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.

Sometimes her lap becomes a ground zero for the battle between her computer and her cat. Who will win?

 

She can be reached at jen at triplepundit dot com or on twitter @jenboynton

Recent Articles

Innovation in the Marine Corps

| Tuesday March 5th, 2013 | 0 Comments
solar panel army base

Local Afghan contractors put together the first solar panel to power a radio for the local Afghan population, Kunar province, Afghanistan, Jan. 7, 2011. (U.S Army photo by Pfc. Cameron Boyd/Released)

The U.S. armed forces aren’t usually associated with innovation. Despite numerous examples of innovation to reduce energy use and increase energy efficiency, the armed forces have a reputation for stodginess, moving slowly, and conservative values (which don’t normally mean a focus on reducing your carbon footprint.) But it’s time for that reputation to change. The powers that be have come to realize that national security and energy security are highly aligned, and in many cases, keeping our troops safe means investing in energy efficiency and renewables.

At last week’s Climate Leadership Conference in Washington, D.C., Tom Hicks, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy of the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps spoke about operational innovation in the energy realm as a means  to increase safety for the troops.

Energy and security

Energy security and national security are two peas in a pod. As oil scarcity increases, and procurement becomes dangerous, energy efficiency is one of the most direct paths to reducing violence. That’s true at the macro-global political level, but it’s also true at the micro level. For troops who are stationed in war zones, fuel runs can be very dangerous. Energy efficient fleets and operational efficiency can literally be the difference between life and death. Which means an inefficient fleet has a big problem. Said Hicks, “When we were heavily engaged in Afganistan a few years back, energy was a critical issue. We had one marine killed for every 50 fuel convoys.” Those soldiers lost their lives securing oil to keep operations going. By reducing the number of necessary fuel convoys, lives will literally be saved. Talk about a win-win!

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Spotlight on the Sharing Economy: Q&A with Couchsurfing

| Friday March 1st, 2013 | 23 Comments

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couchsurfingMany of the companies that supported our Indiegogo campaign are active participants in the sharing economy and we wanted to hear more about their companies and perspective on the sharing economy. We’ve asked each company to answer the same questions and we’ll be rolling out the answers over the course of the series.

Please tell us your name, title and company.

Tammy Hagans, Media Team, Couchsurfing 

What does your company do?

Couchsurfing is a free service that connects a global community of more than 5.5 million members in 97,000 cities across the world. The community is made up of people who are eager to share their homes and their lives to promote tolerance, create new experiences and simply have fun together.

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Entergy: Utilities Should Focus on Climate Change Risk Mitigation

| Thursday February 28th, 2013 | 0 Comments
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The Rockaways after Hurricane Sandy, image credit: ma neeks’, Flickr

At the 2013 Climate Leadership Conference in DC, Rod West, Executive Vice President at Entergy Corporation urged the 450 attendees to stop focusing on converting people to climate change believers and start focusing on the cost of doing nothing. “I could give a rat’s cheek whether you’re a true believer – as a business people you need to pay attention to the risk. How do you go about assessing the cost of doing nothing?”

Entergy Corporation is a New Orleans-based utility company that has taken a leadership role in reducing the carbon impact of their energy portfolio. The company scored #16 on Newsweek’s 2013 green rankings for utilities and holds the honor of being one of only two utility companies on the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index.

Entergy’s energy portfolio is made up of primarily nuclear (34%), gas/oil (24%), coal (13%), and purchased power (28%) which comes from a variety of sources. The company provides electricity to 2.8 million utility customers in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas.

As a New Orleans resident, West saw the devastating impacts that extreme weather events can have on at-risk communities. He’s a true believer in climate change and its human cause. But he’s not interested in converting other “true believers.”

Mitigation and climate change risk management

He believes that urgency of the situation demands a more straightforward business approach.

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Spotlight on the Sharing Economy: Q&A with ciValidator

| Friday February 22nd, 2013 | 0 Comments

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civalidatorMany of the companies that supported our Indiegogo campaign are active participants in the sharing economy and we wanted to hear more about their companies and perspective on the sharing economy. We’ve asked each company to answer the same questions and we’ll be rolling out the answers over the course of the series.

What is your name?
Jeff Crump, President &CEO, ciValidator Corp.

