(3BL Media/Justmeans) - First Lady Michelle Obama has unveiled plans for the most sweeping overhaul of nutrition labels on U.S. food packages in more than two decades. This announcement is part of Mrs Obama’s ‘Let's Move’ initiative to combat child obesity, which is celebrating its fourth anniversary.
(3BL Media/Justmeans) – The United Nations theme for this International Women’s Day is “Equality for women is progress for all.” Emerging markets around the world appear to be seizing the lead over developed countries when it comes to women in senior business management positions.
(3BL Media/Justmeans) – Facebook is considering the use of high-flying, solar-powered drones to connect parts of the world that are currently without any Internet access. As one of the key supporters of the Internet.org initiative, Facebook is keen to bring Internet access to more than five billion people across the world that are still living without online connectivity.
Guest Blog by Michael Vaughan, CEO, The Regis Company
(3BL Media/Justmeans) - Brian Keane is a marketing guy. He understands how to sell things. And as president of SmartPower, a non-profit, solar marketing company, he knows how to sell residential solar to consumers.
When I spoke to him last week, he told me had had “cracked the code” on selling solar. He said he saw it as his job to sell solar power to “regular people” who will buy it, not as an expression of an identity or an ideology, but rather because it simply makes sense. Because, he said, “the fact that it's good for the environment is not a sufficient motivator for many people.”
That is proven out by the fact that 80% of Americans say they'd like to have solar, but only around 3% actually own it.
But Keane has found a way to turn that around. How does he do it? It's a marketing campaign that consists of on-the-ground outreach, by members of the community in which they are selling. In a sense it's as much a community organizing campaign as anything else.
Here's how it works. His organization creates a “Solarize” campaign at the state level. Right now they are working on Solarize Connecticut. They open a selection process to communities that are interested in promoting solar power. Then they solicit volunteers who will do the actual outreach. They stay in each community for 20 weeks.
Says Keane, “We're not recreating the grassroots field. We're simply organizing what's already there. And the grassroots outreach is not going door to door. We reach out to local organizations, church groups, etc. and let them do the outreach. If I'm a member of a local group and I get an email from our leader saying we have an opportunity to get a great deal on solar, I'm going to be a lot more open to that than if some stranger came knocking on my door.”
(3BL Media/Justmeans) – A group of 140 companies operating in California, including General Motors, Apple, eBay, Intel, Gap, Levi Strauss, Nestle, Symantec, The North Face and Acer, have placed their weight behind an ambitious Climate Declaration that exhorts policymakers in the United States to address the challenges of climate change with a sense of urgency.
(3Bl Media/Justmeans) - I spoke with Paige Goff last week, VP of Sustainability and Business Communications at Domtar, the paper company. The company has been aggressively pursuing sustainability in every aspect of their operations, going so far as to brand themselves, “the sustainable paper company.”
They established themselves as leaders in this regard years ago, by becoming the first paper company to achieve Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification for their source fibers. Now, in their attempt to stay ahead of the pack, they are rolling out their EarthChoice sustainability platform.
Paige Goff: We wanted to come up with something to really simplify our sustainability platform, which is how we came up with our EarthChoice platform. Within that, we have the life cycle loop, that we break down into proof points within four different buckets.
The first bucket is where your paper comes from. That draws from a lot of our certifications, like FSC-Certified fibers and our partnerships with the Rainforest Alliance and the World Wildlife Fund. We want our customers to know that when they buy paper from Domtar, they are buying from a very sustainable source.
Justmeans: You have made a real commitment in this area.
PG: Yes. A full 100% of our fibers come from certified sources.
JM: Have you looked at what Woody Harrelson is doing with wheat-based papers?
PG: We are agnostic on the concept at this point, but we are looking into it.
JM: So what is the next bucket?
PG: The next bucket is how our paper is made. We’re talking about transparency within the industry. Everything has an impact, though it's not always apparent. We have what we call the Paper Trail that shows the impact of everything you can buy from us. It provides an apples-to-apples comparison, that looks at not just the industry average, but calls out what we are doing well and what we need to improve on. We consider it the most transparent impact calculator in the industry.
JM: The reporting and transparency are great. But what kinds of sustainable measures are you taking in your production process?
PG: Our utilization of greenhouse gas neutral, sustainable biomass as a substitute for fossil fuels is above the industry average. All of our mills have programs underway to divert materials from landfills and find beneficial uses for our byproducts. We are conducting comprehensive energy assessments of all of our mills that inform our overall energy strategy. We are developing new techniques for better understanding the true cost of water utilization. We are making strategic investments in improving the fidelity of our production and environmental data so we can empower our front line managers to undertake scenario planning and make more data-driven decisions. And, of course, we continue to lead the drive for increasing the utilization of fiber certified to the FSC standard.
JM: These are all good things in the production arena. I'm guessing usage must come next.
(3BL Media/Justmeans) - On April 7 and 8, business leaders will meet in Washington D.C. for the Catalyzing Growth in Emerging Markets conference. The event will address how cross-sector interests converge to achieve shared value and examine how the practice of International Corporate Volunteerism, global pro bono, is contributing to socio-economic growth in emerging and frontier markets. The event is hosted by PYXERA Global.
(3BL Media and Just Means)- It's been several months since I've written anything about the fair trade movement, but that's not because things aren't happening. In fact, it's the 25th anniversary of fair trade! A lot of positive things have changed and from my refreshed perspective, the fair trade movement seems to be collaborating, perhaps finally finding more common ground. Perhaps.