The year 2015 was significant in the sustainability movement. Even the pope noted in his 180 page encyclical, “Laudito Si”- a manifesto asking us to reconsider how we treat each other and making a strong case for addressing climate change and massive consumerism. It would be easy to get lost in a document this size, but what stood out to MET is his request to create a better world for our children than the one we have created for ourselves.
What other landmark events happened in 2015 in the world of sustainability?
- Paris announced it will tackle climate change. Over 180 countries pledged to collectively cut carbon emissions with potentially huge repercussions for businesses.
- China affirmed that they will implement a carbon cap and trade system. England said it would phase out coal plants by 2025 and in the U.S., the Keystone Pipeline was vetoed by President Obama.
- Many large and influential companies stated they are backing substantial action towards climate improvement. These companies included the banking, apparel and even the oil industries. Some of those names include Bank of America, JP Morgan, Wells Fargo, Levi, Gap, Adidas, BP and Shell. And that is not a complete list.
- Companies like Apple, HP, Kaiser Permanente and Google are taking direct action to reduce their carbon output. And Wallstreet is waking up to the idea of sustainability. Blackrock’s CEO, Larry Fink, with an estimated $4.7 trillion in assets, penned a letter in April of 2015 to S & P 500 CEO’s suggesting investment for long-term and to stop investing in buybacks and dividends. Morgan Stanley stepped in and raised their stock price target for groups like Nike and Hanesbrands “based on how well they manage environmental, social and governance issues.”
- Last year studies showed that millennials are twice as likely to buy from brands who practice good management of environmental and social issues. This is transcending directly into most, if not all industries including the food arena with a very notable “clean label” movement, as well as demands for better ingredients and sustainable practices in personal products.
From the actions of last year, it is clear there is a real movement occurring in sustainability and the players are significant. It’s encouraging and lends hope to the continuing progression of sustainable business practices moving forward. MET believes this applies to anyone in business, not just the Fortune 500 companies or industry leaders. Even the smallest businesses who participate will help bridge the gap. Will yours be the next company to join the movement?