Snails and Leopards: Reflections on SoCap08

SoCap08 provided all sorts of reasons for optimism about capitalism as a force for social good. A new breed of entrepreneurs is busting through old mental models and market forces to drive results based on the new metric called the triple-bottom line. My take-away from SoCap08 was the realization that, as essential as the private … Continued

Civic Honda

It’s as simple as the name of the company’s diminutive, inexpensive yet iconic product, the Civic. Honda Motor Company has built a world-beating business rooted in a straightforward social commitment. As Tetsuo Iwamura, president of Honda North America puts it, “. . . We want to make Honda the company that society wants to exist.” … Continued

Straight Lines and Zig Zags

If you’re trying to find the fastest route from Point A to Point B, would you choose a straight line or a zig zag? In the case of carbon reductions and climate change, it seems we’re choosing the latter. Carbon markets, a k a cap-and-trade, are a zig zag approach to reducing carbon emissions. They’re … Continued

Two Wheels Good

In Cambridge, MA, where I used to live, bike ridership is at record numbers, and growing. Up 70 percent in the last 5 years. Bike businesses in the area are booming. Thank you, $4/gallon gas. We in the sustainability movement often talk about sustainability’s “3 Legged Stool”–the social, economic and environmental goals that go hand … Continued

Build It Well and Smart

Build it well, and smart, and they will come. That’s a big part of the lesson from Seabrook, Washington, where a young developer named Casey Roloff has brought his New Urbanist approach to the state’s northern coastline. For decades, coastal development has failed in this part of the state, with nothing more than seedy resorts … Continued

The TBL Lifestyle

I have to believe that somewhere between living off-the-grid in a cabin in Vermont a la Henry David and hopping in a private jet between palaces in Manhattan and Monaco is something approaching a middle, sustainable ground for the American lifestyle. As a culture, we seem to suffer at times from what I would call … Continued

Green Coast

Real estate development, like every other part of the U.S. economy, is starting to change, to adapt to a new, emergent order we call “sustainable.” A good example is Green Coast Enterprises, a start-up development company whose mission is, appropriately, about adaptation. Green Coast was founded by a former MIT student of mine, Will Bradshaw, … Continued

Keen and Consciousness

I’m as jaded as the next guy when it comes to companies touting their green chops but, on closer inspection, having little to back it up. But amidst the greenwashing/hyping of recent years, I’ve also been downright moved. If you think about, outdoor retailers are, or should be, leaders in the green/sustainable business community. Environmental … Continued

KKRED: A Triple Double?

The buyout firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts last week announced a new partnership with Environmental Defense to help measure the environmental performance of the dozens of businesses KKR owns, from Toys R Us to the energy giant TXU. The partnership grows out of the collaboration between the two groups last year in brokering a deal for … Continued