America used to be the vanguard for change and innovation. Apple, Microsoft, Google, just to name a few, were companies that changed the way we do business. Well, innovation is still coming from the U.S. (i.e. GoodB)! Yet progress in “Better World Business” practices is more important than ever since the economic crisis this past year. This week GoodB reports on some innovative endeavors from the other side of the Atlantic…
Europe Saves the Planet
You know all those extra cell phone chargers that you don’t know what to do with? Now these useless gadgets can go to the great charger resting place in the sky aka: the dump. Unfortunately, they are not recyclable or biodegradable. Not to mention how costly they become every time we “upgrade” our phones. A waste of money, waste of plastic, and just plain waste!
Well, the environmentally savvy European Union has done it again and come to the rescue! Europe saves dollars and our planet on the plan for a universal cell phone charger. Apple, Motorola, Nokia, Samsung and Sony Ericsson, and five other companies struck a deal with the European Union (EU) this year. Read More
The Gold Standard
French-based luxury jeweler Cartier has vowed to buy only “sustainable gold” for their gems. Similar to Fair Trade coffee, Cartier is working with the non-profit PACT to buy gold from smaller miners to improve their economic conditions. Pact’s stated mission is to help poorer nations “build empowered communities.”
Additionally, Cartier has joined ranks with a consortium of civic-minded gem companies, the Responsible Jewellery Council (RSJ), to promote “responsible ethical, human rights, social and environmental practices in a transparent and accountable manner throughout the industry from mine to retail.” Read More
The Holy Grail of Free Markets: Competition
Antitrust laws in Europe and the U.S. are very clear that competition in the marketplace is a fundamental value of modern business. Much of the criticism surrounding global banking and official bailouts has been centered on the interference with free market competition in the wake of government aid.
Competition is held so sacred that Microsoft was aggressively litigated in the U.S. and Europe for anti-trust infringement. The tech company was forced to pay hundreds of millions in penalties to the EU and the U.S. Simon Johnson, former IMF economist and MIT professor, expressed a persuasive view in The “Quiet Coup” that financial institutions, particularly in the U.S., are monopolies.
A one day annual conference, European Competition Day, was held in early October in Stockholm to encourage European countries and the EU to keep market competition open.