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“He who is fixed to a star does not change his mind.” ~Leonardo Da Vinci
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Today’s businesses face a constantly changing landscape that will force closer collaboration between businesses and their community through Sustainability initiatives. Solid partnership between business and community groups will not happen overnight. There are too many changes in strategy, culture, organization and processes. Yet it is a critical shift beyond just environmental considerations to become a key contributor to the value of the community. For those Sustainable Developed strategies, stakeholders must take an active part in strategic planning and day-to-day execution.

Companies will continue to be under pressure to generate value in the Sustainability portfolio that pays the way to operational efficiencies, growth and innovation to increase a competitive advantage. This is only be realized to strong integration that places business value at the center. Collaborative customer centric strategies, supported by Sustainable Develop strategies chosen for the return it will provide, will become the rule rather than the exception. Sustainability will be the model for business in the 21st-century.

The road to these new Business models and strategies is not an easily journey. But neither can it be avoided. Companies that began taking the first steps towards strengthening their business with Sustainability solutions, Business partnerships and move strategically towards tomorrow’s more flexible strategies will be favorably positioned for continued success and growth. Sustainability is an evolutionary process and builds on previous stages of development:

• First, Sustainability is a new mindset and focuses on awareness how resources are used, wastes created and compliance with regulations.

• Second, understanding leads to elimination of waste. This conviction will be a key driver, encouraging optimization of processes as an underpinning to successful Sustainability, reaping costs savings and increased productivity.

• Third, leverage your Sustainability effort to differentiate your products. Build a closer relationship with existing Customers to address their needs and differentiate new products for new customers.

• Fourth, interleave Sustainability throughout your corporate strategies (Operations, IT, Marketing etc) and create a comprehensive single “Sustainability strategy” for both external and internal communities.

• Fifth, promote and refine your aspirational strategies for philanthropy (e.g., breast cancer, military vet programs, diseases, etc), restoration (e.g., wetlands, reforestations, etc.), other social and environmental issues. For those efforts will reflect on your brand image, but remind yourself that continued optimization is ongoing for a Sustainable enterprise, not a one time goal.

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The 21st century will be Renaissance of Sustainability, it will be the convergence of science, engineering, art and understanding of nature.

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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
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Contact information and Services
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Jarvis Business Solutions, LLC

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Email: Ralph.Jarvis@JarvisBusinessSolutions.com
Web site: http://www.JarvisBusinessSolutions.com

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“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
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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

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“Good business leaders create a vision, articulate the vision, passionately own the vision, and relentlessly drive it to completion.” ~ Jack Welch
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Companies in all sectors need to prepare themselves for a world where raw materials may be in short supply[1]. Within the next five years, resources will be affected and their shortages will impact industries and products delayed to the marketplace. Most significant will be shortage of food and water. These are only examples, but assuming continued population growth and demand for products, the shortages will become much larger and more critical as we move closer to 2050. The future scenarios are topics of repeated studies and reports that provide insight how business “as usual” will need to adapt. Business models that embrace Sustainability will be better prepared and better positioned to survive major disruptions in resources.

“More and more companies are embracing Sustainability as a cornerstone in their strategy to build competitive advantage. There is clearly strategic thinking going on at the highest level in business and government.”

At the same time, Haugland[2] warns that “there is still a large number of companies that are not acting decisively on Sustainability issues due to the lack of knowledge and organizational capabilities…and ultimately this will lead to winners and losers. Put simply, Sustainability matters to business and those who take it seriously and use it as a source for innovation will prosper in the years ahead[3].”

Peter Graf, Chief Sustainability Officer of SAP. Graf runs the Sustainability business at SAP that creates products to help companies become more Sustainability. He laid out four stages that most companies move through as they use Sustainability principles as a lens to better understand operations and improve efficiency and productivity.

  • First, companies become more aware of how they are using resources like carbon, water, electricity in order to run their businesses in compliance with regulations.
  • Second, companies use the increased awareness to optimize their processes, reaping financial benefits through cost savings and increased productivity.
  • Third, companies leverage Sustainability to differentiate their offerings to the market.
  • Fourth, companies weave Sustainability into their overall corporate strategy, as opposed to simply trumpeting a separate “Sustainability strategy[4].”

