What do Google, Ocean Spray and Walt Disney have in common? All were launched during recessions. Since the beginning of this recession, most headlines have been riddled with gloom, but tough economic times lend themselves to advantages many business leaders overlook.
Last summer, as we were still headed into the worst quarters of this recession, I co-founded SoupCycle, a company that makes organic soups and delivers them by bicycle. Whimsical and a bit ridiculous? Sure – but the idea is odd enough to attract customers during a recession, and despite a sluggish economy SoupCycle has already made more than 3,000 bicycle soup deliveries. If you’re up for the challenge, now may be the right time to turn your sustainable business idea into a reality. Here are nine pointers to successfully launch your sustainable business during the recession:
In Thomas Friedman‘s 2005 book, “The World is Flat,” he argues that globalization has created a new global economic era, fundamentally different than the business world of even a decade earlier. Just a few years later, in his newest book, “Hot, Flat and Crowded” Friedman describes another era: the Energy-Climate Era.
The evolution from the first book to the second demonstrates the global trend from financial-bottom-line thinking to the sustainable-economy imperative, and this paradigm shift requires business leaders to intrinsically rethink their companies.
Friedman claimed the realities of a “flat world” affected every business decision and any business leader ignored these realities at their peril. In a world constrained by climate change and energy limits, those business decisions need to be examined again. Let’s explore the new realities with the most prominent decisions of the Era of Globalization: outsourced manufacturing from the United States to foreign countries.
For the first time in 30 years an entire quarter went by without a venture-backed company going public, according to numbers released by the National Venture Capital Association this week. The industry group plans to analyze its findings and share its thoughts with the press next week, but in the meantime, analysts and pundits are speculating that everything from the recession to Sarbanes-Oxley rules to the mortgage crisis are to blame.
While economic downturns and expensive, complicated regulations may well be part of the equation, it’s also likely that investor interest in cleantech is playing a role. Nearly every name-brand venture capital firm now has its own cleantech fund worth hundreds of millions of dollars, and after a few years getting to know the space, venture capitalists have come to realize that investing in a cleantech company is nothing like investing in a dotcom, particularly when it comes to a quick and lucrative IPO.
The California Air Resource Board (CARB) on Thursday unveiled its proposal for how to drastically cut greenhouse gas emissions by 2020.
The much-anticipated plan (PDF) is the latest step toward implementing California’s landmark “Global Warming Solutions Act” (also know by its legislative number, AB 32), passed in 2006. The bill includes mandates to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 30 percent below 1990 levels by 2030 – or 427 million metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) equivalents; a subsequent executive order extended that mandate to a whopping 80 percent by 2050.
As Alexis Madrigal reports at WIRED Science, “The scoping plan shows that California needs to cut 169 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent from the 2020 business-as-usual scenario. That’s more than twice Massachusetts’ total CO2 emissions from 1990.”