Updated: 12/28/06; 12:16:13 PM.
Gil Friend - legacy site
Strategic Sustainability, and other worthy themes of our time
(Note: this blog has moved to http://blogs.natlogic.com/friend)

Thursday, December 28, 2006

(Housekeeping post to force update of title and header)
12:16:10 PM    comment []  trackback []

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

This blog has moved.
I've moved my blog to http://blogs.natlogic.com/friend

The new site is still a work in progress, as I figure out all the bells, whistles and chicklets to deploy. So please, come visit, make suggestions, update your blogroll links, redirect your feed subscriptions - and send your friends!

Thanks for reading, Gil
1:37:31 AM    comment []  trackback []

Thursday, December 7, 2006

Short hiatus
There'll be a short blogging hiatus this week, as we port this blog over to Moveable Type, and a new more memorable address. (Thank you, Nick Aster of Treehugger, for the generous help in making this happen.)
7:04:40 AM    comment []  trackback []

Monday, December 4, 2006

Worldchanging in San Francisco
Two events this week in San Francisco in connection with WorldChanging - A User's Guide for the 21st Century -- the 600 page or so extension of the exceptional WorldChanging.com web site. (Disclosure: I'm a contributing author to both site and book.)

You're invited to both:

- book party Tuesday, Dec 5, 6pm, at 111 Minna

- authors' panel Thursday Dec 7, 530pm, at the Commonwealth Club. The panel includes:

Jeremy Faludi, Editor, WorldChanging.com Joel Makower, Founder/Executive Editor, GreenBiz.com Mike Millikin, Editor, Green Car Congress Sarah Rich, Managing Editor,WorldChanging.com Cameron Sinclair, Co-founder/Executive Director, Architecture for Humanity Alex Steffen, Executive Editor, WorldChanging.com
I'll be moderating. (A rare chance, so they say, to see me being moderate!)

This event is sure to sell out, so if you're interested, get your tickets in advance.

Please join us. (And buy the book ;-)

(PS: It's an interesting week or two for these themes at the Commonwealth Club. Amory Lovins tonight, on Winning the Oil Endgame, and Aron Cramer, President and CEO of Business for Social Responsibility, next Monday on New Business Strategies for a Sustainable Future.)
10:19:57 AM    comment []  trackback []

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Green my Apple
Green Apple

Catherine Day of Current.tv points out that Greenpeace has done more than rank the eco-profile of computer manufacturers. They've also mounted a very stylish Green My Apple campaign, complete with fake ads, t-shirts, viral video, etc.


Here's my personalization of their boilerplate letter to Steve:

From: Gil Friend
To: Steve Jobs
Subject: I wish my Mac came in green

Dear Steve,

I've been a loyal and happy Mac user since 1984 (and an Apple user since 1979).
And I've been advising companies on environmentally wise business strategies since 1990.

I want to be proud of my next Mac because it has the best environmental standards possible.
Not just as good as other companies. I expect Apple to be a green leader.

Apple can make this happen by:
* Removing the worst toxic chemicals from Apple products and production lines.
* Offering and promoting free "take back" for all Apple products everywhere they are sold.
* Making "design for environment" an integral part of Apple's design systems and business strategy.

You lead in so any ways. Why leave leadership in this important realm to... Dell?
Come on Steve - it's time to change those leopard spots to green.

Yours sincerely,
Gil Friend
President & CEO, Natural Logic Inc

PS: I think I can help. Let me know if you're interested. See Avoiding the Next Train Wreck and It Began With a Dot: Product Regulation and Future Markets for some perspective. Thank you.

Your turn, dear reader.
7:57:49 PM    comment []  trackback []

Amory Lovins on Charlie Rose
Amory's been on a roll, speaking up a storm. (My path crosses his at BSR a few weeks ago, and at Commonwealth Club in San Francisco next week - but that's just with my olimilmted movements.) Tonight he's on the Rose.

This just in from RMI:

Tonight, November 28, 2006, on most PBS stations, an interview with Amory Lovins, CEO and cofounder of RMI, will be featured on the Charlie Rose Show. In this interview, Amory responds to questions about how the U.S. can eliminate its dependence on oil through market-driven approaches. He talks about RMI's progress in several sectors-including heavy trucks, the military, light vehicles, biofuels, airplanes, and financial-in implementing recommendations made in RMI's Winning the Oil Endgame.

