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Interview: 'Boards have a fiduciary duty to protect planet Earth'

It just takes a few people to affect change; a few people to get the message out that business cannot keep making money at any price.

One of them is Philippe Joubert, founder of Earth on Board, a group of organisations, including ClientEarth, CDP, the B Team, We Mean Business and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, whose aim is to move boards away from focusing on short-term profits, and to put sustainability first in order to build long-term value.

Image: Channels: EnvironmentTags: Earth on BoardCISLnatural capital accountingPrince of Wales Corporate Leaers GroupClientEarthRE100

‘Together Rainforest Alliance and UTZ will be a more powerful force for positive change’

January 2018 marks an auspicious beginning for the Rainforest Alliance and UTZ, which have just formally merged into a new organisation that carries forth the Rainforest Alliance name. The new Rainforest Alliance has a bold and ambitious goal: to accelerate and scale up our work to tackle today’s most urgent challenges: climate change, social inequity, rural poverty, and biodiversity loss.

Image: Channels: Supply ChainsTags: biodiversityclimate changeSDGspovertyclimate-smart agricultureHuman rightsIndigenous PeopleGlobal Living Wage CoalitionMarsNestléCargillLiptonPatagonia

Post-conference report: Reporting and Communications Summit 2017

2017's Reporting and Communications Summit focused on portraying total impact in reports, bringing the most innovative companies together, from Dell, Microsoft, and Vodafone to GSK, Kellogg's, and Virgin Media. This post-conference analysis covers:

  • Total impact reporting: Understand how companies are conveying sustainability data and showcasing their impacts on the environment, society and the business

How WRI is working to tip the balance in favour of the planet

How do you help bring about a tipping point on huge issues like climate change, rampant deforestation, or the scandal of one-third of food produced globally being wasted when 800 million people go hungry?

Such are the questions that preoccupy Andrew Steer, CEO and president of the World Resources Institute, the Washington DC-based research centre that spans more than 50 countries, has offices in seven, and more than 700 experts and staff.

Image: Channels: EnvironmentTags: STW18WRITFA2020Global Forest WatchChampions 12.3NDC Partnershipfood loss and wasteDSMCarbon PricingUnileverNestléCarbon Pricing Leadership ForumSDGsND

The disruptors: Nordea's Sasja Beslik, the former refugee who is shaking up banking

Sasja Beslik always knew life would not be straightforward. Born into a non-Muslim family in a Muslim-dominated city, he didn’t need anyone to tell him as much. All the same, not even a soothsayer could have guessed the twists and turns that lay ahead.

Image: Channels: Communications & ReportingTags: SRIESGgreen financeStars FundUNHCRUnicefOne Planet summit

12th Annual Sustainable Supply Chain Summit Post-conference Report

This post-conference report provides an analytical overview of the 12th Annual Sustainable Supply Chain conference, covering insight from speakers on key topics, including:

  • Collaborations for change

  • Environmental and business impact

  • Engaging suppliers and creating cultural change

  • Tech and data: beyond compliance 

My top 10 sustainability stories from 2017

So much happened last year in the world of sustainability and as we enter 2018, here is a quick look back at some of the highlights. Progress is undoubtedly being made, much of it led by individuals and companies committed to driving forward the significant changes that our world demands. Yet the speed with which change is being delivered remains questionable. We have so much more to do in a context of declining trust and a vacuum of political leadership. Time for business to step forward and deliver even more this year.

Image: Channels: Business StrategyTags: Enacturs World CupJigsawAppleSDGsdiversityimmigrationrecyclingcoca-colascience-based targetsrenewable energy

Four steps CEOs can take to increase their social impact – and valuations

Corporations and investors have long sought to demonstrate a relationship between higher company profits and valuations and the degree to which companies use their assets and know-how to improve society.

Image: Channels: Business StrategyTags: ESGSDGsCSRAirbnbDHLWalmartUnileverPepsiCoMerckMastercardMicrosolfStandard Bankpharmaceuticalsconsumer packaged goodsbanking sectoroil and gas sector

‘Doing good isn’t about altruism. It’s how companies create value’

Change is often a slow process, coming after we spend weeks, months, or years thinking about how we can be happier, more successful, or more fulfilled. Other times, change pursues us: we’re fired from a job, natural disaster strikes, a spouse calls it quits, or a child is diagnosed with a potentially terminal disease. Whether by choice or necessity, we typically discover that change takes time, is full of competing demands, and is far from easy − even when it’s by choice. 

Image: Channels: Business StrategyTags: Lush CosmeticsCSRFMcGsSunTrustFarrow & BallGiffgaffKimberly-ClarkPlum Organics

Corporates step up climate promises at One Planet Summit

Climate accords are like buses – low-carbon fueled buses, of course. You wait for years (two years in the case of the landmark Paris Agreement), and they all come at once. When international delegates met in Paris for the One Planet conference earlier this month, a flurry of announcements followed. Unlike at the 2015 COP21 Summit, it was businesses, not governments, that was there with their pens at the ready.

Image: Channels: Communications & ReportingTags: #OnePlanetSummitCOP23Climate Action 100+Financial Stability BoardAXAWorld BankPowering past coal allianceBreakthrough Energy CoalitionBNP Paribas

Ethical Corporation's top 10 stories of 2017

Tesla founder Elon Musk was Ethical Corporation top newsmaker in 2017, because of his strong association with two of our three top 10 stories of the year: the emergence of the electric car as the future of mobility, and the spectacular growth of microgrids and battery storage.

