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Fracking and Finance: The Pros and Cons of New Fossil Fuel Energy

With lawsuits, moratoriums and bans on hydrofracking popping up across the United States, the promise of natural gas for a cleaner and more independent energy future is stuck between a rock and hard place

Hydraulic fracturing, also known as hydrofracking or fracking, has emerged as one of the main battlegrounds between the energy industry, which sees vast potential in a domestic source of fuel that is cheaper and potentially cleaner than oil and coal, and environmentalists, who are...

A Postscript To The Conventions: Nonprofits Are Part Of The Solution

 

President Barack Obama and presidential candidate Governor Mitt Romney each addressed the nation’s major challenges in their recent convention speeches. With different perspectives and emphases, the candidates spoke to some or all of these issues: job creation and economic recovery, deficit reduction, education, healthcare, alternative energy development, and the elimination of poverty. In addition to the solutions offered by the candidates, the “third sector”--nonprofit organizations--can be a vital partner to the government and business sectors in achieving success....

CEOs Get Socially Responsible on Travel Restrictions for People Living with HIV

People living with HIV are met with prejudice when they travel as 46 countries still impose travel restrictions on them. In order to put an end to this unfair situation, CEOs from some of the world's largest companies have come together in a socially responsible initiative to ask those countries to lift such outdated and unfair restrictions.

The CEOs have signed a pledge to opposed HIV-related restrictions on entry, stay and residence, saying that besides being discriminatory, such laws and policies are bad...

Healthcare Leaders Convene at White House to Focus on Sustainability

Last week, top Obama administration officials joined representatives from leading health systems at a White House event to discuss advances in sustainability across the health care sector.

The event's attendees represented organizations and companies that are blazing a path to sustainability in the healthcare sector - a sector that has been criticized for its lack of effort on the sustainability front in the past.

For example, a 2010 ...

Healthy Neighbors, Healthy You: Kaiser Permanente Invests $14.2 Million to Support Community Health

 

Second quarter grants will help over 500 community organizations across America, highlighting the power of social capital

In his 1974 book, A History of Public Health in New York City, 1866-1966, historian John Duffy posited that the infant milk stations established in New York City in 1901 marked the beginning of the community health center (CHC) in the United States.[1] With the National Association of Community Health...

Goldman Sachs' $40 Billion Clean Energy Investment: Sustainable Finance Awesomeness or Public Relations Ploy?

 

A ten-year financial commitment to green energy is a good thing. So why all the cynicism?

At its annual shareholder meeting Thursday in Jersey City, New Jersey, Wall Street behemoth Goldman Sachs announced that it plans to invest $40 billion into global renewable energy projects over the next decade.

"This is another emerging opportunity we think will be quite large," said Stuart Bernstein, head of Goldman's clean technology and renewables investment banking group.[1]

The...

Africa and Denmark Join Forces to Promote Investment in Sustainable Energy

 

African greentech projects get a sustainable finance boost from the Scandinavian kingdom

Denmark has a long history with Africa. From the 17th to 19th centuries, the relationship was primarily that of colonizer and colonized, as the small European nation established several trading posts and forts along west Africa's Gold Coast.

But today, the Scandinavian kingdom is developing a very different kind of relationship with Africa. Last year, the Danish government committed DKK 300...

BLOG: GE Completes Sustainable Wind Energy Farm in Turkey

General Electric and Gama Holding have completed its second wind farm project in Turkey. General Electric is the biggest maker of wind turbines in the U.S. The company recently surpassed 2 GW of installed capacity worldwide.

The 10 MW project Karadag farm in Izmir in the Aegeon region went online this month with four 2.5 MW turbines. Like many other countries, Turkey is trying to increase the share of sustainable renewable power in its energy mix and has set a goal of 30 percent for 2023. The developing...

Vancouver's Fenix Energy Helps to Makes Geo-Exchange a More Affordable Reality

We all produce heat. In winter we need more, summer, we want the opposite. Every day in all seasons, facilities managers work to ensure those who inhabit their office, condos and shopping centres are comfortable. Making us comfortable takes a whole lot of energy-and with that the price of a large carbon footprint.

"Fenix Energy has pioneered a new approach to installing renewable energy in urban centres that shaves months off new construction timelines." says a Vancouver-based cleantech firm. [1] This is big...

The Time is Right Now

Conclusion of the series "The New PR"

Many including this author, believe that forward-thinking companies will integrate sustainability goals into their business models and will use their visions of sustainability to help define revenue-generating strategies. Certainly the recent implosion of financial markets around the world offers a clear and disturbing picture of what happens when people lose faith in the long-term viability of businesses and business models.

As...

The Role of the Nonprofit Board: Four Essential Factors for Effective Governance

 

Sophisticated and experienced NGO/nonprofit board members and CEOs routinely ask me to explain the role of the board. It's not surprising and I'm glad they do. So let me share my four essentials for effective governance.

1. Achievement: The role of the board is to achieve the organization's greater potential as well as its mission.

The role of the board must be crafted specifically for each and every organization. The role is determined based on what you seek...

Sustainability Reporting 101 - Part 5: Five Ways to Build Your Sustainability Report Team

In order to build a good corporate sustainability report (CSR), it is important to have a solid team in place. The steps to recruit and motivate that team, however, are not unique to sustainability. Solid project management, expert networking and persuasive leadership are among the key business skills needed to guide your team in delivering a world-class report.

