One World Newsletter December 2004 Vol 1 No#2
Environmental, Social and Business Development Issues Facing Our World
Welcome once again to our newsletter "One World". This is a monthly publication dedicated to providing you with knowledge and information to raise your awareness about sustainable development issues facing us in the contemporary world.
Most of the issues discussed are from within Australia, however as the theme is "One World" we will be providing information from all over the world.
We know you are very busy, so want to thank you for taking the time to read our newsletter. The information we provide you is comprehensive, concise and apposite.
We are a an independent consulting group and we are not affiliated with any religous or political organisations. Our religous and political irreverance is a fact we pride ourselves on.
Our mission is to raise your awareness on sustainablity issues throughout the World, through independent, factual information, helping you can make the right choices to empower yourself in the uncertain times ahead.
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P.P.S. You feedback is also kindly appreciated.
Index _________________New? Would you like to subscribe now
Sustainable Businesses 12 Point Checklist
World's Frogs are in danger of disappearing
The Benefits of Ethanol as a renewable source of fuel.
5. How do you develop
a brand or image?
Typically, innovative businesses have become dissatisfied with the status quo and want to operate in a socially responsible manner, as well as protect the environment. They value the well-being of employees, society, culture and future generations and have a broader set of goals than more traditional companies. Whilst they cannot afford to ignore short-term cash flow, their definition of success is more sophisticated and long-term. Becoming a sustainable business requires a whole paradigm shift within the corporate or business culture and may be more successful and easier to implement in some industries than others.
It has been found that the founders of successful sustainable business enterprises are most likely to have a well-articulated set of principles that guide the business and help to instill the same values in employees. By declaring their goals publicly they inspire trust, create a model for their industry sector, and provide a benchmark against which achievement can be measured.
Smaller companies, which are often at a disadvantage when recruiting employees, can attract creative and talented staff by offering workplaces that are more participatory, have greater sensitivity to family issues, share more of the wealth, offer more fun, and encourage trust between management and employees.
This broader vision of success requires new thinking to provide new business tools, practices and relationships. Being receptive to new ideas and suggestions opens the door to an array of business opportunities. The current focus on environment, empowerment, education, enjoyment and ethics is not a passing fad, as people realise the current way simply doesn't work, leading to among other other things, lower morale, higher staff turnover and a high level of distrust in management.
Recent studies in Australia have shown that over 53% of staff do not trust their management and almost 42% thought that they could do a better job than their bosses (see Article No.6).
People are finally waking up to the need for organisations to protect the environment and our social well-being. Providing internal consistency to ensure that the values of sustainable development permeate throughout the company usually starts at the top with the Managing Director or the Proprietor. However, the best intentions are meaningless if they are lodged in the mind of one individual. Changing a company's culture and outlook requires a contribution from the bottom-up, working as a team.
So how can we make our businesses sutainable? The following is a 12 point checklist that will help your business along the path of becoming a sustainable business.
1. Prepare a mission
Another way of gaining perspective on
your own company's objectives is to examine the mission statements and
business practices adopted by other firms in the same, or other, sector.
Innovative companies are often happy to share their mission statements.
By defining short and long-term goals, and developing tools to measure progress, these companies gain a better understanding of how their operations affect the environment and where they can improve performance, often reducing costs at the same time.
3. Take in-house
waste reduction and pollution prevention initiatives
After momentum and interest have been established, the tougher issues can be tackled.
Not only does it make environmental sense but it also makes economic sense. However, it is important to quantify the payback associated with these capital investments, so that everyone understands the financial benefits of environmental responsibility. Manufacturing firms can also scrutinise their production processes. As staff become increasingly aware of the cost and environmental benefits and the ease of implementation, suggestions for improvements are likely to be forthcoming. Some companies offer rewards to their employees for suggesting environmental improvements that could save the company money.
4. Provide information
sources that inform employees about economic, environmental and social
Online, the City of Melbourne has a Sustainability Directory and there is also the "Green Pages" directory which lists businesses that are socially and environmentally responsible. For further information check-out our links page on our website, which has a list of online directories.
5. Provide lines
Centrally located bulletin boards or suggestion boxes can stimulate discussion and ideas. Human resources staff who treat employees as individuals and help them juggle the competing demands of work and family promote loyalty. When employees are given the rationale for major decisions, they are less likely to listen to rumours and speculation. External credibility, customer loyalty, public credibility, and investor confidence are gained by companies that are perceived to be doing things right. Perfection is not possible, but definable progress and effective communications are essential.
6. Prepare an Annual
sustainable development report
In the Company's Annual sustainable report should contain
This can all help to make a company appear responsible and human. It takes a brave firm to adopt a 'warts and all' approach in its reports, but the gains are usually worthwhile.
