Tag-Archive for ◊ Business ◊

• Tuesday, February 19th, 2013

Adam Werbach has been at the vanguard of the sustainability movement since high school when he founded a national organization of over 30,000 student volunteers who mobilized around environmental projects. A few years later, at the age of 23, he was elected the national President of the Sierra Club – the youngest in its 100+ year history.

In 2004, Adam turned the environmentalism movement on its head by publicly decrying its outdated thinking and lack of progress, given the scope of its mission. He challenged its followers to link their goals to other broad social and economic ones in order to have more impact.

Source: Peak Prosperity

It just does not make sense to constantly make new things from the things we have that are good. It doesn’t make us happy. It is expensive. The formal economy, in durable goods from toasters to bicycles to camping equipment to kids clothing to clothing, is about a trillion dollars a year in the United States  a trillion dollars a year. The informal market for that is much bigger. That means every time you borrow something from your dad, or you give maternity clothes to your sister, or you give a hand-me-down to someone else, or a neighbor borrows a shovel, that happens many, many more times than if you go to a store. It is decreasing, actually, because of the separation that we feel in the communities we live in. What ends up happening is, it is easier to order something on Amazon.com than to ask a neighbor and see if they have it.

What we haven’t seen is the same type of software technology and care and marketing, frankly, to the informal economy as we have in the formal economy. So when we start having the same things, you would expect to see when you go to Amazon.com to know when it is available, to see a picture of it, to be able to get it delivered. The things that you have in your friends’ closets, I think the world is going to start choosing that just because it is easier, it makes sense, it saves money. Actually, in the end, it is more fun to see your friends than to click around online. I actually think it is inevitable. The challenge is, we don’t yet have enough people throwing themselves into it. I think that is why the dialog we are having today is so important and what you are trying to bring about.

Things are the way they are because we made rules to make them like this. We have to change that. We change that with recycling. That has to be a step. Recycling didn’t exist 30 years ago in America. Now most people understand that you don’t throw away valuable resources. Reuse will similarly be a norm. In the same way, we spend lots of care buying things and bringing them into our home. We will understand that maintaining those things and putting them into other people’s hands will be similarly an important and well-respected pathway.

Category: Economics | Tags: , , ,  | 3 Comments
• Monday, December 13th, 2010

When the siren sounds from well-educated, highly paid business managers and entrepreneurs, you know the party is  over (R.I.P. Don Meredith).

It has been clear, for anyone who cared enough to notice, that our modern economy generally could be classified into a few self-destructive categories: resource exploitation (mining, agriculture, construction), labor exploitation (service industries), death management (health care), technology (cell phones, PC’s, game consoles) and entertainment.

Luckilly, some awake individuals have sat up and noticed the unsustainable treadmill that society is on and have decided to jump ship (I am enviously watching them swim away).

Source: Management Information Exchange

I’d suggest that today, nothing characterizes industrial age business like the Five P’s. Business is Pedestrian (in its vanishing smallness of ambition), Predictable (in its furious obsession with the trivial), Predatory (in it’s hyperaggressive selfishness), Pompous (in its unvarnished self-importance), and Pointless (in its lack of usefulness to people and society). What it really excels at is pumping out inauthentic, unsustainable, illusory value–instead of the real thing.

Does this sound harsh? Consider some recent, everyday, humdrum headlines.

*GM using bailout money to fight higher fuel standards

*Banks having destroyed the mortgage title process perhaps irrecoverably

*Cigarette makers fighting global regulation

*Marketing by almost literally brainwashing

You might, then, begin see my point. Predictable, pedestrian, predatory, slightly pompous, and, effectively pointless. Argue with me if you like, add a nuance here and there, bring the hoary B-school 101 defensive arsenal to bear if you want, but I’d suggest that the institutions of business as we know them might just have outlived their faded triumphs. In fact, I dare you: pick up the business section–and ask yourself how many articles don’t meet most, if not all, of the five P’s.

Of course, I’m not the only one who finds himself brain-crushingly bored of predictable, pedestrian, predatory, pompous, pointless business as usual. The people formerly known as “consumers,” once easy-to-placate investors, legions of snoring managers, tuned out “human resources,” scores of low-cost global competitors, thousands of fed-up startups–they are too. Apathy is skyrocketing. Activist investors are doing less fist-pumping with boardrooms–and more fist-punching at them. Entire new categories of insurgents (think social entrepreneurs), hell-bent on revolutionizing capitalism as we know it, are starting to succeed.

• Sunday, May 31st, 2009

After a year and half of research and development, “ethipedia”, the online encyclopedia of sustainable business practices, is now available online.

This reference website hosts a database of documented practices adopted by organizations seeking to incorporate greater social and environmental responsibility into their operations. With an initial store of over 75 case studies from around the world, this is the largest free resource of its kind.

“The goal of this portal is to offer a library of replicable strategies for applying sustainability principles to one’s organization. By making this information accessible, this site hopes to accelerate the market shift towards sustainable operations,” says the site’s Co-Founder, sustainability consultant Brenda Plant.

To ensure a high degree of credibility, ethipedia’s administrators monitor and vet submitted practices according to a set of concrete social and environmental criteria made available online at the following address: http://ethipedia.net/criteria

ethipedia is online at the following address and offered in English and in French: www.ethipedia.net

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