An independent consultant specialising in helping major multinationals deliver collaborative sustainability related programmes.
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As people in the group are committed to high quality discussions and thought-provoking information sharing around the topics of Sustainability, can I recommend the Sustainability Professionals group on LinkedIn. Who knows we may find enough new support and interest there to bring more people across to OneThing in the future but at the moment a "quiet room" is the last place I want to be to catch up with the "latest buzz" on Sustainability... Sorry, but I would love to see a genuine thriving Sustainability dialogue irrespective of the platform that makes it happen...
Jodi, thank you for being a real voice of common sense. Part of the issue in Brazil is the backlash against palm oil in Malaysia and Indonesia drove a high degree of substitution from palm to soy, which takes 7x as much land to produce the same amount of oil. Your points about farmers seeking to make a living are also incredibly accurate and much more empathic than "let's sign a petition", "let's get the placards and have a protest".
If there is one thing that we can do, it is to maintain a broad-based holistic view to Sustainability and ensure that we really do focus on long-term vision. In 20 years time we have 2 billion extra mouths to feed - unless we plan appropriately for climate smart agriculture, optimised land productivity (without soil degradation) then we will all be in deep trouble. We actually need economically attractive agricultural practices that are also sensible for the soil, water consumption and the environment - it is possible but it will not be achieved by ranting against Big Food, Big Ag and Big Government (even though Bolsonaro is clearly an idiot of the highest order, perhaps only second to one with bouffant orange hair!)
One factor to bear in mind is that the backlash against Palm Oil created a vastly increased demand for Soy which is predominantly grown in Brazil and encouraged demand for new agricultural land and new forest clearances. Only difference is that it takes 7 times as much land to produce the same quantity of oil - unintended consequences perhaps?
I've designed and delivered a 10 year framework agreement called a UN SDG Global Compact together with GIZ for German fragrance and flavor organisation, Symrise. It will be launching into the public domain over the next few weeks. Called "Bridging The Gap" it aims to strengthen the resilience of rural agro-economies in emerging markets through creating opportunities for inter-generational knowledge transfer and enabling youth to enter into rural employment (either through creating or sustaining jobs) in farming and extension services. By helping farmers get smarter, it will strengthen communities and create greater resilience and self-empowerment.
All projects deliver against a minimum 2 SDGs + SDG#17; all comply with UN Global Compact and all have KPI's and impact measures that correspond to one of the Targets / Indicators of the SDG thus enabling a "laddering up" of cumulative impact.
Using the SDG's in both qualitative (narrative reporting against an individual Goal) and quantitative (data reporting against the Targets/Indicators) gives a robust way of representing and ultimately visualising the total programme impact.
We expect we will be presenting this at different conferences (though we refuse pay-to-say invitations - "Gold Sponsor" type situations) in the coming months.
Had an interesting one in a developing nation visit at the end of a meeting with a group of women farmers in a cooperative; having had many questions answered, I did my usual and asked if they had any questions for us. One courageous woman asked me about Feminine Hygiene products, not exactly my area of expertise, however I am well connected into the world of P&G and J&J who are two of the biggest manufacturers and indeed are able to help... what was interesting was the immediate reactions of two NGO partners who cautioned me about answering despite the fact that they had been encouraging more women to speak up.
So this brave (aka stupid) man answered with empathy, sensitivity and with 100% respect for the courageous women asking the question. Regrettably gender inequality, feminine hygiene and menstruation linked prejudices are active in the world (I choose not to mention the country nor the NGO in order to avoid embarrassing anyone).
It is sad that gender bias on something as natural as menstruation is a problem in some cultures, it is even sadder that some of the problem emanates from older women chastising younger women about how they deal with the situation... but that just goes to show that you have to tackle inter-generational issues as well as gender-boundary spanning issues.
Wanted to share an almost bizarre situation I find myself in - helping someone create sustainable cannabis when I have never tried the stuff in my life, and never even smoked regular tobacco (don't get me wrong I'm no saint, just not indulged in those particular 'pleasures').
The request for input came through a friend / colleague who has done fantastic things in a crop that I do really care about, vanilla, and then I identified that my cannabis "friend of a friend" was actually trying to do something good, but was going about it the wrong way.
Have you ever found yourself helping others become sustainable, even though you have zero interest in their product / cause?