Better Business

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  1. Capture: This app helps you measure your carbon footprint
  2. RecycleCoach: Become a better recycler using this app!
  3. Buycott: Become a smarter and more conscious consumer using this app
  4. Waze: Use this app to find alternate routes and save money and gas, while reducing the environmental impact of your commute!
  5. PaperKarma: Track and cut paper waste by stopping junk mail using this app.
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What to know American aluminum can suppliers are experiencing a shortage. Unpredictable consumer behavior and increased demand led suppliers to miss production levels and now beverage brands must scramble to compete for what's left.

Why it matters The overall shift from single-use plastics has also led major drink makers to shift from plastic bottles to aluminum cans. And while aluminum cans don't last in the atmosphere forever, they still can have damning effects on waste management. We are living in a world where China doesn't want our trash anymore, and recyclable aluminum cans are more of a band-aid solution of a larger problem.

The silver lining Consider it a stress test. With real-world examples about the fragility of our global system in place, we can now create applicable solutions outside the classroom.

Key recommendations for the shortage

  1. Brands can adapt by providing bulk alternatives to the traditional 12 oz can.
  2. Brands can also educate consumers on the label about the importance of maintaining a can's shape for recycling purposes. I was a beer can crusher in college, and I had no clue that crushing a beer can would make it near impossible to recycle.
  3. To consumer, do you love beer? Me too. Go to your local brewery, and fill up a growler. You can fill up a lot of beer for a great price, straight from the tap. You can support a local business, and the beer tastes fantastic if you pick the right brewer. There are more quality independent breweries out there today than ever before.

Dig deeper → 1 min

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The scoop As consumer goods go green, PepsiCo announced last week its plan to further develop and scale the world’s first recyclable paper bottle.

Paper bottles PepsiCo will begin testing on the new paper bottle in 2021. The bottle is made from sustainably sourced pulp to meet food-safe standards and is designed to be fully recyclable in standard waste streams.

Bottom line

  • We need innovation and ambition in the food & beverage space, this is a good place to start
  • Limiting the amount of waste in the ocean is always a win, but Pepsi still has a long way to go
  • Organizations are building new, innovative ways to clean up Pepsi’s mess.
  • This is definitely a bit of greenwashing
    • The announcement calls for R&D testing in 2021, so we may not see paper bottles on the shelf for some time.
    • Furthermore, Pepsi did not elaborate on its major paper proposal’s inevitable impact on trees.
    • Will there be ecological offsets for the increased production of PepsiCo recyclable paper bottles?

Dig deeper → >1 min

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The scoop BlackRock’s Larry Fink warns CEOs that the risks associated with climate change will compromise returns without reallocation of capitol, calling for potentially the biggest divestment in finance history.

Why it matters BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, pledges to divest from fossil fuels and coal, increase investment transparency, and promote firm accountability throughout their sustainable transition.

Bottom line Though his letter is a step in the right direction, it merely foreshadows the significant changes yet to come. Executives will either embrace innovation today or be overshadowed by forward-thinking leaders.

Dig deeper → 3 min

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How it stands

  • Companies frequently implement corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs (which include sustainability initiatives) in order to improve their image in the eyes of investors and customers, which in turn boosts profits.
  • But it is unclear if CSR programs actually make the world a better place
  • Most of the information about a company’s environmental footprint is only available through the company itself, presenting an obstacle to objective evaluation.

Examples

  • Coca-Cola claims to have reduced the water footprint of their drinks. But their calculations do not include the water used in the supply chain that provides the ingredients and packaging for the final product.
  • CSR programs (like Coca-Cola’s) often use offsets which instead of conserving limited resources lead to increased consumption.
  • Unilever claims to use a scientific approach to sustainability, trying to reduce their own emissions instead of investing in offsets for carbon neutrality.
  • More recently, Unilever announced the addition of carbon footprint labels on all products to increase transparency.

Bottom line

  • While the effectiveness of corporate sustainability programs is mixed, the fact that sustainability is on their radar and part of their marketing strategy is a big step forward. 
  • Don’t take everything you hear at face value. Take a deep dive into a company’s sustainability practices and decide for yourself.

Dig deeper → 5 min

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The billion-dollar banana maker announced an ambitious plan to eliminate fossil-based plastic packaging by 2025, and reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2030.

Dole's plan Turn food waste into repurposed solutions like...

  1. Pineapple skin packaging
  2. New snacks made from rejected fruit
  3. Facilities powered by food waste converted into electricity.

What to expect Other major food producers will respond. The goal-setting sustainability trend continues, and only time will tell whether R&D goal-making converts into tangible results.

In the meantime, you can feel a little bit better about your next purchase of a Nicaraguan-born Dole banana.

Dig deeper --> 1 min

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What they do KAJ is a B2B entertainment consultancy that offers full service solutions ranging from brand experience; marketing, strategy, sponsorship and content creation and more.

Talking points

  • Forbes inc. estimates a $7 billion dollar revenue loss for the US concert and live event industry. This will inevitably lead to the downfall of startups like KAJ. 
  • PPE prices have more than tripled in price as a reflection of increased demand from COVID 19.  

Why it matters PPE shortages are increasingly likely, and life threatening.

The pivot KAJ partnered with ApeironMed, a PPE supplier to co-sign a fundraiser to supply PPE at cost for Canadian hospitals in need.

For the people It’s important for small businesses and community members to do their part. KAJ listened to their community and saw an opportunity to connect a network to a cause. To learn more how they did it dive a little deeper below.

Dig deeper → 3 min

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The scoop The fashion industry faces criticism for not following environmental standards to produce cheaper closet updates. Once again. But at what cost?

At the expense of exploiting cheap labor and adding to the global problem of industrial pollution. Brands such as Zara have been at the center of this heated debate as they continue to follow their fast business models.

The invisible price tag

  • Online fashion houses such as Zaful, Shein and Romwe make millions on their fashion lines by taking advantage of low-wage labor in sweatshops in China and other parts of Asia. 
  • Customers fall victim to the low prices of their goods but a rising number in the online consumer market have complained about the sub-standard quality of the items they purchase. 
  • Consumers of fast fashion tend to ignore the moral and environmental standards that companies disregard. 

What are the consequences?

  • Over 265 million children globally are enslaved by manufacturing houses found guilty of illegal labour practices. 
  • As of 2017, only 15% of old clothes were recycled.
  • Companies such as Zaful make greenwashing claims about their sustainability programs but there is a shadow of doubt as to what their policies on environmental management actually are?

Eco-friendly goes beyond price

  • There are strict sustainability guidelines which restrict organic cloth manufacturers from scaling their production.
  • Sustainable fashion must enable the consumers to lead more minimalist lifestyles. 

Choose slow fashion

  • Consider quality over quantity. What is that you really need?
  • Leverage your purse by purchasing from sustainable brands in order to facilitate the shift towards a sustainable industry.
  • Upcycle by using old fabrics for other uses once you’re done using the fashion item, to create a circular consumption pattern for yourself.

Dig deeper → 4 min

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Big picture In the age of corporate social justice, sustainability risk management can help firms make better choices for the planet while staying competitive.

Why it matters

  1. Identify the effects of sustainability issues on internal and external stakeholder value.
  2. Actively include sustainability in objective setting and cascading objectives across the levels of the organizational hierarchy.
  3. Develop concrete support for identifying, assessing, and managing economic sustainability risks.

Bottom line Sustainable risk management is the most effective and realistic strategy for creating a sustainable economy, as it allows companies to achieve the best of both worlds: financial success and climate risk mitigation.

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