Sea-Fever blog


Vac from the Sea! by Peter A. Mello
June 29, 2010, 9:33 am
Filed under: Corporate Social Responsibility, Environment, Oceans

Vac From The Sea from Fast Company

Wow, Electrolux really sucks! In a good way!

Watch this:

From Fast Company:

Hans Stråberg, the President and CEO of Electrolux, explains the reasoning behind Vac from the Sea:

Our oceans are filled with plastic waste. Yet on land, there is a shortage of recycled plastic. The supply of sustainable raw material, such as recycled plastic, is crucial for making sustainable appliances, and assisting consumers in making their homes greener. I therefore hope people will join us in raising awareness about the threat plastic poses to marine habitats, and the urgent need for taking better care of the plastic that already exists.



Make Waves for Whales with My Body Glove SocialVibe Widget! by Peter A. Mello

Whaleman Foundation Hopefully have noticed that I added a new widget to the sidebar in support of the Whaleman Foundation. (Look left < and down v)

Please click the yellow “Help Now – It’s Free” button and watch the Body Glove video. When you do, Body Glove will donate dollars to the Whaleman Foundation.

Why should you? Because it doesn’t cost you anything more than a minute of your time but more importantly watch the below video of Hayden Panettiere and that should help explain things.

[YouTube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HL1wYZFMVB8]
YouTube – Hayden Panettiere PSA for SocialVibe.com

Need another reason? Well, how about because I’m asking nicely. :)

While you’re at it, please sign the petition.

This widget was created by a company called Social Vibe and not only can you attach it to your blog but you can connect it to your Facebook profile which I’ve also done. SocialVibeIt’s really pretty cool what Social Vibe has done with this. There are currently about 30 causes and 25 companies that you can mix and match to suit your interests. It’s kind of like orchestrating your our corporate social responsibility program. Your actions tell companies where you’d like to see them put their philanthropic dollars. Finally you can participate in a cause related marketing program without actually being a consumer of anything more than media. Cool!

Saving whales and dolphins and the latest Body Glove swimwear seemed like a good fit for Sea-Fever. What do you think?

One more time: Please watch for the Body Glove video dolphins’ and whales’ sake!

Thanks!

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Voice Your Choice for Rocking the Boat by Peter A. Mello

top2_enviro_vte_4  I just got an email from one of my favorite maritime / environmental / youth development nonprofits, Rocking the Boat. I’ve previously posted about them here and here.

The email was about an opportunity they have to win a grant from Patagonia, one of the coolest, most environmentally conscious and socially responsible organizations on the planet. The program is called Voice Your Choice and this is from their website:

Activism takes many forms, but you can cast a vote at your neighborhood Patagonia store this summer as one way to get involved in local environmental issues, show support for your favorite environmental group or just warm up for the November elections.

Each store will profile five groups that have done something extraordinary to help restore and protect the local environment. These groups have been our partners, helping us to further our stated mission to "build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm and use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis."

rocking-the-boat-logo-thumbRocking the Boat has some stiff competition in their neighborhood with Riverkeeper, Bronx River Alliance, Newtown Creek Alliance, and Solar One, all worthy organizations.

So if by chance you read this and live in their “neighborhood” which is New York City, stop by the Upper West Side Patagonia store and voice your choice!


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Port of LA Commits to Changing Young Lives by Peter A. Mello

LAMI from Port of LA In yesterday’s The Log, SoCal’s #1 Boating and Fishing Newspaper, Ambrosia Sarabia wrote a nice article about a significant social investment that the Port of LA has made in local youth through a multi-year financial commitment to the LA Maritime Institute’s award winning TopSail Youth program. (Topsail Youth Sail Training Program Teaches More Than Boating – Nov. 29, 2007)

According to the article, The Port of Los Angeles Board of Harbor Commissioners approved a three-year agreement with the Los Angeles Maritime Institute’s TopSail Youth Sail Training Program that will provide $525,000 for the first year and increase 3 percent a year over the following 2 years.

“The program provides a life experience for the teen participants,” said Arley Baker, senior director of communications and legislative affairs. “Many of the participants have had little exposure to the ocean, so a sailing adventure is extraordinary for them – let alone an adventure where they play a role in navigating the ship as a crew. It’s a teambuilding adventure.”

