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Blog Archives: May 2011

May 31, 2011

Calling Port in Oakland in a Hybrid

Eva Dienel , Associate Director, Communications

I pull into the Port of Oakland’s Global Gateway Central terminal following a silver Honda Insight that looks microscopic next to the Singapore, an APL container ship at berth nearby. But the 14-foot car and the 900-foot ship have something in common: They’re both hybrids. Read more 

Topics: Climate Change, Energy, Environment, Supply Chain, Transport & Logistics

May 31, 2011

Where BSR Will Be in June

June is shaping up to be a busy month for BSR staff around the world. Here’s a few of the place we’ll be—and events we’re hosting. We hope to see you there! Read more 

Topics: Consumer Products, Environment, Financial Services, Philanthropy, Stakeholder Engagement, Strategy & Integration, Supply Chain, Women & Sustainability

May 31, 2011

A New Tool for Sustainable Product Design

Virginia Terry, Former Director, Advisory Services

This week, I had the opportunity to see a demonstration of Autodesk’s new Eco Materials Adviser, a tool the company developed with Granta Design that is intended to help product designers make better decisions around material choices. Since the majority of a product’s life-cycle impacts are determined during the design phase, the tool has the potential to help create smarter, cleaner, and more efficient products. Read more 

Topics: Consumer Products, Sustainable Consumption, Toxicity & Product Design

May 26, 2011

Embedding the Millennium Development Goals into Business Strategy: The World’s Women Can Help

Racheal Meiers (née Yeager) , Director, HERproject

During the CERES conference earlier this month, Levi Strauss CEO John Anderson made an important announcement: Levi Strauss will begin to require their suppliers to go beyond compliance and support the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) through workplace policies and programs and community outreach. Using the MDGs as a measurement for impact, Anderson said, will help apparel companies and apparel manufacturing businesses create positive benefits for local communities—such as improved health and nutrition, or access to bank accounts and financial literacy. Support for local communities and economic growth can lead to industry stability and ensure a sustainable supply of quality products. Plus, it’s the right thing to do. Read more 

Topics: Local Sustainable Performance, Economic Development, Economic, Social & Cultural Rights, Human Rights, Reporting & Communications, Supply Chain, Women & Sustainability

May 26, 2011

Can Certification Schemes Collaborate to Raise Sustainability Standards?

Virginia Terry, Former Director, Advisory Services

Last week, company leaders, government representatives, NGOs, and certifying bodies gathered at the Just Means’ Certification, Consumption, and Change conference—which focused on the future of ethical product certification and eco-labels—to push for greater cooperation and consolidation among sustainability certification processes. Panel discussions—which included members from certifying organizations such as  Forest Stewardship Council, Green-e, Fair Trade, and the Rainforest Alliance—explored challenges related to giving consumers simple, user-friendly market signals to drive more sustainable purchasing habits.   Read more 

Topics: Consumer Products, Food, Beverage & Agriculture, Reporting & Communications

May 24, 2011

Planning for an Uncertain Future and More at WEC

Mark Little, Former Director, Healthcare, Advisory Services

Planning for an Uncertain Future and More at WEC

Last week, I joined the World Environmental Center’s colloquium on sustainable development as a driver for innovation, which gathered an impressive panel of leaders from both business and civil society. Speakers included Jeff Seabright (Coke), Andrea Thomas (Walmart), Claus Conzelmann (Nestle), Bob Langert (McDonalds), Gavin Neath (Unilever), Albert Cho (Cisco), Jason Clay (WWF), Jane Nelson (Harvard), Peter Schnurrenberger (Roche), and many more.   Considering the companies represented on the panels, it was no surprise to see the discussions focus predominantly on food and agriculture. But the key “calls to action” cut across industry lines: Read more 

Topics: Climate Change, Environment, Food, Beverage & Agriculture, Strategy & Integration