What does your company do?
ciValidator™ provides the only suite of solutions for equity, non-equity and peer-to-peer lending portals, issuers, intermediaries and broker-dealers to manage fraud and ensure compliance with government regulations such as Title II and Title III of the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act and 17 Code of Federal Regulations §230.501 et. seq.

When were you founded and how big are you?
We were founded in 2012 with a team of nine.

How do you define the sharing economy?
The willingness to contribute to and participate in open collaboration of ideas, information and innovation.

How does your company contribute to the rise of the sharing economy?
We have developed a core set of products and services to help manage fraud and regulatory compliance in the crowdfunding marketplace.

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H&M Clothing Recycling Program Goes Live – Today!

| Thursday February 21st, 2013 | 5 Comments

I-COHere’s a way to make that affordable fast fashion even cheaper. Starting today, shoppers can bring any bag of used clothing into H&M and get a coupon for 15% off their next purchase. The clothing can be from any brand, in any condition. I went to my local H&M in downtown San Francisco to check it out.

The new program was not immediately apparent. There was no signage announcing the campaign or explaining it, so I asked an employee. Courtney enthusiastically rattled off a number of facts for me. “One bag for one coupon – it doesn’t matter how many clothes are in it or what condition they are in. However, at this time, we’re only accepting clothing – no shoes or jewelry. Customers are limited to 2 bags per day.” When the sales associates accept a bag, they tape it up with special green tape to ensure that no one goes through the bags looking for great finds. The bags are shipped to a sorting facility where they are divided into 4 groups:

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Spotlight on the Sharing Economy: Q&A with Munchery

| Thursday February 21st, 2013 | 0 Comments

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muncheryMany of the companies that supported our Indiegogo campaign are active participants in the sharing economy and we wanted to hear more about their companies and perspective on the sharing economy. We’ve asked each company to answer the same questions and we’ll be rolling out the answers over the course of the series.

What is your name?
Michael Schaecher, Director of Marketing, Munchery.com

What does your company do?
Munchery is a marketplace for ordering home-delivered meals from local chefs, online or on your iPhone.

When were you founded and how big are you?

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Spotlight on the Sharing Economy: Q&A with Flat-Club

| Friday February 15th, 2013 | 0 Comments

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flat_clubMany of the companies that supported our Indiegogo campaign are active participants in the sharing economy and we wanted to hear more about their companies and perspective on the sharing economy. We’ve asked each company to answer the same questions and we’ll be rolling out the answers over the course of the series.

What is your name?
Matthew Chic, U.S. Community Development Flat-Club

What does your company do?

Flat-Club is a short-term accommodations marketplace for alumni and students of top universities and companies. The idea is to connect to people we trust to rent out living spaces or book a place to stay – from one night up to six months.

It’s an ideal solution for exchange, internships, travel, relocation and even business trips. Hosts make extra income, guests have access to short-term duration accommodations and everyone connects with new people from their extended networks.

When were you founded and how big are you?

The company was founded in November 2010 with 5 apartments in London and now we have over 3,000 rooms and apartments in 10 global cities. The team has grown from 2 people to 12 from 10 nationalities based in Google Campus, London.

How do you define the sharing economy?

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How Collaboration Creates Fair Trade from Farm-to-Shelf

| Monday February 11th, 2013 | 0 Comments

This is part of a series on “The Future of Fair Trade,” written in collaboration with 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.

 

fair trade shopperWe’ve all heard the stories about horrible working conditions in factories and on farms overseas. But, for the average consumer overwhelmed with a multitude of options in the grocery store (not to mention balancing work, childcare, home maintenance, family, friends, and personal health), doing something about it can feel impossible. Choosing Fair Trade products is one easy way for consumers to use their dollars to vote for positive change. And they are. Studies have shown that consumers say that they’re willing to pay more for fair trade – 5-10 percent more on average (the gap between self-reported behavior and actual behavior notwithstanding).

Fair Trade empowers farmers and workers to fight poverty through trade. Here’s how it works: Fair Trade certified farmers can earn a higher price per pound for their produce and other agricultural products, meaning more money for community development and family basics like food and education. But, to become certified, a farm or farmer must comply with social, labor and environmental standards set forth by the certifier. That’s not all. Fair Trade is a true triple bottom line approach with benefits for corporate interests as well.

We at TriplePundit call Fair Trade a win-win-win. But there’s a lot of work still to be done. Despite its successes, the Fair Trade movement reaches less than 1 percent of of the 2 billion people living in poverty around the world. How can groups that are passionate about making change work together to solve an intricate and complicated problem that spans the globe?

