Symantec Brings Cyber Security Jobs to HS Grads

| Wednesday October 1st, 2014 | 0 Comments

cc_connection_logo_2 Even as the economy continues to recover from the near-collapse of the financial system in 2008, the slow pace of job creation and stagnation of real income of the large majority of Americans continues to constrain economic growth and erode the U.S. middle class. That’s not to say there aren’t lots of job openings. There are – it’s just that many of them apparently go unfilled.

While some say there is a dearth of qualified U.S. candidates, a study from Harvard Business School points out that while “America’s capitalists take every chance they get to remind us that they are our ‘job creators’ … it turns out that their least-favorite thing on earth to do is create jobs.”

Cyber security industry leader Symantec is looking to turn that conclusion on its head. In late June, Symantec joined with Life Journey, NPower and Year Up to launch the Symantec Cyber Career Connection (SC3). High school graduates enrolled in SC3 — an intensive, one-plus year program — receive general professional skills and specialized cyber security jobs training. To cap the program off, they intern at supporting partner companies — a step towards possible full-time employment and a long-term career path. The program is now up and running in Baltimore and San Francisco.

Triple Pundit spoke with Donald Ger, Year Up’s National Director for Partnerships and Innovation, and SC3 student Ashley Williams to gain greater insight regarding the SC3 program’s structure and goals, as well as how the initiative is progressing. 

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Climate Change Requires New Approaches to Food Security

Bill DiBenedetto | Wednesday October 1st, 2014 | 0 Comments

FAO Local_EWH-7132-0If coping with climate change is central to achieving a sustainable future for the global population, then food security lies at the heart of this effort, FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva said last week in a speech at the United Nations Climate Summit last week.

“We cannot call development sustainable while hunger still robs over 800 million people of the opportunity to lead a decent life,” he said in a reference to the latest U.N. report on world hunger, The State of Food Insecurity in the World 2014.

The report found that while the number of people who experience chronic hunger was reduced by 100 million over the past decade, there are still some 805 million people that go without enough to eat on a regular basis.

Despite overall progress, the 57-page report says, “marked differences” across regions persist. Sub-Saharan Africa has the highest prevalence of undernourishment, with only modest progress in recent years: Around one in four people in the region remains undernourished. Asia, the most populous region in the world, still has the highest number of undernourished people. “Southern Asia has made slow progress in hunger reduction, while more rapid progress has been achieved in Eastern and South-Eastern Asia with the latter having already met the WFS hunger target,” Graziano da Silva said.

In the past, efforts to feed the world focused on boosting agricultural output to produce more food, but today’s challenges – including climate change – demand a new approach, Graziano da Silva said.

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Fair Trade Goes Full Circle on Supply Chains

| Wednesday October 1st, 2014 | 0 Comments

This is part of a series on “The Future of Fair Trade,” written with the support of Fair Trade USA. A 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization, Fair Trade USA is the leading third-party certifier of Fair Trade products in the United States. To follow along with the rest of the series, click here.

Rwandan coffee grower Mukantelina Soline is able to pay for school fees and electricity with the extra income she earns from her Fair Trade cooperative

Rwandan coffee grower Mukantelina Soline is able to pay for school fees and electricity with the extra income she earns from her Fair Trade cooperative.

In honor of Fair Trade month, Fair Trade USA created a great infographic to explain how fair trade really works to improve workers’ lives and, in turn, the health of our ecosystem. While certifications like Organic ensure that farmers and a consumer’s family won’t be exposed to harmful pesticides, Fair Trade USA focuses on the producers and the well-being of their families. What organizations like Fair Trade have found is that a focus on the health of workers far up the supply chain leads directly to a higher-quality product and a healthy planet. That is to say, Fair Trade goes full circle. Here’s how they do it.

Improving lives

Fair Trade means that workers — from farmers to factory workers — get a fair wage for the goods they produce, through a guaranteed minimum purchase price. Workers on Fair Trade farms also have the right to organize into unions if they wish and the right to safe working conditions. Forced child and slave labor are strictly prohibited.

