming the new norm as those that have a well-rounded approach to sustainability can see wide-ranging growth opportunities.”

That’s because many business leaders now see that sustainable practices can actually lower their operating costs in the long run — and that naturally leads to increased profits, Cohen explained. Additionally, doing the right thing resonates with consumers — especially those in younger generations — and promotes brand loyalty over time.

Further, employees want to work for companies that align with their values. “If I’m in a business that requires talented engineers, talented designers and and so forth, to attract those people, I have to be a company they want to work for,” Cohen said. “That’s also incentivizing companies to start behaving this way: If you want to attract the best brains out there, then companies are under internal pressure to behave and to start focusing on their energy use and their waste and pollution.”

Environmentally Sustainable Growth - book cover - book on corporate sustainability
Dr. Steven Cohen unpacks practical steps to push sustainable business forward in his new book “Environmentally Sustainable Growth: A Pragmatic Approach,” out this month from Columbia University Press. Image provided.

Major companies reap cost savings through sustainability, while creating measurable impact that matters

Cohen gave examples of major multinational companies that moved toward sustainable practices because they foresaw a financial benefit. For example, “Walmart discovered they have a lot of flat roofs,” he said. All that space adds up vast solar energy potential — and Walmart and its big-box competitor, Target, are on the job.

Together, they’re the top two business installers of onsite solar. “In their case, you don’t have to do anything. They just had to internally figure out this was going to help them make money,” Cohen said. If fully harnessed, Walmart’s available roof space at stores across the country could produce enough solar energy to power more than 842,000 homes, according to the nonprofit Environment America. 

This month Walmart also teased new plans to roll out electric vehicle charging stations at thousands of stores across the U.S. The move will help bring in shoppers, while making EV charging more accessible to millions of people in towns large and small. 

One of the country’s top agricultural producers, Land O’Lakes, also cut its footprint through cost reduction measures. The company uses satellite telemetry, artificial intelligence, and robotics to ensure it doesn’t waste inputs like water, pesticides and fertilizer — using only what’s needed and none of what’s not. “They’ve now created a much more efficient form of agriculture, which also just so happens to cost less and pollute less,” Cohen said. 

Apple’s engagement in sustainability came out of a need to satisfy its customer base. “[Young people] started to make the demand that Apple reduce the pollution [associated with] their products, and Apple has done that dramatically over the last 10 years,” Cohen said. He cited the company’s buyback program and the fact that it hired a former Environmental Protection Agency administrator to manage its environmental endeavors as examples. “It’s not required by the government, but in order to meet their market, they have to do that,” he said. 

Incentives and regulations work. Shame and guilt doesn’t, this expert says.

That’s not to say there isn’t room for regulations — there still needs to be rules of the road. The key is a good balance between government regulations and the incentives provided by an improved profit margin, Cohen said.

“What doesn’t work is trying to shame people, to shame companies,” he argued. “People want to live their lives, and companies want to make money. I think that green principles are most effective when they line up with the self interest of people and of corporations. And when that happens, you see a lot of activity.”

As for how to shift from a scapegoating and punishment approach to one that focuses on financial rewards: “Instead of thinking about the company as an enemy, you think about the company as a partner,” Cohen said. “And the only way they’re going to be a partner is if they see they’re gonna make money out of it.” 

To see the original post, follow this link: https://www.triplepundit.com/story/2023/corporate-sustainability-carrot-stick/775116

The journey from harvest to table: Cutting out food waste

29 05 2023

Photo: Getty Images

Jean Pierre Azañedo, CEO and co-founder of CoreZero, share the importance of achieving a sustainable food value chain. By Jean Pierre Azañedo from Sustainability Magazine • Reposted: May 29, 2023

The journey from farm to table is characterised by loss and waste – from overproduction to accidental damage and unmet quality standards – these are just some of the “opportunities” for waste that are encountered amid the farm-to-table process. In fact, almost 40% of the food in the United States is wasted. 

Not only does food waste cause greenhouse gas emissions and environmental damage, but it also exacerbates food insecurity in many communities. Like a vicious cycle, food waste accounts for 10% of total global emissions, yet, at the same time, the climate crisis is one of the main factors exacerbating food insecurity.

Since methane, a greenhouse gas that is 80 times more potent than carbon dioxide over twenty years, is released into the atmosphere when food ends up in landfills, it’s safe to say that minimising food loss across the supply chain should be treated as a priority, not as an option. 

Food waste across the supply chain

Besides the release of greenhouse gasses, when food goes to waste, so do all the resources that were utilised for its production, processing, transportation, preparation, and storage. Food waste in the United States, for example, results in the loss of water and energy equivalent to building more than 50 million homes

Consequently, it’s important to not only acknowledge the environmental effects of food waste but also to assess where food is specifically wasted and lost in the supply chain. 

For starters, while discussions about food waste usually refer to the household and retail sections, more than 15% of food is dissipated before leaving the farm. As an example, due to price volatility, farmers may not end up moving products into the market since the food prices may be lower than the costs of processing and shipping. From damaged crops due to environmental and biological factors to products that do not meet cosmetic market standards, these are a few of the reasons that lead to food loss and waste during the production stage.

Then, in the handling and storage stage, food waste and loss can occur due to numerous different factors, but it mainly boils down to improper handling and storage. In the case of vegetables, loss predominantly happens because of spillage and degradation during loading and unloading and improper transportation and storage. Then, when it comes to meat products, loss often occurs due to condemnation in the slaughterhouse while, for fish, spillage takes place during the icing, storing, and packing processes. Despite high-income countries having adequate storage facilities in the supply chain, food loss still happens during the storage stage due to technical malfunctions, overstocking, or inadequate temperature.

While some inevitable losses happen during the processing and packaging stage such as the loss of milk during the processing of yoghurt, most of the losses in this stage of the supply chain occur due to technical problems. Similarly, packaging materials can contribute to food loss if they are not designed to preserve the freshness of the products. 

Subsequently, in the transportation and distribution stage, food is lost, as the name implies, amid its transportation. In developing countries, for example, products may not meet cosmetic standards since they acquire bumps and bruises along the journey. Then, if food is delivered after its prime freshness window, it gets rejected in most cases. In Japan, for example, “the rule of one-third” entails that food and beverages must be delivered within one-third of their shelf life.

Finally, in the consumption stage, food is either wasted or lost in households or other food service establishments. In truth, the largest amount of food waste occurs in households, with 76 billion pounds of food being wasted annually per person in the United States. Moreover, the food wasted at this stage also has the largest resource footprint in the supply chain because of the resources utilised for its transportation, storage, and cooking.

A sustainable food value chain

While acknowledging the effects of food waste as well as its causes is crucial, in order to move forward, innovation is necessary. In fact, according to ReFED’s 2030 roadmap, the United States could reduce food waste by 45mn tonnes a year, cut GHG emissions by 75 million metric tons, and save food equivalent to four billion meals for those in need with the right policy changes and investments.

Since food waste has both societal and environmental effects, a sustainable food value chain should produce and distribute food in a way that is environmentally, socially, and economically sustainable. Essentially, this means that the food chain should function in such a way that it has minimal impact on the environment while ensuring that people have access to nutritious food and supporting the livelihoods of farmers and other food system employees. 

A sustainable food value chain presupposes that all resources are used efficiently and sustainably and that waste is minimised. For instance, the food that is wasted during the production stage could be used to produce biogas or fertiliser through anaerobic digestion. Similarly, the ‘ugly’ food that doesn’t meet cosmetic standards could be kept out of landfills by being upcycled. That being said, for this transition to be resilient and sustainable, change needs to happen across the entire food chain.

For instance, in the production stage, food loss could be minimised through precision agriculture and improved agricultural practices such as crop rotation. However, precision agriculture technology will only work with education regarding sustainable agricultural practices and technologies. Alternatively, ‘waste’ can be repurposed by identifying alternative markets that might be interested in ‘imperfect’ products. Similarly, since the vegetables and fruits that do not meet cosmetic standards are still nutritious, they could be donated to food-insecure communities. 

On the other side of the food chain, awareness is key to reducing food waste at the consumption stage. The problem of food waste boils down, especially in developed countries, to cultural expectations and preconceptions regarding food and its transition to ‘waste’. From shopping locally and more responsibly to using leftovers and composting food scraps, these are just a few examples of how food waste can be reduced at the household level. 

Food waste minimisation: a necessity

From consumers composting food scraps and restaurants collaborating with food banks to edible by-products being developed into ingredients and local food distribution being promoted, a sustainable food value chain is achievable through collaboration.

However, food waste and loss need to be halved per person for the 2030 SDGs to be met, hence these tweaks in the food supply chain need to be treated as priorities instead of options. Since the effects of food waste are visible not only from an environmental perspective but also from an economic and societal one, an equitable and sustainable food system should result in improved food security and economic savings in addition to lowering greenhouse gas emissions and enhancing biodiversity.

To see the original post, follow this link: https://sustainabilitymag.com/articles/the-journey-from-harvest-to-table-cutting-out-food-waste

Measuring & Improving Brand Portfolio Sustainability to Meet the Demands of a Changing Market

26 05 2023

From Sustainable Brands • Reposted: May 26, 2023

The complex issues facing business and society demand complex and collaborative solutions; disconnected, myopic management techniques are no longer effective.

Brands are adapting to a rapidly changing market in which customer demand for sustainable products and services continues to grow. In order to remain competitive, they must prioritize innovation while simultaneously juggling the multitude of tasks required to make it happen. Companies of all sizes are finding new ways to stay relevant in this ever-evolving landscape, and working hard to innovate and create sustainable solutions that will remain attractive to customers in the near and long term. It can be a difficult balancing act, but one that more and more companies are successfully managing.

Sustainable Brands (SBSocio-Cultural Trends Research™ reveals that 70 percent of US consumers are looking for companies to provide sustainable products or services that will help them to live more sustainable lifestyles. Further, 78 percent say they will support companies that act sustainably by purchasing its products or services; and 73 percent report that, all else being equal, they would switch brands if a competitor offered a more sustainable version of the same product. The market is rewarding businesses that are acting on social and environmental challenges while simultaneously building brand trust in the process. It is imperative for today’s leading brands to implement industry tools that allow them to seamlessly embed sustainability across its organization.

As a health and wellness company, The Clorox Company recognizes the potential of its diverse portfolio of brands to touch people’s lives throughout every part of their day. Through its Sustainability Center, the company launched its 2030 strategy with the ambition to have every brand within its portfolio play a part in creating a more inclusive and sustainable world. To achieve these goals, Clorox needed to find a way to align its brand teams across the enterprise and engage consumers in storytelling strategies that would unlock higher brand performance and value.

To establish its baseline and create a common language, the company applied the SB Brand Transformation Roadmap® (SB Roadmap) at the brand level across the enterprise. The self-assessment revealed best practices and gaps across the SB Five Pillars of Brand Sustainability™ while also offering tangible targets to prioritize on its journey to becoming a sustainable enterprise. This tool allowed each of the brands to benchmark its current operational progress and then determine the actions each brand needed to take to advance its individual aspirations. Clorox says giving the technical teams the ability to own their individual Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) process was a huge win for garnering buy-in across the teams.

The process revealed that the Governance pillar was something that needed to be centrally managed, where subject-matter experts have the ability to standardize their overarching enterprise goals and business practices. The SB Roadmap process also motivated Clorox to identify specific emotional, functional and societal values to prioritize in its product development and marketing communications to take its brand influence with consumers and other stakeholders to the next level and beyond — including representation in public-policy positions and driving systemic change throughout the industry.

Implementing the SB Roadmap across the enterprise enabled The Clorox Company to:

  • Create cross-functional alignment on individual brand baselines and aspirations within the SB Roadmap framework
  • Streamline its process on how to benchmark and achieve its sustainability goals
  • Elevate the role and priority of sustainability messaging through both responsible ingredient sourcing and sustainable packaging choices
  • Receive increased earned media coverage for individual brands

“What we love about the SB Brand Transformation Roadmap® is it’s a self-assessment tool that helps a leadership team in our business units understand where the brand is on the journey and break down the steps to get from here to where they aspire to be.”

— Eric Schwartz, Chief Marketing Officer, The Clorox Company

Clorox’s central team has hosted 13 internal workshops to introduce the SB Roadmap into its business processes and to embed it into its annual strategic sustainability planning for every business unit across the portfolio. Through this transformative process, Clorox has fostered a culture of sustainability across its enterprise — allowing the teams to take a whole-systems approach to product design and innovation with an understanding of how they each contribute to the larger mission of the company.

In order to thrive in an increasingly challenged world, brands must quickly adjust their strategies away from the traditional ‘business as usual’ approach. Complex issues demand complex and collaborative solutions; disconnected, myopic management techniques are no longer effective.

To see the original post, follow this link: https://sustainablebrands.com/read/product-service-design-innovation/measuring-improving-brand-portfolio-sustainability-demands-changing-market

Donating Goods: A Sustainable, Socially Responsible Solution to Excess Inventory

26 05 2023

By Romaine Seguin from Chain Store Age • Reposted: March 26, 2023

The retail industry is facing an excess inventory crisis. Whether it’s inflation, supply chain issues, or higher-than-anticipated returns, retailers are in a precarious position when it comes to a glut of merchandise that cannot be sold. 

A 2022 report from AD Global Supply Chain Research estimates as much as 8% of stock, worth an astounding $163 billion, goes to waste every year. Not only is this bad for business, but it also creates an enormous environmental impact from the stock that gets discarded.

For retailers, the growing issue of product waste cannot be ignored. According to McKinsey, companies that are sustainability leaders consistently outperform the market in both the medium and long term. As a result, many retailers are putting greater focus on their ESG goals and becoming more thoughtful and strategic about product waste. What we’re seeing as a result is the opportunity to help people in need while solving a massive business challenge. 

While excess inventory is a complex issue, there is a turnkey solution for retailers to transform the fate of these goods into a cost-effective, efficient and sustainable way to help people in need. With an in-kind donation program, companies can ensure that they are making the best use of inventory that cannot be sold for a variety of reasons (customer returns, out-of-season items, dead stock, etc.).  

Whether it’s clothing, housewares, toiletries, school supplies, and even furniture and appliances, donating these goods to nonprofit organizations that serve those who are economically disadvantaged has a substantial impact on both the environment and the people who receive the items—a win/win/win all around.

To help solve their inventory problems, more than 400 of the world’s best-known companies (Amazon, Walmart, Gap Inc., and many more) work with Good360 for a turnkey solution from a single partner. Good360 distributes this donated product through our network of 100,000-plus pre-qualified and vetted nonprofit partners that serve a variety of causes, including homelessness, foster families, veterans’ services, natural disaster recovery and many more. 

Good360’s stringent vetting process helps protect the brands we work with by ensuring that the donated items don’t end up on the secondary market.  Once the product is sent to the nonprofits, it is then distributed within the communities they serve.  For the donors, Good360 manages all the logistics and finds the appropriate nonprofit that has indicated a need for the items. 

Once the nonprofit distributes the donated goods, we report back on the impact the donation has made so donors know exactly where it went and who it helped.  So, whether it’s toys for a holiday drive, mattresses for a homeless shelter, or even automotive supplies for a nonprofit technical school in an underserved community, every donation has a unique and impactful story behind it, and we make sure that story is told.

To accommodate a wide range of both donor company and nonprofit needs, Good360 has developed a number of product philanthropy solutions. For example, Good360 matches individual store or distribution center locations with nearby nonprofits to help drive local impact with donated goods and build bonds with the community. 

Additionally, Good360 brings large donations into our own distribution centers for sorting and reconfiguration in order to best meet nonprofit needs– from a single carton of personal hygiene items to full semi-truckloads of mattresses.

By making product donation placement and distribution seamless for donors, Good360 helps retailers, brands, and manufacturers solve the business challenges around unsellable inventory, demonstrate their leadership in responsible and sustainable business practices, and increase their social impact.

In many cases, donating product is a more economical decision than disposing of the goods. There may also be enhanced tax benefits, and we encourage companies to explore these options with their tax experts.

The bottom line: Retailers should consider donating excess inventory to help individuals facing challenging life circumstances get the goods they need. This way not only are they generating hope, but the products are given a new life, reducing waste, and helping build resilient communities for the future.

To see the original post, follow this link: https://chainstoreage.com/donating-goods-sustainable-socially-responsible-solution-excess-inventory

Sustainability is moving up the agenda for business schools.

23 05 2023

Educators are looking at ways to tackle the ambiguity that exists around definitions and measurement. By Aruni Sunil from Sifted.com * Reposted: May 23, 2023

Researching and teaching sustainability is high on business schools’ strategic agendas. At the same time, startups are struggling with measurement, reporting, definitions, action and strategy — and the path to net zero.

We looked into how sustainability is currently taught at business schools, how it’s changing and what it should grow into so that Europe’s startups can achieve their sustainability goals.

Founders want more

For Laurence Lehmann-Ortega, professor of strategy and business policy at HEC Paris, companies struggle to measure environmental and social aspects because there’s a lack of standardisation. 

“In finance, we’ve been building the standards for the past 70 years or so,” she says. “So there are no clear standards to measure ESG and I’m not sure we’ll get to very clear standards in the near future — the only common metric we’ve got now is measuring carbon emissions.”

It can be reductionist to measure just carbon emissions — metrics should be more industry and product-specific. For example, if your product is going to have a big impact on biodiversity because it’s in the agricultural space, it’s crucial to think about biodiversity first instead of carbon and the associated human rights challenges around agricultural commodities.

The only common metric we’ve got now is measuring carbon emissions That’s where business schools could come in. 

For Prateek Mahalwar, founder of Bioweg — a startup producing bio-based ingredients to replace microplastics in personal care and food products — sustainability should be taught at business schools with one part focusing on what sustainability means in the broadest sense, and the second part focusing on quantification. 

He says that discussing case studies tackling different aspects of sustainability such as energy or the use of raw materials is key for students to understand how sustainability works in the real world of business. It’s especially important to understand how startups can adhere to the new laws and regulations around sustainability such as the plastic packaging regulation, he adds.

Bioweg had MBA students working with its team through the Creative Destruction Lab (CDL), a programme at HEC Paris that allows management students to work directly with companies, helping them develop financial models, evaluate potential markets and fine-tune their strategies.

“It’s a win-win — for the startup as well as for the student, not only in terms of exchanging knowledge or doing something practical, but also from the angle that there is a possibility for startup founders to hire them or get into the ESOP pool,” Mahalwar says.

A to ESG 

As well as experiential learning through programmes like CDL, HEC Paris teaches sustainability as part of its strategy and entrepreneurship programmes.

Lehmann-Ortega says that there are two ways that sustainability is taught as part of strategy in theory. The first is how a business can adapt and rethink their business model to be more sustainable, and the second is advanced strategy which is about being “more proactive and coming up with a new business model”.

She says that there’s also differences in how different subjects address the topic of sustainability. “For an accounting professor, it’s about how carbon emissions can be measured and measuring the environmental and social impact of the organisation; for finance professors, it’s about how to finance it; and for marketing, it’s about how to educate your customer to think about it.”

Other business schools are also encouraging students to take part in environmentally and socially relevant initiatives. 

For example, during the first year of their MBA at the University of Pretoria’s Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS) in South Africa, students are required to work with local non-profit organisations on community projects that tackle social problems.

A shift in mindset

Fabien Koutchekian was part of the CDL programme and is the cofounder of Genomines, a biotech that enhances the natural ability of plants to absorb metals. For him, teaching sustainability is primarily about tackling misinformation in the sector and for entrepreneurs to be more involved in the space of regulations and policy making. 

“There’s this mentality now that we are doomed and nothing will save us from what the previous generation has done to the environment. But I don’t believe this — we have to fight, we have to create startups, create innovation and change the regulatory environment, to spur innovation and research in the field,” he says.

