Mondelez International – Food & Beverage Marketers With Strategy of a “Call for Well Being” for Stakeholders — Colleagues, Suppliers, Farmers & Consumers

Executives of major consumer brand marketers are increasingly concentrating their focus on their sustainability and responsible business practices up and down the value chain.  Senior managements are paying attention to their global enterprise value chain, from beginning to end.

For food marketers, as example, that includes greater engagement with their partners at the beginning of the chain:  farmers, small growers and suppliers. And at the other end, the all-important consumer reaching for their product at the local supermarket.

For many large marketers, the beginning of the value chain is populated with growers and small “holders,” family farmers located in less developed countries, with small amounts of land, supplying important ingredients for their large customers’ products.

Around the Equator, in countries near “zero degrees” latitude, this especially includes cocoa growers and coffee growers. These small holders are concentrated in a dozen or so such nations as [for coffee] Ethiopia, Kenya, Indonesia, Colombia, Mexico, Ecuador, Brazil, and Costa Rica; and [for cocoa] some of those countries plus Cote d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast), Ghana, Nigeria and Cameroon.  For most food companies, countries like Madagascar (for vanilla, found in many food products) are also important production centers.

In the USA, consumers are paying more attention to the sources of ingredients in their food; the method of growing or raising food; conditions on the ground where ingredients are sourced; the treatment of farmers and growers at the source, and more.

Recently, Mark Bittman, prominent food writer and editorial commentator at The New York Times, described his surprise (and delight) at how rapid this rise in interest in “food origin” has been in recent years. (“When I began, nearly five years ago, food was not generally considered as serious a topic as it is now,” he wrote in September in his Sunday Times farewell column.)

Of significance:  Mark Bittman, in many of the news stories, commentaries and editorial page columns over the years, identified the major issues “facing us in the interwoven worlds of food, agriculture, nutrition and the environment.”  Food & beverage marketers are taking these issues into account as they create their sustainability strategies.

And as more retail customers raise concerns about these and other issues related to the food and beverages they consume, prominent brand marketers are paying close attention.  Companies are devising corporate sustainability strategies, operationalizing these, engaging with producers, and reporting on their achievements. (Often this is by publishing a sustainability progress report following the GRI framework, and reporting to CDP on emissions, water, supply chain, forestry practices, and other aspects of their operations, among various disclosure practices.)

Mondelez International – a Proactive Sustainability Journey

An example of corporate sustainability leadership by global brand marketers is Mondelez International (NASDAQ:MDLZ), headquartered in Deerfield, Illinois and marketing its products in over 165 countries.

The company’s “brand family” in the United States includes such well known products as: belVita and Chips Ahoy (biscuits), Dentyne & Trident (gum), Hall’s (lozenges), Triscuits, Wheat Thins, Premium and Ritz (crackers), and Tang (powder beverage);  Lu Petit Beurre (cookies), Mikado (cookies), Kinh Do (moon cakes), Stimorol (gum), and other brands that are well known in local markets; and, global brands favored by many consumers, such as Oreo cookies, and  Cadbury’s chocolate products. Many of these familiar brands date back a century or more.

The Company’s Core Values

The Mondelez International corporate management team is headed by Irene Rosenfeld, chair and CEO, and includes Robert Marques, EVP and president of North America operations.  The core values set in place by the team are built around these seven pillars:  (1) Inspire Trust; (2) Act Like Owners; (3) Keep It Simple; (4) Discuss/Decide/Deliver; (5) Tell It Like It Is; (6) Open and Inclusive; (7) Lead From Head and the Heart.

How do these thematics translate to the Mondelez International sustainability journey?  We chatted with Jonathan Horrell, MI’s director of sustainability (based in the UK at the Cadbury facility in Bournville) to learn more about MI. The company has a long tradition of taking a holistic view of its operations, he explains, and has structured its sustainability journey on four pillars that are high level strategic priorities:  (1) sustainability; (2) community; (3) mindful snacking; (4) safety.   The integration of these are summed up in the “holistic” and connected approachthe call for well-being.

