400. 1,127. 354.
Those three numbers made news this spring. They point to the frustrations – and failures – of those of us inside and outside of corporate America who would like business to become more sustainable.
400: Atmospheric concentrations of CO2 passed the symbolic threshold of 400 parts per million. Big companies talk a good game on climate change, but global emissions keep rising. Climate remains the defining issue of our time; if business can't find a way to bring down its emissions, and ours, we're all in trouble.
1,127: The death toll in the collapse of the garment factory outside Dhaka, Bangladesh, making it the deadliest disaster in the industry's history. Years of extensive and expensive supply-chain monitoring by the biggest US clothing brands, including Nike, Gap and Walmart, however well-intentioned, have brought only modest improvements to labour standards in the world's poorest countries.