This report answers the question: "What innovation activities help companies become sustainable?
This executive guide provides:
A 3-stage framework for assessing which stage of the sustainability journey your organization currently occupies. 39 practices for fostering innovation at each stage. Case studies from leading organizations, large and small, that are actively finding innovative ways to serve people, profits and planet.
My work at REconomy Project has inspired me to believe that a credible alternative to our current system is now emerging at an incredible rate. In this 12 minute TEDx talk I explore the unstoppable rise of the collaborative economy.
These vegetated surfaces don’t just look pretty. They have other benefits as well, including cooling city blocks, reducing loud noises, and improving a building’s energy efficiency.What’s more, a recent modeling study shows that green walls can potentially reduce large amounts of air pollution in what’s called a “street canyon,” or the corridor between tall buildings.
For the study, Thomas Pugh, a biogeochemist at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in Germany, and his colleagues created a computer model of a green wall with generic vegetation in a Western European city. Then they recorded chemical reactions based on a variety of factors, such as wind speed and building placement.
The simulation revealed a clear pattern: A green wall in a street canyon trapped or absorbed large amounts of nitrogen dioxide and particulate matter—both pollutants harmful to people, said Pugh. Compared with reducing emissions from cars, little attention has been focused on how to trap or take up more of the pollutants, added Pugh, whose study was published last year in the journal Environmental Science & Technology.
That’s why the green-wall study is “putting forward an alternative solution that might allow [governments] to improve air quality in these problem hot spots,” he said.Compared with reducing emissions from cars, little attention has been focused on how to trap or take up more of the pollutants, added Pugh, whose study was published last year in the journal Environmental Science & Technology.
Somewhere during the American experience, between Teddy Roosevelt and color TV, being outdoors and maybe even working up a sweat started to lose its universal appeal. There remain those who fetishize the outdoors, from Ted Nugent to REI shoppers, and the urge to connect with nature never vanished. But as Americans became more urban and more cocooned in their cars and air conditioning, the values of nature were honored more by their absence than in their activities.
The price of this disconnect is usually tallied via our bodies, with a simple equation that a lack of outdoor activity must surely be connected with the nation’s growing waistline and obesity-related maladies like diabetes. There’s an always-growing corpus of academic work that does make that correlation, and even causation, explicit. Last month, for example, a policy brief from the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research noted that in California as a whole, about a third as many kids who live near parks get in an hour of physical activity a day (the recommended daily threshold) at least five times a week compared to kids who can’t get to a park easily.
Horsemeat, corporate tax avoidance, and the financial crisis are stablemate scandals. Different breeds, yes. Reared by different factors, sure. But ultimately they trace their systemic failings back to the same cause: a corporate culture that in spite of everything is still secretly married to the economics of Adam Smith and Milton Friedman. The belief that commercial success necessarily means some kind of trade off between the interests of shareholders and society.
Yet the game has changed. Friedman's argument that businesses have "one and only one social responsibility" – to maximise profit for shareholders – now seems not so much wrong as built for another time. Today, businesses that pursue commercial interests without giving due consideration to the communities they're involved with are not competitively advantaged; they're embroiled in controversy, exposed to supplychain shocks, caught out by regulatory changes, and are well on their way to becoming socially irrelevant to customers.
All this is helping to move the debate on from businesses being merely "less bad, less rubbish, less evil", in the words of Kingfisher CEO, Ian Cheshire, to helping companies to become net positive contributors to society.
The recent global financial crisis has raised widespread concern for the sustainability of the global economy and much has been written concerning the negative impacts of economic development on natural ecosystems and civil societies. Unfortunately, few viable alternatives to the prevailing economic paradigms have been suggested for consideration. Those that have been are typically little more than suggestions for fine tuning capitalist or socialist economies.
Running a successful business is about more than raking in the most profit. Whole Foods CEO John Mackey and other entrepreneurs explain.
Ruthless capitalism isn't the road to building a brand customers love to buy and a company employees love to work for. According the executives behind Trader Joe's and Whole Foods, a softer, more conscious capitalism is required....
DGs REGIO and EMPL have together produced a “Guide to Social Innovation”, which is now available to download.
