How B Corp Certification Helps Attract and Engage Employees

Ryan Honeyman | Tuesday September 16th, 2014 | 0 Comments

This is the sixth in a weekly series of excerpts from the upcoming book The B Corp Handbook: How to Use Business as a Force for Good (Berrett-Koehler Publishers, October 13, 2014). Click here to read the rest of the series.

Etsy Hack DayBy Ryan Honeyman

Becoming a Certified B Corporation can help unleash the passion, initiative and imagination of employees by connecting them with the larger meaning behind their work.

Goldman Sachs found that millennials, which represent nearly 50 percent of the global workforce, “have specific needs at work that are dramatically different from previous generations. High among these [is] a desire to align personal and corporate values. To attract and retain this group, we believe that companies need to provide rewards beyond financial gain.”

“Asking ‘Why?’ and clearly identifying your purpose will attract the very best, brightest, and most passionate people to your business. That is what the B Corp movement is all about: taking a holistic, systemic approach that really upholds and supports your values every day.” — John Replogle, CEO, Seventh Generation

Research shows that millennials are not just looking for work–life balance, which means having enough time and energy to enjoy life outside of work. They are also looking for work–life integration, which means applying themselves to something that they feel passionate about, so that they can fulfill both an economic need and a need for a higher purpose. Becoming a B Corporation can help you attract, retain and engage employees around both your company’s higher purpose and the B Corp community’s collective purpose to lead a global movement to redefine success in business.

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‘Big Six’ Development Banks Reaffirm Climate Commitments

| Tuesday September 16th, 2014 | 1 Comment

climatesummit2014 Demonstrators, along with world leaders, are beginning to congregate around the United Nations headquarters in New York City this week in advance of the U.N. Climate Summit 2014. Inviting leaders from around the world to participate in the one-day climate conference, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is calling on them to “galvanize and catalyze climate action” and “bring bold announcements and actions to the Summit that will reduce emissions, strengthen climate resilience, and mobilize political will for a meaningful legal agreement.”

Along with the U.N., multilateral development banks (MDBs), such as the World Bank Group, have comprised the core of the institutional framework for international governance, development and finance since the end of World War II. Criticized for financing coal-fired power plants and supporting polluting, emissions-intensive development in developing countries worldwide, the World Bank just over a year ago said it would only finance coal-fired power plant projects in rare, exceptional circumstances.

On Sept. 11, the world’s six MDBs “reaffirmed their shared commitment to lead by example by continuing to reinforce and further develop climate financing.” The African Development Bank (AfDB), Asian Development Bank (ADB), European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), European Investment Bank (EIB), Inter-American Development Bank (IADB) and World Bank Group said they would continue to focus their resources on addressing climate change.

That includes leveraging MDB financing by attracting greater amounts of private-sector investment, as well as “continuing to innovate and promote more robust and transparent climate finance tracking and reporting,” according to a joint press release.

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National Chicken Council to Phase Out Some Poultry Antibiotics

Jan Lee
Jan Lee | Tuesday September 16th, 2014 | 0 Comments

antibiotic_resistanceOnly about 10 percent of the antibiotics used in chicken are actually used to treat humans, says the National Chicken Council. Its statement comes on the heels of a controversial report by Reuters indicating increasing proof that the prophylactic medications used in chickens are fueling antibiotic resistance not just in fowl, but in humans as well.

In a statement yesterday, the NCC refuted these assertions, claiming that only a small portion of the antibiotics that Reuters journalist Kate Kelland examined – about 10 percent – were also given to humans. The rest of the antibiotics used in fowl do not treat human populations.

“All antibiotics used to prevent and treat disease in chickens are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The majority of these antibiotics are never used in human medicine and therefore represent no threat of creating resistance in humans,” said Ashley Peterson, NCC vice president of scientific and regulatory affairs.

That said, Peterson announced, new changes are on the horizon for those meds that are also used in human populations.

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GE, Nike, BoA Cut from 2014 Dow Jones Sustainability Index

Bill DiBenedetto | Tuesday September 16th, 2014 | 1 Comment

DJSI_Review_Presentation_09_2014_final 1In its annual review, S&P Dow Jones Indices deleted 46 companies from the 2014 Dow Jones Sustainability World Index, and the largest deletions — by free-float market capitalization — included Bank of America, General Electric and Schlumberger. Other large companies cut from list were McDonald’s, Starbucks and Nike.

The three largest companies added (among 32 total) to the list were: Amgen Inc., Commonwealth Bank of Australia and GlaxoSmithKline PLC.

