CEO of Kering Group Francois Pinault
CEO of Kering Group Francois Pinault

In 2012, the luxury, sport and lifestyle apparel group Kering made a bold and pioneering move in the world of corporate social responsibility as they set themselves a series of sustainability targets to achieve over a four year timeline. Not only that, but they announced they would also publish the results at the beginning on 2016. At a time of increasing pressure from discerning customers and in turn increasing competition in the area of sustainable fashion, it was done with the goal of driving the brand toward higher levels of economic, environmental, ethical and social performance.

Among the targets set out was strict monitoring of their supply chain processes by evaluating suppliers every two years, reducing carbon emissions by 25%, being PVC free by 2016, completely eliminating the use of hazardous chemicals by 2020 and having 100% of their gold, diamonds, leather and fur ethically sourced. Ambitious to say the least but the CEO of the group Francois Pinault even said that as a commercial business, investing in this reorganization of priorities and systems was a no-brainer if they wanted to continue to capture market share.

Panel discussion Parsons University
Panel discussion Parsons University

Ahead of the publication of the results at a fireside chat in Parsons University, New York, he said that “in the year 2015, sustainability is opportunity. We can create value for our shareholders, customers, employees and the planet, and that is what we as a group want to deliver”.

Pinault said that these targets have impacted on every facet of the company. There has been a complete overhaul in governance from top level down, to reflect the goals set out in the report. In addition to tracking the end product across the production line, management have been incentivised with bonuses for sustainability performance. This represents a significant sea change, where employees are rewarded for hitting targets that are not directly profit related.  

Also in a conversation with Pinault at the University was Executive Dean Joel Towers, he said that “you cannot get through a course at Parsons without studying sustainability at some point”. This is significant for two reasons .Not only is Parsons one of the leading fashion design schools of the world and therefore a key driver of trends, but the fact that students are leaving and going into their respective industries with sustainability practices ingrained as a part of any business is important.

Kering luxury, sport and lifestyle apparel group
Kering luxury, sport and lifestyle apparel group

Education facilities, like Parsons, have the opportunity and also the responsibility to cultivate a belief system in their students where they realize that in order to succeed in the marketplace of any industry of the foreseeable future, they will need to appreciate consumer demand for sustainability. Francois Pinault concluded: “We will enhance and expand our sustainability efforts and strive to create broader environmental and social value, proactive in our contribution to solving global challenges and helping catalyze change”.

As Horyou is the social network also trying to connect the people of the world to catalyze change, we commend Kering for their efforts so far and wish them continued success.

Written by Dearbhla Gavin

Have you thought of a world where nobody would have to be concerned about paying for their basic needs? The unconditional basic income (UBI) project, which will be submitted to a vote in Switzerland next month, addresses this controversial issue that has been the “talk of the country” for quite some time. And last week, hundreds of academics, executives, trade union representatives and the general public gathered in Zurich to discuss the UBI in connection to new technologies, disruptive work and a shrinking middle class, both in the developed and developing worlds. While attending for Horyou blog, I was very interested to see how the basic income discussion would fit with the concept of Spotlight, the global social currency created by Horyou. And I discovered that there are many people studying and working hard for more income equality all over the world.

Yanis Varoufakis - Photo by Jonas Rohloff/Neopolis Network
Yanis Varoufakis – Photo by Jonas Rohloff/Neopolis Network

Named “The Future of Work”, the conference discussed alternatives for the current crisis of capitalism, marked by income stagnation, deflationary process and decreasing interest rates on a global scale. Renowned specialists such as Yanis Varoufakis, former Greek Minister of Finance, and Robert Reich, former US Labour Secretary under Bill Clinton, were among the speakers.

First to speak was Robert Johnson, executive director of the Institute of New Economic Thinking, for whom the root cause of our society’s challenges is a mix of political pessimism, technological disruption and a political system whereby economic growth is powered and consumed by the wealthy few. “We are living under fear of social unrest caused by the increasingly precarious conditions for workers”, he said.

Robert Johnson - Photo by Jonas Rohloff/Neopolis Network
Robert Johnson – Photo by Jonas Rohloff/Neopolis Network

One of the signs of this precarity is the rise of sharing economy platforms like Uber and their impact on working conditions. A panel called Disruptive Work presented cases of companies like Uber and Zipcar, whereby members are proposed flexible conditions while not enjoying the same rights and income they would be in a “traditional” industry. “My father had one job in his life, I had six in mine, and my daughter will have six simultaneously”, said Robin Chase, co-founder of the car sharing platform Zipcar. She is optimistic about the new working model – according to her, 85% of people are not happy with their current jobs and the so-called “peer inc” companies can tap exponential learning and lead people to interesting jobs instead of automated ones.

