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Dressed for success: Ralph Lauren tailors new season of sustainability promises

Pledges include commitments to set science-based greenhouse gas reduction targets and ensure all key materials are sustainably sourced

Leading US fashion brand Ralph Lauren has unveiled a series of new sustainability pledges targeting its carbon emissions, energy use, waste, and raw materials.

Published late last week, the company’s new sustainability strategy, entitled Design the Change, makes the fashion giant the latest major firm to commit to introducing a science-based greenhouse gas reduction targets. It said it would have the new emissions goal in place by the end of 2020.

The overarching emissions goal was accompanied by new pledges to produce a 100 per cent renewable energy target by the end of 2019 and ensure all the company’s key materials, including cotton, are sustainably sourced by 2025.

To support the targets the firm said it would train all its design, product development, and merchant teams on sustainable, circular, and inclusive design by 2020.

“When Ralph founded our Company more than 50 years ago, he did so with the conviction that whatever we create is meant to be worn, loved and passed on for generations,” said Patrice Louvet, CEO and president of the Ralph Lauren Corporation. “This philosophy is deeply embedded in our culture, our brands and our Purpose-to inspire the dream of a better life through authenticity and timeless style. It also inspires Design the Change, a strategy that will accelerate our efforts to create a positive impact in society and a more sustainable future.”

The sustainability goals are outlined in the firm’s 2019 fiscal year report.

At the same time, the company announced it has signed the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC), joining other international businesses in promising to implement universal sustainability principles and work to support UN goals, reporting back on progress.

The move came in the same week as senior UN executives called on the world’s leading corporate brands to deliver “concrete, realistic plans” to reduce emissions to net zero by 2050 ahead of UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres’ upcoming climate summit in New York in September.

Source: – Business Green

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Investing in the environment is an investment in people

Greener UK’s Ruth Chambers and Maddy Carroll argue the government’s backing for a net zero transition needs to be accompanied by a similarly bold move on environmental protection

Earlier this month, experts at Kew Gardens and Stockholm University highlighted the extinction epidemic facing many vital plants, reminding us that all life on earth depends on plants. This echoes the…

Source: – Business Green

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“Poseidon Principles”: Banks pledge to align shipping portfolios with climate goals

Eleven banks with a combined shipping finance portfolio of $100bn have pledged to disclose how successfully the assets are aligned with the IMO’s emissions reduction strategy

Eleven major banks with significant holdings in the global shipping industry have today signed up to an extensive set of guidelines designed to accelerate decarbonisation efforts across the industry.

Christened ‘the Poseidon Principles’, the new rules commit signatories to disclosing the extent to which their shipping portfolios align with the International Maritime’s Organization’s (IMO) objective of reducing emissions by 50 per cent by 2050. Designed with insight from expert bodies such as the UCL Energy Institute and the Rocky Mountain Institute, they new principles will launch today alongside an in-depth framework for assessing a portfolio’s alignment with the IMO’s Initial GHG Strategy, which contains the 2050 target and was adopted in April 2018 by IMO member states.

Some of the world’s largest banks have signed up to the initiative, including Citi, Societe Generale, DNB, ABN Amro, Amsterdam Trade Bank, Credit Agricole CIB, Danish Ship Finance, Danske Bank, DVB, ING and Nordea. Together the banks represent around 20 per cent of the global ship finance portfolio, jointly holding assets worth more than $100bn.

“As banks, we recognize that our role in the shipping industry enables us to promote responsible environmental stewardship throughout the global maritime value chain,” said Michael Parker, global industry head of shipping and logistics at Citi and chair of the Poseidon Principles drafting committee. “The Poseidon Principles will not only serve our institutions to improve decision making at a strategic level but will also shape a better future for the shipping industry and our society.”

The overarching principles commit signatories to “annually assess climate alignment in line with the Technical Guidance for all Business Activities”, which is laid out in the initiative’s framework. A series of further principles governing accountability, enforcement, and transparency are designed to ensure shipping firms provide investors with adequate information to inform their decisions.

The principles are applicable to lenders, relevant leasors, and financial guarantors including export credit agencies, and will be implemented in internal policies, procedures and standards, and applied in all credit products secured by vessels that fall under the purview of the IMO, the framework states.

