Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Champions’ Category

“The art of life is a constant readjustment to our surroundings.”
~Kakuzo Okakaura
________________________________

Herb Kelleher is often quoted as saying; “If you don’t change, you die.” When asked by his successor, Gary Kelly, to expand on that notion, he said, “If things change faster outside your company than they change inside your company, then you have something to worry about.”

Change is often called the “business constant”. For change in the marketplace, the government, regulations, Customer needs and wants, various forms of technology, even the issues of land, water and air are variables that influence business and your enterprise. So, I agree whole heartedly with Mr. Kelleher and Mr. Kelly.

The beliefs of Mr. Kelleher and Mr. Kelly are substantiated by McKinsey & Company research. Their experience with scores of major transformation efforts, combined with research they have undertaken over the past decade, suggests that four key functions collectively define a successful role for the CEO in a enterprise transformation:

  1. Making the transformation meaningful. People will go to extraordinary lengths for causes they believe in, and a powerful transformation story will create and reinforce their commitment. The ultimate impact of the story depends on the CEO’s willingness to make the transformation personal, to engage others openly, and to spotlight successes as they emerge.
  2. Role-modeling desired mind-sets and behavior. Successful CEOs typically embark on their own personal transformation journey. Their actions encourage employees to support and practice the new types of behavior.
  3. Building a strong and committed top team. To harness the transformative power of the top team, CEOs must make tough decisions about who has the ability and motivation to make the journey.
  4. Relentlessly pursuing impact. There is no substitute for CEOs rolling up their sleeves and getting personally involved when significant financial and symbolic value is at stake[1].

Change is preparing your organization to lead and be proactive ahead of a change curve. Read this article and understand some of the insights gleaned from Southwest airlines are important. http://tinyurl.com/lxoxyqk

_________________
[1] Aiken, Carolyn B.  and Keller, Scott P.; The CEO’s role in leading transformation; Insights & Publications; February 2007

______________________________________

Building a bridge to benefits thumbnail

Owners, Executive and other Leaders are investigating a global world concerned about Sustainability, that type of understanding can be difficult to obtain. In early December 2013, I published my second book entitled “Building a Bridge to Benefits”. If you are interested in reading about the book or want to purchase copies today, here is the link to CreateSpace, an Amazon company, go to: https://www.createspace.com/4532590
______________________________________

Contact information and Services
A Certified Sustainability and Quality consultancy
•    Sustainability and Quality Consulting
•    Sustainability and Quality Workshops
•    Sustainability and Quality Speaking Engagements

Jarvis Business Solutions, LLC

Toll Free: (888) 743-3128
Email: Ralph.Jarvis@JarvisBusinessSolutions.com
Web site: http://www.JarvisBusinessSolutions.com

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

“Effective leadership is not about making speeches or being liked;
leadership is defined by results not attributes.” ~Peter Drucker
________________________________

United States leadership, policies and strategies must be forthcoming not only to renew the American Economy, but eliminate uncertainties in our country that has hindered our economic restart. America needs to examine the major national security issues, provide opportunities to domestic and global challenges, apply pro-US foreign policy and applying sage policies supporting Sustainability facing the United States in global marketplace.

The Real Challenges to Growth by Michael Spence looks at many of these issues and asks what could be addressed in a increasing competitive global marketplace that would also lay the underpinnings for future prosperity and influence.

Michael Spence is a Nobel laureate in economics, is professor of economics at NYU’s Stern School of Business, and a distinguished visiting fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations: http://blogs.cfr.org/renewing-america/2014/01/23/the-real-challenges-to-growth/

______________________________________

Building a bridge to benefits thumbnail

Owners, Executive and other Leaders are investigating a global world concerned about Sustainability, that type of understanding can be difficult to obtain. In early December 2013, I published my second book entitled “Building a Bridge to Benefits”. If you are interested in reading about the book or want to purchase copies today, here is the link to CreateSpace, an Amazon company, go to: https://www.createspace.com/4532590
______________________________________

Contact information and Services
A Certified Sustainability and Quality consultancy
•    Sustainability and Quality Consulting
•    Sustainability and Quality Workshops
•    Sustainability and Quality Speaking Engagements

Jarvis Business Solutions, LLC

Toll Free: (888) 743-3128
Email: Ralph.Jarvis@JarvisBusinessSolutions.com
Web site: http://www.JarvisBusinessSolutions.com

Read Full Post »

“Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress.
Working together is success.” ~ Henry Ford
________________________________

Learning how to adopt Sustainability principles to produce a corporation’s awareness of resource consumption like carbon, water, and electricity in order to run their businesses in compliance with existing laws and regulations is based on “lessons learned”.

