3p Contributor: Jen Boynton

Jen keeps things running around here as Editor in Chief. She has an MBA in Sustainable Management from the Presidio Graduate School.
She's an expert in social media for CSR and stakeholder engagement and, in her spare time, teaches courses in sustainability reporting certified by the Global Reporting Initiative.

As of March, Jen has been raising a baby so sustainable she even poops green!
 
Hit her up at jen at triplepundit dot com or on twitter @jenboynton to discuss diapering strategies or sustainability reporting methodology.

Recent Articles

New MBA Series: How Today’s Students Become Tomorrow’s Sustainable Leaders

| Monday September 9th, 2013 | 3 Comments

green mbaMBA students and graduates have always been key members of the 3p community – both as readers and writers. That’s because many of the themes and issues in sustainable business that we cover every day are core themes in the classrooms at the world’s most prominent sustainable MBA programs. Today’s students bring fresh new ideas to the sustainability challenges faced by today’s businesses.

Now we want to hear more directly about how sustainability is being taught. In this new series kicking off tomorrow, we’ll hear directly from the administrators and faculty at these schools. Topics include:

  • The intersection of business education and sustainability, why it’s an important topic for tomorrow’s business leaders to study today
  • Business and sustainability education pedagogy: lessons learned and tips for professors
  • New research findings
  • Key themes that emerge from classes related to sustainability
  • Summaries of projects from the best and brightest students
  • What makes each sustainability program special
  • And general thoughts on the state of sustainability in business

We have a number of guest authors lined up, but we’d love to hear from you too! If you’d like to share your perspective, send a note to Andrea Newell at Andrea@triplepundit.com

Check back tomorrow for the first article!

[image credit: Cliff Muller: Flickr cc]

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Why Your Company Should Get Involved with the Shared Value Initiative

| Thursday August 15th, 2013 | 4 Comments

Shared-Value-Initiative-logo“Creating shared value” sounds deceptively simple. Show me a company or organization that doesn’t want to add value!

Sustainability enthusiasts may already be familiar with the concept of “shared value” –  the idea that a company’s financial health and the health of the communities around it are mutually dependent. By growing a successful business, the community should become more successful as well.  While shared value has a lot in common with other approaches to corporate social responsibility, it has a few key differences as well. Corporate philanthropy does not take center stage in the shared value philosophy, nor does stakeholder engagement (which is at the core of popular sustainability reporting guidelines from the Global Reporting Initiative.) Rather, the focus in the Shared Value framework is on the creation of meaningful economic and social value at the same time.

Of course, the devil is in the details – in this case, implementation. And that’s the impetus behind the creation of the Shared Value Initiative.

The Shared Value Initiative was launched in 2012 by FSG, a non-profit strategy and research consulting firm (and the brain child of Michael E. Porter and Mark Kramer). The purpose of the initiative is to foster “a global community of practice committed to driving adoption and implementation of share value strategies among leading companies, civil society, and government organizations.” To put it more simply, it’s a community to help shared value advocates with implementation of shared value strategies.

The impetus for the Shared Value Initiative came from a desire to speed adoption of the principals of shared value. FSG had been focused on research, but the needle was not moving quickly enough – and community engagement was a great way to ramp up adoption. According to Justin Bakule the Shared Value Initiative’s Executive Director:

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Summer Reading Giveaway Week 6!

| Wednesday July 31st, 2013 | 2 Comments

true-yourself-leading-values-based-business-mark-albion-paperback-cover-artSummer is here! What does that mean? If your high school was like mine, it means stacks of summer reading. We here at TriplePundit work hard to bring you all the news you need to know about sustainability in business – and we do it all year round. But sometimes, let’s face it, you need to go deeper into a subject – and there are many great books to help you do that.

That’s why every week this summer, we’ll be giving away a CSR-related book to one lucky reader.

Last week’s book was Enough Is Enough: Building a Sustainable Economy in a World of Finite Resources by Rob Dietz and Dan O’Neill. And the winner, chosen by random number generator, is Chris O. Congratulations! Thanks to everyone else who entered. Still want some summer reading? Don’t give up, we have a brand new book to offer this week!

This week’s book is: True to Yourself: leading a values-based business by Mark Albion.

