How Companies are integrating sustainable values in their business? (2/2)

Following my previous article and to go beyond the usual list of leaders* that you could read in various publications and that we already heard of, other companies have taken important and interesting steps to meet their sustainable commitments and the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

  • Starbucks is an example of the concept of “putting materiality to use“. They have focused on ethical sourcing of Coffee. Starbucks set an ambitious goal of ensuring that 100 percent of its coffee would be ethically sourced by 2015 and developed its own sustainable coffee standards, the Coffee and Farmer Equity (C.A.F.E.) Practices, as well as a partnership with Conservation International to work toward meeting that goal. In 2015, after investing over $70 million on improving sourcing, Starbucks reported that 99 percent of its coffee was ethically sourced. While recognizing the 99 percent threshold may be a practical limit given that new suppliers likely will be in the process of getting certified to Starbucks’ standards, the company continues to pursue ethically sourcing 100 percent of its coffee. Starbucks since has taken on other sustainability issues and is also working to make coffee the world’s first sustainably sourced commodity and thus influencing the industry overall. (source:
  • MARS Ambition is to be the most mutual company in the world. To achieve this, MARS had developed 5 principles: Quality / Responsibility / Mutuality / Efficiency / Freedom. Read them in details here.

So in order to reach their objectives, MARS has started to incorporate sustainability issues in their sourcing strategy that drives business performance whilst minimizing their environmental impact and maximizing their socioeconomic impact throughout the supply chains. As a first step, MARS is doing a mapping of their supply chains in order to know where they stand with regards to their general objectives. In a second time, they will set more specific objectives reflecting the key and most important issues found during the mapping.

  • Firmenich – Pathways to Positive, 2015 was a milestone year for Firmenich compared to the first baseline in 2010.

Since then, Firmenich has integrated its sustainability strategy into its business strategy. Their sustainability efforts focused on ethics and excellence, reducing our footprint, creating sustainable products and embracing employees and communities. To renew their commitments, Firmenich developed its 2020 strategy based on three priority areas: 1) Enabling sustainable lifestyles and livelihoods
2) Maximizing innovation and creativity
3) Leveraging collaboration and engagement


  • The Body Shop – Enrich not Exploit:

The Body Shop is a company that is very engaged in the fights, claims its is making. and this, since its creation. As one of the first steps, The Body Shop created a Fair Trade Program in which specific supply chains have been developed, strengthened towards ethical sourcing practices. However, The Body Shop never developed specific targets. In February 2016, they launched their Sustainability targets through their Enrich not Exploit program. Even if not all their ingredients fall under the program, the sustainability and respect of People and Nature have always been part of The Body Shop DNA.

These companies are good example that we can all work toward integrating Sustainability in our business. For sure, key aspects need to be taken into account to sell the need to your organisation:

  • You can show that it responds to corporate reputation and competitive advantage challenges;
  • There is a strong consumer desire for purpose-led brands;
  • And yes, if sustainability is embedded across the business model, then the ROI of sustainability programs should be the ROI of the company.

* 2016 edition of the Sustainability Leaders out.