Category: In the Press

The problems with ‘carbon negative’ claims

Just Food | ‘Carbon negative’ claims are emerging as a new trend, bringing with it risks of greenwashing. Quantis’ Global Food + Beverage Lead Charlotte Bande was interviewed for an article highlighting the credibility problems with such claims, in which she explains: “A product cannot be carbon neutral or negative based on offsetting schemes. Even the most sustainable product still causes emissions.”

So how can companies communicate impacts while avoiding the pitfalls of greenwashing? “Bande advises her clients at Quantis to refer not to insets but ‘reductions and removals in the value chain’. The whole area of carbon sequestration – the process of capturing and storing atmospheric carbon dioxide – is a can of worms, she suggests.”

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Senior Sustainability Strategist discusses mitigating raw material risks in sustainable cosmetics product manufacturing

[Podcast] From linear limitations to circular progress: Emerging trends in the apparel sector

Innovation Forum | In this podcast, Matthew Hawthorne, our US circularity expert, and Luca Mosca, Fashion and Sporting Goods Lead at Quantis Italy talked with Innovation Forum’s Ian Welsh about emerging circular models in the apparel sector, the challenges of transitioning away from linear business models, the risks of “one-size-fits-all” approach, and the uniqueness of circularity KPIs, such as replacement rate.

From the design phase to marketing a tailored value proposition; supply chain adjustments to needed technology for material recovery, circularity is a new way of thinking and must be addressed as such using systemic thinking.

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Pale, porous and 3D-printed: inside the weird and wonderful quest to make compostable shoes

The Guardian | Sustainable footwear is at a complicated crossroads. As one of the more complex fashion products to produce, shoes often pose recycling challenges and usually end up in landfills. For an article exploring more sustainable design practices for footwear, The Guardian interviewed Quantis Italy’s Fashion + Sporting Goods Lead Luca Mosca.

“Glue and other binding materials can make shoes difficult to recycle, even when new substances are used for their main components, such as cactus ‘leather’ – a material made from the leaves of the nopal cactus – and grape-skin derivatives, says Luca Mosca, fashion lead at the sustainability consultancy Quantis. He says it is still hard to say what constitutes an environmentally friendly shoe, and that consumers should use them for as long as possible.”

“‘We have to look into all stages of a product lifecycle, the materials within the product. Here, there are a lot of differences: it could be a performance-driven shoe mostly made of synthetics, or a casual shoe made of leather. Then you need to look at the environmental performance of the materials and the production processes of putting the shoes together. Last but not least, you must look at how it will be treated at the end of life. Shoes are very complicated products,’ says Mosca.”

Brands need to explore alternative materials as part of the shift away from the status quo. But to ensure they truly add sustainable value, science must guide their decision-making.

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Which kind of reusable water bottle is best? We asked the experts.

The Washington Post | Sustainability is a growing factor when it comes to consumer purchasing decisions — especially as we begin a new year and set resolutions. For an article on reusable water bottles, the Washington Post reached out to Quantis expert Marcial Vargas-Gonzales, Science + Innovation Lead. He gave insight into how different types of water bottles stack up on sustainability.

As it turns out, the material — plastic, glass, metal — isn’t necessarily the most critical factor when it comes to reducing climate impacts. “If you’re using this water bottle every day for two or three years, then in reality, the impact of manufacturing that bottle is going to be very, very low compared to the amount of energy you’re using to wash it if you’re using hot water to clean it… At the end of the day, what really matters is how long you’re going to be using this bottle…more than debating what is the best material if you want to make sustainable choice, just making that switch regardless of what you choose is already a fairly big step.”

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Sustainable fashion needs to take a leap of faith. Who will lead the herd?

fashion sustainable transformation

Vogue Business | The fashion industry is at a standstill in its sustainability journey. While some brands have tested a few sustainable innovations, many have yet to begin the necessary tranformation of their business models.

In an interview with Vogue Business, Quantis senior strategist Sandra Gonza shared her insights on where brands should focus: “The fashion industry needs to better recognise interdependence, starting with unravelling the complex web of relationships among suppliers, manufacturers, consumers and waste management systems. Without recognising these interdependencies and by solely focusing on one stakeholder — often shareholders and often for short-term financial gains — the future of the fashion industry remains precarious…Brands looking to establish a legacy and relevance across future consumers are often the ones that acknowledge the critical role within their ecosystem.”

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Sustainable raw materials can’t meet future demand: report

Fashion Dive | Quantis’ Global Fashion + Sporting Goods Lead Philipp Meister was interviewed for a piece in Fashion Dive, where he unpacked a recent report launched with BCG and Textile Exchange. The report, titled Sustainable Raw Materials Will Drive Profitability for Fashion and Apparel Brands, reveals that demand for low-climate-impact (“preferred”) raw materials could exceed supply by as much as 133 million tons by 2030. To deliver on decarbonization commitments and prepare for future legislation, it’s essential that apparel brands secure access to sustainable materials.

Doing so will require brands to change the way they engage with suppliers. Philipp explains in the article: “building longer term contracts and commitments to ensure suppliers secure revenue for the period of time needed to implement more sustainable solutions and see a return on investment, paying premiums to those with the ability to provide preferred materials, and investing in the development and scaling of more innovative materials. Some brands might also decide to finance part of the production costs more directly, or support access to low interest loans or public funding to ensure sustainable practices can be implemented.”

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Podcast: Transformation, traceability and transparency: from intention to action

The ambitious regulations cleaning up fashion’s supply chain

Fashion Dive | Drastic European regulations are set to reshape the global fashion industry’s current supply chain practices — and American companies will be no exception to the new rules. Complying with this ever-evolving regulatory landscape will require total business model transformation to embed sustainability at the core of operations. Philipp Meister, Global Fashion and Sporting Goods Lead at Quantis sat down with Fashion Dive to unpack what the new changes mean for the sector, calling for “an overhaul of the fashion model.”

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Food Loss and Waste — a crucial piece of the puzzle

Organic Food waste

The Chocolate Industry Has A Lot of Problems. Could Direct Sourcing Help Brands Solve Them?

