FASHION JUST GOT LIGHTER

In my previous blog post I mentioned Stella McCartney. The brand is rated ‘’Good’’ on Goodonyou.eco’s directory, and despite the brand being known to use some eco friendly materials like organic cotton and regenerated cashmere, they still use polyester and nylon which is a major letdown for me and Goodonyou shares the sentiment. I noticed there was no ’’recycled polyester’’ on farfetch.com, when I searched for the brand’s clothing and accessories and they’re still marked as Positively Conscious. I have to say I don’t really understand how that works.

But fashion just got lighter, because a well known fashion brand – CHLOE –  the first luxury maison to become B-Corp certified last month, as reported by EcoWatch. There wasn’t much of press fuss about it, there was no noise on social media about it. They came a long way from being rated ’’Not good enough’’, after ’’18 months of collective work by our teams worldwide’’(Chloe 2021). Prada wants to follow on this path as well, and recently began using recycled nylon.

What is a B-corp certification? On their website, Chloe describes it as being ’’one of the most demanding certifications that evaluates brands’ social and environmental impact, with over 300 questions about governance, workers, communities and impact on the environment’’ and committed to updating their Sustainability section.

There are several B corp directories online which are very useful for every eco-happy wardrobe:

B corporation:

UK:

Latin America and Caribbean

Canada:

B corp directory Australia:

As many climate activists have shared on social media, if all these companies wanted to make changes they would today, but instead get lazy. Not Chloe’s creative director Gabriela Hearst, whose own brand was rated ’’Not good enough’’ yet she’s done her research, inspired by her life living on family inherited farm, where ’’Everything gets used, so that’s where I learned utilitarian skills for sustainability’’.

I don’t want perfect activists but I do want to see that my favorite activists and public figures respect their given word and seeing their commitment reflect in their own closets, outside red carpet events. Most fashion houses rated ’’Not good enough’’ or worse, ’’We avoid’’. Now, of course Goodonyou would need to grow a bigger team to be able to update all ratings, as some of them are a year or two old. Even so, I don’t want public figures to do nice speeches in public and in interviews, posting on social media about what happened with Rana Plaza, asking their followers if they know ’’who made your clothes?’’ then wearing H&M and Topshop, when you know that they are promoting sustainability, fair wages and decent working conditions for garment workers.

REFERENCES:

Anon, 2021. Stella McCartney. Goodonyou.eco. Viewed [11/21/2021]. Available from: https://directory.goodonyou.eco/brand/stella-mccartney

Anon, n.d. Chloé just achieved B Corp Certification. Chloe. Viewed [11/23/2021]. Available from: https://www.chloe.com/experience/en/news/chloe-just-achieved-b-corp-certification/

Fiona Sinclair Scott, 2021. ‘We’re not perfect but we’re freaking trying’: Chloé’s Gabriela Hearst on making fashion sustainable. CNN. Viewed [11/21/2021]. Available from: https://edition.cnn.com/style/article/gabriela-hearst-sustainable-fashion/index.html?fbclid=IwAR0p9qTyJ29AmVIt29pUovciZEWmCTpfEgX18xzQxJYekXcUiAXudfnKkqI

Isabella Wolfe, 2018. How Ethical Is Stella McCartney? Goodonyou. Viewed [11/21/2021]. Available from: https://goodonyou.eco/how-ethical-is-stella-mccartney/?fbclid=IwAR2v9frxpe5JQHB6V8i6OgR_CrGHIsO6btJ_t5ywMA_mJfQmhICZGnTn7DA  

Paige Bennett, 2021. Chloé Is First Luxury Company to Become a B-Corp. EcoWatch. Viewed [11/21/2021]. Available from: https://www.ecowatch.com/b-corporations-clothes-chloe-2655324118.html?fbclid=IwAR0p9qTyJ29AmVIt29pUovciZEWmCTpfEgX18xzQxJYekXcUiAXudfnKkqI

THE FASHION INDUSTRY SHOULD BE A MAJOR DISRUPTOR

The fashion industry as we know it is a major polluter. ECOCULT reported that it is responsible for 4-8% of global emissions, and it is interesting to see a parallel with the natural gas and oil sectors who are responsible for 3.9%.

I saw someone on Twitter posting that Emma Watson’s dress is sustainable(referring to the time she wore Alexander McQueen Resort 2020 collection on the cover of VOGUE UK December 2019). Couture is often not sustainable, far from it. Then, I had the inspiration to look at Goodonyou_app, a company who analyzes brands, looking at areas such as People, Planet and Animals. They rate brands from lowest’’We avoid’’, ’’Not good enough’’, ’’It’s a start’’, ’’Good ’’, to highest ’’Great ’’. Alexander McQueen’s rating is ’’It’s a Start’’ which is not good enough considering how big and popular the fashion house is, and surely they have to have the resources to accelerate their progress.