Dr Tristan Smith, Reader in Energy and Shipping at the UCL Energy Institute, argued there was a compelling business case for banks to ensure their shipping assets are working to meet the IMO targets.

“Shipping will shortly undertake a rapid technology and fleet change as it inevitably shifts away from fossil fuels in order to decarbonize,” he explained. “That change exposes many in the shipping industry, but particularly the banks, to risk. If banks discover too late, they have invested in ships that will become undesirable or even obsolete because of this change, they could see valuation write-downs or even defaults in their portfolio. The Poseidon Principles are a tool to demonstrate that these key stakeholders are acting responsibly and allow them to compare climate risk with each other, but also a tool that will allow them to manage critical investment risks, retaining their crucial role in providing the liquidity that enables international trade.”

As well as managing their own risk, it is hoped that by prioritising climate readiness the financial institutions help catalyse commitments and action by IMO members themselves. Aviation and shipping are the only two industries to operate outside the framework of climate targets established by the Paris Agreement, but while the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) has produced detailed plans for an international carbon offsetting scheme, the IMO is widely regarded to have made slower progress, amid criticism of opaque practices that impede attempts to hold the industry accountable for carbon footprint.

In this context, the 2018 strategy – which prescribes that emissions must peak as soon as possible – was seen as a major step forward. Moreover, some of the world’s largest shipping firms have committed to produce deep decarbonisation strategies and step up investment in greener technologies. And at the same time a growing number of multinationals have called on the shipping operators they use to develop credible climate strategies.

But many operators continue to lack clear emissions goal and are committed to operating ageing and polluting ships for years to come. Environmental campaigners have been disappointed by the subsequent lack of progress from the IMO in agreeing a path towards fulfilling its overarching emissions targets, accusing it of failing to fast track sufficiently ambitious policies. For example, at the most recent IMO summit, held last month in London, calls to institute new mandatory speed limits were kicked down the road despite 100 shipping CEOs signing a letter in support of the motion. The issue will be taken up again at the next GHG working group summit, scheduled for November.

However, campaigners will now be hoping that top investors can succeed where policymakers have struggled in encouraging more shipping firms to embrace credible emission reduction strategies.

Source: – Business Green

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Government rejects calls to make fast fashion retailers pay for textile clean up

MPs accuse government of being ‘out of step’ with the public after Whitehall rejects pleas for fashion industry crackdown

The government has been accused of being “out of step” with the public mood today, after it refused to accept MPs’ recommendations to require fashion retailers to better address environmental and social challenges across their operations.

Earlier this year, MPs on the Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) called on the government to introduce moves to force ‘fast fashion’ retailers to do more to tackle forced labour, environmental destruction, and excessive waste in the industry by reforming tax laws and requiring firms to contribute more towards the clean-up costs for waste garments.

But in a formal response to the report, the government today refused to explicitly accept any of the Committee’s recommendations.

The proposals included plans for a one penny levy on every fashion item sold, which could have raised £35m for a new Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) scheme that would improve textile collection and recycling services across the country.

The government has previously said it is keen to extend EPR schemes to ensure businesses that create waste pay more towards its recycling and re-use, arguing it provides firms with a financial incentive to embrace more resource efficient production and circular economy business models. But in response to the EAC proposals, Defra said it would stick to its original timetable for consulting on a potential EPR for five new waste streams, including textiles, by 2025 – a promise it first made in 2018.  

It also insisted voluntary programmes like the Sustainable Clothing Action Plan (SCAP) were delivering environmental progress on issues such as carbon emissions on a voluntary basis, pointing out that signatories to SCAP have reduced their water and carbon footprints by 17.7 per cent and 11.9 per cent respectively between 2012 and 2017. 

But following an in-depth investigation into the fast fashion sector, the EAC concluded this year that a voluntary approach has “failed”. Textile production creates an estimated 1.2 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent each year, more than international flights and maritime shipping combined. Meanwhile, a report from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation put the annual cost to the UK economy of landfilling clothing and household textiles at about £82m.

The EAC called for SCAP membership to be a mandatory requirement for fashion firms with an annual turnover of more than £36m a year – a call the government rejected today in favour of its strategy to “encourage the wider industry” to take part in the scheme.

