Early one smog-enshrouded morning in Varanasi, India, my pollution-spewing tuk-tuk 3-wheel taxi zooms across the cow-and-car congested city streets and delivers me to the sparkling 5-star Radisson.
To say the least, this is one of Varanasi’s top hotels. The accommodations are flawless–from immaculately clean, tasteful rooms and reliable WiFi, to excellent fitness, spa and dining facilities. My own reaction is...
After trouncing its carbon-based competitors in Jeopardy, it seems Watson can answer nearly every question except one: "Where does Watson go from here?" To borrow a phrase from HAL 9000: I'm sorry, readers--I'm afraid it can't do that.
With this in mind, the company convened a group of experts yesterday at IBM's campus outside New York City. The aim was to provide "input on how the public and private sectors can harness technology for societal advancement," in order to "explore the ways in which IBM's Watson computing system...
Oscar week in Los Angeles is usually dominated by glitzy brands that get to drop those coveted luxury items into those swanky swag bags. No word on whether Planter snack mixes will be included with Gucci clasps or Prada accessories, but the Omega-3-rich division of Kraft Foods has nonetheless been busy in La-La-Land.
Led by Mr. Peanut, the most impressive celebrity to come from the ground since Mr. Potato Head, Planters added to the Pre-Oscar week fun with its announcement of two sustainability initiatives: an investment in...
We have become so used to the way business has been done for the last 50 years or so it's often difficult to break out of the mindset and look at what is unsustainable and how we can fix it.
Four pieces of news from the past few weeks have set me thinking, and below are my conclusions. These I offer up as four challenges for CSR businesses, ways in which they can truely change the paradigm of business to a more sustainable model.
New York City is the only city in the US that never sleeps. It is also one city that often smells, especially in the summer. One reason is the city’s aging sewage system, to which the city’s 8 million residents contribute 1.3 billion gallons of wastewater daily.
All that wastewater goes through several processes until it is reduced to a daily amount of 1200 tons of sludge. For 50 years until the late 1980s, that sludge was treated as a waste product and...
Interviewed in prison, Bernie Madoff asserted that banks and hedge funds were “complicit” in his elaborate fraud. Diana Henriques, writing in the NY Times, 2/15/11, (here) said ”Madoff described as ‘willful blindness’ their failure to examine discrepancies between his regulatory filings and other information,” Quoting Madoff, “They had to know. But the attitude was sort of, ‘If you’re doing something wrong, we don’t want to know.’ ”...
My team and I have had some luck working with movie theaters here in Boston. But we have yet to find the right partner to execute the large transactional cause marketing program that raises a lot of money.
Straus Family Creamery recently turned 17, and I started thinking back to those crazy times.
In 1989, my older brother Albert, who’d been managing the farm and doing some pretty innovative things — including feeding our cows leftovers from a local sake factory … but that’s another story — decided to convert the farm to organic. He wanted to bottle his own milk, make ice cream, and make enough money to support the farm without having to either grow bigger (one major trend) or go out of business (the other major trend). California had already
Last week, on the way to a business meeting in downtown Portland I tuned into the local sports radio station. Nationally syndicated sports commentator Dan Patrick (“DP”) was providing his one minute Above the Noise segment. The focus was on if, how and when sports icons that have fallen from grace (due to an off the field indiscretion) they could ever redeem themselves in the public court of opinion...
Failure is an important part of learning, most educators would agree, yet few of us do more than rush to put our failures behind us. Admitting Failure is a new site that aims to help charities around the globe share, reflect upon and learn from the mistakes they've made.
Launched last month by Engineers Without Borders Canada, Toronto-based Admitting Failure is intended to be “a collaboration between like-minded NGOs, governments, donors and those in the private sector,” in the site's own words.
Enough people have registered their opinion to confirm this deal-breaker for everyone:Groupon’s Superbowl ads Sunday night were ill-conceived and offensive. Goodwill earned from this promotion: 0%.
As of this printing, Groupon should have apologized (they haven’t), pulled the ads (saw one last night), fired their agency (standing shoulder to shoulder) and donated a boatload of money to the causes they offended (Umm…nope).
Green has gone mainstream—and bringing with it new rules for reaching today’s green consumers. What used to be a fringe market has grown over the past two decades into a $290 billion industry encompassing products from natural food and pet care to hybrid cars and now plug-in cars, ecotourism and solar panels and windmills for residential rooftops.
For me, the question is never, “How much did you do?”
The question is, “Why does what you do matter?”
This perspective colors every headline I see and article I read, which is why one title particularly piqued my interest. “The Best and Worst of Corporate Giving in 2010” by Caroline Preston. Immediately, I wanted to know the criteria for measuring the “best” and “worst” when it comes to
At a recent breakfast hosted by the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) and NYSE Euronext, the Conference Board's David Vidal asked an insightful question: What are the top three reasons for your company's reluctance to embrace sustainability—and to adopt sustainability reporting?
The responses that came from an audience representing the glitterati of the corporate social responsibility world might surprise.
At the intersection of marketing and sustainability, the most exciting trends continue in the online space. Businesses are realizing that the online “green” community is growing, active and influential. And 2011 marketing trends surveys
Old corporate giving, 10 – 20 years ago: Decisions were made behind closed doors, among a small, select, close-knit group of people. New corporate philanthropy, often part of the CSR strategy: Decisions draw on the collective wisdom of diverse groups of people of all generations and backgrounds, including members of the global community being served, social innovators, customers, employees, and others. The vehicle: Crowdsourcing. The value: Good for business,...
If you had a chance to take part in or review the #CSRchat on Twitter this week, you will have gleaned some key points about employee engagement in the context of corporate responsibility: what it means; some examples of who’s doing it well; what might be required to undertake employee engagement; how it might be measured; who might be involved. But, surprisingly, not too much was said about the benefits of undertaking employee engagement – perhaps there just wasn’t enough time!
According to a report released yesterday by Human Rights Watch, private security personnel employed at the Porgera gold mine in Papua New Guinea (PNG) have been implicated in alleged gang rapes and other violent abuses. The Porgera Joint Venture (PJV) mine has produced billions of dollars of gold in its twenty years of operation, and is operated and 95 percent owned by Barrick Gold, a Canadian company that is the world’s largest gold producer.
Barrick’s response to this finding has been commendable and should...
Are you a Shoestring Practitioner? A Shoestring Practitioner is someone with a passion for doing good, for doing the right thing, for doing things better, but who is working on a shoestring: constrained in his or her efforts by a lack of resources, such as staff, time, money, or organizational support. This post is intended for the Shoestring Practitioner, especially one who is at or near the beginning of a sustainability journey in their organization, but may also be helpful to others trying
With such great need around the world for clean drinking water, safe housing, renewable energy, disaster relief, biomedical devices, and so on, we need inventors to build solutions and bring them to market. Unfortunately, it turns out that we might be missing out on talented young men, and even more women, who would be--but who are not--considering careers as inventors.
The virtual ink had barely dried on our story about SwipeGood when we received word of Pennies, a like-minded UK contender. Billed as “the electronic charity box,” Pennies aims to provide an “easy, affordable, private and secure way for people to donate between 1 penny and 99 pence to UK charities, big and small, as they shop and pay by card,” in the site's own words.
Originally launched last November with the support of...
If you’re interested in corporate social responsibility you need to watch Rethinking Capitalism. In this video, Harvard Business School Professor Micheal E. Porter explains why business leaders should create products and services that benefit not only the company but also society. It’s an overview of Creating Shared Value, the subject of a recent article in...