Sunday, September 30, 2007

The Great Elephant Poo Poo Paper Company - Sustainable & Responsible Business of the Week

Think you've heard it all when it comes to sustainability strategies and sustainable business? Not yet.

The Great Elephant Poo Poo Paper Company Ltd. recyles the waste of African and Asian elephants into over 150 unique (and odorless) paper products. Did you know that a single piece of elephant dung can make 25 large sheets of paper? Now you know.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Inconvenient Youths & The Littlest Eco-Warriers

The Wall Street Journal has published two articles today by Ellen Gamerman. Inconvenient Youths tells the stories of several children and youth who are learning the global warming and environmental conservation message at school and church and who are, in turn, educating their parents. The Littlest Eco-Warriers provides a list of resources for children and youth on these topics.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

"Who Owns What" in the Organic Industry

When you shop organic, do you think you are supporting a small independently-owned company? You may be surprised to learn that you are buying just another product from Coke, Pepsi, General Mills, Kellogg, Kraft, Nestle, or any number of multinational corporations. For example, did you know that Kellogg owns Kashi? Or that Kraft owns Back to Nature? Through the research of Dr. Phil Howard (Michigan State University), we can get a glimpse of "who owns what" in the organic industry.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Demand for Leaders in Sustainable Business on the Rise


In an effort to meet the growing demand for leaders in sustainable business, Presidio School of Management - now in its fifth year - has expanded its offerings to include an executive education certificate program. The Sustainable Management Executive Certificate program will launch in January 2008 in partnership with the Law Firm of Hanson Bridgett - one of San Francisco's oldest law firms.

Read the full story here.

Green Tip for Business: Change Margins, Save Money

By changing the default margin settings to 0.75" on University computers, Penn State found that they could save per year over $122,000 in paper costs, 45,142 reams of paper, 45 tons of waste, and 72 acres of forest.

Use Your Brilliant Mind to Develop a Sustainability Solution (and win $20,000 in the process)

Friday, September 28 is the last day to register for the Innovation Challenge and Sunday, September 30 is the last day to register for the Sustainable Innovation Challenge. These are online competitions for graduate students to create a 2 to 3-page innovative and sustainable solution (providing economic, social, and environmental value) to a business problem. Finalist teams are invited to make in-person presentations and first-place winners are awarded $20,000.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Executives Say Corporate Responsibility Can Be Profitable

News from LOHAS:

Company executives believe that corporate responsibility programs can positively impact their business and help achieve strategic goals, according to a survey of more than 500 business executives conducted by Grant Thornton LLP, the U.S. member firm of Grant Thornton International, one of the six global accounting organizations.

While conventional wisdom might suggest that these initiatives will drain the corporate coffers, only a quarter of survey respondents agreed that profits needed to be sacrificed, while three quarters believed corporate responsibility could enhance profitability. As a result, 77 percent said they expected corporate responsibility initiatives to have a major impact on their business strategies over the next several years.

Read the LOHAS full story here.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Would You Like Hormones With Your Milk?

The U.S. is one of few industrialized countries that allows rBGH (produced by Monsanto) in dairy products for human consumption. For over 10 years, rBGH (recombinant bovine growth hormone), also known as rBST (recombinant bovine somatotropin), has been a staple in the dairy products consumed by Americans. Since these products are not labeled as containing rBGH / rBST, most consumers have no idea that a growth hormone intended to induce dairy cows to be more productive is in much of their milk, cheese, and yogurt. There may be a link between consuming these products and in the growth of cancers of the breast, prostate and colon and researchers are now questioning the link between milk and other health problems. However, at this time, the long-term effect on infants, children, and adults consuming rBGH milk is unknown.

In August, two important announcements were made regarding bovine growth hormones in our milk and dairy products. First, Starbucks announced that by the end of 2007, "all fluid milk, half and half, whipping cream, and eggnog used in U.S. company-operated stores will be produced without the use of rBGH." Second, the NYTimes reports that the FTC rejected a request from Monsanto to prevent dairy companies from advertising their milk products as hormone-free. Both are steps in the right direction!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Working Assets - Sustainable & Responsible Business of the Week

Each week I try to share another great business model dedicated to sustainability. Fortunately, my list is long. If I share with you one business a week, I have enough to last for several years' worth of blog postings! So here is the business I would like to share with you this week.

Working Assets was created in 1985 to help make the world a better place. Every time customers use their wireless, credit card, or long distance services, they donate a portion of their charges to progressive nonprofit organizations working for peace, human rights, economic justice, education, and the environment.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Check Out My Guest Post at NextBillion

I recently had the opportunity to contribute a guest post at I am enormously grateful for their invitation to share my thoughts on the state of the field in BOP research and my future outlook.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Spreading the Sustainability Message Through Digital Games

Serious Games Initiatives uses digital video games to teach and educate people on pressing issues in social change, education, health-care, national defense, homeland security, analytics, corporate management and more.

There are several free online games available and here are some of the most recent games you can play:

Planet Green Game (by Global Green USA & Starbucks) allows you to "explore the town of Evergreen looking for ways to reduce CO2 emissions and reduce the impact of global warming."

Consumer Consequences (by American Public Media) allows you to "find out if you are living a sustainable life" and to determine "what would the world look like if everyone consumed like me?"

Global Warming Interactive (by Lexicon Systems) "explores the relationship of global warming to economic, political and science policy decisions."

The 11th Hour

The 11th Hour has finally arrived in my city!

