February 9, 2019


The Ethical and Sustainable Supply Chain - Some Thoughts on This For You From Forbes

“Ethical sourcing” – we see that a lot of companies are systematically addressing issues in their sourcing and supply chain management to better understand and address (and better manage!) the various issues that their investors, customers, employees, business partners, and other stakeholders care about.  What is “ethical” behavior in the layers upon layers of suppliers in the usual globalized sourcing effort?

As we sometimes hear in the poetic notion, the butterfly wings’ flapping and fluttering in Brazil can have effects all the way north as expressed through the hurricane winds hitting Mexico and in the tornado whirlings on the American Gulf coast.

This “butterfly effect” (part of the chaos theory portfolio) has counterparts in the supply chains of companies sourcing from near and far lands.

An example shared:  Poor working conditions in the Bangladesh factories have been brought to consumer attention by United Kingdom news reports; the products (like T-shirts) end up on retailer shelves with “Spice Girl” branding.  Irony:  the shirts were part of the Comic Relief Event campaign to raise money for “gender justice" – and the Bangladesh female workers made 30 cents an hour under hostile working conditions (details are in our Top Story).

Writing for Forbes (brands), contributor Richard Howell’s shares his thoughts in our Top Story.  “Social, economic and environmental sustainability should be at the heart of every supply chain…” he writes.
He posits that consumers are looking to buy from companies that have a preferable design, sourcing, manufacturing, delivery of goods & services…and that operate assets and equipment in an energy-efficient, safe environment (for team members and the environment).  Howell spells these out in his commentary.

So – what is ethical?  Among other things, fair wages, better working conditions and gender equality in the global supply chain that is sustainable as well. 

This week’s Forbes commentary is by contributor Richard Howells, a 25-year veteran of supply chain management and manufacturing who describes himself as “responsible for driving market direction and positioning of SAP’s Supply Chain Management and IOT solutions.”  He’s worked on systems for such brand-facing companies as Nestle, Gillette, and others.

This Week's Top Story

Tell Me What You Want, What You Really, Really Want: A Sustainable Supply Chain  
(Thursday - January 31, 2019) Source: Forbes - Social, economic, and environmental sustainability should be at the heart of every supply chain


GRI & SASB Standards in Focus - Perspectives on Alignments & Differences For Four Industries:
Food, Electric Utilities, Agriculture Products, Software / IT Services

In this series we share perspectives with you on the alignments and differences of the GRI and SASB Standards when it comes to reporting on industry specific topics and disclosures.   Today, we are seeing many more companies that use the Global Reporting Initiative Standards (GRI) for their corporate sustainability / responsibility / citizenship reporting also referencing aspects of the Sustainable Accounting Standards Board (SASB) Standards (recently codified for many industries by SASB).  G&A Institute’s Sustainability Report Analyst Interns analyze thousands of sustainability reports as part of our responsibilities as the GRI's Data Partner for the United States, United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland.

As they analyze these corporate reports, they have been expressing their thoughts on the alignments and differences that they see in the two standards especially when it comes to sector specific disclosures, and in the way that corporate reporters are responding to the availability of both standards for their materiality analysis, strategy setting, actions and then their reporting.  We asked them to share their perspectives as they examined a select number of industry categories SASB disclosure guidance and compared it to the GRI Standards Disclosures (And where available GRI sector guidance / supplements).

We have four perspectives to share with you this issue – we think they will be helpful for those professionals preparing corporate sustainability reports in select industries.

1st in Series: The Software / IT Services Industry – GRI & SASB Standards In Focus – Perspectives on Alignments & Differences
by Minalee Busi 

2nd in Series: The Agriculture Products Industry — GRI & SASB Standards In Focus – Perspectives on Alignments & Differences
By Emilie Ho
3rd in Series: The Electric Utilities & Power Generators Industry – GRI & SASB Standards In Focus – Perspectives on Alignments & Differences
By Jess Peete
4th in Series: The Food Industry – GRI & SASB Standards In Focus – Perspectives on Alignments & Differences
By Jessica Caron


Sustainability-Update/2019/01/23/the-software-it-services-industry-gri-and-sasb-in-focus-perspectives-on-alignments-and-differences/Sustainability: Continuing Forward Momentum!

Support for Sustainable Investment Decisions
(Monday - January 28, 2019) Source: 3BLMedia  We’ve seen sustainability move from buzzword to business imperative as people, companies and governments increasingly seek to make environmentally and socially conscious...  

