Former BP CEO Makes the Business Case for LGBT Equality

Alexis Petru
| Wednesday July 2nd, 2014 | 13 Comments

LGBT Rainbow FlagA few years before Tony Hayward resigned as head of BP after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the previous BP CEO, John Browne, was forced to bow out from the company over a much different scandal: He was outed as gay by a British tabloid. Now the former executive has written a book about his experience, “The Glass Closet: Why Coming Out Is Good Business,” and is advocating for the rights of gays and lesbians in the workplace.

Released in May, “The Glass Closet” details Browne’s double life as a CEO and a closeted gay man and tells the stories of other gay and lesbian professionals coming out at work. The book concludes with an open letter to CEOs about why promoting an inclusive environment for LGBT employees isn’t solely a civil rights issue or moral imperative for companies – it’s a smart business decision.

“Inclusion creates a level playing field, which allows the best talent to rise to the top,” Browne writes, in a book excerpt published in Fast Company.

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Ford and the Sustainability of the Family Legacy

| Wednesday July 2nd, 2014 | 3 Comments

1912-Ford-Model-T_thumb2My grandfather worked as a plant manager at Ford Motor Co. for 34 years. When I ask him about his experience, he does not refer to Ford as a company, but as a family. Since his retirement, Ford has remained an important part of our own family. F-150s have served as the toolbox for our family farm for years. Ford minivans have transported us on exciting journeys to faraway destinations, albeit fraught with epic battles between siblings in the backseat. I learned how to drive behind the wheel of a Ford and emerged unharmed from a Ford following a nasty collision. My family has never purchased a vehicle that wasn’t a Ford. I would venture to say that Ford has left a far greater influence on the lives of my family and I than any large corporation in the world.

As I toured the factories in Dearborn, Michigan during last week’s annual Ford Trends Conference, I listened to today’s employees echo my grandfather’s talk of the Ford family. The same employees glowed with pride about the recent announcement of Ford’s No. 1 ranking on Interbrand and Deloitte’s Annual Best Global Green Brands list.

Throughout the conference, I couldn’t help but ponder the intersection of these two sentiments. What does family have to do with a company’s commitment to sustainability? The answers are probably most obvious in smaller, family-owned companies. However, I might argue that many of our most recognizable brands represent even more powerful testaments to sustainability of the family legacy through cultures that endure for generations despite the added pressures of public ownership and attention.

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Global Ocean Commission Charts Course for High Seas Recovery

| Wednesday July 2nd, 2014 | 1 Comment

GarbageShoreCovering nearly 75 percent of the Earth’s surface, the ocean is the single largest ecosystem on the planet. From influencing weather patterns and climate trends and providing food, essential nutrition, livelihoods and recreation for billions to supplying the oxygen we breathe, it’s difficult to overestimate the influence of the ocean on the development, evolution and maintenance of life and human civilization.

Unfortunately, the health of the global ocean is in decline. “Habitat destruction, biodiversity loss, overfishing, pollution, climate change and ocean acidification are pushing the ocean system to the point of collapse,” according to an introductory letter from the co-chairs of the Global Ocean Commission.

“Governance is woefully inadequate, and on the high seas, anarchy rules the waves. Technological advance, combined with a lack of regulation, is widening the gap between rich and poor as those countries that can, exploit dwindling resources while those that can’t experience the consequences of those actions. Regional stability, food security, climate resilience, and our children’s future are all under threat.”

In “From Decline to Recovery: A Rescue Package for the Global Ocean,” the Global Ocean Commission Report 2014 puts forth a package of eight proposals that it believes can turn the tide and reverse the degradation of the global ocean within the next decade. That’s if the proposals are “expeditiously acted upon,” which is why the commission is also issuing “Mission Ocean,” a call to action for public and private sector leaders and concerned individuals the world over.

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Moringa Bar Startup Nets $350,000 in Funding

Mike Hower
| Wednesday July 2nd, 2014 | 1 Comment

Screen Shot 2014-07-01 at 12.01.33 AMKuli Kuli, which makes moringa “superfood” nutrition bars, recently raised $350,000 in a seed round of funding.

The campaign through investor sourcing site AgFunder brought in several notable investors, including Brad Feld of the Foundry Group, five-time CEO and former venture capitalist Derek Proudian, and Mary Waldner of the recently-acquired food company Mary’s Gone Crackers.

