Thursday, February 16, 2012 3:28 PM
It’s hard to enter a store these days without being visually assaulted by labels, logos, and signs that appeal to our environmental consciousness. It turns out that there’s an even more powerful way for marketers to signal an environmental product to shoppers: Make it brown.
The Wall Street Journal reports that Dunkin’ Donuts and Target’s in-store cafes have switched from white to brown napkins, while Seventh Generation even adds brown pigments to its eco-friendly diapers “to drive home the environmental message.”
And Cascades Tissue is about to enter a new frontier with its U.S. rollout of a beige toilet paper called Moka. It might be a hard sell for fussy Americans, though. Writes WSJ:
Consumers in regions outside of North America are more accepting of recycled toilet paper and more readily embrace colored or fragranced rolls. Kimberly-Clark’s local brands sell apricot-colored paper in the U.K., green in Poland, “sunny orange” in Switzerland and “natural pebble” in Germany, the company says.
It’s a different story in the U.S. When Cascades pitched its Moka toilet paper to distributors at a recent trade show, “faces showed disgust” at first, says [Cascades marketing director Isabell] Faivre. “Then they would feel the product and it was, ‘Oh, wow, that would be perfect,’” for customers who want softness, but also want green credentials, she says.
Let’s not kid ourselves, however: Most Americans prefer bleached-white, super-cushy toilet paper, and the vast majority of the stuff we buy is highly unsustainable. As of 2009, 98 percent of the toilet paper sold in the United States came from virgin wood, according to Allen Hershkowitz, a senior scientist for the Natural Resources Defense Council, as reported in The Guardian in a story that explores “the tenderness of the delicate American buttock.”
As Hershkowitz put it:
“Future generations are going to look at the way we make toilet paper as one of the greatest excesses of our age. Making toilet paper from virgin wood is a lot worse than driving Hummers in terms of global warming pollution.”
Christophers Mims at Grist has a solution: Stop using the stuff. I’m going to let him make the case:
The solution is straightforward: Do away with T.P. Think that sounds unsanitary? Not as unsanitary as our current approach. This is how a friend put it: What if I pooped on your arm and you wiped it off with a paper towel. Is it clean now?
There’s nothing even weird about the idea — lots of cultures don’t share our freakish obsession with sticking paper up our bums. The French invented the bidet in 1710.
Wall Street Journal
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Thursday, February 02, 2012 10:47 AM
Honesty has ceased to be seen as a virtue, and with its decline “our society risks a future of moral numbness,” writes William Damon in Defining Ideas, a journal published by the Hoover Institution at Harvard University. Damon is well aware that the little deception is sometimes morally justifiable, but he posits that “a basic intent to be truthful, along with an assumption that people can be generally taken at their word, is required for all sustained civilized dealings.”
And that’s not what he’s seeing out there in our schools, businesses, and institutions. Writes Damon in “The Death of Honesty”:
Although truthfulness is essential for good human relationships and personal integrity, it is often abandoned in pursuit of other life priorities.
Indeed, there may be a perception in many key areas of contemporary life—law, business, politics, among others—that expecting honesty on a regular basis is a naïve and foolish attitude, a “loser’s” way of operating. Such a perception is practically a mandate for personal dishonesty and a concession to interpersonal distrust. When we no longer assume that those who communicate with us are at least trying to tell the truth, we give up on them as trustworthy persons and deal with them only in a strictly instrumental manner. The bounds of mutual moral obligation dissolve, and the laws of the jungle reemerge.
Damon singles out schools, with their laxness toward cheating, as a large part of the problem behind slipping ethics. But he makes no specific mention of the legions of business leaders whose base dishonesty led to the spectacular financial collapse and ongoing recession that has plagued the country for several years. Maybe it’s because Damon is too humble to suggest that they didn’t read his 2004 book: The Moral Advantage: How to Succeed in Business by Doing the Right Thing.
