Martha Shaw Interviews Akaya Windwood, President of Rockwood Leadership Institute


Courageous Conversations: Social Venture Network Interview Series on Transforming the Way the World Does Business.

SVN (Martha Shaw): Does it take a lot of courage for you personally to be a leader of leaders?

Akaya Windwood: It takes courage to lead in these times. It’s dicey out there! The things we thought we could count on, we can’t count on anymore. People want concrete answers, which aren’t necessarily available in times of deep uncertainty — outcomes are not predictable. We need to be brave enough to say, “I don’t know.” It takes courage to say, “I’m not sure.” Or, “Let’s try something else.” It used to be you could make a good plan and if you had a good plan, you could predict what would happen. For instance, a social ill would be ameliorated. Or the financial risk factor would be X%. It’s not the case anymore.

SVN: How does fear play into courage?

Akaya Windwood: Courage is about acknowledging fear and doing what feels best for all concerned anyway. When people are not only putting their money, but their heart and their passion on the line, that takes courage. Woohoo! I think that this is a time in the world when people are operating in a great deal of uncertainty and that can make people afraid. When people are afraid, they don’t make the best decisions. That’s why good leadership is so important! That’s why Rockwood Leadership Institute is so important.

SVN: What does SVN mean for you?

Akaya Windwood: Well, SVN is a place where people go to say, “My business has to be about more than just my pocket book. I want it to have meaning” The days of doing things alone as a leader are past because it doesn’t get you very far. But when you get leaders together, it matters a lot. That’s why SVN matters. It’s a gift.

Akaya Windwood is the President of Rockwood Leadership Institute. She is recognized for elevating the effectiveness of leadership and collaboration, for infusing a sense of purpose, delight and wonder into our lives, and for her vision of a global community working together as a fair and equitable society.

Since 1987, Social Venture Network (SVN) has been the leading network of entrepreneurs and investors who are transforming the way the world does business. SVN’s Spring Conference, Courageous Conversations, will take place April 25-28 in San Diego. Visit for details and to register.

Interview by Martha Shaw, founder of Earth Advertising, which promotes the growth of environmentally responsible businesses through brand strategy and media campaigns.

Courageous Conversations: Martha Shaw interviews Lotus Foods


Social Venture Network (SVN) interview series on transforming the way the world does business: SVN interviews Caryl Levine and Kenneth Lee, founders of Lotus Foods

Social Venture Network has an exciting interview series on major responsible business leaders in the food industry who will be speaking at SVN’s Spring Conference.

SVN: The two of you have set out to transform the way the world grows rice. In keeping with the theme of the Social Venture Network (SVN) Spring Conference, Courageous Conversations, how much of your success can be attributed to courage?

Caryl Levine: It takes courage from our supply chain. We are working with farmers who have never exported their rice before. But they have the courage to change the way they have been growing rice all their lives, and how it’s been grown for centuries.

Kenneth Lee: It always starts with a few brave farmers in a village to try System of Rice Intensification (SRI) methods. By the end of the first season, their neighbors are saying, “What are you doing and how can I get involved?” For us, we think more about our ability to manage risk. We have to create value chains from scratch. What we are doing is risky.

SVN: The Social Venture Network fosters partnerships. What value do you find in partnerships?

Levine: We are able to expand our impact through partnerships. Agriculture is full of many challenges. Our rice farmers don’t have access to capital for seeds, for fertilizer, to build their own mills, or for the infrastructure to store rice. And then there’s the challenge of educating consumers about all the complex issues related to global rice production. Everything hinges on relationships and building trust. For instance, Whole Foods is a large platform and Lotus Foods is a small company. But, we need one another. It’s how our comparative strengths work together. From the Social Venture Network to the natural foods industry, from grassroots organizations to farmers all around the world, relationships have been a source of courage for us. They also keep us on track.

Lee: Transforming how rice is grown is pioneering work. We have a long way to go. Many players will need to act in concert to get the job done. We were lucky, for example, that when Cornell (CIIFAD) was promoting the benefits of SRI, one of their staff persons interested in marketing aspects discovered Lotus Foods on the shelf at Whole Foods. We soon found that we shared the same values and could strengthen one another’s missions. It was a no brainer.

Caryl Levine and Kenneth Lee are the founders of Lotus Foods, producers of distinctive ancient and new rice grown on family farms on healthy, chemical-free soils.

Attend the Social Venture Network Spring Conference, Courageous Conversations.

For 25 years, the Social Venture Network has been helping leaders and social entrepreneurs to succeed, while transforming the way the world does business in favor of a more just and sustainable economy. Join the most extraordinary social entrepreneurs of our time in San Diego, April 25-28 at the Social Venture Network Spring Conference, Courageous Conversations. To see who will be there, and why you should be there too, visit

Interviewer and author,, Martha Shaw, is founder and CEO of Earth Advertising which promotes environmentally sustainable businesses.

SVN Courageous Conversations: Martha Shaw Interviews Errol Schweizer, Whole Foods Market


SVN: You are participating in the Social Venture Network (SVN) Spring Conference, Courageous Conversations. How much of being a pioneer is dependent on courage?