The government also rejected calls from the EAC to ban the incineration or landfilling of unsold stock that can be reused or recycled, explaining that it believes “positive approaches are required to find outlets for waste textiles rather than simply imposing a landfill ban”. Proposals for reducing VAT on repair services – as Sweden has done – were also dismissed, with the government arguing there is “little evidence” the move has helped Sweden in boosting reuse and repair services.

EAC chair Mary Creagh today accused the government of being “content to tolerate practices that trash the environment and exploit workers despite having just committed to net zero emission targets”.

“The government is out of step with the public who are shocked by the fact that we are sending 300,000 tonnes of clothes a year to incineration or landfill,” she said. “Ministers have failed to recognise that urgent action must be taken to change the fast fashion business model which produces cheap clothes that cost the earth.”

A British consumer buys on average of 26.7kg of new clothes every year – far more than any other European country. But according to a survey of fashion retailers published this month by trade magazine Drapers, more than 91 per cent said their customers are showing more interest in environmentalism, and 85 per cent said the government was not doing enough to help the fashion industry become more sustainable.

Almost 69 per cent of respondents agreed with the idea of a one penny producer responsibility charge, and the EAC’s other proposals all garnered the support of 90 per cent of respondents.  

The British Retail Consortium, the trade body for the retail sector, represents some of the UK’s largest fashion firms including Gap, John Lewis, ASOS, New Look, Primark, and Reiss. In a statement it said its members are already taking action to be more sustainable, although it admitted retailers also recognise “more needs to be done”.

“Our members are increasing the use of sustainable materials, designing garments that are made to last, and encouraging customers to return unwanted clothes for reuse, so they can turn old t-shirts into new ones,” pointed out Andrew Opie, director of food and sustainability at the British Retail Consortium. “The industry will work with the government as part of the Resources & Waste Strategy to reduce waste and will continue to find ways to make fashion more sustainable.”

With the government signalling it will not consider a more demanding producer responsibility scheme until 2025 at the earliest it looks like the industry has been given yet another chance to clean up its act. But with online fashion brand Missguided seeing criticism of its newly launched £1 bikini made from a plastic-based material going viral on social media this weekend, the industry should be under no illusions that calls for it to enhance its sustainability credentials will now in wane.

Moreover, any future government now has a ready made set of off-the-peg policy proposals for boosting clothes recycling rates and driving more circular models. The EAC is surely right to argue that wastefulness is no longer in fashion, regardless of the government’s conclusions.   

Further reading

Source: – Business Green

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Carbon capture and feedstock: Drax unveils project to turn CO2 into animal feed

Pilot project from Drax and Deep Branch Biotechnology aims to find sustainable alternatives to soy and fishmeal

A lab located at Drax’s giant power station in Yorkshire is to explore how captured CO2 can be used to make protein for sustainable animal feed, in a move that could help to simultaneously reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the energy and agriculture sectors.

Deep Branch Biotechnology is to run the new pilot project within the power plant’s Carbon Capture Usage and Storage (CCUS) Incubation Area.

Scientists will gather carbon dioxide extracted from the energy generation process and feed it to microbes, which will use it to make single-cell proteins that could replace soy and fishmeal in fish and livestock feeds, the Nottingham-based start-up explained.

Over 60 per cent of cereals grown globally are used in animal feed, requiring millions of hectares of land that is frequently result in deforestation and the development of agricultural monocultures.

Similarly, 20 million tonnes of ocean-caught fish are used in aquaculture, reversing the hoped-for benefits the industry could have for wild fish populations. Fish farms are now estimated to be using more than 15 per cent of ocean-caught fish for feed.

It is hoped the new proteins created using the Deep Branch biotechnology could help reduce the quantities of fish removed from the oceans and land used for agricultural production, minimising ecosystem impacts and greenhouse gas emissions in the process.

“Meat production is set to double by 2050 as global populations increase, but using existing methods of producing animal feeds to meet this growing demand is completely unsustainable,” said Peter Rowe, Deep Branch Biotechnology CEO.

“The technology we’ve developed is an exciting solution. We can convert up to 60-70 per cent of CO2 into protein, helping to both minimise the greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere during power generation and other industrial processes, whilst producing protein for animal feeds which will help reduce the impact of agricultural sectors on the environment as well.”