Source: Defining Ideas
Wednesday, September 28, 2011 4:13 PM
Cash-strapped state parks are forging partnerships with corporations to close their budget gaps, Governing magazine reports:
In New York, for example, Nestle’s Juicy Juice contributed $350,000 to build playgrounds in seven state parks. In California, Coca-Cola and Stater Bros. Markets have raised about $1.9 million to support reforestation and other state park preservation efforts. And in Georgia, Verizon Wireless contributed $5,000 to cover the cost of park passes for the state’s annual Free Day at the park. Most of these efforts come with recognition—on a playground sign, on a park pass—of the corporation’s contribution.
The trend has already spawned the creation of a new breed of middleman: A California firm called Government Solutions Group has brokered about $7.5 million in such deal since 2004. Chief executive Shari Boyer tells Governing that this is not philanthropy but business: “These are partnerships. The corporation has to get something out of it.”
Some park managers are ostensibly taking care to hook up with companies that are a good fit—but the parameters seem pretty fuzzy:
Asked how Coke products intersect with California’s state park mission, company spokesman Bob Phillips said Coca-Cola’s support of park restoration is part of its “live positively” platform, in which “sustainability is part of everything we do, particularly in this time of cost cutting and downsizing.” Phillips rejected the idea that Coca-Cola products were not in sync with parks’ health and environmental missions, noting instead that state parks “provide opportunities to be physically active.”
If you’re like me, your B.S. meter is off the charts at this contention, but take heart: Overall, these deals are a small piece of the park funding pie. Governing reminds us that in California in the last five years, corporate sponsorships have raised about $6.5 million for parks, while contributions from nonprofit groups amount to $50 million and volunteer hours stack up at a value of $100 million. Even Boyer holds that corporate sponsorships are “not the solution” to larger park funding woes.
Unfortunately, the situation could change as things get worse: One park director says that in the future, “If a corporate citizen wants to put their name on a park, I think that could happen.”
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Thursday, September 15, 2011 4:41 PM
It’s the last day of New York Fashion Week, where celebrities and the industry elite flank runways to catch the first glimpses of new lines from high-end designers like Marchesa and Alexander McQueen. For the average U.S. consumer, though, fast fashion—cheap clothing produced quick and dirty—hangs in the closet.
Fast fashion’s formula, known as the “quick-response method,” keeps up with ever-changing trends promoted at events like Fashion Week by speeding up every aspect of the clothing-production process: design, manufacturing, distribution, and marketing. In order to keep the pace lively, workers’ conditions and the environment suffer.
A recent study by Iowa State University professor Elena Karpova and grad student Juyoung (Jill) Lee, however, finds that fast fashion doesn’t fly in certain markets, reports Aaron M. Cohen in The Futurist (Sept.-Oct. 2011), offering hope that we don’t have to stay on the current industry treadmill. Cohen writes:
Japanese consumers are willing to pay more for domestically made products with higher price tags, which has resulted in fewer purchases of less-expensive imports. The Japanese apparel industry’s emphasis on more expensive, higher quality goods distinguishes them from foreign competitors in a positive way. Marketing efforts help drive these trends…. Clothing stores in Japan target older consumers, who are likely to be more interested in long-lasting quality than keeping up with the latest styles, while American advertising targets younger consumers interested in just the opposite.
Responsible clothing options in the states and elsewhere are increasingly easy to find, tracked by blogs like Eco-Chick and Eco Fashion World and spearheaded by green designers such as 2010 UtneVisionary Natalia Allen. And, Cohen says, some in the high-fashion industry are recommitting to artisan craftsmanship, with houses like Hermès beginning to emphasize “slow fashion.”
While we in the Utne Reader office certainly don’t claim to be fashion plates, perhaps we’re ahead of the trends on this one: I’ve had my favorite pair of jeans for nearly a decade and our hipster office manager owns a loon-emblazoned sweatshirt (with red, built-in cuffs and collar) that’s older than he is. Slow fashion, we’re ready for you.
Source: The Futurist(membership required)
Image by Noemi Manalang, licensed under Creative Commons.
