1st Anniversary Issue! / Unilever’s Ultimatum, Conscious Capitalists & The Exciting Sustainability Jobs Awaiting Us In The Future

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

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Yesterday marked one year since launching Reconsidered. What a year it's been!

Since first hitting "send" in February 2017, I left New York, moved to Amsterdam and expanded Reconsidered into a social impact strategy and communications consultancy that counts forward-thinking organizations like Etsy, Tommy Hilfiger, Fashion for Good, the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute, Holstee and Nest as clients.

And we're just getting started. 🌍

I started Reconsidered because I saw first-hand how impactful content can inspire the action needed to change how business is done. My hope is that the Reconsidered newsletter provides a bi-weekly opportunity to step away from the day-to-day and immerse yourself in material that gets you thinking, plotting and ultimately influencing the world around you in a more positive direction. 

Now that we're going into our second year, I want to learn how this newsletter can better equip you as a changemaker. And for that, I need your help.

👉 If you've gotten value from the Reconsidered newsletter, could you spare 5 minutes to complete a short questionnaire? Your answers will help us build a better newsletter experience for 2018.

And as always, if you come across any links that you think could be a good fit for Reconsidered, please share them. Or shoot me a note just to say hi! I’d love to hear from you.


P.S. You may have noticed I used the word "we" a lot. That's because we've expanded! I'm thrilled to introduce two new contributors to the Reconsidered family: writer and creative strategist Ysabel Yates, who is supporting on content development, and social impact strategist and career coach Danielle L. Vermeer, who is helping to curate our (significantly longer and more awesome) Social Impact Jobs board.

This Week's Five Links

Unilever to Facebook and Google: Clean Up ‘Swamp’ or We’ll Pull AdsCNN Money
Hate speech, cyberbullying, fake news, radicalization, and tech addiction are among the troubling problems plaguing social networks, and the demand for solutions is mounting (including from former employees who helped build the companies). Now, Unilever has joined the fight, and it’s bringing a weapon with more teeth than just bad PR: it’s threatening to pull its digital advertising if Facebook and Google don’t step up. And, with 25% of its $9.8B advertising budget spent on digital ads, that’s a powerful bite.

At Tesla’s Factory, Building the Car of the Future Has Painful and Permanent Consequences for Some Workers Buzzfeed
A Buzzfeed News investigation of Tesla’s factory in Fremont, California reveals unsafe labor practices that have led to severe health and economic consequences for many workers, as well as the company’s fight against unionization. For a company that has built its brand around ushering in a sustainable future, it’s a reminder that sustainability is about much more than being environmentally friendly. It’s about health, human rights, and building an economy that’s fair for everyone.

GOP Lawmakers Take Aim at WHO Agency Over Roundup IngredientAssociated Press
Monsanto’s Roundup weed killer is probably carcinogenic to humans. That was the finding of the International Agency for Research on Cancer — a finding that mobilized United States House Science Committee Chairman Lamar Smith to threaten to defund the agency. Critics say the study relied on cherry-picked science. Others believe it’s being discredited by an industry with political influence and deep pockets, pointing to the more than $4.3 million Monsanto spent on federal lobbying just in 2017.

Panera Bread CEO and Co-Founder Resigns to Join the Conscious Capitalism MovementB the Change
Ron Shaich, the co-founder and CEO of Panera, is leaving the American bakery chain to focus his attention on personal causes, including reducing “short termism” in business. He joins a growing number of leaders in the Conscious Capitalism movement, founded by Whole Foods’ John Mackey, who are speaking out against the financial sector’s “profit for the sake of profit” mindset.

Designer Mara Hoffman: ‘As a Creative, Standing Still Will Kill You’ The Glossy
On Glossy’s weekly podcast, designer Mara Hoffman discusses the ongoing process and creative challenges of making her company fully sustainable, and why the decision boiled down to “change or die.”

2018 is either the year of techlash, where the world turns on the tech giants — and we have seen some of this already — or the year of trust ... The year where we collectively rebuild trust back in our systems and our society.
— Keith Weed, Unilever Chief Marketing & Communications Officer, in “Unilever to Facebook and Google: Clean Up ‘Swamp’ or We’ll Pull Ads” (CNN Money)

Spotlight: Our Futuristic New Jobs


Who doesn’t love futuristic concept art? While we’re usually treated to bleak visions of the future complete with government drones and dystopian acid rain, a new series of illustrations presents a different, more optimistic version.

The illustrations, commissioned by AKQA and the MiSK Foundation and created by Salt & Pepper Creative, draw inspiration from the panelists at the 2018 World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos. They show a world in which advanced technology opens up new possibilities for sustainable careers — like the Landfill Recycler, who salvages existing materials from landfills to be reused in new production, or the Public Technology Ethicist, who evaluates new technology to decide whether it is appropriate for public use.

