eBay Delivers on 2013 Social Innovation Goals

Sherrell Dorsey
| Friday July 4th, 2014 | 1 Comment

Ebay, ebay social responsibility, ebay social innovation annual update, ebay environmental commitment, ebay environmental sustainability, ebay charity, ebay social good, ebay social enterprise, social enterprise, ebay charitable giving, Lauren Moore ebayeBay Inc. is proving to be a company that delivers on its promises. With more than 33,000 employees worldwide, the e-commerce giant isn’t naïve about its two-decade span of influence on both society and the global economy. In its very first Social Innovation annual update, eBay Inc. successfully demonstrated its commitment following a series of goals set last June to fuel shareholder value and pursue a three-year, long-term series of objectives to create positive societal and environmental change.

“We’ve long believed in eBay Inc.’s capacity to drive both shareholder value and positive social and environmental change—it’s not just off to the side, it’s built into what we do every day,” said Lauren Moore, head of Global Social Innovation for eBay Inc. “Our Social Innovation efforts formalize this sense of purpose that’s been here from the start and provide a framework to understand our impact. And as shareholder value is increasingly measured in more ways than just purely financial gain, we believe our Social Innovation efforts will continue to position us for sustainable growth over the short and long term.”

eBay Inc.’s annual update is guided by three key focus areas — creating economic opportunity, enabling greener commerce and powering charitable giving — and demonstratively connects each to the crux of its business goals.

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Transparency and Certification: The Yin and Yang of Sustainability

3p Contributor | Thursday July 3rd, 2014 | 6 Comments

ul-environment-logoBy Scot Case

Tastes great. Less filling. Tastes great. Less filling. Like the beer advertising campaign that ran for more than 30 years, manufacturers of greener products are debating whether customers want them to “label the greener products” or “share the eco-data.”

Label the greener products

Some manufacturers believe that their customers want a respected third-party label to identify the greener products. The label identifies the product as “greener” than others because it has specific environmental features or because it meets an environmental leadership standard.

Manufacturers are working with independent third-parties to validate specific environmental claims such as minimum recycled-content percentages, energy efficiency or water efficiency claims, indoor air quality emissions or bio-based content claims.

They are also using labels to make broader environmental or human health leadership claims by certifying products to environmental leadership standards like UL’s GREENGUARD and ECOLOGO, Green Seal, IEEE1680, or others.

The advantage of the “label the greener products” approach is that it is a simple, effective way to communicate a customer-facing environmental message. It does not require customers to spend time determining for themselves what defines a greener product. All a customer needs to do is look for products with a respected “green” label.

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Scientists Call for Holistic Tropical Coastal Zone Management

| Thursday July 3rd, 2014 | 0 Comments

tropics-climate-shutterstock_128154149-617x416More than 1.3 billion people worldwide – most in developing countries – depend largely on coastal marine zones them for food and livelihoods. These zones face declining health and productivity from pollution, overfishing and a myriad of other issues.

New regional-scale, science-driven approaches to governance of coastal marine zones need to be implemented in order to address the declining health and productivity of tropical coastal waters, according to a group of leading environmental and marine scientists.

Writing in the Marine Pollution Bulletin, 24 scientists from Canada, the U.S., the U.K., China, Australia, New Caledonia, Sweden and Kenya on July 2 called on governments and societies “to introduce and enforce use zoning efforts of Earth’s coastal ocean waters, mirroring approaches commonly used to manage and protect land resources.”

“[O]ne fifth of humanity — mostly in developing countries — lives within 100 km (62.5 miles) of a tropical coastline. Growing populations and worsening climate change impacts ensure that pressures on tropical coastal waters will only grow,” they warn.

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Indy Motor Speedway Completes World’s Largest Sports Solar Farm

| Thursday July 3rd, 2014 | 0 Comments

indy500logoRacing is a longstanding and hugely popular spring and summer tradition in the U.S. And when it comes to car racing events, they don’t get any bigger than the Indianapolis 500. The world’s largest single-day spectator sporting event, the Indy 500 covers 500 miles – 200 laps on the world famous Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s 2.5-mile oval.

Built for speed and getting a whopping 3 miles per gallon, Indy racing cars conjure up what the American Chemical Society referred to as “images of gas-guzzling, pollution-belching environmental menaces” – not exactly “in tune” with a nationwide clean energy and energy efficiency drive.

