unadulterated contains our unvarnished views on sustainability. Use these insights and musings to inspire and accelerate your journey.
In June 2013, air pollution levels in Malaysia and Singapore reached record highs, closing businesses. The cause? Thousands of fires set by both plantation managers and small farmers in neighboring Indonesia to clear land to plant oil palm trees (see map).
The most recent photos of air pollution in the City of Harbin in northeastern China were otherworldly. Visibility was so poor that traffic lights disappeared and buses got lost on their routes. The smog closed schools, shut the airport, and disrupted city transport. The Beijing smog emergency last January reminds us that this is only the beginning of the winter heating season’s abysmal air quality in many Asian cities.
World Food Day is the annual beacon illuminating the need to end world hunger and malnutrition. It reminds us that our current food system is falling short on feeding the population, while it also highlights agriculture’s destructive relationship with the environment on which it depends. We look to this year’s World Food Day with a view to silver linings and the hope emerging sustainability initiatives bring to the future.
Seventh Generation, the Vermont-based household goods company known for its pioneering work on ingredient disclosure, has found success linking bonuses to sustainability goals. The bonus tie-in increased employee awareness of the company’s priorities and ownership of the four sustainability goals selected – helping the company meet all of these goals in 2012, as detailed in the company’s 2012 Corporate Consciousness Report. In 2013, 20 percent of the company’s Annual Incentive Plan is linked to sustainability goals; the figure was 10 percent in 2012. Read the full article in GreenBiz here.
Just one year ago, Walmart launched a novel tool that is proving to quickly and effectively align their massive supply chain on sustainability priorities – the Sustainability Index. Dairy suppliers were among the first to be brought into the Index through answering a category-specific survey about their performance in sustainability. The momentum toward transformational progress on sustainability priorities that has been building over the last 12 months since dairy suppliers first answered the survey was featured in Environmental Leader; read the full article here.
There was a palpable energy on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange among the business leaders, NGO representatives, investors, consultants, and media in attendance at the launch event for CDP’s 2013 S&P500 Climate Change Report.1 As one of CDP’s U.S. consulting partners, Pure Strategies attended this exciting launch event.
There’s a revolution underway. When the store where you buy cereal plans a major initiative to work with grain growers to reduce fertilizer impacts, you can feel the ground shift beneath your feet. When buyers routinely move their conversations with suppliers from price and shelf space to product recyclability, we’re definitely in a new millennium. Retailers are dramatically broadening their scopes to take responsibility for the impacts of the products they sell – even if those impacts are far back in their supply chains. When one of the retailers leading the charge is the global retail giant Walmart, the transformative potential of this mind shift hits you with the force of a combine.
Last week found all of us from Pure Strategies bent over radishes, tomato plants, and kale as we weeded, picked and trimmed our way down harvest-ready rows. As we gathered vegetables, I thought a bit about what makes an organization sustainable and how The Food Project’s bold mission might inspire any organization to describe and act on a grand vision of its own.
Shauna Sadowski, Director of Sustainability at Annies, Inc., provides a thought-provoking argument for moving our food system to a new state that builds resilience and regeneration. Accelerating investment along this more sustainable path is necessary, she argues, for us to adopt the forward-thinking strategies that will be necessary to feed nine billion people.
Consumers want to know if the products they use contain harmful chemicals. Does this mean companies should label products “free-of” certain chemicals to help consumers? Maybe, but with the US Federal Trade Commission cracking down on misleading chemical claims, this should be done carefully.
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