“We love Black Mirror, but almost every sci-fi film or TV show at the moment is predicting a dystopian world, and in a way we are being conditioned to believe that for the future to be considered real, it has to be dystopian,” said Salt & Pepper’s Senan Lee. “We needed this campaign to be a positive reflection of our future world.”

Until that day comes, check out this selection of social impact jobs that are only slightly less cool than riding a giant turbine around a garbage heap.

Social Impact Jobs

Amazon — Sr. Program Manager, Sustainability Services (Seattle, WA)

Blue Diamond Growers — Sustainability Manager (Sacramento, CA)

BSR — Design Futurist, Sustainable Futures Lab (New York or San Francisco)

Chan Zuckerberg Initiative — Vice President, Communications (Palo Alto, CA)

Citi — Environmental, Social and Governance Disclosure Analyst, Corporate Sustainability (NYC)

Citi Bike / Motivate International — Deputy General Manager (NYC)

Design Impact — Senior Social Innovation Specialist (Cincinnati, OH)

Driscoll’s — Corporate Social Responsibility Marketing Manager (Watsonville, CA)

Facebook — Strategic Partnership Manager, Social Good (London, United Kingdom)

IDEO.org — Partnerships Lead (San Francisco, CA)

InclusionVentures — Inclusion Coordinator (San Francisco, CA)

International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association — Executive Director (Geneva, Switzerland)

Kering — Project Manager, E-Learning on Sustainable Luxury (Paris, France)

Mama Cash — Senior Officer, Women's Funds (Amsterdam, Netherlands)

Mastercard — Vice President, Strategy & Operations, Center for Inclusive Growth (Purchase, New York)

Nike — Director of Global Corporate Communications, Sustainability (Portland, OR)

Numi Organic Tea — Vice President, Marketing & Sales (Oakland, CA)

Practice Makes Perfect — Program Manager (NYC)

PVH — Corporate Responsibility Programs Data Analyst (NYC)

Revolution Foods — Director of Marketing (Oakland, CA)

Starbucks — Sr. Project Manager, Energy & Sustainability, Store Development (Seattle, WA)

Thomson Reuters — Corporate Responsibility & Inclusion Specialist (São Paulo, Brazil)

U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation — VP, Environmental Affairs & Sustainability (Washington, DC)

Weber Shandwick — Senior Associate, Social Impact (NYC)

West Elm — Associate Manager, Social Consciousness (NYC)

World Wildlife Fund — Program Officer, Private Sector Engagement (Washington, D.C.)

This newsletter is curated by Jessica Marati Radparvar, with support from content strategist Ysabel Yates and jobs board curator Danielle Vermeer. If you like it, please consider sharing it!

Issue 025 / Super Bowl Ads, Ethical Laziness & Meghan Markle’s Jeans

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

Your Laziness Is Saving the PlanetPacific Standard
According to a recent study, couch potatoes and Netflix bingers are inadvertently helping the U.S. battle climate change. In 2012, America’s love for the great indoors led to 1,700 trillion BTUs of energy savings, or 1.8 percent of the nation’s energy use. An increase in activities that don’t require travel or going to commercial buildings — think telecommuting or enjoying a quiet night in — led to the reduction. The study didn’t take into account the energy needed to power the Internet, and also underscores the need for more energy-efficient homes. Still, we’ve got to celebrate wins where we can.

Fact-Checking Matt Damon's Clean Water Promise In A Super Bowl AdNPR
Stella Artois used its $5M Super Bowl spot to introduce a limited edition chalice and showcase its clean water partnership with Water.org (oh, Matt Damon was there too). In the ad, Damon exhorts viewers, "If just 1 percent of you watching this buys [a chalice], we can give clean water to 1 million people.” But how true is that really? NPR investigates and finds a load of oversimplification.

Condé Nast’s Code of Conduct is Here. Is it Enough?The Fashion Law
Following sexual harassment allegations against longtime collaborators Mario Testino and Bruce Weber, the Condé Nast publishing house has released a code of conduct for all who work with its brands. While a momentous step for the media industry, this analysis from The Fashion Law argues that the code isn't all that groundbreaking, since most of the provisions reflect existing laws.

Don’t Boycott Bad Companies, Spend More With Good OnesFast Company
To boycott or buycott, that is the question for socially conscious consumers. And according to a recent poll from Weber Shandwick, all signs point to buycott. Around 83% of people surveyed said “it’s more important than ever for consumer activists to show support for companies by buying from them.” And the impact can be powerful. After Patagonia took a stand with its “The President Stole Your Land” campaign and blacked out its website, the company’s external web sales increased six-fold.

