Motiveras de yngre av hållbarhet eller är det en quick fix?

Unga handlar nya prylar, konsumtionsvaror, kläder etc i en stegrande kurva… det man kan klassa som slit o släng (med en livslängd på 1-3 år). Hur går detta ihop med medvetandet? Eller räcker det att ibland handla något hållbart för att känna sig bra med det?

Varumärkena som håller bäst (urklipp ur Svensk Handel)

Nu har Sveriges största varumärken listats efter hållbarhet. Vinnare i branschen är Lantmännen. På jumboplatsen hamnar Ryanair.

Sustainable brand index har rankat hundratals varumärken ur ett hållbarhetsperspektiv. I studien har 24 000 konsumenter fått utvärdera hur hållbart ett varumärke är.

I framtiden kommer ett varumärke och ett hållbart varumärke att varasynonymer. För överleva på morgondagens marknad krävs därför kunskap och förståelse för den utveckling som nu pågår, deklarerar indexets avsändare, företaget bakom den årligt återkommande undersökningen: Sustainable brand insight.

Hälsotrenden driver på

I en omvärldsanalys skriver rapporten att hälsotrenden och kvalitetstrenden kanske är den mest pådrivande faktor i hållbarhetsfrågan. De trenderna är förstås extra viktiga i livsmedelsbranschen, i matbutiker och på restauranger.

Rapportförfattarna konstaterar att kvalitet på mat och dryck har börjat ifrågasättas allt mer till följd av skandaler, forskning och inte minst människors press på varandra i sociala medier.

Yngre mer medvetna

Rapporten konstaterar att den yngre delen av befolkningen tenderar att vara mer motiverade av hållbarhet. De är också bättre på att förändra sitt beteende till följd av denna inställning. Deras problem är att de ofta går i sina föräldrars fotspår och väljer samma produkter. Det i kombination med priskänslighet motverkar dock en förändring.

Som företag tjänar man dock mycket på att redan nu tillfredsställa de yngre då de har ett högt ”life time value”, tipsar rapporten.

Sortera mer, kör mindre bil

Medelålders konsumenter försöker aktivt ändra sin livsstil genom sopsortering, mindre bilkörning och bättre produkter. Om än i något mindre utsträckning än bland unga så ser man sitt eget ansvar som stort, konstaterar rapporten.

Lantmännen i topp

Lantmännen är det företag som svenska konsumenter anser vara det företag som är bäst i Sverige på att ta miljöansvar och socialt ansvar.

De högst rankade tio återfinns på listan nedan.

Ett axplock längre ner ur listan visar att Naturkompaniet kvalar in på plats 12, Apotek hjärtat på 19:e, Apoteksgruppen på plats 23, Hemköp på plats 28 och Citygross på plats 29.

I branschrankingen dagligvaruhandel/butiker hamnar Coop i topp, före Ica.

När undersökningen tittat specifikt på detaljister verksamma inom möbler, inredning och fritid hamnar Ikea i topp, följt av Clas Ohlson, Hästens, Indiska och Byggmax.

I gruppen detaljhandel kläder/skönhet toppar Body shop, före – i fallande ordning – naturkompaniet, Polarn & pyret, Åhléns och Stadium. H&m kommer på denna branschlista på plats nummer sex, och i stora totallistan på plats nummer 91.

De är bäst på hållbarhet:

Saltå kvarn
Källa: Sustainable brand index 2014

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State of Sustainability: Can You Have a Healthy Company in an Unhealthy World?

This post is part of a series in which LinkedIn Influencers analyze the state and future of their industry. Read all the posts here.

For more than 20 years, I’ve been watching the world of business and the environment, as a publisher of a monthly newsletter on the topic during the 1990s, and as co-founder of a media and events company focusing on that topic ever since.

My universe is big business: how the world’s largest companies are integrating environmental thinking into their operations in a way that aligns with core business strategy. Every month, we watch companies make new commitments and achievements in the things they do and buy, the products and services they make and sell, and how they talk about this stuff to employees, customers, suppliers, investors and others.

