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

Sustainability, Carbon Sequestration, and the Bottom Line

Abstract. By burning fossil fuels we have put 3.6 trillion tons of Carbon Dioxide, CO2 in the atmosphere in the last 200 years – most in the last 60. This has changed the concentration of atmospheric CO2 from 250 parts per Million, ppm, to 390 ppm, an increase of approximately 35.9%. This increase of atmospheric CO2 is resulting in changing precipitation and rising temperatures, particularly at the poles and farther away from the equator.

The typical modern reductionist approach is to simplify the problem to develop a solution:
“Burning coal, oil, and natural gas puts CO2 into the atmosphere. All we need to do to solve the problem is modify the machines so they burn fossil fuel without releasing CO2 into the atmosphere. How do we do that? We should capture the carbon dioxide, and the arsenic, mercury, other heavy metals, radionucleotides, etc, and store it somewhere.”

But we need to remember that we are burning coal, oil, and natural gas for a reason: to generate heat, hot water, electricity and transportation. There are alternative energy technologies, including nuclear, solar, and wind.

Coal with Carbon Sequestration is estimated to cost $10 to $15 Billion per gigawatt, without considering the costs of mining, processing and transporting the coal, cleaning up after mining, and isolating the arsenicals, mercury, and radionucleotides released from burning coal.  Solar is estimated to cost $6.5 Billion per gigawatt - with no fuel and no wastes. Wind $2 to $3 Billion per gigawatt - with no fuel and no wastes.

We at Popular Logistics think, feel and believe that we need to replace coal with solar and wind immediately.

The Parallels Between Top Companies and Best Nonprofit Boards

In today's challenging environment, the nonprofit boards that will lead their organizations most effectively are the boards that identify, recruit, and develop outstanding leaders and board members who have the experience, expertise, and diversity of perspectives and backgrounds to envision the organization's greater potential and to achieve financial and strategic success. My readers will be familiar with my ...

Buyer Beware: Consumer Finance

The incessant chatter about financial industry legislation reveals more talk and less action. Opponents of financial reform stand to lose big bucks if the status quo is changed. Okay, so they have the right to free speech in the USA, but why would anyone of sound mind and independent means bother to listen to that tired old rant? If you are not working for the Big Four Banks that currently control monetary policy in America or any of its subsidiary arms or lobbyists, then logic should compel you to join the public campaign for financial reform.

For the sake of American economic security, the financial system needs to transition from anti-public to pro-public by ceasing to favor private interests over public concerns. What we need is a Ralph Nader of consumer financial products. (I nominate Elizabeth Warren, chairwoman of the TARP Oversight Committee and a staunch advocate of the new Consumer Financial Product Agency.) Ms. Warren’s activism aside, establishing an independent agency is vital for the health and welfare of consumer finance.

Back in the zippy American sports car hey day circa 1960s, the hot car of the decade was a jazzy little number called the General Motors Corvair. The car sold in record numbers allowing consumers to live out their American dreams of sexy convertibles and high speed travel. Yet the sports car’s poor safety record was hidden from the public and put unsuspecting drivers at risk. Enter Harvard educated lawyer Ralph Nader. The consumer superhero wrote an expose in 1965 entitled Unsafe at Any Speed detailing flagrant safety issues like unstable driver control, spinouts and rollovers.

Working Women: Key to Promoting Energy Efficiency

How women buy and how they work/lead is big news these days – no matter what brand, category, industry or organization.  When you think about how to start to change the culture around sustainable life and business practices, women also appear to be worth serious consideration.  This is particularly the case when you examine the “household manager” role and how women keep those responsibilities in mind all the time.

Let’s connect some dots: One of the reasons people begin to think seriously...