The Embedding Project 
Are you a change agent looking to shake things up within your company? You'll love The Embedding Project — a powerful set of open-source resources to help you identify and start to play with the levers for change in your organization. Get ready to geek out big-time. 🤓

Couch potatoes of America, stand up and take a bow. You are helping the nation conserve energy.
— Your Laziness is Saving the Planet (Pacific Standard)

Spotlight On: Meghan Markle’s Jeans


During Meghan Markle’s first visit to Wales, the princess-to-be sported a pair of Dina skinny fit high waist jeans from home-grown Welsh brand Hiut Denim Co. Within hours, the small business was inundated with orders and is now sitting on a significant backlog (each jean is made-to-order, or else they would have sold out).

It’s proof of the power of celebrity to boost ethical brands, as demonstrated by Livia Firth’s Green Carpet Challenge and Emma Watson's @the_press_tour Instagram account. Even more, it's a good reminder of the way clothing can be used to communicate — in this case, Markle's support for Welsh industry.

Royal endorsement aside, Hiut is a pretty rad company. Their made-to-order jeans are made in their on-site factory from Italian artisan denim. They encourage customers to join their “elite" No Wash Club by abstaining from washing their jeans for six months. And they have an artfully written mission to bring ethical manufacturing back to Wales. The story is powerful:

Cardigan is a small town of 4,000 good people. 400 of them used to make jeans. They made 35,000 pairs a week. For three decades.

Then one day the factory closed. It left town. But all that skill and knowhow remained. Without any way of showing the world what they could do.

That’s why we have started The Hiut Denim Company. To bring manufacturing back home. To use all that skill on our doorstep. And to breathe new life into our town.

If it's true that "you are what you wear", Markle's fashion choice reflects well. 

Reconsidered is curated by Jessica Marati Radparvar, with support from contributor Ysabel Yates. If you enjoyed reading this newsletter, please consider sharing it!

Issue 024 / 🤖 Trash Robots, Family Leave & The Letter That’s Sparking A CSR Revolution

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

BlackRock’s Message: Contribute to Society, or Risk Losing Our SupportThe New York Times
In what’s being called a watershed moment for corporate social responsibility, BlackRock CEO Larry Fink stressed in his annual letter that a company must "not only deliver financial performance, but also show how it makes a positive contribution to society". The letter marks the first time that a major institutional investment firm has made such a strong statement in support of CSR. Not only that, but Fink intends to hold companies accountable by adding staff to monitor businesses' response. Read Fink's full letter here

How One Mom Changed Lyft’s Paid Family Leave PolicySlate
If you have ever doubted the power of a single voice to create meaningful change, read this account of how a Lyft employee worked to expand the ride-share company's paid family leave policy — and succeeded.
👉 TAKE ACTION: Does your company have a crappy family leave policy? Sign up for this free Family Leave Workshop to learn tactics for shaking things up.

Will Cape Town Run Out of Water?Bloomberg
Cape Town may become the first major global city to run out of water, with “Day Zero” anticipated as early as May. The city points to historically low rainfall and rapid population growth as drivers — but it is also blaming citizens for not curbing their water use, going so far as to publish a controversial online map indicating how much water each household consumes as a way to shame high usage offenders. 

Why People Conveniently ‘Forget’ That Child Labor Made Their JeansMoneyish
A new study published in the Journal of Consumer Research found that consumers have a tendency to forget or misremember troubling information on issues like human rights and environmental sustainability as a coping mechanism to avoid ethical conundrums. “Forgetting is a morally acceptable way to deal with this unethical information,” said lead author Rebecca Reczek.

2018 World’s Most Sustainable CorporationsCorporate Knights
Corporate Knights’ annual listing of the world’s most sustainable companies is out. This year’s ranking features French software company Dassault Systemes in the #1 spot and leading multi-nationals including Cisco Systems (#7), Autodesk (#8), Samsung (#10), Merck (#13), BMW (#17) and Philips (#19). The ranking factors in key performance indicators along the environmental, social, financial and innovation spectrums — but also, for the first time, the sustainability value of a company’s products.

Hey! 👋  Do you find the Reconsidered newsletter valuable? If so, I'd be so grateful if you could help spread the word on LinkedIn.
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Without a sense of purpose, no company, either public or private, can achieve its full potential. It will ultimately lose the license to operate from key stakeholders. It will succumb to short-term pressures to distribute earnings, and, in the process, sacrifice investments in employee development, innovation, and capital expenditures that are necessary for long-term growth. It will remain exposed to activist campaigns that articulate a clearer goal, even if that goal serves only the shortest and narrowest of objectives. And ultimately, that company will provide subpar returns to the investors who depend on it to finance their retirement, home purchases, or higher education.
— Larry Fink, CEO of BlackRock, in his Annual Letter to CEOs

Spotlight: Robots for Recycling


At Davos this week, The Circulars Awards celebrated seven companies and organizations working to accelerate the transition to a circular economy. Presented by the World Economic Forum and the Forum of Young Global Leaders, in collaboration with Accenture, the annual awards recognized big players like IKEA, Philips and ABN AMRO Bank, as well as smaller ones like Apto Solutions, Banyan Nation and AMP Robotics, which took home the Ecolab Award for Circular Economy Digital Disruptor.