Errol Schweizer: I think courage is a big part of being a pioneer. Speaking from a perspective of working for Whole Foods Market, I think it’s one aspect among many. As a company with purpose, we’re looking for suppliers that also have purpose. So I think courage is one aspect of it but there are definitely other traits that go into being a good supplier and creating a product and partnership that is changing the world for the better.

SVN: Have you had to take some chances?

Errol Schweizer: Actually, for some reason I tend to find trouble. I tend to be attracted to the edge of discussions and to look for the seams or crack in situations that will either provoke innovation or new discovery. I don’t want to get too philosophical about this, but I tend to be attracted to those sorts of things. Sometimes people look at me with chagrin, but I have a good time. It’s better to apologize than to ask for permission. I’m good at saying I’m sorry.

SVN: Why are partnerships so important?

Errol Schweizer: It’s the main reason why I’m in business at Whole Foods Market. Partnerships are our bread and butter. It’s about being mutualistic. Creating win-win partnerships with our suppliers is core to what we do. Creating these mutually beneficial relationships in our business dealings is not always easy. It takes a lot of work on both sides. As just one example, when we find a supplier that we want to work with, we share ideas and devote intellectual energy and time to help them innovate their products and bring them to market so they’re not just out there on their own trying to figure out what’s going to work.

SVN: What would you say to a supplier about the strength it takes to be a social entrepreneur?

Errol Schweizer: You know, it’s retail so there are no guarantees and the customer always decides. So, it’s important to have ingenuity, and to maintain your integrity. And it always helps to be a little insane – not too insane. I think the most important of those is maintaining your integrity. We have shared values and passion for what we are doing. All of us, including the Social Venture Network, are attempting to do something that we value as good in the world.

Errol Schweizer is executive global grocery coordinator at Whole Foods Market. He is recognized for ethical sourcing and for creating ongoing win-win partnerships with suppliers. In his first three years as global coordinator, he brought more exclusive products to the shelves than in the company’s history.

Attend the Social Venture Network Spring Conference, Courageous Conversations, April 25-28, San Diego.

For 25 years, the Social Venture Network has been helping leaders and social entrepreneurs to succeed while transforming the way the world does business – in favor of a more just and sustainable economy. Join the most extraordinary social entrepreneurs of our time on April 25-28 in San Diego at the Social Venture Network (SVN) Spring Conference, Courageous Conversations. To see who will be there, and why you should be there too, visit

SVN Interviewer: Martha Shaw, founder and CEO of Earth Advertising which promotes environmentally sustainable businesses.

Courageous Conversations: An Interview with Social Entrepreneur Adnan Durrani, by Martha Shaw


Part of a Social Venture Network (SVN) Series on Transforming the Way the World Does Business.

Submitted by:Martha Shaw
Posted: Apr 03, 2013 – 09:30 AM EST
Tags: svn, social entrepreneurship, american halal, whole foods, balle, net impact, bsr, asbc, green america, bioneers, culture, gmo, supply chain

By Martha Shaw

Hundreds of social entrepreneurs and business leaders who are committed to transforming the way the world does business will gather in San Diego this month for Courageous Conversations, the theme of Social Venture Network’s (SVN) Spring Conference, April 25-28. SVN has been fostering a movement toward a more just and sustainable economy for 25 years, and has spawned many of the world’s most successful triple-bottom-line businesses.

The historical significance of SVN is reflected not only in the role its members have played in transforming business, but in the many organizations which have sprouted, indirectly or directly, from the network over the years including B Corporation, BALLE, Net Impact, BSR, Slow Money, American Sustainable Business Council, Green America, Bioneers, and hundreds of others.

Among the business leaders who will be leading discussions at Courageous Conversations is Adnan Durrani, Founder and CEO of American Halal, Inc. As a prelude to the conference, SVN interviewed Mr. Durrani on courage and on the topic of his session, Big and Small Changemakers: Creating Smart and Effective Partnerships.

SVN: The theme of SVN’s Spring Conference this year is Courageous Conversations. What kind of courage does it take to be an entrepreneur?

Adnan Durrani: My wife jokes that only if you are truly insane are you qualified to be an entrepreneur. You are taking something that is a dream, developing it into a vision, and then hoping to execute it into reality as a for-profit business. Indeed, it is very irrational, yet requires extreme discipline. Being an entrepreneur is a 24/7 gig and one must have enormous passion and devotion. You need a certain amount of facts, research and knowledge on the ground, and good instincts. Also, of course it helps to have experience and you also need good luck. Underlying all of that is the courage of your convictions.

Having been involved in four successful start-up food companies, how do you stay sane?

I have been lucky. I’m on my fourth food company, and every one [of them] has been successful in turning something nascent into a market opportunity. To some investors they were silly ideas. For me, I continued to see healthy food trends in Europe and waited to see if those trends would cross to our shore. What convinced me to keep going was seeing the window opening on the other side of the Atlantic.

You are moderating a session at the conference. What can the audience expect?