Wednesday, September 14, 2011 12:33 PM
In these times of severe income disparity and worker insecurity, where those at the top of the richest companies keep making more and more, while every other employee knows that there are people queued up outside ready to take their jobs, it’s nice to hear about companies that look askance on such work environments. With The Sky Factory, a company started by artist and entrepreneur Bill Witherspoon that creates virtual skylights and windows of peaceful settings using backlit images, Witherspoon wanted to create a work environment that might be as beautiful as art, according to a story in Inc. To begin, Witherspoon disregarded notions of hierarchy. Each worker is on the same level—all are owners, none are employees. “In shaping The Sky Factory,” Witherspoon says,
I started with the assumption that people are naturally curious and creative. I wanted to craft an environment in which they would act like entrepreneurs, not like robots. My first decision was to give people the opportunity to purchase discounted ownership, and 100 percent of employees have participated. The responsibility for revenue and profit belongs to everyone.
From there, Witherspoon came up with five guiding principles that allow everyone who works at The Sky Factory to take part in all decisions, work together on everything, and share the rewards. My favorite principle is “Give everyone equal footing: Where there is no authority, there is no fear, and people rise to what is required of them.”
What is your work environment like? Does it resemble the environment at The Sky Factory? Or is it closer to the conditions of the average American job laid out earlier this year in Mother Jones, where we learned that “Americans now put in an average of 122 more hours per year than Brits, and 378 hours (nearly 10 weeks!) more than Germans”? Let us know.
Source: Inc., DailyGood
Image of custom Luminous SkyCeiling at Sutter Imaging Center from The Sky Factory website.
Tuesday, May 03, 2011 4:16 PM
President Obama’s tenacity in clinging to nuclear power is astounding. With the Fukushima disaster still spewing radiation into the atmosphere and brutal budget cuts on the table, Obama wants to extend another $36 billion in taxpayer-guaranteed loans to the nuclear industry to build new plants—in addition to the $18.5 billion he has already offered.
Writes Nation environmental correspondent Mark Hertsgaard, “As health, education, and other social services are being sacrificed on the false altar of deficit reduction, $54.5 billion is a massive amount of money. Worse, Obama is shoveling money at nuclear energy at the very same time he has diverted funds from renewable energy.”
Hertsgaard sees Obama’s nuclear ambitions as playing into “a larger meta-narrative dominating discussion of the Fukushima disaster here in the United States”:
Yes, Fukushima is scary, the narrative goes, but it is far away, our own nuclear plants pose little danger and, besides, neither our economy nor the fight against climate change can succeed without more nukes. Even the usually sensible nonprofit journalism enterprise ProPublica is publishing articles implying that anything less than a Chernobyl-scale disaster amounts to only “limited” impact.
The supreme tragedy here is that more nuclear power is not only unnecessary but downright unhelpful to securing America’s, and the world’s, economic and environmental future. Countless studies have shown that the enormous financial cost and long construction times of nuclear power plants make them the costliest, slowest way to supply electricity and reduce greenhouse gas emissions (which is exactly why investors demand loan guarantees rather than risk their own money to build new nukes).
Even with Obama’s bully-pulpit backing, the phenomenally bad economics of building new plants are dogging the industry, reports the New York Times’ Matthew L. Wald. One expert tells Wald that he thinks nuclear plant construction will “go quiet” for two to five years, and Wald notes that “of the four nuclear reactor construction projects that the Energy Department identified in 2009 as the most deserving for the loans, two have lost major partners and seem unlikely to recover soon.”
Obama’s strategy is for U.S. taxpayers to take on the risk that energy investors are afraid to touch. Having already committed us to $18.5 billion, he wants to effectively triple our exposure.
“A federal loan guarantee is a little like a parent co-signing a child’s car loan; if the child makes the payments, the parent pays nothing,” writes Wald. But “If the builders default, as happened on some nuclear construction projects in the 1980s, the taxpayer liabilities could run into the billions of dollars.”
That’s a loan I wouldn’t co-sign. Would you?
UPDATE 5/6/11: Apparently, Rep. Ed Markey wouldn’t. The Massachusetts Democrat today released a letter he sent to the Office of Management and Budget demanding answers to several questions regarding loan guarantees for new nuclear reactors and the risk to taxpayers, reports the Nuclear Information and Research Service.