A system where a basic income would guarantee people’s survival would give everyone freedom to chose a meaningful job without having to work hard to make ends meet. For the critics of the project, it would lead to a situation where many people would be discouraged to work at all. Some experiments made in Africa, India and Germany, however, show the opposite. Michael Faye, co-founder of the non profit GiveDirectly, shared his experience with cash transfers in extreme poor villages in Africa. “The only social group who stopped working were children”, he said. “There is no evidence that they become lazy and spend the money on drugs and alcohol. In fact, people go back to school and start working for the community”. The same phenomenon happened with the Mein Grundeinkommen experiment in Germany – from the 36 people who benefitted from a cash transfer which guaranteed their survival, only one spent it on luxuries. “Most people changed jobs and started spending more time with their children”, says the executive Amira Yahia.

Robert Reich, who worked as a US Labour Secretary and now is a professor at UCLA, is one of the biggest supporters of the project. “Even the Silicon Valley is starting to be interested in the basic income project. Companies are concerned about people not being able to afford the products that they manufacture, as the middle class is shrinking”, he said. In his opinion, a basic income would create an aggregated demand that would address such issues as inequality and social insecurity. “The central question is not economic but ethical. Who is the government working for, and who has the influence and power? How do we use the abundance and distribute the gains produced by society?”, he asked. Reich is not convinced about the effectiveness of a basic income, but believes it is “inevitable” to create a system which promotes the circulation of income.

Robert Reich - Photo by Jonas Rohloff/Neopolis Network
Robert Reich – Photo by Jonas Rohloff/Neopolis Network

The closing speech was Yanis Varoufakis’. Famous for his controversial statements about capitalism and the financial system, he stated that the social democracy tradition is dead and that capitalism has been agonizing since 2008. “The new system transfers the value of production towards the financial sector that remains insolvent. This created a deflationary process and today, half the global economy is on negative interest rates”. Varoufakis went on to explain that the working class can no longer ensure itself through social insurance, as youngsters find it very difficult to find full time jobs, and wages are stagnating. “This is aggravated by the fact that low wage routine jobs would be rapidly replaced by artificial intelligence”.

The basic income, according to him, is a necessary tool to stabilize society. “The struggle is ethical as we need to overturn the dominant paradigm of capitalism. The basic income is a dividend for the collective production market, it is about giving money to the underserving, to the rich, the surfers, people who are collectively producing wealth”, he advocated. At the same time, a redistribution of wealth would benefit central banks as well by working as a counter deflationary tool, and promote the creation of value at work, as people would have the right to turn down a job they don’t feel connected to. “We need to create a system which aggregates capital and creates a stream for everyone. It’s a trust fund for all our children”, he concluded.

Written by Vivian Soares

Special thanks to Gottlieb Duttweiler Institute and Neopolis Network for all the support and pictures.

Neetal Parekh
Neetal Parekh

Neetal Parekh is an attorney by education, a communicator by experience, and a social innovator and storyteller at heart. Neetal is the Founder and CEO of Innov8social, which builds tools to help individuals and companies reach their impact potential. She is the host of the Innov8social Podcast, featuring interviews with thinkers and doers in the social impact space. Neetal serves as an advisor to social enterprise startups and as a mentor at the Sustainability Innovations Lab at GSVlabs. She talked to us about her vision of Social Entrepreneurship and her upcoming initiative Impactathon.

What is your definition of Social Entrepreneurship?

Social Entrepreneurship means using a business model to create social impact. It works for startups, established companies but also for non-profit organizations. All types of organizations can generate social impact.

How can we teach Social Entrepreneurship and who should do it?

I think experiential learning is the most effective way to gain relevant expertise in this area. Social Entrepreneurship is an emerging discipline so it is better to learn by doing than to focus on theory. Incubators or multiple-week experiential learning programs offer great opportunities for people interested in Social Entrepreneurship. I believe that those methods have big potential to provide participants with the experience necessary to enter the social business.


You created INNOV8SOCIAL. Can you tell me what does “dream, inspire and act” mean to you in this context?

