What We Can Learn from B Corps’ Big Bets on Customer Engagement

Today’s customers are choosing how to spend their dollars based on one of two factors: convenience or shared values. For example, Blue Apron, a grocery delivery company that makes it easier to cook healthy meals, is winning on convenience. But when you have the option of choosing between convenience services, as many customers do in the ride-hailing market, values determine the victor. Lyft is riding (pun intended) on

Trending: Retailers, NGOs Engage Consumers to Catalyze Circular Economy

Businesses have a critical role to play in cleaning up the global economy, but it is consumers whole truly hold the key to achieving a more sustainable future. In a new report, PA Consulting Group shows that retailers can build customer loyalty — and grow sales — by providing customers with reasons to stay engaged by returning to stores to resell, recycle and donate clothing and electronics. Using

Beyond Supply and Demand: The Dynamic Equilibrium Between Global Thresholds and Allocations

As a monetary adviser, I spent many years questioning bankers on the authenticity of their balances sheets. What stood out most for me in these discussions was this: the social demand for commodities is often claimed by banks as having a direct link with the ecological supply of resources which are extracted, produced and sold as commodities. But this just isn’t true. Bank reserve assets are not discounted to reflect the decline of the world’s non-renewable resources. In fact, as society’s ecological debt continues to mount, no

Employees Are Your Best Purpose Ambassadors

This is the fourth in a series of articles examining how business leaders and companies can transform their corporate culture in order to succeed in the midst of the impending Purpose Revolution. Find links to the full series below. The good news for sustainable brands is that consumers want to buy from companies they can feel good about. Eighty percent of global consumers say they want to

Despite Progress, More Corporate Climate Action Needed to Drive Long-Term Change

Ceres has released a new interactive web-based analysis examining how more than 600 of the largest publicly traded companies in the US are responding to urgent calls to act on climate change and other sustainability issues, and positioning themselves for success in a world shaped by these unprecedented environmental and

Going Beyond Less Bad: Redefining Products, Brands for Positive Impact

“We want all of our three billion products we sell every year to be well on the path to being truly sustainable by 2025.” This is the ambitious target UK retailer Marks & Spencer (M&S) has set for the long-term vision of its product sustainability. The company realizes — as increasingly do other global sustainability leaders — that it needs to continuously evolve to meet shifting consumer and societal expectations, increasing resource constraints, tightening government regulations and pending ‘social

Here Come the ‘Do Wellers’

In the din of companies and brands shouting about the good they’re doing, ‘purposewash’ is overtaking ‘greenwash’ as the default accusation of corporate hypocrisy. Thirty years ago, Chevron was one of the first accused of greenwash after a series of ads purporting to show its environmental stewardship commitment. ‘People Do’ showed employees protecting bears, butterflies, sea turtles and other cuddlies, but the campaign was attacked by environmentalists for glossing over the damage inflicted by Chevron operations on those creatures’ habitats. Last March, State Street, an investment firm, unveiled a ‘Fearless Girl’ statue on Wall Street. It did so in part to market its

Pride, Not Guilt Biggest Driver of Pro-Environmental Actions

A lot of pro-environmental messages suggest that people will feel guilty if they don’t make an effort to live more sustainably or takes steps to ameliorate climate change. But a recent study from Princeton University finds that highlighting the pride people will feel if they take such actions may be a better way to change environmental behaviors. Elke U. Weber, a professor of psychology and public affairs at Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School

GoodWell ‘Mind the Gap’ Initiative to Create Common Methodology to Measure Pay Inequality

Without a uniform, universally accepted and publically available measurement methodology, companies large and small wanting to eradicate the pay gap are often left wondering where to start. A new initiative by GoodWell, a workplace certification company, dubbed Mind the Gap, aims to aggregate the many ways companies are measuring gender and racial

Unleashing the Power of Online Reporting

Confronted with an ever-growing demand for transparency and materiality, companies need to find an adequate format to publish both financial and pre-financial information to their stakeholders in an effective way. While traditional reporting reaches its limits, online integrated reporting features a number of key advantages that enable them to get the job done. It is fair to say that 2017 was an important year for corporate reporting

Gold Standard, WWF Publish Best-Practice Guide to Accelerate Corporate Action on SDGs

Climate and development standard and certification body Gold Standard and WWF Switzerland have published a new report that seeks to help the private sector define and deliver ambitious strategies to achieve the goals outlined in the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). “By following simple standards for best practice target setting and then monitoring and reporting on impact delivered, business can drive the paradigm shift to a sustainable world and reap the rewards

Why Most Companies are Failing at Purpose (And How You Can Succeed!)

This is the third in a series of articles examining how business leaders and companies can transform their corporate culture in order to succeed in the midst of the impending Purpose Revolution. Find links to the full series below. Why do some companies’ best efforts to embed purpose fail while others don’t? In our forthcoming book The Purpose Revolution: How Leaders Create Engagement and Competitive Advantage in an Age of Social Good, we describe four reasons why some companies and leaders fail at purpose and offer proven practices to help you avoid these same pitfalls. Purpose is Not a Strategy Many leaders make the

Impact Assessments — A Driver of Change?