It’s a world that’s largely hidden from public view. In most cases, companies aren’t promoting their efforts (unless you dig into their annual sustainability reports). A growing number of their initiatives are significant — zero-waste factories, renewably powered facilities, significant commitments to reduce carbon emissions, toxic chemicals and other things that cause problems for people and the planet.

So, how’s it going? For the past seven years, we’ve stepped back each year to look at whether and how all of these companies’ efforts are making a difference.

The short answer: It’s all good. But it’s not good enough.

That was the conclusion of our 2014 State of Green Business report (free download). The report, produced by GreenBiz Group in partnership with Trucost, assesses how both U.S. and global companies are doing on energy, carbon, water, air emissions and other things, as well as in leadership initiatives like use of renewable energy, green office space and environmental R&D.

Have we hit a wall?

In most measures of corporate environmental impact, the progress is incremental. In some cases, it’s flat, or even declining.

Take carbon, for example. Total greenhouse gas emissions among both U.S. and global market indices remain flat. For the five-year period between 2008 and 2012, U.S. emissions were essentially unchanged while global emissions ticked up slightly. All told, it’s a wash.

The data is vexing whether one views it in terms of absolute emissions or intensity, which are emissions normalized to economic activity. Intensity, too, is largely unchanged — from 450 tons per $1 million of revenue for both U.S. and global companies in 2008, to 440 tons for U.S. companies and 460 tons for global companies in 2012. Again, it’s pretty much break-even, meaning that for all of the efforts companies are making, it’s not leading to progress.

And the prognosis isn’t much better. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, energy-related carbon dioxide emissions in 2013 are expected to be roughly 2 percent above the 2012 level. Despite the best efforts of hundreds of U.S. companies — some of which are committing to be “carbon neutral” — greenhouse gas emissions are going in the wrong direction.

It’s not just carbon. The progress on water use, air emissions and solid waste is minimal, or worse.

Still, business is changing, mostly for the better. Corporate supply chains are transforming as companies look farther upstream, beyond what they control to what they can influence. Collaboration is spreading as industries and value chains come together to understand how to shift entire ecosystems of players. That’s especially true in agricultural commodities — soy, palm oil, cotton and more — whose supply-chain tentacles can extend to hundreds of thousands of enterprises around the world. These collaborations aren’t just talk-fests. They’re leading to systemic changes.

Some of these ambitious efforts are due to the rise of sustainability within companies, once seen as a nice-to-do, corporate responsibility initiative, but now increasingly as a core corporate value. In sectors as varied as finance and fast food, companies are recognizing that elevating sustainability leads to innovations, efficiencies and improved resilience amid turbulent markets — not to mention enhanced reputations. It is seen as a business continuity issue in some sectors, as competition for natural resources sometimes pits households, farmers and small businesses with the world’s biggest corporations for access to resources. Where communities compete with big business for access to water or power, communities often win.

In some sectors, the threats to companies extend beyond environmental concerns to social ones — human rights, liveable wages, working conditions, economic inequality and other issues. As a result, social and environmental issues, once seen as separate, are coming together inside some companies. They recognize that improving people’s lives — whether through promoting early childhood education, empowering women, investing in local economies or mentoring marginalized youth — is part of the sustainability equation. Equally important, it can have salutary business benefits, such as educating the future workforce, bolstering the economic well-being of customers and employees and creating healthy communities — in every sense of the word — in which to operate. That is to say: It’s just good business.

Scale, Speed, Scope

Such positivity notwithstanding, progress remains incremental and slow. The scale, speed and scope of change appears to be inadequate to the challenges we face. Case in point: A 2013 study of 100 companies’ climate commitments by Climate Counts and the Center for Sustainable Organizations found that only about half of those companies’ goals were sufficient to address the companies’ fair share of carbon emissions reductions needed to limit climate change to what scientific consensus deems to be tolerable. Indeed, that study was novel merely for the fact that it weighed corporate climate actions against the realities of science. That had never been done.

