Is the Movement to Achieve Greater Societal Sustainability Reaching the Consumer? One Consumer Marketers’ Story…

Is the Movement to Achieve Greater Societal Sustainability Reaching the Consumer?
One Consumer Marketers' Story...

The story is being well told -– a growing number institutional shareowners and their global networks of asset managers steadily embrace ESG / sustainable investing approaches.  Corporations of all sizes are adopting sustainability strategies and churning out sustainability and responsibility reports to tell the story of their sustainability journey.  Many national, state and local governments are following through on their commitments made in Paris in 2015 (the Paris Accord on climate change). NGOs galore are focused on driving sustainability into all corners of human behavior.

What about the vast global consumer market?  What’s happening at the consumer level?  The House Beautiful magazine (part of the Hearst UK Fashion & Beauty Network) brings us news from the UK about one large company’s sustainability-focused marketing efforts.

The headline:  Why 2018 is the year sustainability went mainstream. The most-watched TV show of the year was the BBC series on sustainability.  And at least one major retailer has put “sustainability at the heart of everything we do,” says its senior sustainability manager.

The firm in focus is John Lewis & Partners (manufacturers and marketers of “homeware, fashion, furniture, electricals,” mens and womens wear). The employee-owned company offers its lines of products through a vast network of retail outlets. What is the company doing?

It has introduced a duvet (quilt bed cover) made of 100% recycled polyester from plastic bottles (120 bottles = one duvet).  The product is made in an “eco-factory” running on renewable energy. The company has its own factories as well as contract manufacturers.

The S’well Geode Rose drinking water bottle sales are up year-to-year (by 37%) says the company.  Glassware made from recycled glass is offered in the company’s John Lewis Croft Collection.  As alternatives to tin foil and plastic cling film for food storage the company offers brands “Stasher” and “Bees Wrap” -– silicone kitchen storage bags. 

The company works with the Re-Use Network in marketing its new sofas; when a customer buys a new sofa in the “Thomas Snuggler” line, the company arranges for the old sofa to be re-used or re-cycled in collaboration with local charities that support disadvantaged communities.

All of this and more is in its annual 2018 Retail Report.  Shoppers became more conscious about what they buy and where the products come from, explains the company.  And, this was the year we took it upon ourselves to build a more sustainable future rather than leaving it to others.

The company (“partnership”) is the largest employee-owned company in the United Kingdom. “Partners” (83,000 permanent staff) own 50 John Lewis shops across the United Kingdom, plus Waitrose supermarkets, shops at Heathrow International, online and catalogue shops, production facilities, farms, and more.

Founder John Spedan Lewis created a “constitution” to define the business and how individual “partners” are expected to behave toward stakeholders. This reminds us of the foundational document of Johnson & Johnson (“the credo”) here in the USA.

The partnership model was and is “an experiment in industrial democracy,” showing that long-term success can come from “co-ownership” with shared power and collective responsibilities.  Societal challenges like climate change and social inequality guide company thinking.

As information:

Its human rights report and related information is available at:

This Week's Top Story

Why 2018 is the year sustainability went mainstream
(Wednesday - October 24, 2018) Source: House Beautiful - This was the year we took it upon ourselves to build a more sustainable future rather than leaving it to others,' said John Lewis & Partners in its annual Retail Report 2018. 'We know that 73 per cent of millennials will spend... 

And along the lines of sustainability-themed marketing…

Nielsen: How do sales of sustainable products stack up?
(Thursday - October 25, 2018) Source: Food Navigator - Sustainability-related claims on food products are popping up more frequently and while still just a small fraction of market, items mentioning sustainability outperformed the growth rate of total products in their respective... 

Sustainability: Continuing Forward Momentum!
For Your Attention: Items From the The Editors' -- There is Much Good News to Share...

Everything you may have missed: The sustainability success stories of Green GB Week
(Monday - October 22, 2018) Source: - The UK has certainly not been lacking in sustainable business success over the past week, with 67 companies and counting having announced an array of bold new sustainability commitments on edie's virtual Pledge Wall. With edie...

Supply Chain Sustainability Priority, but Measurement is Lacking
(Tuesday - October 23, 2018) Source: MH&L - A new study by iPont Systems found that while 77% he fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG)/Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) sector onsider supply chain sustainability a strategic priority with a clear plan and vision, 92% of firms are... 

