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Taking the Bite out of Apple – Defining the Future Inquiry

Taking the Bite out of Apple TSOMU Series -Part 3 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 Job’ Legacy

• Defining the Future Inquiry

By Lavinia Weissman


New York, New York

Community Solutions

“Is there some mystical reason why an innocent person becomes the target of evil? Of course not. People who talk about the karma of victims as if some hidden fact is bringing down the rain of destruction are speaking from ignorance.”

Deepak Chopra

Steve Jobs, in his life-time, had personally mastered the vision of living a life of life-long learning. He translated his vision into the design and manufacturing of products that can be adopted as the most power enablers to make this possible.

By large, as a society of people of any means, we cannot move beyond ignorance if we cloister ourselves from the world of learning. Jobs constructed a vision of the ICloud so that from anyplace, anytime with any device people can synch and learn to solve the problems they face everyday at home and for what they do for work.

Recently,  Sustainability, CSR and Accountability experts have focused on the cost to humans of how Apple products are manufactured; it is an interesting direction in my mind to see that the Jobs technical legacy has constructed a technical platform that is so critical to creating a framework for the human interaction that can embed social sustainability in society and culture today.

This platform enables the publication and production of media that works in a cloud where individuals can shape their personal learning by vocation or the way they live to take that learning and solve problems with others that can be formed into community solutions of any kind. Laurene Powell Jobs, during her husbands final days, guided him to find the peace that he had not found inside himself and with others before his death by supporting him to articulate this vision.

Walter Isaacson, Job’s biographer, provided a most complete story capture of conversations with  President Obama, Bill Gates (Philanthropist), and the technical leaders of Silicon Valley global companies, in just a few conversations that could create a picture of this vision for these leaders to act on, if they chose.

The story that  Isaacson  offers  is fundamental in my mind  to launching a new thought leadership in practice. I see this story line as part of a briefing for launching a learning  community that focused on creating the educational framework from which people can build a system of response to heal poverty and economy of debt and lack, I don’t see how we will create the system by which to full benefit of the power of this technical platform.

Basic to forming this kind of learning community, the convening team that sorts out the launch, the invitation and to convene the community needs to an  economy model and hub to support its formation and translation into local scale that mentors the participants into a form of knowledge and emotional intelligence that can translate vision into action and lasting form.

This community can become a forum or hub that represents and attracts the attention of leading educators that I have written about that include John Sexton, President of NYU and Freeman Hrabowski, President of UMBC. Sexton and Hrabowski are calling for the formation of a new educational format where portals of learning provide the architecture to the students all around the world to solve problems drawing from the best of humanities, science and technology that inspires a new experience of thought and engagement for anyone who joins in this form of learning that is sustainable.

How does this fit with Jobs Vision?

In Jobs final days of conversation with his biographer, Walter Isaacson, Jobs noted that Apple was a great company like HP, Intel, and Disney, because it was built to matter and live beyond simply a purpose of the founders developing an IPO to go public so the founders can leave and cash in. The literature shows that HP, Intel, Disney and Apple have lasted out and emerged from failure out of learning and a commitment to make a difference.

Jobs went on to say that when these companies get off course, that is the real cost.   Inn my opinion the cost to humans  associated with these companies. This is about a from of  sustainability that respects profit and people in balance.

At present, the complexity of engagement and the state of the world economically and the perpetuation of poverty, building companies to last in this way is not sufficient to insure a health global economy for people, planet and profit. In a consumptive society, the production of products, organization of services and innovation are often developed with a regard for building the most attractive product features and benefits.

Jobs talent for doing this in a very Zen like manner resulted in meeting the needs of talent beginning with the graphic design community with the launch of the Mac and reshaping and defining a “Mac Lifestyle” by 2004, that had the Apple products represent and associate with a lifestyle of promise rather, distinguishing Mac from Windows based products that have been tools of productivity.

Facebook and have entered the global market affording a market of communication that is accessible to millions of people for free, supported by the sale of apps and advertising. However, these global gathering social media complexes do not have the substantive architecture that is basic to reshaping local economies of people where the needs of the people in local community are put ahead first so they can move beyond poverty and learn within their communities to sustain.

Talking on a platform does not provide the financial resources that insure the health and success of these projects to sustain.

I believe the forthcoming generation of learning and inquiry has to expand beyond the view of business as usual from a community and local economy perspective beyond the limitations of institutional views.

