Monday, 15 October 2012

Maria Tsakos Foundation : Our Response to Fires

Following the unprecedented and despicable fires last August on the Greek Island of Chios in Eastern Aegean, an International Congress is being organized by the “Maria Tsakos” Foundation, which is the International Centre of Maritime Research and Tradition N.G.O., at the Homerion Cultural Centre of Chios and at the Maria Tsakos Foundation in Chios on the 15th  and 16th  October.
Worth mentioning that the immediate response of the shipping, seafaring and diaspora communities and in particular the Chian one, which brings together high caliber experts from all over the world, is yet an additional  response to those “prosecuting” the Greek shipping and its benefactors, within and outside Greece.The event has four interesting sessions: “Chios and the fires”; “A scientific approach to the fires: the Chios case”; “Measures of rehabilitation from Chios’ fires”; and “Response to the fires in the middle and long term future”.

The Foundation’s activities which are global,  extend to Greece, through donations and charities. Benevolent donations have been extremely significant, particularly in Chios and Kardamyla, Captain P.N. Tsakos’ home island. You can find the full event program here

USA consumers show a lower trust in national business than they do in global companies.

Citizens sometimes perceive national and global companies in a different light.
Trust in global and national business is certainly correlated, according to recent research by GlobeScan. If a country’s citizens trust global businesses, they are also likely to trust its own national companies. However, in most countries, national companies are more trusted than their global counterparts. Concerns about foreign control of resources and workers, as well as national prestige, are likely to be factors in this.
There are some exceptions—as is the case of  USA that  have markedly lower trust in national business than they do in global companies. The presence of trusted and respected “household name” global companies of local origin—such as Samsung, Hyundai, Microsoft, and Coke—may be boosting views of global companies here, according to GlobeScan. At the other extreme, all the continental European countries demonstrate great mistrust of global companies. These finding need a deeper examination in order to extract meaningful conclusions. However, it seems that support the findings presented  first in the book “Nice” Capitalism, ie that Europeans brands are outperforming their US counterparts in consumer admiration and trust.

Will accelerating technology lead to economic collapse ?

Will the future be filled with cool technologies and endless opportunities or will our own creations lead to eventual doom? Martin Ford tends to think the former. Technology has seemingly endless ability to improve the health, freedom, and happiness of our lives. Even optimistic futurists like Ray Kurzweil and James Canton admit, however, that the road to advancing technology is fraught with dangers. Super viruses, artificial intelligences run amok, environmental calamity – science has its threats as well as its promises. Yet there could be one near term problem that even futurists tend to ignore – economic collapse. Martin Ford, a silicon valley computer engineer, entrepreneur, and blogger has written The Lights In The Tunnel, a book which explores the economic implications of a world which is becoming increasingly automated. See more at :   

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

What corporations like Unilever could learn from Darwin ?

In 2011, the Unilever CEO Paul Polman   launched the “Sustainable Living Plan” integrating every aspect of Unilever’s business. The plan called for Unilever to double its sales and halve its environmental impact within a decade; “It’s a realistic and difficult business model… but in a world where increasingly people feel that the system is unfair to them or where they feel excluded, where there is an enormous resource stress, companies that don’t more actively become part of the solution will become obsolete.”,  he said recently in the INSEAD Knowledge.
“We are increasingly more successful in what I call a VUCA environment – volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous.” Polman  says. Perhaps that’s why he also understands that in today’s interconnected world, social media is a powerful tool in the hands of the people, and the consumer is not afraid to say what he wants. “In the digital age we’ve seen the power of the consumer coming up and I always tell our people here that if they can bring down a regime in Egypt in about 17 days they can bring down an irresponsible company in nanoseconds…The consumer is really the boss and there is no bigger power than the power of the wallet.” , he said.  A very pragmatic and Darwinian paradigm from a global firm and his forward looking CEO. You can see more  about  this new paradigm for sustainable growth here.

Monday, 1 October 2012

Do CSR ratings and good companies rankings matter?

Last month has been a big one for corporate sustainability rankings, with the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI) and the Carbon Disclosure Project releasing new reports. Also a  book called Good Company announced its own 2012 Good Company Index. And this month will bring the World Series, Halloween and, of course, the annual Newsweek “green” rankings of big public companies, etc. Read in detail in Marc Gunther’s blog. As  he suggests all these rankings rise a lot of questions. And some findings are rather discouraging . Take for example the  Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI).
The DJSI World has, since its inception in 1999, very closely tracked the stock markets as a whole. Actually, it slightly trails the MSCI World Index.
That’s discouraging, says Gunther. If the index is, in fact, selecting the most sustainable companies, they ought to be rewarded by forward-thinking investors. They’re not. Here’s a chart.