For Lehmann-Ortega, sustainability is here to stay in business schools. 

“We don’t need standalone courses about sustainability — this doesn’t make any sense anymore. Every single course should have it — it’s about how you adapt the curriculum to the current shift that’s going on in the world,” she says.

“This reminds me of what happened 10 to 15 years ago with the shift to digital. We all had to integrate classes about digital marketing and so on, and now you can’t teach marketing anymore without digital.”

Mahalwar agrees, adding that sustainability isn’t dismissed as a passing fad anymore — it’s part of the core business in both startups and corporates. “Companies are paying attention to whole supply chains and committing at every level to look into carbon emissions, ESG goals and so on. 

“This creates a need for future hires to have knowledge in that area, and not only people who go into businesses with impact at their core, but also in other areas such as finance, strategy, product and procurement.”

At any given time, there are about a million green startups exploring new energy solutions. As of 2023, there are also at least 13k large and medium-sized companies in Europe transitioning towards more sustainable operations. 

This has to come from students, because they are the future of politics, the future of innovation and the future leaders

“There hasn’t been a single moment in the history of mankind where there were so many brains solving the same issue at the same time. It needs to keep going and we need to put in the work to find solutions,” says Koutchekian.

“More capital is needed and politicians have to create policies that stimulate the economy along with taxing polluting activity and so on — and this has to come from students, because they are the future of politics, the future of innovation and the future leaders.”

To see the original post, follow this link: https://sifted.eu/articles/sustainability-business-schools-brnd

Sustainability and Employee Wellness: The Hidden Connection

23 05 2023

By Corporate Wellness Magazine * Reposted: May 23, 2023

In recent years, sustainability has become a hot topic in the corporate world, as businesses recognize the importance of minimizing their environmental impact. However, there is a hidden connection between sustainability and employee wellness that often goes unnoticed. By adopting sustainable practices, companies can positively influence the physical and mental well-being of their employees. In this article, we will delve into the various ways in which sustainability and employee wellness intersect, emphasizing the benefits that arise from aligning these two vital aspects of corporate culture.

Creating a Healthier Work Environment:

Sustainable initiatives such as improving indoor air quality, optimizing lighting, and implementing ergonomic workstations contribute to a healthier work environment. Studies have shown that these factors directly impact employee well-being, leading to increased job satisfaction, productivity, and reduced absenteeism. When employees are provided with clean air, adequate lighting, and ergonomic workstations, they experience fewer health issues such as eye strain, respiratory problems, and musculoskeletal disorders. By prioritizing sustainability, organizations demonstrate their commitment to providing a conducive workplace that enhances both physical and mental health.

Encouraging Active Transportation:

Promoting sustainable commuting options such as walking, cycling, or carpooling not only reduces carbon emissions but also encourages employees to engage in regular physical activity. Active transportation is known to improve cardiovascular health, lower stress levels, and boost overall fitness. By integrating sustainable transportation programs, companies can facilitate employee wellness while reducing their environmental footprint. Implementing bike-friendly facilities, offering incentives for carpooling, or providing shower facilities for employees who walk or cycle to work can contribute to a healthier workforce.

Access to Nature:

Sustainable workplaces often incorporate elements of nature, such as green spaces, rooftop gardens, or indoor plants. These features not only enhance aesthetics but also provide numerous mental health benefits. Exposure to nature has been linked to reduced stress, improved mood, increased creativity, and enhanced cognitive function. By incorporating sustainable design elements that bring nature into the workplace, organizations can create a more calming and nurturing environment for their employees. Additionally, employees can be encouraged to take breaks in outdoor areas or engage in nature-inspired activities to further promote their well-being.

Stress Reduction and Mindfulness:

Sustainability efforts often align with practices that promote stress reduction and mindfulness. Initiatives such as encouraging breaks, providing meditation spaces, or offering wellness programs help employees manage stress and improve mental well-being. The corporate world is often fast-paced and demanding, leading to high levels of stress and burnout. Sustainable companies understand the importance of addressing the holistic needs of their workforce, recognizing that employee wellness is key to long-term success. By incorporating mindfulness practices, such as meditation or yoga sessions, into the workday, companies can provide employees with tools to reduce stress, improve focus, and enhance overall well-being.

Engaging employees in sustainability initiatives can foster a sense of purpose and pride within the organization. When employees feel that their work contributes to a greater cause, it boosts their overall job satisfaction and motivation. Sustainability projects provide employees with an opportunity to make a positive impact on the environment and society, creating a sense of fulfillment beyond their everyday tasks. By involving employees in sustainability projects, companies can enhance their well-being by nurturing a sense of community, empowerment, and fulfillment.

Collaboration and Team Building:

Sustainability often requires cross-departmental collaboration and teamwork. Initiatives such as waste reduction, recycling programs, or energy-saving campaigns encourage employees to work together towards a common goal. These collaborative efforts not only promote a positive work culture but also strengthen team dynamics and relationships. Through sustainability practices, companies can create a supportive and cohesive work environment, fostering employee wellness through meaningful connections. When employees come together to achieve sustainability goals, they build trust, communication, and a shared sense of purpose. Team members learn to rely on each other’s strengths, fostering a collaborative spirit that extends beyond sustainability initiatives and positively impacts overall productivity.

Employee Recognition and Rewards:

Sustainable practices provide an opportunity for organizations to recognize and reward employees who actively contribute to sustainability efforts. By acknowledging their efforts, companies reinforce the value of employee engagement and foster a culture of appreciation. Recognizing employees’ contributions to sustainability not only boosts morale but also reinforces the connection between individual well-being and the organization’s mission. It encourages employees to continue their sustainable efforts, ultimately enhancing their overall wellness.

Educational and Skill Development Opportunities:

Incorporating sustainability into the workplace often requires learning new skills and staying updated on industry best practices. By offering educational opportunities and skill development programs related to sustainability, companies empower employees to enhance their professional growth and well-being. These programs can include workshops, webinars, or certifications that provide employees with the knowledge and tools to actively contribute to sustainability initiatives. Investing in employee development not only benefits the individual but also strengthens the organization as a whole.

Corporate Social Responsibility and Employee Pride:

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives often intersect with sustainability practices. When companies engage in socially responsible activities, such as community service or charitable partnerships, it fosters a sense of pride among employees. Employees who are proud of their organization’s commitment to sustainability and social responsibility experience higher job satisfaction and overall well-being. By aligning sustainability with CSR efforts, companies create a positive impact on both the environment and their workforce.

Work-Life Balance and Flexibility:

Sustainability initiatives can also contribute to improving work-life balance and flexibility for employees. Implementing measures like flexible work hours, remote work options, or compressed work weeks reduces commuting time and allows employees to better manage their personal responsibilities. This flexibility enables employees to achieve a healthier work-life balance, resulting in reduced stress levels and improved overall well-being.

Wellness Challenges and Competitions:

Sustainability and employee wellness can be further integrated through wellness challenges and competitions that focus on sustainable practices. For example, companies can organize competitions to encourage employees to reduce waste, conserve energy, or adopt sustainable lifestyle habits. These challenges not only promote sustainability but also foster a sense of camaraderie and friendly competition among employees. The combination of wellness and sustainability goals enhances employee engagement, boosts morale, and promotes a culture of well-being.

The hidden connection between sustainability and employee wellness is a powerful force that can transform the workplace and the lives of individuals. By adopting sustainable practices, organizations create healthier work environments, encourage physical activity, provide access to nature, reduce stress, and foster a sense of purpose and pride among employees. The positive impacts ripple beyond the workplace, contributing to the overall well-being of employees and society as a whole.

To further explore the importance of mental health in the workplace, we invite you to submit your inquiries through our contact form at https://www.corporatewellnessmagazine.com/contact-mental-health. Our team of experts is here to provide valuable insights and support. Together, let us embrace sustainability and employee wellness for a brighter, healthier future.

‍To see the original post, follow this link: https://www.corporatewellnessmagazine.com/article/sustainability-and-employee-wellness-the-hidden-connection

Sustainability is a trend that’s here to stay, expert tells Restaurant Association Show

23 05 2023

Alex Nicolaou, the Coca-Cola Co.’s senior manager for sustainability customer strategy. Photo: Ron Ruggless

Alex Nicolaou of Coca-Cola offers ideas for tapping into the growing consumer demand for restaurant commitments. By Ron Ruggless from Nation’s Restaurant News * Reposted: May 23, 2023

Sustainability is a restaurant trend that restaurant operators can capitalize on, an expert told a packed crowd at the National Restaurant Association Show in Chicago on Saturday.

“It’s a trend that’s here to stay,” said Alex Nicolaou, the Coca-Cola Co.’s senior manager for sustainability customer strategy, on Saturday at an educational session entitled “Driving Growth with Sustainability.”

About 62% of U.S. consumers surveyed in 2022 said they would reward restaurants that showed a sustainability commitment, Nicolaou said.

In addition, the restaurant operator commitment has grown, he said. In 2019, for example, 58% of operators said sustainability activities were necessary to remain competitive in foodservice. In 2022, that number had grown to 65%, Nicolaou said.

However, he added, “Sustainability can’t be just a marketing slogan. It has to be lived.”

Nicolaou suggested restaurant operators partner with trusted organizations such as the Clean Conservency, the National Park Service or Shoreline Cleanup to give their sustainability programs legitimacy.

“Customers are looking for optimism,” he said. “There is so much lack of trust in this space.”

To see the original post, follow this link: https://www.nrn.com/operations/sustainability-trend-s-here-stay-expert-tells-nra-show

Why ESG Still Matters During Economic Downturns

18 05 2023

mage credit: Miltiadis Fragkidis/Unsplash

By Mary Riddle from Triple Pundit • Reposted: May 18, 2023

The global economic turndown is top-of-mind for business leaders. In the U.S., 59 percent of CEOs anticipate needing to pause or scale back their environmental, social and governance (ESG) efforts as a result, according to a recent survey by KPMG.

However, walking away from ESG right now could be disastrous for business, argues Geetanjli Dhanjal, senior director of business transformation for the consulting firm Yantra.

Scaling back environmental commitments would not only be detrimental to the planet, but it could also hurt the bottom line. “Companies should be committed to ESG and diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) now more than ever,” Dhanjal told TriplePundit. Pausing these programs to bolster the budget could backfire by eroding consumer perceptions and damaging trust among employees, she warned. 

Case in point: The retail sector proves ESG still matters 

While certain sectors are more vulnerable to recession than others, retail is one of the highest-risk industries during economic downturns. Still, Dhanjal noted that many of her clients in retail, fashion and apparel are not turning away from ESG to save money. Rather, they are doubling down on their initiatives, from sourcing sustainable materials to ensuring fair pay for workers in their supply chains.

“These clients know that when in an economic downturn, one doesn’t just stop investing in ESG,” Dhanjal said. “ESG is a long-term strategy and roadmap. During economic downturns, businesses can invest in low-cost sustainability initiatives in order to maintain brand value and give back to the community.”

Further, many sustainability programs come with a cost savings. “When we enable green shipping methods, we reduce our costs, reduce our carbon footprint, and the customer benefits by paying less for shipping,” Dhanjal noted as an example. 

Investor trust is in jeopardy: Stronger ESG programs and reporting can help 

While robust ESG programs can help grow consumer affinity and employee engagement, businesses now face a new problem: waning investor trust.

In KPMG’s survey, 3 out of 4 institutional investors said they do not trust companies to meet their ESG and DEI commitments. Dhanjal believes their concerns are valid: Indeed, many companies are not meeting their commitments. But the trust gap also presents investment and growth opportunities for companies that are serious about implementing ESG, she said.

“There are many reasons for distrust,” Dhanjal told us. “There are no consistent reporting frameworks. Enterprises may have more standardized reporting methods than small businesses, but they need to report transparently with the proof that they’re doing what they’re saying.”

Businesses and international agencies have also recognized the need for companies to demonstrate proof of their progress through standardized frameworks for sustainability reporting. At the COP26 climate talks in 2021, the United Nations and participating governments established the International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB) in order to create a standard, global framework. 

An evolving regulatory landscape calls for more ESG investment, not less

Dhanjal sees more changes on the horizon for corporate ESG programs. Regulatory changes will make compliance more challenging for companies that do not proactively measure, monitor and report on their sustainability efforts. Time is critical.

“Companies must invest in the tools they can use and the systems to provide them with the data they need to create their long-term strategy,” Dhanjal said. “Companies also need the right consultants and partners to guide their programs and initiatives. Your specific company doesn’t need to be experts in ESG, but you can invest in the consultants and tools to guide you.” 

Investment in tools to measure sustainability data is increasingly critical for companies that hope to to stay ahead of ESG regulations. The United States and European Union are moving toward making sustainability reporting mandatory for large businesses. That includes climate risk reporting in the near term, with mandatory disclosure of nature-related risk not far off. 

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in particular is expected to release its long-awaited climate reporting rules this fall. But many businesses are not waiting for the final verdict. In fact, 70 percent of business leaders said they’ve already begun to disclose their climate-related data in alignment with expected changes from the SEC, according to 2023 polling from PwC and Workiva. Still, 85 percent of those respondents worry their teams don’t have the right technology to accurately track and report their sustainability data.

Keeping up with the times requires consistent investment, and pulling back could mean falling behind. “It is not easy to implement systems, transform supply chains and invest in proper tools,” Dhanjal said. “Things are changing rapidly while everyone is learning about sustainability at the same time, and that can be a challenge. Making sure we have appropriate tools and clear guidelines is a major challenge for ESG, but this is also our work [as ESG professionals]: to educate.”

To see the original post, follow this link: https://www.triplepundit.com/story/2023/esg-still-matters-recession/774346

Only 8% of firms have ‘essential tools’ needed for net zero

18 05 2023

Image: Sustainability Magazine/Getty

Low uptake of digital technology for net zero reporting is putting companies at risk of significant consequences, a new study from Verdantix finds. By Lucy Buchholz from Sustainability Magazine • Reposted: May 18, 2023

A recent Verdantix report warns that companies face significant risks due to the limited adoption of digital technologies for net-zero applications. The survey of 350 net-zero leaders reveals that only 8% of firms believe they possess the necessary software tools to achieve net-zero goals effectively.

The inaugural Verdantix Global Corporate Survey 2023: Net Zero Budgets, Priorities and Tech Preferences report highlights that in-house digital capabilities are not enough to deliver net zero. The report identifies a lack of climate change expertise at the board level as the biggest obstacle to net-zero strategies. 

This lack of expertise is particularly worrying for US firms, as the SEC’s proposed climate disclosure rule may demand clarity as to whether any board members possess expertise in climate change.

The increase in reporting 

Over one-third of the world’s largest listed firms are now publicising net zero targets, a significant increase up from just one-fifth in December 2020. With incoming regulations set to impact economies globally, tens of thousands of firms are at risk of severe consequences, including legal penalties, reputational damage, financial risks, investor pressure, and employee dissatisfaction, if they fail to accurately report ESG and climate information. 

In light of this, it is imperative for companies to promptly embrace digital technologies in order to provide accurate and high-calibre carbon data. This step is crucial to address the increasing demand for regulated climate disclosures and the amplified stakeholder pressure for transparency and performance.

“The low market penetration of net zero reporting tools highlights the urgent need for companies to adopt digital technologies to deliver reliable and high-quality carbon data,” said Ryan Skinner, Research Director at Verdantix. “With regulated climate disclosures and increasing stakeholder pressure for transparency and performance, it’s critical that firms prioritise decarbonisation and invest in net zero reporting tools. 

“We anticipate a significant increase in spending on net zero digital tools over the next few years as companies seek to avoid penalties and demonstrate their commitment to sustainability. However, achieving success in decarbonisation will require consistent collaboration with other departments to drive change at the operational level.”

Climate change budgets are set to increase

According to Verdantix’s projections, the expenditure on carbon management software is projected to reach US1.4bn by 2027. The survey reveals that budgets for net zero and climate change initiatives are expected to experience substantial growth in 2023, with most companies anticipating double-digit spending increases. However, effectively achieving net zero goals will necessitate ongoing collaboration with other departments to drive decarbonization efforts at the operational level.

The Verdantix Net Zero Global Corporate Survey provides insights into the budgets, priorities, and technology preferences of net zero leaders across industries and geographies. Read the full report here Global Corporate Survey 2023: Net Zero Budgets, Priorities and Tech Preferences.

To see the original post, follow this link: https://sustainabilitymag.com/articles/only-8-of-firms-have-essential-tools-needed-for-net-zero

The Greenwash Era Is Over, But Are Our Communicators Ready to Step Up?

18 05 2023

Image: Sustainable Brands

As advertising regulators, consumer watchdogs and even governments take a tougher stance, the risks of getting it wrong grow significantly; and the pressure is on communicators to up their game and back up their claims. By Tom Idle from sustainable brands.com • Reposted: May 18, 2023

It’s officially, and legally, getting harder for brands to greenwash. In Europe, the EU Parliament has just voted to ramp up regulation to deter companies from making ‘carbon-neutral’ claims that can so easily mislead consumers into believing the products they are buying are good for the environment. Proposed new anti-greenwashing rules – said to represent a “significant victory for consumers and the environment” – were voted by an overwhelming majority of 544 votes in favour, 18 against and 17 abstentions.

This paves the way for EU nations to adopt their own laws that will ban dubious claims and “strengthen the fight against greenwashing by banning practices that mislead consumers on the actual sustainability of products,” as put by EU Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders. The move will effectively ban the use of generic ‘green’ marketing claims such as ‘environmentally friendly,’ ‘natural,’ ‘biodegradable’ and ‘eco,’ if they are not supported by evidence. Brands won’t be able to suggest a whole product or service is ‘sustainable’ when only a part of it is, either. And only official sustainability certification schemes will be recognised when it comes to marketing claims.

Where carbon offsetting is used, companies will no longer be able to make ‘net-zero’ or ‘carbon-neutral’ claims, which have long been criticised by campaign groups for seriously misleading consumers. In fact, banning the use of offsets as the basis for carbon-neutral claims is already happening. In the UK, the Advertising Standards Authority has spent the last six months reviewing the landscape and is about to commence stricter enforcement procedures. Brands are set to be banned from declaring their products or services are carbon neutral using offsets, unless they can prove they are actually working. This has coincided with a renewed focus on the true impact of offsets. In January, a Guardianinvestigation found that 90 percent of the rainforest project-derived offsets generated byVerra, one of the world’s biggest offset certifiers, were “worthless.” Verra strongly disputed the findings, but it got the world talking — not only about the value of offsetting, but the validity of making carbon-neutral claims more generally.

Greenwash clampdowns are also underway in the UK investment scene. The fact that so-called ‘sustainable’ pension funds are still entrenched in oil and gas firm funding has prompted the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority to publish anti-greenwashing rulesdesigned to clean up the labelling of investment funds.


Sustainability stakes are high; so are stakeholder distrust and scrutiny. So, how can your brand win the trust, loyalty, and advocacy of conscious consumers while protecting your reputation from greenwashing? Join us as Simon Mainwaring outlines 6 critical steps to avoiding greenwashing, building brand love and enabling consumers to live the sustainable lifestyles they seek at Brand-Led Culture Change – May 22-24 in Minneapolis.

Tell me more!

In the US, the Federal Trade Commission has updated its Green Guides for the first time in more than a decade, with a similar goal – to make it harder for companies to fall into the trap of making overblown sustainability claims about the products and materials they use.

Obviously, it will take time to completely stem the tide of greenwash; but incoming regulation and improved standards are having the desired impact, as evidenced by recent action taken to halt greenwash from the likes of airlines including Etihad andLufthansa. Yet, in the race to win more savvy consumers and meet increasingly ambitious sustainability goals, avoiding greenwash remains a challenge. Even companies forced to row back on their ambitions face huge scrutiny. Just look at the backlash footwear business Crocs received this week having announced plans to push back its net-zero target from 2030 to 2040 after recording a 45.5 percent increase in absolute emissions year-on-year after acquiring another company. The new goal might be “more credible and realistic;” but consumers expect more transparent and sophisticated communications from brands.