May 23, 2011

The Future of Nanotechnology for Pharma

Mark Little, Former Director, Healthcare, Advisory Services

Nanotechnology has supported breakthrough innovation across many industries yet has been met with mixed stakeholder views. Recently, BSR hosted a member event for pharmaceutical companies to discuss nanotechnology applications in the healthcare sector and to consider the related CSR implications. It was an educational experience to be sure with lectures from two science luminaries: Dr. David Hollinshead, Director Science Policy, AstraZeneca and Mike King, an expert from MATTER—a U.K.-based organization focused on stakeholder engagements surrounding new technology applications and their implications for civil society.   Compared to the most material issues pharmaceutical companies face—access to medicines, product quality, supply chain, ethics in sales and marketing—nanotechnology is often treated as a horizon issue. While there are some stakeholders with questions around nanotechnology, we learned that the objective science behind nanotechnology stands to bring pharmaceutical companies more opportunities than risks.   Nano means “small”—and the simple fact is that smaller particles have larger surface area and are therefore more quickly absorbed into the blood stream. As Dr. David Hollinshead put it, “Nanomedicines are most likely better medicines.” And already, many pharmaceutical companies have begun utilizing nanotechnology to improve drug delivery and targeting. In oncology, for example, nanomedicines are being tested for their ability to reach cell targets that have otherwise eluded more conventional medicines. Yet, the nature of this scientific advancement remains surrounded by “unknown unknowns.” And there is a need for companies—in the pharma sector and beyond—to be proactive in the management and communication of this technology. From MATTER’s “Walking with Stakeholders” project, we know that lack of information is itself a source of distrust among stakeholders. As King put it, “It’s not so much that nano is an issue today, but it’s worth managing and watching closely if only to avoid a situation like that in which Monsanto found itself with GM (genetically modified foods).” So for pharmaceutical companies, the question is not, “Is nano a stakeholder concern?” but rather, “What do we need to learn, and then what do we need to show our stakeholders to gain their trust?”  Read more 

Topics: Healthcare, Stakeholder Engagement

May 18, 2011

The Truth About the Migrant Worker Recruitment Process

Guy Morgan , Director, Advisory Services

Last week, Laura Ediger and I were in Semarang, Central Java, Indonesia, to study the recruitment process of semi-skilled workers who migrate to Malaysia each year to work in the ICT and apparel sectors. As part of our Migration Linkages initiative which seeks to uphold the rights of migrant workers in global supply chains, we are looking at countries of origin to understand the process by which workers find jobs, sign contracts, and leave their villages on extended work visas abroad. Read more 

Topics: Consumer Products, Economic, Social & Cultural Rights, Information & Communications Technology, Labor Migration, Supply Chain

May 17, 2011

A Letter from San Francisco

Dunstan Allison-Hope , Managing Director, Advisory Services

Seven years ago today, I boarded a Virgin Airways flight from London Heathrow to San Francisco armed with a one-way ticket, a quaint English accent, and all the unbounded optimism that accompanies a promising new stage of life. I was headed west to work for BSR, tasked with engaging the world’s largest technology companies in their efforts to become more sustainable. I’d never been to the United States before, but from all I’d read about San Francisco, I’d clearly hit the jackpot. Fast forward seven years and I’m moving to a new, equally engaging role at BSR, handing over my portfolio of work to Vijay Kanal, BSR’s new director of our Information and Communications Technology (ICT) practice. In light of this transition, I’ve reflected on how the ICT industry’s approach to sustainability has shifted over the past several years. Here I offer what I believe to be the three most significant developments that I’ve had the privilege to witness, and the corresponding areas where significant improvement is required. Read more 

Topics: Climate Change, Conflict Minerals, Human Rights, Information & Communications Technology, New Media, Supply Chain

May 2, 2011

One Vision of China's Water Scarcity

Mark Little, Former Director, Healthcare, Advisory Services

One Vision of China’s Water Scarcity [Photo]

A provocative image by Shanghai artist Zhao Xian Feng, who exhibits dozens of works with water scarcity as the central theme. Throughout China, he says, water scarcity is a looming issue—one tied to the country's enormous population boom. Read more 

Topics: Water

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