Flea treatments are poisoning Englands rivers

November 19, 2020 by  
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Insecticides used to kill fleas are proving to be way too effective. The chemicals are poisoning English  rivers and killing bugs they were never meant to encounter, according to a new University of Sussex  study . The environmental damage extends to the birds and fish who depend on the poisoned bugs for food. “Fipronil is one of the most commonly used flea products and recent studies have shown it degrades to compounds that are more toxic to most  insects  than fipronil itself,” said Rosemary Perkins, who led the study. “Our results are extremely concerning.” Related: Ace Hardware boosts efforts to phase out neonicotinoid pesticides The researchers identified fipronil in 99% of the samples they took from 20 rivers. In addition, they found a nerve agent called imidacloprid, which was temporarily banned in the EU in 2013 and then permanently so in 2018. This toxic pesticide ingredient is commonly used in farming in many parts of the world as well as being used for flea treatments. Dave Goulson, one of the University of Sussex researchers, was shocked by the findings. “I couldn’t quite believe the  pesticides  were so prevalent. Our rivers are routinely and chronically contaminated with both of these chemicals.” He warned that using imidacloprid to treat one medium-sized dog for fleas contains enough pesticides to kill 60 million bees. How are these pesticides moving from Fido to the Thames? Researchers found the highest pesticide concentration just downstream from water treatment plants, indicating that the urban areas were the culprits, not the farmers. They believe that when people bathe their pets, it flushes pesticides into sewers and then rivers. Dogs that swim in rivers could also be responsible. If you’ve ever taken your pet to a veterinarian, it’s likely that the vet advised flea treatments. According to the  American Kennel Club , the dangers of fleas go beyond itchy skin, with the top three possible consequences being flea allergy dermatitis, anemia and tapeworms. About 80% of the U.K.’s 11 million cats and 10 million dogs receive treatment, whether or not they have fleas. Some environmentalists are saying that the environmental damage of insecticides should be prioritized over the blanket use of flea remedies. NRDC has some good recommendations for minimizing the environmental impact of flea treatment, including choosing oral treatments over flea collars, dosing for the correct weight of your pet, grooming your pets and cleaning your yard and  garden  in ways that will preempt pests to begin with. Read the organization’s full advice  here . Via  The Guardian and  Garden Organic Image via Joshua Choate

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Flea treatments are poisoning Englands rivers

Tree-planting drones aim to cool a hot planet

November 3, 2020 by  
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Professional tree planters typically plant upward of 11,000 trees per week. This sounds speedy until you compare Flash Forest’s plan to use two pilots and a drone to plant 100,000 trees in a day. The Canadian startup isn’t that fast yet. But this month, it plans to plant 40,000 trees on fire-ravaged land north of Toronto . Then, the organization will expand its efforts to other regions, with a goal of planting 1 billion trees by 2028. Flash Forest is one of several startups trying to restore forests with tree-planting drones. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, humans need to plant 1 billion hectares of trees to have any hope of limiting global temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius. This equals a forest about the size of the U.S. Related: The daily life of a tree farmer with One Tree Planted “I think that drones are absolutely necessary to hit the kind of targets that we’re saying are necessary to achieve some of our carbon sequestration goals as a global society,” said Flash Forest cofounder and chief strategy officer Angelique Ahlstrom, as reported in Fast Company . “When you look at the potential for drones, we plant 10 times faster than humans.” When beginning a new project, Flash Forest first uses mapping drones to determine the best places to plant trees based on soil type and existing plant life. Then the planting drones swoop in, precisely depositing special moisture-storing seed pods. The drones even have a pneumatic firing device they can deploy in difficult terrain like mangrove forests or steep hills. “It allows you to get into trickier areas that human planters can’t,” Ahlstrom said. The startup, which launched in early 2019, can already plant 10,000 to 20,000 seed pods per day. Flash Forest matches the tree species with the environment — and what the environment might be like in the future. “We work with local seed banks and also take into account that the different changes that climate change brings with temperature rise, anticipating what the climate will be like in five to eight years when these trees are much older and have grown to a more mature stage, and how that will affect them,” Ahlstrom explained. The drones don’t just drop the seedlings and desert them. Depending on the project, Flash Forest plans to check on the seedlings when they’re a couple of months old, then a year or two, then three to five years old. If all works out well, the trees will take eventually take care of themselves and, by extension, us humans as they help to limit the global temperature rise. + Flash Forest Via Fast Company Image via Ki-Kieh