As an attorney I started to explore Social Entrepreneurship from the perspective of the legal structure of different business models. I realized that the new generation could contribute to shift the businesses towards a more social orientation. It usually starts small and then a vision, a larger dream, emerges. I had also the chance to meet numerous social entrepreneurs. Talking to them and interviewing them for my blog was a very inspiring experience. This inspiration started to turn into action. Besides the blog, I published a book (“51 Questions on Social Entrepreneurship”) and then I started to give online courses. Currently I am working on “Impactathon”. The event will be held on the 14th of May and it is another step in my “ACTION” path.

Can you tell me more about Impactathon? What would you like to achieve with this event?

Impactathon is a workshop for social entrepreneurs. The idea is to combine positive elements of a Hackathon with panels and short impact talks from thought leaders and participants in the social impact space of business, law, food/nutrition, and design. We are aiming to address different challenges related to social entrepreneurship. Through meaningful conversations and inspiring meetings I had with social entrepreneurs, I realized that this is the way to uncover our super power in the social impact space. So now we will bring in one room amazing people with different visions, people, who had the strength to engage in social business and who are willing to share the problems they encounter and their experiences. I think that these deep discussions and collective work among colleagues aligned with the same goals will enable us to achieve something new.

Did you prepare some special attractions for the participants?

Yes. After the conference the participants will have a chance to visit a community-based maker space and prototyping studio, TECH-SHOP San Francisco. Its mission is to democratize access to innovation tools. I think it is a great opportunity to get a different perspective through watching people transforming their ideas into physical objects. It will be for sure an inspiring adventure. The third part of the event will be a workshop session in Hackathon style. The participants will have a possibility to present problems they faced while creating and developing their social enterprises and explore potential solutions in a group. Afterwards they will present and discuss their ideas to all participants.

What is the difference between an event for social entrepreneurship and a traditional business event?

At the conferences dedicated to traditional business the focus is on profit, which is easy to quantify. People discuss for example how to increase revenues, number of clients or users. At Impactathon we will explore how to create impact and generate profit at the same time and discuss how the impact can be measured and communicated.

Can you tell me how in your opinion social enterprises should measure success?

There is a number of standardized metrics like The Global Reporting Initiative’s (GRI) sustainability reporting guidelines or Impact Reporting and Investment Standards (IRIS). An enterprise can also choose few factors that reflect the social impact it aims to achieve. Those factors should be measured for a defined period of time and evaluated. It will help to select the factors, which are most relevant for this specific company or business. Those factors can describe, for example, how many people could benefit from healthcare thanks to the activity of this enterprise, how this can increase the life expectancy of the beneficiaries, how many children could start or continue their education….

What do you see as the future of Social Entrepreneurship?

We are observing growing support for social entrepreneurs, however this support comes mostly at the beginning stage. Now we need to focus more on helping social ventures to graduate and develop further. We also need to work on a uniformed impact scaling system and a common language across different sizes and types of enterprises. The scaling system will enable social enterprises to measure their impact and discover how they can improve.

We are very thankful for having interviewed Neetal Parekh for Horyou blog! The Horyou team wishes Innov8Social team a great Impactathon!

Written by Joanna Kozik

Brian McGoldrick, Head of compliance at Leman Solicitors
Brian McGoldrick, Head of compliance at Leman Solicitors

The Future of Banking and Financial Services Summit took place in The Gibson Hotel, Dublin on April 28th. Held in conjunction with The Sunday Business Post and iQuest events, its attendees represented the full spectrum of financial services, from retail banking to payments to regulatory risk and compliance.

Everyday, we realize the financial services industry is evolving. With the use of technology, movement of capital is becoming more fluid, methods of exchange are changing and as Horyou is harnessing these opportunities with their new social currency “Spotlight”, I was interested to learn from the executives leading this change.  

The morning keynote was delivered by Colm Lyon, CEO of Fire Financial Services who alluded to “The Great Fintech Scramble”, where many financial services companies are racing to capture market share. He was optimistic about the opportunities that lie across the industry for apps and payments services but also cautioned technology evangelists: “It takes a long time and capital to build a fintech business”.

Colm Lyon, CEO of Fire Financial Services
Colm Lyon, CEO of Fire Financial Services
There was some interesting comments made about the legalities of fintech; it’s easy to forget how rapid these changes are but any industry of course still needs to be governed. Dominic Conlon, Head of the Corporate Department at Lehman Solicitors highlighted the fact that archaic laws don’t fit with the constantly evolving nature of cyberspace. “The law doesn’t know about payments”, he said, and Ronan Hughes, Head of European Payments Services at RBS joined him in saying: “inaction is not an option”.

