Some Companies are Falling Short on an Environmental Commitment
We were disappointed to recently read (in Cosmo of all places) about two very popular and well respected companies who have apparently failed to pursue a commitment agreed to years ago. There are a few years left on the clock. Read, and let us hope that these companies’ commitments are truly aimed at what they can do, instead of what they can say.
Dear Clients & Friends,
As all of you know, our family here at MORWM, both clients and staff, are extremely sensitive to the community and to our environment. Collectively, our firm and clients together donate millions of dollars in philanthropic gifts, and are loudly provocative with respect to our environment and our duty of stewardship thereto. As you can imagine, we were disappointed to recently read (in Cosmo of all places) about two very popular and well respected companies who have apparently failed to pursue a commitment agreed to years ago. I can’t say it’s the first time I’ve seen corporations make hollow promises for the sake of public perception.
Two years ago, Baker Hughes made as big push to raise money for Breast Cancer research, partnering with Susan B Komen Foundation, printing T-shirts, and painting their drill bits pink. Unfortunately, it was reported that they spent more painting things pink, than the aggregate money raised. But they got a lot of press! In my personal opinion, many decisions that big oil companies make are highly questionable. Nike, on the other, hand claims to represent inspiration, innovation, dedication, and a firm commitment to self-improvement. It is hard to believe that their efforts are not akin to their promises.
The companies mentioned below are half way through the time frame by which some important environmental promises are expected to be fulfilled. There are a few years left on the clock. Read below, and let us hope that these companies’ commitments are truly aimed at what they can do, instead of what they can say.Victoria's Secret and Nike Are Breaking a Very Important Promise
Five years after signing a commitment to reduce their environmental impact by 2020, many brands have fallen behind, Victoria's Secret and Nike in particular.
Victoria's Secret | Nike
By Charles Manning
Published in Cosmopolitan
Jul 11, 2016
In 2011, Greenpeace launched its "Detox My Fashion" campaign, which sought commitments from fashion brands to detoxify their supply chains by 2020. Considering that fashion is the second most polluting industry in the world, just behind energy production, those commitments, if honored, could have a huge impact on the environmental well-being of the entire world.
Seventy-six brands signed on to Greenpeace's plan, among them Victoria's Secret, Nike, Zara, H&M, Adidas, and Mango. Five years later, Greenpeace checked back in with these companies to see if they were on track to meet the 2020 deadline. Some, like H&M, Benetton, and Zara, are making good on their commitments — disclosing information on suppliers and the hazardous chemicals they discharge, substituting hazardous chemicals with safer alternatives, and developing and implementing concrete plans to reach the goals they committed to in 2011.
Sadly, most of the other brands that committed to Greenpeace's plan — Adidas, Mango, Valentino, Levi's, Burberry, and Puma among them — have fallen behind in their implementation and are in danger of not meeting their 2020 deadline.
Then there are the companies that have taken little to no action to fulfill their commitments. Among those, Victoria's Secret and Nike are the most egregious offenders. While Victoria's Secret has made some small steps toward greater transparency in the types and amounts of hazardous chemicals discharged by the production of their bras and other products, they have done absolutely nothing to reduce their environmental impact and have no concrete plan to do so in the future. Still, they've done more than Nike, which appears to have taken no steps whatsoever to honor their commitments in the last five years.
Victoria's Secret, Nike
No doubt many of the brands that signed up for Greenpeace's challenge in 2011 did so because they thought it would be a good PR move. The question is, will their lack of follow-through prove a source of enough bad PR to spur them into action now? Do consumers care that these brands are not following through on their promises? Will they stop buying Victoria's Secret bras and Nike sneakers, preferring to spend their money with brands like H&M, Zara, Adidas, and Puma, who are making a real effort to do what they said they would in 2011? Or will they continue shopping as usual? Only time will tell. Here's hoping the environment can wait that long.In the coming days, MOR Wealth Management will be preparing a letter addressed to the Investor Relations departments, indicating our disappointment in their lack of follow through to date. We believe that in the future, socially responsible investing will become more and more impactful to publically traded corporations and their stock valuation, and the more vocal our community is in this endeavor, the more quickly actions will be more important to stock prices than words. We are idealists but we are also realists, and are well aware that our letter will not move the world. But the masses can. Go to their websites, navigate to the investor relations page, and make a one sentence comment, and then go about enjoying a lovely weekend!
1) This article pertains to social responsibility and in no way should be perceived as a recommendation of any kind!
2) Prior to publishing this weekend reading, we verified through three other sources the validity of Cosmopolitans claim (something that the news media used to do, but no longer does with any consistency.)
Matthew Ramer, AIF® Principal, Financial Advisor MOR Wealth Management, LLC
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