Sustainability promotes awareness.
Awareness promotes learning and values.
Learning promotes forward thinking to anticipate the future.

If trends continue, Sustainability will be the new competitive tool for business in the 21st Century. It is an internal, external, and a forward facing conviction that embeds and integrates disruptive business practices and technology. Internally, it coordinates your Core Assets that are based on common values. Externally, it addresses externalities and builds outside relationships with those entities. As for forward facing facet, Sustainability always interacts in a dynamic environmental, economic and social environs. Last, but critical to success, is the evolution of innovation that is designed to fit you business needs. It should continue to adapt and provide services to produce products wanted by your customers and address marketplace opportunities based on Sustainability.

If ethical decision making is not part of your due diligence analysis, it should be. For it can be the bridge from your corporate values to the actual “go-no go” decision for a variety of projects and initiatives. It can help steer efforts into avenues that could otherwise be overlooked. Addressing Sustainability and Stewardship in context of approving funding would help ensure your strategic directions are met and align with other business constraints (i.e., ROI, cost reduction, new product development, etc.).

Understanding ethical standards, consequences in violating standards, and the impact on your core assets can have a positive effect on your corporate culture was implemented and enforced prudently. This regarding those values, can have an  underlying  perception that those values are not genuine. Regular discussion, execution for ethical issues in applying those issues and business cases are helpful in ensuring sustainable development and stewardship.

This is an excerpt of my new book “Building a Bridge to Benefits”. Publication date is scheduled for November 2013 and is planned to be available on Amazon. More to come …
_____________________________________________________________________
Jarvis Business Solutions, LLC
Contact Information
Email: Ralph.Jarvis@JarvisBusinessSolutions.com
Blog: http://horizons.JarvisBusinessSolutions.com
Web site: http://www.JarvisBusinessSolutions.com
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/corporatesocialresponsibility/

Lead Smart, Endless Opportunities when Sustainability is driven by Lean Six Sigma
_____________________________________________________________________

Read Full Post »

“Courage is of no value unless accompanied by justice; yet if all men became just, there would be no need for courage.”
~ Agesilaus the Second 443 ~ 359 BC, King of Sparta 401-360 BC
________________________________

I have had my graduate students ask what are non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and why should they be considered as an externality to a corporate organization? A better question might be: Does a business-to-NGO (B2N) relationship exist and should we beware of outside agendas?

First, what is an NGO? The term originated from the United Nations, and normally refers to organizations that are not a part of a government and are not conventional for-profit businesses. In the United States, NGOs are typically nonprofit organizations. The term is usually applied only to organizations that pursue wider social aims that have political aspects, but are not openly political organizations such as political parties.

Second, the term “externality” originated from an economic perspective: a side effect or consequence of an industrial or commercial activity that affects other parties without this being reflected in the cost of the goods or services involved, such as the pollination of surrounding crops by bees kept for honey.

In a Sustainability context, it takes another meaning: Externalities occur when a third party incurs unintended consequences from the market behaviors of others. Externalities can be either negative (pollution, waste clean-up fees that a community must bear, rather than the generator of the waste), or they can be positive (The Clean Water Act generates positive effects for many who were not involved in enacting the bill).

Sustainability is in its infancy and understanding how to manipulate or replace one technology with another, or use a different best practice over another, or even find a better energy source that is reliable, safe, practical and cost effective can be very complex set of decisions and often require innovative approaches. Business must currently utilize existing energy resources to produce goods and services and create jobs and investments.

But, business is always looking for better ways of working. It now recognizes that energy will have a significant impact on our economy in the next 20-50 years. The 18 September issue of the WSJ states; “Companies are increasingly choosing to generate their own power, rather than buying it from a utility, spurred by falling prices for solar panels and natural gas, and fears of outages.”

Executives clearly understand that continuing to rely on local utilities is a risky decision. They also recognize that alternatives can produce significant tangible benefits for the corporation and energy efficiency is one of  those opportunities. So, when costs for alternative energy sources are available, business will migrate.

