Information age: the role of transparency in spreading best practice in commodity production

By Chris Eves, forestry officer at the Zoological Society of London Speaking recently, Christophe Deloire, secretary general of Reporters Without Borders, stated that: “None of the main issues which humanity is facing will be resolved without access to information”. With 2017 the second worst year on record for tropical tree cover loss, now is a good…

Podcast frenzy & lots of no-cost insight, from human rights, to strategy, to sustainable landscapes

I haven’t posted on here for a while. We’ve been busy publishing on the main Innovation Forum site, which has hugely increased traffic in the last few months. We think this is due to our audio content, which is proving extremely popular, we think because a) its pretty good and b) its a flexible format…

Sustainability-related trade wars, some useful Palm Oil stats/factoids and food companies and deforestation

Trade “wars” (actually skirmishes) are all over the news at the moment. Alongside the political posturing of Trump and his economically-unhinged cohorts, there may be, as mentioned before on this blog, a sustainability-related one brewing too. I’m referring, of course to palm oil, the EU and deforestation. This headline from the Asia Times gives you…

Sustainable commodities: The depressed and disempowered vs. the angrily incoherent – some ideas for real change

It’s not often I sit down to write a post that could well annoy almost everyone I know. This is one of those. But it’s a risk worth taking. Someone needs to say, I think, what I am going to say here. Scott Poynton blogged about this area recently, and I had the same conversation…

Business sustainability: We need to talk about measurement

First, and for a long time, we had philanthropy, and there was no need to measure that, except in cash given, and tax breaks received. Then we had early CSR, let’s say at some point in the 1980s, and that was about happier communities, some more motivated employees, the odd bit of PR and some…

Deforestation-free supply chains: Four trends to watch

Chris Meyer from the Environmental Defense Fund has put together an insightful blog post on the above topic, which is particularly timely, given this week is the TFA 2020 AGM in Accra, Ghana, where I am moderating a panel session on scaling up zero deforestation initiates, with speakers from Golden Agri Resources and Mondelez. I’ve…

Notes on the role of technology and innovation in sustainable agriculture

For the last two years, we at Innovation Forum have held conferences on this above topic in Washington D.C. Firstly with the Pew Centre and in 2018 with the Nature Conservancy, at their offices in Arlington. Thank you for the support to both organisations. Here’s some of the anonymised notes from the conference. A couple…

Some recent podcasts, engaging farmers, gene editing, missed deforestation targets, slavery and impact measurement

As you might know, we love a good old podcast at Innovation Forum. We find they get a lot more interest and listens/downloads than text articles, perhaps because they are convenient, and human-centered. So here’s quite a few we’ve taped recently, with executives from leading companies and other experts, on a whole host of sustainability…

43 stats, facts, comments and notes, about smallholder farming resilience, engagement and the SDGs

Here’s some notes from our recent conference on How business can make smallholder supply chains resilient which we held on 13-14 March in London, where we were generously hosted by Diageo at their London HQ. Their work on smallholders is commendable, and can be seen here. Here are my notes from a few sessions. It by no means…

Six questions for Sasja Beslik, head of group sustainable finance, Nordea: “Banks are becoming active drivers of change”

I recently went to visit the new London Business School building on Euston road in central London. It’s an impressive, (and listed) building, where the architects have combined the new and traditional elegantly. I caught up with Ioannis Ioannou there over coffee. If you don’t know Ioannis’s work, I commend it to you. He is one…

Are these the biggest questions for agriculture, technology and innovation?

Last year, in an effort to bring together companies, scientists, investors, NGOs, regulators and other experts on agriculture, technology and innovation, we created a conference about it. No surprises there I suppose, given that’s what we do at Innovation Forum. We’re trying to ask the tough questions, and get some answers. here’s some of what we’ll…

What does a study of 449 publicly listed companies in the food, textile, and wood-products sectors, tell us about sustainable supply chains?

Supply chains tied to multinational corporations represent over 80% of global trade and engage over one in five workers, write Tannis Thorlakson, Joann F. de Zegher and Eric F. Lambi, in a new paper “Companies’ contribution to sustainability through global supply chains” They also state that: “80% of global trade flow(s) through multinational corporations, one in…

The eleven most difficult (management) questions facing corporate sustainability executives

I’m not a corporate sustainability director, or any kind of corporate executive. But I know quite a few people who are. So I was thinking recently about re-framing what we do at Innovation Forum around the most difficult questions those hard-pressed and under-paid executives who are our customers face every day. Whilst I’m not sure…

Sustainable apparel: How brands can transform supply chains

Just a quick note on the upcoming Innovation Forum: Sustainable apparel: How brands can transform supply chains (24th-25th April 2018,Amsterdam). Through focused discussion, this two-day conference, our third annual event on this topic, will address the most pressing issues in the apparel industry. It will equip delegates with the best-practice and know-how relating to the biggest…

The debate continues about zero deforestation approaches: “Zero DF pledges dumb down sustainability and CSR”

Last week I published this post about what brands might do as zero deforestation approaches are seen to need re-working, given we are 1000 days or so away from some big stated deadlines. That post is linked below, as is a response by Anita Neville from Golden-Agri Resources. Now, again below, is some further commentary…