Sustainability isn’t just good business – it’s a huge recruitment tool, these execs say

Insider's Karen Ho interviews Mark Frohnmayer, founder and president of electric-vehicles maker Arcimoto (c) and Are Traasdahl, CEO at Crisp, a food-supply analytics software platform, during an Insider virtual event on June 29, 2021
Insider’s Karen Ho interviews Mark Frohnmayer, founder and president of electric-vehicles maker Arcimoto (c) and Are Traasdahl, CEO at Crisp, a food-supply analytics software platform.

  • Corporations want to be more sustainable, and the pandemic has shown we need to all work together.
  • Competing with tech giants for talent can be hard, but working for a sustainable business is a draw.
  • This was part of Insider’s virtual event “What’s next: CEOs on How Talent Drives Transformation” presented by ProEdge, a PwC Product, on Tuesday.
  • Click here to watch a recording of the full event.

Mark Frohnmayer, founder and president of electric-vehicles maker Arcimoto, believes that the biggest misconception related to sustainability is that people can’t change.

“The other misperception is that we can take our time,” he said during Insider’s recent virtual event “What’s next: CEOs on How Talent Drives Transformation” presented by ProEdge, a PwC Product, which took place June 29.

The panel, titled “Accelerating the green transformation to drive growth and sustainability,” was moderated by Karen Ho, senior reporter for the business of sustainability at Insider, and featured Frohnmayer and Are Traasdahl, CEO at Crisp, a food-supply analytics software platform.

Both speakers agreed that the pandemic has shown how people can come together to tackle a global problem. For Traasdahl, whose company is using data to stop food waste, corporate sustainability is the art of the possible.

“Most people believe that large, small, medium-sized companies do not want to share the data because there can be some competitive information, pricing information,” he said. “They want to share – there just haven’t been any tools in place to share this data.”

Traasdahl is trying to solve the “huge paradox” of a world where 750 million to two billion people live with moderate to severe food insecurity, while nearly one-third of all food produced goes to waste.

“The pandemic forced everybody in this industry to actually start breaking open supply chains that they haven’t touched in 30 years and understanding how they can be much more proactive,” he said.

Frohnmayer said the disruption to supply chains affected Arcimoto’s manufacturing, but he believes the benefits of everyone traveling less during lockdowns are a long-term positive.

“Many areas in the world saw clean skies for the first time in some people’s lives during the beginning of the pandemic as industries shuttered operations,” he said. “What we’re building really is at the confluence of autonomy, lightweight electric platforms, shared mobility, and that’s a really key piece of driving a solution to carbon emissions.”

Competing with giants such as Facebook and Amazon for talent presents its challenges, but working for a sustainable business can be a strong recruiting tool.

“Everybody who joins Crisp feels like they have a connection to the mission that we have as a company,” Traasdahl said. He pointed to an internal survey which showed that 46% of employees have an “idealistic focus” in terms of their career, some three times the market average.

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US hunger rates hit pandemic low following two rounds of direct stimulus

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Caroline Brady, director of Friends of the Aquarium, carries food to a car.

  • Hunger rates in the US have significantly dropped following increased federal aid in recent months.
  • Census data found the percentage of adults facing food insecurity dropped from 11% in March to 8% last month.
  • “Money helps,” one economist told Politico: “We’re continuing to see improvement.”
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The percentage of Americans facing hunger reached its lowest level yet last week since the pandemic began last March, suggesting direct federal aid has meaningfully helped families survive the coronavirus crisis, bolstering Democrats’ push for another expensive spending package on the horizon.

Data from the US Census Bureau released last week shows the percentage of US adults living in households that sometimes or often did not have enough to eat shrunk from 11% in March to around 8% late last month.

Census data from April also showed a decline in food insecurity rates right around the time millions of Americans began receiving direct stimulus checks from the federal government in mid-March. In just two weeks, hunger rates in the country dropped nearly 18%.

Last week’s data suggests that the downward trend in food insecurity is holding, following two rounds of federal stimulus in the last six months.

In December, Congress passed a $900 billion spending package that included $600 stimulus checks and $300 in added weekly unemployment benefits. Then, in March, the government passed the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, which authorized $1,400 stimulus payments for most taxpayers and an expansion of several federal aid programs.

“Money helps,” Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach, an economist and director of the Institute for Policy Research at Northwestern University, told Politico. “We’re continuing to see signs of progress. That’s exciting. That’s good news,” Whitmore Schanzenbach, who has been tracking hunger rates over the past year said.

Since the pandemic began, the Census Bureau has been conducting surveys to track how Americans are faring when it comes to issues like debt, rent payments, and hunger. It is likely still too early to know how much of the decline in hunger rates have been caused by federal aid versus a bettering economy, but economists have said previous stimulus checks also resulted in less hunger, according to Politico.

In its 2020 Household Pulse Survey, the Census Bureau found that 80% of Americans who had received a stimulus check last spring spent it on food.

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Thefts of food items and baby supplies are rising, highlighting America’s desperation as lawmakers fight over the details of a new pandemic relief bill

grocery store grocery shopping
  • There has been a rise in theft of basic essentials as more people face income insecurity during the pandemic, The Washington Post reported. 
  • Several food aid programs are set to expire at the end of the year, even as demand at food banks rises. 
  • All of this is happening as negotiations around a new COVID-19 relief bill makes little headway in Congress.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

As the pandemic continues and millions of Americans face hunger, many are resorting to stealing basic essentials to survive, The Washington Post reported. 

On the week of December 5, some 853,000 people filed new claims for state unemployment benefits, an increase of 137,000 from the previous week. The US Department of Labor said

NPR reported the number of people filing claims for a federal assistance program for gig workers and self-employed individuals increased by 48% the same week. 

The Post previously reported hunger has reached levels not seen in decades, impacting at least 26 million Americans who say they don’t have enough food to eat. 

Feeding America, the nation’s largest hunger-relief organization, said in October that this year, as a result of the pandemic, more than 13 million more Americans could face food insecurity compared to 2018, bringing the total number of food-insecure people in the overall population to 50.4 million.

All of that combined has resulted in more theft of necessities like food items and baby supplies as Americans struggle to survive. 

“We’re seeing an increase in low-impact crimes,” Jeff Zisner, chief executive of workplace security firm Aegis told The Post. “It’s not a whole lot of people going in, grabbing TVs and running out the front door. It’s a very different kind of crime – it’s people stealing consumables and items associated with children and babies.”

The increase comes as negotiations over a new stimulus bill to combat the economic effects of the pandemic drag on in Congress. On Thursday, the Trump administration defended its push for a one-time $600 stimulus check instead of weekly federal unemployment benefits, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi suggested negotiations could stretch until after Christmas. 

Altogether, as many as 20 million Americans are behind on rent. Moody’s Analytics found that nearly 12 million renters will owe an average of $5,850 in back rent and utilities by January, Business Insider’s Taylor Borden reported.

Additionally, The Post reported the $4.5 billion Trump food program, Farmers to Families Food Box program, is running out of money. The program helped feed millions of Americans throughout the pandemic.

Other food programs are also set to expire by the end of the year, even as food banks see an increase in demand. 

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