The world is in trouble and it needs your help.
This is the undeniable takeaway from nearly every news item these days, as we are faced with extraordinary threats large and small, a toxic world beset by climate-change and trapped by outdated business practices, and cynical, uniformed public policies.
It will require business, as former Unilever CEO Paul Polman says, to radically transform.
"Business is not there for the shareholders; it has to find longer-term solutions. If society doesn’t function we need to do business differently, a different form of capitalism. There are big issues coming up—climate change, inequality, unemployment, social cohesion."
Governments are not responding to the challenge and the communities they serve are paying the price.
That’s why I’m so excited that Fortune is adding another newsletter to our now impressive line-up, specifically on sustainability and the role corporations must play to reverse some terrible trends and establish new practices in service of a healthy and equitable world.
The Loop promises to be our weekly eyes and ears inside business, promising "to deliver the latest on environmentalism in the boardroom, call out corporations that aren’t pulling their weight, and highlight advances in tech and policy designed to usher in greater sustainability," says Eamon Barrett, The Loop’s founding editor.
The newsletter debuted alongside Fortune’s inaugural Global Sustainability Forum in Yunnan, China, which just concluded last week. It confirmed, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that environmentalism is not a fringe conversation. It’s become a business imperative.
Fanfare aside, Barrett says it’s important to address this work with some healthy skepticism.
"Corporate environmentalism, really, is still in its infancy and exactly how businesses align shareholder interests with those of a broader group of stakeholders still needs to be hammered out. That’s the job Fortune has committed to at the Global Sustainability Forum, and that’s the process The Loop will chronicle—cajoling slackers along the way."
To do that, he’d love to hear from you now. What’s top of mind for you? What’s working inside your companies? What’s not? What do you need The Loop to be? Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @eamonbarrett49.
And by all means, subscribe here.
California votes to strip N.C.A.A. of its amateurism okie doke If the legislation passes, it would have enormous implications for college athletics program across the country, a $14 billion industry. Called the Fair Pay to Play Act, it passed the California State Assembly yesterday with a vote of 72-0, and it is expected to end up on Governor Gavin Newsome’s desk soon. The bill would allow college student-athletes in California to be paid specifically for the use of their name, image, and likeness, which could mean anything from traditional endorsement deals to monetizing their YouTube channels. LeBron James was one of the bill’s most public supporters. “Everyone is California—call your politicians and tell them to support SB 206! This law is a GAME CHANGER,” he tweeted. “College athletes can responsibly get paid for what they do and the billions they create.” State Senator Nancy Skinner (D-East Bay) introduced the bill. Meet her in this excellent short explainer video from Vice News; more on the politics below.
New York Times
It’s true, we all die of something Two years of investigation went into Frontline’s latest documentary, Flint’s Deadly Water, which debuts today. The film digs into the under-reported outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease in Flint, Mich., a preventable epidemic that happened at about the same time that the state made the fateful decision to switch the city’s water supply to the Flint River. But before lead in the pipes made national news, some 12 people died of the disease, making it one of the deadliest in U.S. history. Did you know? Evidently, the state badly mismanaged an attempt to both contain the outbreak and inform the public. When told that if he didn’t monitor the outbreak more closely that people would certainly die, the state health director told one member of a scientific panel, “They’ll have to die of something.”
Frontline on PBS
Turner Classic Movies hires its first black host Jacqueline Stewart is a professor of cinema and media studies at the University of Chicago with a unique specialty—the racial politics of film preservation. As such, the avid cinephile is keenly aware of how special it is that she is about to become the first black host of the beloved franchise. “If my presence on TCM gets people interested in film history, especially young people of color, to look at a body of work that they might not think would resonate with them, that’s really important,” she says. “For us, it’s a chance to learn from her, too,” says Pola Changnon, senior vice president of marketing, studio production and talent for TCM.
The Virginia Theological Seminary announces a reparations plan The Virginia Theological Seminary, one of the oldest Episcopalian schools in the country, didn’t admit black students until 1951. Their stately buildings were built in large part by the labor of enslaved people. But their announcement that they have created a $1.7 million fund that will be used in part to address “particular needs” of descendants of slaves, puts them at the forefront of a broader discussion of why reparations are necessary and how they may work. The fund will also support the work of black alumni and clergy in historically black congregations. “We were a Seminary where enslaved persons worked. We participated fully in segregation,” said the dean and president of the seminary in a statement. “So we apologize; so we commit to a different future; but we need to do more. This fund is our seed — the first step.”
Ugh, why do we have to talk about slavery all the time… As former plantations and similar historical sites begin the difficult process of adding missing context from their tours and exhibits—namely that the fledgling country was built on the back of cruel and unpaid labor, some visitors are starting to complain. One woman left an online review of a Charleston, S.C., saying what many white visitors are feeling. “[I]didn’t come to hear a lecture on how the white people treated slaves.” But this kind of pushback is to be expected, says, Gary Sandling, the vice president of visitor programs and services at Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello estate. “We’re at a very polarized, partisan political moment in our country, and not surprisingly, when we are in those moments, history becomes equally polarized.”
Women of color are coming into the workplace in record numbers It’s both a historic moment and a huge challenge/opportunity for first time leaders: For the first time, most new hires are people of color, according to a Washington Post analysis. The team examined Labor Department data that’s been collected since the 1970s, focusing on people of “prime working age,” defined as 25 to 54. The trend is being driven largely by women. “Minority women began to pour into the labor market in 2015, and they have begun to reshape the demographics of the U.S. workforce, especially because many white baby boomers have been retiring,” they report. Where my well-trained inclusive managers at? Seriously? Where you at? Not a rhetorical question.
A data project visualizes the routes of six asylum seekers The idea is both beautifully considered and executed. It is the stories of six asylum seekers and the routes they traveled from their home towns (in Mali, Pakistan, Guinea and Cote D’Ivoire) to Italy. The project traces their travels over a map, and adds anecdotes from their treks at key points in their journey. It looks like it’s still unfolding. The project was produced by Federica Fragapane, with Alex Piacentini, who took the time to interview each of the migrants personally.
Stories Behind A Line
Tamara El-Waylly helps write and produce raceAhead.
“Future generations are unlikely to condone our lack of prudent concern for the integrity of the natural world that supports all life.”
—Rachel Carson, author of Silent Spring, the seminal 1962 work that launched the environmental movement.