Positive Impact Blog

Thought provoking insights for change makers


San Francisco Becomes The First City to Ban Sale of Plastic Bottles | Global Flare

I am so pleased to read this! How soon will other cities follow? How we as citizens support this? What can you do in your local community? http://globalflare.com/san-francisco-becomes-the-first-city-to-ban-sale-of-plastic-bottles/

At BSL, we have made plastic bottles redundant by offering all students a BSL bottle.

BSL-Bottles-sm

 


Goodbye Global Greed

Some of you may have heard of an exciting thing happening in Europe – the Economy of the Common Goods movement which started in Austria and was spearheaded by Christian Felber (www.gemeinwohl-oekonomie.org – no worries there is English information). As the first university worldwide, Business School Lausanne has undertaken the company self-evaluation of the “matrix” and is currently in the official audit process. What an amanzing and eye-opening experience this was for us! It allowed not only to identify important blindspots, but also to speed up an internal transformational process towards fully embracing and integrating sustainability and responsibility in everything we do. Take a look now at a funny and provocative comic that was developed by Herbert Wegscheider, a contributing member of the Economy of the Common Goods movement (click on the image below to download the file):

Click here to see the Goodbye Global Greed comic

 


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An insightful review of 2012

I thought of sharing this blog article with you – it is the most important analysis of our current situation I’ve seen in 2013 so far and gives an insightful review of the 2012 year:

http://paulgilding.com/cockatoo-chronicles/victoryathand.html

 


Sustainability Progress/Retreat – by DOCSE

A recommended read about today’s sustainability progress/retreat of major companies around the globe.

http://sustainability10.wordpress.com/author/sustainability10/


People’s summit Rio+20 video report back


News from the story of stuff folks: The Story of Change

Check it out!  Their new movie The Story of Change — has just been released. There is support material for teachers on the site and more movies!

There’s no Planet B – 50+20: Management Education for the World


The efforts of governments are concentrated not on defending the living Earth from destruction,

but on defending the machine that is destroying it.

Please read this very interesting article by George Monbiot at the Guardian: http://m.guardian.co.uk/ms/p/gnm/op/sc94P-jU7EqfbySb-vTst5A/view.m?id=15&gid=commentisfree/2012/jun/25/rio-governments-will-not-save-planet&cat=world


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Public-private partnership on green growth

A high-level session hosted by the Danish prime minister and the President of South Korea and the Mexican Minister of the Environment filling in for his president and Unilever CEO Paul Polman. The Danish and South Korean statesmen make an unlikely couple: a beautiful, young and tall blond lady and a small, restrained, nearly introverted gentleman. They jointly present the Global Green Growth Forum (3GF) as an innovative international action-oriented platform in service of  a future “we want”. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is absent as is the Mexican Prime Minister who had just hosted the G20. After short statement, the South Korean Prime Minister and his delegation leaves. When will the discussion start?

We learn that the heads of state have somewhat unexpectedly already approved the proposed new document generated by the Brazilian a day ahead of schedule. They seem to have followed the recommendation of the delegates who had unanimously approved the overnight effort of the Brazilians to save the conference a few days ago. This is certainly weird and a major disappointment for many. Weird because the procedure of the state addresses is still going on in the main hall of the conference. And a major disappointment as the concerns of minorities both in the global South as well as other major groups (NGO, youth, women, etc.).

Paul Polman points out that the agreement falls short of the expectations as it lacks clearly defined goals and measures to be achieved. Clear words that express a broad general sentiment. The Danish prime minister says she is “moderately satisfied” with regards to the outcomes of the RIO+20 conference. She underlines the importance of having green economy recognized as the way forward and clarified that setting a new high level global governance framework is a first step in a longer process. She reminds us that we will need  everybody will now have to go and apply the notions now, and business most particularly. Paul Polman highlights that there is a lot of energy in the private sector as a result of the RIO+20 conference with many important initiatives now emerging.