Triple Pundit | The $100 billion chocolate industry has reached a critical crossroads, with rising global demand for chocolate contrasting starkly with the dire livelihoods of cacao farmers and the drastic environmental impacts of traditional agricultural practices. Alexi Ernstoff, Global Science Lead at Quantis, dug into the issue with Triple Pundit, emphasizing that waiting will only make the transition to sustainable business operations more costly and challenging. She says that “the goal is to reach that middle 60 percent of companies, bring the evidence [to] show them they need to make changes, and convince them that this is extremely important.” By prioritizing long-term benefits over short-term gains, the cacao industry can avoid reputational and ethical risks associated with unsustainable practices.

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Why is biodiversity an important subject for the food industry?

CarbonMaps | The global food system is the primary driver of biodiversity loss. Agriculture alone has been identified as the threat to 86% of species at risk of extinction and accounts for roughly 30% of global greenhouse gas emissions, 80% of deforestation, and 70% of water consumption. This has dangerous or even irreversible consequences on ecological resilience, which directly affects businesses’ resilience. According to Elsa Maurice, Biodiversity Lead Consultant at Quantis, today many agri-food companies are working solely on climate, and it’s time to stop working in silos as the food industry is one of the only sectors that is both a source of impacts and solutions.

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Incentivizing Boards Of Directors To Address Climate Change, At ChangeNow Summit

Forbes | “A fascinating study on incentivizing the board to make the company more environmentally responsible.” While it’s the responsibility of the board of directors to ensure the sustainability of a company’s performance in a world of limited resources, this body faces significant challenges in driving meaningful change. This study digs into these obstacles and identifies tangible opportunities for reinvention without risk of symbolic gestures that lack concrete action. “Anne Désérable of Quantis. summarized the findings from their small but fascinating study on boards and climate responsibility. One key, she explained, is to make sure the board understands the transition that that particular company needs to take to become carbon neutral. One idea is to link board compensation to the company’s performance on ESG – environment, social, governance – criteria and it’s environmental impact.”

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Most People Have Not Heard of the Circular Economy. Marketers Can Help

AdWeek | The global resale market grew by 22% in 2022 as a growing number of companies are shifting to more circular systems. With greenwashing crackdowns also on the rise, how should brands talk about their efforts to build circularity? Quantis’ Sustainability Consultant and Circularity Expert Matthew Hawthorne spoke with Adweek to discuss how communicators can approach the topic.

At its core, a circular economy is made up of the same three principles that many people have long been familiar with: reduce, reuse and recycle.

“That’s all circularity is about,” Hawthorne explains. “How we reduce our consumption of resources…reuse what we can that we already own…and then, finally, recycle whatever doesn’t maintain its value. How do we try and recover those resources to be used again, to the best of their ability?”

As companies build out resale and take-back programs, innovate with recycled materials and find new uses for their products’ end-of-life, cutting the sustainability jargon is crucial for communicating with the public — especially when it requires the customer to take action.

Anti-greenwashing efforts require companies to prove their environmental claims. What can companies actually do to meaningfully reduce the climate impact and waste created by the industry? Hawthorne spoke to Adweek in another article, “Empowerment Over Shame: thredUP’s Revamped Fashion Footprint Calculator Aims to Inspire,” about what they can do to ensure green initiatives are more than just side projects.

“Consumers have a role to play in growing the resale market, but ultimately the responsibility is on brands to build their resale systems for long-term business transformation,” Hawthorne said. “That means moving beyond pilot programs and into core sales channels. As long as it is more difficult to purchase used than new, educating consumers on the benefits of circularity will do little to catalyze systemic transformation of fashion impacts.”

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The FTC Is Updating Guidance on Environmental Claims. Here’s What That Means

AdWeek | Julia Lyon, Senior Sustainability Communications Consultant at Quantis, spoke with Adweek to weigh in on the Federal Trade Commission’s Green Guides update. The agency was planning on issuing new guidance last year until it extended its period for public comment through this spring. The FTC has not revised its green guides since 2012.

“When it comes to environmental sustainability overall and making sure that consumers are informed and able to actually take action in the way that they want to, it’s really a larger effort than what lies within a brand communication,” Lyon told AdWeek.

To improve recyclability or compostability, for example, there are infrastructure and public education-related barriers that must be addressed, she explained. “In order for all of this to work together, we do believe that more clear recommendations, stronger recommendations for how to use these terms is needed.”

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Green group urges EU to create nature restoration funding mechanism in freshwater biodiversity push

Carbon Pulse | Carbon Pulse covered the 2023 UN Water Conference in an article detailing how green groups are urging the EU to create a nature restoration mechanism for freshwater biodiversity. The three-day conference was the first water conference held by the United Nations in almost fifty years. One of the key outcomes from the event is a milestone Water Agenda with over 700 commitments from governments, civil society, and the private sector to accelerate progress towards water-related goals and targets.

These global and national frameworks translate into calls for action for businesses as well, along with initiatives like the Taskforce for Nature-Related Financial Disclosures.

To help prepare for that, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) and sustainability consultancy Quantis last week launched the Freshwater Accountability Accelerator, a guidance tool for corporations for setting water targets and disclosing water-related information.

“Our global water resources are at risk, and so are businesses that depend and impact on them. The Freshwater Accountability Accelerator will aim to provide companies with a streamlined journey to identify pressing water challenges across their value chains,” Tatiana Fedotova, water global lead at Quantis, said in a press release.

It will also support them with ambitious targets to operate within local planetary boundaries and reporting back on actions that contribute to global water security as much as their own business continuity and resilience.

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This sustainability consulting firm wants to make supply chain tracking easier

Tracking Progress in the supply chain report by Quantis

Sourcing Journal | “Sustainability consulting firm Quantis launched a first-of-its-kind report: The Tracking Progress in the Supply Chain (TPSC) Report, designed to help companies successfully implement sustainability strategies to create real impact.

