Thursday, October 30, 2014

The October-only offer on Getting to Grips with Corporate Responsibility - expires soon

Last week we alerted you to the fact you can get 30% off our main 'Getting to Grips with Corporate Responsibility' course. That discount comes to an end at the end of tomorrow.

To claim the discount, simply use the code GTG2014F at the checkout at http://g2g-training.com/getting-to-grips-with-cr.

What's covered? It's an eight module course covering:

1. An introduction to basic concepts
2. The business case
3. CR Reporting
4. Supply chain and human rights
5. Reputation, marketing and communications
6. Business and NGOs
7. Employees
8. Making it happen for your business.
Case studies used include: Shell, Nike, Interface, Patagonia, Coca-Cola, Alliance Boots, Arsenal Football Club, Greenpeace, Clean Clothes, and many many others.

Each module is made up of between 8-16 chapters which are in the form of a 3-10 minute video with a lecturer with powerpoint slides. Once you join, you get access to a new half module each week - although if you choose to work through them more slowly you retain access to the portal for at least six months after joining.

You can see a breakdown of the full content on the website (see link below).

The 30% discount comes off the standard price of £495 GBP / €595 / $810 USD / $890 AUD.

Interested to sign up? You can do so at http://g2g-training.com/getting-to-grips-with-cr right now, and be working your way through module one in minutes.

 

Best wishes


Mallen Baker and Toby Webb

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Paris 2015 climate change meeting, will it mean much?

Various people more learned than myself have been telling me that the Paris 2015 meeting on climate change is set to the most significant meeting since the 2009 Copenhagen climate conference.

That, of course, was a disappointment to most, and interest in global deals seem to have sunk to record lows in the modern era since then.

Paris though, people tell me, may be different. I've had my doubts, given that apparently 82% of global power is generated from fossil fuels today, according to the IEA.

However, this article gave me pause for thought. Here's a few extracts below. Let us hope those quoted are right.

The sceptic in me says this is UN sources looking for friendly media, but some of the numbers give one cause for eventual hope, perhaps.

Climate change: Carbon trading edges closer as UN brokers deal

"The world is on the brink of enlisting market forces in the fight against climate change on a truly global scale for the first time, United Nations officials have claimed.

After years of opposition, hundreds of the world’s major companies and investment firms – including several oil giants – have agreed that there should be a charge for the damage done to the planet by greenhouse gases.

This means that an international carbon market – in which companies buy and sell the right to produce harmful emissions – is now close to becoming a reality.

So far, 74 countries, including the EU, China and Russia, but not the US, Canada, Japan or Australia, and 1,000 businesses – from oil firms BP and Statoil to giant corporations such as Coca-Cola, NestlĂ© and Unilever – have signed up to a UN declaration in support of carbon pricing.

And a group of 354 major institutional investors, such as BlackRock, the BT Pension Scheme, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund and Rothschild & Cie Gestion, have also agreed to call on governments to “provide stable, reliable and economically meaningful carbon pricing that helps redirect investment commensurate with the scale of the climate change challenge”. Collectively, they handle about £15trn in assets – more than the United States’ GDP."

This all sounds lovely, but a year ago this pensions publication was pointing out that:

"Total assets under management of the largest 500 money managers worldwide jumped 8.2% to $68 trillion in 2012, with U.S.-based managers controlling the largest market share in a decade, according to the Pensions & Investments/Towers Watson World 500 ranking."

So quite a long way to go then. Something tells me market mechanisms alone, or as currently used, are not going to get us there. 

Friday, October 24, 2014

Four commodities from eight countries were responsible for the loss of 3.9 million hectares of forest, an area about the size of Switzerland

"Four commodities produced in just eight countries are responsible for a third of the world's forest loss, according to a new report.

Those familiar with the long-standing effort to stop deforestation won't be surprised by the commodities named: beef, palm oil, soy, and wood products (including timber and paper).

Nor will they be very surprised by most of the countries: Brazil, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Papua New Guinea, Bolivia, Argentina, and Paraguay. "

Read more at http://news.mongabay.com/2014/1023-hance-commodities-deforestation.html#lyg9gMr8bmcFJ1WZ.99

Innovation Forum's "How business can tackle deforestation - Collaborate effectively with suppliers and NGOs, understand policy and enforcement trends" takes place on 28th-29th October, 2014, London. (That's next week people)

For the full agenda take a look here. Here's the full conference website.

There are still a few places left. If any blog readers would like to come, email me as soon as you can.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Who says US citizens don't care about climate change?

A Florida city voted to split the state in two because of concerns over climate change

So reports the Washington Post.

Of course the decision has to go up much higher for any split to happen.

Which means it probably won't.

But it's an interesting shift in the moods of some in the US, which makes it worth noting.