As it turns out, the ethanol blends now being used in Indy race cars actually make their emissions cleaner than those of the cars Americans drive every day, however. That’s not all the organizers of the Indy 500 are doing to clean up their energy act.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony on July 1 marked the opening of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) Solar Farm. Consisting of 39,312 solar photovoltaic (PV) panels ground-mounted along an under-utilized portion of the 1,000-acre campus, the 9-megawatt (MW) PV installation is the largest solar farm at any sporting facility in the world, according to an IMS press release.

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Airline Industry Shaves Weight to Save Money

RP Siegel | Thursday July 3rd, 2014 | 2 Comments

virgin 10 We don’t often associate airplanes with low-hanging fruit. I mean, it might just be the worst metaphor one could imagine. After all, planes spend a lot of time entirely out of reach. But when it comes to finding ways to save fuel and reduce carbon emissions, there’s lots of low hanging fruit.

The automobile industry has invested billions reducing the weight of their cars to reduce fuel consumption and they don’t even have to lift them off the ground. So it’s no surprise to hear that airlines are saving millions by reducing weight. What’s surprising is that they haven’t done more of that sooner.

The opportunity is enormous. Researchers at MIT estimate that that cost of each passenger carrying a cellphone costs Southwest Airlines $1.2 million annually in weight-related fuel expenses. That number jumps to $21.6 million if the cellphone is replaced by a laptop. Other pundits have pointed out that if every passenger used the bathroom before boarding the plane, it could save the airline millions. This caused budget airline Ryanair to consider charging passengers to use the bathrooms in flight (to encourage them to plan ahead).

Virgin Atlantic estimates that shaving even a single pound off all the planes in their fleet would save them 14,000 gallons of fuel per year. The airline has redesigned its meal trays, an exercise that was originally intended to improve the customer dining experience. Turns out they could fit more of the smaller, lighter trays on each meal cart, which means fewer meal carts per plane. The net result is close to a 300-pound weight loss. It’s a great example of the kind of rewards that creative thinking, and a willingness to think outside the box, can bring.

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Heartbleed Continues to Threaten Internet Security and Consumer Trust

Sarah Lozanova | Wednesday July 2nd, 2014 | 1 Comment

Heartbleed threatWhen news of the OpenSSL Heartbleed vulnerability was announced to the public, its risk dominated the press. This infamous security vulnerability allows hackers to intercept communications and obtain information from vulnerable servers. OpenSSL is used for countless services, including Web servers, mobile applications, operating systems, routers and email clients. Articles quickly spread across the Internet with recommendations — some of which were counterproductive — yet many users took no action at all to protect sensitive information.

“This is a serious vulnerability,” wrote Forbes cybersecurity columnist Joseph Steinberg about Heartbleed. “Some might argue that it is the worst vulnerability found (at least in terms of its potential impact) since commercial traffic began to flow on the Internet.”

Consumers trust banks, retail stores and communications companies with personal information, including phone, credit card and social security numbers. Despite a couple of months passing since Heartbleed was announced, the bug continues to haunt consumer, technology firms and corporations alike. Consumer trust was severely violated during this security debacle, as judged by the overwhelmingly negative sentiment shared online Heartbleed immediately after the breech was announced. Companies need to rebuild trust and educate consumers to protect their data — but some are responding with ambivalence and inaction, the opposite of what is needed.

A study by Errata Security found 309,197 servers were still vulnerable (down from 600,000 in April), some of them critical. “This indicates people have stopped even trying to patch,” says Robert Graham, Errata’s owner. “We should see a slow decrease over the next decade as older systems are slowly replaced. Even a decade from now, though, I still expect to find thousands of systems, including critical ones, still vulnerable.”

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From Coffee and Tea to Fish in the Sea: A New Frontier of Fair Trade

Fair Trade USA | Wednesday July 2nd, 2014 | 0 Comments
A Fair Trade fishing village in Indonesia.

A Fair Trade fishing village in Indonesia.

By Maya Spaull

All too often the news reports about marine species are grim: We read about declining fish stocks, illegal and unregulated fishing and the increasing degradation of coral reefs. Why is this happening? What factors motivate fishing practices that create such harmful outcomes to our precious marine resources?

Fishermen are often on the losing end of global trade, facing low market prices and lack of tools to improve resource management. Fair Trade USA believes there is a missing piece to this complex, yet critically important and ever-evolving puzzle – that we cannot have truly sustainable seafood unless we make sustainable livelihoods for fishing communities a top priority. We believe that Fair Trade can be part of a larger effort to make wild-caught seafood better for people and planet.