And that is proving to be a real struggle. New research suggests that while marketing professionals acknowledge the need to be braver when it comes to sustainability communications to avoid greenwashing, more than a third of them lack the capacity or knowledge to do so. At a time when more brands claim to have a sustainability-related story worth sharing (41 percent versus 25 percent in 2021), the survey suggests the situation is getting worse; capability gaps were cited by 35 percent of respondents, versus 20 percent in 2021. This is especially a concern given that more brands have sustainability as a KPI in their marketing functions – up from 26 percent in 2021 to 43 percent today: “It’s remarkable that even though 94 percent of marketers are willing to be brave to drive transformative change, organizations still behave in the same way,” says Ozlem Senturk, a senior partner with Kantar, which was behind the research.

This research echoes the key findings of a recent Chartered Institute of Marketing survey, which showed half of companies were reluctant to work on sustainability campaigns for fear of getting tripped up and accused of greenwash.

As with many sustainability challenges, solving the greenwash problem can benefit from a collaborative response. That’s certainly the view of the team behind Creatives for Climate— which has just launched a new platform designed to help communicators ‘reskill’ for sustainability communicationsThe website features a training program called Greenwash Watch — which provides a useful analysis of anti-greenwashing regulation and rulings and provides a framework from which to craft credible strategies that do not mislead consumers.

As advertising regulators enforce tougher sanctions, consumer watchdogs get more savvy and even governments double-down on their efforts, the era of unsubstantiated green claims from corporates is over. But as the risks of getting it wrong grow significantly, the pressure is on communicators to up their game and be sure to back up their claims.

To see the original post, follow this link: https://sustainablebrands.com/read/marketing-and-comms/greenwash-era-over-can-communicators-step-up

Why sustainability improves recruitment, retention

17 05 2023

Many workers consider environmental sustainability practices when deciding whether to stay, or accept a job with, a company. Image: ADP

Publicizing sustainability efforts can help a company with employee recruitment. Learn how sustainability is also affecting retention, as well as some best practices for HR leaders. By David Beck via tech target.com • Reposted: May 17, 2023

As the talent marketplace remains competitive, a company’s stance on social issues, such as the environment and climate change, can help attract talent or potentially drive it away. HR leaders must encourage companies to publicize their environmental, social and governance practices so they can hire the candidates they want and keep them as employees.

Over 70% of workers and those looking for work are drawn to environmentally sustainable employers, according to the 2021 study “Sustainability at a turning point” by the IBM Institute for Business Value. In addition, more than two-thirds of respondents said they are more likely to seek out and take jobs with environmentally and socially responsible organizations, and almost half surveyed would take a lower salary to do so, according to the IBM study. A company’s sustainability record can make a major difference in its talent search and employee retention.

Here’s more about environmental, social and governance initiatives, as well as some steps HR leaders can take to get the word out about their organization’s ESG efforts.

What is sustainability?

For the most part, when job candidates inquire about a company’s environmental sustainability record, they are referring to the organization’s environmentally related business practices, such as carbon footprint and energy use. Social issues, like diversity, equity and inclusion programs and labor practices, are also part of ESG.

Companies are facing more pressure from the government and from consumers to make their business practices more sustainable. Customers have increasingly expressed interest in supporting companies with what they view as positive ESG practices, with 55% of respondents saying company sustainability is “very or extremely important” when they’re making purchasing decisions, according to the IBM study.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission proposed a rule last year that would require public companies to share climate risk and greenhouse gas emissions, among other information, though the rule may be delayed until later this year.

Why companies should care about sustainability

Many company executives believe their recruitment will be positively affected by increased ESG reporting.

Fifty-two percent of respondents ranked talent attraction and retention as one of the most likely beneficial outcomes of enhanced ESG reporting, according to a 2022 Deloitte study, “Sustainability action report: Survey findings on ESG disclosure and preparedness.”

In addition, a positive sustainability record can potentially help with the perennial challenge of employee retention as well. ESG high performers also have high employee satisfaction, according to the 2023 study “Do ESG Efforts Create Value?” by Bain & Company and EcoVadis.

How HR can use sustainability to improve recruitment, retention

Job applicants may not be aware of a company’s ESG efforts, so HR leaders must take the lead in communicating them to the public.

HR staff can develop blog posts for the company website about the organization’s sustainability efforts. HR staff can also create initiatives within the company, like sponsoring a community composting program, and publicize those initiatives so potential job applicants will be aware of them.

If company leaders are weighing whether to take on sustainability initiatives, HR leaders can share the talent-related benefits of adapting an ESG-driven corporate culture.

HR leaders should also make sure company leaders are aware that partners’ sustainability practices are an emerging area of contention. Job candidates may object if the company works with vendors or other partners who are seen as negatively affecting the environment.

However, HR executives must also remain alert to the danger of greenwashing. Greenwashing is information that provides a misleading impression that a company’s processes, policies or investments are environmentally sound.

A company’s attempts to attract recruits can backfire if the public believes the company is practicing greenwashing. HR leaders must make sure HR staff or others working on recruitment efforts aren’t exaggerating the company’s sustainability practices in an attempt to win over job candidates.

To see the original post, follow this link: https://www.techtarget.com/searchhrsoftware/tip/Why-sustainability-improves-recruitment-retention

Driving Growth Through Sustainability: Three Solutions For Brands

17 05 2023

Photo: Getty

UN SDG Pioneer for Circular Economy and CEO of GUAVA Amenities – driving circular innovations & partnerships in Sustainable Guest Amenities. By Gabriel Tan, Forbes Councils Member, Forbes Business Development Council from Forbes.com • Reposted: May 17, 2023

Today, we are living in a peculiar time with growing uncertainties such as high inflation and high interest rates. As a result, many global brands have scaled back their operations and reduced headcounts to brace themselves for further shocks down the road.

While all seems doom and gloom, sustainability remains a bright spot on the horizon. More businesses are looking to drive growth through sustainability. This means not only focusing on top-line growth but also bottom-line growth, while also augmenting social capital by driving positive impact that benefits communities and the environment.

Over the course of my company’s work with several of the world’s largest hospitality chains, airlines and cruise liners in the area of sustainable guest amenities, we help brands reach new consumers in the hospitality and travel industry. As recipient of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals Pioneer for Circular Economy, I know first-hand the impact sustainability can have on business.

Below are three practical ways brands can aim to improve their overall business value, performance and positive impact.

The global intangible asset value grew from $61 trillion in 2019 to $74 trillion in 2021. According to research from McKinsey & Co, businesses in the top quartile for growth invest 2.6 times more into intangible assets than “low-growers.”

With more and more companies realizing that a portion of their value can be derived from intangibles, many are pouring in resources to strategically grow their intangibles—with sustainability being an area of focus. According to a 2022 study by NielsenIQ, 78% of consumers say “a sustainable lifestyle is important to them.” Brands that invest in sustainability can attract more customers and, in my experience, typically charge a higher price for their products.

In October 2022, LVMH announced an energy efficiency framework in partnership with shopping mall owner, Hang Lung Properties, which is expected to reduce the retailer’s energy footprint. From my perspective, I expect more value would eventually be derived from growth in their intangible value rather than actual energy cost savings.

Brands interested in positioning themselves as sustainable need to come out with more interesting stories in today’s competitive market. Simply changing your packaging and reducing energy costs is no longer sufficient to convince consumers of your sustainability edge. Impact has become a more objective yardstick to evaluate whether or not your brand is truly sustainable, and this is closely intertwined with scale to derive the actual impact of a brand in the world.

Create A Superior Business Model With Circular Design

According to the United Nations, the circular economy is a “new and inclusive economic paradigm that aims to minimize pollution and waste, extend product lifecycles and enable broad sharing of physical and natural assets.”

Given the increasing cost pressures experienced by businesses today, this new paradigm allows brands to generate value with minimal resources and correspondingly lesser impact on the environment. Recently, H&M, a large fashion retailer, pledged to be climate positive by 2040 through a textile reuse model, promoting circular design.

Circular design can be a profitable venture when brands are able and willing to make the adjustments necessary to change the status quo. Embracing a new circularity paradigm requires a holistic end-to-end understanding from the get-go. This includes product design, which minimizes the use of materials and takes into consideration the advantages of the different types of materials, a packaging approach that delivers the appropriate outcome without over-packaging, as well as a supply chain strategy that balances business performance and environmental impact.

Reach New Consumers With Sustainable Business Models

Thirdly, sustainability can also open up new business opportunities for consumer brands. Sustainability is not just about reducing carbon emissions and waste; it also involves creating innovative solutions to environmental challenges. Sustainable practices can lead to the development of new products, services and markets.

To reach new consumers with sustainable business models, brands can aim to position sustainability at their core. Consumer brands not only have the power to uniquely differentiate themselves in today’s crowded marketplace but also create an enduring competitive advantage that could lead to even greater possibilities and enhanced brand value.

If needed, consider looking for credible partners as a way to leverage each others’ strengths to drive sustainability initiatives. Ideally, a partnership should only require minimal investment, without the need for brands to reinvent the wheel. Look for a complementary partner with a successful track record; repeat customers, deep capabilities and a rich ecosystem can each be powerful multipliers for creating exponential outcomes.

By embracing sustainability, consumer brands can increase their brand’s intangible value, create superior circular design and open up new opportunities with new business models. With intangible value becoming a differentiator, your biggest gain could be from your sustainability initiatives—provided they are done authentically and with the right priorities.

To see the original post, follow this link: https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesbusinessdevelopmentcouncil/2023/05/16/driving-growth-through-sustainability-three-solutions-for-brands/?sh=410f0b38258e

ESG investment funds unlikely to comply with sustainable investing rules

16 05 2023

A lack of standardised regulatory regimes for non-financial disclosures and the naming of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) funds across the US, UK and Europe will mean that a lot of self-proclaimed “sustainable” funds will be unable to comply with proposed legislation. From edie.net • Reposted: May 16, 2023

Analysis of more than 18,000 investment funds across Europe has found that less than 4% would be able to comply with naming laws for ESG funds across key markets.

The research, from technology platform Clarity AI, found that many would have to rename their ESG funds if they wanted to sell across the UK, US and Europe, all of which have different definitions and naming laws for non-financial disclosures and sustainability funds.

“When looking at funds with all three investment fund regimes – the US’, UK’s, and EU’s – we found that over 95% of funds with the word ‘sustainable’, or similar term, would require renaming or restructuring in order to be sold across all three markets,” Clarity AI’s head of product research and innovation Patricia Pina.

“This is not only an added cost in terms of compliance, but also underscores how different actors – in this case regulators – are interpreting the meaning of core concepts like ESG and sustainability.”

In November 2022 the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) ran a consultation to place minimum thresholds on Article 8 – which is for “light green” funds that use ESG-related terms in their names. ESMA proposed that these funds would need to ensure that 100% of the assets in each portfolio adhered to minimum safeguard thresholds that were aligned with the Paris Agreement.

It also suggested that 80% of the assets it invests in are used to meet the ESG-related characteristics that it promotes. Additionally, 50% of the assets would need to be defined as sustainable under the Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation (SFDR).

Clarity AI’s research found that only 20% of Article 8 funds using the term “sustainable” had current plans to comply with the recommendations of the consultation. The research suggests that the recommendations from the consultation would not closely align with investing proposals in the UK or US.

ESG down the agenda

Earlier this year, separate research found that investing in sustainable assets is less important to them now than it was in 2019.

The poll was conducted by British law firm Michelmores, covering 1,500 people in the UK with a minimum of £25,000 of investable assets each. 23% of respondents said they found investing in sustainable assets less important than they did in 2019, with the cost-of-living crisis cited as the key reason for this decrease in importance.

Research from EY found that the total amount of assets under management covered by specific ESG funds reached $2.7trn in 2021, marking a 53% year-on-year increase. But as the movement’s support grows, the perception that ESG is ineffective is also becoming more widespread.

EY acknowledges that many companies, ratings agencies and investors are using different definitions of ESG and different methodologies to assess performance across each of the three pillars. Some of these methodologies are based on historic data, some on future predictions. Some assign more importance to issues that are less material to a particular sector or project than those which materiality assessments have proven to be key. Some assign more weight to the ‘E’ and/or the ‘S’ than the ‘G’.

These discrepancies have led to rating agencies assigning scores that have caused controversy. Many of these controversies are now making mainstream news. For example, MSCI and Sustainalytics both provided high ratings to care home operator Opera Group, which this year was accused of mistreating residents and faced insider trading allegations. To give another example, in 2020, fast fashion retailer Boohoo was revealed to have the backing of 20 ESG-focused funds, despite persistent and credible allegations of supply chain workers being paid illegally low wages.

To see the original post, follow this link: https://www.edie.net/esg-investment-funds-unlikely-to-comply-with-sustainable-investing-rules/

Surviving the real-world challenges of sustainability communications

15 05 2023

Image: Green Buzz

By Joel Makower, Co-founder & Chairman, Green Buzz, Reposted • May 15, 2023

Corporate communications on sustainability issues have long been a sore spot, as I’ve written about multiple times. The questions are fundamental: Talk or not talk about your company’s commitments and achievements? Speak out in an era of political pushback on environmental, social and governance issues or keep a low profile? Be accused of greenwashing or greenhushing?

That was the basis of our daylong GreenBiz Comms Summit back in February, which brought together communications, sustainability and legal professionals from inside large companies for a candid conversation about the challenges companies face when they communicate, internally or externally, about sustainability matters. Nearly 200 professionals participated in hands-on exercises, where small groups were asked to concoct messaging for several hypothetical companies, both B-to-B and B-to-C. It was, by all accounts, an engaging event.

We recently published a summary of what took place there, which I’m pleased to share, in particular the on-stage conversations as opposed to the more candid table-level work. The event was conducted under the Chatham House rule, meaning that no participants can be identified without permission.

Getting internal alignment

One session built on a column I wrote last August, about the “Bermuda Triangle” of sustainability messaging: communications, sustainability and corporate counsel. Individually, each has a slightly different interest when creating press releases and media pitches. In concert, they often undermine a company’s messaging. Among the suggestions from a panel of experts:

Bring the players together early and often. Imagine reaching the end of a cross-functional, collaborative working group with external stakeholder input — and legal wants to frame the message differently, a sustainability expert says the language is imprecise, and comms is at a loss for how to tell acompelling story. That confounding situation can be prevented by inviting key internal stakeholders to the table much earlier than may seem necessary for the project. Try day one.

Integrate the expertise from each department and speak their language. Understand the subject matter and pain points of other stakeholders, and be hyper-transparent. Long before soliciting sign-off from a subject matter expert, check and double-check the accuracy of a communication. Have resources and questions ready on an ongoing basis; don’t just spring a problem on someone during a meeting.

Have playbooks, guides and protocols ready. To disseminate an effective message, have all of your analysis and facts in order and be able to stand behind them in case there is a challenge. Prepare messaging playbooks, guides and protocols for your teammates to help them understand the whole picture involved in a messaging challenge.

Avoiding greenwash

The practice of making exaggerated or unverifiable claims about environmental benefits is widely frowned upon, butwithout a single definition for greenwashing, companies all too easily make missteps. Some takeaways:

Greenwashing charges are up. Although it’s probably impossible to quantify how much greenwashing exists, regulatory challenges related to it have risen over the past several years. These include actions by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and U.S. state attorneys general, private litigation and challenges by the Better Business Bureau.

Greenwashing is in the eye of the accuser. The FTC considers greenwashing through the eyes of the “reasonable consumer,” which leaves lots of room for interpretation. Accusations of greenwashing tend to focus on one of two things: either the types of words or even the colors used to describe a product or brand, such as lawsuits charging that Keurig falsely called its coffee pods recyclable, or the tactics used to achieve a goal, such asBloombergcalling out companies for using renewable energy credits toward their net-zero targets. Watchdog groups may target an industry leader, for example, that fumbles in efforts to decarbonize its supply chain, yet they leave alone competitors who haven’t even announced a similar initiative.

Greenwashing is ‘more sloppy than sinister’. Cases of a nefarious business setting out to mislead the public are relatively few and far between. More often, greenwashing charges tend to target companies fumbling their way through their sustainability communications. Maybe someone without the right expertise led a public relations or ad campaign or a communication gap arose from failing to speak to the right stakeholders or providing inadequate (or inaccurate) proof points.

Dealing with haters and critics

Of course, even the best-laid communications plan can attract criticism — sometimes more than if a company had said nothing at all. “The rise of anti-ESG rhetoric” was a top concern among Comms Summit attendees, according to a pre-event survey.

Adversaries who slur business leadership as “woke” for addressing the world’s urgent social and environmental challenges are true “haters,” but not every critic is a hater. Here are the three types of pushback and what to learn from them:

Haters. Haters are diametrically opposed to your existence. For instance, they may hate you as a corporation because they believe capitalism shouldn’t exist. In general, don’t listen to haters — although sometimes they offer important information about what you’re getting wrong.

Critics. Critics want you to be your best self, even if there’s no business case now for what they demand that you do. They won’t stop until you do what they say, but they tend to be right over time. Greenpeace, for example, has “been right” years ahead of the curve about climate change, biodiversity and plastics. Instead, consider critics your early warning system of what will go mainstream next.

Critical friends. Critical friends push you to do better, telling you what you’re doing isn’t good enough, calling you out on greenwash or on not reaching targets or claims. But don’t confuse critical friends for haters.

That’s a taste. There’s more insight and inspiration in this free, downloadable report. Feel free to share it with your internal and external comms partners.

To see the original post, follow this link: https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/#inbox/FMfcgzGsmXDbGHvznvXqZrFKqtNShwpk

The target audience for sustainability ads is exactly who you think

12 05 2023

By Jordan Wollman via Politico • Reposted; May 12, 2023

SURVEY SAYS — The data is pretty clear-cut on who brands should target for sustainability-related marketing campaigns: It’s younger urban women.

A new predictive model from BlueLabs Analytics shared first with POLITICO scores American adults on their likelihood of making purchasing choices based on sustainability.

Perhaps the topline takeaway isn’t too surprising. But BlueLabs, a Washington-based data science service, found some other interesting data points that could be useful for brands looking to figure out who might be persuadable.

For one, the gaps based on gender, age and location were stark. Women were 19 percent more likely than men to say they’d made purchases based on sustainability, people aged 18 to 29 were 23 percent more likely to be sustainability consumers and people living in urban areas were 25 percent more likely.

White people were the racial demographic least likely to be sustainability consumers, with Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders the most likely.

A chart showing gender disparities.

A “sustainability consumer” is described as someone who responded to BlueLabs’ February survey of 1,800 American adults and said that in the last two weeks they had purchased a product or service because it was the environmentally friendly choice. BlueLabs then applied a model based on the survey to the country’s nearly 200 million adults to identify those most likely to make purchasing decisions on that basis.

The model showed that people in communities of color were more eager to make purchasing decisions based on sustainability compared with white people, said Meagan Knowlton, director of sustainability practice at BlueLabs. Knowlton clarified that the model doesn’t address whether a person actually made the environmentally friendly choice, but rather focuses on the individual’s perception of whether they actively made a sustainable purchase.

“It was the communities of color that were really exciting to us,” Knowlton said. “We think that this is an area that brands should really move forward exploring when designing or advertising products.”

The model identified 38 million Americans who rank within the top 20 percent of sustainability consumer scores — and in general, they’re more easily reached by digital and social media than cable TV or radio. Of those, 77 percent are women, with 37 percent being single women. About one-fifth are people aged 50 to 64.

BlueLabs conducted the research and compiled the report, and no brands paid for it, Knowlton said.

