COMMENTS - Should we celebrate [sustainability] reporting of failure?

by Rory Sullivan on Ethical Corporation, Aug 15, 2011

Sustainability reports should provide essential information – good and bad – about companies, but the good reporters are not necessarily the best performers

In a recent article for Ethical Corporation [2], Paul Hohnen and Eva Riera highlight the difficulty faced by leading firms in reducing their greenhouse gas emissions. They note that, for many of these companies, improvements in efficiency are being swamped by increases in production.

They then argue: “In the absence of greater government encouragement and incentives, it is only a matter of time before sustainability reports become evidence of unsustainability rather than the beacons of change, innovation and hope they could be.”

Their argument seems to be based on the assumption – or the hope – that companies that produce high quality sustainability reports will, or should, be more sustainable (as measured in terms such as reduced greenhouse gas emissions and reduced resource consumption).

Read full article on www.ethicalcorp.com

COMMENTS - The rise of social media is causing brand managers to act more ethically

By Paloma Lopez, for Ethical Corporation, Jul 29, 2011

In an age of social media and brand transparency, a new skill – brand value(s) leadership – is becoming increasingly important

Brand managers cannot ignore how their brands behave in their journeys from raw materials to final products or services.

As brand gatekeepers, brand managers must be accountable to deliver consistency on how the brand’s promise and values are delivered across the product lifecycle. In doing so, brand managers will not only protect the equity of their brands but also identify exciting product innovation and partnership opportunities that deliver strategic differentiation and sustainable growth for the brand.

The way we live, work, shop and influence one another has been transformed by the use of internet, smart phones and social networks. News, including information from those that rate and share opinions on brands, is only a click away. (…)

Read full article on http://www.ethicalcorp.com

justinwoolford:


CASES - On September 17, Greenpeace is launching an international film competition.
You’ll have two weeks from the launch date to make a one minute film on the competition brief. That brief is secret for now, but Greenpeace promise you it’s going to make you want to fuse your creativity with your conscience.
The best films will be screened at a special event at the Curzon Soho in London (and you’ll be invited along). They’ll be seen by thousands of people around the world and be a key part of our climate campaign.
We have a prestigious panel of judges, and if your film is the winner you will be awarded a £5,000 budget to make Greenpeace’s next campaign movie.
Watch classic Greenpeace films for inspiration and ideas, and follow @gpfilmcomp for updates throughout the competition.

justinwoolford:

CASES - On September 17, Greenpeace is launching an international film competition.

You’ll have two weeks from the launch date to make a one minute film on the competition brief. That brief is secret for now, but Greenpeace promise you it’s going to make you want to fuse your creativity with your conscience.

The best films will be screened at a special event at the Curzon Soho in London (and you’ll be invited along). They’ll be seen by thousands of people around the world and be a key part of our climate campaign.

We have a prestigious panel of judges, and if your film is the winner you will be awarded a £5,000 budget to make Greenpeace’s next campaign movie.

Watch classic Greenpeace films for inspiration and ideas, and follow @gpfilmcomp for updates throughout the competition.

ILLUSTRATION: Product safety… (By Scott Adams, comic strip for 01/27/2004 from the official Dilbert archive)

ILLUSTRATION: Product safety… (By Scott Adams, comic strip for 01/27/2004 from the official Dilbert archive)

CASES: Puma Responds to Greenpeace detox campaign

By Raz Godelnik | August 12th, 2011, on triplepundit.com

Credit: Greenpeace

About a month ago, Puma, one of the world’s leading clothing brands, was asked by Reuters if the company would end its business relationship with Yonguor Textile of China. This question was raised after Greenpeace published a report profiling the problem of toxic water pollution resulting from the release of hazardous chemicals by textile factories in China such as Yonguor. Puma’s response was that it only used Yonguor only for cutting, sewing and finishing, so the answer is no. Two weeks later Puma changed in mind.

Puma didn’t decide to completely end its relationship with Yonguor, but it did decide to take responsibility. In a statement Puma released on July 26th, the company said it recognizes the urgent need for reducing and eliminating industrial releases of all hazardous chemicals and is committed to “eliminate the discharges of all hazardous chemicals from the whole lifecycle and all production procedures that are associated with the making and using of PUMA products by 2020.”

This was the first result of Greenpeace’s latest Detox campaign. It’s an important achievement and it’s really great to see Puma moving in the right direction, but maybe even a greater achievement of this campaign is that it started an important debate on the level of responsibility we can and should expect from companies when it comes to their supply chain.

Read full original article here

COMMENTS: Sustainability skills and good business skills are increasingly the same thing

The University of Exeter is offering the first sustainable MBA. But shouldn’t all MBAs be teaching these skills?

By Duncan Graham-Rowe for the Guardian Professional Network

 

Are good business skills and sustainability skills really the same thing? Photograph: NOVASTOCK/REX FEATURES

Photograph: NOVASTOCK/REX FEATURES

It’s been described as one of the most pressing challenges that businesses are likely to face over the next five years, and one that could save them a collective £55bn a year in the UK alone – that is, the task of ensuring that business leaders and professionals have the skills they need to take their companies forwards into a sustainable economy. But exactly what kind of skills are we talking about?

The ability to collaborate, innovate, inspire and communicate are often bandied around, leadership qualities that are recognised as essential for transforming a business into a sustainable enterprise. But while the drive for change and cost reduction has led to a surge in demand for these kinds of skills, it is not entirely clear how they differ from the skills you would expect any competent business leader to possess.