Following the passage of the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act in 2012, companies such as Kuli Kuli now have been able to publicly advertise fundraising and accept investment from accredited investors through sites like AgFunder. While the latest round of funding comes from accredited investors, Kuli Kuli has previously leaned heavily on the crowd to finance its growth.

In May 2013, Kuli Kuli raised more than $50,000 on Indiegogo, which became one of the highest-grossing crowdfunding food campaigns of all time. Since then, the company also has received a $25,000 grant from online votes and a $5,000 loan from Kiva lenders.

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How to Make Your Home Smart and Energy Efficient

3p Contributor | Wednesday July 2nd, 2014 | 0 Comments

syn devicesBy Jessica Oaks

You may not realize it, but at this very moment, you’re probably wasting electricity. Don’t feel too bad though; the fact of the matter is, most people are using more electricity than they need. The home is filled with electronic devices, and keeping track of them all can be a real hassle. Most of us tend not to think about it. After all, what damage can possibly be done by leaving the lights on in a room or setting the thermostat a couple of degrees cooler? Well, more than you probably think.

When it comes to electrical usage, one should think of the age-old economic theory, the Tragedy of the Commons. The principle is simple: Individuals acting rationally and in their own self-interest can actually act against the best interests of the group, by wasting a common resource needed by the collective whole. You may not believe that you’re using an exorbitant amount of electricity, but over time, this usage adds up. And this usage burdens the electrical grid and increases your spending. Thankfully, by being conscious of this fact, you can make changes that benefit your wallet, and the community as well.

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How Business Leaders Can Drive Seafood Supply Chains Toward Sustainability

3p Contributor | Tuesday July 1st, 2014 | 1 Comment

13703828353_fa2d9709f3_zBy Cheryl Dahle

In the last 10 years we’ve seen 25 of the top U.S. retailers make commitments to purchasing sustainable seafood. We’ve seen a lot less traction and follow-through on those commitments. The fact remains that there is not enough responsible fish — whether you define that as Marine Stewardship Council certified, Monterey Bay Aquarium green-listed, or some other eco-label — to satisfy current demand for fish. As a result, many companies are defaulting on their promised timelines, or disguising a lot of questionable fish purchases from farms that are certified or in the process of being certified. As you might guess, the loophole in that bolded phrase is big enough to pilot a commercial trawler through it.

The truth is that leading companies could be doing a lot more to drive supply chains in the right direction other than just committing to buy better fish. Here’s a short list of ways that next generation leaders are engaging:

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LinkedIn, VolunteerMatch Team Up to Connect Nonprofits with Volunteers

Alexis Petru
| Tuesday July 1st, 2014 | 0 Comments

VolunteerMatch logoJust like private companies, nonprofit organizations are in need of talent: There are approximately 2 million nonprofit board member seats that need to be filled each year, and over 90 percent of nonprofit organizations say they would like to use skilled volunteers to help them carry out their mission, according to LinkedIn. And individuals are hungry to offer their services – from students hoping to build their resumes, professionals who want to give back to retirees and stay-at-home parents looking to keep their skills fresh.

But how can these nonprofits seeking skilled volunteers and individuals with just the right expertise find each other? LinkedIn and volunteer engagement network VolunteerMatch aim to solve this challenge, announcing last month that the two organizations will partner to make it easier for nonprofits to successfully recruit experienced volunteers and board members.

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Killing 6 Birds with 1 Stone: Harder Than It Sounds

| Tuesday July 1st, 2014 | 1 Comment

5-sales-woman-at-ndzilo-store-maputo-mozambique-300x200 Two years ago I reported on an inspiring project kicking off in Mozambique: clean cookstoves, powered by locally produced ethanol made from locally grown cassava, sold neighbor-to-neighbor. CleanStar Mozambique attempted to tackle deforestation, land degradation, malnutrition, poverty, indoor air pollution and carbon emissions with one innovative initiative.

It appeared they’d thought of everything: The plan featured plenty of job development with a biofuel plant in the Sofala province, contracts with local farmers to grow cassava, a locally relevant marketing plan, and a pack of international investors to give the project a boost.

However, the project faced formidable challenges from the beginning.

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Why We Care: Valuing Both Economy and Environment

3p Contributor | Tuesday July 1st, 2014 | 0 Comments

Editor’s Note: This post originally appeared on the Erb Perspective blog, a publication of the Frederick A. and Barbara M. Erb Institute at the University of Michigan.

