Issue 017 / Sustainable "Super Materials”, Tone-Deaf Advertising and How to Manage Your Climate Anxiety

Reconsidered is a bi-weekly newsletter curating thought-provoking content on corporate social responsibility, sustainability and social impact. Click here to subscribe. 

This Week's Five Links

At Toyota, The Automation Is Human-Powered — Fast Company
While the auto industry is racing to embrace automation, Toyota is taking a different approach. The company's unique manufacturing philosophy hinges on the notion that people are indispensable, and its new strategy calls for a return to human craftsmanship. It's an interesting model for how robotics can enhance human productivity, rather than replace it.

I Am the Woman in the ‘Racist Dove Ad'. I Am Not a Victim — The Guardian
Last week, the social media world erupted at Dove (a Unilever company) over a racially tone-deaf advertisement posted to its Facebook page. The model in the advertisement, Lola Ogunyemi, penned this response in The Guardian, arguing that the clip was misinterpreted. The spectacle raises questions over the depiction of race in advertising — and spotlights the reputational disaster more and more brands face following corporate responsibility missteps.

Notice Less Candy Around CVS Cash Registers? You're Right — Marketplace
Over the past three years, CVS has taken steps to make its offerings healthier and transform itself from a drugstore chain into a purpose-driven health care company. Some moves have been significant — like its decision to stop cigarette sales three years ago — while others have been more understated, like offering less candy options by the checkout counters and removing transfats from store brand food products.

Wear and TearUndark
This four-part photojournalistic series dives into the heart of the global leather-tanning and textile industries. With support from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, writer Debbie M. Price travels from Bangladesh, to Indonesia, to India, to Appalachia, to upstate New York, where environmental pollution from the tanning industry continues to impact local populations.

Climate Anxiety Doesn’t Have to Ruin Your Life. Here’s How to Manage It — Grist
For many people — especially those working in sustainability — climate change is a depressing and scary reality to come to grips with. In this advice column, Eve Andrews speaks with an environmental psychologist (yes, they exist) to figure out some coping mechanisms.

Being ecologically conscious is like living in a world of wounds.
— Conservationist Aldo Leopold, quoted in "Climate Anxiety Doesn’t Have to Ruin Your Life. Here’s How to Manage It" (Grist)

Spotlight: Nike’s Newest "Super Material"


Nike’s latest sustainable “super material” is impressive, to say the least. Made from recycled leather fibres melded with a polyester blend, Flyleather boasts a carbon footprint that's 80 percent smaller than traditional, full-grain leather and needs 90 percent less water to produce. The material is 40% lighter, five times stronger and allows more flexibility than traditional leather. And let’s not forget the business benefits — according to Nike, the Flyleather production process generates less waste (= cost savings) and is viewed as an opportunity for Nike to enter new product categories.

Sustainability was an important consideration during the product development process, but Nike is clear that performance benefits were the driving factor. “Figuring out zero waste is critical, but at the end of the day, the question is: How can we obsolete the past?” Hannah Jones, Nike’s chief sustainability officer and VP of innovation, told Business of Fashion. “We can never put something into the market that we think compromises performance or aesthetic or price, because we believe to do that is to do a disservice to sustainability.”

#TrueFashionTalks: Power to the Consumer!

Last week, I moderated a fascinating #TrueFashionTalks panel on empowering consumers to make their voices heard on sustainability. Check out this fun video teaser and the event re-cap, which features tangible tips for change-makers. And if you're in Amsterdam (or just passing through) follow Fashion for Good and the True Fashion Collective on Facebook to stay updated on future events.

Reconsidered is curated by Jessica Marati Radparvar. If you enjoyed reading it, please consider sharing it!

Issue 016 / Mindful Consumption, Junk Food Globalization and Why We Shouldn’t Always Need a “Business Case” to Do the Right Thing

Reconsidered is a bi-weekly newsletter curating thought-provoking content on corporate social responsibility, sustainability and social impact. Click here to subscribe. 

This Week's Five Links

Uber Stripped of London Licence Due to Lack of Corporate Responsibility — The Guardian
Uber’s bad behavior has earned it critics around the world — and now has led to its being banned in London, one of its most significant markets. According to the city’s transportation agency, Uber's “approach and conduct demonstrate a lack of corporate responsibility,” especially as it relates to reporting criminal offenses, obtaining medical certificates and driver background checks. In a sign of shifting leadership, new CEO Dara Khosrowshahi responded by saying sorry

How Big Business Got Brazil Hooked on Junk FoodThe New York Times
Around the world, more people are now obese than underweight. This stunning reversal is in large part due to the growing availability of processed, high-calorie, nutrient-poor foods aggressively sold in emerging markets by multinational food companies This article explores Nestlé's expansion strategy in Brazil as a case study.

