State of the EcoSocial Movement: Built to Last?

January 26, 2012

If you watched Barack Obama’s State of the Union speech on Tuesday night, you’re certain to know that we are in the process of building an America that is ‘Built To Last’.  President Obama said time and again that he will not back down, we will not turn back—that we’ve come too far to slip backwards.

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Those of us who care about society and the environment should take a similar tone.  There is no factor that bonds people more than a common goal, a unifying aspiration.

Granted, “saving the world” is an emotional rallying cry that can appeal to many, but it’s not a practical objective that we can work towards together.   There are too many ways to try that we need a more specific common mission to collectively get behind. Read more »

What Happened to Winter?

January 5, 2012

Last week I was up in Lake Tahoe for some skiing with the family.  It’s a great thing that I love spending time with the fam off the slopes because for the first time since 1883, nearby Reno had no precipitation in December.  Needless to say, there wasn’t much snow on the mountains.

I travel quite a bit and I have to say that everywhere I go, I hear anecdotal accounts of funky weather patterns and unexpected season changes.  The most dramatic, universal trend that I’ve observed world-wide is that seasonal climates have started to shift to a month later than normal.  June gloom comes in July; the July monsoon arrives in August and there are no April showers to bring May flowers (June blooms are all the rage though).  Whether or not you believe in global warming, there is definitely some weird weather going on. Read more »

How Social Entrepreneurs Are Doing More for the Environment Than Tree Huggers

July 14, 2011

Could it be that by working to cure the ills of poverty, we are in fact “saving the planet?” Is it possible that #SOCENT is doing more to save the polar bears than solar roofing companies?

My answer: maybe, probably.

It is not that the environmental movement is erroneous, but rather that it lacks an emphasis on poverty reduction.

Greener light bulbs remain critical, but if poverty continues on in rampant style, it is unlikely that any of the newfound efficiency will make a difference.

The rationale for this is hidden in plain sight.  As early as the 70′s, Paul Ehrlich proposed an over-simplified mathematical expression that makes the case clear: I=PAT. Read more »

New Orleans: A different kind of social entrepreneurship at play

June 24, 2010

Last weekend I went to New Orleans, a resilient city with a strong heart beating like a drum.  Every where I walked I could hear live music buzzing on the sound waves. It seemed as if every corner had a band playing upbeat jazz, blues or funk in a mesmerizing style.  You couldn’t help but stop and enjoy a song or two.  Despite having spent hours perusing the humid city, I walked on, feeling the lifeblood of the city coarse through my veins.  It was hard to believe that only six years ago the city was completely under water and facing tragedy.  Today, New Orleans is nowhere near to what it was like after Katrina hit; the city has roared back to tune of trombones and acoustic bass guitars coupled with delicious oysters and jambalaya. Read more »

Improve Working Conditions…and Improve Profits?

September 20, 2009

The Wall Street Journal published a compelling article recently linking the profitability and success of multi-national corporations to the improvement of the local community in which it operates.

“But here’s a lesson many executives have yet to learn: A commitment to improving social and environmental conditions in the developing countries where a company operates is the key to maximizing the profits and growth of those operations.”

In today’s capitalistic society with one of the most challenging economic environments that we have seen in years, it is an optimistically curious discovery that rather than cutting costs and pinching pennies, a way to grow profits lies in sustainable management. An improvement in the developing nation where these organizations operate benefits both employer and employee. By providing an environment in which stability and worker morale (through honest pay and benefits) are strong, the reputation of the company improves locally and abroad. As the study shows, an increasing amount of consumers are paying more attention to the conditions under which their products are made and are shifting more towards companies that provide better working conditions for their employees.  And a good reputation locally in the developing nation not only improves the image of the company in the local consumer’s mind, it also becomes a great marketing tool to recruit talented employees.

By developing environmental improvements in order to align with sustainable mentalities, an attractive by-product is a more efficient production process.  Again there exists benefits to both parties involved.  To a country and town in which the company sets up shop, nothing can help ease tensions and improve relationships more than good stable employment and attention paid to reducing the footprint left by the facilities.  Helping employ and empower the locals, thereby boosting the economy, and ‘cleaning up after yourself’ environmentally leads to a positive reputation and more efficient production.

In a time in which many companies are focused on ways to cut costs in order to improve their bottom line, it has been shown that focusing on the two other P’s of the triple bottom line (People and Planet) can lead to growth of the third P (Profit).

- Chris

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