Andrew Hoffman entering Yosemite National Park on his motorcycle.

Andrew Hoffman entering Yosemite National Park on his motorcycle.

By Andrew Hoffman

To protect something, we have to love it.  And to love it, we have to take the time to appreciate its beauty and value. Last week, I took some time to do just that.  After giving a keynote address at the new Center for Climate Communication at the very-green University of California Merced, I added three extra days with a old friend to tour the Sierra Nevada and Yosemite National Park on the back of a motorcycle (Harley Davidson Road King for those who care about such things).

Those three days reminded me of what our work is about, allowed me time to reflect on our purpose and, at the most basic level, helped to restore my soul. Experiencing the countryside on a motorcycle is a special way to explore.  It’s not like seeing the world through the framed barrier of a windshield.  The world is right there beneath your feet. You can reach down and touch it, and sometimes it reaches up and touches you – at one point, a bee landed inside my leather jacket and proceeded to sting me twice before I could come safely to a stop.  As you ride, you feel the slightest change in temperature, and you smell everything – fruit groves, grape vines, pine forests, mountain waterfalls, barbeques and dry fields. As you lean and balance through the switchbacks of the back roads, you are effortlessly part of the environment around you; it feels like thought into motion.

The weekend traversing Yosemite Valley was a visceral reminder of what we need to preserve for future generations (just as Teddy Roosevelt and Ansel Adams did before us). Our National Park system is still, as Ken Burns described it, “America’s Best Idea;” and our affection for it crosses political divides, geographic boundaries, and income levels. But while we love nature, our relationship with it is not always easy and the signs of that uneasy relationship were visible throughout the ride.

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How the Citi Foundation is Helping to Build a Marketplace for U.S. Community Investments

3p Contributor | Tuesday July 1st, 2014 | 1 Comment
CDFIs finance affordable housing in underserved markets.

CDFIs finance the development of affordable housing, and a wide range of other activities, in underserved markets.

By Kristen Scheyder

If you’re a regular reader of Triple Pundit, chances are good that you’ve heard of “impact,” “sustainable” or “mission” investing, which according to their broadest definitions mean investing to generate a social and/or environmental impact, alongside a financial return.

Chances are slimmer, however, that you’ve heard as much about CDFIs (community development financial institutions), which have a 30+ year track record of investing in underserved U.S. markets for social and environmental impact. CDFIs make loans and investments to foster economic equality, environmental sustainability, food access, health care, education, affordable housing and more. As financial intermediaries, CDFIs offer a convenient way for mission-driven investors to target their capital towards particular economic or environmental issues – while prudently managing risk.

The Citi Foundation has supported CDFIs for more than two decades, believing in their power to create economic opportunity for low-income individuals, families and their communities. CDFIs are one way to increase the flow of capital and the supply of financial products and services in the open market to those outside the economic mainstream. Through thought leadership, pro bono involvement and our financial support, we aim to build and expand this important industry to ensure greater access to capital for all.

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World Bank: Climate Change Policies Will Boost Global Economy

Bill DiBenedetto | Monday June 30th, 2014 | 5 Comments

WorldBank_Smart0Development0MaThe economic argument against taking action on climate change — i.e., “It’s just too expensive!” — is fast becoming passé, with a World Bank report this month noting that policies to cut carbon pollution might actually boost the global economy by up to $2.6 trillion a year.

Yes, that’s trillion!

This is the first time that “climate-smart” project scenarios have been tallied on such a large scale to find out how government actions can boost economic performance and benefit lives, jobs, crops, energy and GDP – as well as emissions reductions to combat climate change.

The 88-page report, “Climate-Smart Development: Adding Up the Benefits of Actions that Help Build Prosperity, End Poverty and Combat Climate Change,” focuses on five countries – Brazil, China, India, Mexico, and the United States – plus the European Union. Big benefits will flow by 2030 if that group implements just three sets of policies on clean transportation, energy efficiency in industry and energy efficiency in buildings, the report asserts.

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Business Leaders Call on Congress to Extend Clean Energy Tax Credits

| Monday June 30th, 2014 | 0 Comments

GE1.7WindTurbine Business leaders are calling on Congress to take action and extend clean energy tax incentives. A total of 302 companies and business associations signed a letter urging Congressional leaders to vote ‘yes’ and pass the EXPIRE Act, which would extend the tax credits they say “are critical to the continued growth of clean energy technologies.”

