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This week, all eyes are on Davos — the picturesque Swiss ski town that hosts the biggest names in government, business and society each January for the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting.
Davos is not uncomplicated. On the one hand, it provides a forum for world leaders to come together and explore big ideas. It’s a platform for launching bold sustainable business initiatives like The B Team and Y Analytics (Bono’s new impact investing measurement project announced this year). Just 10 years ago, an integrated CSR program was seen as a “nice-to-have” by companies. Now, it’s table stakes for the Fortune 500. I don’t think that would have happened if not for the way Davos and gatherings like it have elevated and pushed forward the conversation on business’s role in society.
At the same time, those leading the purpose backlash have likened it to “a family reunion… for the people who broke the modern world”. The Guardian chalked it up to a bunch of “elites without action”. Several outlets called out the hypocrisy of world leaders flying in on private jets to discuss solutions to climate change (while WEF rushed to assure us that private jet use is actually down 14% from 2018 🤦♀️).
So yes, Davos is complicated. What do you make of it all — is it a useful platform for change or does it hurt more than it helps? I’d love to hear what you think.
P.S. HOT JOB ALERT! 🔥Reconsidered is seeking a paid intern to join our remote team. The ideal candidate is a strong English language communicator, has experience with email and social media marketing and is endlessly curious about the changing role of business in society. Know someone who fits the bill? Here’s the link to learn more and apply.
This Week’s Five Links
World’s Biggest Investor Tells C.E.O.s Purpose Is the ‘Animating Force’ for Profits — The New York Times
Just in time for Davos, BlackRock’s Larry Fink is back with his annual message for CEOs. In short: the world needs your leadership, and getting clear on your company’s purpose is a good first step to get there. His 2019 letter echoes the sentiments in his pivotal 2018 letter, which introduced his views on purpose and is widely seen as a turning point for the way mainstream business views corporate social responsibility.
Why a PG&E Bankruptcy Could Change Climate Calculus— Bloomberg
In what’s being called the world’s first climate change bankruptcy, PG&E, California’s largest electric utility, recently filed for bankruptcy citing damage from the wildfires that have ravaged the state in recent years. This article breaks down why this development will change the way companies assess climate risk. Many still treat climate change as a difficult-to-pinpoint long-term risk, while the reality is that companies are feeling real business impacts NOW.
Don’t Give Gillette Credit Unless It Does A Lot More Than Making An Ad — Fast Company
Not gonna lie, that Gillette “The Best Men Can Be” spot got me a little teary at the end. But before we all go celebrating the Procter & Gamble razor brand for bravely tackling toxic masculinity — or alternately, get so offended you try to flush your Gillette down the toilet — Public’s Phillip Haid suggests taking a beat and asking, okay, so what are they doing about it? How is Gillette going to not just raise awareness of the issue, but also make substantive progress? Without a clear plan of action beyond philanthropic donations, Gillette is just latching on to what Haid calls a “worrying trend of brands appropriating social purpose for compelling advertising creative”.
Applying Behavioural Insights at the United Nations: A Year in Review — Medium
Organizations are quickly realizing the power of behavioral insights to drive more impactful social change. Over the past year, several UN agencies have embraced the science of behavior change to make progress on the Sustainable Development Goals. This “year in review” highlights a few of the applications, from a simple exercise that helps motivate rural Kenyans to save money for emergencies to a nudging program to increase immunizations in the Middle East.
👉 If you’re new to the world of behavior change, we recently published a playbook with relevant insights for people working in corporate social responsibility. Download it here.
Okja — Netflix
I’ve been on a lot of long-haul flights lately, which has given me the chance to catch up on A LOT of downloadable Netflix movies. One of the better ones is Okja, directed by Korean visionary Joon-Ho Bong and starring Tilda Swinton and Jake Gyllenhaal. The fantastical film centers around a (“Green! All-natural! Eco-friendly!”) scheme to breed genetically modified pigs using “sustainable” animal raising techniques from countries like South Korea, where most of the film is set. Only, it’s all a grotesque form of spin. A satirical commentary on corporate responsibility, greed and consumerism that has stuck with me for weeks.
MOST CLICKED FROM LAST ISSUE // Beyond The Bottom Line: Should Business Put Purpose Before Profit? — Financial Times. Explore how the conversation on business and purpose has evolved in our archives.
Social Impact Jobs
1. Adobe — Project Manager, Sustainability & Social Impact (San Francisco)
2. Chicago Ideas — Digital Content & Social Media Associate (Chicago)
3. Corporate Citizenship — Content Marketing Manager (London)
4. Estée Lauder — Analyst, Sustainable Package Development (New York)
5. Kickstarter — Analyst, Trust & Safety (New York)
6. Oxfam — Supplier Relationship Coordinator (Oxford, UK)
7. Reconsidered (that’s us! 🤗) — Intern (part-time) (Remote)
8. Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship — Program Manager, Social Ventures (Oxford, UK)
9. Sustainable Brands — Detroit Innovation Open Coordinator (part-time) (Remote)
10. TerraCycle — Account Manager, Brand Partnerships (Trenton, New Jersey)
11. Ball Aerocan — Sustainability Manager (Lille Area, France)
12. BESTSELLER — Chemical Compliance Specialist (Aarhus, Brande or Copenhagen, Denmark)
13. Bloomberg Intelligence — Environmental, Social, Governance (ESG) Analyst (New York)
14. BSR — Manager, Women's Empowerment (New York or Paris)
15. Dalberg — Associate Partner (New York, San Francisco, Seattle, or Washington, DC)
16. Ellen MacArthur Foundation — Project Manager, Make Fashion Circular (UK Flexible)
17. Henkel — Global Sustainability Manager (Düsseldorf, Germany)
18. Maersk — Sustainability Manager (Copenhagen)
19. Material Bank — Sustainability Research Specialist (New York)
20. PVH Corp. — Manager, Environmental Sustainability & Product Stewardship (New York)
21. Spring Impact — Senior Consultant, US Office (San Francisco)
22. UN Women — Program Specialist, Women, Peace and Security, and Governance (Kyiv, Ukraine)
23. Zendesk — Program Manager, CSR Content (San Francisco)
24. Allbirds — Head of Product Strategy & Merchandising (San Francisco)
25. Change.org — Senior Director of Campaigns (San Francisco, New York, or Washington, DC)
26. Cloetta — Head of Health, Safety, & Environment (Netherlands)
27. Common Impact — Director, Consulting (New York)
28. DoorDash — Senior Public Policy & Community Engagement Manager (San Francisco)
29. Dutch Coalition for Humanitarian Innovation — Team Lead (part-time) (The Hague, Netherlands)
30. Kiva — Director, Strategic Development (San Francisco)
31. Sesame Workshop — Vice President, Social Impact and Philanthropy Business Operations (New York)
32. The Wonderful Company — Head of Philanthropy (Los Angeles)
Do you have an opening at your organization? Click here to submit a listing for consideration.