Sources: The Nation, New York Times
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Friday, November 12, 2010 11:27 AM
The workers of the world, despite their terrestrial solidarity, won’t unite to colonize other planets. Humanity’s expansion into space will be a strictly bourgeois-driven affair, argues Monthly Review’s Peter Dickens. The commodification of space, he writes, has already begun:
It has now been made an integral part of the way global capitalist society is organized and extended. Satellites, for example, are extremely important elements of contemporary communications systems. These have enabled an increasing number of people to become part of the labor market. Teleworking is the best known example.
Space tourism and electricity production will likely be the next big businesses conducted in space, but at what cost? Dickens takes issue with the grandiose rhetoric of the Space Renaissance Initiative, an advocacy group that promotes the growth of society past the Earth’s atmosphere, which argues that the Earth is on the brink of social, environmental, and population crises and the best way to avoid a global collapse is to stretch our collective legs. Dickens argues the Space Renaissance Initiative’s proposed solution is capitalist exploitation dressed up in a space suit. “The ‘solution,’” Dickens writes,
seems to be simultaneously exacerbating social problems while jetting away from them. Consumer-led industrial capitalism necessarily creates huge social divisions and increasing degradation of the environment. Why should a galactic capitalism do otherwise?
Space may not even be the final frontier for capitalism. Dickens turns to a nuanced Marxist critique of the commodification of space, which draws on the scholarly work of Polish philosopher and economist Rosa Luxemburg. Luxemburg maintained that capitalist societies require an “outside,” a sort of unconquered, underdeveloped periphery at which to aim growth and consumption. It serves a dual purpose: First, the outside is a potential source of new resources and second, the fervor to develop the outside fuels the economy on the “inside.” If space is the new outside, then it will ultimately be conquered, developed, and commodified—in which case, the solar capitalist economy will require a new outside.
What lies beyond the cosmos? And where can we go when we’ve stripped the universe of its resources? Any science-fiction fan could answer that. When the galaxies are barren, we’ll set our sights on the untapped riches of alternate universes and time-travel to pilfer past and future energy sources. There is always an outside.
NASA Goddard Photo and Video
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Monday, August 16, 2010 5:16 PM
As climate change alters Greenland, the country has a chance to profit and gain independence from its longtime colonial ruler, Denmark—but at what cost, asks Miriam Rose in an essay on the environmental website Saving Iceland:
Nature has given western capitalism one last laugh. As the ice drips and cracks from Greenland’s white mass it is exposing a treasure trove of minerals, metals, ores and oil (one of the highest concentrations in the world), and plentiful hydropower to help us heat, break and alter them into things we “need.” Just as the candle wick flares and gutters on our oil-driven consumptive society Greenland’s bounty has given it one more chance. One last bright flame, to hide from us the surrounding darkness. … All the big names are queuing up for a ticket to the earth’s last free banquet. Statoil, Chevron and Exxon-Mobil want oil, True North Gems are after diamonds, gold and rubies, and Alcoa is chasing the newly roaring meltwaters of ancient ice, for dams and hydropower to smelt aluminum.
Rose has already seen similar situations in Iceland, where massive hydropower and mining proposals—especially aluminum smelters—have sparked fierce green opposition.
I suppose it’s too soon to say how the aluminum mega-powers might have contributed to the political corruption, economic instability and environmental tragedy that has unfolded in Iceland. But perhaps they would at least warn the Greenlanders to be wary of promises of freedom and prosperity.
I’m not sure they’re going to listen. Last fall, writer McKenzie Funk penned an in-depth piece for Outside magazine on Greenland’s “Thaw Revolution,” in which he quoted Greenlandic geologist Minik Rosing about the Black Angel mine that has already damaged a fjord with toxic tailings:
“It ruined the fjord. Is it OK to ruin three or four fjords in order to build the country? I hate to even think this, but we have a lot of fjords. I don’t know. That’d be utilitarian philosophy, wouldn’t it?”
He shakes his head. “We’re very aware that we’ll cause more climate change by drilling for oil,” he says. “But should we not? Should we not when it can buy us our independence?”
(Miriam Rose’s essay was originally published in Icelandic in the newspaper Róstur.)
Source: Saving Iceland, Outside
Image by chrissy575, licensed under Creative Commons.
