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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Green Corporations... Can You Trust Them?

Posted to the LOHAS blog Wednesday, April 18, 2012
 
Wal-Mart, McDonald's, Coca-Cola, Sprint, KFC, Shell, Chase, Ford, Staples, CVS and the long list goes on.  These larger than life brands immediately conjure up images and thoughts of our past experiences that have either helped or hurt these companies perception regarding sustainability.
Image courtesy of Yum Brands

Of the ten companies above, 100% are doing something around sustainability issues related to their respective industries.  Some are improving energy, some reducing waste, some have take-back programs, some are are even developing products for the eco-conscious consumer. Whatever the companies are doing, a larger issue is hiding just under the surface… trust!

We have all felt and witnessed corporate green-washing, but is this simply the beginning of the change process, we all have to start somewhere, right?  Corporate sustainability and CSR are poised to be the next evolution of business trends, similar to how IT changed the game. How can we know that these companies are sincere, committed and really able to transform their impact?  Should we care or shop elsewhere?

A tougher issue many of us already know, is that the base product lines of these companies don't exactly help people or the planet. There are health studies, insider videos, user testimonials, advocacy groups and other opposing groups asking us quite directly 'not' to support some of these companies.  Are these  really the opposite of the shop local movement, considering others in our community are employed there?
So, what's a good socially responsible citizen to do?  More over, what is a newly socially responsible corporation to do, when they have the realities of their industry and various product lines to transform?

Here is a fast recap of just some of the eco-positive moves BIG companies are undertaking:
1. CVS is rewarding consumers for bringing reusable bags with their Green Bag Tags 
2. Sprint has a new line of eco-friendly mobile phones with less environmental impact.
3. Ford is releasing an electric vehicle on the way called the Focus Electric.
4. Staples is directly crediting shoppers for taking back used ink cartridges.
5. KFC has released the first ever reusable side container in the fast food industry (just don't tell the SF Soup Company


Hopefully this corporate sustainability trend will continue and grow until the "S" word is removed and sustainability is just part of doing good business, that serves the triple bottom line. I guess we will have to call this LOHA then? 

If you want to read more about what the world's largest companies are doing please pop over to triplepundit.com and do a search for any company.  Some news is positive, some negative and some down right controversial, but all of it interesting and forces us to question our beliefs.

Jared Brick is completing his MBA in Sustainable Management at the Presidio Graduate School in SF.  He is working on creating the first ever reusables tracking platform, rewarding consumers everywhere in their retail experiences.  Follow the journey at traxactions.com or on twitter: traxactions
 

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Are your investments aligned with your values?

The 2012 investment world is rife with challenges, issues, corruption, greed and mainly a void for real social concerns.  The rise of the "Occupy" movement may have helped the world to realign personal values with personal spending.  Hundreds, thousands and millions of personal investment dollars are being spent on companies that do not support positive impacts.  Yet, the first impact in this new type of investing is upon you… the willing contributor.   
Most of us currently manage 401k's, mutual funds, diversified stock accounts and other related investment accounts, so we have the leverage to support this new sector. The recent growth of social and environment impact investments have spawned wholly new firms, new emerging markets and values-driven funds to match the personal interests of the contributors.   The larger investment world is starting to take notice of these small socially linked funds… that still return a profit!  While the overall financial return may be sometimes less than market averages, the returns to society are now finally beginning to be counted. 

The key remains diversification of your portfolio, as any sound financial advisor will tell you.  Mitigate your risk with long term, short term and medium growth opportunity investments.  Yet now you can begin to add social, environmental and impact investment funds to a portfolio.  Your direct support of this growth sector will contribute to the evolution of our financial markets.   

Asking the old question… "Am I making a good return on my investment," is no longer the only question to ask. Instead try on, "What impact is my investment making in the world?"

Here are some websites to further assist you in your research;

Hip Investor: Human Impact + Profits- http://hipinvestor.com
GIIN: Global Impact Investment Network- http://www.thegiin.org
The Investing Pledge http://investingpledge.com

**Caution- This author is not a professional financial advisor or consultant. The information provided is for research and referenced basis only.  Please contact your financial advisor, begin your research and ask advisors to help you to find impact investments.**

Image from http://www.thegiin.org/cgi-bin/iowa/council/terragua/index.html

About the author: Jared Brick is a current Sustainable Management MBA student at the Presidio Graduate School in San Francisco.  You can follow him here:
https://twitter.com/jaredbrick

Thursday, November 17, 2011

EBAY's: A QR Coded Holiday

Ebay has launched a new holiday based advertising and marketing campaign to incorporate innovative quick response QR codes.  This bold move and clever usage, as a gift ribbon design, takes the codes in a new creative direction, instead of the standard corner ad placement.
So, I know what you may be thinking... as Ecowarrior2012 (EW12)  follower why... should I really care?
Great question and though some may disagree with my answers. QR codes help consumers quickly and efficiently research and purchase items directly from their smart phones or tablets, once scanned.  I am all for supporting local shopping, especially at the holidays. Ebay now has millions of people selling reused items and reducing new product consumption, quite green actually.  The carbon footprints of shipping these "used" items is only a tiny fraction of what it costs us all, when buying new products. Now EW12 realizes that there are many new products sold on Ebay, still shipping from online purchases is more sustainable than one driving to and from multiple stores, as the packages ride mass transit in a way.
So I say go ahead and try to scan the new QRs with your smart phone and just make sure you are investing in good products that are truly needed. There is nothing cooler over the crazy holiday period than conscious consumerism!
Thanks for reading and sharing,
For more information please visit: www.ebay.com


Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Occupy Movement is the 2012 Transformation!

