As businesses become more and more engaged in sustainability around the world, we are presented with an increasing range of examples of active companies. However, when I speak with students and faculty, they say that they often hear about the same examples from the same international companies over and over again.
In an attempt to share some new best practice examples, I asked a handful of faculty members from around the world about their favourite classroom examples of local companies that are actively involved in sustainability. Here are some examples from Sweden, Egypt and the UK.
Marcela Ramirez-Pasillas, Jonkoping International Business School, Sweden
AD company is a wholesaler of branded products with just 10 employees. Its owner and CEO, Jan Hedenborn, believes strongly in CSR and works with ISO 26000 guidelines and SAI 8000 certification to enhance its sustainability. To develop the CSR commitments of his foreign suppliers in Asian countries, Jan relies on internal and external social audits. This means that a small Swedish company influences the adoption of CSR practices in a number of small Asian companies.
Husqvarna Group is a multinational company that has been taking a number of steps towards being more sustainable. This company is a supporter of the Global Compact, and recently started important work across its organisation to launch a new sustainable strategy. The strategy aims to transform this organisation into a more responsible company.
Sherine Meshad, The American University in Cairo, Egypt
Danone, through its Ecosystem Fund, is working to change both its supply chain and its distribution system in poor, rural areas in Egypt. Through its Milk Connection Communities project, Danone partners with CARE International to empower small milk producers who suffer from decreasing milk prices and the local dealers’ monopolisation of the dairy trade. The project opens milk collection centres (MCCs) and provide producers who go there with a range of services to help them improve their production. For Danone, it provides access to better-quality milk and ensures a healthy and sustainable ecosystem around the supply chain. The project also has a social impact: local managers are trained and employed to run the centres, and over 200 households are directly impacted by the project.
We also featured a range of other local businesses engaged in sustainability in one of our recent AUC Business Review issues focused on building trust.
Dr. Paul Cashian, Faculty of Business, Environment and Society, Coventry University, UK
Fargo Village is an urban development project set up on the edge of Coventry city centre (close to the University campus). The village consists of a community of small retailers, social enterprises and creative studios aimed at “bringing a piece of the Camden and Brick Lane independent shopping vibe to Coventry.”
Jericho Wood Recycling is a Birmingham based company which the University uses to dispose of all its wood waste. Jericho recycles the waste to produce a range of wood products from Butcher’s blocks to shelving.