The Deep Branch pilot is set to begin in the autumn, when a demonstration plant is to be installed within the Drax CCUS Incubation Area. It aims to capture enough CO2 to produce 100kg of protein to be used to create feedstocks for fish and livestock. The protein generated will then be used in a trial project with a major feed producer, the companies said.

The team hopes the approach could enjoy benefits over some other carbon capture and usage technologies, as the CO2 does not need to be separated from the power station’s flue gases before being fed to the microbes. Under optimal conditions, up to 70 per cent of the material produced is protein, the company said.

If successful, Deep Branch Biotechnology plans to build a larger production facility by 2020 so it can produce several tonnes of protein a year.

Drax has been capturing CO2 since February through its Bioenergy Carbon Capture and Storage (BECCS) pilot project, which uses technology developed by Leeds University spin-out company C-Capture. The company is working on ambitious plans to build a major carbon capture technology hub and has also reportedly held discussions with the British Beer and Pub association about the possibility of captured CO2 being used to carbonate drinks.

Source: – Business Green

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4 key takeaways on ESG reporting and investing

The shares of PG&E, California’s utility, lost nearly half their value in January after the company filed for bankruptcy protection because of its role in California wildfires. While this may have resulted in huge losses for some investors, those who carefully scrutinized environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factor — and took note of wildfire-related risk — would have seen the warning signs flashing long before then, and avoided exposure to such a high risk investment.

Taking ESG factors into account in investment decisions has become synonymous with sustainable investing — an area experiencing rapid growth in the investment industry. Morningstar found that the number of sustainable investment funds in the United States alone grew 50 percent between 2017 and 2018, to 351 funds with $161 billion under management at the end of 2018.  

While sustainable investing is growing in popularity, not all investors are integrating ESG considerations into their decision-making — yet. A recent ESG policy statement by the CFA Institute underscores how this needs to change.

The Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) credential is considered the gold standard in the field of investment analysis and management. CFAs often are portfolio managers and research analysts at investment management firms.

The CFA Institute manages this credential, held by over 150,000 investment professionals worldwide. While it stopped short of formally requiring CFA charterholders to factor in ESG, its guidance carries a lot of weight in the investment community. We wanted to highlight four takeaways:

1. Including ESG factors into investment analysis is consistent with fiduciary duty

Fiduciary duties exist to ensure that anyone who manages other people’s money act in the best interests of beneficiaries. When you invest in a fund such as a mutual fund, the fund manager has the fiduciary duty to invest in your best interests.  

Until recently, incorporating ESG factors into the investment process was widely assumed to violate fiduciary duty. The argument was built on the assumption that incorporating ESG factors requires a trade-off in investment performance or financial returns. This is often used as an excuse for not considering ESG factors. But it turns out, this isn’t true (PDF).

CFA Institute helps to put this debate to rest in its policy statement.

2. Better ESG factoring leads to better investment decisions

The CFA Institute’s new statement emphasizes the need for charterholders to factor in all material information, including material ESG factors, in their financial analysis — because doing so will improve their investment decisions. Material factors are those that a reasonable person would consider important in making investment decisions.

Knowing which ESG factors are material is critical but not straightforward, as materiality is not universal. For example, water management is a material factor for a food and beverage company, but not a financial services company; data security is material for a health care company, but not a mining company. The Sustainable Accounting Standards Board (SASB) has helped to address this challenge by mapping out which sustainability issues are likely to be material to companies within a given industry.

In their push for “better factoring” CFA Institute seems to acknowledge the dangers of taking a framework or rating at face value and stopping there. Going back to PG&E — on first blush, it did well on ESG criteria. PG&E ranks among U.S. utilities with the most renewable energy, and it had received higher-than-average ratings for environmental factors by many major ESG rating agencies, including Bloomberg, RobecoSAM and Sustainalytics.

These firms missed something. The key material factor that went unnoticed for many was wildfire-related risk. SASB’s materiality map, for instance, doesn’t highlight physical impacts of climate change — such as wildfires — as material issues for electric utilities. But the risk was embedded in PG&E long before the bankruptcy filing, as PG&E repeatedly delayed a safety overhaul of a transmission line believed to cause the deadliest wildfire in California. Only MSCI cut PG&E’s ESG rating in September in anticipation of wildfire-related liabilities.