From the publisher:

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Storify: Mars Twitter Chat Summary

| Thursday July 25th, 2013 | 1 Comment

Yesterday we, along with CSRWire, hosted an inspiring and engaging Twitter chat with the CSO of Mars – Barry Parkin. Mars chose the date to coincide with the release of their latest Principles in Action Summary. If you missed the chat, don’t fret! We have the summary for your right here. Mars will be following up in a few days with a blog post to answer some of the audience questions we weren’t able to get to. Without further ado…

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Summer Reading Giveaway Week 5!

| Wednesday July 24th, 2013 | 5 Comments

EnoughIsEnough_Final_LoRes-200x300Summer is here! What does that mean? If your high school was like mine, it means stacks of summer reading. We here at TriplePundit work hard to bring you all the news you need to know about sustainability in business – and we do it all year round. But sometimes, let’s face it, you need to go deeper into a subject – and there are many great books to help you do that.

That’s why every week this summer, we’ll be giving away a CSR-related book to one lucky reader.

Last week’s book was The Nature of Business – Redesign for Resilience by Giles Hutchins. And the winner, chosen by random number generator, is Bruce E. Congratulations! Thanks to everyone else who entered. Still want some summer reading? Don’t give up, we have a brand new book to offer this week!

This week’s book is Enough Is Enough: Building a Sustainable Economy in a World of Finite Resources by Rob Dietz and Dan O’Neill. Noam Chompsky called it, “A lucid, informed, and highly constructive book.”

From the publisher:

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One Founder’s Quest to Eliminate Eggs from Food Supply Chains

| Monday July 22nd, 2013 | 1 Comment
Josh Tetrick (right) talks with Johan Boot (left) in the Hampton Creek Foods lab in San Francisco

Josh Tetrick (right) talks with Johan Boot (left) in the Hampton Creek Foods lab in San Francisco. Image credit: Cody Pickens

“If I wasn’t doing this, I’d be in sub-Saharan Africa working on child prostitution,” Josh Tetrick tells me, referring to his leapfrog technology, egg-replacement startup, Hampton Creek Foods.

The term leapfrog technology usually refers to bringing energy and access to the world’s poorest, remote populations. While phone lines and utilities are expensive and resource-intensive to build, newer technologies can be rolled out affordably and easily, without a central distribution system. Think mobile phones in Africa or solar energy in India. The idea is that we shouldn’t make incremental change – we should be leveraging the best technologies of the moment to make people’s lives better.

While many organizations are working hard to incrementally improve the food system, Tetrick wants to leapfrog it. “It’s crazy that we feed the animals we eat more food than it would take to feed the 1.2 billion people who go hungry worldwide each night.” On top of that, he wants to eliminate the need for the battery cages egg-laying hens live in, stacked up to the roof and crowded together in unhealthy and uncomfortable conditions.

These systems are in place to produce cheap eggs and keep the cost of processed foods as low as possible. But as Tetrick was quick to point out, major food manufacturers “aren’t trying to propagate cruelty, they’re trying to maximize profit.” So he wants to make a cheaper, cruelty-free product.

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Summer Reading Giveaway Week 3!

| Wednesday July 10th, 2013 | 2 Comments

green collar economySummer is here! What does that mean? If your high school was like mine, it means stacks of summer reading. We here at TriplePundit work hard to bring you all the news you need to know about sustainability in business – and we do it all year round. But sometimes, let’s face it, you need to go deeper into a subject – and there are many great books to help you do that.

That’s why every week this summer, we’ll be giving away a CSR-related book to one lucky reader.

Last week’s book was Power from the People by Greg Pahl. And the winner, chosen by random number generator, is Andrea Learned. Congratulations! Thanks to everyone else who entered. Still want some summer reading? Don’t give up, we have a brand new book to offer this week!

This week’s book is The Green Collar Economy: How One Solution Can Fix Our Two Biggest Problems by Van Jones.

From the publisher:

Now revised and updated, Van Jones’s provocative and cutting edge New York Times bestseller The Green Collar Economy delivers a viable plan for solving the two biggest issues facing the country today—the economy and the environment.

You want it? You got it! Here are the 2 steps you need to take to enter:

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Summer Reading Giveaway Week 2!

| Wednesday July 3rd, 2013 | 6 Comments

power from the peopleSummer is here! What does that mean? If your high school was like mine, it means stacks of summer reading. We here at TriplePundit work hard to bring you all the news you need to know about sustainability in business – and we do it all year round. But sometimes, let’s face it, you need to go deeper into a subject – and there are many great books to help you do that.

That’s why every week this summer, we’ll be giving away a CSR-related book to one lucky reader.

