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Business as an Agent of World Benefit
Sustainable design; green economy; csr; sustainable development; Business as an Agent of World Benefit; Appreciative Inquiry; David Cooperrider; CSR
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Social Innovation for Sustainable Value: Unilever, Symrise and GIZ Join Forces to Support Vanilla Farmers

Social Innovation for Sustainable Value: Unilever, Symrise and GIZ Join Forces to Support Vanilla Farmers | Business as an Agent of World Benefit | Scoop.it
Press Releases get your corporate social responsibility news and information out to journalists, investors, and industry professionals utilizing CSRwire’s targeted reach.
David Cooperrider & Chris Johnston's insight:

Sustainable value invites social innovation--the creation of new organizational and collaborative forms of management. Trust, common vision, and shared benefits are critical. This example shows how good social impact and good business can nest together. I call it "co-elevation"--where business and society are in recipricoal relationships for win-win collaboration. 


Madagascar produces 79% of the world’s natural vanilla supply. Unilever uses vanilla as an ingredient in its leading ice cream brands, such as Magnum, Breyers and Carte D’Or. The partnership aims to secure this vanilla supply for Unilever in the future and to support the farming communities with improved access to secondary education and training in agricultural best practices.


This unique development partnership includes a comprehensive three-year programme that will impact 32 communities and involve 44 schools and colleges, giving it the potential to improve 24,000 lives in one of the world’s poorest nations. 


Dhaval Buch, Chief Procurement Officer Unilever, said: “In our Unilever Sustainable Living Plan, we have set clear and ambitious targets for engaging with smallholder farmers, and this is a wonderful example of how we can help them improve their agricultural practices, to enable them to become more competitive. The fact that this programme has a focus on agricultural entrepreneurs and prioritizes women for training makes it even more valuable. For us, this is a key example of how a partnership can work to increase the positive social impact in our supply chain.”

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Kimberly-Clark Succeeds in the New 'Natural Capital Leaders Index'

Kimberly-Clark Succeeds in the New 'Natural Capital Leaders Index' | Business as an Agent of World Benefit | Scoop.it
David Cooperrider & Chris Johnston's insight:

The Natural Capital Leaders Index was published this month by GreenBiz Group, in association with Trucost plc, as part of its seventh annual report, State of Green Business 2014. The index names Kimberly-Clark among 34 "decoupling leaders" from 10 countries that have increased their revenues for the 2008’2012 period, disclosed greenhouse gas emissions and also reduced other environmental impacts, such as air emissions, water use and energy use. You can read more about sustainability at Kimberly-Clark on the corporate website , and also check progress toward "Sustainability 2015" targets in the key pillars of people, planet and products.

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Sustainable Dairy is Honored at the White House For Industry-wide Innovation

Sustainable Dairy is Honored at the White House For Industry-wide Innovation | Business as an Agent of World Benefit | Scoop.it
U.S. Dairy Sustainability Commitment background and updates
David Cooperrider & Chris Johnston's insight:

Appreciative Inquiry Summit Case Story Spotlights—part of this curated site on Business as an Agent of World Benefit will be  devoted to advancing new knowledge about HOW to ignite innovation for sustainable value, especially as it relates to tools for whole systems convening and for strategic, collaborative action.

 

An Appreciative Inquiry Summit is a large group strategic planning, designing or implementation meeting that brings a whole system of 300 to 1,000 or more internal and external stakeholders together in a concentrated way to work on a task of strategic, and especially creative, value. Moreover, it is an exciting 2-3 day meeting where everyone is engaged as co-designers, across all relevant and resource-rich boundaries, to share leadership and take ownership for making the future of some big league opportunity successful. Here is one award winning story on how a whole industry set sail on the sustainability adventure.  Its called "the grass goes greener."  It was written by my colleague Hannah Baxter at Case Western Reserve University. For the full story go to:

http://weatherhead.case.edu/news/2013/09/06/appreciative-inquiry-as-sustainable-design-factory-a-conversation-with-weatherhead-professor-david-cooperrider

 

 

The Grass Goes Greener: How the Dairy Industry Reimagined Its Future with Appreciative Inquiry

 

By Hannah Baxter Weatherhead School of Management Case Western Reserve University

 

Introducing the next generation “AI Design Summit”—something that a recent United Nations CEO report singles out as “the best large group method in the world today.”

 

In December 2009, delegates from nearly 200 countries gathered in Copenhagen for the United Nations Climate Change Conference. That year, as every year, delegates negotiated and renegotiated agreements to address climate change. With just a few days to go before the end of the conference, a sense of despair settled over the proceedings. They were going nowhere. The U.S., second only to China in greenhouse gas emissions, continued to balk at legally binding reductions targets. But Erin Fitzgerald, senior vice president for sustainability at the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy, recalls that the U.S. delegation wanted to demonstrate that the country was making progress anyway. “The U.S. was saying, ‘There are a lot of voluntary efforts underway – you just aren’t aware of them!’” she remembers. But a proof point was needed. “So literally in the last hours of negotiations, we got a phone call asking us to fly to Copenhagen.”

 

In 2009, Fitzgerald had recently been put in charge of the dairy industry’s sustainability commitment under the leadership of the brand-new Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy, which was established by dairy farmers to help the industry drive innovation and bring consumers the dairy foods they want that fit their lifestyles and needs. She had a tiny staff. She had a tiny budget. And she had an ambitious, industrywide Roadmap that established a voluntary greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction goal – to reduce GHG emissions by 25% by 2020 -- and identified ten projects that could significantly improve the dairy industry’s ecological footprint while building business value across the dairy supply chain.

 

Now she found herself on her way to Copenhagen to represent dairy farmers and the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy. During conference proceedings, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack announced United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) support for the dairy industry’s greenhouse gas reduction goals, and signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Innovation Center to that effect. Though the Copenhagen negotiations ultimately unraveled, the conference marked a paradoxical success for the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy. This global political stalemate served to highlight the fact that the dairy industry’s purely voluntary efforts were sorely needed. And the USDA’s support came at an important time as the Innovation Center worked furiously to get traction on its sustainability goals.

