Women Still Chasing the Elusive American Dream

3p Contributor | Tuesday January 27th, 2015 | 1 Comment

Garage Startup Philosophy Steve Jurvetson-2By Geri Stengel

Access to the American Dream shouldn’t be limited to young white men who drop out of colleges and wear hoodies. It should be available to women who have the business experience to build empires.

The way it used to be

Leonora Valvo is an example of what has got to stop. Even with a track record of starting and running two multi-million-dollar businesses in the travel and event industries, which she bootstrapped, it took Valvo 18 months to get past the 20-something male gatekeepers at venture capital firms to raise $2.75 million for etouches, a cloud-based events software company. Now, because she knows angels and VCs, she has more quickly raised money for her latest venture, insightXM, which uses big data to improve experiential events from the perspectives of all: the attendee, event producer and sponsor.

Unfortunately, Valvo’s experience has been common. VCs fund those who look and act like them. Since access to adequate capital to start and grow a company is critical, this has handicapped experienced women. Undercapitalized companies have lower sales, lower profits and generate fewer jobs. Yet, even though women-led companies deliver a better return on investment, these companies start out with 50 percent less capital than all male teams, according to Sources of Economic Hope: Women’s Entrepreneurship, a report by the Kauffman Foundation.  

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The Super Bowl: More Than A Game

3p Contributor | Tuesday January 27th, 2015 | 0 Comments
Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll and wide receiver Richard Sherman celebrate victory in Super Bowl XLVIII.

Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll and cornerback Richard Sherman celebrate victory in Super Bowl XLVIII.

By Neill Duffy

Each year, the Super Bowl not only showcases the best in sports entertainment, but also provides an opportunity to put sustainability on a global stage. The NFL has long focused on environmental stewardship through its events and facilities, culminating in an annual showcase of its efforts at the Big Game. And as we look forward to the milestone Super Bowl 50 in 2016, the goal is to take sustainability to a whole new level.

Working in partnership with Bay Area public officials and the NFL, the San Francisco Bay Area Super Bowl 50 Host Committee wants to deliver Super Bowl 50 as the most shared, most participatory and most giving Super Bowl yet … And we want to do so in a “net positive” way – socially, environmentally and economically.

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MeterHero Offers Cash Incentives for Water and Energy Conservation

Leon Kaye | Tuesday January 27th, 2015 | 0 Comments
MeterHero, water conservation, water scarcity, energy conservation, smart meters, rebates, Leon Kaye

Smart meters could soon pay off thanks to MeterHero.

It’s one thing to be told you’re getting a discount; but everyone loves having cash wired into their account. Such an incentive could encourage more utility customers to save on their energy usage. Charts comparing current usage to that of the previous year may be eye-catching and arouse curiosity, but cash generates far more attention.

To that end, MeterHero, a Web-based utility monitoring tool, is looking to encourage people to conserve water and energy through cash rebates sponsored by businesses with sustainability goals.

Such a tactic is important because water scarcity will only worsen over the coming decades. California’s water struggles have long been documented. Las Vegas and Atlanta are also dealing with water scarcity. Even Chicago, located in the water-rich Great Lakes region, could face water shortages in the coming decade. While agriculture continues to consume most of the freshwater in the United States — 70 percent more or less, depending on the source — municipal water agencies need to save every drop, as the cliché goes. The same goes for energy. Consumers may be giddy over filling their tanks for less than 20 bucks, but oil and gas prices will eventually rise again as the population increases and economy grows.

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The End of the Broken Promise: How to Achieve a ‘Living Brand’

3p Contributor | Tuesday January 27th, 2015 | 0 Comments

14090438714_33bec862fe_z (2)By Seamour Rathore

How often does the promise made by a company in its marketing and advertising fail to match up to the real customer experience?

That’s the brand gap. And where one exists, the credibility and fortunes of any business are at risk. If, however, a company’s promises are delivered by its people at every touch point – in person, on the telephone and via social media, then it’s achieving a “living brand.”

It’s the employees who breathe life into a brand.

To achieve a living brand, organizations should not only focus on the rational and transactional side of running a business, but they should aim to embrace the cultural, emotional and communal aspects too.

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Report: U.S. Lags on Embracing the Sharing Economy

Alexis Petru
| Monday January 26th, 2015 | 1 Comment

Sharing EconomyApproximately 80 million Americans took part in the sharing economy last year – from donating unwanted clothes to renting movies from Netflix, marketing firm Leo Burnett estimates. But sharing, borrowing and renting may not be as popular as the media buzz around collaborative consumption would have us believe. According to a new report from the global advertising agency, over 50 percent of U.S. adults surveyed said they would still prefer to own, rather than share.

In The Sharing Economy: Where We Go From Here, Leo Burnett aimed to delve deeper into the findings from a recent worldwide Nielsen survey, in which the company discovered that Americans lag far behind other countries in our participation in the mesh economy.

“Given the United States represents the largest economy in the world and the third largest population, and given the wealth and access to innovation in the U.S. economy, one might have expected the country to be a leader when it comes to the emerging phenomenon of the sharing economy,” the study’s authors wrote.