Committing to or promoting a cause (or causes) can go a long way in establishing good "Corporate Citizenship". These could include organisations with interests in the environment, social/community economic development, rainforest/animal protection, or world peace amongst others.
Establishing a foundation, whereby a percentage of the companies profits are donated to a number of different charities, could be an alternative. Donations to charities are also tax deductable.
U.S Economics professors Stephen Erfle and Michael Fratantuono at Pennsylvania's Dickinson College have studied the link between companies' social performance and profitability. They found a positive correlation between profits and five criteria: environmental performance, advancement of women, advancement of minorities, charitable giving, and community action.
In an era when large companies are regarded with suspicion, being open about failures, as well as achievements, this can go a long way toward building trust and cultivating loyalty.
7. A commitment to
honest and accessible public relations
With knowledge comes familiarity, security, and support. In recent years, many manufacturers of consumer products have established toll-free telephone numbers to sell merchandise and to respond to customer enquiries. Where these are staffed by knowledgeable and courteous personnel, these numbers can provide information about how products are made, and about how to use and dispose of them safely. Conversely, an operator who is unhelpful or unable to answer questions satisfactorily will serve only to frustrate and irritate customers.
Companies that make or sell highly technical products face another challenge: namely the inability of many scientists and to explain in plain English what they do. Where this is the case, well-informed marketing or communications staff should be brought in. If a company is new to the community, or has just developed an innovative production process to solve an environmental problem, or if it is the victim of damaging rumours, an 'open house' policy can help to build support and quell fears.
Community groups often want to feel pride in local companies - but first they have to be given something about which to feel proud. For example, when Anita Roddick, founder of Body Shop International, opened a new Canadian headquarters in 1993, she explained to invited guests that the building was the most environmentally sound in Toronto.
Favourable press, of any type, can boost sales and engender customer loyalty. Bad press, by the same token, is bad business. It can be avoided with readily available, credible information about successes, failures and routine activities.
8. A commitment to
community development efforts
In some companies in the U.S and Europe, employees are paid for contributing as many as five hours a week to community projects. One project in the U.S was to help the local community establish a recycling program. Recycling bins were supplied to every household in town.
Meanwhile employees at Body Shop branches around the world are encouraged to devote one paid day a month to community education and development efforts. Body Shop stores routinely donate valuable display space to local environmental and community development drives.
Body Shop founder, Anita Roddick believes environmentally aware customers will want to become her customers. Patagonia, an outdoor equipment and clothing supplier, gives 10% of its profits to grassroots environmental groups. More than 350 organisations have benefited from grants, ranging from a few hundred dollars to $20,000. The company gives away more money than it spends on advertising. Forging external relationships
9. Work with innovative
The following is some of these organisations found in the U.S and Canada:
Australia lags behind the U.S, Canada and Europe on environmental trade associations and business networks, however organisations of this nature do exist here.
10. Tap the expertise
of non-profit organisations
When a Canadian grocery giant, decided to launch its 'Green Line' products in 1990, the company went to Friends of the Earth and Pollution Probe for advice. Both NGOs suggested products for the line, evaluated the merits of a variety of items, and made recommendations on marketing strategies. Their familiarity with environmental issues, coupled with an ability to distinguish the truly superior environmental products from those making spurious claims, lent credibility to the launch.
Thermco, a Canadian manufacturer of energy efficient, low-CFC condensers for refrigeration and air conditioning systems, solicited advice from Friends of the Earth. The company benefits from FoE's assessments of policy and industry trends, and receives valuable free advertising. For its part, FoE gets the satisfaction of helping put its policies into practice.
In 1989, when the US Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) approached McDonald's with an offer to collaborate on reducing the company's waste stream, neither side knew exactly what to expect. But after many meetings and site visits to get a sense of each other's operations, the two developed a working relationship that resulted in revamped McDonald's packaging, procurement, and waste management practices.
11. Contract with
Until the 1980s, undertaking large projects, entering new markets or working globally was the exclusive privilege of large corporations and conglomerates. Today, thanks to the innovative use of 'virtual' corporations, strategic alliances and joint ventures, small and medium-sized companies are beginning to compete and to win contracts outside their traditional markets.
Rapid advances in communications technologies, a global orientation within even the smallest business, and the greater efficiencies that can be offered by a team of small players, enable these firms to perform on the global stage. Virtual corporations, with their low overheads and geographically dispersed staff, can be competitive and provide a range of expertise. Many consulting firms, for example, now employ professional staff 'teleworking' from home. By entering into strategic alliances, small and medium-sized companies can build capacity in the market place. Environmental engineering companies, marketing firms and financial advisers, for example, can work together to provide a comprehensive set of skills. Similarly, collaboration between companies in different countries provides the opportunity to enter global markets without incurring many of the costs.