We Shouldn’t Always Need a “Business Case” to Do the Right Thing Harvard Business Review
BSR’s Allison Taylor writes about the flaws of emphasizing the business case for social responsibility. She argues that substantive metrics are hard to come by, skeptics can often find holes and more simply, it's not the best argument when compared to a more inspirational narrative of purpose and leadership.

How C&A Created the World’s First Cradle to Cradle T-shirt — GreenBiz
A behind-the-scenes look at how global retailer C&A was inspired by a conversation with Bill McDonough to embrace the movement toward circular fashion. This conversation kickstarted a series of events that ultimately led to the creation of the world’s first fully Cradle to Cradle t-shirt — at an accessible price point, no less.

Corporate Consolidation: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver — HBO
The inimitable John Oliver takes on the growing trend of corporate consolidation in his latest rant on HBO’s Last Week Tonight. Though politicians like to claim that “small business is the backbone of [the American] economy" — a point Oliver underscores by playing a lengthy stream of sound bites — lax enforcement of antitrust laws mean that big companies keep getting bigger, tipping the balance of power to corporations from pretty much everywhere else.

The truth is that there is a high cost to a bad reputation. It really matters what people think of us, especially in a global business like ours.
— Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi in "Uber Stripped of London Licence Due to Lack of Corporate Responsibility" (The Guardian)

Spotlight: Mindful Consumption


In an excerpt from his book Mindful Work, author David Gelles spends time with Patagonia’s Yvon Chouinard to understand how mindfulness has impacted Patagonia’s success. They discuss a core tenet of Patagonia’s philosophy and business model — encouraging the idea of “mindful consumption” among its target customer base.

"Like mindfulness itself, mindful consumption is as simple in theory as it is difficult in practice. It asks that we seriously examine the motivations and the implications for our every purchase. It implores us to be honest with ourselves about what we need, as opposed to what we want. And it requires that we investigate the underlying causes and conditions behind each item we buy, each good we consume, and each service we request."

Typically, mindful consumption has fallen in the domain of the individual. But Chouinard feels that businesses should play a more active role in educating their customers and encouraging them to make more conscious decisions. And he believes that by doing so, customer loyalty will grow the business instead of shrink it. 

"Because the alternative, Chouinard said, is unsustainable. Rampant consumption will diminish our resources, not to mention leave us spiritually unsatisfied and financially bankrupt. “There’s no business to be done on a dead planet,” said Chouinard, quoting the conservationist David Brower. “And that’s what we’re facing.""

Reconsidered is curated by Jessica Marati Radparvar. If you enjoyed reading it, please consider sharing it!

Issue 015 / Circular Furniture, Signal Spotting and Life on a Plastic Planet

Reconsidered is a bi-weekly newsletter curating thought-provoking content on corporate social responsibility, sustainability and social impact. Click here to subscribe. 

This Week's Five Links

We Are Living on a Plastic Planet. What Does It Mean for Our Health? — The Guardian

New studies show that microplastic particles are everywhere — in our oceans, on our land and in our air. We’re drinking them in our tap water, ingesting them in our food and breathing them in our homes. Now that we know this, what do we do about it? 

Behind a $13 Shirt, a $6-an-Hour Worker — The Los Angeles Times

This exposé explores the loopholes that allow fast fashion retailers like Forever 21, TJ Maxx and Ross Dress for Less to produce clothing in the U.S. by Los Angeles-based workers making as low as $4/hour — far less than both the federal ($7.25) and city ($12.75) minimum wages. The article spotlights the role of the apparel industry’s decentralized supply chain, which distances retailers from legal liability for worker conditions.

Gender War, Aisle 3: Unisex Kids’ Clothes Stir British BacklashThe New York Times

British retailer John Lewis made waves when it announced that it was removing gender-specific labels from its brand of children’s clothes. The announcement was met with praise by parents and rights advocates for promoting inclusiveness and breaking outdated gender norms. However, it’s also sparked backlash and boycott from customers who say the retailer is being too “politically correct."

Fortune "Change the World" ListFortune

Fortune recently released the third edition of its annual “Change the World” ranking. Browsing the list was a great way to get up-to-speed on innovative developments in corporate social responsibility — even though JPMorgan Chase’s spot at the top of the list made me a bit skeptical.

Signal of Change: Signal Spotter Starter KitFutures Centre

Forum for the Future defines “signals of change” as new ideas or innovations that could change the game for sustainability in the future. In this online guide, they offer a 40-minute primer for spotting these signals in the wild.

We appear to be drinking and probably eating microplastics all the time.
— Damian Carrington in "We Are Living on a Plastic Planet. What Does It Mean for Our Health?" (The Guardian)

Spotlight: Landfill Into Lifestyle

I’m a sucker for smart circular economy solutions — and for great design. So I was excited to learn about Pentatonic, a slick new furniture company that turns landfill into lifestyle items like tables (which incorporate rice production byproduct) and glassware (made from old smartphone screens). 

