Climate Change

Conscious Commerce Trends for 2019: Ecosystem Resilience: ‘Ground Control to Major Tom’

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Our turbulent political climate, daunting outcomes of climate change and world disasters continues to mobilize businesses, individuals to collaborate on saving lives and tackle environmental issues.

Yet, billions remain in poverty, increasing numbers of people displaced by unprecedented natural disasters causing them to lose their homes, and complex patterns of people migration seeking a better life for their families.

While progress has been made in support of the Sustainability Development (SDG’s) goals, gaps ensue mitigating climate change, gender equality, and devising concrete solutions for people displaced by wars and natural disasters. 

 ‘All in all it’s just another brick in the wall’ 

Building a border wall between the U.S. and Mexico is not the sole answer to our problems and merely filters what you don’t want to see, emphasizing the spotlight on the realities of life, similarities with other international borders, peoples pain and suffering.

The nearly 2000 miles of U.S./Mexican border traversing desert, river, mountain and sea, is a place of heritage, ethnic diversity, diverse terrain, a legacy of land ownership and agriculture, hope and survival of mankind in pursuit of a better way of life. 

The political views represented among the 7.5 million residents in U.S. border counties span supporters of Trump’s wall, those who see their future - and the future of America - as being inextricably linked to that of their neighbors to the South, North, East and West. 

To be sure, Indigenous populations were there long before us and before their land was divided. 

 It is a global problem that is not unique to the U.S. and no one-size ‘brick’ or ‘wall’ to fit all.

 A recap of the top realities we face:

Women in Poverty: More than one in eight women in the U.S., 16.9 million lived in poverty last year. Poverty rates were particularly high for families headed by single mothers - 1 in 3 (36.5 percent) lived in poverty.  14.5 million poor children, more than half, live in families headed by women.  

Forced People Displacement: Wars, violence and persecution uprooted record numbers of men, women and children worldwide, making a new global deal on refugees more critical than ever.  The UN Refugee Agency’s annual Global Trends study found 68.5 million people had been driven from their homes across the world at the end of 2017.

Climate Change:  A recent IPCC report has underscored we only have 12 years to limit climate change catastrophe and urgent need to cut risk of extreme heat, drought, floods and poverty. The world is currently 1C warmer than preindustrial levels. Following devastating hurricanes in the US, record droughts in Cape Town and forest fires in the Arctic, the IPCC makes clear that climate change is already happening, upgraded its risk warning from previous reports, and warned that every fraction of additional warming would worsen the impact.

Threatened Wildlife Species: African elephants remain under severe threat from poaching, habitat loss, and human-wildlife conflict.  In the 1970s, Africa was home to more than 1.3 million elephants. Today, 415,000 remain. 

Lack of Education in Africa: In sub-Saharan Africa, 9 million girls between the ages of about 6 and 11 will never go to school at all, compared to 6 million boys, according to UIS data. Their disadvantage starts early: 23% of girls are out of primary school compared to 19% of boys. 

Reputation Dynamics Predictions for 2019: 

What will be key to success for building resilience communities for the long-term will be ‘inclusiveness’ towards devising holistic approaches and solutions for restoring ecosystems that include multiple stakeholders including indigenous populations, women and refugees.   Specifically for:

Empowerment of Women and Girls:  Empowering women to participate fully in economic life is essential to build stronger economies and improve the quality of life for women, men, families and communities, including raising the bar on sector expertise and programs that enable economic security, mitigate domestic violence, close gender gaps in the workplace and communities at large.

Preservation of Forests:  Forests are a stabilizing force for mitigating climate change. They regulate ecosystems, protect biodiversity, play an integral part in the carbon cycle, support livelihoods, and supply goods and services that can drive sustainable growth. Approximately 2.6 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide, one-third of the CO2 released from burning fossil fuels, is absorbed by forests every year. Estimates show that nearly two billion hectares of degraded land across the world – an area the size of South America – offer opportunities for restoration. 

Refugees in Protracted Exile Need Education: Refugee camps and villages show characteristics of short-term settlements, children are born, families are finding ways to survive, and communities hosting refugees are struggling with how to live, work and go to school together. Education plays a particularly vital role for those who are displaced and rebuilding their communities. 

Urban and Rural Development: With the increasing number of natural disasters, corporations, emergence of mission-critical foundations and nonprofits are re-thinking approaches to disaster relief and recovery efforts. While many organizations will continue to provide immediate relief to victims of natural disasters through cash grants and product donations, companies are taking a more pro-active approach to restoring and building resilient communities for the long-term. 

