Much of what we talk about here at Rising Pyramid is the large scale change that is happening at the BoP with respect to sustainable and user-centric innovation. The challenge to reduce / eliminate / eradicate poverty is one of the largest hurdles that we all face, but every little bit that helps to move the “needle” of impact is something that should be celebrated.
Although poverty reduction and more sustainable living should be viewed as issues that are massively intertwined with geo-political and industrial complications, they cannot be solved all at once, and must be addressed (from a business or entrepreneurial standpoint) in piecemeal.
What is always exciting to me is to see innovation happening where you would least expect it – from large multinational corporations that in the past have rarely served as the beacon of sustainable behavior. Nestlé recently announced their plans to commit to a global non deforestation target by 2020. While this might not seem like innovation in some of the other senses we’re used to, the model for working with your suppliers and bringing a non-profit in the loop might prove to be just that: a role model for others.
Even though companies like Nestlé have massive war chests and some of the brightest minds working for them, working with smaller more specialized organizations sends a message that they are taking this goal seriously. This opens up the process to more outside minds who deal with this goal on a regular basis, and removes the risk of internal politics dominating the work.
FedEx, on the other hand, has reported that they are nearer to their goal of a fleet-wide fuel efficiency growth target of 20% by 2020. With one of the largest distribution networks (and thus the largest carbon emitters) in the world, a 20% reduction is definitely a step in the right direction. Yet putting all of their eggs in electric / hybrid vehicle technology is a bet they are not willing to take – yet. It will take a combination of lighter materials, more fuel efficient engines as well as a deeper foray into the electric / hybrid market.
While financial motivators might be the largest catalyst behind these efforts, they should be recognized due to their unique approaches to the solution. Involve others, spread the research around, and set targets to which you can manage. I hope to hear about more successful campaigns just like these in the future.