Listening to WNYC yesterday morning, Brian Lehrer was on discussing the prospect of Walmart selling organic produce acquired from small and medium sized local farms who practice sustainable farming.
I’m not entirely sure how I feel about this. Walmart is definitely on the top of my least favorite big box stores list. For a variety of reasons. Over the years we’ve all heard about their not so fabulous business practices from treatment of employees, to outsourcing to China to keep prices down. Lets face it Walmart put small businesses out of business. So hearing the Walmart and support small business in the same sentence is shocking, and quite frankly immediately sets off a few red flashing lights in my mind. The good news here, in my opinion, is that the whole concept off supporting small local farms has gotten mainstream enough that Walmart wants a piece of the sustainability pie! Great news right!?!
Here’s my problem, big box stores are by nature completely and utterly unsustainable! Stores like Walmart have put entire towns out of business, moved sources for goods from our own towns and surrounding cities to countries on the other side of the world. They thrive off the concept of buying cheap, throwing out, and buying cheap again. Thus filling our landfills with unnecessary waste.
It’s all a bit frustrating. If it takes a superstore like Walmart to revive small farms, to get more farms to practice sustainable farming, then that would truly be fantastic. However I can’t help but be wary of what’s going on. You can read about Walmart’s Sustainable Agriculture Goals here.
I’d love to hear your opinions on this topic.
Business sustainability leaders are often not the management or executives of the company. They are the employees with eco awareness in the organization who take eco action to make change.
At Wal-Mart, employees are empowered through the company’s personal sustainability project. In just one example, the company saved $1 million a year from a suggestion by an employee to turn out the lighting on the vending machines at night.
Whether you work in a corporate culture in which employee action is encourage or a more traditional culture with less communication, there are strategies to further facilitate eco awareness and lead-up in the organization.
1. Engage management by incorporating sustainability targets as part of your personal performance metrics.
2. Include sustainability concepts in your personal development plan.
3. Take on difficult projects where there is opportunity to make significant sustainable change in the current operation of the company.
4. Look for opportunities to link value and sustainability in all work activities and projects.
5. Become the person in the organization that others look to for sustainability knowledge and innovative ideas.
As mentioned in our eco friendly consulting, sometimes a “soft” sale approach by involving executives in the creation of the solution can illustrate on a ground level what business sustainability means in your organization.
When companies consider what other businesses have achieved through upward leadership, they can better appreciate their own opportunities for improved employee engagement. In our professional consulting at Taiga Company, we work with clients to encourage employees to leverage their eco awareness for the benefit of the organization.
My travel to Pakistan, in the wake of the deluge, is sponsored by some of my architecture firm’s clients and hosted by Pakistan’s Dawood Group. I’m here to gain a sense of the issues on the ground and to learn how we might help in relief and recovery efforts.
After two days of meetings in Islamabad with several organizations including the Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund, supporting NGOs, the National Engineering Services of Pakistan (who will be responsible for rebuilding standards and strategies), the Italian consulate, and the office of the Prime Minister responsible for organizing the national relief policy and organization, I’m prepared to travel to the affected areas in the Sindh region, a vast, ancient alluvial plain at the confluence of nine rivers. Several weeks before I arrive here, the Sindh was experiencing heavy, seasonal monsoons. But the rising flood waters were actually the result of a much greater than normal rainfall to the north, where channels overflowed and flooded fields, grazing lands, roads, utilities, power stations, wells, schools, stores, as well as the settlements of tenant farmers and the homes of the many people who live impoverished lives close to the land.
While more than 86 percent of board members of color recently surveyed said they either almost always or often feel comfortable voicing their opinions at meetings, 13 percent said they have encountered some form of tokenism.
Vital Voices: Lessons Learned from Board Members of Color is BoardSource’s first survey designed to amplify the voices of people of color serving on nonprofit boards of directors. It is part of BoardSource’s effort to discover why boards tend to lack racial diversity. In comparing the BoardSource Nonprofit Governance Indexes of 2007 and 1994, BoardSource found that board demographics remained relatively stable, with 86 percent of board members white in both indexes despite a dramatically changing landscape.
