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)

conscious chatter jm.jpeg

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!

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!