Voices of Influence: Original and Guest Blog Posts from Around the World

These blogs provide insight into the latest issues, challenges, advances and debate around CSR and sustainability. Original and guest blog posts highlight differing perspectives and context.

3BL Blog

Critical Thinking & Social Entrepreneurship: A Harvard Graduate On a Financial Mission

One of the greatest challenges for the upcoming generation of leaders, active citizens, and responsible adults is to figure out ways to reclaim balanced lifestyles from a contrived system of over-consumption and credit card debt. Luckily, this generation is equipped with visionary and innovative solution-making skills that combine contemporary thought and respect for time-tested wisdom. The result: quirky, out-of-the-box thinking that just might help society kick some nasty habits.

Innovators realize the power of entertaining, individually-empowering yet educational technologies...

FAQs From Business Executives Re: Financial Giving to Nonprofit Boards - Part II

"I'm okay with giving money to a nonprofit that I care about, but do I have to ask friends and colleagues for money if I serve on a nonprofit board?" That's another question that many business executives ask me when I interview them in preparation for conducting board trainings.

This post, with FAQs 6 - 12, follows Part I where you can find the first 5 FAQs and my responses.

6. Must I ask friends and...

FAQs From Business Executives Re: Financial Giving to Nonprofit Boards - Part I

"How much will be expected of me financially?" asked Greg. I was interviewing him in preparation for a national board training session for business executives who would be joining nonprofit boards.

Here's my response to Greg in addition to 4 more FAQs that business people ask me related to contributions and fundraising. Look for Part II next week for the remaining FAQs on this topic.

1. What does "give/get" mean?
The "give/get" is the combination of what you contribute financially and what you fundraise from others.

2. What's an...

Echoes of Bhopal in BP

“Business started long centuries before the dawn of history, but business as we now know it is new – new in its broadening scope, new in its social significance.  Business has not learned how to handle these changes, nor does it recognize the magnitude of its responsibilities for the future of civilization.”

        Wallace Donham, Dean of Harvard Business School – 1929

I love this quote.  Sadly, it rings as true today as it did 80 years ago.  Business had not yet learned how to handle the changes that were happening then in...

Dodd-Frank: Hell Hath No Fury Like a Lobbyist Scorned

At the Global Leaders Summit last week, an octogenarian economics professor from a Southern German university asked, “But will it be enough?” He was referring to the financial reform agreement reached in Congress and passed by the House this week that President Obama calls “historic.”

There have been quite a few references to history lately by self-congratulating politicians. Is the exemption stuffed financial reform bill of 2010 really a history-making event comparable to Great Depression reforms? As the seasoned professor asked, will it be enough to rein in an out-of-...

Academics Push for Sustainability, But do They Live and Work It?

Attend a sustainability-themed conference or peruse through the web, and you will hear from academics who urge for companies to be more transparent in their business practices.  Much of the debate over issues like climate change, greenhouse gas emissions, and what happened to global financial markets is due to the research and hard work of university academics.  For that enormous body of work, we should be thankful.  Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is a hot topic now, especially after a certain spill in the Gulf.  And corporations’ behavior in the past has spurred this interest....

How To Make Your Business Successful For FREE: Lessons From Nonprofits

Your company is slashing its budget and reducing staff. Nonetheless, you want to enhance your brand and motivate your employees. Look no further than the nonprofit sector for solutions. And, best of all, Nancy Lublin has pulled all the best answers together in "Zilch: The Power of Zero in Business." Lublin is the CEO of DO Something and the...

Who Really Wins by Lifting the Oil Drilling Moratorium?

As I watch the news, I’m hearing both sides of debate regarding the deepwater, offshore drilling moratorium, which was sparked by the BP disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. The Obama Administration believes it is critical to “push the pause button” for six months until a full investigation is completed. The president wants to hear a national panel’s recommendations to improve worker safety and environmental protections on oil rigs before the he lifts the...

Survey: CEOs See Sustainability Shifting From Discretionary Choice to Corporate Priority

In Good Company debuted a little over a year ago with a broad focus in mind: To track how corporate responsibility and sustainability evolves at companies and explore how they along with academic institutions react to increasing demand for accountability and transparency in the marketplace. Along the way, we also hoped to analyze and throw some perspective on how all this plays out for graduating students, for mid-career professionals and...

Sometimes We Forget

Sometimes, I think we forget what we're talking about when it comes to the sustainability movement. Even the ardent professionals among us who try everyday to help the world's people consume a little less or those trying to make the products and services that can create a better, more resourceful world, even the most globally conscious among us...they too sometimes forget what it is we're really talking about when we say "sustainability."

We're not talking about anything less than the advancement of human civilization. I know that sounds a little ridiculous, but it's absolutely true. I would never pretend to know what political turmoil will come next or what piece of art will move the culture.  But I do know none of that advancement will take place without a powerful movement toward sustainability. There are simply more and more people on the planet competeing for the same number of resources. So if we do not rapidly change the way people consume and create those resources, we will not advance as a global civilization. Everything we do as modern people consumes energy: moving from place to place, writing our next piece of research, listening to music. Every bit of that requires energy and we don't know where we're going to get it all.

Buildings are no small part of that struggle. When taken together all sectors of existing buildings use 48% of the energy consumed in America, according to the folks at Architecture 2030. So the built environment is half of the energy crisis, half of the problem. As building professionals, when we tackle a problem like that--a problem so large--we aren't just making things better for our client, we are advancing civilization.