"We're trying to radically transform consumption culture with Pentatonic," co-founder Jamie Hall told Dezeen. "Our circular model, whereby we buy back our products from our consumers to recycle them into new products – that's new in a design space.”

All items are functional, flat-packed and priced at the mid-range (think £850 for tables and £40 for glassware). 

"People are more aware and informed than ever regarding the health of our planet, and the role we can all play to find a solution," Hall told Dezeen. "There's definitely a growing realisation that great products do not need to come at the cost of sustainability."

Social Impact Jobs

C&A Foundation - Operations Manager (Amsterdam, Netherlands)

EILEEN FISHER - Environmental Specialist Temp (Irvington, NY)

ELEVATE - Senior Manager, Client Services (Nordics/The Netherlands - several opportunities in Asia and the Americas also available)

Estée Lauder - Manager, Global Supplier Relations Social Responsibility Strategy (Melville, NY)

International Flavors & Fragrances - Global Director, Product Sustainability (Union Beach, New Jersey)

OECD - Policy Analyst, Responsible Supply Chains in the Garment and Footwear Sector (Paris, France)

People Tree - Finance Director (London, England)

west elm - Assistant Buyer, Local (Brooklyn, NY)

Are you hiring for a job in corporate responsibility, sustainability or social impact? Let me know and I can share it!

Reconsidered is curated by Jessica Marati Radparvar. If you enjoyed reading it, please consider sharing it!

Issue 014 / Robots, Blockchain and How 16,000 People Describe The "Good Life"

Reconsidered is a bi-weekly newsletter curating thought-provoking content on corporate social responsibility, sustainability and social impact. Click here to subscribe. 

This Week's Five Links

The Moral Voice of Corporate AmericaThe New York Times
In recent months, the notion of corporate social responsibility has evolved beyond environmental pledges and corporate donations to encompass deeper engagement in social issues and government policies. Darren Walker, president of the Ford Foundation, calls it “a seminal moment in the history of business in America.”

Automation and AnxietyThe Economist
Artificial intelligence and robotics are here, and they are set to fundamentally change the way business is done in the coming century. This presents companies with ethical conundrums as they decide how best to embrace technological innovations.

How Norway Is Selling Out-of-Date Food to Help Tackle Waste The Guardian
In Norway, industry and government are collaborating to reduce food waste, resulting in innovative concepts like Best Før, a supermarket that sells past-expiration groceries priced at discounts that reflect their age, and foodlist, an app that encourages people to take photographs of in-store groceries nearing the end of their shelf life.

From Farm To Finished Garment: Blockchain Is Aiding This Fashion Collection With Transparency Forbes
There’s a lot of buzz around how blockchain — the technology behind Bitcoin — can enable greater transparency across industries, but especially in apparel supply chains. This collaboration between UK designer Martine Jarlgaard, A Transparent Company and Provenance shows the potential of this technology in action.

The Good Life through the Lens of Consumer Preferences and Global Sustainability InfluencersSustainable Brands
BBMG and Globescan have turned to 16,000 people, in 16 countries, across five continents, with the simple question: How would you describe the Good Life? Their findings, shared at the 2017 Sustainable Brands Conference, can inform the ways that brands communicate about purpose and social responsibility. 

We want to strengthen consumers’ connections to a product, so they don’t see them as so disposable.
— Designer Martine Jarlgaard on blockchain’s potential to better connect consumers with the clothes they wear (From Farm To Finished Garment: Blockchain Is Aiding This Fashion Collection With Transparency — Forbes)

Reconsidered in the News

  • Journalist Alden Wicker asked me whether consumers’ voices matter to fashion companies for her recent Racked article on ”10 Things You Can Do to Shop More Sustainably". From experience, I feel strongly that they do! 
  • I had the pleasure to moderate two sessions of True Fashion Talks in Amsterdam, an initiative of the True Fashion Collective and Fashion for Good that aims to spark real dialogue around sustainable fashion issues. Lucy von Sturmer shared insights from the first talk on shifting sustainability from niche to norm in Huffington Post and outlined five take-aways from the second talk on sustainable fashion influencers in Eco Fashion World
  • In her sustainable fashion podcast Conscious Chatter, Kestrel Jenkins asked me to share my “why” for launching Reconsidered and shared it at the start of this fascinating episode featuring the C&A Foundation’s Leslie Johnston. Stay tuned for later in the fall when I’ll speak with Kestrel for a full episode!

Spotlight: Forest Cities

forest city.jpg

In recent years, China has emerged as a leader in sustainable innovation. Its new Liuzhou Forest City is further proof. Designed by architect Stefano Boeri, this futuristic urban development will house 30,000 people, 40,000 trees and one million plants. It will also absorb an estimated 10,000 tons of carbon dioxide and 57 tons of particulate air pollution each year, while producing 900 tons of oxygen.