Water is another area where corporate activity is timid and inadequate. As droughts accelerate and population and economic growth lead to overpumping of groundwater supplies around the world, the need for corporate action on water use (and reuse) is growing from a trickle to a flood. One big problem: The price of water (cheap) doesn’t reflect its value (priceless), especially when a shortage can all but put a company out of business.

It’s easy (and, for some, politically expedient) to write off corporate sustainability as fluff, or worse. That would be the easy assessment. But it’s hardly the full story.

My view is somewhat optimistic, powered by significant shifts in attitudes and outlooks among companies and their investors and customers, the growth of technology poised to leapfrog progress and accelerate change and a growing recognition among the public that “sustainability” isn’t just about preserving icebergs, rainforests and charismatic megafauna. It is also about public health, community well-being, food security, affordable housing and alleviating poverty.

Simply put, companies can no longer ignore these things, or view them as nice-to-do, feel-good activities. Companies sink or swim on the health of the world around them — natural resources, economic resources, and the human resources that comprise their employees, customers and neighbors. Can you have a healthy company in an unhealthy world?

It’s a question that more companies are asking. And that’s a healthy thing.

Image by SCOTTCHAN via Shutterstock

Want more insight about this industry? Follow our Green Business channel.

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How to Live the Difference Between Money & Wealth

How to live the difference between money and wealth

When you consider how many people seem to have money, they aren’t the same as the people who are wealthy.The distinction is worth considering. Money is a symbol, often an empty one. Weapons, pornography, and gambling will always make money, because greed, fear, and sex are permanent. Wealth, on the other hand, is based on values. If you can fulfill a value as it arises from society, the opportunity for wealth is made possible.


Wealth circulates, keeping a society vital and alive. After Spain plundered the New World, it captured an enormous horde of gold and silver, but within a century its economy collapsed. Greed and inflation were a deadly combination, but at heart the habit of hoarding seems to have been the real culprit. A monied economy never turned into a wealthy one. In the Great Depression and the recent Great Recession, vast sums of money sat on the sidelines, doing nothing to invest, renew the economy, or aid the unemployed. As a result, even though the world was awash in money, people felt insecure and hopeless – they lived by the psychology of poverty, not wealth.

I’m not preaching the evils of money – symbols can be interpreted any way one chooses. They are essentially empty on their own. But a psychology of wealth needs to be present for success to truly matter. You are in a wealth mode when any of the following are present:


You fulfill a worthy need.

You are the steward of money, not its slave or master.

You deliver the greatest good to the greatest number.

You add to the meaning and purpose of life, both your life and the life of others.

You benefit the planet rather than despoil it.

You raise the level of consciousness in society.

You have a vision that will live on after you are no longer here. Wealth gives us a reason to forgive the wrongs inflicted by callous, greedy money. I realize that this is a tall order. The wounds suffered by ordinary people at the hands of monied people are grievous. The widening gap between the haves and have nots isn’t value neutral, although various factions would like to portray it that way. To be on the right side of a value system is a mark of wealth, which is one reason benefactors are honored long after the greedy are forgotten.

by Deepak Chopra

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It’s really not easy being green!!

Alium Partners Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Sustainability champion Alison Young draws on a variety of sources and shares her thoughts on the positive effects that a long term, 360-degree CSR  policy can have on a business.  Discover her findings below.

If CSR and sustainability are your main job focus, then sometimes it can be a struggle for your “green work” to be as effective as you want it to be – especially amongst all the other “business priorities”. Indeed, an article I read recently reminded me just how challenging some businesses can find it to be environmentally minded. With the imaginative title It’s Not Easy Being Green –  I would agree.

Making Corporate Social Responsibility Work

In order for CSR to work well, you need to be able to assess all aspects of the business: from how sustainable it is, to recycling food waste from employees, to a paperless office, to energy and to the supply chain and logistics – the list is endless… but the financial return for correct implementation are clear.