Emma told Vogue in June 2020 that ”I have committed to only purchasing and wearing brands that are rated ‘It’s A Start’ or above, as I want to be able to support brands moving in the right direction’’. I admire that in Emma, but I am quite split between being upset over fashion houses not making progress fast enough despite resources they have available, that it is extremely difficult to only buy clothes from brands who are only rated ’’Good’’, or ’’Great’’, price being a factor to most citizens, but that clothing fabric composition often contains polyester even from designers who champion sustainability like Stella McCartney.

Emma does have the privilege to having a bigger budget than most of us, but she also has the power and influence to lobby and pressurize brands to fasten their seatbelts toward sustainability. She joined Kering’s Board of Directors in June 2020, also chairing their Sustainability Committe of the Board, so she can really use that to drive change.

I really feel that the fashion industry should be a major disruptor, because as ECOCULT showed, fashion involves other industries in their processes: cotton, linen, silk(produced by silkworms but there is a vegan alternative called lotus silk), plastic (which is often not recycled), leather(when vegan leather can be used instead). The most difficult thing would be to change the perception of the public, to influence them to change their behaviour and buying decision-making process.

When I discovered sustainably made fashion it was like discovering a whole new world 😉. I became an affiliate partner with Immaculate Vegan, after using items from their website into sustainable fashion dupes of Emma Watson’s outfits on Instagram. I thought I couldn’t do what a stylist does so ended up creating sustainable outfits and made friends with brands in the process. So, buying sustainably is possible but getting consumers on board is a whole other cake, just like getting people to wear their clothes more than once, except for Kate, she’s great at fashion repeats, she takes that #30wears seriously. Hats off to you humans, who wear their clothing(nudity not being an option in public).

Photo by FreeStocks.org for PEXELS

One simply can’t write a blog about fashion and not include the fabulosity which is Eco-Age, a consultancy agency, describing themselves as creative communicators and providing progressive sustainability solutions whose founder is Livia Firth. They started the challenge #30wears because fashion is oftentimes seasonal, based on trends. There’s an app too, and it wants you to ask yourself ’’will I wear it 30 times?’’ before you buy.

Back to polluters, the footwear and apparel together were reportedly responsible for 8% of global carbon equivalent emissions(Wicker, 2021). There are vegan leather options who look absolutely beautiful, you wouldn’t believe that they were made from Appleskin(one type of vegan leather made from apple waste). Other brands use recycled polyester, recycled and upcycled rubber. There are handbags made of Piñatex(textile made of waste leaf pineapple fibers). These products are fair priced, considering their natural leather counterparts. Just think of how often a woman changes her handbags, going after trends or because they wear off.

I have that hope in my heart that one day these vegan brands will be mainstream popular, as much as I hope that companies stop using so called virgin plastics in their clothing. Take the W’s Dynamic Tee as an example, sold by Houdini Sportwear, made of 100% polyester(plastic), and calling it recylable because you can send it back to them once it wears off.

They’ll be surprised that they’ll never run out of plastics to recycle, surely in my lifetime and theirs! Goodonyou_app showed in an entire post how brands are not putting in the effort to make changes and to show leadership, they reported brands getting a low score for environmental policies for example, only 11% of brands achieve the ’’Great’’ rating in that area. The fashion industry should be a major disruptor because they have what it takes, just not the motivation. It’s like with going to the gym, make yourself do it!

REFERENCES:

Alder Wicker, 2021. Fashion Is Not the 2nd Most Polluting Industry After Oil. But What Is It?. ECOCULT. Viewed [11/17/2021]. Available from: https://ecocult.com/now-know-fashion-5th-polluting-industry-equal-livestock/

Anon. n.d. 30 wears app. Viewed [11/17/2021]. Available from: https://30wears.app/

Anon. n.d. Immaculate Vegan. Viewed [11/17/2021]. Available from: https://immaculatevegan.com/

Anon., n.d. Emma Watson – Independent Director. Viewed [11/15/2021]. Available from: https://www.kering.com/en/group/our-governance/board-of-directors/emma-watson/

Elena Niculescu, 2021. Emma Watson’s fashion commitment. Vogue Uk. Viewed [11/17/2021]. Available from: https://twitter.com/emmawatsonnet/status/1459561122785378315

Houdini Sportwear, 2021. W’s Dynamic Tee. Viewed [11/17/2021]. Available from: https://houdinisportswear.com/en-eu/clothing/shirts-and-tops/ws-dynamic-tee-157524?color=157524907

Sophie Benson, 2021. Fashion Climate Inaction. Goodonyou. Viewed [11/15/2021]. Available from: https://goodonyou.eco/fashion-climate-inaction/

COP 26: JUST TALKS, CARBON-HEAVY FOOD & RACISM

What is COP26 and who attends it? COP stands for ‘’Conference of the Parties’’ or countries where 26 marks the 26th year the parties or countries meet up, this year in Glasgow, Scotland. It ran between 12/10/2021 and 12/11/2021, so it just wrapped.

This year’s COP had almost 40,000 delegates registered, suggesting it was the biggest COP to date. Brazil had 479 delegates, just a few delegates shy from 566 they had at COP15. In a press release, Global Witness reported that 503 fossil fuel lobbyists ‘’affiliated with some of the world’s biggest polluting oil and gas giants, have been granted access to COP26, flooding the Glasgow conference with corporate influence’’, but I never heard of Fossil Fuel country before. Good thing Elon will fly us to Mars.

