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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

By Lavinia Weissman


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

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


Lavinia Weissman

corporate social responsibility, climate change, green business, philosophy, capitol hill





Publisher’s Letter – Introducing TSOMU Fall Issue – 2011

Letter from the Publisher

Lavinia Weissman

Boulder, Co


Our next series of articles will focus on “accelerated change.”

9/11 – 10 years later – represents an unfortunate trend in human behavior that occurs immediately after a natural disaster or catastrophe of massive harm.

The 1st responders performed the heroic deed of rescue, recovering the dead and creating some order to the destruction.

But after this initial phase of recovery and response, one has to ask if any leader stepped up to observe, monitor and act on the outgrowth of harm to the people, economy, environment and habitat?  And why was there no response to accelerate the response to this growing harm?

What happened post 9/11?

The Bush Administration, the US EPA Director and Mayor Guiliani assured the public that New York City air quality was fine. We now know that is wrong.

Over the past 10 years, a growing evidence base of medical harm that includes a variety of cancers and pulmonary/lung related diseases and more.

Response to this growing medical evidence data base  has multiplied the frequency with which NY Firefighter and World Trade Center survivors are stricken with pulmonary and lung related disease or encounter cancer and die.

Tom Zeller, a Huffington Post reporter, on 9/9/2011 reported on how this struggle for help for these victims is just beginning to take form 10 years after the collapse of the World Trade Center.

Zeller interviewed John Feal, a retired Ground Zero disabled worker who sustained an injury at the site, offered his perspective post injury that took half his foot;

“I don’t need a doctor or a scientist or 12 years of college and a Ph.D and an MBA — no offense to them — but I don’t need anybody to tell me that 9/11 didn’t cause or did cause cancer,”

Feal’s own struggle to win compensation for his injury prompted him to establish the nonprofit FealGood Foundation to help 9/11 responders cope with the physical, mental and financial fallout of that day. He said he’s getting more and more requests for help from cancer sufferers.

How 9/11 prompted my thought leadership and journalism

After 9/11, I stopped watching mainstream news. I tired  from what I perceived to be unproductive forms of protest, denial and debate.

It was clear to me that the mainstream media audience needed a new form of journalism and post event response that was going to repair or prevent future harm from events like 9/11, Katrina, Haitian Earthquake, tsunamis, hurricane and earthquakes.

Like many other citizens, I concluded that events like these were accelerating because of the denial of the politicians, government officials and commercial business around the world.

The tangible evidence of this acceleration was evident to any American with the new-formed reality that 1 out of 2 Americans now live with a chronic illness sparked or complicated by environmental and chemical toxins.

Based on this observation, I shaped a question from which to grow my investigation and learning:

What does it mean to pay attention and stop denial?

I turned my attention more aggressively to identifying communities of people in business and the public sector that dared to form innovative responses to sustain a future for our children.

Many groups have formed with a mission to discover what it takes to turn the societal impacts of what we do when we go to work, reside in local communities and sustain the health of our family economically.

Each group is building a quality of life that assures us the best health possible, whether we are living, working or dying; and by joining with a learning community, over time each group creates its own “story of meaningful use.”

Sustaining TSOMU Proof of Concept

This past summer, drawing on dialogue with my personal advice network that includes Trina Hoefling  and Bernie Kelly, I developed a monetization model to sustain and its companion page on Facebook.

The model as a business model moves beyond the concept of virtual collaboration to defining partnerships linked to the magazine for public and private educational communities that are shaping through dialogue, inquiry and stories of meaningful use, concrete stories of meaningful use.

What is unique about these communities is that they incubate ideas, build a deliberate and organic discovery process to shape activities of applied learning that impact the health of the environment, economy, people, and habitat

The editorial direction and format for these public and private communities will growing into a live educational journal. The community can report on their learning and the discovery of outcomes and metrics that have shaped out of hard work and investment with the intention for meaningful impact and response to harm from the perspective of the Earth Charter Precautionary Principle.