The Colorado-based start-up has developed a groundbreaking new technology called the Cortex Robot — an artificial intelligence-equipped sorting machine that identifies and separates recyclable materials from mixed waste streams. The technology can be installed in recycling facilities with little retrofitting and minimal change to existing operations, making it easy to scale.

With innovations like this, a circular world feels more and more within our reach. ♻️

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

Issue 023 / Racist Advertising, Cigarettes & The Fiercest Little Lady You’ll Encounter This Week

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 H&M Advert Clearly Didn't Mean to Be Racist – Which is Worrying in ItselfThe Independent
You’ve probably seen it on social media — a recent H&M advertisement featuring a young black child in a sweatshirt reading “Coolest Monkey in the Jungle”. It has sparked outrage, soured celebrity endorsements from The Weeknd and G-Eazy and resulted in a stock price dip of 2.6 percent. H&M immediately pulled the product and issued an apology (which, I have to agree with this commentator, felt pretty sincere as far as corporate “sorry statements” go). But even if the company didn’t mean to be racist, op-ed columnist Edward Adoo argues that negligence that results in “accidental" racism can be just as insidious as out-and-out bad faith. 

Philip Morris Says It Wants to Quit Cigarettes. But It’s Just Blowing Smoke. — Fortune
Through a bold ad campaign launched on January 1st, Philip Morris announced that its new years resolution is to "give up cigarettes" and phase out their sale in the U.K. The cigarette manufacturer also created a "Smoke Free Future" website providing smokers with information on quitting and cigarette alternatives. But anti-tobacco activists aren’t having it. This op-ed exposes some of the hypocrisy behind the ad, including efforts by Philip Morris to fight proven public health policies and aggressively promote cigarette sales in developing countries.

Tech Backlash Grows as Investors Press Apple to Act on Children’s UseThe New York Times
Last week, activist investors publicly demanded that Apple investigate the health consequences of its technologies, especially on children — the latest in a growing backlash against tech companies for the role they play in issues from electronics addiction, to hate speech, to the spread of “fake news” and foreign propaganda. 

Iceland is Trying to Close the Gender Pay Gap by Publicly Shaming CompaniesThe Washington Post
Kudos to Iceland — the first country to make gender-based wage inequality illegal. 🎉  A new law requires companies with more than 24 employees to get government certification that female employees are paid equally for the same work as their male colleagues. Failure to obtain certification could result in government fines — and makes it easier for citizens to name and shame non-compliant companies on social media. 

Netflix’s latest docu-series exposes the corrupt underbelly of the global food supply chain, “true crime” style. I’ve only watched the first episode, “Lawyers, Guns & Honey,” but already I’m hooked on the gorgeous visuals and suspenseful storytelling. Must watch. 

When your executives don’t come from diverse racial backgrounds, it makes it supremely difficult for them – and the people who work under them – to understand the hurt and distress caused by words like ‘monkey’ in the black community. It’s imperative to have people who can connect directly with their audience or customer base. This failure should be a wake-up call.
— Edward Adoo in "The H&M Advert Clearly Didn't Mean to Be Racist – Which is Worrying in Itself" (The Independent)

Spotlight On: This Fierce Lady


Not much to say, except YES. This girl gives me hope.

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

Issue 022 / Glitter, “Meat Taxes” & The Environmental Case Against Bitcoin (+ Tools for a More Mindful 2018)

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

As 2017 comes to a close, I want to take a moment to thank you — for subscribing, for reading, for sharing links that speak to you and starting dialogues that matter.

Since launching in February, the Reconsidered newsletter has shared 22 issues, 110 links and 117 jobs with a community of over 600 people who share in the belief that business can be a force for good.

And on the consulting side, I have had the opportunity to work with nearly a dozen mission-driven organizations on projects I believe in. 

It is no understatement to say that 2017 has been a big year. Turbulent forces are reshaping the world as we know it, and at times it can be overwhelming.

But at other times, the upswell in citizen engagement has given me reason to celebrate. And to hope. And to believe in the power that we as individuals have to spark the change we wish to see in the world.

Let's see what 2018 has in store for us — and let's stand ready to do our part and create impact that is positive.

