Why true sustainability must include diversity
International Women's Day (IWD) is an important moment to celebrate women's achievements and call for greater equality, but for McDonald's vice president for supply chain and brand trust Beth Hart, these issues are on the agenda all year round.
When an eco-champion heckled me during my work presentation, everything changed, for the better
In times of change we often take a moment to reflect upon pivotal moments that steered our course. As Chris Large leaves his post as co-chief executive at Global Action Plan, he looks back at 15 and a half years of projects, partnerships and conversations, with one particular memory standing out.
Three themes shaping the ESG landscape in 2021
It's been more than a year since Covid-19 first broke out. Understandably, the pandemic has forced many businesses to focus on survival, while others have had limited capacity to pursue their ESG agendas.
#SustyTalk: Virgin Media's Katie Buchanan on net-zero targets and social sustainability
edie's #SustyTalk interview series continues with an exclusive discussion with Virgin Media's head of sustainability Katie Buchanan, following the launch of a new Meaningful Connections sustainability strategy.
Big businesses failing to protect human rights amid Covid-19, study reveals
A study of the measures taken by more than 200 large businesses to safeguard human rights during the Covid-19 pandemic has found that most are taking little to no action.
Purpose-led products: Ocado launches a dedicated aisle for B-Corp brands
Online supermarket Ocado has launched a dedicated virtual 'aisle' showcasing products from B-Corp certified brands, as customers increasingly look for more sustainable groceries.
Now's the time for businesses to double down on shared challenges and values
To seize opportunities for progress and achieve the pace and scale of positive change required, the world needs business at its best. That's why there has never been a more critical time to put B Corp values front and centre of every responsible business.
How can businesses deliver a more inclusive economy on the road to net-zero?
In 2020, many businesses vowed to 'build back better' from Covid-19, coupling financial recovery planning with new commitments around climate change and social justice. But how can they ensure that these focuses remain - and move from ambition to action?
How can sustainability professionals champion intersectionality in 2021?
The events of 2020 both highlighted and widened existing social inequalities. While the appetite for climate action in the process of 'building back better' is palpable, many sustainability professionals want to see the same level of commitment to social justice.
Social justice doesn't distract from the net-zero goal, it makes it human
The pandemic is the latest demonstration that those from less affluent communities are the hardest hit by a crisis but not central to the story. Not only do low-income groups suffer disproportionately more deaths, but they are also the first to bear the financial burden of a crumbling economy.
#SustyTalk: The WBA's Dan Neale on delivering social transformation
edie's #SustyTalk interview series continues with an exclusive talk with the World Benchmarking Alliance's (WBA) social transformation lead Dan Neale.
Greenwash: 40% of websites 'misleading' consumers on environmental credentials
An annual sweep of corporate websites has found that four in ten are providing information on environmental criteria that could be considered misleading and potentially breaking consumer laws.
What makes a sustainability leader? Meet social sustainability champions Honeywell Hometown Solutions
With less than a week until the 2021 Sustainability Leaders Awards, this feature series showcases the achievements of the 2020 winners and reveals their secrets to success. Up next: the winners of the Social Sustainability & Community Development Award, Honeywell Hometown Solutions.
Unilever sets supply chain living wage aim and €2bn diversity commitment
Unilever has today (21 January) unveiled a raft of new commitments aimed at building a more equitable and inclusive society by vowing to ensure the people across its value chain earn at least a living wage by 2030 and spending €2bn annually with suppliers consisting of under-represented groups by 2025.
Less meat is the only pathway to tackling deforestation scarring soy supply chains
Voluntary commitments to sustainable soy supply chains won't stick in the face of ongoing deforestation scandals. Retailers and investors urgently need a Plan B, argues Feedback Global's Daniel Jones.
Trade Bill: UK Government votes to allow food imports with lower environmental standards
The UK Government is being accused of backtracking on non-regression pledges around post-Brexit food standards, after MPs voted against amendments to the trade bill this week.
Government to limit UK business exposure to Xinjiang human rights issues
The UK Government has unveiled a new package of measures aimed at ensuring that British organisations aren't benefitting from human rights violations linked to the abuse of the Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang.
