More solar capacity was installed in the last 18 months than the last three decades combined, according to new data.
The Windy City soon will welcome one of the few LEED Platinum factories in the U.S., where environmental cleaning products will be produced.
Want a great garden? It all starts with a good plan. You’ll find growing is easier than you ever imagined. To help jump-start your garden planning we’ve included some tips and inspiration from our expert authors; from planning the best garden, to starting your seedlings right and how to pick the best crop for your […]
When it comes to good, green jobs, solar and energy efficiency are outpacing jobs in coal, natural gas and nuclear energy.
Cambrian Innovation and WaterFX are testing the viability of energy-positive water treatment approaches.
Before we know it the growing season will be upon us, so now is the perfect time to take care of any pre-season grafting. Learning the art and science of grafting fruit trees can give an old tree a new life, or perhaps give some continuing life to a variety you love. The Grafter’s Handbook […]
The post How to Graft the Perfect Fruit Tree: Five Grafting Techniques appeared first on Chelsea Green.
The green building automation industry should rally around open systems to help make buildings more efficient — and profitable.
Whether you need executive buy-in or more data, here's a fresh way of thinking about energy management.
Government spending is a huge driver of growth in many places. What happens as more nations commit to greener purchasing?
We've just published (together with Guido Palazzo and Laura Spence) a comprehensive critique of CSV in the California Management Review. The published version features a response from Porter and Kramer and a counter response from us which we think makes for quite enlightening reading (you can also download a free, but slightly different, version of our article but without this dialogue over at SSRN).
Our article sets out four main problems with CSV:
1. It is unoriginal.
Porter and Kramer simply don't acknowledge that there is little new about CSV. People have been writing about much the same thing for decades. And the corporate initiatives they rebrand as CSV are just attempts to relabel practices that were already going ahead prior to them publishing their article. It's just that some people call those practices "strategic CSR," "social innovation," or "stakeholder management."
2. It ignores the tensions between social and economic goals.
CSV is presented as "moving beyond trade-offs" between social and economic goals. But that is only because Porter and Kramer ignore any such trade-offs that might need to be made. Sure, there are some great opportunities where business success can be aligned with social progress. But there are also a whole host of social problems, especially those caused by business, where social and economic goals inevitably conflict. CSV prompts managers to simply ignore them.
3. It is naive about business compliance
In a move very much reminiscent of Milton Friedman's famous critique of CSR, CSV "presumes compliance with the law and ethical standards, as well as mitigating any harm caused by the business". Of course, this is where all those messy "trade-offs" are hiding. But as long as you can presume them away, then you don't have to deal with them. In fact there is only one sentence dedicated to social harms, ethical norms and legal compliance in their whole article. So, let's just ignore all the occasions when firms harm people or the environment. Let's ignore all all the times they fail to uphold some of the laws and ethical customs of the places in which they operate. Then we can talk about CSV. But let's not pretend that this is a useful strategy for corporate responsibility or still less a sane way to re-legitimize business, as they claim in their article. Just getting firms to respect the spirit of the law - say in paying their fair share of taxes or respecting international labour standards across the globe - would be a much better way of re-legitimizing business.
4. It is based on a shallow conception of the corporation's role in society
CSV is supposed to be about "reshaping capitalism" but in reality it is really just more of the same of all the stuff that has given capitalism such a bad name - a blind focus on individual corporate self-interest. It will help solve some social problems, and will make some firms, and some stakeholders better off … but who are they kidding that this is going to save capitalism? What we need is a perspective that acknowledges the systematic nature of many of the problems we face, and a willingness from firms to engage in collaborative responses with other stakeholders to solve the problems that need solving. Not just those that can be cherry-picked to make a fast buck.
The point is not that CSV contributes nothing to the debate on corporate responsibility - there are some very good reasons why it has met with so much success, as we discuss in the article. But in ignoring much of which is actually problematic in the field it gives a very unrealistic picture of the challenges ahead. Managers looking to combine social welfare with economic prosperity simply deserve more than the whitewash that CSV offers them.
Structures common in hair and bones have important implications for the future of biomedical devices, building design and beyond.
Distributed energy storage could fuel commercial solar while addressing emerging problems with the electric grid.
Hilton Worldwide's VP of corporate responsibility speaks out about the hotel giant's water, waste and energy initiatives, as well as her path to professional success.
Are you ready to get a start on the gardening season? With a cold frame you can jump in now. A cold frame, essentially a garden bed surrounded by an angled frame and covered with glass, is a simple way to harness the heating power of the sun to get seedlings going before it’s warm […]
The post Gardening Tips from Eliot Coleman: How to Start Seedlings in a Cold Frame appeared first on Chelsea Green.
At the end of 2013, we asked a select group of clients and experts from our network what they thought would be on the horizon for sustainability in 2014. We published over 20 responses in the most recent edition of Radar and from time to time, we’ll highlight those responses on our blog.
“I see the emergence of a new approach to sustainable marketing, an approach that is in tune with how consumers shop: moving away from the ineffective approach of just giving consumers information to constructing a shopping environment that will help consumers notice, remember, see and ultimately buy sustainable brands.”
— Daniel Vennard, Global Sustainability Director for Brands, Mars Inc.
￼“An increased focus on ESG materiality assessment as a mainstream corporate responsibility practice (with the new focus on materiality in the GRI G4 guidelines, SASB, and IIRC efforts).”
— Steve Lippman, Director, Corporate Citizenship, Microsoft
“With government spending still under tremendous scrutiny, and an uneven economic recovery the new norm, issues about the shrinking ‘middle class’ and economic fairness in North America and Europe will take center stage. Typically addressed in a developing world context by companies embracing sustainability, they will now need to think through these same principles in a way that works for the business model in a different context.”
— Ben Packard, Director of Corporate Engagement, The Nature Conservancy
“I think the current media attention on ‘resilience’ may help elevate consideration for environmental opportunities like green stormwater management and microgrids, but it could also lead to a singular focus on reacting to environmental disaster, rather than preventing it, which is a risk.”
— Emma Stewart, Head of Sustainability Solutions, Autodesk
“The constant desire to identify, or indeed, invent the next big thing is actually now becoming a drag on progress and leading to paralysis through analysis. We have enough to work on. It’s time for action.”
— Duncan Pollard, AVP Stakeholder Engagement at Nestle
“There will be an increasing focus on poverty in all its dimensions – the increasing inequality, increasing food and nutrition insecurity, increasing unrest due to lack of economic opportunity and poverty, increasing impact on water and land and climate due to unsustainable practices and need for basic (and cheap) resources like wood fuel.”
— Kavita Prakash-Mani, Head Food Security Agenda, Syngenta
For more on what’s ahead for 2014, check out our latest edition of Radar.