Tufts to Offer Master’s Degree in Sustainability
(Wednesday - October 24, 2018) Source: Tufts Now - Tufts has announced a new graduate program as part of its commitment to building a more sustainable and equitable planet. The Master’s of Science in Sustainability, offered by the Department of Urban and Environmental Policy and... 

Sustainability for the next generation
(Thursday - October 25, 2018) Source: Daily Advertiser - “We do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children.” 


Our Focus This Week on A Range of ESG Topics & Issues - More For You to Think About. What Will Be the Future Impact of These Developments? 

2018 Proxy Season Results in Silicon Valley and Large Companies Nationwide
(Monday - October 22, 2018) Source: JDSupra - This comprehensive report covers trends in stockholder voting at annual meetings in the 2018 proxy season among the technology and life sciences companies included in the Fenwick Silicon Valley 150 Index (SV 150) and the public... 

Merkel moves to open up Germany to US gas imports after Trump's push: report
(Tuesday - October 23, 2018) Source: The Hill - German Chancellor Angela Merkel is making a move to open up Germany's market to U.S. gas companies, following a lobbying push from President Trump, the Wall Street Journal reported. 

10 Things You Can Do Today for the Environment
(Tuesday - October 23, 2018) Source: Earth 911 - The recent report from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Global Warming of 1.5°C, is a clear and scientifically founded call for change in human behavior in order to save the environment from...

Innovative Ways To Promote CSR Besides Donating Money
(Tuesday - October 23, 2018) Source: Forbes - Corporations gave $20.77 billion to charity in 2017. That's a significant amount, but if you're thinking the funds and support to charitable groups are exclusively coming from global giants, the reality is different... 

NY alleges Exxon Mobil defrauded investors about risks of climate change policies
(Thursday - October 25, 2018) Source: CNBC - New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood announced a lawsuit against Exxon Mobil on Wednesday, alleging the company misled its investors by understating risks from climate change regulations. 

Walking The Walk In Socially Responsible Investing
(Friday - October 26, 2018) Source: Financial Advisor - B Corporations are officially defined as “businesses that meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose.” 

Headlines From the Corporate Sector - Both Positive & Negative

Sustainability an integral component of PepsiCo performance
(Tuesday - October 23, 2018) Source: Saudi Gazette - “Sustainability is an integral component of our Performance with Purpose 2025 agenda, specifically for realizing the goals of our Planet Pillar - to achieve positive water impact, lower carbon emissions across our entire value...

Xerox 2018 Global Corporate Social Responsibility Report Showcases Commitment to Sustainability, Social Investment, Governance
(Tuesday - October 23, 2018) Source: Business Wire

Employee-led sustainability initiatives encourage community engagement 
(Friday - October 26, 2018) Source: Vanguard - Dangote Cement Plc (DCP) sustainability teams from Obajana, Ibese and Gboko Cement plants have embarked on social investment programmes directed towards health care, education, and environmental sanitation in their host... 

Behind the Hype of Walmart’s Sustainability Efforts
(Wednesday - October 24, 2018) Source: Gizmodo - The CEO’s new perspective spurred one of the biggest sustainability initiatives ever enacted. Since Katrina, the company has dramatically reduced its waste and taken steps to source products from more sustainable suppliers.... 

And the Headlines of interest…

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey complains of 'unfairness' in proposed San Francisco corporate tax to support the homeless as Salesforce chief bashes his fellow billionaire for 'hoarding'
(Monday - October 22, 2018) Source: Daily Mail 

McCain Foods confirmed as corn supplier behind multiple recalls in U.S.
(Monday - October 22, 2018) Source: Food Safety News 

Judge affirms Monsanto weed-killer verdict, slashes damages
(Tuesday - October 23, 2018) Source: Fox Business 

Amazon, Super Micro Join Apple in Demanding Retraction of Bloomberg Story on Hacked Server Boards
(Tuesday - October 23, 2018) Source: Gizmodo

BMW recalls more than 1 million cars over exhaust system fire risk 
(Wednesday - October 24, 2018) Source: Channel News Asia 

Major airline Cathay Pacific says up to 9.4 million passengers had their data stolen
(Thursday - October 25, 2018) Source: The Verge

Wells Fargo scandals spark more executive turmoil  
(Thursday - October 25, 2018) Source: CNN

