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!