Workers and farmers decide collectively how to spend the Fair Trade premium on community development: building schools, clinics, improving roads, offering school scholarships, or whatever the community needs.

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U.S. Promises Action on U.N. Human Rights Principles

Michael Kourabas
| Wednesday October 1st, 2014 | 0 Comments

2767099314_77272ba8b8_zLast week, the U.S. State Department announced that the government would develop a National Action Plan to “promote and incentivize responsible business conduct,” in line with the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs).  Once complete, the U.S. will join the U.K., the Netherlands, Denmark, Italy and Spain as the only states to have released National Action Plans on business and human rights (BHR NAPs).  According to the U.N. Working Group on Business and Human Rights, Switzerland and Finland are also in the process of developing their own plans.

The announcement comes in advance of official United Nations guidance on the subject, promised by the U.N. Working Group for December 2014, which ought to inform the U.S. process.  While this news may barely register on the radar of even those most interested in corporate social responsibility, organizations like Human Rights Watch, Human Rights First and the International Corporate Accountability Roundtable (ICAR) have been publicly pushing President Barack Obama to develop a BHR NAP for some time. (ICAR is also working with the Danish Institute for Human Rights on a larger NAP project that aims to provide guidance for governments in the development, implementation, and review of BHR NAPs.)

What is a BHR NAP and why does it matter?

In short, a BHR NAP is a policy document that explains how a particular state intends to go about fulfilling its duty to protect human rights from corporate abuse.  In general, NAPs are useful tools in the advancement of any particular policy objective in that, among other things, they tend to mobilize various stakeholders, promote collaboration and outline the parameters of expected action. Three years after the United Nations Human Rights Council unanimously endorsed the UNGPs, it called on all Member States to develop BHR NAPs in order to promote the implementation of the UNGPs within each state’s national legal framework.

In a sense, the creation of a NAP is akin to the crucial step of domestic implementation of a treaty or other international instrument (and the future of the rights or obligations it purports to protect/enforce), including international human rights treaties, like the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), or those creating international institutions, like the Rome Statute and the International Criminal Court (ICC).

By ratifying the ICCPR, for instance, the U.S. committed to “prevent and protect against discrimination and ensure equal treatment for all … without any limitations or exceptions.”  Yet, domestic implementation of the ICCPR has been lacking.  Who, for instance, can argue that the federal government has come close to accomplishing this (admittedly lofty) aim?

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North American Beekeepers Sue to Stop Pesticides

Jan Lee
Jan Lee | Wednesday October 1st, 2014 | 0 Comments

honey_bee_beekeepers_ Rakib_Hasan_SumonLast year, beekeepers and environmental organizations took to the court in what was to be one of the first legal efforts to protect declining bee populations. The move was bold: Citing the Environmental Protection Agency’s purview over the approval of a class of chemical pesticides called neonicitinoids (neonics), they sued the EPA for circumstances that they say led to Colony Collapse Disorder. The suit maintained that through the approved use of pesticides like clothianidin and thiamethoxam, the EPA failed to prevent conditions that have led to mass deaths of bees and untold financial losses for beekeepers.

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Speaking the Unspeakable: The Business Case for Embracing Taboos

3p Contributor | Wednesday October 1st, 2014 | 0 Comments
Unilever will help 25 million people gain access to toilets by 2020.

Unilever will help 25 million people gain access to toilets by 2020.

By Jean-Laurent Ingles

Poo. The topic that no one wants to talk about, yet one we must face up to. One child dies of diseases related to poor sanitation every two minutes. One billion people practice open defecation. Two and a half billion people don’t have access to adequate sanitation. And because these issues make us uncomfortable, we aren’t doing enough to change things. Neither Millennium Development Goal 4 (to reduce under five child mortality by two-thirds) nor Millennium Development Goal 7 (to halve the proportion of the population without sustainable access to basic sanitation) will be met by the 2015 deadline. This simply cannot continue.

At Unilever, we believe in tackling taboos head-on and engaging consumers with important global issues through our brands. Why? Because a brand can bring an issue to life and make it accessible. Because a brand can make an issue relevant to consumers’ lives. Because a brand can entertain, intrigue and inform without turning people off.  But, most importantly, because a brand can take a taboo, turn it into a business opportunity, and in the process help address pressing social issues.

