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Biden’s First 100 Days — Insight for the Food, Agriculture and Beverage Sector

April 29, 2021
By Michael Moroney

After four years of loosening regulations and lax enforcement, many in the food, beverage and agricultural ecosystem are gearing up for significant regulatory and policy changes under the Biden administration.

The administration’s approach to trade will have far-reaching implications for the sector, and changes in leadership at major federal agencies will certainly lead to new rules and regulations — likely aimed at enacting stricter consumer and worker protections and making food production and agriculture practices more environmentally sustainable.

As the Biden administration approaches its first 100 days, we reflect on what we’ve seen so far, what to expect, and what to look out for down the road.

Sustainability and Climate Action Will be a Predominant Theme

At last week’s Leaders Summit on Climate, President Biden called for cutting U.S. emissions in half by 2030, and has previously pointed to the agriculture industry as a major source of greenhouse gases. The industry plays a central role in Biden’s plan to combat climate change, but the administration has yet to impose limits on the sector’s emissions.

As it stands, the administration seems to be leaning heavily toward financial incentives for producers to adopt climate-friendly practices, verses threatening strict regulation. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has proposed the establishment of a so-called carbon bank to encourage climate mitigation efforts such as financing sustainable practices or providing a ground floor for pricing sequestered carbon.

Additionally, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Michael Regan has reiterated that agriculture will be an important part of the Biden administration’s approach to tackling climate change, noting the president’s specific focus on biofuels and advanced biofuels. The EPA plans to provide more transparency and certainty though the Renewable Fuel Standard program.

What to look out for: Lots of action at the state level, often at odds with the White House’s agenda.

Global Trade Agenda Still Coming into View

While the Biden’s trade agenda is still in early days, it’s clear that the administration’s approach will be more focused on building coalitions with like-minded partners verses bilateral agreements like his predecessor.

While U.S. political relations with China remain fraught, the country appears to be living up to the agriculture trade purchasing commitments it made under the previous administration, though the final numbers may fall below the original target set due to the pandemic.

What to look out for: It remains to be seen how much Biden’s executive branch will be engaged on trade, versus referring matters to the legislative branch. And, while it’s been suggested, it’s also unclear how quickly the Biden administration would re-engage Trans-Pacific Partnership countries.

Workforce and Labor


On day one, Biden sent an immigration proposal to Congress that would have established an earned path to citizenship for 11 million undocumented immigrants. It offers immigrant farmworkers, dreamers and individuals with Temporary Protected Status an expedited path to citizenship and would immediately receive green cards.

As Vice President Kamala Harris begins to untangle the immigration crisis at the southern border, expect more action from the administration on the issue, including involvement from USDA.

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

After decades of discrimination faced by Black farmers — often denied loans and other financial assistance — at the hands of USDA, the stimulus bill passed in March provided $4 billion in debt relief and an additional billion for severely needed assistance.

Workplace Safety

After missed deadlines, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has released updated emergency workplace safety rules to prevent the spread of COVID-19. After large-scale coronavirus outbreaks in meatpacking plants early last year, advocates have argued that lack of guidance resulted in employer negligence.

Officials at both the state and federal level have expressed concerns about the ability to quickly and effectively vaccinate farmworkers. Initially hampered by lagging eligibility, now officials are trying to navigate logistical hurdles, high vaccine hesitancy and concerns around immigration status.

What to look out for: In the early days, the Biden administration has been focused on incentivizing change as opposed to regulating it. Depending on how the sector responds, keep an eye on whether that administration trades out carrots for sticks.


On the Record with Heather Clancy: Building a Sustainable Future

April 28, 2021

‘On the Record’ is a series where we sit down with our colleagues and friends who are often at the receiving end of our pitch emails — journalists. We will be tackling hot topics, learning and growing from their perspective and thoughtful advice.

In this post, Kamilla Rahman explores sustainability at a corporate level, outlines what a meaningful sustainable strategy incorporates and shares what companies are doing to make the most impact with GreenBiz vice president and editorial director, Heather Clancy.

Kamilla Rahman (KR): How did you get your start in this kind of journalism and why do you consider yourself passionate about sustainability?