Reporting on the Progress of the Journey

The company’s 2014 Call for Well Being Progress Report describes the specific goals related to the Mindful Snacking theme of the sustainability journey, and the progress made toward it at the end of 2014, with highlights. For example, on the goal of reducing saturated fat in products by 10 percent by 2020 – they noted more progress needed.  For increasing whole grains by 20% by 2020 — on target. (Since 2012, MI has increased whole grains by 23% across the entire global product portfolio, and has launched new whole grains products.)

Highlights are available at: http://www.mondelezinternational.com/~/media/mondelezcorporate/uploads/downloads/cfwb2014progressreportataglance.pdf

Concern for Developing Economies

Important ingredients for Mondelez products originate in developing countries, including cocoa and coffee (Note: The company was the world’s #2 coffee marketer.  In July, the company combined its coffee business with DE Master Blenders 1753 to create JACOBS DOUWE EGBERTS (JDE), now the world’s leading pure-play coffee company).

There are thousands of small [land] holders/ growers in the company’s supply chain, mostly located across the global Equatorial growing belt (such as in the West Africa region).  The company invests millions of dollars in community development, training, and smallholder assistance.

In these (and other regions), climate change issues are front-of-mind.  There is also the consideration for Mondelez with its factories around the world (i.e., carbon emissions, water usage, water disposal, etc.).

As many global companies are doing, Mondelez is looking closely at the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) approved this fall at the United Nations.  Horrell explains that in terms of gender equality, for example, the work done with small holders includes assistance for the females involved in the growing communities.  The goal of eliminating poverty comes into play with the coffee and cocoa belt programs for suppliers.  And for the food safety SDG, Mondelez has long been focused on nutrition and food safety.

Stakeholder Engagement

Horrell notes that NGOs play an important role in providing advice and on the ground experience to Mondelez to help the company set strategies and calibrate its actions. For example, World Wildlife Fund has been of great assistance with advice on relations with growers of cocoa and palm oil.   Community-based agricultural associations are important partners in key areas.

As director of sustainability, Horrell’s mission is to embed sustainability throughout the business.  He is the lead in external engagements, and internally, is the point person bringing business units and functions into the company’s sustainability efforts.  His CEO is very involved in the sustainability journey, Horrell notes, and key members of the management team are involved and supportive, as well as the board of directors. (There is a board committee with sustainability responsibilities in the charter).

Among the company’s many recognitions, Horrell points to the Dow Jones Sustainability Indexes (DJSI) — Mondelez has been included in these important sustainable investing benchmarks for the past decade.

Mondelez International has a well-structured materiality process, says Horrell.  Engagement with stakeholders is a key element, including investors, customers and suppliers.  The materiality process began in 2012 and is regularly reviewed.

Another key element is lifecycle assessment (LCA). The company’s use of LCA to assess environmental impacts has resulted in an end-to-end approach across the whole product life cycle.  This requires establishing policies all along the value chain — upstream at the producer level, choice of ingredients, through factory operations, to marketing, distribution, to consumer relations – with a particular focus on raw material sourcing and manufacturing.

Jonathan Horrell’s Background

He joined Mondelez three years ago after a decade’s work with a dairy products chain and several years with Kraft Foods. Jonathan was director of corporate affairs for Kraft Foods in the UK and Ireland, and director of sustainability and global issues management. (In 2012, Kraft was spun off from Mondelez).  He comes from a farm family background, which prepares him well for his relations with small holders, he believes.  He began his career as a journalist (Accountancy Age, covering UK business, accountancy, finance) after graduation from University College, London (University of London).

Commenting on his work, Horrell says that he sees small steps in the company’s sustainability journey leading to significant positive change.   Putting a code of conduct in place for suppliers sends a strong signal as to MI’s expectations of its suppliers, and brings continuing improvements in such as areas as water quality, labor relations, solid waste reduction, and improved production of basic crops.  This is true, he explains, in MI’s palm oil and cocoa supply.