Footnotes:
[1] KMPG; Expect the Unexpected: Building business value in a changing world; KPMG International; 2012
[2] DNV’s Chief Operating Officer Bjørn K. Haugland underlines growing interest in sustainability as business case.
[3] Brewer, Stuart; COO beat sustainability drum; DNV (Det Norske Veritas); http://www.dnv.com; 29 Oct 2010; Retrieved: 6 Aug 2013
[4] Woods, Dan; “Four Steps to Improving Profits through Sustainability”, Interview of Peter Graf, Chief Sustainability Officer, SAP; Forbes: CIO Network: Mar. 31 2011; Retrieved 31 March 2011

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 …

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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/
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This was a published press release by KPMG, and outlines the ten megaforces which will shape the commercial landscape for the next 20 years. Articles, reposts and videos, in this category, will relate to current and possible future impact of these ten megaforces.

The KPMG study, Expect the Unexpected: Building Business Value in a Changing World, explores issues such as climate change, energy and fuel volatility, water availability and cost and resource availability, as well as population growth spawning new urban centers. The analysis examines how these global forces may impact business and industry, calculates the environmental costs to business, and calls for business and policymakers to work more closely to mitigate future business risk and act on opportunities.
Michael Andrew, Chairman of KPMG International, said: “We are living in a resource-constrained world. The rapid growth of developing markets, climate change, and issues of energy and water security are among the forces that will exert tremendous pressure on both business and society.”
“We know that governments alone cannot address these challenges. Business must take a leadership role in the development of solutions that will help to create a more sustainable future. By leveraging its ability to enhance processes, create efficiencies, manage risk, and drive innovation, business will contribute to society and long-term economic growth.”
The KPMG research finds that the external environmental costs, which today are often not shown on financial statements**, of 11 key industry sectors jumped 50 percent from US$566 to US$846 billion in 8 years (2002 to 2010), averaging a doubling of these costs every 14 years.

The 10 global sustainability megaforces that may impact business over the next two decades are:

  1. Climate Change: This may be the one global megaforce that directly impacts all others. Predictions of annual output losses from climate change range between 1 percent per year, if strong and early action is taken, to as much as 5 percent a year–if policymakers fail to act.
  2. Energy & Fuel: fossil fuel markets are likely to become more volatile and unpredictable because of higher global energy demand; changes in the geographical pattern of consumption; supply and production uncertainties and increasing regulatory interventions related to climate change.
  3. Material Resource Scarcity: as developing countries industrialize rapidly, global demand for material resources is predicted to increase dramatically. Business is likely to face increasing trade restrictions and intense global competition for a wide range of material resources that become less easily available. Scarcity also creates opportunities to develop substitute materials or to recover materials from waste.
  4. Water Scarcity: it is predicted that by 2030, the global demand for freshwater will exceed supply by 40 percent. Businesses may be vulnerable to water shortages, declines in water quality, water price volatility, and to reputational challenges.
  5. Population Growth: The world population is expected to grow to 8.4 billion by 2032. This will place intense pressures on ecosystems and the supply of natural resources such as food, water, energy and materials. While this is a threat for business, there are also opportunities to grow commerce and create jobs, and to innovate to address the needs of growing populations for agriculture, sanitation, education, technology, finance, and healthcare.
  6. Wealth: the global middle class (defined by the OECD as individuals with disposable income of between US$10 and US$100 per capita per day) is predicted to grow 172 percent between 2010 and 2030. The challenge for businesses is to serve this new middle class market at a time when resources are likely to be scarcer and more price volatile. The advantages many companies experienced in the last two decades from “cheap labor” in developing nations are likely to be eroded by the growth and power of the global middle class.
  7. Urbanization: in 2009, for the first time ever, more people lived in cities than in the countryside. By 2030 all developing regions including Asia and Africa are expected to have the majority of their inhabitants living in urban areas; virtually all Population Growth over the next 30 years will be in cities. These cities will require extensive improvements in infrastructure including construction, water and sanitation, electricity, waste, transport, health, public safety and internet and cell phone connectivity.
  8. Food Security: in the next two decades the global food production system will come under increasing pressure from megaforces including Population Growth, Water Scarcity and Deforestation. Global food prices are predicted to rise 70 to 90 percent by 2030. In water-scarce regions, agricultural producers are likely to have to compete for supplies with other water-intensive industries such as electric utilities and mining, and with consumers. Intervention will be required to reverse growing localized food shortages (the number of chronically under-nourished people rose from 842 million during the late 1990s to over one billion in 2009).
  9. Ecosystem Decline: historically, the main business risk of declining biodiversity and ecosystem services has been to corporate reputations. However, as global ecosystems show increasing signs of breakdown and stress, more companies are realizing how dependent their operations are on the critical services these ecosystems provide. The decline in ecosystems is making natural resources scarcer, more expensive and less diverse; increasing the costs of water and escalating the damage caused by invasive species to sectors including agriculture, fishing, food and beverages, pharmaceuticals and tourism.
  10. Deforestation: Forests are big business – wood products contributed $100 billion per year to the global economy from 2003 to 2007 and the value of non-wood forest products, mostly food, was estimated at about US$18.5 billion in 2005. Yet the OECD projects that forest areas will decline globally by 13 percent from 2005 to 2030, mostly in South Asia and Africa. The timber industry and downstream industries such as pulp and paper are vulnerable to potential regulation to slow or reverse deforestation. Companies may also find themselves under increasing pressure from customers to prove that their products are sustainable through the use of certification standards. Business opportunities may arise through the development of market mechanisms and economic incentives to reduce the rate of deforestation.

