Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Can Consumers Expect Less PVC In Stores? Wait A Minute, Should They Care?

Should Wal-Mart’s Consumers and Employees Pay for Deborah Shank's Health Care?,0,635924.story

“32% of GDP Comes From Finance and Only 20% from Manufacturing, So What Does Wall-Street Actually Finance?”

Risk Management Gets a New Twist: Lawsuits Bring Corporate Social Behavior to Court

Monday, March 17, 2008

Saint Patrick's Day Panic! Are Supply Shortages and Price Increases Caused by our Environmental Conscience?

Master Brewers are claiming that price increases in beer are due to the increase in demand for bio fuels, which in turn causes farmers to grow more corn to support the bio fuels industry and grow less hops for the beer industry!
Large breweries like Miller, are starting to own their source material by buying up farmable land. Seems smart, but it has the unfortunate affect of increasing the company’s water footprint: a big problem for breweries! In fact, the most expensive part of the brewing process is water. Water is the largest input into the process and largest output from the process. It takes a lot of energy and money to course water through the beer making system, not to mention the additional problem that every drop devoted to beer making is a drop not being used for making clean drinking water.
But wait, don’t turn from the pub now, there is some good news on the frontlines of the beer-to-suds wars. The industry tends to use terms like waste opportunities , microbial fuel systems and anaerobic digestive systems to describe some of the positive externalities related to the beer making – such as organic matter that turns solid wastes into energy producing material and processes that convert solid waste into reusable water. And beer activists will tell you (and yes, they actually exist) that rootlets, which are spawned from the malting of the barley, if collected, can be used for animal feed. Even reused hops, filtered from the finished wort, can be used as fertilizer, and, residual yeast has been touted as a good source for vitamin B and ends up in pharma products. These beer aficionados ( pardon, activists) will also tell you that the used beer cans and beer bottles can also be recycled. But we all know that recycling is trending down at a rate of 20% per decade, ensuring the beer industry will continue to be a menace to landfills for years to come.(

So is beer green or not? And if not, who among the brewers are greener than most?
The only economist who I would trust with this question is former Chief Economist for the City of New York and NYU Professor, John Tepper-Marlin in his Huffington Post Blog about the corporate social behavior scoring of three dominant players in the beer industry.

If professor Tepper-Marlin can save our Saint Patty’s day, perhaps he can next help us determine whether the beer industry really qualifies as an industry since the three largest players making up 80% market share or whether there might be something entirely different going on to drive up our beer prices!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Former Labor Secretary Reich: CSR "A Pale Substitute" For Regulation

The Alonovo Review looks at the debate around Robert Reich's new book. Reich, a professor at UC Berkeley and Secretary of Labor under President Clinton, recently published "Supercapitalism: The Transformation of Business, Democracy, and Everyday Life." In his book, Reich argues that "reliance on voluntary 'corporate social responsibility' is a pale substitute for effective laws against corporate misconduct. The only remedy is to purge corporate cash from the political system." In addition, Reich believes that we should not view corporations as entities with rights and responsibilities but rather hold the people behind them accountable.

Stanford Law Professor and social entrepreneur Lawrence Lessig challenges this notion, arguing that "there are times when it does make sense to think about the corporation as an entity and to allocate responsibility in that way." However, Lessig agrees that "there is something fundamentally wrong with trusting (corporations) to restrain the drive for profits in the name of doing the right thing... It is government's job to set the appropriate limits on corporations (and individuals) so that... they will not harm a public interest."

On the other hand, Roger Lowenstein questions the wisdom and likelihood of going back to regulation in order to tame the market and some of The Economist critics fear that Reich's approach is merely naive, ignoring the long history of government failures when it tries to, again, catch the government's own tail.
And CSR folks--from the right as well as from the left--respond that corporate social responsibility can satisfy both camps: it is about businesses genuinely becoming more attuned to social and environmental concerns just as much as it is about making a profit.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Social investment: a growing trend

A recent report by the Social Investment Forum (SIF) suggests that "socially responsible investing assets in the U.S surged 18 percent from 2005 to 2007, outpacing broader managed assets."

To learn more, go to

B Corporations: incorporating CSR into the business model?

A concept introduced by a group of social entrepreneurs, B ('Benefit') Corporations seek to "create benefit for all stakeholders, not just shareholders, by meeting comprehensive and transparent social and environmental performance standards; institutionalize stakeholder interests; and build collective voice though the power of a unifying brand."

To learn more, visit
For a panel hosting the B-Corporation co-founders, go to

What do workers think about Corporate Social Responsibility?

The HR News cites a survey conducted in 2007 that found the following:

• 70 percent of workers don’t consider a prospective employer’s CSR program very important when it comes to evaluating job offers.
• 58 percent of workers at organizations with 500 or more employees said their organization has a CSR program. That’s true for 45 percent of all workers surveyed.
• About one-third of workers at companies with less than 100 employees say their organizations have CSR programs.
• 82 percent of workers at large companies said their organization arranges volunteer activities. That’s true for 70 percent of all workers.

To learn more, go to

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Embedding CSR practices into all of our lives

Taking CSR out of the board room and putting it into the hands of managers and consumers is the quickest path to eliminating economic incentives that drive businesses to make decisions that are harmful to society.

CSR practices have been frustrated by the lack of integration into broader corporate and commercial strategies. The more we are able to create consumer-led demand that reflects the social values of individuals and managers, the stronger the connections between consumers and corporate behavior. By tightening these connections we ensure that socially harmful decisions will be exposed and socially beneficial decisions will be rewarded. Core to this idea is our ability to concisely deliver an accurate view of corporate social behavior not only to the commerce experience but embedding it at the point of sale.

From's up to the market to decide!

Learn about the corporate reputation paradox why reputational risk management matters

Learn more about why connecting directly to corporate behavior matters and how we achieve our mission

and see as just one example a company whose business model expresses similar intents
Retail activist: The Body Shop

Will They Meet Again? Latam bringing up the rear in the race to the top.

First and last meeting of Latin American and Carribean networks? UNs' GC for Latin America met Panama back in 2006. And the agenda? "Giving substance to an already vibrant movement everywhere in the world."

Saturday, March 8, 2008

The Green Leap Forward: Is China's Version of Eco Building Utopic or Ectopic ?

Today in the Review we look at the controversey around massive and efforts to create model societies. From Tian Jian and Dongtan to Abu Dhabi we look at the hopes and dreams scenario versus the economic and social truths behind these glamerous projects.

Dongtan project brief

Hao Hao's take on whether eco-cities will persist...

learn about other social ramifications...

Communication Junction: How is CSR managed in the global context?

This week, The Alonovo Review takes a look at perspectives and global issues facing Asian regions.
First up is China, where we take a look at communications as a key driver in mobilizing the connections between businesses and society and especially in the global context where buisness to society interfaces are increasing in number and in kind. The Review takes an in depth look at how to deal with these ongoing challenges for even the best intended.

See Bill Valentino's viewpoints at:

Next we look at the India Times coverage of how the demands of liberalization and openess in business calls for new paradigms for external relations. Changing realities of doing business are forging business models that couldn't exist without transparency.