 

The seeds for their efforts were planted in June 2008, when David Cooperrider, PhD, Fairmount Minerals Professor of Social Entrepreneurship, led an appreciative inquiry (AI) summit with more than 250 dairy related organizations, representing every part of the dairy value chain as well as scientists, suppliers, representatives of government and non-governmental organizations – and even several youth. Appreciative Inquiry was introduced into the business world in 1987 by David Cooperrider and Suresh Srivastva and soon thereafter University of Michigan’s Bob Quinn said in his book Change the World: How Ordinary People Can Achieve Extraordinary Results:

“Appreciative Inquiry is revolutionizing the field of organization development and change.”

 

One of the principles of AI that a person, or an organization or system, will excel only by amplifying strengths, never by fixing weaknesses—and so AI provides the tools and methods for elevating system-wide strengths, for creating new combinations and concentration effects of strengths, and ultimately spreading and deploying those strengths in the service of a more positive and valued future. Its based on a principle proposed by the great Peter Drucker when he said that the task of leadership is ageless in its essence: “The task of leadership” said Drucker, “is to create an alignment of strengths in ways that make a system’s weaknesses irrelevant.”

 

Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy CEO Tom Gallagher was drawn to AI’s strengths leadership philosophy as well as its macro-collaboration capacity, so he soon become certified in AI through Weatherhead Executive Education, along with Erin and eight members of his executive team. It was at the senior excutive program that light bulbs went off. The tools are now here to move a whole industry. “He is a real long-term thinker,” says Cooperrider of Gallagher, “and he was tremendously inspired by the potential of AI, both the positive, strengths-based side and the whole-system-in-a-room concept.”

 

An AI summit can help kickstart large-scale change by physically assembling all stakeholders—the private sector, government, NGOs, everyday citizens—anyone who is touched by the issue at hand. In this way, it resembles the annual U.N. climate change conference, where all parties, from a small island nation like Tuvalu to a large industrialized country like the U.S., are entitled to floor time. But in another important respect, an AI summit is the opposite of the climate change conference: It starts from a place of strength, not weakness—of mutual admiration, not mutual suspicion. “I think that we live in a multi-stakeholder world. And what AI does is, instead of seeing that as a conflict, it sees it as an expansion of the universe of assets, of strengths,” says Cooperrider.

 

An AI summit invites attendees to address a problem in four phases: discover, dream, design and deliver. After discovering individual and organizational strengths through storytelling, participants brainstorm solutions and prototype some of them on the spot. “You come out of a summit not just with a good dialogue—people are tired of that,” Cooperrider explains. “They don’t want to just go to a conference, listen to speakers and come away saying, ‘That was interesting.’ They want to say, ‘What can we do to contribute to building a better society and a better world?’”

 

The 2008 U.S. Dairy Sustainability Summit tried to answer that question for the industry as a whole. Originally brought on as director of strategic planning for Dairy Management Inc. (DMI), the parent company that promotes dairy on behalf of dairy farmers and dairy importers, Fitzgerald had become keenly aware that the long term health of the industry was inextricably tied to the health of the planet. In creating a 10-year strategic plan for Gallagher, Fitzgerald says, she confronted “threat of substitution, a changing land base, and this environmental thing—sustainability—coming down the pike.

 

Gallagher took this information to dairy farmer leaders serving on DMI’s Board of Directors. After thoughtful conversation, they honed in on the long-term potential of pursuing sustainability as a business strategy. They decided to ask Cooperrider to facilitate an AI summit for the industry. They saw it as an opportunity to bring the industry together to explore these trends and identify a strategy to capitalize on them for the good of farmers, people and the planet. By definition, an AI summit is a diverse affair. And this was no exception; many of the dairy industry’s Sustainability Summit invitees had never worked together andsome were competitors. Fitzgerald did extensive advance preparation, making hundreds of personal calls to convince invitees to come to the meeting. To prevent a distracting debate about the science behind climate change, a team prepared a 40-plus-page white paper that outlined the environmental and business opportunities associated with greenhouse gas reduction across the dairy value chain, and mailed it to participants ahead of time. This helped make it clear that the summit was to be a working session, not a feel-good exercise.

 

Invitees included dairy farmers, of course. There were also milk processors and dairy manufacturers—purveyors of products like cheese and yogurt, from small, specialized brands right up to multinationals like Dannon. There were truckers and retailers, too, along with academics and delegates from environmental organizations. Even the banking and energy sectors were represented. “People said things like, ‘I had didn’t realize the extent to which my decisions impacted other segments of the dairy industry. Now I see I’m part of a system,’” Fitzgerald recalls. Arizona dairy farmer and Chairman of DMI’s Board of Directors Paul Rovey said at the time, “There’s no other meeting that I can think of that has brought such a broad range of the industry together. They all came together to look at the sustainability of their segment of the industry as well as the industry as a whole. This is a first. It’s a fantastic opportunity for us to learn from each other, to get good minds together, and to come out with great ideas that we’ll be able to carry on.”

 

The discovery phase was crucial to bringing all of these disparate parties together. Roundtable exercises prompted participants to reflect on past examples of leadership and innovation in the dairy industry. “There’s such a lot of heritage, pride and culture in dairy. The first questions were based on that, and people shared really beautiful stories,” Fitzgerald says. Through these stories, the strengths that define the dairy industry began to emerge.

 

Participants were asked to imagine their ideal future for the industry and how these strengths might contribute to it. On day two, the “dreaming,” or brainstorming, stage of the summit began, as participants suggested ideas to move the industry towards the future they had imagined. As brainstorming gave way to the “designing,” or rapid prototyping, phase, Fitzgerald recalls, “It was chaos.” But by the end of the third day of the summit, participants had come up with a list of 27 concrete initiatives that could generate business value while reducing the industry’s greenhouse gas emissions.

 

They also crafted a statement of their vision and guiding principles, and everyone signed the document. “There was this shared sense of commitment that emerged,’” Fitzgerald remembers. “Even to this day, a gentleman who just retired said to me that being part of it was it the greatest professional experience of his life. Through AI, the participants became the torch bearers of the initiative.”

