As evidence of the climate crisis mounts, it’s clear that mankind is facing its biggest challenge in history. Unique challenges are posed to each industry when “business as usual” is no longer an option. This week, we look at five ways the business world is changing.
1. Market-led solutions to the plastics crisis. In January 2018, Theresa May gave her ‘War on Plastics’ speech, a call-to-arms which set the target of eliminating avoidable plastic waste by 2042. Subsequently we will see the banning of plastic straws and drink stirrers from April 2020 and debates of take-away taxes and ‘latte levys’ dominated the news in early 2018. In the face of these examples being rejected by politicians and others criticising the far-off deadline, coffee shops brought in discounts for keep-cups and supermarket chain Iceland announced they will remove all plastic from their own brand items by 2023. Slightly further behind, the UK Plastics Pact asks companies to sign up to a 2025 target – the elimination of all single-use plastics. So far, Aldi, Boots, Asda, M&S, Lidl, Sainbsury’s, McDonalds and many more corporates have all signed up.
2. Growth of Veg Box Delivery schemes. As more and more of the world’s population move into cities and further away from their local farm, many veg boxes offer consumers organic, local and ethical produce with all the convenience benefits of the supermarket. In 1994 Farmaround was the first scheme of its kind of London, now you need a guide just to navigate the market. Wonky veg boxes to reduce food waste? Ethical boxes which promise the farmer 75% of profits? There are just so many to choose from.
3. Biotechnology for alternative protein Whilst the British public becomes accustomed to soy, seitan, tempeh and other mystical-sounding items which now line supermarket shelves, the biotechnology sector is making bold steps forward. Working on the most innovative solutions to sustainable food production, this sector has a critical role to play in the world’s future as our population booms. In particular, the spotlight is on pioneering London company: Entocycle. Currently producing sustainable, alternative protein for livestock feed using food waste, they have been highlighted by Forbes, the New Scientist, The Financial Times, Channel 4 News and Netflix. A third of the British public think we will be eating insects in the next ten years – table for two?
4. Big names are taking notice Corporate social responsibility is not new and has been hitting the headlines consistently over the last decade, but it is undeniably higher and higher on the agenda. Often tied to the millennial market, all industries are beginning to take notice of this trend as well as the biggest brand names. Founder of Gaea Collaboration , Katherine Maceretta left a twenty year career with Unilever to become a sustainability consultant. Subsequently Macaretta works with companies to integrate business objectives with their CSR and not view them as separate goals. She is currently working with Vodafone to realise this vision.
5. Re-categorisation of green businesses As a society we are re-defining what a sustainable business means and corporate social responsibility is put under the magnifying glass. While consumers are increasingly sceptical of brands who present themselves as green leaders, the London Stock Exchange earlier this year re-classified oil companies as either renewable or non-renewable.
Companies like BP and Royal Dutch Shell are firmly classified in the non-renewable category, despite their own advertisements of investments in renewables. Many companies are now striving for B-corp status, a gold standard which verifies ethical business practice for people, place and planet which verifies performance, legal accountability and public transparency.
Here at Insider London, we are excited to be working with B-corp Urban Edge Capital; fintech pioneers who recently signed with Goldman Sachs.
We are also very proud to announce fantastic new partnerships with Entocycle and Gaea Collaboration!
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