Issue 003 / Feminist T-Shirts, Circular Design & The Disappearance of Winter

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 Comprehensive Business Case for SustainabilityHarvard Business Review
This helpful primer, written by Tensie Whelan and Carly Fink from NYU Stern’s Center for Sustainable Business, lays out the key tenets of the business case for sustainability, including the benefits of engaging stakeholders, managing risk, fostering innovation, improving financial performance, building customer loyalty and attracting and engaging employees. 

Was Your Feminist T-Shirt Made by Factory Workers in Exploitative Conditions?Broadly/VICE
Those "Nasty Woman" t-shirts and "pussyhats" had to be made somewhere. Ethical fashion activist and writer Amy DuFault is on a mission to question activist organizations on their sourcing practices and push them to procure their merch more responsibly. Says DuFault: “If we're wearing something about women's rights and it wasn't made right by a woman — how ironic and tragic is that?”

Conscious Consumerism Is a Lie. Here’s a Better Way to Help Save the WorldQuartz
In this controversial op-ed, writer Alden Wicker argues that personal conscious consumption habits — like buying local and eating organic — can’t actually change the world. Rather, they are distractions that prevent us from pursuing more effective means of change.

How Americans Think About Climate Change, in Six MapsThe New York Times
Informed by new research from the Yale Program on Climate Communication, these data visualizations illustrate just how much perceptions on climate change differ across the country. I was particularly struck by maps of Texas and Florida showing how personal experience with the effects of global warming (like severe droughts and sunny day flooding) trumps political affiliation.

The Circular Design GuideIDEO
This guide — collaboratively developed by design consultancy IDEO and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation — seeks to empower innovators to create more elegant, effective and creative solutions for the circular economy. The toolkit includes videos, worksheets, case studies, external links and other resources on how to adopt a circular mind-shift and execute on it.

I can’t deal with the idea that what my parents experienced and what I have experienced will not exist for my children. I am a winter person. I won’t sit idly by and watch winter vanish.
— 17-year-old Nathan Baring, who is part of a group of 21 young people suing the U.S. government for creating a "dangerous destabilizing climate system" that "threatens the survival of future generations.” More in "'Biggest Case on the Planet' Pits Kids vs. Climate Change" (National Geographic).

Spotlight: When Life Hands You Lemons...

... if you’re Bacardi, apply circular economy principles to make the world’s first soap made from recycled cocktail fruit. Bacardi’s 42BELOW vodka brand recently launched a new initiative through which they collect used lemons and fruits from bars, turn them into snazzily-branded soap and return them to the bars as part of a free marketing campaign. In the first six weeks, this initiative — currently based in Australia and New Zealand — collected 400kgs of fruit waste, which was turned into 20,000 sachets and 400 bottles of liquid soap.

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

Issue 002 / Mardi Gras, Condoms & The Unlikely U.S. Department Still Fighting 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

The Destructive Life of a Mardi Gras Bead — The Conversation
Each year, 25 million pounds of Mardi Gras beads get distributed. A Kent University researcher traces the origin of these shiny trinkets from Middle Eastern oil fields to Chinese factories to the hands of revelers on Bourbon Street, touching on topics like waste culture, workers’ rights and toxicity.

Who’s Still Fighting Climate Change? The U.S. Military — National Geographic. 
U.S. military facilities around the world are feeling the effects of climate change, facing damage from sea-level rise, flooding, erosion, drought, wildfires and extreme weather events. The Department of Defense is investing significantly in climate adaptation projects, in many cases pushing forward despite Congress’s efforts to restrict spending. 

Selling Condoms in the Congo — TED
Nearly one million people are infected with HIV in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Though donor agencies pour funds into providing condoms at low or no cost, only 3% of people in the DRC use them. Amy Lockwood, a “reformed marketer” working in international development, explores why in this four-minute TED talk. 

Here’s How We Should Re-Think the Value Chain — Sourcing Journal
In this op-ed, Textile Exchange’s Jeff Wilson makes a compelling case for changing the lexicon around supply and value chains, arguing that the more collaborative term “network” better captures the complexity and interconnectedness of the different players involved in bringing a product to market. By changing the concept and the language, Wilson says, we can change behavior and ultimately outcomes. 

@The_Press_Tour — Instagram
With her new Instagram account, actress/activist (and current favorite person) Emma Watson offers a behind-the-scenes look at her eco-friendly fashion and beauty routine as she travels the world to promote the release of Disney’s new live-action version of Beauty and the Beast. Each post features extensive ethical and environmental footnotes verified by Eco-Age and Content Beauty/Wellbeing.