Hard coding sustainability action into governance structures
We are surrounded by enormous challenges but the mood has changed and 2021 comes with an expectation of progress. Amanda Powell-Smith of Forster Communications and Klara Kozlov of CAF discuss why sustainability leaders need to look at whether their organisation has the right governance structures in place to enable brave intentions to become reality.
How businesses can deliver meaningful action on social sustainability in 2021
It is impossible to deny that 2020 will, of course, be remembered for the devastating Covid-19 crisis which has changed people's lives around the world.
New Years Honours 2021: The sustainability champions on the Queen's list
The outstanding achievements of dozens of people working across the UK's environmental sphere have been recognised by the Queen in this year's New Year's Honours list. Read on to find out more about the newly-awarded scientists, policy experts, green finance champions and conservationists.
#SustyTalk: BELU Water's Natalie Campbell on purpose-led business
edie's #SustyTalk interview series continues with an exclusive interview with Natalie Campbell, who became co-CEO of BELU Water earlier this year.
Zalando completes brand assessments as part of environmental disclosure drive
Online fashion retailer Zalando has disclosed its Tier 1 private fashion label suppliers in an efforts to drive transparency across the value chain, and is expecting brand partners to gain a full understanding of their key suppliers also.
Kingfisher partners with Rainforest Alliance on 'forest positive' commitment
B&Q and Screwfix owner Kingfisher has announced a new partnership with the Rainforest Alliance that will help the corporate become "forest negative" by 2025.
Transparency is the first step as we forge a more sustainable future for metals
Metals form the backbone of today's industrialised world - from the steel in our buildings and aluminium in our cars, to the copper in our mobile phones.
What does the green recovery mean for Black Friday?
After a month of lockdown restrictions, many UK retailers are looking forward to Black Friday to boost profits. But with consumers increasingly prioritising purpose and sustainability, and with the green recovery movement gaining traction, what will the sales event look like in 2020 and beyond?
SSE unveils 'just transition' strategy to benefit communities during net-zero transition
Energy giant SSE has issued a public "Just Transition" plan, which lays out steps to protect workers and communities as the business and the UK moves towards net-zero emissions.
Half of corporates unable to prove they are protecting human rights, report reveals
A new analysis of 229 of the world's largest companies has found that almost half are unable to prove they are protecting human rights in line with the UN's requirements - with more than one-third scoring zero on due diligence.
What makes a sustainability leader? Meet supply chain champions Ella's Kitchen
With the 2021 Sustainability Leaders Awards entry deadline approaching, this new feature series showcases the achievements of the 2020 winners and reveals their secrets to success. Up next: The winner of our Supply Chain Excellence award: Ella's Kitchen.
Survey: Greenwashing 'is the biggest challenge to sustainable investment'
A survey of 650 institutional investors with more than $25.9trn in assets under management globally has found that investor-corporate engagement on environmental issues is growing - but so is frustration over greenwash.
What makes a sustainability leader? Meet the Co-op's Cathryn Higgs
With the 2021 Sustainability Leaders Awards entry deadline approaching, this new feature series showcases the achievements of the 2020 winners and reveals their secrets to success. Up next: Our Sustainability Leader of the Year 2020, the Co-op's head of food policy Cathryn Higgs.
Priceless Planet: Banks and airlines join coalition planting 100 million trees
Businesses including Barclays Bank US, HSBC and Frontier Airlines have joined the Priceless Planet Coalition - an initiative set up by MasterCard to reforest more than 100 million trees.
Survey: One in five British investors turning to impact investment amid Covid-19
More than one-fifth (22%) of UK-based investors are planning to invest in dedicated ethical funds in the near future, with the proportion rising to more than one-third (35%) among those aged 35 and under.
From laggard to leader? Why Kraft Heinz is betting on ESG to turn its sustainability story around
EXCLUSIVE: Kraft Heinz's decision to shift its sustainability approach away from CSR and towards ESG is designed to help it avoid repeating "past mistakes" and transform the way it is perceived in the environmental sphere, the company's global ESG lead has revealed.