There is a raging debate about the importance of carbon energy usage. It is neither clear-cut, nor clearly understood. It is often a discussed in simplified terms, but in reality is interwoven into our biosphere and interacts with other recognized issues: global warming, climate change and increasing rise of emissions. But this is an issue that NGOs, like CDP, embrace and often distort to fit their agenda.

“Companies can only reduce their carbon emissions if they know how and when they are emitting”; says Frances Way, Co-Chief Operating Officer, of the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP). That may sound good, but as an executive of an NGO, her perspective is neither objective, nor recognizes what has been implemented and successful without her rhetoric.  She sees CDP as the one change agent for businesses and highlights the importance of reducing carbon emissions. The Guardian journalist, Jo Cafino wrote; “Shame on all of you and the other 90 of the 500 largest listed companies in the world that chose not to give CDP the data it requested.”

So, why didn’t business furnish the data? From an executive’s point of view, compliance is not an NGO-business (B2N) function or purpose. Compliance is based on laws and regulations within governments (B2G) that corporations are legally incorporated and obliged to fulfill. But the drum beat by CDP seems to ignore what many of these companies have successfully done. In many ways they are the leaders of change and have begun the journey of reducing their carbon footprint. Had Cafino and Way actually researched a few of the 90 who didn’t report to CDP, they would have found much more.

If CDP read between the lines, Business is saying you are wasting our time. Sustainability is eliminating all waste: waste from external sources, waste from internal sources and waste from external demands that have already been actively pursued. From a Business perspective, their time has already been expended to resolve all of their Sustainability issues, not only carbon. Here are the their top three and what I found through simple searches on the web:

Amazon’s has demonstrated their commitment to energy reduction, thus reducing their carbon footprint:

  • Energy efficient buildings – usually 35-40 percent of energy use is consumed by buildings. Amazon has constructed six new LEEDs Gold certified buildings.
  • Corporate offices in Munich, Germany have been Gold-certified as environmentally friendly by the German Sustainable Building Council
  • Amazon’s fulfillment centers in Indiana, Pennsylvania and Arizona received LEED certification for their commercial interiors.
  • Beijing, China maximizes the use of natural lighting, saving thousands of kilowatt-hours of power usage each month.

Amazon’s program summary: http://www.amazon.com/b?ie=UTF8&node=13786321

Apple: Since 2009, Apple has measured their Environmental Footprint, not only in their buildings, but they approach it systematically. It included their products, supply chain and end of life cycle. It was a holistic approach. A former executive from EPA was brought in to organize and develop those strategies that would effectively benefit Apple not only in terms of carbon reduction, but included benefits in cost reduction, waste elimination, sales opportunities, brand image and incorporating Sustainability into product development and differentiation. In addition, their data centers (which also consumes 25-40 percent of energy in most corporations) are now powered 100 percent by renewable sources (e.g., solar, wind, hydro, and geothermal). Apple’s program: http://www.apple.com/environment/

Facebook is often controversial. Its privacy policies and lack of transparency are often problematic. So, when the issue regarding carbon usage or even applying Sustainability is not clear; therefore, their organization is easy to target its brand image.

So, what is an NGO? CDP is an organization that pursues wider social aims that have political aspects. It could also be viewed as an organization with an suspicious agenda. In this case, it demands information without authority, one that duplicates efforts from the business-government relationship model (B2G). So, in this context, what is the value-added? Maybe CDP should be obliged to apply Transparency themselves?

For those interested in the original articles, their links are provided below:

Original articles

An NGO opinion: Report shows companies still don’t take climate change seriously – CDP analysis reveal lack of action on emissions by top FTSE Global 500 corporations

http://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/blog/cdp-report-companies-emissions-failing?goback=.gmp_59299.gde_59299_member_273381545#!