To see the original post, follow this link: https://www.politico.com/newsletters/the-long-game/2023/05/11/the-target-audience-for-sustainability-ads-is-exactly-who-you-think-00096406

Consumers Want Companies to Invest in Climate Tech

11 05 2023

Getty Images / Morning Consult artwork by Ashley Berry

Mitigating the worst impacts of climate change will take significant investment, and the effort will require partnership across tech, energy and government, writes tech analyst Jordan Marlatt via morning consult.com • Re[posted May 11, 2023

  • At a time when only 29% of U.S. consumers say tech companies have a mostly positive impact on the environment, climate tech is emerging as an area that people want companies to invest in.
  • Power grid improvements, solar energy production and decarbonization of the atmosphere have emerged as the top areas where consumers say investments should be prioritized.
  • But it will take more than tech to save the world from climate change. Recent partnerships across tech, energy and government show promising developments in this space, and it will require continued joint efforts to scale climate tech.

Climate tech is emerging as a space where innovative technologies may help mitigate the effects of climate change — or even reverse them, depending on who one talks to. This corner of tech saw sizable investment late last year and at the start of 2023, before slowing down recently.

Saving the planet is reason enough to invest in technologies that will help us avert the worst effects of climate change, though investments currently aren’t happening with the level of urgency and intensity required to meet the Paris Agreement goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

A recent Morning Consult survey shows that two-thirds of U.S. adults are concerned about climate change — about the same as the share who say they’re concerned about political polarization in the country (67%) — and there is an appetite for investment in specific climate technologies. A Morning Consult report from last summer showed that consumers expect tech to lead the way on innovation in sustainability, and investing in climate tech is one way for tech companies to make good on their ambitious sustainability goals.

Positive perceptions of tech companies’ impact on the environment are down, but people still turn to tech for answers

Tech’s perceived positive impact on the environment has declined somewhat since July 2022. This is particularly the case among Gen Zers: 15% say tech’s impact on the environment is mostly positive (down from 27% in July of last year), while 29% say it is mostly negative. These sentiments are likely tied to a rough several months for tech in which overall favorability and trust in the industry diminished, as explained in our most recent State of Technology report. When trust and reputation fall, so too do brand perceptions, including how people perceive a company’s impact across the board.

U.S. adults’ perceptions of major technology companies’ impact on the environment

Bar chart of U.S. adult's perceptions of major technology companies’ impact on the environment. The chart shows positive perceptions of tech companies’ impact on the environment are down.

Surveys conducted July 22-23, 2022, and April 14-17, 2023, among representative samples of roughly 2,200 U.S. adults each, with unweighted margins of error of +/-2 percentage points. Figures may not add up to 100% due to rounding.

That being said, people largely agree that tech has an important role to play in innovating sustainability practices, and the opportunity for tech to invest in this space is rendered all the more important by declining perceptions of the industry’s impact on the environment. Over 2 in 5 adults (42%) say major technology companies have “a lot of responsibility” for driving innovation in sustainability, just behind energy companies and the federal government. Interestingly, tech startups — the source of many exciting innovations in this space — and venture capital — where the money comes from — sit lower on the list.

Another factor to consider when discussing investments in sustainable solutions is the politicization of climate change in the United States. The issue is much more concerning to Democrats (84%) than it is to Republicans (45%). Democrats also tend to be more concerned about the impact of companies on the environment (81%) than Republicans (54%). That said, energy companies, the federal government and major technology companies are seen by Democrats and Republicans alike as the three entities with the most responsibility for driving sustainability innovation.

Making climate tech happen will take a village

Major tech companies can drive innovation in sustainability through their own venture capital arms or through acquisitions of startups, with the latter capable of helping bigger companies scale up or integrate the acquired tech into their products, services and operations. Not only do the power players have an opportunity to drum up excitement around climate tech by putting it front and center, but they also get the added PR benefit of convincing people that they’re climate advocates.

As a catch-all term, “climate tech” encompasses many technologies, from generating clean energy to scrubbing the air of carbon (and even repurposing it for energy or useful products like concrete). Of a long list of climate tech applications, consumers feel that power infrastructure improvements, solar energy production and the removal of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere should be top priorities for investment.

Of those three, carbon sequestration is the most experimental climate tech area, and has not yet been deployed at scale. However, at our current pace of emissions reductions, this technology may prove essential for hitting climate goals, and less of a last-ditch solution.

Moving climate tech forward will likely take a concerted and collaborative effort from technology companies, financial institutions, government and energy companies. But how each is best suited to help is subject to debate.

Consumers say tech companies should be the most responsible for investing in electronics recycling, electrification of vehicles and AI optimization in energy production. For energy companies, the expectation is that they should shoulder most of the responsibility for energy production, power grid improvements and decarbonization. Finally, consumers want the government to bolster cities against the effects of climate change (such as infrastructure improvements to reduce flooding risks), as well as reduce emissions in agriculture and develop water desalination technology.

To see the original post, follow this link: https://morningconsult.com/2023/05/10/climate-tech-survey/

Do More Good with a Tribally-Owned Business

10 05 2023

A Seneca Nation family. Tribally-owned businesses generate profits that flow directly to the Native Nation and fund the support services its members need. Images courtesy of the Seneca Media and Communications Center

By Jeffrey Ellis via Triplepundit.com • Reposted: May 10, 2023

Businesses looking to amplify their environmental, social and governance (ESG) goals should consider the added impact that comes from working with a tribally-owned business. The mission of a business owned by a Native Nation is to generate income that will improve the lives of its people. Every other for-profit business seeks to maximize value for its owners. If a tribally-owned business can serve your business just as well as another (or better!), your company will simply “do more good” by working with one.

Why Native Nations form businesses

There are 574 federally recognized Native Nations in the United States. Many have sovereign territories on which their members live. For some Native Nations, their territory consists of a sliver of their ancestral homeland; for others, their territory is nowhere near their ancestral homeland. Still others have no territory at all.
It is widely recognized that Native communities have not shared in the wealth generated from their lands. Native communities are also underserved compared to other communities in the United States. These factors have contributed to conditions where poverty is high, education levels are low, health disparities still exist, and opportunities are scarce. The reasons for this are complicated, generational and well-documented.
With few exceptions, Native Nations do not have tax revenue to fund the services they provide to their members. Instead, they need to generate other forms of income to provide for the health, safety, education and social support their community members need.
Increasingly over recent decades, Native Nations have established wholly-owned businesses to generate profits that flow directly to the Native Nation and fund the support services needed by its members. While many of these businesses have done well, the revenue they generate is still not enough for most Native Nations to provide the same services to their members that most other Americans get from their federal, state and local governments. Tribally-owned businesses are now expanding in the competitive marketplace, and there are more opportunities than ever to work with them.

Seneca Nation children - tribally-owned business operations fund Native Nations
A group of Seneca Nation children. 

What makes a tribally-owned business unique?

A tribally-owned business is a for-profit business owned directly by a Native Nation, and not by any specific shareholders. Profits flow directly to the Native Nation and are used by its government to directly fund services and support for its members. The organization I lead is one such business, owned by the Seneca Nation located in the Western New York region. I regularly say that while the mission of Seneca Holdings is to generate profits — like any other business — we operate more like a nonprofit than a for-profit entity. We know that every dollar that we earn, and every dollar that we save, goes directly back to the Seneca Nation.
There are many exceptional businesses owned by minorities, women, veterans and other disadvantaged individuals that are worth supporting. The difference, which you can decide for yourself how much to value, is that the mission of a tribally-owned business is to improve the lives of an entire community, particularly those in need. This is why we think of our organization as operating more like a nonprofit than a for-profit business.
There are also unique capabilities that tribally-owned businesses can provide their customers that may not be available to smaller businesses. Seneca Holdings, for example, leverages its capabilities across multiple industries to provide back-office support and financial stability that is more mature and robust than any of our individual businesses would have on its own. 

Seneca Nation workers learning on computer - tribally-owned business operations fund Native Nations
The profit generated by tribally-owned businesses allow for education and workforce development services provided by Native Nations like the Seneca Nation. 

ESG and tribally-owned businesses

The promise of ESG is that it creates an expectation that companies “do more good” while running their businesses. Decision-makers have many options for the partnerships they pursue and the suppliers they use. A genuine commitment to ESG entails considering the added impact that a tribally-owned business has on improving the lives of the Native community it serves.
In addition to the inherent “S” benefit, many tribally-owned businesses are focused on renewable energy projects and environmental sustainability that also address the “E” in ESG. In the clean energy space, there will be an increasing number of tribally-owned businesses looking to partner with larger companies that seek to amplify their ESG commitment. 
There are multiple benefits to partnering with a tribally-owned business on a renewable energy project beyond just satisfying your company’s ESG goals. Partnering can also be good for your bottom line, as these businesses provide access to unique advantages conferred by the federal government. Incentives in the Inflation Reduction Act, the Infrastructure and Investment Jobs Act of 2021, the Justice40 Initiative, and Department of Energy grants and loan programs can all significantly reduce the cost of renewable energy projects.
You may also find that the kinds of people who choose to work for a tribally-owned business are more likely to earn your trust as a valued business partner. Those of us that do embrace the responsibility of representing the Native Nations we work for, and we are inspired by the meaningful contributions that our businesses can make. We are always looking for partners and clients that are inspired in the same way.

To see the original post, follow this link: https://www.triplepundit.com/story/2023/partner-tribally-owned-business/773881

How the new EU directive will rewrite ESG reporting

8 05 2023

Image via Shutterstock/Chayanuphol

The European Union’s Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive won’t just affect local companies, it will transform sustainability reporting around the globe. By Matt Orsagh from green biz.com • Reposted: May 8, 2023

Europe has long been the trendsetter in policy and regulation around environmental, social and governance issues. The Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD) is the latest in a line of European Union policies intended to nudge economic and investment activity towards more sustainable outcomes.

The CSRD replaced the Non-Financial Reporting Directive (NFRD), which only covered the disclosure requirements for about 11,000 EU companies. In contrast, the CSRD will require nearly 50,000 companies to enhance their reporting around sustainability. This number includes about 10,000 companies outside the EU, and it doesn’t just include the largest of the large companies.

The CSRD was adopted by the EU Council in November. EU companies already subject to the NFRD will have to begin compliance with the CSRD, which means reporting in 2024. Those for whom this reporting will be new, including companies outside the EU, have until 2025 to begin complying.

The NFRD was never mandatory. As a result, investors, regulators and civil society groups were often frustrated with the lack of sustainability-related information from companies and the lack of comparability of that data. The European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS) recently released an implementation appraisal on the NFRD that highlighted many shortcomings of the NFRD:

  • 71 percent of respondents believed the non-financial information contained in the NFRD reports was deficient in terms of comparability
  • 82 percent believed that CSRD’s requirements for companies to use a common standard would address identified issues

The purpose of the CSRD is to provide investors and businesses with more information about the sustainability of companies operating in the EU, that is timely, consistent and comparable.

In essence, the CSRD is becoming the de facto sustainability disclosure regulation for large global companies; as companies with significant business in Europe will have to adhere to the rules Europe sets down.

The rules will cover both public and private business that satisfy two of the following criteria:

  • Have more than 250 employees
  • Have net turnover of more than $44.51 million
  • Have a balance sheet of more than $22.25 million

Compliance with CSRD isn’t that far away. Companies that meet the reporting requirements will have to submit their first report of aligning with CSRD by Jan. 1, 2025. Smaller and medium-sized entities (SMEs) won’t have to comply with the rules until January 2026.

Companies outside of Europe that do business in the EU will also be covered by the new rules — companies that generate total revenue of $167 million  in the EU and have at least one branch or subsidiary in the EU with more than $44.51 million in net revenue will be required to comply with the new disclosure requirements.

In essence, the CSRD is becoming the de facto sustainability disclosure regulation for large global companies; as companies with significant business in Europe will have to adhere to the rules Europe sets down. The hope of European regulators — and sustainability-minded professionals around the world — is that this higher disclosure bar will export European best practices in disclosure globally. As large companies in global markets are forced to raise their standards, these disclosure standards will cause other companies in those markets to follow the more stringent disclosure standards set by the EU in order to keep up with best practices.

What is covered?

In addition to information already required by the NFRD, companies that comply with the CSRD will have to publish information related to:

  • Environmental protections
  • Greenhouse gas emissions targets
  • Social responsibility and treatment of employees
  • Respect for human rights
  • Anti-corruption and bribery
  • Diversity on company boards
  • Double materiality
    • How sustainability risks might affect performance
    • The company’s impact on society and the environment
  • Materiality assessments
  • Forward-looking ESG targets and progress
  • Disclosures on intangible capitals (social, human, intellectual)
  • Due diligence processes in relation to sustainability
  • Potential adverse impacts due to sustainability issues

Companies will be required to set annual ESG targets and report their process hitting these targets, including transition plans (if any).

The CSRD will require third-party assurances, including integration into the auditor’s report, a requirement not covered by the NFRD. This information will be required to be presented in a company’s annual financial reports, not in a separate sustainability report. Assurances can at first be “limited” but must reach the threshold of “reasonable” assurances by 2028. For those of you out there who are not accountants (good for you), reasonable assurances amount to an auditor affirming that the information reported is materially correct, while limited assurances simply state that the auditor is not aware of any material modifications that need to be made.

The European Financial Reporting Advisory Group (EFRAG) is drafting the upcoming EU Sustainability Reporting Standards (ESRS) that the CSRD will adopt as its reporting standard. The European Commission is due to adopt the initial ESRS standards in mid-2023.

Start now. Get buy-in from everyone

If all of this sounds like a lot of work, you are right. If all of this sounds like a lot of work and a little bit intimidating if you are not a European company used to European regulation, accounting and disclosure standards, you are right again. Companies outside the EU that will be subject to CSRD reporting have realized the daunting task ahead of them. Those ahead of the curve have already started the process of adjustment to the CSRD landscape.

Chris Librie, senior director of ESG at Applied Materials, acknowledged that CSRD will require companies outside the EU to change their perspective on sustainability. “CSRD is pretty comprehensive,” Librie said. “It involves double materiality, which may bring into scope things that we may not have considered. For example, we haven’t traditionally looked at biodiversity, but that may come up.”

Most companies will need to expand their ability to measure and manage sustainability issues in their own operations; as well down their supply chains to comply with CSRD disclosure rules.

“Our ESG team is fairly small,” Librie said, “so we will be reaching to other divisions such as human resources, environmental health and safety and others, as well as our outside auditors and consultants. The number of potential topics are so many that we are taking a team approach to develop a structured approach to the CSRD process.”

The race is on to train financial professionals for the transition. Several organizations are working with companies to help them prepare for the transition. One of these is Accounting for Sustainability (A4S). A4S was established by King Charles III in 2004, with the aim of working with chief financial officers and other financial leaders to drive a shift towards more sustainable business models. A4S routinely hosts workshops to share best practices and build knowledge of financial professionals to bring them up to speed.

The number of potential topics are so many that we are taking a team approach to develop a structured approach to the CSRD process.

Brad Sparks, executive director of A4S Foundation U.S.,  emphasized how A4S is seeing significant interest from finance and accounting professionals that A4S works with around CSRD.

“CSRD has become part of the reporting workshops that we host,” Sparks said. “We also started a new controllers forum and had a meeting earlier this year where we brought in someone from EFRAG to discuss the emerging ESRS standards. The forum is designed for chief accounting officers, controllers and ESG controllers to exchange insights, challenges and responses to sustainability issues among peers. Our initial meeting had a focus on double materiality — a topic that is new to many in the finance and accounting community.”

Part of the learning curve for those outside the EU will be navigating the differences in accounting standards, investor expectations and legal systems that underpin EU regulation and norms outside the EU. “Finance and accounting professionals in the United States are seeking additional guidance to help with the emerging standards,” Sparks said. “In general, global accounting standards are typically principles-based, while U.S. accounting (GAAP) is typically rules-based. This is similar with the ESRS following a more principles-based approach, which some in the U.S. view as more challenging to implement.”

Although adjusting to a CSRD world will take time and resources, in the end, the goal is to provide investors, policymakers, civil society and companies themselves with better information. It may move sustainability reporting more to the mainstream, which has both positive and negative implications.  

What companies and investors can do to prepare

Preparing for CSRD reporting will be a step change in managing and measuring sustainability data for many companies outside the EU. Companies that need to report under the CSRD standard will need to start now if they haven’t already: January 2025 isn’t that far away. There are steps companies can take to get ready. Here are just a few places to start:

  1. Perform a gap analysis to determine current holes in sustainability measurement and management system.
  2. Review EFRAG exposure draft ESRS rules.
  3. Determine who within an organization will lead the CSRD process and determine what other people within an organization will be needed in the CSRD process.
  4. Determine what outside resources such as accountants and consultants will be needed to undertake CSRD compliance reporting.
  5. Coordinate with others within your industry to share best practices.

“I see this possibly driving companies toward more integrated reporting,” Librie said. “I think ultimately we will see more 10-Ks and sustainability reports that merge, so we will have a one-stop shop for all this information. That is a positive but a potential negative is that in a 10-K type document, you can’t be as verbose. You have to be more economical about telling your story, and that might make ESG engagement more challenging.”

“Companies are seeking to understand how they can comply with reporting requirements in an effective, efficient and impactful manner,” Sparks said. “They want to understand what best practices are and are looking for more guidance.” Sparks noted that A4S plans to hold more workshops around CSRD in the future, as it sees increasing demand from the CFOs and financial professionals they meet with.

To see the original post, follow this link: https://www.greenbiz.com/article/how-new-eu-directive-will-rewrite-esg-reporting

3 challenges for making global sustainability strategies local

7 05 2023

Image via Shutterstock/Toria

They say “all politics are local.” So are effective sustainability strategies. By Danielle Allen, Sustainability Consultant, Salterbaxter via green biz.com • Reposted: May 7, 2023

Translating global corporate sustainability ambitions into local market strategies is necessary for accelerating progress — although it’s no simple task. 

Companies of different sizes and cultures face similar challenges and questions around how to meet the needs of local markets while moving globally in a unified direction — and managing a broader strategy rollout across markets at different stages of maturity. Just as sustainability teams see the brand and business opportunities of localizing sustainability, so do local market activist employees and communicators.

And yet, most companies aren’t communicating how their global strategies will play out locally — in their reporting or other channels. Beyond the occasional case study showing how an aspect of their sustainability pillars has been implemented at the local level, companies aren’t telling complete, data-driven stories.

As companies look to localize global sustainability strategies, there are three challenges they must address. 

1. Global sustainability strategies show the ‘big picture’ at the expense of the ‘true picture’

Global sustainability strategies must be broad and high level enough to account for all the differences of the diverse markets they cover. Global strategy is, in essence, a company average. 

But averages can deflect focus and investment from the solutions and regions that need it most — and where the greatest impact can be made. 

There can also be an inherent bias leading to a focus on the most pressing social and environmental issues of where the corporate headquarters is located. At Davos, many leaders acknowledged that a “one strategy fits all” global corporate approach will not drive innovation and deliver meaningful progress, and a regional picture of impact and action is needed. While global sustainability ambitions are important, sustainability leaders must understand that their location and the maturity of that market can influence the scale and type of ambitions being set and not adequately consider other local markets.

There’s been increased awareness and interest from local markets wanting to understand how they can take their company’s global sustainability goals and strategy and make them relevant to local stakeholders. One Australian food and drink business conducted a local materiality assessment that used global issues as a basis for stakeholder engagement. It enabled them to go deeper into the high-level company wide topics and understand how the specific topics translated to the local market. By understanding which aspects to dial up or down and what sub-topics were most material to the market, they were able to interpret their global strategy in a way that resonated with local understanding and needs. This local market information could then be used by global teams to prioritize resources and efforts.

