26 December 2008
1. Obama's "Green Dream Team"
2. T. Boone Pickens [Pikens Plan] and Al Gore [wecansolveit.org]
3. Project Better Place [electronic car network]
4. Climate Change & the Endangered Species Act [polar bear is first species added to list due to climate change]
5. The "Death of Ethanol" and Birth of Algae
6. Solar as Baseload [California takes the lead]
7. State of NY vs. Utility Sector
8. Negotiations at Poznan
9. RGGI's Auctions Emission Credits
10. TARP extends tax credits for renewable energy
...and the runners up?
GeSI SMART 2020 Report
EPRI & Detroit Partnership
08 December 2008
01 December 2008
esfosterin At the investment level, we create andefunds, in our pursuit of market-based social and environmental solutionsAt the community level, we provide capacity building and funding strategies to community and economic development entities serving low-income communities.
Through its Community Development Group services, SDS seeks to empower community and economic development entities serving low-income communities to be more innovative, effective, and sustainable agents of social and environmental change. Financially, we seek to help our clients become self-sustaining by strategically identifying and pursuing needed funding. Operationally, we help clients incorporate business strategies that improve their effectiveness and efficiency. For more information about our work, visit our website at www.SDSgroup.com.
Organizationally, SDS is comprised of three distinct, yet complementary, divisions to achieve our underlying social mission: Fund Development, New Markets Tax Credits, and Community Development Group. Currently, SDS has a unique and rewarding internship position in its Community Development Group division. The intern will work as part of a team on active client projects, which may include:
§ Researching public and private funding prospects
§ Writing grants
§ Evaluation and impact reporting
§ Creating outreach/marketing documents
§ Editing and drafting various project documents, attending meetings, or other relevant research projects
SDS' internship program provides exposure to the breadth of its services. We aim to create a mutually beneficial experience via applied projects and challenging work that will add value to our clients, our company, and to the career paths of young professionals. SDS is committed to giving its interns an opportunity to learn and work on substantive projects and to providing resources and tools for interns to enhance their career knowledge base and professional development skills in and outside of the work environment. Stipends may be available to top performers only after the first three months of the internship period. Work experience with SDS can also be used to obtain course credit.
SDS is seeking an individual to assist with its Community Development Group client projects. Qualifications for the internship program include the following:
§ Efficient, organized, and responsible
§ In the process of acquiring an undergraduate degree, at a minimum
§ Interest in the social and human services, underserved/low-income communities and populations, community and/or economic development, philanthropy, grantwriting, public policy, or urban planning
§ Strong research, analytical, writing, and computer (esp. Excel) skills
§ Able to work in a professional and dynamic work environment
§ A commitment to a minimum three-month internship (15-30 hrs per week)
How to apply
Please e-mail resume with a cover letter and a writing sample (no more than 10 pages) to Julia Elrick at jelrick@SDSgroup.com.
Strategic Development Solutions
11150 W. Olympic Blvd., Suite 910
Los Angeles, CA 90064
Phone: (310) 914-5333 ext. 218
*sorry, I have no idea why everything in this post is underlined!
23 November 2008
Stakeholders are the new brand managers.
This was the title of a slide presented to the Pepperdine Net Impact chapter tonight by Jeff Hittner, Director of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) for IBM. This declaration cuts to the very core of the CSR movement that I have recently been considering. In the past month I have been fortunate enough to visit Patagonia Headquarters in Ventura, CA, attend the Net Impact Conference in Philadelphia, PA and listen to Mr Hittner tonight on the West LA campus. Throughout the month I have gained a tremendous amount of knowledge and insight from some of the foremost thinkers in the space. Tonight was a chance to reflect on the journey.
Mr. Hittner began his discussion by explaining the role CSR plays within IBM. Currently IBM has a 150 million dollar endowment for strategic philanthropy. The idea of strategically using CSR to further promote the values and culture of a company was an area of focus throughout the night. Specific to IBM this strategic CSR can be found in 5 different areas: health care, economic development, arts and culture, corporate volunteerism and the environment. Each of these areas has the potential to further the mission of IBM to develop a "Smart Planet."