It’s always been a gender disproportionate event too, in a chart made by Joe Goodman we can see COP26 shifted to having 65% males and 35% females. Republic of Moldova had most females on their team (89%), and the UK was one of 8 delegations to maintain a 50-50 balance. As a Romanian, to my surprise, saw that Romania had 33 males with 16 females(67% – 33%). Why so many men? I guess they didn’t want to stay home, they were exhausted from the many lockdowns and restrictions, and their gov duties piled up, can’t relate.

The COP26 menu was equally legendary! Did you think they’d hold such an big event without food?! It contained several categories: Fish and chips, Pasta, Pastries(you can’t have negotiations without these), Pizza, Scottish larder, International larder, Wraps and baguettes. Being that the host was traditionally Scottish half of the meals contained meat, as reported by Sarah Wilson for The Big Issue. Where’s the recipe for change If those meals which contain meat have the highest carbon footprint? But at least they were sourced locally.

In the Scottish Larder category, they had ‘’Haggis, Neeps & Tattis’’ cost 6.5 GBP and used 3.4kg of carbon, its vegetarian option only 0.6kg of carbon. Only two thirds of the menu options used below 0.5kg of carbon. The menus were measured by Swedish start-up Klimato to help delegates ‘’choose the dishes with the lowest carbon footprint”. Who thought this was a good idea? The menu didn’t remain anonymous for too long, it trended on Twitter with the line “It’s like serving cigarettes at a lung cancer conference’’ made by Joel Scott-Halkes, who is a spokesperson for Animal Rebellion. So the COP was just talks and carbon-heavy food.

This year’s COP caught my attention not only because I’m a PR student who intended to write about it, also because one of my favorites Emma Watson was invited by The New York Times to host a session for their Climate Hub. This session’s panel was composed by 9 young activists aged between 18-24(Watson, 2021). I was shocked how fiercely dedicated and eloquent they are about the issues they stand for. Much to my dismay, Tori Tsui and Dominique Palmer reported racism at the COP without naming anyone, and Mya-Rose Craig shared on Twitter: ’’That is why @COP26 was doomed’’ and called for a Revolution.

Her mother, Helena Craig, shared with me via Twitter private message the many challenges Mya-Rose faced, not only at COP. It often meant dealing with being deliberately overlooked by local media ’’unless they benefitted’’, the NGOs she volunteered for didn’t even ask her what she was doing at COP, instead taking white school boys.

Greenpeace did not respond to Mya-Rose’s request to receive a blue zone pass despite being an Oceans Ambassador, Helena recounted that journalists decided they were in the blue zone at the COP, chose other people there and dropped her from tv interviews. This was too much to deal with so Mya-Rose decided to leave COP like several other young activists including Dominique Palmer.

Dominique Palmer also reported on the regress UK made post-COP: rejected to join BOGA (Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance), ‘’new Cambo oil and gas field, 40 new fossil fuel extraction projects in the pipeline, not accepting loss and damages as their historic debt to these countries and paying their share’’, so if UK did this, Romania can only follow suit. I can see how COP26 was just talks, carbon-heavy food and filled with racism.

The fossil fuel companies who attended COP26 are often well represented. Take Edelman, who represents Exxon Mobil, who reportedly had private talks with activists to drop their fossil fuel client, because as Aurora James stated in an Instagram post: ’’They often invite people like us to join sustainability campaignson hehalf of their clients’’ and that those private conversations ’’led nowhere’’ so Aurora and over 100+ designers, models and activists made their message to Edelman public. Them and the rest of companies who are responsible for 71% of all global emissions, so it’s getting rather slippery in Fossil Fuel country.

REFERENCES:

Anon, 2021. Hundreds of fossil fuel lobbyists flooding COP26 climate talks. Global Witness. Viewed [11/14/2021]. Available from: https://www.globalwitness.org/en/press-releases/hundreds-fossil-fuel-lobbyists-flooding-cop26-climate-talks/

Aurora James, 2021. @Edelman is the world’s largest PR firm. Instagram. Viewed [11/16/2021]. Available from: https://www.instagram.com/p/CWBr24QJG2m/?utm_source=ig_embed

Dominique Palmer, 2021. The UK words: green revolution, climate leader, keep 1.5 alive... Viewed [11/14/2021]. Available from: https://twitter.com/domipalmer/status/1459853294608736258

Emma Watson, 2021. So, what IS COP26 ??? Instagram. Viewed [11/14/2021]. Available from: https://www.instagram.com/p/CVYRnQpJNn9/

Emma Watson. Sneak peek of COP26 panel. Instagram. Viewed [11/14/2021]. Available from: https://www.instagram.com/p/CWQdMhMt3Ma/

Mya-Rose Craig, 2021. Central to the #climateaction. Twitter. Viewed [11/14/2021]. Available from: https://twitter.com/BirdgirlUK/status/1459601702441660427