‘To date, we found that there was a lack of simple and straightforward guidance enabling companies to credibly track their supply chains and avoid greenwashing,’ said Charlotte Bande, global food and beverage lead for Quantis, which was recently acquired by Boston Consulting Group. ‘As more and more companies implement Scope 3 actions, a robust method of measuring and tracking progress is critical to ensure change is taking place, and companies are on track to meet impact goals or can correct course if this isn’t the case.'”

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Champagne Telmont announces Guide to Sustainability in Champagne as Part of In the Name of Mother Nature

Champagne Telmont Announces Guide to Sustainability in Champagne as Part of In the Name of Mother Nature

Wine Industry Advisor | To go one step further on its journey towards sustainable transformation, Champagne Telmont has set itself an ambitious objective: to be Climate Positive in 2030 i.e. to reduce emissions and offset more greenhouse gases than we emit — and Net Positive by 2050, which means drastically reducing greenhouse gas emissions by at least 90%, and sequestering more than the equivalent of residual emissions.

To realize its goals, Telmont partnered with Quantis to assess its impacts, define its trajectory based on the SBTi provisional guidance issued by SBTi in January 2022 and co-create an action plan. To share its experience and help other companies who would like to embark on the same journey, Telmont has published Our Guide to Sustainability in Champagne.

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SEC set for another busy year

SEC climate risk disclosure rule

CFO Brew | After the SEC released its Fall 2022 agenda detailing a list of priorities for the upcoming year, finance professionals shared their own wish list and expectations for 2023. In an interview with CFO Brew, Quantis’ US Transformation Lead John Willard talks about the Climate Change Disclosure and his hopes for a definitive outcome and direction from the final ESG disclosure ruling.

“Companies are caught in a bit of limbo as to what will be included, what won’t be included, when they will be required to release these disclosures, and what the expectations around auditing and providing third-party assurance will be.”

Fearing the hotly contested proposal may be held up by legal or legislative challenges, WIllard is also hoping that the final ruling in April “wouldn’t linger in a continuous state of challenge in the courts or in Congress.”

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Our Innate Psychology Is Fueling the Climate Crisis — Here’s How to Combat It

Psychology climate action
Psychology climate action

We can’t keep communicating about climate change in ways that feed our evolutionary prejudices and continue kicking the can down the road. We must outsmart our biases using strategic communication tactics so we can take action when it matters — which is now. Here are 3 ways to hack our brains for climate action.

Originally appeared in Sustainable Brands

Our brains are wired to pay attention to whatever is happening right here, right now. And for many, the relative invisibility of climate change in our lives relegates the crisis to a problem for distant generations. Most of us simply don’t have the time, diligence or scientific knowledge necessary to decode the complex, interconnected details that make up the climate crisis.

But we can’t continue communicating about climate change in ways that feed our evolutionary prejudices and continue kicking the can down the road. We need to outsmart our biases using strategic communication tactics so we can take action when it matters — which is now.

What is bias?

Biases aren’t always a bad thing. They’re tools that have kept our species alive for 200,000 years. Our ancestors used “distance bias” to judge the relevance of threats by gauging physical proximity. If a prehistoric hunter saw a saber-tooth tiger several miles away, he might feel a tad uneasy; but he wouldn’t scrap the hunt. However, if he woke in the night to a tiger entering his home, his brain would recognize the physical proximity of the threat and he’d respond immediately.

Distance bias also applies to time. Think about the differences in your feelings if you were told to make a speech in front of a massive audience today versus in two years. Savvy business leaders already know how to account for delays over time using evaluations such as net present value and discounted cash flow to assess future risks and opportunities. Yet for years, we’ve communicated that the climate crisis is like a saber-tooth tiger miles away. It’s a problem that will affect us in 50 years, 20 years, maybe 12 years — not today. So, when the spreadsheets calculate those risks, we may feel a twinge of unease at the tiger down the road; but we’re not willing to scrap the hunt. Instead, we continue business as usual.

While we can’t (and don’t want to) bring the most disastrous effects of climate change to our front door tomorrow, we can communicate more effectively to colleagues and stakeholders to mitigate distance bias; tamp down complexity; and bring the metaphorical tiger to the center of our attention, where it belongs.

3 ways to hack your brain for climate action

We can work around distance bias to address environmental factors in the boardroom; but it requires using a special mix of languages — including speaking to business leaders in business terms, honing in on the financial cost of unmitigated risks and driving the impact home with meaningful examples.

1. Tug on the heartstrings

Psychologist Fréderic Laloux proposed a simple exercise to make the future feel closer: Consider what age you and a child you love will be in 2050. By 2050, you may be approaching the later years of your life, but that child will be starting a career or family. Now, imagine the catastrophic effects of unaddressed climate change — including skyrocketing food prices and extreme weather events — destroying their life milestones.

This perspective-taking allows us to connect emotionally to the future and simultaneously invokes instincts for protection and stewardship. It gives us a direct channel to care more and to feel like we have a responsibility to act on behalf of someone, or something, we love.

2. Demonstrate why 1.5° matters

To most, 1.5 or 2 extra degrees of heat feels inconsequential. But imagine you have some ice cream at 1° below freezing. What happens when the temperature ticks up 1 degree? It begins to melt, eventually becoming a sticky puddle. Problem-solvers might say to just put it back in the freezer and it’ll be good as new. But it isn’t. Not only does bacteria grow while it’s melted — making it unsafe to eat — but the ice cream’s structure has permanently changed.

Similarly, our ecosystem is full of one-way boundaries sensitive to small temperature changes. Warmer springs trigger birds to migrate from Europe to the Arctic before the plants they eat have sprouted, leaving them to starve. When someone laughs off 1.5° of global warming with a recommendation to “just wear shorts,” use an example like this to change their frame of reference.

3. Practice losing your favorite things

At a recent team retreat, the climate crisis was presented in a memorable way. A colleague came onstage wearing a cotton jacket and holding a water bottle and a chocolate bar and asked us to imagine it was 2050. First, she removed her jacket. Cotton is highly susceptible to rising temperatures, drought and unpredictable rain, so it will grow increasingly unproductive and harder to access. Then, she tossed her bottle. According to the World Meteorological Organization, more than 5 billion people will have inadequate access to water by 2050. Lastly, she dropped her chocolate bar. Rising temperatures threaten cacao trees; they’re predicted to go extinct by 2050, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Witnessing everyday items disappear is surprisingly powerful. Practice this with your own business model. What elements are in danger? How will losing them impact other aspects of the business?