One of the most innovative programs implemented by IBM, in my opinion, is a Corporate Service Program. This is IBM's version of the Peace Corps and sends employees to six emerging markets to work on problems related in developing IT in these markets. Employees participate in a 6 month engagement, 1 month in the actual country. I believe this program is ingenious in that it helps satisfy the employees' thirst for service, provides great PR for IBM and allows them to be first to market in these markets which could become major players in the future. Overall the program has been a resounding success with 5000 internal applicants for 100 spots. Hopefully in the future they will continue to expand the program so that it will reach many more people in the organization.
One of the primary problems surrounding CSR is that there is a disconnect between the company's expectations and the consumer's expectations on what a robust CSR program should entail. To this effect, IBM realizes that is necessary to perform exhaustive studies on the subject so that it can better serve its shareholders and predict the future CSR needs. This is evident in two studies: IBM's Global CEO Study and their CSR Perception Study.
In the CEO study, IBM interviewed 609 CEOs across the nation. Greater than 75% of these companies had market caps larger than 500 million dollars. From this study, IBM attempted to deduce the current state of CSR within established organizations. 69% stated they believed CSR has a positive aspect on customer expectation of their organization. They identified one of the primary cost saving opportunities as employee retention. The additional CSR efforts causes a lower amount of turnover and reduces the resources required in training.
The CSR study was even more robust. It focused on three areas of CSR: impact on business, information and relationships. In terms of impact on business, CSR can be seen as moving from a cost to an investment. As companies explore more and more opportunities to be socially responsible, they see their efforts as an investment in both the social welfare of their shareholders and the equity of their brand. Considering information, CSR seeks to move from visibility of a company to transparency. Mr. Hittner expressed this idea as it is better to be open from the start than pried open by those who inquire. Finally in regards to relationships with stakeholder's, it is necessary to move from containment to engagement. Previously companies sough to contain their stakeholders, but the proliferation of new media and the Internet has caused a shift in companies focusing on getting it right from the start and engaging those who have a stake in their business, from the environment to the consumer to the employees.
Mr Hittner illustrated how a company must move through the stages of CSR. While it is not necessary to start at the bottom of this progression, this is where a majority of companies find themselves. The first step is "legal compliance." Companies in this stage are doing the bare minimum in an attempt to not get fined or penalized by local, state or federal governments. The next step is "strategic philanthropy" This is state in which companies donate money in an attempt further an agenda. This stage is followed by "values-based self-regulation." In this stage companies begin holding themselves to their values. This is when CSR begins to become a part of the DNA of the organization. IT is something in which they pride themselves. The next stage expands on this notion. The "efficiency" phase is characterized by using CSR to cut costs while maintaining the values they have promoted in the previous stages. For example, Mr. Hittner gave the example of the agricultural industry measuring the wetness of their fields prior to watering. This allows them to water only the necessary areas, increasing the efficiency of the organization. The final stage is developing a "growth platform." While Mr. Hittner understands there is still much work to be done, he pointed to the example of the Corporate Service Corps as a CSR initiative within IBM which is at the "growth platform" level of CSR.
The future of CSR Hittner attributed to predictive analytics. In the digital age, there is a tremendous amount of data on all aspects of life. The next question becomes how do we use this data to our advantage. How do we parse through information to make predictions on how to be more responsible as corporations? Mr. Hittner gave the example of IBM's 40,000 suppliers across the world and how based on raw data they are able to target specific factories for audits to make sure compliance is being held to the high IBM standards.
These are questions that we, as business leaders of tomorrow, will be faced with on a regular basis. No longer will there be the excuse of ignorance on these issues. We must be informed on how our impact affects our stakeholders. While attending business school, our practice is highly theoretical. We are preparing for the day we are able to make decisions which will affect the course of corporations. In this vein, I picked up the book "Click," by Bill Tancer, which focuses on online research and the insight it can provide. It is my hope that everyone reading this post will take action, in either their career or personal life through becoming aware the decisions we make affect many. The corporate social responsibility movement I have been immersed in over the past month is real. There are many very intelligent people working towards a common goal: to leave the world a little better than we found it.
