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

    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 8:14 am on March 8, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Coca-Cola, green espionage, Heinz, Nissan, Renault   

    Heinz, Coca-Cola and Renault: mainstreaming sustainability innovation 

    Phillips’ recent decision to invest €2 billion in green innovation between 2011 and 2015 strengthens the case for sustainability leadership as an accepted competitive differentiator. Multinationals like Phillips want a bang for their buck, and they know a return on investment has never been more likely.

    Corporate approaches to innovation in sustainability vary. Like Linux and Microsoft, some prefer to play an open hand while others keep their cards very close to their chest. Recently Coca-cola announced a strategic partnership that allows Heinz to produce its ketchup bottles using Coca-Cola’s breakthrough PlantBottle™ packaging, containing 30% plant materials.

    “This partnership in my view is a win-win for both Coca-Cola and Heinz,” William R. Johnson, Heinz Chairman, President and CEO, said. “It’s a model of collaboration in the food and beverage industry that will make a sustainable difference for the planet while exciting our consumers and our retail trade partners.”

    Photo courtesy of mat79 Flickr Creative Commons

    Photo courtesy of mat79 Flickr Creative Commons

    Like Coca-Cola and Heinz, Renault and Nissan are collaborating to produce electric vehicles – and will be making a mass launch 2011, with a new generation in the pipeline for 2012-2013.

    But it seems that elsewhere someone has assumed these sustainability ‘nice guys’ are a soft touch. In January, Renault announced that its industrial secrets were being pilfered. Three executives were fired, fingers pointed at China and the French industry minister Eric Besson announced that France was facing an “economic war”. Two months later and with little evidence to hand, it turns out that Renault may simply be the victim of fraud.

    Whatever the details of the Renault case, one thing’s for sure: sustainable competitiveness has become such a mainstream issue that every winning strategy is being explored. We may dream of a more collaborative world, but in truth we should prepare for buddies, baddies and even criminality.

    • Lars Erik 8:51 am on March 12, 2011 Permalink

      Is this what is commonly called the ketchup effect?

    • Fran 6:21 pm on March 17, 2011 Permalink

      ketchup or perhaps catch up?

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