Who Belongs in this Inquiry?

In the tradition of view of economic development projects have always been like Microsoft organized as a fragmented vertial channel to solve a problem, e.g. foster more innovation to create more jobs; bringing costly pharmaceutical treatment to 3rd world countries. The problem identified to solve is in some regard a task.

  • The first step is to invite local communities to join in regions where there are problems associated with global companies that foster human injustice, e.g. Shell Oil in Nigeria, BP Gulf Oil Spill, Apple Human Costs to Manufacturing in China;
  • Begin by convening and analyzing the most basic needs of people impacted by this harm and providing them a stable infrastructure from which they can learn , work and live is a new form of inquiry that will begin to create a new form of mastery of quality of life for people in the locales through which they live and work;
  • This implies participation from the companies and governments in these locales where other distinct problems can be solved like the lack of industry or any sustainable economy, similar to what has been shaped for Rancho Petacal in Mexico by Roberto Vargas Marciel, Maher Ashram in Pune, India by Sister Lucy or the Honey Bee Network led by Anil Gupta, the first Pew Research Fellow;
  • Critical to the success of these projects, funding sources need to come from all sectors of participation, philanthropic foundations and where possible contributions from the local communities of people, who build these community by building a local economy of goods and services that aligned with the culture of location.

Taking the Bite Out of Apple

Accountability experts in sustainability and corporate sustainability have been steered over the last 3 decades since the issue of the Brundtland Commission Report in 1987 to continue the norm of how investors and corporations approach markets using a vertical channel approach.

It’s ironic at this time that Steve Jobs, founder and leader of the most successful company, Apple – in his final year of life called on great leaders to outline his integral view of life drawing on Edwin Land passion for integrating humanities and science to integrate into technological development.

Spiritual Leader J. Krishnamurti who inspired Physicist David Boehm from this view as well. Boehm in his writing pointed to the value of inquiry and dialogue as the path to creating a culture that embedded the most fundamental respect for what it means to be a human being.

At this years World Economic Forum gathering global leaders and private citizens from around the world left the meeting challenged to address the growing harm of poverty and harm to people.

This opens the door to the greatest challenge accountability experts have ahead for them – shifting accountability to defining and measuring sustainable metrics that serve people and local economy.

The 1984 launch of Apple Computer was in synch with the creation of the Brundtland Commission.  How ironic that Steve Jobs, Apple’s founder has left a legacy  to solve the most challenging and controversial problems associated with Apple by gathering with a small group of leaders, mostly personal friends to define the opportunity that technology implies to education and the change that this implies to all our approaches to education from how we educate children in schools to higher learning to the restructuring of how adults learn life long to sustain within their communities local economy.


Author’s Bio: Lavinia Weissman is sustainable leadership coach, health advocate, capacity builder, and publisher/editor-in-chief of

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


What Do People Want After #OccupyWallStreet?

Reform Wall Street or Repair the Tear in the Local Economy &  Social Fabric

By Lavinia Weissman


Boulder Co

On October 20th, I read Don Tapscott’s exceptional Huffington Post, Three Principles for a New Wall Street This is Tapscott’s view on what is needed  to repair the Wall Street.

 No one will argue, that Don Tapscott’s Huffington was an intelligent and educated view.

This editorial, sparked by the movement of #OccupyWallStreet, is a statement of meaning and power. Yet, I found it  confusing for  the ordinary person without wealth, working hard to survive the mess we are living with in American and what if anything that he proposed would impact the lives of so many torn now?

Don’s  opening remarks captured my attention:

To many it feels like just that. The financial services industry is in desperate need of reform. Many bankers have behaved as secretive corporate titans serving only their own interests, and insist the devastating consequences are not their fault. They are failing to fulfill their obligations to society — in some cases, even to shareholders — and a growing number of critics view the day-to-day behavior of the financial services industry as unacceptable. If the industry doesn’t initiate reform from within then it will eventually have more extreme reform imposed from outside.”


I completed reading this article and found myself as a woman with a lot to say that I have not see written that many women I know do see.

Not many men will speak from our view of  how the financial service industry has failed us.

My Synthesis of Tapscott’s Editorial

Don’s editorial it is written from a systemic overview and perspective that the solutions lie within a new formation of integrity and transparency on a global scale. Once again, a leader is pointing out the board room perspective for the big financial service companies and investment banks.