Ronan McGoldrick of Leman Solicitors reiterated how difficult it is to regulate in the area of fintech and the need for collaboration. “Regulators and innovators will need to come together”, he said. So here another one of the founding principles of Horyou was highlighted – collective action.

The afternoon session was centered around how finance will reinvent itself in this era of disruptive innovation. Anthony Watson, President and CEO of Uphold, the world’s fastest growing money platform, said that the Keynesian model of a bank lending according to what it says on their balance sheet is over. “I would be worried if I was a big bank, the industry is changing, they cannot rely on their legacy anymore”, he said.

Watson also made reference to banks and social impact with regard to fees. He said that technology gives us a real chance to democratize the industry and level out the playing field. This reminded me of the potential that Horyou’s Spotlight has, where it can can allow investors who have the capital to give it to impactors who don’t, therefore spreading wealth and ultimately making a positive social impact.

Giuseppe Insalaco, Senior Advisor at Central Bank of Ireland, closed with his personal view on what the future holds for the financial services industry. Emerging trends, he highlighted, were ‘enhanced consumer intelligence’ and ‘razor sharp’ market segmentation. ”Data is the new gold”, he said. As internet users leave their electronic footprint, entrepreneurs harness this data and identify customers’ needs. However, this also makes speed to market critical and intensifies competition.   In his crystal ball analysis, Insalaco predicted crowdfunding coming of age and legitimizing, becoming less social and more business led. He was fearful of the emergence of an arms race in cybersecurity – “A wall is only as good as the next hacker” -, and predicted an escalation of online breaches.

The main takeaways from the event was that fintech brings opportunities and threats to the financial services industry. Customers will always need a place to manage their finances; whether this is in a traditional bank or an online money platform, they will go with whoever offers them the best return. New platforms like Horyou’s Spotlight add yet another layer, offering social returns.

Written by Dearbhla Gavin

Maria Luisa Silva presents the UN Sustainable Goals during an event in Geneva
Maria Luisa Silva presents the UN Sustainable Goals during an event in Geneva

Launched in September 2015, the UN Sustainable Development Goals for 2030 is a broad and demanding agenda which affects all countries. The new goals require more collaboration, commitment and the participation of all actors: academia, society, governments and private sectors should join forces to shape better times to come. Horyou blog interviewed Maria Luisa Silva, the Head of United Nations Development Program in Geneva, about the challenges presented by the new agenda.

1. How does the new UN Sustainable Development Goals differ from the UN Millennium Goals?

They differ in three fundamental ways. The first difference is that Millennium Development Goals were a relatively narrow social agenda, extremely important but focused on some social issues. The Sustainable development agenda is a broader and more complex agenda that addresses all the dimensions of development: economic, social but also sustainability. The pillar of environment gives a greater expansion in the sustainable development goals – 6 out of the 17 new goals are focusing on environmental issues. The reason they are making their way in the agenda is because these are the areas where the least progress happened during the life of the UN Millennium Development Goals.

The second main difference is that the Sustainable Development Goals are going to require a major mobilization of all sorts of actors. The Millennium Goals were mostly emanating from governments towards developing countries, and agreed in multilateral forums. In this case, it requires society as a whole: private sector, youth, academia, everybody to think and to make a necessary social transformation.

The third difference is that they are universal goals. This is not just an agenda for developing countries, this is an agenda that will also apply and demand action on rich societies, to address the social challenges they have, and many of them would be surprised about their serious issues of inequality and poverty pockets. More importantly, there are involved in the environmental transformations required to reach the sustainability dimension of the agenda.

2. How can companies help to engage on climate change and environmental challenges?

The private sector can engage in two different manners. One is with a necessary innovation to make the planet a better place to live. And innovation and the transformation of the production processes need to come up from the private sector. This is a survival agenda. I remember talking to Paul Polman, head of Unilever, and he and many other companies have already realized that this is not just for profit. It’s the interest of new consumers, young people are not interested to consume products from companies that are destroying the environment or gaining money profiting from the poor and vulnerable. So, it becomes really part of the bottom line for enterprises.

The other dimension is also contributions, more and more we are getting private sector organizations leading and contributing to debates which were more traditionally government-led debates. And we have from the philanthropic side foundations from extremely wealthy private entrepreneurs contributing to the public good. So the public good is not just responsibility from governments only, it is also from the private sector.

