United Nations: CEOs say sustainability less important.

24 09 2013

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In a massive new study which interviewed 1,000 CEOs around the world, The United Nations and Accenture report that only 32% of CEOs believe the global economy is on track to meet the demands of a growing population within global environmental and resource constraints.  Alarmingly, the number of CEOs of saying that sustainability is “very important” to their business success dropped to 45%, a decline from 54% just three years ago.

The third United Nations Global Compact – Accenture CEO Study On Sustainability 2013 points to CEOs concern about an uncertain global economic climate as directly impacting the urgency of addressing sustainable business operations.  Despite the report that 63% of CEOs expect sustainability to transform their business within five years – and 76% believe that embedding sustainability into core business will drive revenue growth and new opportunities – many struggle with market expectations, investor pressure and the difficulty of measuring the business value of sustainability.

The report demonstrates how the world’s CEOs are conflicted on the extent to which they believe that business is making sufficient efforts to address sustainability. with 33% agreeing business is making the acceptable effort, while 38% disagree.  See the report chart below:

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In an executive summary of the CEO survey, the authors conclude:

“CEOs clearly recognize the scale of the global challenge—but may not yet see the urgency or the incentive for their own businesses to do more and to have a greater impact. This disconnect suggests that a gap persists between the approach to sustainability of the majority of companies globally—an approach centered on philanthropy, compliance, mitigation and the license to operate—and the approach being adopted by leading companies, focused on innovation, growth and new sources of value.”

Other key findings in the report include:

  • 83% of CEOs see an increase in efforts by governments and policy makers to provide an enabling environment for the private sector as integral to advancing sustainability.
  • 85% of CEOs demand clearer policy and market signals to support green growth.
  • Only 29% of CEOs regard climate change as one of the most important sustainability challenges for the future of their business
  • And just 14% regard water sanitation as an important issue for their business to address.

Clearly the lack of progress on the global economy and the failure of governments and regulators to provide consistent sustainability frameworks are holding back CEOs from focusing their full attention on the long-term issues of sustainability and threatened natural resources.  As the report highlights, more urgency is needed:

“As business leaders across the world come together this year to set out an architecture to align business action with global priorities, there is a clear and unequivocal call for greater ambition, greater speed and greater impact.”

– United Nations Global Compact

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CDP Report: World’s Largest Companies Doing Little On Climate Change

17 09 2013

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“As countries around the world seek economic growth, strong employment and safe environments, corporations have a unique responsibility to deliver that growth in a way that uses natural resources wisely. The opportunity is enormous and it is the only growth worth having.” – Paul Simpson, Chief Executive Officer, CDP

Fifty of the 500 largest listed companies in the world are responsible for nearly three quarters of the group’s 3.6 billion metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions, so finds the CDP Global 500 Climate Change Report 2013 released this week. The carbon emitted by these 50 highest emitting companies, which primarily operate in the energy, materials and utilities sectors, has risen 1.65% to 2.54 billion metric tons over the past four years.

The report is co-written by CDP, formerly known as the Carbon Disclosure Project, and professional services firm PwC. It provides the most authoritative evaluation of corporate progress on climate change.

Inadequate momentum to mitigate climate change is also true of the biggest emitters found in each of the ten sectors covered in the report. Titled Sector insights: what is driving climate change action in the world’s largest companies, the new publication includes industry-specific analysis which shows that the five highest emitting companies from each sector have seen their emissions increase by an average of 2.3% since 2009.

Guardian Sustainable Business offered a biting analysis of the report, concluding companies are making little progress in addressing climate change.

“For all the talk of companies taking the threat of climate change seriously, the latest evidence shows the corporate sector is failing to respond in a meaningful way to the threat of environmental catastrophe,” wrote GSB’s Jo Confino.

Paul Simpson, CEO at CDP says: “Many countries are demonstrating signs of recovery following the global economic downturn. However, clear scientific evidence and increasingly severe weather events are sending strong signals that we must pursue routes to economic prosperity whilst reducing emissions of greenhouse gases. It is imperative that big emitters improve their performance in this regard and governments provide more incentives to make this happen.” 

While the biggest emitters present the greatest opportunity for large-scale change, the report identifies opportunities for all Global 500 companies to help build resilience to climate and policy shocks by significantly reducing the amount of carbon dioxide they produce each year. For example, the emissions from nearly half (47%) of the most carbon intensive activities that companies identify across their value chains are yet to be measured. The lack of detailed reporting and information of GHGs from sources related to company activities (Scope 3 emissions), as opposed to those from sources owned or directly controlled by them, may lead companies to underestimate their full carbon impact.