Now what?

I once thought it was crucial to get everyone to understand the crisis we’re facing. Today, with climate change now an “identity politics” issue, that’s an unrealistic goal. A lot of people aren’t ready to face our future, but we can’t wait for them. We need to focus on those who can move quickly and with impact: the business sector.

Many business leaders are poised to act but are held back by a lack of stakeholder support. We need to equip these leaders with tools like these that quickly mitigate distance bias and decrease complexity without triggering immediate rejection. We do this by framing the crisis in their terms — convincing them and their teams to act today. These techniques work because they ground distant and challenging concepts in simple terms, present tense and business realities.

Ultimately, we can’t change the ways our brains are wired to protect us. But we can change the way we communicate to effect change.

The saber-tooth tiger isn’t 30 years away — it’s lurking outside our door. While we argue over its existence, it’s growing stronger and will be much harder to stop with every passing year.

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Finance looks for tools to automate the ESG reporting process

automate the ESG reporting process

CFO Brew | With SEC disclosure mandates around the corner, sustainability teams responsible for ESG reporting are looking to streamline and automate data. Tools to enable the automation of ESG reporting would transform the sustainability function, with many roles spending the majority of their time gathering data, according to Quantis’ John Willard, US Transformation Lead.

In an interview with CFO Brew, he explains: “CSOs, CEOs, and CFOs need to really figure out what that balance is that they’re asking of their sustainability teams. Is it to be a reporting function? Or is it to be a larger transformative, integrated business function that is helping them meet the needs of their future business model?”

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Why your business should prioritize ESG, even in the midst of a financial downturn

Why your business should prioritize ESG, even in the midst of a financial downturn
Why your business should prioritize ESG, even in the midst of a financial downturn

Already, the world’s biggest companies report nearly $1 trillion at risk from climate impacts expected to hit in the next few years, due largely to extreme weather events, rising temperatures, and costs associated with increased greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

This article originally appeared on Fastcompany.com

In a flashback to the 2008 financial crash, concern is mounting that as a global recession approaches, business leaders may slash their ESG budgets.

We’ve seen this scenario play out before. After barely a month into the war on Ukraine, we’d already witnessed grocery chains roll back pledges to eliminate palm oil and investment firms reverse sustainability policies. With history as our witness, it’s clear that sustainability is often the first item put on ice when companies grapple with decisions that might affect short-term financial returns.

Repeating this pattern risks propelling society backward at a time when we desperately need accelerated action. The business community must use the economic downturn as a vehicle to move society toward a new, resilient model in which living in balance with nature drives decision-making.

Playing the long game is what will truly safeguard business—protecting against future environmental crises with similar consequences to the global recession. Already, the world’s biggest companies report nearly $1 trillion at risk from climate impacts expected to hit in the next few years, due largely to extreme weather events, rising temperatures, and costs associated with increased greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. And businesses are already paying today. In 2021, global economic losses from extreme flooding alone amounted to $82 billion.

Preparing for the not-so-distant future

While companies might survive the next quarter with ESG on the back burner, doing so will sabotage their futures, which aren’t so far away. Sustainability -disclosure mandates are ramping up in both the E.U. and the U.S. Combined with mounting consumer and investor pressures, more regulations are bound to force changes upon businesses.

The impending economic recession, like the crises before us, represents an opportunity for business leaders to double down on their sustainability commitments and come out stronger than their peers and better equipped to survive future disruptions.

To build resilience, businesses must mitigate the risks to physical and human capital across their global operations. This starts with identifying the level and nature of the climate risks facing the company and determining the best way to tackle them. For companies with significant physical risk associated with agricultural commodities, this may mean engaging with suppliers, cooperatives, and governments to stabilize yields and prices despite turbulent weather conditions. For those with risk tied to rapidly developing carbon-pricing mechanisms, this could mean setting aggressive climate strategies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions across their operations. And for companies that have risk associated with downstream markets that drive sales, this may mean developing business-transformation plans that capture emerging low-carbon markets.

Economic recessions, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the global supply chain crisis are all dress rehearsals for the disruptions ahead. As the window of opportunity to mitigate the environmental crisis closes, companies must re-evaluate the rules of business and lead their industries in radical yet necessary transformations to align with the limits of the planet.

Business leaders can accelerate progress toward this goal by driving change in untapped areas. One example is aligning internal sustainability goals with external support of public policy. There’s often a disconnect between the agenda of corporate sustainability teams and that of their colleagues in public affairs departments responsible for shaping a desired business environment. Business leaders must rectify this by establishing governance and oversight processes to ensure their external lobbying efforts and the trade groups they associate with support their sustainability commitments. And they’d be wise to do so swiftly—investors are already scrutinizing corporate lobbying activities and their alignment with the Paris Agreement.

Another way business leaders can drive change is by rethinking the very idea of demand, in everything from consumers’ technology choices and food to energy consumption and fashion. This isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution, and it will involve significant behavioral changes. But if businesses across all sectors took it on, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) says global GHG emissions could be cut by 40% to 70% by 2050.

All these actions require a profound shift in mindset, recognizing that sustainable transformation is a long-term investment and businesses are engineered for shorter-term thinking. But bold action today will yield a future with advantages that far outweigh the benefits of business as usual in the present. Forward-looking companies recognize the need to decouple growth in revenue from environmental impacts to survive in a resource-constrained world.

Ultimately, leaders must assess their corporate footprint, pinpoint the activities that lead to a misalignment between their business model and the Earth’s ecosystem, and change their strategies accordingly.

Integrating sustainability into the crisis compass

When crisis strikes, companies must do more internally to ensure that sustainability never falls off the corporate agenda. Sustainability is business continuity. Without it, businesses risk losing their licenses to operate.

