Cancer is now the leading cause of death in China. Chinese Ministry of Health data implicate cancer in close to a quarter of all deaths countrywide. As is common with many countries as they industrialize, the usual plagues of poverty—infectious diseases and high infant mortality—have given way to diseases more often associated with affluence, such as heart disease, stroke, and cancer.
How many times have we seen idealistic CEOs put their social mission before their bottom line and go out of business? Too often. There seems to be, for some, a dichotomy between serving others and implementing bottom-line business practices that can fund that service.
Nope, it's not a Sustainability Report (that's due later in 2011), but it is a comprehensive summary of what the GRI has been getting up to between July 2009 and June 2010. It's the GRI Year In Review Report for 2009/2010, released today.
Founded by former Shell Oil executive Fazle Hasan Abed in 1972, BRAC reaches 138 million of the poorest people in nine countries in Asia and Africa, and recently launched in Haiti. Its mission is to empower people and communities in situations of poverty, illiteracy, disease and social injustice. Its annual operating budget is half a billion dollars.
I recently attended a launch party for Lara Galinsky's new career advice book Work on Purpose. Each guest was greeted with a nametag and a request to add what we wanted to be when we grew up (ok, so I wrote "architect"). As I milled around the room, I was fascinated to see what others had written: artist, writer, firefighter, ballerina, astronaut and yes, I did notice at least one other aspirational architect.
Directors of Coca-Cola Company, Avon Products, Nestle, Calvert Group Ltd., Limited Brand, MetLife, Proctor & Gamble, Xerox Corporation, and many additional companies are among the 200 women meeting on Tuesday and Wednesday to discuss vital corporate governance topics. Issues include global scarcities in critical areas governing economic activity; complexity/risk; urbanization; changing customers around the world--from niches to global mass markets; and corporate social investing - beyond philanthropy.
The diminutive gentleman sitting behind the enormous prop desk of the premier episode of the “The Amazing Federal Reserve” was none other than Chairman Ben Bernanke. The momentous occasion was billed as the “first press conference ever.” The unusual YouTube hour had all the staged contrivance of a tacky reality TV show. Fanfare leading up to the April 27 premier was much more exciting than the disappointing rhetoric that filled it.
As the world continues to add close to 80 million people each year, high population growth is running up against the limits of our finite planet, threatening global economic and political stability. To stay within the bounds of the earth’s natural resources, the world’s population will have to stabilize.
Hot on the heels of our story about a robot fundraiser from Korea, we've now spotted an international effort taking yet another fresh approach to encouraging donations. WeFeedback is a site that asks visitors to donate the value of their favorite meal to combat world hunger.
If you’re like me, you probably have a lot of extra stuff that you no longer want, but would like to see end up in a safe new home.
This year, turn your spring cleaning into an opportunity to clean out your closet and clean up the planet. On Saturday, May 14, 2011, join me by participating in “Give Your Stuff Away Day”. It’s as simple as bringing your stuff to the curb.
Few would argue that it’s working well. Business as usual has us on a path to climate catastrophe. The housing/banking industry collapse threw the world into recession. We’ve seen Fukushima, the BP oil spill, the Massey coal mine deaths. Growing income inequality has become a persistent worry.
The conventional response to all that – indeed, the one that I share – is that smarter (though not more) regulation is needed. But a growing number of business people say the problems go deeper.
Long after the political uprisings in the Middle East have subsided, many underlying challenges that are not now in the news will remain. Prominent among these are rapid population growth, spreading water shortages, and ever growing food insecurity.
In some countries, grain production is now falling as aquifers are depleted. After the Arab oil-export embargo of the 1970s, the Saudis realized that since they were heavily dependent on imported grain, they were vulnerable to a grain counter-embargo. Using oil-drilling technology, they tapped into an aquifer far below the desert to produce irrigated wheat. In a matter of years, Saudi Arabia was self-sufficient in wheat, its principal food staple.
But after more than 20 years of wheat self-sufficiency, the Saudis announced in January 2008 that this aquifer was largely depleted and they would be phasing out wheat production. Between 2007 and 2010, the wheat harvest of nearly 3 million tons dropped by more than two thirds. At this rate the Saudis likely will harvest their last wheat crop in 2012 and then be totally dependent on imported grain to feed their Canada-sized population of nearly 30 million people.
The unusually rapid phaseout of wheat farming in Saudi Arabia is due to two factors. First, in this arid country there is little farming without irrigation. Second, irrigation there depends almost entirely on a fossil aquifer, which, unlike most aquifers, does not recharge naturally from rainfall. And the desalted sea water Saudi Arabia uses to supply its cities is far too costly for irrigation use, even for the Saudis.
You're told that the organization is high impact in addressing a vital community issue, and that its services are cost effective. You're giving your time and money (hopefully, generously). And other people see that you're involved; they trust the organization because they trust you. Simply by serving on the board, you're vouching.
A cause you believe in. Nice people. That's great. Just one question: HOW DO YOU KNOW?
In 2009, according to Giving USA, foundations contributed 13% to the overall philanthropic pie, while individual giving accounted for 75% of it. It is wise for nonprofits to keep those proportions in mind when they are developing their annual fundraising plans.
Jonathan Greenblatt currently serves as the Director of The Impact Economy Initiative at the Aspen Institute and is the founder and former president of All for Good (Our Good Works [OGW]), the open source, web-based initiative to engage more Americans in service. It is the largest database of volunteer listings ever compiled and provides content to a wide range of government, nonprofit, and personal websites.
Slovenian philosopher and theorist Slavoj Žižek swings a sledge hammer at the knees of ‘cultural capitalism’ in this 10-minute video. And I admit, my knees buckled for some moments as I listened to his critique of Starbucks for its fair trade coffee, of philanthropist George Soros and of ‘charity businesses’ like TOMS Shoes.
“Not so long ago, social enterprise was relatively unheard of in corporate America or in business school. The two were as different as Birkenstocks and wingtips, and if they mingled at all, it was perhaps a goodwill gesture from the corporate side with a few zeroes at the end. But today, the two cultures are coming together in a union that has proved advantageous for both.”