You'll be amazed at the progress RMI has made with Wal-Mart, the military, and states such as Hawaii and California.

For information on what station in your area carries the Charlie Rose Show, and for dates and times, please click here.

If you haven't heard Amory speak before, you owe it to yourself. He's a goldmine of knowledge, optimism and wit and data-based strategy that will leave you wondering why - if this makes so much sense - is our national policy so far from making sense.

From the Executive Summary:

Winning the Oil Endgame offers a coherent strategy for ending oil dependence, starting with the United States but applicable worldwide. There are many analyses of the oil problem. This synthesis is the first roadmap of the oil solution—one led by business for profit, not dictated by government for reasons of ideology. This roadmap is independent, peer-reviewed, written for business and military leaders, and co-funded by the Pentagon. It combines innovative technologies and new business models with uncommon public policies: market-oriented without taxes, innovation-driven without mandates, not dependent on major (if any) national legislation, and designed to support, not distort, business logic.

Why indeed?

The cornerstone of the next industrial revolution is therefore winning the Oil Endgame. And surprisingly, it will cost less to displace all of the oil that the United States now uses than it will cost to buy that oil. Oil's current market price leaves out its true costs to the economy, national security, and the environment. But even without including these now 'externalized' costs, it would still be profitable to displace oil completely over the next few decades. In fact, by 2025, the annual economic benefit of that displacement would be $130 billion gross (or $70 billion net of the displacement's costs). To achieve this does not require a revolution, but merely consolidating and accelerating trends already in place: the amount of oil the economy uses for each dollar of GDP produced, and the fuel efficiency of light vehicles, would need only to improve about three-fifths as quickly as they did in response to previous oil shocks.

What to do? Here's the prescription:

Saving half the oil America uses, and substituting cheaper alternatives for the other half, requires four integrated steps:
- Double the efficiency of using oil. - Apply creative business models and public policies to speed the profitable adoption of superefficient light vehicles, heavy trucks, and airplane - Provide another one-fourth of U.S. oil needs by a major domestic biofuels industry - Save half the projected 2025 use of natural gas... then substitute part of the saved gas for oil

Make sense? Tune in. Invite your boss, suppliers, mayor and congressperson to tune in.

If you miss it tonight, there's always Google
3:02:07 PM    comment []  trackback []

Wednesday, November 8, 2006

The venerable British consultancy SustainAbility has released its latest Forum - a discussion among various members of its Core Team and a total of 35 members of its Faculty/Network (on which I'm honored to serve) - on this timely question:

Will globalization help or hinder the corporate responsibility and wider sustainability agendas?

The key findings (with lots of detail and discussion behind each):

1: Globalization (and “planetization”) will continue, perhaps even accelerate - but could switch to a very different direction by 2017....

2: One species, Americanization risks stalling.... This is a political challenge for the United States, but also for the rest of the world.

3: China’s role is seen as increasingly dominant, with many respondents seeing this as a potentially negative influence....

4: Many non-OECD companies, like Gazprom, “get away with murder”...

5: Activists fear being accused of “crying wolf,” so risk understating the challenges....

6: Corporate social responsibility will struggle, at least as currently defined, to stay on the corporate radar screen—being seen as a second tier agenda in terms of management priorities....

7: Supply chains will be vital in ensuring progress....

8: Business continuity will be prioritized as security and other threats grow....

9: Political leadership needs to be transformed if we are to have any chance of motivating individual citizens and putting the global economy onto more sustainable tracks....

10: Business, meanwhile, is often failing to act consistently as a good global citizen....

Rather than re-state my perspectives here, I'll let you read and find them in the discussion. (A clue: it all depends of what kind of globalization, driven by what values and concerns. It's never neutral.)
9:59:11 AM    comment []  trackback []

On the road again
The autumn conference season is winding down, but it's not wound yet! In the last few weeks I've spoken at the NetImpact conference in Chicago (presenting about S-BAR - the sustainable business rating system - with Joel Makower, who then did the same at the SRI in the Rockies conference with our mutual colleague David Johnston). This week, the Business for Social Responsibility conference in NY, a teleconference conversation with Peter Senge, and then back to San Francisco for the Green Festival this weekend.