TSOMU public community access will offer current reports on how these learning communities take shape and archive these communities’ stories of meaningful use (applied learning).

The private communities integrate and contract with me and other associates in TSOMU’s professional community to capture the story of action research learning labs that are structured to accelerate applied learning through the building of trust. This happens in an incubated learning environment that invites accelerated learning through the use of investment and shared resources.

An Innovative Market Ready Publishing Format

For the past 3 years, I have carried out the hard work of proof of concept for this new monetization model for producing a web-based magazine on the web of sustainable value.

For each learning community that TSOMU serves, we will capture the story that brings a project to life through advocacy and inquiry. Trust building is basic to this concept of applied learning.

Over the next year, parallel to shaping the performance of this publishing venture, I will work with representation from all our stakeholders to set up and put to use a performance and accountability system to measure how this magazine contributes to sustainable value of all the communities we serve, public and private.

Our goal is to attract community participation (public and private) and design a form of communication and reporting that is not excessive or confusing to support our readers and clients to do the work that measures tangible impact and outcome.

Why is this of Value Now?

The Secretariat General of the United Nations on 14 July 2011 issued a report on the role and functioning of the UN Global compact.

This 10 year performance review found the membership of the UN Global Compact had failed to build the performance model that embedded sustainability through global companies beyond the walls of corporate headquarters into subsidiaries and the supply chain.

This review followed a report from George Kell, Executive Director of the UNGC, on the impact of UNGC’s 6,000 members over 130 countries.

This performance review of the UNGC’s work over the past 10 years parallel’s the lack of response to the growing harm that has taken form as a result of 9/11.

This assures the intelligence and heart of why the publication of is so timely. The articles featured in this next cycle of publishing include contributions and editorial from

Jochen Kleef, Chairman EcoPoints Asia

Bernie Kelly, Principal, Intelog Health

I hope as our reader, that as you select and read articles that are relevant to you and you will join the dialogue for accelerated change and applied learning that this magazine serves.

Take a minute to add your thoughts  (comments)  to what you think of our agenda and help to build our community of accelerated change to embed sustainability.

Lavinia Weissman

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.

CEO Pay , Corporate Taxes- One Woman’s Think!

Do We Protest or Change to Sustain?

by Lavinia Weissman

@workecology  (twitter system problem has not yet been repaired: please be patient)

Boston, MA

Everyday there is a sensational headline or more,  protesting CEO Pay. This topic is complex and far more complicated relative to industry and sector.  In Massachusetts, where I live – advocates from government, industry and non-governmental organizations are getting active in the analysis and scrutinizing the need for change.

CEO pay seems to seep into many other complex issues, e.g. rising cost of health care, CEO performance and ethics, and legislation that protects major corporations from paying taxes.

Yet, I don’t believe we will get out of the squalor and mess government is in financially that is complicating the global economy and stripping citizens of their ability to sustain, if we keep perpetuating the same discussions about corporate greed or tax dodging.

As the US Government continues to face a shutdown because our politicians cannot agree – is compliance, scrutiny and protest going to be our only tools to spark change.

As I read the news over the past weekend, I was reminded to two notable observations from my own research,

1. Jared Diamond, winner of the Pulitzer Prize wrote in Collapse: How societies Choose to Fail or Succeed. Historically, Diamond has been chastised by environmentalists as “being in bed” with corporations Diamond reminds us that when he visits a corporation, he writes honestly and factually.

On some properties he has seen destruction and on others he has seen caution and he wrote his book, Collapse with this value in mind,

“My view is that, if environmentalists aren’t willing to engage with big businesses, which are among the most powerful forces in the modern world, it won’t be possible to sole the world’s environmental impact problems.”

2. Tyler J. Elm, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc, Former Senior Director of Corporate Strategy and Finance, identified a new form of perspective in th examination of global companies;  Of the 100 largest world economies, 42 are corporations (not countries).