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The Quick & Dirty: Trust Me (and Other Corporate Lies)

Henk Campher
| Monday January 26th, 2015 | 4 Comments

466709245_fdae5ac84c_zFull transparency: Our 2015 Edelman Trust Barometer is out. But I am not going to enunciate further on this study. Just follow the link and see for yourself. You’ll find facts, figures, graphs, insights, trends and all that good stuff I know you will like.

What I am more interested in talking about are a few things that you won’t find in the details of the study — the hidden truths that emerge when you add a sustainability lens to the information. Why aren’t companies trusted by the public?

Trust isn’t rocket science. You don’t have to over analyze why there is a lack of trust in this world. Look at what is right in front of the average person, and ask yourself if you would trust business if the shoe was on the other side.

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Mars Announces Updated Global Deforestation Policy

Leon Kaye | Monday January 26th, 2015 | 0 Comments
Mars Inc, deforestation, soy, pulp and paper, beef, Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil Forest Code, Leon Kaye, supply chain

Mars is promising sustainable beef, soy and paper supply chains

Mars Inc., the US$33 billion dollar company known for chocolate but also a huge global player in prepared foods, pet care and beverages, has announced what it says is a more aggressive policy towards addressing deforestation within its beef, soy and paper supply chains. Last week’s announcement is a follow up to the company’s deforestation agenda that it made a year ago.

The change is important because deforestation is the cause from 15 to 20 percent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions—in addition to its effects on water security, biodiversity and economic disruption for the world’s poorest people. The demand for paper products is one part of the problem, but the world’s growing appetite for protein, notably beef and soy, are the biggest reasons behind deforestation. Meanwhile companies are scrambling to create more rigorous deforestation policies as consumers become more interested in how their favorite products are manufactured and sourced. To that end, Mars has set some goals on how it sources some of its most important raw materials over the next several years.

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Masdar Boosts Global Renewable Energy Portfolio with New Projects in Africa

Leon Kaye | Monday January 26th, 2015 | 0 Comments
Abu Dhabi, Masdar, Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week, United Arab Emirates, solar, solar energy, clean energy, clean technology, Mauritania, wind power, renewable energy, Leon Kaye, middle east, solar power

The outskirts of Boutilimit, one of the cities in Mauritania to benefit from solar power funded by Masdar

It is easy to think of Masdar as the company who built the Middle East’s sustainable city in the middle of the desert, but the Abu Dhabi company is more than that: it runs a clean technology investment fund with about half a billion dollars, and has also become a major global renewable energy investor. Its latest initiative, another solar energy project in the West African nation of Mauritania, will provide clean energy in seven towns throughout this country of 4 million.

The new solar power plants are a follow-up to Masdar’s installation of a large power plant outside the capital city of Nouakchott two years ago. That project provides 15 megawatts of green power, and at full operation provides up to 10 percent of Mauritania’s electricity needs. This new project now expands solar across the country, with seven cities benefitting from a total of 12 megawatts of solar—enough to displace 6 million liters of diesel fuel and over 16,000 tons of carbon dioxide annually.

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Abu Dhabi’s 2030 Vision

RP Siegel | Monday January 26th, 2015 | 0 Comments

MC3One thing I promised to look into, after having won the trip to Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week 2015 based on a vision of my city in 2030, was to get a sense of the vision for this place in the same time frame.

Abu Dhabi is clearly one of the most sustainability-focused, forward-thinking cities in the world. This stems from a massive commitment on the part of the iconoclastic ruler Sheikh Zâyed bin Sulṭân Âl Nahyân, father of the current ruler.

The country’s wealth came from oil, which allowed it to sprout from a minor fishing village into a bustling modern city in just the past 50 years. Given Abu Dhabi’s harsh environment, it is not an easy place to implement a brand new vision. Yet, the combined mounting pressure of rapid growth and dwindling water supplies give a unique shape to the challenge the emirate faces. It was a credit to the Sheikh that he recognized that a major step in the direction of sustainability — something few others were doing at the time, especially in this part of the world — was just the right medicine for his people.

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Boomers’ Sustainability Diet: How I Lost 20 Pounds

Bill Roth | Monday January 26th, 2015 | 4 Comments

Editor’s Note: 3p correspondent Bill Roth used sustainability principles to get healthy, lose 20 pounds and keep it off. He documented his experience — and what he calls the Boomers’ Sustainability Diet — in a three-part series. This post is part one.

The new thinner Bill Roth!

The new, thinner Bill Roth!

If you are a member of the boomer generation, then this is a must-read. We are the first generation raised on fast food and suburban living. It has been a great run of cheeseburgers, fries and driving everywhere we wanted to go. But tummy fat and growing health concerns are now the unintended consequences of our lifestyle.

As a boomer, I went searching for personal answers. The answers I found have helped me to lose 20 pounds and keep it off. I am on track to lose another 10 pounds by year end. My secret sauce? I found that applying the same sustainability best practices I have successfully used in coaching businesses can be used to achieve sustained weight loss.

