Fast Company September 2021

Fast Company is the world’s leading progressive business media brand, with a unique editorial focus on innovation in technology, leadership, world changing ideas, and design. Written for, by, and about the most progressive business leaders, Fast Company inspires readers to think beyond traditional boundaries, lead conversations, and create the future of business.

United States
Mansueto Ventures LLC
6 Issues

in this issue

2 min
the great resignation, innovation, and creativity

By now you’ve probably heard about—or experienced—“the Great Resignation,” a term coined by Anthony Klotz, an associate professor of management at Texas A&M University, to describe the wave of people rethinking or quitting their jobs post-pandemic. Some 4 million people quit their jobs in April, the highest reported number since the Bureau of Labor started publishing the data in 2000. Klotz and others cite myriad reasons for the departures. Some people, having tasted virtual work, are seeking more flexible arrangements than their current bosses allow. Many are rethinking their priorities after the health crisis; they’re taking sabbaticals or pursuing work that offers them a greater sense of purpose. Employers looking for ways to stem the tide of resignations might find some inspiration in this issue. Our ranking of the Best Workplaces…

8 min
wind of change

When upstart activist hedge fund Engine No. 1 secured three seats on the board of Exxon-Mobil, in June, it was a high-profile repudiation of the way the country’s largest oil company has long conducted business: with a laser focus on returns and a blind eye to its impact on the world at large. The fund vowed to push ExxonMobil to develop a plan to address climate change and reduce its carbon footprint. Exxon’s responsibility as a business would no longer be only to its shareholders, the boardroom showdown signaled, but also to the public and the planet. To pull off this coup, however, Engine No. 1 first needed to woo other, bigger shareholders. Launched in December 2020 with a goal of getting companies to prioritize longterm value, the fund found a…

1 min
purpose and profit

► ESG investing is rising $17 TRILLION Amount of professionally managed assets in the U.S. where ESG is taken into consideration Increase since 2018 ► ESG-minded activist hedge funds are growing $1.4 BILLION Amount of assets under management by Impactive Capital But they are relatively tiny: Assets under management by Elliott Investment Management ► Institutional investors are just getting started How major investors voted on supporting climate resolutions at companies in 2020 (percent supported): In January, BlackRock pledged to expand the number of carbon-intensive companies under scrutiny. ► ESG reporting by companies is becoming standard of S&P 500 companies and of the companies in the Russell 1000 Index published sustainability reports in 2019. Sources for Purpose and Profit: The Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment; SEC; Morningstar Proxy Data, as of 9/25/2020; BlackRock 2021 Letter to CEOs; Governance & Accountability Institute…

1 min
the returns revolution

“Reverse logistics”-the process of handling returned merchandise-has become increasingly complex. Retailers have to determine if each returned item is fit to go back on shelves, can be refurbished, or must be scrapped. Stores have used disparate technologies and even manual systems to do this, to little effect: Some 5 billion pounds of merchandise go to waste annually. goTRG oversees more than 45 million returned items per year for Amazon, Home Depot, Walmart, and more, using sophisticated software and a fleet of massive warehouses. After integrating specifics about each retailer’s catalogs, goTRG’s AI determines the most profitable outcome for every item. Products may be refurbished, donated, recycled, or used for parts-all within goTRG facilities. “Our goal is to convince retailers to give products a second life,” says cofounder and CEO Sender…

3 min
evolving to better serve its members

Last year, as the U.S. went into lockdown, a clear need arose: Many older Americans needed assistance with simple tasks like picking up prescriptions and going to the grocery store. At the same time, volunteers around the country had raised their hands to let the organization know they were ready to help. The problem was connecting the two groups. Just days after the pandemic was declared, AARP Innovation Labs quickly developed and launched its new Community Connections platform within 10 days, with a Spanish language site coming just five days later. “To be able to move at such a quick pace and to be helping millions of people across the country in a short period of time was amazing,” says Jo Ann Jenkins, CEO of AARP. In fact, such innovation has been…

1 min
my daily media diet

WHAT I CHECK FIRST Trash Talk ($25, HAY.DK) The Paper Paper bin, made from recycled paper, comes in four muted colors with bright linings. Created by Swedish designer Clara von Zweigbergk for Hay, it’s a perfect place to chuck paper you no longer need as you declutter your desk. Instagram @BLACKFORAGER Hilarious adventures in discovering alternative wild foods. You can never learn enough quirky things about plants. Website DEZEEN.COM I go there to be reminded of how beautiful design can be problem-solving. Form and function and aesthetics are most powerful when blended. Podcast BIO EATS WORLD Cutting-edge conversation topics digging into how biology is fundamentally transforming the future. Twitter @NEILTYSON An astrophysicist and science communicator, he’s the author of my favorite quote: “The good thing about science is that it’s true whether or not you believe it.” Basketball Break “I like to play basketball between meetings. Getting…