(Blogging, which is high on the priority list but not as high as clients and sleep, tends to suffer at times like this. OTOH, when a conference has wireless, I can often listen and knit at the same time. ;-)
9:49:51 AM    comment []  trackback []

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Do we have enough zeros now?
Some say that for a matter to rise to a CEO's attention, it has to have enough zeros at the back of it -- that is, enough money has to be at stake to command the attention of a very busy and very focused person (focused, one would hope, on the big picture and the long term). As the late Senator Everett Dirksen reportedly said, 'A billion here, a billion there, and pretty soon you're talking about real money.'

Well, the prospect of climate change (can we call it 'climate crisis' yet?) taking 20% of the global economy might finally be enough to get some serious attention -- even in the back rooms of the White House. At a prevention cost of an estimated one percent of economic product, that's a hard deal to turn down.

The Stern Review on the economics of climate change commissioned, and just released, by the UK government is perhaps the most comprehensive, and authoritative analysis yet of the economic impacts of climate change. Its conclusions are stark:

There is still time to avoid the worst impacts of climate change, if we take strong action now.
[Emphasis theirs.]

The scientific evidence is now overwhelming: climate change is a serious global threat, and it demands an urgent global response.

This Review has assessed a wide range of evidence on the impacts of climate change and on the economic costs, and has used a number of different techniques to assess costs and risks. From all of these perspectives, the evidence gathered by the Review leads to a simple conclusion: the benefits of strong and early action far outweigh the economic costs of not acting.

Alan AtKisson offers a long analysis at WorldChanging. I'll have my own to offer in coming days.
10:37:25 AM    comment []  trackback []

Buy the book! Tom'w! 11s rule!
WorldChanging - A User's Guide for the 21st Century - releases tomorrow. If you like the site, you'll like the book, lauded as this century's Whole Earth Catalog. (If you don't like the site, you probably wouldn't be reading my blog either. If you don't _know_ the site, time to get your butt over there.)

Worldchanging.com, subtitled "a better world is here," is rich compendium of what's working in the world, as the world we dream of emerges before our eyes -- not by magic or wishful thinking, but by the inspiringly creative works of people the world around. The book is the compendium of the compendium. It's fat. It's rich. It's worth your attention. (And I'm honored to be one of the contributors.)

Here's some of the inspiringly creative launch plan from the team:

Here's what we're asking:

On November first, at eleven minutes after eleven a.m. (Pacific time), please go to Amazon and buy the book.

Better still, go to Amazon and buy the book on the first, and in the meantime blog, email, talk up the book and do whatever you can to encourage everyone who you think cares about sustainability, innovation and social change, everyone who wants more solutions in the public debate, to join you on buying the book on 11/1 at 11:11 a.m. Please help spread the word.

11:11 has long been my favorite time of day. I guess I've just been in training for this. ;-)
7:33:28 AM    comment []  trackback []

Greener warfare?
From ADPSR, we get this quote of the day from BBC's Culture Schock:

'No company, regardless of what they make, can now just make a product, bung it out there, and then forget about it,' she said. 'We all have a duty of care to ensure that from cradle to grave products are being used appropriately and do not do lasting harm.'

'She' in this case is Deborah Allen, director of corporate responsibility for British Aerospace (BAE), one of the world's biggest arms-makers, which says it has been making major investment in 'ecologically-sound weaponry' -- investments in creating products that reduce the collateral damage of warfare.

Future trends analyst Sarah Bentley told Culture Shock that she thought the changes to the weapons were a 'very good thing.... Unfortunately, as much as we hate the idea of war, it is a reality of life and it does happen,' she said.

'I think it's only going to be beneficial if, for example, explosives have a limited shelf life, which does away with the problem of landmines exploding anything up to 20 years after the initial deployment has taken place.' For example, she cited explosives that eventually turn into manure, which essentially 'regenerate the environment that they had initially destroyed.'

The price of partial success, I guess -- rhetoric adopted but point missed.

'It is very ironic and very contradictory, but I do think, surely, if all the weapons were made in this manner it would be a good thing.'

Irony noted, but there's a big difference between a better thing and a good thing.

I'm reminded of Bill McDonough's critiques of eco-efficiency (vs 'eco-effectiveness'). 'If the Nazis were more efficient' he asks, 'would that be better?' I guess the same question can now be applied to 'cradle to cradle.' Sigh.
7:04:55 AM    comment []  trackback []

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