miércoles, 28 de marzo de 2007

John Mackey: On Entrepreneurs with transcendent purposes

“Entrepreneurs create their businesses for a diversity of reasons. However, I believe that most of the greatest companies in the world also have great purposes which were discovered and/or created by their original founders and which still remain at the core of their business models. Having a deeper, more transcendent purpose is highly energizing for all of the various interdependent stakeholders, including the customers, employees, investors, suppliers, and the larger communities in which the business participates. While these deeper, more transcendent purposes have unique expressions at each business they also can be grouped into certain well known and timeless categories. Philosophy dates back to Plato; the timeless ideals of “The Good”, “The True”, and “The Beautiful” that humanity has been seeking to create, discover, and express for thousands of years. If we add the ideal of “The Heroic” to the above three we have the framework of higher ideals which most great businesses seek to express in some form or fashion.”

Source: Conscious Capitalism: Creating a New Paradigm for Business

sábado, 24 de marzo de 2007

The revolution really has started: More on Patagonia and Wal Mart

"The revolution really has started," says Yvone Chouniard with a slow, curling and just slightly subversive smile. "I'm blown away by Wal-Mart. If Wal-Mart does one-tenth of what they say they're going to do, it will be incredible. And hopefully America will get a government that we need rather than one we deserve, that will put pressure on business to clean up its act. But the most powerful pressure will come from the consumer. Oh, my God, it's going to be really powerful."

As Chouinard sees it, there's only one downside to this good news: It's probably too late. "There's a race between running out of water, topsoil or petroleum. I don't know what's going to be first. Or maybe it will all happen at once."

Read the Fortune article.

Visit Patagonia Blog

domingo, 18 de marzo de 2007

Wal Mart and Sustainability 360: Greenwashing or true change?

Wal-Mart’s CEO launched “Sustainability 360,” an initiative that involves working with suppliers to reduce packaging by 5% by 2013 – an effort that will be equal to removing 213,000 trucks from the road, and saving approximately 324,000 tons of coal and 67 million gallons of diesel fuel per year.
Wal-Mart's six path strategy focuses on its own environmental footprint and that of its 60,000 suppliers. It has big ambitions to cut the waste sent to landfill, build more energy efficient stores and take "a hard look at what is on our shelves".
The question is: are these thousands of suppliers genuinely trying to understand what sustainability really is? Or are they only changing their practice just enough so as to maintain Wal Mart as a client?
If Wal Mart is strict enough in its policy, and keeps setting higher sustainability standards, does it really matter if suppliers only go after Wal Mart business or if they truly embrace the sustainability phylosophy?
I believe one leads to the other, many companies like Patagonia,
Interface, Natura, American Apparel have found the benefits of sustainable Business practices. Currently, Wal Mart and its suppliers are on the way to discovering this.

Paul Hawken, The author of the Ecology of Commerce, defined in a recent interview that "Sustainability comes when the light bulb goes on and you start to see that we are all involved, that everything is interconnected that your actions affect others", and when we do see this, you longer ask, or discuss, if it is right or wrong, you look for a solution.

100 million customers visit Wal Mart every week, many light bulbs should go on in their stores.

Yvon Chouinard lists Patagonia's values, and with them five steps to action> They are I believe, the five best actions to reach sustainability.

Chouinard's five steps.
read the whole essay

STEP 1: Lead an examined life. Most of the environmental damage human’s cause is a result of ignorance.
STEP 2: Clean up your act. Once you learn the environmental costs, try to reduce them. And when you can reduce them, you must.
STEP 3: Do your penance. No matter how diligent a corporation, it causes waste and pollution.
STEP 4: Support civil democracy. It’s obvious that governments and corporations hold a lot of power, but so do small groups of people who care passionately about an issue and press their cause.

STEP 5: Influence other companies. If you undertake the other steps, this one is a natural. The company that discovers new ways to be more environmentally responsible has an obligation to spread the word to others – to share the knowledge of what can be done.

At this moment Wal Mart is leading the influence movement on other companies,
60,000 of them!.

viernes, 16 de marzo de 2007

Sustainability vs Survivability

I have just discovered a new term in Yvon Chouniard's book "Let my people go surfing".
A concept I had never seen applied before, at least for the human race.


To those that have come to understand the philosophy of sustainability, our greatest fear is that this term, could evolve into a more complex and irreversible situation, much beyond unsustainability.
This more "complex situation" has just been presented to me as: Survivability.

Lesson four: By Paul Hawken.

"If everyone thinks you have a good idea, you're too late"

jueves, 15 de marzo de 2007

Chapter Eight: Mass collaboration is "framing" Corporate responsibility.

Where we’re heading

These three forces –the revolution of the social sector, sustainable development and the participatory media– converge in the dawning of the 21st century to generate a radical change in the way we communicate, do business, and cooperate with the rest of mankind. Each of these currents in turn drives the growth of the others.