Wednesday, August 11, 2010 10:31 AM
When was the last time you used a phone book? I mean to actually look up a phone number, not to use it as a doorstop, a booster seat, or a strong-man demonstration device. If you’re like most computer-connected people, it’s been years. And yet the phone-directory industry continues to drop pallet-loads of the things at doorsteps across the nation—a significant and needless waste of natural, human, and economic resources, in my humble green opinion.
So I was thrilled to learn through a blog at the alt-weekly Memphis Flyer that it’s possible to unsubscribe from phone book deliveries for good. Just visit this Yellow Pages Association website, enter your ZIP code, follow the publisher link or links to opt out, and bam—you’ve received your last paper phone directory. Ahhh.
Seattle may take things a step further with new legislation: There, the Post-Intelligencer reports, a City Council just introduced a proposal create a city-run opt-out registry for phone directories. The Yellow Pages Association argues that it’s an unnecessary level of government since people can already cancel delivery through www.yellowpagesoptout.com—but environmental groups like the idea of the city imposing a “recovery fee” on phone companies to run a collection and recycling program.
Sources: Memphis Flyer, Seattle Post-Intelligencer
Image by edkohler, licensed under Creative Commons.
Monday, July 19, 2010 10:31 AM
What’s the most ridiculously wasteful plastic product or packaging you’ve seen lately? Perhaps it’s the food containers specially designed to hold a single cupcake. Or maybe it’s the shrink-wrapped coconuts at your local Safeway, or the PVC “inflatable pool bar” that holds four people and all the booze they can drink. Whatever it is, there’s now a place to share your incredulousness with the world: the Plastic Crap Wall of Shame Facebook page. The enterprise was launched by Beth Terry, the writer behind Fake Plastic Fish, a blog that chronicles her never-ending quest to live life without plastic.
Visiting the Wall of Shame is a virtual tour of the worst of our throwaway society. You’ll be amazed and, I hope, disgusted enough to take action: Terry has asked posters on the page to include company contact information so readers can directly tell manufacturers that their wasteful ways are not going unnoticed.
Sources: Plastic Crap Wall of Shame, Fake Plastic Fish
Image from Plastic Crap Wall of Shame.
Tuesday, July 06, 2010 1:33 PM
Think of it this way: When you’re on your iPhone, the tap is running. The technology magazine IEEE Spectrum considers just how much water is used in creating the energy that runs our everyday electronic devices—and our society at large:
Plug your iPhone into the wall, and about half a liter of water must flow through kilometers of pipes, pumps, and the heat exchangers of a power plant. That’s a lot of money and machinery just so you can get a 6–watt-hour charge for your flashy little phone. Now, add up all the half-liters of water used to generate the roughly 17 billion megawatt-hours that the world will burn through this year. Trust us, it’s a lot of water. In the United States alone, on just one average day, more than 500 billion liters of freshwater travel through the country’s power plants—more than twice what flows through the Nile.
This illuminating bit of number crunching is part of an ambitious IEEE Spectrum special report, “Water vs. Energy,” that explores the intertwined, sometimes oppositional relationships of these two resources. It’s well worth reading in order to prepare for a dryer, warmer world.
Source: IEEE Spectrum
Image by www.jzx100.com, licensed under Creative Commons.
Friday, May 28, 2010 3:14 PM
There’s a lot of talk about sustainable architecture—but one day in the not-too-distant future, sustainability will be an integral part of the practice rather than a special feature. And as usual in green thinking, Europe is leading the way. Both points are the contention of Robert Stern, dean of the Yale School of Architecture, speaking to Environment: Yale magazine:
“I don’t think sustainability is a design aesthetic, any more than having electricity in your building, or telephones, or anything else,” says Stern. “It’s an ethic, a basic consideration that we have to have as architects designing buildings.” American architects, designers and builders are “in an early, slightly naive phase” in coming to terms with sustainability, he says, and “we have to get everybody’s attention.” But they will catch up fast enough, Stern argues, so that “in 10 years we’re not going to talk about sustainability anymore, because it’s going to be built into the core processes of architecture.” Advertising sustainability, he says, will be like an architect getting up in front of a room to “proudly proclaim how his buildings didn’t fall down.”
