One Year On: Bangladesh Worker Safety Alliance Charts Progress

Bill DiBenedetto | Friday July 25th, 2014 | 0 Comments

bangladesh garment workerBangladesh’s Rana Plaza building collapse and the deaths of more than 1,100 workers in April 2013 triggered calls for better conditions in the garment industry. From that singular event, the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety was created to drive improvements, but a year later and despite some real progress, there is still much more to do.

Reversing decades of sweatshop conditions suddenly exposed by the building collapse will take time and a lot of money. Work to bring Bangladeshi factories used by North American retailers up to acceptable fire and building safety standards will cost more than $100 million and take at least 18 months to complete, according to the alliance’s first annual report released this week.

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White House Launches $10 Billion Rural Infrastructure Fund

| Friday July 25th, 2014 | 0 Comments

rual_council_meeting With a $10 billion inaugural commitment from national cooperative bank and Farm Credit System member CoBank, the White House Rural Council on July 24 launched the Rural Infrastructure Opportunity Fund. The private investment fund aims to spur good job creation across rural America by investing in infrastructure and institutional development projects.

Illustrating the symbiosis inherent in public-private partnerships, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and other federal agencies will help identify promising rural development projects for the fund manager, Capital Peak Asset Management. Capitol Peak, in turn, will work on recruiting additional fund participants and raising investment capital.

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New Ethical Shopping App features CSRHub Sustainability Ratings

CSRHUB | Friday July 25th, 2014 | 1 Comment

The following is part of a series by our friends at CSRHub (a 3p sponsor) – offering free sustainability and corporate social responsibility ratings on over 8,900 of the world’s largest publicly traded and private companies. 3p readers get 15 percent off CSRHub’s professional subscriptions with promo code “TP15.″

As previously seen on the CSRHub blog.

Ethical Barcode app powered by CSRHub API We are excited to announce Ethical Barcode has released a new app that lets you uncover what you’re truly supporting when you shop. Scan barcodes quickly at the grocery store, and make an empowered, ethical decision on what to buy. Ethical Barcode is using the newly updated CSRHub Specification for REST Access (CSRA) API to power CSRHub ratings into the app. Use Ethical Barcode to empower your next trip to the grocery store and instantly find out which companies really share your values on child labor, animal testing, deforestation and other ethical issues.

The app is already receiving some great reviews at the Google Play store:

“Just what I needed! It’s now convenient to shop cruelty free. I’m so excited!” – KGV

“This app lets you know how sustainable a product is just by scanning the barcode. It is great helping you do your part to protect our planet!” – P Hader

Learn more at ethicalbarcode.com/  and download for Android or Apple today.

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The A to Z of Unusual Renewable Energy Sources

3p Contributor | Friday July 25th, 2014 | 4 Comments

windfarmsunset By Hannah Corbett

The use of renewable and sustainable energy sources is growing worldwide. Subsequently, new technologies for sustainable energy are ever-emerging, and some are rather unusual. Outside of the more commonplace solar, tidal and wind energy sources, researchers have uncovered some uncommon ways of producing and harnessing renewable energy, and decreasing worldwide dependency on fossil fuels.

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Ashoka’s Vision to Develop an International Age of Social Entrepreneurship

3p Contributor | Friday July 25th, 2014 | 0 Comments

By Nathan Edwards

The ashoka tree has been the symbol of Ashoka since its inauguration in 1980. (Image by Nathan Edwards)

The ashoka tree has been the symbol of Ashoka since its inauguration in 1980. (Image by Nathan Edwards)

The world of international development has been regularly challenged by growing social issues. The need has emerged for institutions other than the government to address many of these matters. Ashoka is one non-government organization that has taken the reins.

Ashoka houses a peer network of social entrepreneurs who work to create systematic change to global issues by means of public policy. The organization has brought together thought leaders from both the private and public sector who share a vision for a future where everyone has the ability to ignite change.

The international non-government organization was founded by Bill Drayton in 1980 in India. It has since expanded around the world with a network of 3,000 fellows present in 70 countries and a headquarters in Washington, D.C. I am privileged to be working as an intern in the Ashoka Brasil office located in São Paulo this summer.

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Sustainable Purchasing 101: Tools for Buying Greener Products

3p Contributor | Thursday July 24th, 2014 | 0 Comments

commercial office space By Scot Case

Sustainable purchasing is an effort to buy greener, healthier, and more sustainable products from greener, more sustainable companies. It is based on the simple concept that every single purchase has hidden human health, environmental, and social impacts and that it is possible to reduce adverse impacts by buying better products.

The hidden impacts occur throughout a product’s supply chain: from the point raw materials are scraped out of or harvested from the earth, to the preparation of the raw materials, the manufacturing processes, the packaging, use and ultimate disposal of the product, including all of the transportation requirements throughout the lifecycle. The cumulative total of the impacts defines the product’s sustainability footprint.

Sustainable purchasing means buying products with improved sustainability footprints that also meet price, performance and quality requirements.

