thestoryofmeaningfuluse

A Magazine Capturing the Story of Health- For People, Environment, Economy & Habitat

Archive for Environment

Taking the Bite out of Apple – Accountability for What?


Taking the Bite out of Apple TSOMU Series -Part 1 of 3

This 3 part series looks at  3 perspectives of the cost to people in the manufacturing of Apple Products.

  • Accountability for What? Constructing the 3rd Pillar – Social Sustainability
  • Steve  and Laurene Powell Jobs’ Legacy
  • Defining the Future Inquiry

 https://thestoryofmeaningfuluse.files.wordpress.com/2011/04/weissman_liavina_120x1791.jpg

By Lavinia Weissman

@wecarehealth545454545454545454545454545454545454        

New York, New York


 

Earlier this month, Apple filed its first 2012 Supplier Responsibility Report, Elaine Cohen, an expert on sustainability reporting gave her attention to this report immediately in her CSRWire TalkBack column, ITransparency: Is Apple Catching Up,  praised Apple for the quality of disclosure reflected in the report. And at the same time with her tongue and cheek humor, Is there an App for That? Asking if there is a solution to the years of complicity in a host of human rights abuses and violations within Apple’s supply chain.

Charles Duhigg and Charles Barboza captured in detail the story of these abuses and an overview of the complicity between Apple, the small manufacturers and the multinational corporations that comprise the Apple supply chain in their NYTimes article, In China, Apple and Human Costs are Built Into the IPad .

This article portrayed up close and personal the harm to ordinary people, with normal motivations, e.g. working to have a family, buy a home and live in a society what workforce practices are dictated by the supply and demand for labor based on expertise, where product demand exceeds what is humanly possible to produce and where occupational and safety standards and wage regulations are ignored.

These stories make the corporate way clear, if an employee cannot step up to the demands of an employer at the cost of their health – mind and body, , the solution is to simply let this human cost go by and fill that job with others waiting in line for the job.  Employers show no understanding of the principle of “do no harm,” described in the Earth Charter’s Principle 6, the Precautionary Principle.

Absent from these reports is a view of issues that merit attention from a societal view on what it means to be human and build a practice of sustainability embedding the missing 3rd pillar, social sustainability.”

The Implied Hope of Social Sustainability

The Brundtland Commission Report in 1987 ignited the csr and sustainability movement offering the framework of the 3 P’s – People, Planet and Profit along side the framework of the 3 E’s – Environment, Economy and Equity.

Attention to people and equity have become a missing pillar of the sustainability movement.  In 2002, the Johannesburg Conference stressed that the integration of 3 dimensions could only be built out from a foundation of humane equitable and caring global society at the present time and for future generations.

Recently the Swedish Government and Sodotorn Univeristy funded Magnus Bostrom, Department of Life Sciences, Sodertorn University and his colleagues to ascertain the state of challenge to embedding social sustainability into society and culture. Bostrom’s summary report, A missing pillar, Challenges in theorizing and practicing social sustainability, is  the introductory article to the Winter 2012 issue of Sustainability, Science, Practice and Policy, a global journal based in Washington DC.

According to Bostrom there are two obstacles to embedding social sustainability in sustainability development.

  1. By nature of the theory and thought leadership is fluid and falls behind the concrete approaches to repair the  environment and economic agenda;
  2. In practice, social dimensions attract less attention and are far more challenging to operationalize and incorporate into projects and planning.

Bostrom identifies the substantive and procedural aspects of social sustainability which present another layer of complexity in terms of adoption and governance which is very aligned with the challenges outlined in the 2010 10 year review of the UN Global Compact by the UN Joint Inspection Unit in Geneva, Switzerland.  This report identifies the challenges ahead for its 7700 members to address through its own governance and applying what is learned with a much greater impact beyond the current penetration of

The Brundtland Commission Report in 1987 inspired the hope that the world leaders would embed an agenda people with the promise of recognition of human needs addressed in a kinder way.  Three decades of focus on the sustainable agenda have pushed these issues to the back burner, resulting in teh acceleration of  poverty and injustice as the wealthy 1% control the economy without regard for the other 99%.