Source: Environment: Yale
Image by Schlüsselbein2007, licensed under Creative Commons.
Thursday, April 22, 2010 3:20 PM
On the 40th anniversary of Earth Day, I’m glad to see mainstream media attention turning to the 800-pound gorilla in the environmental movement: corporate influence. Both the New York Times and the Washington Post published Earth Day stories that explore big business’s buy-in to green groups and green marketing, and question whether commerce has co-opted the movement.
According to the Times,
So strong was the antibusiness sentiment for the first Earth Day in 1970 that organizers took no money from corporations and held teach-ins “to challenge corporate and government leaders.”
Forty years later, the day has turned into a premier marketing platform for selling a variety of goods and services, like office products, Greek yogurt and eco-dentistry.
The Washington Post points out that we the consumers are also to blame, having been convinced by many companies that buying their green product is the best way to save the planet. Reports the Post:
This year, a poll conducted by professors at George Mason, Yale and American universities showed that respondents who were most alarmed about climate change were more than eight times more likely to express their concern through shopping for “green” products than by contacting an elected official multiple times about it.
From the anti-consumer bent of the first Earth Day, “we’ve gone to the opposite extreme. We’re too respectful of business,” said Adam Rome, a professor at Pennsylvania State University who studies environmental history. He said that Americans have continued to buy more goods and use more energy in the past four decades—and that, in many ways, American pollution was outsourced, as manufacturing moved overseas.
Of course, there’s always been griping by “pure” environmentalists that business has a suspect agenda—but the debate has gone beyond whether business should be a partner in change to whether it is actively pulling the strings in major environmental groups. Last month, The Nation set off a kerfuffle in environmental circles with an article, “The Wrong Kind of Green,” that called out groups like Conservation International and the Sierra Club for being tainted by corporate ties. (A fiery exchange ensued.) And last year Christine MacDonald’s book Green Inc., which I reviewed in Utne Reader, made a similar case at greater—and quite convincing—length.
It’s a vital discussion, and I for one am glad that it’s finally being had. It seems no great coincidence that on this Earth Day, President Obama took a stern line with our nation’s largest financiers over their irresponsible behavior. Talk about unsustainable: The titans of Wall Street can’t even keep their corporations sustainable in the short term, let alone for the long haul on a planet with dwindling resources. Are they our partners in creating a healthy, safe, and beautiful world? Or our enemies?
Sources: New York Times, Washington Post, The Nation, Green Inc.
Image by mandiberg, licensed under Creative Commons.
Monday, January 11, 2010 12:16 PM
The image of video gamers as pasty, white loners isolated in basements lit by only the glow of a computer screen may be going away. Today’s gamers are just as likely to be iPhone-toting hipsters playing zombie games over Facebook or 50-year-old mothers playing versions of Scrabble online with their friends. New social games are breaking down the line between work, play, and life, and creating a world where everyone is a gamer.
“What videogames suggest is that almost anything can be made more compelling with the application of gaming principles,” Tom Chatfield writes for Prospect. Schools are integrating Guitar Hero into classrooms, and the military (problematically) is integrating video games into warfare. Companies that make simple, inexpensive games that integrate with Facebook and other social networks are quickly turning into multimillion-dollar businesses. No longer a solitary activity, Chatfield writes, “It’s becoming increasingly hard to tell where the serious business of play ends and the playful business of life begins.”
Image by Miss Karen, licensed under Creative Commons.
Tuesday, July 07, 2009 10:52 AM
Solar panel startup companies are struggling in the current recession, according to Sustainable Industries. Startups, some of which are sitting on genuine innovations to make solar panels more efficient, can’t find the funding they need to get off the ground. Prices for solar panels have dropped precipitously lately, which is great news for everyone except for the startups that were banking on high prices and increased demand. Some of the companies have begun laying off workers, while others are radically shifting their business plans in order to survive.
Source: Sustainable Industries
Image by Mike Weston, licensed under Creative Commons.