18 November 2008
The 2009 Net Impact North American Conference, which took place November 13-15, 2008 at The Wharton School of Business at The University of Pennsylvania was truly the most enlightening experiences of my life. I never thought that I would see a group as intelligent and passionate about social causes as I witnessed at the conference. It justly supported my belief that Corporate Social Responsibility is a fundamental part of any business model that hopes to succeed in the economy of the future.
I think it is important to note that Net Impact, and its conference, is not just a society of “Green” business professionals and intellects. The word that is more frequently used, but is often inappropriately believed to be synonymous with “Green,” is “Sustainability.” Sustainability does not just address care for the environment. It is also concerned with business practices that benefit all long-term stakeholders (Community, Employees, and Stockholders) in a company. As we suffer from the aftermath of the banking industry’s meltdown, which I believe was the result of an over emphasis on short-term gains, the importance of sustainable business practices have become especially important to me. Therefore, many of the seminars I chose to attend focused on social responsibility issues rather than ecological issues. Seminars such as: (RED) Harnessing the Power of Business for Sustainable Change, Getting Your Social Venture Off the Ground, and Just Good Business: Aligning Corporate Responsibility and Brand offered great evidence of what Fortune 500 businesses and emerging companies are doing to change the world for the better, while maintaining respectable profits.
I would recommend the Net Impact conference to ANY business student, because, as mentioned earlier, all business leaders will need to confront the issues of ecological sustainability and sustainable business models if they hope to succeed in the new economy. I cannot wait to build upon my knowledge next year!--
11 November 2008
The call lasted about 1 hour and there was some time for questions at the end. It was very informative and well worth the time on a Friday morning. I strongly encourage others to listen in on these calls as well (I believe there is one with Sierra Nevada Brewing Company in a few weeks).
Marc Gunther, Senior Writer at Fortune Magazine interviewed Rand Waddoups, Senior Director of Corporate Strategy and Sustainability at Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. As part of a small team dedicated to building sustainability into every part of Wal-Mart's global business strategy and culture. Rand is helping drive progress by delivering on 3 goals:
to have zero waste
to use 100% renewable energy
to bring sustainable product to their customers
8 years with Wal-Mart
Started as a buyer in Merchandising for a number of years at Wal-Mart first
Was tapped b/c he knew the supply chain better so he could better apply sustainability into this area.
Been doing this for 2 years now
MBA from the Univ. of Arkansas
Oct 22nd: Meeting in Beijing w/ 1,000 suppliers on responsible sourcing
Sharing the future of sustainability at Wal-Mart w/ this group
Message: environment matters, lays out expectations they have going forward
working toward zero waste
new ways to access recyclables
new ideas to work w/ organizations on combusting and/or use products that will be compostable
TLE- tire-lube express- getting very excited over finding ways to make them zero waste
oil bottle shredders (not recyclable), tiers, oil filter, air filters, used oil, worked w/ organizations in creating pilot stores so that only thing left going into the trash is pieces that can't be thrown away after vacuuming out the customers car.
Working w/ local and national partners to create a composting effort.
America's Second Harvest- started a partnership of giving almost out of date food products that couldn't be sold to customers but was still consumable (standard industry practice)
Win you set goals and can't always measure them as you expect when future comes to reality
Hard to measure what you've done w/ sustainability
This has to be decentralized, hard to develop a centralized system to measure all of this
making it owned by the business leaders
Both business and environment impact
P&L of Trash in 2006 would have been a huge expense
now in 2007 TRASH became an INCOME source!
Wal-Mart Makes money on its trash (10's of millions of dollars on this)
Hardest part of composting is the transportation. Highest cost factor for this.
Now is the BEST time to apply sustainability.
This remains in line w/ the everyday low price philosophy.