2.  Local regulations are becoming global requirements

A market’s specific regulatory environment is a major factor in the necessary approach to sustainability. What’s bold and ambitious in one market may be mere compliance in another. 

Local regulations are becoming global requirements and impacting markets beyond a single local market. In January, the Germany supply chain act came into force, which requires suppliers for German companies to comply with new requirements related to human rights and environmental risks and violations. As the European Union prepares for its own supply chain regulations, global corporate teams need to be able to understand the cross-market implications and take appropriate action.

While global sustainability ambitions are important, sustainability leaders must understand that their location and the maturity of that market can influence the scale and type of ambitions being set and not adequately consider other local markets.

When setting global ambition levels, corporate teams should engage with local markets to understand the implications of global ambitions in those markets, including how the global strategy will be implemented in each market. Considering, and answering these questions, supports prioritization and implementation plans at a global and local level. Some questions to ask include:

  • Will each market be expected to deliver against the global targets equally? 
  • Will there be a minimum standard that all markets need to meet but where some markets will be hero markets?
  • Are markets able to adapt the strategy depending on their regulatory or cultural context? 
  • To what extent can global teams support local markets to set and deliver sustainability strategies through financial and resource support?
3. Top-down sustainability strategies fail to translate at the local level

The idea that global and local perspectives conflict is quickly going out of fashion. The very concept of “local” isn’t easily defined by country or city. Sometimes different countries can share more similarities than two cities in the same country. 

When working with a global strategy at a local level, common frustrations are around the slow responsiveness of global teams, the reluctance of ambition and the centralization of sustainability resources. An approach that allows markets to retain flexibility and freedom to set their own goals while having overarching, thematic goals has been a more promising approach allowing markets to adopt a matrix approach rather than relying on top-down pressure.

Thinking three-dimensionally allows one market to look horizontally for support in similar markets. Companies have found that other markets with similar politico-cultural makeup often have learnings that are invaluable in understanding how to set a localized strategy and the allies aren’t always the ones that are geographically closest. The Australian businesses found more similarities within the Canadian market than they did with closer neighbors. 

When sustainability teams are lean and global strategies rely on a law of averages, harnessing learnings from similar markets can be extremely valuable.

To succeed, companies must design bold strategies that are agile and adaptive. 

These must be built on incremental roadmaps and supported by strong internal and external governance models, which are based on constant feedback loops across the company ecosystem. This will ensure global and local teams have the flexibility to respond to internal and external priorities, can create relevant and actional narratives that go beyond averages and set a clear direction so that everyone, regardless of location, can get behind them and be a part of delivering progress.

To see the original post, follow this link: https://www.greenbiz.com/article/3-challenges-making-global-sustainability-strategies-local

How Retailers Are Embracing Sustainability With Circular Initiatives

5 05 2023

Let’s Change The Way We Shop’ sign outside Selfridges on Oxford Street. Photo: GETTY

By Clara Ludmir, Contributor via Forbes • Reposted May 5, 2023

With shoppers becoming increasingly mindful of their consumption choices, businesses are facing heightened scrutiny and pressure to meet new sustainability standards and adapt to evolving shopping habits. This is driving retailers to rethink their business models to make circularity part of their mindset and operations. So, how are retailers that weren’t born with sustainability at the core of their business concretely adapting to the circular momentum?

From Linear To Circular Business Models

Certain brands and retailers are paving the way for impactful mindset and operational shifts needed to truly put sustainability at the heart of their agenda. Luxury department store Selfridges developed a vision to reinvent retail through its ‘Project Earth’ initiative, built on three pillars: transitioning to sustainable materials, investing in new shopping models, and challenging the mindsets of its partners, teams and customers. In addition to aiming for net-zero carbon emissions by 2040, the retailer made a bold commitment: by 2030, 45% of transactions within the business will come from circular products and services.

Selfridges considers a transaction to be circular when it comes from a resale, rental, refill, repair or recycled product. This target is backed by continuous efforts and initiatives designed to accompany this ambitious strategic objective, such as the definition of specific targets to deliver a material transformation roadmap, new repair and rental services and in-store experiences to shift customer attitude towards circular shopping and consumption.

Rethinking The Product Life Cycle To Develop A Closed-loop System

Fashion brand Coach has also recently demonstrated its intent to take the circular momentum seriously through the launch of Coachtopia. Developed as a collaborative lab for innovation focused on circular craft, the launch marks a significant milestone for the company. Speaking to FashionNetwork.com at the label’s Regent Street flagship, Joon Silverstein, Coach’s SVP of Global Marketing and Sustainability and Head of Coachtopia, considers that this line is “rethinking the product life cycle from end to end. Creating beautiful new things from waste, designing to re-make at scale and ultimately working towards a closed loop system.” This approach is focused on producing items designed to have multiple lives, implying that they are created with the intent to be easily disassembled and repurposed into another product in the future.

In addition to embracing an innovative approach to designing products made from waste and meant to be recycled and repurposed, Coachtopia leveraged insights from a beta community of GenZ individuals to inspire and be inspired by a demographic that is more actively invested in climate change and the environment. “We believe very strongly that it’s important to create it not for these consumers but with them,” Silverstein told FashionNetwork.com, allowing this initiative to give a voice and platform to creatives and climate advocates excited to participate in disrupting fashion for the better.

The sub-brand offers a line of bags, wallets and ready-to-wear items that are available in Selfridges, Coach stores across North America and the brand’s US and UK sites.

In-Store Resale Offering Is Expanding

The second-hand apparel market is experiencing continuous growth, with sales expected to reach $350 billion by 2037 based on a report from resale platform thredUp. In the United States, 1 in 3 apparel items bought by women in 2022 was second-hand, with Millenials and GenZ responsible for more than half of the revenue. As a response to this growing demand, a number of retailers are designing in-store spaces dedicated to second-hand shopping through the launch of pop-ups, corners and own-brand initiatives.

Galeries Lafayette Paris
(RE)STORE space in Galeries Lafayette HaussmannGALERIES LAFAYETTE

In Paris, leading department stores have all started to welcome circularity through dedicated store spaces and offerings. For instance, the Galeries Lafayette Haussmann launched in 2021 a (RE)STORE space of 500 square meters dedicated to second-hand players and sustainable brands. In addition to hosting Monogram, a French luxury second-hand e-tailer, the space features a number of popular online resale shops as well as sustainable brands designing clothing or products made exclusively from offcuts and recycled materials.

Brands with a large retail footprint are evolving to embed circularity in their commercial model. For example, French baby and children’s clothing brand Petit Bateau is making space in its stores for second-hand clothing with the launch of its resale program, allowing customers to both purchase or sell second-hand items in-store. So far, around 20 stores in France are participating in the initiative, with a roll-out to other European countries and Japan expected in the next year. Petit Bateau aims to be the most durable brand in this segment, with products designed to be re-worn by multiple kids, thus almost naturally expected to embrace circularity. While today, only 1% of products sold come from this program, the brand’s CEO Guillaume Darrousez shared on French TV channel BFMTV that by 2030, 1 in 3 transactions will come from the circular economy, either through second-hand or rental products.

Adopting Circularity Is Key To Customer Acquisition And Retention

As of today, retailers are for the most part engaging in the circular momentum as a means to acquire and retain shoppers, rather than to grow profits. In fact, most brands launching their resale platform via a dedicated website struggle to make it a profitable endeavour. Luxury resale platform The RealReal has yet to find an attractive economic model, reporting a net loss of $196 million in 2022 and the closure of various retail locations, which highlights the sector’s struggle to make second-hand retail a scaleable and profitable business.

However, while retailers might not drive significant revenue from recycle, repair or resale initiatives just yet, these allow them to attract a new audience: as mentioned in thredUp’s 2023 resale report, 60% of the resale market’s growth will be attributed to new shoppers, stressing the rising interest for second-hand offerings. Considering the expected size of the resale market and growing pressure on brands to become more accountable and conscious of climate change, retailers are expected to get on board and adopt circularity on a bigger scale in the next five years.

By then, we might have the answer to the following question: will circularity – whether through recycling and reusing materials to produce new items or launching an in-house resale program – ever be scaleable and profitable? Or will it just represent a fraction of brands’ industrial and commercial operations while enabling them to showcase sustainable commitments?

To see the original post, follow this link: https://www.forbes.com/sites/claraludmir/2023/05/04/how-retailers-are-embracing-sustainability-with-circular-initiatives/?sh=189db1a83288

The thinking error that makes people susceptible to climate change denial

5 05 2023

Expecting black-and-white answers can make it hard to see the truth. 
bubaone via Getty Images

By Jeremy P. Shapiro, Adjunct Assistant Professor of Psychological Sciences, Case Western Reserve University via The Conversation • Reposted May 5, 2023

Cold spells often bring climate change deniers out in force on social media, with hashtags like #ClimateHoax and #ClimateScam. Former President Donald Trump often chimes in, repeatedly claiming that each cold snap disproves the existence of global warming.

From a scientific standpoint, these claims of disproof are absurd. Fluctuations in the weather don’t refute clear long-term trends in the climate

Yet many people believe these claims, and the political result has been reduced willingness to take action to mitigate climate change. Why are so many people susceptible to this type of disinformation? My field, psychology, can help explain – and help people avoid being misled.

The allure of black-and-white thinking

Close examination of the arguments made by climate change deniers reveals the same mistake made over and over again. That mistake is the cognitive error known as black-and-white thinking, also called dichotomous and all-or-none thinking. As I explain in my book “Finding Goldilocks,” black-and-white thinking is a source of dysfunction in mental health, relationships – and politics.

People are often susceptible to it because in many areas of life, dichotomous thinking does something helpful: It simplifies the world.

Binaries are easy to handle because there are only two possibilities to consider. When people face a spectrum of possibilities and nuance, they have to exert more mental effort. But when that spectrum is polarized into pairs of opposites, choices are clear and dramatic.

Image of a person showing arrows pointing in opposite directions the person might take.
Most things don’t fall neatly into only two choices. eyetoeyePIX via Getty Images

This mental labor-saving device is practical in many everyday situations, but it is a poor tool for understanding complicated realities – and the climate is complicated.

Sometimes, people divide the spectrum in asymmetric ways, with one side much larger than the other. For example, perfectionists often categorize their work as either perfect or unsatisfactory, so even good and very good outcomes are lumped together with poor ones in the unsatisfactory category. In dichotomous thinking like this, a single exception can tip a person’s view to one side. It’s like a pass/fail grading system in which 100% earns a pass and everything else gets an F.

With a grading system like this, it’s not surprising that opponents of climate action have found ways to reject global warming research, despite the overwhelming evidence.

Here’s how they do it:

The all-or-nothing problem

Climate change deniers simplify the spectrum of possible scientific consensus into two categories: 100% agreement or no consensus at all. If it’s not one, it’s the other.

A 2021 review of thousands of climate science papers and conference proceedings concluded that over 99% of studies have found that burning fossil fuels warms the planet. That’s not good enough for some skeptics. If they find one contrarian scientist somewhere, they categorize the idea of human-caused global warming as controversial and conclude that there is no basis for action.

Powerful economic interests are at work here: The fossil fuel industry has funded disinformation campaigns for years to create this kind of doubt about climate change, despite knowing that their products cause it and the consequences. Members of Congress have used that disinformation to block or weaken federal policies that could slow climate change.

Expecting a straight line in a variable world

In another example of black-and-white thinking, deniers argue that if global temperatures are not increasing at a perfectly consistent rate, there is no such thing as global warming. 

However, complex variables never change in a uniform way; they wiggle up and down in the short term even when exhibiting long-term trends. Most business data, such as revenues, profits and stock prices, do this too, with short-term fluctuations contained in long-term trends.

Charts showing Apple's changing stock price and global temperatures over time. Both have a saw-tooth pattern.
These two graphs have the same form: a long-term trend of major increase within which there are short-term fluctuations. CC BY-ND

Mistaking a cold snap for disproof of climate change is like mistaking a bad month for Apple stock for proof that Apple isn’t a good long-term investment. This error results from homing in on a tiny slice of the graph and ignoring the rest.

Failing to examine the gray area

Climate change deniers also mistakenly cite correlations below 100% as evidence against human-caused global warming. They triumphantly point out that sunspots and volcanic eruptions also affect the climate, even though evidence shows both have very little influence on long-term temperature rise in comparison to greenhouse gas emissions.

In essence, deniers argue that if fossil fuel burning is not all-important, it’s unimportant. They miss the gray area in between: Greenhouse gases are indeed just one factor warming the planet, but they’re the most important one and the factor humans can influence.

Charts showing impact of different forces on temperature. Natural sources have little variation, but the upward swing of temperatures corresponds closely with rising greenhouse gas emissions.
Influences on global temperature over time. 4th National Climate Assessment

‘The climate has always been changing’ – but not like this

As increases in global temperatures have become obvious, some climate change skeptics have switched from denying them to reframing them.

Their oft-repeated line, “The climate has always been changing,” typically delivered with an air of patient wisdom, is based on a striking lack of knowledge about the evidence from climate research.

Their reasoning is based on an invalid binary: Either the climate is changing or it’s not, and since it’s always been changing, there is nothing new here and no cause for concern.

However, the current warming is on par with nothing humans have ever seen, and intense warming events in the distant past were planetwide disasters that caused massive extinctions – something we do not want to repeat.

As humanity faces the challenge of global warming, we need to use all our cognitive resources. Recognizing the thinking error at the root of climate change denial could disarm objections to climate research and make science the basis of our efforts to preserve a hospitable environment for our future.

To see the original post, follow this link: https://theconversation.com/the-thinking-error-that-makes-people-susceptible-to-climate-change-denial-204607

Bridging the Sustainability Trust Gap in a Climate-Challenged World

3 05 2023

Image: Getty

Despite growing corporate efforts to drive sustainable change and climate action, there’s an underlying issue: a lack of consumer trust towards companies’ claims on this front. By Dr. Rebecca Swift, Global Head of Creative Insights at Getty Images from Sustainable Brands • Reposted: May 3, 2023

Around the world, major environmental events and extreme weather conditions have pushed climate change to top of mind for people worldwide. According to iStock and Getty ImagesVisualGPS research, “climate change” ranks top of the list of concerns for individuals across the globe — higher than inflation, the energy crises, or issues surrounding world peace.

However, there is still a general sense of ambiguity on who is accountable for driving forward actions to combat climate risks — is it the government? Big businesses? Or are individuals most responsible? Our insights tell us people globally believe it is a shared responsibility; yet each actor’s expectations seem to be first on others, rather than on themselves.

Historically, across different industries, ad campaigns have promoted the idea of individual responsibility. We are used to seeing visuals highlighting individual sustainable practices — from recycling to biking to using reusable shopping bags. All of these concepts, mostly driven by brands and policies, reinforce the idea that sustainability is an individual responsibility.

On the other hand, as VisualGPS found, individuals believe that government is the primary agent responsible for dealing with sustainability efforts and environmental concerns related to global climate change; and that businesses are as responsible as individuals for protecting the planet and enacting sustainable practices.

Since the first UN Climate Change Conference held in 1995, people have been able to follow some countries’ governments’ progress in dealing with climate change issues, while also seeing how corporate philanthropy evolved into impactful CSR programs. Today, 7 out of 10 individuals around the globe believe they have made a lot of progress toward living a more environmentally sustainable life, VisualGPS found.

Nonetheless, despite all involved agents taking part in making a change — denoting a high level of climate awareness — there’s an underlying issue yet to be solved: VisualGPS also revealed a lack of consumer trust towards companies’ claims on this front. More than 80 percent of consumers believe products are made to seem environmentally friendlier than they are, followed by distrust of products that are labeled ”environmentally friendly” as a marketing ploy; and they believe companies claim they abide by ESG (Environmental, social, and governance) standards but do not show enough evidence for it.

The 2023 Edelman Trust Barometer reported an average five-to-one margin of respondents who want businesses to play a bigger, not smaller, role in addressing climate change. The same research found respondents have low trust in the government; in contrast, businesses continue to gain trust around the world and are the sole institution seen as competent and ethical — showing companies are uniquely positioned to bridge the sustainability trust gap, fill the void left by governments, and showcase the invaluable role they play in addressing climate change.

When it comes to deciding which company to use or buy from, 84 percent of people believe it is important that a company uses sustainable business practices and extends these to their products; yet more than half claim it’s too much work to research what brands are actively doing to mitigate climate risks. Knowing most consumers make purchase decisions based on visual content — and also expect brands to take a public stand and drive real action on social and environmental issues — companies and brands can lean on better visuals to tell their sustainability story and make their efforts known to engage with consumers.

Regularly, visuals related to environmentalism and sustainability rely on familiar visual clichés— think, the lone polar bear or hands cupping a sapling — unimaginatively used to convey environmental issues. Many brands also focus on conceptual images and videos that are too abstract to stand out or resonate in a crowded visual landscape. Instead, businesses could focus on large-scale (often policy-backed) visuals — such as actions in the realm of infrastructure, renewable energy, agriculture, water conservation, or management of green spaces — imagery representing topics and initiatives that could transcend the barrier of practices often seen as greenwashing.

As the climate crisis accelerates, consumers are becoming more knowledgeable about what is sustainable; how our decisions, products and policies impact the environment; who is responsible — and whether or not they trust corporate and government sustainability claims. In turn, businesses should look to visual images and messaging that rise to the occasion.

To see the original post, follow this link: https://sustainablebrands.com/read/marketing-and-comms/bridging-sustainability-trust-gap-climate-challenged-world

2 leaders on the need for organizational transformation towards sustainability

3 05 2023

Photo: WEF

By Nadine Sterley, Chief Sustainability Officer, GEA and Judith Wiese, Chief People and Sustainability Officer and Member of the Managing Board, Siemens from the World Economic Forum • Reposted: May 3, 2023

  • Corporate sustainability has become a crucial strategic imperative.
  • Sustainability leaders are pivotal in shaping organizational change.
  • Two leaders share their thoughts on how this can be achieved.

The need for critical action to achieve climate and nature goals has elevated the role of the Chief Sustainability Officer (CSO). The private sector will play a key role in multistakeholder partnerships to actualize the impact on climate and nature. 

However, this cannot be achieved without a human-centred approach, making the Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO) role also essential for sustainability transformation.

Within the private sector, CSOs and CHROs will shape fundamental strategies for organizational change to catalyze sustainable habits in organizations and individuals. 

“Sustainability, HR and organizational change can influence companies and their value chains” 

Nadine Sterley, Chief Sustainability Officer, GEA Group

As the world is confronted with the consequences of the climate crisis and other environmental challenges, acting sustainably is becoming increasingly essential in companies. This is true both from a strategic point of view as well as with regard to innovations and successful recruiting. At the same time, the breadth of sustainability topics is increasing year-on-year. 

The growing importance for companies to act sustainably and report on their sustainability performance has elevated the role of the Chief Sustainability Officer (CSO). Sustainability has evolved from being a niche function to a strategic one. CSOs are expected to take a key role in leading their organizations towards sustainable business practices. At GEA, the CSO role belongs to the inner circle of the company’s decision-making. It plays a crucial role in helping its executives and the entire workforce to easier understand, reasonably measure and adequately report on sustainability impacts, risks and opportunities.

As sustainability has fundamental strategic importance, GEA has put the topic at the heart of its strategic approach. In fact, sustainability is the core theme in GEA’s corporate purpose, “Engineering for a better world”, from which the company’s vision is derived: “We safeguard future generations by providing sustainable solutions for the nutrition and pharmaceutical industries.”

Moreover, sustainability has its own pillar within GEA’s Mission 26 corporate strategy and underpins the other six key levers. Taken together, they form the roadmap to ensure GEA achieves its targets. Within this framework, the CSO works strategically to ensure sustainability is integrated into all business activities and the entire company. This requires adept networking and advocacy skills and the ability to connect the dots within and outside the organization to drive sustainability transformation.

