Sustainable Business Consulting

The Bloomberg Sustainable Business Summit in Seattle brought together investors, innovators, and sustainability pioneers to discuss the future of sustainable investing. It’s not news that doing good is good for business, but the rapid pace of climate change and rising inequality means that business as usual is no longer an option. These are the newest sustainable business trends any ESG investor needs to know for a lasting portfolio and a livable future.

The Investor’s Guide to a Sustainable Future: Bloomberg Summit

Bloomberg Sustainable Business Summit Seattle 2019

The Bloomberg Sustainable Business Summit in Seattle brought together investors, innovators, and sustainability pioneers to discuss the future of sustainable investing. It’s not news that doing good is good for business, but the rapid pace of climate change and rising inequality means that business as usual is no longer an option. These are the newest sustainable business trends any ESG investor needs to know for a lasting portfolio and a livable future.

  1. AI Predictive Buying Models to End Fast Fashion

Artificial intelligence is more than just a buzzword: it has the capacity to revolutionize the retail industry and integrate green business tactics that are profitable as well. Art Finch, CEO of Gap Inc., explained that the next wave for sustainable apparel and ending fast fashion is making smarter retail buying decisions to ensure that clothes aren’t produced that go to waste. Using predictive modeling technology is an innovation that deserves more attention from investors as it can make buying accurately easier, and cut out the waste, energy, and emissions of producing an item that is destined to end up in a landfill.

  1. The Growth of Smart Cities and Sustainable Communities

Catherine Sheehy from UL argued that the newest technology initiatives will be focused on creating sustainable cities and communities. We also heard from Mayor Jenny Durkan about Seattle’s investments in sustainable initiatives, including introducing electric vehicle charging stations in all parking lots, and adopting 100% clean energy for the city by 2035. In order to create sustainable cities, corporations also need to be on board and innovating at a pace that not only keeps up with government initiatives, but pushes the envelope.

  1. Transparency and Sustainability Reporting for Change

The adage, “if you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it,” holds particularly true with ESG issues. As Veronica Henze of the Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index explained, improved transparency has pushed companies towards growth, and low scores on sustainability reporting frameworks have pushed them to make real change in their social and environmental performance. Her research found, among other examples of growth, that 91% of companies that found gender wage gaps implemented initiatives to resolve them. The first step to progress is assessing your current environmental and social initiatives to identify your weak points and chart your strategy forward.

  1. Investing in Net Zero and Bold Goals

Kate Wilson of Vail Resorts spoke on Vail’s inspiring sustainability journey commitment to net zero to reach zero waste in landfills, zero net emissions, and zero operating impact to forests and natural habitats. She emphasized the need to set bold goals for real progress, coming away with the quote of the day as she explained, “if you’re not setting goals so big that you’re not sure how you’ll reach them, they’re not big enough to solve climate change.” As an investor, serious sustainability commitments and science-based targets are a good barometer for a company’s values. We saw a great example of this recently, as ISS and Glass Lewis, the two largest proxy advisors to institutional investors, supported the Amazon Employees for Climate Change Justice resolution. Wilson was transparent that it might not be a linear journey, and there are ups and downs. However, companies that set strong, ambitious sustainability goals are already ahead of the game.

  1. Sustainable, Nutritious Food Options

One of the most significant ways we’ll feel the effects of climate change is through food. Population and demand are skyrocketing, while at the same time extreme weather, drought, and higher temperatures threaten our agricultural food supply. Investing in alternative food products isn’t just smart investing, it’s necessary for survival. Sarah Pool, CEO of Canvas, explained what it means to rethink health, sustainable food, through natural, environmentally-friendly products like spent grain produced a byproduct from brewers. “We don’t need another product, we need a livable future,” she explained. Investing in clean, natural sources of food is the only way forward for sustainable business.

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