A strong evidence base is the backbone of our operations in communications, trade, investment and consultancy. We gain this knowledge from our own research, thought leaders, research institutions and other key sources of information. We stay abreast of developments in sustainability and industry innovation to keep our network members well informed. Click on categories to see a full list of our thematic areas.
The SDGS: A US$12 Trillion Opportunity for Business
We can’t achieve a sustainable world without business - and there is no future for business in an unsustainable world. The good news: companies that align their business strategies with the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in four key sectors have the opportunity to unlock more than US$12 trillion and create 380 million jobs by 2030. This was the key finding of the Business and Sustainable Development Commission, whose “Better Business, Better World” report identified 60 ‘hotspots’ ripe for corporate engagement and investment, and offered six ways for companies to become champions of the SDGs. Explore the report here...
Social Innovation: Proving the Link between Corporate and Societal Value
- The report profiles best practices from major multinationals and leading regional companies; hotspot reveals social innovation highly active in healthcare, pharmaceuticals, financial services, IT, agriculture, consumer goods and retail, chemicals, energy and telecommunications
- Find out more about the corporate social innovation report here
Geneva, Switzerland, 25 February 2016 – The World Economic Forum today launched a new report, “Social Innovation: A Guide to Achieving Corporate and Societal Value”, profiling companies helping underserved communities and showing why social innovation is becoming an increasingly relevant strategy for companies to pursue. The report illustrates what social innovation strategies and business models look like, what the range of opportunities are, and the business benefits companies can get from pursuing them. It also covers best practices from companies on how best to implement such models in ways that support business goals.
Social innovation is defined by the Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Social Innovation as “the application of innovative, practical, sustainable, market-based approaches to benefit society in general, and low-income or underserved populations in particular”. The report released in collaboration with Oliver Wyman draws from workshops and interviews with over 30 executives from major multinationals and leading companies and advice from the Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Social Innovation to offer recommendations for companies.
Case studies include:
- Companies that are creating new products, services and distribution channels to serve consumers that are underserved today. Allianz is offering insurance products to over 57 million consumers in emerging markets. MasterCard is connecting millions of Egyptians to the financial system.
- Companies that are working on initiatives that strengthen their supply chains while increasing incomes of their suppliers including small farmers. For example, Nestlé which is augmenting incomes of 63,000 farmers in 11 countries; ITC’s supply chain is serving 4 million farmers across 40,000 villages in India.
- Companies that are investing in increasing education access and employability in ways that secure and diversify their existing and future talent pools. For example, Intercorp is helping create access to education to over 60,000 students and CISCO is training 1 million students a year on IT skills.
- Companies that are using finance as a tool to create social impact while at the same time, building profitable businesses. Centrica’s £10 million ($14.1 million) impact investment fund is investing in energy SMEs that create social and financial value and Barclays is using a £25 million ($35.2 million) Social Innovation Facility to incentivize and support its business units to pursue social innovation ideas.
“Today many countries suffer from high and rising inequality with many citizens unable to fully benefit from economic progress. Of course this is a major concern for governments around the world, but business also has an important role to play in addressing these challenges. This report provides an important tool for our discussions on how businesses can support a growth process that is both inclusive and sustainable.” said Jennifer Blanke, Chief Economist at the World Economic Forum.
“Social innovation is still at an early stage of development. There are examples of successes, but these companies have often had to pursue a challenging and bespoke path to achieving this. We don’t believe there is a one-size-fits-all solution to initiating or scaling social innovation, but by studying those who have succeeded we have identified key drivers that all companies can learn from. We hope that by presenting this framework, and making it real through practical case studies, more companies can identify and pursue their own unique path into social innovative opportunities.” said Simon Cooper, Partner, Head of the Social Impact Practice at Oliver Wyman UK.
The United Nations recently launched the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), offering an opportune framework for many more companies to adopt such initiatives, alongside civil society leaders, governments and social entrepreneurs. Companies can use insights from the examples and best practices shared in this report to design initiatives that contribute to a number of SDGs relating to poverty reduction or access to food, health, education, energy and sanitation.
One Brand Strategy, New Global Campaign Unite Coca-Cola Trademark
Chief Marketing Officer Marcos de Quinto, who unveiled the “one brand” approach at a media event in Paris, said the strategy extends the equity and iconic appeal of the world’s No. 1 beverage brand to Coca-Cola Light/Diet Coca-Cola, Coca-Cola Zero and Coca-Cola Life. It also underscores the company’s commitment to choice, offering consumers whichever Coca-Cola suits their taste, lifestyle and diet – with or without calories, with or without caffeine.
“We are reinforcing that Coca-Cola is for everybody,” de Quinto said. “Coca-Cola is one brand with different variants, all of which share the same values and visual iconography. People want their Coca-Cola in different ways, but whichever one they want, they want a Coca-Cola brand with great taste and refreshment.”
“Taste the Feeling” will bring to life the idea that drinking a Coca-Cola – anyCoca-Cola – is a simple pleasure that makes everyday moments more special. While Coke’s award-winning “Open Happiness” campaign leaned heavily on what the brand stands for over the last seven years, “Taste the Feeling” will feature universal storytelling with the product at the heart to reflect both the functional and emotional aspects of the Coca-Cola experience.
“We’ve found over time that the more we position Coca-Cola as an icon, the smaller we become,” de Quinto said. “The bigness of Coca-Cola resides in the fact that it’s a simple pleasure – so the humbler we are, the bigger we are. We want to help remind people why they love the product as much as they love the brand.”
The fully integrated “Taste the Feeling” campaign – which will roll out around the world throughout 2016 – celebrates the experience of drinking an ice-coldCoca-Cola. Coca-Cola takes center stage in every piece of what Rodolfo Echeverria, VP of global creative, connections and digital, calls “emotional product communication.”
“We’re going from ‘Open Happiness’ to exploring the role Coca-Cola plays in happiness,” he added. “We make simple, everyday moments more special.”
An international network of agencies is developing the “Taste the Feeling” work. Four agencies – Mercado-McCann, Santo, Sra. Rushmore and Oglivy & Mather – produced an initial round of 10 TV commercials, digital, print, out-of-home and shopper materials. Six additional shops will contribute creative as the campaign evolves.
The TV ads, six of which launch today and can be seen in the YouTube playlist above, offer intimate glimpses into stories, feelings and moments people share while enjoying Coca-Cola. At the close of each spot, the family of Coca-Cola products unite under the iconic red Coca-Cola disc. Several alternate versions of the ads were produced with locally relevant casts and culturally relevant vignettes.
The campaign kicks off with the lead commercial, “Anthem,” which presents a series of moments linked by a Coca-Cola, such as ice-skating with friends, a first date, a first kiss and a first love.
Music plays a key role in all "Taste the Feeling" communications. A song produced by Swedish artist and producer Avicii and featuring soulful singer Conrad Sewell serves as the “Taste the Feeling” campaign anthem. A first acoustic version by Sewell is being featured in various TV spots for the new campaign, including "Anthem", and the lead single with Avicii will be released soon. Avicii also will produce additional versions of “Taste the Feeling” for Coke’s UEFA EURO 2016 and Rio 2016 Olympic Games campaigns later this year.
“Taste the Feeling” includes a new audio signature inspired by the sounds of enjoying a Coca-Cola – the pop of the cap, the fizz and, ultimately, refreshment. The mnemonic, created in partnership with Deviant Ventures, replaces the five-note melody featured in the “Open Happiness” campaign.