However, as important as they are, neither strategy, nor the organization or the products on their own are enough to make the key difference. What matters most to achieving real transformational change and becoming a truly sustainable company is the mindset, behaviour and commitment of a company’s employees. To help their organization succeed, employees need to be engaged, empowered, and assume a key role in the transformation. And this is where the human resources function must become part of the game. It can create a supportive environment that fosters a sustainable mindset and behaviour. It also plays a critical role in hiring and helping ensure new employees understand and embrace company values.

GEA is taking this aspect very seriously. Of GEA’s five values, the first one is: “Responsibility: We care for people and planet.” Internally and externally, our CEO, Stefan Klebert, has made it his personal mission to promote this value, thus setting the tone for all employees.

The clarity and importance placed on caring for people and planet, reinforced by GEA’s corporate purpose: “Engineering for a better world”, serve as a promise to current and future employees. This has already had a positive impact on our goal to become “Employer of Choice” in our industry. Likewise, our values and purpose set a clear expectation toward all employees and, consequently, any people-related decisions.

In addition to requesting a driving mindset towards sustainability from all employees, GEA is significantly investing in the competency development of its business leaders. Just recently, the top 160 leaders of the company, went through a comprehensive programme with a renowned business school that was strongly focused on identifying new ways of leveraging sustainability as a source for competitive advantage.

Building on that, the company’s leadership teams are now expected to develop their own strategies to create additional value for their customers by offering products and solutions that allow a reduction of energy, water, or waste. To encourage even more innovation in these areas, we set up cross-function and cross-divisional sustainability-focused hackathons to spark creativity.

As of 2023, a significant proportion of GEA’s senior leaders will participate in a variable compensation plan which is linked to GEA achieving its sustainability-related targets. For example, the reduction of CO2 emissions in GEA’s own plants and along entire supply chains will lead to higher compensation, as will the development of more efficient products that support customers in achieving their sustainability targets.

With the support of our employees, GEA is not only driving its own sustainability transformation but also the transformation of the many industries it supports through engineering excellence.

“Being Chief People and Sustainability Officer is a game changing superpower”

Judith Wiese, Chief People and Sustainability Officer and Member of the Managing Board, Siemens

The challenges to human (co-)existence on the planet from resource depletion, climate change, and unsustainable practices of the industrial age are undeniable. In the corporate world, the broader attention needed to handle sustainability issues is generally allocated to the role of the Chief Sustainability Officer (CSO). There are, however, no universal standards for what this function does or how much authority it has to be effective. At Siemens, the CSO role has been a board-level position since 2008, underscoring the importance of sustainability as a building block of our DNA and setting a strong foundation to build on. And that’s what we do, every day.

As Chief People and Sustainability Officer (CPSO) at Siemens, I have the unique opportunity to wear two hats: one for ensuring the well-being of our people and nurturing our company culture, and one for advancing sustainable practices in our own operations and all aspects of our business – multiplying the impact for our customers and communities. For me, this is a superpower. It joins two powerful elements that run horizontally across all our businesses: people and sustainability – both necessary if solutions are to be found for solving the most critical issues of our time. Add in the power of technology that Siemens brings as a technology company, and you have an unstoppable combination that actively supports the mindset shift needed for achieving a more sustainable world.

At Siemens, our push for sustainable business practices is encompassed in our 360-degree framework, containing six fields of action: Decarbonization, Ethics, Governance, Resource Efficiency, Equity, and Employability or DEGREE. Our DEGREE framework is, among other things, a commitment to ethical standards based on trust and respect for human rights in the supply chain. 

DEGREE allows a holistic view of sustainability that puts people topics like employability and equity, as well as environmental and societal impact topics, in focus. We encourage continuous learning and are committed to re- and upskilling, especially green skills. In the last fiscal year, we invested €280 million in professional training and continued education to transform our workforce into sustainability ambassadors. Our highly popular Base Camp for Sustainability offers an introduction to DEGREE and 66,000 participants have completed the course already in FY23.

We value the E for Equity that helps us integrate and promote diversity, equity, and inclusion into the fabric of our company. It helps us create a workforce that reflects our customer landscape and brings a fresh perspective to the way we think about creating solutions. The intersection of people’s interests with our company values creates a sense of belonging and engagement that we both admire and appreciate.

Combining the responsibilities for sustainability and people operations allows social aspects to be complemented by proficiency in the environmental and corporate governance spheres. At Siemens, with sustainability at the core of our processes, we need relevant skillsets across our business units and corporate functions. This allows sustainable approaches to be developed in an ecosystem manner, observing the cross-functional and business governance standards required to comply with new EU Taxonomy regulations and develop non-financial reporting and accounting guidelines.

To effect change, a cultural and organizational transformation and mindset shift are necessary. The convergence of people and sustainability can be a useful tool to speed up the momentum of much-needed change in all aspects of our existence. Indeed, for a company like Siemens – undergoing the transformation from industry to global technology leader – sustainability is a tremendous opportunity. Crucially, this applies both to our own operations and to our portfolio. We have increased our CO2 reduction target from 50% to 90% by 2030, compared to 2019, and will invest €650 million in decarbonizing our activities by 2030. But our products and solutions can also help our customers with their sustainability challenges – ~150 Mio tons of emissions were avoided by customers in FY22 alone.

Those companies that recognize the power of this combination will be well positioned to be drivers of innovation and growth, increase employee engagement, and mitigate the challenges associated with rapid transformation.

As a company at the intersection of the real and digital worlds, we at Siemens believe that technology is a key driver of sustainability. Embracing a holistic view that goes beyond environmental topics, we anchor sustainability firmly in all our business and operations. We are confident that leveraging the superpower combination of technology, people and sustainability can make a difference and transform the lives of billions.

To see the original post, follow this link: https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2023/05/leaders-need-for-organizational-transformation-sustainability/

Ethical Marketing: 4 Values All Brands Should Strive For

3 05 2023

Photo: Getty Images

By Jeff Bradfor, PR pro, president of Dalton Agency’s Nashville office, author of “The Joy of Propaganda: The How and Why of Public Relations and Marketing.” via Forbes • Reposted: May 3, 2023

Today, consumers demand that companies not only offer quality products and services but also behave ethically in their marketing practices. Ethical behavior is a critical aspect of building long-term relationships with consumers.

In this article, I will list what I believe are the fundamental, perennial philosophical values that guide ethical marketing—values that have guided the work of our PR agency for the past 23 years—and describe how brands have implemented them in their strategies.


Honesty means telling the truth, being transparent and avoiding deception. In the past, many companies have used deceptive tactics in their marketing practices to gain a competitive advantage. However, with the rise of social media and other digital channels, such tactics are easily exposed and can damage a brand’s reputation.

An example of deception is Volkswagen’s diesel emissions scandal. The company admitted to using software that could detect when its cars were being tested for emissions and then adjust the performance to pass the test. However, in real-world driving conditions, the cars emitted up to 40 times the legal limit of nitrogen oxide. The company faced massive backlash, with many consumers feeling betrayed and questioning the brand’s ethics.

On the positive side, Tylenol dramatically demonstrated how to honestly and openly respond to a crisis during the infamous Tylenol tampering incident in 1982, in which several people died after taking Tylenol laced with potassium cyanide. The company quickly and completely shared information about the incident and took a huge financial hit by removing and destroying all products on the market at the time. Not only did Tylenol’s honesty save lives, but it also saved the company’s reputation. Within a year of the incident, sales of Tylenol had rebounded to pre-incident levels—and the company was widely praised for its ethical response to a tragedy that cost it over $100 million.

Respect For Individual Rights

This includes respecting privacy, data protection and avoiding discrimination. Consumers have the right to control their personal data and decide how it is used by companies. Brands must ensure they are transparent about their data collection and usage practices and obtain explicit consent from consumers.

A recent example of this is the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the European Union. Brands that prioritize individual rights and respect consumer privacy are more likely to build trust and loyalty with consumers.

Respect For Human Dignity

Brands must recognize the inherent worth and value of each person and treat them accordingly. In marketing, respect for human dignity means avoiding tactics that exploit or manipulate consumers, such as intentional deception.

For instance, while influencer marketing can be an effective way for businesses to reach new audiences, some influencers have been criticized for promoting products that they do not actually use or endorse, or for promoting products that may be harmful or unethical. This lack of authenticity and transparency can be seen as a violation of respect for human dignity.


Marketers have a responsibility to ensure that their marketing efforts do not harm people or society. They should also be responsible for ensuring that their products or services are safe and reliable.

For example, in 2019, a well-known vaping brand was criticized for its marketing practices, which contributed to the rise of teenage vaping. The company had used colorful packaging and social media influencers to target young people, despite knowing that its products were highly addictive and harmful. The company’s marketing practices had undermined the common good and contributed to a public health crisis.

Another example of irresponsibility is the issue of greenwashing, the practice of making false or misleading claims about the environmental benefits of a product or service. It has become a significant problem, as consumers are becoming more aware of environmental issues and are looking for sustainable products. Companies are being urged to be more transparent about their environmental practices and ensure that their marketing efforts are responsible.


Ethical marketing is critical for building trust and long-term relationships with consumers. Brands that prioritize honesty, responsibility and respect for individual rights and human dignity will not only meet consumer expectations but also set themselves apart from their competitors. By implementing these values in their marketing strategies, brands can create a positive impact on society while also driving business success.

To see the original post, follow this link: https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesagencycouncil/2023/05/02/ethical-marketing-4-values-all-brands-should-strive-for/?sh=199547681f79

The Climate Science Behind Managing Disaster Risk

2 05 2023

Tourists try to stay dry in a flooded St Mark’s Square in Venice, Italy, in 2018. Flooding in the region has only intensified in recent years. Image credit: Jonathan Ford/Unsplash

By Joyce Coffee from Triplepundit.com • Reposted: May 2, 2023

It has become de rigueur for companies eager to reduce their climate-related disaster risks to sign up with groups that focus on assisting corporate clients with their climate change challenges. 

The Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi), for one, helps the private sector set science-based emissions reduction targets. It’s a partnership between CDP, the United Nations Global Compact, the World Resources Institute and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF). Another, the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures, offers guidelines for how companies can report their exposure to physical climate-related risks, among other things.

The assistance these groups provide is timely. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which protects investors and regulates publicly-held companies’ disclosures, is considering rules to require public companies to provide climate risk-related financial data. And most (if not all) U.N. agencies and other international climate change-related programs recognize the need to address disaster risks and other forms of climate risk worldwide. 

But do these groups follow climate science? That question arose last month when a distinguished engineer openly questioned climate science in a presentation to the U.N. Disaster Risk Reduction Private Sector Alliance for Disaster Resilient Societies (ARISE) and its growing membership of U.S. corporate leaders. “We don’t know if climate change is happening now, and we don’t know if it will happen in the future,” he contended.

Peruse any legitimate climate source, and it’s nigh impossible to question climate science, whether our planet is warming and the effects of greenhouse gas emissions. The U.N. has a growing set of resources, among them:

As the U.N. plainly asserts: “It is unequivocal that human influence has warmed the atmosphere, ocean and land. Widespread and rapid changes in the atmosphere, ocean, cryosphere and biosphere have occurred.” 

ARISE, whose U.S. arm I co-chair, follows the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction. The latest documents of the Framework — the 2015 U.N.-adopted document that calls for assessing and reporting progress on disaster-reduction plans — emphasize that disaster risks “are growing at an unprecedented rate globally, inflicting damage across sectors and vital systems for human societies and economies.”

It also maintains: “We are living outside the boundaries of what our planet can sustain, to the detriment of future generations. Radical shifts are needed to change course toward a more sustainable and risk-informed pathway, as the world is facing a projected 40 percent increase in disasters during the lifetime of the Sendai Framework to 2030.” 

The Framework cites climate change on over half of its 140 pages, and the No. 1 commitment of the U.N. Plan of Action on Disaster Risk Reduction for Resilience is to take a risk-informed approach. 

We must also heed another distinguished engineer, U.N. Secretary General António Guterres, who earned a degree in the field from the Instituto Superior Técnico in Portugal back in 1949. “Greenhouse gas emissions keep growing, global temperatures keep rising, and our planet is fast approaching tipping points that will make climate chaos irreversible,” he told CNBC last year. “We are on a highway to climate hell with our foot still on the accelerator.” 

And we must promote companies looking to the SBTi and others for assistance in mitigating disaster risks.  Onward with this important work!

Joyce Coffee headshot

Joyce Coffee, LEED AP, is founder and President of Climate Resilience Consulting. She is an accomplished organizational strategist and visionary leader with over 25 years of domestic and international experience in the corporate, government and non-profit sectors implementing resilience and sustainability strategies, management systems, performance measurement, partnerships, benchmarking and reporting.

To see the original post, follow this link: https://www.triplepundit.com/story/2023/disaster-risks-climate-science/773221

Smart tech can boost business sustainability in 6 key areas

2 05 2023

Photo: Getty Images

Graham Rihn, Founder & CEO of RoadRunner Recycling, discusses how smart technology can boost a business’s sustainability credentials in six key areas. By Graham Rihn from Sustainability Magazine • Reposted: May 2, 2023

More and more, business leaders are identifying that sustainability initiatives are not only beneficial for climate change, but can also have positive impacts on a company’s bottom line, when executed effectively. 

Resultantly, companies are investing in smart technology like AI, machine learning, and blockchain to help accelerate and streamline sustainability efforts, operate more efficiently and drive shareholder value.

While businesses, especially those with large national or global footprints, often face the challenge of scalability when it comes to implementing sustainability action plans across a variety of locations, a recent PriceWaterhouseCooper study found that more than 70% of sustainable goals could be accelerated through technology adoption.

New technologies can step into this arena to help businesses overcome these challenges among others. Here are six areas of sustainability businesses can improve with the help of tools such as AI, machine learning, and blockchain development. 

Energy Efficiency

Businesses can optimise energy efficiency through data analysis, and, in turn, identify opportunities for reduced energy consumption and potentially lower bills. For example, connected sensor technology can adjust lighting and air conditioning to occupancy levels. Fewer people in the office can equate to less energy usage. Industrial manufacturing company, Siemens, uses machine learning to optimise data center energy consumption. In the process, the company cut energy costs by 10% and carbon emissions by 16%. 

Renewable Energy

A major challenge for businesses involving climate change is sourcing energy that does not come from burning fossil fuels. In 2019, burning fossil fuels accounted for 74% of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. 

Businesses that choose renewable energy sources can use AI to increase efficiency and reduce their carbon footprint. Google installed a 1.6 MW solar array at its company headquarters as part of its plan to wholly utilise carbon-free energy by 2030. They use AI to maximise the use of that clean energy across data centers, shifting energy-intensive processes to the times of day when the most electricity is available. 

Investing in renewables, committing to optimising green energy production, and employing technology to optimise usage can yield dividends in terms of climate change.

Sustainable Supply Chain

Supply chain transparency is essential for building a sustainable business and negating climate change, but tracing a product’s journey is no easy task. Blockchain technology can step in to help a business ensure sustainable sourcing methods are utilised for raw materials. Walmart recently partnered with IBM to implement a blockchain based supply chain tracking system to follow products and materials.

Before applying technology to the supply chain, it took a team more than six days to find the source of a package of mangoes being sold at a store location. Working with IBM, that team could eventually trace each package in less than three seconds. Sustainable sourcing can help businesses reduce emissions, better manage climate risks, and even streamline operations.

Sustainable Product Design

Analysing product performance data can be accomplished through AI algorithms that optimise product design for energy efficiency and recyclability. 

As of 2010, Nike employed AI and machine learning to design a sustainable running shoe made with recyclable materials that maintained their standards of durability and athletic performance. The carbon footprint of the product was reduced by 30%

Applying technology to product design can mean reductions in energy usage and carbon emissions for businesses.

Waste and Recycling Management

Sustainability measures are not only important at a product’s creation, but also when it reaches the end of its usable life. Waste accounts for an estimated 20% of methane emissions across the world. 

Today, new technologies can analyse waste generation to identify areas in which organisations can reduce waste output. Waste metering technology is able to monitor the types and volumes of waste being generated to optimise service. It can also identify areas for increased recycling or waste elimination. 

One example, the city of Amsterdam implemented an AI-based application in 2021 that can detect garbage and recycling on the street. It automatically maps the area and once the material is identified by the AI in real time, the information is shared with the city’s waste management department to clean up. The application is able to quickly solve waste disposal issues in Amsterdam at scale.

ESG Reporting

Embracing technologies that aid in implementing sustainable changes to businesses can also enable better, more accurate ESG reporting. Disclosing this type of information could soon become a requirement with potential new SEC Scope 3 emissions reporting rules coming in 2023 and technology adoption can help businesses be well-prepared.

Many businesses find that with the use of AI and sensor technology that data quality is improved, reporting processes can be automated, the technology can identify risks and opportunities, and they are better able to forecast future trends. 

Microsoft uses AI-based carbon management software and Internet of Things for its AI for Earth programme. It can measure, manage, and find ways to reduce an organisation’s carbon footprint. That can be an attractive metric to investors measuring a company by its ESG score. Cutting emissions usually means a reduction in energy use which often translates to lower costs. Using AI for data collection and predictive analytics can provide a powerful avenue to find new methods of driving sustainability solutions. 

Why apply technology to sustainability

Implementing these tools as part of a holistic sustainability program allows companies to find solutions that fit their needs and sets your business up for success in both the short- and long-term. 

Smart technologies can help us accelerate the road to a more sustainable future, and the time to start is now. Implementing this technology now prepares your business for a future in which sustainability will have a bigger impact on the bottom line. 

In fact, more than 74% of institutional investors said they would divest from companies with a poor environmental track record. 

AI, machine learning, and blockchain technology can push businesses to achieve goals such as Zero Waste and carbon neutrality, while preparing you for the expectations of tomorrow, today. 

To see the original post, follow this link: https://sustainabilitymag.com/articles/smart-tech-boosts-business-sustainability-in-6-key-areas

Your iPhone Contains More Recycled Materials Than You Thought

1 05 2023

Image credits: Bagus Hernawan/Unsplash and Apple 

By Gary E. Frank from triplepundit.com • Reposted: May 1, 2023

Mobile devices like Apple’s iPhone contain at least 30 chemical elements — from common metals like aluminum, copper, lithium, silver and gold, to rare earth elements like yttrium, terbium, lanthanum, neodymium and dysprosium, all of which are extracted from the earth through mining.

Apple is looking to reduce demand for these elements and others by quietly expanding its use of recycled content. The company reached a new high for recycled materials in 2021, with nearly 20 percent recycled content across all products, according to its 2022 Environmental Progress Report released last week. It also introduced certified recycled gold for the first time in 2021, and more than doubled the use of recycled tungsten, rare earth elements and cobalt, the company reported. 

Recovering more materials for use in future products helps reduce mining. For example, a single metric ton of iPhone components contains the same amount of gold and copper that’s typically extracted from 2,000 metric tons of mined rock. 

“We are making real progress in our work to address the climate crisis and to one day make our products without taking anything from the earth,” Lisa Jackson, Apple’s vice president of environment, policy and social initiatives, said in a public statement. “Our rapid pace of innovation is already helping our teams use today’s products to build tomorrow’s.”

Increasingly, that means the use of recycling robots like Daisy, which the company says can disassemble up to 1.2 million phones a year and recover key materials like rare earths. With recently enhanced capability, Daisy can now take apart 23 models of iPhone, and Apple has offered to license the robot’s patents to other companies and researchers free of charge.

apple daisy iphone recycling robot
Apple’s first recycling robot, Daisy, can disassemble up to 1.2 million phones each year, helping Apple recover more valuable materials for recycling, according to the company. 