Is there a different approach to addressing this agenda taking form outside the engagement of institutions focused on practices of accountability, governance and transparency.

Could it be in his final six months of life, Steve Jobs inspired by his wife, Laurene Powell Jobs created the legacy to spark and innovate a social sustainable agenda through personal conversation with friends?

Stay tuned for Part 2 – Steve and Laurene Powell Jobs Legacy to Apple and the World

 _______

Author’s Bio:

Lavinia Weissman is sustainable leadership coach, health advocate, capacity builder, and publisher/editor-in-chief of thestoryofmeaningfuluse.com.

For More information on Lavinia’s Coaching, Workshops and Presentations or to obtain an invitation to Monday Circle or Prayer Community Conference,

Contact Adriana Hill  in the US by phone 516.204.6791 or  at mydestinyjourney ampersand gmail.com.

 

Lavinia Weissman

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WEeditorial – Global Clean Tech Challenge

Clean Tech and Innovation – An Issue of Scale

by Jochen Kleef

@jochenkleef51515151515151

Hong Kong

Let’s start with a definition “Clean technology includes recycling, renewable energy (wind power, solar power, biomass, hydropower, biofuels), information technology, green transportation, electric motors, green chemistry, lighting, greywater, and many other appliances that are now more energy efficient. It is a means to create electricity and fuels, with a smaller environmental footprint and minimize pollution.”

Having listened to numerous presentations, talks and discussions around clean tech, innovation and what society needs to address the world’s problems in the future such as water shortage, energy generation, food supply and a global population of 9.0bn people, there is a serious need for innovation. Innovation of cleaner technologies as outlined by Wikipedia is what is called for and on a big scale.
However, the challenges for these clean technologies are many ranging from simply the human resistance to change or accepting new approaches, engineering as well as technical hurdles and the running of a business professionally with commercial success.

Three Exemplary challenges

Looking at the first challenge of driving change, this has improved over the last three decades not the least because of the Internet which made environmental issues and the need for a more sustainable life style much more known.

Twenty years back and without the Internet, there was not the scale of common knowledge or the rising awareness that something needed to change. This I guess is underway and will probably accelerate to gain more scale.

Secondly, the technical issues seem to be well taken care of as the inventiveness of people who take the sustainability challenges serious deserves applauding. There are many bright, talented and experienced people who are coming up with promising approaches and solutions to today’s and tomorrow’s needs of society.

A lot of interesting ideas have been developed to prototype stage and are at various levels of readiness for commercialization. Successful examples are showing the way such as China’s solar sector or companies such as Atlantis Resources Corporation and its tidal energy technology

The main issue surrounding these ventures is one of business approach and commercial success. There are two routes that seem to be shaping up.
One is for these clean tech start-ups to apply and hopefully get accepted into the so called incubation programs of big global players who are market leaders in a particular environmental sector.

This is a very promising approach as the start-ups join a network of specialists in their fields and get financial backing to take them to the next level of scale in their aim to commercialization.

The argument however is whether the motivation of these multinationals is actually as humble as it seems. There’s a school of thought that thinks big organisations and innovation – or to use a more general term: change – do not necessarily go together that well. So the idea of the big organisations to simply innovate by attracting smaller, cutting edge innovation technologies and to potentially incorporate them as a profit center after an extensive due diligence during the incubation programme is one that can work to mutual benefit if the entrepreneurs are eying for a buy-out.

Third, there’s another train of thought though that hints to the buying-out of inconvenient innovation to ensure a particular corporate business model  or a certain product stays in business and the innovation disappears into a drawer.

Which leaves us with the organic growth path from inception via R&D to prototype stage and then through various investment rounds to full commercialisation. This is a very honourable and the most controllable but yet hard way of developing a clean tech business and therefore ultimately innovate.

The major challenge is one of obtaining funds be it at seed or angel stage or later on VC money and ultimately listing. The disconnect between the entrepreneurial clean tech community on the one and the investor community on the other side seems to be what is hampering innovation.

There seems to be a lack of common understanding and probably even language (technical vs. financial, let alone cross boarder) on a large scale as clearly a need for more innovative technologies in a larger variety exists.