(Although it is true that investors and ratings do not and cannot accurately forecast every crisis, the inconsistent ESG ratings of PG&E highlight weaknesses in current ESG disclosure and rating systems meant to support informed, efficient investment decisions — more on these issues in No. 3 and No. 4.)

It’s not just active investors who can use ESG factoring. In its statement, CFA Institute also alludes to the importance of ESG factoring for passive products (for example, index funds and exchange-traded funds) that are growing in popularity. CFA institute encourages all investment professionals to consider material ESG factors regardless of investment style, asset class or investment approach.

3. Companies’ ESG disclosures require further improvements in quality, consistency and comparability

The investment decision-making process relies on proper company disclosures. CFA Institute notes that ESG disclosures and data provided by corporations, such as sustainability reporting, are oftentimes inadequate and require further standardization and refinement to improve quality, consistency and comparability. For instance, companies may not provide robust quantitative performance indicators and instead resort to check-boxes or boilerplate language about ESG issues. We had similar insights in our own commentary on sustainability data that we published earlier this year.

In response to the data gap and investors’ growing demands for ESG disclosures, frameworks and standards developed by the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), SASB and the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) have been promoting standardized disclosure.

4. ESG investment products need to provide detailed disclosures about their ESG process

ESG- and sustainable-labeled investment products and services, such as funds and ratings, have integrated ESG factors. However, they are not always transparent about how they do it. Many ESG/sustainable investment products and services rely on ESG scores, ratings or rankings in one form or another. For example, the S&P 500 ESG Index relies on scores provided by RobecoSAM (automatic PDF download), while the MSCI World ESG Universal Index uses the ESG ratings developed by MSCI itself. These ESG scores or ratings have different assumptions about what is material — and as a result, they have very low correlation among each other. In other words, ESG can mean different things, depending who you ask.

CFA Institute believes that ESG investment products must include adequate and detailed disclosures with periodic verification. Meaning, asset managers and index creators need to do more to pull back the curtain on their ESG/sustainable investing products and reassure investors about the substance behind their ESG claims.

What CFA Institute is doing next

CFA Institute still gives full discretion to its charterholders to determine which ESG issues are material and exactly how to integrate ESG factors into their processes. However, it seems to have a strong focus on providing more educational materials on ESG to its members and candidates, which should help bring more rigor and clarity to ESG integration processes. CFA Institute is also working with other stakeholders such as SASB and the Principles for Responsible Investment to improve the quality, consistency and availability of ESG information.

We are encouraged that CFA Institute’s seems to be strengthening its focus on ESG. Their support and efforts are essential to help ensure that investment capital is deployed to support a more sustainable future while delivering better returns to investors. We urge charterholders to take heed of CFA Institute’s call to action on ESG, and hope that CFA Institute will do more to focus attention on its ESG policy statement.


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Human rights, access to remedy and stakeholder engagement

This article is the fourth in a four-part series of essays about stakeholder engagement. The first three essays focused on stakeholder trust, engaging investors and employee activism.

The United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs), released in 2011, provide the first coherent framework for how business should manage their human rights risks and impacts. The framework clearly specifies the responsibilities of government and business and outlines clear steps for business with regards to due diligence, oversight and remedy. The Guiding Principles necessitate detailed engagement by companies with impacted stakeholders — part of a wider shift in the business community from considering risk to understanding societal impact.

In particular, stakeholder engagement is needed for: conducting any credible Human Rights Impact Assessment; seeking Free Prior Informed Consent from communities and other affected stakeholders before establishing mining, infrastructure and energy operations; and providing remedy for any harmful human rights impacts.  

Indeed, effective remedy requires directly seeking the perspective of stakeholders who have been harmed. This entails, among others, identifying which stakeholders suffered what harm, from which business activities and what the underlying root causes of the harm were. This also requires ensuring affected stakeholders’ perspectives are central in the remedy discussions.

All of these developments have been incorporated into BSR’s “Five-Step Approach to Stakeholder Engagement,” which aims to show how companies can initiate and sustain constructive relationships with stakeholders over time, throughout the organization, by engaging early and often — and acting based upon what they hear. In 2011, when the original report was published, our approach was driven by considerations of risk to the company. Now, we have revised our framework to incorporate central human rights concepts of vulnerability and impact.