Once you have identified the key experts needed for your ...

The Complicating Factors

Part 12 in the series "The New PR"

Lack of Consensus on Standards

Globally there is no consensus on what social responsibility is, or how it can be defined across cultures and nationalities. For example, there are those that believe that the obligation exists to give back once a certain level of financial success has been attained. Others believe that true social responsibility is a pathway to success. In the US, a...

Sustainability Reporting 101 - Part 4: Five Company Experts You Need for a Good Sustainability Report

Producing a corporate sustainability report (CSR) is a team sport. The stronger the team is, the stronger the report will be. Each player needs to bring specific expertise that is complementary to the team as a whole. So, it is important to recruit and rally the key experts that can deliver what you need to make the company’s report a success. Choose carefully and look for people who already demonstrate some passion about sustainability.

In most organizations, there are one or two departments that lead the sustainability report. Thosefunctions will likely be a reflection...

The Forces Encouraging Sustainability as a Business Model

Part 11 in the series "The New PR"

Globalization

One hundred years after the first powered flight, the oceans are no longer impenetrable barriers that keep people, ideas and information apart. 

Today people travel more than ever before, and corporations often outsource products and send workers to new locales. This leads to exposure of both companies and individuals to differing practices and societal norms. This...

Sustainability Reporting 101 - Part 3: Five Key Elements of a Good Sustainability Report

Not all corporate sustainability reports (CSRs) are created equal. Some reports areglossy marketing brochures that lack substantive data. Others are so data focused that reading them requires a strong cup of coffee to resist boredom-induced sleep. The best reports provide a balance of accessible, engaging text and comprehensive, material data presented in a well-designed format. It is both art and science.

But what are the elements that go into making a good report? Which reports should you look to for inspiration? A good place to start is the list of...

Clinton Global Initiative's New Theme, "Designing For Impact," Emphasizes Action

 

For the first time in its 8-year history, the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) has assigned a theme to its Annual Meeting--"Design for Impact"--to remind participants that the goal of the organization is action, not simply ideas.

"When the history of CGI is written, it won’t be about the meetings, it will be about the impact of the commitments,” says ...

Maximum City: Engaging Youth in Urban Sustainability

Last month, I had the opportunity – and the privilege – to participate in the Maximum City program in Toronto.  This program is the brainchild of Josh Fullan, a high school humanities and languages teacher at the University of Toronto Schools, my alma mater.  Last year, Josh ran a pilot...

Business Benefits of Sustainability

Part 10 in the series "The New PR"

For anyone to accept the premise that social responsibility is a business strategy, we must be able to define and quantify the business benefits that can be derived from adopting this model. This is so that success can be measured, just as with any business strategy. ...

Sustainability Reporting 101 - Part 2: Five Ways to Prepare Your Organization for Sustainability Reporting

First things first. Before setting pen to paper or fingers to keyboard to write outlines or strategies or any text at all, there are a few important steps that will help build the foundation for a qualitycorporate sustainability report (CSR).

Most people won’t see the report’s foundation. But, just because you can’t see it, doesn’t make it any less important. Any builder (or homeowner with a leaky basement) will tell you how critical it is to have a solid foundation. Any shortcuts in laying the groundwork will impact the quality of the end product in the construction of...

Sustainability as a Business Strategy

Part 9 in the series "The New PR"

In addition to the obvious impacts on the environment, business is a powerful force for driving social as well as economic gains. This can be seen from the benefits that generations have come to take for granted in industrialized nations. For millions of people around the world, capitalism has been a force for economic and social advancement. People are living longer, healthier lives and enjoying the...

Sustainability Reporting 101 - Part 1: Five Reasons Your Business Needs a Sustainability Report

Part 1 in the blog series "Sustainability Reporting 101"

Sadly, most American companies do not produce sustainability (or responsibility) reports. In fact, a recent study of sustainability reporting by the US Conference Board, Bloomberg, and the Global Reporting Initiative shows that only a tenth of the 1000 largest U.S. publicly listed companies effectively disclose sustainability data.

That’s unfortunate. I’ve seen...

Five “Keys” to Unlock a Successful Sustainability Program - Key 5: Maximize Stakeholder Engagement

Part 8 in the series "The New PR"

Companies that have a genuine commitment to sustainability can implement their programs in ways that add value and clearly demonstrate their commitment.

Accurately Define and Identify Stakeholders

Many businesses take a marketing approach to customers – selecting to focus their efforts on the most profitable segments of their market. This is a sound business strategy that companies usually...

Restoring Chitimacha: How Companies Can Serve as Agents of Cultural Preservation

“The artist has a special task and duty: the task of reminding men of their humanity and the promise of their creativity.”

As historian, sociologist and critic Lewis Mumford (1895-1990) so eloquently noted in the quote above, all art – visual, musical, literary, architectural, performing, culinary – reflects the best of humanity.  We are, after all, the culture that we create.

This month, the Smithsonian held its 46th...

Nonprofit Board Self-Assessment: Creating the Path Forward

Given financial threats and opportunities and a passion for their missions, a growing number of NGO/nonprofit boards are seeking to assess how they can become stronger and more effective in maximizing their greater potential.

Business executives and professionals and people from diverse backgrounds and perspectives who serve on NGO/nonprofit boards can bring valuable expertise in helping boards consider new revenue models and opportunities and explore ways of increasing the organization's impact through new partnerships.

In my work with hundreds of NGO/nonprofit boards, they...

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