 

The 27 proposals were narrowed to the 10 focused projects deemed most feasible and also high leverage in the near term. The projects were presented to the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy Board of Directors, “We conservatively estimated that the 10 projects were worth more than a quarter of a billion dollars. So we challenged the CEOs to take a proactive leadership: ‘If these 10 projects can help the industry reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 12% by 2020, would you set a stretch goal of 25% by 2020?’ And they said yes.”

 

With that courageous mandate from dairy farmers and the industry, Fitzgerald says, “we launched these 10 projects in a newly formed organization with no money to do it and a big, hairy, audacious goal!” The first step was to conduct a life cycle assessment (LCA) measuring the baseline greenhouse gas emissions of milk and cheese “from grass to glass,” Fitzgerald says.

 

Scientists compiled information from 536 dairy farms, more than 65 milk and cheese processing plants, and more than 210,000 transportation trips from farm to processor. These businesses represented 25% of the fluid milk and fully 22% of the cheese produced in the U.S. The study, which was completed in 2010, was reviewed by scientific experts as well as dairy stakeholders such as NGOs, government representatives, and others from across the industry. (On a roll, the Innovation Center later conducted comprehensive LCAs for fluid milk, cheese, and processing and packaging. The comprehensive LCA calculates other environmental factors beyond GHG emissions, such as water use, water quality and the amount of energy used at every stage of a product’s life.) The LCAs measured the environmental impact of dairy production at nine stages in the life cycle of a dairy product: feed production, milk production, delivery to the processor, processing, packaging, distribution, retail, consumption of the product, and disposal of the packaging.

 

With this data, the Innovation Center projects target the greatest opportunities for improvement, empowering companies to address energy and water use, as well as greenhouse gas emissions, at each of these stages. Call-out box: In partnership with the USDA, the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy has helped more than 6,000 farmers get access to $287 million in incentives to implement 222 air quality projects, 10,247 barn and manure nutrient management projects, and 13,920 soil quality and fertility projects. A major effort has been to create a suite of online “smart tools”: Farm Energy Efficiency™, Farm Smart™, Dairy Plant Smart™, and Dairy Fleet Smart™. These tools enable farmers, plant operators, and fleet managers to assess and reduce the ecological footprint of their operation. All have benefited from federal support.

 

Farm Smart recently received a grant of nearly $10 million from the USDA.

 

Dairy Plant Smart was created in partnership with the U.S. Ennvironmental Protection Agency (EPA) and encourages participation in the EPA’s ENERGY STAR Challenge. In fact, dairy plants now represent almost 25% of the plants participating in the EPA’s Challenge. Similarly, Dairy Fleet Smart builds on an EPA program called EPA SmartWay that helps trucking companies reduce their fuel consumption and air emissions through a range of advanced technologies as well as simple driver best practices and route planning. “Small steps add up; for example, if you make a right-hand turn in a truck, you save a lot of money, because you’re not idling while waiting to make a left-hand turn. If you multiply that by the miles we travel sending fresh milk to our customers, we can significantly reduce our carbon footprint,” Fitzgerald explains. “And that saves money and the use of fossil fuels, too.” In April 2013, the EPA presented the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy with the 2013 Smart Way Affiliate Challenge Award for the industry’s contributions to increasing freight efficiency. Other projects deal more directly with how milk is produced.

 

Although dairy greenhouse gas emissions account for only 2% of total U.S. emissions, milk production is the most greenhouse-gas-intensive part of the dairy life cycle, responsible for more than 50% of total dairy emissions. Feed production is next, at a little over 20%. So even before milk has seen the inside of a tanker, much less the inside of a refrigerator, most of the greenhouse gases associated with its production have already been released.

 

Most people know that many human activities, such as burning coal or natural gas at an electric power plant, or powering a fleet of trucks with gasoline, produce carbon dioxide, a powerful greenhouse gas. But fewer people think about the methane released naturally when organic matter breaks down. Although it breaks down more quickly in the atmosphere, methane is even better than carbon dioxide at trapping heat. And it is a by-product of rumination, the process by which cows digest very high-fiber foods. Even cow manure continues to release methane. The Innovation Center is working on that. Says Fitzgerald, “I get to work with the scientist with the coolest title ever: Director of the Cow of the Future.” The Cow of the Future project seeks scientifically sound, economically viable and socially responsible ways of reducing enteric methane emissions through improvements in dairy cow nutrition, genetics and health. “Why do we have cows? Sounds like a silly question, but they’re really unique in that they’re able to recycle food that people can’t eat [like almond hulls, orange peels and the stalks of corn] and process it into nutrient-rich dairy foods and beverages,” says Fitzgerald. Cows have about 450 microbes in their guts that help them break down these types of food, and not all of them produce methane. Might different breeds of cows produce different amounts of methane because of varying digestive fauna?

 

Fitzgerald says that scientists are looking at testing microbial genetics to find out. And how about manure? Chock-full of nutrients for the soil such as nitrogen and phosphorus, manure can nourish crops, like alfalfa, corn and soy, that in turn feed cows. And in addition to saving money, farmers who use manure instead of commercial fertilizer need less water to grow their crops. Feed production consumes more than 90% of the water that is used in the dairy life cycle, and soil that has been fertilized with manure requires less irrigation because it retains 20% more moisture. And there is a technological enhancement of this process that Fitzgerald says is a wonder at harnessing “the power of poo.”

 

Anaerobic digesters are a technology used to convert manure into biogas, water to irrigate crops, and a concentrated fertilizer. The methane that would have gone into the atmosphere? It becomes fuel that can be fed into the existing electrical grid to power the farm and its neighbors – thus generating income for the farmer. The Innovation Center’s Dairy Power and Biogas Capture and Transport projects aim to put 1,300 anaerobic digesters on farms by 2020. Since 2009, 180 anaerobic digesters have been put in place. An added benefit of digesters is that they can also accept food waste. “Your average grocery store produces two tons of food waste each week, and that all goes to a magical place called ‘away,’ meaning a landfill,” Fitzgerald says. “If you think about it, that’s hard labor and nutrients that have been harvested from our land, and that has a value.” What if, after usable food was diverted to food banks, the rest was sent to a dairy farm with a digester? “This project, we now know, is conservatively worth $3 billion to the industry. And we could potentially eliminate 70% of all commercial food waste currently being put in landfills,” says Fitzgerald. Besides being wasteful, dumping food in landfills is expensive. Forty percent of food in the U.S. is simply thrown out at some point between the farm and the dining room table, and it costs us more than a billion dollars every year to dispose of it. “Food waste also creates methane,” she continues.