Scale and innovation

Since setting up our consulting business, we have been in contact with a significant number of clean tech companies that were either looking to enter into the Asian markets or for funding or both. This is good news as it means there is innovation and the innovative businesses want to be close to potential markets which makes commercial sense. The Asian markets are appealing because this is where growth is happening now – and for the foreseeable future maybe with the exception of Germany given recent performance – but there is an issue.

In general, small clean tech firms from the US or Europe do not know how to do business in Asia unless one of the founders or investors has Asia experience. It is difficult enough to innovate in one’s home territory as “to innovate” at the very heart means leaving the conventional for something new and ultimately change. But to do this in a completely new cultural environment with all its unknown protocols and behaviours, potentially at first with people whom one has not met in person but only virtually to start with is adding yet another dimension of the challenge.


The Question

The key question is whether this “long distance innovation” is actually feasible and a recipe for success or does it prolong the time these small clean tech firms take to grow? Would it perhaps be better to focus one’s efforts in one’s local community / economy and once the business model is proven with revenues to back this up prior to stepping out of your back garden? Or are economic – and investment funding – circumstance such that clean tech firms outside of Asia will fail if they don’t tap into the Far East’s momentum and economic growth potential?

That leaves another question open: Is there enough clean tech innovation happening in Asia or do the growing and developing countries indeed need input, IPR and experience from the more mature economies to maximize a combination between innovation and commercial success?

———–

Author’s Bio:

Jochen Kleef, Chairman of Ecopoint LTD. is an environmental services company that provides an Internet platform for the environmental business community throughout Asia.  He is also the founder and chief executive officer of Kleef and Co, a strategy and management consulting firm specialising in sustainable business.

Can Sustainability Sustain?

A New Wave and Format for Stakeholder Engagement

By Lavinia Weissman

@WeCareHealth52

Boston MA

Last week, I attended the web-located press room briefing by George Kell, Executive Director of the UN Global Compact. George presented an overview of the UNGC’s 2010 Annual Review. What I heard did not surprise me.

The conclusion in my opinion was not new news. Of the 6,000 Global Compact members surveyed, there is not sufficient global adoption of sustainable measures. The 6,000 UNGC members represent less than 8% of 80,000 companies that need to embed sustainability.

The additional summary points were not new news.

  • CEO awareness is high. Execution and implementation is low;
  • Beyond the corporate headquarter of the UNGC multinational members adoption is low in subsidiaries and the small to mid-size enterprises that comprise the “supply chain;”
  • The excuse for low adoption continues to be insufficient resources for implementation.

From my perspective this analysis perpetuates “embedded sustainability” as a practice of risk management or compliance and not innovation.

Yet the global citizen voice reflected by its leaders and ordinary people are asking for the “discovery” of “embedded sustainability” as a response to problems inherent to how economic decision makers from all sectors have led us into the resulting harm of global warming and poverty and the resulting harm impact on rising incidence of disease, unemployment and declining conditions of habitat and local economy.

What I have learned….

Inadequate resources imply not enough money and more importantly, not enough educated people to perform the jobs of sustainability.  My downsizing research across numerous Fortune 2000 companies consistently showed that when corporate leaders downsized, they were also unwilling to support the retooling and education of a workforce with out of date skills.

In a downsized culture, motivation becomes a practice of survival and protecting one’s job. It is only when a catastrophe occurs, e.g. the BP Oil Spill that the economic decision makers release resources to repair harm and then offer the public a view of the company will now adhere to compliance and regulation.

The culture of response to a “catastrophe” becomes a culture of accountability in response to liability and wrong-doing. The leadership drivers are shaped top-down and across a hierarchy of organization where people are told what to do and when they cannot do it, they blame the organization for lack of training and skill.

In contrast, virtual team and innovation research showed that when creativity and imagination are fostered extraordinary results are discovered through the learning of sound science and applying that science through the adoption of tools (technology) that invites high performance of teams and people across networks of expertise that learn to cooperate in service of building outcomes for sustainable value.

