This week: Sustainable cotton is a fashion industry game changer, protectionism and trade wars threaten corporate social responsibility, women rate companies on diversity performance.
Cotton is the most abundantly produced natural fibre in the global economy. Its production supports the livelihoods of over 350 million people. However, cotton production has significant environmental and social challenges that undermine the sustainability of the fashion industry as a whole. Sourcing more sustainable cotton not only addresses the commodity’s negative environmental impacts, but also has the potential to lift millions of farmers and their families out of poverty.
Presently only 3% of the total global cotton supply is sold as sustainable cotton. Although the majority of fashion companies have improved their environmental and social performance this past year, only 15% of all cotton grown has any sustainability credentials at all. This disparity is what Cotton 2040 wants to address.
Only 3% of the total global cotton supply is sold as sustainable cotton.
Cotton 2040 is a unique cross-industry initiative aimed at integrating and accelerating action on critical issues to mainstream sustainably grown cotton by driving collaboration. The brainchild of Forum For The Future, a leading global sustainability non-profit, Cotton 2040 brings together leading retailers, industry standards, organic standards, and fair trade industry initiatives to enable systemic change.
Cotton 2040’s CottonUP guide addresses the main barriers for companies looking to start or increase the amounts of sustainable cotton they source: the time and resources required to research and implement the most appropriate sourcing approach for their organization’s sustainability priorities. Its aim is to drive demand and increase production of more sustainable cotton from 15% to beyond 30% from 2020.
How Rising Protectionism and Trade Wars Could Threaten the Corporate Responsibility Movement – Forbes
In 2018, over 90% of the world’s largest corporations today are taking sustainability issues seriously. They’ve adopted new practices to address ESG issues and report on their sustainability performance using standards developed by GRI. However, in the current socio-political environment of eroding liberal principles, rising protectionism, and a weakening of the rule-based system, does corporate social responsibility and ESG have a future?
Here are 3 reasons why it may:
- Technology – Technological change is irreversible and will continue to facilitate transparency, digitalization, and low carbon solutions. While policies can help to accelerate the role of technology, they cannot stop it.
- Environment – The human impact on the environment will continue to increase, and global consumption trends will drive the value of any kind of natural asset. The environmental agenda is here to stay.
- People everywhere are increasingly able to express their own values via what they buy and how they invest. Currently there are seemingly endless social movements around the globe that reflect how people can extend their lifestyle choices into the markets by investing according to their values. This will only increase.
However, according to a lengthy analysis of the current destruction of rule-based international order by The Economist, a world “of trade wars, nuclear proliferation, fractured alliances and regional conflicts may soon show.” This kind of a world would end the corporate responsibility movement and destroy the foundation for markets to create and spread prosperity and technological solutions. Protectionism continues to spread around the world. Now is the time for responsible business leaders to speak up and defend the rule-based market system, and the values that hold markets and humanity together.
Corporate and investment leaders today have greater influence than ever before. Their voices and actions can shape tomorrow’s world. The time for responsible corporate leadership is now.
Investing in companies that crush the market and make the world a better place feels amazing, especially when it helps to accelerate gender equality at work. There’s plenty of research that shows investing in women, (gender lens investing,) is smart. Quite simply, diverse teams perform better. Companies with women at the helm are also more capital efficient and see a higher return on invested capital and equity. A Catalyst report showed that companies with a higher representation of female board directors perform significantly higher financially.
But the #MeToo movement and what’s been happening with Nike, Google, Microsoft, and some of the other big-name companies that might even be in your investment portfolio, show us that we still have a lot of work to do. The top female talent is going to be attracted to companies that offer the most value-driven environments for their employees. These companies are exactly the company cultures that long-term investors should seek out. Investors need to find the companies with the competitive edge of a happy, gender-diverse workforce. Where can investors find them?
Dubbed the Glassdoor for women, InHerSight.com combines individual insights with living stories to yield powerful representative data for investors, companies, and prospective employees. Investors can use InHerSight data to get a picture of which companies are doing the best job to develop workplaces that have established high gender diversity standards according to the women who’ve actually experienced the company policies firsthand.