UK Government reps 'discussing potential COP26 sponsorship deals with oil majors'
Despite a promise to ensure that COP26's corporate sponsors are "making real contributions" to climate action, government representatives have reportedly been in discussions with some of the world's highest emitting firms, including Equinor, BP and Shell.
Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals: A Blueprint for Business Leadership
With less than 10 years to meet the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), action is still not happening at the speed or scale required - despite a groundswell of ambition and action from organisations of all sectors and sizes. This report offers an end-to-end overview of exactly how businesses can advance global progress towards achieving all 17 of the Global Goals.
Consumer goods giants worth $1.8trn team up to tackle deforestation
Nestle, Mars and Unilever are among the 17 multinational consumer goods firms leading a new corporate coalition dedicated to tackling deforestation, forest degradation and land conversion in supply chains.
Big businesses face mandatory digital modern slavery reporting
The UK Government has made the first major changes to the Modern Slavery Act since its introduction in 2015, extending requirements to public bodies including local authorities and tightening rules for big businesses.
Moving beyond ESG to real world impact in a new era of scrutiny for investors
For anyone who thinks sustainable investing is just about climate, the Covid-19 crisis has proven that businesses becoming resilient to climate change, have also proven best-prepared to ride the shock of the current pandemic.
Advertising sector launches new initiative to eliminate negative environmental impacts
A new initiative launched to eliminate the advertising industry's negative impact on the environment, which has been backed by the likes of Sky and Unilever.
Oxford unveils plans for UK's first local air pollution targets
Oxford City Council has set out plans to introduce more ambitious air quality targets than the UK's current, legally binding goals, in what it claims is a national first.
Businesses including Glencore launch joint bid to improve conditions in cobalt supply chains
A coalition of businesses including Signify, Glencore and Fairphone have launched a joint initiative to improve the economic, working and social conditions of those working in the cobalt supply chain.
Consumer goods giants accused of sourcing palm oil from 'top deforester'
Consumer goods giants including PepsiCo, Unilever and Nestle have been accused of indirectly sourcing palm oil from a mill supplied by a producer which destroyed almost 3,000 hectares of forest in Indonesia in the first half of 2020.
BHP to exit thermal coal mining within two years
The world's largest mining company BHP has unveiled plans to sell off its thermal coal mines by the end of 2022, after developing new climate targets last year.
SSE vows to produce 'Just Transition' plans to bolster science-based climate targets
SSE has become the first UK energy firm to commit to developing 'Just Transition' plans, which will protect affected workers and communities as it aligns with the UK's net-zero target.
After ditching Boohoo, ASOS sets new sustainability and ethics requirements for brands
ASOS will require third-party fashion brands to comply with new ethical manufacturing and supply chain sustainability standards if they wish to be listed on its website, after it dropped Boohoo over allegations of human rights abuses at a supplier factory.
KLM's biofuel advertisements were greenwashing, regulator rules
Dutch airline KLM has been ordered to change one of its advertising campaigns after it was found to have over-emphasised the firm's use of biofuel.
Report: Governments are bowing to fossil fuel lobbying in Covid-19 recovery planning
Almost two-thirds of the interventions which fossil fuel lobbyists made in policymaking between March and June were successful, new analysis has revealed.
Putting the circular economy at the heart of a strategy
Jennie Galbraith, Head of Environment, Social and Governance, BAT and Vice Chair of ICRS discusses overcoming cynicism and placing the circular economy at the heart of BAT's new business strategy.
Fast fashion giants face mounting pressure to protect supply chain workers through Covid-19
Extinction Rebellion (XR) activists are gathering on London's Oxford Street this week to urge fast fashion brands to financially support suppliers overseas throughout the pandemic, as media exposés drawing links between Leicester's Covid-19 spike and its garment manufacturing industry emerge.
One Young World: Business giants invest £500k in SDG-aligned innovations
AstraZeneca, Deloitte and BP are among a cohort big-name businesses to have jointly unveiled £500,000 of grant funding for young innovators working on projects driving progress towards the aims of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Business for Clean Air: New initiative to help corporates tackle air pollution as lockdown lifts
Large UK businesses are now able to access a new array of tools aimed at helping them to tackle air pollution, after numerous surveys revealed that the British public are keen to see improvements in air quality maintained after lockdown.
