When it Comes to CSR, Tiffany’s Shines Bright

Leon Kaye | Tuesday August 5th, 2014 | 3 Comments
Tiffany and Co., jewelry, corporate social responsibility, CSR, diamonds, blood diamonds, Leon Kaye, environmental stewardship, precious metals, gemstones, transparency

Tiffany & Co. just released its latest CSR report.

A business that has existed since the 1830s and is entrenched in American culture would not necessarily feel compelled to ensure it is a leader in ethical and responsible business. But Tiffany & Co. has long been a sustainability leader within its sector. Twenty years before many luxury goods companies began to pay attention to the sourcing of raw materials and how people working within their supply chains were affected, Tiffany’s developed policies that are increasingly becoming more mainstream throughout the jewelry industry.

In its latest corporate social responsibility report, Tiffany & Co. outlines how it sources its precious metals, diamonds and gemstones, as well as the steps it has taken to ensure transparency while mitigating its environmental and social impacts.

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Survey Finds That U.S. Leads the World in Climate Denial

RP Siegel | Tuesday August 5th, 2014 | 28 Comments

4538083341_7ae99b218d_zThis may confirm suspicions that many of us have already had. Besides leading the world in consumer debt and military spending, the U.S. can now add climate denial to that list. That is, according to a Global Trends survey by the U.K.-based market research firm Ipsos MORI. The study polled 16,000 people in 20 leading countries on eight different topics, including the environment.

Not only was the U.S. last, but it was last by a considerable margin. Consider the following question: “To what extent do you agree or disagree, the climate change we are currently seeing is largely the result of human activity?” A mere 54 percent of respondents from the U.S. agreed. Compare that with 93 percent from China and 84 percent from both Argentina and Italy. India, France, Turkey, Spain, Brazil, Belgium, South Korea and South Africa all scored 75 percent or higher. Other similar questions yielded similar results. These results were in alignment was data compiled by Pew Research a year ago, which examined the issues that people in various countries considered the greatest threats.

Tied for second-to-last with 64 percent were Great Britain and Australia. What do these three English-speaking countries have in common? Among other things, global media holding company News Corporation, the world’s second-largest media conglomerate, owned by Rupert Murdoch. Canada, which is also blessed with Murdoch’s version of the news, was only slightly better, with 71 percent agreeing.

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PepsiCo and The Nature Conservancy Collaborate On Recycling, Drinking Water

| Tuesday August 5th, 2014 | 1 Comment

plasticwaste005Plastic waste is inundating urban, rural and wilderness landscapes and inland waterways, as well as our ocean waters. Besides the visual blight, plastic waste kills, seriously injures or damages wildlife and domesticated animals. The slow degradation of synthetic plastics, moreover, releases a mix of toxic chemicals into our atmosphere, land and waters, poisoning the natural ecosystems and resources that form the foundation of our economy and society.

The average American tosses away some 185 pounds of plastic per year, an estimated 50 percent of which is used only once before being discarded. Overall, the recycling rate for plastics in the U.S. is around 42 percent, a rate that public- and private-sector organizations are working to raise, both for self-serving, as well as more altruistic, motivations.

Late last week, PepsiCo and The Nature Conservancy (TNC) announced the launch of “Recycle for Nature,” a five-year partnership that will see the two organizations place recycling bins at gas stations and convenience stores across the U.S. In addition to reducing plastic waste by spurring more recycling, the initiative aims to save and restore 1 billion gallons per year of drinking water sourced from five of the most heavily populated and scenic U.S. waterways, PepsiCo and TNC explain in a press release.

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The Millennials Perspective on Impact Investing

3p Contributor | Tuesday August 5th, 2014 | 0 Comments

Editor’s Note: This post originally appeared in Green Money Journal. Click here to view more posts in this series.

Julius Tapper of TD Bank Group and four other millennial change-makers discuss their feelings about impact investing in a recent issue of GreenMoney.

Julius Tapper of TD Bank Group and four other millennial change-makers discuss their feelings about impact investing in a recent issue of Green Money.

By Cliff Feigenbaum

Green Money Journal‘s new issue has an impressive set of five articles that all come from millennial voices and deal with their approaches to investing and business.