Fair Trade USA is taking a collaborative approach to facilitating change. The group recently convened a day-long, multi-stakeholder meeting of groups that are committed to using markets to improve the lives of impoverished communities. Each of the groups in attendance is working individually to tackle a small component of a staggeringly large and complicated problem, but by teaming up, they can allocate resources more efficiently. The meeting included 37 leaders from 20 organizations spanning the supply chain: farmers’ rights groups, NGOs, foundations and companies that procure fair trade products. The group included the Clinton Giustra Sustainable Growth Initiative (CGSGI), the Skoll Foundation, Fundación Avina and, of course, Fair Trade USA. Bill Clinton also made an appearance.

To find out more, I spoke with Mary Jo Cook, Fair Trade USA’s Chief Impact Officer. Cook shared her view of the benefits of taking the time to do some inter-agency collaboration – in short, “Collaboration is the fastest path to launching more Fair Trade products, increasing percentage of goods that are Fair Trade, and increasing education efforts to promote fair trade to consumers.”

Talk is easy. I was curious to hear about the tangible benefits that emerged from the meeting.

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Spotlight on the Sharing Economy: Q&A with HUB Bay Area

| Friday February 8th, 2013 | 0 Comments

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TheHub_SocialInnovation_FWMany of the companies that supported our Indiegogo campaign are active participants in the sharing economy and we wanted to hear more about their companies and perspective on the sharing economy. We’ve asked each company to answer the same questions and we’ll be rolling out the answers over the course of the series.

What’s your name?

Jeffrey Shiau – Shepherd, Storyteller – HUB Cities and HUB Bay Area

What does your company do?

HUB Bay Area is a community of people collaborating for a better world. The HUB creates spaces that inspire, connect, and empower people to realize enterprising ideas for sustainable impact.

HUB Cities is a platform-building program that leads the North America HUB roll-out & creates strategic partnerships that increase the value proposition of HUB membership & the entrepreneurial opportunity to found new HUBs.

SOCAP is an annual event series that connects leading global innovators – investors, foundations, institutions and social entrepreneurs – to build this market at the intersection of money and meaning.

When were you founded and how big are you?

HUB Berkeley opened its doors September 2009, with HUB San Francisco opening its doors less than a year later in May 2010. The HUB Bay Area community currently has 1,000 members. The Global HUB community stretches across every continent with over 5,000 members collaborating in over 30 locations.

How do you define the sharing economy?

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Spotlight on the Sharing Economy: Q&A with Park at my House

| Friday February 1st, 2013 | 0 Comments

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park at my houseWhat’s your name?
Alex Stephany – I’m the Chief Operating Officer at ParkatmyHouse.com

What does your company do?
We help people rent out their private parking spaces to drivers. By using our service, would-be parkers avoid over-priced, scarce parking on streets or in parking lots.

When were you founded and how big are you?
We were founded in 2006. We now have over 200,000 users, making us the biggest company in P2P parking globally.

How do you define the sharing economy?
The sharing economy is win-win neighborly transactions…at scale!

How does your company contribute to the rise of the sharing economy?
We are one of the biggest collaborative consumption businesses in the UK and we tackle a day-to-day problem by educating people about the obvious solution – sharing resources.

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How Patagonia, Levi Strauss Connect with Consumers Through Sustainability

| Wednesday January 30th, 2013 | 0 Comments

levis-patagoniaLast week the Commonwealth Club of San Francisco hosted a headliner for sustainable business enthusiasts: Chip Bergh, CEO, Levi Strauss & Co. and Rick Ridgeway, VP of Environmental Affairs at Patagonia in conversation with Greg Dalton, Founder of Climate One. The subject of the talk was Clean Clothes – What lies ahead for product labeling and making the $200 billion U.S. clothing industry more sustainable?

Both Patagonia and Levi Strauss boast impressive, sector-leading environmental initiatives to lower their industry’s impact. However, it turns out that both companies’ green stories are tightly interwoven with their customer engagement.

Levi Strauss and Patagonia engage with consumers on sustainability issues and incorporate their feedback into future iterations of their sustainability programs. Through this customer engagement each company has found the key to ensuring that that sustainability initiatives boost the bottom line. Here’s how they do it.

