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Futureye partners with sustainability leaders to improve corporate social responsibility

May 09 2017

Hugo Hodge

Consultant

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Futureye is teaming up with Solidaridad in Argentina and Wild Asia in Malaysia in two separate projects to make supply chains more transparent and sustainable.

The two proposed projects are a multi-stakeholder supply chain management approach to encourage responsibility and strengthen transparency and traceability so big corporations can more efficiently meet their corporate social responsibility (CSR) targets.

Companies around the world are embracing CSR to make better business decisions linked to ethical values and respect for the communities and environment they operate in.

Across the world consumers have adopted more sustainable behaviours and they expect corporations to do the same.

The trend towards CSR practices should be approached as an opportunity for innovation and growth, and not just an ineffectual public relations policy.

Most CSR plans save companies from a loss of reputation but fail to incentivise behaviour and drive change in the supply chain at a grass roots level.

Futureye and Solidaridad have proposed the model Cultivate: Incentivised Sustainability Community Agreement (CISCA) which offers a landscape level model that improves sustainability through a multi-level intervention.

The process embeds outrage mitigation and issues resolution so that stakeholders can continue to be aligned to the creation of an ongoing framework, vision, incentives, accountabilities and legal agreement to achieve momentum and societal recognition.

Nestle (whom Futureye is seeking a commitment to CISCA in Argentina) are working towards ‘no deforestation’ with a commitment to disassociate all foods, beverages and packaging from deforestation by 2020.

To achieve this, Nestle have developed Responsible Sourcing Guidelines and they expect their supply chain to meet these commitments to halt deforestation and suppliers risk being excluded if they are unwilling to comply.

“We consider three years as sufficient time for suppliers to show material progress towards delivering traceability and meeting our RSGs, and five years as the maximum time that it should take to be able to demonstrate compliance,” said Nestle in their 2013 Policy on Environmental Sustainability.

These kinds of top-down models based on the control of farms and suppliers protect brands from a loss of reputation but they often lead to a compliance driven attitude and the instinctive response of suppliers making sure not to get caught.

There is no emphasis on creating a positive long term impact at a supplier level and it results in higher occurrences of fraud, audit fatigue and feelings of cynicism and humiliation on the supplier side.

To solve these issues Futureye and Wild Asia have created Palm+, specifically for palm oil supply chains, which encourages stakeholder cooperation through a tech platform.

The program provides technical assistance for small producers, uses proven traceability systems and coordinates management of sustainability issues through-out the supply chain with an integrated tech platform.

With CISCA and Palm+, Futureye and its partners are hoping to create an effective shared vision with realistic and achievable improvements for communities, small holders, consumers, corporations and the environment.

The ultimate goal is to help corporations meet the United Nations 17 sustainable development goals set out in 2015 to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all.

Along with the Paris Climate Agreement, these unified global efforts to improve our world have popularised sustainable development putting CSR at the forefront of international dialogue.

If companies want to retain a social licence to operate they have to have do-good values at the centre of their corporate identity.

In its 2015 Nielsen Global Corporate Sustainability Report, Nielson found that 66 percent of global consumers said they were willing to pay more for sustainable brands.

This trend towards ethical consumerism is particularly prevalent with younger generations.

The same Nielsen study also found that 73 percent of global Millennials are willing to pay extra for sustainable offerings—up from 50% in 2014.

According to another recent study, 81 percent of Millennials expect companies to make a commitment to corporate social responsibility.

Consumers aren’t the only ones driving the change – the Millennial workforce is increasingly interested in working for companies with a shared sense of social and environmental responsibility.

A recent survey of over 1,700 business students from 40 countries found more than 90 percent of business students said they would be willing to sacrifice some percentage of their future salary to work for a responsible employer.

Futureye is currently looking for partners to commit to both CISCA and Palm+.

Written by Hugo Hodge

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