3. How will developing countries get assistance to reach the new UN Sustainable Development Goals?

Traditionally, development assistance was considered the way to contribute, to leverage development processes in developing countries. And this is what’s called Official Development Assistance (ODA). The goal of ODA was only 0,7% of GDP in rich economies, but very few countries have reached that level. Some have, and it hasn’t really hurt them. It’s not complicated, it’s just a matter of political will. We need to keep pushing them to reach that level, because this ODA is absolutely instrumental, particularly for the least developed countries and the low income countries which are out of their own means to reach the Sustainable Development goals. The case of upper middle income countries like Brazil is not ODA. They will have to develop other means and ways, private investments, mobilization of local resources. It’s important to see how they will deal with obstacles that are limiting sustainable-friendly investments and sustainable development.

4. How do you see the news of China and US signing the Paris agreement?

Paris Agreement was one of the incredible successes of the year 2015, where political leaders around the globe agreed on political agendas that will be extremely important for the coming years. So US and China agreed in Paris and now they are making the next step which is signing the agreement. This is absolutely fantastic and very important, but there is much more to do. We need to transform intended national contributions into real national contributions. So those plans that each country committed itself to do, now they need to become reality. And we also need to go further. Even if we achieve everything that all countries committed to achieve, we will still be in the 3 degrees level. And many states said that they want to go to 1,5. In the revision on those intended national contributions within 5 years, we need to keep pushing for further ambitions.

Written by Vivian Soares

André Trigueiro
André Trigueiro

Jornalista, professor, autor de livros sobre sustentabilidade e humanismo e ativista do meio ambiente, André Trigueiro é um profissional dedicado às causas em que acredita. No Brasil, André é conhecido como repórter e âncora da TV Globo e da GloboNews, mas seu trabalho e seu engajamento vão muito além – além da TV, ele atua como comentarista de rádio e também se dedica às carreiras acadêmica e editorial. André conversou com o Horyou blog sobre sua carreira, visão de mundo e sobre bem social.

1) Você é um profissional multifacetado: jornalista, escritor, editor, professor. Como você concilia todas essas atividades?

Eu estou vivo e em condições de produzir. Vou caminhando sem parar para pensar em coisas que já foram consolidadas ou consumadas. Eu acho que nós sempre temos que olhar para frente e verificar o que ainda não foi feito, o que precisa ser feito de uma maneira mais inteligente e efetiva.

2) Quais são suas inspirações para criar e idealizar seus projetos e sua trajetória como ser humano?

Eu acredito que sou como todas as pessoas. Nós temos que aproveitar nosso tempo, energia e nossas condições para trabalhar e tentar fazer nossa parte em favor de um mundo melhor e mais justo.

André é conhecido como repórter e apresentador de TV
André é conhecido como repórter e apresentador de TV

3) Como você começou a traçar sua trajetória pessoal e profissional?

Eu não sei dizer de onde veio, principalmente porque eu sou reencarnacionista, então é difícil mapear a origem. Certamente é uma soma de influências das mais diversas fontes que determinam, digamos, uma cosmovisão, uma percepção do mundo, uma escala de valores éticos e morais à maior pré-disposição para fazer as ações. Nós somos uma soma de influências: a sociologia explica bem como se resolve esse fenômeno da absorção, de uma carga monumental de informações que, desde a infância, agente se apodera, recicla, elabora e devolve.

4) Sua história de vida e projeto transmitem uma boa energia e a vontade de construir um mundo melhor. Você tem positividade e faz o bem social. Essa é a sua mensagem para o mundo?

Isso combina com minha cosmovisão. Para mim é importante ter uma postura, sempre que possível, onde a sensibilidade para o coletivo esteja presente.

5) Qual a sua mensagem para a plataforma Horyou sobre inspirações, ações e positividade?

Nós precisamos ter a consciência de que a vida não é uma casualidade. Há um sentido inteligente da existência e todos precisam descobri-lo, o quanto antes, para empregar o tempo e a energia dentro de uma perspectiva de aprendizado e de uso inteligente dos recursos que estão a nossas mãos em favor do coletivo, do planeta. Devemos procurar promover a qualidade de vida, o respeito enquanto espécie no topo da cadeia evolutiva com os demais seres da criação e, de alguma forma, aprender que esse de fato é o caminho mais nobre e também o emprego mais ético do uso do tempo e da energia que dispomos para realizar os trabalhos que achamos mais importantes.

Por Claudio Rahal

More Stories

Support the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals! This world is the one thing we all have in common! By working together, we can achieve great...