The “tipping point”, that moment in which something that is unique will become commonplace, is very near. The signs are out there for all of us to see.

Ordinary people’s participation in the media cannot be turned back. While YouTube, Current TV, and AOL are supplying them with simple publication and edition tools (for blogs, photos, and videos), mainstream sites like those of BBC and CNN are demanding contents created by this rising and powerful army of citizen journalists.

From participatory journalism to interactive advertising

People who increasingly participate in the communications media question and reject unidirectional advertising. And the phenomenon is on the rise. The new individual become global citizen participates and browses the Net as part of his daily activities. He connects when and how he likes. He demands a new relationship with companies and the manner in which the latter promote the sales of their products. Accustomed to conversation (permalink), this individual asks to engage in dialog with companies and expects to be heard by them.

Companies that progressively adopt sustainability practices will be the ones able to engage into and sustain an authentic dialog with their clients. Those that have grasped the fact that, in order to stay successful, they must change their way of extracting raw materials and producing – and reduce their impact on both the environment and humans.

There are myriad consumers looking for corporate information on the Web, talking among themselves about the products they consume and the history behind such products, and reading company blogs. The post on Kryptonite the padlock manufacturer is one of many proofs of the existence of a watchdog community operating via the Internet. They observe, share information, denounce and reward the companies they identify with.

Conscious consumers are creating communities where they review the impact of corporate behaviour (check dotherightthing.com)

The power of networks

The new participatory media is making an unprecedented impact on the social sector as well. Online communities are the natural ecosystem in which change-makers multiply. The tools for this are out there and within everyone’s reach. Thanks to the use of available technologies, every day there arise more people who –like Rodrigo Baggio and Iqbal Quadir– create their own networks for social transformation.

As Bill Drayton said in words quoted above, “if we multiply the number of change-makers from 1% to 20% in the next fifteen years, that will be the most radical change ever witnessed since the agricultural revolution.” The participatory media will have achieved that – and more.

25% of Internet users participate in online communities. Glocalization ensures that, after conversing for hours with people from all over the world who share his interests, the new individual goes out to the street and starts building a commitment towards his neighbors, school, club, and community.

The new Internet, the Web 2.0 (blogs, vlogs, permalink, free software), is creating a space for conversation and universal community. Wikipedia and Ohmy, for their part, have shown that when the community claims ownership of the media, there grows a bond of trust that gives rise to a universal intelligence – where joint striving for the common good and collective building eradicate bad practices.

Our future lies in the weaving of virtual networks, held together by common values and issues. Social participation and sustainability are clearly two dimensions deeply related to awareness, responsibility, and growing commitment. And, faster than we can even begin to envision, the world is heading in that direction.

The media is here and the truth is out there. This conversation has only just begun.

lunes, 12 de marzo de 2007

On Corporate Responsibility for Planet Earth

On Corporate Responsibility for Planet Earth

by Yvon Chouinard
Read the whole essay

As an alpinist who set out to make gear for my friends and never thought of myself as a “businessman” until long after I became one, I’ve wrestled the demons of corporate responsibility for some time. Who are businesses really responsible to? Their shareholders? Their customers? Their employees? None of the above, I have finally come to believe. Fundamentally, businesses are responsible to their resource base. Without a healthy planet there are no shareholders, no customers, no employees. As the conservationist David Brower liked to say, “There is no business to be done on a dead planet.”

But what does behaving responsibly to the environment mean? It took me nearly 25 years in business to learn how to ask that question. It has taken another 15 years of trial and error to uncover the process that Patagonia – or any environmentally minded company – has to go through in pursuit of answers. I think I know how to break that process down to five steps. These steps apply to individuals as well as to companies who want to reduce the harm they do and make a difference.

STEP 1: Lead an examined life.
STEP 2: Clean up your act.
STEP 3: Do your penance.
STEP 4: Support civil democracy.
STEP 5: Influence other companies.


In the end, Patagonia will never be completely socially responsible, nor at any time soon be able to make a totally sustainable (“cradle-to-cradle” recyclable) product. We have a long way to go and we don’t have a map – but we do have a way to read the terrain and to take the next step, and then the next.

SlideShare: Educational Materials on Steroids.

domingo, 11 de marzo de 2007

sábado, 10 de marzo de 2007

Patagonia's Environmental Essays: Combining Marketing of products with values

The Patagonia Catalog might be the best example of creating environmental awareness while marketing products.

Patagonia's 2006-2007 campaign is devoted to de Ocean, In the catalogs, retail stores and on the Web site, they analyze the” vitality of human life and the marine environment".

The recent spring catalog has two very good stories about the human impact on the ocean's degradation.

This is an excerpt of The eye of the Marlin by Dick Russell.

Not so long ago, the ocean's bounty of seafood was believed limitless. Today, the United Nations reports that 75 percent of the world's fish populations are being overfished. Over 3.5 million fishing vessels scour our oceans, utilizing high-tech gear. "Factory" trawlers ensnare 120,000 pounds of fish in a single scoop of the net. Their impact on the seafloor is like fishing with a bulldozer that tears through fragile coral reefs.