Lessons from the past show that those with a robust sustainability program fare better than their peers. Whether looking at stock price performance in response to COVID-19 or post-2008 financial crisis outcomes, evidence continues to illustrate that companies investing in ESG outperform those that deprioritize it. Why? Because companies pursuing sustainable transformation tend to be more innovative, competitive, and adaptable—all of which are fundamental to resilience. This notion isn’t lost on investors, who increasingly believe that sustainable companies are better positioned to weather-adverse conditions. And they have data to back this up: a Morningstar report revealed that 75% of its ESG-screened indexes outperformed their broad market equivalents in 2020; similar observations were made by other index providers.

When a crisis strikes, the ability to keep sustainability at the heart of the response is what will enable companies to emerge on the other side without long-term damage to the business, its reputation, and its stakeholder value. While a successful crisis response calls for small, agile teams, the legal and financial voices shouldn’t be the only ones guiding decision-making. Only by bringing in leaders with sustainability expertise can companies avoid making one-sided decisions that neglect the environmental agenda and build responses that enable long-term resilience.

By using moments of catastrophe as a catalyst to transform their business models, companies can contribute to securing a future for people and the planet. As the world buckles up for another financial downturn, it’s critical that businesses respond with an eye to what’s around the corner and refuse a return to business as usual as they recover.

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Packaging: the carbon dilemma for food companies

Just Food | While packaging accounts for only a small share of food companies’ carbon footprints, it’s an important topic to consumers, public authorities and NGOs. Quantis’ Laura Peano, Global Plastics Lead, shared her insights with Just Food, emphasizing that sustainable packaging is still important to address as it is the first touchpoint with consumers. When addressing the climate impact of packaging, companies may be undermining efforts in other sustainability areas and shifting impacts. This is why it’s key to take a planetary boundaries approach — “brands must go beyond carbon, looking at biodiversity, plastic pollution and circularity.”

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Can Fashion Stop Greenwashing?

Quantis' Emilie Carasso, Global Footprinting Lead, spoke with Business of Fashion to talk about the past, present and future of environmental product claims.

Business of Fashion | The fashion industry is facing growing pressure to credibly communicate the environmental impacts of their products. Today, brands are expected to provide transparency not only on their clothing’s carbon footprint, but also its impacts on water, biodiversity, chemical, social, and more, all while avoiding the dangers of greenwashing. Quantis’ Emilie Carasso, Global Footprinting Lead, spoke with Business of Fashion to talk about the past, present and future of environmental product claims.

“The changes in the way brands talk about sustainability are still filtering through the market, but the language companies use is changing palpably. ‘We used to see a lot of really vague terms like “eco-friendly” or “sustainable” or “green packaging” or whatever, but there wasn’t much substance to what brands were claiming,’ said Emilie Carasso, global footprinting lead at consultancy Quantis. ‘We’re seeing brands are becoming more specific and more complex in what they claim.’

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Why we’re in a critical period in the development of regenerative agriculture

Field-Sustainable-Agriculture-Summit

Just Food | Regenerative agriculture is the latest sustainability trend in the food industry. But with its rise come questions about whether it’s a credible approach to overhauling the food system, the true impact companies can expect using regenerative principles and the challenges they face in shifting practices. Quantis’ Charlotte Bande, Global Food & Beverage Lead, was interviewed for an article in Just Food to dig into the questions surrounding what’s now referred to as “regen ag” and originated among pioneering farmers who wanted to improve their soil quality and crop resilience. As with any other approach that rapidly gains traction in the sustainability space, regenerative agriculture must be viewed as one piece of the system-wide puzzle of ensuring a thriving food system and livable planet.

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Camera della Moda’s Sustainable Fashion Awards to return IRL with new partners, ESG approach

Camera della Moda’s Sustainable Fashion Awards to return IRL with new partners, ESG approach

WWD | The “bible of fashion” reported on the Camera Nazionale della Moda Italian (National Chamber of Italian Fashion) Sustainable Fashion Awards, coming September 25th at the end of Milan Fashion Week. The U.N.’s Ethical Fashion Initiative, in tandem with Quantis, will create the framework and criteria to assess the award recipients.

Dame Ellen McArthur will preside over the jury, which will give 12 awards for categories including biodiversity, the circular economy and more to candidates submitted by an advisory committee of Textile Exchange, The Woolmark Company, Confindustria Moda, Fashion Minority Alliance and others.

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Environmental Impact Assessments Could Undermine Sustainable Fashion – Experts Explain Why.

Environmental Impact Assessments fashion

Forbes | As next-generation materials emerge as a promising piece of the sustainable fashion puzzle, there’s an urgent need to gather reliable, robust insights on their impacts. But assessing and interpreting the environmental footprint of these innovative materials against incumbent ones represents a challenge for innovators, with fast-moving R&D processes, limited available data and the need to think holistically about trade-offs. Quantis’ Global Fashion & Sporting Goods Lead, Philipp Meister, and Global Innovation Lead Marcial Vargas, delved into this complex topic in a recent piece in Forbes. The takeaways? It’s critical to conduct screening assessments on a continuous basis throughout the R&D process to ensure the impacts of each material iteration are accurately captured and subsequently interpreted by experts to drive science-based decision-making.

“‘Materials [are] developing rapidly, so impact assessment needs to be done dynamically and repeatedly–it needs to be a continuous and somewhat integrated assessment to guide the R&D process,’ adds Meister. This means Quantis works with some early-stage innovators on a flexible retainer basis, guiding them with ongoing assessment. Vargas adds that LCAs conducted in this manner have successfully allowed the modeling of lower impact factories in the food and beverage industry. ‘For the fashion industry, this will also be the case’ he believes…What has transpired from these interviews is that the current LCA methodologies can and do work, but only if interpreted and disseminated according to interpretations by LCA specialists.”