Malcolm Preston, global lead, sustainability and climate change, PwC says: “The report underlines how customers, suppliers, employees, governments and society in general are becoming more demanding of business. It raises questions for some organizations about whether they are focused on sustaining growth in the long term, or just doing enough to recover growth until the next issue arises. With the initial IPCC report only weeks away corporate emissions are still rising. Either business action increases, or the risk is regulation overtakes them.”

Companies that demonstrate a strong commitment to managing their impact on the environment are generating improved financial and environmental results. Analysis of the corporations leading on climate progress, as based on CDP’s acclaimed methodology and including BMW, Nestlé and Cisco Systems, suggests that they generate superior stock performance. Further, the businesses that offer employees monetary incentives related to energy consumption and carbon emissions are 18% more successful at accomplishing reductions.

The CDP Global 500 Climate Change Report 2013 is available to download free. It launches this week at CDP’s annual Global Climate Forum which is broadcast live online. The public disclosures of climate change information from Global 500 companies taking part in CDP this year are also available on the CDP website. Over 4,500 businesses in markets around the world have disclosed through CDP this year. Their data will be disseminated to investors via various channels, such as Bloomberg terminals, where it is downloaded an average of 1 million times every six weeks.

Read the CDP Report here

Adapted from an original article at Sustainable Industries blog here





Made Movement: Buy 5% more American made products for 1 million jobs

20 08 2013

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Alex Bogusky, our old friend – reformed advertising creative director turned consumer advocate, has launched a new campaign for the Made Movement challenging Americans to buy 5% more American made products.  The result of the Made Movement 5% pledge will yield one million jobs for Americans.

Bogusky has created a video explaining the campaign and asks viewers to share the video with two people.  You can watch the Million Jobs Project video here.

According to an article in USA Today, Bogusky says “there’s hippie value now to Made in America.  Red, white and blue are the new green.”  But he cautions in the video, “Sometimes, even if you think a brand is American, even if there’s an American flag on the package, it might not be made here.  You have to pay attention.”

You can read the full article in USA Today here.

USA Today: Ad guru attacks outsourcing, seeks to save jobs





Levi’s: 501 WasteLess Jeans Made With Recycled Plastic.

14 05 2013

For 140 years, the Levi’s® brand has made its 501® jean with the same care, craftsmanship and attention to detail.  To that, they’ve added recycled plastic.

The Levi’s® 501® Waste<less™  jean is limited-edition and made exclusively for EKOCYCLE™. That’s the social movement founded by legendary musician and producer will.i.am in partnership with Coca-Cola.  The goal of this jean and EKOCYCLE™ is to change the way we think about recycling choices and waste.

Each 501® Waste<Less™ jean is made with 29% post-consumer recycled content, using an average of eight recycled plastic bottles.  This year, you might be wearing one of the plastic bottles you drank from – and recycled – last year.

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Levi Strauss isn’t the first clothing manufacturer to create a new product line from recycled plastic. In 1993, Patagonia became the first outdoor clothing manufacturer to create fleece made from post consumer recycled plastic soda bottles, and the company’s support of recycling via their manufacturing continues. According to Patagonia’s website, the company has saved some 86 million soda bottles from the trash heap over the past thirteen years.

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Another apparel company who incorporates sustainability throughout their business model is Puma. InCycle is the company’s first 100 percent biodegradable or recyclable clothing, accessory, and footwear collection. Puma’s efforts towards creating InCycle recently earned them Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute’s product certification.

For an update on the Cradle to Cradle progress, check out The Upcycle:  Beyond Sustainability – Designing for Abundance, the new best selling book from pioneers William McDonough and Michael Braungart.

When it comes to plastic use and its impact on human health and the environment, the various statistics are nothing short of disturbing: plastic takes up to 1000 years to degrade in a landfill; 92 percent of Americans age six or older test positive for BPA; Americans use 2,500,000 plastic bottles every hour.

Check out this video, which features will.i.am, along with Levi’s® James “JC” Curleigh and Jonathan Kirby.

Read more at the original post at http://www.triplepundit.com/2013/05/levi-strauss-creates-sustainable-jeans/





RAIN: Replenish Africa Initiative From Coca-Cola

1 05 2013

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Nearly one billion people do not have access to clean, safe water – that’s the equivalent of 1 in 8 people on the planet!  In Africa, preventable waterborne illnesses claim the lives of millions of people each year. No single organization can resolve Africa’s water crisis, but together, with a combination of civil society, non-governmental organizations and government, we can make a positive difference on Africa’s water challenges.

