Elephant Art by Samantha Taylor

Conscious Commerce Predictions: Accelerating Transition to a Circular Economy

Our turbulent political climate, world disasters and unprecedented events is fueling businesses, individuals to collaborate on tackling key challenges facing the planet and threats to humanity.  

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By 2050 there will be 9.7 billion people on the planet, half of them will be in water-stressed regions, requiring 50 percent more energy. 

While progress has been made in support of the Sustainability Development (SDG’s) goals, gaps ensue mitigating climate change’s disruptions on peoples lives and economies, the circular economy, a $4.5 trillion opportunity, according to Accenture, is the new driver for innovation across industries, product lifecycles and global supply chains.

While attention on plastic waste, including bans on plastic bags and straws, is advocating sustainability, more effective programs are needed to address resource scarcity and climate threats, respond to societal pressure to preserve our planet for future generations. 

This transition requires companies, retailers, and consumers to adopt a systemic approach to developing new models that use less natural resources, tackle climate change, generate more economic growth and influence buying patterns. 

With escalating concerns about pollution, habitat loss and exploitation of natural resources, businesses are under pressure from investors, civil society and consumers to tackle these challenges.

A recap of the top realities we face:

Oceans: Nearly half of the ocean’s marine populations have declined over the last 45 years. About 13 million tones of plastic leak into our oceans every year, harming biodiversity, economies and health.  By 2050, there will be more plastic than fish if we keep producing (and failing to properly dispose of) plastics at predicted rates, plastics in the ocean will outweigh fish pound for pound in 2050, according to a report by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and World Economic Forum. 

Wildlife Species:  In just 20 years African elephants could be gone.  Despite the ivory ban in 1989, elephants continue to be slaughtered with only half the number of elephants left. Approximately 100 African elephants are killed each day by poachers seeking ivory leaving only 430,000 remaining. Elephants are a critical species as they create and maintain the ecosystems in which they live and for other plant and animal species to also survive.

Waste: Businesses are the largest producers of hardware waste and recyclables, with a study finding that £40 billion worth of hardware materials are in the bin. Consumers are discarding usable devices to get the latest new gadget or technology. The amount of annual waste is expected to increase globally to 51 million tons a year due to the digital economy. 

Forests: Warmer temperatures and changing precipitation patterns are driving forests northward, to higher elevation. Changing forest health and range has implications far beyond what types of trees will succeed. Trees are a major backbone of ecosystems that birds and other wildlife rely on for survival. If there is such an abrupt change in the natural landscape, the wildlife, the human systems, and the economies that rely on those systems will be challenged to keep pace with the rate of change.

Global Warming:  Global emissions are reaching record levels and show no sign of peaking. The last four years were the four hottest on record, and winter temperatures in the Arctic have risen by 3°C since 1990. Sea levels are rising, coral reefs are dying, and we are starting to see the life-threatening impact of climate change on health, through air pollution, heat waves and risks to food security. 

Reputation Dynamics Predictions:

What will be key to success for a circular economy for the long-term will be ‘inclusiveness’ towards devising holistic approaches to embrace key social and environmental trends:  

Growth of Consumer Power and Activism:  Recent research by consultancy firm Deloitte revealed over 80 percent of Millennials across Australia, Canada, China, India, the UK and the US find it important for companies to behave ethically and take steps to diminish their environmental impact. Consumers aged 25-35 are projected to spend 150 billion US dollars on sustainable goods by 2021.

Disaster Relief and Recovery: 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, such as affordable housing, trees and parks, mass transport and urban infrastructure; and resilience for the urban poor.

Growth of Sustainability Incentives: As corporations determine metrics, suppliers are incentivized to be more sustainable. For example Project Gigaton is a Walmart initiative to avoid one billion metric tons (a gigaton) of greenhouse gases from the global value chain by 2030. Suppliers can take their sustainability efforts to the next level through goal setting and receive credits. 

Urbanization: Nearly 70 percent of the world’s population (6.7 billion), are projected to live in urban areas. This calls for new innovative designs for cities and living spaces to include water resource protection, renewable energy, food is grown locally, supporting diverse cultures, population migration patterns and carbon-neutral infrastructures. 

Plant a Tree: Urban forests are dynamic ecosystems that provide critical benefits to people and wildlife. Urban forests help to filter air and water, control storm water, conserve energy, and provide shade. By reducing noise and providing places to recreate, urban forests strengthen social cohesion, spur community revitalization, and add economic value to our communities. American Forests, the oldest conservation organization in the US, is dedicated to protecting and restoring healthy forest ecosystems with a goal to plant a further 3 million trees.

Conclusion: A strong business case is a priority for companies looking to adopt effective circular economy practices. With financial incentives for businesses to shift to 100% renewable energy, adopting the circular model represents environmental conservation as an economic opportunity while restoring and building resilient communities for the long-term. 

It will transform our relationships as consumers, our buying habits, selection of clothes, food, utilities and choice of materials. 

However, what is fundamental to success is to treat our materials as precious resources, convene more alliances, work across multiple industry sectors, break down silos, and enforce action on a united front.   

It’s that Simple. Plant a Tree Today: www.americanforests.org

By: Samantha Taylor - Founder of Reputation Dynamics 

Since 2005, Reputation Dynamics (RD) has been committed to addressing social, environmental and human justice issues. RD mobilizes 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

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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Reputation Dynamics and #GivingTuesday

Reputation Dynamics (RD) is proud to support #GivingTuesday by forming inclusive partnerships, mobilizing collective action between the for-profit and nonprofit sectors. 

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We are committed to building resilient communities, advancing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) citing no poverty, gender equality, life on land and partnerships among top priorities.  

Public-private sector partnerships will continue to be essential for devising solutions for complex global issues associated with climate change threats. 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. 

As we celebrate our national day of giving, it is important to work together collectively to address our pressing world issues. 

Example initiatives to support for the holidays:

American Forestswww.americanforests.org

American Forests inspires and advances the conservation of forests, which are essential to life.  American Forests has been restoring forests for more than 140 years. And, while we may be the oldest national conservation organization, our work today is more important than ever. Since 1990 alone, we have planted nearly 60 million trees in forest restoration projects in all 50 states.  

Help American Forests reach their goal to plant 3 million trees in 2018, expand tree canopy and improve the quality of life for residents in cities. 

Donationhttps://www.americanforests.org/ways-to-give/donate-now/

Protect the Endangered Elephant Species - Elephant Art - by Samantha Taylor.

More than 50 elephants die every day from poaching, hunting and other conflicts with people. Purchase a custom designed T-shirt, greetings cards or painting with proceeds benefiting the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust in Nairobi, Kenya. 

Linkhttps://www.reputation-dynamics.com/elephantartshop/

We remain an integral member of a global economy and challenges need to be addressed on a united front, continuing to learn from other cultures, political environments and devising new approaches for improving the livelihoods of low-income communities.  

Reputation Dynamics welcomes the opportunity to learn more about your #GivingTuesday initiatives, exchange knowledge and explore opportunities to collaborate.

With gratitude,

Samantha Taylor, Founder and President of Reputation Dynamics

Image Credit: WANAWAKE WATATU - Three Women

Watercolor painting by Samantha Taylor

Enquiries and Inventory: sam@reputation-dynamics.com

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