Falling oil prices. Terrorist threats and geopolitical instability. Rising inequality, corruption and migration. These factors pose risks for business, add complexity to sustainability initiatives, and underscore the need for more collaborative, systemic responses. These are among the findings of SustainAbility’s 2016 Trends and Opportunities Report.
SustainAbility also reports that many companies are working to embed and activate greater purpose in their brands, and some are working to “redefine capitalism” to better serve society’s needs.
How does a complex business environment affect your sustainability work?
SDG 15: Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss.
SDG 15 highlights conservation, restoration and sustainable use of forests, wetlands, mountains and drylands; the need for a “land degradation-neutral world”; biodiversity loss and extinction of threatened species; benefit-sharing from genetic resources; poaching and trafficking of protected species of flora and fauna, addressing both demand and supply of illegal wildlife products; invasive alien species in land and water ecosystems; and integrating ecosystem and biodiversity values into national and local planning, development processes, poverty reduction strategies and accounts.
Unilever has achieved its target of only sourcing from sustainable palm oil, and is now pursuing “total traceability” to certified sustainable sources. This means any prospective Unilever supplier, which is among the biggest consumer goods companies globally, must ensure that their environmental practices are up to date. Learn more.
The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) collaborates with the global supply chain to transform markets and make sustainable palm oil “the norm.” It has over 2,500 members worldwide who represent all links along the palm oil supply chain. The RSPO has developed a set of environmental and social criteria which companies must comply with in order to produce Certified Sustainable Palm Oil (CSPO), which can help to minimize the negative impact of palm oil cultivation on the environment and communities in palm oil-producing regions. Learn more.
Oil palms need a rainforest climate and a lot of land, so plantations are often established at the expense of rainforests, notes Rainforest Rescue. Today, 300 soccer fields’ worth of rainforest is being destroyed every hour. This gives rise to numerous problems for the climate, environment, and people living in the forest. The United Nations Environment Program has found that palm oil plantations are currently the leading cause of rainforest destruction in Malaysia and Indonesia. Destroying natural habitats, especially in such species-rich environments, which are home to many endangered animals and plants, causes irreversible loss of biological diversity.
SDG 16: Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.
SDG 16 calls for action on peace, access to justice, and stronger institutions. Among its targets: end trafficking and violence against children; promote rule of law at national and international levels; reduce illicit flows of finances and arms; reduce corruption and bribery; provide legal identity for all; increase developing countries’ participation in global governance; ensure public access to information; and increase transparency of institutions, and representative decision-making at all levels.
Intel has laid out plans to make its supply chain “conflict free” by the end of 2016, having set the goal in 2009. Given Intel’s “massive list of suppliers,” it was a challenging process to determine where metals had originated and whether profits had benefited armed groups. The company says that once most of the smelters participate in verifying their mines as conflict-free, it is better for other smelters to do the same, rather than being outliers. “It becomes a problem for them from a business perspective.” Intel notes that since the program began, profits end up with miners rather than driving armed conflict. Learn more.
The Enough Project, which works to end genocide and crimes against humanity, reports that US legislation (Dodd-Frank 1502) and the SEC’s conflict minerals rule have increased transparency in the global minerals supply chain, and reduced the flow of minerals profits into violent conflicts in eastern DRC, following 20 years of illicit mining and trafficking in tin, tantalum, tungsten and gold, which it says has financed armed groups and government corruption and abuse. In 2012, Enough reported that the amount of mining money going to conflict had dropped 65%.
What’s in your supply chain that applies to one of the SDGs? To gain recognition for your sustainability work, start with the subjects you already know, and use the SDGs to communicate about them.
Leverage this opportunity today and join GSC! Tell us your governance story at @GlobalSourcing with GSC1717
SDG 17: Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development
Goal 17 highlights the different types of resources that can help bring the 16 other SDGs to life. These are: Finance including investment; Technology, especially ICTs and environmentally sound technologies; Capacity-building to create national plans and implement the SDGs; Trade; Policy coherence and policy space; multi-stakeholder partnerships to mobilize and share knowledge, expertise, technology and financial resources, and public, public-private and civil society partnerships; and data, monitoring and accountability.
SDG 17 in Action
3S Community Engagement Award Nominee – Chalhoub Group. “The Gift of Giving” is Chalhoub Group’s longest running community engagement campaign, which begun in 2008 and it now spans across 8 countries. Their objective is to support underprivileged children and empower them through education. Learn more. Vimeo password: chalhoub@2015.
SDG 17 Amplifiers
The 15th annual Wall Street Green Trading Summit, convening on March 14 in New York, will focus on the theme, “Market Acceleration of Sustainable Finance in 2016.” According to the organizers, environmental finance is “the capitalistic method” to achieve sustainability. Learn more.
Impact 2030 seeks to engage private sector employees in SDG efforts, through “corporate volunteering for sustainable development.” Founding collaborators include UN Office of Partnerships and UN Volunteers, and partners include Pfizer, Google, IBM, UPS, PwC, Chevron, Johnson & Johnson, Marriott, and Bank of America. Learn more.
Tell us your partnership story at @GlobalSourcing with GSC1717Showcase your sustainability leadership by aligning your mission with the UN 17 SDGs through the GSC 17/17 initiative.
Contact Louis Coppola (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Angeline Judex(email@example.com) to learn how to leverage our extensive global network to communicate your commitment to sustainable development.