🌱 Money Talks: How Your Employees' Pensions Can Supercharge Your Impact
Featuring Cogo, Beyond Retro, Revital, Fellow Creatures and more...
This week we cover:
Make your money matter: Why your employees’ pensions should speak for themselves.
Cogo and the conscious consumer: Should smaller brands care about fintech too?
In case you missed it: 'I asked my employer, BrewDog, to bank on a better future and leave HSBC. Here's why.'
> Good News Last Week
🎯 Nc’nean Distillery achieved B Corp status. They’re the second Scottish whisky distillery to achieve this, after Bruichladdich Distillery.
🎯 Sustainable underwear startup Pantee has secured £190,000 in funding. The brand launched in 2020, and uses deadstock from factories in Bangladesh.
🎯 Fellow Creatures has achieved B Corp status. The company is committed to paying over 60% the industry average for cocoa.
⭐️ Ornua Foods UK have made a 48% carbon footprint reduction and a 15% material saving by transferring its Pilgrims Choice grated cheese into more environmentally friendly and fully recyclable packaging.
⭐️ Pieter Pot has secured €9 million to help achieve its sustainable grocery ambitions. The supermarket distinguishes itself within the sector by zeroing in on circular economy initiatives and packaging waste reduction.
⭐️ Coty announced it will start making perfume with carbon captured ethanol, after partnering with LanzaTech. Coty aim to integrate recycled carbon into the majority of their fragrance portfolio by 2023.
⭐️ Walmart announced that it is investing in vertical farming company Plenty, with plans to integrate Plenty in all California stores later this year. The goal? To bring farm produce closer to customers’ kitchen tables to boost freshness, limit waste and promote sustainability.
> Click on each link to read more.
> Quick Take
Make your money matter: Why your employees’ pensions should speak for themselves
Ever thought about where your pay-checks are really being invested? As important as the work your colleagues and employees do for your brand is the work their money does for the planet. In preparation for retirement, one option you could consider is a green pension scheme. Green pensions focus on ESG bonds and funds, which encompass a variety of sustainable companies across different industries. Previously, employees had to balance sustainability and financial security in retirement investments, but recently it’s never been easier for profit to come with a purpose.
Climate risk is one of the biggest drivers of change in retirement investments. One estimate puts climate risk at $23 trillion by 2050: an impact that will be seen across pensions and mutual funds alike. For some consumers, this financial risk on its own is the reason to opt for ESG focused accounts. The combination of positive interest rates and benevolence is increasingly appealing to the consumer. Despite employee and government demand for change, general pension schemes have been slow to adapt compared to sustainable changes at the operations level. We previously covered why brands should think about their money’s impact here, but the potential impact of green pensions should be a significant consideration for employers.
What investment options do I have?
Green Bonds: Fixed-income investments which go directly towards an ESG project. Examples include: developing clean drinking water in rural Ghana, green buildings in the United States, and wind energy development in the United Kingdom
ESG Mutual Funds/Open-ended Investment Companies: Professionally managed investment funds that build a portfolio of green securities to minimize risk. The consumer can buy shares of a fund that can be focused on the broad sustainability market or more focused; such as the wind energy industry or electric vehicle landscape.
B-Corp/Sustainable Company Equities: Direct investments through shares in companies that have opted for sustainable practices or operate in a sustainability-related industry. Examples include: investing in a specific wind energy company, electric vehicle manufacturer, or plant-based meat company.
Employees and employers should think greater about the impact of where their money is sitting. By transitioning to green pensions, employees can both better their planet and their financial future. Employees should research their options and encourage their colleagues to do the same. Pensions are often ignored, but with a little bit of effort, employees can help make a big difference.
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> Brand Spotlight
Cogo and the conscious consumer: Should smaller brands care about fintech too?
‘Fintech’ - it’s a word that seems to pop up everywhere in the modern consumer economy. It’s usually associated with fast financial corporations, irrelevant to smaller consumer goods businesses. Eco fintech company Cogo are proving that this perception is rapidly becoming outdated.
Here’s why SMEs should care about fintech, and how they can get involved.
The official definition of fintech is “the integration of technology into offerings by financial services companies in order to improve their use and delivery to consumers”. A more helpful, albeit simplistic, way to describe what financial technology companies do is by using a somewhat cliched train analogy. If businesses are train stations and customers are the trains that stop at them, then fintech companies are the tracks that lead the trains to the stations.
B-Corp Certified Cogo is different. They allow the trains (customers) to decide where their tracks are leading them by telling them exactly what stations (businesses) offer. In short -Cogo lets consumers and businesses consciously connect to take action on environmental and social issues. Is Cogo the untapped tool your business can use to reach out to a new customer base? Quite possibly.
Here’s how it works.
First and foremost, Cogo is an ‘ethical recommendation engine’. First, it connects to users’ bank accounts so that it can see the businesses they purchase from. Then, thanks to the app’s integrated carbon tracker and stringent investigative practices, customers can monitor the environmental and social impact of their spending in real time. Crucially, Cogo then recommends alternative businesses that provide a more sustainable, planet-friendly choice.
So, what do brands have to do to be considered for listing?
First, sign up. Really making the effort in making your supply chain ethical and sustainable? You’re automatically rewarded for it. Wahaca, Beyond Retro, Vitamin company Revital and supermarket favourite the Co-op are just a few of the businesses receiving a boost in consumer spending as a result of signing up.
At minimum, your businesses needs to:
Receive one product badge, highlighting how your goods are ethical
Receive one operational badge, showcasing your company’s commitment to doing better throughout your activities.
Write a pledge detailing your commitments via the platform.
Each badge has standards that must be complied with, and with re-assessment every two years to ensure ongoing compliance. Find out more here.
As Cogo has developed, so too has the potential it carries for smaller brands to improve their customer bases. Fashion rental platform HURR, for example, have integrated Cogo’s real-time carbon footprint tracker with their app to show customers the impact of a rented clothing item as against a new one. This lets HURR align Cogo’s tracker with their brand message to actively show customers that they’re making the right choice by shopping there. There’s more in the pipeline. Cogo’s becoming even more business friendly, using its technology to help businesses better understand their carbon footprint in the first instance. Watch this space.
We’re always highlighting the incredible power that brand transparency can have on sales and customer loyalty. By using modern fintech brands like Cogo, businesses can prove the eco-credentials they’ve worked so hard to achieve. It’s only right they should capitalise on that. After all, that’s what constitutes a green economy.
Find out more:
> In case you missed it
> Follow up with…
Article: Why Sustainable Finance Is Important
Article: The Power of Planet Saving Podcasts
Podcast: The Good, The Bad & The Advertising
Web Tool: ClimateVoice Corporate Scorecard