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Press Release, KPMG, Sustainability “Megaforces” Impact on Business Will Accelerate, Finds KPMG, 14 Feb 2012; Retrieved: 14 Feb 2012

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Participants from more than seventy countries attended GRI’s previous Conferences in 2006, 2008 and 2010. For the 2013 Conference, GRI aims to increase attendance, uniting over 1500 delegates from business, finance, accountancy, consultancy, civil society, government, labor and academia. Leaders in these fields will share their knowledge on the roles of government, business and civil society in driving change and developing a new vision for sustainable, equitable growth.

Given that future prosperity depends on our collective ability to solve today’s most pressing global challenges, the entire global economy must move towards a more sustainable future,” said Marjolein Baghuis, Director – Communications and Network Relations at GRI.

With the theme of Information – Integration – Innovation, the Conference will give participants new knowledge and insight about sustainability reporting, which can be built on and disseminated to enable a step change to a sustainable future.

To increase transparency and find solutions to sustainability challenges, it is important to stay informed of new trends and developments in the field. Companies and investors need better information to assess risk, measure performance, and identify market opportunities. Governments and consumers need better information to make policy and purchasing decisions. A sustainable global economy will be built on the disclosure of sustainability information, and this important topic will be a key component of the first day of the Conference, setting the agenda for the days to come.

To ensure this new information is utilized in the best way, an integrated strategy is needed. “Integrated thinking will enable companies to factor sustainability into their operations, business models, and measures of success,” said Baghuis. “Collaboration between organizations and stakeholders, across sectors and regions, will mean that shared values and best practices can accelerate change.” Participants will also be inspired to integrate their learning from the interactive sessions on day two, and from the Academic Conference on days two and three.

Creating a sustainable global economy is an innovation challenge. Stakeholder engagement, value creation, community involvement – leading organizations are innovating in these and other important areas. The Conference is taking place at a critical time, when leaders from different constituencies can collaborate to connect up and capitalize on these innovations.

Innovation will also be showcased at the Conference with the launch of the next generation of GRI’s Sustainability Reporting Guidelines – G4. The culmination of fifteen years of expert and public inputs, G4 aims to offer organizations the fit-for-purpose, common reporting language that we need.

Sustainability reporting is reaching a tipping point. If you want to participate in creating a sustainable global economy, don’t miss out – join GRI at the must-attend sustainability leadership event of 2013.

(Source: Global Reporting Initiative)

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Southern Hemisphere of Earth (Lambert azimutha...

Written by Matt McGrath, Science reporter for BBC World Service, published November 1, 2012. The commission was considering proposals for marine reserves in two critical areas of the Ross Sea.