The Replenish Africa Initiative, or RAIN, is therefore the signature community initiative of The Coca-Cola Africa Foundation. Backed by a six-year, $30 million dollar commitment by The Coca-Cola Company, in partnership with other donors, RAIN’s goal is to provide over 2 million people in Africa with access to drinking water by 2015. RAIN will launch over 100 water access programs across Africa, including sanitation and hygiene education programs.

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The Coca-Cola Africa Foundation has been involved in community water programs since 2005. To date, 42 water projects in 27 countries have been supported, in partnership with and co-funded by USAID (United States Agency for International Development) under the Water and Development Alliance (WADA) and other partners. Within The Coca-Cola Company’s three-tier global water stewardship strategy which is focused on Reducing, Recycling and Replenishing the amount of water used in Coca-Cola beverages and their production, The Coca-Cola Africa Foundation’s focus is on Replenishing – or community based water interventions.

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The United Nations estimates that Sub-Saharan Africa alone loses 40 billion hours per year collecting water; that’s the same as a whole year’s worth of labor by France’s entire workforce! This is incredibly valuable time.

According to The Water Project, with much of one’s day already consumed by meeting basic needs, there isn’t time for much else. The hours lost to gathering water are often the difference between time to do a trade and earn a living and not. Just think of all the things you would miss if you had to take three hours out each day to get water.

When a water solution is put into place, sustainable agriculture is possible. Children get back to school instead of collecting dirty water all day, or being sick from waterborne illnesses. Parents find more time to care for their families, expand minimal farming to sustainable levels, and even run small businesses.  learn more at http://thewaterproject.org

In collaboration with various partners, volunteers, patrons and organizations, RAIN is not just for the immediate future of Africa, but also for the long-term sustainability of its resources. RAIN is also The Coca-Cola Company’s contribution to help Africa meet the UN Millennium Development Goal on water and sanitation.





ourhorizon.org: Climate Change Warnings On Gas Pumps

23 04 2013

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Canadian lawyer Robert Shirkey wants all Canadians who pump gasoline to understand the threat of climate change. He has started a campaign, ourhorizon.org that calls for labels to be put on gas pump nozzles. The campaign aims to get municipalities in Canadian provinces to pass legislation that require the labels.

If the name of the campaign sounds familiar, it is a reference to the offshore drilling rig, the Deepwater Horizon that spilled 4.9 million barrels of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico in 2010. As the campaign states, “Our name is a rejection of the system that made BP’s offshore drilling rig the Deepwater Horizon a reality.” However, the campaign makes it clear that it does “not blame BP,” but takes the position “that we each share in the responsibility for this tragedy.”

There are 4,000 municipalities in Canada. The campaign’s website contains a database of municipal councilors in Canada, and encourages people to send a letter to their local representative, called a councillor, in Canada. The database has “every single municipal councillor’s email in all of Canada.” Through the website, a user can email a letter to their local councillor just by clicking a button.

Here is a screen shot of the ourhorizon.org home page

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The campaign is funded through crowdsourcing via a donation page. The donation page asks users to donate in order to help the campaign do two things:

  • Fund a legal campaign for every province and territory in Canada in order to empower representatives to pass legislation, which carries an estimated $40,000 price tag
  • Send a postcard to every elected official in Canada with an image of the campaign’s concept and an explanation on the back, which carries an estimated $20,000 price tag

There are a few interesting facts about the campaign, including that it is market-based, as its website stresses. The purpose of the warning labels is to “supply the market with relevant information and let the market do its thing.” The way it will work is that the “label will change some behaviors but, more importantly, they will create a shift in the social environment to facilitate political action on climate change.”

Canadian Environment Under Siege

Many environmentalists and concerned citizens in Canada have been frustrated to watch the unbridled development of Canadian natural resources by the government at the urging of powerful lobby groups.  The continued oil industry development of the Alberta Tar Sands and the promotion of the building of the Keystone XL pipeline have alarmed many people concerned about the future direction of the country.  Activists such as Idle No More – a group of First Nations members – are protesting the government’s development of natural resources on Crown Land – in violation of treaties between First Nations groups and the Canadian government.  According to Wikipedia, The Idle No More movement generally opposes certain types of resource exploitation, particularly on First Nations territory.  The movement takes this stance against resource exploitation, as attributed to First Nations sovereignty and environmental sustainability.  The position is supported by many groups including non-governmental and grassroots organizations. In a human rights report on Canada, Amnesty International suggested that the government should have “respect for indigenous rights when issuing licences for mining, logging and petroleum and other resource extraction.”  Learn more at idlenomore.ca

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Warning Labels Work.