MI Chairman & CEO Irene Rosenfeld in her progress report message noted:  “When we began our journey three years ago, we set a high bar for ourselves — to create delicious moments of joy. To make that dream a reality, we knew we had the opportunity to grow our business by building a bright future for all of our stakeholders — colleagues, suppliers, farmers and consumers.”  That setting of the high bar resulted in the strategy of “Call for Well-Being.”

Reporting 2025 – Perspectives: Interview with Elena Valderrábano Vázquez, Global Director for Corporate Ethic and Sustainability, Telefónica

The GRI global organization is conducting a series of interviews with thought leaders to gain their perspectives on what they expect the main issues to be on corporate agendas and their public reports in 2025.  These are produced monthly and G&A Institute will share these through our websites, newsletters, blog, social media, and various other channels to raise awareness of this important initiative.

Interview with Elena Valderrábano Vázquez, Global Director for Corporate Ethic and Sustainability, Telefónica

25 November 2015

Thanksgiving, 2015 – So Many Blessings To Acknowledge on the National Holiday

cornacopiaIn October 1863, in the midst of a tragic and prolonged civil war engulfing all of the regions of the United States of America, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a day of Thanksgiving. The year, he wrote, “…has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies.  In the midst of a civil war, of unequaled magnitude and severity, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of war…”

The President implored the “interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it…the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility, and union. “ He ordered the nation to “set apart and observe the last Thursday of November as a day of Thanksgiving and praise…”

And so for the American nation, a day of pause, and giving thanks for all of the blessings we enjoy (and often take for granted) was created, and persists as an important “custom and tradition” in the words of an editor who wrote to Mr. Lincoln to urge him to create a “day of national thanksgiving.”

The words in President Lincoln’s proclamation strike a familiar chord today for many of us.  There is civil strife in many parts of the world, and wars of “great severity” being waged, with disastrous results for combatants and affected civilians. There is “dis-harmony” in politics and in the popular culture, and a seeming inability in many spheres of the American society to “get along.”

The President noted among the nation’s blessings 152 years ago was that “…the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well as iron and coal as of the previous metals, have yielded even more abundantly…”  Things changed dramatically in the years since the mid-1800s.

We are not a continental union of unlimited resources, and with ten times the population of that era, with vast industrial capacity and infrastructure that would astound the citizen of 1860, we must carefully protect and husband our resources, such as water, soil, air, minerals, fuel sources, lakes, rivers…and more.

In 2015, we can be thankful for the continuing freedoms and abundance of the American nation.  We are also thankful for the vision and foresight of those who advance greater responsibility, accountability and sustainability in the business and investment communities.  The quest for greater collective and individual responsibility is very encouraging.

Huge business enterprises in numerous sectors are seeking to “do well and also do good,” as are investors providing the capital for these enterprises.  The world’s largest asset manager, BlackRock, has embraced “impact investing,” in recognition that philanthropy, while helping humanity make great advances, has it limits, and that harnessing the power of the business community can make important differences in “outcomes” that benefit the greater society.

Individuals are making a difference. As our colleague Steve Viederman often observes, where you stand often depends on where you sit (meaning, your position as a company). The Millennial Generation “stands” for greater responsibility toward society in the private, public and social sectors, and by their ideals and actions are moving the organizations “where they sit” toward greater responsibility and sustainability.  That’s important to keep in mind as these young men and women move up the ladder in their organizations and assume the power of the purse, board room and executive suite.

And while we have disagreements in our American society over things like climate change, we can be thankful that in large measure we can give thanks that for most of us, “…peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed…”

From all of us at Governance & Accountability Institute to all of you, our colleagues, friends, and clients…here’s to a Blessed Thanksgiving Day for you and your loved ones.

The Team at G&A Institute

Reporting 2025 – Perspectives: Interview with Dr. Ashutosh Karnatak, Director (Projects) & Chairman of Sustainable Development Committee, GAIL (India) Ltd.