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Microsoft, Tiffany help carve out new responsible mining standard

October 21, 2020 by  
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Microsoft, Tiffany help carve out new responsible mining standard Jesse Klein Wed, 10/21/2020 – 00:01 Not many audits are 14 years in the making. But after almost a decade and a half of creating the most holistic and encompassing mining standard, the Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance (IRMA) released its first audit of a mine today . That mine is Carrizal, based in Mexico. It extracts zinc, lead, copper and silver, important minerals for many consumer electronics, jewelry and auto manufacturers. The mine achieved an IRMA Transparency designation, meaning the site was audited by a third party and shared its results about the operation of the mine with the industry so partners may have a clearer picture of where the mine succeeds and where it needs improvement. For decades, many mining activities have caused acid runoff into essential water and food sources, noise and air pollution, and even the uprooting of native communities. When public advocates get wind of these environmental and human rights abuses, they often show up on the doorsteps of consumer-facing jewelry and electronic brands that use mined materials. Protesters hold these companies responsible for violations happening a long way down their supply chains. Most of these companies don’t have any direct contracts with mines, but they still need to respond to the public outrage and be part of the solution.  “There is a deeply broken trust between many mining companies and the communities that are around them,” said Aimee Boulanger, executive director of IRMA. The IRMA standard is a chance to put mining onto a new path of sustainability and accountability. As part of the audit disclosed this week, Carrizal was rated quantitatively with a percentage on each of IRMA’s 26 sections with over 400 requirements. It scored at least 50 percent in more than a third of the chapters. For example in principle three, Social Responsibility, it achieved a 49.7 percent across categories such as fair labor, occupational health and safety, community health and safety, security arrangements and cultural heritage preservation. When a mine achieves an average of 50 percent, 75 percent or 100 percent on all sections, the mine gets an IRMA 50, 75 or 100 score respectively. The sections cover a range of concerns including environmental impacts on air, water and waste, human rights and safety requirements, native community relationships, greenhouse gas emissions and even how the mine will be responsibly closed when it stops operating in the future. The mining industry has broken many trusts along the way. It’s starting to turn that around.//Courtesy of Carrizal Calling all stakeholders To develop the standard, IRMA brought together multiple stakeholders in mining; nonprofit groups, mining-affected communities, mining companies and the purchasers of mined materials including Tiffany & Co. and Microsoft, which are all members. This group worked together with IRMA to create a standard that covers the major mining issues for the environment, workers’ rights and community relationships. According to Anisa Kamadoli Costa, chief sustainability officer at Tiffany, the company helped create and pushed forward a methodology for determining a living wage in a variety of countries.  The IRMA standard is extremely attractive to companies such as BMW (another member) and Microsoft because it covers all minerals and all issues. A car or computer has dozens of mined materials including cobalt, lithium, copper, gold and zinc. The supply chain is extremely lengthy and confusing. “In case of the wiring harness, there are roughly 100 partners in the supply chain for just that one part,” said Claudia Becker, a senior expert on sustainability and responsible supply chain management at BMW. “So the transparency is incredibly difficult to achieve.” Ephi Banaynal dela Cruz, senior director of responsible sourcing at Microsoft, agreed: “Our supply chain has a lot of ambiguity built into it.” Having an individual standard for each material is much too cumbersome, especially when many issues overlap or are very similar. The IRMA standard is for all materials and covers both human rights issues and environmental issues.  For those who just hope this goes away, and they continue business as usual, they’re about to find that business as usual is no longer an option. “The idea was to bring all these issues under one house,” Boulanger said. “We don’t want to talk about human rights or clean air or worker safety or how the mine is going to be cleaned up. We don’t want them traded off against each other anymore.” And when there is a substantial difference in mining practices, IRMA is dedicated to filling in the gaps. For example, Boulanger indicated that the standard is looking into creating a more comprehensive guide for lithium brine extraction, an important and very different kind of mining for the electronics and battery industries.  While having such a broad standard and a varied board means that the priority materials, locations and environmental issues will vary extensively from stakeholder to stakeholder, Banaynal dela Cruz thinks that’s to the organization’s advantage.  “It’s a way to divide and conquer,” she said. “We will prioritize things differently, and it could allow us to get the scale of adoption [of the standard] much faster.” According to Banaynal dela Cruz, the goal is a world where Microsoft will have many options for responsible mines to work with. Because consumer-facing brands such as Microsoft don’t work directly with mines, it is a lot of effort to verify the mines far down their supply chains. The best bet for having a responsible mine in their supply chain is to encourage responsible mining everywhere. And there is a need for a global standard so companies don’t just pick up and go somewhere where laws and protections are weaker.  According to Becker, she has sent 20 letters off to mining companies in BMW’s supply chain to encourage them to complete an IRMA audit and the company is requiring an IRMA audit in all contracts starting this year. But even though companies are moving towards requiring audits, none that spoke to GreenBiz plans to sever ties with mines that don’t obtain a certain score.  “We are happy about every mining company that undergoes the IRMA audit,” Becker said. “I think it’s a huge step. This level of transparency is really unique for the industry. And that takes a lot of braveness for companies to sign up for that audit.” Instead, there is a focus on continuous improvement. According to Boulanger, many IRMA standards go way above and beyond traditional government regulations in countries with large mining industries, so the organization isn’t expecting many mines to meet the standard right away.  “We really believe that we should not dilute the standard,” Banaynal dela Cruz said. “But we need to make sure that there is a pathway for different mining entities to enter the standard.”  Carrizal is leading the way forward for transparency in mining, but it will need to continue implementing improvements to remain in good standing with IRMA and work towards the IRMA 75 or 100. For example, according to Carlos Silva, head of Carrizal, the audit revealed the mine wasn’t sharing enough information with workers about the option to unionize. IRMA pushed it to do so more explicitly.  “[IRMA] wants us to make sure to share the information about unionization,” he said through a translator. “That was a little bit surprising. We thought we were sharing that they are free to do it. But IRMA wants us to emphasize that part.” This is just one small example of what changes will need to come to mines all over the world if IRMA gets its way. Mining has a torrid history and an uncertain future as companies continue to tear through mineral deposits for their products. It won’t be solved overnight, IRMA is just starting to turn the industry in a new direction. “It’s a moment for those who are willing to step to it,” Boulanger said. “For those who just hope this goes away, and they continue business as usual, they’re about to find that business as usual is no longer an option.” Pull Quote For those who just hope this goes away, and they continue business as usual, they’re about to find that business as usual is no longer an option. Topics GHGs Human Rights Chemicals & Toxics Minerals Mining Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) On Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off Carrizal becomes the first mine to participate in an IRMA audit, signally a new normal for the industry. //Courtesy of IRMA

