Last week started with a meeting with an MSc student and her supervisor around a research project to look into uptake of the SDGs, which will go by the title: “Blueprint for a better world: how are businesses adopting (or not) the UN SDGs, and how is this being demonstrated and reported?”. The work will look at different countries, sectors and sizes of business and hopefully will unearth some interesting contrasts and similarities. Inevitably it will have to be largely based on published reports, which will lag behind the discussions going on in boardrooms, but there will also be some interviews to bring it more up to date with current thinking. Watch this space for updates over the coming months.
Spring seemed finally to have sprung, with daffodils finally opening in the garden. Years ago I used to be in the same university digs as a chap from Swansea who was confident that there was always a little flash of daffodil yellow to be found somewhere on St David’s Day. That wasn’t the case this year where I live, and another belt of snow has hit parts of the country since. In the brief interlude of warmth, the wild bees had ventured out, so let’s hope they survive the latest cold snap. Attractive though snowy hillsides are, the warming of the arctic that accompanies snowy weather in lower latitudes is much more significant than a day or two of travel disruption. It remains to be seen how long the phenomenon will persist but it has the potential to cause havoc with all sorts of agriculture.
During last week I went down to Kent University’s Business School in Chatham to deliver a guest lecture to students on their Corporate Social Responsibility module (some of whom are pictured with me below). This was framed around a closing question leading to discussion with the students about how engage with the topic. The question I set was “how credible is third-party accreditation as a proxy for sustainable agri-food practices; how can such accreditations build and maintain consumer trust in an organisation or, alternatively, are there circumstances in which they might be viewed as ‘greenwash’?”. One of their conclusions was the importance of trust and how transparency feeds into it. I’ll be providing a follow-up article for their in-house CSR blog which in due course will be sign-posted from the ‘articles’ page of this website.