The GRI global organization is conducting a series of interviews with thought leaders to gain their perspectives on what they expect the main issues to be on corporate agendas and their public reports in 2025.  These are produced monthly and G&A Institute will share these through our websites, newsletters, blog, social media, and various other channels to raise awareness of this important initiative.

Interview with Dr. Ashutosh Karnatak, Director (Projects) & Chairman of Sustainable Development Committee, GAIL (India) Ltd.

20 November 2015

Reporting 2025 – Perspectives: Interview with Ben Pratt, Vice President Corporate Public Affairs, Mosaic Company

The GRI global organization is conducting a series of interviews with thought leaders to gain their perspectives on what they expect the main issues to be on corporate agendas and their public reports in 2025.  These are produced monthly and G&A Institute will share these through our websites, newsletters, blog, social media, and various other channels to raise awareness of this important initiative.

Interview with Ben Pratt, Vice President Corporate Public Affairs, Mosaic Company

17 November 2015

Good Advice for Corporate Boards on Sustainability From Bob Eccles – Prominent Harvard Business School Voice

Professor Bob Eccles of Harvard Business School is out front and very vocal on key corporate sustainability issues (like the global Integrated Reporting movement and continued expansion of sustainable investing). In a Forbes commentary he offers advice for corporate leadership on “how to show corporate leadership [in sustainability], posing the question to boards and C-suite:  “What progress are we seeing in how boards of directors of public companies demonstrate leadership in sustainability?”

The answer comes in part from a 2014 report by the Ceres coalition that found only 32% of the boards of the 613 largest publicly traded companies had oversight (over their company’s sustainability efforts). Alas, the good professor observes, most companies see ESG and “E’ and “S” and “g” is lower case.  Take Volkswagen as an example, Eccles writes — weak governance seriously undermined the company’s “E” efforts (one of the major leverage points for company products) and jeopardizes the “S” (social) efforts.

Eccles’s argument:  “Weak corporate governance on sustainability inhibits companies’ abilities to profit from sustainability.”  And, investors (seeking more profit) would like companies to do that (generate more profit) and investor’s interests in having long-term profitability will be inhibited as well.  Bob Eccles is not too optimistic about rapid change at the board level on sustainability issues, but is optimistic that over the long-term, if investors make it clear that they are interested in long-term as well as short-term performance…well, things could change more quickly.

As we observe the business sector activities on sustainability, and the rapid and dramatic rise now in corporate sustainability by key capital market players (asset owners and managers), we are encouraged that the board and C-suite attitudes toward corporate responsibility could change very quickly.  Big names / big money is paying attention on Wall Street (Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, BlackRock, MSCI, State Street, Citi Group, and many more top brands are focusing on ESG performance).

There’s more here for your board and C-suite if you would like to pass along the advice of Professor Eccles – we invite you to read the whole story linked below.

How To Show Corporate Leadership In Sustainability
(Wednesday – November 04, 2015 - Source: Forbes)
A 2014 report by Ceres, a non-profit organization advocating for sustainability leadership, found that only 32 percent of the largest 613 publicly traded U.S. companies had board oversight over sustainability.

Reporting 2025 – Perspectives: Interview withLuca Crisciotti, CEO, DNV GL – Business Assurance

The GRI global organization is conducting a series of interviews with thought leaders to gain their perspectives on what they expect the main issues to be on corporate agendas and their public reports in 2025.  These are produced monthly and G&A Institute will share these through our websites, newsletters, blog, social media, and various other channels to raise awareness of this important initiative.

Interview with Luca Crisciotti, CEO, DNV GL – Business Assurance

10 November 2015

Big News Out of the U.S. Department of Labor For Fiduciaries — Opportunity to Utilize ESG Factors in Investment Analysis and Portfolio Management

by Hank Boerner – G&A Institute Chairman

Back in the late-1960s and early 1970s, as allegations of older worker retirement abuses gained wide media attention, members of the U.S. Congress focused on “retirement security” issues. After high-profile committee hearings, the Congress passed the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, signed into law by our 40th CEO, President Gerald Ford. The U.S. Department of Labor was assigned to develop and oversee the operating rules-of-the road for retirement plan fiduciaries — including public employee pension systems; corporate retirement plans; endowments; foundations; trusts.