“You are nesting, in the center of a super dense and polluted environment, an ecosystem which has an amazing biodiversity, and which can really contribute in terms of absorption of CO2, production of oxygen, and absorption of the fine dust of pollution,” Boeri told Fast Company.

“The idea to move forests inside the city…it’s a way to meet the enemy in its field.”

Reconsidered is curated by Jessica Marati Radparvar. If you enjoyed reading it, please consider sharing it!

Issue 013 / CEO Resignations, Twitter’s Dilemma & A Cheap Fix for Climate Change

Reconsidered is a bi-weekly newsletter curating thought-provoking content on corporate social responsibility, sustainability and social impact. Click here to subscribe. 

This Week's Five Links

Twitter’s Dilemma: What to Do with Trump?Engadget
Twitter’s terms and conditions restrict hate speech and violence on its platform. Which leads to the question — could Trump’s incendiary Tweets lead to his account being suspended? Engadget conducted an analysis and solicited expert opinions.

Corporations in the Age of InequalityHarvard Business Review
An in-depth look at how company strategy and corporate trends have affected the rise of inequality in America. Researchers point to “firm inequality” — the consolidation of the best-educated and most-skilled employees within successful companies like Google, Goldman Sachs and McKinsey — as a key driver.

A Cheap Fix for Climate Change? Pay People Not to Chop Down TreesThe New York Times
Researchers conducted a controlled experiment in Uganda to see if paying landowners small sums not to cut down their trees could help curb deforestation and slow global warming. “Trying to solve this problem through strict laws doesn’t always work,” said Jeff Mosenkis of Innovations for Poverty Action, a nonprofit that helped run the study. “You have to build a program that takes into account the needs of people on the ground."

Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber 
The full-text version of the “Google Memo” — software engineer James Damore’s much-discussed treatise arguing that the gender gap in tech is due to inherent psychological differences between men and women. 👉  Additional reading: The Actual Science of James Damore’s Google Memo (Wired).

Social Replication Toolkit 
Have an innovative solution to a social problem — but not sure how to scale it? This toolkit from the International Centre for Social Franchising contains a Replication Readiness Test and a set of tools intended to help scale social ventures.

Every member of Mr. Trump’s advisory councils should wrestle with his or her conscience and ponder Edmund Burke’s famous warning that ‘All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.’
— Larry Summers in Why Don’t All CEOs Quit Trump’s Advisory Councils? (Financial Times)

Spotlight: Lines Crossed

The business community took a strong stand against the U.S. president this week, with CEO after CEO resigning from Trump’s advisory councils after his shocking remarks on the white supremacist events in Charlottesville. Within a few days, business leaders had decided to disband the groups entirely (contrary to Trump's last-minute Tweet that he, in fact, decided to end them).

The move was bold — and unprecedented. “In American history, we’ve never had business leaders decline national service when requested by the president,” Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, a professor of organizational behavior at the Yale School of Management, told The New York Times in an article that lends insight into the mass defection.

From reports, the CEOs felt tension between engaging with the president and enabling, or even emboldening, him. Many CEOs wanted to stick with him.

I’m typically a proponent of engagement. But over the past 210 days, lines have been crossed again, and again, and again. I cheered when I read economist Larry Summers’ point of view in the Financial Times

"Of course, CEOs might argue that while they also loathe all that is wrong with the Trump administration, they can be more effective by remaining involved. Give me a break. 

Anyone who thinks that by attending a meeting less than monthly with 30 people in a room they are moving the nation is engaged in egotistical self-delusion of a high order. Yes, technical advice on specific issues might be a valuable contribution. But there is no reason why providing such advice requires lending one’s prestige or that of one’s company to Donald Trump ...

There is a long tradition in American history of business leaders as statesmen and moral leaders ... This is the tradition that needs to be honored today."

Social Impact Jobs

Ben and Jerry’s - Assistant U.S. Activism Manager (Burlington, Vermont)
Ethical Trading Initiative - Consultant, India Office (Delhi, India)
Danish Fashion Institute - Business Manager (Copenhagen, Denmark)
Fashion for Good - Investment Manager (Amsterdam, Netherlands)
Gap Inc. - P.A.C.E. Global Operations and Engagement Manager (San Francisco, CA) 
Impact Hub Latin America - Regional Manager, Scaling Program (Mexico, Costa Rica, Colombia, Brazil or Guatemala)
Moody’s - Senior CSR Associate (New York, NY)
Sustain Natural - Head of Growth (New York, NY)

Are you hiring for a job in corporate responsibility, sustainability or social impact? Let me know and I'm happy to include it here.

Reconsidered is curated by Jessica Marati Radparvar. If you enjoyed reading it, please consider sharing it!

Issue 012 / Design Thinking, Anti-Disposability and Spicy Multi-Nut Maitake Quinoa Tortilla Tacos 🌮

Reconsidered is a bi-weekly newsletter curating thought-provoking content on corporate social responsibility, sustainability and social impact. Click here to subscribe. 

