Are businesses now the best change agents for sustainability?

March 24, 2017

If you’re looking for a successful career but you also want to change the world for the better, where do you go? 

In decades past, the answer would be that you would go to a not-for-profit. Or maybe you would go into public service. The very last place you would go would be into business. 

After all, businesses are part of the problem, aren’t they? And everyone who goes there is just greedy.

That was a caricature even then, but it served to keep businesses on the back foot. The growth of the corporate social responsibility industry was all about how companies might voluntarily hold themselves to account, and make it easier for others to do so.

But there are now 5 good reasons why it’s time to see things differently (and one important caveat). 

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Ravinol Chambers - business as a vehicle for sustainable change

January 11, 2017

Ravinol Chambers, founder of the social enterprise Be Inspired Films, talks about what drives him towards social impact, and why he thinks vehicle can be one of the best vehicles for sustainability. This is the full interview, an excerpt of which appeared on my YouTube channel.

Be Inspired Films:

Website: http://beinspiredfilms.com

Twitter: @beinspiredfilms

Mallen Baker:

Website: http://mallenbaker.net

Twitter: @mallenbaker

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCZrXbiKCUkRNd0Dgn3sDXqw

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Melody Hossaini - Making a business out of building self-esteem

January 6, 2017

Melody Hossaini, social entrepreneur and former contestant on The Apprentice (UK version) talks about what drives her to run a business that aims to achieve social impact, and what she seeks to achieve. This is the full interview, an excerpt of which appeared on my YouTube channel.

Melody Hossaini:

Website: http://melodyhossaini.com

Twitter: @Melody_Hossaini

Mallen Baker:

Website: http://mallenbaker.net

Twitter: @mallenbaker

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCZrXbiKCUkRNd0Dgn3sDXqw

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Human rights - is business the problem or the solution?

October 25, 2016

According to a recent report by the Charities Aid Foundation, businesses have been a helpful presence in a number of countries where human rights problems have needed to be solved. But on launch, the report was denounced by some other campaign groups that argued that businesses were in fact the problem.

So what's the story behind the claims?

Additional reading:

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Elon Musk’s project to accelerate the future - master plan or pipe dream?

July 25, 2016

Elon Musk recently published his updated master plan for Tesla. Some say it is a joined-up vision to usher in a more sustainable age. Others say it's a grandiose fantasy that has no chance of being executed. Who's right? 

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What does it take to persuade people to behave sustainably?

June 17, 2016

The role of the media is changing in the face of new technology. Not only does it act as a mirror reflecting back the nature of society to itself, but it is also a mover, changing the way we are and, potentially, acting as an instrument for more sustainable behaviour. That's the principle. But it's not easy.

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Companies taking campaigners to court – reckless or reasonable?

May 27, 2016

The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil is being sued by one of its founding companies. Greenpeace Canada is being sued by Resolute Forest Products. Is this a case of companies trying to silence dissent, or the final recourse to law to achieve accountability for a sector that is used to acting with impunity?

This episode references an article by Toby Webb on the topic, which you can find at:

http://sustainablesmartbusiness.com/2016/05/should-companies-sue-ngos-over-financially-damaging-campaigns/

Also, Toby and Scott Poynton discuss it further on the Earthworm podcast

https://soundcloud.com/earthworm-net/ngo-campaigns-and-brands-why-are-companies-going-to-court-toby-webb-and-scott-poynton

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Will Tuna and Krill be the next dominoes to fall in the collapse of the oceans?

May 6, 2016

As we try to digest the news that the Great Barrier Reef seems soon to be consigned to the history books, we look at a couple of the most pressing issues relating to the sustainability of the oceans. In particular, what's been happening with tuna, and one of the companies that's been the target of criticism from all sides. 

And also the new shrimp on the block, krill. Krill is emerging onto the supermarket shelves in the form of a replacement for standard fish oil as a source of omega 3. And in principle that should be okay, because krill is massively abundant across the world. Shouldn't it?

You can find the John West can tracker mentioned in the podcast here (It has been updated to include other countries, including Thailand although I'm not aware if campaigners have repeated their tests).

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Will Millennials be the first sustainable generation?

April 22, 2016

The Millennials are the digital natives, and it seems possible that this generation of always-on, widely-connected youngsters might be the harbingers of more change than we thought possible just a few years ago.

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Does Andrew Witty’s exit from GlaxoSmithKline signal the end for socially responsible drug pricing?

April 8, 2016

On March 31st, GlaxoSmithKline announced that it would give poorer countries cheap access to cancer drugs. It was the latest initiative from a company that, under CEO, Andrew Witty, had been ready to ask some of the hard questions of the pharmaceutical industry business model. But it seems that some of the defenders of the status quo may have won, for Witty is to step down from the top job next year. So is it back to business as usual from now on?

The short quote from Andrew Witty included in this episode comes from the longer interview by Bloomberg at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VSKwNQ7iugg
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