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New Global Commission to Put Business at the Centre of Sustainable Development

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Commission of business, labour and civil society leaders, established by Unilever CEO Paul Polman and former United Nations Deputy Secretary General Mark Malloch-Brown, will highlight the massive rewards to businesses who take a lead in poverty reduction and sustainable development. Businesses which join global efforts to end extreme poverty and protect the planet’s finite natural resources can reap great rewards and protect their long-term performance, a proposition that will be tested by a new commission launched today at the World Economic Forum.

Created by the former United Nations Deputy Secretary General Mark Malloch-Brown and Unilever CEO Paul Polman, The Global Commission on Business and Sustainable Development will work over the next year to articulate and quantify the compelling economic case for businesses to engage in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including:

·         Significant economic rewards – through new markets, investment opportunities and innovations – if the world tackles challenges including poverty, inequality and environmental stress

·         Risks to business performance and stability, and increased fragmentation, resource competition and fragility, if the world fails to address these risks

·         The necessity to work with governments, international organisations and civil society in order to build a future where businesses can perform – with inclusive, sustainable growth and widespread job creation

 

The Global Commission brings together international leaders from business, labour, financial institutions and civil society. They will present a comprehensive report in one year’s time, outlining new business and financial models, as well as market opportunities for companies who are invested in sustainable approaches.

Since 2000, the world has seen extreme poverty more than halved.  Business – which provides 60% of GDP, 80% of inward capital flows and 90% of jobs in developing countries – has been central to this success story, but can play a greater and more constructive role in realising growth and development opportunities.

“A massive prize awaits business if it successfully ushers in an era of shared prosperity and increased sustainability,” said Commission Co-Chair Mark Malloch-Brown. “Governments and international organizations alone cannot build the future we need. Business is the key to accelerating the transition.”

“There is no business case for enduring poverty. We have an opportunity to unlock trillions of dollars through new markets, investments and innovation – but to do so, we must challenge our current practices and address poverty, inequality and environmental challenges. Every business will benefit from operating in a more equitable, resilient world if we achieve the Sustainable Development Goals,” said Unilever CEO Paul Polman.

“There is a case to be made that vast economic incentives exist for changing business as usual,” said Sharan Burrow, General Secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation. “Business can create the fair wage jobs to propel societal development that leaves no one behind.  Business innovation can deliver the technological advancements needed to achieve an efficient, net zero emissions economy.  And business and society could both win, if more businesses recognize this and act upon it.”

Commission members:

In addition to co-founders Mark Malloch-Brown and Paul Polman, members of the Commission include:  Laura Alfaro, Professor, Harvard Business School, Peter Bakker, President, World Business Council on Sustainable Development (WBCSD); Sharan Burrow, General Secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC); Bob Collymore, CEO of Safaricom; John Danilovich, Secretary General of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC); Hendrik du Toit, CEO, Investec Asset Management; John Fallon, CEO of Pearson PLC; Ken Frazier, CEO of Merck & Co.; Mo Ibrahim, Founder of Celtel and the Mo Ibrahim Foundation; Donald Kaberuka, President, African Development Bank; Sam Mostyn,President of the Australian Council for International Development (ACFID);  Roberto Oliveira de Lima, CEO of Natura; Dr. Amy Jadesimi, Managing Director and CEO of Lagos Deep Offshore Logistics Base (LADOL); Lise Kingo, Executive Director of the United Nations Global Compact; Arif Naqvi, Founder and Group Chief Executive of The Abraaj Group; Vineet Rai, Co-Founder and Chairman, Intellecap and Gavin Wilson, CEO of IFC Asset Management Company LLC.

Mark Malloch-Brown will act as the Co-Chair of the Commission, while Jeremy Oppenheim – who led the development of the influential New Climate Economy report – will act as Program Director.

The Global Commission on Business and Sustainable Development:

The Global Commission has been created to do five things:

 

·         First, to decode the SDGs and show why it makes sense for business to engage on sustainable development at a far more strategic level than it has to date.

·         Second, to show how new business models can align profitability with social purpose.

·         Third, to map out how new financial tools can crowd in private capital and align economic and social returns.

·         Fourth, to show how business, government, and society can work effectively together to build the partnerships needed for SDG delivery.

·         Fifth, to quantify the efficiency gains in achieving sustainable development if business is fully aligned with the SDGs.

 

The Commission will conduct foundational research, and engage in fact-finding dialogue with a diverse cross-section of key stakeholders, including business leaders, investors, civil society representatives, social entrepreneurs and academic experts. 

The initiative aims to explore current and future disruptive business models, understanding what they mean for sustainable development; and to map out new financing mechanisms the world will need to reach the SDGs. It will investigate changes in core business operations and behaviors that go far beyond traditional corporate social responsibility and voluntary partnerships.

The UN Foundation, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, the Overseas Development Institute and The B Team are supporting the effort, to help mobilize the business community and the next generation of entrepreneurs, to support achievement of the global goals by 2030.

The Commission receives funding support from the Rockefeller Foundation, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and the governments of Australia, Denmark, the Netherlands, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

Environment

4 Common Items That Can be Reused Again and Again

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reuse reduce recycle plastic bottles etc
Shutterstock Licensed Photo - By Vanatchanan | https://www.shutterstock.com/g/vanatchanan%20buahom

As a society we are getting much better at taking our obligations to the world and environment around us more seriously. This is undoubtedly a good thing! The effects of climate change are beginning to manifest across the world, and this is turning the issue from an abstract threat into a very real danger. Trying to introduce some greener, more eco-friendly practices into your life isn’t just a great way of doing something beneficial for society and the world around you. It is a wonderful way of engaging positively with the world and carries with it numerous psychological benefits.