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TriplePundit and HP to Host Twitter Chat LIVE from SXSW Eco

Marissa Rosen
| Wednesday October 1st, 2014 | 0 Comments

no2r4rqltrax5gl8qxzl_400x400Join TriplePundit and HP for a live Twitter Chat from #SXSWeco, at the hashtag #livingprogress, on October 7 at noon PT/2 p.m. CT/3 p.m. ET. Participate in the conversation from anywhere in the world!

There are big challenges facing us today, including a rapidly growing population, effects of climate change, economic instability and global health crises. But challenges present opportunities for forward-thinking individuals and companies. With HP Living Progress as its framework for thinking about how it does business, HP is working to create a better future for everyone through its actions and innovations. Through HP Living Progress, HP brings together people and technology to solve the world’s toughest challenges.

During this year’s SXSWEco conference, Nick Aster, Founder and Publisher of Triple Pundit, and Chris Librie, Senior Director of Strategy and Communications at HP Corporate Affairs, will come together at the HP Living Progress Exchange to bring the dialogue to you via Twitter!

New to Twitter Chats? Here’s how they work!

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VIDEO: “Creating Resilient Cities” with Siemens and Arup

| Wednesday October 1st, 2014 | 0 Comments

creating resilient cities graphic-1

 

WATCH A RECAP OF TODAY’S CONVERSATION BELOW

The world is rapidly urbanizing and the majority of the global population will experience the effects of climate change in urban cities. Yet while cities are vulnerable, they are also uniquely positioned to lead the efforts of mitigating and adopting to climate change. How do we ensure that our cities will remain attractive places for people and businesses against a backdrop of increasing climate risk? Join TriplePundit’s Founder, Nick Aster, live on Google’s hangout platform to discuss how cities may be able to mitigate the effects of climate change.

Our featured panelists are:

  • Michael Stevns, Project Manager of the Toolkit for Resilient Cities, Siemens
  • Stephen Cook, Associate Director, Energy and Climate Change Consulting, Arup

The conversation will cover how to future-proof our cities; resilience in the fields of technology, finance, and risk management; and global best practices for creating resilient cities.

Let us know you’re coming! RSVP HERE.

 

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SOCAP14 Interview: Plum Organics & Campbell’s Soup

| Tuesday September 30th, 2014 | 0 Comments

This video is part of our ongoing coverage of SOCAP14.  To see the rest please visit our SOCAP 14 page here.

plum-campbellsPlum Organics is a certified B Corp and benefit corporation that makes nutritious, organic baby food.  About a year ago, Plum was acquired by Campbell’s Soup Co., joining a long list of sustainably-minded companies who have been acquired by larger, publicly-traded corporations.

The level of transparency and commitment to sustainability that being structured as a benefit corporation entails is difficult to translate to a publicly-traded company — regardless of that company’s own commitments.  But according to Plum and Campbell’s, the acquisition is going well and will ultimately enhance the sustainability of both companies.

I sat down with Plum’s co-founder, Neil Grimmer and Campbell’s VP of CSR and Sustainability, Dave Stangis at SOCAP14 a few weeks back to discuss…

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Can B Corp Certification Help You Raise Capital?

Ryan Honeyman | Tuesday September 30th, 2014 | 0 Comments

This is the eighth in a weekly series of excerpts from the upcoming book “The B Corp Handbook: How to Use Business as a Force for Good”(Berrett-Koehler Publishers, October 13, 2014). Click here to read the rest of the series.

InvestorsBy Ryan Honeyman

Ahh–the perennial debate: will becoming a Certified B Corp help or hurt my ability to raise capital?

Like most things in life, it’s not a 100% black or white answer. It depends on where (and from whom) you are trying to raise capital. In my opinion, however, it is starting to look pretty good for B Corps (just ask CircleUp, which recently partnered with Collaborative Fund to invest $4 million exclusively in Certified B Corporations).