 

“So in this case, you’re capturing and repurposing it, as opposed to just flaring it from a landfill. So this is the tip of the spear. We haven’t truly calculated the avoided costs.” With digesters, what is currently a waste disposal problem with consequences for the climate could become a triple-win for farmers, consumers, and the climate. “I’m from a finance background, so at least philosophically, the way I think of it, stewardship is a long-embedded heritage of the dairy industry, but sustainability is about business cents,” Fitzgerald says. “In the case of digesters, we know there’s a potential $3 billion there. How do we go after it?”

 

In April 2013, almost five years after the Sustainability Summit the White House hosted key leaders of the Sustainable Dairy initiative for a ceremony. But beyond the honors and recognition, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy CEO Tom Gallagher renewed the Memorandum of Understanding between the two organizations. The second annual U.S. Dairy Sustainability Awards were held in conjunction with the occasion to honor achievements in dairy farm sustainability, processing and manufacturing, energy efficiency, and renewable energy. “I feel like we’re finally to the place where we’re putting points on the board,” says Fitzgerald. “I think for a while, my job was just to keep it going. And now I feel like it’s going to go. We’re getting there. And as we measure our progress, we are more equipped to assure consumers that their choice of dairy foods and beverages is not only good for them, but also good for the planet.”

 

The industry is working together to communicate their sustainability progress through tools like the Stewardship & Sustainability Guide and through stories such as those featured on dairygood.org. One of the most important things Fitzgerald learned from the AI process was to “plan for success. Be careful what you wish for, because the ‘delivering’ stage is the hardest. We took on more scope than we could do.... Year one and year two was, for me personally, the toughest thing I’ve ever done.” What kept her, and others, going was that “it became a cause for everybody, and there’s a danger in that too,” Fitzgerald observes. Indeed, while the importance of the cause cannot be overstated, there is only so much that one industry—even one as motivated as the U.S. dairy industry—can do. In the U.S., dairy production represents only 2% of total greenhouse gas emissions and just over 5% of water use. The Innovation Center’s 2012 sustainability report showed that their projects reduced dairy industry greenhouse gas emissions by the equivalent of 1,459,075 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide that year.

 

That is no mean feat, but the dairy industry alone cannot counterbalance a business-as-usual climate scenario: The EPA’s most recent data found the U.S. emitted the equivalent of more than 6.7 billion metric tonnes of carbon dioxide in 2011. Nevertheless, what Secretary Vilsack recognized in inviting the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy to the climate talks in Copenhagen was that the dairy industry is blazing a trail for others to follow. In a sense, the Innovation Center’s work is important not just in itself but as evidence that change is possible. Cooperrider, who facilitated the 2013 sustainability awards ceremony, explains why celebrating such accomplishments matters. “That is the way learning happens: through narrative and story,” he says. “In any large-scale effort to change, oftentimes change feels slow, and part of it is because you can’t see a flower growing in front of your eyes. But using motion capture photography you can, and that is like the concentration effect of gathering stories. The concentration effect gives us a time-lapse view of the change with the texture of the actual.” Fitzgerald, too, derives satisfaction from stepping back to look at the whole picture. “One of the biggest lessons we have learned is the power of a true systems approach,” she says.

 

“Especially when we talk about these sustainability issues, they’re so vast that it can’t be just one organization or one segment of the supply chain. I think what we’re proving is that a whole industry is so much more powerful than one brand.” Cooperrider says that the next industry he’d like to see embrace wholescale transformation is the energy industry; he points out that energy, like dairy, is actually many industries. “We have the opportunity over the next 30 years to completely transition away from a fossil fuel economy, and that is the opportunity of a civilization,” Cooperrider says.

 

“[At the end of my career] I’d like to say we were part of that--the total eradication of poverty and the complete transition to a clean renewable energy economy.” *** *For inquiries related to the AI Summit with Professor David Cooperrider and colleagues call 440-364-5077 or send email to dlc6@case.edu.

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Net Zero In Seattle: Sustainable Building Of The Year (VIDEO)

Net Zero In Seattle: Sustainable Building Of The Year (VIDEO) | Business as an Agent of World Benefit | Scoop.it
Originally published on 1Sun4All.
The Bullitt Center in Seattle, Washington is the greenest commercial building in the world, it is Net Zero, and was recently named the World Architecture News Sustainable Building of the Year 2013.
David Cooperrider & Chris Johnston's insight:
If you took just the office buildings in the United States today, and reduced their energy consumption by half, you would be saving twice as much energy every year as America imports from the Middle East. that's why the most sustainable commercial building in the world, the Bullitt Center is such an important role model. tHe building is net zero, and engaging --everyone participates in its success. Read more at http://cleantechnica.com/2014/01/31/net-zero-seattle-sustainable-building-year-video/#w7dsAUl6hcdZos4l.99
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Whole Foods' co-CEO on list of execs transforming the food industry

Whole Foods' co-CEO on list of execs transforming the food industry | Business as an Agent of World Benefit | Scoop.it
John Mackey, co-founder and co-CEO, has always been the more visible leader of Austin-based Whole Foods Market Inc.
David Cooperrider & Chris Johnston's insight:

Mackey is the co-author of “Conscious Capitalism: Liberating the Heroic Spirit of Business,” and has been at the forefront of nutritional excellence, organic food production, and the ways good business can be a force for building a better world. 