But that’s the point, says Jean-Paul Jeanrenaud, international director of corporate communications at the WWF, which has jointly launched the first MBA geared towards sustainability, the One Planet MBA at the University of Exeter Business School. “It’s in your interest to put your business on a sustainable footing,” he says.

Jeanrenaud believes that the decline of religious influence on society is largely to blame for the business community’s unbridled quest for profit and growth. This absence of moral values is reflected in the way that business leaders are trained and educated, he says. “Most MBAs are really geared towards being successful in terms of profitability and increasing shareholders value.”

One Planet is attempting to change this business culture from the inside out, but not by teaching different skills about how to run a business. It’s more a shift in mindset, says Jeanrenaud. “It starts from the standpoint and recognition that business-as-usual is not desirable. Money is not evil, but it has to be put in the context of the broader good and the good of the planet, embedding those values into everything you do,” he says. (…).

Read the full post here

COMMENTS: What should companies do when the riots break out?

By Mallen Baker, on Business Respect, 10 august 2011.

ABSTRACTS:

" (…) Social unrest is going to be a factor constraining the choices we make. It will make it harder for politicians to hold fast to environmental policies. It will offer a real challenge to CSR as people default to wanting stuff they can afford and asking fewer questions about how it was made.

We like to think that times of adversity mean that we pull together. But it is just as likely it makes people fight, and lose sight of the real causes of the problems in a wave of self–indulgent blaming and finger–pointing. The US is the hotbed for this at the moment, with the break–down their of civil political discourse. That is one step on the path of the decline of the American empire.

So this may be an early echo from the future – a little vision of how things could be if we get this wrong. But we should take this seriously. The new company mantras should be:

1. At our best, we can help people to achieve potential they never knew they had. As well as hiring the brightest and the best, we should seek out some of those people that believe they have been abandoned and find ways for them to see the benefit of improving their situation and to support them in putting this into action. 

2. The future of our business has to be achieved in a more sustainable society. But sustainability is not achievable in a world of poverty, poor education and underdevelopment. This isn’t just about changing a few light bulbs at head office. Get serious about supporting communities.

3. We have an interest in good governance, civil political discourse, and the rule of law. We should demonstrate by our actions that these are things that we aim to strengthen, not weaken, in the way we do business. That means not exploiting (and seeking to preserve) poor governance because we can make it work to our benefit.

Oh, and there’s a fourth one that some may not like.

4. If we, as top executives, behave like greedy parasites it will undo a lot of the good work described in points 1–3.

All the major consumer–facing corporations have played their part over the last couple of decades in feeding the sensibilities of the selfish and greedy generation. The next step – of moving us beyond the sense of entitlement towards being a society bound again by common values – that has to be on the boardroom agenda as well.”

Read full article on Business Respect

 

TOOLS AND FRAMEWORKS: The Business Case for Being a Responsible Business

"The aim of this guide/report is to articulate succinctly the business case for being a responsible business – a headline synthesis of the arguments being used and the most frequently stated business benefits"

Report by the Doughty Centre for Corporate Responsibility and Business in the Community (March 2011)

It has long been argued that managing the risks and opportunities of environmental, social and governance is a proxy for good management. I would now argue that with this business case it is not a proxy for good management – it is good management, it is essential management.
David Grayson - Director of the Doughty Centre for Corporate Responsibility
ILLUSTRATION: Interesting Business Model…
(Via theeconomicwayoflife)

ILLUSTRATION: Interesting Business Model…

(Via theeconomicwayoflife)

ILLUSTRATION: Top management IS a tough job. Well…

ILLUSTRATION: Top management IS a tough job. Well…

CASES: L’Oreal – Because Sustainability Is Worth It

If beauty is merely in the eye of the beholder, nobody has told L’Oreal.

 

By David Connor, on David Coethica’s Blog, June 23, 2011.

  They have 66,000 employees, sell 161 products every second in 130 countries and produce 5.4 billion products every year.

Yesterday saw L’Oreal step up its sustainability engagement with the first of four planned global stakeholder engagement forum events, with the first held in London.

My expectations were similar to those before the Microsoft Accelerator Summit I was invited to last year, i.e. not huge due to minimal information sent beforehand, me being a busy 3BL Media bee and L’Oreal never over energetically communicating their activity, all against a backdrop of a couple of  slippery issues including animal testing and the acquisition of Body Shop part of their history.

Much more information on their sustainable development approach is available online here, but I’ll give you a brief perspective on the event and some of the key issues below.

The headlines include the company looking to double their business by 2015 whilst reducing CO2 by 50%, waste by 50% and water use by 50% (across the period 2005 – 2015).

L’Oreal are keen to use the term “sustainable consumption” (always brave) in their latest report and push an aspirational luxurious brand image; add the above mentioned scale, alongside historically challenging product testing practices and you could consider placing them near the top of the corporations to pick on list. Let’s put sustainability aside for one moment, it is easy to miss the link between the abundance of cosmetic products sold to consumers and the reality of our human ancestral use of natural dyes and colourings to define tribal groups and to communicate. In other words lipstick is a central part of civilisation and has been around in one form or another for thousands of years and is not going away any time soon.

Okay, back to the stakeholder forum…

Read the rest of the post here

ILLUSTRATION: Time for sustainable design?

ILLUSTRATION: Time for sustainable design?