Easy for the company to grab onto this 3 yrs ago b/c it fit perfectly in w/ the company culture.
Wal-Mart worked to create transparency of their supply-chain.
Philosophy for capital expenditure:
If coming up w/ ideas for sustainability and not in line w/ the financials then the job is to go back to the drawing board and figure out a smarter way of doing it.
Sustainability isn't about Wal-Mart alone everything they learn they share, Wal-Mart wants to move the market place and not go it alone.
Example is solar panels in certain test stores...need to go back and find cheaper and easier ways to actually do this.
Want to be the pioneer in the places where they should be and can do it right. Other ways want to help the market to create it and then ride along w/ it.
Close to 21 stores are fully installed w/ solar panels. And obtain up to 1 megawatt power out of them which is A LOT!
Where is the packaging area at? :
Some areas Wal-Mart has worked with manufacturers to reduce packaging are:
Square milk cartons in all Sam's Clubs currently.
Works well w/ high distribution there
Packing for lamp shade and lamp bases
Tricycles-no longer sold in boxes, folds in half now becomes compact able and is able to be transported.
Future of CSR at Wal-Mart:
½ million associates in the US have embraced sustainability and have committed to personal sustainability projects (include stopping smoking, health related, riding bike to work, eating organic, working to reduce carbon footprints by 25%, cleaning up wetlands)
How do the buyers accept PSP's that go against the product they are working with? :
Learning that not all buyers should be growing profits
realizing that some buyers need to think creatively about making product better
Coming up w/ ways to make money but improve the environment aspect (not becoming victims out of this)
No business is 100% sustainable. More sustainable Wal-Mart is the highest quality goods w/ the most efficient process used to maintain price advantage and be part of the community that allows the store to be the right place to shop.
Group initially was created out of strategy but wear a lot of hats b/c touch on every role in the company.
Advertising isn't about how great Wal-Mart is doing but rather what YOU the customer can do to be more sustainable!
***The recorded message of the call is also on the Net Impact website/blog for all members to listen too. I strongly encourage it (it’s about 1 hour), regardless of your feelings in regards to Wal-Mart as a company it was very informative to hear how a major company is working to embrace many of the things that we find so important and how their involvement can and will radically change the marketplace for CSR. ***
08 November 2008
06 November 2008
The panel addressed topics, which ranged from the future of the green
industry within the U.S. and around the world, to the influence and
increasing importance of social media, to the growing trend of
choosing brands that stand for something more than profit. The
panelists shared their personal stories of success and failure and
gave us the following tips on books and local resources to tap into so
that we can take our green knowledge, ventures, and practices to the
The panelists recommended some of their favorite books/publications:
• "Conscious Business: How to Build Value Through Values" by Fred Kofman
• "Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done" by Larry Bossidy, Ram Charan, and Charles Burck
• "Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap... and Others Don't" by Jim Collins
• "Green to Gold: How Smart Companies Use Environmental Strategy to
Innovate, Create Value, and Build Competitive Advantage" by Daniel Esty and Andrew Winston
• "Natural Capitalism: Creating the Next Industrial Revolution" by
Paul Hawken, Amory Lovins, and L. Hunter Lovins
• "The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding" by Al Ries and Laura Ries
• "Here Comes Everybody" by Clay Shirkey
• "Lovemarks: The Future Beyond Brands" by Kevin Roberts
• "The Green Marketing Manifesto" by John Grant
• "Walden" by Henry David Thoreau
• "The Secret Teachings of Plants: The Intelligence of the Heart in the Direct Perception of Nature" by Stephen Harrod Buhner
• Sustainable Industries magazine
Some local resources and events:
• Green Business Networking (2nd Tuesday of every month at the Ambrose Hotel in Santa Monica)
• LA Green drinks
• Sustainable Business Council
• Advanta ideablob (funding for social entrepreneurs)
• Social Media Club
• Sustainable Life Media
• Marketing Green
First year & Net Impact Events/Marketing/Membership Committee
01 November 2008
On Friday, October 24th eighteen members of Pepperdine's Net Impact chapter were given the opportunity to visit clothing company Patagonia's campus in Ventura, CA and speak with CEO Casey Sheahan.
