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green@work : Magazine : Between Blue & Yellow : Jan/Feb 2007

Between Blue and Yellow

Lending a Hand

by Sarah Christy and Jeff Orloff

As we begin this new year, we see many people making an effort to better themselves, or the world in which they live. In this issue, we take a look at those who have made contributions to the sustainability movement by going above and beyond the bare minimum.

Giving, and giving back, is taking on a new look as organizations whose business is philanthropy are starting to model themselves after the best that for-profit business has to offer, as seen in this issue’s “Doing Well by Doing Good.” Dennis Walsh explains how businesses are taking part in programs like the 561 Exchange, an IRS-approved transaction that allows property owners to convey title in exchange for a substantial cash benefit that exceeds the cash benefit attained by selling a property at list price if the owner has certain tax liabilities and has a certain amount of carrying costs. In short: This program helps corporations provide items like property to small businesses in exchange for benefits. In turn, the small business revitalizes the economy of the area.

Peter Asmus shows us how the donation of human resources is another growing trend in the corporate world. In “Volunteerism and the Bottom Line,” we can see how employee volunteer programs can help a company exceed the S&P 500 and Dow Jones averages. And with the assistance of innovative new technology, the success is easy to track.

“ Instead of a broad, generic call to volunteerism, we rely on new software products so we can be more strategic and more focused on social outcomes, which then makes it easier to answer questions about when and how we as a company become engaged,” said Evan Hochberg, national director of community involvement for Deloitte.

Not leaving the environment out, Tiffany Downey brings to light how celebrities are continuing to lend their star power to make practicing a sustainable lifestyle “hip” in her piece, “The Environmental It Factor.” As helping the environment becomes en vogue, more celebrities are joining the crusade to save our planet.

To highlight his, Downey writes about how a multi-platinum record producer, engineer, musician and former TV star is taking the idea of sustainability to the core of his business practices. Bruce Robb is doing things such as launching an eco-music tour on college campuses to use the platform of free concerts as a way of promoting simple environmentally healing actions that students can easily undertake.

So as we look forward to all the possibilities of a new year, let us, too, remember the things we can do to promote and practice sustainability. Whether we are motivated by the bottom line or social responsibility, we have the ability to continue to promote change.


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