- When corporate executive change gossip spills outside the pages of financial pages of record and onto thousands of cell phones, something big and new is going on. Wouldn’t you know, the first big example has something to do with maintaining a company’s green image. See Vattenfall Wakes Up to VattenFAIL Reputation: Did Twitter Help Topple CEO? for discussion. Business significance: U2/C3
TriplePundit: Reporting on the Triple Bottom Line & Sustainable Business News
John Perkins, author of “Hoodwinked” and “Confessions of an Economic Hitman” says he had a hand in creating the current economic crisis. As an “Economic Hitman” his job was to promote corporate interests at the expense of anyone, anywhere; an unjust, untenable, and unsustainable practice he referred to as “Predatory Capitalism”. Speaking at the 2009 Net Impact Conference, he discussed this side of multi-national corporate behavior with a surprisingly positive outlook. According to Perkins we still have an opportunity to learn from the mistakes of predatory capitalism and turn the economy around.
Predatory Capitalism, according to Perkins, is a mutation of capitalism that comes about when the single focus of a corporation is to make profits – ie, an extreme adoption of Milton Friedman. In the predatory world, when profit making conflicts with the public interest, profit making wins no matter the cost or consequences to others. As an Economic Hitman, Perkin’s job was to find Third World countries with desirable resources. He would arrange large and seemingly attractive loans loans for infrastructure development contracted out to US corporations. These loans were much larger than needed and ultimately the country would be unable to pay back the debt. When the country could not make the required payments, the financing group would extort payment in the form of economic resources.Click to continue reading »
By Wes Muir, Director of Communications, Waste Management
Since November 15 is America Recycles Day, this is an appropriate time to take a step back and consider what we can be doing better for the planet. From a resource management perspective, the four Rs – reduce, reuse, recycle and recover – have long guided solutions for dealing with the abundance of waste produced on a daily basis.
Building on this principle, communities and neighborhoods around the U.S. have joined to support waste reduction by participating in curbside recycling programs that enable every person to have a positive impact on the environment. In turn, roughly 33 percent of paper and cardboard waste is recovered and processed in the United States, according to a 2007 report from the EPA.
You may be thinking, “Only 33 percent? Shouldn’t this rate be higher?” It should, and it can be.Click to continue reading »
Honest Tea‘s President and “TeaEO” Seth Goldman doesn’t think he’s sold out. During the closing keynote address at the 2009 Net Impact Conference today, Goldman explained his decision to allow Coca Cola to acquire 40% of Honest Tea by reassuring event goers that his commitment to producing a healthy, organic, less sweet drinks has not changed since the multinational became a majority player in his company. According to Goldman, the only thing that’s changed is that more people around the country have access to good iced tea.
When Goldman first started to make tea using thermal bottles and empty Snapple containers in 1998, he probably never thought that his home-grown business would be connected to Coca Cola, a producer of high fructose corn syrup drinks. From the beginning, Goldman wanted to produce a low-calorie, low-sugar, organic drink that was a healthy alternative to the high-sugar carbonated beverages already in the market.Click to continue reading »
When you hear the name Johnson & Johnson, you might think about baby oil, baby powder and band-aids–and not necessarily think of them as leaders in sustainability. At a speaker panel at the Net Impact Conference on Friday, several J&J company leaders spoke to how the company’s Credo is the backbone of its sustainability strategy and how they have avoided greenwashing as they implement their “Healthy Planet 2010 goals.”
During the talk, Al Iannuzzi, Senior Director of J&J’s Worldwide Environmental Health & Safety unit, told a story of his early days as an environmentalist in the 1970s who believed that “corporations are evil.” He resisted working for big corporations until he read J&J’s Credo–which upholds its responsibility to its employees, the environment and communities–and found an interesting job within the company. He’s been with J&J now for nearly 30 years and wants everyone to know how J&J is using business for good.Click to continue reading »
When Adam Werbach talks, people listen. And for good reason – his career track has been explosive, from being elected the youngest-ever President of the Sierra Club at age 23 to his more recent work with Walmart attempting to engage all 2 million or their Associates. Currently, he is the CEO of Saatchi & Saatchi S, the sustainability arm of Saatchi & Saatchi.
I listened to him speak today at the 2009 Net Impact Conference where he gave a fascinating set of guidelines and strategies for corporations and anyone interested in sustainability, loosely based on his new book, Strategy for Sustainability.
Adam holds the view that sustainability has not even begun yet (well, maybe just begun) and asserts that if we look back in history, we will call 2007 and 2008 perhaps the beginning of a new relationship forming between large corporations and their customers.Click to continue reading »
The first online Sustainable Brands Boot Camp produced by the folks at Sustainable Life Media who convene the annual Sustainable Brands Conference kicked off yesterday.
CEO KoAnn Vikoren Skrzyniarz recently spoke to one of the SB community members, Diane MacEachern, Founder and CEO of Big Green Purse about what drove the launch. We’ve published the whole interview below. The Boot Camp, which continues weekly for 13 weeks, pulls together many of the top sustainable business consultants and teachers in the US to provide an inexpensive, convenient 360 overview of the principles and current best practices of building a sustainable brand. 3P readers looking to boost their career would do well to consider participating.Click to continue reading »
One of the nice things about bankruptcy is that certain debts are forgiven and you get something of a clean slate. That may be fine in a strictly financial sense but when environmental externalities are concerned it may be playing fast and loose. General Motors, long criticized for being a laggard on many fronts, agreed some time ago to be a primary participant in a voluntary resource recovery program known as End-of-Life Vehicle Solutions (ELVS). One of the primary purposes of ELVS is to recover Mercury from automotive switches when vehicles are scrapped. A massive 39,000 pounds of the substance remains to be collected according to activist group Mercury Policy Project.