Mya-Rose Craig, 2021. Did you know that 100 companies are responsible for 71% of all global emissions? Twitter. Viewed [11/16/2021]. Available from: https://twitter.com/BirdgirlUK/status/1430574876662902786

Robert McSweeney, 2021. Analysis: Which countries have sent the most delegates to COP26? Carbon Brief. Viewed [11/14/2021]. Available from: https://www.carbonbrief.org/analysis-which-countries-have-sent-the-most-delegates-to-cop26

Sarah Wilson, 2021. The COP26 menu is ‘like serving cigarettes at a lung cancer conference’. The Big Issue. Viewed [11/14/2021]. Available from: https://www.bigissue.com/news/environment/cop26-haggis-the-most-unsustainable-dish-at-glasgow-climate-conference/

LIVING WITH DEPRESSION

I saw Ellie Jones’ posts on self-care and how she dealt with change, and it got me thinking ‘’hmm, I have depression and never wrote about it’’. Depression can happen to anyone, just like any other mental health ‘’disorders’’. Depression is, in my humble opinion, not a disorder, but a part of us like a piece of metal which was hit too many times by the blacksmith(who can be a woman too) and was tired of being strong and broke down at one point.

Like Ellie, I started recognizing I have bouts of not wanting to get out of bed, or getting out of the house at all, these bouts do not happen daily, when they do happen I have to show kindness to myself, and take another route to getting whatever done in that day. It happened today. It rained so I was triggered. It was cold too, and rain and cold combined obviously didn’t go well.

How is it for me to be living with depression? Well, it’s okay. It’s okay because I have had small accomplishments which make me feel proud and these make the week fly by like Ursula von der Leyen’s private jet (for more than 31 miles btw). It’s manageable. It feels great to have stuff to do, important stuff, they feel important and when I get stuff done, I go ‘’YESSSS!’’, booty shakes and all. You forgot booty shakes, Ellie! A PR blog simply has to list those, Ellie!

Photo by Gui Spinardi from Pexels

I arrange my day so that university work is done, so I can argue that lists are indeed useful, but you have to read them, ….every once in a while. Being kind to oneself is terribly important went going through something like depression, taking day by day, as judging oneself over things that you didn’t do in a day simply isn’t useful, it can only make you feel worse about yourself. I’m okay whatever I choose to do. For some, therapy as in talk therapy might be useful, but I already talk to myself so I don’t feel the need for that.

I’m quite the depression specialist after dealing with it since I was 18. You might be thinking, what causes depression? One can’t really pinpoint at a single cause, because we’re intricate humans, it’s rather a combination of factors like stress, bullying, unemployment, financial struggles, grief, medication, or simply genetics. It is like depression embodies a different personality every time or maybe it’s a different side to myself which requires attention? Food for thought there.

What I do for myself, other than taking small steps daily, is listening to music, getting work done because we need as much endorphins and serotonin as possible and getting stuff done means dopamine will make us feel bliss, increasing motivation and concentration. Basically what you need when feeling not so good. Exercising every morning, but random mornings. I cook food that I eat with my eyes, not just my mouth. Oh and keeping hydrated because we’re all 70% water, unless you’re not human. And if you aren’t human, why are you reading this blog?

THE BIG PROBLEM WITH CYBERSECURITY

For this week, I have three blog ideas, one of them being cybersecurity, as I noticed my Facebook and Instagram accounts were being broken into. Cybersecurity in the words of IT GOVERNANCE is ‘the application of technologies, processes and controls to protect systems, networks, programs, devices and data from cyber attacks. It aims to reduce the risk of cyber attacks and protect against the unauthorized exploitation of systems, networks and technologies’’.

Inside your Facebook account(the web address hasn’t changed) you can find several ways to cyber protect your account. Click on the arrow down next to the Notifications bell, go to Settings and Privacy – Settings – Security and Login. This is where you will see all the unauthorized logins to your account, in the ‘’Where You’re Logged In’’ section. This is where I saw logins from different Romanian counties on my account. One cannot be in multiple locations at once, digitally and physically, so I knew I had a big problem with cybersecurity. One enabled option doesn’t cover you.

Facebook login page

I was already using a password manager called LAST PASS, which also generates strong passwords, and you can customize them to contain numbers, symbols, uppercase and lowercase; I already had two factor authentication enabled but it clearly wasn’t enough. Once somebody hacked your account, they can see your backup codes for your account in Instagram, I know because I tried using several backup codes and didn’t work which means they were already used.

I could tell somebody was spying my accounts because my messages were opening up seemingly at random, when I knew I closed these conversation windows, also my Instagram theme changed from dark to light without me changing it. I had alerts enabled for unrecognized logins as well in my Facebook account but these were never received.

What you can do instead is enabling the Authentication app which is readily available as an option in the ‘’Two factor authentication’’ section. Google Authenticator app is easy to install from the Android Play Store or Apple Play Store and easy to use. As a result, I get random codes sent to me as early as 6am but I sleep well knowing they can’t access my account.