Lately with the increased interest in the @occupyoakland via the @OccupyWallSt movement  the globe is certainly starting to unify to rise up against corporate greed, mistrust and PEOPLE really do have the POWER!

Image courtesy of http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-15568057

The 99% People's movement has taken hold across the globe and we are unifying together for a more fair, just and morally equal world... one were greed and mistrust are not accepted. 

The public has been sold a fat lie, a grand illusion... one were we must trust the main powers that ruin the world.  We can no longer, trust them inherently... they know exactly how to work the system for their advantages, while we the people pay the consequences for it all.

President Obama got us all fired up with his Hope movement and then he has since caved into the massive pressures in DC, since he alone could never change all these issues.  He asked us to get involved and we did our part.  Then the gov't stepped in to save the greediest bastards of them all and we lost trust while the economy faultered based on more lies and mistrust of our systems in place.  We have an integrity issue in this country and hence dealing with a breakdown!

The Mayan 2012 prophecy is for global transformational change, a shift in consciousness across all of humanity for what is just, fair and represents equality for us all.  We will have to step through this fire over to the other side and make this happen, and we are!

The recent small riots in @occupyoakland movement show the anger and simply some anarchists actions mostly... but it wakes up the sleepy, the complacent and makes us all take notice.  We have been shoved aside, pushed down and now taken advantage of... and we ain't gonna take it no longer!

Viva La Revolucion!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

2012 = Global Disaster or Sustainable Opportunity?

In the wake of the sobering ten-year anniversary of 9/11, I am reminded of what can shift because of a  global tragedy.  Ironically, unintended positives arose from the burning ashes of southern Manhattan.  Our national nightmare united many among the world and helped unify a divided nation in an unprecedented outpouring of compassion and support.
The upcoming date of December 21, 2012, looms around the corner, just over a year away. This date is filled with mythical tales, fanaticism, Hollywood formulaic screenplays and even some credible scientific theories.  If it reminds you of the year Millenium Y2K hype … it should!

The major difference with 2000, was that we took the date very seriously.  This is exactly the point … we prepared for it, we made a big fuss and it possibly helped us avoid a potential crash. The 1/1/2000 date required a global marketing campaign that spanned all computer related industries, false borders and even competitors. The same MadMen behind the Y2K campaigns may be the very same people we may need now.


The next global event – December 21, 2012, is a specific date passed down from previous solar experts, the ancient Mayans.  Hype aside, there is strong scientific evidence that a massive natural solar flare and C.M.E. occurrence may occur very close to that date.  A large C.M.E., or coronal mass ejection, (imagine the sun throwing-up radiation in our direction) is due to occur sometime at the end of 2012. A natural solar event of this magnitude could easily fry many parts of our antiquated electrical grid, thus paralyzing modern functionality as we know it. This event, while repairable over time, with trillions more dollars, could send a shockwave through humanity.  It also has the transformational possibility to awaken us to our deeper underlying survival skills or our worst character shadows.  We just can’t know!

So, how can we inform i.e., market this potential threat to the masses and move it away from fringe audience 2012 seems to attract?  We simply need a common message to align the globe about this date, to prepare before it looks like this Y2K Nike ad. One idea is that we could collectively hire (via a kickstarter campaign)  Nike’s own premier ad agency, Wieden + Kennedy,  to make some new preventative 2012 ads.  Ideas and thoughts?
In many ways December 20, 2012, reminds me of the entire sustainability movement.  What will it take to get our collective act now message across? 2012 may serve as yet another warning most people refuse to hear or better yet, our greatest ally to align our collective causes. Does it also have the global potential to rally us together, focus our goals and get us closer to what is really important? Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t mind if my own school loans were somehow ‘lost’, but not at the expense of large-scale riots, wild pillaging or worse.

As a passionate sustainable business student I am asked to constantly access possible market risk related to the environment.  So what could be bigger than a global event to transform all facets of financial markets?  More importantly, what is the marketing message that will move the planet or at least U.S. Congress into action? Just a minor percentage of what the U.S. already spent bailing out failed banks could quickly protect our invaluable electric grid resources.

This post was inspired by Lawrence E. Joseph, a non-fanatical level-headed journalist from L.A. who has written Aftermath: Apocalypse 2012 Prepare For and Survive. His Joseph’s book presents a compelling message … let’s be proactive to protect our electrical grid! He presents real world solutions to prepare for these events and we should heed the warning.  We can start this serious conversation where it matters most, in your homes, your local communities and to your local representatives.   Hindsight is 20/20… too bad we may only have till 2012!

Contact me further at: Ecowarrior2012@gmail.com
Follow me on Twitter: #Ecowarrior2012

Do you feel we should take action about 2012?  If so, what ideas do you have?
If not, why?

Monday, August 1, 2011

EVs vs Public transport




I am an avid public transport rider, as I have not owned a vehicle since 2003 (except for a few necessary months on Maui, HI).  As I wait for the SF Bart train to come whizzing by I am forced aware of how full capacity these trains already run at.  Eco-advocates often chastise people for driving their own vehicles and not taking the public option, thank god they do drive!
The SF Bart train and other trains in major US cities are already 110% packed to the gills during most commuter hours. I can not remember even sitting down on the way into SF from Berkeley as it is standing room only.  The future for a growing populations is not more people riding public transport but more electric vehicles on the roads.  Encouraging more on public transport can't be the solution of the day.
There are already programs created for people to carpool with other locals in a given area to maximize a car's capacity.  So if we can transition from gas/oil cars to 100% electric ones in the next 20 years... we just may be saved! 
The Nissan Leaf and the soon to be 100% electric Toyota Prius will lead the charge...
   
To learn more click below:
http://www.nissanusa.com/leaf-electric-car/index#/leaf-electric-car/index