It’s the start of a long weekend here in the USA, in honor of Memorial Day. Our thoughts go out to everyone (soldiers and civilians alike) caught up in Iraq and elsewhere. From all of us here at 3P, have a great, safe weekend, and as always, give yourself a break and don’t work too hard, unless it’s at the BBQ. See you on Tuesday!
TriplePundit: Reporting on the Triple Bottom Line
What’s a major oil company to do when faced with an evolving market moving steadily toward a renewable energy future? While some oil companies might stick their heads in the sand (literally in the case of Alberta), farsighted companies might rebrand themselves as “energy” companies and begin large scale investments in non-oil based energy sources.
British Petroleum, now known as Beyond Petroleum is now one of the world’s largest producers of solar energy. Leading the way in a market that grew 40% last year, BP’s solar division is keeping the company viable and competitive as oil begins its inevitable decline. Full article on LOHAS journal.
Strategy+Business has a long article for your weekend reading on companies’ increasingly common practice of expressing ethically based corporate values. It’s a great thing on paper, but how much of it is really taken seriously and where is it headed? And what are broad, ethically minded values statements really based on?
Booz Allen Hamilton and the Aspen Institute conducted an international study to find out. The results conclude that there is generally a very positive correlation between having clear ethical codes writen into a company’s mission statement and being successful. The key seems to be whether or not management takes it seriously.
Full article available here.
Here’s something good to load up for your weekend. KQED’s Forum with Michael Krasny (San Francisco Public Radio) recently had a program on “green MBAs” – “the trend of teaching business students environmentally and socially sustainable business practices.” The program features guests from two sustainable MBA programs, Bainbridge and Presidio. It’s downloadable as a podcast here.
A new breed of business professional will enter the workforce after Presidio World College graduates its first class from the MBA program in Sustainable Management. Following two years of intensive, collaborative studies at the San Francisco-based school, the Class of 2005 will be awarded diplomas on Saturday, June 4, at the Presidio Golf Course & Clubhouse. George Lakoff, Ph.D., renowned speaker, best-selling author on progressive politics and linguistics professor at UC Berkeley, will deliver the commencement address.
Presidio joins Bainbridge Graduate Institute and New College of California in leading MBA education toward a more sustainable tommorow. (full press release on CSRWire)
Collecting rainwater, especially in dry climates, is a great way to reduce one’s water bill, and in some areas get better quality drinking water. Richard Heinichen of appropriately named Dripping Springs, TX had had enough with hard-water wells and decided to start collecting and filtering rainwater in barrels. Over the years this has led to a thriving business setting up rainwater harvesting systems in his local area as well as selling how-to books and videos. (see www.rainwater.org for more)
Backed by over 28% of ExxonMobil’s largest shareholders (Over $80 billion in market value), including the CalPERS and CalSTRS public pension funds in California, and the Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS), a resolution that the company’s board of directors undertake a comprehensive review on how it will meet the greenhouse gas reductions targets in countries participating in the Kyoto Protocol was requested yesterday.
According to Mindy S. Lubber, president of Ceres, a coalition of investors and environmental groups that has been coordinating shareholder filings with oil and gas companies:
Today’s vote sends a loud and clear message that shareholders want and deserve more action from ExxonMobil on the climate change issue, which will have significant long-term financial ramifications for the company and its investors.
Read Full Report in CSRwire.
Just found a great article from Jeffrey Immelt (GE CEO) and Jonathan Lash (WRI) from Saturday May 21st’s Washington Post. They say our (US’s) primary objective must be to revolutionize the way we produce and consume energy and that fundamental change will require three things:
1) The brainpower to develop new technology
2) A market that makes clean technologies profitable
3) A strong dose of American will.
They argue that we currently have 2 out of 3.
Read artcle without signing up via TRUTHOUT.org
Youth for Causes is a program by the YMCA of Singapore to support young people’s plans to create community programs and other charitable ventures. The organization was made possible with a sizable ‘investment’ from the Citigroup Foundation. It’s a great example of a simple corporate venture to positivly affect the community. (via Phatgnat)
From Alan Murry on the Wall Street Journal’s Opinion section (requires login):
What harm is there in companies taking more responsibility for social and environmental problems? Plenty, if you adhere to the theories of Adam Smith, argued more than 200 years ago that the general welfare was better served by people pursuing their enlightened self-interest than by misguided attempts to serve society. The 20th century proved his point: Profit-seeking corporations, constrained and buttressed by moderate government regulation and spending, did far more to increase the welfare of the world than a proliferation of “socially responsible” governments. And the 21st century is proving it yet again: China’s embrace of Adam Smith has yielded the greatest alleviation of poverty in history.
So, is Murray missing the point? Has truly free enterprise ever existed? Certainly not in China, I’d say. And even Adam Smith suggests that “moderate” regulation is a good thing, so why not promote proactive self-regulation?
(more discussion on Next Billion)
The Treasure America project, a unique one month initiative by MBA students and others to promote sound energy policy in the United States while preserving the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), is moving forward quickly. Meetings are being scheduled with community leaders in Kaktovik to discuss discuss economic, environmental, and social goals and strategies. For more information, visit the Treasure America website or download the latest press release [PDF Here].
Red Herring reports the US is sorely lacking in the ability to produce a viable market for renewable energy. The $50 Billion market is dominated by European and Asian concerns. Although activity in the US is growing, the country as a whole has great cultural leaps left to take before efficiency and the embrace of renewables truely reaches its full potential.
Estimates are that over 3/4 of all energy produced in China last year came from coal. Not only is China the world’s most populated country (1.25 billion people) but it is also the world’s fastest growing economy (9.5% increase in GDP for 2004). Put these two together, and that is a lot of coal being burned, with energy demands increasing in unison with the expanding economy.
Is there a cleaner solution? China has unveiled a strategy to make offshore wind farms a key part of its energy program within two or three decades. While this is certainly a step in the right direction, can the planet’s most populous nation afford the envrionmental taxation of two or three decades more of blistering growth fueled by coal?
This recent article in the Sunday Times is my favorite type: Another great, real world example of a small business reaping significant profits by taking proactive pro-environmental steps. The article credits standards programs like ISO 14001 with helping firms understand how to go about taking these steps as well as offering them a way to market themselves as “green”.
The EPA has given awards to seven student groups through an award program called “P3″, which stands for People, Prosperity and Planet (sound’s familiar!). The winners’ projects were exhibited on the National Mall last week. This type of program is a great way to get future leaders thinking about sustainabilty and better design, not to mention a showcase to the general public.