Another NGO opinion: Full disclosure on carbon emissions is the only way to save the planet. Shame on you, Apple, Facebook and Amazon. It is nothing short of a disgrace these three brands and 94 other major corporations refuse to divulge carbon emissions data to global NGO CDP. Read about the 97 brands, including Apple, Facebook and Amazon, which refuse to disclose their carbon emissions

http://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/apple-facebook-amazon-carbon-emissions-reporting

Read Full Post »

Your leadership provides the vision for the future and encourages employee-led changes to improve procedures, processes and effective innovation for now and the future. Leading your people by empowering them with skills and knowledge is a critical success factor for sustainable transformation.   ~ Ralph Jarvis
________________________________

Like any other form of transformation, Sustainability must be embraced by ALL stakeholders. Having years of Business, Government and IT Transformation experience, I have seen organizations present change as an elective – in that scenario, it is always a disaster in the making. Executives must be engaged. Middle management must be engaged.  All employees must be engaged and empowered. But all of this will only work if there is a clear Vision – for Sustainability is more like a cause.

Stakeholders need to clearly understand their role and impact on the company when they do not “own” their new responsibilities. Transformation is serious business and should be executed that way. This article is a good example of NOT thinking through the true business case for Sustainability …

FastCompany article:  3 Hidden Killers Of Sustainability Programs

_____________________________________________________________________
Jarvis Business Solutions, LLC
Contact Information
Email: Ralph.Jarvis@JarvisBusinessSolutions.com
Blog: http://horizons.JarvisBusinessSolutions.com
Web site: http://www.JarvisBusinessSolutions.com
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/corporatesocialresponsibility/

Lead Smart, Endless Opportunities when Sustainability is driven by Lean Six Sigma
_____________________________________________________________________

Read Full Post »

Your leadership provides the vision for the future and enlisting employee-led procedures, processes and effective innovation for now and the future. Leading your people by empowering them with skills and knowledge is a critical success factor for transformation.

“”There should be a focus on integrated reporting of CSR and financial results, which could bring about an alignment of Sustainability with economic performance.”  ~ Fulvio Conti, Enel S.p.A.

CEOs see Sustainability shifting from a choice to a corporate priority. Sustainability leadership and culture embeds CSR into how employees and executives think about strategy and execution. Recent economic downturn raised importance of sustainability as an issue for top management to 80 percent[1].


[1] Aman Singh, New Survey: CEOs See Sustainability Shifting From Choice To Corporate Priority, Forbes,6/23/2010

 

Read Full Post »

Theodore Roosevelt Memorial waterInventories can be managed but people must be led.” – Henry Ross Perot

In a recent sermon, my minster discussed colloquial use of the word “used”. He illustrated an example of its value two thousand years ago. In those days, it was common to use things and love people. Well, have we turned that meaning around and love things and use people? What has happened with our values in today’s new modern world?  Has humanity simply ignored stewardship principles for profit or is it a case where our high tech society is no longer linked to agrarian mores and values? So, in terms of Sustainability, has mankind placed to much emphasis on things without regarding the consequences to resources and ultimately our whole planet?

As Americans, we have that heritage reflected in what Theodore Roosevelt said over a century ago; “To waste, to destroy our natural resources, to skin and exhaust the land instead of using it so as to increase its usefulness, will result in undermining in the days of our children the very prosperity which we ought by right to hand down to them amplified and developed.”

Perhaps it was better said almost 500 years ago, regarding changing the status quo:

“There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things.”  ~ Niccolo Machiavelli, The Prince (1532)

Read Full Post »

Business Roundtable is an association of chief executive officers of leading US companies with nearly $6 trillion in annual revenues and more than 13 million employees. BRT member companies comprise nearly 1/3 of the total value of the US stock market best more than $114 billion annually in research and development –  nearly half of all private US R&D spending. Those companies pay more than $179 billion in dividends to shareholders. The BRT companies get nearly $9 billion a year in combined her contributions. (Source: Business Roundtable for 2011)

Serve your Customers, for they are the driving force for survivability. Eliminate Waste, both internally and externally. Collaboration is vital communication. Focus on your Core Assets. Be Transparent and verify your Tangible Benefits.

Accurately measure effectiveness of your strategies. Provide the underpinnings:

  • Lean Accounting, Sustainability Accounting and aligning IT efforts to capture your data elements.
  • Engage you auditors and listen to their improvements. These processes are your company’s linchpins to the “golden thread”.
  • They must work in harmony with the marketplace to ensure success for new possibilities in the present and in the future.

Read Full Post »

A recent political cartoon depicted Obama sitting in a chair. He is swamped by a pack of dogs, eager to receive his affection. The cartoon entitled “vicious media watch dogs” encapsulated the media industry’s criticism in biased reporting. Obviously these “vicious media watch dogs” are diverted from their mission, but we should put this in contrast with what has recently happened to executives at BBC and the decision by the Australian Broadcast Corporation to publicly post its transparency and Sustainability intentions clearly on their website.