At dormakaba, we aim to become the trusted industry leader and to make access in life smart and secure. We also want to be smart about the choices we make as a company — including how we manage sustainability. That is why we decided to conduct a sustainability impact assessment of our business activities. Our

Forum for the Future Sheds Light on Global Trends Shaping the Future of Sustainability

In a new report, Forum for the Future calls on leaders to better understand the dynamic trends that are shaping the future in order to create strategies that effectively navigate today’s complex challenges and unlock new opportunities for sustainability. The crowd-sourced report, entitled Future of Sustainability 2018 – Living in Nonlinear Times, sheds light on seven “areas of dynamism” that

How to Try Context-Based Sustainability in 3 Easy Steps

At the closing of the New Metrics ‘17 conference in Philadelphia last month, attendees were asked: “What ‘New Metric’ will you go back and implement in 2017/2018?” The overriding response tabulated in real time and displayed on the big screen in a word cloud (above) was “context based,” meaning Context-Based Sustainability (CBS) and its corresponding context-based metrics. For anyone seriously interested in experimenting

The SDGs Should Be Like a Chocolate Advent Calendar

If I was given a dollar for every time I saw the Sustainable Development Goals’ multi-colored icon grid in a sustainability presentation, I would be a rich man. But the SDGs are a great example of how ubiquity doesn’t necessarily equal a successful communications/engagement strategy. Undoubtedly, the SDGs are a groundbreaking framework that has united businesses and world leaders behind a shared vision of what a sustainable world looks like

Research Shows Corporate Action on SDGs Already Stalling Out Just Two Years Into 2030 Agenda

Despite mounting evidence for the business case for integrating the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) into brand strategy, a new report released by Corporate Citizenship shares some alarming trends in how corporate action on the SDGs is evolving. In the two years since the launch of the Sustainable Development Goals, the number of companies reporting against the SDGs is on the rise, but research indicates that there is a clear gap emerging between thinking and action, with tangible plans and active involvement in collaborations on the SDGs stalling over

The Rise of Corporate Sustainability Goals: Some Hard Data

For the last 5 years, my firm has tracked the sustainability goals of the world’s largest companies. These thousands of targets commit multinationals to do many important things, such as slashing carbon emissions in half (or to zero) or bringing the percentage of women in management up dramatically. The project, managed in part by my colleague Jeff Gowdy, keeps the

Focusing on What 90% of Businesses Do Now Is a Big Mistake

I was driving through rural Pennsylvania recently and saw a fascinating billboard. Sponsored by an organization that promotes coal and natural gas, the sign declared, “The truth is that 90 percent of our energy comes from fossil fuels.” Technically, that’s true (ish), but it’s also meaningless. On the surface, the facts are a bit exaggerated — fossil fuels provided more like 80 percent of our energy in

4 Steps to Creating Social Impact Programs That Benefit Communities *and* Business

Not so long ago, there was a large disconnect between doing good and good business. While the idea of corporate social responsibility has been around since the 1960s, businesses have historically approached CSR and sustainability as a “feel good” silo or regulatory requirement — a means to improve public image reputation and mitigate risk, but not much else. It wasn’t until recent years that companies discovered that social impact programs could benefit a company in more remunerative ways — increasing revenue, creating new markets, driving innovation

The Current State and Evolution of Corporate Sustainability Assessment Organizations

CDP, RobecoSAM, EcoVadis — they are all organizations that assess the sustainability performance of companies worldwide. They all have their own agenda and targets, and of course, their own methodology to assess a portfolio of companies. Globally, +/- 60 percent of companies that publicly communicate sustainability data are answering to sustainability assessing organizations(1)(2). It is not an easy task: A survey of sustainability managers internationally has identified that replying to sustainability questionnaires was the biggest

Bard: A Burgeoning Brand in Sustainable Business

Dr. Eban Goodstein is a contradiction of sorts. Trained in “the dismal science” — economics — Goodstein is an inveterate optimist about the prospects for business to lead the way to a sustainable future, and sooner rather than later. He is turning that optimism into reality as director and founder of the Bard MBA in Sustainability program in New York City. That Goodstein is at the forefront of the sustainable MBA world is not surprising when one considers his career path. “I was influenced by the work of Hunter and Amory Lovins, as well as

Practicing Purpose: How to Turn Social Purpose Into Growth

Launched during SB’17 Detroit, the Practice of Purpose Project seeks to drive the widespread adoption of social purpose by identifying the differences between traditional marketing and marketing based on purpose-drive brand strategies. In a partnership between Sustainable Brands and The Ray C. Anderson Center for Sustainable Business, Omar Rodriguez-Vila, PHD and Ricardo Caceres have led a study across almost 50 companies to explore the marketing practices necessary for successful social purpose programs. Their study identifies crucial changes that need to occur across all levels of the marketing management processes — from research to planning, execution and measurement. Omar Rodriguez-Vila and Ricardo Cacereswill discussTurning Social PurposeInto Growthat New Metrics ’17.