Archive for March, 2011

March 21, 2011

Information I like…

Business and WATER….this is a gentle, respectful commentary on how business is working on using water with care and control.

http://srlink.x.iabc.com/2011/03/13/still-waters-run-deep-%e2%80%93-five-barriers-to-effective-water-disclosure-and-how-to-overcome-them/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+SR_LINK+%28SR+LINK%29&utm_content=Google+Reader

And the other side of the coin…..WATER the people need and do not get.

A Moment of Silence for Dying Millions on World Water Day

http://ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=54913

March 17, 2011

The World’s Most Ethical Companies

THe Ethishere Institute has released its Most Ethical Companies List for 2011. HDFC is the only company from India.

http://ethisphere.com/2011-worlds-most-ethical-companies/

March 13, 2011

BP pushed to recognize the value of an apology?

Here is a comment on the recently tendered apology by the BP CEO: http://blogs.forbes.com/christopherhelman/2011/03/08/bps-dudley-says-hes-sorry/

And here is another: http://www.bnet.com/blog/clean-energy/beyond-apology-what-bp-ceo-dudley-has-actually-done-to-improve-safety/4381

Saying you are sorry takes little time but a lot of courage. For BP the coming in of a new CEO was probably the only time this could be done. So far so good. But as these bloggers point out BP is now setting up a central safety organization to look into something which by the very nature of their business should perhaps have been their top concern all along. Safety in some types of business operations is not negotiable nor is it something you get a bonus for. And when management sees this as the driving force then clearly they still have a long way to go to get their thinking right.

Socially and environmentally, India cannot afford the luxury of trial and error in the management and use of our natural resources. Or the running of hazardous industries. Our worst moment was clearly Bhopal. And there we were at the mercy of MNCs, although the local management was Indian. The issue then too was degraded safety measures. Since then the buck has been passed to Dow who inherited this disaster when they purchased Union Carbide. No voluntary steps however have been taken to finish this story in any humane and acceptable way. And certainly no apology has been made to what is the third generation of badly affected human beings.

Wherever the matter of compensation for victims comes in, the companies cry foul and say regulators push them to give away more than is warranted. This happened and is still happening in Bhopal and this issue has been raised in the Gulf Oil payouts. Are these companies concerned about the real human cost of these disasters? Do they see this as a responsibility? Or will business ethics and responsibility remain a catch phrases for just annual reports?

March 4, 2011

Brands and the City: Making them Smart!

This is more interesting to read. Three tech giants come together to make a worthy urban commitment. Cisco, IBM and Microsoft are experimenting with systems that could create ‘green cloud’ cities in the future.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/03/02/idUS403237345120110302

March 2, 2011

Brands and the City: Urban Commitments or Marketing Gimmick?

The idea of urban revival and renewal is not new but the entry of big brands into this space is. Most of the initiatives, however, that have euphemistically been called urban commitments bend heavily towards consumer engagement and creative marketing and not towards improving city and community life. 

Here are some examples culled from sundry sources:

Guinness: ‘Bring it Life Awards’  invited people aged between 25 and 35 to send ideas for a chance to win funding for community improvement projects. http://www.unltd.org.uk/arthur-guinness-fund-awards/index.html

BMW: Asked students of the European Institute of Design in Barcelona majoring in automotive design and fashion to think on the future of transportation. The twist was to make sure that these modes of transport were ‘wearable’ by the person. The best ideas were on display this January in Barcelona. See the results here: http://www.bmwblog.com/2011/01/26/bmw-envisions-a-future-of-wearable-transportation/

Frito-Lay: Created a “Lay’s Mobile Farm,” a 70-foot long, 10-foot wide and 14-foot high traveling greenhouse, to educate local people about gardening and give them an opportunity to interact with plants. The initiative was to roll out in NYC, Boston, Detroit, Chicago, Los Angeles and Dallas.http://popsop.com/36954

Heinz: Did something similar as part of the promotion for its Salad Cream, created a ‘crop-up’ plot in Soho Square London and invited passers-by to pick a mix of vegetables (tomatoes, lettuce, celery, carrots and many more) just from the patches and several minutes later try them in a salad or sandwich, which was dressed with Heinz Salad Cream at the special on-site cooking facilities.http://popsop.com/37378

Kraft Foods brand Triscuit is supporting the movement to grow your own foods in a big way with their website dedicated to home farming. The site  focuses on interaction, education, and support to get consumers involved with  all across the United States.http://www.kraftbrands.com/homefarming/Pages/default.aspx