Image: Channels: EnvironmentTags: ChinaclimateEVbattery storagecitiesgreen financedeforestationhuman rights and businesssupply chains

Top stories of 2017: #3 Energy storage and microgrids take centre stage

One of the key developments of 2017 has been the way that energy storage, microgrids and distributed generation entered the mainstream.

They started the year as technologies full of promise for the future – once all the glitches could be ironed out – and they ended it with Bloomberg New Energy Finance forecasting that the energy storage market will experience the same explosive growth that solar did between 2000 and 2015. “The global energy storage market will double six times between 2016 and 2030, rising to a total of 125GW/305GWh,” the clean energy analysts said.

The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) is even more bullish, saying that total battery storage capacity will grow from 2GW today to around 175GW by 2030, driving costs down by two-thirds. A report by Smartest Energy says that UK battery capacity will grow up to 100-fold by 2020.

Unlike solar and wind, which continue to create problems for the energy market’s incumbent utilities, energy storage provides solutions, and quickly

The demand for energy storage is being driven by the rapid growth of electric vehicles and renewable energy, and the need this creates for a way to store surplus energy and fill the gaps in output when the...

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Close popup Image: Channels: EnvironmentTags: IRENABloomberg New Energy FinanceTeslaSouth AustraliaGreensmith Energywind energyLO3 EnergyAES Energy Storage

Top stories of 2017: #2 China and Carney taskforce boost climate finance

If 2016 was the year that green finance entered the mainstream, then the last 12 months have seen it start to bed down and mature, with China increasingly filling the leadership role vacated by the US under Donald Trump.

November’s report from UN Environment showed that, having put green finance on the G20 agenda during its presidency in 2016, China has now become a driver in the global green bonds market, issuing 36 green bonds worth nearly $12bn in the first half of 2017 alone.

According to the Climate Bonds Initiative, green bond issuance will have reached $130bn by the end of the year, up from $81bn in 2016. (See Can we bank on a clean energy future?)

Lois Guthrie, Climate Disclosure Standards Board (credit: CDSB)    

The figures are testament to the fact that more and more investors are aware that an economic crash caused by climate risk could dwarf the sub-prime mortgage crisis of 2008, and fear being left with so called “stranded assets”, shares in companies still mired in oil and coal.

This year pressure has been growing on businesses to come clean about the true extent of their climate risk, with calls for...

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Close popup Image: Channels: Communications & ReportingTags: green financeOne Planet summitThe Climate GroupRE100green bondsChinaCarbon PricingTCFDUN EnvironmentCDPCDSBClimate Bonds Initiative

Opnion: ‘We need sustainability leaders to champion circular economy in IT’

The average PC is a lavish and exotic piece of work: copper from Chile, gold from Mali, iron ore from Brazil, nickel from the Congo, bauxite from Peru. Many components depend on rare earth or platinum group metals highlighted as under threat in the EU’s Critical Raw Materials Review, the fragile supplies of which are described as Europe’s “Achilles heel”.

Image: Channels: EnvironmentTags: circular economydigital economyITCranfield Universityrare earth mineralsConflict mineralsHuman rights

Top story of 2017: The future of mobility turns electric

Hardly a month seems to have gone by this year without a significant declaration on electric vehicles. Cities have been queuing to announce restrictions or bans on diesel cars, and outlining plans to buy electric buses; some car makers have promised an end to combustion-only engines, while others are investing in electric vehicle production in China; money is being sunk into battery technologies.

So is this the beginning of the end of our love affair with the combustion engine and how soon will it be consigned to the scrap heap?

Image: Channels: EnvironmentTags: EVC40 Citiesair pollutionLondonParisChinaNissanICCTtransportRenaultBMWHydrogen CouncilWEFclimate

Report review: Tetra Pak links reporting with SDGs but ends target to double recycling

Tetra Pak has solid sustainability credentials and ambitious targets. Three years ago it launched the industry’s first package made entirely from plant-based, renewable packaging materials. In February this year it became the first food packaging company to have its emissions targets approved by the Science-Based Targets initiative. A CDP Climate A-Lister and member of the Climate Group’s RE100, it has pledged to use 100% renewable energy across all its operations by 2030.

Founded in 1951, the Swiss-headquartered company has more than 24,000 employees and provides products to more than 175 different countries. In 2016 it sold a staggering 188 billion packages and achieved net sales of €11.4bn.

With operations at this scale, being socially responsible is essential and the company – whose sustainability motto is “Protects what’s good” – has publicly committed to running the business in an environmentally sound and sustainable way.

Tetra Pak started publishing an annual sustainability report in 2004 and, for 2017, has adopted Global Reporting Initiative G4 guidelines for the first time. “The GRI framework provides a mechanism for us to report our progress on sustainability against an industry-wide standard,” said Chris Huntley, senior vice president communications and chair of the company’s sustainability forum. He...

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Close popup Image: Channels: Communications & ReportingTags: Tetra PakSDGspackagingrecyclingcircular economyCDPFSCbioplasticsGRIESG

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