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:
Continue reading #OptOutside – linking business and the environment. It just makes sense!
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.
Continue reading If Springsteen were a farmer
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.
Continue reading Sustainability skin in the game
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.
Continue reading Let’s celebrate the ordinary people of agriculture
Sustainability is not a zero sum game
I get really hung up on the word sustainable. It’s like George Bernard Shaw’s description of the U.S. and Britain as “two countries divided by a common language.”
There’s no disagreement about goals… the SDG’s lay them out nicely: zero hunger, reduced inequality, rising living standards … nothing to argue about there.
Continue reading Sustainability is not a zero sum game