October 28, 2017


John Elkington Presents: "6 Ways For Business Leaders To Talk About Sustainability" in the Sustainability / Strategies Series From the Influential Harvard Business Review...

"The" voice of authority for many board members and C-suite executives is The Harvard Business Review.  Sustainability pioneer and influential thought leader John Elkington in the current "HBR" talks about the practice of "issues framing" at the highest levels of the corporation, and suggests (to leaders) that to change our usual way of perceiving, prioritizing and investing time/effort/money, that "re-framing" for social change is the wave of the future.

Note that social commentator and author George Lakoff (writing in "How to Think Like An Elephant") suggested the theme of re-framing our reasoning and setting of priorities.  The HRB piece builds on that and takes us to the new frontier for corporate strategy-setting.

John Elkington writing in HBR sees six mainframes at work in the sustainable business space, each with strengths and limitations. These are:  (1) the Resources Frame; (2) the Time Frame; (3) the Value Frame; (4) the Design Frame; (5) the Abundance Frame; (6) the Moral Frame.

Each is described with current and historical examples, and the strengths and challenges posed as we consider the frame.  The "break" needed,  Elkington advises, is from set-in-your-ways thinking and planning and strategizing on critical issues -- such as global warming -- to new ways of Framing.  Greater understanding of the different mental and political "framing" currently in play is important in considering the shift. 

And so, a first step is to consideration of resources and population growth and the pressure on available resources and the resilience of key eco-systems.  (The Resource Framing). Then from this to the Timing Frame.  Elkington’s suggestion is to shift from short-term to longer-term planning and strategizing and to focus on the Sustainable Development Goals with time their widely-adopted time horizon out to 2030.  And then on the other four Framings, which we recommend for your reading and thinking about.

HBR makes available reprints of this and other Elkington articles in the "Strategy & Execution" series. Check the titles in: https://hbr.org/search?term=john+elkington

As we noted up top, the HBR is really an influence in corporate boardrooms and C-Suite -- think about the powerful impact of the "Shared Value" concept introduced by Professor Michael Porter in the HBR pages a few years ago. 

John Elkington is Chair and "Chief Pollinator" at Volans.  He gave us such terms (now widely-used) as "Triple Bottom Line" and "People / Planet / Profits" in his earlier work. His current book is "The Breakthrough Challenge:  10 Ways to Connect Today's Profits With Tomorrow's Bottom Line."

Top Stories This Week...

The 6 Ways Business Leaders Talk About Sustainability
(Wednesday - October 18, 2017) 
Source: Harvard Business Review - Capitalists focus on the financial returns from capital invested, and most business leaders prioritize issues that are financially material. For anyone with a pension linked to market performance, that is a good thing. But this... 


About Sustainability: Progress Is Being Made
- We See Forward Momentum!

It pays to be sustainable in the power business, executives say
(Monday - October 16, 2017) 
Source: Stuff - New Zealand's power providers are "pretty good" at looking after the environment, the boss of one of the big five electricity retailers says.

India ranks 9th in overall Korn Ferry Digital Sustainability Index
(Monday - October 16, 2017) 
Source: Livemint - India may be the poster child of a mobile-first population but Indian companies ranked ninth out of 14 in the latest edition of the Korn Ferry Digital Sustainability Index (DSI), with below-average performance in four of the five...  

Is Sustainability a Business Challenge?
(Tuesday - October 17, 2017) 
Source: BBN Times - The world population is expected to grow from the 7.5 billion currently (5 billion in 1987) to 10 billion by 2050. This increase is driven by a combination of enhanced life expectancy and high birth rates. While the former has... 

How to Best Communicate Sustainability?
(Tuesday - October 17, 2017) 
Source: Bovine Veterinarian - Sustainable production practices benefit livestock producers even if no one outside agriculture ever knows about them. But in today’s food market, where consumers increasingly expect assurances about how animals are raised, we... 