This argues for the merit of looking at a corporation that is an economy, e.g. Wal-Mart and General Electric from different filters and questions than companies that are not performing to the scale of a large global economy.

This also provides an interesting perspective from the view of transparency and analysis about forming a new generation of activity to reform taxes, compensation and CEO performance in my my mind.

In my mind right now the tradition of how NGO’s protest and debate and how media reports is limiting. This is the case particularly in the United States to  where the value for sustainability conflicts with a diverse input from outside the corporate sector that argues for scrutiny, compliance and legislation to change the problems we perceive as sole focus for solution.

Based on the recent press that GE paid no taxes in 2010 after posting profits of $14.2B, I had a citizen’s reaction of “What?” Given conditions of our schools, health care system and more: I was torn about the degree to which corporations do not pay taxes. But hidden in my story is a strong view I have that US government of all levels, Federal, State, City do not perform.

Do I focus my time on protesting corporate tax dodging?  How do I deal with my stress that  government in my country is focused on spending rather than focused insuring our spending carries us forward into a future and that all sectors align with this value in action, not just government?

If GE paid taxes, how much of this money now would be wasted in a time where our government is not performing for a majority of its citizens.  I have become mixed in thinking about taxes, since US government  is not performing?

I am disappointed on the corporate side as to what they can do with profits to create new jobs, increase access to health insurance and over haul their compensation and benefit schemes to recognize the rise in chronic illness, stress and the average American’s inability to insure the 4 pillars of sustainabillty – a job, a doctor, a home and education.

The Latest Focus for Protest – Corporate Tax Dodging.

From the corporate perspective, wheels are spinning about corporations who do not pay taxes. Political activist, Chuck Collins, Senior Scholar at the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington DC is one of the quality voices in the NGO movement questioning why corporations do not pay taxes.

Collins lives with his family  in a neighborhood of Boston, known for its grassroots and political advocacy, Jamaica Plain. He has become one of the leading voices documenting, analyzing the complexity of the issue fills the blogSphere with a quality of advocacy journalism that is exceptional.

Chuck’s personal page on Facebook, provides a look into that complexity, why there is no easy solution and why it is so urgent to lead change in this arena as corporations that include GE, Bank of America, Verizon, and Federal Express.

Collins editorial on Huff Post Business is candid, factual and maps out the full agenda in a brief editorial, General Electric King of the Tax Dodgers.

And yes, General Electric heads this list of tax dodgers and some facts I know of that would not be posted to a tax analysis with regard to Jeffrey Immelt’s compensation over the past few years.

General Electric the Corporate Citizen Change Agent

As I indicated to Chuck Collins on his Facebook wall over the weekend, I think the fact that General Electric is what he describes as the “King of Tax Dodgers” is dedicated to Corporate Citizenship and all that implies to its governance and has embedded sustainability into its culture.

In review of my own research archives and identification of these facts, I wonder how the CSR practice of  transparency will apply to GE’s filing a return of $0 on its Federal IRS return?

With Obama appointment of GE’s CEO Jeffrey Immelt’s to the Federal Economic Advisory Panel this sets a stage for more controversy related to GE’s lack of tax payments and a need for transparency.

For naysayers, it is easy to take the position that Obama has made a mistake appointing a registered Republican to this position who heads a corporation that delivered $14.2B in global profit and $5.1B in US profits in 2010. GE claimed a tax benefit of $3.2B based on federal tax qualifications.

Last year, I covered a story on a meeting at the Paley Center called the #CSRdebate.  At the time, I attended this meeting, I felt that the success of this conversation reflected more a progress report on accountability, performance and success of embedding sustainability into a corporate culture.

General Electric has done all that leading globally initiatives that are impacting climate change, health and energy through their internationally respected initiatives of Ecoimagination and Healthmagination.

Within that story, George Kell, Executive Director of the UN Global Compact pointed out

George Kell pointed out that the American tendency to shape conversations that are generalized does not work for construction of complicated issues that involve CSR.  Generalizations cannot empower what is needed to have a constructive CSR conversation.

