Entrepreneurship: A Risky Economic Pillar or an Economic Pillar at Risk?

3p Contributor | Monday June 9th, 2014 | 4 Comments

ChinaEntrepreneursBy Jesse Hertstein

Amway Chairman Steve Van Andel recently shared a story about a trip he took to Mexico. There, a woman greeted him in a very memorable way. She kept saying something in Spanish – a phrase he hadn’t heard before – and then pointed to her bright yellow dress. She repeated the action several times, almost frantically, until the interpreter made his way through the crowd.

The woman was trying to say, “This is the first new dress I’ve ever owned, and it’s because I now own my own business. Thank you.”

Her conviction. Her story. Her. All of this is not a piece of folklore. It’s a microcosm of something we hold dear at Amway: that spreading the entrepreneurial spirit and giving others a chance they may not have otherwise, makes all the difference. For this woman, and for many, one chance is all it takes.

So why don’t more people strike off on their own, or start a business through with an established direct selling model like Amway?

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Interview: Heiner Markhoff, President and CEO of GE Water

| Monday June 9th, 2014 | 0 Comments

fortune-green-2014TriplePundit reported live from the Fortune Brainstorm Green 2014 conference in Laguna Niguel, CA. Follow along on this page for ongoing video interviews with sustainability thought leaders, corporate change agents and entrepreneurs who are leading the way to a more sustainable future.

I had a chance to talk to Heiner Markoff about sustainability in the water sector and the role GE Water plans in ensuring a steady supply of fresh, clean water to the world.

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Tweet Jam: Designing for the Base of the Pyramid

| Monday June 9th, 2014 | 0 Comments


Since we can’t get enough of Twitter lately, it’s time for another Tweet Jam. A Tweet Jam is a one hour conversation with a panel of experts to which everyone is invited.

This time we’ll be teaming up with Business Fights Poverty to lead the conversation about key topics facing the alleviation of poverty via design.  Some of the key questions we’ll explore are: What are some of big successes and failures in designing for the BoP? What can we learn from these experiences? What insights are there in how to go about the process of design? What are the factors behind a successful business model? How can different players work together – large companies, social entrepreneurs, government and civil society? Do designers take gender sufficiently into account when designing for the BoP? What are the next big opportunities?

From 4.30 to 5.30 UK time / 11.30 to 12.30 ET on Tuesday 10 June,  we’ll be online with Business Fights Poverty (@FightPoverty) as part of their 2014 Design Expo.

Join us with the hashtag #bfpexpo or follow along below:

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Interview: Josh Henretig on Microsoft’s Carbon Fee

| Sunday June 8th, 2014 | 1 Comment

fortune-green-2014TriplePundit reported live from the Fortune Brainstorm Green 2014 conference in Laguna Niguel, CA. Follow along on this page for ongoing video interviews with sustainability thought leaders, corporate change agents and entrepreneurs who are leading the way to a more sustainable future.

Microsoft is one of the largest carbon neutral companies in the world — a feat they accomplished in a mere two years using a clever internal accounting system and carbon fee.  I had a chance to sit down with Microsoft’s Director of Environmental Sustainability, Josh Henretig, to hear how it all works and where things are going.

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3p Weekend: Trending Topics from SB’14 San Diego

Mary Mazzoni
| Saturday June 7th, 2014 | 0 Comments
"Reimagine. Redesign. Regenerate." was the theme of this year's Sustainable Brands conference in San Diego.

“Reimagine. Redesign. Regenerate.” was the theme of this year’s Sustainable Brands conference in San Diego.

Triple Pundit spent the week at the 2014 Sustainable Brands conference in San Diego, which gathered some of the most influential companies, organizations and thought leaders in the sustainability space.

We gathered five of the top trending topics from the event for a quick weekend read. Stay tuned for more coverage all week!

1. Turning the mega challenges into prosperity

Resilience to climate change and resource constraints was a hot topic at SB’14. Talks often centered around how a company can turn its approach to these pressing mega challenges into brand value and bottom line returns.

PwC and author, speaker and environmental strategy consultant Andrew Winston led a panel on ‘building good growth’ in a brand by using cutting edge techniques to turn challenges into value. Andy Savitz, author of “Talent, Transformation and the Triple Bottom Line,” examined how sustainability programs can help companies attract and retain top talent, while others explored how things like biomimicry and the sharing economy can teach big business a lesson about turning challenge into change.