Governments meeting in Australia have failed to reach agreement on new marine protected areas for the Antarctic ocean. They have deferred a decision until July 2013 when all the relevant science will be considered. Environmental groups have expressed deep concern about the lack of consensus on how to develop a network of protected zones.

“This responsibility, and this failure, rests with all the members.” ~ Jim Barnes, Antarctic and Southern Ocean Coalition

They blame Russia, China and Ukraine for blocking agreement. For the past two weeks the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) has been meeting in Tasmania.

What has the CCAMLR accomplished previously?

  • CCAMLR has established just one Marine Protected Area in the Antarctic so far.
  • They have designated 11 priority areas in the Southern Ocean from which most MPAs will be created.
  • Governments have set a goal of extending protected areas to ten percent of the world’s oceans

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English: Art Buchwald, Miami Book Fair Interna...

English: Art Buchwald, Miami Book Fair International, 1989 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

His column focused on political satire and commentary. He received the Pulitzer Prize for Outstanding Commentary and was elected to the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters. Clever, witty, and smart, he who would take swings at life’s inane behavior, whether public or political, with a salvo of words that usually had a twist of wisdom. Read what he said about our society:

“And Man created the plastic bag and the tin and aluminum can and the cellophane wrapper and the paper plate, and this was good because Man could then take his automobile and buy all his food in one place and He could save that which was good to eat in the refrigerator and throw away that which had no further use. And soon the earth was covered with plastic bags and aluminum cans and paper plates and disposable bottles and there was nowhere to sit down or walk, and Man shook his head and cried: “Look at this Godawful mess.”  ~ Art Buchwald

Stop and think about it … you might want to read the next guy, being less verbose and more succinct, express a similar frustration.

“What we are doing to the forests of the world is but a mirror reflection of what we are doing to ourselves and to one another..”   ~ Mahatma Gandhi

Stop and think about it …

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President of the United States Theodore Roosev...

President of the United States Theodore Roosevelt, head-and-shoulders portrait, facing front. Deutsch: Theodore Roosevelt (1858–1919), Präsident der Vereinigten Staaten von 1901 bis 1909, Friedensnobelpreisträger des Jahres 1906. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Over one hundred years ago, our then president, Theodore Roosevelt, was particular interested in our natural resources, the people and cultures of our country and the need to remind everyone that we should improve those resources for future generations. Please keep in mind that the term Sustainability had not been coined, but the desire to to the “right thing” was so clearly embedded in Roosevelt’s thoughts and deeds.

“Here is your country. Cherish these natural wonders, cherish the natural resources, cherish the history and romance as a sacred heritage, for your children and your children’s children. Do not let selfish men or greedy interests skin your country of its beauty, its riches or its romance.”
~ Theodore Roosevelt

“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.”
~ Theodore Roosevelt

“We should not forget that it will be just as important to our descendants to be prosperous in their time as it is to us to be prosperous in our time.”
~ Theodore Roosevelt

I wonder what Roosevelt would have said in today’s context. Would he have been an environmental activist, a commander of industrial leaders, a rebel who would have had indigestion with international organizations and NGOs? We shall never know, but one thing we do know now is his love for this country, its people and the resources that stretch from one ocean to the next.

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Yochai Benkler explains how collaborative projects like Wikipedia and Linux represent the next stage of human organization.

Today, we have many sources of information and knowledge. That is true for topics surrounding Corporate Social Responsibility, Sustainability, Business Transformation, etc. I have discovered some very good videos that are supported by the Creative Commons (CC) license and comply with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). For more information, please go to originating sites for more information (TED, YouTube, and other  web sites). We hope you enjoy these videos and share with your friends and colleagues.

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Since the counterculture Sixties, Stewart Brand has been a critical thinker and innovator who helped lay the foundations of our internetworked world.

Today, we have many sources of information and knowledge. That is true for topics surrounding Corporate Social Responsibility, Sustainability, Business Transformation, etc. I have discovered some very good videos that are supported by the Creative Commons (CC) license and comply with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). For more information, please go to originating sites for more information (TED, YouTube, and other  web sites). We hope you enjoy these videos and share with your friends and colleagues.

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