If they are looking to make an impact in consumer goods, they’ll have a rare opportunity to hear stories from leaders of high-end mission-based companies that are transforming the way the world does business. One example is Errol Schweizer, the gatekeeper of Whole Foods in Austin. Because of Errol’s astute knowledge about innovative trends in the natural category, people clamor just to have a conversation with him. He’ll clue us in to Whole Foods and their cause, Whole Planet. The impact of Whole Foods is that it is one of the only retailers who will partner with an early stage start-up, and that has enormous social impact.

What role do partnerships play in social entrepreneurship?

When we launched our brand in Whole Foods, it was around the era when the tragedy of 9-11 was still raw. American Halal was among the first foods to appeal to the dietary restrictions of Muslims. The brand, Saffron Road, was developed not only to appeal to consumers who sought healthy, all natural, sustainably produced food, but to those whose spiritual principles guided their dietary needs. We were the world’s first halal-certified frozen entrée.

The launch coincided with the Islamic holiday, Ramadan.

Suddenly, there was an outbreak of bigotry in the blogosphere that became a media story. It was a tempest in a teapot. A heated religious debate was about to play out in the aisles of Whole Foods. But, they held their heads up high, taking pride in themselves as curators of culinary diversity. They weathered the storm like champions.

And thousands of American Muslim consumers flocked to Whole Foods stores for the first time to show their loyalty and solidarity with Whole Foods’ progressive values. Our sales soared 600 percent and we are now the No. 1 frozen entrée in Whole Foods stores nationally. It was a win-win. That is partnership.

There are hundreds of examples of partnership throughout our supply chain. Whole Foods is now requiring GMO labeling and Saffron Road is the first Non-GMO Project Verified entree as a result of partnership. Another example is our mutual relationship with our supply chain of organic chickpea farmers. These are the kinds of stories you’ll hear at the conference.


Adnan Durrani is the founder of American Halal, whose Saffron Road brand sells the first halal-certified frozen entrées available in mainstream supermarkets nationwide.

Find more Courageous Conversations, including interviews with Errol Schweiger of Whole Foods, and Caryl Levine and Kenneth Lee of Lotus Foods, at

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Meeting of the Minds by Martha Shaw


Business and environmental leaders brainstorm sustainable solutions to the world’s biggest problems.

by Martha Shaw

(San Diego, CA) – May 15, 2013 – What would happen if you sequestered big business leaders and entrepreneurs with environmental thought leaders and encouraged them all to brainstorm ways to reduce our tread on the planet? With a little luck and a lot of work, you get sustainable solutions to some of the world’s toughest challenges.

Fortune Brainstorm Green
Fortune Brainstorm Green opened on April 29 in Laguna Niguel, California with actor Harrison Ford and Peter Seligmann of Conservation International, and continued for twenty-four hours spread out over three days of panels, breakout sessions, meals and soirees. CEOs and sustainability officers of the largest multinational corporations on Earth shared progressive ideas and presented smart solutions in an atmosphere of friendship and goodwill, not to mention breathtaking ocean views. These executives face the challenge of achieving ever-increasing profits for their public companies, while reducing their impact on the environment.

Social Venture Network’s Courageous Conversations
Some of the attendees had just come from Social Venture Network’s Courageous Conversations (SVN) conference in San Diego, April 25-28. At SVN, social entrepreneurs were looking deep into the supply chain to launch and grow businesses that help solve problems that plague the planet and the poor. These eco-preneurs face the challenge of raising capital and gaining distribution while struggling to keep their companies privately held, thus immune to the destructive effects of rapid growth expressed in the quarterly earnings of public companies. Many, in fact, were on their way to the national gathering of Slow Money held in Boulder. Errol Schweizer of Whole Foods inspired the group with excellent examples of mutually beneficial relationships throughout the supply chain that nourish the planet.

Conservation International – a balancing act
Conservation International (CI), a not for profit organization that helps big companies go green, and encourages green companies to grow big, among many other activities, has a vision for an environmentally healthy world with economic security for all. At Fortune Brainstorm Green, CEO and Co-founder Peter Seligmann shared that vision in which Earth’s natural wealth serves as the cornerstone for vibrant, thriving human societies. He cited the need for a global shift in attitudes and actions. As an example of tools available to gauge progress or lack thereof, Deb Zeyen of CI’s Marine Division, revealed the new Ocean Health Index which calculates an annual global score that assesses the condition of marine ecosystems, an indicator for the health of the planet. From fisheries to farms, natural resources are at the root of the supply chain, and many argue that these resources belong to the commons, not the corporations.

Greening the supply chain
A supply chain is a series of links that begins with natural resources and the people who live in communities among them, and ends up as a product or service on the market. If that product, for instance, is sold by a public company, the stock market is yanking at the chain. The dichotomy is that without the omnipotent reach and infrastructure of big business, the task of smaller businesses getting products to market is daunting, and investors eventually want their investment returned. This often leads to mergers and acquisitions. SVN member Greg Steltenpohl, founder of Odwalla that sold to Coca-Cola, summed up one advantage of getting healthy green products to mass market by saying, “Thank gawd for Odwalla Superfood in airports!”