Wishing you and your families a restful and regenerative holiday season,

This Week's Five Links

This Moment Isn’t (Just) About Sex. It’s Really About Work.New York Magazine
Rebecca Traister argues that the #MeToo movement is as much about work as it is about sex — and the prevailing professional and political systems that subjugate women. The CSR questions then become: How can companies combat this type of deep-rooted systemic inequality? Do diversity and inclusion initiatives go far enough?

The Environmental Case Against BitcoinNew Republic
Bitcoin — the most popular cryptocurrency on the planet — requires a significant amount of cheap energy to mine and trade. Annual energy consumption is currently on par with the entire country of Morocco, and it’s only expected to grow. This article provides a strong overview of how Bitcoin and its underlying blockchain technology works, as well as insight into how its environmental footprint might be reduced.

Here Comes the Meat TaxThe Atlantic
The average U.S. citizen consumes more than 200 pounds of meat per year — more than twice the global average. This has disastrous consequences for both the environment (animal agriculture has a high greenhouse gas footprint and requires significant space and water) as well as public health (high levels of cholesterol and saturated fat contribute to heart disease, one of America’s biggest killers). Could a “meat tax” help nudge consumers to consume less? 

Recycling Chaos In U.S. As China Bans 'Foreign Waste’NPR
The U.S. exports about one-third of its recycling, and nearly half of that goes to China. But now, China has announced that it will not accept foreign waste that contains “dirty” or “hazardous” non-recyclable materials (like, ahem, what the U.S. is sending them). Since most U.S. municipalities don’t yet have the technology or manpower for efficient sorting, this is expected to result in significantly more recyclable trash going to landfill — and hopefully, more urgency around circular economy solutions.
Walmart Will Let Its 1.4 Million Workers Take Their Pay Before PaydayThe New York Times
Last week, Walmart launched a new app allowing employees to access wages between pay periods — a social initiative intended to help financially-strained employees avoid costly debt traps. But instead of being celebrated, labor groups highlighted that Walmart’s low wages and unpredictable schedules are significant contributors to the financial hardships faced by employees. They argue that the best investment Walmart could make is not in a new app, but in increasing pay. 

This isn’t about your New Year’s celebration. It’s about humanity, and our ability to survive as a species.
— Researcher Sherri A. Mason in “All That Glitter? It’s Not Good, Critics Say” (The New York Times)

Tools For A More Mindful 2018

One of the most meaningful projects of the past year was getting the chance to work closely with my husband Dave and brother-in-law Mike on rebuilding the strategy for Holstee, a company fully focused on helping conscious people (like you!) along a journey to live more fully and mindfully. Building on the values shared in their iconic Holstee Manifesto, we enhanced their monthly Holstee Membership around 12 mindful themes like Intention and Gratitude and Creativity. In the chaos of this year, these themes have kept me centered, reminding me of what’s important and serving as a framework while I explore what mindful living means to me. This has been a true gift. And with the holidays approaching, it might be one to consider giving to yourself or to the people you care most about! Use coupon code RECONSIDERED for your first month free. 

Spotlight: Glitter


It’s festive, it’s shiny — and as a microplastic, scientists say it is causing irreparable harm to the world’s oceans and aquatic life. Last month, a handful of scientists raised a furor by proposing a ban on glitter, following on successful bans on microbeads (those little plastic exfoliators) in the U.K. and U.S. There was a swift backlash, with some calling the ban pointless and others decrying the scientists as the “fun police”. In a year so relentlessly filled with bad news, a glitter ban feels like the last straw.

But plastic glitter is a small part of the much bigger problem of micro-pollution in the world’s oceans. BioGlitz founder Saba Gray breaks it down in a recent Racked article:

“Regular glitter is polyester, so when it goes down the drain, it breaks down into even smaller pieces of plastic. Then it goes into our waterways, and our oceans are getting this tiny, tiny coating of plastic that’s insulating it ... [it] gets digested by micro-organisms, by fish, all of it. And that becomes our food, that becomes our water.”

It's a good thing plant-based alternatives like BioGlitz and Bio-glitter are coming onto the marketplace and gaining traction — so a ban on plastic glitter doesn’t have to mean the end of sparkle and celebration and happy childhoods. ✨

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

Issue 021 / Homeworkers, Coffee Fuel and Why Patagonia Is Suing Trump

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

Patagonia CEO: This Is Why We’re Suing President TrumpTime
Earlier this week, the U.S. president announced a substantial reduction of two national monuments in Utah, sparking outrage among environmental groups, outdoor enthusiasts... and Patagonia. The outdoor retailer has responded with some bold moves, changing its homepage to read “The President Stole Your Land” and now filing a lawsuit on behalf of several environmental organizations to block Trump’s order. In this op-ed, CEO Rose Marcario explains why. 
✊🏽 TAKE ACTION: Experience Patagonia’s multimedia homage to Bears Ears National Monument and join their activist movement

Inside the Revolution at EtsyThe New York Times
After Etsy became one of the first certified B Corps to go public in 2015, observers wondered: could it balance the short-term demands of its shareholders with its long-term, purpose-driven mission? The answer appears grim. According to this article, activist investors and private equity firms have descended on the Brooklyn-based crafts marketplace, calling for a sale of the company and pushing out the sitting CEO. Projects have been shut down and nearly 140 employees laid off. And, because remaining a B Corp would require Etsy to change its legal standing, the company is letting its certification status lapse. 