Quick two minute video on what the pharma/drug companies are doing on Ebola vaccines

If, like me, you've been wondering what the pharmaceutical companies have been doing in response to the terrible events surrounding Ebola, here's a two minute video from Reuters that offers some useful insight. The video discusses Johnson and Johnson, GSK and some investor perspectives. Apparently JnJ and GSK may collaborate on vaccines, according to the video.

This risk briefing that just came out today on Ebola and the reporting of it is also useful.

Get to grips with corporate responsibility with online training

Getting to Grips with CR online training - see the 2014 programme
View this email in your browser

The October-only offer on Getting to Grips with Corporate Responsibility

Our online training course Getting to Grips with Corporate Responsibility is our largest and most comprehensive course - over a hundred people have been through it to date. It has not been discounted at all during the last six months but is now available at 30% off until the end of October (just over a week!).

What's covered? It's an eight module course covering:

1. An introduction to basic concepts
2. The business case 
3. CR Reporting
4. Supply chain and human rights
5. Reputation, marketing and communications
6. Business and NGOs
7. Employees
8. Making it happen for your business.

Each module is made up of between 8-16 chapters which are in the form of a 3-10 minute video with a lecturer with powerpoint slides. Once you join, you get access to a new half module each week - although if you choose to work through them more slowly you retain access to the portal for at least six months after joining.

You can see a breakdown of the full content on the website (see link below).

To claim your 30% discount off the standard price of £495 GBP / €595 / $810 USD / $890 AUD, you need to use the coupon code GTG2014F at the checkout. This code expires after the end of the month - no extensions!

Interested to sign up? You can do so at http://g2g-training.com/getting-to-grips-with-cr right now, and be working your way through module one in minutes.
 

Coming soon … community investment with an international flavour

We are in the advanced stages of planning a community investment course, with someone whose international experience in this area is pretty much beyond compare! If this is a course you think you might be interested in, we would would be keen to hear from you - as your voice can help at this stage shape the final content of the course. Get in touch with us at: courseleaders@getting-to-grips-with-cr.com

Best wishes

Mallen Baker and Toby Webb

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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Rainforest Alliance VP on the limits to certification, Forest Stewardship Council and consumer awareness of deforestation

Dominique Gangneux is the sustainable markets vice president at the Rainforest Alliance, where he is working on forestry, food & agriculture and tourism.

I sent him a few questions recently. Here's what he had to say.

Dominique Gangneux
What does Rainforest Alliance do today? What's your elevator pitch? 

It is easy for people to assume that because of the Rainforest Alliance Certified seal all we do is certification, but we are about so much more than that.

We work to help all actors in the value chains we are focusing on – forestry, food & agriculture, and tourism – to embed sustainability practices in their business practices and personal lives.

That includes landowners, producers, farmers, foresters, tourism operators, workers, governments, traders, buyers, producers, brands, and retailers, and consumers.

Standard development and certification is just one tool in our toolbox but we also use education – via technical training, schools programmes and reaching out to consumers about what sustainable choices look like. If you like we are sustainability guides.

How can you scale up certification so it goes mainstream?

Standards and certification is an important tool and one that requires new innovation – something we are currently working on for example with the Sustainable Agriculture Network for our work in agriculture.

Some of the easy wins have already been made, so now it is about repurposing the tool to help us reach smallholders and those producers who are harder to reach to help them access the benefits certification brings – and that’s the key to mainstreaming.

Certification has to focus on meaningful outcomes on the ground; better productivity, growing more on the same amount of land or less, improved quality, better treatment of workers, better livelihoods, healthier environment etc.

And in doing so it helps at the other end of the value chain.  Consumers trust third party certification, and as the benefits the Rainforest Alliance is delivering at the field level become more apparent to them, the trust and value in the standards we work with and with our seals can grow.  Giving consumers a real choice to be part of something better.

Does it matter no one really recognises what sustainability logos mean?

Consumers are already closely connected to many of the brands they buy and use. Through our seal they also connect with the producers, so knowing what our seal stands for is important yes.

We shouldn’t under estimate the importance of 3rd party trusted seals to help consumers to make the right choices and show their support for achieving better outcomes for farmers, foresters and communities. And we shouldn’t underestimate how many consumers are actually making the choice to buy a more sustainable product everyday – actually more than ever across the regions of the world.

For example, according to the last Ethical Consumer Markets Report in 2013, consumer demand for ethical food and drink rose by 36 percent in the UK in 2012, and was worth £10.16 billion.

We also know that from 2012 to 2013, Rainforest Alliance Certified (RAC) coffee production grew globally by 20% (it's now 5.2% of global production), RAC tea grew 28% (now 14% of global production) and RAC cocoa grew 41% (now 13% of global production).

All in all, today, up to 15% of the world’s cocoa and tea supply is now under sustainable management.

That’s close to being a tipping point, right? That is significant. But, there’s still 85% to go. So, we are no longer niche but we are nowhere near there yet.