This Week's Five Links

Google’s Quest to Develop a Plant-Based “Power Dish” More Popular Than MeatFast Company
Blended mushroom-beef burgers. Vegetable broth pho. Spicy multi-nut maitake quinoa tortilla tacos. Google is taking a data-driven approach to finding no-meat and lesser-meat alternatives to rival “power dishes” like chicken sandwiches and grilled salmon, using campus cafeterias as their test kitchens. Yum.

If You Fix This, You Fix a Big Piece of the Climate PuzzleThe New York Times
Between building more wind farms, eating less meat, improving air conditioners and switching to mass transit, what do you think has the biggest climate impact? 👉  Additional reading: A new book ranks the top 100 solutions to climate change. The results are surprising.

The Man Who's Making Nike More SustainableEsquire
Miniwiz CEO Arthur Huang is beyond sustainable design. He’s more interested in “anti-disposability.” Huang recently partnered with Nike on an Air Max 1 that considers disposability from the recyclable materials used to make the shoe, to the innovative “Air Bag” recycled plastic packaging, to a manufacturing process that could potentially be conducted locally.

By the People: Designing a Better America — Cooper Hewitt
The Cooper Hewitt museum in New York recently staged this impactful exhibition on socially responsible design solutions across America — like a modular housing development that makes it easier for grandparents to watch their grandchildren or youth-oriented mobile farm stands that bring fresh produce to food deserts. Though the exhibition recently closed, the catalog is still online and is a fun browse.

Global Footprint Calculator Global Footprint Network
August 2nd marked Earth Overshoot Day — the date on which we will have used more from nature than our planet can renew in the whole year. This engaging calculator helps individuals identify their personal Earth Overshoot Days based on their daily habits. Though systemic solutions will have a far greater impact on the planet than individual actions, I feel there’s still a role for personal behavior change in driving positive change. This tool can help.

Thank you Christian, Lily, Joana, Auralis, Chelsea, Evan, Nikita and Beth for sharing great links this week.

We need to think through how we can make a better choice easier for people.
— Scott Giambastiani, Google’s global food program chef and operations manager, in Google’s Quest to Develop a Plant-Based “Power Dish” More Popular Than Meat (Fast Company)

Spotlight: Design Thinking

Recently, my eye was drawn to the book Designing for the Common Good at my local library here in Amsterdam. The book features more than 20 global projects undertaken by Sydney-based research center Designing Out Crime, which has the mission to bring design innovation to complex crime and social problems. These case studies show how design thinking helped to reframe a social problem in a way that led to better outcomes — an approach that has wider applicability across the social impact sphere.

Take, for instance, the redesign of Sydney’s Kings Cross neighborhood. Rather than focus on “what we want to fix,” the researchers zeroed in on the question, “what do we want more of?” This repositioning allowed them to look at the broader question of how to build an environment that encourages safe exploration and experimentation for youths, rather than the narrower question of how to banish crime. They noticed that more often than not, violence resulted because youths did not having a constructive outlet for their frustration and confusion about growing up. The result was a 10-year program that involved young people in creating initiatives to help them grow up safely.

When looking at massive social and environmental challenges, new approaches are needed. Here is where design thinking and its close cousin, human-centered design, can be powerful frameworks for blue-sky thinking. In my exploration of this topic, there are a few other resources that have been helpful:

Social Impact Jobs

Echoing Green - Sr. Associate, Global Fellowship Program (New York, NY)
Fashion for Good - Investment Manager (Amsterdam, Netherlands)
NBCUniversal - Sustainability Coordinator (Universal City, California)
Nike - Senior Director, Transparency and Engagement (Portland, Oregon)
NYU Stern School of Business - Associate Director, Social Impact (New York, NY)
Revolution Foods - Director of Marketing/Communications (Oakland, CA)
Singularity University - Program Director, Impact Partnerships (San Francisco, CA)
VF Corporation - Sustainability & Responsibility Manager (Ticino, Switzerland)

Are you hiring for a job in corporate responsibility, sustainability or social impact? Let me know and I'm happy to post it here.

Reconsidered is curated by Jessica Marati Radparvar. If you enjoyed reading it, please consider sharing it!

Issue 011 / Gender Stereotypes, Neoliberalism and Fashion for Good (Plus 🔥 Jobs!)

Reconsidered is a bi-weekly newsletter curating thought-provoking content on corporate social responsibility, sustainability and social impact. Click here to subscribe. 

This Week's Five Links

U.K. Bans Gender Stereotypes in AdsAdvertisingAge
The U.K. Advertising Standards Authority is clamping down on the depiction of traditional gender roles in advertising — which means no more ads depicting women cleaning up a family mess while their handsome but hopeless male partners fail at even the most basic household tasks (whew!). 