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Aura Herbal Textiles: It Can Lead the Transformation of a Toxic Industry

Aura Herbal Textiles: It Can Lead the Transformation of a Toxic Industry | Business as an Agent of World Benefit | Scoop.it

“After working with one of the world’s most polluting industries, textiles, for 17 years, we realised the pollution & harm it was causing to people and the environment. This led us to research o...”

David Cooperrider & Chris Johnston's insight:

This company is an example of embedded sustainability thinking, where sustainability does not mean compromise in quality (Chris Laszlo  and Zhexembayeva, 2012). In one of the worlds most polluting industries, this company stands out. Through direct consumer interaction at company-owned stores they hope to inspire a paradigm shift in the market, one where all would opt for sustainable clothing and lifestyle products without compromising on design or quality.

 

For more on "Embedded Sustainability" by Chris Laszlo (Author), Nadya Zhexembayeva (Author)

 

see:

http://www.amazon.com/Embedded-Sustainability-Next-Competitive-Advantage-ebook/dp/B0073Y1Y60/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1391261798&sr=8-1&keywords=chris+laszlo

 

 

Overview of the Book

We are in the midst of a sea-change. In years past, corporate social responsibility may have been seen as a feather in a corporation's cap but, today, ecological and social pressures require a new type of business response. In Embedded Sustainability, authors Chris Laszlo and Nadya Zhexembayeva convincingly show how companies can better leverage global challenges for enduring profit and growth. 

 

In this outstanding book, readers will learn about the marquis concept of "embedded sustainability": the incorporation of environmental, health, and social value into core business activities with no trade-off in price or quality. When Clorox introduced its new line of Green Works cleaners or Nissan developed its Leaf 100% electric car, these firms were pursuing a profit shift in mainstream markets. In addition to churning out smarter (instead of just greener) products for consumers at large, embedded sustainability is capable of hugely motivating employees. Most of all, it enables companies to create even higher returns for investors, while responding to the new market realities of declining resources, radical transparency, and rising customer expectations.

 

This book helps readers to comprehend—and act on—the notion of embedded sustainability, explaining why it is now a requisite in every sector, how smart companies are creating even higher value for their customers and investors, and what new management competencies are needed to compete in today's marketplace.

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Organizations that Embrace our Humanity in the Workplace.

Organizations that Embrace our Humanity in the Workplace. | Business as an Agent of World Benefit | Scoop.it
By providing Stakeholder News services to organizations Axiom News fulfills its intention to Co-Create a Life-Giving News Network for a Renewed and Thriving World.
David Cooperrider & Chris Johnston's insight:

Michelle Strutzenberger, a journalist at Axiom News in Canada, is launching a series that will spotlight businesses that do more than engage people--they are advancing human flourishing. For example Menlo Innovations CEO and founder Richard Sheridan has just published Joy Inc. documenting his organization’s journey to a place of renown for its intention and hard work to create the conditions that enable his team to experience joy in the workplace — a critical state, Richard argues, for the team member and organization to experience success. 

 

And Strutzenberger is on a mission to to lift up stories like Menlo, for example Zappos, WorldBlu, and others, including Axiom itself.  Its an exciting news focus , and it is also highlighting methods and tools such as Peter Blocks courageous conversations, Appreciative Inquiry, and Open Space management methods.

 

Michelle invites your participation in this search:

email michelle(at)axiomnews.ca or tweet using the hashtag #humanworkplaces.

 

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Why Elon Musk's SolarCity Corp. and Tesla Are Soaring This Week

Why Elon Musk's SolarCity Corp. and Tesla Are Soaring This Week | Business as an Agent of World Benefit | Scoop.it
After big numbers from Tesla and wild analyst ratings for SolarCity, Musk's companies are getting special treatment this week. - Daniel Sparks - Industrials
David Cooperrider & Chris Johnston's insight:

As if SolarCity's 400% gain over the past 12 months isn't enough, Deutsche Bank just initiated coverage on the stock at a buy with a $90 price target. Its very exciting to see the solar revolution and business transformation right in front of our eyes. And its not simply "doing good" as a mindset. 

 

Even after the stock's 7.5% gain this morning at the time of this writing, $90 is a 22.4% premium to today's price. Deutsche Bank analyst Vishal Shah cites high interest in the solar-backed securities the bank recently issued and a very large total addressable market, or TAM, as reasons for the bullish rating.

 

Deutsche Bank says that its recently issued solar-backed securities are popular among investors. They are "very interested" in them, according to Deutsche Bank. This bodes well for SolarCity's announcement this week that it will be offering retail investors opportunities to to buy and sell the companies debt.

 

SolarCity CEO Lyndon Rive says that he thinks the company can raise "billions" of dollars by offering this financial product.

Deutsche Bank offered useful perspective on just how small SolarCity's penetration is in relation to its TAM. "We estimate the company's market penetration is ~0.2% in existing markets, which implies considerable room for expansion within current markets and into new markets. We believe SCTY's cumulative [megawatts] deployed can reach at least ~3GW by 2016 which would still imply only ~1% market penetration. Our 2016 estimates are likely conservative as the company has a target to reach ~1M customers implying ~6GW deployed by mid 2018 timeframe." 

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Big business wakes up to smell the 'permalogical' tea and cooperative ownership is providing superior returns.