Programs like this do a great job of educating and building self-esteem in participants; however, they also expose young people to potential maritime careers. With the looming shortage of qualified professional mariners on the horizon, this can only be a good thing. (Statement of Chairman Oberstar and Subcommittee Chairman Cummings from Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Hearing – “Mariner Education and Workforce” – Oct 17, 2007)

Kudos to the Port of LA and congratulations to LAMI and to all of the kids that will benefit from life changing experiences at sea under sail!

Photo” Port of Los Angeles

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"Very, very bad stuff" finally banned by EPA by Peter A. Mello
September 4, 2007, 7:00 am
Filed under: Corporate Social Responsibility, Environment, maritime

hull bottom via tree hugger

Treehugger.com reports that the EPA has finally banned a substance that is considered one of the most toxic substances ever released into the world’s oceans.

Tributyltin, a type of biocide, is a cheap and powerful barnacle and algae killer that was once commonly used on most of the world’s commercial ships. It is typically mixed into the bottom coating for hulls, where it helps keep the ship clear of barnacles and other similar species. TBT is highly prized by sailboat racers and yachtsmen who use it to make their hulls move more easily through the water and by certain environmentalists, who argue it can help prevent the spread of invasive species from one port to another.

According to the post, every major US and European paint company stopped using the substance in 2001 and endorse the maritime treaty banning it. China and other developing maritime nations would seem to be the target here.

Lindy Johnson, a lawyer who works for NOAA, called it “very, very bad stuff.”

Good news for our Oceans!



Sunday NY Times – Cleaning Up: A brand shows its social responsibility to the poor – by selling to them. by Peter A. Mello
June 11, 2007, 10:04 am
Filed under: Corporate Social Responsibility

Lifebuoy soap India campaign It’s been a while since I’ve blogged about Corporate Social Responsibility but there was an interesting article entitled Cleaning Up in yesterday’s Sunday NY Times magazine by Rob Walker for the Consumed section.

As this article demonstrates, CSR is not just about companies doing good works. At it most effective and sustainable level, its more about designing and executing corporate strategies that address some of society’s more adaptive challenges.

Hindustan Lever’s Lifebuoy campaign, however, is not philanthropy; it’s business. Throughout its long life, the antibacterial soap has been positioned as a health-and-wellness product: a 1902 ad in Harper’s promised “this wonderful cleanser and purifier” was “the enemy of dirt and disease.” That “core proposition” remains, says Punit Misra, the marketing manager who oversees Lifebuoy and other skin-cleansing brands for Hindustan Lever. Perhaps the most significant change to the product itself in recent years has been the introduction of smaller, and thus cheaper, bars: a half-size, 50-gram bar, for five rupees (about two ounces, for roughly 12 cents), was introduced in the early 1990s. (The small-package approach is now used by many companies in developing markets.) More recently, the packaging was made “more contemporary” by replacing the “strapping young man” on the package with an image of a couple and their children, Misra says.

And five years ago, the company introduced a campaign called Swasthya Chetna or “Glowing Health,” which, boiled down, argues that even clean-looking hands may carry dangerous germs, so use more soap. It began a concentrated effort to take this message into the tens of thousands of villages where the rural poor reside, often with little access to media. “Lifebuoy teams visit each village several times,” Manwani said in his speech, using “a glo-germ kit to show schoolchildren” that soap-washed hands are cleaner. Manwani says this program has reached “around 80 million rural folk” and added that “sales of Lifebuoy have risen sharply.” The small bar has become the brand’s top seller. Continue reading



"Green is the New Red, White and Blue" by Peter A. Mello
April 16, 2007, 2:49 pm
Filed under: Corporate Social Responsibility, Environment, Leadership, Values

On January 6, 2006, Thomas L. Friedman wrote a New York Times editorial about the lack of national leadership regarding environmental and climate change issues. (You can read a copy here thanks to the Chesapeake Climate Action Network’s website) 

In yesterday’s New York Times Magazine’s cover essay “The Greening of Geopolitics: The Power of Green” Friedman built on his earlier editorial.  

The essay’s subtitle reveals his premise: “What does America need to regain its global stature? Environmental Leadership”

It’s an interesting, and simple piece, that presents his theories on petrodollars and democracy, the “China price” of energy, green patriotism and the incredible scale of the challenge to create an emissions-free energy infrastructure for the future.

Friedman writes,

The only thing as powerful as Mother Nature is Father Greed. To a degree, the market is already at work on this project – because some venture capitalists and companies understand that clean-tech is going to be the next great global industry.