In the July edition, Liesel Pritzker Simmons of Blue Haven Initiative walks us through the experiences that have shaped her thoughts on investing, while offering some suggestions for financial advisors;  Julius Tapper of TD Bank Group provides a personal story about the importance of aligning identities in the investment world;  Morgan Simon of Pi Investments & Transform Finance pushes us to achieve more community accountability and more actively engage the people that matter most in impact investing; Brian Weinberg of Nexus describes the global organizing of millennials taking place through Nexus; and Justin Conway of Calvert Foundation provide some observations of how millennials are already changing the investment conversation.

Take some time to read these article excerpts, below, from some millennial leaders who are actively pushing the envelope in helping to shape how not just millennials, but all of us, think about and engage in investing and business. We hope you find some of their perspectives exciting and challenging, and ultimately cause you to be more inspired in your work to build a better world. We’ve certainly got a lot of work to do together.

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Design, Equity and Public Health Outcomes

Sherrell Dorsey
| Tuesday August 5th, 2014 | 0 Comments

community design, smart growth, architecture, architecture public health, cdc, built environment, public health, thomas fisherCan good design improve the health of the public?

This is the question rattling the brains of architects and urban planners as they convene frequently at conferences to trade best practices on helping cities to recover from the sins of post-industrial buildings by leveraging design as a mitigating cure-all to detrimental health statistics plaguing communities around the world.

For Thomas Fisher, professor of architecture and dean of the University of Minnesota, design is capable of serving as a means through which we build healthier environments and influence healthy human behavior.

“It’s not just keeping people safe or meeting the building codes or fire codes, it is really a responsibility about keeping populations healthy,” Fisher told Fast Company.

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Bigger Fish Eye Mid-Tier Smart Energy Storage Market

| Tuesday August 5th, 2014 | 0 Comments

Sharp_Offices_310_233 Bigger fish are taking greater interest in the mid-tier energy storage market, looking to capitalize on technological advances and the introduction of energy storage mandates and development programs by governments in California, Hawaii, New York and Puerto Rico.

Following the path of entrepreneurial startups such as Santa Clara, California’s Green Charge Networks, Sharp Electronics on July 29 announced its SmartStorage solution is now available throughout the Golden State.

Akin to Green Charge’s GreenStation, Sharp’s SmartStorage system employs the latest in lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery storage technology and intelligent demand response (DR) software algorithms to enable commercial and industrial utility customers to better manage electricity consumption — specifically demand charges. In contrast to standard residential rates, which have been falling, utility demand charges have been rising at some 10 percent per year.

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Kimberly-Clark & Greenpeace: #ForestSolutions Twitter Chat Recap

Marissa Rosen
| Tuesday August 5th, 2014 | 0 Comments

Five years ago, Kimberly-Clark and Greenpeace established a framework for collaboration to work positively toward long-term solutions to conserve and protect forest resources worldwide. Appropriately marking the traditional “wood” anniversary, K-C and Greenpeace hosted a first-of-its-kind Twitter chat on August 5th, 2014, to discuss progress and future goals.

The chat covered topics such as how K-C and Greenpeace resolved their differences five years ago, what they’ve achieved since, how their relationship thrives, and where the two are moving next.

Twitter chat guests included:

  • Peggy Ward (@PeggyatKC), Kimberly-Clark’s sustainability strategy leader for North America consumer tissue
  • Richard Brooks (@RBGreenpeace), forest campaign coordinator for Greenpeace Canada
  • Rolf Skar (@RolfSkarGP), forest campaign director for Greenpeace USA

Facilitators were Journalist and Social Media Strategist, Aman Singh (@AmanSinghCSR), and TriplePundit Founder and Publisher, Nick Aster (@NickAster).

The conversation took place at #ForestSolutions. In case you missed it, the Storify Twitter Chat summary is below. 

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Tesla and Panasonic Agree to Build Battery Gigafactory

Leon Kaye | Monday August 4th, 2014 | 2 Comments
Tesla Motors, Panasonic, gigafactory, Leon Kaye, lithium ion batteries, Elon Musk, Reno, battery technology

Tesla will partner with Panasonic to build the world’s largest battery factory.

Two companies, one long a leader in battery manufacturing, the other an upstart disrupting the entire industry, have agreed to work together and build a large-scale battery factory in the United States. Late last week Panasonic and Tesla Motors inked an agreement that outlines a framework for building what Tesla has called the “Gigafactory.”

