Emerging modern slavery risks, Amazon deforestation, the key agenda points for the apparel sector, and energy majors targeted (again)

In this week’s podcast from Innovation Forum, Verisk Maplecroft’s Alex Channer on how to effectively map modern slavery risks, and Francesca New from Mars on how to engage smallholder suppliers, plus in the news round up why Amazon conservationists have welcomed a Brazil supreme court ruling, what apparel sector leaders need to think about, modern slavery in Gulf construction and is Friends of the Earth going to sue Shell?

Hosted by Ian Welsh



What are the major challenges companies face in understanding and quantifying their impact?

With examples of new technologies that companies can use to see results from their sustainability efforts in their supply chains, panellists in this webinar discuss how tools and techniques have allowed companies to manage important data that advance their sustainability programmes more effectively and better understand how to get a return from their sustainability investments.

Hear key insights on how these innovative tools can better align business priorities with sustainability priorities in interesting and scalable ways.


Karimah Hudda, global sustainability lead – procurement, Mondelez International

Katie Hoard, global manager of agricultural development, Anheuser-Busch InBev

Heather Pfahl, global senior socio-economic impact manager, Mars Incorporated

Daniele Giovannucci, president and co-founder, Committee on Sustainability Assessment (COSA)

Introduced and moderated by: Ian Welsh, Innovation Forum


In the new Innovation Forum podcast this week: detailed discussion on gene-editing's role in developing more sustainable agriculture, and new market opportunities for the soy sector. Plus, in the news roundup, why investors urgently need more transparency on carbon risk, a new recruiter-rater initiative to help counter modern slavery, why UK retailer Iceland is cutting out palm oil, and some possible game changer technology for recycling PET plastic backed by Unilever


In this week's podcast, hear from former UK environment secretary John Gummer – now Lord Deben – on modern slavery in public procurement and plastic packaging. Plus a round up of sustainable business news and future content coming from Innovation Forum.


Richard Batten, global chief corporate responsibility officer at real estate services business JLL, explains to Innovation Forum’s Ian Welsh what an effective supply chain mapping process looks like. The challenge is often to know where to look for the ‘red flag’ slavery and forced labour risks – companies have to accept that modern slavery is their supply chains, and the task at hand is to uncover it and then remediate.


2018 has been tipped to be the year sustainability goes mainstream within the apparel industry. Advances in tech innovation have opened up sustainable business models that deliver, not just on sustainability goals, but on the financial bottom line as well. 

However, the $3 trillion apparel industry accounts for 10% of global carbon emissions and remains the second largest industrial polluter, second only to oil. The current linear business models prevalent in the industry are creating huge volumes of waste. This has pushed brands to look for ways to move away from the take, make, dispose linear models and strive for more circular supply chains. 

The implementation of these models have presented numerous challenges, but brands are making progress. In this webinar, we will discuss the latest approaches to applying circularity throughout the business, whilst touching on the challenges in scaling up those small scale initiatives currently in play. 

We discussed: 

- Circularity is inching its way into the fashion industry, but how close is it to mainstream application? 
- Is a circular business model realistic at the scale required for large apparel brands? 
- How can the industry effectively work together to move away from a take-make-dispose model? 


- Claire Bergkamp, head of sustainability and ethical trade, Stella McCartney 
- Anna Maria Rugarli, senior director, sustainability and responsibility, EMEA, VF Corp 
- Traci Kinden, project manager, circular textiles, Circle Economy 

Hosted by Tobias Webb, founder, Innovation Forum 


Hilary Thomson, director at TFT, talks with Innovation Forum’s Ian Welsh about the use of audits to uncover instances of modern slavery in factories. She argues that the balance of power has shifted too far in favour of auditors who now have the ability to be judge, jury and executioner. Too often they produce a picture of a staged set rather than an accurate picture, she says. Thomson favours a change in assessment processes and a move towards more continual assessment of progress.


The future for agriculture is to feed future generations while reducing environmental costs. David Cleary, director of agriculture at The Nature Conservancy, talks with Innovation Forum’s Azadeh Ardakani about how sustainable agriculture can develop production gains with minimal environmental impact. Cleary discusses how precision agriculture can provide wins for both farmers and the environment, and he outlines some examples of why partnership can work for brands and their supply chains.

The Nature Conservancy is hosting Innovation Forum’s sustainable agriculture conference in Washington DC on April 5th and 6th. Join experts from Google, Mars, Bunge, Walmart, World Resources Institute, Wells Fargo and many more. The discussions will focus on how to leverage technology, climate-smart agriculture and cross-sector collaborations to improve sustainable farming, deliver against company objectives and balance positive impact for farmers, businesses and the planet.



Collaboration and investment to scale solutions for famers, the food industry, consumers and the environment

As the planet’s population increases, and natural resources are put under ever-more pressure, the agriculture industry faces the central challenge of how to grow more crops efficiently and sustainably.

More money went into funding agricultural technology startups in 2017 than the previous two years combined. Will this surge of agri tech solutions and investments provide answers that consumers and food companies are looking for? What are other solutions that will scale sustainable solutions for feeding future generations?

In this webinar, experts from food giant Mars and technology innovator Indigo Ag, debate how brands can work with their suppliers and farmers to develop sustainable agriculture solutions, and also explore what some of those solutions look like now and will do so in the future.


Ashley Allen, climate and land senior manager, Mars

Dr Kevin Kephart, head of industry relations, Indigo Ag

Introduced and moderated by Ian Welsh, Innovation Forum


A Canadian entrepreneur says he has a product that would enable plastic that’s thrown-away or in landfill to safely biodegrade.

Robert Pocius from Tek Pak Solutions talks with Innovation Forum’s Ian Welsh about how his company is developing alternative plastic materials, initially for the food sector, that completely biodegrade in the environment.

Contrasting with the previous generation of oxo-bio plastics that broke down into dangerous micro-plastics, Pocius says that Tek Pak’s innovative additive enables microbes to degrade the plastic material completely into CO2, methane and inert material. Pocious explains the on-going testing procedures for his products, and why he believes they can offer a solution that can complement reuse and recycling schemes.  


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