Why Don’t You Donate for Syrian Refugees? Blame Bad MarketingThe New York Times
Very little charitable giving has been directed to the plight of Syrian refugees. Why is that? This article explores how successful charities like Charity:Water use tactics from Madison Avenue to raise philanthropic funds.

How Chobani’s Hamdi Ulukaya Is Winning America’s Culture War — Fast Company
This article traces Chobani CEO Hamdi Ulukauya’s fascinating personal history as a Kurdish immigrant to the United States. Ulukauya’s story sheds light on his efforts to build a company that welcomes refugees and treats its people with dignity and respect.

Neoliberalism Has Conned us into Fighting Climate Change as IndividualsThe Guardian
Buying local, switching to solar, using the stairs — these actions pale against the massive, thorny threat of climate change. In this op-ed, Martin Lukacs argues that neoliberalism — the political philosophy that (among other things) redefines citizens as consumers — has forced us to value individual over collective action around environmental issues. To make real progress, he says, we need to change our approach.

Made in CambodiaRemake
This mini-documentary follows three twenty-something Parsons fashion students as they travel to Cambodia to experience the day-to-day lives of the invisible women behind our clothes. Not gonna lie — I shed a tear. 😢

“Eco-consumerism may expiate your guilt. But it’s only mass movements that have the power to alter the trajectory of the climate crisis.”
— Martin Lukacs in Neoliberalism Has Conned us into Fighting Climate Change as Individuals (The Guardian)

Spotlight: Fashion for Good

Fashion for Good came onto my radar a few months back, when my newsfeed was splashed with colorful dispatches from the initiative's launch in Amsterdam.

Great catchphrase, I thought. But what does “good” mean in an industry so deeply and inherently unsustainable?

I dug deeper. 

And what I found was an initiative that is working to create systemic change by bridging the gaps that exist in making the global fashion sector more sustainable and more just. Like, say, with innovation. There are some incredible, futuristic, Jetsons-style technologies out there — alternative leather made from pineapple husks, all-natural textiles that repel liquids, blockchain technology that allows for full supply chain traceability. But the start-ups creating them are small, often cash-strapped, and don’t have the support needed to scale, expand, and partner with big brands. 

Enter Fashion for Good’s Accelerator Programme, a partnership with Silicon Valley accelerator Plug and Play to incubate and scale early-stage start-ups tackling social and environmental challenges in the apparel industry.

The accelerator is one of six Fashion for Good platforms, which also include:

  • A Scaling Programme for later-stage start-ups 
  • A Circular Apparel Community co-working space facilitated by Impact Hub Amsterdam
  • An Apparel Acceleration Fund to help catalyze access to financing
  • An open-source Good Fashion Guide that provides actionable guidance for creating a Cradle to Cradle product
  • An interactive, visitor-facing Launchpad Exhibition

With an initial grant from founding partner C&A Foundation, Fashion for Good’s ultimate goal is to become the hub of industry-wide collaboration and innovation — and to ultimately make fashion not just “a bit better,” but truly “good.”

Forum for the Future’s Sally Uren assessed the role of Fashion for Good perfectly: "Fashion for Good has the right pattern to transform the fashion system. Each part of the pattern can be mapped onto a different part of the system, and as the pattern is made, as the Fashion for Good collaboration moves forward, different levers in the system will be pulled. In the same direction. And the system will have no choice but to shift."

Reconsidered is proud to work with Fashion for Good. To learn more, visit Fashion for Good's website or follow the project on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Social Impact Jobs *NEW!*

BSR - Associate (Central, Hong Kong) [among other open roles in New York, San Francisco, Paris and Guangzhou]

Cotopaxi - VP of Impact (Salt Lake City, Utah) - Chief Operating Officer (New York, NY)

Hello Fresh - (Senior) Manager, Sustainability (New York, NY)

Primark - Sustainable Materials Manager (Dublin, Ireland) 

KIND Snacks - Integrated Communications Specialist (New York, NY)

Are you hiring for a job in corporate responsibility, sustainability or social impact? Let me know and I'm happy to post it here.

Reconsidered is curated by Jessica Marati Radparvar. If you enjoyed reading it, please consider sharing it!

Issue 010 / Zombie Plastic, Minimalism & How We Use Money to Express Ourselves (+ New Social Impact Jobs Board)

Reconsidered is a bi-weekly newsletter curating thought-provoking content on corporate social responsibility, sustainability and social impact. Click here to subscribe. 

This Week's Five Links

Too Hot to Fly? Climate Change May Take a Toll on Air Travel — The New York Times
A few weeks ago, high temperatures in Phoenix, Ariz., forced airlines to ground flights because airplanes were unable to generate enough “lift” to take off. Researchers say that as global warming makes the earth hotter and jet streams more intense, it could change air travel as we know it, resulting in more flight disruptions and greater turbulence in air.