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This Year’s Detroit Auto Show Concept Car: Bikes

| Saturday January 19th, 2013 | 0 Comments

Prius ParleeAmid the shiny cars, people with dusters keeping the cars impeccably shiny, and shiny women, a few items were on display at this year’s North American International Auto Show in Detroit that would hold any crusty old environmentalist’s attention. Bikes. Not just any old, embarrassing can’t-get-your-ass-up-a-hill electric bikes. A shiny, highly-engineered bike.

The Prius Parlee asks, “What if the Prius were a bicycle?” Toyota didn’t take on this challenge on their own – they teamed up with Parlee Cycles to design the bike of the future.

The Parlee’s frame is carbon fiber – which keeps things light and easy to move around. Its brakes are molded into the fork to increase aerodynamics. It’s even got a built-in dock for a smartphone to track speed, cadence and heart rate. Bike enthusiasts know that all of that is mostly available now if you have the money to spend.

The last feature is not available on the market – perhaps for good reason.

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35 Female CSR Leaders You’ve (Possibly) Never Heard Of

| Thursday January 17th, 2013 | 37 Comments
These women perform proverbial miracles inside their companies every day. Do you recognize them?

These women perform proverbial miracles inside their companies every day. Do you recognize them?

Men still dominate CSR, at least at the higher levels. GreenBiz’s 2011 salary survey found that two-thirds of VP of Sustainability roles at large organizations are held by men – and it will surprise few readers to find that there was a 20 percent pay gap between men and women at the highest levels of sustainability.

Yet, the connection between gender diversity and CSR runs deep. Study after research study has found that simply having an executive team with gender diversity is highly correlated with having a strong CSR performance – even when those women aren’t working in CSR.

And of course, despite the statistics, we’ve come across a number of inspirational women slowly but steadily inspiring sustainable change. Here are 35 of them. To keep things reasonable we limited ourselves to CSR leaders within organizations – those women cranking out the CSR strategy and CSR reports who you don’t get to hear from very often. We also threw in a few thought leaders to round out the list. There are many more, of course. You should probably give these ladies a raise!

In alphabetical order and without further ado…

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Spotlight on the Sharing Economy: Q&A with uSwapia

| Thursday January 17th, 2013 | 1 Comment

sharing-economy-topper-grey
uswapia-logo-RGBMany of the companies that supported our Indiegogo campaign are active participants in the sharing economy and we wanted to hear more about their companies and perspective on the sharing economy. We’ve asked each company to answer the same questions and we’ll be rolling out the answers over the course of the series.

What’s your name?
Kevin Clark. I’m the Founder and CEO of uSwapia.com.

What does your company do?
uSwapia is an online platform that facilitates the swapping of different services and artisan goods. We shift the traditional barter or trade from being a 1-to-1 exchange between two people, to a system that allows individuals to share what they have and get what they need with any other member, regardless of whether each party is interested in the other’s offered goods.

When were you founded and how big are you?
What started as a collaboration of thoughts and ideas became incorporated in the beginning of 2012 as uSwapia, LLC. Beta testing launched last November. Currently, I’m the only full-time member, but I have a team of amazing designers and programmers working alongside me in the spirit of sharing.

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Ford Doubles Down on Small Business Owners

| Thursday January 17th, 2013 | 0 Comments
The Ford Atlas Concept Truck drops from the ceiling while construction men look on (presumably in awe)

The Ford Atlas Concept Truck drops from the ceiling while construction men look on (presumably in awe)

After a few years dedicated to launching and promoting compact cars, Ford has turned its focus to the other side of the spectrum: vehicles to get the job done. Especially if that job involves hauling stuff or people.

While you’re probably more likely to find news about super efficient small cars on TriplePundit, there is no denying that there are certain jobs that require a bigger vehicle.

Ford has been the leader in commercial vehicle sales for 36 years, with its popular F150 truck. On Tuesday at the annual North American International Auto show in Detroit – the automaker announced that it is betting big on the commercial market in 2014 with the launch of the Transit family (a van and wagon) and the Ford Atlas – a new truck.

Commercial vehicles (like trucks, cargo vans and chassis cabs) represent 29 percent of global industry sales, a huge opportunity. This market is also projected to grow 28 percent by 2017 in Asia and the U.S. Many of those buyers are contractors, farmers, store-owners construction workers and plumbers – folks that need to do a lot of hauling as a part of their jobs. Small business owners make big business for Ford.

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