January 24, 2019


From Sustainable Brands:
A Prominent IT Professional's Outlook on 2019 - 
"Year of Sustainability" Empowered by
Technology & Innovation

Is 2019 going to be “The Year of Sustainability”?  Greatly empowered by technology?  With exciting innovation on the business front?  One European-based writer (Carmen Ene, CEO of 3 STEP IT in Helsinki, Finland) thinks so. Writing for Sustainable Brands® SB/The Bridge to Better Brands, she outlines what she sees as the top sustainability issues for corporate leaders in 2019 -- and offers advice on how to address them.

Consider her view: Companies can take better control of their sustainability strategies and publicly acknowledge the top issues they could be facing in this year.  Data-driven metrics can help here (“Big Data” analytics help in planning and strategy-setting at the top, for example).  The rate of adoption of sustainable practices has been picking up in recent years but in 2019, we can expect to see significant change in business leaders’ behavior toward sustainability efforts.

As the universe of third party ESG data and analytics providers continue to expand their efforts to tell a story about the ESG activities of public companies, without active control of the narration, corporate executives may see various independent narratives (presented by the third parties) that are not favorable portrayals of the company and its ESG activities.  
Innovation in technology is empowering businesses to utilize tech solutions to keep up with society’s changing demand (think about the Internet of Things and Blockchain examples).

Artificial intelligence and blockchain are some approaches to be explored, says the writer. Naturally, as a seasoned IT professional, Carmen Ene sees innovation in tech as important means for leaders to keep up with meeting investor, customer and stakeholder needs.

Consumer behavior is something smart businesses always deal with.  And so, dealing with the prevalent “throwaway culture” for producers of IT hardware -- think about the waste and need for recycling of electronic goods -- will certainly present growing challenges. (China recently curtailed treatment of E waste from other nations, presenting real challenges for civil government leaders in the USA at the community level.)

As the “digital world” continues to expand (think: ever-increasing access to information via newly-acquired hardware), the cast-off waste and E-detritus continues to build worldwide. 

That requires smart approaches by electronics manufacturers and others to develop more effective waste and recycling efforts -- which for industry players means (the author advises) better management of hardware, improved purchasing decisions and focus on reduction. 

More effective IT lifecycle management is one approach being adopted by companies, says Carmen Ene -- and that is the focus of her company’s efforts.

Changing regulations will pose challenges for businesses -- worldwide, more regulations are being put in place to address environmental issues such as those posed by plastic waste and increasing GHG emissions. Local and national governments are putting sustainability goals in place (the UN SDGs are a driver) with both voluntary and mandatory guidelines. The almost 200 nations signing on to the Paris Agreement are busily coming up with “solutions” to environmental issues at home.

A key takeaway from her commentary:  business has a real need to act responsibly as a key aspect of corporate strategy.  Technology does help to drive change (sometimes very rapidly and causing disruption in many instances), and technology properly deployed can help to drive sustainability practices -- creating still more innovation in sustainability strategy and efforts.  Business offerings can be made more sustainable and ethical for the future – with the help of technology.

We’re presenting interesting reading for you from this author in our Top Story this week.  Carmen Ene joined 3 STEP IT as CEO in 2015; the company’s mission is “to enable the most advanced IT life cycle management while striving to make the circular economy a reality.”  She previously held senior management positions at IBM.

The publication is from Sustainable Brands (SB), the premier global community of brand innovators “shaping the future of commerce worldwide.”  SB positions itself as a bridge between brand innovators across all circles, acting as a catalyst for intelligent discourse.  G&A Institute collaborates with SB in sharing information of value to our connections and promoting visibility for the fabulous Sustainable Brands conferences.

This Week's Top Stories

3 Top Sustainability Issues in 2019 and How to Address Them
(Monday - January 14, 2019)  Source: Sustainable Brands - Once seen as a ‘nice to have’ for businesses, sustainability has become a vital component of many global organisations’ social and economic strategies. 

Sustainability: Continuing Forward Momentum!

First, let’s look at consumers and sustainability and what the recent news and trendlines might be telling us…

France Has The Most Sustainable Food System
(Tuesday - January 15, 2019) Source: Super Position - The country of France recently scored as number one on the Food Sustainability Index (FSI). This index rates countries on food system sustainability. The index was developed by The Economist Intelligence Unit in partnership with...

The CFDA Launches Resource-Rich Sustainability Initiative For Designers
(Wednesday - January 16, 2019) Source: Fashionista - As the sustainability movement continues to edge further from the sidelines and into the mainstream, brands that don't adjust accordingly are likely to be left behind. In keeping with that shift, the Council of Fashion Designers... 

USRSB: The Sustainable Initiative to Watch in 2019
(Wednesday - January 16, 2019) Source: Drovers - Consumers focused on more than taste and quality of food in 2018. They asked questions about sustainability, considering who produced their food, how it was raised, and its impact to the planet. And as sustainability grows in.

The apps that can tell you if you're buying sustainably
(Thursday - January 17, 2019) Source: Phys.org - What does sustainable shopping look like? From environmental impact to workers' rights, the term can cover so many aspects that buying sustainably can be a daunting task. But a new app that helps people select supermarket... 

