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green@work : Magazine : Between Blue & Yellow : Sept/Oct 2006

Between Blue and Yellow

A Positive Outlook for green@work

By Sarah Christy

One year ago, I became the publisher of green@work magazine—reason enough to pause for reflection; reason enough to report not only what g@w has accomplished, but what it plans to do in the year ahead.

The magazine has come a long way since its inception seven years ago. From the beginning, g@w has tried to provide its readers with essential literacy on environmental and social sustainability in the business context. Each issue has delivered insightful coverage of the latest in corporate sustainability, and previews of what’s on the horizon. g@w has covered corporate responsibility from a positive point of view, relating best practices and demonstrating the growing business case for green strategies.

I have learned over the past year that sustainability’s central problem is the question of whether the human life-support system on Earth can continue indefinitely. For this to occur, business emphasis must be placed on opportunities rather than philanthropy. Or in other words, sustainable development is about business, not philanthropy. Sustaining ecosystems is therefore fundamental to sustaining economic growth.

On a global level, the World Bank estimated that in 2003, environmental pollution and ecological damage reduced the world’s total GDP by 15 percent. By 2010, declining ecosystems could mean increased costs for companies that rely directly and indirectly on these natural resources.

Business cannot function if ecosystems and the services they deliver—water, biodiversity, fiber, food, climate—are degraded or out of balance. Sustainability is becoming a fundamental principle of sound management. Sustainable development must be an integral part of a company’s core business. That is where g@w comes in. Identifying sustainable opportunities requires new ways of thinking, and a deep understanding of social and environmental issues as well as economic ones. Hopefully you consider g@w an expert partner in providing you with intensive research, reports on innovative technologies and articles regarding new kinds of business models. g@w offers a second opinion from a third-party perspective.

The idea of business as a positive force is certainly not widespread. Henry Ford, a pioneer of his time, is often seen as the godfather of genuine corporate responsibility because his focus was primarily on the product and the benefits it would create—with the profit being generated as a result. Ford’s philosophy is not as common as it should be. It is important for business to enter the debate and provide the public with a realistic picture of what it is already doing, and what it wants to do in the future.

Sustainability is increasingly equated with good business. Business needs to act on this huge opportunity called climate change. In the not-too-distant future, company bottom lines will include the three pillars of sustainable development: economic, environmental and social.

Groundbreaking Projects: New This Year
America’s Greenhouse: g@w has launched a newsletter called America’s Greenhouse, which reports on renewable energy and the environment. It will feature groundbreaking ideas generated by innovative minds. These ideas are paying enormous dividends and improving the lives and livelihoods of generations of Americans. With about 5 percent of the world’s population, the United States employs nearly one-third of all scientists and engineers, and accounts for one-third of global R&D spending. As the global marketplace changes, we must focus on maintaining our leadership role.

Among renewable energy technologies, the shares in global funding of biomass, solar photovoltaic and wind have increased, while other technologies have declined. This reflects the evolving consensus concerning where the greatest potential lies. With extensive research and in-depth reporting in both the public and private sectors, America’s Greenhouse will be a valuable resource to ensure that America will lead the world in opportunity and innovation for decades to come.

White Paper: g@w is proud to report that it has published its first white paper: “Renewable Energy and the Environment, The Market Solution.” In America, the debate about climate change is shifting from scientific data to business-speak. A new Yale University research survey reveals that while Americans are deeply divided on many issues, they overwhelmingly believe that the United States is too dependent on imported oil. The survey shows that a vast majority of the public also wants to see government action to develop new “clean” energy sources, including solar and wind power, as well as hydrogen cars.

The return on investment for energy efficiency projects is estimated at 20 to 40 percent. Not surprisingly, North American venture capitalists invest more than $1.6 billion in clean technology companies each year. They hope to capitalize on the growing worldwide demand for energy during a time of rising energy costs. To remain competitive, the United States’ global primacy depends in large part on its ability to develop new technologies and industries faster than anyone else. To keep its privileged position in the world, the United States must foster technological entrepreneurship at home. The country’s future depends on whether it can maintain and improve its environment for sustainable technological innovation.

GreenPhilanthropy.com blog: Green Philanthropy is edited by Dennis Walsh and offers thoughts, ideas and opinions from a “thinker.” Dennis is a social entrepreneur with a committed vision and inexhaustible determination to persist. Nonprofit social entrepreneurs are stepping in to solve problems where bureaucracies have failed, and these social entrepreneurs have been gaining media attention and capturing the public’s imagination.

This blog discusses how good people are helping the planet, and shares interesting short stories about companies that are doing business without doing harm. Identifying opportunities to solve large- and small-scale social problems, Green Philanthropy is a significant trendsetter in today’s nonprofit world. There are different notions regarding what constitutes sustainability and success; if you’re creative, you may want to log in and express your own opinion on corporate green philanthropy.

MBA:pub Express: What business entrepreneurs are to the economy, social entrepreneurs are to social change. Aspiring to serve as a combination of strategic advisor, executive coach, consultant and change agent, MBA:pub Express has the goal of helping great leaders build stronger, more effective, more enduring organizations. The most powerful force for change in the world is a new idea in the hands of a leading social entrepreneur.

Sustainability Awards: For businesses that have demonstrated a commitment to sustainable development, g@w proudly recognizes outstanding achievement. The fundamental reason for these awards is to demonstrate that the businesses that will be sustainably successful into the 21st century will be those that find business opportunities in tackling the world’s big issues—including development and the environment. The Sustainability Awards will be presented for the first time next year by a panel of recognized experts in the field. Of course, all finalists will receive nationwide media coverage through g@w.


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