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BP: Back in the Picture

Elaine Cohen
Elaine Cohen | Monday January 26th, 2015 | 0 Comments

Editor’s Note: A version of this post originally appeared on CSR-Reporting

14231501542_a802b6e6f0_zIn the world of sustainability, there are some names that evoke a range of strong emotions and reactions, and I suspect that BP is one of them. BP has had some extremely interesting sustainability successes, and also at least one devastating low point.

You don’t even have to mention the company name: Just refer to the Gulf of Mexico, Macondo, Deepwater Horizon, I want my life back — there are a million ways to say “BP,” and most of them are not exactly positive. But if you stand back from the oil spill disaster of 2010, accept that we are still and will continue to be reliant on fossil fuels as our main source of energy for some time into the future, and take a look at what BP is doing today with a pair of fresh eyes, you may be encouragingly impressed. As I was.

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Are Nonprofit Hospitals That Sue Poor Patients Breaking the Law?

Jan Lee
Jan Lee | Monday January 26th, 2015 | 2 Comments

hospital_debt_collection_ChrisYarzabMedical debts are the single greatest reason that families declare bankruptcy in the United States. In a 2013 a survey, Nerdwallet found that 56 million Americans under 65 have problems paying their medical bills, and more than half of those (35 million) will have their bills referred to collection agencies, the first step to a potential lawsuit from creditors looking to collect on those debts.

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) was supposed to help with that problem when it went into effect in 2014. In addition to ensuring that more people would be covered by cost-reducing insurance plans, it also reinforced older guidelines that required hospitals to have a financial assistance policy in place for low-income patients. These guidelines particularly apply to not-for-profit hospitals (the bulk of the hospitals in the U.S.), which receive hefty tax breaks for their status. Under draft rules established by the Internal Revenue Service, nonprofits are now required to allow more leeway for individuals to apply for financial aid before sending accounts to collection agencies.

Last year, an investigation by National Public Radio and ProPublica found that some nonprofit hospitals were skipping this expected protocol and sending patients to collection agencies, which would then sue them and garnish their wages to recoup the hospital charges. The investigation concentrated on patients who had received medical services prior to 2014 (the start of the ACA), but found that the procedure still appeared to be in place in some nonprofit hospitals when the new Act was put in place.

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Electrified Truck Power-Train Can Cut Fuel Use in Half

| Monday January 26th, 2015 | 1 Comment

DSC_0362When it comes to electric vehicles, we hear plenty about electric cars being launched into the consumer market but not too much about commercial vehicles. Maybe that’s because not too many people have to concern themselves with what type of delivery or garbage truck they are going to buy next. Nevertheless, such considerations matter, since the electrification of commercial fleets promises considerably larger efficiency gains than cars.

Four-year-old California company Wrightspeed, started by Tesla co-founder Ian Wright, has developed a technology that zeros in on a specific niche of the commercial fleet market, bringing both fuel savings and emissions mitigation for commercial fleet operators.

Coming from his background at Tesla, Wright remains convinced of the benefits of going electric, but he recognizes that EVs can be perceived as expensive in some markets. In starting Wrightspeed, he says the mission was to figure out, “How do you get more bang for your buck?” And the answer was to just focus on building power-trains for trucks.

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The Business Plan to Preserve Sonoma County Winemaking

Gina-Marie Cheeseman
| Monday January 26th, 2015 | 0 Comments

vineyardThe Sonoma County Winegrape Commission (SCWC) is determined to protect and preserve the region’s wine industry. The SCWC, founded in 2006, recently announced its 100-year business plan to preserve agriculture in Sonoma County, California, namely growing wine grapes.

The wine industry is important for Sonoma County. In 2012, the wine industry contributed $1.4 billion to the local economy and accounted for 1 in 3 jobs. Over 1,800 growers are a part of the SCWC.

The area is no stranger to sustainability: Last year, it announced plans to be the nation’s first sustainable wine growing region by 2019. The region has reached one-third of its target in just one year. The winegrape growers are following a sustainability program as well, which focuses on 138 farming and business practices, including land use, energy efficiency, water quality assessments and carbon emissions.

Over 43 percent of the county’s vineyard acres have completed a sustainability assessment, and 33 percent are certified under a third-party auditor program. Over 950 winegrape growers have attended sustainability-related events.

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3p Weekend: 10 Cities On the Cutting Edge

Mary Mazzoni
| Friday January 23rd, 2015 | 1 Comment

2460648191_df0c37ff33_zWith a busy week behind you and the weekend within reach, there’s no shame in taking things a bit easy on Friday afternoon. With this in mind, every Friday TriplePundit will give you a fun, easy read on a topic you care about. So, take a break from those endless email threads, and spend five minutes catching up on the latest trends in sustainability and business.

While we’ve been busy predicting trends for 2015, major cities around the world are already making it happen. This week we tip our hats to 10 cities hard at work building the urban centers of tomorrow. The future is now.

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