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Detroit Water and Sewage Department Issues Shut-Off Notices to 46,000

Lauren Zanolli
| Wednesday July 2nd, 2014 | 13 Comments

running waterIs access to clean water a fundamental human right? According to the United Nations’ Declaration of Human Rights, not exactly. But if you ask George McGraw, the founder and executive director of the DIGDEEP Right to Water Project, the answer is a resounding ‘yes.’

The goal of McGraw, who is also an international human rights lawyer, and DIGDEEP is not just to increase access to clean water or educate people about water issues, but also to fundamentally change the way we think about water — starting at home.

“When it comes to water it is really easy to silo people into groups, to treat other people as beneficiaries and see ourselves as donors,” McGraw told Triple Pundit after speaking at the Ford Trends conference in Detroit last week. “As a human rights organization, we really try to break down those barriers and get people to think about these issues differently.”

Our conversation was especially timely — as we talked next to an indoor fountain at a pricey hotel, thousands of homes in the city outside were without running water. Starting in March, the Detroit Water and Sewage Department (DWSD) sent out shut-off notices to 46,000 homes for overdue bills, arguing that people can afford to pay, but refuse.

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Former BP CEO Makes the Business Case for LGBT Equality

Alexis Petru
| Wednesday July 2nd, 2014 | 13 Comments

LGBT Rainbow FlagA few years before Tony Hayward resigned as head of BP after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the previous BP CEO, John Browne, was forced to bow out from the company over a much different scandal: He was outed as gay by a British tabloid. Now the former executive has written a book about his experience, “The Glass Closet: Why Coming Out Is Good Business,” and is advocating for the rights of gays and lesbians in the workplace.

Released in May, “The Glass Closet” details Browne’s double life as a CEO and a closeted gay man and tells the stories of other gay and lesbian professionals coming out at work. The book concludes with an open letter to CEOs about why promoting an inclusive environment for LGBT employees isn’t solely a civil rights issue or moral imperative for companies – it’s a smart business decision.

“Inclusion creates a level playing field, which allows the best talent to rise to the top,” Browne writes, in a book excerpt published in Fast Company.

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Ford and the Sustainability of the Family Legacy

| Wednesday July 2nd, 2014 | 3 Comments

1912-Ford-Model-T_thumb2My grandfather worked as a plant manager at Ford Motor Co. for 34 years. When I ask him about his experience, he does not refer to Ford as a company, but as a family. Since his retirement, Ford has remained an important part of our own family. F-150s have served as the toolbox for our family farm for years. Ford minivans have transported us on exciting journeys to faraway destinations, albeit fraught with epic battles between siblings in the backseat. I learned how to drive behind the wheel of a Ford and emerged unharmed from a Ford following a nasty collision. My family has never purchased a vehicle that wasn’t a Ford. I would venture to say that Ford has left a far greater influence on the lives of my family and I than any large corporation in the world.

As I toured the factories in Dearborn, Michigan during last week’s annual Ford Trends Conference, I listened to today’s employees echo my grandfather’s talk of the Ford family. The same employees glowed with pride about the recent announcement of Ford’s No. 1 ranking on Interbrand and Deloitte’s Annual Best Global Green Brands list.

Throughout the conference, I couldn’t help but ponder the intersection of these two sentiments. What does family have to do with a company’s commitment to sustainability? The answers are probably most obvious in smaller, family-owned companies. However, I might argue that many of our most recognizable brands represent even more powerful testaments to sustainability of the family legacy through cultures that endure for generations despite the added pressures of public ownership and attention.

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Global Ocean Commission Charts Course for High Seas Recovery

| Wednesday July 2nd, 2014 | 1 Comment

GarbageShoreCovering nearly 75 percent of the Earth’s surface, the ocean is the single largest ecosystem on the planet. From influencing weather patterns and climate trends and providing food, essential nutrition, livelihoods and recreation for billions to supplying the oxygen we breathe, it’s difficult to overestimate the influence of the ocean on the development, evolution and maintenance of life and human civilization.

Unfortunately, the health of the global ocean is in decline. “Habitat destruction, biodiversity loss, overfishing, pollution, climate change and ocean acidification are pushing the ocean system to the point of collapse,” according to an introductory letter from the co-chairs of the Global Ocean Commission.

“Governance is woefully inadequate, and on the high seas, anarchy rules the waves. Technological advance, combined with a lack of regulation, is widening the gap between rich and poor as those countries that can, exploit dwindling resources while those that can’t experience the consequences of those actions. Regional stability, food security, climate resilience, and our children’s future are all under threat.”