Consumer tools

At the consumer level, sustainable purchasing involves shopping for products with specific environmental or social benefits, particularly those products that have been certified to environmental leadership standards.
Some of the environmental attributes of most interest to consumers include recycled-content, energy efficiency, indoor air quality, biodegradability and safer materials.

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International Paper Sets Goal for Zero Waste

| Thursday July 24th, 2014 | 0 Comments

International Paper waste managementAs part of Triple Pundit’s sponsored series with International Paper, last week we had a chance to pick the brains of Jeff Shumaker, the company’s Manager of Regulatory Affairs, and now we get to share some of his insights into waste management with you. IP has set a medium-term waste management goal, with the aim of reducing the amount of waste sent to landfills by 30 percent by 2020.

Modern papermaking faces a particular set of waste stream challenges, but given the waste management progress documented by other manufacturers the goal of 30 percent seems reasonable. However, Shumaker also articulated a pathway for his company — and perhaps yours — to achieve a much more ambitious goal of achieving zero manufacturing waste.

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Poll: Carbon Tax Reused for Renewables Could Work for U.S. Voters

Jan Lee
Jan Lee | Thursday July 24th, 2014 | 1 Comment

Thousands rally for climate action and a carbon priceThe concept of a national carbon tax is a hard sell for most people these days. According to a recent poll, only 34 percent of U.S. respondents said they would support taxing fossil fuels like oil, gas or natural gas.

But support for a carbon tax changes dramatically when it comes to scenarios in which the funds are either reimbursed to taxpayers or used to fund renewable energy projects. The 798 respondents were surveyed for each question according to their political affiliations in order to determine what resonated with each of three specific political groups (Republican, Independent and Democrat). The poll was conducted by the Muhlenberg College Institute of Public Opinion and the University of Michigan Center for Local, State and Urban Policy this year.

Sixty percent of those surveyed gave thumbs-up to the more creative form of a carbon tax where it is then used to fund renewable energy. Half (51 percent) of those who identified themselves as Republican said they would support a tax that was then reused for greener purposes. An estimated 54 percent of Independents and 70 percent of Democrats said they would support the idea as well.

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Urban Organics: Sustainable Development in Post-Industrial America

| Thursday July 24th, 2014 | 0 Comments

The land of sky blue waters – what beer, urban development and aquaponics have in common

Hamm's Brewery is now home to Urban Organics - sustainable economic development in post-industrial AmericaI date myself by admitting that I reflexively think of beer when I hear the expression, “the land of sky blue waters.” Originally translated from a traditional Omaha tribe love song, the phrase became the title of a popular song in 1909 and later adapted as the Hamm’s Brewery sales jingle in the 1960s.

For decades Hamm’s beer was made at a brewery in St. Paul, Minnesota. “Sky blue water” is a rough translation of the word “Minnesota” and harkens back to the good old days when Hamm’s was purportedly brewed with water from a Minnesotan artesian well.

Long since swallowed up by the Miller Brewing Co., Hamm’s left St. Paul and for 15 years the iconic brewery lay abandoned and in disrepair — one of many crumbled, discarded buildings symbolizing the decline of the Rust Belt in America, as the once proud and powerful industrial base of the region faded, moved offshore or disappeared entirely.

That’s the bad news.

The good news is that what was once a battered, graffiti-ridden building in the center of a decaying “food desert ” — where local communities have little access to affordable, nutritious food — is now home to Urban Organics, an aquaponics startup that is a model for both global sustainable agriculture and the post-industrial revitalization of urban America.

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Investing in America: How Companies are Prioritizing Economic Development in the U.S.

3p Contributor | Thursday July 24th, 2014 | 0 Comments

american flag 2 By Whitney Dailey

Americans celebrated our nation this month with flags, parades and fireworks, but companies are showing their American pride in a slightly different way. The business trend over the past 20 years may have been focused on globalization and our increasingly connected world, but some companies have decided to concentrate on efforts a little closer to home.

Americans, more than any other global citizens, want companies to prioritize economic development, over issues such as poverty and hunger or the environment, according to the 2013 Cone Communications Cone/Echo Global CSR Study. U.S. citizens are also more likely than the global average to want companies to address quality of life locally (43 percent versus 37 percent global average) and nationally (38 percent versus 35 percent global average) over global issues (20 percent versus 28 percent global average). This all adds up to a strong message to companies to reinvest in the U.S. – and a few major companies are heeding the call.

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U.S. Public Lands Contribute $360 Billion, Over 2 Million Jobs in 2013

| Thursday July 24th, 2014 | 0 Comments

fishing_ Activities across public lands managed by the Department of the Interior contributed $360 billion to the U.S. economy in 2013, supporting over 2 million jobs in communities across the country, according to the Interior Deptartment’s fiscal year 2013 report.

More than 407 million recreational visits were made last year to U.S. national parks, wildlife refuges, monuments and other public lands managed by the department, according to the report. These alone generated $41 billion to the economy and supported some 355,000 jobs nationwide, the department highlights in a press release.