This latest partnership builds upon the relationship the Japanese electronics giant and Silicon Valley luxury electric vehicle maker have long fostered. Panasonic invested millions of dollars in Tesla earlier this decade in a bid to accelerate the expansion of electric vehicles in the marketplace, and the company also became one of the car manufacturer’s most important suppliers of lithium-ion batteries.

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UPS Sustainability Report Proves It: Carbon Management is Good Business

| Monday August 4th, 2014 | 0 Comments

UPS sustainabilityThe new UPS sustainability report has come out and so has the company’s latest financial report. That coincidence provides an opportunity to take a closer look at the strategies that mature companies can enlist to maintain profitability while juggling two colossal new challenges to their business model: the demands of an increasingly carbon-constrained economy and the emergence of significant new market forces enabled by online technology.

The financial report makes it clear that UPS has recognized that new online shopping trends demand new investments. The shipping giant was overwhelmed by a rush of online orders last holiday season, and it is determined to step up its game this year with a $175 million stake in new sorting infrastructure and software improvements.

That investment resulted in a short-term hit on profitability, but UPS is confident that it will pay off in the long run. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the company’s new ‘Committed to More’ sustainability report.

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Wikileaks Targets Australia with New Leak and More Controversy

Jan Lee
Jan Lee | Monday August 4th, 2014 | 0 Comments

Wikileaks_logo.svgJust when we started to forget about Wikileaks and its founder Julian Assange, the activist organization is back in the news. This time it isn’t the covert tactics of the National Security Agency, Guantanamo prisoners or the touchy nature of the federal government’s overseas relations that Wikileaks is fingering, but the Australian government.

On Tuesday Wikileaks released information about a gag order that prevented Australia’s media from informing the public about investigations into a multi-national graft case. In addition to publishing the information on its website, Wikileaks also released notice of the gag order to the Guardian in the U.K.

According to the Guardian, the Supreme Court of Victoria said it placed the ban “to prevent damage to Australia’s international relations.” What has critics particularly concerned, however, is the nature of the gag order, which prevents Australian media from even acknowledging that there is a ban in place.

“Who is brokering our deals, and how are we brokering them as a nation? Corruption investigations and secret gag orders for ‘national security’ reasons are strange bedfellows,” asserts Wikileaks.

According to its website, the gag order relates to the “secret 19 June 2014 indictment of seven senior executives from subsidiaries of Australia’s central bank, the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA).” Those indictments and the ongoing investigations are linked to a scandal that surfaced in 2012  concerning alleged payments between RBA staff and government officials in Asia.

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H&M, The World’s Largest Organic Cotton User: Better Enough?

Leon Kaye | Monday August 4th, 2014 | 0 Comments
HM, organic cotton, cotton, fashion, Leon Kaye, better cotton initiative, organic, textile exchange,

Can organic cotton make a difference? H&M seems to think so.

Its clothes are still largely manufactured under dubious conditions in Bangladesh, and many critics doubt the company’s commitment to sustainable apparel, but H&M can claim again one top ranking: the world’s largest procurer of organic cotton. When considering the company’s massive impact across the globe, however, the reaction of many will only be yawns. And with the amount of land worldwide devoted to producing materials for the textile and fashion industry, will a growing sliver of this total now certified “organic” really make a difference for people and the environment?

According to the Textile Exchange’s most recent Organic Cotton Market Report 2013, H&M has reemerged as No. 1 in its annual business rankings of worldwide organic cotton buyers. H&M had topped the list in 2010 and 2011, only to fall to second in 2012. The increased proportion of organic cotton H&M had sourced was largely the result of this jump — according to the company, the share of cotton coming from organic sources rose from 7.8 percent in 2012 to 10.8 percent last year. But with the decade about halfway finished, it is doubtful H&M can meet one of its most important sustainability goals.

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5 Things Every Social Entrepreneur Should Know Before Hitting the Launch Button

3p Conferences
| Monday August 4th, 2014 | 1 Comment
Lauren Walters of Two Degrees Food

Lauren Walters of Two Degrees Food doing his best to help undernourished children.

By Julian Fishman

I had the pleasure of hearing some of the Bay Area’s most innovative social entrepreneurs share their stories and peer into the future at the recent Idea People: Thinking for Good event held at the SFJazz Center in San Francisco.