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Carbon pricing works, and this proves it

September 1, 2020 by  
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Carbon pricing works, and this proves it Paul Burke Tue, 09/01/2020 – 00:45 Putting a price on carbon should reduce emissions, because it makes dirty production processes more expensive than clean ones, right? That’s the economic theory. Stated baldly, it’s obvious; however, there is perhaps a tiny chance that what happens in practice might be something else. In a newly published paper , we set out the results of the largest study of what happens to emissions from fuel combustion when they attract a charge. We analyzed data for 142 countries over more than two decades, 43 of which had a carbon price of some form by the end of the study period. The results show that countries with carbon prices on average have annual carbon dioxide emissions growth rates that are about two percentage points lower than countries without a carbon price, after taking many other factors into account. By way of context, the average annual emissions growth rate for the 142 countries was about 2 percent per year. This size of effect adds up to very large differences over time. It is often enough to make the difference between a country having a rising or a declining emissions trajectory. Emissions tend to fall in countries with carbon prices A quick look at the data gives a first clue. The figure below shows countries that had a carbon price in 2007 as a black triangle and countries that did not as a green circle. On average, carbon dioxide emissions fell by 2 percent per year from 2007 to 2017 in countries with a carbon price in 2007 and increased by 3 percent per year in the others. The difference between an increase of 3 percent per year and a decrease of 2 percent per year is five percentage points. Our study finds that about two percentage points of that are due to the carbon price, with the remainder due to other factors. The higher the price, the greater the benefit The challenge was pinning down the extent to which the change was due to the implementation of a carbon price and the extent to which it was due to a raft of other things happening at the same time, including improving technologies, population and economic growth, economic shocks, measures to support renewables and differences in fuel tax rates. We controlled for a long list of other factors, including the use of other policy instruments. It would be reasonable to expect a higher carbon price to have bigger effects, and this is indeed what we found. On average, an extra euro per tonne of carbon dioxide price is associated with a lowering in the annual emissions growth rate of about 0.3 percentage points in the sectors it covers. Avoid the politics if possible The message to governments is that carbon pricing almost certainly works, and typically, to great effect. While a well-designed approach to reducing emissions would include other complementary policies , such as regulations in some sectors and support for low-carbon research and development, carbon pricing ideally should be the centerpiece of the effort. Unfortunately, the politics of carbon pricing have been highly poisoned in Australia, despite its popularity in a number of countries with conservative governments, including Britain and Germany. Even Australia’s Labor opposition seems to have given up. Nevertheless, it should be remembered that Australia’s two-year experiment with carbon pricing delivered emissions reductions as the economy grew. It was working as designed. Groups such as the Business Council of Australia that welcomed the abolition of the carbon price back in 2014 are calling for an effective climate policy with a price signal at its heart. Carbon pricing elsewhere The results of our study are highly relevant to many governments, especially those in industrializing and developing countries, that are weighing their options. The world’s top economics organizations, including the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, continue to call for expanded use of carbon pricing. If countries are keen on a low-carbon development model, the evidence suggests that putting an appropriate price on carbon is a very effective way of achieving it. Contributors Frank Jotzo Rohan Best Topics Carbon Policy The Conversation Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off Shutterstock Zdenek Sasek Close Authorship

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Carbon pricing works, and this proves it

Wild in Africa jewelry supports wildlife conservation charities

August 14, 2020 by  
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When National Geographic filmmaker Shannon Wild moved to Africa in 2013 to make wildlife documentaries, she found herself in the hospital after a near-death experience in Masai Mara. After pushing her body to the point of complete exhaustion for her career, she was medevaced to Nairobi and became bedridden for three months. Unable to even hold a camera initially, and with the knowledge that going back into the field would take months of stamina-building physical therapy, she started a grueling 6-month recovery period. Shannon had built up a collection of beaded bracelets throughout her travels, and one day, yearning for a creative outlet, she began dismantling and redesigning them. Using her past experience in graphic design and marketing, she was able to establish a business, Wild In Africa – Bracelets for Wildlife , to commemorate her healing journey and the love for animals and wildlife that brought her to Africa in the first place. Related: Make a statement with Serendipitous Project’s eco-friendly jewelry Today, Wild responsibly sources beads from all over the world and donates 50% of the purchase price of the Wild in Africa jewelry to 10 separate wildlife charities . The gender-neutral bracelets include a combination of stone beads, tribal charms and pendants that pay homage to the colors and textures found in the natural world. On the company’s website, the charity that each bracelet supports is outlined on the product’s page. It includes a general description of the organization’s values and goals, from bringing an end to the global rhino horn trade to conservation plans for Zambian carnivores. There is also a link to the charity so customers can learn more about where their contributions are going. The packaging is eco-friendly and recyclable , and materials are sustainably sourced. The company also offers a membership for first access to special, limited-edition bracelets and behind-the-scenes looks at featured charities. + Wild in Africa Images via Wild in Africa

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Mightly kids clothing is GOTS- and Fair Trade-certified