Public Perception of Bias

Now, fewer Americans closely follow political news than in previous election years due to a perception of bias.[i] Sixty percent of Americans perceive a political bias, almost 4 to 1. With 47% those surveyed saying the media are too liberal and 13% saying they are too conservative. Similar results were report by Gallup in the preceding year.

Americans are clearly down on the news media this election year, with a record-high six in 10 expressing little or no trust in the mass media’s ability to report the news fully, accurately, and fairly. This likely reflects the continuation of the trend seen in recent years, combined with the increased negativity toward the media that election years tend to bring. This is particularly consequential at a time when Americans need to rely on the media to learn about the platforms and perspectives of the two candidates vying to lead the country for the next four years.

Independents and Republicans drive this year’s decline in media trust. The 31% and 26%, respectively, who express a great deal or fair amount of trust are record lows and are down significantly from last year. Republicans’ level of trust this year is similar to what they expressed in the fall of 2008, implying that they are especially critical of election coverage.

On a broad level, Americans’ high level of distrust in the media poses a challenge to democracy and to creating a fully engaged citizenry. Media sources must clearly do more to earn the trust of Americans, the majority of whom see the media as biased one way or the other. At the same time, there is an opportunity for others outside the “mass media” to serve as information sources that Americans do trust.[ii]

Media Distrust of Transparency

News organizations cultivate a reputation for demanding transparency, whether by suing for access to government documents, dispatching camera crews to the doorsteps of recalcitrant politicians, or editorializing in favor of open government.

But now many of the country’s biggest media companies, which own dozens of newspapers and TV news operations, are flexing their muscle in Washington in a fight against a government initiative to increase transparency of political spending.

The corporate owners or sister companies of some of the biggest names in journalism — NBC News, ABC News, Fox News, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Politico, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and dozens of local TV news outlets — are lobbying against a Federal Communications Commission measure that would require broadcasters to post political ad data on the Internet.

… political ad data is public by law but is not widely accessible because it is currently kept only in paper files at individual stations. The FCC has proposed fixing that by requiring broadcasters to post on the Internet details of political ad purchases including the identity of the buyer and the price. [iii]

Television stations by law must offer political candidates the lowest rates on ads. Broadcasters have argued that by making this information available online and not just at stations, it would hurt their ability to negotiate with other advertisers.

Advocates for the online disclosure rule have countered that the political ad information is already public by law and the measure would simply make the existing disclosure rules relevant for the Internet age. They have also pointed out that keeping paper files in electronic form should actually be more efficient for stations.[iv]

Guarding Trust and Brand

Although U.S. media seems to ignore transparency principles, executive commitment across the Atlantic is taking transparency seriously. Because of poor news investigation, BBC is taking transparency to heart by making executive changes.

Last week, George Entwistle, the director general of the BBC, was forced to resign after a wave of public criticism. In late 2011, Entwistle was the head of BBC television, and thus ultimately responsible for airing the tributes to Jimmy Savile. He had died in 2011 and allegedly sexually abused a number of underage female teens. Again, on November 12, two more editors were forced to step down at BBC as the investigation continued to report about allegations of sexual abuse against longtime star Jimmy Savile. [v]

BBC Trust chairman Chris Patten said on Sunday confidence had to be restored if the publicly funded corporation was to withstand pressure from rivals, especially Rupert Murdoch’s media empire, which would try to take advantage of the turmoil. “If you’re saying, ‘Does the BBC need a thorough structural radical overhaul?’, then absolutely it does, and that is what we will have to do,” Patten, a one-time senior figure in Prime Minister David Cameron‘s Conservative Party and the last British governor of Hong Kong, told BBC television.[vi]

Does Transparency Exist for the U.S. Media?

Full transparency is a litmus test for leadership’s commitment. Are transparency principles actually recognized by U.S. media corporations? If these executives are not supporting transparency, then the support for Sustainability is definitively in question. On the other hand, if the executives are supporting transparency, are media companies being influenced by external organizations that affect their decision-making, affecting business strategies or compromising ethical standards? Here are other issues that could abrogate transparency:

  • Do special interest groups drive media companies?
  • Does government regulations over campaign laws limit freedom of speech?
  • Are media companies politically engaged for one side over another and simultaneously taking revenues from both sides?