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Brands get creative to ditch secondary packaging

Secondary packaging

Raconteur | Quantis’ Global Plastics Lead Laura Peano was interviewed by Raconteur to share insights on how brands are making moves to meet consumer expectations for reduced packaging — and using it as an opportunity to innovate. In the piece, she explains that since “…packaging is so close to the consumer, it’s often viewed as one of the most tangible impacts, regardless of the share of a company’s environmental footprint it represents.” But insists on the need to take a science-based approach to avoid impact-transfer when making decisions about packaging. “While she believes secondary packaging should be removed ‘when it serves solely a marketing purpose’, Peano says care must be taken not to remove packaging where it contributes to preservation.” The article unpacks how brands from different industries are tackling packaging challenges at a time when prioritizing consumer experience is still the norm.

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The A to Z of B Corp: sustainability’s ‘gold standard’

B Corp is increasingly viewed as the 'sustainability gold standard' for sustainability certification. What are the befits and drawbacks?

Drapers | B Corp is increasingly viewed as the ‘gold standard’ for sustainability certification. What are the befits and drawbacks? Is it the best indicator of a company’s sustainability performance? How does it compare to other standards? Quantis Global Fashion and Sporting Goods Lead tackled these and other questions in an interview with Drapers. His conclusion? “As with any certification, it’s important to recognize that this is one step on the sustainability journey. In the short term, fashion brands should start with understanding where their main environmental hotspots lie and take immediate action to reduce the impacts of their current operations… Ultimately, the goal should be to transform business models, shifting away from a ‘take, make, waste’ approach to full circularity and operating within the limits of the planet – separating profitability from product volumes. To this end, companies are already trialling repair programs, rental and resale schemes, pre-order models and more.”

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‘Clear, transparent and comparable’: Beauty giants launch EcoBeautyScore Consortium

EcoBeautyScore Consortium

Counting the cost of fashion

BBC | Quantis’ Global Fashion + Sporting Goods Lead, Philipp Meister, was invited as a guest on BBC World Service podcast The Climate Question to unpack the fashion industry’s contribution to climate change and solutions to reduce its impact. He was joined by guests Claire Bergkamp (COO, Textile Exchange), Vanessa Friedman (Fashion Editor, New York Times) and Lily Cole (model, actor and podcast host) in this episode, which offers an overview of the state of sustainability in fashion, the cost paid by society and the planet, as well as promising efforts to change course.

BBC The Climate Question

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Fashion Is Overselling Circularity And Recycling — But There Is Hope

Forbes | A new piece in Forbes explores the limits of recycling and circularity as immediate solutions to the reduce the fashion industry’s impact — and cites Quantis research to back it up. Our Measuring Fashion report breaks down the extent to which circular fibers can bring emissions reductions — of around 10% — and points to the top driver of the sector’s footprint: emissions in the material and production phases. Given the scale and speed of change needed to transform the fashion industry, brands need clear and bold action plans to tackle their biggest sources of impact — in addition to exploring and scaling solutions in circularity and recycling. This piece offers a thorough look into what the industry needs to fast-track sustainability.

Forbes - Quantis - Fashion and Recycling

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If Nestlé wants to reach net zero, farming has to change

CNBC International | Quantis’ Daniel Baertschi was invited to share insights on regenerative agriculture as part of a CNBC report on Nestlé‘s plans to promote a new approach to farming to reach its net zero goals. In the interview, Daniel explains the benefits of a regenerative system: “We need to find ways to mainstream a positive agricultural system — and regenerative agriculture is exactly the system that allows every farmer to make progress starting from where they’re at.”

With agriculture responsible for up to a fifth of global greenhouse gas emissions, many companies are looking to regenerative agriculture as a key piece of the sustainability transformation. Daniel points out that, while commitments to this model are a positive indicator that companies are recognizing the need for a deep shift, the real work starts now: “There is a lot of interest for regenerative agriculture from corporates like Nestlé and others and that’s a good sign. It doesn’t mean it’s already done — it’s a long journey.” Discover the full report to hear Daniel’s perspective, alongside Nestlé CEO Mark Schneider and Head of Sustainable Agriculture, Pascal Chapot.

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LVMH, Kering and a big new challenge: Biodiversity

Vogue Business | Major luxury brands were talking biodiversity at the IUCN World Conservation Congress and Vogue Business wrote about how the industry is tackling its impact on nature. Referenced in the article is the work led by Quantis to assess LVMH‘s footprint on nature, as Hélène Valade, environmental development director, explains the importance of robust measurements as key to build awareness about biodiversity impacts.

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3 ways to lead like your corporate climate pledge means something

3 ways to lead like your corporate climate pledge means something

By Dimitri Caudrelier, Quantis CEO
Originally published in Fast Company

Corporate sustainability pledges, from net zero to carbon negative to nature positive, are now a fixture of daily life. And I’m worried.

Having worked in sustainability for the past decade, I’ve had a front-row seat on the way these commitments often play out. And without deep business transformation, they won’t. I’m hearing a lot of noise around where businesses are planning to land, but not so much on what it will take to get there.

Could it be that business leaders don’t actually know what it will take to deliver on big commitments? Or are they struggling to tackle the obstacles to change? I’m observing a bit of both.

3 ways to lead like your corporate climate pledge means something

The companies that actively work to rewrite the rules of the game for the better are the ones that will maintain their license to operate and be the example for their peers.

Regardless of the sticking point, leaders need to be honest with shareholders, internal teams, and consumers about the contradictions between current business models and sustainable production and consumption. Only then can leaders get real about what it will take to deliver on promises and start rolling up their sleeves to make it happen. Here’s what leading true transformation looks like.

Lead, uncomfortably

Most business leaders I know understand that they can’t reach their sustainability goals on a business-as-usual path. They’re well aware that the systems in place favor short-term gains over long-term value and resilience.

This uncomfortable reality may make playing the “not my problem” card seem tempting. That’s precisely where the problem lies. Now is not the time to shrug at things that seem outside of our control. Instead, leaders must dig deeper and challenge their long-held beliefs about doing business.

It’s time to start questioning the rules of business and getting answers: Will our current business model get us to the goals we’re promising to achieve? Which of our products or activities are at odds with our sustainability goals? Leaders need to normalize posing these existential questions at shareholder meetings, to board members, and among industry peers. This requires being honest and up-front about inconsistencies and how to address them.