Evidence suggests that businesses are still struggling to respond to this new environment. In 2018, the Corporate Human Rights Benchmark assessed 101 of the largest publicly traded companies in the world across agricultural products, apparel and extractives industries. The findings of the assessment depict a “deeply concerning” picture, with four in 10 companies “failing” on human rights.

It is clear that there is still a significant gap between companies responding to allegations of harming human rights and actually engaging with the affected rights holders to ensure that appropriate remedy is provided. The benchmark found that less than half of the serious allegations of negative human rights impacts reviewed by the benchmark resulted in meaningful engagement with the alleged affected rights holders, and only 3 percent of the reviewed allegations were resolved through by providing remedy that was satisfactory to the victims.

Effective remedy itself is comprised of the following five elements:

  1. Restitution, which is intended to restore, to the extent possible, whatever has been lost to the victim preceding the harm.
  2. Compensation, which is appropriate in cases where damage/ harm to the victim can be economically assessed.
  3. Rehabilitation, which covers medical or psychological care, and social or legal services needed to restore the victim.
  4. Satisfaction, which includes measures as a cessation of the violations.
  5. Guarantee of non-repetition, which includes actions and measures to prevent further abuses or similar future violations.

Although stakeholder engagement is an underlying theme throughout the UNGPs, 60 percent of companies assessed in the benchmark were unable to disclose their stakeholder engagement approach, with 38 percent of the companies unable to demonstrate a commitment to, or evidence of, engaging with potentially or actually affected rights holders.

In addition, there have been a growing number of cases globally where banks are considered to have contributed to human rights abuses through their financing decisions. These include projects involving farmers being forced off their land (PDF), the destruction of sacred indigenous sites and violence against community members (PDF).

In June 2018, BankTrack and Oxfam Australia called on banks to ensure access to remedy (PDF) for victims of human rights abuses. The paper “shows that banks have barely begun to implement their responsibilities to develop grievance mechanisms under the UNGPs” and indicates that banks are not doing enough to ensure that stakeholders affected by bank-financed activities are obtaining proper remedy.

For companies working across geographies, including financing projects that affect local communities, it may be beneficial for companies to establish, through engagement with local stakeholders, a standard response for certain common grievances. Engaging with local stakeholders is key to ensuring that the response is acceptable within the local context and also to satisfy the criteria for effective remedy. 

In line with this, it is important for companies to consult with local stakeholders to ensure all affected communities, including vulnerable groups, have access to remedy if a human rights violation occurs. Companies should first map the different vulnerable groups that may exist to understand the specific, distinct barriers that these groups may have in accessing remedy. Vulnerable groups can include people who are marginalized due to life circumstances (poor, uneducated); people who are discriminated against by formal laws; people who are marginalized and in hiding such as LGBTI people or people living with HIV/AIDS; or people who are marginalized due to societal discrimination or bias.

Stakeholder engagement is especially important to ensure the most vulnerable groups are aware of the various remedy options available. In order to ensure that all vulnerable groups have access to and understand the remedy pathways available to them, companies should:

  1. Provide information on the company’s grievance mechanism in written, illustrated and oral formats. 
  2. Create open, safe and confidential stakeholder engagement forums for the ongoing collection and follow up of community grievances.
  3. Consult local communities to ensure that these accessibility measures suit the needs of vulnerable groups, including those who are illiterate or semi-literate.

The UNGPs have defined for business how they can manage human rights impacts and risks. Now, the responsibility is on companies to follow the Guiding Principles in order to do business in a way that respects the human rights of workers, customers and communities where they operate. Stakeholder engagement is key in all these aspects, but especially in cases of grievance, engaging stakeholders is necessary to ensure the people affected are granted access to remedy. 


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Sip, sparkle and drink: Kellogg’s turns cereal waste into beer

Could “snap, crackle and pop” take on a new meaning? Cereal giant Kellogg’s has this week unveiled two new products that turn its waste cereals into beer.

The company teamed up with Salford-based Brewery Seven Bro7hers to turn surplus Coco Pops into “Sling it Stout” and excess Rice Krispies into “Cast Off Pale Ale.”