While researching and writing “The B Corp Handbook,” I found that B Corp certification can help you attract: mission-driven or impact investors who consider social, environmental and financial criteria in their investment decisions; mainstream investors who are primarily interested in strong financial returns; and larger companies interested in acquiring a cutting-edge and innovative brand.

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CDP Connects Climate Action and Financial Results

RP Siegel | Tuesday September 30th, 2014 | 0 Comments

586px-New_York_Stock_Exchange_EntranceLike it or not, most decisions today are based on economics. It’s the way our system is put together and it has been, in many ways, successful in generating innovation and prosperity, for many if not for all. That fact is not one that is likely to change easily, though the system’s shortfalls are beginning to show up like cracks in a once impenetrable façade. Prominent questions that arise, for anyone when pondering a choice, whether it’s an individual or a large company, tend to fall along the lines of:

  • Can I afford it?
  • Is it a good investment?
  • Will taking this action lead to more prosperity?

When we talk about large-scale change, we can talk about two kinds of change — one that works within this paradigm, or one that challenges it. I’m not here today to argue the respective benefits of each, but instead to acknowledge the fact that working within the system, if possible, has distinct advantages, given the deep interdependencies between the financial world and the world at large.

So, within this context, looking at an issue like climate change and the large-scale actions required to adequately address it, the question of whether these actions can have an economic upside is critical. If we had to rely strictly on a sense of civic duty and social responsibility, that would surely be a harder road.

With that in mind, the CDP S&P 500 Climate Change Report 2014, from the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) is good news.

CDP was engaged by a group of 767 major investors representing an enormous amount of money, some $92 trillion, to assess all the companies in the S&P 500 Index based on two things:

  • Their level of disclosure regarding carbon emissions
  • Their performance in responding to the need for action.

If you think that’s a lot of money, you’re right. In fact, if there is no double-counting here, $92 trillion represents over 38 percent of all the money in the world. So if the group of people and institutions representing 38 percent of the world’s wealth want to know, as investors, what the companies in the S&P 500 are doing about climate change, that ought to give some people pause as to how truly important this is.

So what did they find out? After looking at these metrics and correlating them with the financial metrics of the companies that participated, CDP made the following statement.

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Sierra Club Takes Coal Fight to Supreme Court

| Tuesday September 30th, 2014 | 5 Comments

Dunkirk1 The Sierra Club’s “Beyond Coal” campaign recently scored a big victory in Indiana. The Indiana chapter of Beyond Coal was a central player in putting together the coalition of grassroots groups that managed to prod Indiana Power & Light to stop burning coal at its Harding Street power plant — the only coal-fired power plant remaining within the limits of a major Midwestern city. The campaign isn’t stopping there.

On Sept. 26, the Sierra Club announced it was joining with Ratepayer and Community Intervenors to file a lawsuit in the New York Supreme Court that challenges a Public Service Commission ruling that would levy a $140 million subsidy on state residents’ electricity bills to upgrade and expand the Dunkirk coal-fired power plant in Chautauqua County. The plaintiffs are being represented by Earthjustice.

Deeming it a “bailout” at ratepayers’ expense, the upgrade and expansion plan “would result in a plant three times larger than necessary to maintain reliable operation of the region’s power grid,” Sierra states in a news release. Moreover, at a time when the EPA is readying President Barack Obama’s Clean Power Plan, the plant – though it would be able to burn both coal and natural gas – would add greenhouse gases and air pollution in the region, contributing to climate change, the environmental NGO highlights.

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McKinsey Touts Bioenergy as Coal Replacement

Bill DiBenedetto | Tuesday September 30th, 2014 | 0 Comments

Bioenergy_510x175While coal goes kicking and screaming into a dark and pollution-filled goodnight, it is becoming more evident and economically plausible that biomass energy, or bioenergy —energy derived from organic matter —can replace it.

McKinsey & Co., a global management consulting firm, makes this point in a recent article — “Can bioenergy replace coal?” — that examines the situation in Europe.

The article notes that like all renewable energy options in the European Union, “bioenergy has struggled against low-priced coal imports, low carbon dioxide prices in the emissions-trading system, and an economic and regulatory backlash against renewable-energy policies, including substantial cuts in government support.” But McKinsey writers Marco Albani, Nicolas Denis and Anna Granskog assert that biomass-based energy should not be counted out just yet. “Although today it fails to compete on cost with other renewables such as wind and solar, we believe bioenergy not only has the potential to significantly improve but could even become cost competitive with coal.”