Another tip I have to give is using these strong passwords and changing them often. Strong passwords aren’t strong on their own, but use them anyway. ‘’S3Dg6&E4e4yd’’ is still better than ‘’hotcookie2’’ – which I never used for any account, just made it up for this blog, if you have it as a password do be ‘ashamed’ of yourself, and go change it. Make sure each password is different on each platform.

Your accounts could also be broken into as a result of ‘’phishing’’, which is when the attacker masks themselves as a website or institution you trust to do something like clicking on an instant message, email or fake social media page, online banking. ‘’The FBI has noted about a surge in pandemic-related phishing, tied to the growth of remote work’’(IBM, 2021). My old Myspace account was phished using a fake social media page which looked as normal and I’d have to unlock my account, change the password and it would happen again till I changed the email.

I did notice the difference between the safe and normal Facebook login page and the fake one(the colors are different and the design), where the fake page looked like a mobile version. I apologize for not screenshotting it to use here as an example but be super attentive of these changes in web pages. Hope you found my story useful and stay safe on social media!

REFERENCES:

Anon., n.d., What is cybersecurity? IBM. Viewed [11/9/2021]. Available from: https://www.ibm.com/topics/cybersecurity

Anon., n.d., What is cybersecurity? Definition and best practices. IT Governance UK. Viewed [11/9/2021]. Available from: https://www.itgovernance.co.uk/what-is-cybersecurity

SHOULD BRANDS TAKE A STAND FOR SOCIAL ISSUES?

In any industry, we strive to be the best, get the best feedback, attention and praise and hopefully some pretty money too. Brands want their corporate activity to reflect into being featured in the best PR campaigns lists for that year, that’s what they aim for: having the most impact because who doesn’t want global visibility and a pretty annual report?

Should brands take a stand for social issues? The answer, in my opinion, lies in the execution of their campaigns and advertisements. Not all ads are made equal, not all ads become viral sensations. Just like not all brands out there can hire a top advertising agency. Still, if one has the budget to, say Nike and Gillette, it doesn’t mean you are protected from public backlash.

The Gillette ‘We Believe’ ad was created by New York based ad agency GREY, who were founded in 1917, the same agency who made Carlsberg’s ‘Adopt a Keg’. But going back to 2019 when Gillette’s ad aired, it had both public’s love combined with tears and backlash. Reactions came from tv and film personalities like Jessica Chastain, who lauded the ad for ‘’this reminder of the beauty of men’’ on Twitter, whilst other users tweeted that the ad brought tears in their eyes, and called the ad fantastic.

The ad, at the time when NPR wrote their article, had amassed over 14m views, now (in 2021 when this blog was in its writing process) has over 37m views. Gillette and Grey thought they nailed it. They researched widely prior to getting the ad done; they had an amazing concept/idea calling out toxic masculinity and behaviors but it fell short with a lot of us. Why?

Pavel Danilyuk/PEXELS.COM

After watching the ad several times, came to the conclusion that the backlash is largely due to the poor execution of the ad and Alan Abitbol (who is a Comms Assistant Professor at University of Dayton) had the same point of view, adding his own primary research into the matter, quoted by Inc., stated: ’’The problem, in short, is that razors never make an appearance. Viewers might be questioning the company’s motives because the ad doesn’t directly tie the cause to what the brand is known for: shaving and grooming. In a study I conducted about how consumers perceive messages of female empowerment, showcasing the product–and tying the product to the message–seemed to resonate best”, yet Wired argued that most of the ad reactions were mostly positive as a lot of ‘’media and ad experts(..) agreed the commercial was clever and as emotionally moving as an ad can really ever hope to be’’.

Yes, brands should take a stand for social issues, but it is more important to choose an issue relevant to the brand and to mesh the issue into solutions, otherwise what point are they going to make? Ads should be made to help change public’s perceptions on a particular issue and offer solutions to truly have a long-lasting effect. Like Alan pointed out, a product tied-in with the social issue would have been better suited for the brand.

I want to think that sustainability is on Gillette’s board as an urgent matter because users threw their razors in the toilet to protest their ad, we can agree that these aren’t flushable items, some other users threw their razors in the trash. Safety razors have plastic components and a plastic packaging which need to be redone in a more sustainable way.

REFERENCES:

Dreyfuss, E., 2019. Gillette’s Ad Proves the Definition of a Good Man Has Changed. Wired. Viewed [11/2/2021]. Available from: https://www.wired.com/story/gillette-we-believe-ad-men-backlash/

Smith, T., 2019. Backlash Erupts After Gillette Launches A New #MeToo-Inspired Ad Campaign. NPR.org. Viewed [11/2/2021]. Available from: https://www.npr.org/2019/01/17/685976624/backlash-erupts-after-gillette-launches-a-new-metoo-inspired-ad-campaign?t=1635850768268

Stillman, J., 2019. Yes, Consumers Want Brands to Take a Stand, but That Gillette Ad Got the Execution Wrong. Inc.com. Viewed [11/2/2021]. Available from: https://www.inc.com/jessica-stillman/yes-consumers-want-brands-to-take-a-stand-but-that-gillette-ad-got-execution-wrong.html

IT’S NOT MANAGING, IT’S ENGAGING AND INFLUENCING: STAKEHOLDERS

Stakeholders, as the name suggests, have a stake, or interest in a company and its activities, they could be individuals or groups of individuals. Stakeholders, to have and to hold, till conflicts do us part. Even then, we should always show up with their favorite flowers and chocolate, (preferably outside their offices), to try dissolve the argument to get on common ground, because Mike Clayton said it(he worded it differently). Discovered today(Monday when I started writing) that we have R. Edward Freeman to thank for writing Strategic Management: A stakeholder approach in 1983 which made the term ‘’stakeholder’’ popular and Mike Clayton mentioned in his book ‘’The influence agenda’’ that Stakeholder Theory took off as a discipline.