Don’s thesis is based on a financial system of a sizeable deposit mass, larger than the sum of a  local community can create.

This creates a senior debt managed as a corporate asset for a core group of economic decision makers and shareholders. The focus become how to leverage returns from aggregation and spiraling consumer banking fees.

Transparency as defined in this context shapes from an issue of checks and balances and compliance reports rather than a source of measurement for how a community and its residents sustain health and thrive from creating sustainable market value that serve a consumer need identified by a social network analysis drawn from people with local voice or exemplary pulse taking capabililty


The Tear in the American Social Fabric from a Woman’s View


The very fabric of our country is torn in many places on the map.

The places on the map are actually not cities, rural areas, counties, states or a very torn apart country served by a broken finance system and politics.  Occupy Wall as a movement by today, spread to 1039 local communities across 87 countries. 

The tear in the fabric of this country is the millions of broken hearts of people, who no matter what they do, cannot take care of themselves as we have been taught to do and in a way that defines us as Americans.  It translated into a Republican view of “the haves and have nots, “ in the late 1990’s post the failure of the Democratic Welfare Reform.

As a woman, I  represent so many who have not had their voices heard in bank, law or compliance; our interests for banking and funds becomes even more fundamental.

The tear in the fabric for women is often exceptionally extreme.  We are the ones that are often called on first to manage and resource a special needs or chronically ill child or challenged elder.  With the rise in chronic illness to 1 our of every 2 people in this country, we are also the first derailed from the economic system that sustains us, especially when we are sole provider for ourselves or children.

As Rachel Qulter reminds us of how she finds this hope through the Myelin Repair Foundation:

We continue to be discounted in the work place as people of value.

The women, i know personally have  completed graduate education with significant debt.  Many after school have been challenged to obtain jobs in this economy or opted for self-employment. They become more so than men, up until now, burdened with significant challenge to support home and family.

Around 2004, I was invited as a journalist to participate in a financial service conference for an alumnae group of women at a top 10 MBA program. I was told when offered the invitation, I could not reveal the discussion in any factual way that was launched with an speaker from Catalyst, a women’s research think tank on the status of women’s capacity to lead in corporate settings.

As a skilled pulse-taker, I observed a view that there was no permission to give public audience to. All but 1 of the female leaders who spoke or sat on panels, had a child or a family member chronically ill. One woman, of significant personal resource left her job after witnessing a significant breach of ethic in a financial security firm, that is in public view.

A few women spoke about battle with life threatening illness and the cost of that and the impact on them personally and how they change. A chairwoman in banking ( a hard position to obtain) offered a mea culpa and apology for the cost of her career choice to her daughters, her exhusband and herself.

For me, it has been years of waiting, networking and praying to build a network of women friends, who know this kind of experience like me.  The women from the university conference are women who primarily know personal wealth and “buy their support systems,” that most of my friends cannot.

For years I was an outsider in what I call fundamentalist spiritual support groups in economic communities of wealth, where often the teachers, the coaches and others spurned people who lived the circumstance I live has being stuck in a limiting beliefs or having brought their circumstance to their door.

Trust me when I say, no woman (and often husband) selects to give birth to an autistic children or a premature baby requiring neonatal care that can accelerate into the hundreds of thousands and bankrupt a family. No woman that I know wants to ignore her elderly parents with Alzheimer or Parkinson Disease and then has to face the question for how long? And how will I continue to support myself and cope with this?

This is now an all too  common examination for women and men.

It  translates into a economic, emotional and spiritual issue at the root of challenge to women working in the institutional world. I believe from the perspective of a corporate financial service global firm is unlikely to ever be addressed. Yet when the firm causes harm, watch out, what is not reported in a compliance report is the harm to people who are dealing with the financial stress of chronic and life threatening illness.


What Does this Have to Do with Financial Service Industry?


My own struggle with Tapscotts’ editorial was the cry for more regulation or self-repair by a global industry that has not impacted harm of the “tear in the fabric.”

For years, I have not seen corporation or non-profit institution or government regulation or program repair or alter this tear to impact the health of people who live at the edge of the tear in our social fabric in local communities.

There is a lot of work ahead for all of us, not just the change agents like me.  Recently I received an email from a man, who has worked with me to alter my thinking, just as my spiritual support system that I draw on from women like me.