Could we do a better job of explaining what lies behind that seal? Of course, that’s why we are running our Follow the Frog campaign and working with the Guardian to expand our outreach to consumers worldwide.

At the end of the day the seal is a shorthand for a better choice, so if that’s all a consumer takes away I can live with that.


Labels under pressure
What is your view on the current credibility challenge facing FSC?

The FSC has been one of the world’s most successful sustainability standards. But we need to remember that this is a system that is still relatively young – 20 years this year.

It is facing strains, and there is a need for change but it still represents the best option for delivering responsible forest management globally.

We had a team in Seville Spain few weeks ago for the seventh FSC General Assembly – a gathering of the membership every three years to determine the future direction for the standard and organisation behind it.

There were some clear signals sent by the membership with votes to focus on a global strategy, on working to bring small producers into the system by streamlining the process.

I think the FSC and certification in general is in a really critical juncture – watch this space, it is going to be very interesting.

What's your outlook on sustainable forestry in general? Brazil is improving but SE Asia worsening. Are you optimistic or pessimistic and why? 

We are seeing some really interesting developments in forestry at present. The zero deforestation agenda has reignited debate around the role of forests in the world.

While we are seeing real gains we are also still struggling with the biggest pressures on forests, which are urban sprawl and agricultural expansion. In the case of agriculture expansion the Rainforest Alliance supports standards that build in protection of natural areas as well as the regeneration of ecosystems.

We are increasingly working on these issues in SE Asia, Africa, and Latin America in agriculture – including palm and cattle, and also through our forestry, tourism and climate programmes.

I think we are going to see some innovation in this area, a rethink of the role plantations can have and how they can play a positive role in the protection and enhancement of natural forest for example.

The challenge is far from over, but I think there are signals that are positive and I chose to focus on how we can build upon those.

More from Rainforest Alliance at: www.thefrogblog.org.uk / @RnfrstAll_UK

Richard Donovan, VP for forestry at Rainforest Alliance, will be speaking on a number of sessions at Innovation Forum's "How business can tackle deforestation - Collaborate effectively with suppliers and NGOs, understand policy and enforcement trends" on 28th-29th October, 2014, London. (That's next week people)

For the full agenda take a look here. Here's the full conference website.

There are still a few places left. If any blog readers would like to come, email me as soon as you can. 

Monday, October 20, 2014

Final agenda for deforestation event next week. 34 speakers from companies, NGOs and others in London

In case I hadn't mentioned it, we're hosting a conference next week on how business can effectively tackle deforestation. It will be in London on Oct 28-29th.

About 150 large companies, key social and environmental NGOs will be there.

We've got 34 speakers, and the event is generously sponsored by Robertsbridge and Sky/WWF.

Just added to the agenda are Asia Pulp & Paper and Cargill, amongst quite a few others.

The latest, full agenda is here, no login or information needed.

It's also embedded below. Full conference website is here. Hope you can make it.

Agenda embedded below. We are quite proud of this one.

The DC version of the event will be on April 14-15 2015. Let us know if you'd like to take part in that. Email azadeh.ardakani@innovation-forum.co.uk if so.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Greenpeace vs. Lego, was the outcome worth the effort?

News that Lego firmly rejects the Greenpeace campaign against it working with Shell emerged the other day.

See: here for the CEO statement.

The real upshot? 

Lego won't work with Shell to promote Lego products to kids beyond the current deal.

That suits both Greenpeace and Lego. 

GP claims 'victory', whilst Lego says it hasn't given in to brand blackmail and hasn't broken a business deal with Shell. 

Shell, meanwhile, probably don't care that much either way. 

Whatever the outcome, Greenpeace is going to continue to target them anyhow. 

I am a monthly donor to, and member of (if such a thing as membership exists beyond marketing) Greenpeace.

But I was not a fan of the recent Lego campaign. It struck me as dreadfully opportunistic and immature. And whatever the outcome, it won't make a blind bit of difference to Shell. 

It was just another excuse to target a vulnerable brand with a small connection to a bigger target. 

Excellent for publicity. But also useful evidence for opponents to point out how Greenpeace can be very small minded and is consumer brand focused to the point of hysteria. 

I appreciate the campaign against Shell drilling in the arctic is a difficult one for Greenpeace. 

But there are surely better ways (safety grounds, spill responses, regulatory breaches, stranded asset arguments etc) than going after brands like Lego with the goal of changing Shell's business plans. 

Greenpeace has built a lot of credibility with big business on issues such as deforestation/palm oil in recent years.

The international leadership needs to reflect on that, and the damage that may be done to their ability to change big business supply chains for the better (as they have helped do on soy, palm oil and forestry) if they lose brand trust (in both senses) by launching more tenuous campaigns such as that against Lego. 

Just because you have tools, that doesn't mean you should always use them.