Vessels that set 100,000 miles of longlines – holding nearly 5 million hooks – kill over 90 percent of the billfish. Marlin are considered "bycatch" and thrown back dead into the ocean. Both white and blue marlin will soon be on the endangered species list. The majestic bluefin tuna is on the verge of extinction in the western Atlantic, the victim of seines, harpoons and traps. An estimated thousand dolphins and porpoises a day drown in tuna nets.

Read the whole story.

Want to get involved? Visit OCEANA

See All Patagonia's Environmental Essays

viernes, 9 de marzo de 2007

Muhammad Yunnus: Beyond Grameen Bank

Yunus affirms business schools should start turning out social-business MBAs trained in creating social returns: "People say, 'Don't be stupid.' I say there are a lot of stupid people like me. I don't want to make money. Lots of young people don't want to make money, because their mother, their father made so much money. They don't know what to do with their lives. There are many such kids in the U.S. They don't have any challenge left. Give them the challenge: Fix the world. Create a social business enterprise."

"The new wave in business is, forget corporate social responsibility and philanthropy - how do you integrate this into your core business?" says Yunus.

"The idea Danone has of creating a social dividend for shareholders - that's cutting-edge. No one else has come up with this interesting a model. It supports your brand, returns your capital, you're not going to lose money and you give your shareholders a vision of doing something good." he says.

In the fall of 2005, Yunus invited Danone CEO Franck Riboud to come to Bangladesh and build his first social business enterprise. Riboud listened, then agreed. The yogurt Danone would make would be fortified to help curb malnutrition and priced (at 7 cents a cup) to be affordable. All revenue from the joint venture with Grameen would be reinvested, with Danone (Charts) taking out only its initial cost of capital, about $500,000, after three years.

"I am destroying the culture, yes," Yunus says, beaming mischievously at the thought. "Culture is a dynamic thing. If you stay with the same old thing over and over, you don't get anywhere."

The same applies to Yunus's concept of microcredit. Sticking with the same old idea over and over only gets you so far. To really get somewhere, Yunus says ... well, there's this Big New Idea.

Read the Whole story at CNN.

Wal Mart and Unilever. Responible production - distribution.

In late 2005, Unilever management sat with Wal Mart’s CEO, Lee Scott, to convince him that they could save, per year, 16 million liters of water, 113.500 liters of diesel, six million kilos of plastic and 630 thousand square meters of carton . The product, the All Small and Mighty, with sales over $100 million, became Wal Mart 's Value Producing Item and Unilever’s most successful launched product of 2006.

miércoles, 7 de marzo de 2007

Saving Africa: New media, Branding, Blogging or Second Life?

Saving Africa has become a worldwide crusade:
Google shows 73,900,000 Results / options for save africa. in (0.11 seconds)
but amazingly there is only One Sponsored Link.

The world is screaming for awareness on Africa’s problems, and hopefully, we will soon demand solutions.

It seems as if we are reaching a moment of understanding, where the problems of Africa are no longer theirs, but ours, of all of us, as we realize that we are all members of a small global community called planet earth.

Will we produce solutions? Or we will just keep building an intolerable consciousness on the subject.
Bill Drayton says: Understanding the problem is halfway to the solution.

But People need to be responsibly informed in order to understand.
Apparently New Media is coming up with some interesting ways of doing so.
Here are someexamples:
Discussion in the blogosphere: Technorati throughs 62,405 Blogs discussing save africa, this is one of them
There is version of Camp Darfur in Second Life for anybody wanting to have a virtual experience
of walking through a ghosttown of a refugee camp, victimized by years of torture and genocide.
Second Life also offers a live discussion with Mia Farrow on the problems of Darfur

and the assortment of videos in YouTube on the matter:

Which brings us to Bono and the critisizim he is receiving for the outcome of Product Red campaign: They spent 100 Million dollars on marketing people the idea of consuming RED products but the commercial results, for those waiting for this money in Africa, were a disaster, since they only raised 18 million dollars.

But if conciousness is one of the necessary steps to a solution, Bono’s actions are having a positive impact: He constantly brings the Africa HIV problem to the head lines. People are listening. They are reacting. Maybe the first step to resolve this problem is wearing a RED distinctive product. Maybe this is the only way Bono can contribute to this cause.
But which is yours?
Get informed

sábado, 3 de marzo de 2007

EPIC: Stile and consumption meet Sustainability

Click for video

What fuels this new Movement?

  • Growing emphasis on transparency throughout the international business world.
  • Mounting influence of ideas about corporate social responsibility.
  • Consumer demand for authenticity in commercial products.
  • Increasing global calls to eliminate poverty.
  • Rising pressure to protect nature.
  • More companies concerned about diminishing natural resources.
Source: Meindert Brouwer's forthcomming book Amazon Your business, via Ode.