The European Union requires the use of climate change warnings in regards to new car sales. In 2008, the EU’s Department of Transport (DfT) issued new guidelines which required all promotional literature for new cars sales to include information about carbon dioxide emissions.

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Warning labels with graphic images are proven to raise public awareness.  ourhorizon.org compares the warning labels, which contain strong images, to those on “tobacco packages.” In 2001, Canada became the first country to use images in its cigarette warning labels. The use of such warning labels works, according to a 2009 report by the European Commission, Directorate General for Health and Consumers.  The report found the following:

  • Warning labels on cigarette packages “increase consumers’ knowledge about the health consequences of tobacco use and contribute to changing consumer’s attitudes towards tobacco use as well as changing consumers’ behavior”
  • Warning labels are “a critical element of an effective tobacco control policy”
  • Warning labels have a high impact in educating consumers about the risks of tobacco use, and a medium impact in changing smokers’ behavior
  • Fear-induced warnings (using shocking images related to health risks) are the most effective way to educate consumers on the health risks of tobacco use and to change their attitudes and behavior.

Original post at Triple Pundit by Gina-Marie Cheeseman.

http://www.triplepundit.com/2013/04/canadian-lawyer-climate-change-warning-labels-gas-pumps/

Photos by ourhorizon.org





U.S. Business Leaders Urge Strong Policy Action on Climate Change

11 04 2013

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As the President unveils his budget for the coming year, 33 major U.S. companies, including eBay Inc., Nike and Limited Brands signed a “Climate Declaration,” urging federal policymakers to take action on climate change, asserting that a bold response to the climate challenge is one of the greatest American economic opportunities of the 21st century.

“The signers of the Climate Declaration have a clear message for Washington: Act on climate change. We are, and it’s good for our businesses.  The cost of inaction is too high. Policymakers should see climate change policy for what it is: an economic opportunity.” said Anne Kelly, Director of BICEP (Business for Innovative Climate & Energy Policy) coalition. 

Together, the Declaration signatories provide approximately 475,000 U.S. jobs and generate a combined annual revenue of approximately $450 billion. Extreme weather events like Hurricane Sandy have affected several Climate Declaration signatories and exposed the United States’ economic vulnerability to climate change.  Signatories of the Climate Declaration are among the country’s best-known consumer brands, including Starbucks, Levis EMC Corporation, IKEA, Jones Lang LaSalle, L’Oréal, the North Face, the Portland Trail Blazers, Timberland and Unilever, among others.

“From droughts that affect cotton crops to Hurricane Sandy, which caused extensive damage to our operations, climate affects all aspects of our business,” said Eileen Fisher, CEO of New York-based apparel firm Eileen Fisher, which suffered severe damage and business interruption during the 2012 storm. “As a socially and environmentally responsible company, we are trying to affect positive change, but business can’t do it alone. We need the support of strong climate legislation.”

The signatories of the Climate Declaration are calling for Congress to address climate change by promoting clean energy, boosting efficiency and limiting carbon emissions – strategies that these businesses already employ within their own operations.

“Businesses understand that planning for a successful future takes investment today. One of the most important things Congress can do to grow our economy and protect our planet is to pass smart climate change legislation this year. Our workforce, supply chain and consumers are counting on us to lead the way,” said Anna Walker, Director, Government Affairs and Public Policy at Levi Strauss & Co.

BICEP members have supported several climate-driven policies, including historic automotive fuel economy standards signed into law in 2012 and the extension of the Production Tax Credit for wind power. Innovation within the transportation, electric power sectors and IT sectors, among others, will be essential to meeting the climate challenge.

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“eBay Inc. is committed to driving a future for commerce that embraces clean energy innovation and is ultimately more sustainable,” said Lori Duvall, Global Director, Green at eBay Inc. “Our efforts extend across our data, employee and distribution center portfolios, our shipping and logistics infrastructure, as well as the actions of buyers, sellers, and merchants on our platforms. We see our participation in this coalition as a key element in bringing to life our vision for enabling greener forms of commerce over the long term.”

The Climate Declaration comes on the heels of the President’s renewed commitment to combat the threat of climate change and a recent study from Ceres, Calvert Investments and WWF indicating that a strong majority of Fortune 100 companies have set renewable energy or greenhouse gas reduction goals. Recent polls conducted by Gallup and Yale University, respectively, indicate that a majority of Americans believe climate change is happening and that corporations, as well as government officials, should be doing more to address the issue.