Samsung says that it will begin using sustainable materials in its packaging
(Monday - January 28, 2019) Source: The Verge - Samsung says that it will begin replacing its plastic packaging used with a variety of products with “environmentally sustainable elements” beginning this year. 

Sustainable Investing Will Be Focus Of 2019
Tuesday - January 29, 2019) Source: Market Media - “The upcoming wealth transfer between baby boomers and millennials, which will see roughly $30 trillion change hands in North America alone, will present an opportunity for these wealth managers to integrate ESG into their...

8 top predictions for sustainable cosmetics in 2019
(Tuesday - January 29, 2019) 
Source: Cosmetic Design Europe - Ecovia Intelligence has revealed its picks for the top trends and drivers set to define sustainable beauty and personal care in the coming year. We reveal the specialist research consulting & training company’s predictions in... 

3 Ways Marketers Can Boost Profits With Sustainable Design
(Wednesday - January 30, 2019) Source: Forbes - Smart businesses are adopting environmentally friendly strategies when they design, manufacture, and package products. Their environmental sensitivity is also in evidence when they build and organize their office spaces, and when... 

UN pension’s journey in sustainability
(Wednesday - January 30, 2019) Source: Top 1000 Funds - In recent years, OIM has been transitioning from a program of ESG-related activities to integrating ESG considerations across all asset classes. 

‘Sustainability is not a cost item it’s a money generator’
(Wednesday - January 30, 2019) Source: Fresh Plaza - Sustainable development takes into account the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. However, a great deal of effort is required to achieve this, and the..

Paris Outlines Plans To Become The Sustainable Capital Of Fashion By 2024
(Friday - February 01, 2019) Source: Vogue - As the style capitals prepare for the autumn/winter 2019 shows, Paris has launched a plan outlining its steps to become greener. Over the next five years, it will implement “Paris Good Fashion” – an initiative calling on...  

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ESG Topics & Issues

Extreme cold gripping Midwest does not debunk global warming, experts say
(Wednesday - January 30, 2019) Source: NBC News 

Bad start continues for China economy as private data shows manufacturing activity weakest since 2016
(Friday - February 01, 2019) Source: South China Morning Post 

America Is Producing the Wrong Kind of Oil  
(Friday - February 01, 2019) Source: Bloomberg 

Headlines From the Corporate Sector

Land O'Lakes Launches Software Platform To Help Farmers Boost Sustainability
(Friday - February 01, 2019) Source: Forbes 

PG&E files for bankruptcy after California wildfires
(Tuesday - January 29, 2019) Source: CNN

Trouble In Paradise For U.S. Frackers
(Tuesday - January 29, 2019) Source: oilprice.com

The Wisconsin Foxconn factory won't be a manufacturing plant after all
(Thursday - January 31, 2019) Source: Mashable 

Facebook Has Just Been Caught Spying On Users' Private Messages And Data -- Again
(Thursday - January 31, 2019) Source: Forbes

General Electric: Why You Should Ignore The Noise
(Thursday - January 31, 2019) Source: Seeking Alpha

GM halts operations at 11 Michigan plants after utility’s urgent appeal
(Thursday - January 31, 2019) Source: CNBC

Tips included: Hershey says it’s fixed the problem of its Kisses’ missing peaks
(Friday - February 01, 2019) Source: CNBC

Tesla is betting big on China, and here’s what Elon Musk had to say about it
(Friday - February 01, 2019) Source: CNBC

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

Kansas Senate panel votes to pay $115 million debt owed to state pension system  
(Thursday - January 31, 2019) Source: Garden City Telegram 

Sovereign wealth funds continue to grow in power and influence
(Tuesday - January 29, 2019)  Source: World Finance 

Here is what the stock market’s monster January rally means for February
(Friday - February 01, 2019) Source: MarketWatch 

Fed holds rates, updates balance sheet policy after 'extensive deliberations' - text/video
(Thursday - January 31, 2019) Source: Yahoo Finance

Commentary of Interest...

A Pension Fund Should Focus On Financial Returns, Not Social Policy
(Friday - February 01, 2019) Source: Investor's Business Daily - For example in 2002, the board of CalPERS, the largest U.S. pension fund, divested its holdings in tobacco companies. Smoking is legal for adults and tightly controlled by regulation, but the board believed that owning tobacco..

Why is France protesting? | CNBC Explains
(Friday - February 01, 2019) Source: CNBC/YouTube - France’s 'Gilets Jaunes' or ‘Yellow Vest’ movement originally formed over planned fuel tax rises in November 2018. French President Emmanuel Macron has since scrapped the tax hike, but the demonstrations have continued and have... 

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