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Chemical Flame Retardant Industry Suffers More Blows

Jan Lee
Jan Lee | Tuesday September 16th, 2014 | 0 Comments

chemical_flame_retardants_crib_nerrissas-ringFlame retardant opponents had a big reason to celebrate this weekend. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) announced on Sunday that he would get behind the push to ban chemical flame retardants from furniture and children’s products.

Schumer has proposed a ban on 10 specific flame retardants that are used in children’s clothing, bedding and other furniture products. The flame retardant products associated with TDCPP and TCEP in particular have been found to be toxic to humans through long-term exposure.

Plus, Schumer says, there is now question about their efficacy in stopping fires.

“It’s a nightmare scenario that is all too real: Children are being exposed to highly toxic flame retardants — that can cause cancer and developmental delays — just by lying on a changing table and in their cribs, or even by sitting on the family couch. To boot, these carcinogenic chemicals found in foam are not effective in reducing fire risks,” the senator said in press conference on Sunday.

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Expanding the NGO-to-Business Partnership Model in Canada

3p Contributor | Tuesday September 16th, 2014 | 1 Comment
Two generations of women have now benefited from the skills, revenue and empowerment created by the partnership between cosmetics company L'Occitane and the shea nut women’s co-op in Burkina Faso.

Two generations of women have now benefited from the skills, revenue and empowerment created by the partnership between cosmetics company L’Occitane and the shea nut women’s co-op in Burkina Faso.

By Elizabeth Dove

Can value for both business and developing country communities be realized with integrity?

Partnerships between international non-governmental organizations (INGOs) and businesses are fairly new and somewhat uncomfortable territory in Canada. Such collaborations are usually philanthropic and/or volunteer contributions by business, in exchange for bragging rights on good deeds done. Even on this modest partnership plane, there is a great deal of heated discourse from within the Canadian development sector around the appropriateness of INGOs working with business.

There is, however, a small but growing number of Canadian INGOs positioning themselves as having a service to offer business that will create value for both the core business of a company and meet the mandate of the NGO. Examples include World Vision Canada’s work with extractive companies to ensure project alignment with local government and community development and Socodevi’s work to improve the capacity of Van Houtte coffee producing communities in Honduras.

Another such entrepreneurial initiative is the business brokerage service of Uniterra. Uniterra is a co-venture of the INGOs World University Service of Canada (WUSC) and Center for International Studies and Cooperation (CECI). As it has developed into Canada’s largest overseas volunteer-sending program over the past 10 years, Uniterra has established strong business relationships and networks in the countries it works with throughout South and Central America, Africa and Asia. Opportunities to facilitate partnerships with overseas businesses to benefit local communities evolved naturally.

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Fear-Based Marketing Has No Place in the Mainstream Climate Change Debate

3p Contributor | Tuesday September 16th, 2014 | 3 Comments

When it comes to climate change, voting, marching and innovating are “achievable, empowering, scalable and marketable,” argues Ian Edwards — and are far more successful than fear tactics.

By Ian Edwards

The underwhelming launch in August of Milton Glaser’s new graphic campaign — “It’s not warming. It’s dying” — shows in dreary shades of green the many ongoing branding and marketing challenges of the climate change movement.

The prolific graphic design genius behind the happy and ubiquitous “I ♥ NY” slogan (that single-handedly rebranded a struggling city in 1977) can’t even get it right.

His design of a green disk shrouded in a deathly black fog is dull, and the tagline is just plain wrong. The planet is warming according to the many scientific minds at the United Nations’ International Panel on Climate Change, as just one source blaming humans for making climate change worse. Additionally, the people living here are indeed threatened, but this big orbiting rock will outlive us all.

With an issue as polarizing as climate change, accuracy is important.

The ‘sustainability’ conversation – of which the climate change discourse is a critical subset — needs recalibration, traction and a spark that will ignite it in the mainstream beyond the lukewarm response to the crisis to date. How much more evidence do we need that the language of fear, which Glaser uses, fails to engage and inspire action?

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SOCAP14 Interview: Paula Goldman, Omidyar Network

| Tuesday September 16th, 2014 | 0 Comments

This video is part of our ongoing coverage of SOCAP14.  To see the rest please visit our SOCAP 14 page here.

What exactly is “impact investing“? Paula Goldman is Senior Director of Knowledge & Advocacy for Omidyar Network and, according to her, it’s a type of investing that asks for both financial and societal return.  In this brief conversation, Paula discusses both the history of impact investing and how governments can enact policies to encourage it.

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Life After Sandy: How NYC is Improving Its Electric Grid

RP Siegel | Monday September 15th, 2014 | 0 Comments

Editor’s Note: This article is part of a short series on creating resilient cities, sponsored by Siemens. Please join us for a live Google Hangout with Siemens and Arup on October 1, where we’ll talk about this issue live! RSVP here.