Listed among the 62 tax incentives included in the EXPIRE (Expiring Provisions Reform and Efficiency) Act are renewable energy production and investment tax credits that have been seminal in fostering rapid growth in wind, solar, biofuels and other clean renewable energy sources across the U.S. The EXPIRE Act would extend these provisions for an additional year, through Dec. 31, 2015.

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Michael Dell, U.N. Join Forces to Advance Entrepreneurship in Developing Countries

Sherrell Dorsey
| Monday June 30th, 2014 | 0 Comments

Un foundation, united nations foundation, social entrepreneurship, kiva, ashoka, Kathy calvin, Michael dell, Michael dell Global Advocate for Entrepreneurship, social impact, social impact investing, microlending, global entrepreneurship, silicon valley, microfinance More risk taking, more startup culture, and more genius ideas turned into jobs that solve the perils of global poverty. These are the goals behind a newly minted partnership between Michael Dell and the United Nations to spur innovation, technology and entrepreneurship in the least likely of environments.

Dell will serve as the foundation’s Global Advocate for Entrepreneurship. In this role, he will lead a strategic plan that will focus on four key areas: access to capital, to markets, to talent, and to technology. In short, Dell’s mission boils down to creating Silicon Valley-esque climates in countries and cities that have yet to adopt entrepreneurial cultures but are fertile for growth and opportunity.

At the age of 19, the American businessman turned $1,000 into a venture that to date employs over 100,000 people. As a global entrepreneurship advocate, Dell offers a credible voice for small business ventures that wouldn’t normally have access to a global platform in front of experts, governments and policymakers.

“At this time of economic uncertainty and global challenges, it’s more important than ever that the business community work closely with organizations, elected leaders and policymakers to help our global economy grow and prosper,” said Michael Dell in a press statement. “I’m honored to accept this position and look forward to championing the growth of entrepreneurs globally.”

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Waste Heat Recovery a Path for Cement Makers to Cut Costs and Emissions

| Monday June 30th, 2014 | 0 Comments

IFCCementWHRCvr Widespread adoption of waste heat recovery (WHR) systems could drive substantial reductions in carbon and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions for cement manufacturers, according to a recently released report from the International Finance Corp. (IFC) and the Institute for Industrial Productivity (IIP).

The predominant building material of our times, cement manufacturing requires an inordinate of energy. It also produces an inordinate amount of carbon dioxide and other pollutants. It is estimated that cement manufacturing alone accounts for 5 percent of anthropogenic carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions globally.

Prodded by environmental NGOs and government regulatory agencies, cement manufacturers have been on a drive to reduce their CO2 emissions, and they’ve made significant progress. Looking to add to them, installation of WHR systems “can reduce the operating costs and improve EBITDA (Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation and Amortization) margins of cement manufacturers some 10-15 percent. According to IFC-IIP’s “Waste Heat Recovery for the Cement Sector: Market and Supplier Analysis” report.

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When Does Generosity Become Educational Control?

Jan Lee
Jan Lee | Monday June 30th, 2014 | 0 Comments

Koch_Bros_UNCF_funding_Elvert_BarnesLast October we reported on an effort by JPMorgan Chase & Co. to donate money to the University of Delaware. The financial institution’s generous donation of $17 million wasn’t the reason it was in the news. After all, UD is already home to the JPMorgan Chase Innovation Center, and Delaware has received other donations as well from the institution. But the announcement set off warning bells when it became clear that the donation would be provided to fund a PhD program, and the financial institution would have the right to sit in on candidate selections.

Well, the concept seems to be gaining steam. Earlier this month, the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) announced that it had received a donation of $25 million from Charles and David Koch, otherwise known as the Koch brothers.

According to the Charles Koch Foundation website, the funding was issued jointly by the foundation and Koch Industries. Of the $25 million, $18.5 million will go toward funding scholarship for “exemplary students with a demonstrated financial need” who are seeking to address specific topics related to entrepreneurship. Funding will also support school programs and other auxiliary projects. The remaining $6.5 million will provide general funding for historically black colleges and universities (HCBUs) and the UNCF, with $4 million going toward helping the institutions and students affected by funding shortfalls as a result of the Department of Education’s criteria change to the PARENTS PLUS program.

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