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Revitalizing Rural Communities: How One Small Town Gained a Huge Economic Boost

3p Contributor | Tuesday September 30th, 2014 | 0 Comments
Russell Currier of Stockholm is cheered on by a large crowd Sunday during the men's pursuit competition at the Biathlon Junior World Championships at the Nordic Heritage Ski Center in Presque Isle.

Russell Currier of Stockholm is cheered on by a large crowd on Sunday during the Biathlon Junior World Championships at the Nordic Heritage Ski Center in Presque Isle.

By Leah B. Thibault

Adam Cyr’s story began in a fashion typical of his generation in rural America. Before leaving for college, Adam planned to join the family business in northern Maine after graduation. Following college, however, he landed a management position at a nationally branded hotel downstate, in the city of Portland. That opportunity for reliable employment led Adam to leave his rural roots and pursue a promising career in hospitality, an option not available back home. He joined the ranks of thousands of young Americans who are leaving their rural homes in pursuit of job security and diverse opportunities in cities, in a movement referred to as ‘outmigration.’

Adam grew up near Presque Isle, a town of less than 9,700 in northern Aroostook County, where agriculture and forestry are the primary industries. The region lacks the economic diversity to weather a mill closing or bad crop – when jobs go, there is no other industry or enterprise to pick up the slack in its shallow economy. For this reason, Presque Isle has experienced a high outmigration rate for years. In fact, Aroostook County has lost more than 10 percent of its population over the last two decades. Maine’s northern region is not alone: The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports that, nationwide, rural counties as a whole lost population between 2010 and 2012.

Yet rural communities, which are home to only 20 percent of our country’s population but comprise 75 percent of the country’s land mass, support a wealth of extremely valuable resources. Rural America provides nearly all of the clean water to urban centers, provides the majority of domestic energy production and is the primary source of food production.

Investing in rural economies is vital to sustaining these resources, but finding the means to do so can prove challenging, as there are low levels of available and affordable bank and investment capital to support business growth in these often remote areas.

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Work Exchange Brings New Meaning to ‘Made in China’

3p Contributor | Tuesday September 30th, 2014 | 0 Comments
Green Mountain Coffee Roasters employees learn how Keurig brewers are made while touring a manufacturing facility in

Keurig Green Mountain employees learn how Keurig brewers are made while touring a manufacturing facility in Shenzhen, China.

By Lise Cloutier

There are few experiences in life that take you out of your comfort zone, force you to think differently about the world and actually have the potential to impact the work you do every day. Recently, I had one of those experiences.

I have been with Keurig Green Mountain, Inc. (Keurig) for nine years. I am responsible for quality control in the company’s hometown of Waterbury, Vermont, where I ensure that our brewers and beverage packs are ready to be distributed to our foodservice customers. I also capture data about the lifecycle of our coffee, such as when it was roasted, where it’s headed and what time it left our facility. I know what it takes to get our products into our customers’ hands and deliver a high-quality product. Turns out – for the past nine years, I’ve only known the half of it.

Earlier this year, Keurig sent me and eight of my colleagues on a week-long trip with stops in China, Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia, where we visited our co-manufacturers – meeting supply chain partners and touring their facilities. The purpose of this trip was to give us a behind-the-scenes look at what goes into building our brewers, from design and assembly to the finished product that ends up on kitchen counters. Few companies invest in truly hands-on, experiential learning opportunities for their employees, and in addition, it is very rare to get a window into manufacturing operations – especially in Asia.

Keurig knows a thing or two about source trips: The company has been sponsoring employee trips to coffee farms since the early 1990s – giving employees a chance to learn about coffee production while meeting our coffee suppliers and their families. This year, the company decided to expand its employee experience, sending nearly 70 employees to coffee farms in Nicaragua, Mexico, Peru and other coffee-growing countries, as well as the trip I took to Asia-Pacific – a very first for the company.

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