Iliyana's Blog

Time for Disruption: Why We Need a New Sustainability Narrative

[fa icon="calendar'] 13-Oct-2014 09:00:00 / by Iliyana Stareva posted in Sustainability

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What is sustainability? You've got 15 seconds to define it in one sentence! Go! Tough, right?

It's difficult for businesses to describe what sustainability is, but it's even more difficult for consumers to understand it.

Companies have already recognised the value of sustainability to waste and energy reduction, cost savings, increased profitability over the long term and a prosperous future for all of us on our endangered planet, but has the mainstream consumer realised that? Does she see the need to adopt and demand sustainable consumption?

Sadly, I think no.

And that's the biggest barrier for sustainability. The real problem behind making sustainable consumption mainstream is the lack of awareness among people that such products and services exist, and that these are a big part of the solution towards solving pressing global issues such as resource and water scarcity, pollution and waste, carbon footprint, urbanisation etc. I'm not saying that companies don't have an important role here, I am only saying that if companies were facing much stronger demands from consumers for sustainable products, then companies wouldn't have any other choice but to respond to that pressure in a timely manner and transform their business models. If that were so, then the process of aligning sustainability with overall business goals and especially financial strategy as well as embedding sustainability within the entire business, including developing metrics to track progress and tie in with external factors (e.g. environmental costs), would have already been largely adopted. And so would have consumer behavioural and consumption change already been mainstream. It's a viscous circle...

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Why not only Corporate, but also Individual Choices are Key for a Sustainable Future

[fa icon="calendar'] 18-Aug-2014 08:00:00 / by Iliyana Stareva posted in Sustainability

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Did you know that countless fruits and vegetables are needlessly thrown away every day by mass producers, yet the only thing wrong with them is that because they are disfigured, ugly or misshapen they are deemed unworthy and out of the norm? In reality, they are just as delicious and just as good for you as the "pretty", perfectly shaped ones. This is why French supermarket company Intermarché decided to do something about it. They launched a film, print, poster and radio campaign called the Inglorious Fruits&Vegetables, promoting the beauty of not-so-perfect fruits and veggies and so fighting food waste.

French consumers can not only enjoy healthy, fresh foods, but also save money as the previously deemed unfit for consumption fruits and veggies are offered at 30% less. The French supermarket chain buys the foods from farmers who would usually throw them away. This way the company also supports local production.

The overall aim of the campaign was to send an important message: it's not what fruits and veggies look like, but how they taste that matters – disfigured, hideous or ugly fruits and veggies are just as delicious and should not be tossed simply because of their "looks".

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Generation Z: The Natural Sustainability Generation

[fa icon="calendar'] 04-Aug-2014 08:00:00 / by Iliyana Stareva posted in Sustainability

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Global warming, extreme weather events, resource scarcity, food and water crisis, instability of financial institutions – these are all interconnected global risks that we are facing today and that require us to act as fast as possible as they have major systematic impacts. But do you ever wonder who is going to solve these issues? Is it governments? Or companies? Or non-profits? Or regular people? I'm afraid I don't have the answer, but here's an interesting suggestion – it might be a whole generation.

Meet Generation Z – the bold rebels with the cause to save the world.

Gen Zers are the ones born after the mid 1990s. They now account for more than a quarter of the world's population, with that number rising steadily.

In many ways, Gen Zers are the opposites or extreme versions of Millennials, aka Generation Y – the previous generation.

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The Rise of Social Media for CSR and Sustainability

[fa icon="calendar'] 01-Jul-2014 08:09:00 / by Iliyana Stareva posted in Social Media, Sustainability

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Digital disruption is today's reality. Even in the relatively new field of corporate responsibility (CR) and sustainability digital and social media are forcing companies to make a 360-degree turn and revamp their communications, marketing, supply chain operations, and basically every part of the business. Why? Because digital has penetrated our personal and professional lives at every level, making direct two-way communications between consumers and brands possible anywhere, anytime. This, in turn, has resulted in increased customer expectations for brands to shift to an experience-based, consumer-centric approach to sustainability in digital channels.

A recent survey sheds some light on the rise of social media for corporate social responsibility (CSR) and sustainability.

The Lundquist CSR Online Awards Survey examines how experts in corporate responsibility, sustainability professionals and other stakeholders engage with companies. It also analyses how well Europe's top 100 companies respond to stakeholder needs with their corporate websites and associated digital presence.

Over 350 CSR experts and sustainability professionals from 44 countries have contributed, allowing to develop a clearer picture of the trends and user expectations about the use of social media for sustainability communications and stakeholder engagement.

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Social Media for Sustainability Communications - an Interview with Julie Urlaub

[fa icon="calendar'] 19-Jun-2014 07:00:45 / by Iliyana Stareva posted in Social Media, Sustainability

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Social media for business sustainability is going mainstream. That's what the latest Social Media Sustainability Index found. But how did that happen? And most importantly why? What is the potential of social media for sustainability communications and how does it add real business value? Read along to find out, I am about to enlighten you, or more precisely, a dear friend of mine is about to do so.

One year ago I had the pleasure of having a Google+ Hangout with the most enthusiastic person I know – Julie Urlaub.

Julie kindly agreed to participate in an interview with me as part of my research for my second BA dissertation that was also published as a book.

Julie is a true pioneer when it comes to social media for sustainability. She lives and breathes it and she is extremely passionate about her work.

She is Founder and Managing Director of Taiga Company – a sustainability and social media consulting firm specialising in sustainable storytelling. Julie is also the author of The Business Sustainability Handbook.

She not only understands the potential of social media for sustainability, but also successfully advises clients how to make best use of it and encourages people around the world to adopt a greener lifestyle.

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