August 14, 2020 by  
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As parents, protecting kids against chemical-laden fabrics and setting examples about conscientious purchases make an important impact. Brands like Mightly, a children’s clothing company, make it easier to ensure the clothes you buy are responsibly manufactured, both for the safety of the planet and the children. Launched in 2019 by co-founders Tierra Forte, Barrie Brouse and Anya Marie Emerson, Mightly started with the goal of making ethically made and organic clothing more affordable for families. In partnership with Fair Trade USA, the brand will be releasing its first Fair Trade-certified collection.  Related: Origami-inspired clothing line that grows with kids wins Dyson award By the end of the year, all of Mightly’s clothing will achieve Fair Trade certification . This includes its best-selling pajamas, which are made without chemical flame retardants. In addition, the team offers artist-designed T-shirts with itch-free labels and flat seams for kids with high sensitivities. Other products include long-lasting leggings with no-show, reinforced knees (a must for kids) and double-duty dresses with strategically placed pockets for children who like to collect everything in their path. Mightly is also launching new Fair Trade-certified products including kids underwear and adjustable-fit face masks. “Our goal as a company is to make ethically made children’s clothing accessible to more families and Fair Trade Certification is a key part of that commitment. I’ve seen firsthand the many ways that workers benefit from Fair Trade and am proud that Mightly is a part of the program,” said Mightly CEO Tierra Forte. Forte was previously a leading member of the team at Fair Trade USA that developed and launched the Fair Trade Apparel and Home Goods Standard, which has been widely adopted by sustainably minded brands. With a deep understanding of the process, from sourcing materials to selling products, Mightly ensures each step is kind to the Earth. Products are made from rain-fed, certified organic cotton and use Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS)-approved dyes and inks. Mightly works exclusively with family farmers in India who sell the cotton through a farmer-owned nonprofit to the company’s Fair Trade factory in India.  Fair Trade-certified factories must adhere to rigorous social, environmental and economic standards to protect the health and safety of workers. For every Fair Trade-certified product sold, Mightly pays an additional Fair Trade premium directly back to the workers. Mightly’s comfort wear is made for children ages 2-12 and is available on Mightly.com. + Mightly Images via Mightly

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1 million minks culled in Spain, the Netherlands

August 6, 2020 by  
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More than 1 million minks have been killed on farms in Spain and the Netherlands due to an outbreak of coronavirus among the furry animals. According to the Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority, there has been coronavirus outbreaks on 26 and counting Dutch mink farms. The novel coronavirus has been detected in a number of animals including dogs, cats and tigers, although none of these animals has been proven to infect humans. However, scientists are now investigating the outbreak of a coronavirus among minks on farms in Spain and the Netherlands to determine whether these animals may have infected some humans. The outbreak of mink infections in Spain and the Netherlands is believed to have started from a human, although officials are not certain. It is believed that the virus spread from workers to the minks. Related: Animal rights groups work to “Open Cages” of animals on fur farms An outbreak was discovered at one mink farm near La Puebla de Valverde in Spain in May. Seven of the 14 employees tested positive for coronavirus, prompting the closure of the farm . Two other employees tested positive after the farm had been shut down. Due to the widespread infections in mink farms, over 1.1 million minks have been killed for the fear that they may spread coronavirus to humans. Because the virus strain affecting these animals is similar to the one affecting humans, there is a possibility of the minks spreading the virus to humans, according to Wim van der Poel, a veterinarian and professor at Wageningen University & Research. The World Health Organization has noted that the spread of the coronavirus on mink farms could have transmitted both from humans to the animals and from animals to humans. However, the organization says that such an occurrence is limited. “This gives us some clues about which animals may be susceptible to infection, and this will help us as we learn more about the potential animal reservoir of (the virus),” said Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove of WHO. Via Chicago Tribune Image via Derek Naulls

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APM: An Overlooked First Step Toward Digital Transformations

