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

NBA Player Carl Landry Demonstrates the Value of Persistence in Life and Work

NBA Player Carl Landry Demonstrates the Value of Persistence in Life and Work

Written by: Jon Sabes

When you meet Carl Landry, stand-out college basketball player and nine-year NBA player, you imagine that becoming a professional basketball star was a straight forward run for the 6-foot-nine-inch power forward. 

However, when you go deeper into Carl’s background, becoming a NBA professional was less than certain and little came easily to the 33-year-old from Milwaukee:

  • He was cut from his high school team as a freshman and averaged less than ten points a game when he did play as a senior.
  • He started his college career not at Purdue, but a junior college where it was not clear he would play.
  • When he finally got to Purdue, he tore his ACL in his knee his first year and reinjured it the next year.
  • While his family held a party for him the night of the NBA draft, he slept in the Philadelphia airport after missing a flight following a workout for the 76ers.
  • In the NBA playoffs, Carl had a tooth knocked out, but came back in the same game to make a game-winning blocked shot as the Rockets beat the Utah Jazz 94-92.

Landry, who I interviewed on my podcast, Innovating Life with Jon Sabes (, is a remarkable example of the value of “persistence.” In a time where technology creates the image that anything is possible at the touch of a button, persistence is an under-appreciated trait. When I spoke with Carl, I clearly saw someone for whom success has only come through a force of will that made him a NBA player, but it also made him a better player every year he played. That’s the kind of personality that has produced greatness in business as well as sports.

Carl was, in fact, drafted that night he spent in the airport. The Seattle Supersonics chose him as the 31st overall pick and then traded him to the Houston Rockets where he rode the bench for much of the first half of the season. When All-Star teammate Yao Ming was injured, he stepped in and played a key role in the Rockets astonishing 22-game winning streak (the third longest streak in NBA history). And, that season, after sitting on the bench for 33 of the first 36 games, he was named to the All-Rookie second team.

Carl was the first in his family to go to college. “I told myself that this was my ticket out, so I did everything I possibly could to be the best person in school and also on the court,” he said.

His family life in Milwaukee showed him what he didn’t want to do. “Just being honest with you, seeing some my cousins, peers, they went to work for jobs paying six, seven dollars an hour or they didn’t go to work at all and then living off welfare. I didn’t want that.”

When he was first injured, he had to contemplate the end of a career before it even got started. “When you have an ACL tear, it’s over…no more basketball,” he told me. “I said, God, give me health again and I’ll do everything I can to leave it all out on the line and be a successful individual.”

On my podcast, Carl pointed out another interesting lesson he learned in the NBA: Not doing things just to fit in.

“Fitting in was easy,” he said. “Doing everything that everybody else does was easy. If I stood out in some type of way, I’m going to have different results. I’m going to have stand-out results.”

That’s called the “Law of Contrast” and it produces that exact effect of changing the outcomes that everyone else is experiencing.  Carl is smart, he recognized that differences make a difference, and doing whatever it takes is what is required to make real, meaningful differences.

Every off-season for the last 11 years, he has run a camp for kids in Milwaukee where he tells youth his story of hard work and persistence. “I always tell the kids to apply themselves and always be persistent,” he said. “If you dream, apply yourself and be persistent. With hard work, man, the sky’s the limit.”

When Carl says the sky’s the limit he means it.  He is smart to recognize that it’s important to dream big, because if we don’t – we may be selling ourselves short. “You have to dream bigger than your mind could ever imagine,” he said. “I wanted a nice house. I wanted a nice car. I said, and I got all of that. So, what do I do, do I stop now? Maybe I didn’t dream big enough.” That’s a big statement coming from a kid who grew up to be the first in his family to graduate college and go on to be not only a top NBA basketball start, but a good businessman, father and someone who gives back to the community.

I’m convinced that in whatever he takes on as a basketball player or in his post-hoops career, Carl Landry is not going to stop getting better at whatever he does, and in the process of doing so, make the world a better place.

GWG Holdings, Inc.
Investing in Life
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GWG Holdings, Inc. (Nasdaq:GWGH) the parent company of GWG Life, is a financial services company committed to transforming the life insurance industry through disruptive and i ... Click for full bio