London Buses To Be Powered by Coffee GroundsEngadget
Bio-Bean, Shell and Argent Energy have partnered on a B20 biofuel created by blending oil extracted from coffee waste with diesel. So far, they've produced enough of this fuel to power one London bus for a year — with the potential to ultimately provide enough oil to power a third of London's bus network.

Why Are America's Farmers Killing Themselves in Record Numbers?The Guardian
Since 2013, net farm income for U.S. farmers has declined 50% and most commodity prices remain below the cost of production. When combined with social isolation, limited mental health services and access to lethal means, the result is a continuing farm crisis, with agricultural workers having the highest occupational suicide rate in the U.S. A sad but important read.

A New Textiles Economy: Redesigning Fashion’s FutureThe Ellen MacArthur Foundation
This new report from the Circular Fibres Initiative outlines a vision and ambition to design out the negative impacts of textile production and capture a $500b economic opportunity by truly transforming the way clothes are designed, sold, and used.

Patagonia became a California benefit corporation in 2012, in order to legally enshrine our longstanding environmental and social values into the foundation of our business. Our articles of incorporation require that we confront urgent environmental threats by investing our resources as a growing business into environmental nonprofits.
— Rose Marcario in "Patagonia CEO: This Is Why We’re Suing President Trump" (Time)

Spotlight: A New Compliance Standard for Global Artisans & Homeworkers


The International Labor Organization estimates that there are nearly 300 million homeworkers around the world and that as much as 60% of global garment production happens outside the four walls of a factory.

This week, non-profit organization Nest officially launched its Nest Compliance for Homes and Small Workshops standard at a convening held at the United Nations in New York. Built and piloted in collaboration with brand pioneers including EILEEN FISHER, Jaipur Living, Maiyet, Patagonia, PVH, Target, The Children’s Place, and West Elm, Nest Compliance stands to revolutionize the industry by making homework a safe and viable option. In conjunction, Nest launched the Nest Seal as a symbol to let consumers know that the products they shop were ethically handcrafted.

As an early partner in these initiatives, I am so proud and excited that these tools now exist to help bridge the gaps between artisan producers and the global marketplace. The potential impact — especially for women artisans and their families — could be tremendous.

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

Issue 020 / Ethical Moviegoing, COP23 and the Psychology of the Black Friday Mob

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

Changing Company Culture Requires a Movement, Not a MandateHarvard Business Review
I couldn’t stop nodding while reading this article — a must-read for CSR practitioners looking to embed social responsibility in their organizations. A Stanford organizational behavior professor and an IDEO partner argue that culture doesn’t change by launching goals and asking people to follow them; it’s about starting a movement that shifts people’s perspectives on “how things are done around here.” They share best practices from skillful movement makers.

Is There Any Way to Be an Ethical Moviegoer in the Post-Weinstein Era?The Atlantic
In recent weeks, the flood of sexual harassment charges in the entertainment industry has demonstrated just how pervasive and systemic this issue is. How can moviegoers ensure that they aren’t supporting institutions and individuals responsible for sexual exploitation? Taking inspiration from the apparel, technology and oil and gas industries, CSR expert Christine Bader explores what an industry-wide anti-harassment initiative could look like. 

What Happened (and Didn’t) at the Bonn Climate TalksThe New York Times
The 23rd conference of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change wrapped up last week in Bonn, Germany, with modest accomplishments. In case you missed it, this article offers a brief recap.

Americans Agree On Something: They Don’t Like Big CorporationsFast Company
A new survey from Just Capital finds that 62% of Americans distrust the Fortune 500 and 47% feel that business behavior is headed in the wrong direction. More positively, the study found that 85% of Americans are willing to pay more to buy from companies with business practices that are just.

An Open Letter to Lands’ EndMedium
This mom’s rant to retailer Lands’ End about reinforcing childhood gender norms went viral earlier this month. "If we are serious about tackling the toxic masculinity which persists in our culture, we must look at the images we market to our children,” she writes.

Culture change can’t be achieved through top-down mandate. It lives in the collective hearts and habits of people and their shared perception of ‘how things are done around here.’ Someone with authority can demand compliance, but they can’t dictate optimism, trust, conviction, or creativity.
— From "Changing Company Culture Requires a Movement, Not a Mandate" (Harvard Business Review)

Spotlight: #BlockFriday


"What Turns Black Friday Shoppers Into Raging Hordes?” 

