Author name: Jonathan Banco

Jonathan has worked in both journalism and various facets of small business development over the past eight years. Most recently, he graduated from the Monterey Institute of International Studies (graduate school of Middlebury College) in 2010 with an MBA and an MA in International Development Policy. His interests include SME development and its role in economic growth, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa as well as how CSR/Sustainability measures impact both business operations and the communities in which businesses operate. While at MIIS he worked as a summer fellow involved in small business consulting in Accra, Ghana and was an active member of the MIIS Net Impact chapter. As a life long traveler, Jonathan has been fortunate to have lived in, worked in or visited over 20 countries on 5 continents and he truly hopes that he will be able to continue this trend.

Recognizing CSR as a Core Business Practice

I have long argued that corporate social responsibility (CSR) needs to be a fully integrated strategy throughout a company in order to have a significant effect on how the company does business. I have also written often about social enterprise/entrepreneurship where one builds a for-profit company that focuses on solving social problems as well as

Conflict Minerals: Where Dodd-Frank, The Enough Project and Global Witness Went Wrong

It seemed easy and straightforward enough. Fighting in the Eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) between a variety of warring factions has resulted in the death, rape and displacement of many in the region. Based on most accounts upwards of 5.4 million people died during the official war period of 1998-2003 and some 2.7

Is Occupy Wall Street Really About CSR?

Since the movement began, people have discussed goals/themes/demands of Occupy Wall Street and have found little clarity. In some ways this is the essence of the movement, but in an effort to define everything, many people assume it’s the anger of the common person directed towards banks for manipulating their money and tanking the economy.

VisionSpring: A Model TOMS Shoes Would be Wise to Adopt

The world of international development has so many buzzwords floating around, it’s hard to know what is legitimate and what isn’t. Over the past 10 years or so, the phrase “sustainable development” has entered the lexicon and appears here to stay. While there are a number of definitions for the term, ultimately it has to

Shell Finally Coming to Terms with Years of Nigerian Oil Spills

Following more than 50 years of oil extraction, corruption, human rights violations and environmental degradation, Shell has admitted responsibility for two large oil spills in 2008 and 2009 in the Niger Delta. This admission will allow those affected to seek damages through the British court system, which gives groups in the Delta, specifically Ogoniland, the

So You Want to Become a Social Entrepreneur?

According to the venerable source, Wikipedia (there’s actually a citation from the 2002 book The World of Social Entrepreneurship by J.L. Thompson), social entrepreneurship is defined as, “A social entrepreneur recognizes a social problem and uses entrepreneurial principles to organize, create and manage a venture to achieve social change (a social venture). While a business

Zimbabwe Diamonds and the Kimberley Process: Round Something

For many years now, developing countries bestowed great amounts of natural resources were thought to be on a path to development based on the wealth of these resources, which are prized throughout the West.  Such resources have included oil, minerals, metals and of course diamonds.  However, almost exclusively, this potentially game-changing situation has lead to

Does Beer Equate to Development?

A wise man once said, “beer, the cause of and solution to all of life’s problems”. More recently, Center for Global Development (CGD) Senior Fellow, Charles Kenney published an article in Foreign Policy magazine called “Chug for Growth” discussing the role of beer and beer manufacturing in developing countries. Ever since the development profession (for

Wal-Mart Enters Africa

Although Wal-Mart has had a checkered past when it comes to entering foreign markets, a deal was announced at the end of May that the company has purchased a majority stake in the South African company, Massmart. While the $2.4 billion investment doesn’t raise too many eyebrows considering the company has a market cap north

Indian Real Estate: Housing for the Poor or Another Debt Crisis?

Like other rapidly developing nations, India has a housing problem. The rural-urban migration has overwhelmed cities like Mumbai, where the formally rural poor come to find new opportunity. Often times this migration is one indication of a country’s development. The major issue however is, where do all these people live? Up until now, more often

When Is Junk Mail Going to Disappear?

About 7 months ago, following grad school I relocated to the great (not state although some are trying) District of Columbia. Although 7 months is not a very long time, one would think it would be long enough for me to stop receiving previous tenant’s junk mail. In fact, it’s not just one previous tenant,

Developing Platforms for Social Change: The New CSR Movement?

I wasn’t planning on following up on last week’s article, “Twitter and Corporate Social Responsibility”, nor was I really considering taking the CSR conversation in this direction.  However I saw a video the other day on Mashable which was an interview of venerable Apple evangalist and venture capitalist veteran Guy Kawasaki at South By Southwest

Twitter and Corporate Social Responsibility

For the most part, discussion concerning the role of corporate social responsibility often revolves around the initiatives undertaken (or not) by large, established companies. I’ve personally written about Apple (multiple times, here, here and here), Proctor & Gamble, Louis Vuitton etc. These seem like obvious targets as they have enormous market share within their respective

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