Last week’s book was Raising Dough: The Complete Guide to Financing a Socially Responsible Food Business by Elizabeth Ü. And the winner, chosen by random number generator, is David Jaber. Congratulations! Thanks to everyone else who entered. Still want some summer reading? Don’t give up, we have a brand new book to offer this week!

This week’s book is Power from the People: How to organize, finance and launch local energy projects written by Greg Pahl with a forward by Van Jones.

From the publisher:

More than ninety percent of the electricity we use to light our communities, and nearly all the energy we use to run our cars, heat our homes, and power our factories comes from large, centralized, highly polluting, nonrenewable sources of energy.

It doesn’t have to be that way. In Power from the People, energy expert Greg Pahl explains how American communities can plan, finance, and produce their own local, renewable energy that is reliable, safe, and clean.

You want it? You got it! Here are the 2 steps you need to take to enter:

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Summer Reading Book Giveaway!

| Wednesday June 26th, 2013 | 5 Comments
This book could be yours!

This book could be yours!

Summer is here! What does that mean? If your high school was like mine, it means stacks of summer reading. We here at TriplePundit work hard to bring you all the news you need to know about sustainability in business – and we do it all year round. But sometimes, let’s face it, you need to go deeper into a subject – and there are many great books to help you do that.

That’s why every week this summer, we’ll be giving away a CSR-related book to one lucky reader.

This week’s book is Raising Dough: The Complete Guide to Financing a Socially Responsible Food Business by Elizabeth Ü

From the publisher:

Raising Dough is an unprecedented guide that provides social entrepreneurs—as well as their potential supporters—the tools necessary to enable more food businesses to launch and thrive.

You want it? You got it! Here are the 2 steps you need to take to enter:

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Nestlé Waters North America Discusses How Bottled Water Creates #sharedvalue

| Friday June 21st, 2013 | 0 Comments

nestleEarlier this week we partnered with CSRWire to host a Twitter chat with special guests Nestlé Waters of North America. The chat took our usual format with some prepared questions up front and then plenty of time for audience questions. Bottled water is a hot topic for sustainability advocates and Nestle Waters deserves kudos for answering critics head on. This was one of our most interesting chats yet! If you missed it, check out the Storify summary below.

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Ford and Whirlpool Team Up to Reduce Your Energy Footprint

| Wednesday June 12th, 2013 | 1 Comment

myenergi lifestyleIn 1980, appliances consumed 60 percent of a home’s energy use. That number is down to a staggering 20 percent in 2013. Sure, a part of the change in ratio has to do with an increase in use of personal electronics, but appliance manufacturers have also made tremendous strides in increasing the efficiency of the appliances we depend on. According to Ron Voglewede, North American Sustainability Lead at Whirlpool Corporation, speaking at Sustainable Brands, modern refrigerators now use the same amount of power as a 60 watt lightbulb.

These efficiency improvements are great, but Whirlpool wanted to do more to help consumers connect to their energy consumption.

That’s why they decided to team up with Ford on the MyEnergi Lifestyle project.

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Bill McDonough and Waste Management Want to Kill Packaging Waste

| Thursday June 6th, 2013 | 0 Comments
Will this partnership make the dumpster obsolete?

Will this dumpster one day be obsolete?

Ever injured yourself trying to open clamshell packaging? These annoying plastic-sealed packs cover everything from batteries to electronics and are designed to eliminate theft with the unfortunate side benefit of being nearly impossible to open. Those packages not only cause deep frustration and occasional pain for consumers, they are extremely wasteful since they are impossible to recycle or reuse once you finally get them open.

Eco-Rockstar Bill McDonough  and Waste Management want to change all that with a new partnership designed to minimize packaging waste throughout supply chains.

McDonough announced the launch of the Sustainable Innovation Collaborative at Sustainable Brands 2013. The goal of the collective is to help companies lower the packaging waste in their supply chains and repurpose the waste that does make it through.

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Johnson & Johnson’s Project Phoenix Helps Brazilian Garbage Scavengers Rise from the Ashes

| Wednesday June 5th, 2013 | 0 Comments
MEANINGFUL LIFE Iraci Leandro dos Santos finds purpose in the mantra “We recycle and the Earth benefits.” Image credit: Johnson & Johnson

MEANINGFUL LIFE Iraci Leandro dos Santos finds purpose in the mantra “We recycle and the Earth benefits.” Image credit: Johnson & Johnson

Johnson & Johnson’s Project Phoenix started with a desire to get more post-consumer recycled waste into Band-Aid boxes. The boxes in question are manufactured in Brazil, and the personal care product company was looking for a local supply of used paper to convert into box material. In Brazil, recycling happens not at the hands of a municipal recycling agency,but at the hands of scavengers called “catadores.” The World Bank estimates that 1-2 percent of urban populations makes their living through scavenging. Catadores have the dangerous and thankless job of picking through landfill refuse to find useful materials that might be resold.

