Profile pictures on social media platforms and dating apps are oh-so-easy to poke fun at: There’s the quirky girl with a cutesy fake moustache or the ex-frat boy chugging a pint of beer at his favorite bar.
But Brooklyn-based filmmaker Cody Clarke discovered a more unsettling trend in profile photos while flipping through the dating app Tinder that pulls pictures and information from users’ Facebook profiles: light-skinned women from developed countries posing with babies and children in developing countries.
“Obviously the original intent, is, ‘Hey, friends, look where I was,’” Clarke told Fast Company. “[But] if you see a lot of them in a row, it becomes a trend and becomes a disgusting thing. It’s like they’re standing around props.”
Every Wednesday at 4pm PST / 7pm EST (and every once in a while at other times) TriplePundit will take 30 minutes or so to chat with an interesting leader in the sustainable business movement. These chats are broadcast on our Google+ channel and embedded via YouTube right here on 3p.
On March 5th, TriplePundit’s Founder Nick Aster spoke with Phil Bresee about solid waste management in the United States and in Philadelphia, the benefits of recycling, and where this industry is headed. Phil informed the audience about natural resource savings, the implicit reduction in GHG emissions, energy saved, and economic benefits for the City.
If you missed the conversation, you can watch it right here or on our YouTube channel.
“King Cotton,” as it came to be known in the American South, has an unsettled past.
The crop has played a critical role throughout history. As with all things intertwined with human endeavor, cotton bears witness to our triumph and tragedy, often playing a central role in each.
Enduring the threefold challenge of economic, social and environmental issues, cotton production is often implicated as unsustainable and subject to the allure and consequence of profit at all cost. Global cotton production comes increasingly from low-wage areas of the developing world like China, India, Africa, Bangladesh and Latin America.
Cotton accounts for 40 percent of global textile production, supporting the livelihoods of 300 million people or nearly 7 percent of all labor in the developing world. The scale of global cotton reflects how much we depend on it and how far removed most of us are from the effects of its production and consumption. The cotton industry reaches all the way from small-holder farmers living in poverty to the chic fashion salons of New York and Europe.
We spend alot of time differentiating between exempt organizations, social enterprises, hybrids, traditional for-profits and the like. When in reality, the number of similarities is staggering. Similarities in challenges. similarities in concerns. Similarities in exposure. And to me, the biggest similarity is that feeling of “What am I not thinking about?” that all founders inevitably encounter after start-up.
Not too long ago I wrote a post about the top five things nonprofits should think about before forming. But I want to take it a step further and highlight a few things that all founders should be thinking about shortly after creating an entity. Be it a church, association, social enterprise, hybrid or for-profit corporation.
What is wellness? Many people think that if you’re not suffering from a disease, then you’re well. However, there are many unseen factors to wellness that are critical to your employees’ creativity and productivity. If you envision a thriving company with healthy, happy employees, then it’s time to update your definition of wellness.
Expanding our definition of wellness
The traditional definition of wellness is typically based on a person’s physical state or a diagnosed mental or physical condition or malady. In a clinical sense, a lack of negative physical symptoms equals health.
Over the past two decades, we’ve learned that there is a direct link between mind, body and spirit that contributes to a broader scope of health. We now understand that wellness includes a person’s happiness and fulfillment. Whether your organization focuses explicitly on the triple bottom line or simple profitability, this type of wellness can be taken straight to the bank.
Last week, Tesla announced that it would build a new “Gigafactory” to produce lithium-ion batteries at a rate able to support the manufacture of 500,000 electric cars per year. By 2020, the plant will be capable of producing as many lithium-ion batteries as the entire world produced in 2013.
The Gigafactory, Tesla says, will support 6,500 jobs directly, and according to a post on the company’s blog, the company expects that volume manufacturing of its mass-market vehicle will drive down the cost-per-kWh of its batteries by 30 percent in the first year.
The mass-market vehicle, yet to be released, will be designated the Model E. According to a report in TechCrunch, it will be 20 percent smaller than the current Model S, with a target range of 200 miles. While that’s fewer than the maximum range of the Model S, it’s ahead of any other pure EV currently on the market. Cheaper batteries may be crucial in cutting costs sufficiently to allow the company to produce the more affordable car, but the new factory also plays into more diverse plans for the company.
