We can all learn from Trump … really

Let me sheet my colors to the mast: I don’t like Donald Trump. I think he is bad for the United States and bad for the world.  Not a day goes by when I don’t shake my head in wonder and to paraphrase the 70’s alternative rock band, Talking Heads, ‘how did we get here?’

But for now it’s beside the point, because regardless of what we think about “The Donald” the plain truth is: he is a master communicator. Why …

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#OptOutside – linking business and the environment. It just makes sense!

Over the course of this year I have attended and participated in various sustainability forums – on finance and green bonds, on the role of the private sector, on the relationships with NGOs and on the need for a shared vision for sustainable agriculture.  At each and every event, the call for businesses to step up to sustainable development was loud and clear. A common theme has been that businesses can do more to partner across industries, join hands with NGOs and work with the public sector. The overriding message is that it is not just the responsibility of governments because businesses must also do their part – individuals in businesses have the economic, social and environmental obligation to ensure our society and the global economy continues to grow in a responsible way.

What is perhaps more energizing is the fact that sustainability and profitability can and should, go hand-in-hand. There are opportunities and business advantages for the private sector to do well by doing right and create “shared value” with the community.

A clear standout for me has been the powerful message delivered by the CEO of Recreation Equipment Incorporated, a US based outdoors cooperative. REI’s CEO Jerry Stritzke is advocate in chief to support REI’s 17 million members to #OptOutside, for their belief that a life lived outdoors is better for everyone and better for the environment.  In REI’s most recent report to members, Stritzke says:

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If Springsteen were a farmer

 

Bruce Springsteen’s song catalogue, which numbers in the hundreds, chart’s the life of the ordinary man – ‘This Hard Land’, ‘Thunder Road, ‘Badlands’, ‘My Hometown’, ‘Waitin’ on a Sunny Day’, ‘Tougher than the rest’, ‘Walk like a man’, ‘The River’, ‘Better Days’, ‘Land of Hope and Dreams’ … the list goes on. Springsteen tells stories of ordinary people and it is to this that we connect. And through connection, he can often deliver a powerful message.

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Sustainability skin in the game

In a shift from tradition, Syngenta has this week issued a Sustainable Business Report for 2017 ( Sustainable Business Report )which replaces the more traditional and market focused, Annual Report.  The Sustainable Business Report includes quantitative and qualitative information on policies and actions taken regarding the business and its corporate responsibility goals.  It also serves as the annual Communication on Progress (COP) for the United Nations Global Compact.

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Let’s celebrate the ordinary people of agriculture

I was led to this thought after reading a neat little blog the other day by Craig Winneker, Director of Communications for the European Renewable Ethanol Association (@CraigWinneker). In his blog Effective Messaging for Associations, Winneker notes “If you don’t have something to say, it doesn’t matter where you try to say it…” He goes on to say that you must “Speak for something”.

We as an agricultural industry have been poor at in trying to address the inevitable questions that arise around how our food is produced because too often we don’t tell our story well enough.  And our story is about people.

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