Delta Air Lines to ban straws on flights by 2019  
(Thursday - October 25, 2018) Source: The Hill 

Volkswagen and the moral business behaviour lessons
(Thursday - October 25, 2018) Source: Financial Times

Headlines From the Corporate Sector - Both Positive & Negative

A special note from our Editor-in-Chief, Ken Cynar:
Why the Olive Tree and Sustainability?
(Thursday - October 25, 2018) Source: Ken Cynar, Editor, G&A Institute’s Accountability Central and Sustainability HQ - As a viewer of our public information-sharing websites and our weekly Sustainability Highlights newsletter you may have noticed that we frequently use the picture of an aged olive tree to illustrate stories about sustainability.... 

Other Perspectives Shared

America’s energy dominance is a remarkable achievement
(Monday - October 22, 2018) Source: The Hill - n March, the authoritative International Energy Agency forecasted that the United States would surpass Saudi Arabia and Russia to become the world’s largest crude oil producer by 2023. However, there was a major flaw in the IEA’s... 

Why Am I Bullish On Tesla?
(Wednesday - October 24, 2018) Source: Seeking Alpha - Latest quarterly sales figures were in line with guidance, Tesla Model 3 tested as the best and safest car ever built and manufacturing efficiencies are kicking in; all points in one direction: Tesla (TSLA) will break out higher...

Even climate do-gooders end up hurting the environment
(Monday - October 22, 2018) Source: The Outline - Looking at how behavioral and economic demand responds to more efficient systems of operation, a rebound effect occurs when people respond to increased efficiency by being less efficient, such as driving more frequently after... 

Sustainability is actually not sustainable
(Wednesday - October 24, 2018) Source: Quartz - We have become convinced that sustainability is the answer to responsibly managing our dwindling resources. In reality, it actually constitutes our greatest peril. Every imagined catastrophic event that could spell our collective...


News & Opinion: Asset Managers, Sovereign Wealth Funds, Pension Funds 

The piously politically correct blue state that bankrolls Putin
(Monday - October 22, 2018) Associated Profiles : California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) Source: American Thinker - CalPERS, the $326-billion California state pension fund for some two million state cops, firefighters, and bureaucrats, has never been shy about its trumpeting its political correctness. It's positively famous for its pullouts of... 

New York State Common Retirement Fund returns 0.19% for fiscal year
(Thursday - October 25, 2018) Associated Profiles : New York State Common Retirement Fund 
Source: Pensions&Investments - The New York State Common Retirement Fund, Albany, returned 0.19% for the fiscal year ended March 31, the fund's lowest fiscal year return since 2009, Thomas DiNapoli, the state comptroller and sole trustee of the pension fund... 

China’s financial crisis team goes into overdrive with 10th meeting in two months
(Monday - October 22, 2018) Source: South China Morning Post - A team led by Chinese President Xi Jinping’s top economic aide and tasked with maintaining financial stability amid an escalating trade war with the United States and a weakening economy met for the 10th time in two months on... 

Money vs. morals: Khashoggi killing raises questions in Silicon Valley about Saudi investment
(Wednesday - October 24, 2018) Associated Profiles : Sanabil al-Saudia - (Has been known as Public Investment Fund)Hassana Investment Company Source: The Washington Post - “Your customers and employees are watching." Saudi money has poured into U.S. startups from the kingdom’s Public Investment Fund. The kingdom is also the largest investor in the $93 billion SoftBank Vision Fund, which...

G&A Institute Sustainability Update
Informative, insightful, thought provoking
Governance & Accountability Institute's blog focusing on the sustainable world evolving daily before our eyes. Read it, absorb it, question it and challenge.

Breaking News: $12 Trillion in Professionally Managed Sustainable Investment Assets — $1-in-$4 of Total U.S. Assets

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The FSB Task Force (TCFD) on Climate-Related Financial Disclosure And The Dramatic Contents of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change – Hot Topics

Why the Olive Tree and Sustainability?

The G&A team develops timely insights and perspectives on Corporate Sustainability, Responsibility and Citizenship and we share with you on G&A's To The Point! platform – access is complementary with your registration.  Recent briefs include:

Tech Leaders – Are They Good Corporate Citizens? Microsoft and Other Firms Address the Needs of Their Employee New Parents – And One Positive Signal is Sent

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