What's Your Lifeboat? Why You Need A Sustainability Backup Business
(Tuesday - October 17, 2017) 
Source: Forbes - Large companies are acquiring and investing in potentially ‘extinction causing’ level disruptors. Some of the investment targets have the explicit purpose of eradicating their new suitor’s business models. 

A new generation of leaders, inspiring new demands for sustainability
(Wednesday - October 18, 2017) 
Source: Corporate Knights - A movement toward a more sustainable future is taking shape in offices across North America. Workplaces today are more likely to have composting bins in the kitchen, solar panels on the roof and efficient LED lights overhead...  

How do I align sustainability metrics with business strategy to drive change?
(Thursday - October 19, 2017) 
Source: Carbon Clear News - In today’s complex business landscape, companies are expected to focus on improving their non-financial performance in response to a variety of stakeholders. This non-financial performance may cover a range of Environmental... 

Look out, banks: Sustainability funding gets creative
(Thursday - October 19, 2017) 
Source: GreenBiz - Nothing beats seeing a great idea turned into a business reality — especially when that dream realizes benefits for communities and the environment. But innovation requires risks that can signal red flags for mainstream banks. 

Swedish NGOs raise sustainability concerns over Renewable Energy Directive
(Friday - October 20, 2017) 
Source: Green News - A group of Swedish NGOs has called on the European Parliament to dramatically enhance the Renewable Energy Directive (RED) due to concerns about the sustainability of the bioenergy industry. 

American Consumers’ Concern for Sustainability Improves But Still Lags
(Friday - October 20, 2017) 
Source: Sourcing Journal - As one of the largest nations in the world, America has seemingly boundless access to natural resources. This perception has helped create a populace that has some interest in sustainability, but not as much as other nations... 

Global Agricultural Activities and the Quest for Greater Societal Sustainability -- Items For You to Think About:

$1 Billion In Credit Now Available for Sustainable Farming
(Tuesday - October 17, 2017) 
Source: Triple Pundit - Rabobank, the Netherlands banking giant and one of the world’s lenders to the global food and agriculture sector, today announced a $1 billion credit program that seeks to launch more land restoration and forest protection... 

Worker Shortage Threatens U.S. Ag Sustainability
(Tuesday - October 17, 2017) 
Source: FB News - hanks to scientific innovation in agriculture, farmers and ranchers are using fewer resources to grow an abundant, sustainable food supply. But I wonder how far our new technology and techniques will take us if farmers are left... 

Celebrate the Sustainability of Paper from Well Managed U.S. Forests
(Wednesday - October 18, 2017) 
Source: Primting Zimpressions - From houses to paper to packaging to fuel to furniture to railways, wood products are an irreplaceable part of our daily lives 

Our Focus This Week on A Range of ESG Topics & Issues -- Things to Think About...

Report: Pollution Kills 3 Times More than AIDS, TB And Malaria Combined
(Friday - October 20, 2017) 
Source: NPR - Exposure to polluted air, water and soil caused nine million premature deaths in 2015, according to a report published Thursday in The Lancet. 

Global Warming Hypocrites: Their Carbon Footprint Is OK, But Yours Must Be Eliminated 
(Tuesday - October 17, 2017) 
Source: Investor's Business Daily - Scientists, identified as "conservation scientists" who presumably oppose human greenhouse gas emissions, have looked into their own lifestyles, as well as the lifestyles of other "conservation scientists," and found that they... 

Goldman Sees Geopolitics Haunting Oil Again With Unclear Effects
(Tuesday - October 17, 2017) 
Source: Bloomberg - The oil market is grappling with intensifying geopolitical risks as uncertainty swirls over the impact of tensions surrounding nations such as Iraq, Iran and the U.S., according to Goldman Sachs Group Inc. 