I was thinking of the relationship between The Walt Disney Company widely known as Disney, its  stakeholders and their suppliers. I found on Instagram that Disney owes their manufacturing supplier factory Industrias Florenzi located in El Salvador, Central America, who sewed scrubs for Grey’s Anatomy for 15+ years, just about 1.3 million USD in unpaid wages since the pandemic started. In Year 2, I had a brilliant professor called Robert Dalton who taught us how to create a stakeholder map and roughly how to find annual reports, so my first thought was to look for these documents for Disney, because I was sure they made billions.

Yes, they did. The numbers are staggering, but for their size as a brand, it’s probably just like counting Cinderella dresses in the shop. Speaking of which, the revenues for Europe stand at 7,3 bn(Fiscal year 2020 Annual Financial Report), 16.5 bn. globally in Parks, Experiences and Products segment, with a global revenue of 65,39 bn, as seen on Statista(see references). In their Suppliers Document, they say they ‘’work with our suppliers to receive electronic payment via ACH(direct deposit)’’ clearly not received by Industrias Florenzi workers due to fraud. Disney is asked to #PayYourWokers by the @CleanClothesCampaign account on Instagram, who can be seen as an activist group highlighting the issues we don’t otherwise see or hear companies talk about.

Like Mr. Clayton mentioned in his video giving 5 tips for Project Managers on how to engage with stakeholders, stakeholders aren’t to be managed but rather to be engaged with and who can be influenced through leading by example, building trust which leads to credibility, which then inspires confidence in the company. Disney could revolutionize the game by paying up their workers now. The amount owed is just a small cheque compared to how much they earn worldwide even during the pandemic. Everything was quiet on the Disney front, while they quietly furloughed thousands of workers in 2020. Thinking about it, haven’t seen any of my favorite tv and film personalities react to all this.

In 2021, Disney can start to engage with all of us Beauty and the Beast lovers(the live action for my generation) by admitting what they’ve done and enabled is wrong, be willing to take steps towards mending the situation, they might as well pay in full, so that the petals won’t all fall off the rose. Even better if they would ensure that their workers are treated fairly going forward, that they have a decent living wage, a pension for all who work for them (inside and outside of the USA), as the pandemic showed the true face of capitalism. Why is decency too much to ask? This should not be about annual reports looking pretty, it should be about making sure people who work for you don’t go hungry. For dignity. The world would look different today if more and more Public Affairs practitioners would pressurize governmental bodies to toughen the laws to make it impossible for companies from continuing to behave like this. For dignity.

REFERENCES

Anon., 2021. 2020 Annual Report and Form 10K. Viewed [10/21/2021]. Available from: https://www.annualreports.com/Company/walt-disney-co

Clayton, Mike, 2014. The influence agenda – A systematic approach to align stakeholders in times of change. 1st ed. Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan, pp 6-9.

Clayton, Mike, 2019.  Stakeholder Engagement Tips: 5 Tips For Project Managers. Viewed [10/24/2021]. Available from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=APc9S_8v7YY&ab_channel=OnlinePMCourses-MikeClayton

Clean Clothes Campaign, 2021. Disney robbed Industrias Florenzi workers of $1.3 million. Viewed [10/12/2021]. Available from: https://www.instagram.com/p/CVYJj_Os9Gj/

José Gabriel Navarro, 2021. Global revenue of the Walt Disney Company 2006-2020. Statista. Viewed [10.26/2021]. Available from: https://www.statista.com/statistics/273555/global-revenue-of-the-walt-disney-company/

Julia Stoll, 2021. Revenue of the Walt Disney Company in 2020, by operating segment. Statista. Viewed [10.26/2021]. Available from: https://www.statista.com/statistics/193140/revenue-of-the-walt-disney-company-by-operating-segment/

The Walt Disney Company, n.d. Suppliers. Viewed [10/21/2021]. Available from: https://thewaltdisneycompany.com/app/uploads/2020/03/Suppliers-Document-2.20.pdf

REPUTATION, DATA PROTECTION AND A BIT OF FACEBOOK WHISTLEBLOWING

Try to find someone not present on a social media platform, it’ll be difficult, you could easily research how widespread Facebook and Instagram actually are. A simple search on Google with the words ‘’Facebook users in Africa’’ will lead you to a Statista webpage, what you’ll see there will be just how many users there are in West African countries many wouldn’t think would be ‘’civilized enough’’ to have Internet access considering how most Africans are portrayed in the media, yet Nigeria in the stats has the most Facebook users: 31.560!