ELVS Has Not Left the Building, But He’s at the Door…Click to continue reading »
The Net Impact conference is as much about great speakers as it is about fortuitous encounters. Today at lunch I had the pleasure of sitting next to Peter Fyrkman of DripTech, a startup company aiming to tackle poverty by providing very cheap, easily scalable drip irrigation technology to small farmers around the world. Ever since I saw Paul Polak speak last year, the apparent ease by which one can bring a family out of poverty to something approaching a middle class lifestyle where education and other opportunities become reachable really struck me. With a small investment in better irrigation, a family can double or triple their agricultural output, feeding themselves and having enough left over to sell at a modest profit. In fact, Paul Polak is on the board of DripTech, inspiring Frykman to refer to the project as “Polak 2.0″.
Frykman told me: “There are 100s of Millions of small farmers suffering from the scarcity that need appropriate drip irrigation to thrive, current commercial products are too large and too expensive for them, it just can’t scale down…”
How does DripTech create a more affordable solution?Click to continue reading »
Net Impact chapter leaders from around the country kicked off the 2009 Net Impact Conference today to share best practices on how to successfully manage a social impact club that adds value to people’s lives and their communities. Many words of wisdom were imparted, especially about finding new ways to inspire member action and participation. If your city or school does not have a Net Impact chapter, keep reading because much of that advice can also be applied to various types of clubs and organizations.
eBay says this data center will showcase the best and most innovative thinking in green data center design, technology, construction and operation, and Triple Pundit asked Mazen Rawashdeh, VP Technology Operations, eBay Inc., to fill us in on all the details.
Triple Pundit: Does this new data center represent new capacity, or will it consolidate other eBay data centers?
Mazen Rawashdeh: The new center is being opened as part of a corporate-level, four-year data center consolidation strategy that is moving us from a handful of co-located data center facilities – largely space that we rent from data center providers – to space that we own and can manage to the highest standards in both cost and environmental efficiency. In short, it’s a consolidation strategy. Our business model is unique; we know the rhythms and availability requirements that are specific to eBay’s platform. By designing an environment for our data and compute power – both in terms of physical data center, hardware and software infrastructure that goes into it – we can innovate and manage it in the most efficient way possible. The facility in Utah will host the core technology that runs our business – including the eBay.com marketplace, PayPal and some of our adjacencies, including StubHub.com and Shopping.com.Click to continue reading »
Big brands move slowly. There’s a certain inevitability to that, as unfortunate as it sounds.
In the cleaning products arena we’ve often heaped well-deserved praise on our friends at Ecover, Seventh Generation, and Method. Larger companies, like Procter & Gamble get more reserved recognition but as most of our readers know, have the potential to make a much larger impact on reducing society’s overall footprint on the earth – if only they’d get moving. I had a chance to talk to Len Sauers, Vice President of Global Sustainability at P&G at last weekend’s Opportunity Green conference and the evidence of motion is stronger than I’d assumed.
Len was proud to tell me that P&G has been thinking about sustainability, at least in principal, for a long time. The company made corporate responsibility a core value as early as the 1860s and employs a staggering 700 people in its product safety department, many of whom have doctrine degrees in toxicology, as well as other impressive credentials. These folks have been focused largely on compliance, keeping the worst chemicals out of peoples’ bodies and the ecosystem, and looking at ways for the company to lower resource use and cost.
But things changed in late 2007 which led to a surge in innovation, the creation of new corporate roles focused on sustainability (Len’s job, in fact) and some big product changes resulting in substantial and measurable decreases in the corporate footprint. The prime catalyst – an energy audit leading to the introduction of Coldwater Tide.Click to continue reading »
Consumers increasingly want the ability to make informed decisions through a better understanding of the human health and environmental impacts of products, processes and activities. Though many products claim to be “green,” the inputs and outputs that comprise them aren’t always environmentally friendly. Suppliers are now demanding adherence to specific green standards and those companies that comply are realizing that reducing negative impacts on the environment can also lower manufacturing costs by conserving energy, water and raw materials.
For businesses interested in greening their existing product line or designing greener products from the start, let me introduce you to Sustainable Minds. Founded in 2007 and headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Sustainable Minds is a greener product design software and information company dedicated to bringing environmentally sustainable product design into the mainstream. Its impressive customer list includes Yakima, Whirlpool, Motorola, Pratt Institute and UCLA.Click to continue reading »
As the Green Business Conference wraps up its second and final day before giving way to the world’s largest green event (San Francisco’s Green Festival, also put on by Green America), Bryan Welch, Publisher and Editorial Director of Ogden Publications, lent his weight to the festivities, giving the keynote address. In it, he laid out four guiding principles for the new economy and how these questions can help us create a three dimensional vision for the future of business, species, and planet.
Welch’s resume is impressive. Ogden Publications publishes Utne Reader, Mother Earth News, Herb Companion, and Natural Home magazines.Click to continue reading »
As people around the world become more aware of the many environmental issues and challenges we face, finding products that are safe and healthy for our children and also environmentally friendly can be a daunting task.
Whether you are a new parent or seasoned grandparent, SproutBaby is much more than an online store. SproutBaby is a one-stop-shop for healthy, eco-friendly products. Founded by Jody Sherman and Balaji Gopinath, the social shopping site is committed to help parents make healthy and eco-conscious product choices. The family-friendly products, which include baby food, books, media, gentle mom and baby care items, are all researched, tested, reviewed and approved.Click to continue reading »