How can palm oil companies help create sustainable rural communities? Here’s some ideas

A few months back, I facilitated a session with Goetz in Accra, Ghana, at the TFA 2020 conference, on rural sustainability initiatives that will scale. It was a fascinating 45 minutes or so, and his company, *Golden-Agri Resources, seems to me to be leading the way, with a few others, in this area. The evolution in…

The sustainable soy story

Here’s our take on the latest in and around Soy sustainability. Proud to work with colleagues Ian Welsh and Tom Idle on this piece, although I must say I had little to do with it, other than suggesting we go more in-depth than the usual 500 words. Tom and Ian have delivered some excellent analysis…

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…

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…

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…

Brands, traders, producers and Deforestation debate heats up, key meeting next month

Greenpeace’s new “Moment of Truth” campaign report today claims that: “Eight major household brands such as PZ Cussons, Johnson & Johnson and Kraft Heinz are refusing to say where their palm oil comes from, despite promising to stop buying from companies that destroy rainforests. Eight others, such as Nestlé and Unilever, have made their palm…

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…

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…

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…

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…