AT&T has used the WaterMAPP to achieve building water savings of up to 40 percent. Now the scorecard and calculator are available to any business.
Social entrepreneurs and NGOs are filling the gap to lead the sustainability charge, according to experts in this GlobeScan SustainAbility survey.
From Boston to Salt Lake City, cities are banding together to combat the biggest demand for energy and source of carbon emissions.
Even when the FTC doesn't define a term, consumers do. And when companies use words deceptively, consumers sue.
The following recipe is an excerpt from Wild Fermentation by Sandor Katz. “Wine made from flowers preserves the exquisite flavors and benevolent properties of the blossoms from which it is made. It also preserves the memories of fine, clear, sunshiny days—alone or with Someone Else—in woods, meadows, and hills, picking millions of tiny flowers for […]
The post RECIPE: From the Homemade Hooch Files: Dandelion Wine appeared first on Chelsea Green.
The company's drive for "outstanding" experiences extends to minimizing pollution and disaster relief.
Sustainability is a key ingredient in Campbell Soup's core business strategy. VP Dave Stangis explains its "ripple effect" through the company.
The producers of two popular chemical assessment tools are joining forces to help companies squeeze chemicals from their products.
Why all the buzz around microgrids? GreenBiz explains how distributed microgrids are transforming the energy system.
Beginning in 2017, nearly 7,000 large firms must reveal social, environmental and human rights impact, diversity and anti-corruption policies.
Scientific consensus seems to be growing that there is a causal link between excess sugar consumption, rising obesity and Type 2 diabetes and other NCDs. Analogies such as sugar is the new is the new tobacco have grabbed headlines recently alluding to the addictive nature of sugar, and food products such as fizzy drinks are particularly under fire due to the high sugar content that is ingested very quickly.
Although this isn’t a new issue, in recent months we have seen campaigners, governments and investors increasingly pay attention to the major health and economic costs associated with sugar-related health problems. Last year a report from Credit Suisse’s Research Institute brought into focus the staggering health consequences of sugar. The report revealed that approximately 30%–40% of healthcare expenditures in the USA are attributed to addressing issues closely tied to the excess consumption of sugar. The WHO has published draft guidelines that recommends people halve the amount of sugar in their diet from 10% of total calorie intake a day to a target of 5%.
In the US, the FDA has announced a proposed rule for revised nutrition labels, which will require more disclosure on which foods contain added sugars. The FDA estimates that changes to the labels will cost companies about $2 billion but they are forecasted to produce $20 – $30 billion in health benefits over the next two decades. Socially responsible investors, who typically avoid holding ‘death stocks’ like tobacco and weapons companies and ‘sin stocks’ like alcohol, caution that companies who manufacture products high in sugar content could be added to the list of exclusion.
Experts who have been highlighting the effects of sugar for some time are now pushing the boundaries further. The Chief Medical Officer for England warns that unless the government takes a stronger stance with food and drink manufacturers to reformulate their products, it may be necessary to introduce a sugar tax in the UK. Marion Nestle, a renowned thought leader on nutrition issues, is proposing more radical measures such as urging CVS to stop selling sugary drinks and junk foods after CVS announced that it would stop selling cigarettes in its stores across the US.
An article in the Financial Times posits that so far food companies have been responding to sugar overconsumption mostly through voluntary measures such as product reformulation, labeling, and investing in R&D on sugar alternatives. However, the growing body of research and rising public pressure on sugar could drive governments facing escalating healthcare costs to use other measures like regulation and increased taxation on sugar and food advertising and marketing to force through more rapid changes in eating habits.
SustainAbility’s report, The Changing Landscape of Liability, noted the various ways in which the food and beverage industry was increasingly becoming a target of litigation, regulation and taxation as the huge costs of obesity on the economy and society came into sharper focus. It’s been ten years since this report was published but the forecasted risks to companies still hold true. Analysts and investors who invest in food and beverage companies are paying attention to the health consequences of sugar due to real and quantifiable risks such as the 8% excise tax in Mexico on high calorie foods, which they forecast could negatively impact volume growth of soft drinks and be an indicator of likely legislation in the future.
