There is a nearly constant scroll of bad news passing before our eyes, from rampant income inequality and raging wildfires to climate devastation and white nationalists in the Oval Office. Somehow, though, the stock market just keeps chugging along. Corporate profits are up, so in the eyes of the average news consumer, the economy is “strong.” But what factors are we missing in this declaration of strength? This week on Sea Change Radio, we discuss the state of the financial services industry with Graham Sinclair, who has worked in the field for over a decade. He helps people who are hell-bent on maximizing profits start to take other things into account, like social justice and the environment. Sinclair tells us what resonates with these financial services professionals, what trends he sees in the industry, and what gives him hope about it moving forward.
Take a look at the shoes you’re wearing right now. You’ve probably logged more than a few miles in them already. But what kind of journey did they take before they ended up on your feet? This week on Sea Change Radio, we speak to Spencer Wise, an author whose debut novel, The Emperor of Shoes, is set in an international shoe-manufacturing enterprise. We discuss the labor conditions of the Chinese shoe factories Wise visited, explore the environmentally treacherous practices of leather tanning, and talk about how over generations a small family business moved into the modern global economy.
What is meant by “enlightened self-interest,” and how does it inform consumer decisions? Shel Horowitz, a profitability and marketing consultant for green and sustainable businesses, thinks that moving forward, more and more of us will be doing our own legwork when it comes to making well-informed purchasing decisions. Furthermore, he thinks that more socially-responsible consumer choices have a hidden bonus: more profit. This week on Sea Change Radio, we speak to Horowitz about the ripple effect of socially-responsible business practices into developing nations, talk about the business edge that comes with being a socially responsible company, and break down the role of the general public in all of this. Then, we dig into the Sea Change Radio archives and speak with Maya Van Rossum to learn about her organization, the Delaware Riverkeepers, and her book, the Green Amendment.
Many sports fans are familiar with this dilemma: do I want my team to put everything on the line to win now or would I prefer that my team take its time and try to methodically build a long term successful franchise? This is very similar to the quandary that investors, stakeholders and management at some of the world’s most powerful companies find themselves facing. This week on Sea Change Radio, we speak to John Wilson, the head of Corporate Governance for Cornerstone Capital. Wilson and host Alex Wise discuss how managers balance trying to please dividend-hungry shareholders with keeping an eye on the future, how automation will affect the global economy, and how all of this is ultimately an issue of sustainability.
What will it take to get the CEOs of the world’s largest fossil fuel companies to wake up to the realities of climate change? Our guest this week on Sea Change Radio is Raj Thamotheram. He and his colleagues at Preventable Surprises believe that even small-scale investors can produce large-scale results by advocating for sounder environmental practices within the board rooms of multinational conglomerates. Thamotheram breaks down his approach to investor engagement, known as the Forceful Stewardship Program, and maps out a strategy for companies to satisfy investors without putting the planet in peril.
Calories and sustainability issues aside, would you eat at Chick-fil-A despite the publicly anti-gay positions of its owners? Would a corporation’s discriminatory employment policies deter you from buying shares in it? Millions of Americans have changed their consumer habits based on whether they perceive corporations to be behaving in socially responsible ways. This week on Sea Change Radio, host Alex Wise speaks with John Wilson, the Head of Corporate Governance at Cornerstone Capital Group, about the how the fight for LGBT equality has seeped into mainstream corporate America. They discuss the religious roots of the corporate social responsibility movement, talk about how religion and progressive values are squaring off in North Carolina’s civil rights battle, and contemplate the impact of the most profitable company in the world being led by a proudly gay man.
The environmental impact of any business enterprise depends on the specific environmental conditions and challenges that exist where that enterprise is doing business. So a dairy in Vermont, where the water tables are high but solar energy is more intermittent, will have a different set of environmental factors to consider than a dairy in dry and sunny Arizona. In other words, sustainability planning is context-specific. Today we talk with Sea Change Radio founder Bill Baue who consults in sustainability planning with businesses around the world. He explains sustainability context, discusses why commerce should be driven by stakeholders rather than shareholders, and points to Volkswagen as an example of what can go wrong when profit dominates good sense and stewardship.
It’s that time of year, again: the season of giving…or at least the season of buying. When you’re perusing the shelves, be they virtual or actual, what matters to you? Beyond price, quality and value what about knowing how the company that made this product treats its workers, the extent to which production depletes natural resources, and what impact this product has on the environment? Many of us care about these things in the abstract, but it would be awfully arduous to research all of that while we are out there trying to get our shopping done. If only there were an app. But there is! Continue reading
[amazon-product align=”right”]142216781X[/amazon-product]When we think of resiliency, we usually think of a gritty, comeback story, or a resilient economy – but can a company be resilient too? If you consider that, of the world’s 100 largest economies in terms of revenue, 37 of them are corporations, making companies more resilient starts to make more sense.
This week’s guest on Sea Change Radio, Andrew Winston is a sustainability consultant and author who is working to make big corporations understand that they have just as much of an obligation to the planet and community as they do to their shareholders. He and host Alex Wise discuss what Winston dubs The Big Pivot, the need for these large corporations, just like many countries, to use science-based goals to reduce their carbon footprint, embrace renewable energy, and to develop a green strategy that is much more than just window-dressing.
Last week on Sea Change Radio, we spoke with Stacy Mitchell, a researcher and author who believes that Walmart’s sustainability efforts over the past five or six years have only disguised, not improved the tremendous detrimental effects caused by the world’s largest retailer. This week, we hear from a business and sustainability reporter who has a different perspective on Walmart’s green campaign. Marc Gunther thinks that while Walmart still has a long way to go to become a truly responsible corporation, the company’s work in this area represents important steps in the right direction. Gunther and host Alex Wise discuss the parallels of Walmart and Apple’s supply chain troubles including slave-like labor conditions in China, and look at the Walmart situation from both a management and consumer perspective. After hearing both Stacy Mitchell last week and Marc Gunther this week, Sea Change Radio invites you to draw your own conclusions about this retail giant.