The Vital Voices survey, conducted in October 2009, analyzed data from 550 respondents. The report was made possible by the generous support of the James Irvine Foundation.
Half of the survey respondents said that reaching out to communities of color when recruiting new board members is one of the three most important things a nonprofit board can do to become more inclusive.
The top three reasons respondents gave for being recruited were
their leadership potential
the organization’s need for their professional skills
their ability to represent the needs/interests of specific racial/ethnic communities
After they joined the board, some board members felt marginalized; 13% commented that tokenism negatively impacted their board experience. Such comments raise the question of whether and how boards are moving beyond applying a quota system.
Rideshare to the Rally to Restore Sanity: Ridebuzz.org has implemented a Ridebuzz Event Group to help people share rides to the upcoming Jon Stewart and Colbert Rally taking place on October 30, 2010 in Washington DC. Ridebuzz is helping attendees find and share rides to the Rally, which reduces emissions  from holding such events. The online Ridebuzz Event Group for the Rally is a community organizing tool for people to post rides offered and needed, and matches drivers and riders – using email notification. Ridesharing is a way for people to work together to save costs, reduce emissions and find needed transportation . We’ve seen a spike in web traffic since Stewart mentioned ridesharing on the air, which is helping us in our work to mainstream the use of ridesharing.
As a blogger at Good Business (Good-B), I usually write about money, not politics. This year, however, the two are indistinguishable. Make no mistake, American politics in 2010 are all about money—who has it, who doesn’t and who wants it at any cost.
The economy continues to teeter on disaster two years after the Fall of the Great Lehman Empire. The crash was heard around the world and reverberates in our lives to this day. Massive unemployment, foreclosure nightmares and millions of businesses closing their doors are changing the fabric of American middle class life.
People (those ordinary folks who did not cause the crash yet are paying for it) are mad as hell at the injustice of the bailouts and the economic fallout they inherited. The Wall Street mortgage machine used money as a weapon of mass destruction. Those responsible for the greatest bank robbery in our history have made away with the vault and their freedom too. It’s enough to make the citizenry rise up and turn the boats of taxpayer money over. And so they have in the form of the “Tea Party,” a well-funded upheaval of the status quo. Or is it?
The hyped-up hyperventilating media has convinced us that the amorphous body of angry and contradictory views dubbed the “Tea Party” is a revolution of the “people.” But who are these people? Nobody I know. Despite Peggy Noonan’s passionate defense of Tea Party dogma on Fareed Zakaria GPS recently, the tea drinkers are attracting all varieties of fringe extremists who want among other things to abolish public education, Social Security and Medicare and further deregulate the financial markets. Ouch!
Sponsored by World Centric and the Humanist Community:
Come join us! Together we can build A New World!
A discussion based on the new book, Out of the Cage
Discussion Leaders: Burt and Marjorie Liebert, Authors
Bringing people together, living lightly and sustainably on the earth, and at the same time putting a stop to global climate change will be the topic for discussion on Thursday, October 28 at 7:30 PM at World Centric, 2121 Staunton Court, Palo Alto. Discussion leaders will be Burt and Marjorie Liebert, authors of a new book, Out of the Cage. “At a time when much of our literature is filled with pronouncements of gloom and doom,” wrote book reviewer Meg Bowman, “Burt and Margie Liebert’s new book, Out of the Cage, is Eleanor Roosevelt’s proverbial candle in the darkness.” The authors claim that we are “caged in” by our culture, which teaches us that there are certain ways of doing things. But our culture is no longer working because we are depleting the vital resources on which we depend. Their book challenges us to get our heads “out of the cage,” and build a cleaner, greener, more livable world.
Out of the Cage is a creative story of dedicated pioneers who set out to build a carbon-neutral, sustainable economy. It is a handbook for you and me to create a truly glorious society.
Admission is free and open to the public.
Thursday, October 28 7:30 PM
World Centric Community Space Wheelchair Accessible
2121 Staunton Court, Palo Alto, CA 94306