Big business wakes up to smell the 'permalogical' tea and cooperative ownership is providing superior returns. | Business as an Agent of World Benefit | Scoop.it
“Like Tom Idle, I’m not keen on making predictions, so instead would like to share my ‘wish list’ for 2014. I’m optimistic that big businesses will embe...”
David Cooperrider & Chris Johnston's insight:
The collaborative economy and cooperative ownership model is growing in not just numbers but also in business success. - figures published last June to show British co-operatives have outperformed the UK economy for the fourth consecutive year . In 2012 nearly 1 billion people owned shares in cooperatives across the world, with the top 300 cooperatives, worth an estimated $1.6 trillion, operating in some of the most competitive global industries in 25 different countries.
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Whole Foods Co-CEO Calls for a Strategic Focus on Community and Relationship Value

“Whole Foods Co-CEO Calls for a Renewed Focus on Community Stakeholders ...”
David Cooperrider & Chris Johnston's insight:
Whole Foods turns traditional business logic on its head and the succeeds in ways that makes the experts scratch their heads. Consider the store in Detroit. The decision to open a new store in Detroit was met with skepticism. The Wall Street Journal asked if the venture was “A business plan gone off the rails?” Read on. It's an important story in the quest for full spectrum flourishing as the new logic of value creation.
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low cost inverterless AC/DC solar power system.

low cost inverterless AC/DC solar power system. | Business as an Agent of World Benefit | Scoop.it
“Basil Energetic's breakthrough solar power hybrid system switches seamlessly between AC & DC, has less load current, and delivers energy at half the cost and space!”
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Innovation from everywhere. Here is a solar system that is seamless with AC and DC and can cut half the cost for energy in India.
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Companies Are Waking Up to Waste of All Kinds: $250 Billion in Wasted Food

Companies Are Waking Up to Waste of All Kinds: $250 Billion in Wasted Food | Business as an Agent of World Benefit | Scoop.it
10 tips to cut food waste at your company, from business and industry leaders.
David Cooperrider & Chris Johnston's insight:

Each year:40 percent of the food in the U.S. goes uneaten each year;Globally, this amounts to $250 billion in wasted food;Producing this wasted food uses precious natural resources, including nearly one quarter of total freshwater consumption, and 300 million barrels of oil.

 

See what remarkable values-led companies are doing about it--from the Center for Values-Driven Leadership www.cvdl.org.

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Largest Wind Turbine In World: Blades Near the Length of Football Fields

Largest Wind Turbine In World: Blades Near the Length of Football Fields | Business as an Agent of World Benefit | Scoop.it
“Originally published on ClimateProgress. By Ari Phillips On Tuesday the world’s largest and most powerful wind turbine swung into gear at the Danish National Test Centre for Large Wind Turbines in Østerild.”
David Cooperrider & Chris Johnston's insight:
The Danish prototype V164-8.0 MW wind turbine is 720 feet tall, has 260-foot blades, and can generate 8 megawatts of power — enough to supply electricity for 7,500 average European households or about 3,000 American households. I am hoping initiatives such as Mayor Jackson's Green City on a Blue Lake--sustainable Cleveland 2019--can tap into breakthroughs like this for their freshwater offshore wind energy leadership. Read more at http://cleantechnica.com/2014/01/28/largest-wind-turbine-world-ready-production/#HizHpMiTEhSo9dC4.99
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More Corporations See Sustainability as a Boon, Not a Burden

Investors who want to make more money should think about corporate sustainability efforts. - Alyce Lomax - Investment planning
David Cooperrider & Chris Johnston's insight:

Everyone thinks of Waste Management as a trash hauler, but investors should think about another impressive evolution: It's arguably an energy company, too. In fact, recent data showed that Waste Management's waste-to-energy projects rival the output of solar energy in the U.S. 


CK Prahald used this example a few years ago in his Harvard Business Review article that argued that "sustainability is innovation"s next frontier."  Now today, in just a few short years, this observation is being echoed by the investemtent community, like Bloomberg and Motley Fool. But its not foolish at all. Its a skill--that is, driving innovation throught the lens of sustainability--and the field of management is now making it the new normal. 

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Rooftop Solar Will Soon Be Cheaper Than Coal and Gas in Europe: The Trend is Our Friend

Rooftop Solar Will Soon Be Cheaper Than Coal and Gas in Europe: The Trend is Our Friend | Business as an Agent of World Benefit | Scoop.it
Wind and solar will claim cost leadership in Europe, according to a new study.
David Cooperrider & Chris Johnston's insight:

The trends are clear that wind and solar will claim cost leadership, and also financing is getting stronger.

 

Renewables projects' “pretty narrow risk” is adding liquidity, said Bank of America Merrill Lynch Head of U.S. Power & Renewables Raymond Wood. “The trend is our friend.”

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Is Self-healing Concrete the Ultimate Green Material?

Is Self-healing Concrete the Ultimate Green Material? | Business as an Agent of World Benefit | Scoop.it
“The development of self-repairing biomass building materials has the potential to revolutionize green building. (Just heard of this cool innovation in #greenconcrete: masonry that can be grown from bacterial cultures!”
David Cooperrider & Chris Johnston's insight:
Green building start-up bioMason has developed a method for “growing” bricks via the use of bacterial colonies, thus dispensing with the need for energy-intensive manufacturing processes. - See more at: http://sourceable.net/is-self-healing-concrete-the-ultimate-green-material/#sthash.uPXQBoN6.dpuf
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Is solar power mainstream now?

Is solar power mainstream now? | Business as an Agent of World Benefit | Scoop.it
Leading cleantech market research firm GTM Research takes a look at whether or not solar energy has hit the mainstream. Watch the video to find out, then read my commentary to see where I disagree.
David Cooperrider & Chris Johnston's insight:

This is one macrotrend that can send ripple effects everywhere for building a better world. This article explores the idea of solar going mainstream--which is a very likely long term trend.


Right now, Solar power is clearly only "mainstream" in a handful of states, but 2) solar power is cost-competitive across the US, and we should make more people aware of that so that they and the world can benefit from going solar.

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Solar Economy Can Change the World

Solar Economy Can Change the World | Business as an Agent of World Benefit | Scoop.it

“By Stacy Clark House by house, street by street, homeowners and businesses are increasingly divesting from conventional electrical power providers and going solar.”

David Cooperrider & Chris Johnston's insight:

What is the single most important "global issue" to take collective, collaborative action on? And what single domain could have more positive sum gain for growing jobs and building a healthier economy, solving environmental issues and dealing with extreme poverty?

 

Energy is a key driver of human and economic development. It powers communities, homes, businesses and industries, schools, hospitals, and transportation. Businesses, for example, across sub-Saharan Africa see the lack of access to reliable and affordable electricity as the biggest obstacle to operations. Access to energy is key to eradicating poverty, and levels of access closely correlate to rankings on the human development index and other measures of development progress.

