Closing the Green Gap: Corporate Sustainability Goes from Commitment to Impact

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Recent research by Oxford Economics and SAP SE has uncovered significant barriers to corporate sustainability initiatives.

The problems include a lack of communication and engagement by executives, ineffective use of data, siloed technologies that don’t share processes or information and a lack of cross-company and industry collaboration and partnership.

The uncomfortable relationship between business and biodiversity: Advancing research on business strategies for biodiversity protection

Panwar, R., Ober, H., & Pinkse, J. (2022). “The uncomfortable relationship between business and biodiversity: Advancing research on business strategies for biodiversity protection.” Business Strategy and the Environment, 1– 13. https://doi.org/10.1002/bse.3139

Abstract: The purpose of this article is to stimulate research on business strategies for biodiversity protection. To that end, we first dispel a common misperception among business scholars that biodiversity loss is caused by only a few industries, clarifying that it is driven by practically all. Further, we organize corporate biodiversity protection strategies into four categories based on temporal and spatial dimensions, namely, conservation, restoration, compensation, and reparation. Finally, we illustrate the unsettled nature of the field and the continuing debates among conservation biologists about the best approaches to biodiversity management. We argue that (i) a firm’s biodiversity protection strategy should aim to mitigate the primary driver through which the firm causes biodiversity loss; (ii) firms should report performance in each of the four biodiversity protection strategies separately; and (iii) interdisciplinary collaborations among corporate sustainability scholars and conservation biologists are critical to developing effective biodiversity protection strategies.

H&M, Lululemon back $250 million fund to decarbonize fashion supply chain

Read the full story in ESG Today.

Fashion sustainability-focused nonprofit Apparel Impact Institute (Aii) announced today the launch of a new $250 million Fashion Climate Fund, with lead funders including Lululemon, H&M Group, H&M Foundation, and the Schmidt Family Foundation.

The new fund aims to drive actions and solutions supporting the industry’s goal to halve emissions by 2030, with a particular focus on the supply chain, which accounts for the vast majority of the fashion industry’s emissions, according to Aii.

Business, biodiversity and ecosystem services: Evidence from large-scale survey data

Wagner, M. (2022). “Business, biodiversity and ecosystem services: Evidence from large-scale survey data.” Business Strategy and the Environment, 1– 17. https://doi-org/10.1002/bse.3141

Abstract: This paper analyses data from a large-scale survey on corporate action to support biodiversity and ecosystem services undertaken by firms of all sizes and across manufacturing industries. The analysis focuses on Germany as the largest economy by GDP in the European Union and analyses the uptake of activities directly aimed at protecting biodiversity and ecosystem services compared to the uptake of other environmental protection activities. It furthermore investigates how activity and tool adoption as well as risk assessments vary with firm size and across industries, and with implementing environmental management systems. The analysis finds tensions between risk perception and activities pursued for biodiversity protection, largely because firms shy away from substantive action. It reveals that smaller and medium-sized firms are less active and that environmental management systems are not conducive to corporate activities in support of biodiversity and ecosystem services.

5 best practices for incorporating DEI into your sustainability strategy

Read the full story at GreenBiz.

Diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiatives have long been overlooked as integral to sustainability programs. That changed during the COVID-19 crisis, which has shone a brighter light on social inequities and prompted stronger calls for organizations to spearhead positive change. Sustainability started as a way to measure and mitigate risk. When you consider it through that lens, one risk that has become front and center throughout the pandemic is human capital management.

Now more than ever before, companies are being asked to act rather than simply talk about sustainability, especially after the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission acted in 2020 with new requirements for human capital management data disclosures. Suffice to say, the requirements for companies regarding how they refer to and measure human capital have changed and will continue to evolve.

The manufacturing industry has a huge opportunity and responsibility to play a strong role in helping advance sustainability, including human capital management. When we think about the social agenda here at Flex, we talk about it in terms of well-being; health and safety; diversity, equity and inclusion; labor practices; talent attraction; development and retention — essentially how we care for our people. DEI is an important lever in ensuring that every team member — each with a unique background, skills, experience and perspective — is empowered to reach their full potential.

Federal suppliers to be required to report carbon emissions

Read the full story at Bloomberg Law.

The Biden administration will soon propose a rule requiring major companies that supply goods and services to the federal government to disclose their greenhouse gas emissions, a White House official said Wednesday.

The rule will be distinct from—but similar to—the US Securities and Exchange Commission’s March proposal that requires publicly-traded companies to report their carbon emissions in their registration statements and annual reports, according to Andrew Mayock, federal chief sustainability officer at the Council on Environmental Quality.

He provided few details about the proposal, except to say it will require suppliers to report on greenhouse gases, “report on climate risk, and required to set science-based targets,” and that it will be issued “in the very near future.”

New research points to bad math behind corporate renewable energy claims

Read the full story from The Verge.

Even though more companies than ever are proclaiming that they’re powered by renewable energy, those claims are usually exaggerated, new research shows. That disconnect between a company’s claims and reality could jeopardize global efforts to stop climate change.

The problem stems from companies’ reliance on Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) to back up their green claims. A company receives a REC by paying to support renewable energy projects around the world. When brands say that they’re powering their business with 100 percent renewable energy, they’re typically still using electricity generated by fossil fuels; they’re just buying up renewable energy certificates to try to cancel out the environmental impact of their energy use.

Ongoing energy crisis fuels strong 2022 for climate tech companies

Read the full story at PitchBook.

Climate tech startups had a strong start to the year and could draw sustained interest as the ongoing energy crisis spurs investment in green technologies including liquefied natural gas, nuclear energy, and solar, wind and hydrogen power.

So far this year, global climate tech startups have raised $13.7 billion in VC investment across 369 deals, according to PitchBook data.

Uptime Institute Data Center Sustainability report series

The Uptime Institute has released a series of reports on data center sustainability. The reports are:

3 companies tell us their failures on sustainability

Read the full story at GreenBiz.

Failure is a part of life and also a part of business, and especially as we make the shift to sustainable businesses. But we can’t be afraid to talk about them. Last week at Circularity 22 in Atlanta, GreenBiz co-founder Joel Makower challenged three high-profile businesses to walk us through their biggest mistakes.