This was an actual headline in The New York Times this week.

Overconsumption has reached such heights that social scientists and psychologists are starting to study the factors that turn ordinary shoppers into dangerous mobs on Black Friday, the biggest shopping day of the year in the United States. Their research points to four conditions — feelings of unfairness, perceptions of scarcity, competitive arousal and tribal bonding — that lead to consumer misbehavior.

Whatever the reasons, it’s clear that Black Friday has reached a fever pitch. But in recent years, it has also spurred a number of backlash movements. You have #OptOutside, started when outdoor retailer REI closed its doors on Black Friday to let its employees reconnect with the outdoors (170 organizations have since joined). #TakingBackBlackFriday from Ace & Jig is centered around swap meets, while #BrightFriday encourages consumers to resist the pressure of buying new things and instead rekindle love for the items they already have. #BuyNothingDay, organized by Adbusters, calls on the public to simply ignore Black Friday.

My personal favorite is Holstee’s #BlockFriday movement, started back in 2012. The campaign focused on the simple question:

“This Thanksgiving, what are you blocking Friday for?” 

Today, I’m traveling with my husband to visit a dear friend. Now, I pose that question to you. What people, activities and experiences are you blocking Friday for? 

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

Issue 019 / Bio-Leather, Recycling Habits & The Next Big Hot-Button CSR Issue

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

Special Investigation: The Paradise PapersThe Guardian
Corporate tax may just be the next hot-button CSR issue after last week’s leak of the so-called Paradise Papers — 13.4 million files that demonstrate the lengths companies and wealthy individuals go to evade taxes. This Guardian series highlights how Apple and Nike — two CSR darlings — secretly sheltered money in tax havens like the island of Jersey and Bermuda to avoid paying U.S. and Dutch corporate tax rates.

Study: CEOs Who Invest In Social Responsibility Initiatives Risk Their Jobs — NPR
Not the most inspiring headline — in fact, it’s pretty darn depressing. But then I listened to this recent NPR segment and realized that their definition of CSR is laughably outdated. It came as a relief — but also a reminder that there’s still a way to go before the mainstream business community sees the direct relationship between strategic social responsibility and the bottom line.

Leather Grown Using Biotechnology is About to Hit the CatwalkThe Economist
Modern Meadow, a Brooklyn-based biotechnology firm led by a DuPont alum, has genetically engineered a new material with all of the characteristics and qualities of natural leather. The leather industry has one of the dirtier supply chains in fashion, meaning that this innovation could have far-ranging social and environmental benefits.

150 Organizations Call for Ban on ‘Biodegradable’ Plastic Packaging — TriplePundit
For years, oxo-degradable plastic packaging has been marketed as a biodegradable, environmentally-preferable option to conventional plastic. However, studies now show that this form of packaging contributes to harmful micro-plastic pollution, spurring more than 150 organizations to call for its ban.

The Behavioral Economics of Recycling — Harvard Business Review
What makes someone recycle their waste, versus throw it in the rubbish bin? Behavioral economists from Boston University explore several biases that sway this decision: distortion bias, identity bias and moral licensing.

Apple claims to be the largest US corporate taxpayer, but by sheer size and scale it is also among America’s largest tax avoiders … [It] should not be shifting its profits overseas to avoid the payment of US tax, purposefully depriving the American people of revenue.
— U.S. Senator John McCain, quoted in "Apple Secretly Moved Parts of Empire to Jersey After Row Over Tax Affairs" (Guardian)

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Reconsidered on #ConsciousChatter

I recently had the opportunity to chat with the lovely Kestrel Jenkins about CSR communications, behavior change, the power of consumers and the "aha!" moments that led me to start Reconsidered.

🎧  You can listen to our conversation on Kestrel’s Conscious Chatter podcast.

Spotlight: Brand Purpose in Divided Times


"Us vs Them. Me vs You. Old vs Young. Rich vs Poor. We are feeling more divided than ever. Yet the path to brand relevance and resilience is recognizing what we have in common."

I couldn’t agree more. And I’m happy that BBMG and GlobeScan are building research to help brands do just that. Last month, the consultancies released a new report, “Brand Purpose in Divided Times,” intended to reconnect brands with the humans they are meant to be building for. 

To do this, they asked 16,000 people across 16 countries about their aspirations for their lives, families and communities. Their goal: to explore what the “good life” means in this day and age, and to extract insights that can help brands address challenges faced around the globe.

