- Report: Sustainability improves in 75% of fashion businesses
- Unilever reveals green brands growing 46% faster than rest of business
- UK government unveils plans for business-backed plastics innovation hub
- US loosens regulations for drone testing programmes
- Canadian company signs major deal with Uzbekistan to build a 1,000 megawatt solar farm
Three quarters of fashion companies have improved their environmental and social performance over the last year, a new study has revealed. According to the 2018 Pulse of the Fashion Industry report, conducted by Global Fashion Agenda (GFA) and The Boston Consulting Group (BCG), the business case for sustainability is proving to “be nothing but positive”. Findings were reported through a Pulse Score index, a performance measure of the sector by “type of company, size, region and stage in the value chain” with the fashion industry Pulse Score improving from 32 to 38 (out of 100) in the last year. Nearly all progress came from mid-market fashion businesses, with smaller companies in the entry-price segment lagging the most, it said. However, the study warned that more still needs to be done with some of the frontrunners – both large companies and sustainability champions – having reached a technological and infrastructural ceiling on their advances, with little to no Pulse Score improvement. (Drapers)
Strategy / Consumers
Unilever has said that 70 percent of its revenue growth in 2017 came from its “sustainable living” brands, demonstrating how its high-profile sustainability strategy is paying off. The global consumer goods giant provided an update on its “Sustainable Living” brands, confirming that they grew 46 percent faster than the rest of the business. The company’s ‘Sustainable Living’ brands include the company’s top six brands – Dove, Lipton, Dirt is Good, Rexona, Hellmann’s and Knorr – and its B-Corp certified brands such as Ben and Jerry’s, Seventh Generation and Pukka Herbs. More broadly the company said it was on track to meet around 80 percent of the overarching sustainability targets it has set in its Unilever Sustainable Living Plan (USLP), including its pledges to helping more than a billion people improve their health and well-being by 2020 and halve the environmental impact of our products by 2030. (BusinessGreen)
The UK government has confirmed plans to bring together businesses and research bodies from around the world to help tackle marine plastic pollution. Ministers have confirmed that it is already working with the governments of Canada, India, and other Commonwealth countries to launch a new £50 million Marine Plastics Research and Innovation Framework designed to help experts “develop solutions to stop plastic waste from entering our oceans and find environmentally-friendly alternatives to plastic”. An international steering board will oversee the work of the new group, but the UK is hoping to play a central role following Prime Minister Theresa May’s confirmation at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting that the government would provide up to £25 million of funding. The government also announced that it has secured the first wave of business funding for the initiative, with Unilever committing £5 million in research and development funding and Waitrose pledging £500,000 of research funding. (BusinessGreen)
Businesses are gaining more freedom to experiment with drones in the US after the government created 10 light-touch regulatory zones for companies to test aerial services ranging from parcel delivery to pipeline inspections. The Department of Transportation has selected several state and local governments to participate in drone testing programmes, which will feed data to regulators devising a new oversight regime for unmanned aircraft. The initiative comes as the US tries to catch up on drone regulation after complaints from business that it inhibits innovation. In the testing zones — which range from the city of Reno, Nevada, to rural Kansas — drone operators will be able to do things not permitted elsewhere in the country, including flying drones over people at night and beyond a pilot’s line of sight. Apple was among the companies selected to participate in the programme, as the iPhone maker revealed that it planned to use unmanned aerial vehicles to improve its mapping capabilities. (Financial Times*)
An estimated $1.3 billion deal has been signed to build Uzbekistan’s first solar plant. Toronto-based SkyPower announced the agreement, which sees the developer partnering with the Uzbekistan government to construct the major 1,000 megawatt project. The deal represents the largest foreign direct investment in the central Asian country’s history, and a major step forward in developing new renewable power. While Uzbekistan has a number of large hydropower plants, it has little to no other sources of clean energy. It is estimated the project will increase its renewable energy capacity to 10 percent. SkyPower’s Chief Executive Officer Kerry Adler said that: “There are still more than a billion people globally without access to energy services, and our mission is to bring solar power to people who need it most.” The company also claims the solar farm will contribute $2.9 billion to Uzbekistan’s gross domestic product and create thousands of jobs. (Climate Action Programme)
Ethical Corporation’s 17th Responsible Business Summit Europe 2018
The 17th Annual Responsible Business Summit Europe will host multiple sessions, interactive debates and innovative case studies from C-Suite executives. These include the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Enel and Zurich on identifying partners that will enable your vision for large-scale change as well as Canon, Thai Union and Nestlé on educating the whole business on positive impact-driven strategy. Thérèse Coffey MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the Environment, UK Government will also share the Government’s vision to take a leadership approach to environmental and sustainable stewardship in Britain post-Brexit (London, 13-14 June).
Register using the code CORPC200 for a £200 discount.