Kell’s final remarks offered related to reporting on  the membership of the UN Global Compact  response of 20% interest to climate change that he anticipated would grow to 30% next year represented an indicator of importance.

It is still unclear of the 7700 members of the UN Global Compact how rapidly more than 10% of its members are actually embedding sustainability.  Yet, General Electric is a leader of that in forum and within the top 1% of performers.

Also represented in this event, was Bob Corcoran – Vice President, Corporate Citizenship, President & Chairman, GE Foundation. Bob outlined how GE’s core business strategy to embed sustainability into its culture is driven by its corporate citizenship program.

Ecomagination and Healthyimagination were driven by General Electrics’ innovation of sustainability venturing.

Immelt himself authored his plan, A Blue Print for Keeping America Competitive and published it in the Washington Post. The plan focuses on trade, export of US goods and job creation.

Over the last two years, GE has created over 6,000 manufacturing jobs in the United States as well as stepped up to investing in energy and health related businesses that create new companies and jobs.

In 2008, Immelt gave hope to a group of students at UC Berkeley Hass School of Business when he

In 2008 in  forum to UC Berkeley Hass School of Business, Immelt gave hope and direction for a future to these students, that so few know how to give at these times, shortly after the September 2008 financial market meltdown.

Immelt  has described  himself as a banker with “deep pockets, who also invested in people. Immelt differentiates himself from an investment firm because he devised and put into practice a sustainability framework that defined how General Electric could lead the world into the building of a sustainable economy.

Outside of GE, Immelt announced and carried through on plans to  invest in new ventures that are not entirely owned by GE. In some cases these small enterprises are competitors to GE divisions and businesses; creating a social network of coopetition as part of the GE Culture.

Immelt’s Compensation and How It is Managed

GE Directors and Immelt have align Immelt’s compensation based on long term strategy and current financial performance. In reviewing articles regarding his compensation; I have decided to begin to look at other companies closely in terms of ratio of profit, total sales and CEO salary. But doing this analysis was a good beginning.

While reports show that Immelt”s compensation for 2010 doubled, within the report were some explainations of adjustments from past years and a modification to how Jeffrey Immelt used General Electric resources of personal use. Directors viewed that Immelt performed well. In this context,

  1. He compensation doubled to a total of $15.2M based on profits of $14.2B.
  2. Shares offered in 2006 were cancelled because the company did not meet its performance expectations at that time.
  3. During 2 years of reduced financial performance, Immelt received no bonus.  The $4M received for 2010 was the first bonus he received in two years.
  4. In 2010, Immelt received $389,809 of other compensation by using the GE jet for personal business.  He has a new agreement to lease the jet for personal use and reimburse for the cost of its use.

What does the US need – Corporate Taxes, Lower CEO Pay or a Sustainable Economy

While I would not identify myself as a ‘libertarian,” I have to ask what would I prefer?  That a profitable corporation pay taxes ? Or create a tax systmee for sustainable economy?  Is there a simple answer to these questions. I think not.

For a company that is leading performance in the top 1$ for sustainable value, there is a real advantage to not protesting the problem, but opening a dialogue with this company to find out what change would benefit stakeholders and how.

And a real dialogue is not based on protest, argument and debate–a dialogue begins with briefing sessions and gives the players opportunity to learn and absorb in an educational forum.

This kind of initiative is then structured  in a setting where participants can focus and think and ask question from which to generate questions that direct the participants in a new direction of thought that can be formed into a action strategy.

Embedded in this issue are issues of leadership, CEO performance, global versus local economy, size of company and a new view of a size of company that merits being defined an economy, readers what do you think? Is the world ready to redefine the GDP and spark new economic thinking that is sustainable and not about corporations or government and political feuds?


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.

Publisher’s Note: Please be patient while we figure out if Twitter can repair our @workecology id and recover our network.  By Friday 4/1, I hope twitter will resolve this and I will know by then what I have to do.