In a culture of innovation, high-performance brings investment rather than proof of concept because no matter the landscape of diversity (culture and expertise), the people anywhere within the network shaping sustainable value are aligned on building capacity for the purpose of producing sustainable value.

Within the picture is a dilemma…

Traditionally investors and economic decision makers want to hedge their bets and invest in something that has been historically proven sustainable value.  Yet the need to learn sustainable value is a response to a burst in society that has led to economic upheaval from how investors of any kind and motive (business, philanthropy and government).

To deliver sustainable value, investors have to learn a leadership value for recruiting and facilitating an organization of people that recognize failure is part of the cycle of building successful sustainable value and organize investments that prompt societal responses to what we have to address for global climate warming, poverty, disease, water and energy in a incubator of learning where there is less overall risk to one investor and the discovery of great impact for a even a network of competitors.

For example, on the numerous occasions of  investigating the projected harm of non-ionizing radiation, I have wondered what would happen if the companies that rely on non-ionizing radiation for defense, telecommunications and medical equipment would invest in an organization to investigate forms of reducing risk of impact on the “growing proof” that non-ionizing radiation is resulting in a rise in cancers, e.g. Leukemia and brain tumors?

Instead over the last two decades or more, we have seen a heated debate in the press between the scientific community, regulators and commercial lobbying groups.

What is interesting to me if I look at the perspective of what it will take to engage stakeholders in a world of early adoption is most likely to occur if a system of accelerated action research is organized into a collaboration that is strategic, purposeful and engaged by deliberate design.

In my studies of how that occurs that can lead to multicultural adoption, I have witnessed and studies for sometime the behavior, culture and outcomes delivered by 3 capacity building organizations unique to specific issues of sustainability:

  • ChemSec.org from the get go gave exceptional performance in service of its mission to build a world free of chemical harm. Chemical Sec had a unique beginning in that the initial investors were through an investment fund created by other non-profits.

ChemSec engages corporate stakeholders in the exploration of substitutes for harmful chemicals and serves a bridge of advocacy for the citizen voice that has suffered harm from chemicals that needs to be substituted now.

ChemSec is an European organization that has been invited to present in the US and become a hub of learning for a , Stanford doctoral candidate in the Green Chemistry network established through an alliance between faculty at University of California, Berkeley and Stanford University.

  • EDF.org was founded in 1967 in the United States at a point in time, when non profits environmental groups refused any association with corporations out of what was defined a clear conflict of interest.

EDF’s mission is to find market-based solutions based on sound science built from unlikely partnerships and non-partisan policy. EDF’s best practice fellowship program resulted in 51 MBA students generated for EDF’s corporate partners, “$350 million in net operating savings over the projects’ lifetimes. 400,000 metric tons of annual greenhouse gas emissions. More than 650 million kilowatt hours of electricity per year.

In contrast, the Myelin Repair collaboration out of a combined investment of $80M formed for MS research  by Scott Johnson, Founder and President

1.   Identification of over 150 novel potential targets;

2.   Development of 24 new research tools for broad application to other neurological disease

3.   Filing two US patents and applied for 16 more;

4.   Publication of 50 peer review articles;

5.   The launch of broader collaboration with pharma companies;

6.   Extending this research base for benefit to 70 other disease categories.

What do these organizations share in common?

None of these 3 NGO’s are lost in the “muck and myre” of protest and conflict.  They are focused on purpose that as uniting principle through which people can form an agenda and guide themselves to learn to innovate change.

Perhaps one of the most costly uses of donations and grants has been to fuel conflict and protest.   As Jochen Kleef, founder and CEO of Ecopoint.Asia recently reflected to me in an email,

“The thought this brought to my mind is, where would we be today if Greenpeace would have engaged with the establishment and stakeholders rather than confronting them.  I am not questioning Greenpeace’s achievements or the results they have achieved, but I think there could have been so much more coming out of the last 30 years…”

About the time of formation of the 1987 Brundtland Commission,

Greenpeace shifted its focus from the peace movement and antinuclear protest to building this engagement of conflict. This enabled a pattern that the US continues to be locked into today,

1.   Many NGO’s see it their role to protest “corporate greed;

2.   The scientific community in most instances refuses to engage with corporations or accept financial support for fear that this can be perceived as conflict of interest;

3.   As a result , this pushes an expectation that change can only happen if government authors policies and regulation; hence pushing the notion that risk management and compliance is what leads change to protect the environment and people.

