COP21 – The role of China

On November 30th the UN will kick off the 21st Session of the Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP21) in Paris. The goal of the summit is for 196 countries to meet and sign a new climate change agreement that will limit temperature rises to less than 2℃ above pre-industrial levels over the century. It is considered by many to be the “last chance”…

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Building Sustainability Strategies for China

This Thursday, we continued our Sustainability Speech Series by hosting a talk on the topic of “Foreign enterprises: Building Sustainability Strategies in China” at Shanghai University. To help students gain a better understanding about the topic, we invited Charis Yang,General Manager of Vendor Compliance & Sustainability at Li & Fung; Super Wang, Supply Chain Sustainability Manager fo…

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Why Businesses Need to Embrace Externalities

At the first minute of this clip, Christopher Meyer of Monitor Talent states that: In my mind, this clip leads to discussion of whether or not CSR is little more than window dressing that diverts the attention (of external stakeholders) away but ultimately does not serve the firm over the long run. That, instead of donating money to causes whose only direct link would be one of market demogr…

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Beyond Business As Usual: Systemic Risk and Opportunity

Following the successful Limits of Growth events in Shanghai, Hong Kong, and Singapore, the Beyond Business as Usual series will look at how firms are practically tackling the strategic issues of sustainability and then recalibrating their models. It is a process that may start off with philanthropy, efficiency, and offsets, but one that needs to quickly needs to move towards strategic actions th…

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The 6 “Re”s of a Successful Recalibration

When speaking of the need for recalibration, many executives are still struggling with developing a process that they can leverage to move the core of their firm into a place where the risk of environmental, social, and economic shocks are mitigated, and where they are positioned to take advantage of new opportunities. It is a process where no templates exist, and depending on the firm's structur…

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3 Lessons on Internal Engagement I Learned from Interface

In the first two weeks of June, through the Beyond Business As Usual platform, we organized and hosted six events with Erin Meezan, Vice President of Sustainability for Interface.  As one of the firms executives, and a key reason for why the firm is now a firm recognized leader for their efforts to build a business with a core of sustainability, I came away with a deep appreciation for the effort…

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Recalibrating Education as Usual: Teaching Sustainability and Social Innovation

If there is one thing that teaching a project based course to 205 MBA students in china, it is that we have to recalibrate how students are engaged, incubated, and engaged, and in this presentation I spend 30 minutes speaking to how I have attempted (and at times succeed) in doing this. 5 years into this process now, for me the greatest lessons that I myself have learned are: 1) Sustainability…

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Recalibrating a Corporate Culture Can Be Painful

As firms look to recalibrate the mission of a firm, many believe that it will be external stakeholder that are the primary barrier.  That suppliers won't be willing to adhere to new expectations, or that consumers won't pay the premium that may be required. It is a belief that in many cases turns out to be secondary to the fact that internal stakeholders may actually provide the greatest barrier.…

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H&M Assumes LEGAL Responsibility for Safety of Outsourced Labor

One of the major issues that I have been speaking about is the fact in outsourced supply chains accountability and responsibility have been largely independent.  That when things went wrong on the factory floor, the brand could hold itself above the issue by saying that it was their suppliers who were the ones who were legally responsible for the failures. A position that many consumers, particul…

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Bored Consumers Will Pull Brands to Sustainability

One of the key stakeholders, and primary drivers, of a firm are its consumers, and regardless of the issue that is being discussed, the role of the consumer has been almost always seen as the change agent. Once "consumers" wisen up, change will happen. Over the last few months, this conversation has taken on a particular interest with representatives from consumer brands that I have been speak…

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