Over the next 30 years the Department of Labor’s operating arms for regulating “ERISA” — especially including the Employee Benefits Security Administration — tweaked the rules & regulations with such actions as clarifying letters (such as to the Pacific Coast Roofers Pension Plan and the Northwestern Ohio Building Trades and Employer Construction Industry Investment Plan) and a series of “interpretive bulletins” to clarify the rules for fiduciaries.

The passage of ERISA was a great boon for many Americans. The law opened the door for institutional investors to dramatically expand their investments in other than the traditional “prudent man” vehicles of old, like U.S. Treasury notes, bills and bonds and municipal bond issues. Trillions’ of dollars flowed into the equities market after the 1970s and trading volume (at exchanges) soared.

Many of us benefited directly and indirectly from ERISA, including individuals opening 401-k plans made possible by the legislation. The portfolios of public pension funds in particular soared in total value. (CalPERS, the California public employee plan, has US$300 billion in AUM; $150 billion of these assets are in public equity.)

The financial good times rolled, in large measure due to ERISA!

Periodically, the ERISA officials (working under the political appointees of various U.S. Presidents) would issue guidance. The cottage industry of law firms, accounting firms, pension consultants, actuaries and other ERISA-focused professionals grew by leaps and bounds. And, from the early 1980s on, there was steadily growing embrace of new approaches to investing, and new products ginned up with retirement “security” in mind.

Game Changer: The Emergence of Sustainable Investing

The new approaches included embrace of ESG performance for greater analysis [by asset owners and asset managers], and greater focus on and inclusion of ESG-related products offered by financial services firms for fiduciaries’ portfolios (mutual fund, indexes, benchmarks, etc). The latest survey by the Forum for Sustainable & Responsible Investing (US SIF) established a high water mark: a total of US$6.2 trillion in Assets Under Management were managed using ESG approaches as we entered 2014; that’s $1 in $6 in U.S. equity markets. The US SIF was in the vanguard in getting the Department of Labor guidance clarified regarding ESG investment.

Emblematic of the changes taking place as the Department of Labor prepared its latest guidance, S&P Dow Jones Indices (part of McGraw Hill Financial) busily announced three new climate change index series — two focused on carbon efficiency, and a fossil fuel free index. “Climate change and its impact present a challenge from an investment perspective,” said the index company.

2008 ERISA Guidance — Chilling Effect for ESG

In October 2008, in the waning days of President George W. Bush’s Administration, the Department of Labor issued its Interpretive Bulletin Relating to the Fiduciary Standard in Considering Economically Targeted Investments (“ETIs” in government-ese). The regulators’ guidance was interpreted by many investors as saying that only financial risk and return could be considered by the tens of thousands of fiduciaries in the USA overseeing pension funds, etc. “Other” considerations, such as a company’s ESG performance, were not acceptable.

Never mind that sustainable investing was growing significantly in importance in the U.S. and global capital markets. Never mind that the collapse of the stock market in 2008, thanks to the reckless behavior of the big bank holding companies, and look-the-other way regulators. The dives of stock prices would drive investors to the safety offered by sustainable investing products and instruments. Never mind that a growing army of stakeholders saw sustainable investing — that is, investing with collateral interests as well as the traditional financials — was becoming mainstream.

October 2015 ERISA Guidance – Encouraging!

Institutional investors (asset owners) and professional asset managers began engaging with Department of Labor officials soon after President Barack Obama took office to discuss DoL guidance for plan fiduciaries. Since 2009, of course, ESG-focused investments have soared in volume. One after another academic studies have been published to provide evidence that sustainable investment has clear financial payoff as well as “collateral” benefits. (Think:  Who would not encourage company managements to lower their environmental liabilities, create more “green” products that consumers want, improve policies and actions involving the diversity of their enterprises, avoid regulatory costs including fines, and more, more, more in terms of becoming a more sustainable company attractive to a greater number of investors?)