Moving Beyond this Trap…

None of the 3 organizations I described previously are trapped by that system of thought.

Today, Greenpeace is a global NGO headquartered in Amsterdam, Netherlands with offices in over 40 countries and 2.8Mno donors and foundations providing grants.

So while leading NGO Think tanks around the world point out challenges to building resources to shift adoption of sustainability across subsidiaries of multinationals and small and medium size enterprise; one has to wonder with the lost jobs, inability of so many to gain the right education to be employed and the impact of global warming and toxic exposures on a growing geography of people facing poverty complicated with chronic illness.

What would have happen if Greenpeace had shifted its focus from the peace movement and antinuclear protest to building engagement with corporations to adopt sustainable practices instead of perpetuating and reshaping the protest and campaign methodology of anti-war to the environment?

Would Marc Gunther be reporting as he did last week that the cost of natural disasters in 2010 grew to $130B?

Would the economic powers struggling with the global recession continue to avoid the real focus for economic development by investing in the education of its people who are unemployed or becoming of age to join the workforce and create a sustainable method of employment to replace the dying system of full employment based on one life-time job?

Will leaders of the sustainability movement regroup themselves to sustain sustainability by acting on science as we know it today?

Is this form of innovation the best practice to return balance to our global ecology?

Ultimately to sustain sustainability and be effective in creating a global system of health for the environment, economy, people and habitat —-politicians, business and NGO leaders can learn from ChemSec, EDF and Myelin Repair Foundation the most important lesson on how to align purpose to accelerate cooperation and collaboration that will result in embedding sustainability into all aspects of the global economy.

_____________

Authors bio:

Lavinia Weissman is an sustainable market leadership coach, journalist, and publisher of thestoryofmeaningfuluse.com. As a speaker she describes the new emerging patterns of markets shaped by sustainable market leaders and the social networks they work with and employ.  As a coach, Lavinia works with all her clients to inspire professional development that assures a person the opportunity to embed sustainability as a leader into the network and culture of people they work with.

WEAction Research Briefing: George Kell, #ungc 2010 Update

Live from the UN Press conference –


UN Global contact outreach through 6,000 companies over 130 countries. This is a small fraction of companies to impact societal scale change for sustainability.

Goal to increase this outreach through 20,000 companies by the time RIO is launched.

For Immediate Release

By Lavinia Weissman

@WeCareHealth

Boston MA

Source:  Press Conference Live @ UN Global Compact Press Conference

Written Report:  Press Release fro UNGC

George Kell, Executive Director of UN Global Compact provide this overview summary and analysis of UNGC progress over 2010.

Of the 6,000 members surveyed,

1. The percentage of UNGC member  corporations bring about change as a result of UNGC engagement is up to 80%.

2. The 6,000 have the power of 25% influence at the front end of issues of the 80,000 total multinational companies.

3.  75% of multinationals are only beginners building awareness.

4.  Ownership form a great influence

  • Public owned companies have 57% of impact;
  • State owned – 32%
  • Private owned – 18%

5. Size matters; Large companies working the issues the most, although within their subsidiaries there is only a 28% implementation.

6. Huge gaps on policies and supported by CEO’s and actual implementation and specific action, corruption, human rights, environmental issues and cuts across all areas of implementations. Awareness is high on material, risk and compliance sides.  Execution and implementation continues with very high gaps.

7. Supply chain continues to be one of the most significant gaps. Details on this at pp. 24-25.

8. Good news in 6,000 participants in survey taking action with NGO”s, MDG’s and 70% increase in concrete actions.

9. Response on environmental issues accelerated.

Projection for the future: UNGC is going strong,

Challenges:   implementation to drive quality.

Priority: Accelerate attention on human rights, corruption and environmental programs for implementation and execution.

Leadership foot print most critical in commercial domains for societal long term goals.