UK Government mulling ban on overseas fossil fuel financing, reports
Ministers are reportedly considering moves to ban the UK Government's direct lending facility from financing any new or existing fossil fuel projects overseas, following a series of high-profile exposés.
World's largest ICT companies failing to tackle human rights abuses in supply chains
In a new analysis of how the world's 49 largest ICT businesses are protecting against human rights abuses in their supply chains, the average score is just 30%.
How will the CSR community respond to the Black Lives Matter movement?
The Black Lives Matter protests arrived in the UK this weekend, raising uncomfortable and sobering considerations for all communities and races. As the CSR profession continues to drive the world towards a green and just transition, how individuals and businesses respond to racism is critical.
Investors target Facebook, Nintendo and other business giants over climate disclosure
More than 1,000 multinational companies have been contacted by a group of more than 100 investors, calling for relevant data on environmental performance and stewardship to be disclosed to CDP.
Net-zero must be at the heart of the business response to restoring the health of nature
World Environment Day 2020 aims to trigger action to protect and restore the health of nature around the world. This couldn't be more timely. Whilst evidence abounds showing that nature is bouncing back due to less human activity resulting from Covid 19, the statistics are still alarming.
Pandora to reduce emissions by sourcing only recycled gold and silver
The world's largest jewellery brand, Pandora, has announced plans to stop sourcing mined silver and gold in its products by 2025, a move that is expected to cut its emissions from the use of the materials by more than two-thirds.
Zalando and Sustainable Apparel Coalition issue sustainable metrics for brands and retailers
German online fashion retailer Zalando has confirmed it will be the first retailer signed up to the Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC) to use a new module that will make sustainability assessments mandatory for its private labels and partner brands sold on its platform.
Available to watch on-demand:All three online events from the CSR reporting and communications sessions
edie ran a series of back-to-back online events on sustainability reporting and communications during the coronavirus pandemic, featuring speakers from Innocent Drinks, British American Tobacco, Toast Ale, Capgemini and more. All three sessions are now available to watch on-demand.
Why science, society and sustainability will matter more for business post-pandemic
Ball Corporation's President for Beverage Packaging Europe, Middle East & Africa, Ron Lewis outlines his thoughts on why sustainability will continue to be an important boardroom topic post-pandemic, and why a focus on society and the environment will be a focus moving forward.
Barclays and HSBC blasted over £158bn fossil fuel financing
Banking giants Barclays and HSBC have been accused of financing a combined £158bn into the fossil fuel sector since the signing of the Paris Agreement in 2015, despite both organisations pledging to ramp up sustainable investment portfolios.
SodaStream's 67 billion plastics pledge and Timberland's letter to nature: The Earth Day success stories
To mark Earth Day 2020 edie has rounded up some of the shining examples of business commitments to delivering sustainable products, services and campaigns.
Coronavirus: Fairtrade calls on G20 to provide 'urgent' support for low-income suppliers
Fairtrade International has called on G20 nations to implement a coronavirus response plan to protect low-income farmers and producers through economic support and investments that push commodity supply chains towards more sustainable practices.
Available to watch on-demand: Climate-resilient supply chains webinar featuring BT and HPE
edie's latest webinar, focused on how businesses can build sustainable, climate-resilient supply chains featuring expert insight from sustainability professionals from BT, HPE, Project X Global and UL. It is now available to watch on-demand.
Child labour on the rise in cocoa supply chains
Cases of child labour occurring in the cocoa supply chain are rumoured to have increased by 2% to more than two million children, according to a draft US Government report, while big businesses in the sector have been ranked on approaches to supply chain engagement.
The net-zero bulldozer: Have the SDGs been forgotten in an era of climate activism?
2019 will be remembered as a year of unprecedented climate action, with improved science and mass citizen engagement spurring nations and businesses to set net-zero targets. But amid this rush of climate action, have the other social and environmental issues set out by the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) been deprioritised?