Visit the website & watch the trailer, enter the website and explore, go watch the movie!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Sustainable & Responsible Business of the Week - The Body Shop

In honor of Dame Anita Roddick, I would like to highlight her visionary business, The Body Shop. The Body Shop supports human rights, is against animal testing, supports community trade, and supports the use of renewable and sustainable products. The Body Shop was one of the pioneers in responsible and sustainable business practices.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Sustainable & Responsible Business of the Week - HtoO

HtoO (Hope to Others) is a bottled water company in California founded by Tom Shadyac, a successful Hollywood director. The water source is a spring in the Sierra-Nevada mountains. So what's the big deal? HtoO gives 100% of its profits to charity. Yes, one hundred percent!

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Reduce Your Carbon Footprint OR Carbon Offsetting?

Should you reduce your carbon footprint or just buy carbon offsets? Carbon offsetting is popular and is a lucrative business. I've seen credit cards that make donations to offset your carbon usage, I've seen travel companies that allow you to purchase carbon offsets for your travels, but mostly I've seen large corporations purchase carbon offsets. The dilemma is that carbon offsets allow the offenders to pay for the right to continue offending while those who reduce their carbon footprint create more and more room for the offenders. There are, however, circumstances where cleaner alternatives do not exist and carbon offsetting allows these companies to attempt to mitigate their environmental damage. To parody the absurdity of carbon offsets, the humorous CheatNeutral website was created. Check it out:

Friday, September 7, 2007

Online Volunteer Opportunity with UN Global Compact

Thousands of companies worldwide have voluntarily agreed to adopt the ten principles of the UN Global Compact toward a sustainable and inclusive world economy. As a voluntary partner in the Global Compact, organizations must submit "Communication on Progress" reports.

Now volunteers are needed to help review these thousands of reports and tag them with key words so that they may be entered into a searchable database. You can volunteer at and help the UN while gaining a valuable education in CSR and corporate sustainability practices at the same time.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Extraordinary Photos of Our Impact

Although I intend this blog to be related to BUSINESS issues, I saw some photos today that were particularly disturbing and I felt compelled to share them. Oceans Live offers a teaching guide, entitled What's for Dinner?, about the human impact on seabirds. If you download the lesson and scroll to the end of it, you will see three photos: the beach of an uninhabited remote island, the stomach contents of a dead albatross, and the contents from this bird's stomach laid out for you to see. There is also an accompanying video entitled, Albatross Necropsy. These photos alone provide an irrefutable case for the need to reduce our environmental impact.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

New Paper: Advancing the "Base of the Pyramid" Debate

Rob Katz reports his thoughts on on my paper, "Advancing the 'Base of the Pyramid' Debate." Here is the article:

In the wake of last week's discussion of Professor Anand Jaiswal's new paper, I received a note from Professor Nancy E. Landrum from the University of Arkansas-Little Rock. Her new paper, Advancing the 'Base of the Pyramid' Debate (PDF), was first published this past May in the inaugural issue of Strategic Management Review.

In her paper, Dr. Landrum has done a more or less comprehensive overview of the Base of the Pyramid debate. Her literature review has me looking up additional papers - and for that, I thank her. She criticizes some aspects of C.K. Prahalad's arguments based on his 2005 book, Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid: Eradicating Poverty Through Profits.

Like Professor Jaiswal's paper, Dr. Landrum's falls short in that she fails to examine some of the more recent work in BOP. This may be the result of unfortunate timing - her section on mis-measurement of the BOP would benefit from a close reading of the WRI/IFC report, The Next 4 Billion: Market Size and Business Strategy at the Base of the Pyramid, which came out shortly before her paper was published. It's also worth pointing out that Prahalad's research has advanced since his book came out, and that his speeches, articles, and even PowerPoint presentations are available online.

That said, I think this new paper is worth a close read for anyone interested in the BOP space. The literature review alone is worth it, but Dr. Landrum's objective analysis of the BOP debate is the real gem here. Check it out...and if there are other papers out there dealing with the BOP space, let me know!

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Sustainable & Responsible Business of the Week - Nau, Inc.

Another sustainable and responsible company that is a great model for others is Nau, Inc.

Nau, Inc. was founded by a team of executives, led by Chris Van Dyke, who defected from Patagonia, Adidas, Nike, and other leaders in the industry. “We have aspired to design the entire enterprise from the ground up with the idea and ideal of sustainability at the center of the venture.” Their strategy includes “integrating sustainability attributes into our materials, products, processes, and stores; developing labor and environmental standards for the factories that make our products; and tracking, reducing, and offsetting our greenhouse-gas emissions.”

Sustainable & Responsible Business of the Week - TOMS Shoes


Where do I begin?

I'll start by saying I'm a huge fan of sustainable and responsible businesses--those that are deeply committed to using their business as a source of positive change.

So today, I'll start by telling you about TOMS Shoes. TOMS Shoes was founded by Blake Mycoskie. At the core of TOMS’ business model is a strong value system devoted to giving away one pair of shoes to needy children for every pair of shoes that is purchased. Their strategy includes manufacturing their own low-cost shoes in Argentina and Asia (following fair trade and fair labor standards) and then selling the shoe at a retail price point that allows them to donate a second pair to a child in need in Argentina and other developing countries while still making a profit. How great is that?

9/6/07 update: TOMS and Blake Mycoskie are featured in an article in the Sept. 10, 2007 edition of People Magazine.

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