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Interview: Patagonia’s Rick Ridgeway on Sustainable Apparel

| Saturday June 7th, 2014 | 0 Comments

fortune-green-2014TriplePundit reported live from the Fortune Brainstorm Green 2014 conference in Laguna Niguel, CA. Follow along on this page for ongoing video interviews with sustainability thought leaders, corporate change agents and entrepreneurs who are leading the way to a more sustainable future.

Patagonia’s Rick Ridgeway talks to Nick Aster about the state of the apparel industry and sustainability.

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Siemens Report Lays Out Opportunities for Cities to Leverage Technology and Build Infrastructure Value

RP Siegel | Friday June 6th, 2014 | 0 Comments

Ed note: This article is part of a short series on financing smart city infrastructure, sponsored by Siemens. Please join us for a live Google Hangout with SiemensPwC and Berwin Leighton Paisner on June 12 at 10 a.m. PT/1 p.m. ET, where we’ll talk about this issue live! 

City Picture6If you were to watch a time lapse video of the history of human civilization, you would see something like this: Small bands of humans moved from hunting to agriculture, consolidating, and then developing all kinds of technology at a gradually increasing rate. Improved food security led to rising population levels which, in turn, led to more innovation. All of this is punctuated by numerous wars.

In more recent times there has been a massive migration into cities, leading to highly concentrated metropolises.  If you were to look closely, you would also see a redistribution of power and resources. Where it was once almost exclusively held by ruling classes and governments, it is now being increasingly shared with businesses and an investor class. Now we find ourselves with resource scarcity, a disrupted climate and cities looking to find a way to manage their swelling ranks at a time of receding government support.

A new report, entitled Investor Ready Cities, jointly produced by tech conglomerate Siemens, consultancy  PwC and law firm Berwin, Leighton & Paisner, looks unblinkingly at these trends and proposes a way forward through increased collaboration between cities, businesses and investors.

The main thrust of their argument centers on the notion of infrastructure value. It first challenges and then provides guidance to city officials to develop the “legal and governance structures that need to be in place to provide the necessary security and certainty to the investment community that will encourage them to invest in infrastructure projects.”

This is because, “Cities with the appropriate foundations of institutional stability can leverage financial mechanisms to their advantage to help deliver the infrastructure that is so critical to their future.”

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What’s the State of Shared Value?

Shared Value Initiative
Shared Value Initiative | Friday June 6th, 2014 | 0 Comments
Suzanne Fallender of Intel

Suzanne Fallender of Intel speaks from the crowd at the Shared Value Leadership Summit.

By Meghan Ennes

If I were to sum up this year’s Shared Value Leadership Summit in one word, that word would take the form of a question: How? The conversations that took place in the ballroom of the Conrad New York earlier this month did not involve what shared value is and why organizations should consider it. Rather, the resounding question I heard discussed in that room – whether on the stage or in conversations between colleagues – was how organizations can execute on this strategy successfully.

The main point is that shared value – the approach that business can profit by doing good for society – is experiencing a shift from a conceptual idea to a full-fledged corporate movement: one that has budgets, spreadsheets and accountability. As Intel’s Suzanne Fallender put it, the next step is not as sexy as the first. Now is when we start the dirty work of implementation. Fallender explains in “What Is Strategy” for the CSR@Intel blog:

“Much of the discussions over the two days focused on the ‘how’ of shared value—how companies are building the concept of societal impact into their vision statements and executive compensation, organizing differently to increase internal collaboration and work toward shared goals, and collaborating in new ways with external stakeholders … as companies move into the implementation phase of shared value, it will be important for companies to share best practices, challenges, and case studies to advance learning.”

And it’s in this stage that we have to ask the tough questions about how we’re actually going to do this work. Shared Value Initiative consulting affiliate Phil Preston got to thinking about these execution questions (he posed 10 in his blog). For example: At the enterprise level do shared value initiatives need to be structurally protected? He followed up this list with a formal post on Asking Tough Questions About Shared Value. And for more on the nitty-gritty of implementation, Laura Palantone of APCO Worldwide wrote a very practical how-to post based on the common themes of the days’ speeches, panels and overall conversations.

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EPA Carbon Emissions Proposal: Q&A With the American Wind Energy Association

Sarah Lozanova | Friday June 6th, 2014 | 0 Comments

wind energy carbon emissionsThe EPA recently announced a proposed rule to reduce carbon emissions from existing power plants to 30 percent below 2005 levels by 2030.  We interviewed Tom Vinson, vice president of Federal Regulatory Affairs for the American Wind Energy Association, to learn how wind energy can help states respond the EPA proposal to cut power plant  emissions.