An ideal green economy is a complex integration of nature and people within an ecosystem. Much of the talk at sustainability conferences is about how to define an ideal modern day ecosystem. Because of the keen level of sophistication and passion in the room, these conversations often lead to the topic of biomimicry. Ethical Biomimicry Finance™, a joint venture between Biomimicry 3.8 and Ethical Markets, brings Nature to Finance. What can we learn from nature about balance? Everybody is talking about a circular economy.

Circular economy – the new buzz words
The concept of a circular economy is a common theme at business conferences which address a forthcoming scarcity of natural resources. Though reusing, recycling and recovering materials can certainly mitigate some of the environmental degradation, the business cases for a circular economy vary as dramatically as the materials themselves. From local vendors like Jade Planet that uses found objects to make footwear and handbags, to Yerdle’s model of sharing, to Alcoa mining trash for aluminum, one can find a wide range of promising examples where businesses are engaging in the complete life cycle of materials. One has only to view the satellite images of the plastic gyre in the Pacific, or the landfills of Brazil, to agree that it’s not a moment too soon.
The rapid expansion of manufacturing and commerce over the past five decades or so has left rubble on our land, toxics in our water, dead zones in our oceans, and poison in our skies. We discovered that man has a ravenous propensity to accumulate, consume and toss natural resources without thinking much about it. As a species, we are taking a look in the mirror and not liking what we see. The mass population of people on the planet has lost the native intelligence to protect our habitats, unlike bees and other species for example. We don’t live conservatively in a circular economy. At the cash register and on e-commerce sites, we invest our money in conveniences often destined for our oceans, and our own living environments in a linear direction.

Communications and Relationship Building
The tactics of environmental advocacy groups often fail by reprimanding man for acting like man. Though well-meaning, these efforts pale in comparison to the opposing well-funded forces convincing us that we’ll be much happier with more everything. This leaves us alarmingly dependent on businesses to do the right thing and help figure out how ten billion people could potentially be sustained on Earth in a socially equitable fashion. That’s why these business conferences are so important. They create opportunities for collective intelligence that we have not demonstrated on our own, and have stopped seeking from our governments.
From sustainable clothing manufacturers that support women below the poverty line, to juice makers striving to grow healthy local economies, to multinational soda and beer bottlers exploring ways to use their omnipotent presence for good, to shipping companies leading the way in green transportation, there is a lot of business going on in the world to feel good about. Regardless of how people feel about the corporate monopoly on resources, it is generally agreed that relationships are a good thing, and businesses are the real pros at building them. Successful enterprises are dependent on successful relationships. Green conferences are a means to that end. Sharing a coffee or a beat on the dance floor can lead to sharing a point of view. When you see an environmental leader dancing with a stockbroker, there’s the opportunity waiting to happen.

What about the United Nations?
While some look to businesses, others turn to the United Nations. This month, countries from around the world convened at the UN on the subject of protecting the ungoverned high seas, also known as Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction (ABNJ), from industrial fishing gone haywire, deep sea mining, and other private interests that have a destructive effect on the health of our planet. But the business working group at the UN is more likely to represent the chemical and extraction industry. While area-based management tools, marine reserves, and environmental impact assessments are critical to our oceans’ future, they represent a restriction to multinational business activity, and to countries hoping to reap the rewards of the sea as though gold mining. A good effort but progress is slow.

While the sustainable consumption movement has high hopes for the general public to become advocates for the environment through purchase choices and lifestyle, the level of activism has yet to reach expectations. For instance, we go through 500 million plastic straws per day in the USA alone and 38,000 per person per lifetime, when all one has to say is “No straw, please.” People like straws and don’t want to give them up despite being environmental hazards. Though the general trend may be toward conservation, it isn’t happening fast enough to keep us and our fellow critters from drowning in our own trash.

Business conferences may be the answer
What do sustainable business conferences lead us to? Evidence that our species has all the brain cells we need to solve most problems. We might have what it takes to create harmony with nature if business relationships are built for the good of the planet. When business people come down from the skyscrapers, out of the factories, off the rigs, and up from the tankers to mingle for the sake of their grandchildren’s future, magic can happen. When the great social entrepreneurs of our time gather to share best practices together, our adrenalin kicks in and we get jazzed. Whether it’s Whole Foods or Unilever, retailers at the gateway can’t go it alone and they don’t want to. Environmental and social professionals working at the bottom link of the supply chain are resolving issues with computer manufacturers and apparel designers. Responsible restaurateurs know they can’t choose which fish to serve without consulting experts. Even at Rio+20 Earth Summit, it was the businesses that made the greatest milestones.

Why teleconferencing can’t cut it
Can virtual conferences replace live meetings so that nobody ever has to leave his or her office? Like all species, we thrive, grow and flourish on personal interaction. Despite new technology, we can’t create fully symbiotic relationships of the magnitude needed online, any more than a coral could Skype a fish to form an interdependent, mutually beneficial relationship in balance with the ecosystem. Living happily ever after as a species requires a determined, concentrated effort to cooperate and mingle together. It’s not just networking, it’s friend making and the joy of belonging to an ecosystem.

The hum
If you step back and listen to the distinctive hum of a happy hour at a sustainability conference, it has a buzz unique to the cross-pollination of ideas. That’s the vibe that may save our species yet.

Martha Shaw Interviews Heather White, Director of New Standards.

Courageous Conversations: Social Venture Network Interview Series on Transforming the Way the World Does Business. by Martha Shaw

Heather White is a social entrepreneur advocating for responsible supply chain practices. She is the director of New Standards, which contributes to the improvement of global working conditions through research and direct engagement strategies. In 1995, she founded Verite, a non-profit organization helping companies and other stakeholders to understand labor issues, overcome obstacles, and build sustainable solutions into their supply chains.

Interview by Martha Shaw, founder of Earth Advertising which promotes the growth of environmentally responsible businesses through brand strategy and media campaigns.

SVN: What kind of conversation will you be participating in during Courageous Conversations, SVN’s Spring Conference?

Heather White: Raphael Bemporad of BBMG will be playing talk show host in a Courageous Conversation with me. I think for everyone it requires commitment and honesty today to speak from the heart, which may be counter to the prevailing mainstream messaging promoted by corporate interests. We’ll be speaking about a few urgent topics currently outside mainstream views about China’s economic success.

SVN: How does courage play a role in what you do?

Heather White: I am producing a video as part of a larger book project, about teenagers and young workers poisoned and injured on assembly lines overseas because of toxic chemicals and unsafe conditions. The courage is on their end, not mine.

The interviews for the book took place in hospitals where these teenagers and young people around 20 years old lay paralyzed from exposure to chemical agents used in manufacturing – from cleaning computer screens for instance. I’m grateful that they are willing to talk with me, a total stranger asking them why they are in the hospital and where they work. Sometimes they have lost a hand in the machinery and are too embarrassed or ashamed to tell their own families. Some said they were contemplating suicide because they no longer see a future for themselves. To envision a new life for themselves takes courage.

Also, the NGOs who are trying to help them are courageous, working underground and going to hospitals to serve the victims despite the tight security trying to keep them out.

SVN: How did you come to stand up for the rights of factory workers?

Heather White: I had been consulting to corporations who were expanding their operations globally as an operating strategy. Contradictions were emerging for me. While they were posting record profits, workers were suffering from malnutrition among other things. Having worked for many years as an outsourcing agent, I was able to persuade factories to let me in at a time when many of the companies had publicists making the problems go away. I felt I had to do something.

SVN: What has been your greatest challenge?

Heather White: When I first started Verite, I was sometimes exhausted from the challenges of the work, and still had a lot of daily family obligations. I had three children under the age of eleven. It was difficult at times being a wife and mother while trying to launch a global organization. Sometimes, there were too many pulls between my work and the attention I needed to give the family.

SVN: How did you encounter SVN?

Heather White: I was introduced to SVN through SVN member David Berge, and invited to a conference. At SVN, I connected with so many like-minded folks, it gave me emotional support for my work. This was at a time when I was working with people who didn’t share my values. SVN became the business environment where I felt most comfortable. I knew I had to attend every one of the conferences that I possibly could.

Written by Martha Shaw

Missing Voices: Green Business Leaders Discuss Representation at Rio+20

Missing Voices: Green Business Leaders Discuss Representation at Rio+20
Sustainability and Green Leaders Meet with United Nations to offer representation at Rio+20.

By Martha Shaw and Aman Singh

Nearly 100 sustainable business leaders crowded onto the 10th floor of the UN Church Center in New York City on May 1st to join a conversation with Chantal Line Carpentier, Sustainable Development Officer and Major Groups Program Coordinator of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, and other UN representatives.

The topic: To hear from the “missing voices” of over 200,000 entrepreneurs from organizations including the American Sustainable Business Council (ASBC), Social Venture Network, Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE), B Lab, CSRwire, Green America and ‘buy local’ green business networks.

The meeting was hosted by The Temple of Understanding, and organized by Martha Shaw, to explore ways that founders of socially- and environmentally-responsible ‘triple bottom line” businesses might bring their voices to Rio+20, and beyond.

“We Must Raise Our Voice Now”
ASBC’s David Levine started the conversation by stressing that the gathered entrepreneurs are conscious of their global counterparts who are also running businesses that presuppose green practices and help serve social needs while making money.

“Whether they are social enterprises, micro enterprises, women’s groups or development groups, they all carry the same sensibilities of a triple bottom line. They are finding a balance between profits, social and environmental goals,” he said. “This voice is missing in our country today because a monolithic voice led by multinationals dominates all dialogues.”

Levine ended by emphasizing that this is the opportunity for the entrepreneurs to market their leadership and present their pioneering work on a global stage as a way of creating shared value. “This voice is new and we must raise it,” he ended.

“Define Sustainable and Green Business”
Green Map System’s Wendy Brawer picked up where Levine left by adding that until we define what “sustainable business” means, creating this coherent voice will be hard.

Jumping into the dialogue, CSRwire CEO Joe Sibilia made it clear that “any business that integrates the human condition into its operations, whether you call it humanity or spirituality, is sustainable. These entrepreneurs are using business to create a values-driven and sustainable world,” he said. “Financial gains cannot be the only objective. It’s that simple.”

Eco-preneurs at Rio+20
Temple of Understanding’s Grove Harris interjected by adding that it is “practices like the ones Joe is highlighting that need to be voiced at Rio+20. It is important to bring these issues to the table by showing business practices that manifest in social value.” She also added that traditionally, non-governmental organizations have not proven sophisticated enough to support our future and voices. “We need business to be there.”

More examples of mission-driven business enterprises solving many social and environmental problems, including the eradication of poverty, were offered, as was a comparison to the restraints of multinational corporations who are bound by law to act in the best interest of stockholder profits.

Though Sibilia, Harris, Brawer and B Lab’s Peter Strugatz offered several examples of supply chain relationships among green businesses and corporations going green, they also pointed out that many other models exist for ways the world can do business outside the restrictions of a corporation.

United Nations: Collaborate & Lead The Conversation
After hearing everyone out, Chantal Line Carpentier, the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Officer and Major Groups Program Coordinator, took the floor to urge the attendees to work with the UN in representing their issues at Rio+20.

She also emphasized clarifying ambiguous language about sustainability and suggested that the sector come to an agreement on what “private public partnerships mean” and “how you can help influence policy and regulatory frameworks.”

“Consider this as a strong call for leadership. There is a lot of talk about business doing more but how? Show us, offer best practices, define CSR, and align practices with the United Nations Global Compact guidelines,” she said.

Carpentier also recommended that the entrepreneurs make an effort to demystify the language around lifecycles, supply chain analysis and sustainability.

Finally, Tess Mateo, an advisor to the UN’s Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), pointed out that the Women, and Indigenous People Major Groups would be good allies and recommended that we remain cognizant of working together with the other enterprises in promoting our voice on the global stage.

Virgin-tree paper companies spend millions on “paper propaganda.”

Virgin-tree paper companies spend millions on “paper propaganda.”

We’re the first to commend companies in any industry that adopt environmentally responsible practices. That’s why we celebrated when the virgin-tree paper mill companies began to use their wood scrap as biomass to supply some of their highly intensive energy needs. However, a creative, well-funded campaign is misleading the public to believe that this puts them at parity in terms of carbon footprint and environmental responsibility, with recycled paper. This is simply not true. The campaign goes to further to claim that virgin-tree paper is the preferred “green” choice over recycled paper.

This kind of propaganda only serves to undermine demand for authentic post-consumer recycled paper, confuse consumers, and impede the progress being made to capture and reuse paper pulp from the waste stream. “Greenwashing” threatens to take a toll on our planet, and all the living things who call our Earth home. What we need is a robust paper reclamation movement, not an expansion of tree farms that are replacing natural environments and destroying ecosystems at an alarming rate.

It is true that trees can be a renewable resource where reforestation is practiced, and the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) stamp helps to ensure that trees harvested for paper are done so according to guidelines. But, one of the major worries about tree farming is the reduction of biodiversity, critical to a healthy ecosystem. About 16% of the world’s paper pulp comes from trees raised specifically for pulp. Another 9% or so comes from old growth, first generation, forests. Most of the rest of the pulp comes from multi-generation forests. Today, only X% of paper pulp comes from reclaimed paper.

It’s time we began to pay the true cost of virgin-tree derived paper. The millions of dollars being spent to greenwash a well-meaning public would be better spent on retooling our paper mills to accept pulp from the “urban forest.” We need to divert paper from the waste stream. The biodiversity of our forests is being sacrificed to paper-filled landfills where chemicals from paper seep into our soil, and methane is released into our atmosphere. Perhaps a handfill of paper executives and stockholder are getting rich off the campaign, but it’s at our expense. The cost is born by our eco-system, by our water and our air and our soil, and by future generations.

Learn the truth about paper at Environmental Paper:

Ecology, Hope and Humans by Martha Shaw

Ecology and Hope

Van Jones on Ecology, Hope and Humans


By CSRwire Contributing Writer Martha Shaw

On the heels of the 2010 Social Venture Network Fall Invitational, Martha Shaw talks with Van Jones about “green” politics and why he suggests we look to faith leaders, CEOs and into the mirror for guidance.

You know Van Jones. In 2007, he co-founded Green For All, a national NGO dedicated to building a green economy strong enough to lift people out of poverty. His first book, The Green Collar Economy, released in 2008, reached twelfth on the New York Times Best Seller list. In 2008, Time magazine named Jones one of its “Heroes of the Environment.” Fast Company called him one of the “12 Most Creative Minds of 2008.”

The cross-fire of political food fights.

In March 2009, Jones was appointed by President Obama to the new position of Special Advisor for Green Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation at the White House Council on Environmental Quality. His work to advance the Administration’s climate and energy initiatives, with a focus on improving vulnerable communities, was rather rudely interrupted by an aggressive campaign against him accusing him of everything from Marxism to disparaging remarks about Republicans in particular. Jones resigned in early September 2009. “On the eve of historic fights for health care and clean energy, opponents of reform have mounted a vicious smear campaign against me,” Jones said in his resignation statement. “They are using lies and distortions to distract and divide.”

Rising above adversity, today Jones is a senior fellow at the Center For American Progress and a senior policy advisor at Green For All. He is a distinguished fellow at Princeton University at the Center for African American Studies and the Program in Science, Technology and Environmental Policy at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.

Van’s experience at the White House apparently had a worse effect on others than on himself. He looks at his days in the Administration as the opportunity of a lifetime to find out what makes our country tick. According to Van, he worried about our country, which is why he went in, and became much more worried after he came out. People across America were traumatized by what seemed to be a backhanded political motive to foil his policy reform. “People of all colors still come up to me in despair about how unfair it was,” says Van Jones. “They’re all upset and I say, ‘hey, you’ll be okay.’” But does he really think we’re going to be okay? Not if we are counting on Washington, where he saw firsthand what he calls “food fight politics.”

Looking to faith leaders, CEOs, educators and to ourselves.

Recently Jones addressed the Temple of Understanding gathering of international faith leaders and then the Social Venture Network Fall Invitational, where social entrepreneurs came together. He offered a narrative regarding how we relate to the Earth and its resources.

“This is a sacred room,” said Van addressing the eclectic collection of spiritual dignitaries at the Temple of Understanding event. “You are the people who hold the people, through the ceremonies in their lives, the difficulties in their lives. You will lead us through a transition ahead that man has never been through. We have been in an adolescent civilization. But we have to grow up, and people of faith are key to helping people mark that transition. Should spiritual people get involved in politics? Yes, because sometimes the problems get so deep that the walls between the secular and the sacred collapse.”

A time of hope and heartbreak.

Jones also shared a story about Paul Hawkins addressing a room full of low-income African Americans. He turned to a little girl who asked the question, “Why are some people poor?” Hawkins answered, “Some people have a hard time finding work.” The little girl then asked, “Well, is all the work done?”

“No, it’s not,” states Van. “When you fly over and see all the roofs without solar panels and bridges falling down, that’s work to be done. We have this rare opportunity — some of the most highly skilled best-trained workers in the world are not working. They’ve been called lazy union guys and bums by our radio celebrities. Our skilled workers aren’t given the right products to work on. The politics taking over are glamorizing sink-or-swim rugged individualism, where people who don’t make it must have problems, so let them sink. But we can fight pollution and poverty at the same time.”

Sharing success stories of hope.

This week Americans may cast misguided votes in response to bad economic news ruling the airwaves, where paid programming and paid news are the new norm. It can’t hurt to broadcast some good news, even to friends and neighbors. For example, there are more solar installers and wind turbine workers than coal miners, and these numbers are growing.

“Get out there and share your success stories,” Van suggested to hundreds of the Social Venture Network‘s successful entrepreneurs committed to triple bottom line (people, planet, profit) business, including B Corporations. “Good news is not making headlines. This is by design,” he continues.

One government site posting success stories in clean technology, energy efficiency and green jobs is The Department of Energy’s Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE). You can share your stories here — because there’s no harm in spreading good news and hope.

About Martha Shaw

Martha Shaw a contributing writer for CSRwire covering clean technology and other topics. Martha has been named an Adweek Creative All Star and is the winner of international awards in communications. She is a member of the Climate Literacy Network, Fellow of the Explorers Club, board member of NYSES and CEO of Earth Advertising.

This commentary is written by a valued member of the CSRwire contributing writers’ community and expresses this author’s views alone.

Street Smart Sustainability by Joe Sibilia and David Mager

Street Smart Sustainability-The-latest Social Venture Network Series Book–Street-Smart-Sustainability-The-latest-Social-Venture-Network-Series-Book

‘Street Smart Sustainability’ – The latest Social Venture Network Series Book

Co-authored by CSRwire CEO, Joe Sibilia, and Major Environmental Solutions President, David Mager

Submitted by: CSRwireCategories: Corporate Social Responsibility, Research, Reports & Publications

Posted: Oct 21, 2010 – 05:42 PM EST

SPRINGFIELD, Mass., Oct. 21 /CSRwire/ – On Friday, October 22, David Mager and Joe Sibilia’s new book, Street Smart Sustainability: The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Profitably Greening Your Organization’s DNA, will hit the streets. In the book, Sibilia and Mager examine the ways to transform a business to ensure its environmental footprint is as small as possible — and if you are starting a business, it provides practical steps to put your business on the path to sustainability. Street Smart Sustainability will help boost productivity, reduce environmental impacts, and help you make more money. This book has stand-alone chapters that offer a wealth of “tips of the trade.”

Click here to purchase Street Smart Sustainability.

Co-author Joe Sibilia is a pioneer in the corporate sustainability movement. Sibilia is the founder of Meadowbrook Lane Capital and Gasoline Alley Foundation and current CEO of CSRwire, which was founded in 1999 and acquired by Sibilia and a group of partners in 2005. He and Mager wrote the book as a roadmap for businesses that want to be green, but have felt financially daunted in doing so.

“We were inspired to write this book because there are so many books written about why you should be green, but not how to be green and do it in a profitable, not just cost-effective, manner,” says co-author David Mager, President of Major Environmental Solutions. “This book is for the 17 million small- and medium-sized business owners and organization leaders who want to be sustainable but don’t know how to do it in a way that won’t cost them anything.”

Mager should know. He has worked with over 300 Fortune 500 companies helping them make green by being green and was an advisor on the Obama USDA Transition Team in the area of sustainability. Mager also served as Director of Standards at Green Seal and has represented the US in the creation of ISO 14000. As a boy, he organized high school students for the first Earth Day.

Street Smart Sustainability has received the highest accolades in the industry:

“This is essential reading for any business leader–and anyone who wants to become one.” -Joel Makower, Executive Editor,, and author of Strategies for the Green Economy

“A GPS for steering your business in a green and profitable direction way ahead of the curve with insight, innovation, integrity and passion.” -Paulette Mae Cole, CEO and Creative Director, ABC Home

“This book makes the path to sustainability feel truly achievable.” -Eileen Fisher, Chief Creative Officer, Eileen Fisher, Inc.

“No one has tried harder to quantify ‘good beyond profit.’” -John Stossel, Fox News correspondent

“It’s like having a private staff of top environmental consultants take your company where it needs to go.” -Jeffrey Hollender, Cofounder and Chief Inspired Protagonist, Seventh Generation

“Provides an essential outline and all the creative new ideas to make any business greener.” -Denise Hamler, Director, Green Business Network of Green America

This much awaited book will be launched at the 2010 Social Venture Network (SVN) Fall Conference. The conference brings together a vibrant community of social entrepreneurs to explore new ways to create a just economy, strengthen our collective impact, and share resources and experiences in leading sustainable enterprises.

You can also find Joe Sibilia signing books at these upcoming events:

Tues. – Wed., Oct. 26-27Aspen in NYC: Business and Society Annual Forum. The Aspen Institute and its media partner, Bloomberg Television, will explore the criteria used to measure progress–as individuals, business people and a society. Leaders from business, government, academia and the global community will participate in a series of discussions that explore the way we think about and measure success, looking at issues that range from the validity of GDP as an indicator of how well a country is doing to the purpose of the firm and its relation to its stakeholders and to societal challenges such as healthcare, the environment and building a sustainable future. Sibilia will be speaking Wed., Oct. 27.

Thurs., Nov. 4BSR Conference 2010. This year’s Business for Social Responsibility (BSR) Conference will provide the insights and connections needed for defining the business models essential for future success in the new economy. Sibilia will be attending the BSR party Thurs. evening.

Sun., Nov. 7Green Festival, San Francisco. This year’s Green Festival theme is ‘Engagement’, which is the topic Joe will be addressing on Nov. 7.

Thurs. – Sun., Nov. 18-21SRI in the Rockies. Along with Steve Schueth, CEO of First Affirmative Financial Network CEO, Sibilia has conducted a series of 12 speaker interviews for this event. See 2010 Speaker Interview Series.

For more information on book signings and appearances by co-authors David Mager and Joe Sibilia, please contact Natalie Thomas at 802-251-0110 ext. 1108 or

About CSRwire
CSRwire is the leading global source of corporate social responsibility and sustainability news. Founded in 1999 to advance the movement towards a more economically-just and environmentally-sustainable society and away from single bottom line capitalism, CSRwire has paved the way for new standards of corporate citizenship, earning the international respect of thought leaders, business leaders, academics, philanthropists, activists and the media community. Through innovative techniques and strategic partnerships, CSRwire continues to expand its content, communication technology and distribution channels exponentially.

CSRwire content reaches a broad and highly-engaged audience in the international CSR market through syndication partners, members, subscribers, visitors, mobile technology, databases, newsrooms, social media networks, search engines, financial portals, websites and online communities. As the exclusive distributor of CSR news and information for PR Newswire, CSRwire offers more visibility than any other newswire in the world.

Viewership includes 250,000 page views each month. In 2009, there were 1.4 million unique visitors from 224 countries and territories. Over 14,500 referral sites link to and its news alerts reach nearly 50,000 subscribers – plus viral distribution. CSRwire is also distributed through a partnership network comprised of multiple leading organizations within the CSR and sustainability sector. The RSS feeds are packaged into two handy widgets making it possible for sites to display CSRwire news and information.

The service offers more than the traditional newswire service with its Daily Alerts, events calendar, thought-provoking editorials, popular Talkback blog, CSRlive, CSR book reviews, special report distribution, CSR directory, CSRwire Member Spotlights and searchable archives. For members distributing news, CSRwire offers analytics dashboards displaying headline impressions, content views, conversion rates, distribution, demographics, global reach and other features.

Find CSRwire on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter @CSRwire.

Walking the Talk:
CSRwire is a Certified B Corp, United Nations Global Compact Signatory, member of Social Venture Network, and supporter of the Gasoline Alley Foundation. In 2009, CSRwire supported 135 non-profit organizations.

Editor’s Note: View Joe Sibilia’s Talkback post on Street Smart Sustainability here.