WBA: Companies with embedded sustainability best-placed to weather coronavirus storm
EXCLUSIVE: Reports of business failures to safeguard employee livelihoods or the environment amid the coronavirus pandemic are emerging at a near-hourly basis - and those best-placed to avoid the impending storm from consumers and investors are those that have already taken ambitious action.
Mondelēz increases transparency drive to combat supply chain deforestation
Mondelēz International, which owns brands including Cadbury and Dairy Milk, has increased a transparency drive on farms in the world's largest two cocoa-producing countries that are registered under the firm's ethical and sustainable sourcing programme.
UK Government publishes statement to tackle modern slavery across its supply chain
The UK has become the first country to publish a statement outlining how the Government will tackle modern slavery across its supply chain and spending measures.
Investors write to businesses calling for action on human rights
Hundreds of investors have written to global companies deemed to be performing poorly on human rights indicators, calling for immediate action to improve standards across operations and value chains.
Modern Slavery Act: An assessment of the first five years
The UK Modern Slavery Act 2015 (MSA) received Royal Assent on 26 March 2015. The Act sets out a legal obligation for organisations with a turnover of £36m or above to publish a modern slavery statement on their websites.
Half of corporates unable to prove they are protecting human rights , report finds
An analysis of 200 of the world's biggest corporation has found that 95 are unable to prove they are taking action to protect and improve human rights for their direct employees, supply chains and the communities they serve.
'Investing for net-zero must go mainstream': COP26 finance strategy unveiled
The UK has published its COP26 strategy to help private finance support a global economic transition to net-zero emissions, with a heavy focus on exploring mandatory reporting requirements for climate-related data.
Bank of England under pressure over board member's oil links
Environmental groups have called into question the Bank of England's commitment to tackling the climate emergency while it retains one of Britain's most senior oil company executives on its governing board.
Hubbub targets stag and hen dos to lower UK flying climate impacts
Environmental charity Hubbub has launched a new campaign to raise awareness of the impacts of flying, after research commissioned by the group found that almost half of all flights taken by men aged 20-45 and a third of flights from women in the same age group were for stag and hen dos.
Mary Robinson: Business and governments must avoid net-zero 'hypocrisy'
EXCLUSIVE: The former president of Ireland Mary Robinson has claimed that net-zero commitments made by governments and corporates must lead to a "just transition" that also combats the "hypocrisy" of ignoring fossil fuel developments further afield.
Boris Johnson urged to improve UK's SDG performance
A business coalition spearheaded by the UK Stakeholders for Sustainable Development (UKSSD) has today (29 January) delivered a brief to Prime Minister Boris Johnson calling for the Government to improve progress towards the UN's Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).
Carmakers make joint pledge to make battery supply chains sustainable
Volvo, Audi and BMW are among the cohort of carmakers to have joined a joint initiative aimed at creating battery value chains that are environmentally and socially sustainable.
Comic Relief among charities pledging to end fossil fuel investments
Comic Relief, Power to Change, and Guy's and St Thomas' Charity are the latest organisations that have committed to end all fossil fuel investment and adopt a new ethical approach to investing, after joining the Funder Commitment on Climate Change.
Brunel Pension Partnership launches new finance strategy to align with net-zero future
The group overseeing £30bn worth of investments for 10 local government pension scheme funds has pledged to align its management practices with the Paris Agreement.
Climate activist turns down Siemens board role over Australian mine deal
German climate activist Luisa Neubauer has declined an offer from Siemens' chief executive Joe Kaeser to sit on a supervisory board off the firm's new energy business, following controversy over an Australian mining project.
Patagonia's Black Friday campaign raises $20m for environmental causes
Outdoor clothing company Patagonia's Black Friday fundraiser for environmental organisations has hit its $10m (£7.6m) target in just 17 days - meaning the firm will now donate $10m of its own to these causes.
A decade in review: Vote for the defining sustainability moment of the 2010s
As the 2010s draw to a close, edie has analysed the key moments and announcements that push sustainability and climate action from a niche activity to a global necessity. Cast your vote to decide which of the seven moments was most profound.