To me successful economic change reaches beyond the peer-to-peer arena that has pre-occupied much of the self-anointed leadership of the sustainability movement and has the potential to move sustainability practice into the hands of the masses – where it has always belonged.

As I welcome in more advice and shift the focus of my own work from the tradition of media and consulting to focus on repair of the social fabric through economic development, I have to thank a few remarkable people, who don’t want to be thanked for showing a new direction for me to guide my own spirit in these challenging times and construct a new view of myself and a view of my work that I can construct with others for more impact.

It requires imagination and a new style of conversation that generates change.

As my long time friend, Bill Shireman, President and CEO of the Future 500, another Huffington Poster  recently stated,

If we do not see the world as magical, then we are not awake!”

My response to Bill is,

Magic invites a new form of conversation that unites the practical nature of economic and business with a value that every person you know can sustain and if in the process of working with others, that person makes a real difference, I am happy to see them thrive.”

I am now putting to pen, speech, presentation and media what is in my imagination that can spark concrete local change to infrastructure for health to build repair and a new future for our children. I welcome you to join your magic and imagination with me.


Author’s bio: Lavinia Weissman is an sustainable market leadership coach, journalist, and publisher of

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. She has a private practice where she works with women to embrace the experience of chronic illness that challenges their livelihood and form of work.

When Talk about “the Elephant in the Room” Obstructs Japan’s Recovery

When Talk about “the Elephant in the Room” Obstructs Japan’s Recovery

Counteracting sensational reporting to construct a sustainable opportunity.

By Lavinia Weissman

The aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami disaster in Japan has surfaced conversations people often describe as “the elephant in the room” – the toxic facts no one wants to talk about, even when there is not a crisis to pause the denial. In the press, each day, as we watch the rising death toll, other messages help to weave the fabric of distress, i.e. food security, radiation or the unattended elderly left to die.

It’s a challenge for people locally and globally to find a way to have conversations about these topics without getting lost in the doom and gloom. Most people do not have the background to investigate by obtaining the scientific education critical to conducting these discussions. When they try, often the sensationalism of the mainstream media confuses them.

Since the earthquake in Japan and the aggressive way the Japanese have been seeking to bind the impact of the radiation leak from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, I have observed a difference in the way Japanese are responding to their trauma that is different than how the US has responded to Katrina, Haiti and the BP oil spill. The value that the Japanese hold for civility, dignity and respect for human life has made its appearance in the press.

While the global press still carries headlines of survival and threat of doom, I have found a few stories hidden in the massive flow of articles streaming everywhere that provide a hidden story of the presence of the exemplary way the Japanese hold their dignity and compassion at this time.

Stories of Dignity and Compassion

A story in this context was reported in the UK Daily Mail, “Elderly Patients Left to Die,” mixed in with numerous other traumatic headlines.

While reading the story, I discovered something unexpected. True to the Japanese culture of dignity and care, these elders were arranged in a community space and left to rest in their comatose state on bed cushions with bedding and blankets while others cared for them. This arrangement conveyed a picture of compassion and peace in a location that appeared clean and orderly, considering how much rubble there was everywhere else.

I don’t recall seeing images like these after the earthquake in poverty stricken Haiti or Houston Astrodome where Katrina victims were held.

Radiation Exposure: The Big Elephant

By March 19, the UK Daily Mail headline reported on the one elephant that stomps out constructive conversation anywhere: “The moment nuclear plant chief WEPT as Japanese finally admit that radiation leak is serious enough to kill people.” This admission was made days after the first radiation leak and the massive effort to contain it.

This kind of media does not inspire the organization of a research agenda followed by fundraising to build upon a base of science from which people can respond to by developing approaches to radiation that exercise precaution and organize a level of research funding that is sufficient to fund a cooperative agenda that can impact the prevention of exposure or treatment of people who develop health issues as a result of exposure.

By Saturday morning I found this story on my Facebook news feed, via my colleague and friend @doncarli585555:

Ann Coulter made an appearance on the Bill O’Reilly show reporting that, “Radiation is good for you.”

This report was sourced by the Huffington Post. It contained a link to the actual broadcast by Coulter, who was interviewed by Fox News host Bill O’Reilly.