“Taste the Feeling” is anchored in compelling visual storytelling through more than100 images shot by noted fashion photographers Guy Aroch and Nacho Ricci. The photos, which will be featured in print, outdoor, in-store and digital advertising, use a “Norman Rockwell Meets Instagram” visual style to capture authentic, unscripted moments in a contemporary way, Echeverria explained. Each shot combines familiarCoca-Cola icons, like the contour glass bottle and red disk, with elements of both intimacy and mystery.
Coca-Cola is central to each moment; without it, there is no story. Images are cropped in a way that closes in on the Coca-Cola bottle, while still telling a personal story.
“The photography features human moments that blur the boundaries between who people are and what they love to do,” said James Sommerville, VP of global design. “In all the creative, Coca-Cola plays a lead role in the scene, enhancing the color, texture and emotion of the images. Every interaction is unique and made more special through the enjoyment of a Coca-Cola, any Coca-Cola.”
The images show a diverse cross-section of people from around the world enjoying “their” Coca-Cola in simple, everyday moments.
Purpose to the People: How Brands Can Turn Crowds of Consumers Into Movements of Change
Purpose brands that are authentic in creating a positive contribution to society while focusing on the delivery of great products and services are outgrowing other competitors. A clear purpose drives consumer preference and motivates employees, accelerating business results and positive change. Unilever’s CEO Paul Polman and the ex-global marketing officer of competitor P&G, Jim Stengel (amongst others), have repeatedly shared how brands with a purpose outperform the rest. So how does one accelerate impact and growth of purpose brands further?
Our research on the economically powerful millennials and upcoming Generation Zindicate that the growth of purpose brands will continue, as these generations have a serious affinity toward brands with purpose. However, the opportunity lies in the acceleration through further involvement of these generations in the role that the brand takes: they want to actively contribute to a more inclusive, sustainable society and want to see the relevant results of their actions.
I identify three levels of purpose brands:
- Those that share views: Coca-Cola, Always, Dove and Magnum all drive a positive cultural idea at the core of their brand. They tap into a societal issues as a campaign tool and use their views on the issue to create brand differentiation and following.
- Those that change behaviour: Lifebuoy, Heineken and Budweiser take a positive role in changing behaviour towards a purpose or product-related societal issue.
- Those that deliver part of a solution: One of the best examples available in my opinion isTOMS, but other brands such as Chipotle and those connected to organizations such asFairtrade and the Marine Stewardship Council have also embedded part of their solution to a societal issue into their business model.
Empowerment and Measurability
The examples from Level 1 and 2 above provide opportunities for massive societal impact, however measuring such brand impact as well as the subsequent sense of consumer empowerment is difficult. As such, communicating this to the people they serve is also tricky — so you may feel inspired by Magnum and its #TrueToYourPleasure campaign and share the brand’s view, but you exist as an anonymous individual in a seemingly motionless crowd.
Interestingly, the examples mentioned under Level 3 give you clear and measurable points of action. You can actively contribute to part of the solution for the societal issue the brand supports by acting with your wallet. Every time you buy a brand in one of these examples, you make a statement whilst contributing to the brand’s cause. So companies such as TOMS do more: They create communities of change.
Exponential growth of “goodsumption”
Because of the measurability of results and the sense of empowerment, I see the exponential growth of purpose-driven brands in the third category.
We’ve noticed the growth of energy labels over the years and soon we’ll see the labelling of societal impact gain just as much relevance, with organizations such as B Lab taking a more prominent accreditation role.
Labelling will help consumers to take conscious action.
Business models where positive societal impact are directly linked to positive business results (so the more I buy, the more I directly impact) will provide consumers with a feeling of empowerment and contribution.
From voting with your wallet to co-creating
Technology will soon take consumer empowerment even further. I have recently had several meetings with Amar Sharany, the inspiring founder of in/PACT. The software and programs his team have developed allow consumers and employees of businesses to participate in the allocation of “Goodcoins,” the monetary expression in/PACT uses for budgets available to brands to drive purpose. With this, consumers and employees do not only act through their wallet, they co-create and co-decide with the brand and get information about their individual contribution for the causes and ideologies they support.
Creating movement brands
I see purpose brands turning into movement brands that inspire and empower consumers to join their cause, accelerating their positive impact on society and their growth potential, when:
- They touch a primary individual emotion broadly recognised in society. These emotions are based on feelings of fear (for social exclusion, rejection, loss of loved ones, health, environment), resentment or injustice.
- Their purpose — the change the brand envisions and acts upon — addresses this primary emotion and is relevant for their business. The closer the link between target audience, purpose and business, the easier it will be to create traction.
- They take a stand by staging and dramatizing the societal issues they want to address in their campaigns.
- They contribute to the solution of a societal issue, using their business model as a lever for change, sharing a view and/or changing behaviours.
- They empower consumers and employees to participate and actively contribute to the purpose the brand supports. They make them part of the solution to injustice, social exclusion, ecological and environmental issues etc. and actively create communities.
- They create visibility of results and impact created by the brand and the people it serves. They will in the near future use technology to create customized connections about the individual consumer contribution, inspiring consumers and increasing the sense of impact and empowerment.
Taking the above to heart, brands can turn crowds into movements that are united in their common purpose and actions. Business can become an even more impactful contributor to positive change. Isn’t that an inspiring thought to start 2016?
For more on our view on marketing and building brands, please visit Innate Motion.
Robert has a Bachelor's degree in business administration and a Master's in law. He started his career in the Netherlands and built his expertise over 18 years at Unilever. He worked in challenging marketing and business positions in various European… [Read more about Robert Schermers]
Things Children Need to Know About Brands
It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas. Advertising's big spenders are ramping up for their favourite time of the year.
This post first appeared on the Dragon Rouge blog on December 9, 2013.. The marketing machine that amplifies the magic of Christmas is swinging into action and it's an awesome sight to behold. Christmas is getting bigger and bigger each year. In the United States, Black Friday signals the beginning of a festive spending spree that last year was estimated at nearly $60 billion, a rise of over 10 percent on the previous year.
Christmas is just the tip of a very large iceberg. Brands have become such an integral part of the way we live that we rarely question their role in society. They alter how we relate to other people. They influence how we bring up our children — just consider how much the average baby buggy costs. Whether we like it or not, brands shape us. And the relentless pace of technological innovation means that children will grow up in a world where brands will be even more influential than they are today. This may sound alarming but it could actually turn out to be a good thing. We're hoping our tips here will encourage children (and adults) to adopt a more active, thoughtful response to the brands that surround us.
We are born inquisitive. We are constantly learning about ourselves and brands can provide a useful way to explore our identity and to project different sides of our personality for specific situations — as long as we question our own motives.
Many objects are designed for obsolescence. They are intended to last a month, a season or a year in the hope that we will want or need to replace them with increasing frequency. This costs a lot of money and creates a lot of waste.
Market research is a multibillion-dollar industry. Brand owners are falling over one another to gather ever deeper insights into our preferences, attitudes and habits. The rise of social media, search engines, GPS and NFC-enabled mobile devices means that many of us are giving away valuable information about ourselves for free.
Bigger brands have a greater ability to influence us, but they also make a company and its activities more visible and more accountable. There is a wealth of information available on how brands source their products and services, as well as the working conditions they provide to their employees. This can be as simple as a Google search or a brief glance at a label to see where a product is made and how far it has travelled.
We have far more to offer the world than just buying things made by other people. How we use products and dispose of them affects everybody — including ourselves. Happiness is not related to the quantity of stuff bought, but the quality of experience.