The new beers are made from discarded grains created during the production process at the firm’s Manchester factory. The grains were rejected for being overcooked, uncoated or discolored, creating an opportunity to upcycle them into new products.

“Kellogg’s is always looking for innovative ways to use surplus food, the collaboration with Seven Bro7hers is a fun way to repurpose non-packaged, less-than-perfect cereal,” said Kate Prince, corporate social responsibility manager for Kellogg’s UK and Ireland.

“This activity is part of our new ‘Better Days’ commitments which aim to reduce our impact on the planet.”

Kellogg's food waste beer

The innovations build on the Kellogg’s Corn Flakes IPA, which is created using a similar process and was launched in November.

The two new beers aim to emulate the success of the IPA, which is said to have sparked strong customer interest since its launch. The Sling it Out Stout brew uses 80kg of Kellogg’s Coco Pops to replace malted barley, with the cereal contributing a distinctive chocolatey taste, the firm said.

Meanwhile, the “Cast off Pale Ale” uses 80kg of Kellogg’s Rice Krispies to replace malted barley, infusing sweet notes into the beer.

All three beers will be available to purchase from Seven Bro7hers website and Booths Country Stores, with ambitions to roll out to Ocado and Selfridges in the near future. The beers also will be sold on tap across Manchester.

The move comes just days after Kellogg’s announced an update to its global sustainability targets, reiterating its commitment to its science-based emissions targets and setting new 2030 targets to support a million farmers and smallholders to deliver climate-smart farming, feed 375 million people through donations, and continue its work to reduce food waste, responsibly source ingredients and switch to sustainable packaging.


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Water scarcity is a global problem — businesses can make a difference with local solutions

This article is sponsored by Ecolab.

Today, we are at a crossroads for water. The United Nations predicts that unless we don’t change course, the world will see a 40 percent water deficit by 2030. That’s not just a problem, it’s a looming crisis. Water scarcity is consistently ranked high on the World Economic Forum’s list of global risks. And many businesses are feeling it already.

But there’s good news: The business sector can reduce water usage significantly. 

At Ecolab, we’ve seen the power of effective water management first hand. We manage 1.1 trillion gallons of water annually. Just last year, we helped our customers save 188 billion gallons, equivalent to the annual drinking water needs of 650 million people. And we’re aiming for 300 billion gallons — enough for 1 billion people — by 2030.

So, what should corporations know about reducing their water usage and doing their part in avoiding a global water crunch? Here are some things we’ve learned:

All water is local

Like climate change, water scarcity is a global problem. But while one ton of CO2 emitted anywhere ends up warming the whole planet, a gallon of water used or saved in one area isn’t felt elsewhere.

When it comes to water, every place is different. Are you by a river, lake or coastline? What are the prevailing weather conditions? Is your location prone to drought, flooding or both? Is the soil hard, porous or polluted? The combinations of factors are endless.

That’s why a one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t work. Stopping water scarcity will take a patchwork of local, context-based solutions. London, Los Angeles and Lahore are each water-stressed but it doesn’t take a hydrologist to see that they are also very different. What works in one area — whether it’s cleaning up pollution, protecting aquifers or reusing municipal wastewater for industrial purposes – doesn’t automatically work in another.

Water scarcity can’t be solved without business

Today, according to UNESCO, corporations use 20 percent of all water globally. But that number obscures the real story. In high-income countries, industry is the largest water user, taking up 40 percent of all water and up to 59 percent in some places. As low-income countries industrialize, their water use is evolving in the same direction.

In other words: Without tackling industry’s share, it is impossible to stop the looming water crisis. 

That is one reason why most corporations have water reduction goals. (Another reason is cost — using water is expensive.) But today, many companies aren’t achieving those goals. Since 2011, corporate water usage has fallen only by 10 percent. In recent years, it has increased slightly.

Facilities are key

What explains that discrepancy? It’s what we call the “execution gap.” From surveys Ecolab and GreenBiz conducted in 2017 and 2019, we know that company-wide water goals don’t necessarily result in meaningful action. While 75 percent of companies have water goals, 82 percent don’t have the tools or expertise to achieve them. And even though 88 percent of companies say they plan to tackle water issues in the next three years, only half of that number have a plan to do it.