Heather Clancy (HC): I started my career as a business reporter covering information technology and software, and at the time I pivoted in 2012, energy efficiency in data centers and electronic waste were hot topics. It was an abrupt change: I got laid off from the trade publication I was working for and an old friend of mine called me and asked, “what do you want to write about?” I said, “green technology” and that’s how I got into this. Initially, I was freelancing at a variety of places including CBS Interactive and GreenBiz, and over time I got sucked into the GreenBiz world.

I’m passionate about this because we need companies to act on climate change, to focus on doing business in a better way. I feel hopeful that there is progress being made but the business world needs to move more quickly.

KR: What do you love most about covering sustainability?

HC: I’m hopeful about our sustainable path forward, and it’s great to see how people and organizations acted in the past four years despite federal leadership. A lot of the innovation in this space is driven by the public sector, and I love how there’s always something new happening at the state and local level. There’s always someone pushing the envelope to go better and farther, and it’s great to be at the forefront.

KR: Are there specific areas of sustainability that you find most interesting right now? What do you dislike most when covering sustainability?

HC: Right now, I’m very interested in carbon removal technologies and how organizations are making a profitable business model for it. Oftentimes, it’s talked about as an expense, since the initial investment costs so much money, but it can also help drive new revenues. So, it’s great to learn about the new carbon technology companies coming into play. I’m also really interested in carbon sequestration in concrete and the building sector. It’s great to learn how a company can distinguish itself in the space and how organizations are interested in investing in it. Additionally, the tree planting movement is also a unique space. It’s interesting to see how companies are supporting reforestation and understocked forests. Overall, it’s great for the climate cause but also for livelihoods in local economies.

As for dislikes of the industry, there’s unfortunately a lot of greenwashing. Many companies are doing good and say they are doing good, but there’s often a random description being used that is usually questionable. In this area, there’s no common thread or definition to a lot of these initiatives. For example, there are so many ways to define “carbon positive” and “net zero,” so many organizations can claim these based on their own terms and it’s frustrating. Also, many companies aren’t willing to be transparent with updates on progress. It would be great if organizations address what’s working, what’s not working, what could be better and learn from these mistakes to make progress.

KR: In your opinion, why should sustainability and running an environmentally conscious business be top-of-mind for organizations of all sizes?

HC: This really applies to everything you do for the future. Sustainability and environmental awareness make organizations more attractive from a hiring perspective and a consumer perspective. There’s data showing how people are willing to work for or purchase from an organization that is conscientious, so there’s an overall sustainability advantage. However, on the other side there is still greenwashing, so there’s not always trust and then there’s the denier community who distrusts science.

KR: How would you suggest organizations go about their sustainability strategy? In what ways can they have the most impact?

HC: Making the most impact starts with having your sustainability strategy tied to your business strategy. It shouldn’t be a one-off initiative; it has to align with overall organizational goals. In today’s world, there’s a lot of division when it comes to policy and I think that’s why so many companies are afraid to speak out, in addition to what goes on internally with their legal and compliance teams. But as we’ve learned, especially in recent months, saying nothing also speaks volumes.

KR: Are there certain companies (without naming names) that have done it right and how?

HC: Companies that price carbon into their operations and those that are factoring carbon emissions in their revenue streams are the ones that are doing the best in this space, but companies have to start thinking about their supply chain differently and use their power to help smaller companies make investments to also get them to this same place.

I’d like to see companies, especially larger corporations, use their power to help smaller organizations prioritize sustainability since they may not have the power or resources to do so. I also tend to appreciate companies that are inspiring operational changes towards sustainability by making it part of their financial model. The impact and commitment are truly shown here.

KR: What do you think PR people should understand when pitching you sustainable-related product, launches and updates?

HC: My biggest word of advice when pitching these kinds of stories is to understand the context of what you’re pitching and spend more time understanding what these jargony terms like “carbon neutral,” “carbon positive,” etc. actually mean before framing a story. PR is often viewed as transactional but understanding the context of the industry and the bigger picture along with implications will go miles with any sort of storytelling.  

Also, I encourage follow-up stories in this space. There are so many pitches and stories on single initiatives and announcements, but I’d also like to know what happened, what progress was made and what was learned. I think in a way this can also encourage more companies to be more open to sustainable strategies — even if something didn’t work at least it was tried, and this could encourage trial and error.