12. Have fun, stay
healthy, and enjoy your work in an increasingly stressful world
At Sales Force Victoria, which become 2004 Australian employer of the year, endeavours have been made by the management to make the working environment more fun.
Many employers now permit staff to 'dress down' on Fridays, or all of the time, and arrange informal 'happy hours'. A growing number of companies are establishing health clubs or offering discounted memberships at local gyms. Others are installing showers and lockers for staff who cycle to work. Some companies even buy running shoes for employees who walk to work, and Patagonia provides cycle locks for those who commute by bicycle.
Whilst, the Body Shop headquarters in Mulgrave, Victoria have created daycare facilities and offer flexible working hours to ease the stress borne by employees who have children.
Information from this article was sourced from www.bsdglobal.com.
The global study was conducted in 60 countries,
and 5,543 different species were studied. Of the 5,543 species, 1,856 are threatened
with extinction. Of the 1,856 threatened with extinction, 427 are critically
endangered. In Australia, over the last few decades, nine
species have become extinct, 35 species are endangered.
So what's the big deal about frogs anyway? Frogs are known as "indicator species". So what is an indicator species? An indicator species is a species of plant or animal that tell us about the condition of the surrounding environment. They are highly sensitive to changes in the environment. They can be described as natural early warning systems.
As frogs and other amphibians have highly absorbent skins, they readily absorb pollution and ultra-violet (UV) rays. Thus, they are natural indicators to pollution and climate change such as Global Warming, and increased UV ray activity. At the current rate of extinction Amphibians are in danger of vanishing all together within our lifetimes.
So where does it leave humans? Scientists are looking for new and immediate initiatives to protect the world's frogs from vanishing, but also long-term action plans to decrease pollution levels, Global Warming and the Ozone layer hole.
[Source: Journal- Science, October 2004]
The Benefits of Ethanol as a renewable source of
Ethanol is a totally renewable fuel source and is the product of fermentation of carbohydrate, which can be produced from starch, cereal grain, cereal crop, sugarcane, grapes or any sugar producing fruit. (Sugar + Carbon Dioxide + distillation --> ethanol).
The following information is supplied by Dr Ray Kearney, Department of Infectious Diseases and Immunology, University of Sydney.
4.Creating a fairer world
Every day people die from malnutrition, yet there is enough food produced to feed the world.
Rich countries have 85 percent of the world's wealth, while poor countries have three-quarters of the world's population. If there is so much wealth in the world, why isn't everyone benefiting?
Poverty isn't just about poor people somewhere else in the world. It's also about us in Australia - our government, the things we buy at the supermarket and our lifestyle. It has to with the decisions made by global institutions that can affect people worldwide in positive and negative ways - and how our government represents us in influencing these decisions.
In a globalised world, decisions made in London can affect workers in Indonesia and a financial crash in Asia can affect the economies of the world.
Without a fair distribution of wealth, the world's poorest people will continue to live without basic services like education, health services and water. But it doesn't have to be this way.
What keeps people poor?
Colonies don't exist any more, but rich countries still tend to produce goods that are worth more, while poor countries still export goods that are worth less.
While poor countries have received loans and foreign aid for development from rich countries and global institutions, it has only been in return for making changes to their trade and economic operations. Often these do more harm than good. What's more, global trade rules set by the World Trade Organization often work against poor countries in favour of more powerful wealthy nations.
Australia's actions can change lives
Cancelling the massive debt owed to us by poor countries is a good start. Because of high interest rates, many countries owe far more than they borrowed in the first place. For example, Nigeria (in West Africa) borrowed $5 billion, has paid back $16 billion and still owes $32 billion.
When Tanzania received a debt write-off in 2001, they got rid of primary school fees and 1.6 million children were able to go to school for the first time! The immediate benefit to lives is obvious.
To benefit from global trade, poor countries need to build infrastructure like ports, roads and airports. They also need to have people who are educated and skilled, and to have children who are healthy enough to learn well.
A significant boost in international aid from wealthy nations will help developing countries take large steps toward improving basic infrastructure and services. Yet today, more money goes out of Africa as debt repayments ($21 billion) than comes in as aid ($18.4 billion).
What can one person do?
Choices we make can influence the decisions made by our leaders and also global institutions. We can make a difference by getting involved through:
All of these actions will support change that can improve the lives of the world's most vulnerable people.Newsletter sent to you? Subscribe now.
5. How do you develop a brand or image?
Building a company
There are many elements that go into building a company image. The key to creating a successful and appropriate image for your business is:
Determining your target
Once you know who your target market is, you will be ready to figure out how you are going to develop the right image. Image is everything An image develops slowly over time. It's up to you to build it with foresight and care.
