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…

Supply chain transparency and blockchain. If this story is right, it’s highly significant…

The story I’m talking about is this one: Chinese insurer ZhongAn plans blockchain chicken coup Poultry-tracking ledger technology can improve country’s food safety, says chief From the Financial Times today. In case you can’t read it (the curse of paywalls, media in search of a business model) here’s what it says, in quotes: “An insurance…

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…

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…

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…

13 minute video on the evolving business case for sustainability

Ioannis Ioannou, associate professor of strategy and entrepreneurship at London Business School, provides an excellent overview of how expectation and performance around responsible business is evolving. Our forthcoming events How business can tackle modern slavery and forced labour – 7-8 March 2018 – London How business can make smallholder supply chains resilient – 13-14 March…

Good examples of supply chain risk that make the business case, and more deforestation debate

It’s important for global investors to learn to address and model supply chain risks if they wish to achieve financial outperformance, argues Gabriel Thoumi, director of capital markets at Climate Advisers. He makes the points well, alongside NSF’s Meredith Reisfield at a recent event in the US. ValueWalk Video: Managing Investor Expectations & Risk – How to…

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…