The Global Sourcing Council (GSC) helps businesses and communities align their organizational goals with the United Nation’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).GSC is refreshing its initiative from last fall and will be covering one SDG each week, for the next 17 weeks, with examples of how businesses are engaging in activities that will help the world achieve the ambitious SDGs by 2030.
If you’re like us, you probably keep an eye on sustainability trends, especially as they’re developing, so you can keep up with important changes. And if you’ve been watching what’s been going on in 2017, you may have noticed something we couldn’t miss: a recent, significant uptick in activity focused on investors’ assessments of corporate performance in human and workers’ rights (HWR).
On June 29, 2017 the Task Force on Climate Financial Disclosure (TCFD) released its Final Report with recommendations for what climate-related financial information businesses should publicly disclose. The disclosure recommendations are organized around four thematic areas: Governance, Strategy, Risk management, and Metrics and targets.
While there may be disagreement on the boundaries of Generation Z, the cohort of young people now in their early teens through mid-twenties, there is consensus on the vast potential of Generation Z to become the major force in our global society.
Over the last eight years, the MIT Sloan Management Review and Boston Consulting Group (BCG) have conducted research on global corporate sustainability. The key lessons from the 8-year study for how to get the greatest value from sustainability efforts are summarized in this year’s report, Corporate Sustainability at a Crossroads, and outlined below.
"Out beyond ideas of wrong-doing and right-doing, there is a field. I'll meet you there." - Rumi
Pushback or outright obstruction from employees and managers skeptical of your organization’s sustainability program isn’t just annoying. It can also be a set back to progress and a barrier to bringing about a culture of sustainability within your organization. Fortunately, there are strategies to help aspiring change agents navigate these conversation landmines. So who are the resisters in your organization? What conversation(s) are you avoiding with them? What new way of being and engaging do you want to try out? And most importantly...when is lunch?
Buildings have a powerful influence on health because we humans spend an average of 90% of their time indoors. Recently, researchers from Harvard’s Center for Health and the Global Environment worked with leading academic institutions to study how green buildings affect health and cognitive function. The study, funded by United Technologies, was designed to simulate indoor environmental quality conditions in both green and conventional buildings to assess the impacts on human health and cognitive function. The implications of this study are significant. We can improve worker productivity and safety, student learning, and patient healing by implementing better indoor air quality and ventilation.
No doubt, supply chains are a critical element of sustainability success for most companies. Yet, working on supply chain sustainability is a challenging task. It’s hard enough to get people in your own company to change their behavior, influencing the actions of those in another company – even as a large customer – can seem nearly impossible. Check out the second installation of this Supply Chain Sustainability series.
Each year, Future 500 identifies ten social, environmental, or economic trends that will shape how corporations and their external stakeholders interact during the following year and beyond. It just released its sixth annual report, Top 10 Stakeholder Engagement Trends of 2017. Here are some highlights.
In the context of an increasingly polarized country, many issues seem to have become a political wedge. As a result, Future 500 sees environmental protection and social justice advocates becoming more likely to seek private sector leadership to drive social and environmental progress. Corporations will have more opportunities to engage stakeholders in advancing solutions around social and ecological equity. Market forces will support new and continuing efforts to protect oceans, forests, and climate. The report provides many insights to guide organizations as they engage with each other during what is characterized as a period of volatile change.
Last month, our company celebrated A Day Without Waste. This event, now in its 4th year, encourages us to be more aware of our daily habits, and to apply some mindfulness and creativity to the choices we make each day. By now, many of us here at Sustrana are experienced in the art of a day-long zero waste challenge. We push the boundaries of our already impressive reduce-reuse-recycle game, which includes composting our Q-tips, packing snacks in reusable containers, cooking for our company potluck from scratch, and much more. We’ve even indoctrinated our newest team members to embrace the quest for zero waste.
But despite our best efforts, we all encountered barriers beyond our control – limited consumer options, antiquated recycling systems, pushback from our own families and yes, even mother nature. The day had its frustrations and left us wondering: How much impact can we have as individuals if the system itself perpetuates waste?
We are excited to present a new white paper, Six Steps to Creating Business Value through Sustainability.
Complexities stemming from demands for transparency, a focus on corporate values, and climate change, to name a few, are creating conditions entirely new to businesses.