With Transformation Comes Great Progress

April 27, 2021
By Alison McNally

From Detroit to Miami, Dallas to Denver, and LA to New York — the COVID-19 pandemic changed how the world does business. Whether someone operated a manufacturing plant in the Midwest or worked the trading floor on the Stock Exchange, their day-to-day work life — how they made decisions and completed tasks — was altered, in some cases forever.

The power of technology — and our reliance on it — has never been more apparent. The pandemic is showing us that more business than expected can be done remotely. Companies are investing in new technology, migrating from older solutions and embracing digital transformation; in some cases, AI and algorithms are helping determine who needs to work in person and when.

With this in mind, TRUE Global Intelligence, FleishmanHillard’s in-house research practice, set out to better understand the impact these changes have had when it comes to business decision-making, especially in terms of Information Technology (IT). Where are businesses investing, who is making the decisions and where are they getting information in a largely virtual world free of in-person demos and large-scale tradeshows?

Simply put, COVID-19 is not only changing how people work but how they source and use technology to work better, faster and smarter. More than half of the 452-technology decision-makers surveyed in the U.S. said COVID-19 changed the efficiency of their decision-making processes for the better. Many reported the ability to quickly reassess budgets and highlighted internal and external cost savings. As predicted, most also agreed that remote working has significantly changed the decision-making process when it comes to purchases.

But the impact doesn’t stop at operations. Data and communications are infinitely more important today and will continue to drive how people work and make business decisions. Most of those surveyed (72%) said their company needs to be more data driven in its decision-making. When it comes to communications, decision makers agreed that industry experts, IT forums/blogs and tech publications are more influential than social posts. 

Finally, respondents commented on the importance of employer diversity and inclusiveness to create a sense of belonging for employees. Addressing diversity, equity and inclusion will be top of mind as businesses continue to face a litany of change and challenges. 

It’s important to remember that while the pandemic may have altered the DNA of business forever, there is a huge opportunity to emerge stronger than before — using the lessons of the past year to better understand, assess and ultimately make the choices that define organizations. There is a lot of potential in the path to recovery.


FleishmanHillard Hires Inclusion Innovator, Adrianne C. Smith, to Lead the Agency’s DE&I Strategy as Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer

April 26, 2021

Former WPP Global Director of Inclusion and Diversity Brings Her Extensive Industry Experience and Partnerships to Accelerate the Agency’s DE&I Plan and Broaden Its Network  

ST. LOUIS, April 26, 2021 – FleishmanHillard today announced the appointment of Adrianne C. Smith (she/her) to chief diversity and inclusion officer, from WPP where she previously served as its first global director of inclusion and diversity. In her new role, she will advance FleishmanHillard’s global Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DE&I) strategy and continue its ambition to become the most inclusive agency in the world.  

While at WPP Smith guided the organization’s global community on the foundational underpinnings for DE&I strategies and led the team responsible for building an internal global inclusion and diversity resource platform for its network of agencies. She also oversaw a collective of DE&I executives from more than 20 agencies who collaborated to share best practices and support one another on their DE&I journeys. Smith was also responsible for developing a global conscious inclusion learning and development series focused on allyship, anti-racism, covering, bystander training and building inclusive cultures.

“DE&I is the defining issue of our time and we must be change agents – forging new and reimagined standards, ideas, values and ways of coming together,” said John Saunders, FleishmanHillard president and CEO. “Adrianne is an established industry innovator with the perfect combination of experience creating high-impact forums to explore diversity solutions, and unsurpassed professional and academic experience. She will be able to help us take immediate action that elevates our organization and creates sustainable change – for us and for our clients.”

Smith will report to Saunders and be a member of FleishmanHillard’s global leadership Cabinet, leading the work of the agency’s DE&I taskforce to execute against and further the agency’s 2021 Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Plan, which includes moving DE&I to the center, growing and retaining talent, making DE&I intrinsic to its work, broadening its aperture and creating community connection. She will work in close partnership with Leela Stake and Adiya Mobley, co-leaders of True MOSAIC, the firm’s fast-growing capability specifically created to provide DE&I counsel and solutions to clients.

“As an advocate and activist, my forward-focused DE&I journey has been one of creating opportunities and providing access for those who have been historically left out of the advertising and marketing profession,” Smith said. “This journey has also included educating the industry on the value of diverse human capital. FleishmanHillard’s core business is built around storytelling and shaping narratives. They have laid a solid DE&I foundation to build a sustainable practice that moves the work from intentional to impactful. I’m honored to be a part of their journey to become the most inclusive agency in the world.”

