Keywords: issue briefs | Found: 23 entries | Start:
Guy Morgan, Former Director, Advisory Services, BSR
Preview Full Entry Full Entry Page
Blog: Addressing Food Waste: Low-Hanging Fruit?
There is enough food to feed the world. But 30 percent of all food grown worldwide (approximately US$48.3 billion) is either lost or wasted before it reaches the consumer. If you then factor in the amount of waste that occurs once the food gets to the consumer, then it’s clear we have a global, "farm-to-fork" issue. In our new research brief on food waste—the first in a series exploring different elements of sustainable consumption—we look at how tackling this problem can help us begin to face up to current and emerging food security concerns.
Addressing food waste issues requires systemic action around the world: in upstream production this means looking at improving farming methods and building more robust infrastructure; midstream this means improving transportation and logistics; and downstream this means embedding awareness of waste into consumer consciousness. As is often the case with sustainability, the solution requires both technical and cultural shifts.
At a recent workshop we held in our Paris office on sourcing for local sustainable benefits in the food, beverage, and agriculture sector, the issue of “transitioning systems” was raised. Participants argued that, while technological advances are clearly important, achieving sustainability often hinges more on the ability to change behavior. Such behavioral shifts require working closely with small-holder farmers to help them understand what is being asked of them on issues like better water management. Additionally, it requires looking at the support system around the farmers—such as micro-lending and insurance or new financing models—to ensure they have access to capital to make the needed investments.
We also looked at behavioral shifts downstream. In richer countries, around 30 percent or more of food is discarded in processing, transportation, the retail environment (supermarkets and restaurants), and people's kitchens. Some retailers are designing marketing campaigns that encourage "smart" consumption patterns. Tesco, one of the top three retailers in the world, launched a “Buy One, Get One Free Later,” campaign in 2010 to offer a deferred benefit to customers buying a particular product. This strategy was a new spin on traditional deals that often result in products spoiling before consumers can use them. Restaurants, and many U.S. supermarkets, are also partnering with food banks to make the most of excess food and minimize the discards.
While there is clearly low-hanging fruit to be harvested when it comes to food waste, it would be naïve to suggest the solutions are all quick wins. We need large-scale systems thinking involving farmers, policy makers, brokers, buyers, and consumers for waste to be minimized throughout the entire food value chain.
Susan Winterberg, Former Associate Director, Inclusive Economy, BSR
Creating good jobs is one of the most urgent issues facing sustainable business today, and we are mobilizing companies to move the issue up on their sustainability agendas.Preview Full Entry Full Entry Page
Blog: Giving Every American a Good Job
Following the U.S. election and other geopolitical upheavals this year, business is considering whether and how to adjust the sustainability agenda to address a new reality. To begin, many are asking: What is the single most urgent issue facing sustainable business today in the United States?
Expert opinions may vary, but if you ask the American people, the answer is resoundingly clear: Creating good jobs.
A national survey recently released by JUST Capital asked more than 50,000 Americans what they consider to be the most important thing business can do to create to a more just economy. The number one issue that surfaced across the board—from Americans of all ages, incomes, and political stripes—was creating good jobs.
To create good jobs, business must give more attention to fair pay, improving treatment of workers, and combatting hiring discrimination and glass ceilings so every person has a decent standard of living and a chance to improve his or her life. In our new brief, “Good Jobs and the Changing Nature of Work,” we explore major trends of how jobs have changed in the United States and how companies can create better jobs for their American workforce.
The Changing Nature of Work
In the last four decades, many Americans have slowly seen their employment opportunities diminish and quality of life deteriorate. Beginning in the 1970s, wages began to decouple from productivity. Manufacturing jobs that offered a middle-class life to blue-collar workers were slowly outsourced overseas and automated, and the burgeoning retail and service-sector economy that filled the void in small communities around the country provided disproportionately lower wages and greater job insecurity.
Despite gains by women and minorities in the workplace, hiring discrimination, pay gaps, and glass ceilings have been persistent. Nearly 1 in 4 Americans was laid off during the Great Recession—and in the subsequent economic recovery, many of these workers were hired back into jobs with lower pay, less job security, fewer benefits, and lower requirements for education and skills levels.