The guide describes how many pre-existing European Union initiatives, from the Digital Agenda to the Structural Funds, are working towards this end, and provides many good examples of relevant co-funded projects, as well as placing them in the context of the Europe 2020 strategy.
Earlier this week Corporate Knights announced its Global 100 list of the world’s most sustainable corporations for 2013. Is it possible to compare companies from different sectors like the Global 100 does?
“About three weeks ago in Indonesia our lab was monitoring Twitter and we caught a discussion on whether vaccines were halal," says Robert Kirkpatrick, Director of the UN's Global Pulse initiative. The program tracks global well-being via digital data. "People were saying that vaccines contain pork products. You end up with kids paralyzed from the neck down because they haven't been given a vaccine," he says. The goal of the new UN lab is to try to preempt misfortune and misinformation by finding it first in conversations--before a chain reaction occurs. "If you can identify the province where these signals are coming from, you can send a team in to get the word out.”
This is the most recent evolution in the work of UN Global Pulse, a UN program introduced in 2010 to monitor global well-being via digital data: the first "Pulse Labs" in Asia. It's a local innovation center which pilots new ways for governments and UN agencies to use real-time data monitoring.
When I think about the world today, what amazes me most is the number of people who are getting on the Internet every day and how it's improving their lives as they join this modern knowledge economy. I grew up with the Internet, and I can't really imagine a world without sharing, and messaging, and searching, but actually only about a third of the world is on the Internet today–a little more than two billion people. So we're really very close to the beginning of this. If you look out, maybe five or ten years, when all five billion people who have feature phones are going to have smart phones, we're soon going to be living in a world where the majority of people who have a smart phone–a modern computing device–will have never seen in their lives what you and I call a “computer.”
So, just think about that for a moment.
The very definition of what a computer is and what our relationship with it should be hasn't been set for the majority of the world. And when it is, I think a lot of that definition is going to be around people first. We're about to see the most empowered generation of people in history, and it's really an honor to be able to work on these problems. This is a deeply technical problem and it's also a deeply social problem. This is the kind of problem that Facebook, our culture and our community, are uniquely built to work on. And we look forward to continuing to do it and to sharing what we come up with with all of you. Thank you.
Until 2012, Europe was central to the global carbon market; heck, it was the only “real” market. Carbon offset project developers invested billions to earn Certified Emission Reductions (CERs) under the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) and sold them to European companies and traders participating in the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS).
Projects had sprung up in almost all parts of the developing world. Countries otherwise isolated in the weird geopolitical arena, like North Korea and Iran, were also hosting CDM projects. With too much supply, the quality had to be affected.
This fairy tale, however, came to end when the EU started implementing restrictions on the offsets it considered lacking environmental integrity. Billions of dollars were at stake, and still are, as developers stopped investing in new low-carbon infrastructure and started contemplating pulling investment from old projects.
Even today, "conscious" and "capitalism" remain unlikely bedfellows. Both are freighted words that have come to stand for fundamentally different worldviews. Capitalism is associated with individualism, personal ambition, the accumulation of wealth and power, and an identity grounded in external accomplishment. The word conscious, or more specifically consciousness, is associated with self-awareness, personal development, the greater good, and a worldview that eschews competition, hierarchy, and materialism.
The thesis of conscious capitalism — outlined in a new book of the same title by John Mackey, founder and co-CEO of Whole Foods, and his thought partner, Raj Sisodia, a business professor — is that capitalism can be a force both for economic and social good. Or as Bill George, former CEO of Medtronics, puts it in the book's introduction: "Well run, values-centered businesses can contribute to humankind in more tangible ways than any other organization in society."
I don't kid myself about the unenlightened and even cruel ways capitalism has been practiced by many companies: accumulating wealth for a few while paying most employees subsistence wages; fighting regulation while blithely degrading the environment; avoiding taxes and ignoring responsibilities for the communities in which they're based. The truth is I meet few CEOs or senior executives at large companies who seem to have a vision much beyond the next quarter's earnings, or a sense of responsibility and commitment to their employees, customers, suppliers, and communities that equals their focus on their shareholders.
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