TriplePundit: Is wind energy uniquely suited to help utilities comply with the new proposed EPA regulation?

Tom Vinson: The deployment of wind energy has grown significantly over the last decade, and a variety of energy sources have been displaced as a result of that, including coal. This is evidence that we can grow the deployment of wind energy and maintain a reliable, affordable electric system for consumers.

There are 11 different states that have achieved emission reductions of 10 percent or more because of wind and another three states that are just below 10 percent. Twenty percent wind in the eastern U.S. would yield emission reductions of 25 percent. Wind energy can be a significant player in the draft requirements that the EPA just issued.

3p: Many interest groups are creating ads for or against the proposed rules. What message would you like to send to the American people?

TV: One of our messages is that there is no need to panic. There are effective emission reduction options that are available now. We think the EPA rules are achievable with wind energy and other options.

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Department of Commerce Widens Scope of Chinese Solar Import Duties

| Friday June 6th, 2014 | 0 Comments

suntech-china_module_Image_Suntech_61e306b769-e1346975996389 Finding in favor of an international trade petition brought by leading U.S. solar manufacturer Solar World Americas, the U.S. Department of Commerce made a preliminary decision to close a loophole that Chinese manufacturers have been exploiting. Through the loophole, these companies manufactured crystalline silicon (c-Si) solar photovoltaic (PV) cells in Taiwan and other third-party countries, shipped them to China for assembly into modules and panels, then exported them to the U.S.

Widening the scope of unfair trade and anti-dumping duties and tariffs imposed on Chinese c-Si PV products, the Commerce Department issued preliminary countervailing duties (CVDs) ranging from 18.56 percent to 35.21 percent. These CVDs apply to c-Si PV cells and modules, as well as laminates, panels and other products, consisting of c-Si PV cells produced and/or partially or wholly assembled into other products by Chinese manufacturers in China or other countries.

Commerce’s preliminary decision in favor of SolarWorld America’s petition reignites controversy over an issue that has divided the solar PV industry in the U.S. and globally.

SolarWorld and supporters applauded the department’s preliminary decision, saying it will protect manufacturing jobs and level the playing field for U.S. solar manufacturers. Critics, led by the Coalition for Affordable Solar Energy, say that it will lead to higher solar energy costs, weigh on downstream solar energy industry participants and constrain growth in a fast-growing U.S. residential solar PV market.

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The Climate Adaptation Gap: How to Create a Climate Adaptation Plan

3p Contributor | Friday June 6th, 2014 | 0 Comments

Editor’s note: This is the third post in an ongoing biweekly series on the climate adaptation gap. Stay tuned for future installments here on TriplePundit! In case you missed it, you can read the first post here and the second post here.

Screen Shot 2014-06-05 at 10.35.51 PMBy Joyce Coffee

In a previous post, I explained how to determine climate-related risks in your supply chains, capital assets and community engagements. With that knowledge, how do we determine strategies to prepare your most vulnerable assets? It’s likely that a storm will prod corporate risk managers and business-continuity planning managers to take stock and begin instituting telecommuting policies, diversifying their supplier chain to other geographies and advising the small businesses they rely on how to develop a resiliency or adaptation plan.

Here is what it takes to do so:

    1. Start with adaptive actions already in place. Shift your thinking to resiliency from greenhouse gas mitigation, and revel in a new set of actions you can feature and enhance as part of a growing global corporate strategy.
    2. Review local climate-change impact projections.
    3. Identify vulnerabilities relevant to your supply chain, capital assets and community engagements.(extreme heat, extreme precipitation, ecosystem changes, fire, floods, inundation, sea-level rise)
    4. Prepare an economic risk analysis that adds these risks to your financial modeling for risks avoided.
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    The Future of Investable Social Finance

    3p Contributor | Friday June 6th, 2014 | 0 Comments

    Editor’s Note: This is the third post in a three part series on impact investing in finance. In case you missed them, you can read part one here and part two here.

    By Marta Maretich271640_m copy

    With the beginnings of a track record to back up its claims (including that much longed-for evidence of successful exits) finance remains a solid bet for impact investors. The future looks positive as a new generation of impact-backed financial service providers hone their skills, diversify their products and discover untapped markets of underserved clients in different parts of the globe.