The growth consumer markets of India, China and Mexico have high prevalence of Type 2 diabetes and the proximate causes include not just consumption of sugary products but also a host of other factors such as lifestyle choices and genetic predisposition. Companies that are selling products in these markets are one of many actors that have a role to play. They will need to evolve their overall product portfolios, not just focus on making certain product categories healthier and also be mindful of the future regulatory landscape in these countries that may come down heavily as obesity continues to spike. Food and beverage companies will need to pay attention to their marketing and advertising practices particularly around more responsible marketing to children.
Ultimately, as the past has demonstrated, there is no silver bullet to tackling obesity and associated diseases such as diabetes and NCDs either through voluntary measures, labelling transparency, portion control or taxation. The escalation of interest to address this issue from companies, governments and investors is encouraging but they must recognize that such a complex issue needs a systemic response that doesn’t depend on isolated and piecemeal measures. This will involve engaging with multiple stakeholders across sectors such as city governments, pharmaceutical companies and the healthcare sector more broadly to reduce the burden on public health systems.
Billions of pounds of hazardous chemicals are made in America, yet unknown amounts more go unreported. The Environmental Defense Fund explains.
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The chairman of California Energy Commission explains the future role of renewables in powering the Golden State.
If the name Panasonic brings to mind TVs, laptops and cameras, think again. The electronics brand is angling to become an "Eco Solutions" powerhouse.
GlobeScan and SustainAbility are delighted to invite you to a webinar on May 14th to discuss the results of our 20th anniversary survey: The 2014 GSS Sustainability Leaders Report. After 20 years, the GSS Leaders Report is the longest-running survey of its kind. In our latest survey, the 2014 Sustainability Leaders Report, we analyze the viewpoints of nearly 900 sustainability experts to answer a number of pressing questions, including:
- Which companies do experts believe are leading the sustainability agenda in 2014?
- What key factors set them apart?
- How well are other actors – governments, NGOs, scientists, etc. – leading relative to the private sector?
- How have conceptions of leadership shifted over the past 20 years?
Chris Coulter, co-CEO, GlobeScan
Chris Guenther, Research Director, SustainAbility
May 14th, 2014
11:00 am – 12:00 pm EST
Register for the webinar today!
Which business model innovations have the most promise for sustainability? How are leading companies exploring them? What role can companies play in advancing more sustainable business models?
These are a few of the questions posed by SustainAbility’s latest think tank work, Model Behavior: 20 Business Model Innovations for Sustainability. In March, we held roundtable events in London and New York with representatives from Barclays, Cisco, Estée Lauder, Ikea, L’Oréal, Mitsubishi and Vodafone, among other organisations. Below are a few of the ideas we discussed. (As we held the discussions under Chatham House Rule, quotes from the discussion included below are edited to provide anonymity.)
- Consumers and Customers are key: Business model innovation does not happen in a vacuum, and the element of customer and consumer desirability is paramount. In the words of one participant, “Consumers won’t sacrifice and they shouldn’t be asked to.” How far are consumers willing to go in a performance- and service-based, rather than product-based, economy? Companies feel the challenge of locking-in customers whilst offering them something fundamentally different. Dragon Rouge suggests visualisation is especially important for consumers. Their Brand Futures work, presented at Sustainable Brands in London in late 2013, sought to radically re-imagine high-profile UK businesses Argos, Bupa, easyJet, Morrisons, Primark and Rio Tinto. For instance, they painted pictures of catalogue merchant Argos repositioning itself to offer affordable leasing of all its products, and extractives company Rio Tinto pioneering the application of traditional mining technology to reclaim valuable metals, minerals and plastics from landfill.