When not managed, these factors increase business risk. When managed well, they create opportunities to grow revenue and control costs.
This paper will help you to:
- Assess environmental, social, and governance risks and opportunities
- Engage stakeholders
- Plan for action that will yield better results, quickly and with less expense
For companies trying to become sustainable, it is often common to begin with the “quick-wins”— the short-term projects that you know you can achieve. There’s plenty of merit to that. Early and fast successes set a great tone for an organization’s sustainability efforts, and can encourage upper and middle management to support more.
Yet when too much focus is placed on easy, discrete projects, once those projects are completed, sustainability efforts can often come to a halt. There is a scrambling to figure out what projects should be selected next. And it is likely that the quick-wins selected required few resources, meaning that additional projects become increasingly costly (and therefore harder to get approved).
To avoid this pitfall, companies should be mindful from the start. Getting quick win projects done is fantastic, but there needs to be an overarching sustainability strategy.
Daily at the Sustrana office, we take recycling seriously, very seriously. However, recycling and our other routine approaches to sustainability will pale in comparison to the level of attention that we happily bring to waste management on Tuesday, April 18 in our celebration of Sustrana’s 4th annual A Day Without Waste, part of our observance of Earth Week 2017.
Nearly 40% of experienced, professional women leave their jobs for a significant amount of time to care for a child or other family member. A recent Pew Research report found that this drop-out rate is a significant driver of the persistent gender pay gap. Those leavers who want to return to work after a lengthy break face some dismal obstacles. Carol Fishman Cohen, a finance professional with an MBA from Harvard, left her job at Drexel Burnham to raise her children. Eleven years and four children later, she decided it was time to return to work. After encountering, and overcoming, many of the challenges in her path, she opted for a career change. She co-founded iRelaunch in 2012, which provides services and support to professional women looking to restart a career after an extended absence.
We live at a critical moment in human history. In these dizzying times of immense change and uncertainty, the need for courageous leadership has never been greater. I am deeply inspired by the hard work and dedication of sustainability leaders and visionaries who continuously work through the ups and downs to create a better world. A world where people take care - of themselves, each other, and the planet. A world that creates family sustaining jobs for all. A world where people can bring their whole selves to work. A world built on trust, respect, and inclusivity. Where everyone belongs.
I hope the following quotes nourish and inspire you for the great work ahead. In the words of the late Ray Anderson, “Get up and get going. There’s a lot to do.”
Sustainability managers have a lot to think about, especially because sustainability programs tend to be new initiatives for many organizations. It’s easy to feel as though you’re in constant “sink or swim” mode. There can be times where the path forward isn’t clear. There are 6 questions that sustainability managers must ask themselves to help focus their work as soon as they sit down at their desks.
This story is part of "Corporate Social Responsibility" month for Generocity. Find the series here.
One thing that keeps popping up in our coverage of corporate social responsibility is the variety of ways corporations and organizations can tackle sustainability. But that can also make it difficult for each entity to find what works best for them.
That’s where a company like Sustrana comes in. Based in Devon, the women-owned, B Corp-certified company has a mission of helping companies build and manage strategic sustainability programs, which it accomplishes through its online software tool and platform.
It’s become an all too familiar story—a passionate CEO declares sustainability a top priority and launches a comprehensive and well-resourced program, only to have it lose momentum and fall victim to other perceived priorities. To better understand the roadblocks that even well-intentioned sustainability efforts face and how leading companies overcome them, Bain & Company conducted a survey of more than 300 companies engaged in such transformations. Included in those interviews were the heads of sustainability at companies that have been recognized for their results. The resulting report, Achieving Breakthrough Results in Sustainability, provides sobering statistics and a path forward.
Campus sustainability is no longer limited to recycling and lighting retrofits. Today, many colleges and universities are leading the way by designing whole-system approaches and innovative solutions to pressing sustainability issues. These cutting-edge innovations serve as powerful examples of what can be achieved on a larger scale.
Every year the World Economic Forum (WEF) releases its Annual Report—a document that provides a comprehensive, systems-oriented, future-looking strategic guide to help global leaders tackle the most current challenges facing our world today. This year the WEF asked 750 experts to identify the most acute global concerns and CNBC reported on the top five. Spoiler Alert: We have a lot to work on.