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  • Fran 7:51 am on October 5, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: B Corps, , B Lab UK, , policy, Scottish Government,   

    B the change 

    There’s so much more to being a B Corp than certification. Of course we’re delighted about the recognition we and other founding B Corps have in the UK, but actually our real excitement is around the lasting pleasure and value of being part of this innovative, energetic community.

    And what a bunch! I have it on good authority – from B Lab co-founder Bart Houlahan himself – that the September 24th launch of the movement in the UK was the most successful yet. Held at the packed Proud Galleries in Camden, North London, it combined an epic party with music, dancing, drinking and ‘ringing the bell’ to celebrate the 62 newly certified members of the UK B Corp community.

    It's official - One Stone is re-certified!

    It’s official – One Stone is re-certified!

    Fellow B Corps inspired us with their challenging business ideas. Michele Giddens explained how impact investor Bridges Ventures enables sustainable innovation and returns for investors by supporting entrepreneurs who want to deliver social benefit. James Rutter from Cook turned conventional wisdom on flaccid convenience food on its head, and introduced us to Cook’s delicious, high quality and low impact frozen meals for busy people. And Matthew Boyes explained how social networking site streetlife makes the world wide web local by reconnecting neighbourhoods and people.

    There was hushed anticipation as Paul Polman – by video link from New York – announced that he will be setting up a B Corp group for multinationals. Quite an undertaking. Getting certified as a small company is a challenge, for huge ones it’s a bona fide expedition.
    B Lab Scotland red v2

    And led by Bart Houlahan, a small band from the B Corp community made another kind of trip North the day after the launch. Scotland is a country committed to prosperity with fairness, and the Scottish Government has set objectives to underpin its core purpose in five areas: wealthier & fairer; healthier; safer & stronger; smarter; greener. The potential overlap between Scottish Government policy and the aims of B Corps is good, so we invited Bart to introduce the B Corp concept to a roundtable of senior civil servants, business people and the social enterprise community. We enjoyed an engaged and lively discussion, Bart was brilliant and our plan to build a thriving B Corp community in Scotland received a huge boost.

  • andrea 10:34 am on February 20, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , carbon, , , policy, politics, ,   

    Age of the Corporate Climate Activist 

    It’s not often you hear a giant in sustainability issue a call to arms. But at a recent Global Compact event on his first visit to Australia that’s exactly what Bob Massie did.

    The fight in question? Equipping ourselves with the right frameworks, mindsets and leadership skills to deal with the climate challenge.

    In the face of trials like global warming our institutions are failing us. On some fronts—like rooftop solar—we’re doing pretty well but not on the scale or timeframe we need. Urgency is missing. We’re simply not moving fast enough and our political institutions are paralysed by vested interests.

    Recalling the milestone 1970s book Future Shock by Alvin Toffler, Bob underscored how the speed of change today far outstrips the ability of human institutions to adapt and respond. The result is that on virtually every front we need to rethink how we do things—from energy generation and creation of economic value to democracy itself.

    The amazing Bob Massie. It's time for us all to be climate superheroes.

    The amazing Bob Massie. It’s time for us all to be climate superheroes.

    Bob Massie is a seasoned veteran in corporate responsibility. He was president of Ceres—the largest coalition of investors and environmental groups in the United States—co-founder and chair of the Global Reporting Initiative, and the brains behind the Investor Network on Climate Risk, which counts over 100 members with combined assets of over $10 trillion. He’s been in the game a long time and can see that the window of opportunity to be proactive on climate is closing fast.

    “I’ve been in this 25 years. Back then it was ‘there are going to be long-term extreme events.’ Now we’re experiencing them. Suddenly we’re facing real costs. We have to rethink, plan for the massive structural changes needed to deal with the climate challenge.”

    He’s in good company. Last year’s Risky Business report from US establishment behemoths Michael R. Bloomberg, Henry Paulson and Tom Steyer catalogued the significant economic risks of a carbon bubble and staying on the current emissions path. As well as action at local and corporate level, governments need to set consistent policy and regulatory frameworks to shift the global economy away from carbon-intensive industries and investments.