Nick is responsible for guiding Dragon Rouge’s strategic offer across both business and consumer brands. His job is to ensure that our creativity is underpinned by great ideas. This involves balancing commercial rigour with creative potential. Nick is responsible for guiding Dragon Rouge’s strategic offer across both business and consumer brands. His job is to ensure that our creativity is underpinned by great ideas. This involves balancing commercial rigour with creative potential, information with inspiration and insight with foresight.
Source: Sustainable Brands
Convetit Embeds Materiality Mapping Tool Into Virtual Stakeholder Engagement 'ThinkTanks'
Are you daunted by the GRI G4 requirement of engaging stakeholders to determine materiality for sustainability reporting? Convetit, a new online stakeholder engagement platform, is offering a solution: a Materiality Mapping Tool, which embeds an interactive matrix into virtual “ThinkTanks.”
There, stakeholders can plot material issues on a dual-axis grid weighing significance to stakeholders against impact on business, and then export that data for integration into corporate sustainability reports and websites.
“Convetit ThinkTanks introduce a new, more efficient and effective practice of interacting with key stakeholders at their convenience across timezones globally over a matter of days in asynchronous dialogues, enabling companies to collaboratively identify, prioritize, validate, and review their material sustainability issues with our Materiality Mapping Tool,” said co-founder and CEO Tom O'Malley, who presented the Convetit platform and tool at last month’s New Metrics ‘14. “Convetit ThinkTanks save on the cost, calendaring, and carbon associated with traditional real-time engagement — such as in-person meetings, conference calls, and webinars — empowering companies and stakeholders to integrate meaningful, in-depth dialogue into their regular routines.”
To help jumpstart materiality determinations, Convetit pre-loaded templates of the top 15 material GRI aspects (each representing an issue) in each of 35 sectors based on research of more than 1,200 GRI sustainability reports by the Governance & Accountability Institute for its report, What Matters.
“Our What Matters research makes for a perfect starting point for Convetit's Materiality Mapping tool,” said Lou Coppola, EVP of the Governance & Accountability Institute. “If your sector peers consider the 15 GRI aspects we found most often in the 1,200-plus surveyed sustainability reports the most worthy of reporting, then it only makes sense to see if your stakeholders agree these are your company's most material issues — or not.”
Convetit's business model is fueled by the corporate sustainability field's longstanding practices of Stakeholder Engagement and Materiality — which are increasingly coming into sharper focus and converging. In addition to GRI G4's enhanced attention on these two interrelated practices, the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) is sourcing industry-specific materiality determinations via stakeholder engagement to guide SEC-mandated 10-K filings, and the International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC) includes both Materiality and Stakeholder Relationships as Guiding Principles.
“The increasing alignment between GRI, SASB, and IIRC around the core practices of stakeholder engagement and materiality enhances the demand for simple yet sophisticated platforms such as Convetit's virtual ThinkTanks that embed our Materiality Mapping tool,” said Convetit co-founder and Chief Engagement Architect Bill Baue. “Convetit ThinkTanks can augment or replace traditional stakeholder engagement, supplanting arms-length, tick-box surveys with direct, authentic interaction with key stakeholders over enough time for creative collaboration to emerge.”
Convetit says even before broad release, its Materiality Mapping Tool is already securing a faithful following.
"Over the last several years, I've tested more than 80 sustainability-focused web tools and Convetit stands out as one of the most effective, powerful tools I've seen,” said Jennifer Woofter, President of Strategic Sustainability Consulting. “Convetit is on a very short list of tools I will recommend to my clients, and the only one that I will use to conduct materiality assessments.”
Author: Sustainable Brands Launched in 2006, Sustainable Brands has become a global learning, collaboration, and commerce community of forward-thinking business and brand strategy, marketing, innovation and sustainability professionals who are leading the way to a better future.
Source: Sustainable Brands
More Than Half of Global Suppliers Commit to 100% Sustainable Palm Oil
Suppliers of more than 55 percent of the world’s palm oil have committed to produce or trade 100 percent deforestation-free palm oil in response to demands by global brands, who in turn were responding to investor pressure, according to Ceres.
General Mills, Kellogg and Safeway are among the several food and beverage firms, supermarket companies and grocery store chains to commit to responsibly source 100 percent of their palm oil in response to shareholder resolutions.
The commitments result from a record-high number of shareholder resolutions filed in 2014 proxy season to drive more aggressive action by top companies on climate-related issues. Investors also achieved major commitments for responsible palm oil from ConAgra, J.M. Smucker Co., Mondelez and Panera.
The $44 billion palm oil industry has proliferated over the past few decades as palm oil has become the most widely used vegetable oil in the world. But deforestation, a major byproduct of the palm oil industry, causes nearly 20 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
During the 2014 proxy season, nearly 150 climate-related resolutions were filed by institutional investors, and 20 major international corporations committed to set goals to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions or sustainably source palm oil. An additional 45 corporate commitments were secured related to sustainability reporting, energy efficiency and carbon asset risk.
Investors that secured the palm oil commitments include: Clean Yield, Domini, Social Investments, Green Century Capital Management, The New York State Comptroller’s Office, Trillium, and members of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR).
This year’s record number of climate-related resolutions demonstrates that investors are boosting their attention to the risks and opportunities that climate change poses to their portfolio companies. Investors – many of whom are members of Ceres’ Investor Network on Climate Risk (INCR) and the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR) – secured commitments from 13 companies relating to setting company-wide goals for reducing GHG emissions.
The 2014 proxy season followed up on another successful season the previous year, during which a near-record 110 shareholder resolutions filed with 94 U.S. companies on corporate sustainability challenges. In 2013, shareholders achieved numerous successes within the energy sector. Among resolutions filed with other major U.S. manufacturers, consumer brands and service providers, many investors requested board oversight of corporate sustainability issues and comprehensive disclosure via sustainability reports. Overall, investors withdrew more than 40 of the 110 resolutions after the companies responded affirmatively to their specific requests.
Despite this progress on reducing palm oil impacts, there still is a lot of work to be done. In March, the Union of Concerned Scientists released a scorecard grading the palm oil sourcing commitments of 30 top companies in the packaged food, fast food and personal care sectors, which showed 24 of these brands have inadequate commitments or lack commitments altogether.
Mike Hower is a writer, thinker, and strategic communicator most interested in the intersection of sustainable business and policy. Currently based in Washington, D.C., he is a graduate research fellow at George Washington University, where he is pursuing a masters degree in Media & Public Affairs and researching the impacts of Information Communication Technologies (ICTs) on policy, governance, and sustainable development. He has spent time working for the United States Congress in Washington, D.C., helping Silicon Valley startups with strategic communications efforts and teaching in South America. In addition to his ongoing contributions to Sustainable Brands, Mike also regularly writes for Triple Pundit. He is hopelessly addicted to travel and has a borderline unhealthy obsession with his golden retriever, Gerico.
Source: Sustainable Brands
De-coding Public-Private Partnerships for Development
Objectives, interpretations, practices and incentives of public and private partners are often diverse, leading to the question of who leads whom, and how? Closer convergence of incentives, actions and understanding of possible multi-stakeholder partnerships is necessary to achieve sustainable development.
The future of partnerships within the post-2015 development agenda must build on a greater recognition of developing countries own strategies to drive and finance their own structural transformation. Private investments and finance are likely to be the key engine for growth but there needs to be greater focus on sustainable and inclusive outcomes harnessed to the developing countries’ own development agenda.
San Bilal et al
Q&A with Rob Boogaard, acting president and chief executive officer, Interface (EMEA)
Twenty years ago, Interface’s founder Ray Anderson committed his carpet tile company to produce ‘less is more’. Ahead of the Ethical Corporation’s Responsible Business Summit, we ask its current EMEA CEO what role innovation plays in realising Anderson’s initial vision?
