Facebook announced their efforts to contribute to social good this week during their Social Good Forum. Tools included a system to help during disaster, 100% of donations through platform will go directly to NGO's and a $50 million Facebook Donations Fund which which is to help communities with disaster recovery via direct donations and matching contributions.

Sustainable Brands Oct 2017 Kuala Lumpur

Oct 10-11 Sustainable Brands held their 8th international conference this year in KL with corporations, global thought leaders and sustainability practitioners working together to drive sustainable development, grow business and support new initiatives.

Focus was on everything from the business value of being sustainable (PWC), corporate initiatives (P&G, Fuji Xerox, Nestle, H&M) and insights (Forum for the future, Gone Adventurin, South Pole Group).

Some general trends with specific implications for Asia:

  1. Climate Change - half of all natural disasters are in Asia

  2. Health Issues, diabetes and obesity - between 2010-14 Indonesia & Malaysia saw a 33% increase

  3. Big Data, Indonesia Gov’t today is tracking fishing vessels - Transparency in supply chain

  4. Automation, jobless growth, 132 million jobs might be affected, especially worrying in markets such as India – and Asia in general

  5. Trends converging – plastic pollution is now in drinking water - What was an environmental issue is now a health issue

In Asia SDG’s continue to gain traction. Circular economy is especially interesting since infrastructure around waste is lacking and there is great potential to turn waste into assets.

There has been a 65% increase of electronic waste in Asia over the last five years. Food waste is another huge problem. Did you know that 37% of fruits & vegetables are not even reaching the consumers?

Sustainability as a business strategy and not CSR

Having lived in KL & in Singapore I know there are no recycling systems in place. There is a lack of recycling systems/infrastructure and in many developing countries Govt's lack the money (1% of GDP in Indonesia). To strengthen a circular business model companies need to produce with waste in mind & why not take the opportunity to collaborate with Governments and other industries around recycling systems. - pretty sure it will be profitable!

Other interesting areas for business to explore:

  • Balanced Simplicity, clean and transparent

  • Easy & Healthy – e.g. collaboration between Amazon & Wholefoods

  • Sell Access & not Ownership – car2go

  • Declutter – schwopping, sell, see collaboration between Sellpy & H&M

  • Meaningful connections – Connected IRL eg Starbucks “third place”

While big chains such as Walmart and its brands are incorporating How2Recycle labels into its products, the problem of recycling infrastructure remains. Especially in the US, where the recycling rate (including composting) is barely above the 34 percent mark since 2010.

While this is a task for the Governments in most countries the rise of social enterprise to solve the problem is emerging. There is money to be made out of trash.

A innovative social enterprise called The Plastic Bank is doing just that.

The Plastic Bank has created a Blockchain digital currency & exchange platform to incentivise the collection of plastic waste before it becomes Ocean Plastic. In addition to the benefits of recycling, the platform provides the ability for local entrepreneurs to operate a convenience store for the poor, in which plastic waste is the currency. It is a means for anyone to go out and collect enough plastic to provide for their families and send their children to school. All through the act of recycling.

We are looking forward to see more initiatives like this in the future!

Read more: http://plasticbank.org/