Three goals (universal access to energy by 2023, providing 3 billion people with modern cooking fuel, minimize adverse environmental externalities) in the energy are about to be agreed on and supported across all sectors. The head of UNIDO clarifies that it will take 48 billion a year for the next 20 years is needed to achieve this. This money must come from the private sector and governments seem confident that corporations will provide this cash-flow. The conversation turns on money, the financial crisis and the need for public subsidies. Polman demands transparency and points out the 33 trillion of asset from 1100 organizations reporting in the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) as a start to provide the kind of transparency that is needed to succeed.

Paul Polman states that business responds best to signals from the market which are reflected by investors. He demands new measures for evaluating the real value of a company and challenges the investment community to come up with relevant new measures. This and signs from the consumers will be much more relevant and appropriate than broad subsidies. Not everybody on the panel agrees. Polman concludes by stressing also the importance of supporting the youth and congratulates the Higher Education Initiative (HEI) which gained 47 more signatures during this conference reaching now more than 300 universities. BSL was among the first dozen universities to sign this important initiative which is supported by our World Business School Council for Sustainable Business.

In the middle of the closing remarks there is a commotion at the back of the room: Ban Ki-moon walks in. As there is no spare chair for him, everybody jumps up and leaves the panel, leaving the UN Secretary General sitting quite lonely up front. Tony-Schmidt who is by now called the fairytale godmother of Sustainability. Ban Ki-moon thanks her for demanding that the UN leads the global governance framework and that he takes this very seriously.

It becomes increasingly difficult to listen to Ban Ki-moon, as loud, disruptive voices reach us from the outside where a demonstration must be gaining force and size. In the intimate setting of a quite inappropriately tiny room for such a high-level session, we wonder what expects us outside. It feels like I am on the other side suddenly, on the inside fearing demonstrations outside, whereas so far I have been on the outside doing the rebelling with our guerilla business school of 50+20.


Changing paradigms for creating sustainable and just cities

At Rio Centro, many thousands of delegates, media and major groups  (women, labour, youth, business, labour, etc.) representatives are  meeting to discuss the challenges we face. What a nice change from the 5-star experience at the Windsor Barra, the temporary home to 2,700 business executives. Finally we had some relevant and engaged discussion about important and urgent topics – food for the brain and soul!

A session sponsored by the Ford Foundation on building and creating  just cities pointed out an important new paradigm: we need to look at  the arrival of poor emigrants in a city as an opportunity rather than  as a problem, like in the 60s and 70s. Addressing the issue of  mobility linking housing with work place is also critical.

Naturally, there are fears about the political instability that results from many new low-income emigrants. Yet, there is a proven,  direct connection between general income inequality and political instability. Investments by foundations are, as such, risk money. We need to take risks to ensure we limit and reduce inequality, activities and investments that support this.

The latest thinking highlights the importance of non-government associative housing projects. Another related paradigm shift is the  need to understand that the different interests for different city spaces need to be transformed from competing interest to combined interests. The effect of moving favelas (slums) into different areas has long proven to be a disastrous strategy. In Rio, an unknown amount of economic activity and value-added activity of low-income areas was wiped out when the neighbourhoods were relocated to create space for  competing interests, such as commercial buildings. So-called informal settlements are very vulnerable to being relocated, often not only temporarily but (as an example given again from Rio) for a period of  50 years – a sad series of undisputed discriminatory deeds!

A great take-away quote from Luis Ubinas, President of the Ford Foundation: “Let’s not call investing in low-carbon public transportation solutions a courageous act, it would rather be courageous or stupid  not to do so… much like playing Russian roulette with our future!”

In conclusion, a related side comment from one of the panelists (the official list is hopelessly outdated, listing NYC Mayor Bloomberg who is nowhere nearby) who reminds us that rural poverty is even worse than urban poverty as it also concerns social exclusion and is mostly  hidden and invisible to the public eye. What a most relevant and engaged session – I feel as being part of a group of people who cares with a sense of urgency. What a relief!