Barbie recently started the latest of 150+ careers: Entrepreneur Barbie. It’s a timely topic because female entrepreneurship has been growing exponentially in the past several years, but Mattel sticks to their formula Barbie and misses a great opportunity to branch out and really inspire young girls.
With Entrepreneur Barbie, Mattel had a chance to show more than one image of a female business owner–but stayed with generic Barbie. Mattel reported that Barbie sales have been steadily falling in recent years (Barbie revenue was down 40 percent in the U.S. in 2012), and this would have been a way to show that Barbie was adapting to a new reality, one where girls see more realistic role models. Many women who start their own businesses are older, experienced businesswomen, or moms with a unique idea, or both, along with a dozen other iterations besides a shiny, plastic businesswoman. The description of the doll gives no specifics about Barbie’s business, except that she has all the latest toys (her business must be well-funded).
Coffee is on the minds of many these days–coffee grounds, that is. And no wonder. Pondering the meaning of life over that cup of java naturally leads to pondering the values of sustainability and eco-claims for businesses (it does for me at least), and what’s a more sustainable, multipurpose ingredient than the dregs from our favorite brew?
After all, gardeners have been using coffee grounds to benefit their plants for eons. Housekeepers use them to clean their pots and tone up furniture scratches, and cooks use them to scour off the stain and smell of their favorite foods (and you thought that was all there was in the pot after you finished your morning brew).
But all of those uses won’t absorb the left over grounds found in say, London, England, where its plethora of coffeehouses produce more than 200,000 tons of filtered coffee grounds per year.
And that’s why both researchers and private companies have been so intent upon finding ways to use those grounds in mass production.
It is no secret that education is the surest route to a better life, but for tens of thousands of low-income students in developing nations, high costs mean that access to it continues to be the stuff of fantasy. Student loans are notoriously hard to come by outside of the U.S. and Europe, largely due to the fact that banks have no track record of repayments that can be used to assess risk, and students generally don’t have collateral or a credit history to prove that they can pay back loans.
The answer to this classic “chicken-or-the-egg” problem could lay with crowdfunding, which not only presents an opportunity to get tuition loans to students who need them, but also to build a “track record of repayment” that will encourage financial institutions to offer more loans to students.
China is infamous for its dangerously high levels of air pollution, and now one man is suing the government for failing to reduce the toxic smog.
Li Guixin, who lives in a major industrial region of northern China surrounding Beijing, filed a complaint with a district court, urging the city’s environmental department to improve its efforts to control air pollution, Reuters reported last week. Li is the first person to bring such a lawsuit forward against the government.
An oil slick glistens on the surface at the Deepwater Horizon oil spill site in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010.
By Jay Apt
It is natural for our optimistic and energetic MBA students to look at the upside of decisions, and to maximize the returns on their firm’s investment in the minimum time. But that isn’t always a strategy for sustainability, either for the firm or for the planet.
Imagine that you are the leader of the largest railway signal-and-control company in the world’s fastest-growing economy. Your firm supplies its technology to more than 20 countries. Your market share in those countries far eclipses your competitors’ shares combined, and your investment of profits into reducing manufacturing costs will keep it that way. Life is good, and you are happy that you have balanced profit maximizing with mitigating business risks by investing in meeting the needs of your customers. You are grooming your daughter to take over the business, and look forward to the third generation coming along shortly.
Then a low-probability event of enormous consequence happens. Lightning strikes a high-speed rail line, and wrong signals are flashed. One high-speed train crashes into the rear of another on a bridge. Forty people are killed and 191 injured. A Cabinet investigation receives worldwide coverage. The investigation finds flawed development of the signaling equipment, poor quality and slipshod inspections by safety professionals. Your dreams of a generations-long business lie with the wreckage of the ruined trains.
My family experienced a five-day power outage last December after a Maine ice storm. The temperature of our neighbor’s house dropped to near freezing after one night. Despite having below freezing temperatures, even subzero weather, our house remained pretty comfortable. The indoor temperature dropped by only 2 degrees daily, with no supplemental heat. While neighbors scrambled to hook up generators and space heaters to keep the pipes from freezing, we knew our house wouldn’t freeze. What is our secret?
We live in a house where the design was guided by the Passive House Standard at Belfast Cohousing & Ecovillage. ”Build it nice and tight, face it to the south, not towards the road, and put most of your glass on the south,” explains GO Logic foreman John White. GO Logic, the builder of our house has designed and constructed two Passive House-certified homes in Maine.
