Rubber Market Threatens Precious Forests in Southeast Asia

The increasing demand for rubber worldwide is making it the most rapidly expanding tree crop within mainland Southeast Asia. The study predict that between 4.3 and 8.5 million hectares of new plantations will be required to meet projected demand by 2024. But what’s wrong with rubber plantations? They are intensive mono-crop plantations; many environmentalists are concerned that switching land use […]

JetBlue Releases “The Blue Review”

JetBlue Airways (Nasdaq: JBLU) today released its seventh responsibility report – The Blue Review: Environmental, Social and Business Responsibility – outlining progress the airline made in 2014. This report highlights major developments made by the airline in 2014, including the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from 1.65 to 1.54 metric tons CO2e per 1,000 revenue ton miles from 2013 to 2014, a […]

Factory vs. Fair Trade: New Businesses Battle to Revolutionize The Fashion Industry

With 98% of clothing purchased in the United States imported from overseas, some entrepreneurs are going straight to the source to reform the industry. They are offering improved conditions and pay for the people in developing countries who produce clothing and accessories for the West, but even laying the right groundwork for the new, ethical standard can take time.

From quality […]

The Supply and Demand of Diversity and Inclusion

The question I am asked most frequently—after “Vu, have you tried using Proactiv?”—is “Vu, would you consider joining so-and-so board/committee? If not, can you connect me to other leaders of color who might be interested?” Apparently, everyone is having a hard time finding people of color for their board of directors and 80’s-karaoke-night planning team.

There are tons of reports and […]

How To Achieve Staff Diversity

In order to make the widest impact possible, your organization needs to appeal to a wide audience. This audience should include people from all backgrounds, including race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, income level, and so on. Otherwise, it may appear that your organization is being exclusive with one particular group and perhaps even discriminatory toward others. In order to create […]

Shell and High Water: Seattle Takes a Stand

The Port of Seattle has accused citizen groups of playing politics for opposing a plan to use Seattle’s waterfront as a homeport for Shell’s Arctic oil drilling fleet.

Do they mean that this is “political” in the same sense that science-denying reactionaries suggest that global warming is a liberal conspiracy – a stalking horse for big government, limiting freedoms, social engineering, […]

Is Whole Foods Unethical for Selling Tilapia Raised by Prison Labor?

A Pacific Standard Magazine article that highlights the farming of tilapia by prison labor, some of which ends up in Whole Foods, is inspiring or infuriating depending on your point of view.

Some commentators describe the company’s sourcing of fish from a Colorado prison as rife with ethical issues. Whole Foods, meanwhile, has long touted its “something great” tilapia but is […]

Six Myths of Sustainable Design

As I wrote last Fall, Yudelson’s program has been shown not to be all that “cheap” or “useful.” However, he is right to point out that green building has not gotten as much traction as it should, given its many benefits. Recent reports show that LEED-certified buildings can cut greenhouse gas emissions and water consumption by half, while costing 25 […]

B Corps Movement Eyeing Expansion in Asia

Among the B Corps that you may already know and whose products you use are Ben & Jerry’s, Patagonia, Couchsurfing International and Etsy. In fact, more than 1,200 firms from 38 countries and 121 industries are now certified B Corps, with more being added every week.

A B Corp is essentially a sustainable business or social enterprise that voluntarily meets higher […]

Transforming Deserts into Farmland

The prophet Isaiah once promised that the Lord would make deserts bloom like Eden, but a bunch of Norwegians may actually get the job done first.

The ambitious Sahara Forest Project is developing cutting-edge food, water and energy technologies in the deserts of Qatar and Jordan in an attempt turn sand dunes into farms. The plan: to combine solar thermal technologies […]

Apple Announces $2 Billion Investment for Green Data Centers in Europe

Data centers have emerged as one of the largest and fastest growing consumers of electricity in the U.S., according to the Natural Resources Defense Council. In 2013, data centers located in the U.S. consumed 91 billion KWH of electricity, which was enough to power all the households in New York City twice over. Over the next five years, the annual […]

The Stewardship Index for Specialty Crops

Across fresh food supply chains, businesses are advancing environmental, social and economic values. Balancing production with continually improving conservation stewardship demands an aligned approach to measure and communicate on-farm sustainability in specialty crops (all fruits, nuts, and vegetables). The Stewardship Index for Specialty Crops (SISC) and The Sustainability Consortium® (TSC) are proud to announce a partnership that creates significant progress […]

Will Corporate Social Responsibility Adapt or Die?

Peter Bakker, president of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, described the demise of CSR in his talk at the Sustainability Science Congress in Copenhagen. However, his key argument was that leading companies are going beyond CSR by integrating sustainability into everything they do. Witness Nike’s Considered Design and Unilever’s Sustainable Living Plan. In short, the old-school concept of sustainability […]

It’s Time for Us Nonprofit Professionals To Take A Break!

My fellow nonprofit professionals, I hope you are reading this from home, because I am calling for our sector to take a long and much needed break. If you are at the office, I want you to put down your pen, save your files, turn off your computer, and take a deep breath. Listen to me: You need to rest […]

Is The Cost of College Killing The Nonprofit Sector?

From recent, extensive media coverage, most people know that the cost of a college education is increasing. That’s an understatement when one looks at the actual numbers. According to the Institute for Higher Eduction Policy the cost of college has increased a whopping 500% since 1985. Compare that to the increase in medical costs over the same period — 286% […]

What Do Apple, Citi and Shell Have in Common?

Everywhere you look, renewable energy is in the news this year. Corporate leaders like Apple, Google and GM are making significant new investments — blink and you may miss the latest deal. While I included falling clean energy prices as one of 2014’s biggest stories, it’s becoming clear this is a longer-term trend.

Surprisingly, players like Shell and BP are signaling […]

Kaiser Permanente Moves Toward Top Corporate Renewable Energy Users

On the heels of Google, Apple and GM’s announcements on renewable energy buys, Kaiser Permanente says it is purchasing enough wind and solar to supply half the electricity it uses in California.

With 38 hospitals, over 600 medical offices, warehouse and administrative space, Kaiser uses nearly 1.5 billion kilowatt hours of electricity a year, and emits 806,000 metric tons of greenhouse […]

Singapore, Seoul, Hong Kong Unveiled As Asia’s Most Sustainable Cities

Singapore, South Korea and Hong Kong are among the world’s 10 most environmentally and economically sustainable cities. The cities came in 10th, 7th and 8th respectively, according to the inaugural Sustainable Cities Index released on Monday, February 9th by Dutch design and consultancy firm Arcadis.

Europe clinched the other top spots in the study, conducted by the UK-based think tank Centre […]

10 Steps for Writing a Kick-Ass Nonprofit Organizational Budget

Every year, at about this time, I start having night terrors. A lot of this is due to watching Game of Thrones and seeing all my favorite characters killed to death in gruesome ways. But it is also because VFA’s fiscal year ends in June, and we must go through the annual budgeting process, which is about as much fun […]