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Last week—which was unseasonably warm in Brooklyn, New York—I joined the brilliant minds of the Page Society for the organization's Spring Seminar. The mid-80s temperatures served as a reminder of how uncertain the world seems right now, which nodded to the importance of the Seminar's theme: Influence at Work. Influence, as its heart, is about building community: "the dynamics of influence are changing while the work we do reflects humanity's unique ability to collaborate and coordinate our efforts for generations beyond our own." This spring, I would encourage you to examine the power of community, collaboration, and influence within your job, your industry, and beyond.
It's cool to be a local.
That includes shopping locally: 53% of global consumers say shopping with local and small businesses gives back to communities and gives them more purpose in their shopping habits. In the U.S., 63% of consumers say they try to buy from local companies whenever possible. Going local isn't just for small businesses, though. Brands from McDonald's to Nike are launching efforts to highlight the impact of local communities on their products and businesses. // Sustainable Brands: Localism: A new opportunity for brands to build trust, authenticity, and customer loyalty
Going in circles.
The concept of reduce, reuse, recycle is well known among most consumers, but circularity is less familiar to the average shopper. Circular systems are "those that avoid drawing on virgin materials or result in landfill-bound end products," and more companies are embedding them in their operations. Research from AdWeek and Morning Consult shows that only 25% of Americans have seen references to the circular economy in brand messaging. This presents an opportunity for marketers to help educate consumers about how circular systems work and why they're good for the planet. // Adweek: Most people have not heard of the circular economy. Marketers can help.
Troubled times for ESG.
Companies are feeling pressured to deprioritize ESG initiatives. New research from The Harris Poll and Google Cloud found that ESG dropped from the number one priority for businesses to third, behind "driving revenue and growth" and "optimizing client relations." 78% of respondents said they felt forced to achieve sustainability-focused results while facing reduced budgets, and 72% cited a desire to advance sustainability initiatives, but were uncertain how to do so. To learn more about how your organization can address short-term barriers to authentic ESG commitments, listen to our latest podcast episode: What is happening with ESG? // Edie: Greenwashing and short-term mindsets: Why is ESG falling down the corporate agenda // SDX Central: Google survey finds execs downgrading sustainability, lying about ESG
Finance, econ, and...sustainability?
Business school curriculum evolves, but rarely sees significant new additions—until now. Nearly half of prospective business school students say sustainability and corporate social responsibility is an "essential" feature of business school curriculum. This interest extends beyond the degree, with respondents indicating that they want to build their careers at companies with a purpose. // Business Because: Nearly half of B-school candidates feel sustainability is essential to the curriculum
Over the past few months, ESG has come under fire as politicians challenge whether ESG factors should be considered by investment managers and state pension funds. Listen for insights from Judy Samuelson of The Aspen Institute and David Young of BCG on how the industry can shift the conversation away from politics and to better business and how businesses can remain committed to their sustainability commitments.