There are many ways you can develop your own special image. These include: Printed materials As a small business owner, you can't afford to ignore even the smallest detail when it comes to your printed materials. One of the most important printed items you use is your business card. A business card says a great deal about a business and it is often the first and only thing a potential customer sees. These days, you can do a lot of creative things with business cards, if you have help from a good artist and printer. They will also incorporate your special message and logo onto letterhead, pamphlets and brochures. In general, if you want to convey the image of a "no-nonsense" operation, keep your printed materials subdued and businesslike. They don't have to be boring, however, use a quality stock paper, make your logo prominent and use a bold typeface.
If your business is less formal and more "fun", then you should probably be a little more creative. Use brightly colored paper stock or try a foil stamp to add some excitement. The spoken word Many times, taking your message directly to the public is better than putting it in print. Every time you speak at a meeting, lecture at a nearby college, or network at a cocktail party, you are personalising your business by presenting your business to others face to face.
Don't ever underestimate the power of word of mouth as a tool for advertising, promoting and enhancing your business. You can call yourself a true humanitarian, but unless you get out there and help the homeless or another charitable cause, no one will believe you. You may want to be known as the expert in clothing executive women, but no one will know until you start holding monthly seminars or fashion shows in your boutique. You also need to dress the part. In other words, your business should be an extension of yourself.
Building an image takes
time and careful planning. If you know who your audience is, and what
they want from you, you are ahead of the game. The next step - defining
what your image should be - involves taking a good look at your business,
and deciding how it would best fit in the marketplace. The final step
- establishing your image - is an ongoing process. Remember that any
time you distribute printed materials, appear and speak in public, or
produce any visual aids or events, you are helping to project and maintain
the image you desire.
Whenever I think of bad bosses, two people come to mind: the callous and insensitive PR director who made my life hell for a year and the bird-brained supervisor in the movie Office Space. I wouldn't wish either boss on anyone except maybe my worst enemy.
Although two-thirds of workers told "CareerBuilder" that they're satisfied with who they report to, the remaining third is dissatisfied with their bosses. Today's workers are voicing concerns with their supervisor's ability to lead, with 42 percent stating they can do their supervisor's job better. Part of their criticism is attributed to the amount of individual attention given to employees, as well as perceptions of character. Twenty-four percent say their supervisor does not take time to review job concerns, and 22 percent say their supervisor is not trustworthy.
Chances are, you've encountered a supervisor who has made your life miserable or made work days unbearable. Like the supervisor who made an employee write her papers for her MBA classes, then turned around and wrote the employee up for doing it on company time. Or the executive vice president who addressed an employee's weight rather than performance in an annual review.
Just as there is a myriad of nightmare bosses, there are many ways to deal with their workplace terrors. In The Worst Case Scenario Survival Handbook: Work (Chronicle Books), Joshua Piven and David Borgenicht describe some of these bosses and how to deal with them.
1. The Control Freak micromanages every move you make.
How to Deal: Bombard this person with emails, reports and meetings. This might overwhelm him and throw off his controlling behavior.
2. The Buddy tries to solicit
personal information and seeks inclusion as though you are best of friends.
How to Deal: Include this person but keep your distance. Invent a fictional hobby, extend invitations you know she can't accept, and avoid hugs.
3. The Workaholic has sacrificed
his life for his job and expects the same from you.
How to Deal: Let this person know there
is life outside of work. Discuss family, friends and hobbies at every
4. The Teller of Bad Jokes always
has one for you and it's always bad.
How to Deal: Be prepared for the painful
punchline and feign amusement. Then change the subject.
5. The Supreme Delegator takes
all of the credit and none of the blame and essentially is setting up
others to take the fall.
How to Deal: In writing, advise on all key decisions and plans, but be prepared for a denial of knowledge if anything goes wrong.
6. The Yes/No Manager couldn't
care less about useful information or discussions and simply wants every
decision boiled down to "yes" or "no."
How to Deal: Present summaries with several alternatives for action. If asked for a recommendation, give it orally.
7. The Passive-Aggressive Boss
procrastinates, complains about not enough time, and then blames others
for the bad job.
How to Deal: Involve others in projects as much as necessary so that you have witnesses.
8. The Indecision Maker needs
info from many different sources before making any sort of "independent"
How to Deal: Present any question as if you've taken an informational survey of any key employees who might have a stake in the problem.
9. The All-Business-is-Personal Manager
can't separate business and personal life.
How to Deal: Make your work time enjoyable, one bad incident could ruin your work relationship.
In the long run, though, your nightmare could turn into a sweet dream. That toxic supervisor could be the motivating factor for you to make a change for the better.
[Source: Kate Lorenz www.CareerBuilder.com]
7. Preview of the contents of our next month's newsletter
1. Integrated Pest Management
Importance of Mangrove Forests
by SDS Consulting 2004