The event was curated by Five Thot, a forward thinking design and event organization that encourages people to imagine the world as it could be, rather than as it is today. As a shout-out to Five Thot, here are five themes that will help big thinkers and dreamers get their ideas off the ground:

1. Problem + Passion = Opportunity

The vast majority of the entrepreneurs on show took an unconventional path to arrive at the helm of their social enterprise. IndoSole’s founder, Kyle Parsons, spent his teens working in a recycling center with the occasional surfing trip to Bali. Kiva’s founder Matt Flannery was inspired by Mohamed Yunus to search for a more impactful job and found himself giving up the corporate world for microfinance in Uganda. Lauren Walters (pictured), founder of 2 Degrees Food, witnessed first-hand the extreme malnourishment of Rwandan children at a time when Tom’s Shoes’ ‘one for one’ business model was starting to gain traction.

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Human Values and CSR: Love, Compassion, Empathy and Altruism

3p Contributor | Monday August 4th, 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

Chase Tower, Chicago.

Chase Tower, Chicago.

By Donald J. Munro

The human values of love and compassion, empathy and altruism emerge first in the bond between care-giver and infant. Later, the emotions associated with these values extend to other kin, friends, and then, often, to one’s community. They help hold these groups together.

Biologist E.O. Wilson says” “Among the traits with documented heritability, the closest to moral aptitude are empathy to the distress of others and … [the] attachment between infants and their caregivers” [Consilience 1998, 253]. In these relationships, love may motivate acts of altruism. Wilson notes that, “Kin selection is especially important in the origin of altruistic behavior.” Kin selection means we are more likely to help our blood relatives than those not related to us, favoring their ability to have babies and survive, even at a cost to our own survival.

Such altruistic behavior can solidify community relations. As sympathy or empathy, this emotion involves seeing things from the point of view of another person, especially someone whose well-being is linked to ours. Mirror neurons help us judge how others are thinking or feeling. So the emotion begins in the family and as the person matures, expands beyond it. Biologists and psychologists have repeatedly discovered through their research that empathy and compassion derive at least in part from our basic human biology. At the same time, they have deep roots in classical Chinese Confucian (Mencian) ethics. Mencius (4th century BCE) said that “The heart/mind of compassion is possessed by all men,” along with the heart of shame and of respect (see next blog, on Respect or Dignity/Avoidance of Shame) [Mencius vi.A. 6] The Analects of Confucius said that “Filiality towards parents is the root of the humane treatment of others.”

So bonding with friends and others has some roots in our family love; those bonds result in our having empathy for both family and friends, and ultimately our community. Corporations do not experience compassion or empathy; people do.

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Enertia Homes Mimic Earth’s Atmosphere for Ultra Energy Efficiency

Sarah Lozanova | Monday August 4th, 2014 | 0 Comments

energy efficient houseMimicking the Earth’s atmosphere and its ability to capture and store heat, Enertia homes have an outer and inner shell to boost energy efficiency and comfort. The inner shell, containing the living room, bedrooms, bathrooms, dining room and kitchen, remains at a relatively constant temperature despite fluctuations in outdoor temperatures and conditions. Mimicking the trade winds, the outer shell circulates air between the basement and the attic, which are connected through a sunroom in the outer shell.

In the summer, when the angle of the sun is higher in the sky, the sun heats up the air in the attic. The vent releases the hot air, which causes cold air to enter through the north basement windows.

These homes are designed by Michael Sykes, an engineer and founder of Enertia Building Systems, a company based in Youngsville, North Carolina. “People inside are getting their warmth, not from hot air, which would be stifling, but you’re getting your warmth from warm floors and walls, so you can actually tolerate a cooler house and still be comfortable,” he says.

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J.M. Smuckers Commits To a Sustainable and Traceable Palm Oil Supply Chain

Gina-Marie Cheeseman
| Monday August 4th, 2014 | 1 Comment

SmuckersJ.M. Smucker recently updated its policy on palm oil sourcing, the company explained in its 2014 corporate social responsibility report.

Smucker’s latest CSR report states that the company is committed to developing a “fully sustainable and traceable palm oil supply chain.” It set a target that palm oil purchases will come from “responsible and sustainable sources” by December 2015. In 2012, Smuckers began buying palm oil from Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) certified sources, and received RSPO certification in January 2013.

As a result of the new policy, a shareholder proposal filed by Clean Yield Asset Management and Green Century Capital Management was withdrawn. The food producer is currently valued at $10.8 billion in market capitalization. Its brands include Smuckers’ jams and jellies, Jif peanut butter, Crisco, Folger and Dunkin’ Donuts.

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