July 22, 2020 by  
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APM: An Overlooked First Step Toward Digital Transformations Digital Transformation and Industry 4.0 are complex concepts, and many manufacturers struggle to sort through what it means and how to approach the topic.  Meanwhile, manufacturing and process businesses continue to face ongoing labor crunches and a mass retirement wave (taking significant tribal knowledge with them), which add to the urgency and stress to understand the concept, develop a strategy, and take action to maintain or increase a competitive edge. For manufacturers with industrial asset data but are struggling to put it to use, Asset Performance Management may offer a unique approach to launching your manufacturing digital transformation.  Many industrial businesses are finding that Asset Performance Management is a quick way to leverage their existing data to improve reliability and reduce their environmental footprint by improving operational efficiency. This webinar will offer: Practical definitions of digital transformation for industrial manufacturers Guidance for evaluating where your organization stands on a digitalized-operations scale How Asset Performance Management and Analytics fit into digital transformation Highlights of typical starting points, potential roadblocks and mitigations, and the benefits and differences between them Moderator: Joel Makower, Chairman & Executive Editor, GreenBiz Group Speakers: John Vargo, Director, MES & Digital Supply Chain, RoviSys Matt Kirchner, Head of Product, Atonix Digital If you can’t tune in live, please register and we will email you a link to access the archived webcast footage and resources, available to you on-demand after the webcast. taylor flores Wed, 07/22/2020 – 13:24 Joel Makower Chairman & Executive Editor GreenBiz Group @makower John Vargo Director, MES & Digital Supply Chain RoviSys Matt Kirchner Head of Product Atonix Digital gbz_webcast_date Tue, 08/11/2020 – 10:00 – Tue, 08/11/2020 – 11:00

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Paul Polman: ‘Businesses cannot succeed in societies that fail’

July 22, 2020 by  
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Paul Polman: ‘Businesses cannot succeed in societies that fail’ Deonna Anderson Wed, 07/22/2020 – 01:30 As people across the United States and the world grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic and calls for racial justice, the business community has an integral role to play in both the dialogue and the solutions to these social issues. Last week, former Unilever CEO Paul Polman urged business leaders to be courageous in their response. “What COVID has done is a few things that we weren’t really able to get across until then. COVID has made clear that there cannot be healthy people on an unhealthy planet,” said Polman during his webcast conversation with Joel Makower, co-founder and executive editor of GreenBiz. “People are understanding how much more the relationships between biodiversity, climate, inequality — may I add racial tension to that? And I think it is not surprising that more people are asking now for a more holistic solution.” He noted that citizens, employees and executives alike want better solutions. Polman is co-founder and chairman of Imagine , a “for-benefit” organization and foundation, which he started in 2019 with Valerie Keller, CEO for the organization; Jeff Seabright, former chief sustainability officer of Unilever; and Kees Kruythoff, chairman and CEO of the Livekindly Company. Imagine’s mission is to mobilize business leaders to tackle climate change and global inequality.  During the webcast, Polman noted that one reason he co-founded Imagine was to help break down obstacles for companies trying to deliver on their sustainability commitments. “It’s difficult for individual companies now to do what the public at large expects from them. They might not have the skill. They might not have the capabilities. They might have the government working against them with policies, which still is the case in many places,” Polman said. “What we’re focused on now is, ‘Can we bring these CEOs together, at industry level, across value chains to make them more courageous leaders to drive these transitions faster?’”  Polman has spent decades at the helm of big corporations — in various roles at P&G and most recently as CEO of Unilever — and he’s known for his optimism.  