Corporate governance compliance improves (UK)
(Thursday - October 19, 2017) 
Source: Economia - Compliance with the UK corporate governance code among FTSE 350 companies has improved this year, but governance and reporting remains “patchy” 

News for You From the Corporate Sector -Both Positive & Negative

Each week we see a range of reports about the corporate sector and individual companies with "plus" (+) or minus (-) connotations.  There is a lot going on in the global corporate sector -- we share highlights with you here:

1400 Companies Now Put an Internal Price on Carbon
(Tuesday - October 17, 2017) 
Source: Triple Pundit - According to CDP, the global non-profit climate research provider, almost 1,400 multinational companies now factor an internal carbon price into their business plans. That number is an impressive leap, as it amounts to an... 

Target Commits to New Climate Policy, Science-Based Target-Aligned Sustainability Goals
(Thursday - October 19, 2017) 
Source: Sustainable Brands - Following a recent commitment to source 100 percent sustainable cotton by 2020, Target has introduced a new climate policy and Science-Based Target Initiative-aligned goals aimed at reducing its carbon footprint. 

Ikea Picks Anomaly Amsterdam For Global Sustainability Work
(Wednesday - October 18, 2017) 
Source: AD Age - Ikea began talking to agencies in February as it searched for a partner to develop a global positioning campaign for both corporate and consumer communications. Local agency relationships will remain unaffected. 

And more headlines for you...

This Is What Really Happens When Amazon Comes to Your Town
(Thursday - October 19, 2017) Source: Politico

Amazon and eBay warned by MPs about VAT fraudsters
(Wednesday - October 18, 2017) Source: BBC 

Rio Tinto charged with fraud by US authorities
(Wednesday - October 18, 2017) Source: BBC News

Missouri appeals court tosses out $72 million Johnson & Johnson talcum powder verdict
(Wednesday - October 18, 2017) Source: St. Louis Today

Greenpeace faults many tech giants for environment impact
(Wednesday - October 18, 2017) Source: ABC News

U.S. experts doubt EPA curbs on Monsanto, BASF herbicides will halt crop damage 
(Monday - October 16, 2017) Source: Reuters 

Tesla Model 3 Ignites War Between Skeptics And Supporters
(Monday - October 16, 2017) Source: Forbes

These are the businesses still immune to Amazon
(Monday - October 16, 2017) Source: Quartz

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

Black Monday: Can a 1987-style stock market crash happen again?
(Thursday - October 19, 2017) 
Source: USA Today - On the 30th anniversary of the biggest one-day stock market drop in Wall Street history, the Dow is trading at an all-time high and enjoying a bull run that began nearly nine years ago. 

China's Foreign Reserves Are Declining. Why, And What Effects Could This Have'
(Tuesday - October 17, 2017) Associated Profiles : State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE) Investment Company (China) 
Source: talkmarkets.com - These are composed of cash and other assets denominated in currencies other than China's yuan. According to the State Administration of Foreign Exchange in China, these reserves have increased substantially since 2000, reaching...

CalPERS, CPPIB Named Among World’s Most Responsible Allocators
(Tuesday - October 17, 2017) Associated Profiles : New York State Common Retirement Fund 
Source: Institutional Investor - Canadian investors dominate in a new ranking of the world’s most responsible asset allocators. The list, which includes twenty-five sovereign wealth funds and pension funds responsible for $4.9 trillion in combined assets... 

Advisors embrace sustainability as SRI outperforms
(Thursday - October 19, 2017) 
Source: Financial Planning - Advisors who have embraced socially responsible investing may have good reason to stick with the strategy. 


Trump Administration News / Affecting Directions on Governance & ESG

Coal power plant closures ramp up in spite of White House plans
(Monday - October 16, 2017) Source: Engaget 


Roundtup: Hurricanes - Climate Change & Economic Upheavel

Once in a hundred years...500?  1,000?  The Gulf Stream flows up past Ireland:

Hurricane Ophelia: Thousands lose power as storm hits Ireland
(Monday - October 16, 2017) Source: BBC

Future outlook one of more frequent severe thunderstorms
(Tuesday - October 17, 2017) Source: The Australian 

The 2017 Hurricanes Didn’t Just Hit Puerto Rico—They Hit the Caribbean
(Tuesday - October 17, 2017) Source: The Nation 



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