Rob Boogaard is acting president and chief executive officer for Interface in Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA). He also serves as senior vice president of sales and marketing for the innovative global carpet tile manufacturer. He joined the company in 2011 after three years as global strategy & marketing director at water technology firm Pentair X-Flow (formerly Norit X-Flow). Prior to that, he worked in senior sales & marketing roles at US furniture firm Steelcase and visual communications technology company Polyvision.
Ethical Corporation: Innovation forms a core part of Interface’s sustainable business strategy. How long has this been the case?
Rob Boogaard: Innovation is a theme that started resonating powerfully with Interface about twenty years ago. It plays right into a statement that Ray Anderson [Interface’s founder] used to make. He’d say: ‘there has to be a better way’. As soon as you start thinking in this way – thinking about how to do things better – then you’re touching on what innovation is all about. In a macro sense, you can do this right across a business: thinking of alternatives that are less harmful, that have a higher output and that represent more value to your customers.
Ethical Corporation: What do you say to those innovation sceptics, who say ‘if it isn’t broken, then don’t try and fix it?’
Rob Boogaard: Well, our company wasn’t broken 20 years ago when the decision was made to become sustainable. In fact, we were meeting all the relevant standards and laws. Instead, Interface had the conviction that we were using the earth’s resources in a way that wasn’t sustainable and therefore needed to be fixed. The first thing we did was say, ‘let’s take any waste out of the company’. That forced us straightaway to think about alternative processes.
Ethical Corporation: Could you give us a flavour of the kinds of innovations that have excited you recently?
Rob Boogaard: There are lots. One good example is the new approach we adopted for cutting our carpet tiles. We use an ultrasonic cutting machine, which even incorporates NASA technology. This allows us to do inline cutting of carpeting. It’s helped reduce our trimming waste by about 80%. At the same time, it’s enabled us to create a carpet product that is much more seamless and has a more homogenous appearance when laid on the floor.
Another good example comes from our Scherpenzeel plant in Holland. We had an employee who became aware that a set of machines were giving off a lot of heat. So he did a heat scan and then he went off to research how to trap that heat using a very sophisticated insulation method. Through his solution, we managed to generate energy savings of over Euro 30,000 per year. A great example of how our employees are engaged at all levels in the organization aiming at the same goal.
Ethical Corporation: I’ve heard you talk about ‘co-innovation’ in the past. What do you mean by that?
Rob Boogaard: We have a dedicated innovation team at Interface, which works closely with our R&D [research and development] divisions globally. But some projects are so high-tech and so particular in know-how that there’s no way we could have come up with it ourselves. So we start looking outside the business for technologies that have never been used in the carpet industry before. When you do that, you end up tapping into whole new areas of expertise.
We recently worked with a Swiss technology company to develop a new drying machine, for example. It uses an innovative airflow and moisture management systemin to improve heat transfer and energy efficiency in our precoating process It hits the energy reduction target of 50% that we set ourselves. These efficiency savings mean we can afford to pay the premium to run it on biogas now rather than natural gas as before.
Ethical Corporation: You have a lot of experience in sales. How does the company’s reputation for innovation go down with your customers?
Rob Boogaard: We now have a manufacturing site that produces tens of millions of square metres of carpet and runs on 100% renewable energy. It has a loop system that ensures that all the water we use is recycled and that no solid waste goes to landfill. That kind of achievement suddenly makes sustainability something very easy to talk about in sales. It’s not a question of our sales people saying, ‘You can buy this product that’s sustainable or this one that’s not.’ For us, sustainability is no longer a separate entity. When a customer buys our products, they are manufactured in one of the most sustainable manufacturing plants on earth.
Ethical Corporation: What sustainability challenges does Interface still face?
Rob Boogaard: Where we still have more to do is reaching further towards 100% recyclable or biobased content. We’re not quite there yet. That’s where innovation must continue to take place with our supplier base. That process itself throws up some great stories that we feed into our sales programme, however.
Ethical Corporation: You’ll be speaking about innovation at the Responsible Business Summit 2014 on 19 May. What are the key messages you’ll be looking to share?
Rob Boogaard: Radical sustainability is possible and it pays. It's all about your people and an advanced co-innovation programme. No single person has all the answers; so get your full workforce on the case. Likewise, no single company has all the answers: venture into the unknown and reach out to outside expertise.
Rob Boogaard will speak at the opening keynote session at the prestigious (May 19-20, London) – the biggest European forum on corporate sustainability best practice..
The summit brings together over 40 top CEOs and senior business leaders to share their best practice on how to leverage sustainability in driving efficiency and innovation in business.
Sainsbury’s, SABMiller, Bupa, TJX, Carillion, Orange, British Land are among the other 400+ already confirmed attendees. For more information – download the Summit brochure here.
Q&A: Bacardi Limited - Stuart Lowthian & Dave Howson
Ahead of the Ethical Corporation’s Responsible Business Summit 2014, Bacardi Limited’s global technical director, Stuart Lowthian, and global sustainability director, Dave Howson share their views on the future of sustainability and management.
Stuart Lowthian is global technical director at Bacardi Limited. He has played an instrumental role in developing and implementing the company’s environmental management systems since joining the company in 2006. He has previously held technical roles at Allied Domecq, Campbell’s Soup and Unilever.
Dave Howson has worked for Bacardi Limited for more than 15 years, initially as a procurement expert. In his current position as global sustainability director, he has overseen Bacardi Limited’s ‘Good Spirited’ sustainability strategy, which was unveiled in February this year on the Company’s 152nd anniversary. The strategy focuses on four key elements: sourcing, packaging, low impact operations and workforce engagement.
Ethical Corporation: Bacardi Limited launched a new-look sustainability strategy earlier in the year. What are the main drivers for the company’s sustainability commitment?
Stuart Lowthian: We absolutely believe that sustainability is a core part of our business strategy for the future. Issues such as water stewardship, responsible sourcing and so on are not only important from a business growth perspective, but it is the right thing to do as well.
We’re a brand-led business after all and we sell to consumers for whom sustainability is an important issue. Our large retail customers are exactly the same. A reputation for sustainability is key to attracting future talent as well. Potential new recruits go onto the internet and find out about us. Many of them want to be part of a business that puts sustainability at the heart of its operations.
Finally - and I say this with no apologies – becoming more sustainable saves us money. We estimate that our energy efficiency measures have generates cost reductions of $10 million per year. Decreasing our water consumption is also saving us a couple of million dollars. This is good business; it helps drive growth.
Ethical Corporation:What are some of the key focus areas of Bacardi’s sustainability efforts?
Stuart Lowthian: As a beverage company, we use a lot of water. Yet we live in an increasingly resource-constrained world. So high water use may not be acceptable in the future, particularly in some of the world’s more water-stressed areas. We know that we need to address water management issues right now. The same rationale applies to our greenhouse gas emissions, as it does to responsible sourcing. As the largest privately-owned spirits company in the world, we want to be in a leadership position.
Ethical Corporation: Bacardi makes much of its commitment to responsible marketing. Why is this?
Stuart Lowthian: You’re right. Responsible marketing is hugely important to us. We are interested in people enjoying our products, of course. But we obviously don’t want people to drink to excess. It’s not in our interest, and it’s not in their interest either. So promoting responsible consumption is absolutely at the core of what we do. In fact, we’re happy when people drink fewer, but better quality, alcohol products.
Ethical Corporation: Bacardi recently published its sixth annual sustainability report. How would you summarise your approach to reporting on these issues?