_____________

Authors bio:

Lavinia Weissman is an sustainable market leadership coach, journalist, and publisher of thestoryofmeaningfuluse.com. As a speaker she describes the new emerging patterns of markets shaped by sustainable market leaders and the social networks they work with and employ.  As a coach, Lavinia works with all her clients to inspire professional development that assures a person the opportunity to embed sustainability as a leader into the network and culture of people they work with.

Launching an Action Research Lab to Impact Health

Warning: Living and Working in Most Countries is Bad for the Health of Most People!

By Lavinia Weissman

@WeCareHealth

Boston MA

I believe if I surveyed people I know and respect, the survey would conclude that incremental change has never been a sufficient response to all we know that is harmful to the global economy right now.. I also believe for that my quality social network would represent some remarkable insights into what is next. Within my network there are 3 streams of thought in order of least impact.

  1. People who want change but are skeptical that accelerated change is possible.
  2. People who have authored the thought leadership for accelerated change.
  3. Leaders, who know how to build and lead into practice practical scale projects that are a foundation for accelerated change.

The accelerated change  we are looking for has stopped denying the acceleration of harm and its consequence that people are living with around the world that needs a response and recognizes the significant cash investment that is required to find a response to the harm that is far greater than fixing the harm.

These are people who understand that in the United States our systems of economy that assure an system of living ecology are broken beyond fixing. They include how we assure

  • Accessibility to quality education;
  • Access to an employment track  that sustains any person able to work competently with livable wage;
  • Resources for health (not health care) that can be adopted into how people live and work;
  • a response and resources for health to half the population of the United States that now lives with a chronic illness, so these people can live in health and sustain;
  • Replacement of broken infrastructures leaking environmental toxins and chemicals that prevent people and regions to replace community and regional infrastructure that impacts our use of energy and assures sustainable housing and networks of communication that assure impacts of health.

Ultimately, the building and discovery of this kind of change that is of societal scale based on a value for health for people, planet, environment and economy is fundamental to how we build capacity for an ecological system that assures life and health within the realm of science, technology and humanity that shapes our eco-systems to thrive or destruct.

In recent months, I have been quietly reflecting on how to construct a list of people to invite to a meeting sometime in the next six months who understand and are acting on this agenda to accelerate a change that impacts through a combination of their efforts over 1B people living in a global economy.

It is my intention that the first group of leaders that I convene through a personal invitation will join this community (30-50 people in size) to form a portal of opportunity that builds a new way of how the United States relates to a global economy while building a system of relationship that returns health to its local communities.

Government is the least prepared to do this and it has to be a hub  of leadership that draws across every sector participating to build a new global economy that sustains and measures health for people, earth, environment and economy.

That thinking has been validated by the Rockefeller and Skoll Foundations. But now in the US, there is a reality of government shut down and daily monitoring of government in chaos @ Huffington Post. Americans now believe it is not either the Republicans or Democrats fault. The chaos is due to both in creating an ineffective government.

The 2012 Presidential election and campaign cost is already proejcted at $2b. If we stopped spending the billions of dollars in media, advertising and corporate lobbying of government officials, we would have significant cash resources  to create a system of education.

Two Billion would more than adequately fund in my opinion education for people on  how to live  ecologically that assures a respect for living on the basis of “doing no harm,” and operating out of values that teach everyone the impacts, good and bad, on our communities, people and culture that help all of us sustain.

When I first started thinking about how to write this article, I wanted to learn how to write something that would stir people’s thinking as a call to action rather than build another causal campaign. I sought inspiration from other media and people I respect.

I reviewed a few web-broadcasts.  One was  organized by Aman Singh, @vaultcsr, Reimagining CSR as an Engine of Innovation, Profitability and Purpose. Immediately after watching this broadcast, I went thought the new broadcasts promoted by the  Skoll World Forum of Social Entrepreneuership.

What was contained in all the broadcasts and articles was of value without question. What was  not made clear is how these events would influence others to carry out real time accelerated change.