In late-October, the DoL’s Employee Benefits Security Administration issued an updated Interpretive Bulletin — this time, clearly stating that terms like socially responsible investing, sustainable & responsible investing, ESG investing, impact investing, and economically targeted investing (ETI), while not uniform in meaning…are related to any investment that is selected in party for its collateral benefits apart from investment return to the investor.

The Bulletin is being distributed via the Federal Register now to explain to fiduciaries that the 2008 Bulletin is officially withdrawn and replaced with language that reinstates the language dating back to 1994 (setting out the basic advice that fiduciaries should act prudently to diversify their plan to minimize the risk of large losses).

Highlights of the new DoL ERISA guidance:

• In updated terms, guidance includes plan consideration of ESG factors such as environmental, social or corporate governance (ESG) — these do not need special scrutiny (as the 2008 guidance implied). The 2015 Bulletin specifically refers to such current terms-of-art as sustainable & responsible investing.

• Fiduciaries should not be dissuaded from pursuing [such] investment strategies as those that consider ESG factors, even when they are used solely to evaluate the economic benefits of investments and identify economically superior instruments and investing in ETIs [where they are economically equivalent].

• When a fiduciary prudently concludes that such an investment is justified solely on the economic merits of the investment, there is no need to evaluate collateral goals as “tie breakers.” And, setting aside the 2008 advice, there is no need for considerable documentation as to why (for example an ESG investment) was chosen.

• The Labor Department does not believe ERISA (the 1974 law and subsequent rules & regulations, and opinions) prohibits a fiduciary from addressing ETIs or incorporating ESG factors in investment policy statements or integrated ESG-related tools, metrics and analyses to evaluate an investment’s risk or return or choose among otherwise equivalent investments.

Cautionary guidance: In issuing the October 2015 Bulletin the DoL staff reminds fiduciaries that section 403 and 404 of ERISA do not permit fiduciaries to sacrifice the economic interests of the plan participants in receiving their promised benefits in order for the plan to pursue collateral goals. BUT — the DoL has “consistently recognized” that fiduciaries MAY consider collateral goals as tie-breakers when choosing between investment alternatives that are otherwise equal with respect to risk and return over the appropriate time horizon.

ERISA does not direct investment choice where investment alternatives are equivalent and the economic interests of the plan’s participants and beneficiaries are protected if the selected investment in economically equivalent to competing instruments.

Setting the Record Straight

The 2008 guidance appeared to say that investing with collateral goals in mind should be rare, and had to be documented to demonstrate compliance with ERISA’s “rigorous standards.” The 2015 guidance sets the record straight: “Plan fiduciaries should appropriately consider factors that potentially influence risk and return — ESG issues may have a direct relationship in the economic value of the plan investment. These issues are proper components of the fiduciary’s primary analysis of the economic merits of competing investment choices.”

Again, underscoring for the record: The Department does not believe ERISA prohibits a fiduciary from addressing ETIs or incorporate ESG factors in investments….

We could say that investors encouraging such actions as fiduciaries divesting fossil fuel companies because of concerns about “stranded assets” left in the ground (and not be counted as reserves) can breathe easier with the new DoL guidance.

John K.S. Wilson, head of corporate governance and engagement at Cornerstone Capital Group noted in response to the guidance: “An important purpose of this Interpretive Bulletin is to clarify that plan fiduciaries should appropriately consider factors that potentially influence risk and return. Environmental, social and governance issues may have a direct relationship to the economic value of the plan’s investments. Collateral benefits include environmental protection, social equity and financial stability, which Cornerstone considers necessary outcomes for the mitigation of long-term macroeconomic investment risk.” (Wilson is the former director of corporate governance at TIAA-CREF, where he oversaw voting of proxies at the CREF portfolio (8,000 companies.)