Action at the facility level is key to closing the execution gap. Because all water is local, meaningful water use reductions must happen at individual facilities sites and be context-based — tailored to each site’s specific set of local circumstances. Those can be as simple as fixing leaks and determining who is responsible for water issues at the facility, or as complex as building water resource management procedures with all stakeholders in the surrounding basin.

If a company does this at enough facilities, it will start saving enough water in the aggregate to make its water reduction targets and lower its impact on communities and natural habitats. It can save money, boost productivity and efficiency, improve its reputation and safeguard its license to operate in a water-scarce world.   

We have the tools to do it

Ecolab works at thousands of industrial facilities each year. We have seen the execution gap many times, and we’ve learned to spot common pitfalls and obstacles. That’s why we developed the Ecolab Smart Water Navigator, a free online tool designed to help companies build smart water management practices at the facility level.

We built it in collaboration with ESG analysis provider S&P Trucost, an advisory panel of leading global companies and experts from The Pacific Institute and the World Resources Institute (WRI). It’s open to any company, in any line of business, anywhere in the world. You don’t have to be an Ecolab customer to use it.

Here’s how it works:

  • Take the assessment: The Ecolab Smart Water Navigator gauges any facility’s water management using a plain-language, 13-question online assessment.
  • Learn your water-maturity level: Based on the assessment, each facility is placed on the Water Maturity Curve, which visualizes the state of its water acumen. A facility at the beginning of the journey is “Untapped,” one that has developed fully mature, circular water management is “Water-smart.”
  • Get the guide: The Ecolab Smart Water Navigator then generates a tailored guide for each facility, based on its industry, location and water maturity level, that provides a series of practical actions steps.
  • Move to the next level: Using the guide, you can start improving your water management practices. Once you’ve taken the recommended steps, you take the assessment again and learn how you’ve improved your Water Maturity level. Step by step, you can move each facility up the curve and develop smart, circular water management practices that are also good for the bottom line.  

Of course, we know that industry by itself can’t solve the whole problem. With our combined effort, we can do a lot to bend the trend line, but we’ll still need governments and civil society groups to do their part. However, we shouldn’t wait for them. 

The knowledge and technology to make a significant difference are already available. Now is the time. If we start building smart, circular solutions today, facility by facility, private business can take the lead in ensuring a world with enough affordable clean water for all.


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KPMG: Europe leads field in climate change preparedness

Singapore and Hong Kong score highly for private sector readiness to cope with the challenges of climate change

Switzerland is the country most prepared to implement the transformative change necessary to adapt to the climate crisis, according to a report released Friday by KPMG, which ranks 140 countries based on their capacity to address climate change and mitigate associated risks.

Europe dominates the top of the rankings, with nine countries in the top 20. The UK climbs to eighth place, up two on the previous year, defying concern over mounting political uncertainty due to Brexit

The rankings are laid out in KPMG’s International Change Readiness Index, an annual analysis of how ready countries are to respond to major change events such as climate change, technological disruption, and geopolitical volatility. This year’s report focuses squarely on climate change.

“Climate change is among the most pressing issues we face as a global society,” said Timothy Stiles, global chair of KPMG’s International Development Assistance Services. “Those countries failing to recognize the impact of climate change are likely to be unprepared for its growing costs, which will be levied on citizens, businesses and economies around the world.”

KPMG’s analysis also considers enterprise sustainability, an evaluation of the private sector’s role in contributing to climate change preparedness and environmental degradation.

Drawing on measures such as CO2 emissions per unit of GDP and share of renewable energy, it finds that Europe’s private sector leads the field in rising to the climate challenge, alongside a handful of Asian countries, such as Singapore and Hong Kong.

In contrast, resource rich countries perform relatively poorly in terms of enterprise sustainability. Norway performs best with a score of 32, while Russia performs worst with a score of 135. KPMG interprets the results as a sign that private sectors in resource rich countries are failing to diversify their economies away from fossil fuels like oil and gas.

Meanwhile, the report reinforces concerns that poorer countries face a “double jeopardy” from climate change, being both especially exposed to negative impacts and less able to implement climate-ready policies and institutions. Chad, South Sudan, and Afghanistan were deemed the worst performing in terms of climate resilience, alongside a number of countries in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.

Source: – Business Green