Apple rolled out Taz, a cousin to Daisy, last year — which uses “shredder-like technology” to recover more rare earth elements from devices. An additional robot, Dave, disassembles taptic engines, the technology that provides users with tactile feedback to simulate actions, such as clicks on a stationary touch screen. These steps help in the recovery of valuable rare earth magnets, tungsten and steel, the company said. 

All totaled, Apple products that came off the assembly lines in 2021 included 45 percent certified recycled rare earth elements, the company’s highest mark ever. 

The company has also committed to extend product lifetimes through refurbishment. It reported sending more than 12 million devices and accessories to new owners for reuse in 2021, extending their lifetime and reducing the need for future mining. In the long term, Apple aims to use only renewable or recyclable materials in its products, a goal announced in 2017.

The company’s 2022 report also highlighted its progress toward achieving carbon neutrality by 2030. In a year when many other companies saw large increases in their footprints and the company’s revenue grew by 33 percent, Apple’s net emissions remained flat. The company has been carbon neutral for its global operations since 2020, including 100 percent renewable energy used to power all offices, stores and data centers since 2018.

And Apple says it’s spreading the gospel of renewables, with Apple suppliers more than doubling their use of clean power from 2020 to 2021, according to the report. As of April 2023, 213 of the company’s manufacturing partners have pledged to power all Apple production with renewables across 25 countries.

The company has also reduced plastic in its packaging by 75 percent since 2015, on the way eliminating plastic packaging entirely by 2025.

To see the original post, follow this link: https://www.triplepundit.com/story/2023/apple-iphone-recycled-materials/772961

United Nations: Global sustainability goals are in ‘deep trouble’

1 05 2023

Image: sustainability-times.com

By Laureen Fagan from sustainability-times/.com • Reposted: May 1, 2023

Global progress on achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) has been stalled, with the COVID-19 pandemic and conflict in Ukraine causing setbacks that threaten achievement of the 2030 goals.

“It’s time to sound the alarm. At the midway point on our way to 2030, the SDGs are in deep trouble,” said the new interim report, previewed this week. “A preliminary assessment of the roughly 140 targets with data show only about 12% are on track.”

For example, 575 million people (about 7% of the world’s population) will still be living in extreme poverty in 2030 if current trends hold. That compares to 800 million in 2015 (10.8%). “The COVID-19 pandemic reversed three decades of steady progress with the number of people living in extreme poverty increasing for the first time in a generation,” the report said. Some 70 million were pushed back into extreme poverty since 2019.

There have been successes: child mortality rates continue to fall, progress on HIV prevention and treatment continues, and there are gains on electricity access in poor countries. Renewable energy and an increased number of marine protected areas are bright spots. But on far too many measures, including climate-related goals, more is needed.

At this rate, some 660 million people will still lack power and renewable energy will still be a fraction of the mix in 2030. Climate finance is falling short and debt relief is increasingly critical in the developing world. Food security (SDG2) and safe water access (SDG6) are threatened as more people are affected by climate impacts.

“The world is on the brink of a climate catastrophe and current actions and plans to address the crisis are insufficient. Without transformative action starting now and within this decade to reduce greenhouse gas emissions deeply and rapidly in all sectors, the 1.5°C target will be at risk and with it the lives of more than three billion people,” the report said.

“Failure to act leads to intensifying heatwaves, droughts, flooding, wildfires, sea-level rise, and famines. Emissions should already be decreasing now and will need to be cut almost by half by 2030 – a mere seven years from now.”

Guterres is appealing for “deep reforms of the international financial architecture” through international lenders and development banks, including SDG stimulus funds of at least US$500 billion per year to assist low-income nations with their plans for the SDG targets.

“Many developing countries cannot invest in the SDGs because they face a financing black hole. Before the pandemic, the annual SDG funding gap was $2.5 trillion. According to the OECD, that figure is now at least $4.2 trillion,” said Guterres. “And many developing countries are buried under a mountain of debt.”

The interim report was released ahead of the UN General Assembly’s high-level Economic and Social Council meeting in July and, ultimately, the SDG summit in September.

To see the original post, follow this link: https://www.sustainability-times.com/low-carbon-energy/un-sdgs-global-sustainability-goals-are-in-deep-trouble/

Three Things Companies Should Consider When Targeting Gen Z

29 04 2023

Photo: Getty Images

By David Herpers, Forbes Councils Member via forbes.com • Reposted: April 29, 2023

As Generation Z begins to harness its buying power and make significant financial decisions, competition for its attention grows. For companies hoping to capture this generation’s business, it’s important to understand the way they view their finances and how they engage with a brand. While Gen Z’s relationship with money and brands is similar to that of its older siblings, millennials, it’s certainly not the same. Let’s look at how Gen Z approaches finances and consumer brands.

Money Habits

As with the members of any younger generation, we tend to expect Gen Z to have irresponsible spending habits and not to be the biggest savers. Studies show this isn’t the case.

Gen Z tends to spend less and save more than the other generations, contributing an average of $867 in savings per month, almost doubling what the average American saves each month ($462). One may find themselves asking, is Gen Z more fiscally responsible than the rest of us?

The answer is yes and no. One main factor leading to the high monthly average of savings is many Gen Zers still live at home. According to a 2022 study by Credit Karma, Gen Z is setting records for the number of people living with their parents following high school education. With costs of living at an all-time high, most Gen Zers are making the decision to stay home in the best interest of their short- and long-term financial security.

That said, there’s still a large portion of Gen Z that chooses to spend over saving. However, those that fall into the spending category are still taking a cautious approach. Over 68% of Gen Zers use a budgeting tool of some sort to manage their finances. Of those surveyed, 43% say they prefer the old-fashioned pen-and-paper method, while 38%, respectively, say they use online budgeting tools.

Brand Enthusiasm

Gen Zers’ cautious nature isn’t exclusive to their housing and higher costs. It extends to their relationships with brands as well. When looking at the relationship between Gen Z and brands, a recent IBM study measured brand loyalty (repeated purchases) and brand enthusiasm (active engagement between brands and customers).

According to the IBM study, Gen Z is more likely to display brand enthusiasm over brand loyalty. Known as the “generation of researchers,” this is likely due to Gen Z’s habit of turning to online platforms for reviews before making even small purchases.

Rather than committing to a brand they are familiar with, Gen Zers will evaluate all options, taking into consideration customer and influencer reviews, social media presence and value alignment. When they find a brand that checks all their boxes, they are eager to share and engage with it. But keep in mind, should the brand harm the relationship in some way, Gen Zers quickly move to purchase from a competitor.

An advantage of appealing to brand enthusiasm, as noted by IBM, is that it creates opportunities to gain insight into customers’ attitudes and purchasing habits in relation to a brand. Companies get to have conversations with customers about what they want rather than guessing. And we already have insight into what Gen Z customers crave.


While millennials may stray away from content that’s been highly edited and airbrushed and that poses perfect “promises,” Gen Z has taken it to the next level—by adeptly recognizing the differences between real and fake online content. As the first generation born into social media and becoming more tech-savvy than generations so far, Gen Z is quick to identify fantasy versus reality. According to IBM’s study of Gen Z’s relationships with brands, it’s clear this generation places a high value on a brand’s authenticity and prefers real content over staged content.

The concept of authenticity extends beyond advertising and product images for Gen Z; it includes the company’s impact. According to a 2019 Kearney study, 57% of Gen Z reports a brand’s social and environmental impacts are key factors in its purchasing decision. But a statement about a brand’s commitment isn’t enough to sway the generation of researchers. In fact, Gen Z will go out of its way to find—and even pay slightly more for—a product or service if it means the purchase aligns with its values.

As Gen Z’s influence on the market and society continues to grow, companies and brands can best position themselves for success by aligning with the values and habits of this generation. With a large number of consumers that can take the success of a brand into their own hands, keep in mind their financial concerns, engagement expectations and craving for authentic content, as these are likely essential to keep a brand afloat in the rise of this new generation.

David Herpers is the SVP of Digital Bank at Credit One Bank. His expertise includes wealth management, banking and product management.

To see the original post, follow this link: https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesfinancecouncil/2023/04/28/three-things-companies-should-consider-when-targeting-gen-z/?sh=1c1847f71a5d

4 Strategies for Bridging the Sustainability Skills Gap

29 04 2023


While it may be tempting to take a ‘wait and see’ approach, more and more companies are developing their own solutions to mitigate this gap internally. Here are four such strategies. By JOANNA BUCZKOWSKA-MCCUMBER via Sustainablebrands.com • Reposted: April 29, 2023

Businesses across industries are under mounting pressure to adopt sustainable practices, reduce their environmental impact, and provide ESG reporting and transparency in their efforts while staying accountable to their commitments. As demand for sustainability grows, so does the need for skilled professionals and workers who can drive and implement strategy and practices effectively across organizations and supply chains. However, most companies do not have the talent with the knowledge, experience and skills to achieve their sustainability goals.

Companies are recognizing that the demand for sustainability talent is outpacing the supply; and the gap is only growing — as sustainability roles expand and new ones get created, a Corporate Sustainability Officer is just not enough. The International Labour Organization suggests that 18 million net new jobs could be created worldwide by net-zero commitments by 2030. Recent research found that 82 percent of sustainability executives believed there were significant skills gaps within their own organization to tackle sustainability requirements. The World Economic Forum has directly linked the lack of qualified talent as being one of the significant barriers to implementing sustainability strategies; while the UN Global Compact has called for direct action to address this skills gap — prompting companies to prioritize and invest in skilling, upskilling and reskilling their teams.

While it may be tempting for companies to take a ‘wait and see’ approach, it won’t bridge this gap fast enough and will have negative effects. More and more companies — includingMicrosoftSalesforce and Interface — are turning to mitigate this gap internally by developing and implementing their own solutions.

Bridging the sustainability skills gap internally will be fundamental for businesses in reaching their sustainability objectives. Here are four such strategies.

Make sustainability a strategic priority

First and foremost, a strong sustainability strategy sends a clear signal to potential and current employees that a business is committed to sustainability. This can be a major selling point for job seekers who are looking to work for a company that shares their values. By publicly committing to sustainability and investing in the resources needed to achieve sustainability goals, businesses can attract top talent and build a workforce that is passionate about sustainability. But it’s not just about attracting the right talent — a sustainability strategy can help to engage, motivate and develop the skills of existing employees.

Investing in a sustainability strategy can also help businesses to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to trends and regulations. As governments around the world enact more stringent sustainability regulations, businesses that are already taking a proactive approach to sustainability will be better positioned to adapt to these changes. By investing in a sustainability strategy now, businesses can ensure that they have the knowledge, skills, and resources needed to comply with future regulations and stay ahead of their competitors.

Provide training across your organization

They’re perhaps the most obvious on the list, but education and training programs are essential for building the skills and knowledge needed to implement sustainable practices effectively. These programs can take various forms — including workshops, online courses, mentoring programs, internships, etc — and can be customized to specific job functions and levels. They can be developed internally, sourced online or even co-developed with educational institutions.

The trick is ensuring that you are levelling up your current workforce while priming the incoming talent pipeline. That focus then has to consider both an internal and external training lens. Microsoft is an excellent example of how a company can tackle the sustainability skills gap on both sides — focusing on internal training for employees while also building out external learning opportunities through its Sustainability Learning Center.

Integrate sustainability into company culture

Planning and training are key tools in providing knowledge and setting the playing field but incorporating sustainability into corporate culture is what makes sustainability efforts meaningful. In 2021, the World Economic Forum released a study that found companies with a strong sustainability culture are more likely to attract and retain employees with the appropriate skills and knowledge — helping to mitigate brain drain.

Building a culture rooted in sustainability entails fostering a culture that prioritizes and values sustainability and encourages employees to develop their sustainability skills regardless of their job responsibilities. Companies can start by creating plans that set sustainability goals and targets, and ensuring those are communicated clearly and in a format that not only engages but enables every employee to feel that they have a role to play in the execution of the plan.

Providing channels where employees can execute sustainability goals while having the agency to develop and recommend new sustainability initiatives, rounded out by volunteering opportunities or employee resource groups, provides a rich internal ecosystem for sustainability to thrive. Acknowledging employees who exhibit leadership and innovation and celebrating teams that achieve sustainability goals is an added strategy to inspire and motivate employees to become champions of sustainability within the organization and sustain an engaged workforce.

Embed sustainability into the employee lifecycle

Companies must prioritize sustainability throughout the employee lifecycle, integrating it into major HR functions. A Harvard Business Review study found that embedding sustainability in the employee lifecycle by incorporating sustainability targets and social impact considerations into the attraction and recruitment processes can improve employee engagement and retention rates. For example, job descriptions, interview questions and selection criteria can emphasize the importance of sustainability skills and experience or even a desire to learn new sustainability skills.

Investing in sustainability initiatives can offer ample opportunities for employees to develop their skills and enhance their knowledge in this critical area. Ensuring that sustainability elements are baked into regular HR functions such as professional development, checks-ins and performance reviews will enable leaders to be aware of specialized skill development and matching employees with new opportunities within the company as they arise.

To remain competitive in the marketplace, companies must adopt proactive measures to address the sustainability skills gap — by investing in making sustainability a priority, training, and embedding it across culture and people functions. Being proactive in bridging this business challenge will only have a net-positive effect on performance across environmental and social factors; but without it, companies will be left behind.

To see the original post, follow this link: https://sustainablebrands.com/read/organizational-change/4-strategies-bridging-sustainability-skills-gap

FTC takes a microscope to sustainability claims

26 04 2023

Does this count as recycling? | Seth Wenig/AP Photo

By Debra Kahn and Jordan Wolman from Politico.com • Reposted: April 26, 2023

Companies are talking the talk on sustainability. The Federal Trade Commission is gearing up to make sure they’re walking the walk, Jordan reports.

As demand for sustainable products has skyrocketed, so have concerns about greenwashing. Public comments were due yesterday on the FTC’s first update in 11 years of its “Green Guides,” which are essentially advice for how companies can make environmental marketing claims.

The nearly 60,000 comments shed light on what companies, industry trade groups and environmentalists are fighting over:

— Recycling claims. Current FTC guidelines say companies should qualify claims of “recyclability” when products aren’t recyclable in at least 60 percent of their market. The EPA wrote that the bar “should be much higher,” while environmental groups want to clarify that at least 60 percent of products need to actually be recycled — not just collected. That coalition also wants to set a higher bar of 75 percent for store drop-off programs.

The Plastics Industry Association wants the standards to stay as-is: The FTC “should not further complicate the issue by adding hurdles,” the group wrote. It also wants take-back or drop-off programs to be equally eligible to make unqualified recycling claims.

— Corporate net-zero claims. Ceres, a nonprofit focused on corporate sustainability, wants the FTC to give guidance on how companies can use carbon offsets to make claims about their climate commitments and achievements. Sierra Club and a half-dozen other groups want disclosure of specific offsets’ climate benefits.

— Chemical recycling. The American Chemistry Council and the Plastics Industry Association want to make it easier to claim that chemical recycling — a set of technologies that involve melting hard-to-recycle plastic down into its components — counts toward companies’ recycled content and recyclability standards. The ACC submitted a new poll showing that nearly 90 percent of consumers believe chemical recycling qualifies as “recycling.” Green groups are pushing back.

— Enforcement. Environmental groups want the FTC to initiate a formal rulemaking process to codify the Green Guides (currently, the agency can bring enforcement action via violations of the FTC Act), with an eye toward California’s “truth in labeling” law. EPA seems to be on board, too, but the Plastics Industry Association opposes rulemaking.

How much does this all matter? The FTC doesn’t do a ton of enforcement of green marketing claims: It’s taken enforcement action under the Green Guides 36 times since 2013. It hasn’t taken enforcement action based on recycling claims since 2014 — although it does send warning letters, which can nudge companies into compliance.

The agency tends to pick big cases that send a signal — like its $5.5 million penalty last year against Walmart and Kohl’s over claims that they marketed rayon textiles as made from eco-friendly bamboo, when in fact converting bamboo into rayon involves toxic chemicals.

But officials are signaling willingness to wade into the details on new technologies such as chemical recycling.

“Our job is to not say what’s good or bad for society, it is to make sure that people aren’t lying,” James Kohm, associate director of enforcement in the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, said in an interview. “We wouldn’t necessarily hesitate to get involved in a situation. What we don’t want to do is contradict the EPA, and we’ve been careful in a number of areas to not do that. There are a bunch of trade offs — that you have less trash, but you might have more air pollution, for example. If we had enough information, and we weren’t contradicting the EPA, we would probably give advice.”

We could be in this for the long haul: The last time the Green Guides were updated, the process started in 2007 and didn’t end until 2012. There’s an initial public workshop on recycling scheduled next month.

To see the original post, follow this link: https://www.politico.com/newsletters/the-long-game/2023/04/25/ftc-takes-a-microscope-to-sustainability-claims-00093682

How the Collective Power of Small and Medium Sized Businesses Can Combat Climate Change

20 04 2023

Photo: Meta

By Mary Riddle from triple pundit.com • Reposted: April 20, 2023

The collective power of small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) — defined as those employing less than 500 employees — is far greater than many may expect. Together SMEs make up 90 percent of businesses worldwide and affect the livelihoods of more than 2 billion people.

In Europe, SMEs reign supreme — accounting for 99 percent of all companies and 63 percent of business-related emissions across the EU. Business owners in Europe have faced incredible challenges in recent years — from the pandemic, to supply chain disruptions, to inflation and labor shortages. Creating and implementing a sustainability program is difficult work during normal times, but recent crises have compounded the challenges.

Together, SMEs could wield significant influence over their industries, including suppliers, vendors, customers and other stakeholders, as well as their neighborhoods. With the help of SME Climate Hub, a nonprofit global initiative empowering small- to medium-sized businesses to take climate action, Meta is working to help SMEs overcome barriers to creating more sustainable business operations, one company at a time.

Harnessing Meta’s power of convening to help SMEs

“Meta has over 200 million businesses that use Meta platforms, so as a company we are uniquely positioned to help,” said Eoghan Griffin, Meta’s head of sustainability for Europe, the Middle East and Africa. “We have a brilliant convening power.”

Traditionally, Meta has focused on enabling business, particularly SMEs, to navigate the digital transition — from e-commerce to social media to communications, Griffin said. “Recently we have been looking at how to support SMEs in the green transition, as well,” he continued. “We knew informally that small businesses are struggling with supply chain requirements of larger companies, the complexity in navigating terminology, and customer expectations. Their customers are asking for this.”

To address these challenges, Meta collaborated with the SME Climate Hub to create the Meta Boost Guide to Green, a sustainability training program for SMEs in Europe. “Guide to Green was a huge success,” Griffin said, “and we heard from businesses loud and clear that they want more support and guidance.”

The Guide to Green offers information to help businesses incorporate sustainability into their company operations, as well as ways to communicate their stories.

Many small businesses are already playing their part on climate action and are using Meta’s platforms to support their businesses. For example, family-run Hippersons Boatyard in Norfolk, U.K., is taking a leadership role in promoting climate action within the local community. The Sparrow family, who run Hippersons, is working with their neighbors to increase recycling and rewilding. On top of that, they are embedding climate action into their own business operations through efforts such using lower-carbon fuel alternatives and providing discounts for those who use the train to get to the site rather than driving.

Belfast-based local produce delivery service, Farm Next Door, is encouraging customers to switch to ethically-grown produce from local farmers through educational programming. They also host events that help customers understand the various steps involved in growing produce and the benefits of buying local. The company has found this to be a great tool for engaging with its customer base and encouraging them to buy from Farm Next Door.

Breaking down SME barriers to sustainability

In 2022, Meta partnered with Accenture to learn more about the barriers that SMEs face to implementing sustainability programs — and they came away with three high-level findings.

Making the business case. “First, there is a need to provide and boost the value case for this kind of work,” Griffin said. “We need to showcase success stories, provide funding and provide value. Demonstrating and enabling that value is a critical barrier.”