With more than 20 years of industry and advocacy experience, Smith’s career has been focused on making the invisible visible by creating opportunities for under-represented communities. She participated on the launch team for a digital sub-television network as director of advertising at Soul of the South Network – SSN TV, the only broadcast network to focus on the unique experiences of the 20 million African Americans living in the South. Smith was also the first executive director of the Howard University Center for Excellence in Advertising. There her mission was to recruit and train people of color with nontraditional advertising backgrounds, but who had transferrable skills, for the advertising industry. Sixty-eight percent of the participants in the program still work in the advertising industry. Other previous roles include managing director of AdHere Network/Harlem TV-CIC, vice president of ad sales at the African Heritage Network and media buyer/planner for Leo Burnett.

Smith will continue her work with the Cannes Can: Diversity Collective, which she founded in 2017 to generate awareness and create access and pathways for underrepresented talent to excel in advertising, marketing, media and creative industries. The organization launched the first inclusion and diversity activation in the history of the Cannes International Festival of Creativity, Inkwell Beach – Cannes, which featured more than 100 speakers including prominent media personalities, actors and actresses and business executives. Additionally, she serves as a DE&I advisor to Cannes Lions on talent recruitment, programming and building an inclusive culture. Smith is also the founder of Vision Corps Media Group, a media incubation company developed to create new content for current and emerging media outlets including documentaries and TV specials.  

Smith replaces Emily K. Graham, FleishmanHillard’s first CDIO, who was promoted to chief equity and impact officer at Omnicom in January 2021. 

About FleishmanHillard
FleishmanHillard specializes in public relations, reputation management, public affairs, brand marketing, digital strategy, social engagement and content strategy. FleishmanHillard was named 2019 PRWeek U.S. Outstanding Large Agency; 2019 Holmes Report North America Large Agency of the Year; ICCO Network of the Year – Americas 2017-2020; PRovoke Media Greater China Consultancy of the Year 2020; PRWeek UK Best Places to Work 2020; Human Rights Campaign Best Places to Work for LGBTQ Equality 2018-2020; and NAFE’s “Top Companies for Executive Women” 2010-2020. The firm’s award-winning work is widely heralded, including at the Cannes International Festival of Creativity. FleishmanHillard is part of Omnicom Public Relations Group, and has 80 offices in more than 30 countries, plus affiliates in 50 countries.

About Omnicom Public Relations Group
Omnicom Public Relations Group is a global collective of three of the top global public relations agencies worldwide and specialist agencies in areas including public affairs, marketing to women, global health strategy and corporate social responsibility. It encompasses more than 6,300 public relations professionals in more than 370 offices worldwide who provide their expertise to companies, government agencies, NGOs and nonprofits across a wide range of industries. Omnicom Public Relations Group delivers for clients through a relentless focus on talent, continuous pursuit of innovation and a culture steeped in collaboration. Omnicom Public Relations Group is part of the DAS Group of Companies, a division of Omnicom Group Inc. (NYSE: OMC) that includes more than 200 companies in a wide range of marketing disciplines including advertising, public relations, healthcare, customer relationship management, events, promotional marketing, branding and research. ​


The New Race to the Top: Learnings from the Leaders Summit on Climate

By Michael Hartt

With questions over the impact of COVID-19 on the COP26 climate summit in November, the importance of the Biden Administration’s 2021 Leaders Summit on Climate in entrenching global commitments to tackling the climate emergency this year cannot be overstated. […]

The post The New Race to the Top: Learnings from the Leaders Summit on Climate appeared first on United Kingdom.


Stats vs. Stories: The Secret Sauce that Makes Content Marketing Click

April 21, 2021
By Peter Wilson

First came increasing caution, fear and grief. The first few domestic cases, hundreds being admitted to hospital, thousands mourning loved ones and many more suffering long Covid. […]

The post Stats vs. Stories: The secret sauce that makes content marketing click appeared first on United Kingdom.


Two Sessions 2021: Embarking on a New Journey

This year’s Two Sessions, which has returned to the regular March schedule after last year’s postponement due to the COVID-19 pandemic, takes on special importance. […]

The post Two Sessions 2021: Embarking on a new journey appeared first on 中国.