Conflict of interests is often investigated by news media regarding government legislation and business dealings. Results are breaking news worthy stories, possible convictions and perhaps new legislation that address the abuse. How is conflict of interests addressed within contemporary media companies? From a brand viewpoint, this would be risk to brand. Here are a few questions that recognize the impact on their customers, political affiliation or overlooking risks to brand:

  • Are media companies addressing their audience’s need for information to make educated decisions, such as voting?
  • Is there conflict of interests in balancing information from media companies with alignment to political parties?
  • Are media companies empowered by their audiences or do they manipulate them?
  • Are freelance writers held to the same level of quality and reliability than their staff journalists?
  • Are editors verifying content before publishing and are they effectively executing due diligence?

Unbiased fact checking that is nonpartisan, by nature, by balancing reporting objectively would improve media’s standing. In this case there is a prime example: The League of Women Voters use a standard of “neither supporting nor opposing candidates or political parties at any level of government, but always working on vital issues of concern to members and the public.”

  • Do media companies embrace similar standards as the League for Women Voters?
  • Do media companies report on self-censorship?
  • Should media companies be held accountable for its perceived bias or keep ignoring it?
  • How do media companies exercise the right to freedom of expression for the individual?
  • As a media company, does it reflect cultural diversity through content for the entire population or is it selective?

Media and Sustainability

Australian Broadcast Corporation is a good example of applied transparency outlining their Sustainability initiative, goals and sharing those details with the public. Taken directly from their web, they define Corporate Responsibility as:

The ABC is committed to Corporate Social Responsibility and aims to deliver content with integrity, diligence and transparency and acts in the interests of the Australian community. This responsibility ensures the ABC focuses on the impacts of its decisions and business activities on society, the marketplace, and the environment. The ABC is committed to fulfilling its objectives across all business and broadcasting activities in a manner that is ethical, financially responsible, manages its impact on the environment and people, and is beneficial to the community.[vii]

In addition, ABC approaches Sustainability with general accepted tools for reporting their progress, the GRI:

The ABC utilizes the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) framework in the preparation of its Sustainability Report. GRI’s Sustainability Reporting Framework provides a common language for companies and organizations to measure and report their Sustainability performance. The framework relies on key reporting principles of transparency, inclusiveness, stakeholder engagement and materiality.[viii]

In contrast, most American media corporations emphasize “green” initiatives and banal slogans like “generalize their concern for the planet”, “that strives to use its power and reach for the public good”, “has earned the distinction of being a public trust”, “while identifying opportunities for energy savings and innovation”. Most American media corporations do not document transparency or indicate usage in their annual Sustainability Reports or websites. Why is transparency not given visibility?

Is GRI the answer?

As a mechanism for promoting integrity and accountability, Global Reporting Initiative’s (GRI’s) project is both worthwhile and timely. The discussion to be had is not about the legitimacy of GRI’s objectives but the practicalities of how these are to be accomplished.

It is difficult to see us arriving at a commonly accepted definition of what it means for a media company to be environmentally, socially and financially sustainable. But if anyone can come close to such a compromise, it is bound to be the GRI.[ix]

The Media Supplement’s additional commentaries and Performance Indicators, developed especially for the sector, capture the issues that matter most for media organizations:

  • Ownership structure
  • Transparency on decision making processes and public policy
  • Editorial independence
  • Financial assistance and advertising revenues from governments and non-government sources
  • Freedom of expression
  • Approaches to the creation and dissemination of content
  • Use of paper and inks [x]

Does the GRI ensure transparency or Sustainability? No, it is only a tool for those companies truly committed to Sustainability. However, adopting this tool is a part of your best practices and is based on fact gathering in your organization. Dr. Peter Drucker once said, “what gets measured gets done.” When a company publicly discloses Sustainability data and goals, measures its progress, then its much more likely to attain those goals.