Boycotts And Buycotts: How We Use Money To Express OurselvesHidden Brain/NPR
In this podcast, Hidden Brain host Shankar Vedantam speaks with Georgetown University researcher Neeru Paharia on how consumers use their purchasing power as a way to signal their political leanings, moral values and status. 

Zombie Plastic. or Why Our Stuff Just Won’t DieLinkedIn
Futerra’s Solitaire Townsend reframes the plastics epidemic as a question of life and death in this thoughtful LinkedIn post. 

American Chipmakers Had a Toxic Problem. Then They Outsourced It — Bloomberg
Thirty years ago, scientists discovered that women working in U.S. computer chip factories experienced significantly higher rates of miscarriage, reproductive disorders and cancer. Toxic chemicals were pinpointed as the cause and were supposed to have been phased out from the production process. But recent incidents show that the problem wasn't eliminated — it was exported to South Korea, where issues persist in factories for Samsung, SK Hynix and LG.

Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things
Our culture is consumed by “stuff.” This film explores the backlash against this obsession through the eyes of families, entrepreneurs, architects, artists, journalists, scientists, and even a former Wall Street broker — all of whom are striving to live a meaningful life with less. Available to view on Netflix or Vimeo.

What I’ve found with minimalism is it’s a way to say, let’s stop the madness.
— Leo Babauta, Zen Habits blogger (and fellow Guamanian! 🇬🇺  ) in Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things

Spotlight: Plastic-Free July

I read something shocking the other day: every minute, one million plastic bottles are bought around the world. EVERY MINUTE. That number’s set to jump another 20% by 2021, which could lead to an environmental crisis as serious as climate change. 

A couple months ago, I wrote about the tragic ocean waste problem that’s turned Bali’s beaches into landfills. If this disposable plastic trend continues as it’s expected to, it’s predicted that by 2050, the ocean will contain more plastic by weight than fish. 

This is unacceptable. And it’s a problem that most people — myself included — contribute to directly. 

Thoughtlessness toward plastic is also a behavior that can be changed… starting this month with Plastic Free July

Here’s your challenge: This month, #ChoosetoRefuse single-use plastic.

  • Avoid products in plastic packaging (choose alternatives)
  • Reduce where possible (opt for refills, remember your reusable shopping bags)
  • Refuse plastics that escape as litter (e.g. straws, takeaway cups, utensils, balloons)
  • Recycle what cannot be avoided

Make your pledge here.

Reconsidered is curated by Jessica Marati Radparvar. If you enjoyed reading it, please consider sharing it!

Issue 009 / JOBS!, Python Farms & What The Amazon-Whole Foods Merger Means For Conscious Capitalism

Reconsidered is a bi-weekly newsletter curating thought-provoking content on corporate social responsibility, sustainability and social impact. Click here to subscribe. 

Lots afoot at Reconsidered — including a new website facelift! 💁 

When I'm not curating this newsletter, I help organizations build impactful social responsibility strategies, communications and community – all with the goal of driving positive behavior change. The new website reflects this and dives deeper into the different services I offer. Click on over to learn more! And shoot me an email if you think we can work together.

I'm also excited to introduce a new Reconsidered feature — a bi-weekly listing of the coolest Social Impact Jobs to cross my radar. The first list includes exciting opportunities with Facebook, GOOD, Hasbro and The Walt Disney Company. Scroll down for the full listing. And if your company is hiring, let me know! I'm happy to spread the word.

'Til next time,

This Week's Five Links

So Much for “Conscious Capitalism”Slate
Last week’s Amazon-Whole Foods merger generated a lot of buzz about the future of retail. Less discussed is what the merger means for “conscious capitalism” — the phrasing pioneered by Whole Foods CEO John Mackey to describe his social and environmental approach to running the business. This Slate article is an exception and questions how the Amazon acquisition tests not just Whole Foods' commitments, but triple bottom line business models more broadly.

Luxury Brands Are Snapping Up Farms to Control their Supply Chains — Business of Fashion
Hermès breeds alligators in Louisiana. Paolo Zegna owns a stake in an Australian sheep farm. Kering recently bought a python operation in Thailand. In their push to embrace vertical integration, luxury fashion houses are building supply chains that go to the source of precious raw materials. The strategy allows them to build competitive advantage, as well as (in theory) protect animal rights and market sustainability credentials to increasingly conscious consumers. 

One Way to Fix Uber: Think Twice Before Using ItThe New York Times
Oh, Uber. Where even to begin? The scandals that have emerged in recent weeks are shocking to the senses. Yet, it’s still the go-to ride-sharing app for millions of people. If you don’t think Uber deserves to be behind the wheel of the transportation revolution, columnist Farhad Manjoo says you have the option (for now) to choose differently.
TAKE ACTION → #DeleteUber... or at least consider other transport options the next time you turn to use it.