Brazilian catadores have things a bit easier than scavengers in other countries because the government mandates that catadores organize themselves into co-ops, which provide a bit of additional structure and security for this vulnerable population. There are currently around 500 co-ops in Brazil employing around 60,000 pickers. This infrastructure is fairly unique and provided Johnson & Johnson a prime opportunity to help one co-op formalize its approach and thereby raise the standard of living for all its members, while providing a ready supply of used paper for their supply chain.

Paulette Frank, VP of Sustainability at Johnson & Johnson spoke from the heart about this initiative at Sustainable Brands 2013.

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Integrated Reporting Done Right at Novozymes

| Wednesday May 29th, 2013 | 0 Comments
Novozymes demonstrates the connection between its financial success and sustainable outlook

Novozymes demonstrates the connection between its financial success and sustainable outlook

Yesterday, we covered the numerous challenges presented by integrated reporting (IR), but IR also represents a tremendous opportunity to advance the cause of sustainability if implemented properly. As Jennifer Rice alluded to in a comment on that article, “You can’t do integrated reporting until you have an integrated strategy.” That means sustainability must be embedded into the organization, not just bolted on, in order for integrated reporting to work. Integrated reporting in an organization that publishes a CSR report purely for marketing purposes is bolt-on integrated reporting. And we all know that’s not only an oxymoron, it’s a failure and a loss for the sustainability movement.

But for organizations that are sustainable to the core, integrated reporting just makes sense. If social and environmental issues are considered at every level of an organization, it is natural to report on them right alongside financial issues when the time comes to report.

Integrated Reporting was the talk of the town at last week’s Global Reporting Initiative conference with people on both sides of the fence. They expressed the hesitations I shared yesterday, but they also shared a number of positive stories of IR done right.

Said Mala Chakraborti, who heads up Corporate Responsibility for Atlas Copco AB, “Integrated reporting was the natural next step for us, it was time that our reporting reflected the integrated goals of the company. For us, integrated reporting adds value the way a sustainability report alone never could – creating vital connections and setting the platform for a more strategic approach.”

I was able to sit down with Mette Gyde Møller, Sustainability Manager at Novozymes, a company that is truly a trailblazer in integrated reporting. She gave me all the details: how it works internally, why the company first started to integrate their reporting, and what makes them keep doing it.

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Why the World May Not Be Ready for Integrated Reporting

| Tuesday May 28th, 2013 | 4 Comments
Is sustainability ready to merge into the integrated reporting superhighway?

Is sustainability ready to merge into the integrated reporting superhighway?

Integrated reporting has been seen as the holy grail of sustainability reporting since I’ve been tracking CSR reports. After all, combining the CSR report with a company’s financial report means that the content it includes will be seen by many more people, including those outside the sustainability tent. Aligning sustainability with financial best practices can only increase its legitimacy, right?

The short answer is a resounding “yes!”, but the long answer – the how, and especially the when – will always be more complicated. The Global Reporting Initiative launch of the G4 guidelines last week brought together a cadre of sustainability reporting practitioners and the topic of integrated reporting was on everyone’s minds – and the subject of many networking break conversations. The challenge of implementing integrated reporting gets to the core of what reporting is all about – who it is for, what those people want, and how best to collect and share that information.

There is no doubt that the leaders of the Global Reporting Initiative are keen to support integrated reporting. In March, GRI and the International Integrated Reporting Council signed an MOU to deepen cooperation and GRI CEO Ernst Ligteringen said, “Integrated Reporting is a powerful lever to mainstream sustainability disclosure where it relates to a company’s ability to create and sustain value.” But the G4 and even that MOU are quite vague on the details of how current sustainability best practices will find a home in the swirling beast of regulatory practice that is financial reporting and auditing.

Some fear that the heart of CSR – those stories and the passion for social and environmental change – will be lost amid the deep regulatory framework of the SEC, 10-Ks, annual reports and the enormous body of rules and regulations for reporting that financial accountants have developed over the years.

Here are three reasons the world might not be ready for integrated reporting:

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