Reporting like this perpetuates the debate that exacerbates public confusion on environmental and chemical toxins. This reflects an investment in media campaigns leveraged by public interest groups and corporate lobbyists that confuse the public rather than educate them on actual risks and how to exercise precaution.

A Call for Exercising Precaution

There’s always an opportunity in every situation. The Japan earthquake presents an opportunity to learn how to exercise precaution by integrating the application of science and technology into discussions that shape a research agenda that can accelerate the development of innovation in response to a trauma or catastrophe.

General Electric, a global corporate citizen and UN Global Compact Leader, is the manufacturers of the nuclear reactor installed in Fukushima. A fundraising campaign led by CEO Jeffrey Immelt began with a $5M donation and has accelerated into pledges of over $100M. Recipients of this web of donations include the Japanese Red Cross and Miyagi Prefecture Disaster Relief Fund.

GE has also taken a lead to invest in sustainable innovation through venture programs, like Ecomagination and Healthymagination, which were shaped to accelerate a response to the harm that has been caused to our environment, people and economy.

Will telecommunication companies such as Nokia, Motorola and Sprint follow and help lead more sustainable innovation?

About Lavinia Weissman

Lavinia Weissman is a sustainable market leadership capacity builder, journalist and publisher of She is passionate about working with people from any industry or sector to help impact the health of people, environment, earth and economy to protect the well-being our global ecosystem.

Can Sustainability Sustain?

A New Wave and Format for Stakeholder Engagement

By Lavinia Weissman


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:

  • 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.

  • 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 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.

Larry Lessig, Harvard Law School- “Law Chokes Creativity and Democracy”

Democracy is Dependent on People and Trust – Funders do not Represent People!

By Lavinia Weissman


Boston MA

I took a walk with my friend Tess Pope today. Tess and I are in someways very like souls. We had a delightful time walking around the historic Forest Hill Cemetery– walking and chatting as only two women do.

There is something I love about the peace there that is not lost in the nature of death, but actually involves the signs of life and beauty and quiet that is hard to find in a city location like Boston.

Tess and I both share an understanding of what an ordinary person needs in life to work, support a family and keep at it in good times and bad.  Yet we seem right now to live at a time, when the dominant voice in the press has lost the understanding of that. I have been finding it difficult to connect with people like this with any real frequency.  So I really enjoyed my walk and time with Tess.

You see we both believe that just a few people can make it hard on the vast majority of folks.  It is what is underneath the bullying of kids in school, the inability of chronic people to get diagnosis and treatment.   It gets more complicated by the amount of time you have to advocate for your kids and care for your parents.

When the bureaucrats ask you to fill out a form, that means to them everything is black and white. When a ordinary person needs help with something, if they are lucky this implies a conversation between you and friends or coworkers that if your luck might be based on a value for give and take.

Tess and I talked for a bit about her recent experiences with her kids in high school in Boston (and the bureaucracy that this implied) and how she was able to work it out for her kids with them and the teachers/and others involved.  I told her my dream had become to think about any kind of government shut down as something of value that offered people the chance to really work things out in community.

When we got back to Tess’s house, she asked me if she could share this video with me on her ipad.  It is a video presentation by Larry Lessig to Harvard Law School Think Big Forum, produced on February 17th, 2011 — Tess felt it illustrated a bit of what we are both feeling about how bureacracy is standing in the way of people.

In 10 minutes time, Lessig explained corruption and how it has impacted democracy.

Would you believe that only 11% of people believe in the US Congress today.  More people in 1776 believed in King George at the time of  the American Revolution than people believe in the US Congress today.

The message of this video is simple — Congress has to be dependent on the PEOPLE alone. To maintain trust and independence, you have to maintain relationships with people, not the institutions they are guiding agenda for. The dependency of the people is displaced by dependency of raising money by  avoiding confrontation with anything the donors object to.

Within Lessig’s message he explained that  today’s policies respond to the needs of the most affluent and engendered a system of dependence that has resulted in  75% of Americans losing confidence in Congress and other institutions.

Lessig went on to share some feedback that  Arnold Hyatt, no. 2 Democrat contributor to the Clinton campaign gave President Clinton in 1997. At the time, Hyatt was President of Stride Rite Shoes, which has since been acquired by Collective Brands.   Hyatt explained that President Clinton needed to address a reluctant nation in the same way that in 1939 Franklin D. Roosevelt addressed the nation to convince them to wage war in order to save democracy.

