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 The announcement was met with praise by parents and rights advocates for promoting inclusiveness and breaking outdated gender norms.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!