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!