Will 2020 be the year of mandatory climate disclosure?
Leading experts believe that it is "highly likely" that disclosing climate-related data to the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD's) will become mandatory and have called on business professionals to start collecting and mapping data now.
Investors and businesses call for action to support deforestation-free soy in Brazil
A group of global investors and businesses, including Tesco, Mars and Sainsbury's, have signed a letter calling for the Brazilian Government and president Jair Bolsonaro to support a voluntary agreement that has limited deforestation from soy production in the country.
In numbers: What do consumers want from sustainable businesses in 2020?
While many businesses are taking action to reduce emissions and waste, consumers now want them to go further and prioritise people and planet over growth, a new international survey has revealed.
Businesses 'struggling to turn sustainability ambitions into action', surveys reveal
A survey of more than 9,000 businesses of all sizes and sectors has found that 96% want to improve their environmental and social practices - but that most are struggling to deliver this change due to a lack of funding or resources.
Report: More than half of corporates not meeting 'basic requirements' on human rights
A study of 200 of the world's biggest apparel, food & drink, tech manufacture and material extraction firms have found that less than half are able to show they are meeting the UN's Guiding Principles on Human Rights.
Apple almost doubles green bond offers after £1.7bn fund launch
Apple has issued a new £1.7bn ($2.2bn) green bond offering, nearly doubling its total green bond issuance to almost £3.9bn ($5bn).
Climate crisis: 11,000 scientists warn of 'untold suffering'
Humanity faces "untold suffering due to the climate crisis" unless there are major transformations to global society, according to a stark warning from more than 11,000 scientists.
CDP: 80% of companies set to miss 2020 palm oil deforestation goals
Of the 96 corporates currently reporting that they produce, source or use products that contain palm oil from Indonesia to CDP, just one-fifth are set to meet their 2020 deforestation targets surrounding the commodity.
DuPont commits to carbon-neutral operations by 2050
Chemicals giant DuPont has unveiled a sweeping array of new sustainability targets, including a commitment to deliver carbon-neutral operations by mid-century.
Drax launches sustainable biomass strategy
Drax has outlined how it will use the latest science and best practice to ensure that biomass use is sustainably sourced and not linked to deforestation, with the UK Governments former chief scientific adviser Sir John Beddington confirmed as chair of a new Independent Advisory Board (IAB).
Responsible Jewellery Council joins UN Global Compact to act on SDGs
The Responsible Jewellery Council has forged a new partnership with the UN Global Compact which will see members such as Swarovski, Tiffany & Co and the De Beers Group, develop actions that align and contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Social media advertising fuelling teenagers' unused 'trainer mountain'
Charity Global Action Plan (GAP) has found that UK teenagers own 58 million trainers, almost 30% of which remain unused, with a new study claiming that purchasing habits are a symptom of targeted digital and social media advertising.
Mary Robinson: Businesses must make 'deep commitments' to climate justice
Former Irish President Mary Robinson has argued that the development of net-zero strategies centred around social justice and human rights will become the new marker of sustainable business leadership.
Royal Shakespeare Company to end BP sponsorship deal
The Royal Shakespeare Company is to end its sponsorship deal with BP amid growing opposition to fossil fuel companies' sponsorship of many of the UK's leading cultural institutions.
Sustainable Business Covered podcast: LIVE from the Global Climate Strike
Episode 71 of the Sustainable Business Covered podcast is packed with exclusive interviews from students, chief executives and sustainability representatives that attended the Global Day of Climate Strikes on Friday (20 September), outlining the role that business has to play in mitigating climate impacts.
Businesses gear up for day of global climate strikes
Shoe brand Allbirds, tea firm Pukka Herbs and PepsiCo subsidiary SodaStream have joined the coalition of businesses throwing their weight behind the worldwide day of climate strikes on Friday (20 September).
UK suppliers among recipients of 'world's worst' fashion purchasing practices
UK suppliers experience some of the "worse" purchasing practices of brands and retailers sourcing apparel, footwear and household textiles compared to suppliers from other nations in the world.