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By Sarah Severn
Posted on: May 19, 2015
In October 2014, 100 companies joined together and launched the Washington Climate Declaration, a state level version of the national Climate Declaration created by CERES. Since launching, that number has increased to 185 signatories, including several business associations including ASBC, who believe that taking action on climate just makes good business sense. Collectively, we are known as Washington Business for Climate Action. Our leadership team is made up of business people from across Washington State and our mission is to engage Washington businesses by providing opportunities for... read more
By David Brodwin
Posted on: May 13, 2015
Sendhil Mullainathan, a behavioral economist at Harvard, studies how scarcity affects people’s intelligence, will-power and decision-making. He wants to change your mind about poverty and inequality by studying what makes people poor, why people have a hard time escaping poverty and what programs can help get people out of poverty. Liberals and conservatives see poverty in starkly different terms. Conservatives see poverty mostly as a problem of individual behavior: People become poor because they make bad decisions. They lack the will-power to stay in school, or to get to work on time, or to... read more
By David Brodwin
Posted on: May 5, 2015
One of the most basic ideas in economics is that when you charge more for something, people generally use less of it. So when we find ourselves short of something essential – say, water – it makes sense to let prices rise enough to encourage conservation. Many communities in dry parts of the country use a system called tiered pricing to encourage residents and businesses to save water. Under tiered pricing, the first few gallons of water are relatively cheap; the next few gallons cost more and so on. Homeowners who use water responsibly can keep themselves within the lowest, cheapest tier on... read more
By David Brodwin
Posted on: April 28, 2015
The phrase “sharing economy” sounds warm and friendly. Open. Compassionate. It promises a welcome break from the all-too-familiar economy of exploitation. But lofty sentiments aside, the sharing economy is much more mundane. It offers is a new set of business practices (and cloud-based software) that lets you wring out extra value from an under-utilized asset. The sharing is a euphemism. Airbnb lets you share (i.e. rent out) your apartment. Uber lets you share (i.e. rent out) your services as a driver for hire. And so on. It sounds egalitarian and empowering when the asset in question is a... read more
By Richard Eidlin David Levine
Posted on: April 27, 2015
It’s gospel among American politicians and business leaders: innovation is key to the success of individual companies and entire industries. And yet, many of these same people contend that to optimize innovation, government needs to stay out of the way.   We disagree and believe there are many opportunities for business and government to work together. Government has played a pivotal role in spurring innovation throughout American history. Think of the national train system in the 1880s, in which federal authorities mediated among a small group of monopolies to establish a standard gauge for... read more
By David Brodwin
Posted on: April 22, 2015
Today is tax day, and like many Americans, I wonder what the government really does with all that money. Critics have long argued that taxes are high because the system coddles those who are too lazy to work. But a new report from U.C. Berkeley Labor Center shows that a large chunk of our taxes goes to coddle the bottom line of employers that don’t pay their workers enough to live on. Over the past decade, as wages for most workers have stagnated and benefits have been trimmed, many corporations have been able to post record profits. The winners include companies that employ mostly low-wage... read more
By Michael Green
Posted on: April 16, 2015
March 31, 2015 marked an important deadline on the road to the Paris climate talks this coming December. Nations present at last year’s climate negotiations agreed to release their intended nationally determined commitment (INDC) by this deadline. These INDC's or pledges are to create transparent landscapes and provide more time for countries to continue developing the framework for a comprehensive global climate treaty by the end of 2015. Thanks to the Obama administration, the United States was one of the few countries that met this deadline. The administration’s announcement followed the... read more
By David Brodwin
Posted on: April 13, 2015
America’s entrepreneurs have long applied chemistry to make new products that enrich our lives. But sadly, many chemical innovations have turned out to be dangerous, even deadly. Asbestos and formaldehyde cause cancer and have been largely banned from consumer products. Bisphenol A, an additive to plastics, makes plastics clear and tough but is believed to disrupt human hormones. A few consumer companies, such as Seventh Generation, Method and Naturepedic, have devoted themselves to making products that are safer to use while still getting the job done. Behind these familiar names stand other... read more
By Jake Kornack
Posted on: April 8, 2015
Given the seemingly stagnant nature of American politics, the bickering between the left and the right in Congress, and the increasing gap between the rich and the poor, it is easy to lose faith in our political system and use pessimism as our guiding light. Some six months ago, I found myself disenchanted by a political system that seemed incapable of producing high-paying, meaningful jobs; an economy that incessantly demanded higher levels of pollution and mindless consumption; and the growing economic and social pressures on the average American family. Then, on November 12th, 2014 I... read more
By David Brodwin
Posted on: April 6, 2015
American consumers have begun to care more about sustainability and to express their concerns as they shop. Increasingly, consumers want to know how the stuff they buy affects the planet and how it affects the people who produce it and sell it. This emerging change in consumer behavior prompts retailers to give consumers better information. The giant retailer Target rolled out a “Sustainable Product Index” in 2013. A few weeks ago, Wal-Mart rolled out a major new program, called “Sustainability Leaders,” designed to shine a favorable (green) light on suppliers who design and market more... read more