Stuart Lowthian: We have always tried to be as open as possible in all our reports. What our stakeholders tell us is that they are very encouraged when we convey not only qualitative case studies but quantitative information as well. You’ll see in all our reports that our metrics and our targets provide a common thread throughout. Each year, we show how we got on with our targets over the previous twelve months - whether we achieved them in fully or only partially – as well as explaining what our targets look like for the year ahead. In summary, we set out to be as transparent as possible.
Ethical Corporation: Presumably sustainability targets play an important part of your engagement strategy within the company too?
Stuart Lowthian: Yes, certainly. Targets enable our people to be clear about what the company’s direction is and where the sustainable business opportunities lie. At an individual level, all Bacardi’s senior managers have clear targets too. Sustainability metrics are built into my salary, for example. Measuring our performance enables us to celebrate our successes as well. While we’ve been fortunate to have plenty of these, of course we have setbacks too. And it’s important to acknowledge this and respond to it. At the same time, we’re sensitive not to overload people with too many requests for information.
Ethical Corporation: What kind of timeline does Bacardi place on its sustainability targets?
Stuart Lowthian: As a company, we set visions for 2017 and 2022. So we have these longer-term goals that make it very clear what the direction of travel is. But backing these up, we have annual targets that enable us to track on-going progress through the year. So far, this strategy has served us well. Since 2006, for example, we have achieved a 54% reduction in our water consumption, and our greenhouse gases are down by a quarter. In the year ahead, we’ll be looking to review our next five-year plan and we’ll move ahead in a similar way, with annual targets.
Ethical Corporation: How is Bacardi’s sustainability strategy driving change in the company’s operations?
Dave Howson: Our Aberfeldy distillery in Scotland provides a great example. We’re introducing a large-scale biomass boiler in the facility, which is going to be taking our emissions at that site down by 90% during the course of the coming year – that’s equal to a reduction of over 5,900 tonnes of carbon dioxide. That’s a big change for us.
Ethical Corporation: Apart from internal targets, how else do you look to communicate with employees on the subject of sustainability?
Dave Howson: Since we’re a global brand with nearly 6,000 employees and more than 200 brands, we’re using an intranet to bring to life actions from across the company. The site has the capability to post news and share what people are doing. We’ve found that video and other visually rich content is a great way of engaging employees. That way, our people in Scotland or Spain, can see how our rum facility in Cataño, Puerto Rico, is recycling concrete or reusing retired rum barrels as woodchips. As well as piquing the interest of employees, it leads them to try something similar in the facilities where they themselves work.
As part of our Good Spirited sustainability programme, we’re also preparing to roll out a new initiative under the Million Acts of Green banner. It’s based around a calculator on our intranet platform. The calculator computes the benefits derived from individuals’ sustainable behaviours, from washing at low temperatures to cycling to work or car sharing. The idea is to encourage our people to form teams and compete around sustainability themes.
Ethical Corporation: Does Bacardi have an informal network of sustainability advocates within the business?
Dave Howson: Yes. We call them ‘Green Champions’. These are employees who are passionate about green issues and bring this passion into work with them. It’s not a formal position, so they aren’t necessarily involved in operational or environmental functions within the business. At present, we have more than 30 such champions and that will only grow as we have lots more people who are energised and want to get involved.
Ethical Corporation: You will be speaking at the Responsible Business Summit on 19-20 May about sustainability measurement, among other topics. What will be your key message to attendees?
Stuart Lowthian: It’s important to recognise that we don’t measure for measurement’s sake. Instead, we use sustainability metrics to drive actions that improve our overall performance. That’s our approach and it’s served us well. In the same way, when things don’t go as well as we’d hoped, we’re able to interrogate why and make changes for the future.
Stuart Lowthian and Dave Howson will speak at the prestigious Responsible Business Summit (May 19-20, London) – the biggest European forum on corporate sustainability best practice. The summit brings together over 40 top CEOs and senior business leaders to share their best practice on how to leverage sustainability in driving efficiency and innovation in business. Sainsbury’s, SABMiller, Bupa, TJX, Carillion, Orange, British Land are among the other 250+ already confirmed attendees. For more information – download the Summit brochure here
Q&A with Louise Nicholls, Head of Responsible Sourcing & Plan A at Marks & Spencer
Louise Nicholls has worked for Marks and Spencer (M&S) for over 20 years, and has been leading the retailer’s ethical trade programme for over a decade.
Louise Nicholls formed part of the small team that developed the company's ground-breaking Plan A, a 100-point, five-year plan to address a wide range of environmental and social issues. Louise was also instrumental in setting up the supplier data exchange initiative, Sedex. Much of her time is spent travelling the world to meet and interact with M&S’ global supply base.
Louise Nicholls, Head of Responsible Sourcing & Plan A at Marks & Spencer will speak at Ethical Corporation’s prestigiousResponsible Business Summit on May 19-20 in London. The Q&A is run as part of #rbs14 knowledge exchange.
To learn more about the summit and be the first one to receive the latest best practice on corporate sustainability from #rbs14 knowledge exchange - sign-up here
Ethical Corporation: M&S is investing considerable finance and human resources in promoting responsible sourcing. What motivates this investment?
Louise Nicholls: If we work with workplaces that have really engaged employees, good management systems and safe working conditions, then the evidence shows a very clear set of business benefits. It [responsible business practice] reduces staff absenteeism and it’s often associated with higher productivity and quality too. So there is a clear win-win for us as a business.
We also know that the more we understand the supply chain, then the more opportunities open up to us as a business. End-to-end supply chain mapping helps us to become more efficient, for instance. It enables us to be much more resilient too because we understand where we source from and what the possible risks are. The ability to identify unique points of difference, as well as to explore new emerging products and new models of working also sets our business at an advantage.
Louise Nicholls: Sure. We have done lots to help our tea suppliers [in Kenya] to convert to Fairtrade, for example. During a visit to these Fairtrade producers, they told me that what they would really love to do was pack their tea and sell it to the African market. Out of that conversation, we came back and applied for a DFID [Department for International Development] grant and together we helped them establish a packing facility. As a result, they could sell their first packed-at-source tea. We then sold this in the UK, but they were also able to launch their own Fairtrade tea in the African market – a first for Africa.
Ethical Corporation: What would you define as the key components of M&S’ approach to responsible sourcing?
Louise Nicholls: We have a three-point strategy essentially. The first is about building awareness. Whatever issue we’re looking at, it’s vital to set very clear standards and to communicate clearly about what we expect our suppliers to do. It’s about having some simple tools to help engage them. That’s where an initiative such as Sedex [a supplier data exchange] is so important. Sedex provides one common communication, which tells people what ethical trade is about and what suppliers have to do to comply.
The second element of our strategy revolves around building capacity. This has been massive for us. We don’t want suppliers to have the mindset, ‘we do this because our customers tells us to do this’. We want to take them on a journey so they can understand why responsible business is important to their business. One of the ways we do this is by running training programmes for workers to address the root cause of bad practice.
The final part centres on embedding good practice into how our suppliers and ourselves do business. This is about finding mechanisms to make responsible practices really business relevant. For example, we tell our people that every product must have a sustainability attribute by 2020, as defined by Plan A [M&S’s sustainability target-driven strategy]. We also have balance scorecards, where we give equal merit to sustainability performance as we do to commercial and technical improvements.
Ethical Corporation: What advice would you give to others when it comes to engaging suppliers on the need for responsible business?
Louise Nicholls: First, be really clear about what the requirements are. Keep it simple and clarify the ways of working so people are encouraged to participate. It’s imperative to build trust with suppliers at the outset as well. If not, you run the risk of suppliers hiding information and telling us what they think we want to hear. Another thing we’ve learnt relates to data paralysis. Asking for too much information can leave you unable to see the wood for the trees. So it’s about being really targeted about what data it is that you want, and then being clear on how you’re going to proactively use it to drive something forward.
