Gem of the day

Case in point why The Nature Conservancy, like most corporate-funded, partnership-dependent NGOs, just doesn't get:

a) The biggest impact of their work on business, especially companies where conservation isn't most material (hint: it's reputational, the halo effect of being seen to work with a global conservation organisation)

b) The changing role of business in the world, especially in relation to government (hint: "megatrends" are called "mega" for a reason, so it's not an "either/or" of government vs. business need to take action)

But I'll let TNC President Mark Tercek speak for himself:

"You’re asking, what’s Coke going to do about its product, or how can they be an even nobler citizen? I don’t know the answer. And it’s not exactly TNC’s job. If Coke’s product is a bad product, I think the government has to say so. That’s my personal answer. I don’t think you can ask a business to not be a business."

Luckily for Tercek there are people out there who know the answer: stop targeting minorities and kids with marketing, price drinks so smaller sizes are best value (full list here), or, even better, just sell less Coke.


Another non-environmental wonder

Generic insight of the day, courtesy of Deloitte (via Bloomberg):

"India is offering a great opportunity for companies to be part of the volume growth...There is continued interest and there will more international players coming into India."


Gem of the day

The 2013 Sustainability Leaders survey is out from Globescan & SustainAbility, and the results aren't surprising. Unless, that is, you happen to think that Coca Cola looks painfully out of place in the top 10 next to the likes of Unilever, Natura and Nike.

First thing's first: Coke is doing a lot on water, setting huge goals like net zero water consumption in its operations that the company hardly has any idea how to achieve. But in a year where we saw the obesity epidemic finally rising to panic button levels, Coke's sports-as-medicine strategy that places the burden 100% on people to "consume responsibly" is starting to make the soft drinks industry look like the new tobacco (Franck Riboud was already saying this at Danone 7 years ago, and the company refocused its business on healthy products as a result).

Companies that deserve to be on a leadership list are those that are not only accepting responsibility for, but truly leading an effort to transform their most material impacts into net benefits for everyone. Unilever on personal resource efficiency and sanitation at scale, Natura on biodiversity and Nike on innovation driven by sustainable materials fit that description - or at least have set the kinds of long-term goals that commit them 100% to getting there.

Until Coke's board gets real about the obesity crisis and the central role of its products in fueling it - and that includes stopping its ridiculous 1990s-esque attempts to stymie any and all regulation, read it and weep - they don't belong in such company.