This follows pretty closely what I have recently written about here, here, here and here

While in the past thinking and acting Green may have been considered a fad or trend, that is no longer the case. There are no simple solutions to the challenges that we face; however, smart business people are thinking and working hard at trying to capitalize on these new opportunities. Ultimately this can be a win / win / win situation for the economy, environment, and our children and grandchildren.

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NY Times – Sierra Club cuts Deal with Kansas City Power & Light by Peter A. Mello
March 20, 2007, 7:03 pm
Filed under: Corporate Social Responsibility

windowslivewriternytimessierraclubcutsdealwithkansascityp-e013logo20sc20vert1.jpgIn today’s New York Times, Matthew L. Wald reports that the Sierra Club has negotiated a deal with Kansas City Power and Light, a Midwest electric company, “to take steps to cut carbon dioxide output by the amount that a new plan will produce.” The plan includes buying hundreds of windmills and undertaking a major conservation program.

Following on my recent post BusinessWeek – Hugging the Tree-Huggers, this is another example of the previously unthought of convergence of social sector activists and corporate interests to try to solve some of the planet’s most significant challenges. Continue reading



BusinessWeek – Hugging the Tree-Huggers by Peter A. Mello
March 17, 2007, 4:41 pm
Filed under: Corporate Social Responsibility

BusinessWeek logoAnother interesting article about the convergence of interests between corporate executives and environmental activists appeared in the March 12th edition of BusinessWeek.

Hugging the Tree-Huggers by John Carey leads off with a story about the recent mega takeover of Texas utility TXU Corporation and the importance of the public support for the transaction by the Environmental Defense Fund and the Natural Resources Defense Council.

The TXU takeover is a sign of a remarkable evolution in the dynamic between corporate executives and activists. Once fractious and antagonistic, it has moved toward accommodation and even mutual dependence. Companies increasingly seek a “green” imprimatur, while enviros view changes in how business operates as key to protecting the planet.

A visit to the homepage of Environmental Defense Fund while writing this post revealed the  congratulatory headline: “Global Warming Victory: We brokered a buyout in Texas that will lead to a cleaner energy future.” (article)

Continue reading



Fast Company’s – Fast / Profit Driven Solutions for What Ails the Planet by Peter A. Mello
March 6, 2007, 9:55 pm
Filed under: Corporate Social Responsibility

The March 2007 issue of Fast Company presents the Fast 50, a list of companies that are using innovative technologies and strategies to solve some of our planet’s biggest challenges.

The opening essay was written by Andrew Zolli, a consultant and futurist with Z + Partners and he does a great job in highlighting the evolution of Corporate Social Responsibility. Entitled Business 3.0 – The oblivious capitalist’s days are numbered, Zolli’s essay starts by citing Milton Friedman’s September 13, 1970 New York Times Magazine essay wherein the Nobel Prize winning economist argues that “the one and only social responsibility of business (is) to engage in activities designed to increase it’s profits.” Free-market, laissez faire economics at it’s finest.

Thankfully, today some business leaders see opportunity, competitive advantage and economic benefit in innovative strategies that can help save the planet.  Zolli writes:

Well ahead of slower-moving governments, companies of every size and in every part of the world are now waking up to humanity’s impending and interlocking crises, and the vastly lucrative rewards that solving them might bring

As with the Industrial and Information Revolutions before them, the protagonists in the “Eco-Innovation” Revolution will take the field with new approaches, ideas, and technologies that will upend our notions of production, consumption, wealth, and invention.

Zolli provides some interesting ideas for consideration: waste accountability leading to design for low cost disassembly; the LOHAS (“lifestyles of health and sustainability”) $227 billion market made up of consumers who are willing to spend a 20% premium on “clean, green products over nonsustainable alternatives”; and biomemetic and organic technologies such as Lotusan Paint and BAE Systems’ Synthetic Gecko. Zolli writes:

These products share one trait: They will win in the marketplace. Not because they’re eco-friendly or warm and fuzzy or have a Ben & Jerry’s seal of approval. They’ll win because they deliver better, cheaper, and more profitable results.

Seeking a competitive advantage through green and sustainable strategies is not really at odds with Friedman’s profit maximization model. Integrating social responsibility with corporate strategy can be good for business and for the future of our planet.

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