Federal budget sequestration is cutting into Interior Department and Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) budgets, compromising potential economic, social and ecological benefits and investment returns. President Barack Obama is urging Congress to fully and permanently fund the LWCF, something Congress has done only once in the legislation’s 50-year history.

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Human Values and Corporate Social Impact: The Case of JPMorgan Chase

3p Contributor | Thursday July 24th, 2014 | 0 Comments

Editor’s Note: This is the second post in a six-part series written by Donald J. Munro of the University of Michigan. You can follow the whole series here

4156356364_a4475d94cd_zBy Donald J. Munro

The Supreme Court’s 2010 “Citizens United” decision affirms the legality of treating corporations as persons — having a right to free speech, manifested in money contributions in elections. But, corporations should not be treated as people, because they do not act like people.

Why do people act the way they do? In part, because of the values we share with others. The focus of the following six posts in this series is to show how certain human moral values and some corporate behaviors are incompatible, using JPMorgan Chase as an example.

These specific moral values are derived from beliefs and attitudes linked to human biology, even though they find varying expressions between cultures. These values are fundamental aspects of human nature, and decisions based on them contribute to cooperation, a basic necessity for humans to survive and flourish.

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Is 2014 Really the Year of Impact Investing?

3p Contributor | Thursday July 24th, 2014 | 1 Comment
Beth Sirull,

Beth Sirull, president of Pacific Community Ventures, whose mission is to create economic opportunities in low-income communities.

By Beth Sirull

Earlier this year, on this forum, I proclaimed that 2014 would be The Year of Impact Investing. Now that half the year is in the history books, it’s fair to ask if 2014 is living up to that billing. Let’s take a look at what the first six months of the year have produced:

Alongside initiatives by mainstream private investors to catalyze financial markets, there have been accelerated efforts to inform design of more effective policy to drive private capital for social impact. An important step towards this outcome here in the U.S. has been the work of the United States National Advisory Board (NAB) on impact investing.

The U.S. NAB consists of a group of 27 thought leaders including private investors, entrepreneurs, foundations, academics, intermediaries and nonprofits. The NAB released its final report, Private Capital, Public Good: How Smart Federal Policy Can Galvanize Impact Investing – and Why It’s Urgent, last month. As part of the report launch, the White House convened a Roundtable on Impact Investing, where more than 20 private corporations and foundations announced a total of over $1.5 billion in new impact investments.

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Stories & Beer: Clif Bar & Plum Organics

| Thursday July 24th, 2014 | 0 Comments

storiesandbeerlogoIt’s time for another Stories and Beer Fireside Chat on Thursday, July 24 at 6:30pm Pacific (9:30 Eastern) at the Impact HUB San Francisco – and online via web cam.

THIS EVENT IS SOLD OUT

But you can watch online right on this page. Just come back at 7pm Pacific time and hit play (video will appear below)

Knowing that we’re eating healthy, responsibly sourced food is a fundamental issue in the sustainability movement.  Many food product companies have made strides towards using more (or completely) organic ingredients, embracing a sustainable supply chain, building consumer trust, and being transparent about everything they do.

Come learn from two leading companies at July’s “Stories and Beer” about what they’re doing to further the movement: Clif Bar & Plum Organics.

TriplePundit’s Founder, Nick Aster, will be chatting with Plum Organics’ Ben Mand and Clif Bar’s Michelle Ferguson and leading a conversation with you!  This event is free to HUB members, otherwise $15, and you can also watch live online (details will be posted on the day of the event on TriplePundit’s front page.

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Storing Data in the Cloud: How Safe is It?

| Wednesday July 23rd, 2014 | 4 Comments

cloud-storage

Businesses large and small are turning to cloud computing systems to forge leaner, more effective and efficient organizations.  Amid explosive growth in the use of Internet-connected devices, deployments of the latest in mobile broadband infrastructure and the fast emerging “Internet of Things,” (IoT) cloud computing is becoming the core of a new generation of information systems (IS) architecture.

Besides opening up a world of “Big Data” and “Always-On connectivity,” the exponential increase in the number of “things” with IP addresses opens up vast opportunities  for those looking to exploit security weaknesses in connected devices, networks and servers. That includes alleged government cyber espionage campaigns as well as an ever-growing variety of increasingly sophisticated cyber attacks on the part of cyber criminals and terrorists.

As the OpenSSL Heartbleed vulnerability and Dragonfly malware group have demonstrated, these malware and cyber threats now have the capability to exploit vulnerabilities in encryption methods and technology, and access network, server and application software to control industrial processes. They can even control critical public infrastructure, such as power, energy and water distribution systems.

Recent malware invasions and security breaches notwithstanding, the cloud computing migration appears unstoppable. According to RightScale’s “2014 State of the Cloud Survey,” public cloud adoption among 1,068 organizations surveyed is nearing 90 percent. That begs the question: Are the organizations contemplating a shift to cloud IS architectures concerned about security risk? More fundamentally: Just how secure is cloud data storage?

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