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  • Fran 10:33 am on November 18, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Jonathon Porritt, Julie Meyer, Marks & Spencer,   

    Dancing with Goliath 

    Sometimes it’s simply better to be there in person. Websites, blogs and twitter feeds are efficient, carbon-lite and immediate, but with a topic like creative disruption, real conversation wins hands down. Which is why people who attended Green Strategy 2011 in London on Wednesday were happy they didn’t spend the day answering e-mails.

    Julie Meyer, founder and CEO of Ariadne Capital gave the presentation of the day. Describing her business model where entrepreneurs – the drivers for creative disruption – back new entrepreneurs, she caught our imagination with her focus on market transformation. And as a World Economic Forum Global Leader of Tomorrow she knows a bit about that, having founded, then sold First Tuesday and backed and advised a host of game-changing companies. It’s time, she said, to forget the big/small business dichotomy and for David to dance with Goliath.

    Flickr Creative Commons HikingArtist.com

    Flickr Creative Commons HikingArtist.com

    While Julie propelled the sustainability audience outside it’s comfort zone, Jonathon Porritt provided some rocket fuel for the journey. He praised Marks & Spencer’s Plan A and Renault/Nisssan’s US$ 4 billion electric car bet, but made clear that even they are not doing enough. Businesses, he says, have an urgent obligation to share and drive the sustainability challenge with investors, consumers, politicians and the 1%. Rousing stuff, and something of a conundrum. The power and reach of a progressive commercial sector offers a sustainability motor, but does it have the will to change our fundamentally flawed financial system? Unlikely. So, with Western governments in paralysis it looks like the onus is on NGOs to turn up the volume and for David and Goliath to own the dance floor.

  • Fran 4:39 pm on March 15, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: BT, , Innocent, Marks & Spencer,   

    Hello, do you read me? 

    This week, we’ve been on the look out for imaginative, engaging and comprehensive corporate sustainability websites in the UK.

    Marks & Spencer, better known for selling the nation’s undies than innovative communications, surprises with a strong, attractive site. It kicks off with Plan A – the set of sustainability initiatives that has saved the business £50m to date.

    M&S realises that its biggest impacts lie up and down its value chain rather than in-store, so its web-based communications reach out to customers. Users are invited to choose pledges that will reduce their own sustainability impacts such as joining the ‘Wash at 30’ campaign. Interactive features include a tally of the number of pledges made so far and friendly pop-ups of named contributors, together with their promises.

    In contrast, some of the companies you’d expect to lead the way in digital media like Orange and Virgin, have surprisingly static web-based sustainability communications. BT is the best in this sector, offering a host of useful and easily downloadable material for initiatives such as its Skills Journey. But opportunities for the multi-channel conversations we’ve come to expect from the best sites are lacking.

    No survey of British communications innovation would be complete without raising a glass to the power of humour, much appreciated at Innocent Drinks’ laugh-out-loud blog and on its twitter feed, followed by more than 23,000 people. Although not an out-and-out sustainability site, Innocent makes the connection between healthy products, happy employees and laughter – and manages to touch on many relevant issues without seeming to try. The corporate ethos extends to raising money for good causes with its Big Knit Campaign for Help the Aged and Age Concern. Customers are encouraged to knit funny hats for Smoothie bottles, and Innocent makes a donation for each one sent in. Knitters can upload pictures of their creations via twitter and flickr, and a ‘hat of the week’ is announced on the Innocent website. A handy ‘hatometer’ is available for uploading onto enthusiasts’ websites, giving their followers regular updates on the campaign’s progress. Lots of good ideas here for mainstream corporates.

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