 

Energy’s status as an enabler–catalyzing access to clean water, education, public health, and sanitation –has led it to be widely described as the ‘missing’ Millennium Development Goal. However, our current energy system is unsustainable and inequitable, and threatens human wellbeing. It is driving dangerous climate change through a reliance on previously cheap and abundant fossil fuels, with energy production responsible for approximately 75 per cent of all greenhouse gas emissions.

 

The energy system is also failing the 1.3 billion people without access to electricity and 40 per cent of the world population who still rely on traditional biomass such as charcoal, firewood, and dung to cook and heat their homes. According to the World Health Organization, there are more deaths every year from smoke inhalation than HIV/AIDS, malaria or tuberculosis, predominantly affecting women and children.

 

We need to sieze on the visions of people such as Stanford's Mark Jacobson who shows the win-win power of creating a worldwide transormation beyond a fossil fuel economy.  Indeed, there are 23,000 terawatt-hours (TW) of solar power landing on earth each year, which is about 1,400 times more than we need to power our global needs. The rapid price drop in solar panels over the past decade means that harvesting an abundance of sustainable energy is becoming more affordable. In emerging nations, like Peru and Zambia, solar power is connecting long-impoverished families to electricity for the first time because it is now an accessible and affordable source of energy.

 


Read more at http://cleantechnica.com/2014/02/01/solar-iq-rises-costs-fall/#ILS97G2l4JZpAVMb.99

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washing machines WITHOUT water?

washing machines WITHOUT water? | Business as an Agent of World Benefit | Scoop.it

“Developed by Leeds University, the technology could save UK households around seven million tonnes of water per week. (Want to preserve water ? Use this technology !!”

David Cooperrider & Chris Johnston's insight:

How might the UK save 7 million tons of water per week? Well, it's a new wash machine concept that was discovered by accident. The researchers were studying with ways to help clothes keep their dye colors, and found ways to remove stains.

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Organizational Generativity: The Appreciative Inquiry Summit and a Scholarship of Transformation By David Cooperrider, Danielle Zandee, Lindsey Godwin, Michel Avital, and Brodie Boland.

Organizational Generativity: The Appreciative Inquiry Summit and a Scholarship of Transformation: Volume 4 in the book series Advances in Appreciative Inquiry. - by David Cooperrider, Danielle P. Zandee, Lindsey Godwin , Michel Avital, and Brodie Boland. Download it once and read it on your Kindle device, PC, phones or tablets.  

David Cooperrider & Chris Johnston's insight:

Appreciative Inquiry, or “AI” is taking the strengths revolution to a new level, far beyond today’s common talent-management or individual leadership focus. Introducing the next generation AI Sustainable Design Summit—something that a recent CEO report singles out as “the best large group method in the world today.” 

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 We are entering the collaborative age. In eras past, the focus was on preparing for organisations to be change frontrunners capable of capturing strategic advantage through disruptive innovation and by creating their own organisational cultures capable of embracing relentless change. Today, however, executives are saying that organisational change is not enough. The overriding question is no longer about change per se, but is about change at the scale of the whole. ‘How do we move a 67,000 person telephone company together?’ ‘How do we move a whole Northeast Ohio economic region in momentum building alignment and shared consensus?’ ‘How do we move a whole dairy industry toward sustainable dairy, not in fragile isolated pockets that disadvantage some and advantage others, but across an industry-wide strengthening effort together?’ Or, ‘how do we, as a world system, unite the strengths of markets with the millennium development promises of eradicating extreme, grinding poverty via collective action?’

 

Meanwhile, the list of grand challenges calling out for ‘change at the scale of the whole’ grows in complexity and urgency: the call to systemic climate action; massive energy and infrastructure transition; establishing economic conditions for peace; creating sustainable water, regenerative agriculture, sustainable forestry and fisheries and walkable cities; or designing effective polices for moving from an economic era of contained depression to one of sustainability + flourishing.

           

Nowhere is this call for change at the scale of the whole more decisive for designing and capturing business and society value than in the sustainability domain. We are entering the next phase of the sustainability age in which systemic action is the primary leverage point for successful change (Chouinard et al. 2011).

           

New convening capacities and leadership tools for aligning strengths, interests and priorities at all levels of a supply system, or across public–private sectors including government, academia and NGOs, and even across entire industries, regions and countries—this is the new strategic capacity for game-changing innovation. An additional consideration, equally important, is speed. Big change is often so slow that no matter how good the visionary impulse, the programme or the strategic imperative, it is often dead on arrival because the momentum stalls, politics drag on, priorities drift apart or, more mundanely, it takes months between small group meetings. Consider the maddening attempts to coordinate calendars across slow bureaucracies and more agile entrepreneurial technology upstarts, or to simply synchronise the collective diaries of hyper-booked executives.

 

Jeffery Sachs, the economist, puts the case persuasively. The single ‘most important variable affecting our fate is global cooperation’ and, as he writes, ‘it’s a fundamental point of blinding simplicity’ (Sachs 2008).

           

In the realm of sustainable business, it is indeed increasingly clear that we’re no longer lacking in isolated sustainability solutions. Everyone is going green or socially responsible. Our greater challenge lies in system-wide designing—for creating mutual advantages, for scaling up for what could be trillion dollar solutions, and for discovering the ways of overcoming the challenges of collaborative creativity across multi-stakeholder supply chains, entire industries and larger whole systems. 

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Designing Research's curator insight, February 3, 2014 7:21 AM

In the chapter by Gervase Bushe he proposes that the generativity of Appreciative inquiry can be conceptualized as "the processes and capacities that help people see old things in new ways." As we design research, this quality of generativity also helps us to create new possibilities. As we come together in collaborative and participatory research, and see old things in new ways, we are co-creating new ideas, new solutions, new ways of relating. 

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What if you could change the world by starting a business?

