Articles, posts and podcasts about sustainable supply chains, mostly

CSR and Sustainability

After 1500 blog posts on sustainable/ethical business, what’s next?

The last post on this blog, “Better returns from better-run companies” was the 1500th since 2006.

Three years ago, when I hit the 1000 post mark, I penned this post with some conclusions I drew then.

Looking back, much of what I wrote then seems a little trite now.

The list is quite communications-focused, which I find embarrassing.

What should my list be, I wonder, at the 1501 post milestone?

Nothing on communications. I couldn’t be less interested these days in ‘authentic communications’, except when it accompanies something significant (disaster or breakthrough).

So, in no particular order, the big sustainability issues that may occupy my next 1500 posts.

Many of these are of course interlinked.

  • Climate policy, regulation and the end, at some point, of fossil fuels.
  • The role and activities of large companies in preventing deforestation world-wide.
  • Technology / power / waste innovation, the changes that will be truly significant in delivering step change. 
  • Process, product and service innovation for sustainable business.
  • Sustainable infrastructure and resilient cities, what that means, how it can happen. 
  • Agribusiness and changes in market structure, big company behaviour towards supply chain.
  • Smallholder farmers and how they can be persuaded to keep farming the crops we need. 
  • Ethical trade beyond audits to genuine engagement.
  • Oceans, from pollution to biodiversity to climate role.
  • Sector approaches to sustainable products and services (e.g. car sharing) as activity deepens and becomes more mainstream. 
  • Stakeholder engagement in general: From vulnerable communities to dodgy governments.
  • How and when companies will actively and consistently join the ‘good lobbying’ agenda, and the issues that throws up.
You’ll notice there’s not much about ‘changing consumers’ in here. That’s because there’s no evidence that can really be done. It’s a scary idea anyhow, frankly, so I am glad it doesn’t work. Better to change the inputs, outputs and systems that consumers engage with and are part of. That’s both actually effective and allows for choice and competition to play a role. 
The company I’ve created to try and make a contribution to the above is Innovation Forum. You can find out about our work and the events and publishing on the above that we plan, here
It seems only right that the 1500th post on this blog, linked to above, was about the business case for sustainability. 
We now understand, much more, that collaboration is needed to create that business case given how we are trapped in often extremely outdated systems that the ‘invisible hand’ is very slow in swiping at. 
Expecting otherwise is a bit like expecting a corporate sustainability report to be interesting, or an elephant to play the piano (although I would pay to see that). 
Roll on the next 1500 blog posts I say. Hope you all had a nice Easter. 
Ads, but relevant ones: 

How Business Can Tackle Deforestation – 14th-15th April 2015 (Washington D.C.)

All the major brand players meet with the leading NGOs to debate progress. With: Staples, PepsiCo, Disney, Asia Pulp & Paper, Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, WWF, Domtar, Sime Darby, Canopy, TFT and many others. Click here for more details.


The Circular Advantage Business Forum 8-9 June 2015 (London)

Strategy for integrating circular business advantage with: Royal DSM, Accenture, Kingfisher, Suez, Coca-Cola Company, HP, and many others. Email for details or go here.

This event may be of interest to readers:

The Measurement and (e)valuation of Corporate Sustainability, does it all add up? June 29-30 (London)

A cold hard look at how companies put numbers against progress, and what those numbers mean for investors, internal and external stakeholders. With: Rio Tinto, Tullow Oil, Walgreens Boots Alliance, JP Morgan, Oxfam, Aberdeen Asset Management, Trucost, First State, Marks & Spencer and many more. Email: for details or visit this link.

Analysis on all the above topics can be found at: