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By Jeffrey Hollender
Posted on: May 18, 2016
We live with an illusion so powerful that we endlessly mistake it for reality. Merriam-Webster defines “free market” as “an economic market or system in which prices are based on competition among private businesses and not controlled by a government.”Consumers always wondered why Seventh Generation, the company I co-founded in 1988, sold its bath tissue—made from 100 percent recycled fiber—at a higher price than traditional, nonrecycled brands. Was it because we were small and lacked the leverage to ensure the lowest costs? Was our supply chain inefficient? Was it because we paid our staff... read more
By David Brodwin
Posted on: May 17, 2016
Why is it that some corporate giants embrace change, while others ask the public to pay so they can avoid change?Last week, events in the auto industry gave this question a new urgency. The legacy automobile companies are stepping up their effort to reinvent themselves in the fact of rapid technological change. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is forming a partnership with Google to integrate Google's expertise in self-driving cars with Fiat's global manufacturing prowess. The two companies will set up a jointly-staffed operation to produce a fleet of self-driving Pacifica minivans. Meanwhile... read more
By Eric Nitzberg
Posted on: May 16, 2016
Over a year ago, I decided to find out what it takes to lead a successful company that has a strong social or environmental purpose baked into its business activities.Interest in this area has surged in recent years, and many organizations are embracing the pursuit of impactful change. But understanding the full picture of a company’s impact is difficult for many reasons: company comparisons are challenging across industries, there’s no universal definition of “impact,” and negative effects (like a coal company’s carbon footprint) is less often a focus for corporate sustainability reports.... read more
By Claudia Viek
Posted on: May 7, 2016
For National Small Business Week, l’d like to draw attention to the potential of business ownership to address the wealth gap in all of our communities. Most of the attention of the inequality gap has been on the disappearing middle, but there’s a racial component to the problem as well. Wealth owned by white households is more than 10 times that of Latinos and 13 times that of African Americans. Janet Yellen, Chair of the Federal Reserve, has said that business ownership is one of the four pillars of wealth creation.We know what works to grow small businesses. In California, $2 million in... read more
By Zach Bernstein
Posted on: May 3, 2016
The closer we get to the November elections, the less likely it appears that Congress will take major action on any issue. Especially for the crucial issue of climate change, which requires that we put a ceiling on global temperatures now, this is bad news.Better news is that several states, those "laboratories of democracy," as U.S. Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis put it, are doing their job. They're considering moving forward on a major piece of climate policy—passing a carbon tax. A few states in particular are showing signs of progress:In Massachusetts, two bills are currently before... read more
By David Brodwin
Posted on: May 3, 2016
Last week, 175 world leaders inked an accord to slow climate change by cutting carbon emissions worldwide. The agreement commits the U.S. to reduce carbon emissions 26 percent by 2025. Other nations have made similar commitments.But even as the ink dries, a debate rages about how to achieve the reductions. Some believe it should be done top-down, by regulation, directing the industries that emit most of the carbon pollution to make specific cuts. Others believe that the government should refrain from industry-by-industry directives and instead tax carbon uniformly across the entire economy.... read more
By David Brodwin
Posted on: April 20, 2016
Efforts to boost the minimum wage made real progress this week. California just approved an increase to $15 an hour by 2022, with New York close behind. This more than doubles the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour. If extended nationally, the new $15 minimum would benefit more than 50 million Americans.Large national business organizations have strenuously opposed raising the minimum wage. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce couches its opposition in worker-friendly terms, saying that "minimum wage increases end up hurting the people they're intended to help." The National Federation of... read more
 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Safer Choice label
By Bryan McGannon
Posted on: April 18, 2016
Consumer demand drives markets. And it’s no surprise that businesses are responding to consumers’ desire to know that the products they’re purchasing is safe.  But without any way to validate product claims, consumers can be confused. Companies that are working hard to do the right thing and address consumer concerns can get lost in the shuffle.Enter the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Safer Choice label.The Safer Choice program is the voluntary labeling program that epitomizes effective collaboration between the government and the private sector. It sends a signal to consumers that... read more
By David Brodwin
Posted on: April 5, 2016
Innovation – usually led by technology – eats business models for breakfast. Amazon lays waste to brick-and-mortar retailing, Uber wrecks the taxi industry and online media sucks the life out of newspapers. Innovations like these create value for consumers as they inflict pain on any employees, investors and communities that are caught on the wrong side of change.The corporate names that lead the disruption capture our attention. But in the background, other players create new bits and pieces that accelerate the disruption and relieve some of the pain. This infrastructure takes many forms:... read more
By Pat Heffernan
Posted on: April 4, 2016
March marks Women’s History Month again, but I am not celebrating. Stories and images of courageous women of the past are everywhere. These women deserve recognition — they fought hard to advance equal rights and access for the majority of the U.S. population who happen to have been born female. Yet in 2016, I find it increasingly difficult to talk about celebrating for one month a year when there are so few signs of positive progress to improve the lives of women. How can we better harness attention, social change innovations, and sustainable economy principles to advance gender equality?... read more

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