Big Brands, Big Impact: A Marketer’s Guide to Behavior Change
This fascinating report centers on the ways that CSR teams can partner with marketing teams to encourage consumer behavior change. A project of the Sustainable Lifestyles Frontier Group — a coalition of brands facilitated by BSR and Futerra — the report shares research findings and case studies from five global companies: AT&T, eBay, Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc., McDonald’s and Walmart.

Online Course: Who Made My Clothes? — University of Exeter
Fashion Revolution has teamed up with the University of Exeter to introduce a free online course that explores the intricacies of global apparel supply chains. The interdisciplinary course kicks off on June 26th and runs for three weeks.

Ride-sharing, as an industry and a civic utility, is too big an idea to be left to a company like the one Uber is now. The company that wins this industry is bound to become one of the world’s most powerful corporations. Its executives and culture will indirectly shape how we build cities, how we use energy, how we employ and pay people.
— Farhad Manjoo in "One Way to Fix Uber: Think Twice Before Using It" (The New York Times)

Spotlight: CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion

Last week, more than 175 companies signed on to CEO Action for Diversity and Inclusion, an executive-led alliance focused on the following commitments:

  1. We will continue to make our workplaces trusting places to have complex, and sometimes difficult, conversations about diversity and inclusion
  2. We will implement and expand unconscious bias education
  3. We will share best—and unsuccessful—practices

Commitment #3 has resulted in a robust library of "Actions" — company-submitted case studies on topics like family leave policies, business resource groups, mentorship programs, pay parity efforts, and more. "Our focus is not on metrics, but creating a forum that will help many companies benefit from sharing their experiences, both successes and failures," said Julie Sweet, CEO of Accenture North America and an early supporter.

Reconsidered is curated by Jessica Marati Radparvar. If you enjoyed reading it, please consider sharing it!

Issue 008 / Climate Change, Climate Change and Climate Change

Reconsidered is a bi-weekly newsletter curating thought-provoking content on corporate social responsibility, sustainability and social impact. Click here to subscribe. 

He really did it. Last week, President Donald Trump officially pulled the United States out of the Paris Agreement on climate change. The historic accord united nearly every country in the world to address the very real impacts of global warming. Only Syria (in the midst of a crippling civil war) and Nicaragua (which thought the agreement didn't go far enough) abstained. Now we can add the world's largest economy to that list.

But not all is lost. Cities, states and businesses across the country are joining the We Are Still In movement to send a message to the world that the United States doesn’t need the federal government to meet its Paris commitments. Michael Bloomberg has personally committed $15 million to the United Nations, which will cover the U.S.'s share of the climate accord's operating budget. And individual citizens are fired up in a way that the climate movement has never seen before. As AutoDesk Foundation president Lynette Cameron puts it in the op-ed below, Trump’s announcement may inadvertently be the best thing that ever happened to the planet.

There's reason to be hopeful, but there's also a lot of work to do -- especially for businesses. This week’s Reconsidered deep dives into the climate change debate and the ramifications from last week's announcement. Have you come across any other good articles or resources lately? Send me the links; I'd love to read them.


This Week's Five Links

What Is In the Paris Climate Agreement? — BBC
First things first, what is the Paris Agreement and why is it so dang important? This primer covers the basics. [Tweet this]

We Need to Literally Declare War on Climate Change — The New Republic 
In this brilliant 2016 article, Bill McKibben draws parallels between the fight against climate change and World War II, arguing that we need to embrace a wartime mentality in order to make real progress. As in the 1940s, this mobilization effort could result in significant social and economic benefits, like creating jobs and driving innovation. [Tweet this]

How G.O.P. Leaders Came to View Climate Change as Fake Science — The New York Times
A look at how the Republican party’s views on climate change have been influenced by the private sector over the past decade. Surprise, surprise: the fossil fuel industry and the Koch brothers are involved. [Tweet this]

Paris Agreement: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver — HBO
Everyone's favorite ragey Brit skewers Trump for his decision to leave the Paris Agreement and fact-checks his withdrawal speech. [Tweet this]

Trump May Be the Best Thing That Ever Happened to the Planet — CNBC
Lynette Cameron, president and CEO of the AutoDesk Foundation, was both “devastated” and “oddly ecstatic” about Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement. "Trump's decision to bet against science and diplomacy is catalyzing the action, innovation and collaboration that is core to our American values," she writes. "Perhaps he will be remembered for the way his actions rallied each of us to take our future in our own hands." [Tweet this]

“Here’s what is most important for the world to understand: In the U.S., emission levels are determined far more by cities, states, and businesses than they are by our federal government.”
— Michael Bloomberg in “Americans Don’t Need Washington to Meet Our Paris Commitment"

Spotlight: A Brief History of Climate Change

When someone tells you, “The climate is always changing,” show them this cartoon. (via Grist)

Reconsidered is curated by Jessica Marati Radparvar. If you enjoyed reading it, please consider sharing it!