More Sustainability, More Profitability


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Today’s Top Stories
 — Want To Please Investors? Be More Sustainable: A new study connects sustainability and finances.
 — The Case for Universal Basic Income Continues, Despite Voter Rejection: A legendary labor leader takes up the cause.
 — Nike Turns Garbage Into Shoes: And it jumps on the “circular economy” bandwagon.
 — Why LinkedIn Sold to Microsoft: Because it had to, mostly.
 — Apple Begins To Open Up: The Cupertino giant is changing direction.

Want To Please Investors? Be More Sustainable
 Investors are seeing the connection between corporate sustainability performance and financial performance (MIT Sloan Management Review). It’s a virtuous connection, so more investors are demanding data that sustainability at companies is real and business models that take advantage of it. According to this MIT study, “three quarters of executives in investment firms agree that sustainability performance is materially important for investment decisions, citing revenue growth, operational efficiency, and risk reduction as the boons of solid sustainability management.” So what are companies waiting for?

The Case for Universal Basic Income Continues, Despite Voter Rejection
 Voters are showing little enthusiasm for universal basic income measures (76 percent of Swiss voted against it earlier this month), but that’s not stopping advocates from continuing to make the case. Labor leader Andy Stern (he was the longtime head of the Service Employees International Union) has become a high-profile supporter. He’s looked at how technology and the resulting gig economy has changed the nature of work and written a book laying out the argument. This piece about Stern and his new book Raising the Floor in The Guardian is supportive of the endeavor, as you’d suspect from The Guardian, but it does enumerate the case against basic income without putting its thumb on the scale. Next step for basic income in the U.S.: the modest Y Combinator pilot in Oakland.

Nike Turns Garbage Into Shoes
 If you want an example of sustainability performance pushing financial performance, look at Nike, which is now manufacturing sneakers from its own garbage (Huffington Post). It estimates that “71 percent of its footwear now contains materials made from waste products from its own manufacturing process.” To take this even farther, Nike recently announced a partnership with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, the British nonprofit dedicated to building a circular economy.

Why LinkedIn Sold to Microsoft
 Recode’s Kurt Wagner summarizes some of the reasons LinkedIn was open to yesterday’s Microsoft acquisition: falling stock price, slowing ad growth, and unclear subscriber growth. In other words, it’s become a mature company, one more likely to gain value by being deeply integrated with Microsoft’s enterprise offerings. (One suspects Twitter executives see the parallels and are paying close attention.) The question is how the integration happens: let’s hope it’s not just people looking for jobs with half-forgotten addresses.

Apple Begins To Open Up
 There were plenty of incremental improvements announced by Apple in yesterday’s Worldwide Developer Conference opening session, but the most heartening may have been what many of them have in common: They show Apple opening up (The Verge). Three of the company’s key services — Maps, Siri, and iMessage — ended the day less proprietary than when they started. There’s still plenty for Apple to do (the sea change won’t be complete until iMessage works on Android) but these potentially risky moves show that it believes giving developers and consumers more control over its platforms will be good for everyone … starting with Apple. Breaking: if you want to read more about how Apple is changing, see Apple’s Mid-Life Opportunity, a column on the topic by our founder and CEO John Battelle.

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