Sustainability Showdown: What is sustainability — and why does it matter?  
(Wednesday - January 16, 2019) Source: Daily Trojan - Sustainability — it’s everyone’s new favorite buzzword. Almost all of my Google searches begin with the word “sustainable” and end with items ranging from “tennis shoes” to “lunchbox.” And in the last three months alone, 24 of my... 

Reviewing the Automakers’ Sustainability and EV Commitments
(Friday - January 18, 2019) Source: Triple Pundit - Here is a breakdown of the latest sustainability and electrification developments from top automakers that are showcasing their vehicles at the 2019 NAIAS in Detroit.

Strongest Opponents Of GM Foods Know The Least About Them
(Wednesday - January 16, 2019) Source: Futurisn - Despite the scientific consensus that GM foods are safe, more than 90 percent of respondents said they were at least somewhat opposed to the foods. In general, the more opposed a person claimed to be, the lower they scored on the...

J. Crew tackles sustainability with denim buyback program
(Monday - January 14, 2019) Source: Glossy - J. Crew debuted this week a new program in partnership with Habitat for Humanity, in which it buys back old pairs of jeans to be recycled into insulation material for the housing company... 

And looking at other news & trendlines of interest…

Local data is the key to sustainable development
(Monday - January 14, 2019)  Source: Gulf News - In the developed world, there are a growing number of campaigns to accelerate this, from the TCFD, Transition Pathways, the Principles of Responsible Investment, the Global Reporting Initiative... 

Why the ocean holds the key to sustainable development
(Tuesday - January 15, 2019) Source: World Economic Forum - It is only 12 years until 2030, the deadline for achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The world has set itself an ambitious task. To reach the SDGs we will have to produce more from the oceans. We... 

Balancing Capital Investment with Long-Term Sustainability Goals
(Tuesday - January 15, 2019) Source: Food Engineering - Will this piece of equipment still help us meet our sustainability goals as it gets closer to the end of its life? 

This real estate sustainability startup just closed on a $19M funding round
(Thursday - January 17, 2019) 
Source: The Real Deal - Measurabl — a data management startup that’s worked with commercial real estate firms on sustainability goals — closed $18.7 million in Series B funding. 

The World Now Has Universal Health and Sustainability Targets
(Friday - January 18, 2019) Source: FoorTank - he EAT-Lancet Commission for Food, Planet, and Health released its scientific review on January 17, 2019, publishing the world’s first-ever scientific targets for healthy diets and sustainable food production. The report attempts... 

Most Americans Say U.S. Health Care Is in a 'State of Crisis'
(Thursday - January 17, 2019) Source: Fortune - Ask Americans about the U.S. health care system and you’ll find a lot of agreement, as 70% say it has “major problems” or is “in a state of crisis,” according to a new Gallup poll. 

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ESG Topics & Issues

Antarctica's ice is melting faster, raising risk of sea level rise
(Wednesday - January 16, 2019) Source: CBS News 

 Cybersecurity Seen as the Biggest Threat to Business in Sword GRC Annual Survey of Risk Managers
(Wednesday - January 16, 2019) Source: Business Wire

Davos: Climate is the biggest risk to business (and the world)
(Thursday - January 17, 2019) Source: CNN 

New U.S. Oil And Gas Drilling To Unleash 1,000 Coal Plants’ Worth Of Pollution By 2050  
(Thursday - January 17, 2019) Source: Huff Post 

Analysis: EPA Ignored Scientific Research Showing Monsanto’s Glyphosate Causes Cancer   
(Friday - January 18, 2019) Source: EWG News Release

Headlines From the Corporate Sector

This Chocolate Brand Is The First To Feature A New LGBT Seal
(Tuesday - January 15, 2019)  Source: Forbes

PG&E ex-CEO gets $2.5 million severance amid wildfire woes
(Tuesday - January 15, 2019) Source: East Bay Times 

Judge declines to dismiss Ben & Jerry's lawsuit
(Tuesday - January 15, 2019)  Source: Houston Chronicle

Tyson Foods and EDF Launch Partnership to Accelerate Sustainable Food Production 
(Wednesday - January 16, 2019) Source: EDF 

Nestlé to phase out all plastics by 2025
(Thursday - January 17, 2019) Source: Marketing 

Dow Chemical joins $1 billion effort to cut plastic waste in ocean and environment
(Thursday - January 17, 2019) Source: Michigan Live 

Goldman boss apologises for 1MDB scandal
(Thursday - January 17, 2019) Source: BBC 

US reportedly investigates Huawei for allegedly stealing trade secrets
(Thursday - January 17, 2019) Source: Engaget 


News & Opinion: Asset Managers, Sovereign Wealth Funds, Pension Funds 

Bitcoin is 10 years old. But it won't go mainstream until it's regulated
(Tuesday - January 15, 2019) Source: CNN 

retirement debt bomb">Connecticut needs to defuse its retirement debt bomb  
(Sunday - January 13, 2019)  Source: Hartford Courant 

Commentary of Interest...

What If Most Americans Don't Care That Deeply About Trade?
(Wednesday - January 16, 2019) Source: BBN Times 

When did globalization begin? The answer might surprise you
(Thursday - January 17, 2019) Source: World Economic Forum 

Is The FDA Ready To Take On The Powerful Food Industry'
(Tuesday - January 15, 2019)  Source: ThinkProgress ... 

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