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

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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Global Reporting Initiative’s G4 Guidelines Revealed

| Wednesday May 22nd, 2013 | 0 Comments

ReportsThere has been much speculation about what the Global Reporting Initiative will do with G4 to improve on the sustainability reporting guidelines set out in G3.1. Will G4 include controversial features like executive pay transparency, do away with the much loved (by American corporate over-achievers) letter “grades” for levels of transparency, or simplify the sector supplements?

Live from Amsterdam, the news is in. At least a little bit of it. It looks like GRI is staggering their releases to keep everyone on their toes. Here’s the first little tidbit:

The G4 guidelines will include a greater focus on materiality. The clarifications should help companies to focus on the issues that are material (in the financial sense) to their companies. For example, an oil company’s report should probably include more information about its carbon footprint than its office recycling policy. And a clothing company would be remiss to skip pesky supply chain issues.

The goal of this shift to increased materiality will lead to shorter, more meaningful reports. Ernst Ligteringen, Chief Executive of GRI, hinted at these changes when we spoke way back in September. We’re pleased to hear they made the final cut. A greater focus on materiality should lead to less greenwashing and make it easier for stakeholders to review CSR reports.

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Why the President of J Crew Should Have a Sandwich

| Monday May 20th, 2013 | 0 Comments
Jenna_NYFW

She looks pretty great as she is, right? Maybe she just needs bigger pants.

This month’s lead story in Fast Company covers the apparently brilliant Jenna Lyons of J Crew. She’s been with the company for 23 years and has worked her way up to a position as top creative executive and president, due to a remarkable combination of design chops and a head for sales. Annual revenue at the brand has tripled since 2003 and in the last decade the company has moved from making uninspired polos to designing fashion that everyone from bloggers to Michelle Obama rave about. She was even named one of Time Magazine’s most influential people last month.

But the article doesn’t open with any of that.

Nope, the hook to this story is Lyons’ temporary anorexia – and not just that, but how it means we can all relate to her that much better. The day of her interview with Fast Company marks her tenth day of a juice fast to deal with temporary weight gain:

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Walmart Engages Stakeholders on Twitter

| Thursday April 25th, 2013 | 0 Comments

walmart-triplepundit-csrwireIn honor of the release of the latest version of their Global Responsibility Report, Walmart’s SVP, Sustainability Andrea Thomas participated in a Twitter chat to answer questions about the report and sustainability at Walmart from the company’s many stakeholders. The chat was hosted by Nick Aster from TriplePundit and Aman Singh from CSRwire.

Around 130 Tweeters participated, peppered Walmart with questions about everything under the sun. Many participants asked insightful questions about the contents of the report and Walmart’s process for pulling it together. The company also got a lot of tough questions about their social and environmental record.

We commend Walmart for meeting stakeholders in a public forum like a Twitter chat and listening to their feedback. It can be tough for an organization as large and multi-faceted as Walmart to do so, but simply showing up and listening is a tremendous step towards true stakeholder engagement. We think they did a great job responding to questions and we can’t wait to do it again.

Read on for a Storify summary of the chat…

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Encore Bridal Brings Sustainability and Sanity to the Wedding Industry

| Monday April 15th, 2013 | 2 Comments

photo 2So, I recently got married. As a sustainability advocate, the wedding planning process was quite complicated for me – it’s an awful lot of money to spend on a single day – and the products you need to throw one aren’t exactly reusable. A veil only has so many uses and people are probably going to immediately toss any favors you lovingly select for them. As a feminist, I also had plenty of mixed feelings about being a bride. The media is saturated with images of women that lose their minds in the process of planning a wedding, becoming bridezillas or spending a fortune on products the wedding industrial complex would have you believe are necessary for your happiness.

I didn’t want to be like that. But I also wanted to plan a perfect day for our family and friends to come together and celebrate. I wanted dancing and a great meal and, when I really thought about it, I wanted all the traditional stuff too: the chuppah, the father-daughter dance, and yes, a pretty dress.

So it was a good thing I stumbled on to Encore Bridal in my search.

Encore Bridal is an online marketplace for consignment wedding dresses offered at huge discounts, with a storefront boutique in San Francisco.

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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

sharing-economy-topper-grey

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 | 4 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

sharing-economy-topper-grey

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

sharing-economy-topper-grey

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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