- Culture and Capabilities shouldn’t lock you in but set you free: Do some company cultures isolate them from or serve as obstacles to innovation? Some participants noted that many companies have social innovation or similar side funds, but that it is not enough: “How do we democratise social innovation inside the organisation?” There is consensus that enabling innovation requires both a mind-set and skill set internally embedded throughout the organisation. Many participants felt that great ideas exist within their companies, but that the company may need to change its culture or capabilities to unlock the innovation.
- We can Collaborate: It’s difficult for a consumer-facing brand to collaborate with a competitor in a global marketplace. However, exploring the role that collaboration plays in supporting new business models for sustainability is essential. Participants recognised that working closely with others is crucial to the closed loop model, in particular. For instance, the London Sustainable Industries Park in East London was cited for its success in integrating the activities of complementary activities with a plastics recycling centre requiring water working with the neighbouring anaerobic digestion centre that produces water. The park’s success is seen in sharing energy, by-products, services and knowledge across industries. One participant also suggested that there are more opportunities for collaboration to be seized. For example, could companies – such as those in the footwear and apparel or IT sectors – work with peers and logistics companies –such as UPS and DHL – to develop a common approach to investing in product take-back, thereby scaling up closed loop systems currently undertaken only at the level of individual companies?
What also struck us was the value of drawing upon the experiences of other companies and applying the lessons learned to guide innovation elsewhere, such as realising the benefit of a senior internal champion, as was the case in the early development stages of M-PESA at Vodafone. One participant asked, “What sort of leadership and systems do we need to get to these 20 business models?”
Model Behavior is the first step in the development of a larger practice area on business model innovation at SustainAbility. As such, we are actively considering plausible future areas of research. The next phase may focus on gaining a better understanding of the internal culture and conditions that enable business model innovation and/or take a step back and look across sectors at the kind of change that needs to happen in particularly unsustainable industries. We are interested in exploring these topics in concert with partners and sponsors and welcome exploratory conversations with potential collaborators in the coming weeks.
If you are interested in exploring further research on business model innovation, please contact report co-author Lindsay Clinton.
Newmont Mining Corporation (NYSE: NEM) today published its 2013 sustainability report, Beyond the Mine. The report reflects Newmont’s reporting obligations as a founding member of the International Council of Mining and Metals (ICMM) as well as its commitments under the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights (VPSHR), the United Nations Global Compact and the Global Sullivan Principles. Finally, the report complies with the Global Reporting Initiative’s (GRI) international standard for sustainability reporting.
“Our commitment to transparency in reporting our environmental and social performance is central to our values and our drive to make Newmont a successful and sustainable business,” said Dr. Elaine Dorward-King, Newmont’s Executive Vice President, Sustainability & External Relations. “While 2013 was marked by challenging market conditions, our team made strides in contributing to sustainable development in the communities and countries hosting our operations and projects."
Performance highlights for 2013 include:
- Achieving the best safety performance in Newmont history;
- Reaching fair and balanced workplace agreements at our operations in Indonesia, Peru and the United States;
- Setting a goal to become an industry leader in global inclusion and diversity and establishing targets to increase female and national representation in our leadership ranks;
- Developing a global water strategy to guide a more proactive and inclusive approach to managing this shared resource;
- Commissioning environmental and social impact assessments to support responsible growth in Nevada and Suriname; and
- Taking steps to improve future reporting through setting clear metrics and indicators based on business needs and stakeholder expectations.
New features in this year’s report include:
- A sharper focus on the sustainability issues that matter most to stakeholders based on the results of a materiality assessment conducted by external experts;
- A survey tool to solicit feedback from stakeholders; and
- Case studies that illustrate Newmont’s commitment to conduct business in a responsible manner.
The full report, as well as a downloadable PDF, is available at www.beyondthemine.com. Newmont values feedback on the report or any other aspect of Newmont’s sustainability performance and invites readers to complete an online survey.