By real-time accelerated I change, I mean change that will produce a tangible shift in the  global economy to sustain people by building capacity for people to solve the problems that are not being solved, e.g. the lack of jobs for the workforce, resources for people who are ill and assurance of access to the education of systemic scale that builds an infrastructure that educates people to live in health and do no harm to their health, the health of others, the environment, earth and economy.

Could any of these events influence more rapid constructive response to the harm now alive in Haiti, the Gulf Region and Japan?

Beyond Skoll and Vault’s broadcasts, I found qne reread 2 articles describing recent personal trauma to Joe Sibilia and his mother in Springfield MA. These episodes while far less dramatic than Katrina and the BP Oil Spill  reflected  to me ultimately the worst effects of a bad global/country  recession   on a local community of no fame and how it works to survive without any real glamor.

The commentary, story and thoughts in both these reports are a demonstration to me of why the harm of a few is having such negative impact on so many.

Joe was a keynote speak at the 2011 Intertek Ethical Sourcing Forum, where he received news that his mom had been attacked in her home in Springfield MA where Joe and all his family lives and which is where he chose to establish headquarters for CSRWire.com.  In this community, Joe described

– the scene of both attacks – was the area in western Massachusetts where CSRwire is based. “There are 1,200 young men between the ages of 17 and 24 that all share these characteristics,” he started, “they are convicted felons, they’ve never held a job, never graduated from high school, they don’t have a GED and they have no male role-models.”

Events like these alter a person’s perspective. Shortly after Joe was informed of the attack on his mom, Joe altered his hour long keynote and gave this  5 minute brief keynote captured by  Emily Drew, a journalist with BCLBblog.com @ CSRWire talkback.

Sibilia said his team chose to base CSRwire in this troubled community because they want to be a part of the solution. He implied ethical sourcing – the theme of the conference – was part of a larger cultural shift, where people are becoming more aware of how their own social and economic choices affect those beyond the transactions:

“In the future you’ll decide who you do business with based on their values, where they operate, what they do, how they think, what they believe, if they can be trusted, whether they really do what they say they’re doing. And you will create a new economy based on ethical business practices. And then you won’t have to worry about getting hit by a car or having your mother attacked. The wealth will be a bit more distributed and society will be a better place for us to live in. I really can’t emphasize enough that the work you’re doing is so inspiring to me.”

At the time of Joe’s keynote, I was  in Western MA to visit with a long time colleague, who has always had my respect; David Surrenda, the new CEO of Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health.


David and I had a brief conversation where I got a clear understanding of his current mission as a global educator and leader.  I took a tour of the facility at Kripalu. In organizing my plan and budget, I wanted to evaluate Kripalu as a potential location for the meeting I plan to produce related to this article.

Following my meeting with David, I spent the weekend at Kripalu and found it a good place to just quietly reflect on what I want and how to organize my strategy for launching a professional leadership group committed to accelerating change.

I am still reflecting on the conversation I had with David, unrelated to my facility tour.  David gave me a context for thinking that aligned with my passionate belief that health is far more than health care and sustainability will not integrate into our eco-economy until society and the communities it contains define what that means drawing on views from every sector and locally applied to culture and local economy.

David Surrenda’s fearlessness and history as a CEO, NGO Exec. Director, Consultant and Educator inspired me. I needed that kind of refueling. I had become very tired of having to always self-sustain and am working hard to change that.

While there are many people giving thought to what i think about, the world pace and form of working has become isolating and I know as many do that real time accelerated change cannot be achieved if people do not learn how to convene in learning groups that apply their learning.

The meeting I have in mind is about creating a portal gateway to a global community of people who convene, learn and apply.  I believe Kripalu Yoga and Health Retreat Center is an extraordinary place to convene the people who integrate the thought leadership for application in local communities influenced by global economies.

Let me know what you think about how to build an action research lab for accelerated change? How do you fit? What needs would have to be addressed to synthesize an energy of impact that embeds sustainability into the culture and impacts change of societal scale?  Can you show yourself to be a person who can contribute value to this kind of conversation?  Why?

_____________

Authors bio:

Lavinia Weissman is an sustainable market leadership coach, journalist, and publisher of thestoryofmeaningfuluse.com. As a speaker she describes the new emerging patterns of markets shaped by sustainable market leaders and the social networks they work with and employ.  As a coach, Lavinia works with all her clients to inspire professional development that assures a person the opportunity to embed sustainability as a leader into the network and culture of people they work with.