Is there a connection between company malfeasance, whistleblowing and contractarianism? I have connected these dots after this week’s seminar on Data Regulation Requirements, when we looked at Frances Haugen, Facebook’s recent employee turned whistleblower and company malfeasance and I couldn’t stop myself from seeing them tied-in. A whistleblower is often an employee who recognizes and takes action in reporting wrong-doing within the company they work for/at.

OLEG MAGNI/PEXELS.COM

She, Frances, was under a work contract with Facebook as a Product Manager & Data Engineer and Scientist, saw many things happen, had access to and gathered evidence that Facebook knew of their impact on young girls among other, decided to come forward, as a result on 5th of October 2021 she got published and her testimony travelled around the world via optical fibers so fast she even testified in front of the American Senate in a little over three hours, a week ago.

Facebook is still alive and kicking after having been down for six hours, and Forbes reported that the company lost $65 Million during the outage while CEO ‘’Zuckerberg’s fortune declined by $5.9 billion’’. (Forbes 2021). Some users didn’t notice anything wrong, whilst others’ addiction had no escape but to gather steam like a pressure cooker. Those who frequently fall under the spell of mindless scrolling felt it. How will this impact the company reputation? It remains to be seen. Facebook and Instagram haven’t been punished by law to this day for creating digital electoral wars and for their social conditioning.

PRATEEK KATYAL/PEXELS.COM

In the European Union, users can control what happens to their data thanks to the General Data Protection Regulation, applicable since May 25th 2018 in all of its member states, which influences how Facebook operates in the EU. Thanks to the GDPR which protects what happens to my personal data (GDPR, 2021), but I am still being tracked, through cookies and other tools I’m innocently unaware of. I always see how intelligently Facebook seems to observe my Google searches online and offers me ads containing similar items. How do they know I wanted recycled wool gloves!? I actually like ‘em, Facebook! Thanks!

Going forward, I was seriously thinking having my own social media platform and website, away from Facebook, and thinking how to move my own business away from Facebook, but still being aware that Facebook gives me access to millions of like-minded users, and reminding myself of the benefits of advertising on this platform. Will I stay or will I go?

REFERENCES

Abram Brown, 2021. Facebook Lost About $65 Million During Hours-Long Outage. Viewed [10/14/2021]. Available from: https://www.forbes.com/sites/abrambrown/2021/10/05/facebook-outage-lost-revenue/

Anon., n.d. Personal data. Viewed [10/14/2021]. Available from: https://gdpr-info.eu/issues/personal-data/

C-SPAN, 2021. Facebook Whistleblower Frances Haugen testifies before Senate Commerce Committee. Viewed [10/14/2021]. Available from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GOnpVQnv5Cw&ab_channel=C-SPAN

Statista, 2021. Facebook subscribers in West African countries 2020. Viewed [10/14/2021]. Available from: https://www.statista.com/statistics/1139386/facebook-subscribers-in-west-african-countries/

MORAL ABSOLUTIST VS. RELATIVIST – WHICH ONE ARE YOU?

I have to catch up with 3 weeks’ worth of teaching at University this week, as I had issues registering for my studies on the student portal. It’s also worth noting I am yet to be back on campus. I have only attended the Ethics class online, which resulted in me reflecting on how Ethics is actually structured, beyond ethical theories like Moral absolutism and relativism chosen by my Ethics professor in class to start the conversation. After class, what I did was to connect the dots between those pieces of ethical theories.

I have found that Ethics is a branch of Philosophy and it is also called Moral Philosophy. What does it look into? Basically, what is good/bad and right/wrong. In class we touched upon two of the four ethical approaches: Deontological ethics and Teleological ethics. It was interesting to chase the different ethical theories and see which fall under these two approaches and soon realized just how broad Ethics actually is, beyond what I was taught in class, and that made my neurons light up.

PHOTO OF A LIGHTBULB. PIXABAY/PEXELS.COM

But back to the reason you’re reading this. Our professor asked us if we think that killing is wrong, well I don’t remember her exact wording, but it was only me and Lily who raised our hand in Teams. At ‘’prima facie’’ or first sight you think all killing is wrong which is being morally absolutist, but my professor and colleagues said to think about circumstances where you wouldn’t want to kill someone until you need to  self-defense, let’s say if you were attacked jogging on the street. Or if you were employed by the Secret Service where you willingly signed a contract to take someone out for a day job.

Disapproving of killing someone is considered morally subjective(just another name to relativism) or non-objectivism. One interesting point I found on Wikipedia(Richard Joyce, 2016), was that this type of statements(killing is wrong) is showing a person’s mental attitudes, but to this we can also add our own social conditioning like the environment in which we grew up in, our parents, (The Mind Fool, 2019).

Throughout my life I have seen that killing is wrong because then legal rights are applied and that person who committed the crime goes to jail for many years, and I can imagine what the impact is on the family members on both sides for any criminal. Relativism stands that there is no absolute truth, unlike absolutism, and one is a relativist when having different views on what is moral and what isn’t according to Vocabulary. Do you find yourself to be a relativist as well, taking a look at different perspectives?