‘On the autopsy table it’s unmistakable,’ a city medical examiner told The New York Times in 1970. ‘The person who spent his life in the Adirondacks has nice pink lungs. The city dweller’s are black as coal.’
— A reflection on pre-Environmental Protection Agency New York City from "Remembering a City Where the Smog Could Kill" (The New York Times)

Spotlight: Responsible Retouching

There is a growing conversation around how images in media and advertising impact the way we feel about ourselves and inform our perceptions of beauty. The Retouchers Accord, launched Tuesday, aims to make sure that the development of these images is done responsibly. Described as a "voluntary Hippocratic oath," it is a new collaborative initiative for retouchers, photo editors, graphic designers, software tool makers and brand managers who want to increase authenticity in the images seen in media and advertising. Members commit to five principles, like practicing empathy when image-making and fueling a dialogue about diversity with clients and partners. Refinery29 and Feather Creative have already signed on as founding members.

The Retouchers Accord is a project of Unreasonable Women, an NYC-based company founded by Sarah Krasley that designs products, services and workplace policies that empower women. 

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

Issue 001 / Culture Clashes, "Rage-Donations" & Business in the Age of Trump

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

Hello and welcome.

Thank you for subscribing to Reconsidered. Every other week, you will receive five links to articles, websites, videos, podcasts, books, infographics and other nuggets that pushed me to think beyond the status quo, along with hot topic spotlights and quotes.

I’m a firm believer in the power of business for good, and I feel it’s time to reconsider the way business is done (hence the name!). I hope this email provides a regular opportunity to step away from your day-to-day, learn about new things and reach across industries, disciplines and functions for ideas and insights.

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


This Week's Links

Why the Kraft Heinz Bid for Unilever Could Make an Odd Match — The New York Times
Kraft Heinz’s failed $143 billion bid for Unilever would have resulted in a clash of two very different corporate cultures. Unilever, with its commitment to corporate responsibility, focus on sustainable growth and emphasis on long-term value creation, couldn’t differ more from Kraft Heinz, which (supported by 3G Capital and Warren Buffett) has pursued a path of aggressive cost-cutting and hostile take-over attempts. Though Unilever firmly rejected the offer, it serves as a test of CEO Paul Polman’s strategy of sacrificing short-term profits for long-term business sustainability. 

The Rise of the ‘Rage-Donation’ — GQ
GQ looks into the rage-donation — an "act of feverishly throwing money at a cause you believe in because you just don't know what the hell else to do.” Though reactive, it’s resulting in huge wins for progressive non-profits. Donations to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) surpassed $24 million for the month of January — more than seven times the total amount donated in 2015.

The Ivanka Trump Brand’s Supply Chain is Seemingly Untraceable — Racked
Earlier this month, non-profit consumer education organization Project Just published a report of its investigation into the Ivanka Trump brand’s supply chain. They found very little about the brand, whose manufacturing and distribution is managed by G-III Apparel — no code of ethics, no sustainability reports, no human rights policies. Racked spoke with Project Just’s Natalie Grillon and Jacinta FitzGerald to discuss how this lack of transparency stacks up against the rest of the apparel industry.

Below Deck — The California Sunday Magazine
An in-depth look at the Filipino workers who make up about a third of all global cruise ship personnel. These workers face a systematic denial of their rights due to loopholes in maritime law that are often exploited by large cruise ship companies like Carnival Corporation, Royal Caribbean Cruises and Norwegian Cruises. 

The Age of Sustainable Development — Coursera
In partnership with The Earth Institute at Columbia University, economist Jeffrey Sachs developed this free massive open online course (MOOC) as a 101-style introduction to topics in sustainable development. The 14-week course covers subjects like global inequality, food supply, urban resilience, climate change and biodiversity through short video lectures and academic readings. A nice introduction to sustainability for newbies.

With the rise of political authoritarianism, brands will face fundamental choices about whether to take a stand on issues that offend them and their users, risking the wrath of politicians and their acolytes. Or stay quiet and seem complicit.
— Melanie McShane, Head of Strategy, Wolff Olins in The Radical Future of Branding (Fast Company)

Spotlight On: Business in the Age of Trump

These are interesting times in the United States. Donald Trump's actions during his first month in office have spurred people across the country (and around the world) to new levels of political consciousness. They’re directing their activism not just at government, but also at businesses that they see as supporting or resisting the new administration’s actions. 

It’s nearly impossible for companies to remain neutral — nor should they. Countless studies show that the modern consumer seeks authenticity and wants to connect with brands based on shared beliefs. The current political climate offers a prime opportunity for businesses to put their core values into action and prove to their customers, their employees and their stakeholders what it is they stand for. Recent op-eds from leaders at BSR, Futerra and Salterbaxter MSLGROUP offer guidance on where companies can begin.

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