The solar orientation and south-facing windows make a noticeable difference on sunny days. During the only sunny day of the outage, the indoor temperature in our home increased by 7 degrees. Even with the temperature below zero outside, our indoor temperature will increase by 5 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit throughout the course of the day. With a solar system, the homes can be near net-zero, meaning that the solar array can generate as much as the house consumes over the course of a year.
Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO and successor to Steve Jobs, is generally known as a man who, unlike his predecessor, has a cool head and does not let his emotions influence his decisions or his behavior on the job. But that is apparently not the case when it comes to global warming. Nothing seems to get him steamed up more than a group of climate deniers, like the group that recently attended Apple’s annual shareholder meeting last Friday.
In attendance were representatives from the National Center for Public Policy Research (NPCCR), a self described “conservative think tank and policy institute,” that issued a statement before the meeting suggesting that the company renounce any environmentally-based activities that don’t contribute directly to the bottom line.
The proposal, which was submitted by NCPPR General Counsel Justin Danhof, said: “We object to increased government control over company products and operations, and likewise mandatory environmental standards. This is something [Apple] should be actively fighting, not preparing surrender.”
Danhof went so far as to suggest that this proposal be taken up as a pledge to be voted on by shareholders in the meeting. The proposal was voted on and soundly rejected, but not before Cook took the opportunity to comment. “We do a lot of things for reasons besides profit motive,” he said. “We want to leave the world better than we found it.”
Those objecting to the company’s principled stand on the environment, said Cook, were welcome “to get out of the stock.”
New Jersey became the fourteenth state to legalize gay marriage last October, and now Caesars Entertainment is joining in the festivities, offering one lucky couple an extravagant $50,000 wedding package at one of the company’s Caesars, Harrah’s, Bally’s and Showboat resorts and casinos in Atlantic City.
Dubbed the “Love Is Love” giveaway, the prize features a wedding ceremony and reception for 100 guests, a cocktail hour, dinner, custom cake designed by celebrity chef Deb Pellegrino, two-hour open bar, photographers, flowers and entertainment. The winning couple will also receive bachelor or bachelorette parties, a day-after brunch for up to 50 guests and luxury accommodations for their guests and themselves.
Any form of economic decision-making–whether to invest in a coal mine or solar power project, to buy this brand of good or product or that–comes replete with trade-offs, particularly when it comes natural resource development. We rely on markets and private sector businesses and investors, working within the context of public sector governance, to guide and approve, or disapprove, of those decisions.
Such trade-offs are clearly in evidence in Alaska’s Bristol Bay watershed, one of the world’s richest, most productive and few remaining wild salmon fisheries. Bristol Bay is also the site of the proposed Pebble Mine, envisioned by project developers as one of the world’s largest open-pit copper mines.
Concerned about Pebble Mine’s impact on the Bristol Bay fishery and watershed–which provides basic ecosystem services, such as water, food and shelter, and sustainable livelihoods for communities throughout the area, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) this past week invoked Section 404(c) of the Clean Water Act in initiating a process “to identify appropriate options to protect the world’s largest sockeye salmon fishery in Bristol Bay, Alaska from the potentially destructive impacts of the proposed Pebble Mine.”
Santa Barbara: Apr 2 – Apr 4 ECO:nomics The Wall Street Journal’s celebrated ECO:nomics conference brings together global CEOs, top entrepreneurs, investors, policymakers and environmental experts for discussion and debate about the most critical issues. Register here.
San Diego: Apr 24 – Apr 27 Social Venture Network Spring Conference SVN conferences convene and connect influential, innovative business leaders, impact investors and cultural entrepreneurs to create an experience where attendees can share the ideas and resources they need to succeed and grow. Register here.
New York: May 13 – May 14 Shared Value Leadership Summit For business leaders and problem solvers who see exciting market opportunities at the intersection of business goals and societal challenges, the Shared Value Initiative is the leading community shaping research, partnerships, and practices. Register here.
Southern California: May 19 – May 21 Fortune Brainstorm Green As the premier conference on business, sustainability, and green investing, Brainstorm GREEN delivers fresh thinking, actionable solutions, and unparalleled opportunities to build top-level relationships. Register here.
San Diego: Jun 2 – Jun 5 Sustainable Brands 2014 Discover what happens when brand strategists & designers connect with sustainability teams to drive innovation. 20% discount with code NW3pSB14sd. Register here.
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