In the report, they surface four design principles that they feel are key:

  1. Start with Empathy. Don’t just study consumption habits; view consumers as the complex humans that they are.
  2. Define Your North Star. Find the intersection between why your company exists and what unmet human needs it can serve.
  3. Take a Stand. The chaotic social and political environment gives brands an opportunity to stand for what they believe in. Use it. 
  4. Start a Movement. Join forces with consumers, peers and unlikely allies to make a positive change that is bigger than any one actor can create on its own.

By embracing these principles, brands can move past traditional CSR, leveraging their strengths to address global challenges and designing with humanity at the center. It’s a powerful prospect, and one that I feel is more relevant now than ever.

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

Issue 018 / Hipster Coffee, “Conflict-Free" Diamonds & Going Beyond the Blah Blah

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

This Tiny Country Feeds the WorldNational Geographic
Almost 20 years ago, the Netherlands vowed to grow “twice as much food with half as many resources.” Now, my adopted country is the #2 exporter of food, second only to the United States, while reducing dependence on water for key crops by as much as 90%. How? A market- and science-driven approach to food innovation embraced by thousands of small- to medium-sized family farms across the country.

Equifax Deserves the Corporate Death Penalty Wired
First, Equifax's lax cybersecurity protocols resulted in private data exposure for 143 million Americans (setting your database username and password to “admin” — really?!). Then, when senior executives discovered this, they sold $2 million worth of stock. Next, after the breach was exposed, Equifax offered free credit monitoring to consumers impacted — but sneaked in a mandatory arbitration provision clause in the fine print. In this op-ed, Free Speech for People legal director Ron Fein argues, "This is not the conduct of a company that deserves to continue to be entrusted with a critical role in our economy.” He calls for judicial dissolution — the equivalent of a corporate death penalty.

For Dignity and Development, East Africa Curbs Used Clothes Imports — The New York Times
Ever wonder what happens to your old clothing once you put it in the charity bin? Most often, those garments wind up in East Africa and are sold in secondhand markets. But now, East African countries are trying to phase out used clothing imports, saying that this practice not only makes it difficult to develop a local manufacturing industry, but that it is also harmful to the dignity of people who can only afford to purchase clothing the West has discarded.

Inside the ‘Conflict-Free’ Diamond Scam Costing Online Buyers Millions — The Next Web
Online jewelry retailer Brilliant Earth promises customers that its diamonds are ethical and conflict-free. There’s just one problem — that guarantee is impossible to make. This article dives deep into the diamond supply chain to explain why.

Hipster Demand for Fancy Coffee Is Really Helping Africa’s Farmers — Grubstreet
The African continent is seen as the birthplace of coffee — but since the 1970s, Africa’s coffee exports have fallen as Vietnam and Brazil have risen to domination with low- to mid-grade beans (think: Folgers instant coffee). Now, as consumer tastes are shifting to premium, single-origin blends, small farmers in countries like Ethiopia and Uganda are getting a boost. 

How do we go from getting people to buy something, to getting people to BE something?
— A brand call-to-action from Vanessa Belleau, Head of Fashion and Home Shopper Marketing UK at The Walt Disney Company, at "Beyond the Blah Blah"

Spotlight: Beyond Blah Blah

There’s a lot of noise in the sustainability space. A lot of pledges and reports and non-binding multi-stakeholder initiatives. Not even to mention all of the acronyms and jargon. 

In short, there’s a lot of “blah blah.” 

This insight sparked the theme for Dutch social enterprise Circle Economy’s annual conference on circularity in the textiles industry, “Beyond Blah Blah,” held last Friday in Amsterdam.

Frustrated by the lack of urgency in this space, Circle Economy convened a few hundred guests from industry and academia to explore how to go beyond the talk and move straight to the practice. 

Their circular textiles theory of change follows five points:

  1. Be the Demand. Brands have the power to create demand for (and demand!) recycled fibres.
  2. Design Out Waste. An estimated 80% of a product’s environmental and economic impact is determined at the design stage — which means a huge opportunity to design for durability and cyclability. 
  3. Be the Supply. Getting clothing back from the consumer is critical to actually closing the loop and achieving circularity.
  4. Shout! And Engage the Consumer. An educated and empowered consumer could really drive the transition to a circular economy — but efforts to engage them haven’t fully leveraged the power of the creative industry.
  5. Invest and Collaborate. No one player in the industry can do it alone.

My biggest takeaway related to that last point. Circle Economy’s textiles lead Gwen Cunningham closed the session with an impassioned speech that, among other things, argued against the hashtag #youdoyou. In a time of environmental crisis, political instability and general global chaos, the last thing we should be doing is retreating into the personal, the individual, the small things we can still control. No, instead we should be uniting with others and taking collective action to drive the change we wish to see.

That, to me, is going beyond the "blah blah". And acknowledging the problem directly is the first step to making real progress.

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

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!