    “The global future of coal is grim,” Massie insisted. “Look at China, look at India—they’re unlikely to be long-term markets for coal. Even Goldman Sachs is saying ‘treat it like someone who’s reached their 65th birthday—tell it to go off and have a quiet retirement.’ But we have to ask how do we manage that shift?”

    Government’s job is to plan ahead: if jobs in threatened industries go, what are we going to do? What’s the plan? We can’t avoid change—and neglecting these issues is only going to make them worse. We have to ask ourselves if our system of government is really up to the task.”

    The biggest barrier, in Bob’s view, is mental—a failure of imagination—because the potential economic opportunities around climate change boggle the mind. You only have to look at distributed energy to see that we can apply our incredible reserves of human energy and ingenuity to rethink the world, rethink the basic structures of the past 50-100 years.

    So how do we engage that mindshift and galvanise the necessary political will? For Bob Massie it’s a numbers game. “If you want politicians to lead you have to form a parade and they will find their way to the front. We have to form parades. The future of climate change is in our hands. We live in the most important piece of human history ever. What we’re able to do will determine what our planet becomes. We have to act now to make sure those outcomes are good.”

    Time for business to bring out the banners and hit the streets.

    • africa Zanella 9:38 pm on February 21, 2015 Permalink

      This man is a titan of strength and moral values .I had the pleasure of listening to him speak at the GRI Amsterdam conference VIP dinner .after many speeches, some wine and the customary hard work , i was “zonning out ” or going into meditative state as I like to do to rest the mind when I heard his voice singing a gospel song …..wow ! that was the beginning of his speech and story as to why he cofounded GRI and he held me in alert and hanging to each of his words . One bright idea after another and a mix of emotion and rationality that you could not help to admire .He crosses over from imagination to implementation like nooone i have ever seen ..adding inspiration and leadership to its mix …Business and government are all part of the society so I believe that this broader focus rather than the monolithic separation of roles is required for the climate change issues to be worked out .Sorry I missed his visit to Australia

  • andrea 4:45 am on August 5, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , policy, SBA, stakeholder dialogue, , sustainable growth, WBCSD   

    Open for SUSTAINABLE business 

    Business, government, NGOs and investors. All agreeing sustainability is fundamental to future economic growth. Too good to be true? Well, no – this was the core take-away from Sustainable Business Australia (SBA)’s Smart Business in Action #SBIA2014 forum in Sydney.

    Recently, political dialogue on sustainable business in Australia has been at best muted, at worst totally lacking. So it was an immense breath of fresh air to hear NSW Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Assistant Minister for Planning, the Hon. Rob Stokes MP, outline his vision for sustainable growth. It is a thoughtful vision – an informed vision – and like many in the room, I was genuinely inspired to see the coming together of sustainability competence and leadership.

    Sustainability, according to Stokes, is fundamentally an ethical concern about how we relate to each other and how we view and use resources. Patterns of growth that compromise the ability of future generations to meet their needs are unfair and unjust: we have to live within the planet’s boundaries. “It’s a false choice to pit the environment against the economy,” he stated. “Conservation is wise use of resources.”

    Stokes sees the environment as “foundational” to the economy, likening the interrelationship to a Russian doll where the economy sits within society, within the wider environment. It should also be a foundational understanding for government ministries, rather than a separate function: “My grand plan is to do myself out of a job,” he declared. How refreshing.

    He wants government to “be a friend” to sustainable business and “send a clear message” to irresponsible operators. Dialogue is key to moving forward: right now “we’ve lost the capacity to have a reasoned debate.” Restoring the middle ground means replacing soundbite polemics with respectful and rational dialogue that helps us move forward on sustainability challenges.

    It must have been music to the ears of companies in the room – among them Brickworks, David Jones, Kimberly-Clark, LJ Hooker, NAB, Object Consulting, and Sungevity, all of which are making major strides to integrate sustainability into their core business. And with SBA, the voice of progressive business, taking on the mantle of Australian Global Network at WBCSD, constructive dialogue on sustainability looks set for a boost in Australia. Given the federal ‘policy pause’ on sustainable economic development, that’s very welcome indeed.

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