    Many of these customers will be in emerging economies, where demand will be fueled by growing populations needing access to financial services. There will be a continued need for small-scale lending to individuals, such as that provided by groups like Kiva, as well as philanthropically motivated programs to provide vital financial services at the bottom of the pyramid. Increasingly, however, there will be a demand for more sophisticated services and products in emerging economies as populations there urbanize and become more affluent.

    These consumers will be joined by successful local companies, which, as they scale up, will need access to more sophisticated services on a bigger scale. Evidence suggests that such companies may still lack access to mainstream banking services, and so will need to rely on specialist finance providers in order to grow and gain access to world markets. Experienced social finance providers, like Root Capital, are already beginning to expand and diversify their offerings to meet the needs of maturing market sectors.

    To effectively serve these markets, financial providers will need local knowledge and a good feel for the needs of specific consumer groups in specific locales. Providers with experience in certain markets—for example those that have grown out of philanthropic programs to become self-sustaining for-profit businesses—will be well positioned to use their knowledge to successfully, and profitably, meet client needs. Impact investors should be on the lookout for finance providers with a track record that stretches over years and gives evidence of deep local knowledge and connection.

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    Interview: Thomas Kadien, SVP of Packaging and IP Asia – International Paper

    | Friday June 6th, 2014 | 0 Comments

    fortune-green-2014TriplePundit reported live from the Fortune Brainstorm Green 2014 conference in Laguna Niguel, CA. Follow along on this page for ongoing video interviews with sustainability thought leaders, corporate change agents and entrepreneurs who are leading the way to a more sustainable future.

    Tom Kadien talks to Nick Aster about what sustainability means for International Paper and for the paper industry in general.

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    Corporate Activism on Display Against 3M at the Sustainable Brands Conference

    3p Contributor | Thursday June 5th, 2014 | 7 Comments
    Protesters display signs outside the Sustainable Brands conference. Image courtesy ForestEthics

    Protest signs outside the Sustainable Brands conference. Image courtesy ForestEthics

    By Christine Arena 

    The climate is getting stickier, and it’s not just the weather. Today, even the most socially and environmentally responsible brands can find themselves on the receiving end of heated activist campaigns. As I’ve previously written, corporate activism is today reaching new heights — growing bolder, more organized and artful all the time.

    Now, with the combination of corporate back stepping on major issues like global warming and intensifying public scrutiny around the slow pace of reform, corporate activists are not likely to give up anytime soon. If the latest campaigns from groups like Greenpeace, Sierra Club and ForestEthics reveal anything, it’s that this is just the beginning. Going forward, we can expect things to heat up a whole lot more.

    “The corporate world isn’t moving fast enough on major environmental issues,” says ForestEthics senior campaigner Jim Ace. “In some cases, they are regressing backwards, reverting to strategies and tactics that may have been relevant in the 1950’s.”

    To Ace’s point, it’s a changed world, one that far too many companies find themselves ill prepared to navigate. When faced with criticism, brand leaders often fail to properly engage with detractors, instead choosing to ignore accusations and hope problems go away on their own. “We want these brands to know that they are at risk and might be next,” Ace says.

    For instance, at this week’s Sustainable Brands conference in San Diego, thousands of socially minded business leaders got a special taste of what the new activist climate can mean. Set against a backdrop of a pristine marina and recycled ATM machines, ForestEthics waged a 3-day campaign against 3M, a major sponsor at the event.

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    What If . . . Business Was Bio-inspired?

    3p Contributor | Thursday June 5th, 2014 | 1 Comment

    6647509509_6e7fdda7aa_zBy Dr. Tamsin Woolley-Barker

    Have you ever seen a lone ant dreaming around, aimlessly hoping to stumble on a crumb? It seems an iffy way to catch a snack. But not five minutes later, your kitchen is so crowded you wonder if the new antPhone just went on sale by the recycling bin. How did that little ant get the word out so fast? Yes, pheromone trails alert the rest of the colony to the catch. But this tiny ant search engine is far more efficient than Google. A recent computer model shows why. Ants switch from a “maximize likelihood of finding” to a “maximize speed of getting” strategy as soon as someone finds food. All the random ant walks suddenly coalesce, laser-like, into a single-file line. How do they do it? And how do they decide who hunts and who gathers? Do they have a business plan? If they don’t, why should we? Can their six-legged math help us improve our transportation and delivery systems, crisis management, and internet search patterns? Can they help us make business as usual a sustainable brand?

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