In Polman’s work at Imagine, he aims to bring together key stakeholders who can make a big impact in their industries. “We carefully select the industries that we believe have the biggest impact on the Sustainable Development Goals, especially around climate change and inequality,” Polman said of Imagine, noting that the organization has started with the fashion industry and is starting to make traction in the food and finance industries. The COVID-19 pandemic puts Imagine’s efforts in the travel industry on hold. While Imagine is choosy for now about which organizations it is working with, Polman said there will be room for more collaborators in the future. “As these initiatives become bigger, we can include others in the circle, so to speak,” he noted. In the meantime, here are three major takeaways from last week’s conversation between Polman and Makower.  1. Companies that are focused on ESG performance are better off. “I think now it is clear … that if you want to maximize your shareholder return, it leads you automatically to a more responsible ESG, multi-stakeholder type business model,” Polman said. “That’s what the numbers keep telling us, and that’s also where the fiduciary duty is starting to move to.” In addition to meeting the expectations of financial stakeholders, there is also the need for companies to meet the needs of their employees. Right now, in particular, there’s an enormous tension within companies because employees want their C-suites to deliver on their promises — for example, truly embedding diversity and inclusion throughout their work in a way that is intentional and sustained. Companies that have not invested in their employees or their value chains “see that their relationships are broken now,” Polman said. “These are moments of truth where I think you can see what right corporate behavior leads to and what wrong corporate behavior leads to.” 2. Our social model is broken. The people who are most marginalized such as communities of color and those working in service industries have suffered most from the COVID-19 pandemic. Polman noted that people are starting to realize the importance of social cohesion. Moreover, their awareness about our broken systems is increasing. People in lower paid jobs “have disproportionately paid for this crisis and yet these are the people that we need the most,” he said. “These are the people that provide us healthcare, transport, agricultural products and the list goes on.” What COVID has done is a few things that we weren’t really able to get across until then. COVID has made clear that there cannot be healthy people on an unhealthy planet. For some, including government officials and corporate leaders, there’s a sense of urgency to create a better, greener economy. Polman notes that this push is being driven by corporate leaders’ deep understanding that “businesses cannot succeed in societies that fail.” There continues to be a need to operate within our planetary boundaries and move to a more inclusive, sustainable form of capitalism, Polman said. 3. The real Black Swan has been the lack of leadership. The coronavirus pandemic has done a lot of damage, but Polman said that government leaders, their lack of leadership and inability to work together have been the major reason for the extent of the crisis. Polman noted that governments around the world are trying to put rescue packages in place that could help with the “greening” of society. But that’s not enough. “The other half still needs to catch on,” he said. In addition to discussing government leadership, Polman said corporate leaders must show courage. That leadership needs to be moral and human, he said, in order to not repeat the mistakes of the past. For example, Polman pointed to the 2008 financial crisis in which the U.S. federal government rescued the wealthy but left others behind to figure it out on their own. “It needs to be a leadership with more empathy and more compassion,” Polman said. At the end of the webcast, this question was asked: At a moment in time when all hope feels lost, how can a person stay hopeful? “I’m a prisoner of hope. And the second thing is I believe in the goodness of humanity,” Polman answered. “I’m hopeful for the young people because they have a higher sense of purpose and they’re going to play a bigger role. And I’m actually hopeful because of us having waited so long, the cost of inaction is now clearly higher. … And we need to translate [the hope] into action and resources.” Pull Quote What COVID has done is a few things that we weren’t really able to get across until then. COVID has made clear that there cannot be healthy people on an unhealthy planet. Topics Leadership Social Justice Corporate Social Responsibility Racial Justice Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off Paul Polman, former CEO of Unilever, speaking during the World Economic Forum panel on ending poverty through gender parity at Davos on January, 24 2015. Source:   Paul Kagame Flickr Paul Kagame Close Authorship