The 9-foot storm surge from Superstorm Sandy, which came on top of a 5-foot high tide, inundated the low-lying areas of the city — wiping out electrical service to substantial portions of the city, and ultimately causing some $50 billion worth of damage. Approximately 800,000 customers lost power in the city, along with millions more along the East Coast. The question posed in a recent toolkit was was: What actions can be taken to reduce the impact of a similar event?

With our climate in upheaval, many cities, organizations and businesses are talking about building resiliency into their operations, in order to allow them to better deal with extreme events such as heavy storms, droughts and floods. While these expenditures are often high, given today’s reality they are considered necessary — in keeping with Ben Franklin’s adage that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

While taking steps to improve the resiliency of, for example, a city’s electrical grid, won’t prevent the increasing number and intensity of storms from coming (only reducing our carbon emissions can do that), they can prevent the kind of system-wide damage that New York City and its residents suffered in the wake of Superstorm Sandy.

The grid’s 61 substations, 94,000 miles of underground cable and 34,000 miles of overhead cable are susceptible to damage and disruption caused by events ranging from tidal surges, flash floods, blizzards, droughts, high winds and heat waves, all of which are more likely to occur given the onset of global warming. Recommended actions fell into three categories: robustness and redundancy of equipment, keeping the demand from overwhelming supply, and enhanced coordination of resources through smart infrastructure.

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Hundreds of USDA Violations Linked to Foster Farms Salmonella Outbreak

Jan Lee
Jan Lee | Monday September 15th, 2014 | 0 Comments

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe’ve been reporting for more than a year on Foster Farms’ mysterious salmonella infections, which earlier this year the U.S. Department of Agriculture linked to three California processing plants. In July, the agency issued a Class I recall after more than 600 people had been sickened by the infection, and a 10-year-old boy was hospitalized – the lynch pin, it seems, to finally linking the epidemic to its point of origin.

What wasn’t disclosed to the public until now, however, was just how extensive the infections were, or the number of times that the factories were found in noncompliance during routine inspections.

All of that came to light last week, when the Natural Resources Defense Council published the results to its recent Freedom of Information Request to the USDA.

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Millennial Activists Driving America’s Revenue Growth

Bill Roth | Monday September 15th, 2014 | 2 Comments

Millennial activists’ quest for products and companies that are “cool with a purpose” is driving the revenue success of Apple, Google, Patagonia and Chipotle.

The millennial activist is now driving revenue growth in the American economy. Their quest for products and companies that are “cool with a purpose” is driving the revenue success of Apple, Google, Patagonia and Chipotle. They are also a key demographic group that is driving down the revenues of McDonald’s, Coca-Cola and your local utility. Figuring out how to successfully align with millennial activists is now the strategic challenge facing every business.

Millennial activists seek solutions

For 40 years the American economy has been driven by a boomer generation that demonstrated for peace and love during their teenage years but then, after Woodstock, “sold-out” to their personal consumption. It was the boomer generation that embraced fast food as America’s diet choice because it was tasty, fast and cheap. The boomer generation created suburbs of less energy-efficient homes, linked to their workplaces through an urban commute too often executed in full-size vehicles powered by V-8 engines. To fund their consumption, they made the working mom an economic reality along with credit card debt and unsustainably high mortgages. The unintended consequences of the boomer generation’s decisions include a national obesity and diabetes epidemic, pump/meter price pain driven by energy demand, and increased government regulations to address the human and planet health impacts from record levels of air emissions. Our economy now struggles to grow against the headwinds of costs and debt created from the boomer generation’s consumption decisions.

The millennial generation seeks solutions to the problems they have inherited from their parents. This is not a personal rejection of their parents. But it is a rejection of lifestyles built upon energy inefficiency, consumer debt and unhealthy food consumption. Led by pioneering millennial activists, the millennial generation is rejuvenating downtowns across America. They are choosing to live in more energy-efficient, in-town homes to gain the benefits of social participation, diversity and sustainability. They are adopting lifestyles built on healthy foods, walking/biking to work, sharing rather than purchasing and the adoption of digital technology to enable productivity while also reducing their environmental footprint. Influenced through millennial activists, the millennial generation is adopting a new culture built upon best practices that align value with values.

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3p Takes ‘Stories & Beer’ on the Road!

Marissa Rosen
| Monday September 15th, 2014 | 2 Comments

logo-2Stories & Beer is a monthly “Fireside Chat” hosted by TriplePundit in San Francisco — BUT, this month, we’re taking it on the road to Philadelphia and New York City! Join us here in person – or online!