And these conversations shouldn’t happen in a generational silo. In the classic clash of youth versus business leaders, it’s easy to use dismissal to mask discomfort. But what if leaders started leaning into the energy of the younger generations to find new solutions and common ground?

Practice — and advocate — what you preach

I see two sides of the corporate sustainability spectrum today. On one end are companies that have acknowledged reality: It’s impossible to engineer a road to sustainability without transforming the way we do business. On the other are those who give lip service to the sustainability movement while actively undermining progress within and outside of their company.

Presenting as a politically neutral business is a thing of the past. Consumers are demanding more than words; and they’re watching for inconsistencies. Leaders must tear down silos between sustainability departments and corporate influence teams, ensuring that those lobbying on behalf of the company are walking the talk, too. Companies that are truly committed to fulfilling their promises know that they must advocate for public policies that create the conditions necessary for change.

To fully embody their commitments and values, businesses should become sustainability activists and throw their weight behind causes they claim to care about—not as a performance or just when it’s convenient. Focusing on fixing the issues their operations impact directly is key. The companies that actively work to rewrite the rules of the game for the better are the ones that will maintain their license to operate and be the example for their peers. A true leader focuses not just on cleaning up their own yard but the entire neighborhood.

Get authentic inside and outside the company

Sometimes a “fake it ’til you make it” attitude can help you persevere through a challenge. This is not one of those times. By acknowledging the roadblocks faced and errors made, leaders can contribute to a culture of authenticity and build the trust to lead transformation.

It’s time to challenge traditional boundaries with competitors, too. It’s cliché but it’s true: We’re stronger when we work together. From the Science Based Targets initiative to the brand new Business Alliance to Scale Climate Solutions, I’ve seen initiatives like these skyrocket over the past decade. This trend is only going to accelerate, so companies that aren’t part of a pre-competitive collaboration should be asking themselves why that is. When an entire industry bands together, the remaining stragglers become increasingly hard to ignore, and excuses for going it alone increasingly slim.

When I look at the state of sustainability today—on the cusp of the U.N. Climate Change Conference (COP26)—I’m concerned. But I’m also optimistic, and I hope that business leaders are, too. The worst thing to do would be to pretend true sustainability is possible while secretly believing the challenges are insurmountable—because they aren’t.

The opportunities of shifting business to operate within the limits of our planet far outweigh any short-term costs or temporary feelings of discomfort. Those who recognize that big challenges call for more than big words—but big action and follow-through—are the ones who will make it to the other side.

Dimitri Caudrelier, Quantis CEO

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Guiding the Italian fashion industry towards better manufacturing practices

better manufacturing practices

The Sustainable Mag | The Italian Chamber of Fashion published a document — sponsored by the Italian Ministry of Ecological Transition — to guide the entire Italian fashion industry towards better manufacturing practices in collaboration with Quantis Italy and a team of experts and brands — among them, Giorgio ArmaniValentinoGucciPrada and Versace. Quantis provided expertise to support guidelines on mixtures and chemicals in the fashion production chain for increased sustainability. Discover the article for more on how the new guidelines aim to help fashion players rethink entire production models and supply chains to transition to a sustainable industry.

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Quantis tool built for manufacturers to assess packaging’s environmental footprint

eQopack | A packaging assessment tool to drive sustainable innovation

Waste360 | Quantis’ digital solution — eQopack — was featured in Waste360, in a piece that outlines how the tool brings ecodesign expertise in-house to enable packaging engineers to make sustainable design choices. More and more brands are committing to drastically reduce packaging waste, yet the average packaging designer lacks the time and expertise to make these promises actionable. Quantis Head of Digital Solutions Catherine Zwahlen is interviewed to explain how the tool was developed in tandem with users to fill this gap and why brands are seeking a packaging design solution based on science. She’s quoted alongside one of eQopack’s first users, Bel, and Quantis’ technology partner Kleis.

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The Greener Good series: How does business adapt?

MPR News | As part of MPR News‘ “The Greener Good” series, Quantis’ Charlotte Bande was invited to share insights on how companies should approach business model transformation as part of a robust climate strategy. Marketplace‘s senior economics contributor Chris Farrell guided a lively discussion with public policy insights from Yale University‘s Daniel Esty and a corporate perspective from Dave Rapaport of Ben & Jerry‘s.

When it comes to corporate climate action, there’s a lot of talk about the challenges, but less about the practical solutions businesses can take to accelerate change. How can companies adapt? What about those that are just getting started on their climate strategy? How can companies shift to a resiliency mindset? Discover the interview for fresh, diverse perspectives on the top-of-mind issues as businesses embark on their climate journey.

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ClimateCast podcast: Fashion shouldn’t cost the Earth

Sky News | Quantis’ Global Apparel Lead, Angela Adams, was a guest on ClimateCastSky News‘ new podcast that unpacks the climate issues facing us and looks for promising solutions to change course. In this episode, Angela is invited to make the numbers sing — bringing data and science to highlight the scale of the fashion industry’s impact — and share insights on how companies and consumers can take action. She speaks alongside guests from the Ellen MacArthur FoundationFashion Revolution, the British Fashion Council and more for an engaging discussion on how to reshape a fashion industry that doesn’t cost the Earth.

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Quantis launches eQopack to evaluate the environmental footprint of packaging (in French)

eQopack | A packaging assessment tool to drive sustainable innovation

Emballages Magazine | Leading French packaging publication, Emballages Magazine, is talking about eQopackQuantis‘ new ecodesign tool. To drive sustainable improvements in packaging, brands need access to robust environmental insights. eQopack enables packaging design teams to assess the footprint of different pack options and simulate scenarios to bring down the impacts. Discover the article to see why companies like Bel are looking to eQopack to bring sustainable packaging expertise in-house.