Tapping the Next Generation: Today, employees, particularly millennials, are passionate about social causes that benefit the greater good and expects to work for a company that supports causes they care about. Millennials will make up 75 percent of the workforce by 2025 and they are looking for socially responsible employers.  Companies must improve how they advocate, market and align with their philanthropic commitments via experiential digital and mobile network communications.

Conclusion:  For the SDGs to be successfulthe co-creation of programs at the local and global level with businesses, academia, civil society/nonprofits will continue to be essential for restoring and building resilient communities for underserved populations. However, what is fundamental to success is to convene more alliances, break down silos, enforce dialogue and action on a more inclusive front.  

By: Samantha Taylor - Founder of Reputation Dynamics

Since 2005, Reputation Dynamics (RD) has been committed to addressing social, environmental and human justice issues. RD mobiizes corporations, NGOs/civil society and academia to devise share-valued approaches and develop inclusive partnerships.

I look forward to connecting with peers who are making the world a better place, advancing the Sustainable Development Goals. Please contact me at:  

sam@reputation-dynamics.com

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Conscious Commerce: Realities of “Years of Living Dangerously”

images Protection of Forests: Critical For Future Generations

Deforestation is an increasing contributor to global warming and environmental change impacting the health and well-being of the most rural communities. To be sure, the transformation of forested lands by human actions and the removal of trees without sufficient reforestation is one of the greatest drivers of biodiversity destruction, conflict, loss of habitat and wildlife species, and poverty.

‘Realities at a Glance’

  • We are losing 137 plant, animal and insect species every single day due to rainforest deforestation, which equates to 50,000 species a year.
  • Regions such as Indonesia lost more than 6 million hectares of its primary forest -- an area the size of England -- from 2000 to 2012.*
  • About one half of the forests that covered the Earth are gone with only 40 billion hectares remaining today.
  • There are fewer than 300,000 chimpanzees remaining in the wild.
  • Only about 22% of the world's original forest cover remains "intact" – contained in three areas: the Canadian and Alaskan boreal forest, the boreal forest of Russia, and the tropical forest of the northwestern Amazon Basin and the Guyana Shield.**

In addition to the sourcing of paper and palm oil from forests, the impact of human behaviors continues to be profound. Forests are cleared, degraded and fragmented by timber harvest, conversion to agriculture, road-building, fires and in a myriad of other ways. The effort to use and subdue the forest has been a constant theme in the transformation of the earth, across societies and cultures, and is a major source of humanitarian conflict.

‘The Wake Up Call’

Deforestation has important implications for life on this planet. Forests are the foundation of the global ecological system, the lungs of our planet and crucial for the future sustainability and survival of generations.

Increasing population growth combined with poverty forces local communities to use forest resources in unsustainable ways in order to meet their basic needs such as food and water, as well as income generation for farmers and their families.

Meanwhile, with the quest for Africa’s natural resources at an all-time high including palm oil production, competition is rising for the global demand for forest and extractive industry products. Africa also lost 3.4 million hectares of its forested area between 2000 and 2010.***

Moving Beyond ‘Profits with Purpose’

The protection of forests, ecosystems and wildlife species can no longer be solved in isolation and requires more integrated approaches to address the complex challenges and interrelated links with poverty. This includes protecting farmers and their communities to ensure provision of food, shelter, health and skills training.

With the quest for new markets and customers, experts from multiple sectors – corporations, NGOs, fair trade and forestry experts - need to convene on shared value approaches for future ‘Years of Living in Prosperity’ in a globalized economy.

While an increasing number of corporations have committed to using sustainable palm oil and protecting forests, at the most fundamental level, consumers need to be educated about responsible purchasing options, integrity of ingredients and be included into the ‘Call to Action’ to preserve the planet’s natural resources. With the acceptance of corporate responsibility continuing to drive brand reputation and purchasing habits among consumers, behavior changes are needed to influence more responsible purchasing decisions.

Breaking down the systemic barriers to poverty is essential to preserving forests and protecting ecosystems to ensure the provision of basics human needs such as food and water, while developing responsible goods and services in the marketplace.

Traditional models of giving are continuing to evolve with the new sustainability imperative. This will ensure integration across multiple disciplines in the supply chain, while creating programs and product development strategies. These models will align giving at the heart of ‘People Connection’ while protecting families and communities.

In Conclusion: Corporations, supported by NGOs and governments, have profound shared values and our society cannot mitigate pressing social, economic and environmental issues without adapting to the realities of our planet and enlisting support from conscious-driven consumers.

By: Samantha Taylor – Founder of Reputation Dynamics.

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Sources:

  • Years of Living Dangerously: Showtime documentary series about the human impact on climate change
  • *Scientists: Belinda Arunarwati Margono, Fred Stolle: Nature Climate Change
  • **World Resources Institute
  • ***FAO Global Resources Assessment 2010