Philadelphia: On Tuesday, September 30, join TriplePundit’s San Francisco-based team, along with representatives from B Lab and three Philadelphia-area Certified B Corps, in a casual conversation at The Hub Cira Center. TriplePundit’s founder, Nick Aster, will lead the discussion. For those who attend in person, we’ll be serving up local, sustainable beer and snacks! Click HERE for more info.

New York City: On Thursday, October 2, please join us in NYC for an evening of conversation and networking! TriplePundit is continuing our focus on sustainability in the fashion and apparel industry for the rest of 2014, and this will be the topic of discussion. After the event, Stories & Beer attendees are invited for a free week at Impact Hub NYC. Click HERE for more info.

Don’t worry San Francisco – we’ll also be having a special stories and beer at our usual location at Impact HUB SF on the subject of tourism on September 25th.  RSVP here.

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Lehigh Technologies Forges Ahead in ‘Closing the Loop’ for Tires

| Monday September 15th, 2014 | 0 Comments

2473342146_22b1aaac53_z The Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA) forecasts that passenger, light truck and truck tire demand will rise nearly 2 percent in 2014 to reach 302 million units. Though no one knows just how many there actually are, there are many times more tires accumulating in dumps in every nation around the world – a festering, growing threat to human and environmental health and safety.

Lehigh Technologies is on a mission to “green” the lifecycle of synthetic and rubber tires. Using a proprietary “green chemistry” process, Lehigh replaces petroleum-based materials by recycling discarded tires and turning them into micronized rubber powders (MRPs) that can be used to manufacture a wide range of rubber and plastic products – all manner of vehicle/transportation tires included. The benefits are numerous and manifold, from reducing manufacturers’ operating costs to helping conserve tropical forests and ecosystems, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and helping alleviate air, soil and water pollution associated with waste tire dumps.

On Sept. 3, Lehigh announced that it had raised another $8 million in support of its efforts to expand geographically and realize the milestones established in its technology road map. Joining with earlier venture capital investors including Index Ventures, Florida Gulfshore Capital, Kleiner, Perkins, Caulfield & Byers, and Leaf Clean Energy, is Japan’s JSR Corp., a $4 billion specialty chemicals company.

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Unilever Pledges to Stop Killing Male Chicks

Sarah Lozanova | Monday September 15th, 2014 | 0 Comments

Unilever CSREgg-laying hens are bred for a single trait: laying eggs. Breeders select the most productive hens, which result in greater egg production. Unfortunately, male chicks are not productive, either for laying eggs or producing meat (compared to a chicken bred for meat).

“Somewhere along the way the male chick became disposable,” says Janice Neitzel, principal of Sustainable Solutions Group. “The chicks are thrown in to the high-speed grinder and if all goes as planned, killed instantaneously. But it isn’t pretty. Consumers may not be currently aware of this global practice, but with social media — it is just a matter of time. “

This may change, as Unilever recently announced that it pledges to find a solution to this industry-wide practice, which kills millions of male chicks annually. Unilever will fund research to seek alternatives, such as technologies that allow egg hatcheries to determine the gender of embryos before maturing into chicks.

“We are committed to providing financial support to research and market introduction of in-ovo gender identification (sexing) of eggs, a new technology that has the potential to eliminate the hatching and culling of male chicks in the poultry-breeding industry,” Unilever announced in a press release.

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Heineken USA Takes Sustainability Seriously

Gina-Marie Cheeseman
| Monday September 15th, 2014 | 0 Comments

Heineken Light canIt’s not a small thing for a company with almost 500 employees, eight offices, over 20 beers and ciders in its portfolio, and almost $4 billion in direct economic impact on the country to strive for sustainability. The company in question is Heineken USA, and its New York City office reduced water use by 20 percent and electricity use per square foot to 25 percent below what is required by local codes. Its parent company Heineken has reduced water use by its breweries around the world per unit of finished product by 5 percent in 2013. Heineken has also reduced carbon emissions by 26 percent.

Heineken’s global sustainability program, Brewing a Better Future, has four key areas of focus: advocating responsible consumption, reducing carbon dioxide emissions, conserving water resources and sourcing sustainably. To encourage responsible consumption among its employees, Heineken began a pilot program in 2013 that provided a few of its employees with Alcohoot, which connects to a smartphone and tells users how much alcohol they have consumed. It also links to the GPS in smartphones and can link to taxi apps so employees can find a safe way home. The device is now given to all of the company’s employees. In 2013, Heineken USA increased the amount of free rides offered to employees through its Safe Ride programs by 122 percent.

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