‘Safety First’: How Concerns Around Covid-19 Food Safety Are Shaping Expectations Toward the Food and Drink Industry

April 19, 2021
By Lesley Anderson

Food has always had to be safe to consume, but did we previously take this for granted pre-pandemic? I certainly never considered wiping the packaging with anti-bacterial spray or wondering whether food handling was done safely just over a year ago. […]

The post How Concerns Around Covid-19 Food Safety Are Shaping Expectations Toward the Food and Drink Industry appeared first on United Kingdom.


The New Social Contract: Effective Employee Communications Is Employee Satisfaction

April 15, 2021
By Josh Rogers

Hundreds of years ago, the concept of the social contract gained traction in the writings of philosophers. It was the idea that citizens would agree to give up some of their freedoms in return for protections provided by organized government.

During the last century, the concept of the social contract began to evolve, with many using the phrase to refer to the unwritten agreement between employers and their workers. As the U.S. economy expanded following World War II, employers came to understand that perks — such as benefits and a pension — in addition to competitive pay could help attract and retain employees. And it worked: many members of the Greatest Generation (those born between 1901 and the 1920s) and even some of the Silent Generation that followed repaid their employers with nearly boundless loyalty, spending their entire careers with a single organization.

Today the social contract means something different for businesses and their workforces, and the latest FleishmanHillard study from TRUE Global Intelligence and Talent + Transformation demonstrates the integral role employee communications plays in that construct.

In the new social contract, the employer-employee relationship is more dimensional and transactional. Competitive pay and a comprehensive benefits package for workers are table stakes, pensions largely are an anachronism, and employee expectations increasingly include less-tangible elements, such as working for an organization with purpose and values that align with their own. Reciprocally, employers need workers who not only come to work and perform the duties stated in their job descriptions, but who also are willing to spend discretionary effort for the benefit of the organization, buoy its culture and invest themselves in the achievement of business results.

Not surprising, the “The New Social Contract” report indicates that job satisfaction is a key determinant of the extent to which employees are willing to demonstrate these desired behaviors. It also shows that effective employee communication is the primary driver of employee satisfaction.

In fact, the study shows the top three factors that separate very satisfied employees from workers in general are:

  • Working for a purpose-driven organization with a set of defined values
  • Receiving accurate and honest communications
  • Working for leaders who mean and do what they say

Nearly twice as many very satisfied employees say they receive accurate and honest communications when compared with the average employee. Comparatively, unsatisfied employees are almost three times less likely than the average employee to say they receive accurate and honest communications.

This, of course, means great opportunity for business leaders and their employee communicators, who have a very real opportunity to make a meaningful difference for their organizations. And as the study shows, this can play out in the form of employees regularly advocating for their employer as a great place to work, promoting employer decisions even if they don’t agree, encouraging appropriate behavior among coworkers, surfacing new ideas, stepping in to do a job when someone else can’t, covering for a coworker who has a personal obligation to attend to, unofficially mentoring colleagues and more.

The study also shows that very satisfied employees are more willing to make personal sacrifices for the benefit of their employer, even if those employees go unrewarded for these actions, such as balancing taking care of family and job needs at the same time, as well as working outside of normal business hours or during time off.

All of this points to a new imperative for executives: The ability to continuously transform their business to stay competitive as every successful organization must do — depends on employee satisfaction, which is directly driven by employee communications. With a relentless commitment to keeping employees informed and engaged (and aligned to the organization’s strategy and goals), business can inspire workers to willingly go above and beyond to drive results that matter.

But without embracing this new version of the social contract, an organization’s ability to achieve growth and success in the future simply will not reach its full potential.


When Institutions Collide: How Conflicting Narratives Have Impacted Italy’s COVID-19 Vaccination Efforts

By Anna Vuillerod and Haven Hightower

While Italy was the first and most severely hit country in the EU, it is currently among the European country with the highest vaccination rates in the EU. Around 16% of the population has been vaccinated against COVID-19. While a successful vaccination campaign is underway, Italy is also known for being one of the most vaccine-skeptical countries in Europe. […]

The post When institutions collide: how conflicting narratives have impacted Italy’s COVID-19 vaccination efforts appeared first on European Union.