The study referenced in the article shows that CSR is something that is now defined as an outlook which takes the future generations into account, but also makes organisations manage what they term ‘the triple bottom line’: economic, social and environmental factors.   The study showed that there were no quick wins with implementing a viable corporate social responsibility programme and whilst there are small things to do in the short term: recycling, switching to Green energy companies, becoming a paperless office etc., performance seemed to improve almost two years after a firm implemented both the environmental and social supply chain management. As the report says: “Companies must  take a  patient, holistic approach that includes both environmental and social endeavours.”

As a relatively small interim management business here in the City, I can see the benefit of becoming a more sustainable and green business, not just for the good of our wider community, but for business performance overall. As a result  we are looking at partnerships with other organisations to pool knowledge such as Heart of the City, and improve our corporate social responsibility policies to make ourselves not only a more sustainable business, but also in order to work with a wider range of clients – a double impact which many companies miss out on.

As the article states, those companies who are more sustainable and green-minded do better financially, and the more work we are tendering for, the more we see this. Corporate social responsibility should be all encompassing and not just focus on one area. The benefits, in the long term, are clear for all to see.

What do you think are the benefits of CSR in business today? Have you seen our recent blog posts on business sustainability? How well does your business implement CSR?  Please share your thoughts with us and kick-start the discussion.

Photo Credit: Easy Company

by Alium Partners, Alison Young


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Sustainable society – one step back? (only in swedish)

Regeringen beslutar om lättnader för bensinmackar

Är detta vägen vi ska vandra för att nå en långsiktig hållbarhet? Krävs inte ibland en grad av uppoffring och “tvång” för att nå ett steg längre?

Var är incitamenten för att få fram nya alternativ och skattebefria i större grad? För vi vill väl få ett mindre oljeberoende inom fordonsindustrin eller …kanske inte till vilket pris som helst?

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Is this our overall focus when we connect sustainability – economics over a longer time period? What should our focus actually be?

“Using a large sample of U.S. public firms from 1995 to 2009, we find a significantly negative association between firms’ corporate social responsibility performance and one-year-ahead stock price crash risk, suggesting that socially responsible firms have a lower future stock price crash risk. The results are robust after controlling for other predictors of future stock price crash risk identified in prior studies, including divergence of investor opinion, past returns, firm size, and accounting opaqueness.”

Greater social responsibility means less “hoarding” of bad news

The authors argue that the key dynamic in why firms with strong corporate social responsibility have less crash risk is that socially responsible firms commit to a high standard of transparency and rarely delay announcing bad news. They point to a number of studies that show when senior management withholds bad news from investors due to career and compensation concerns, that means bad news accumulates and eventually reaches a tipping point and comes out all at once, often leading to a stock price crash.

Corporate social responsibility especially important for firms with less effective corporate governance

Another finding of interest in the study was that firms with strong corporate social responsibility but relatively weak corporate governance did not have a high risk of crashes. This means these firms are in effect “protected” from crashes by their high CSR. High CSR scores did not mean less risk of crashes for companies with strong corporate governance, but this makes sense as strong corporate governance itself prevents the behaviors that lead to crashes.

“We find that when firms have less effective corporate governance (indicated by lower governance ratings by MSCI ESG, CEO being the chairman of the board, and lower shareholder rights based on the Gompers et al. (2003) governance index) or a lower level of long-term institutional ownership, the negative relation between corporate social responsibility and future crash risk is significant. On the other hand, when firms have more effective corporate governance or a higher long-term institutional ownership, CSR does not appear to have a significant impact on crash risk. The results are consistent with the notion that the role of CSR in reducing stock price crash risk is particularly important when internal monitoring by the boards or external monitoring by institutional investors is weak.”

The authors of the article, Yongtae Kim, Haidan Li and Siqi Li, undertook a study investigating whether corporate social responsibility (CSR) mitigates or contributes to stock price crash risk.

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