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Are Companies Benefiting From the Counterfeit Goods Trade?

One thing you will notice walking the streets of any eastern Chinese city these days is the burgeoning consumer middle class. What might not be initially as evident is whether the Nike, Louis Vuitton or Polo they are sporting is real or counterfeit. According to a recent New York Times Magazine article, “Inside the Knockoff […]

September 7th

Is Fair Trade Really Fair?

Like many other aspects of international development (microfinance, I’m looking at you), there is a wealth of literature on the value and outcomes of fair trade and for the most part, the results have been inconclusive. That’s not to say that there haven’t been some positive impacts, but like microfinance there are some definite drawbacks […]

September 3rd

“Bayer-ing” It All – How Bayer Reports on Sustainability

The words “pharmaceutical company,” “sustainability” and “Corporate Social Responsibility” rarely go hand in hand, but a global Pharmaceutical Company boasting local impact in the Pittsburgh region might just be what the Doctor ordered. Bayer recently released it’s 2009 Sustainability Report and with it some lofty goals for Bayer’s operations in the Pittsburgh region, among them a […]

August 25th

Measuring Social Value: Can subjectivity guide real decisions?

Whether you are a social enterprise, NGO (non-governmental organization), non-profit, policy-maker or an investor interested in a quantifiable social return on your investment, measuring social value remains an elusive goal. A new article by Geoff Mulgan suggests a new approach in measuring social value that calls for collaboration across sectors. In a recent collaborative project […]

August 18th

Do Cage-Free Eggs Matter?

Last Sunday’s New York Times Week in Review section took a look at burgeoning cage-free regulations for egg-laying hens in California, Oregon, Arizona, Colorado, Michigan, Ohio, Florida and Maine. Currently only 2% of America’s hens are raised outside of battery cages (8 x 8 inches allotted to each bird;  6 birds to a cage). After […]

August 17th

“FUEL” for thought: We all have Responsibilities.

I recently watched FUEL and thought:  Why have I not seen this before???  FUEL is a 2008 documentary on America’s dependence on foreign oil which explored a possible solution to the looming energy crisis.  I had three overwhelmingly strong and immediate responses from watching this film. First, we have some extremely intelligent and passionate people […]

July 28th

Conflict Minerals: The Plot Thickens with the Help of Capitol Hill (Part 1)

Mining in DRC There has been a whole lot of chatter in recent days about a little provision tucked into the newly adopted Financial Reform Bill. That provision is the Conflict Minerals mandate, which basically states that companies using “columbite-tantalite (coltan), cassiterite, gold, wolframite or their derivatives” (and others at the discretion of the Secretary […]

July 27th

Tax Credits for Green Printing?

If Print Buyers Online (PBO) has its way, you’ll soon get a tax break for making sustainable choices in your printing. This week, PBO is introducing legislation that would amend the Internal Revenue Code “to allow print buyers a credit against income tax for the completion of sustainable print projects.” To be declared “qualified sustainable […]

Where does the U.S. Stand on Sustainability?

Piggy-backing on my recent post regarding Pittsburgh’s # 6 spot in a sustainability ranking of most sustainable metros conducted by Site Selection magazine,  I wanted to point out that the United States is not to be found on the “top ten list”  of its sustainable nations.   This news is not surprising.  A similar ranking regarding global […]

July 24th

What The BP Disaster Teaches Us: Natural Gas Matters

“Perfect is the enemy of the good.” — Voltaire [Dictionnaire Philosophique — 1764] Yesterday’s news from the Gulf was better than it has been: BP has begun to make consequential strides at plugging the deep-water oil leak. Since the explosion, we’ve seen dramatic responses from the left (no more oil and gas exploration), the right […]

July 16th

Who Really Wins by Lifting the Oil Drilling Moratorium?

Oil companies and shareholders most likely to benefit from lifting the ban on new offshore exploration and deepwater drilling not the “little guy”. As I watch the news, I’m hearing both sides of debate regarding the deepwater, offshore drilling moratorium, which was sparked by the BP disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. The Obama Administration […]

June 23rd

Free Webinar on California’s New Mandatory Recycling Measure

A free webinar explains California’s new mandatory commercial recycling law… will you be in compliance? If you run a business in California, then you are aware of California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 (AB32). The act requires California to develop regulations that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. It is […]

June 8th