Ethical Corporation: M&S is involved in a wide range of industry and cross-sector initiatives to promote responsible sourcing. Why do you see collaboration in this space as so important?
Louise Nicholls: It’s partly about leveraging. M&S is actually quite a small retailer globally so collaborating allows us to move at a faster pace. Partnerships enable us to identify common areas of alignment. Collectively, we can then put all our energy into driving action around these areas in a much harder and faster way than we could on our own.
Collaboration works best when there is less talk and more action. People work much better when they are learning together as well. In that vein, it’s important to recognise when some collaborations have run their course. Collaborations are often good for a period of time, but sometimes they can grow a little stale. You shouldn’t keep pushing at something that’s no longer working.
Louise Nicholls, Head of Responsible Sourcing & Plan A at Marks & Spencer will speak at Ethical Corporation’s prestigiousResponsible Business Summit on May 19-20 in London. The Q&A is run as part of #rbs14 knowledge exchange.
To learn more about the summit and be the first one to receive the latest best practice on corporate sustainability from #rbs14 knowledge exchange - sign-up here.
Bacardi Rum Comes of Age in a New Light
World’s favorite BACARDÍ rum uses solar skylights in aging warehouses in “Good Spirited” initiative
Hamilton, Bermuda, April 10, 2014 – Bacardi has perfected the art of aging its award-winning rum, so protecting the storage environment that makes this perfection possible is a top priority. Air temperature and humidity – even the strength of the sea breezes – are all closely monitored at the BACARDÍ rum facility in Puerto Rico.
Recently installed solar skylights and state-of-the art ceiling insulation ensure a new level of energy efficiency, quality and safety at the world’s largest premium rum facility. These enhancements boost natural light and help control temperatures inside the warehouses where BACARDÍ rum rests in white oak barrels.
“Because we’re a small Caribbean island with limited resources, we’re always trying to find ways to be more sustainable and maximize the natural resources that are readily available. Installing these new skylights helps us get the most out of the abundant sunshine that Puerto Rico is known for,” says Julio Torruella, Project Director for Bacardi in Puerto Rico.
Since the Company began tracking its global impacts on the environment in 2006, Bacardi has reduced energy use by 25 percent, supported by a 48 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from the production of BACARDÍ rum.
Building on current programs and efficiencies that reduce water and energy use and greenhouse gas emissions, the Bacardi Limited “Good Spirited” global sustainability program sets specific goals in three areas:
. Responsible Sourcing: Bacardi strives to obtain all raw materials and packaging from sustainably sourced, renewable or recycled materials while maintaining or enhancing the economic status of growers and suppliers. By 2017, the goal is to obtain 40 percent of the sugarcane-derived products used to make BACARDÍ rum from certified,sustainable sources – and 100 percent by 2022. This pledge from Bacardi is an industry first.
.Global Packaging: Bacardi commits to use eco-design to craft sustainability into its brand packaging and point-of-sale materials. By 2017, Bacardi plans to reduce the weight of its packaging by 10 percent and achieve 15 percent by 2022.
.Operational Efficiencies: Bacardi continues to focus on reducing water use and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions with a 2017 goal to cut water use by 55 percent and GHG emissions by 50 percent. In addition, Bacardi aims to eliminate landfill waste at all of its production sites by 2022.
To learn more about Bacardi Limited and its “Good Spirited: Building a Sustainable Future” environmental initiative for sourcing, packaging and operational efficiencies across the entire Bacardi family of premium spirits brands, visithttp://www.bacardilimited.com/good-spirited
From enclave to linkage economies in African extractives
If African developing countries are to benefit fully from the current boom in foreign direct investment (FDI) in extractives (i.e. mining and oil/gas), it is essential that the foreign investors foster linkages to the local economy. Traditionally, extractive FDI in Africa has been seen as the enclave economy par excellence, moving in with fully integrated value chains, extracting resources and exporting them as commodities having virtually no linkages to the local economy.
However, new opportunities for promoting linkages are offered by changing business strategies of local African enterprises as well as foreign multinational corporations (MNCs). MNCs in extractives are increasingly seeking local linkages as part of their efficiency, risk and asset seeking strategies and linkage programmes are becoming integral elements in many MNCs’ corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities. At the same time, local African enterprises are eager to, and increasingly capable of, linking up to the foreign investors in order to expand their activities and acquire technology, skills and market access. The changing strategies of MNCs and the improving capabilities of African enterprises offer new opportunities for governments and donors to mobilize extractive FDI for development goals.
This paper seeks to take stock of, what we know about the state of and driving forces of linkage formation in South Sahel Africa extractives based on a review of the extant literature. The paper argues that while MNCs and local enterprises by themselves will indeed produce linkages, the scope, depth and development impacts of linkages eventually depend on government intervention. Resource rich African countries governments are aware of this and increasingly, linkage promotion is becoming a key element in their industrialization strategies. A main point of the paper is that the choice between different linkage policies and approaches should be informed by a firm understanding of the workings of the private sector as well as the political and institutional capacity of host governments.
Michael W. Hansen
P&G Removing Phosphates from All Detergents by End of 2015
Procter & Gamble announced this week that it will eliminate phosphates from all of its laundry detergents — which include brands such as Tide, Ariel, Cheer, Gain, Ace and Bold — by the end of 2015. The company says the goal of the change is to provide consumers with superior cleaning performance while eliminating the harmful effects of the chemicals on the environment.
Gianni Ciserani, Group President of Global Fabric and Home Care said: “Our strong commitment to innovation, research and development has allowed us to improve the performance of our laundry products while also eliminate phosphates. We believe that action speaks louder than words in the area of sustainability. Through hard work and commitment, we are continuously innovating to make it easier to care for the world on wash day.”
Phosphates, which are used to soften hard water, can deplete oxygen levels, and cause algae blooms and even fish deaths when they make it into public water supplies. According to the Guardian , P&G already eliminated phosphates from its laundry detergents sold in the US in the early ‘90s as part of a voluntary commitment from the American Cleaning Institute, an industry group of which the company is a member, and from its detergents sold in Europe several years ago. So P&G’s latest commitment will likely have the greatest impact on developing countries that have yet to regulate phosphates in detergents.
Other companies such as Unilever and Seventh Generation, which never used them, have proactively eliminated phosphates from their products.
Len Sauers, VP of Global Sustainability at P&G commented: “Our size and scale provide us with a unique opportunity to make a difference when it comes to changing consumer behavior. With this very concrete action of our Fabric Care Business as well as those to follow, we intend to improve the quality of people’s lives today and for generations to come.”
Since the launch of its Eco-Scale rating system in 2011, Whole Foods Market has required full disclosure of ingredients on all household cleaning product labels. Products are rated — red, orange, yellow or green — according to the specific set of environmental and sourcing standards each product meets; Whole Foods will not sell red-rated products.
Sustainable Sourcing Driving Major Market Growth
Sustainability standards such as Fairtrade, Rainforest Alliance and Organic are gaining traction in mainstream markets.
Private sector sourcing commitments from companies such as Unilever, Coca Cola, Starbucks and Home Depot are driving major market growth for sustainable commodities, according to the State of Sustainability Initiatives (SSI) Review 2014.
Once thought of as instruments primarily tailored for niche markets, voluntary sustainability standards such as Fairtrade, Rainforest Alliance and Organic are gaining traction in mainstream markets. The trend towards mainstreaming of sustainability standards is strongest among newer sector-specific initiatives that explicitly target mainstream markets.
