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…

Plastics and human health – overblown or a coming crisis, we just don’t know yet

Reading this from WEF, “Are you breathing plastic air at home? Here’s how microplastics are polluting our lungs”, all it needs is a few credible studies to confirm this, and global textile, home furnishing and manufacturers could have a major issue on their hands, and fast. Research needed into scope of the problem, and viable…

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…

Agro-food companies and tackling water risk management

Paul Reig is responsible for managing the World Resources Institute’s corporate engagement on water and their Aqueduct Water Risk Atlas In advance of our conference next week tackling this: “Can innovation and technology make agriculture sustainable? – 5-6 April 2018 – Washington DC ”  we thought we’d send him a few questions about his work, and…

Notes on modern slavery and forced labour, including leaders and laggards

Here are some of my notes from our recent conference on this subject. These are just from a few sessions, so only represent a snapshot of the conference, which was fascinating. To get the full notes or experience, you’d need to attend. Sorry, but publishing is like the music industry now: It’s all about the…

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…

SDGs: It’s cash that counts for development goal success

 From the weekly Innovation Forum newsletter. Sign up here and join 40,000 readers each friday. (yes, it’s all free, are our our podcasts and webinars, here) While momentum is building behind the SDGs, lack of funding and focus on making them relevant remain key barriers “There are risks and costs to action. But they are…

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…

No-Deforestation and the need for brave steps: “no net-deforestation could make a come-back”

Duncan Pollard, in a follow up post to this earlier one, reflects on corporate no-deforestation commitments below: “It would be a brave company to abandon its no deforestation commitment any time soon. But maybe we are inching our way there. There were some persuasive arguments made by Chris Wille on Toby Webb’s blog recently, and…

Further comment on progress around zero deforestation targets, by Deborah Lapidus at Mighty Earth

The debate continues. Deborah sent me some comments on my original post: “1000 days to go…the six most difficult questions for consumer brands around ‘zero’ deforestation palm oil by 2020” and I asked her if we could run them as a separate post. So here’s her views below, with links to the other pieces and…

Reflections on progress around zero deforestation targets, by Duncan Pollard at Nestle

When I penned my original recent post: “1000 days to go…the six most difficult questions for consumer brands around ‘zero’ deforestation palm oil by 2020” some of the text should have been attributed to Duncan Pollard at Nestle. It was a genuine mistake on my part, but I should have re-written it even though the…