I find this thought from Arnold Hyatt very intriguing in simplicity and the fact that Clinton at the time of this meeting so strongly objected.  It is now 2011, I think many family put their trust in Stride Rite shoes for their kids (Keds and Converse).  When I was a child growing up in Boston, my dad’s community of investors and business associates included a member of the family that founded Stride Rite.  Stride Rite over time grew into one of the early stage leaders of CSR.

Those shoes were very expensive in those days for a family of 4.  My father and many other families learned to trust Stride Rite and paid the little extra to assure their kids developed healthy feet to walk on through out life. This was how I was taught CSR. CSR was something that a company did and translated to their customers that sustained an impact for the customer; in this case — insuring kids developed healthy feet.

There is something in Lessig’s presentation that appeals to me. I reminded me of how much I long to live my life in a community again for work and residence that is committed to building this kind of healthy trust. Where I feel my back is watched and has a community force that surrounds it that protects me, my health and my earnings so I can sustain.

I wonder if President Obama has listened to this broadcast produced at his alma mater?  What do you think? Do you think any member of Congress could appreciate and understand Lessig’s presentation?  Can we construct a people driven democracy as an alternative to the current corruption and chaos in WDC now threatening government shut down? What do you think?


Authors bio:

Lavinia Weissman is an sustainable market leadership coach, journalist, and publisher of 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.

The Tug of War between Capital Expenditures and Care

by Lavinia Weissman


Boston, MA

Yesterday, I had a delightful lunch with someone to work on our business plan for a launch of a new capacity building organization that combines all our talent.  There will be more on this through many many posts to come.

What made our conversation shaped with ease is a value we share – both of us have an understanding of how so much of what is implied by a need for “care,” in this complex world is the implications of  the rapid spreading harm that we are now learning about in Japan.

The Earthquake, e.g. Haiti and Katrina was a natural disaster. The BP Oil Spill was a man made disaster to health of the environment, earth, economy and people.

Now Japan is a combination of all of that a natural disaster complicated by man made harm; radiation exposure.  This harm is beyond an immediate danger, this harm like the BP Oil Spill will lead to generations of modified human genetics and natural mutations that lead to a rise in chronic systemic and neurological illnesses, cancer and more.

This will change the health of the entire region through which toxins of any kind blow into the wind.  It will challenge health of environment, people, earth and economy.

It moves the world into a state of uncertainty and building a response to  a need for care we cannot define let alone imagine and view an accelerated response. The March 16, 2011 column In Good Company: @vaultcsr’s blog – The Japan Crisis: What is the Role of Business in Disaster Response? tells the story of a Japanese man rumbling through the piles in search of people he employed out of care; care and respect for those who serves his business and clients.

Claire Mumford, CEO of the International Business Leaders Forum, gives this example in the context of examining business role in disaster response? This is a value that I believe was the original focus in many ways of CSR Frontier Leaders, e.g. Ben and Jerry, Jeffrey Hollender and Anita Roddick.

It is a value I hold dear.

Yet there is another value even more critical at this time. This value relates  to how we regard  health for the world and all beings who reside on earth. It is my belief we need to reshape how we think of capital expenditures that related to developing science and equipment to counteract global warming.

We need to formulate a new system of thought that values raising the resources we need to respond to a disaster or simply the accelerated response we need now to the harm that has been building for years.

Implied in this view is the need to foster a change through cooperation between competitors. Eric Lowitt and I, recently

shared a conversation in which he described his plan for   BOOK 2 . Book 2 is leveraged from Eric’s first book, The Future of Value. share an understanding of how the cost of research and science to generate new drugs, cures, accelerated response to harm of natural resources has become an obstacle t0 change for sustainable value.

We are both interested in building  a new forum or education and all that implies. The mission of this forum is to insure the accelerated action research  of to accelerate sustainable change.

It is my belief that the Japanese business man searching through the piles for people he cares about is a metaphor for the kind of attention we need to give to what so many want to deny because of the rising cost of investigation to generate research into applied learning for systemic impact.

Reader what do you think? Do you believe we need to give the same care and attention to how we organize capital expenditures as much as we do to people in the first stage of response to a disaster whether natural or man made?


Authors bio:

Lavinia Weissman is an sustainable market leadership coach, journalist, and publisher of 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.

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Lavinia Weissman


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