Besides the companies named above, the review documents a persistent trend in sustainable sourcing commitments by manufacturers including Dole, Chiquita, Tetley, Twinings, Hershey's, Lowes, Nestlé, Ferrero Group, Mars, Ikea, adidas and others. The growing number of companies that have made commitments to source sustainably illustrates the critical role that the private sector plays in overall market growth of products certified under these initiatives, SSI says.
The average annual growth rate of certified production across all commodity sectors (excluding biofuels) in 2012 was 41 percent, outpacing growth of 2 percent in the corresponding conventional commodity markets. Growth in certified production was strongest in the palm oil sector which experienced 90 percent growth in 2012. Hershey’s, for example, last year achieved its commitment to source 100 percent mass-balanced RSPO (Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil)-certified palm oil more than a year ahead of its original 2015 commitment, and announced it will achieve 100 percent traceable and sustainably sourced palm oil by the end of 2014. Other leading sectors were sugar (74 percent), cocoa (69 percent) and cotton (55 percent).
The research found that compliant production attained significant market penetration in several major commodity markets. Certified coffee, which led in terms of market penetration, reached a 38 percent market share of global production in 2012 (up from 9 percent in 2008). To help consumers make sustainable choices with their coffee consumption, last year a new Green Coffee Carbon Footprint Product Category Rule (CFP-PCR) was published, providing the first CPR for the calculation of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from coffee production.
Other certified commodities with significant market share for sustainable production in 2012 include: cocoa (22 percent); palm oil (15 percent) and tea (12 percent).
The SSI Review 2014 also reveals a long-term trend of declining depth of sustainability criteria coverage among voluntary standards over the past decade. This trend might be enabling more producers to enter sustainable supply chains, but also highlights the growing importance of answering questions related to the field-level impacts created by voluntary sustainability standards.
Overall, the SSI Review concludes that the opportunities for voluntary standards to enable positive transformational change across major mainstream markets are now well-established and continue to grow, but that taking full advantage of them will require a better understanding of field-level impacts as well as a host of strategic policy measures to support technical assistance and cost-internalization at the market level.
Bacardi Aspires to 100% Sustainable Sugarcane Sourcing by 2022
“Protecting the natural resources we use to create our brands, at every step along the value chain, is central to our corporate responsibility”
Bacardi Limited, the world’s largest privately held spirits company, has pledged to obtain 40 percent of the sugarcane-derived products used to make its rums from certified, sustainable sources by 2017 and 100 percent by 2022 — an industry first — as part of a new global sustainability campaign.
Marking the 152nd anniversary of the company’s founding, Good Spirited: Building a Sustainable Future builds on current programs and efficiencies that reduce water and energy use and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and sets new goals in three primary areas: responsible sourcing, global packaging and operational efficiencies.
“Protecting the natural resources we use to create our brands, at every step along the value chain, is central to our corporate responsibility,” said Ed Shirley, Bacardi's president and CEO. “We’ve always set the bar high. Now, we’re taking our solid, sustainable foundation to the next level.”
To achieve its lofty goal of 100 percent sustainable sourcing, Bacardi says it will continue to support sustainable sugarcane farms in Fiji that take measures to protect the islands’ Great Sea Reef. The company will focus on obtaining all raw materials and packaging from sustainably sourced, renewable or recycled materials while maintaining or enhancing the economic status of growers and suppliers.
In a move towards more sustainable packaging, Bacardi plans to reduce the weight of its packaging by 10 percent by 2017 and achieve 15 percent by 2022. The company says it collaborates with its partners — including glass and paper suppliers — to make packaging more environmentally friendly.
Through the new initiative, Bacardi also will redouble its efforts to reduce water use and GHG emissions, by cutting water use by 55 percent (by exploring innovative treatments for water left over from production) and GHG emissions by 50 percent by 2017.
Notably, Bacardi is striving to achieve zero-waste-to-landfill at all of its production sites by 2022. At Bacardi’s rum distillery in Puerto Rico — the largest in the world — demolition crews recycled more than 150 truckloads of concrete without sending any debris to landfills. The concrete is being reused in the construction of new blending facilities.
“Bacardi considers global environmental innovation part of its DNA,” says Eric Kraus, Senior Vice President, Chief Communications and Corporate Affairs Officer, who leads Bacardi corporate social responsibility initiatives. “Our goal is to return to the environment at least as much as we take away. We’re setting a sustainability standard for others in the spirits industry to follow.”
Since it began tracking its global impacts on the environment in 2006, Bacardi claims to have reduced energy use by more than 25 percent and water use by 54 percent. The company achieved this in part by using wind power for producing rum in Puerto Rico, repurposing water used to clean barrels and mulching retired barrels for use on landscaping. Bacardi also switched from fossil fuel to hydro energy for Martini vermouth production in Italy, transformed leftover botanicals into fertilizer and livestock bedding, created an energy efficient blending and shipping center in Scotland for Dewar’s and William Lawson’s Scotch, and transformed the historic Laverstoke Mill in England to a green-certified distillery for its Bombay Sapphire gin that will be powered using biomass and hydro-electrical energy sources.
Diageo, another global beverage company (which produces Guinness, Bailey's, Tanqueray and Johnnie Walker, to name a few), announced last year that it is hoping to achieve zero waste to landfill at all of its sites by 2015. The company's latest sustainability and responsibility report boasted a more than 53 percent waste reduction in 2013.
Unilever Project Sunlight: A brighter future is possible
Unilever Project Sunlight is an initiative that aims to motivate millions of people to adopt more sustainable lifestyles; the project shows how to fully benefit from the available resources, while still respecting the planet we live on, in order to preserve it for the people yet to come.
Unilever's Project Sunlight was launched in Brazil, India, Indonesia, the UK and the US on 20th November 2013. To mark the launch of the initiative, Unilever helped two million children, providing school meals through the World Food Programme; clean, safe drinking water through Save the Children; and promoting better hygiene through UNICEF.
Photograph: Unilever Project Sunlight, to motivate millions to live sustainably. With the help of superstar and new mum Fergie from the Black eyed peas.
Unilever Chief Marketing & Communications Officer Keith Weed explains: “We want to help people SEE a brighter future; in order to do this, we are inviting people to watch a film online which aims to inspire and motivate people. We want to encourage them to ACT by doing small things which, added together, contribute to a better society and environment. Ultimately, we want people to JOIN the movement”.
As the “Why bring a child into this world?” film suggests, there has never been a better time to create a brighter future.
This is the generation that can change the present and build the road to a better future. We have the knowledge and we have the tools; words have never spread so fast as well as people have never travelled in such a quick time; we can create a solid net of motivated people who work together towards the same aim, the aim to help preserve a planet which is rebelling and dying before our very eyes.
Actions are numerous and require very little effort. As Unilever suggests, we can, for example:
. Switch to compressed deodorants, which use less aluminium in the packaging and less propellant gas inside, and save tonnes of CO2;
.Choose Comfort One Rinse for our laundry, a fabric conditioner that requires just one bucket of water to fully rinse items, and help save up to 75% water while washing clothes;
.Buy products from Rainforest Alliance, and help cocoa farmers make a positive impact on their farming techniques and communities;
.Use Lipton for our cups of tea, so that millions of tea farmers will be helped develop more sustainable approaches to tea farming.
We have dramatically damaged the Earth throughout generations, but we can also remedy the senseless deprivation that is the cause of dangerous alterations and millions of deaths.
Changes are possible when tools and will are combined together. And small changes in everyday life can create a better present, essential condition for a much greater future in which plagues such as mortal diseases, starvation, pollution and inequalities can be finally eliminated.
