Today’s activists believe CEOs are more influential change agents than politicians

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Companies are struggling to engage with today’s activists—a new survey from USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism explores why. Dozens of companies with no track record of activism have made statements in recent weeks in support of Black Lives Matter following what I believe is unprecedented pressure from racial justice protesters. Read Full Story

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Robert Downey Jr. launches venture funds to invest in sustainable technology

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The actor and activist’s Footprint Coalition will back early and later-stage companies addressing climate change and environmental challenges. Actor and producer Robert Downey Jr., who quietly has been building an umbrella organization for his environmental initiatives, today unveiled Footprint Coalition Ventures, a pair of so-called rolling venture funds that will invest in sustainability focused companies. Read Full Story

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Meet Plant-Ag, the $9 billion startup that will let you trace your food from field-to-plate

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The ambitious company believes our food system is broken, and the only way to fix it is to start over. “You know more about your Uber driver than the food you’re eating,” says Karim Giscombe, the founder and CEO of a new company, Plant-Ag, about to launch in the coming weeks to close this peculiar knowledge gap. More and more consumers today want to know the origins of everything they buy, from what factory produced their T-shirt to where the gems in their jewelry were mined . Yet the decision-making process we use to buy fresh produce—a good purchased far more often, and that can also make us sick—really hasn’t evolved. Ever. In the store we’ll grab a tomato, spin it once in our hand, and hope for the best. Read Full Story

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Ithaca, New York, is the first U.S. city to say it will cancel rent during the pandemic

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Postponing rent is one thing, but how are people with no jobs supposed to pay later? This city wants to eliminate the debt of renters. In Ithaca, New York, where nearly three-quarters of residents are renters, and COVID-19 has forced many out of work, a new resolution gives the mayor the power to cancel rent debt from the last three months, both for tenants and small businesses. The resolution—which also freezes rents and requires landlords to offer tenants lease extensions—requires approval from the state government, but housing activists believe that will happen. The city is the first in the country to act on nationwide calls to cancel rent because of the pandemic. Read Full Story

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How Scott Budnick is creating an impact-first entertainment company

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At One Community, social impact campaigns are built from the ground up alongside films and TV shows. When the pandemic hit earlier this year, Scott Budnick was concerned for more than just the health of himself and his family. The Hollywood producer turned social justice activist was worried about all the men and women in prison, whom he’s worked with over the years both on a personal and professional level. Read Full Story

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How COVID-19 has changed get-out-the-vote efforts, from drive-in rallies to mail-in ballot tracking

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Black Lives Matter activists, gun safety advocates, and candidates are engaging voters in inventive new ways this election. For our Shape of Tomorrow series , Fast Company is asking business and nonprofit leaders to share their inside perspective on how the COVID-19 era is transforming their work. Here’s what’s been lost—and what could be gained—in the new world order . Read Full Story

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