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  • Capitalism Under Stress

    28 Apr 2011 – Sam Mountford

    So America’s love affair with free-market capitalism is turning sour, according to the latest round of GlobeScan polling across 25 countries, released on 6 April. For years, the US led the world in its enthusiasm for free-market economics – but the fallout from the banking crisis of 2008/9 and the ensuing recession seems to be leading many Americans fundamentally to call into question whether capitalism is still the best economic system available. Astonishingly, the American public is now less enamored of the free market than the public in Brazil and China

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  • Photo: Flickr user Meena Kadri

    A week ago, as I waited at a traffic light in Mumbai, I witnessed an incident of grand theft auto—well, perhaps it was not grand, but something was stolen, and it involved an automobile. Here’s what happened: A barefoot woman in a grubby green sari scurried into the street, carrying a big empty water jug under her arm. Without shame, she went straight to the back of a brightly painted water tanker truck which was waiting for the red light to change. On the back of the water tanker was a large faucet, and when the woman turned the valve, water spurted everywhere, soaking her sari and filling her jug within seconds. The woman’s children and husband watched by the side of the road as she stole the water

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  • Just One Earth (Day)

    22 Apr 2011Mark Lee

    Image: NASA, The Visible Earth

    Funny – we have one Earth Day among 365 days total. Yet we have but one, presently poorly stewarded, earth. I know I am not the first to say it, but, c’mon, really, isn’t every day Earth Day?

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  • The Great Disruption – Are you ready?

    19 Apr 2011 – Paul Gilding

    It’s time for all those focusing on sustainability to change gears and review strategy. With the ecological system groaning under the strain of an economy simply too big for the planet, we have to face the uncomfortable truth. The time to act just preventatively has past. It is time to brace for impact as we enter The Great Disruption.

    The coming years won’t be pleasant, as our society and economy hits the wall and realigns around what was always an obvious reality: You cannot have infinite growth on a finite planet. Not ‘should not’, or ‘better not’, but cannot.

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  • Lindsay Clinton tracks emerging themes in social enterprise, from this year's Skoll World Forum.

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  • Here’s a message for corporate executives: your stakeholders are still searching for transformative sustainability leadership. Only 24% of experts and practitioners believe that corporate leaders advanced the sustainability agenda last year, according to the latest GlobeScan/SustainAbility survey. The rest of us are clamouring for more.

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  • As unrest in North Africa and the Middle East enters a fifth month since the first sparks of the Tunisian Revolution last December, oil prices are starting to dominate the political discourse. In the UK, Energy Secretary Chris Huhne warned of a 1970s-style oil shock that could cost the UK economy £45 billion over two years. Closer to home, last week’s Financial Mail cover story on oil – the three letters that threaten economic growth – argued that a sustained high oil price threatens to completely stall the global recovery.

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  • 400 scientists from 34 countries worked for two years on the Global Food and Farming Futures report commissioned from the UK government’s think tank Foresight, and gathered an impressive amount of evidence on the state of our food system and the challenges that need to be tackled in the years ahead. Conclusion: to ensure food security in a sustainable way, nothing less than a redesign of the whole food system is required, and the change is needed now.

    Although I have a hard time calling this a bold statement in a world that is currently failing the nutritional needs of roughly one third of its population

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  • How do you sum up someone who has played the role of an affectionate, wise, provocative and sometimes disconcerting guardian angel?

    Disconcerting first.

    Many years ago, in 1996, I asked Geoffrey to become a founding member of the SustainAbility Council, a role he would play with typical zest and fascination for many years. But his eagle eye picked out the one flaw in perhaps a hundred terms and names that we had had painted around the tops of the office walls.

    I had asked every team members to name ten things that they thought summed up SustainAbility—and someone had come up with the giant redwood, which they had rendered as Sequoia gigantea, which he insisted should be giganteum. Having checked Wikipedia, it also looks as if he might have been saying Sequoiadendron giganteum.

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  • SustainAbility’s Kyra Choucroun chats with Vinay Gupta, founder of WhipCar, about the opportunity to exploit ‘idle assets’ like your neighbor’s car….

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  • SustainAbility interviews the founder of WhipCar, a new take on car-sharing that helps you rent your neighbor's car.

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  • Lindsay Clinton is in Mumbai to round off 18 months of research on sustainable solutions to urban poverty.

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  • Mark Lee reports from day one of Fortune Brainstorm Green.

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  • I recently attended the announcement of CR Magazine’s “100 Best Corporate Citizens List” at the New York Stock Exchange, for which the closing keynote was Professor Michael Porter of Harvard Business School. Professor Porter provided an overview of his (and Mark Kramer’s) Creating Shared Value concept, which prompted me to read their recent Harvard Business Review article in earnest.

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  • BP's 2010 sustainability report tries to take the spill head-on, but stakeholders have even bigger questions in mind.

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  • Many companies have struggled to achieve meaningful returns from BOP markets, but they shouldn't give up quite yet.

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