Photograph: Photograph: Ludovica Iaccino
Ludovica Iaccino is a writer, editor and investigative journalist, she specialises in social conflicts and human rights. She reports on a number of topics in sustainable development for iecoAfrica.In adddition to her work on social conflict and human rights, she reports on local and international news and business, including finance, politics, religion and education; profiles, book reviews, journalism tips and guidelines.
Read more of Ludovica Iaccino’s work on her blog Beinquisitiveblog
LEGO Group Partners with WWF, Commits to 100% Renewables by 2016
LEGO Group recently announced a partnership with WWF centered around improving performance on a range of environmental priorities — including greater focus on collaboration with suppliers to reduce total carbon emissions — and committed to becoming net positive through the use of renewables by 2016.
The toy maker joins the likes of Natura, HP, Volvo, Johnson & Johnson and Sprint as the newest member of the WWF’s Climate Savers program.
“Continuing with business as usual is not an option, not for the planet or for companies. The problems can best be solved by working together, and our initiated partnership with the LEGO Group shows that joining forces can amplify and accelerate the positive impact we need,” says Gitte Seeberg, CEO of WWF Denmark. “Taking the lead and driving sustainable change in the value chain is showing genuine responsibility.
Highlights from the partnership agreement include:
. In 2014 the toy manufacturer will initiate test projects with suppliers to co-create best solutions to address supply chain carbon emissions impacts.
.The LEGO Group has committed to produce more renewable energy than the company uses in its facilities, i.e. be 100 percent+ renewable by 2016.
.By the end of 2016, the energy used to manufacture one ton of LEGO elements must be reduced by, minimum, 10 percent compared to 2012.
.LEGO will create an environmental strategy for materials that could include keeping recyclability high and using fewer, renewable or recycled materials.
"We have experienced strong growth for eight consecutive years and, as we grow, we are becoming increasingly aware of the impact we leave on the planet,” says LEGO Group CEO Jørgen Vig Knudstorp. “Partnering with WWF is an important step in our efforts to get the best out of our sustainability initiatives. We are proud to contribute to WWF’s overall vision of 100 percent renewable energy by 2050 and already now they have played a part in the targets we have set — and how we can achieve them.”
Of its 10 percent emission-reduction goal, which would amount to roughly
10,000 tons of emissions, LEGO says that only ten percent of the total carbon emissions from its entire value chain originates from the processes taking place at LEGO factories during molding, decoration and packaging of LEGO bricks. The remaining 90 percent stem from supply chain activities such as raw material extraction and refinement, indirect procurement, distribution from LEGO factories to toy stores around the world and end of life impact when the products are eventually scrapped.
“If we are able to inspire and enable our supply chain to also achieve a reduction in their production at a similar level, the total emissions would be reduced by 100,000 tons. Such a reduction would be equivalent to taking approximately 28,000 cars off the streets,” says Robbert Stecher, Senior Vice President of Corporate Affairs at the LEGO Group. “We feel that it is natural to engage in a closer dialogue with our suppliers so that, together, we can join forces to reduce the carbon emissions and collaborate on a common goal of making a positive impact on the environment and society at large.”
While LEGO is now increasing its focus on suppliers, the company says it remains dedicated to reducing its external environmental impacts and shifting to net positive operations. The company says it has long discussed with WWF a range of sustainability topics such as sourcing sustainable packaging materials through FSC and partnering on the recent launch of the WindMade Product Label, which can be applied to all products using a minimum share of 75% of renewable energy in their total electricity consumption, with wind power representing the largest share. The toy maker says it has already commissioned an offshore wind farm in Germany, where the production of energy from LEGO’s portion of the farm equals the energy consumption of approximately 100,000 residential homes.
“Working with companies, such as the LEGO Group, which shares our concern, is essential to be able to achieve our vision of 100 percent renewable energy by 2050,” Seeberg added. “With the support of WWF, Climate Savers member companies have cut their CO² emissions by more than 100 million tons since 1999. This is about twice the current yearly CO² emissions of Denmark. Therefore, changes in corporate practice are essential if there is to be real progress for the climate. And in WWF we are very happy that a major player like the LEGO Group is now also a Climate Saver.”
This is the latest in a string of collaborations through which WWF is working to further industry-wide change. Last month, the NGO announced the formation of the Bioplastic Feedstock Alliance, a partnership with Coca-Cola, Danone, Ford, Heinz, Nestlé, Nike, P&G and Unilever to support the responsible development of plastics made from plant material and promote a more sustainable future for the bioplastics industry.
Jennifer Elks is Managing Editor of Sustainable Brands. She is a writer, editor and foodie who is passionate about improving food systems, closing loops and creating more livable cities.
She loves cooking, wine, cooking with wine, correcting spelling errors in the media, and shows about people surviving harrowing experiences out in the wilderness. She received her BA in Communications from UNLV and a MBA in Sustainable Management from Presidio Graduate School.
Source: Sustainable Brands
H&M Plans to Pay All Textile Workers Living Wage by 2018
H&M, the world's second-largest clothing retailer, established a roadmap this week to pay a fair “living wage” to 850,000 textile workers by 2018, citing that governments were not acting fast enough. But some are arguing that H&M should move faster, as well.
During the last year, H&M says it has worked on the problem of how to best address wages, both short and long term, on several levels from purchasing practices, supplier practices, workers’ rights to government responsibility.
The company says the roadmap is based on the idea that a fair living wage covering workers' basic needs should be paid by all of its commercial goods suppliers. This will be enabled through H&M’s purchasing practices, and based on a skilled workforce that have their wages negotiated and annually reviewed, involving democratically elected trade unions or worker representatives.
“It has always been our vision that all textile workers should be able to live on their wage,” H&M said in a statement. “That is also stated in our Code of Conduct. We believe that the wage development, driven by, for example, governments in some countries, is taking too long, so we want to take further action and encourage the whole industry to follow. With size comes responsibility and we have the ability to contribute to change.”
While the commitment is an admirable one, some are already criticizing H&M's announcement for its lack of specificity and five-year timeline for implementation.
"If they want to pay living wages, they should pay living wages. They should give themselves a near-term deadline and give the world a number," said Scott Nova, executive director of the Worker Rights Consortium advocacy group, told the Washington Post. "Just staying 'we're for a living wage, in five years we're going to pay an undefined amount in a subset or our factories,' that's not credible. Where H&M has the power to make it happen now is in the factories now. If they are willing to take the steps necessary, they can achieve it. Why are they not doing that, is the question."
In April, a factory collapse in Bangladesh killed nearly 1,130 people, which put pressure on major brands to improve the working conditions of those making clothes largely for Western companies.
H&M sources most of its garments from factories in Asia, particularly Bangladesh. While H&M did not source from the Rana Plaza factory, it was among the first to sign the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh, a European-led safety pact for Bangladesh garment factories after the collapse. The company also has urged Bangladesh and Cambodia to raise the minimum wage and revise it annually.
Also, in an effort to build a more transparent supply chain, the fashion company made its supplier factory list public with the release of its annual sustainability report in March.
Mike Hower. Based in San Francisco, Mike Hower is a writer, thinker and strategic communicator that revels in driving the conversation at the intersection of sustainability, tech, politics and law.
He studied Political Science and History at the University of California, Davis and has spent time working for the United States Congress in Washington, D.C., helping Silicon Valley startups with public relations campaigns and teaching in South America. In addition to his ongoing contributions to Sustainable Brands, Mike also regularly writes for Triple Pundit and is an affiliate of New Growth Communications.
Source: Sustainable Brands