Wednesday, June 10, 2009 9:17 AM
“How is it that we have so many people of energy, ideas, creativity and intelligence in the arts, and yet they haven’t even begun to generate enough money to support what they do?” asks Toner Quinn, editor of the recently launched, internationally minded Journal of Music. Good question.
Quinn has a plan, and it begins with blowing up our assumptions about “the economics of the arts.” We praise arts organizations for doing amazing things on shoestring budgets, he writes, and when there’s extra money to go around, it generally goes toward improving compensation for undercompensated people. Fair enough. Quinn notes, however, that arts organizations and artists often operate in bubbles, struggling to meet their economic needs without tapping into collective economic experience.
“Conventional thinking on the relationship between the arts and business is that it inevitably leads to compromise for the former,” Quinn writes. “Arts communities, however, have many successful people who manage to outwit that, striking a balance between business acumen and cultural concern, between artistic ambition and financial prudence, between the language of cultural entrepreneurialism and the language of commercial business….
“What they know cannot be found in books; and it won’t be issued as a memo by any commercial business. It is only learned through having formative experiences in the arts.”
Quinn proposes that arts councils rustle up their experts in the business side of the arts and offer their advice to newcomers. Extending the concept to art galleries, theater companies, publishing groups, and the like would eventually produce a system of economic mentorship. In addition to reducing missed opportunities and generating more money all around, such an insitutution would also strengthen the fabric of arts communities. Good idea, I’d say.
Source: The Journal of Music
Monday, April 27, 2009 2:13 PM
Sometimes you need science to crack the thick skulls in the business world. “Over the past several years,” writes Pepperdine University Marketing Professor Roy Douglas Adler in Miller-McCune, “my colleagues and I have tracked the performance of Fortune 500 companies with a strong record of promoting women to the executive suite. The correlation between high-level female executives and business success has been consistent and revealing. Any action that shows a consistent correlation to high profits would probably be of interest to companies struggling to swim against the tide of these perilous times.”
Wednesday, August 06, 2008 4:28 PM
Ohio may be the first state in the nation to require businesses with 25 or more employees to give seven days of paid sick leave, the Dayton Daily News reports. The ballot measure’s supporters, such as labor unions, say the change is necessary to address the dearth of paid sick leave in the state (2.2 million Ohioans have none, according to a spokesman for the sick leave issue). The proposal's opponents, like the Ohio Chamber of Commerce, maintain that it would adversely affect businesses already struggling with insurance and health care costs. According to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (pdf), just half of all Americans have paid sick leave, and only 30 percent of the population gets sick leave to care for a sick child.
Friday, May 23, 2008 3:15 PM
FYI: In today’s highly competitive marketplace, Seth Godin is giving 110 percent, documenting the best business clichés to maximize customer satisfaction. He’s asking readers to think outside the box, and proactively put their two cents in to add to the list. This is a win-win situation for both readers and Godin.
(Thanks, Things Magazine.)
Friday, January 25, 2008 3:23 PM
You’ve got to hand it to corporate America. While the profit-mad behemoth has previously abused the environment the same way a drunken house guest abuses your bathroom, some companies have started taking a greener view of things. Sierra magazine reports that consumer pressure has greened up a lot of business. And this doesn’t apply just to green-branded businesses like Whole Foods. Businesses across the board have found that green measures can boost their profits. This thinking is spreading through the whole supply chain, the chain of goods and services from which three-quarters of a company’s carbon footprint comes.
For a long time, big business and environmentalists could never get along. But companies are fast learning that conserving their resources saves money, thereby increasing profit. And as the environmental movement scores more converts, consumers themselves begin to demand socially responsible goods.
“Corporate social responsibility” is becoming dizzyingly popular, according to the British newspaper the Economist, in a sometimes critical special report by Daniel Franklin. “$1 out of every $9 under professional management in America now involves an element of ‘socially responsible investment,’ according to Geoffrey Heal of Columbia Business School.” But the corporate social responsibility movement isn’t even close to perfect. While it’s appealing as a buzzword, the practice has confused a good many in business. But Franklin delivers a hopeful conclusion: When corporate social responsibility is done right, it can deliver a lot of good and increase profit. Which is good news for all of us.
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