Today, despite a strong economy with the lowest unemployment rate in a decade, nearly 70 percent of Americans say they are not engaged at work. Perhaps it is unsurprising, then, that the U.S. election this year was such a loud cry for change from Americans who feel that the current economic system is not working for them.
Yet, it does not have to be this way. Across every industry, there are examples of companies providing good jobs to all their workers—whether in Silicon Valley’s tech campuses or in hotels, supermarkets, and factory shop floors across the country—while thriving in a competitive marketplace. In fact, companies that provide good jobs with high employee satisfaction as a group significantly outperform the stock market.
Mobilizing Business Action for Good Jobs
Good jobs can become more widespread in the American economy, but it will take a firm commitment from the American business community to make that happen. Companies will have to elevate good jobs on their sustainability agendas alongside other critical challenges like climate change and sustainable supply chains. It will also require business leaders to learn about different business models and ways of managing the workforce. And it will require action to realign companies’ management practices and cultures with their core values, as well as to make the financial investments necessary to transform their workplaces to world-class standards.
At BSR, we have made a commitment to do our part to help make this happen. Over the next two years, we will begin mobilizing our members to create good jobs for their workforces in the United States, as well as in other advanced economies around the world. In the first few months of 2017, we will publish a series of issue briefs that highlight bold business action for five major challenges in the fight for good jobs: income inequality, preparing the workforce for automation, living wages, providing good working conditions for contingent and digital-platform workers, and broadening company efforts in diversity and inclusion. We will also be reaching out across our network to develop opportunities for collaboration on and shared learning about programs that improve both the lives of workers and business competitiveness.
Through commitment, learning, and action, perhaps good jobs will become the norm, rather than the exception, in the American economy.
Download “Good Jobs and the Changing Nature of Work.”
Peder Michael Pruzan-Jorgensen, Former Senior Vice President, BSR; Racheal Meiers, Former Director, BSR
Preview Full Entry Full Entry Page
Blog: Improving Women’s Health in the Developing World Begs More Than Money
At the close of this week’s UN Summit on progress toward achievement of the Millennium Development Goals, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon announced a US$40 billion investment in women and children’s health. This announcement came less than a week after Johnson & Johnson announced a commitment of US$200 million and CARE International pledged $1.8 billion to address the same issue.
Women’s health, particularly maternal mortality, has been the “underperformer” in poverty reduction efforts since the MDGs were announced in 2000, partly due to a lower level of investment compared with issues like food security and education. But investment shortage is far from the only reason for the “underperformance” of women’s health.
An issue brief just released by the OECD argues that the MDGs are ignoring the role of gender inequity in the perpetuation of poverty in general (see Figure 2, right). Poor women’s lack of access to employment, inability to own land and capital, and subjection to sexual violence and child marriage hold critical implications for their health and their ability to make healthy choices. And this is where the private sector has an important role to play.
There is another challenge: Most poor women in the developing world lack knowledge of basic general and reproductive health. At the same time, more of these women are entering the formal workplace through opportunities provided by globalization. As we’ve found through HERproject, BSR’s factory-based health education system, the workplace offers a perfect location for delivering critical health information and informing women on where they can access the services they need to take care of themselves and their children.
The low status of women must be addressed and basic health knowledge must be improved for real progress to be made on women’s health and poverty reduction as a whole. Businesses can play a key role in a turnaround effort to improve women's health, and they can do so in collaboration with governments and civil society, complementing the US$40 billion commitment made in New York this week.
For example, businesses can do a lot more to educate their female (and male) workers about their health in countries where such information is not provided by families, schools, or other traditional networks. Investments in women’s health, and other areas like education and economic empowerment, can pay off in the form of healthier, better-educated workers, new consumer markets, and improved operational environments.
We’ll be talking more about this issue and what types of investments make the most sense for companies to make. First, we're hosting an all-day workshop in London on October 5, and then at the BSR Conference 2010 in November, we’ll examine it again in a session entitled “The Gender Lens” on Wednesday November 3.
Will return entries containing both “supply” and “chain”.
supply OR chain
Will return entries containing either “supply” or “chain” or both.
Will return entries containing “supply” but not “chain”.
Will return entries continaing the exact phrase “supply chain”.