What do beef, soy, palm oil, timber and bio-fuels have in common? What might appear to be the innocuous contents of an emergency survival kit for campers, is arguably, the most powerful set of commodities in the world. From hamburgers and chocolate chip cookies to shampoo and toilet paper, the Big Five and its derivatives are found in hundreds of common-place products on supermarket shelves. Growing demand for these commodities has a profound effect on global commerce and presents a tremendous opportunity for developing nations to generate wealth. To satisfy the global appetite for these products, developing countries are channeling the one free resource they still possess – forests. It is estimated that the Big Five play a significant role in the destruction of nearly 13 million hectares of tropical forests every year. To put it in perspective, that is an area the size of Greece. Who is responsible for this rapacious trend? In the second post in the series, Chalk It Up, we will examine new methods to chart out the impact of commodity trade on forests and try to understand if these metrics can help save the most valuable living resources we have left on our planet.
I love numbers, which is why I believe that hard data is critical to sustainability strategy. In my approach to marketing, my mantra is “what you can measure, you can communicate”. To explore the “numbers”, I am starting a new series on metrics and measurement tools called Chalk It Up. Hope you will enjoy these posts as much I will! (PS: A thank you to the organizer and participants of a great Tweetchat #sustyXX, where this idea was born!)
The first Chalk It Up post looks at the issue of diversity, an indicator of social justice and an important measure on the social side of sustainability. Continue reading