Is Road Safety a Relevant Issue?

by Frederic Page

@carbonimpact

Barcelona, Spain

The Commission on Road Safety, a Non-Standing Committee of the Spanish Congress of Deputies, has approved unanimously a motion urging the Government to include road safety as part of  Corporate Social Responsibility, in an effort to involve companies in the prevention of work-related traffic accidents.

The initiative calls for the Executive to make appropriate amendments in the Law on Prevention of Occupational Risks to include the assessment and the prevention of traffic accidents that occur as a result of work activity or commuting. According to the Committee’s recommendations, companies would have to report on their progresses on the prevention of work-related accidents and carry out studies and evaluations to identify – and fight – their causes.

The Committee also calls for the registration of work-related traffic accidents, a better coordination between the private and public entities involved, and security improvements in work-related travel. Finally, it asks for the creation of a “quality label”, awarded by the competent institutions and agencies, which would support the company’s commitment in preventing accidents among their employees.

As an incentive for the employer,  the Committee recommends the creation of an annual prize that would reward best practices in the field of occupational health and the quality of the inclusion of road safety plans in the Corporate Social Responsibility strategy of the companies.

This news has been received with mixed feelings in Spain, both by companies and the CSR community alike. One of the reasons, as stated by Professor Antonio Argandoña in his blog , is that this type of initiatives is a distraction from the “really important” CSR topics and that an “award” won’t change anything.

According to other comments, it is the role of the Government to deal with road safety. I don’t agree at all with those points of view. I do believe that road safety is a valid material issue for businesses, a clear area of concern for their internal and external stakeholders and has potentially a huge impact, economic, social and environmental on the companies themselves and the society in general.

In Spain, businesses lose thousands of working hours each year due to medical leaves of absence related to road accidents, that also cost thousands of lives. Industry research shows that typically workplace injury costs are met 40% by the employee, 30% by the employer and 30% by the community as a whole. The human cost is high, the financial cost as well.

Corporate reputation is also affected by employees driving behaviour. Did it ever happen to you to observe a dangerous driver in a company car, or truck, bearing the logo of their employer? What was your reaction? The impact on environment is high too, not only due to bad driving behaviours, generating huge amounts of CO2, but also because of accidents involving dangerous goods or substances.

In a recent post, CSR expert and author Elaine Cohen, writes that she believes that, in the next generation of GRI indicators, “G4″, “other issues that are not specifically covered in G3, should be considered, such as the issue of road safety and how companies manage employees who spend a lot of time on the road for work purposes, a significant source of fatalities and other accidents which endanger not only employees but the general public“.

I couldn’t agree more. Many companies already include road safety in their CSR plans and strategy. Some of them because they are directly or indirectly, related to the transportation industry, or vehicle manufacturers such as Ashok Leyland. Others, because they realize that there’s an opportunity for them to improve their workers well-being while impacting positively other areas such as the environment and public safety.

It is much better for an organization to be promoting a good news safety story such as winning an award, than it is to have to react to and suppress the outcomes of a major incident. Those companies also realize that their initiatives directly impact their bottom line and that they can gain a competitive advantage by being ahead of more reactive organizations.

World Health Organization data suggests that approximately 1.2 of the 5 million global injury deaths each year are road crashes. It’s clear that road safety is a major social issue. I believe that it is also a business issue. What do you think?

For our readers? What of these issues are relevant to you, where you work and reside?  I wonder what impact reduction of accidents would have on health care costs for every country? and the increase in chronic episodes of care for the victims of these accidents. Whose job is it, to convene all the stakeholders?

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Frederic Page is a media associate with thestoryofmeaningfuluse.com from Barcelona, Spain.  Frederic’s passion for sustainability grew out of a very eclectic background in industry and subject matter expertise. He is fluent in french, spanish and english.  As a result he is able to integrate a sustainability agenda  into his coaching and educational programs from understanding the perspective of culture, expertise and innovation.