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Being a greener, more ecologically friendly person doesn’t require any dramatic life changes. Breaking or making a few small habits is all it takes to make your life a greener one. In this article we look at one of the easiest, yet most effective green practices to get into: reusing everyday items.

Jars and Containers

Glass and metal are widely recycled, and recycling is a good thing! However, consider whether any containers you buy, whether it’s a tub of ice cream or a jar of coffee, can be washed out and reused for something else. Mason jars, for example, can be used to store homemade pasta sauce and can be washed for future use. Once you start thinking about it, you will find endless opportunities to reuse your old containers.

Soda Bottles

An ice-cold soda is a wonderful treat on a hot day, but buying soda can get expensive, and the manufacturing and distribution of the drinks themselves isn’t great for the environment. However, by holding on to your old soda bottles and repurposing them as water bottles, you can save money on drinks, or use them to measure out water for your garden.

Plastic Bags

Most of the time groceries come in paper bags, which are better for the environment than the plastic alternatives, but they are less durable and thus harder to reuse. Whenever the store places your items in a plastic bag, hang onto it so you can reuse the bags again. If you want to take it one step further, consider looking into buying some personalized recycled bags. These bags are designed to last for a long time and are made of recycled materials. They look striking and unique, they’ll turn heads, and maybe even attitudes!

Seeds

If you’re a keen gardener, then you will already probably know how to reseed your plants in order to ensure a fresh crop after each plant’s lifecycle. If you have space in your garden, or haven’t yet tried your hand at gardening, then consider planting a small vegetable plot. Growing your own veggies means that you’ll be helping to cut back on the emissions generated by their transport and production. The best part about growing your own food in this way is that, by harvesting properly and saving the seeds, you can be set up with fresh vegetables for life!

Reusing and recycling common household items is an easy way to make your world a little bit greener. Once you start looking for these opportunities you’ll realize that they’re everywhere!

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Environment

These 5 Green Office Mistakes Are Costing You Money

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eco-friendly green offices
Shutterstock Licensed Photo - By Stokkete | https://www.shutterstock.com/g/cyano

The sudden interest in green business is very encouraging. According to recent reports, 42% of all companies have rated sustainability as an important element of their business. Unfortunately, the focus on sustainability will only last if companies can find ways to use it to boost their ROI.

Many businesses get so caught up in being socially conscious that they hope the financial aspect of it takes care of itself. The good news is that there are plenty of ways to go green and boost your net income at the same time.

Here are some important mistakes that you will want to avoid.

Only implementing sustainability on micro-scale

The biggest reason that brands are going green is to improve their optics with their customers. Too many businesses are making very minor changes, such as processing paperwork online and calling themselves green.

Customers have become wary of these types of companies. If you want to earn their business, you are going to need to go all the way. Bring in a green business consultant and make every feasible change to demonstrate that you are a green organization from top to bottom.

Not prioritizing investments by long-term ROI

It isn’t realistic to build an entirely green organization overnight. You will need to allocate your capital wisely.

Before investing in any green assets or services, you should always conduct a long-term cost benefit analysis. The initial investment for some green services may be over $20,000. If they don’t shave your cost by at least $3,000 a year, they probably aren’t worth the investment.

Determine which green investments will have the best pay off over the next 10 years. Make these investments before anything else. Then compare your options within each of those categories.

Implementing green changes without a plan

Effective, long-term planning is the key to business success. This principle needs to be applied to green organizations as well.

Before implementing a green strategy, you must answer the following questions:

  • How will I communicate my green business philosophy to my customers?
  • How will running a green business affect my revenue stream?
  • How will adopting green business strategies change my monthly expenses? Will they increase or decrease them?
  • How will my company finance green upgrades and other investments?

The biggest mistake that too many green businesses make is being overly optimistic with these forecasts. Take the time to collect objective data and make your decisions accordingly. This will help you run a much more profitable green business.

Not considering the benefits of green printing

Too many companies believe that going paperless is the only way to run a green organization. Unfortunately, going 100% paperless it’s not feasible for most companies.

Rather than aim for an unrealistic goal, consider the option of using a more environmentally friendly printer. It won’t be perfect, but it will be better than the alternative.

According to experts from Doranix, environmental printers have several benefits:

  • They can process paper that has been completely recycled.
  • They consume less energy than traditional printers.
  • They use ink that is more environmentally friendly.

You want to take a look at different green printers and compare them. You’ll find that some will meet your needs as a green business.

Poorly communicating your green business strategy to customers

Brand positioning doesn’t happen on its own. If you want to run a successful green business, you must communicate your message to customers as clearly as possible. You must also avoid the appearance that you are patronizing them.

The best approach is to be clear when you were first making the change. I’ll make an announcement about your company‘s commitment to sustainability.

You also want to reinforce this message overtime by using green labels on all of your products. You don’t have to be blatant with your messaging at this stage. Simply provide a small, daily reminder on your products and invoices.

Finally, it is a good idea to participate in green business seminars and other events. If your community has a local Green Chamber of Commerce, you should consider joining as well.

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