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

Google Got Me Again

| Monday April 1st, 2013 | 4 Comments
google april fools-cropped

41 Astronauts looking at TriplePundit! Oh, wait.

Google is famous for its insidious April Fool’s pranks – just clever enough to get you excited for their new product, be it Google Nose, Google Maps in 8-Bit, or Gmail Tap, which turns your keyboard into a 2 button morse code system.

This year was no different, except I got really and truly taken – just for a second. The key to a good April Fools joke is knowing your audience. And if there’s anything Google knows about web publishers, it’s that we obsessively track our traffic. So imagine my excitement when I saw the spike in readers coming from – what – the International Space Station. The bubble bounces around the globe, just like the real ISS.

But guess what those crazy Cosmonauts are looking at:

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Panera Expands Sliding Scale Menu Offering to 48 Restaurants

| Monday April 1st, 2013 | 1 Comment
This bowl of chili can now be yours for 50 cents - or $20 - up to you!

This bowl of chili can now be yours for 50 cents – or $20 – up to you!

Panera put its customers to the test with its Panera Cares Community cafe experiment which invited them to pay what they wanted (even nothing at all) for their meals. Would the cafes go bankrupt?

The program started when company founder Ron Shaich decided to give hungry people a place to eat with dignity, even if they couldn’t afford the listed prices. Would enough people pay the suggested price – or even give a little more – to cover free food given to those who couldn’t or did not want to pay?

The model has proven to be successful – the nonprofit cafes earn 70-80 percent of the revenue at the company’s standard for-profit cafes. Among customers, around 60 percent pay the suggested amount for their food, 20 percent pay less and 20 percent pay more.

The original St. Louis cafe experiment has now been replicated in four additional cities: Dearborn, MI; Portland, OR; Chicago and Boston. The cities and neighborhoods are carefully chosen for their food insecurity and the wide range of income levels of potential customers.

Now Panera is further blending the lines between its for-profit cafes and the Panera Cares Community Cafes. The company is offering one menu item at all 48 St. Louis locations on a pay what you want basis: Turkey Chili Bowls.

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Spotlight on the Sharing Economy: Q&A with TrustCloud

| Tuesday March 19th, 2013 | 0 Comments

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TrustCloud_Product_SnapShot_TrustCard1Many 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 this is our final submission.

What’s your name?
Xin Chung, Founder and CEO, TrustCloud

What does your company do?
We empower trust for sharing economy members and marketplaces.

When were you founded and how big are you?
We were founded 2009 and are now 8 ninjas strong.

How do you define the sharing economy?
The Sharing Economy is a movement composed of peer-to-peer marketplaces empowering micro-entrepreneurs (everyone!) to engage enthusiastic consumers (everyone!) to build community, reduce waste, and improve our quality of life.

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Dialysis: America’s Next Big Market Opportunity?

| Monday March 11th, 2013 | 2 Comments
The 3rd DaVita clinic to open within a mile of my Oakland, CA home.

The third DaVita clinic to open within a mile of my Oakland, CA home.

In my neighborhood in Oakland, CA, three DaVita Dialysis centers have popped up in the last year, in whatever empty real estate is available (including the former video rental store pictured at right). According to the National Kidney Foundation, 26 million people, nearly 1 in 10 Americans, suffer from Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD), a gradual loss of kidney function.

Diabetes and high blood pressure are responsible for up to two thirds of cases of CKD. While death rates from communicable diseases are down, deaths attributed to CKD increased 82 percent between 1999 and 2010, according to a recent study.

Poverty, diet, and healthcare

CKD remains a condition which adversely impacts the poor and people of color, due to its high correlation with diabetes and hypertension, both of which have genetic indicators. African Americans make up 13 percent of the U.S. population yet constitute 33 percent of patients treated for kidney failure. Hispanics are twice as likely as white Americans to have Type 2 diabetes.

The connection between poor food choices and poverty is also well-documented. “The unfortunate globalization of the fast food market combined with unhealthy eating and obesity play a major role in the rise of chronic kidney disease,” says Dr. Beth Piraino, President of the National Kidney Foundation.

It’s no surprise to TriplePundit readers that eating junk foods can cause obesity, diabetes and hypertension and that these things could lead to kidney failure. These problems should be addressed at the source, but they aren’t, at least quickly enough to help the 10 percent of Americans with CKD. In the meantime, rapidly rising rates of kidney failure actually represent an enormous market opportunity for dialysis providers. One company is capitalizing on it. What’s interesting is how they manage to treat patients with dignity and kindness and give them very high quality care, all while making a tidy profit.

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Spotlight on the Sharing Economy: Q&A with Profit Through Ethics

| Thursday March 7th, 2013 | 1 Comment

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PTEMany 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?

Dr. Clare Hall, Director, Profit Through Ethics Ltd.

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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
rockaways

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

sharing-economy-topper-grey

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

sharing-economy-topper-grey

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

sharing-economy-topper-grey

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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