ESG: Does Food Waste = Profit Waste?

ESG: Does Food Waste = Profit Waste?

Shockingly, over one-third of all food never makes it from farm to fork. Somewhere along the supply chain, something goes wrong, and an unthinkable portion of otherwise perfectly good food winds up in a landfill.

With over two billion people living in dire poverty, it’s astounding that more hasn’t been invested in reducing this food waste. Is waste a necessary evil in bringing food to the masses? Have current practices topped the cost-benefit curve?

Per a recent study, the contrary is true. Conducted by Champions 12.3, The Business Case for Reducing Food Loss and Waste found that for every $1 invested in food waste and loss reduction, companies saved $14 in operating costs. Talk about strong ROI.

With this new information at hand, shareholders should be hounding the board of directors and management teams of the companies they own. Opportunities providing a 1,400% return on investment don’t come around every day.

Measurable benefit

Focusing on just one link in the food chain, SASB has deemed food waste and loss a material issue for the restaurant industry. The metrics tracked under sustainability accounting standard SV0203-03 – Food & Packaging Waste Management include amount of weight, percentage food waste, and percentage diverted. SASB describes how this issue can affect a company’s bottom line:

“Food waste results in loss of resources, such as water, energy, land, labor, and capital, and produces greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions as a result of decomposition… Companies that are able to reduce waste through various methods, including food recovery, diverting waste from landfills, and packaging reclamation programs, can reduce waste handling costs and improve operational efficiency.”

Together, this and the above-mentioned study demonstrate the financial benefits that can flow to a company’s bottom line when they focus on becoming more sustainable. Sustainability will help companies become better capitalist institutions, and not just from a “conscious” standpoint. ESG measures corporate sustainability — better serving society’s needs — on the same scale by which it measures increased profitability. ESG also provides data which can help concerned investors hold companies accountable and encourage them to become better corporate citizens.

Harnessing ESG

So how can ESG work for you? Understandably, most investors do not have the time or staff to spend long hours searching through corporate sustainability disclosures. How do you find out how your holdings and potential holdings are performing on such an important metric?

If you’re looking to integrate ESG analysis systematically into your investment process, you could hire consultants and analysts or subscribe to numerous databases for corporate sustainability metrics. This can be quite costly — however, it could be even more costly to simply ignore it.

But if you’re new to the ESG game, or even if you have some experience with ESG but not enough to understand its applications, these measures could be a waste. Make sure you do your homework. Before you invest money in raw data, you must understand the potentials and limitations of ESG and how to most effectively integrate it into your investment process.

There is an easier way to jumpstart your ESG integration process: contact us today and find out how we can help you apply the benefits of ESG to your investments.

Benjamin Webster
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Benjamin Webster is the CEO of OWLshares, a company focused on ESG research and indices. He is a frequent panelist and presenter at industry conferences regarding the use ... Click for full bio

I Have A Brand And It Haunts Me

I Have A Brand And It Haunts Me

I was talking to my pal “Jonas” who recently decided to freelance (vs building a multi-consultant business) when he left a bigger firm to do his own thing.

Jonas is a global talent guy who works across the planet for some of the world’s most well known companies. He decided his best play—the one that would allow him to focus on what he loves most and live the life he’s planned—is to freelance for other firms.

His plan got off to a bit of a rocky start because—get this—none of the firms he approached believed he’d actually want to “just” freelance. He’d earned his rep by steadily building deep, brand name client relationships, practices and business, not by going off by himself as a solo.

Or as he put it “I have a brand and it haunts me.”

We both had a good belly laugh because he was already rolling in new projects, thrilled with his choice to freelance.

And yet, isn’t that the truth?

Good, bad, indifferent—our brands DO haunt us.

They whisper messages to those in our circle “trust him, he’s the bomb”, “hire her for anything creative as long as your deadline isn’t critical”, “steer clear—he talks a good game but doesn’t deliver”.

And thanks to social media, those messages—good and bad—can accelerate faster than you can imagine. One client, one reader, one buyer can be the pivot point that takes your consulting business to new territory.

So how do you deal with it?

You double-down.

Yep—you go for more of what comes naturally. In Jonas’ case, he stuck with what he’s known for—his work, his relationships, his track record for integrity—and won over any lingering skepticism about his move.

We weather the bumps in the road by staying true to who we are at our core.

So when a potential client says “Sorry, you’re just too expensive for me”, you don’t run out and change your prices. Instead, you listen carefully and realize they aren’t the right fit for your particular brand of expertise and service.

When a social media troll chooses you to lash out at, you ignore them and stay with your true audience—your sweet-spot clients and buyers.

And when your most challenging client tells you it’s time to change your business model to serve them better, you listen closely (there may be some learning here) and—if it doesn’t suit your strengths—you kiss them good-bye.

If your brand isn’t haunting you, is it really much of a brand?

Rochelle Moulton
Brand Strategy
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I am here to make you unforgettable. Which is NOT about fitting in. It IS about spreading ideas that make your clients think, moving hearts and doing work that matters. I’m ... Click for full bio