049 / Purpose > Profit, Parental Leave & The Biggest Fake News In Fashion

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Hi Friends,

I’m kicking off 2019 with a series of workshops — starting where I grew up, the Pacific island of Guam. 🇬🇺

The case for sustainable business is strong in a place like Guam, a U.S. territory with a centuries-old colonial legacy located smack in the middle of the Pacific. It means nurturing the island’s ability to truly sustain itself — independently, without relying on foreign imports, tourism (the #1 industry) or the U.S. military (the #2 industry). On an island just 32 miles long and between 4 and 9 miles wide, it’s impossible to ignore nature’s constraints.

During the workshop, which was hosted by the University of Guam Center for Island Sustainability and School of Business and Public Administration, we walked through the steps of creating a sustainability strategy and designed a series of pilot projects. Packaging for a line of natural beauty products? Bring together a coalition to co-invest in manufacturing equipment that can transform the bamboo clogging up our waterways. Equipping people to turn waste into want? How about a training program with the local girls empowerment organization, funded by private companies?

I left Guam feeling inspired and energized — and reminded of how many ideas can spark when you build bridges between work and home. How did 2019 start off for you?


P.S. One of my new year’s resolutions is changing my relationship with technology. Just in time, my friend Barbara and “crowdacting” platform CollAction are launching a campaign called Screen Free Sundays. The premise is simple: Every last Sunday of the month, opt to go screen-free, put down your phones and reconnect with the world around you. I’ve just signed onto the campaign, maybe you want to join?


This Week’s Five Links

Beyond The Bottom Line: Should Business Put Purpose Before Profit? Financial Times
For the past 50 years, business has been governed by Milton Friedman’s 1970s doctrine that the only “social responsibility” of business is “to use its resources and engage in activities designed to increase its profits.” This Financial Times article suggests that Friedman’s approach is on its way out, making way for a new model of capitalism based on purpose, inclusion and sustainability. A must-read if you want to understand the state of sustainable business going into 2019. (14 minutes)

Big Business Has A New Scam: The Purpose ParadigmThe Nation
While many are optimistic about the potential of a purpose-led business movement, others are more skeptical. This article by Cambridge PhD student Maria Hengeveld questions the whole notion of corporate social responsibility, arguing that the “purpose paradigm derails and delays progress” by “obscuring the fact that real justice requires a radical redistribution of corporate profits”. Like Anand Giridharadas in his much-read NYT op-ed (which made our list of the top 10 articles of 2018) Hengeveld points to taxes and lobbying as two areas where so-called “purposeful” companies fail to address their full range of impacts — confirming that those areas will need to be a major focus for companies in the year ahead. (21 minutes)

Costco’s 100 Million Chickens Will Change the Face of NebraskaCivil Eats
Costco sells 78 million of its $4.99 rotisserie chickens each year. Now, it’s working with the state of Nebraska to set up its own supply chain for the chickens — both as a way to have more control over social and environmental factors and to break free of the monopoly from suppliers like Tyson and Pilgrim’s Pride. The plan is ambitious, with the power to transform Nebraska’s economy as well as set a new model for vertical supply chains in the food industry. But will Costco be able to execute in a way that’s friendly to people, planet and animals? (26 minutes) 

The Biggest Fake News in FashionThe New York Times
“The fashion industry is the second most polluting industry in the world.” Except, it isn’t. Vanessa Friedman untangles this pervasive untruth, tracing its origins back through Eileen Fisher, The True Cost documentary, Glasgow Caledonian University’s Fair Fashion Center, the Global Fashion Agenda and Deloitte Consulting. In the process, she examines the “gorgeous simplicity of the accusation” and the power of catchy statistics (however murky) to drive action. (7 minutes)

Microsoft’s Letter To New ParentsLinkedIn
Last week, a Microsoft finance manager posted a LinkedIn photo of the heartwarming letter Microsoft sent him after the birth of his child. The letter was accompanied by a thoughtful selection of NGO-made gifts and arrived during the father’s 12 weeks of parental leave. The story went viral. As of writing, the post had nearly 200,000 likes and 5,000 shares, demonstrating the goodwill that can result when a company goes above and beyond to take care of its people. Microsoft is known for offering generous parental leave benefits to its employees — and more recently, for mandating that all of its contractors offer paid leave to their employees too. (They’re also hiring for a number of corporate responsibility positions — see our jobs board below!) (4 minutes)

MOST CLICKED FROM LAST ISSUE // The Science of What Makes People CareStanford Social Innovation Review. ICYMI, our last issue featured our picks for the top 10 articles of 2018.

Social Impact Jobs


1. Brave Bison — Content Creator, Instagram (London)

2. Comcast — Sustainability Scholar MBA Intern (internship) (Phoenixville, Pennsylvania)

3. Code.org — Product Manager (Seattle, Washington)

4. IREX — Program Associate (Washington, DC)

5. Metabolic Lab — Circular Cities Consulting Intern (internship) (Amsterdam)

6. Quorum Initiative — Marketing Coordinator (New York City)

7. Sainsbury’s — Community Affairs Coordinator (London)


8. Amazon Web Services — Manager, Internal Communications & Corporate Social Responsibility (London) *contact Danielle.L.Vermeer@gmail.com if interested*

9. Burberry — Responsibility Project Manager (London)

10. Charity:Water — Technical Project Manager, Remote Sensors (New York City or Remote)

11. Colgate-Palmolive — Global Corporate Social Responsibility Associate Manager (New York City)

12. Columbia Sportswear — Corporate Responsibility Manager (Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam)

13. Element AI — Senior Community Development Manager (Toronto, Canada)

14. Ergon Associates — Human Rights, Labor, & Gender Researcher (contract) (London or Haarlem, Netherlands)

15. Global Reporting Initiative — Manager, Corporate & Stakeholder Engagement (Amsterdam)

16. Grove Collaborative — Email Marketing Manager (San Francisco)

17. Heller Consulting — Senior Technical Consultant (Remote)

18. Humanity United — Program Associate, Forced Labor and Human Trafficking (San Francisco)

19. LEGO Group — Senior Manager, Responsible Sourcing (contract) (London)

20. Microsoft — Philanthropies Lead, Western Europe (Amsterdam Area, Netherlands)

21. Morgan Stanley — Global Sustainable Finance Associate (New York City)

22. Pacific Community Ventures — Associate Director, Impact Investing Research and Consulting (Oakland, California)

23. Sustain Natural — Head of PR + Communications (New York City)

24. UBS — Program Manager, UBS Elevating Entrepreneurs (New York City)


25. Barclays — Vice President, Sustainability (London)

26. Google — Carbon Free Energy Lead, Data Centers (Sunnyvale, California)

27. MIT Media Lab — Head of Community and Long-Term Social Impact, Digital Currency Initiative (Cambridge, Massachusetts)

28. Mondelēz International — Manager, MDLZ Foundation and Mindful Snacking Platform (Greater Chicago Area)

29. Jack Wills — Ethical Trade & Brand Protection Executive (London)

30. Salesforce.org — Humanitarian Technology Impact Director (San Francisco, New York City or Washington, DC)

THE HIGH NOTE //  50% — the percentage of women that will be part of actress and director Regina King’s future production projects, per her 💪💪💪 acceptance speech at the 2019 Golden Globes.