Sending a Clear Signal to Plan Fiduciaries

We see the Interpretive Bulletin as sending a clear signal to U.S. fiduciaries that considering ESG factors is recognized as an important part of the fiduciary’s duty in evaluating risk and return. As Social Finance commented in its reaction — “US DOL Announced ERISA Guidance to Unlock Impact Investments.” Over time — the guidance will (unlock ESG investing’s power. that is)!

You can read the U.S. Department of Labor Interpretive Bulletin summary at: http://www.dol.gov/opa/media/press/ebsa/EBSA20152045.htm

# # #

Congratulations to US SIF chief executive officer Lisa Woll and her colleagues in continuing the long engagement with the Department of Labor to get clear guidance on ESG investing. Sustainable investing champions involved in the long engagement with the Department of Labor include Adam Kanzer (Domini Fund); Jonas Kron (Trillium); Meg Voorhes (SIF); Tim Smith (Walden Asset Management).

28 Predictions from Bentley University Experts On the Future Directions of of Sustainability

Bentley University (Waltham, MA) is a leading business school offering undergrad and MBA / MBS degrees. There are 4,200 undergrad and 1,400 grad students enrolled, studying accounting, finance, marketing, managements and liberal arts, all (the university says) “anchored” in technology.  This private, not-for-profit institution of higher learning offers a blend of business, technology and liberal arts to prepare students with “relevant, practical, transferable skills.”  So where does Bentley the institution stand on matters regarding sustainability, corporate responsibility, ethical behaviors and other important aspects of 21stCentury business?

For starters, we note the university has a director of sustainability (and special advisor to the president), Amanda King.  She oversees the Office of Sustainability, guiding initiatives aimed at engaging the institution in environmental matters, including making the business case for environmental sustainability and CSR. “Sustainability” is a lively topic of discovery and discussion at the institution.

The Bentley Research Council organized the university’s October 30, 2015 Research Colloquium — “Sustainable Worlds: Individual, Business, Societal, and Scientific Perspectives.” The event was centered on presenting highlights of sustainability-related scholarly work conducted by the institution’s academic departments.

Kristen Walsh, a Boston-based freelance writer interviews Ms. King and a host of involved Bentley scholars and professors in our Top Story this week.  The experts in management, taxation, financial planning, natural & applied science, IT, sociology, marketing, economics, and other fields offer their predictions as they prepared for the meetings.  Their brief list of 28 “Predictions for the Future of Sustainability” is worth a read.

The topics and subject matter will be familiar to sustainability professionals – and there are some not-so-familiar items as well.  Example: “Traditional burial practices pose a threat to the environment…” – Susan Dobscha, marketing scholar. And, “environmental psychology helps us examine and understand our human connectedness to our environments and ecosystems…”  Virginia Egan, natural and applied sciences.

And this should be familiar and welcome to the readers of our Highlights:  “The future of sustainability lies in its integration with organizations’ operations and decisions. This integration enables the business leaders to achieve the goals of doing good things and doing things good simultaneously,” Gang Li, management scholar.

While you read the Bentley U post, check out Bentley’s “PreparedU Project,” designed to examine challenges facing Millennial workers, companies employing members of the generation, and colleges and universities that prepare them for their careers.

At G&A Institute, we are doing our part in working with colleges and universities on sustainability topics, and bringing classes of interns each academic year to work on real-world sustainability research projects as they complete their academic work.  Our Honor Roll on the G&A corporate web site has profiles of these outstanding men and women who will be leading organizations in the business world, in academia, in not-for-profit institutions, and other career paths.  We note, as example, our colleague from the first class of interns (2011), Michelle Thompson, who is now completing her final year as doctoral candidate at UCLA, getting her degree in environmental science and engineering.  Check out her profile and our other outstanding interns profiled on the Honor Roll:  http://www.ga-institute.com/the-honor-roll.html

And check out the 28 predictions for the future of sustainability in the story below:

28 Predictions for the Future of Sustainability 
(Tuesday - October 27, 2015)
Source: Bentley University - Where is the environmental sustainability movement headed? Experts offer their options