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Sustainability in cosmetics: use phase has higher impact than packaging + transportation (in Italian)

Il Sole 24 Ore | Quantis’ Make Up the Future Report was featured in Il Sole 24 Ore in a piece that spotlighted sustainability insights for the cosmetics industry. It tackled some of the preconceived notions about the environmental hotspots across cosmetic brands’ value chains, as well as consumer preferences that shed light on the trends. 78% seek plastics-free packaging; 76% prefer to buy sustainable products and 75% opt for refillable and reusable packaging. Discover more insights in the article.

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Medicine, e-commerce and shoes: revelations about waste

environmental impacts of shoes

Quantis: Moving the Needle on Sustainability

Quantis was named by CIO Review as one of the most promising gamification solution providers of 2021. Embedding sustainability across companies involves breaking down complex issues to build awareness and involvement among teams and stakeholders. Our Communications and Engagement Solutions team uses gamification to develop training programs, participatory workshops, internal campaigns and interactive web tools to foster the engagement necessary to pursue ambitious sustainability goals. In this feature, Global Head of Sustainability Communications, Amanda Martin, explains Quantis’ approach, vision and ambition to help companies bring all hands on deck.

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These new fragrances will be made from carbon captured from the atmosphere

Fast Company | Quantis partner Coty — the world’s largest fragrance company — is moving to use ethanol from recycled carbon emissions in its perfumes. Quantis helped Coty understand the environmental impacts of the new source of ethanol, developed by LanzaTech. A key ingredient in fragrances, the traditional production of ethanol uses sugarcane which, when produced on a large scale, comes with serious consequences, like deforestation, soil degradation and biodiversity loss. Quantis found that by switching to LanzaTech’s ethanol made from carbon emissions, Coty would see improvements in water consumption, land use and carbon emissions.

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Can “green” companies be trusted? Expert view: Without the courage to change, it’s only greenwashing (in Italian)

Repubblica | For true sustainability, leaders need the courage to challenge the “status quo” and business-as-usual. This is the key idea Simone Pedrazzini, Director of Quantis Italy shared in an interview with Repubblica, which dug into the concept of greenwashing — whether intentional or unintentional. A science-based approach paired with business acumen and the willingness to change are the key ingredients to a successful and credible sustainability strategy.

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New Guidelines, 2020 Brand Audit Aim to Finally Move the Needle on Corporate Plastic Stewardship

plastic stewardship guidelines

Sustainable Brands Sustainable Brands featured the upcoming corporate plastic stewardship guidelines to be released by Quantis3R InitiativeEA and South Pole in February 2021. Developed through public consultation, the guidelines seek to help companies translate their plastic commitments into concrete action. With this new vision in place, companies will be able to assess their plastics footprint and level of circularity to guide actions within their value chain to reduce impacts.

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New research on the readiness of businesses in Ireland to reduce their carbon emissions

The Irish Times | The Irish Times featured findings from new research released by Business in the Community Ireland (BITCI) uncovering barriers for Irish businesses on their decarbonization journey. Quantis was commissioned to examine how ready the signatories of BITCI’s Low Carbon Pledge were to commit to science-based targets, including reducing Scope 3 value chain emissions. We are proud to have contributed to the report, which includes best practices and specific sectoral guidance to support signatories on their sustainability journey.

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The NEC metric awarded “Impact Initiative of the Year: Global”

Impact Initiative of the Year

Environmental Finance | The Net Environmental Contribution metric, developed with our partners at Sycomore Asset Management and I Care & Consult, has received Environmental Finance’s Impact Initiative of the Year: Global award. Quantis is proud to have helped shaped this robust tool that offers the finance community a revolutionarily-new way to measure the environmental impact of economic activities. Congrats to the entire NEC team!

The financial sphere has a long way to go to adequately integrate environmental issues into investment decisions. I am convinced this is more due to a lack of adequate tools than a lack of awareness from the financial community. Understanding business models' positive or negative contribution to the environmental transition requires manual research, and sometimes bumps into corporate disclosure limitations. The NEC metric required a significant R&D effort to provide the industry with a compass to orient investments toward positive contributors. We're thrilled to see it recognized as a trailblazing tool!

Benjamin Lenoel, Senior Sustainability Consultant, Quantis

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Quantis calculates footprint of daily activities for Swiss media (in French)

RTS ecobilans daily routine

RTS | What is my digital footprint? How many cups of coffee are equal to the environmental footprint of my steak?

To empower the Swiss public to make more informed environmental choices, Quantis was tasked with calculating the environmental footprint of 50+ day-to-day activities with the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN). Highlighting new insights on people’s digital footprint, our co-founder Sébastien Humbert shared results on Radio Télévision Swiss (RTS).

Discover the story (in French):

RTS ecobilans daily routine

Store 1000 pictures on the cloud for 1 year = 6 coffees

RTS ecobilans

Eat a 250g swiss beef steak = 68,6 coffees

The NEC metric for sustainable finance highlighted in a French Opinion Finance article

NEC metric for sustainable finance

Opinion Finance | Recently highlighted in a French Opinion Finance article, The innovative NEC (Net Environmental Contribution) metric for sustainable finance developed by Quantis, Sycomore Asset Management and ICare & Consult will be used to manage a 230 million euros fund dedicated to fighting climate change. Our partner Sycomore Asset Management won the bid to manage this European Equity Fund commissioned by 12 institutional investors, including la Caisse des dépôts and EDF. This call for tenders reveals the growing interest in integrating environmental impact into asset management, as well as the need for robust metrics that integrate full value-chain impacts. The NEC metric is a publicly available metric managed and improved by the NEC Initiative.

NEC metric for sustainable finance

Looking to leverage environmental science to make smarter decisions? Reach out to...

Vanessa Pasquet
Senior Sustainability Consultant
Quantis

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Use Life Cycle Assessment to Map Your Organization’s Future

“Ask three people how a life cycle assessment (LCA) works and you may end up with four different answers.  Running a life cycle assessment – whether you’re a manager, analyst, engineer, or other professional – is more complex. You need to collect data from all stages of the life cycle: raw material acquisition, manufacturing, production, transportation, use, reuse, maintenance, and eventual disposal and waste management.

If it’s your first time running an LCA, it’s likely intimidating. In this piece, we unpack the LCA and clarify how the tool can benefit organizations.”