Transparency, a Lens to Sustainability

Transparency is a lens to examine the core values of an organization. It is insight to corporate mores. Are there barriers and reluctance to publicly share and be transparent? Is it corruption, is it ashamed of poor business practices, or does it have a poor business reputation in the community? In contrast, is it open, is it responsible, is it engaged with the community and clearly listens to its constituents? What transparency should be:

  • Executive Commitment is a long-term journey with Transparency, Sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility. It is a leadership role and resolves redefinition of their organization to create an environment that weaves new principles into their corporate culture.
  • Accountability is ownership of responsibility, including a sense of fairness.
  • Ethics is doing the right thing for the right reason. There are many definitions as to what ethics encompasses:

the discipline dealing with what is good and bad and with moral duty and obligation;
decisions, choices, and actions we make that reflect and enact our values;
a set of moral principles or values;
a theory or system of moral values; and/or
a guiding philosophy.[xi]

Conclusions

The U.S. media appears to broadcast a “green” initiative in their organizations without true transparency. A strategy that ignores transparency is reminiscent of the old TV commercial; “where’s the beef?” It appears to be “green” in name only without sharing transparency strategies, objectives or data.

Sustainability is not an expendable marketing campaign; rather it’s a refection of benefits established with honest strategic effort, results, and best practices. It must be imprinted into your corporate culture, it should be a long-term commitment and be transparent to the public. It must be interwoven with business strategies. It must engage and build relationships  with external organizations. Sustainability is about measurable transformation, internally and externally. Sustainability is more than platitudes and recycling efforts. It should be able to show financial benefits directly relating to waste reduction, conservation, improvement of internal processes and engagement with external publics (i.e., NGOs, Governments, Customers, Suppliers, etc.).

Consider the consequences. If they do not change and continue building risk to their brand that could have a financial impact, address the issue and establish self-governing principles or risk government regulations that could have political ramifications, as well. Will American media industry choose self-censorship and turn to using transparency to demonstrate accountability and commitment to fair reporting, regardless of complexity or will it continue to erode trust and foster a perceived agenda that is biased? Are U.S. media companies approaching distrust by betting against public backlash?

Look at the well thought out approach in Britain and Australia. In Britain, the decision will rest on the benefits garnered by BBC’s courage to change course for the right reasons. They acknowledge that the hard earned trust of the public is fundamental to British citizen’s presumption to encapsulate integrity in daily news broadcasts. It also shows that ABC has spent considerable time in understanding Sustainability and publicly sharing their strategies. Both BBC and ABC demonstrate clear examples of commitment and responsibility driven by Sustainability.

So, will U.S. media recognize benefits of presumption of transparency like their media cousins, or will it be business as usual, based on continued distrust and potential for public backlash?


[i] Lymari Morales, U.S. Distrust in Media Hits New High, Gallup, September 21, 2012; Retrieved: 10 Nov 2012
[ii] Lymari Morales, Ibid.; Retrieved: 10 Nov 2012
[iii] Justin Elliott, Big Media Lobbies Against Transparency, ProPublica, Apr 23, 2012; Retrieved: 10 Nov 2012
[iv] Justin Elliott, Ibid., Apr 23, 2012
[v] Peter Jukes, Two More Resign as Savile Fallout Continues at the BBC, The Daily Beast, 12 Nov 2012
[vi] Michael Holden and Kate Holton, BBC Head Says Broadcaster Must Reform Or Die, Reuters, Nov 12, 2012
[vii] Australian Broadcast Corporation, http://www.abc.net.au/, Retrieved: 16 November 2012
[viii] ABC, Ibid., 16, November 2012
[ix] Christian Toennesen, Can the Global Reporting Initiative help restore faith in the media, The Guardian, guardian.co.uk, July 2011
[x] Global Reporting Initiative, http://www.globalreporting.org; GRI provides sector guidance for the media industry, enabling media companies to measure and report their sustainability performance. Retrieved: 10 Nov 2012
[xi] From “Creating a Workable Company Code of Conduct,” 2003, Ethics Resource Center

Read Full Post »

Published by TED. Doris Kim Sung is a biology student turned architect interested in thermo-bimetals, smart materials that respond dynamically to temperature change.

“[Skin is] the first line of defense for the body.  Our building skins should be more similar to human skin.”       ~ Doris Kim Sung

Modern buildings with floor-to-ceiling windows give spectacular views, but they require a lot of energy to cool. Doris Kim Sung works with thermo-bimetals, smart materials that act more like human skin, dynamically and responsively, and can shade a room from sun and self-ventilate.

Related articles

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: