4 Ways That Stone Soup is a Metaphor for “Ultbook”

The more I refine the business cases in the beta release of the Sustainability Advantage Ultbook, the more I appreciate that it is Stone Soup. Before outlining the 4 ways that Stone Soup is a metaphor for Ultbook, here is a quick refresher on the Stone Soup story. Read More

5 Reasons for Hope on Climate Change, Despite Trump

trump-pinoccio-nose One of the leadership paradoxes explained in The Leadership Champions Guidebook is: “Sometimes things need to get worse before they get better.” Things really got worse on the climate change file with the election of Donald Trump. However, after we overcome our shock and denial, we sustainability champions are quickly working our way through the anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance phases in Kubler-Ross’s personal change curve. Energized by 5 reasons for hope on climate change, despite Trump’s election, we are cranking up our efforts to mitigate climate destabilization and make things better. Read More

5 Reasons It’s Time to Use the Sustainability Risk Stick

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  I'm screwing up as a sustainability champion. For fifteen years, I have been writing and speaking about how corporations can capture the 4 carrots of emerging business opportunities, while reducing their negative environmental and social footprints.  The good news is that, for whatever reasons, some businesses are making incremental progress on their sustainability agendas. The bad news is that not enough firms are making enough progress, fast enough, to get to where they need to be―and to where my kids and my grandsons need them to be. I've decided to click into a different gear and to lead with a "burning platform" of environmental and social risks―the stick―that businesses must mitigate if they want to be fit for the future. There are 5 reasons that it's time for me―and perhaps other frustrated sustainability champions―to change tactics. Read More

A Better Business Model: B Corporations

Our current economic and financial systems sanction obscene excesses at the expense of society. It’s easy and therapeutic to rant. It’s more helpful, but more challenging, to propose viable alternatives. In my last three blogs, I reviewed Hazel Henderson’s, Michael Moore’s, and David Korten’s thoughtful proposals on how to repair our economic and financial systems. We also need more responsible business models, like Benefit Corporations (B Corps).B Corps are a new kind of company which uses the power of business to solve social and environmental problems. In a little over 3 years, there are already over 370 Certified B Corporations from over 54 industries, representing $1.8 billion in collective revenues. Read More

Hazel Henderson’s 7 Reforms of the Global Financial System

Sometimes people ask me which industry sectors contain the “high-impact” companies. That is, which industry sectors include companies whose operations pose the biggest threats to sustainability? In the past, my answer was the oil and gas, mining, power-generation, forestry, and chemical sectors. They continue to be challenged to mitigate their environmental and social impacts. Lately, their ranks have been joined by new sectors. Communications, information technology, services, and financial sectors are usually described as being “clean.” They don’t pollute, at least not directly, so they were under the radar screen of most sustainability champions. Things change. The economic leg of the three-legged sustainability stool has taken a severe hit and it hasn’t been from the traditional “high-impact” sectors. It’s been an inside job. The behavior of some actors in the financial sector is now looming as a very significant threat to the stability of the whole sustainability stool. Once-revered financial institutions have morphed from being innocently “clean” to being dangerously “high-impact.” The sub-prime mortgage crisis blew their cover. Read More

3 More Videos About the Power of a Few

Too often, we wait for the people in charge to fix world problems. Why not? Isn’t that their role? Our hopes are raised when we see people with our point of view gain power, and then we are disappointed when they fail to live up to our expectations. The status quo inertia in the current political and economic systems is amazingly strong. When people with important titles fail to shake it up, we may wonder if mere mortals like us can possibly make a difference. These videos help us overcome our self-doubts. To view these videos in full screen, click on the arrows in the bottom right corner of the video. If you are receiving this blog post via email, click on the title of the video to view it. Read More

3 Videos About the Power of a Few

Sustainability issues can be overwhelming, depressing, and almost traumatizing. At times we may feel powerless to make a difference. In The Cult of Impotence: Selling the Myth of Powerlessness in the Global Economy, author Linda McQuaig provocatively suggests that helplessness is exactly what some large institutions want us to feel, so that they can get away with solutions that are more in their interests than ours. She encourages us to take more personal responsibility for global sustainability challenges. The following three videos strongly support our capitalizing on our ripple effect. Read More

Volunteerism Energizes Employee Engagement

Employee volunteers are an important dimension of any company’s philanthropic efforts. When employees are engaged in a company’s social and environmental initiatives, people see that the company is more than a bank throwing money at random causes in an effort to buff up its image. They see the company as made up of people who care about tough social and environmental issues. Its employees bring their talent, time, and energy to causes that they personally care about and which align with their company’s mission. Who would have thought that a surprise co-benefit of the company’s support for these projects is the volunteers’ higher level of engagement and productivity in the workplace? Read More

CSR Efforts Correlate with Employee Engagement

“People buy from people they trust.” That was a slogan we used in sales training at IBM. We used it to reinforce the human element of a customer-supplier transaction. No trust, no sale. There’s a similar dynamic in the relationship between employees and their companies. If employees’ values resonate with their company’s values, and if they trust that their company genuinely cares about the same things they care about, then they are more energized and productive.  A company’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) efforts signal what it cares about. Their co-benefit is that they seem to increase employee engagement. Read More

CSR Efforts and Employee Engagement Drive Business Results

Wouldn’t it be great if we could show that companies which embrace corporate social responsibility (CSR) reap financial rewards? Sustainability champions armed with this information would be welcomed by business leaders seeking new ways to get the most from their companies’ resources and efforts. Fortunately, the links between CSR efforts, employee engagement, and business results are becoming clearer. Read More