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By Jenny Kassan
Posted on: June 8, 2016
Back in 2010, I was running the Community Supported Enterprise (CSE) Program at the nonprofit Sustainable Economies Law Center (SELC).I had co-founded SELC with another attorney, Janelle Orsi, to help early-stage, mission-driven entrepreneurs succeed. Our job was to help them navigate the rules that govern the raising of capital as they work to create a healthy, just, and sustainable economy.That summer the CSE program had some great law student interns. We decided to focus on changing the securities laws – the lavws that govern how enterprises can raise capital from investors.We created a... read more
By Vlad Gutman
Posted on: May 31, 2016
For nearly twenty years, Climate Solutions has been working in the Pacific Northwest to accelerate the transition to clean and efficient energy. Over that time we have worked in partnership with hundreds of businesses committed to increasing sustainability in their operations, producing and using cleaner fuels, pioneering efficiency programs, and driving adoption of renewable energy.Progressive businesses recognize that, after decades of tax subsidies for fossil fuel production, it's time the nation starts incentivizing clean power, creating tens of thousands of American jobs in the process.... read more
By David Brodwin
Posted on: May 30, 2016
Greyston Bakery is an unusual bakery, with an unusual business philosophy: "We don't hire people to bake brownies, we bake brownies to hire people." This 32-year-old bakery in economically depressed Yonkers, New York, operates a comprehensive workforce development program. It hires hard-to-employ individuals and gives them the skills, training and support they need to succeed. And it supports efforts like "ban the box" that help disadvantaged prospective employees nationwide.Greyston is an example of a social enterprise – an entity that is not quite a business in the usual sense but not quite... read more
By John Heymann
Posted on: May 25, 2016
For years, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has held itself out as the “voice of business.” Politicians court their approval and, when it comes to crafting business-friendly legislation, elected officials ignore Chamber lobbying at their peril.But the U.S. Chamber really only represents a certain kind of business: big. And for years, big businesses, whether in the financial sector, manufacturing, energy, retail, services, or tech, have focused primarily on one thing – maximizing short-term profits. That single-minded drive for profits has been at the root of many spectacular frauds and failures... read more
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