Why Transparency Matters…Impacting Reputation

 

What does it mean to be a transparent organization?  While transparency includes honesty, it is more than just telling the truth when asked.    Transparency at its best involves pro-actively communicating with stakeholders (consumers, suppliers, employees, shareholders, etc) on all aspects of  business.  Being transparent does not mean one has to reveal confidential information or give away company secrets.  Rather, it can entail explaining an organization’s motives, responsibly alerting customers to potential product risks or setting

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PepsiCo, sexism and “diversity”

This is PepsiCo’s SoBe brand, showcasing the actress Ashley Greene and her “zero inhibitions” in a painted-on swimsuit, as part of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit extravaganza. What better way, after all, to promote Sobe’s  “zero calorie” flavors than with a babe wearing zero clothes on your corporate website and on You Tube videos, which have attracted more than 500,000 views?

And then there is the photo, from the page about Our Commitment to Diversity on the PepsiCo website, which goes on at some length about the company’s efforts to foster a workplace of caring and candor and where everyone is treated with respect. As best as I can tell, all the PepsiCo employees in this photo appear to fully clothed, although it’s possible that some wise guy in the back isn’t wearing pants.

The company says:

Diversity isn’t just the right thing to do. It’s the right thing to do for our business. We’ve made it our commitment to make diversity and inclusion a way of life at PepsiCo….In fact, we view diversity as a key to our future.

And:

PepsiCo has been nationally recognized as one of the top places for women and minorities to work. We were one of the first companies to begin hiring minorities in professional positions, as far back as the 1940s. We were the first Fortune 500 company to have an African-American vice president.

The company also says that its

Multi-year strategic plans for diversity are developed with the  same vigor and goal-setting process as other business issues.

12 Ways to Convince Your Boss to Add Social Responsibility

Once you understand that a social mission is an incredible asset for your business your first question is usually “Where do I start?” Many of the pieces I write focus on what an entrepreneur or CEO should consider when building a social mission. But if you are an employee looking to implement from within, your first question might be “How do I convince my boss?”

Before tactics, I want to share a story you can cue for inspiration as you sit...

A Necessary Journey

It was an unusually quiet plane ride home. Timberland CEO Jeff Swartz and Share Our Strength Founder Bill Shore had reached the end of a life-changing journey, after having spent several days in Haiti bearing witness to the unthinkable and helping to address earthquake survivor needs.

“We finally let off our last two passengers, celebrity artist Wyclef Jean and a young orthopedic surgeon from Grand Rapids, a father of four who had been in Haiti since day three performing emergency amputations with borrowed farm equipment,” Swartz recounts. “That gave me thirty-five minutes of one-on-one time with Bill, who I never get to be alone with. But I don’t think we said a word to each other the rest of the trip.”

Swartz and Shore were likely in shock. The full-blown mental processing of what they had just endured in and around Haiti would begin later, as they assimilated back into their previous routines. As part of his re-acclamation process, Swartz wrote a series of downloads to Timberland stakeholders – including a Fast Company blog post, which summarizes his takeaways, and a personal letter to employees entitled: “Bearing Witness to Haiti,” which provides a remarkable play-by-play account of his physical and emotional experience.

“I felt I needed to get this off my chest,” says Swartz. “So I wrote about the heroism of the many doctors we saw, the heartbreak of the destruction, the inspiration I felt with Bill and Wyclef, and the indignation I felt at the world’s well-intended but inept efforts to cope with this disaster.”

The Simple Way that DISCOVER Enabled Giving to Haiti and Raised $3.1 M

It’s the simplest programs that drive action and results. Three days after Haiti was struck by the January 12 earthquake, Discover Card enacted a simple relief program that raised $3.1 million. Card members could contribute their cash back bonus points to the American Red Cross and Discover would convert this to dollars and match the donation.

In addition–and this is critical to demonstrate support–Discover made an initial gift of $100,000 and matched $1 million of card member donations. The company is also waiving merchant transaction fees for 17 organizations providing support to...

Small Business: Too-Big-To-Fail

 

Small business will lead us out of the recession and fuel the recovery. That is the belief among many of the nation’s economists. To understand the role Small B plays in society, here are some basic statistics.

The Small Business Association reports that from 1993-2008, 64% of new jobs were created by firms with 1-499 employees.

“Small businesses employ just over half of U.S. workers. Of 119.9 million nonfarm private sector workers in 2006, small...

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