What if you could change the world by starting a business? | Business as an Agent of World Benefit | Scoop.it
“We Proved Selling 'Odd' Women's Products Can Create Social Change Huffington Post Canada Since its inception in 1993, Lunapads' business philosophy has been firmly grounded in the belief that capitalism can in fact be a powerful force for positive...”
David Cooperrider & Chris Johnston's insight:
Lunapads leader and entrepreneur said: "As an early 20-something, my view was that business was inherently exploitative, and something that as a social change leader I wanted nothing to do with, seeing my future rather as a social worker or in the non-profit sector. It wasn't until I created a commercial product through whose invention my own life had changed profoundly, that the light bulb went on: What if I could change the world by starting a business?" Well, that's what's happening. Our young people are positively restless!
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'Coalitions Of The Willing' Could Advance our Capacity for Human Cooperation and Global Action

'Coalitions Of The Willing' Could Advance our Capacity for Human Cooperation and Global Action | Business as an Agent of World Benefit | Scoop.it

“'Coalitions Of The Willing' Should Take On Global Issues Huffington Post Given the predominant role of market forces as one of the engines of globalization, how can we address classical issues of elite capture, insider rents, benefit sharing and...”

David Cooperrider & Chris Johnston's insight:

Our world has experienced a sustained period of positive change. The average person is about eight times richer than a century ago, nearly one billion people have been lifted out of extreme poverty over the past two decades, living standards have soared, life expectancy has risen, the threat of war between great powers declined, and our genetic code and universe have been unlocked in previously inconceivable ways. Many of today's goods are unimaginable without the collective contributions for different parts of the world. But now the global issues we face require social inventions, beyond the capability of out current gridlocked institutional forms. I love the idea of coalitions of the willing--it offers a way to connect and move things forward where the questions turn to " how might we" rather than whether or not to act. It allows then for the design thinking attitude where we focus on solutions.

 

For more on 6 positive case studies of new, powerful methods for advancing Human Cooperation and Global Action, read the article by Cooperrider and McQuaid on the power of the Appreciative Inquiry Summit Method, something singled out and hailed by world leaders such as Kofi Annan and business leaders such as  Chuck Fowler of Fairmount Minerals and Chairman of the Board of Case Western Reserve University.  Click here. 

http://www.davidcooperrider.com/2013/11/23/the-best-plan-is-the-plan-you-do%E2%80%94-regional-economic-development-is-all-about-uniting-strengths/

 

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European Leaders Come Together

European Leaders Come Together | Business as an Agent of World Benefit | Scoop.it
“European Commission - Press Release details page - European Commission Press release Brussels, 22 January 2014 A reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 40% below the 1990 level, an EU-wide binding target for renewable energy of at least...”
David Cooperrider & Chris Johnston's insight:
European Commission President José Manuel Barroso in a major press release said: "Climate action is central for the future of our planet, while a truly European energy policy is key for our competitiveness. Today's package proves that tackling the two issues simultaneously is not contradictory, but mutually reinforcing. It is in the EU's interest to build a job-rich economy that is less dependent on imported energy through increased efficiency and greater reliance on domestically produced clean energy. An ambitious 40% greenhouse reduction target for 2030 is the most cost-effective milestone in our path towards a low-carbon economy. And the renewables target of at least 27% is an important signal: to give stability to investors, boost green jobs and support our security of supply".
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Abu Dhabi Sustainability Showcase 2014: Masdar is Becoming a Global Platform

Abu Dhabi Sustainability Showcase 2014: Masdar is Becoming a Global Platform | Business as an Agent of World Benefit | Scoop.it
Hosted by Masdar, the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week (ADSW) is a global platform that addresses the interconnected challenges that affect the widespread acceleration and adoption of sustainable development and renewable energy. To seriously address the global energy challenge, the relationships between economic development, poverty eradication, energy security, water scarcity and climate change cannot be overlooked. The largest gathering on sustainability in the history of the Middle East, ADSW encourages actionable outcomes to carve a pathway toward sustainability worldwide.
David Cooperrider & Chris Johnston's insight:

Many have heard of Masdar City...its on a pathway to become the most sustainable city on the planet. Its guided by the Masdar Corporation which is an innovator's dream company. It is becoming a global platform for accelerating innovation, especially in advanced energy--renewable, clean, abundant.  

 

Masdar comprises three business units--including Masdar Capital, Masdar Clean Energy and Masdar City--and is complemented by Masdar Institute, an independent, research-driven graduate university. This holistic approach keeps Masdar and the middle east at the forefront of the global clean energy industry, while ensuring it remains grounded in the pursuit of pioneering and commercially-viable technologies and systems. With each unit focused on a key component of the value chain, Masdar operates with the broad scope needed to meet the most pressing sustainability challenges of tomorrow.

 

Major renewable energy focused companies are now locating in Masdar City--a sign of an advancing vision.  An executive at Schneider Electric says: “Moving into Masdar City further strengthens the working relationship between the two companies,” said Michel Crochon, executive vice president strategy and technology for Schneider Electric. “Schneider Electric is in the business of energy management and innovating smart solutions that enable societies and cities to consume less energy. By moving into Masdar City, we are able to integrate our expertise and solutions into one of the most technologically advanced cities — opening the door for future possibilities.”


Masdar City, one of the world’s most sustainable urban developments, is on a mission to discover a "greenprint" for how cities can accommodate denser populations while reducing energy, water and waste. “The recent growth of Masdar City has been tremendous” said Mohammed Al-Ramahi, chief operating officer of Masdar.


We should all keep an eye on Masdar.

 

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Fairmount Minerals’ Alpha Resins Recognized with 2013 Sustainability Award

Fairmount Minerals’ Alpha Resins Recognized with 2013 Sustainability Award | Business as an Agent of World Benefit | Scoop.it
“FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE January 28, 2014 Media Contact Kristin Lewis Director, Communications and Engagement 216.513.3440 Kristin.Lewis@FMSand.co (Congrats to Fairmount Minerals’ Alpha Resins for being recognized w/ SOCMA's 2013...”
David Cooperrider & Chris Johnston's insight:
Fairmount Minerals is one of the finest, high performance, sustainable companies in the world. They are showing that sustainability and inspired people go hand in hand. Keep an eye on this company. Since they were named #1 corporate citizen in the US in 2005, they have proven that "do good, do well" is the leadership formula for joining success and significance.
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