WOMAN AMONG STATUES. COTTONBRO/PEXELS.COM

In my class, we are all from different cultures and backgrounds and even races. I have always loved seeing and hearing different views from people everywhere I go, whether it is University, online or my family members. Whilst I initially raised my hand, I have changed my mind after being shown that yes, ‘’there are perspectives you haven’t yet taken into consideration because you were never asked this question before in an Ethics class, and you never had an Ethics class before either’’. Definitely taking my colored lens off and analyzing how my social conditioning influences my decision making and reasoning. So here I go, exploring other perspectives to bring myself and Aristotle some eudaemonia. We can definitely be absolutist on other matters.

Until next blog, feel free to like, comment and share!

REFERENCES:

Anon., n.d. Ethical subjectivism. Viewed [10/13/2021]. Available from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethical_subjectivism#cite_note-:2-22

Anon., n.d. Relativism. Viewed [10/13/2021]. Available from:  https://www.vocabulary.com/dictionary/relativism

Julianne Cantarella, 2019. How to Understand Social Conditioning & Its Effects. Viewed [10/13/2021]. Available from: https://themindfool.com/how-to-understand-social-conditioning/

The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1998. Eudaimonia. Viewed [10/13/2021]. Available from:  https://www.britannica.com/topic/eudaimonia

PART 2: STUDENT ART PASS #AllMuseumsMatter

I had this idea in Year 1, when we had to create a business idea for our assignment for Business Enterprise module.

To give you a bit of a backstory, I came up with the idea to create and develop a mental health app and my colleagues liked it. We called it EMBRACE, available for both Android and iPhone, aiming to help those who have a history of mental health and those who are struggling; at the beginning we decided to focus on aiding students through students as in making it available to university students and collaborate with Psychology, Counselling and Mental Health students who could volunteer in chatting with users.

Ready Made/PEXELS

These users could be anonymous or choose to show who they are, whether through pictures of themselves or via video. The app, we decided, features a forum, for deeper conversations to flow and connections between users to be established – and for users to also answer each other’s questions for a more personal feel. That is also a place where volunteers or professionals can take requests, answer questions, share advice and so on.

We didn’t think about featuring other therapies, like therapy through art at the time, but it makes sense today. A partnership with Artfund would benefit the charity and all the users on the platform: our users get the color therapy, we get the visibility for the app to thrive, same for the charity. The Student Art Pass is £5 but its benefits goes beyond the price. Ads of it on the app would further help the charity.

Think of all the inspiration you’ll get from seeing ancient artefacts, immersing in Virtual Reality, to artwork maybe you didn’t know anything about before so don’t be bored, be artful. All these experiences are waiting for all of us. I can’t wait to own one just so I can brag to my friends at every chance I get.

© Marc Atkins / Art Fund 2019

The name of the app didn’t make sense last year, Patrick, my colleague worrying it could be interpreted in a sexual way, but I see it now as a Digital Embrace. A digital embrace which can be extended to all who struggle with their mental health, not just students.

Sure, a Harry Potter coloring book is awesome, I know because I own one, but seeing artwork in person is on another level. Half of UK students, about 51% ‚’’feel anxious some of the time and two fifths feel high level of anxiety on any given day’’, says my ARTFUND brief. It’s becase you can go somewhere else with art. Even with a mask on, you could not hide that happiness experiencing Virtual Reality where you didn’t expect to, in a museum!

Painting in Photoshop is great too, but art in person is on another level. The Michelangelo you have only seen in History or Art books in front of you would definitely excite you.

Denise Duplinski/PEXELS

Who could believe it’s five pounds for everything it offers? Now I am sad I can’t form a club at university and form a masked group and go on an adventure. Museums and galleries being places so peaceful, that I am sure financial worries (51%), coping with exams (42%), pressures of getting a job after you graduate (54%) will lessen through art served as medicine.

’’55% of the British public live within walking distance of a museum or gallery’’ says ARTFUND, and I think it is about the same statistic for any other nationality. We make time for other things in our lives just not for forms of Art and we should change that in 2021. It would be a pity not to benefit from such treasures.

It isn’t what you think as fun. It isn’t comparable to anything you have experienced. At the end of 2020, ARTFUND discontinued their ART GUIDE app so you can’t see the goodies there anymore but the Student Art Pass is something you don’t need to pass on. I wish I could go back to Southampton right now just to get one and see when I could visit every gallery in the city.

I can dream that sometime in 2021, I will go to Tate Modern, in London. One thing I want to educate myself in is black culture. I have never been shown a painting by a black artist and that’s a shame, and I think ARTFUND can help me achieve this goal. They’re professionals after all.

Una Laurencic/PEXELS

 Art has a new meaning now, in the new year as the museums and galleries need our support in all countries, to recover and thrive. There are 2,500 museums in the UK and whilst we can’t physically see them all, let’s start locally. If we don’t have art, what do we fight for? #AllMuseumsMatter

Check the nearest gallery or museum near you now: https://www.studentartpass.org/whats-on/museums-and-galleries