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Right Whales now ranked as critically endangered species

July 13, 2020 by  
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The International Union for Conservation (IUCN) has uplisted the North Atlantic Right Whales from endangered to critically endangered . This move now raises concern about the possible extinction of these whales. The Right Whales have for a long time been listed as an endangered species in a bid to lobby authorities for protection. However, the state of care for the whales has not changed, pushing the species to the brink of extinction. The uplisting follows the sad news concerning the death of a Right Whale calf. The calf was one of the only 10 Right Whale calves born during the last calving season. According to NOAA, the calf was killed by a vessel strike on the coast of New Jersey . Related: Federal agencies propose designated marine habitat to help protect Pacific humpback whales IUCN updates its Red List of threatened species every year. According to the organization, overwhelming scientific evidence now shows that the Right Whales are dying at an alarming rate because of humans. The main causes of death include vessel strikes and entanglement in fishing gear. Despite the listing of these Right Whales as endangered species previously, they have continued to be killed by human actions. IUCN now hopes that by listing the whales as critically endangered, more efforts will be geared toward their protection. Since 2017, over 31 deaths of Right Whales were reported. Additionally, more than 10 Right Whales were reported as having serious injuries. Such a large number of dead and injured whales brought a sharp focus on the declining population of the Right Whales. Today, there are less than 400 existing right whales, and conservation groups are sounding an alarm over the state of this endangered species. Scientists warn that if the Right Whales are not protected, the situation will be irreversible within a decade. Conservationists are now lobbying governments to enhance the protection of the remaining whales. The NRDC has proposed establishing a Right Whales conservation act and advises that governments put in place legislation that will end the killing of the whales by vessel strikes . + IUCN Via NRDC Image via Allison Henry/NOAA

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