In “From Decline to Recovery: A Rescue Package for the Global Ocean,” the Global Ocean Commission Report 2014 puts forth a package of eight proposals that it believes can turn the tide and reverse the degradation of the global ocean within the next decade. That’s if the proposals are “expeditiously acted upon,” which is why the commission is also issuing “Mission Ocean,” a call to action for public and private sector leaders and concerned individuals the world over.

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Moringa Bar Startup Nets $350,000 in Funding

Mike Hower
| Wednesday July 2nd, 2014 | 1 Comment

Screen Shot 2014-07-01 at 12.01.33 AMKuli Kuli, which makes moringa “superfood” nutrition bars, recently raised $350,000 in a seed round of funding.

The campaign through investor sourcing site AgFunder brought in several notable investors, including Brad Feld of the Foundry Group, five-time CEO and former venture capitalist Derek Proudian, and Mary Waldner of the recently-acquired food company Mary’s Gone Crackers.

Following the passage of the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act in 2012, companies such as Kuli Kuli now have been able to publicly advertise fundraising and accept investment from accredited investors through sites like AgFunder. While the latest round of funding comes from accredited investors, Kuli Kuli has previously leaned heavily on the crowd to finance its growth.

In May 2013, Kuli Kuli raised more than $50,000 on Indiegogo, which became one of the highest-grossing crowdfunding food campaigns of all time. Since then, the company also has received a $25,000 grant from online votes and a $5,000 loan from Kiva lenders.

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How to Make Your Home Smart and Energy Efficient

3p Contributor | Wednesday July 2nd, 2014 | 0 Comments

syn devicesBy Jessica Oaks

You may not realize it, but at this very moment, you’re probably wasting electricity. Don’t feel too bad though; the fact of the matter is, most people are using more electricity than they need. The home is filled with electronic devices, and keeping track of them all can be a real hassle. Most of us tend not to think about it. After all, what damage can possibly be done by leaving the lights on in a room or setting the thermostat a couple of degrees cooler? Well, more than you probably think.

When it comes to electrical usage, one should think of the age-old economic theory, the Tragedy of the Commons. The principle is simple: Individuals acting rationally and in their own self-interest can actually act against the best interests of the group, by wasting a common resource needed by the collective whole. You may not believe that you’re using an exorbitant amount of electricity, but over time, this usage adds up. And this usage burdens the electrical grid and increases your spending. Thankfully, by being conscious of this fact, you can make changes that benefit your wallet, and the community as well.

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How Business Leaders Can Drive Seafood Supply Chains Toward Sustainability

3p Contributor | Tuesday July 1st, 2014 | 1 Comment

13703828353_fa2d9709f3_zBy Cheryl Dahle

In the last 10 years we’ve seen 25 of the top U.S. retailers make commitments to purchasing sustainable seafood. We’ve seen a lot less traction and follow-through on those commitments. The fact remains that there is not enough responsible fish — whether you define that as Marine Stewardship Council certified, Monterey Bay Aquarium green-listed, or some other eco-label — to satisfy current demand for fish. As a result, many companies are defaulting on their promised timelines, or disguising a lot of questionable fish purchases from farms that are certified or in the process of being certified. As you might guess, the loophole in that bolded phrase is big enough to pilot a commercial trawler through it.

The truth is that leading companies could be doing a lot more to drive supply chains in the right direction other than just committing to buy better fish. Here’s a short list of ways that next generation leaders are engaging:

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LinkedIn, VolunteerMatch Team Up to Connect Nonprofits with Volunteers

Alexis Petru
| Tuesday July 1st, 2014 | 0 Comments

VolunteerMatch logoJust like private companies, nonprofit organizations are in need of talent: There are approximately 2 million nonprofit board member seats that need to be filled each year, and over 90 percent of nonprofit organizations say they would like to use skilled volunteers to help them carry out their mission, according to LinkedIn. And individuals are hungry to offer their services – from students hoping to build their resumes, professionals who want to give back to retirees and stay-at-home parents looking to keep their skills fresh.

But how can these nonprofits seeking skilled volunteers and individuals with just the right expertise find each other? LinkedIn and volunteer engagement network VolunteerMatch aim to solve this challenge, announcing last month that the two organizations will partner to make it easier for nonprofits to successfully recruit experienced volunteers and board members.

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