Upon arrival to the campus, it became apparent that this would not be a tour of a typical global company. Employees were dressed comfortably in outdoor apparel including fleece, tee shirts, work pants and climbing shoes. The facilities reminded me of the great outdoors rather than the headquarters of a company with over 1300 employees.
We were greeted by our eventual tour guide of the facility and former 11x frisbee world champ, Chipper Bro. From there we grabbed a quick bite to eat in the dining facility (a Sunrise breakfast sandwich and Honest Tea did it for me) and headed up to the company lecture room. Here we spoke with Director of Material Development and Advanced Concepts and Pepperdine Executive MBA, Tetsuya O'Hara. Mr. O'Hara gave us a quick overview of the company and the buidling in which we were located and introduced us to President and CEO, Casey Sheahan.
At this point I had little idea of what to expect. Our group barely filled the the first row of seats and Mr. Sheahan sat informally in front of us with two large powerpoint screens behind him and clicker in hand. He casually explained the goals of Patagonia through the company's mission statement:
Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.Build the Best Product:
We began our discussion of how Patagonia accomplishes these goals with the state of the current economy and its affect on Patagonia and the clothing industry. Mr. Sheahan likened the current economic crisis to the Great Yellowstone Fire of 1988. During that time people were afraid that Yellowstone would not be able to recover, however the forest ended up growing back stronger than it was previously. The fire actually had a cleansing affect. More specifically, Mr Sheahan views the current state of the economy as an opportunity for smaller, strong companies to gain market share through offering the best product. Patagonia continues to grow through caplitalizing on the multi-channel growth of its wholsale, retail and internet businesses.
Cause no unnecessary harm:
The roots of Patagonia's goal to cause no unnecessary harm can be traced back to founder Yvon Chouniard's 1972 push for "Clean Climbing." The Chouinard Catalog called for climbers to discontinue their practice of hammering into rock in favor of using a solution that did not damage the face of the mountain. A timeline of Patagonia's major developments in this area is as follows:
1993 - Introduction of the use of Synchilla in clothing.
1996 - Organic Cotton is used in clothing.
2004 - Common Threads Garment Recycling Program
2005 - Recycled Polyester is used in clothing.
2006 - Development of the Regulator Wetsuit
2007 - Recycled Nylon 6 is used in clothing.
One of the key aspects of Patagonia's goal is that the company realizes that not all harm can be eliminated in the process of manufacturing apparel. Therefore, Patagonia strives to be as transparent as possible in the production process of its clothing. This lead to the Footprint Chronicles in which consumers can trace the clothing back to its original sources and catalog the environmental impact of products they consume, both good and bad.
Beyond informational campaigns, Patagonia has made significant investments in research and development and making sure its processes are inline with its mission statement. For example, the Reno Distribution facility is a LEED certified Building.
Implement solutions to the environmental crisis:
Apart from internal implementation, Patagonia also seeks to help its consumers do their part in addressing the environmental crisis. This is done primarily through the Patagonia website and the development of environmental campaigns. Currently, Patagonia is under the "Freedom to Roam" campaign which seeks to designate clear paths for wildlife to migrate.
Use business to inspire:
This aspect of Patagonia's mission statement is not one that can necessarily be highlighted in a Powerpoint. However, I believe it is a feeling that came over our entire group of MBA students that through business we have the power to create positive change. Through Patagonia's example we understand that the problems we will face as business leaders in the future will be immense, but by understanding our values and remaining "committed to the core" it is possible that we can make a difference.
31 October 2008
JOHN L. BURTON
JIM GONZALEZ, Chair
Californians for Solar and Clean Energy
California Solar Energy Industries Association
TOM ADAMS, Board President
California League of Conservation Voters
TERESA CASAZZA, President
California Taxpayers’ Association