Mark Kramer: 5 advice on how to align business strategy with the SDGs (article in Harvard Business Review, June 2019)

Business as Usual Will Not Save the Planet

The  United Nations’ 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs) were explicitly designed to engage the private sector in addressing the world’s most pressing challenges. Four years into the UN’s 15-year timeline, the question is whether companies are advancing serious solutions or are simply embarking on a massive global public relations charade. Unfortunately, our internal research points to the latter. A dramatic and immediate change in direction by both companies and the UN will be essential if there is to be any chance of avoiding an embarrassing failure. The plan we describe in this article offers the necessary steps to reverse course and deliver urgently needed progress.

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Davos Manifesto 2020: The Universal Purpose of a Company in the Fourth Industrial Revolution (December 2019)

The Davos Manifesto 2020: The Universal Purpose of a Company in the Fourth Industrial Revolution:

A. The purpose of a company is to engage all its stakeholders in shared and sustained value creation. In creating such value, a company serves not only its shareholders, but all its stakeholders – employees, customers, suppliers, local communities and society at large. The best way to understand and harmonize the divergent interests of all stakeholders is through a shared commitment to policies and decisions that strengthen the long-term prosperity of a company.

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Microsoft will be carbon negative by 2030 (announcement from Microsoft, January 2020)

Microsoft: Carbon negative by 2030

While the world will need to reach net zero, those of us who can afford to move faster and go further should do so. That’s why today we are announcing an ambitious goal and a new plan to reduce and ultimately remove Microsoft’s carbon footprint.

By 2030 Microsoft will be carbon negative, and by 2050 Microsoft will remove from the environment all the carbon the company has emitted either directly or by electrical consumption since it was founded in 1975.

We recognize that progress requires not just a bold goal but a detailed plan. As described below, we are launching today an aggressive program to cut our carbon emissions by more than half by 2030, both for our direct emissions and for our entire supply and value chain. We will fund this in part by expanding our internal carbon fee, in place since 2012 and increased last year, to start charging not only our direct emissions, but those from our supply and value chains.More

2020 Global Trends in Reputation: 5 of 10 are CSR-related! (report from Reputation Institute, January 2020)

The trends reputation leaders cited as being the 10 most important for 2020 are:
1. Higher purpose – Companies need to deliver on a corporate brand purpose and embrace cultural values, at an emotional level that transcends the products and services they sell.
2. Data protection – Cyber and data breaches are an everyday reality and a growing threat for all major companies.
3. Responsible investing – Considering ethical and environmental concerns before making financial decisions.More

UN Global Compact: Where is your company on the journey to 2030? (UNGC Annual Report 2019, October 2019)

Extracts from UNGC’s introduction of the Annual Report 2019:

“Each year, the United Nations Global Compact takes an in-depth look at the progress of participating companies to advance the sustainability efforts of the 2030 Agenda.

The UN Global Compact Progress Report 2019 provides essential insights into how companies are implementing the Ten Principles of the UN Global Compact and taking action to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Most importantly, it lays bare the transformations needed to get the business community on track as we approach 2020 and the final decade of delivery. More

UN Global Compact guide: Setting Site Water Targets – A Guide For Companies (published 2019)

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY from the guide:
“The world’s water resources are under growing pressure from rising water consumption, greater pollution, weak governance, and climate change—exposing companies to increased water-related risks.

In response, many companies are engaging in water stewardship and setting water targets to help address their waterrelated externalities and secure water for the growing needs of all users.

Site water targets informed by catchment context have an important role to play in addressing water challenges and driving informed actions at the local level. Yet a minority of companies are setting them.More

181 major US businesses commit to act fairly and sustainably (published August 2019)

A welcome development this week was the declaration from 181 chief executives of US companies to operate in a way that values and recognizes all their stakeholders.

The signatories to the Statement on the Purpose of a Corporation, organized by Business Roundtable, includes commitments to:

  • Respect communities and the environment by embracing sustainable business practices;
  • Deal with suppliers and partners fairly and ethically;
  • Invest in their employees, fostering diversity and inclusion;
  • Demonstrate transparency and effective stakeholder engagement.

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Unilever warns it will sell off brands that hurt the planet or society (article in The Guardian, July 2019)

Unilever has warned it will sell off brands that do not contribute positively to society, with British favourite Marmite and Magnum ice-cream among the big names thought to be vulnerable to a cull linked to the company’s sustainable business agenda.

Unilever’s chief executive Alan Jope said it was no longer enough for consumer goods companies to sell washing powders that make shirts whiter or shampoos that make hair shinier because consumers wanted to buy brands that have a “purpose” too.More

More CEOs Sacked For Ethical Failure Than For Poor Financial Performance (Article by Andreas Rasche, June 2019, CBS)

From article, June 5th, 2019 by professor Andreas Rasche:

“According to a recent study from Strategy&, for the first time more CEOs have been dismissed for ethical lapses than for poor financial performance (in 2018).

What is the lesson?

I think that we overvalue compliance and undervalue the effects of a corporate culture on sustainable business decisions…”More