Founded in 1921 and publicly traded since 1925, Newmont is a leading producer of gold and copper. Headquartered in Colorado, the Company has approximately 32,000 employees and contractors, with the majority working at managed operations in the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Peru, Indonesia and Ghana. Newmont is the only gold company listed in the S&P 500 index and in 2007 became the first gold company selected to be part of the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index. Newmont is an industry leader in value creation, supported by its leading technical, environmental, and health and safety performance.
DataWind, a leading developer of wireless web access and products, and the manufacturer of the world’s lowest cost android tablet PC, announced that it has joined the Business Call to Action (BCtA).
DataWind plans to bridge the digital divide by providing an affordable tablet thus enabling internet access for millions of consumers in India. The company aims to harness the potential of ICT Technologies for a positive developmental impact on quality of education through its range of UbiSlate/Akash Tablets.
To meet the educational challenges in India, DataWind has worked to address the key demands of a large population, whose poor communities often face disproportionally high illiteracy rates. The company is focused on expanding the roll-out of the Aakash tablet, which is designed to be affordable, deliver high quality content, and provide access at the lowest cost or for free, where possible.
By 2017, DataWind has a target to distribute five million tablets in India and expects that more than 80% will reach individuals who live at the base of the pyramid-- living on less than $8 dollars a day.
"We are greatly encouraged to have DataWind join the BCtA with their unique technological approach to help reach new communities and improve access to education and technology. The impact of affordable and connected devices cannot be underestimated,” said Sahba Sobhani, Acting Programme Manager, Business Call to Action.
The company recently scaled-up its tablet launch to better ensure market-based solutions meetthe needs of low-income communities in India. Working to help low-income communities readily adopt the new technology, and in an effort to provide continued quality education and internet access to help empower students and teachers, the Indian government has subsidized the costs and the planned expansion of the mobile tablet.
Recognizing that while a growing number of consumers have access to mobile phones, DataWind is also working with service providers and network operators to provide much needed access to the internet through these web access devices. The company has patented a unique delivery system to provide low-income consumers valuable data services at the lowest cost possible.
Initial results are promising and the company is continuing to create applications that are versatile and relevant to its varied partners, which include schools, libraries, government and other public and private institutions.
“DataWind is pleased to be in the company of like-minded organizations and initiatives such as the Business Call to Action that are working towards a common goal of social development by providing tools and empowering individuals and communities globally." said Suneet Singh, CEO, DataWind.
DataWind is working with several governments and not-for-profit organizations to help them achieve their goals of elevating the quality of education and bridging the digital divide. The company is looking to expand in Thailand and a number of other regions.
About Business Call to Action
Business Call to Action is a global initiative that challenges companies to develop inclusive business models that offer the potential for development impact along with commercial success. The initiative is the result of a partnership between the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, UK Department for International Development, US Agency for International Development, United Nations Development Programme, the United Nations Global Compact, and the Clinton Global Initiative to meet the anti-poverty Millennium Development Goals by 2015. Companies report on progress toward commitments on an annual basis. To learn more, please visit www.businesscalltoaction.org or join the conversation on Twitter at @BCtAInitiative
DataWind is a leading developer of wireless web access products and services, and among the largest suppliers of tablet computers in India. Based on several international patents, DataWind‘s breakthrough technologies solve the bandwidth limitations of cellular networks by accelerating content delivery by factors of 10x to 30x – resulting in superior mobile web experience at a lower cost.
Named to the MIT Tech Review’s 2014 list of 50 Smartest Companies, DataWind is credited with the developing UbiSlate/Aakash the world‘s lowest cost tablet computers. The company has received recognition on several prestigious platforms including – the United Nation at the launch of Aakash by UN Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon; as a "classroom revolutionary” by the Forbes Magazine‘s 2012 Impact 15 List; and as UK‘s Most Innovative Mobile Company.
DataWind has offices in London, Montreal, Mississauga, Amritsar and New Delhi. DataWind devices can be accessed at www.DataWind.com