Understanding how to take action. SMEs also need help in knowing what matters most. “The climate change landscape is rapidly evolving. There is an overload of information from external sources, and it mostly targets different kinds of businesses,” Griffin explained. “We need to cut through the noise to address what kinds of actions SMEs can take.”

A big part of this is understanding what climate action looks like for smaller businesses with fewer resources, because it will look different than it does at a major multinational. “SMEs can’t do everything, nor should they have to do the same things as a big company that has a bigger footprint,” Griffin said. “However, SMEs can be massive drivers of change. They have a galvanizing and accelerating role and opportunity in their communities.”

Keep it simple. “The third big challenge is that we need to make it massively easier to deliver these changes,” Griffin said. “COVID taught us that: With supply chain disruptions and the cost of living crisis, somehow we need to make [sustainability] a lot smoother and easier for them. It is not realistic for SMEs to spend four or six months to put together sustainability plans, but Meta can get valuable, third-party content to as many businesses as possible.”

As part of its work in the EU, Meta is also looking to ensure that sustainability information is available in as many countries and cultural contexts as possible. Meta Boost Guide to Green is translated and available in the local language for some of the company’s EU markets. The training was also piloted with SMEs throughout Europe to ensure the programs were relevant for business owners across the region.

“Our flagship partner, SME Climate Hub, has been a critical partner in guiding us,” Griffin said. “They have a pledging tool, which allows businesses access to even more external validation. We don’t want to duplicate what other organizations are doing. We want to highlight the external resources, like SME Climate Hub, that are already available. Much of our guidance is highlighting the great work they are doing already.”

The collective impact of SMEs

Historically, SMEs have been underrepresented in many of the agencies and programs dedicated to reducing business emissions. “The U.N. and other agencies are focused on the emissions of large businesses, but collectively, SMEs have a huge impact, and they have been neglected in terms of support,” Griffin said.

“That led us to creating this program,” he continued. “We aren’t a consulting firm, but we do think we have a brilliant convening factor and can get access to a lot of businesses at the same time. We are excited to support businesses in their journeys where we can.”

While small businesses individually have small levels of greenhouse gas emissions, their collective action can help eliminate business sector emissions and galvanize communities.

“No one is putting the blame on SMEs,” Griffin hastened to say. “As a large company, we have a huge focus on ourselves. However, collectively, SME emissions account for 63 percent of all business emissions in Europe. Sixty-six percent of customers want businesses to take a stand on climate, and SMEs have enormous reach in their communities. There is a huge opportunity there.”

And Griffin noted that when SMEs succeed, Meta also succeeds. “We are always keen to develop and deepen the relationships we have with SMEs, and there is a lot of shared social value within that,” he said. “Our training reached over 1 million SMEs, and in a climate crisis, we get to contribute to the drumbeat of stories that highlight how important this is and where the resources are.”

Meta continues to partner with businesses of all sizes to help them establish communications plans and campaigns around their sustainability progress. “When a business is ready to communicate their stories, Meta is ready to help them do that,” Griffin concluded. “Those stories can lead to more brand loyalty. We can help translate the sustainability work that they’re doing into tangible business opportunities.”

This article series is sponsored by Meta and produced by the TriplePundit editorial team.

To see the original post, follow this link: https://www.csrwire.com/press_releases/771996-how-collective-power-smes-can-combat-climate-change

Should sustainability professionals (still) be working to make themselves redundant?

18 04 2023

Photo: edie.net

An ever-growing cohort of businesses claim they have ‘fully embedded’ sustainability. So, as business strategies and sustainability strategies become one and the same, should sustainability teams be working to end the need for their function? By Sarah George from edie.net • Reposted: April 18, 2023

It’s a question which leaders in the profession have been mulling for several years. When edie was founded 25 years ago, corporate sustainability was in its infancy. Many firms had no dedicated staff and those that did either tasked them with a compliance-based to-do list or with carrying out philanthropic initiatives on the periphery of core business.

Fast-forward to the 2020s and the perfect storm of top-down (regulatory changes, new scientific research) and bottom-up (growing public awareness and activism) pressures – as well as physical risks crystalising in this era of polycrisis – are prompting smart businesses to see their core strategy and sustainability strategy as the same thing.

Beyond mergers of strategy documents, this prioritisation can be seen in the trends towards integrated financial and ESG reporting and towards giving board members environmental KPIs. A PWC-led study published in February concluded that more than three-quarters of large businesses have now linked executive pay outcomes to climate targets, up from less than 50% in 2020.

And, promisingly, in edie’s recent survey of hundreds of energy and sustainability managers, 91% said their chief executive was ‘somewhat’ or ‘very’ engaged with ESG. The proportion stood at 81% for the wider board.

But, of, course, a company’s culture does not hinge solely on executives. Mary Kay Cosmetics’ founder Mary Kay Ash is often quoted as saying that “a company is only as good as the people it keeps”. Sustainability professionals will need to embed culture beyond the C-suite if they are to ever make themselves redundant.

There is a growing body of research to prove that the workforce of the 2020s are increasingly seeking employers with strong ethics. But there is also a wealth of proof that, for most people in their day-to-day job, there is confusion on how to be part of the solution to big, global challenges like the climate crisis.

Are you an agitator or an ambassador? 

To help turn intention into impact, a growing number of businesses are now assigning ESG-related KPIs to all staff. One such business is innocent Drinks, which exceeded a pledge for at least 90% of employees to have such a target in 2020.

“As we know, working for a business you are proud of is becoming more and more important to staff …  But it’s one thing to know that a company cares about these issues, and knowing what you can do at your level is a bigger question,” explains innocent’s head of force for good in the UK, Emilie Stephenson.

To ensure that all new staff know what is expected of them in terms of ESG, every role description now assigns a related responsibility. Social media and communications staff, for example, are tasked with increasing discussions on topics like climate. Operations and procurement team members are told their work is key to reducing waste and emissions – not just to keeping smoothies and juices on shelves.

For existing staff, Stephenson explains, KPIs have been effectively retrofitted through regular updates to personal development plans.

Beyond giving staff targets, innocent makes a point of considering how their personality and skillset could best aid delivery. Since the mid-2010s, staff have been encouraged to work with their line managers to determine whether they are an  ‘agitator’, ‘activator’, ‘ambassador’ or ‘protector’.

Stephenson says: “I think it works because it’s so tangible – people understand what it is and they can talk to people about it. This, and the language itself, is motivational.”

Many board members are natural ‘protectors’, as they have the seniority to hold teams accountable for taking the actions needed to reach sustainability ambitions. ‘Activators’, meanwhile, specialise in taking the action, delivering specific projects on the ground.

‘Ambassadors’, meanwhile, share innocent’s work with others and advocate externally for a greater focus on sustainability in the private sector and beyond. And being an ‘agitator’ is the most common choice; these people scrutinise current strategies and practices to suggest potential improvements.

Blended roles and B Keepers 

Linked to the ‘protector’ role is the role of ‘B Keeper’ – a new title which came into being through innocent’s certification as a B Corp in 2018, and is linked to the protection of B Corp status. In Stephenson’s opinion, the B Corp certification process helped to provide a more “solid framework” of focus areas for staff. She also recounts hearing some team members who were typically not the most vocal speaking up and taking responsibility for certain sets of points during the process.

A similar experience is recounted to edie by Heather Lynch, head of impact and sustainability at fellow B Corp Oddbox. The business, which sells boxes of fruit and vegetables that would otherwise have gone to waste, became a B Corp in 2020 and is currently in the process of re-certifying.

Oddbox is a mission and vision-driven brand, Lynch explains. The mission is fighting food waste. The vision is of a world where all food grown is eaten.

“I see mission and vision as the ‘what’, and the B Corp as a framework for the ‘how’,” Lynch says, adding that the first B Impact assessment prompted a “thorough stock-take of opportunities” and the second as providing a “framework for tracking progress”.

One key opportunity identified through certification was to upskill staff. 70% of Oddbox’s staff have now completed an eight-hour carbon literacy training course, and the business is targeting at least 90% by the end of the year. As Lynch explains, this training ensures that staff have a base understanding of carbon jargon and climate science – and that they are clear on their role in the business’s delivery of net-zero emissions by 2030.

So, most Oddbox staff are officially carbon-literate and several of them are B Keepers. Beyond that, some managers have blended roles, due to their role in creating and delivering the sustainability strategy.

The operations team co-created the firm’s net-zero strategy, with support from Lynch and her junior, plus external consultants. As such, senior operations team members are effective net-zero managers, responsible for delivery and reporting. They are also helping senior logistics and packaging staff to do the same.

“Ownership is just as important as, if not more important than, awareness,” Lynch says. “That, I feel, has been really powerful.”

Ownership is a sure-fire way to ensure that people do not feel strategies or targets are being put on them from the top-down, landing them with an extra burden. Co-creating strategies with staff and emphasising the particular benefits to each group is a tactic gaining popularity far beyond Oddbox; the practice is often called green jiu jitsu and there are specific training courses.

The final say  

So, say your business has taken similar steps to Oddbox and innocent. It has a long-term sustainability strategy backed up with interim goals, and governance mechanisms in place to report against these and keep them on board members’ desks. Your staff all know exactly what role they have to play in contributing to goals, and relish taking that action.

Do they still need you?

“I don’t necessarily think there needs to be a separate sustainability function, but there needs to be space and time to think about – and plan for – sustainability over the long-term if not,” Lynch says.

She also emphasises how, even if sustainability is embedded, reporting and employee engagement are ever-evolving pieces of work. On the former, her junior is a sustainability data analyst, and she recounts how the addition of this role has left her with more time for “strategy, influencing, holding people accountable and also researching for the future”.

innocent’s Stephenson, however, believes that most businesses are not quite ready to hold that space for sustainability without having in-house experts.

She says: “Douglas [Lamont, former innocent chief executive] has previously advocated for sustainability being embedded in all teams and, therefore, not needing a separate team. My hunch is that this work is not done yet.

“Yes, everyone should be incentivised to play their part. But you still need a leader, there’s still that need for someone to co-ordinate centrally.

“In due course, yes, I’d love to be made redundant. But, at the moment, when you’ve got strategy to develop and deliver, when staff have conflicting priorities, I’d say you still absolutely need someone to hold the torch.”

It bears noting that while innocent and Oddbox are both B Corps, their staff cultures are doubtless very different. Oddbox, for example, that it has a far smaller – yet far more rapidly-expanding – staff base. It has around 75 staff, up from less than 20 in 2019. innocent has more than 760 staff.

Moreover, Oddbox was founded on that aforementioned mission of fighting food waste. While innocent’s founders have built a company often regarded as an exemplary specimen for purpose-led business, they were initially looking for a reason to leave corporate jobs to be their own boss – and the popularity of their smoothies at a music festival proved to be that reason.

So, one could only imagine the situation at even bigger, older, less agile companies, who still either publicly state their purpose as creating value for shareholders or are so frequently accused of purpose-washing. Such firms may say that they have ‘embedded sustainability’ or that it is ‘in their DNA’, but they may have only just hired their first senior specialist – let alone be ready to make them redundant.

To see the original post, follow this link: https://www.edie.net/should-sustainability-professionals-still-be-working-to-make-themselves-redundant/

A HoT Job: Why corporations need a Head of Traceability

17 04 2023

Graphic: Planet Tracker

There is a new acronym in town and it’s HoT. From Planet Tracker • Reposted: April 17, 2023

If you are looking for a job where compensation can be linked to your impact, consider becoming Head of Traceability(HoT), especially at a nature-dependent company.

Here is why:

  • Under pressure from regulators1, investors2 and consumers, nature-dependent companies in particular need to substantiate their sustainable claims. This cannot be achieved without traceability.
  • Traceability is cross-functional, covering sustainability, IT, product development, sourcing, legal, logistics and marketing: it needs a dedicated person to oversee all of these. Instead, traceability is often the remit of sustainability departments, who have limited leverage over sourcing and logistics staff, raising the risk of traceability-washing (when companies’ claims on traceability cannot adequately be traced to real initiatives). Or it is siloed in sourcing, logistics, or IT departments, potentially without considering sustainability issues.
  • Traceability allows companies to save costs and reduce risks (through increased efficiencies, reduced waste and recalls mostly): in textiles, we calculated that it would increase net profits by 3-7%. In seafood, we estimated that the whole industry’s meagre profits could rise by 60% if it became fully traceable. 
  • This makes HoT an attractive job where performance means a simultaneously positive impact on the company’s bottom line and a reduced negative impact on nature is feasible. Crucially, that performance can be measured and traced. It should therefore form part of the remuneration package of any HoT. Indexing remuneration on sustainability performance is badly needed, but proposals to do so typically fall short.
  • Being in charge of traceability is likely to be a challenging job: senior managers typically expect traceability to generate a variety of different outcomes – see Figure 1.

Figure 1: Companies’ top goals for traceability initiatives (Source: Bain, 2021)

Planet Tracker did not find enough HoT jobs

We have searched for all companies which have appointed a Head of Traceability (or equivalent title) on LinkedIn and performed a simple search on Google too. Our results are incomplete since “only” 25-30% of the global workforce is on LinkedIn,3, 4 the search was made in English only, and we might have omitted synonyms/equivalent titles. Still, we believe the results are noteworthy.

We found only 18 companies with a Head of Traceability – excluding companies whose business is to sell traceability solutions and government agencies. By comparison, there are at least 10,000 Heads of Sustainability on LinkedIn.5

One of the possible reasons why HoTs are a rare species could be that it exposes management to more searching questions from financial institutions. Access to a HoT, who has extensive reach and understanding of a company’s operations, could provide investors and lenders with significant insights. They should be very much in demand by the financial markets. Presently, the information asymmetry between management teams and their stakeholders is skewed in favour of the former.6 Please see ‘Implementing Traceability; Seeing Through Excuses’.

Companies with a HoT are engaged in a variety of sectors exposed to recognisable sustainability challenges – e.g. palm oil, textiles, tuna, leather, fertiliser, waste management. They are headquartered in 16 different countries on all continents, except South America. Three quarters of them operate in the food or textile industries – see Table 1. The absence of companies engaged in plastic production or meat production is noteworthy.

Table 1: List of companies with a Head of Traceability

Whilst large textiles companies such as H&M Group and Inditex have a Head of Traceability, many large food companies typically do not. This is concerning since a lack of oversight on traceability within a company is likely to elevate their risk profile and impede their success.

Achieving traceability in food systems is a key requirement that could increase overall food system profits by USD 356 billion or more and is key to transforming this global system. Please see the Financial Markets Roadmap for Transforming the Global Food System. Planet Tracker’s work on the seafood system alone suggested that companies that implemented fully traceable supply chains could see profits increase by 60%. Please see ‘How to Trace USD 600 billion’.

In many cases, the companies in our sample have a Head of Traceability with an IT background: traceability is viewed as a digitalisation issue. In others, they have a supply chain/logistic background. In a minority of cases, the responsibility for traceability is assumed by the Head of Sustainability.

Why HoTs will be hot

Presently, there are not many Heads of Traceability in place – if we have missed one at your company, please get in touch – but we believe this will change, for a number of reasons listed here, the most important being regulation.

Already the key expected outcome for traceability is compliance with regulation and likely to become more important given the number of new laws that will require traceability to be implemented. For instance, the EU deforestation regulation, the FDA’s increased traceability requirements in the US, EU Green Claims Directive proposal and the EU’s Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD), which passed in January 2023.

For this reason, the urgent implementation of traceability systems overseen by a Head of Traceability or an equivalent cross functional person, is key in our view. Financial institutions should be engaging with company executives and enquiring where the traceability function sits within their management structure.

Note: this blog was inspired by this article in Vogue Business. Credit goes to Bella Webb for raising awareness on the need for Heads of Traceability.

To see the original post, follow this link: https://planet-tracker.org/a-hot-job-why-corporates-need-a-head-of-traceability/

How Robust Procurement Practices Support Sustainability Objectives

17 04 2023

Graphic: Accelerationeconomy.com

By Joanna Martinez from accelerationeconomy.com • Reposted: April 17, 2023

In a previous analysis, I laid out reasons why sustainability should be a priority for every chief procurement officer (CPO). Now, I’d like to focus a bit on how procurement can make a positive impact on sustainability. Taking just a few measures can set the right foundation for a meaningful program that helps your organization meet its goals in this area.

Drafting Governing Principles

Adopt a sustainability mindset. If your company has an ESG (environmental, social, and corporate governance) already, you draw your sustainability objectives from the policies to be found there. Procurement professionals, in particular, must remember that sustainability initiatives, to be effective, require actions in at least two areas: Purchasing the greenest materials from suppliers while also implementing sustainable practices within the company. A good place to start is with the overarching principle that whatever goes to the customer, whether it is a good or a service, is produced in the greenest way possible.

Most of your suppliers have sustainability initiatives of their own and you may already be buying green without realizing it. Tap into their knowledge base by asking what their other customers are doing or what initiatives they have in place internally or with their suppliers. There will likely be some good ideas for your company to adopt.

I’ve looked at the websites of competitors to see what sustainability initiatives they are emphasizing — everything from products made of post-recycled plastic to delivery via EV trucks — to get ideas on what my employer may have been missing.

Purchasing the Greenest Materials From Suppliers

In a manufacturing company, changes to any materials that go into the finished product must undergo rigorous testing to make sure there are no compatibility or shelf-life issues. As such, direct materials and chemicals will not be a source of quick wins. Even so, it still makes sense to pursue green initiatives, even if it takes time to see sustainability results; the sheer volume of what gets purchased to support manufacturing will inevitably yield bigger sustainability gains than other parts of the business.

Here are just a few practices for procurement to consider regarding the sourcing and purchase of materials:

  • Convert to recycled materials and packaging where it makes sense
  • Prioritize sourcing wood products, such as corrugated packaging, that are certified by the Forest Stewardship Council
  • Include sustainability questions in RFPs and evaluate potential new suppliers on their sustainability programs
  • Rethink the global supplier mindset and make room for some materials coming from local suppliers, which would reduce the carbon emissions produced by transportation and help support local economies
  • Choose energy-efficient equipment

Purchasing Indirect Materials

Not every company manufactures, but all companies buy indirect goods and services that are obtained to help their employees and facilities function. Typically, there is a wide range of items here, from carpeting to technology. Actions that procurement sponsors will be visible to the organization and reinforce that the company is “walking the walk.” Here are just a few examples:

  • Source products that are designed for longevity and can easily be recycled. For example, reusable water bottles and coffee mugs are small items from a cost standpoint, but are visible indicators of a company’s commitment to sustainability.
  • Require that office paper be made from recycled materials
  • Ensure that the cleaning crews use biodegradable cleaning products
  • As with direct materials, make room for local businesses in the supplier mix
  • Include energy efficiency as a factor in equipment decisions
  • Prioritize sustainable transport, such as using EVs or hybrid delivery trucks

Measure and Report

There are many ways to measure sustainability progress — carbon footprint, energy consumption, ESG performance, and waste generation, to name a few. Many businesses track their CSR (corporate social responsibility) score, which evaluates a company’s actions in the areas of the environment, labor and human rights, ethics, and sustainable procurement. It’s important to choose a few measurements — whatever is relevant to a given business — that can be tracked and understood. Too many metrics — especially at the start — can result in information overload and resources being focused in the wrong place.

Proof Point

I worked for a global facilities management company, and our clients typically expected both cost reductions and sustainability initiatives. One way to get both was to focus on energy. The first thing that happened when a new client came on board was to conduct a thorough assessment of their energy usage. We looked at carpets, windows, HVAC, lighting, and even the water usage on the landscaping, to make sure that improving energy efficiency was a priority. If your company is just beginning a sustainability program, this might be a great place to start, and there are third-party experts who can help you.

To see the original post, follow this link: https://accelerationeconomy.com/cxo/how-robust-procurement-practices-support-sustainability-objectives/