All is not well in the Apple world!

We all love Apple with its modern and innovative products – but some recent news about the lack of stakeholder feedback and irresponsible business practices are making me wonder whether Apple is not willing to listen and act anymore with regards to Sustainability and CSR?
These two recent articles raise big question marks about the way Apple is conducting its business and whether to buy Apple products in the future.

Article 1 – Apple Focuses on Green at Shareholder Meeting
This sounds like a good business practice but the important part of the article to consider here is this paragraph:
‘Voted down were two shareholder proposals, each of which the board recommended voting against. The first was a proposal for Apple to prepare a “sustainability” report on the company’s environmental policies and the effects that climate change may have on the company’s competitiveness; the board’s position was that Apple “is already substantially fulfilling–and in many respects exceeding–the request for information [in the proposal].” The second was a proposal to amend the company’s bylaws to establish a board-of-directors sustainability committee to “ensure [Apple’s] sustained viability” in the face of “changing conditions and knowledge of the natural environment, including…natural resource limitations, energy use, waste disposal, and climate change.” The board’s position was, again, that management was performing “exceptionally well in this area” and thus such a committee was unnecessary. (You can read Apple’s 2010 proxy statement for all the details of these proposals.)’

Article 2 – Apple admits using child labor
The point here is that Apple still uses the factories that they know uses child labor. This is totally unacceptable in my opinion.

Is Apple is getting to big and confident as an organization to not be responsive to the stakeholder demands and not practice responsible business practice? Is their thinking that the Apple products are just so sustainable that they do not need to do the same actions, etc. as their industry competitors?

If this is really the case then I am hugely disappointed by Apple and will reconsider to actually use their products in the future. Do not get me wrong. I love my Apple products but this will make no difference to me if they are acting irresponsible in terms of business practice.

Picture Credit: arquera

Video: Bill Gates on the future of energy

Today’s post is another post with a video as the main message. You might not be a huge Bill Gates fan but this is a really interesting talk he gave at TED2010 conference early this year. Here Bill Gates unveils his vision for the world’s energy future, describing the need for “miracles” to avoid planetary catastrophe and explaining why he’s backing a dramatically different type of nuclear reactor (Note: Nuclear is not my type of technology – for me renewable energy is the future and key to our energy problems).

His conclusion is: ‘Zero carbon emissions globally by 2050’. A very interesting message and worth spending 27 minutes of your time to listen what he has to say even if you do not agree with his conclusions.


Thanks belong to David Connor for pointing me to this interesting video.

Why do we trust companies to do the right thing?

Now here is a difficult question to answer. Having worked in this Sustainability / Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) field for a good while now I must say that this very basic question is not really easy to answer. Especially from the viewpoint of the Sustainability / CSR professional. It is our business to be trust agents and convince others to trust in the good companies are doing.

So as engaging bloggers do ( and I am hoping you will see me as one of these engaging bloggers), am I putting this question to you, my reader, and seek your opinion.

Here is what I think about this: Trusting companies to do the right thing is difficult as companies are so integral to our society and way of living. Most of us either work for one company or have companies as customers. Companies provide us with the income we need to buy the things we need to live our life, care for our family and raise our children.

So what other choice other then to hoping that they will do the right thing do we have? I think we need to look at the other side of this question. It is not a choice but rather a duty, a duty for us as stakeholders of these companies to ask and demand of them to do the right thing. We can not hope for them to do the right thing but we can and need to demand it.

And the time can not be better nowadays with such easy access finding like-minded people from across the globe using the internet and ways to publish your messages via free social media tools.

Change starts with believing that you can make a difference. And we need to start believing that we can create a better business world. We, as a Sustainability / CSR professionals or activists, need to believe that we can influence all of these negative aspects that are pulling our confidence down at the moment by using our education, experience and passion to make it a better business world for us and our own stakeholders. This is our duty as stakeholders.

This is my take on this but what is yours?

Picture Credit: s4nt1

A presentation on the ‘Future of CSR’

Some of you might know that I am a big fan of Slideshare and the fact that everyone can share presentations in such an easy and engaging way. Today’s post is about one particularly interesting presentation on CSR I have come across on Slideshare that I needed to share with everyone.

The presentation is called ‘Future of CSR’ and has been put together by Steve Brant. This is a longer presentation (55 slides) with some fancy YouTube videos embedded. All in all a very straightforward but yet detailed presentation.

And there is no better way to end this presentation then with this video in my opinion – Nice choice!

Thanks for sharing this presentation with us Steve.

Facebook – A useful Sustainability and CSR platform?

I guess most of you are also members of Facebook and I assume you are also interested in Sustainability and CSR.  The question I have pondered on during the last few weeks is whether Facebook is actually a good platform for the Sustainability / CSR field. I am convinced that LinkedIn and Twitter are but what about Facebook?

These are the positives, negatives and the unknown aspects of Facebook and Sustainability/CSR from my point of view.

Positives

  • Facebook is a huge platform. Here are some stats on Facebook’s reach. What an amazing place for potentially promoting Sustainability / CSR. A recent example is the Robin Hood Tax group which has amassed over 70.000+ members within days.
  • Facebook offers an amazing potential reach for causes or people with common interests. This is the a link to a recent success story of a London Group. Really interesting. Imagine this could be a Sustainability / CSR group next time.
  • It is free of charge with all sorts of ways to connect to friends, family, likeminded people and interesting Sustainability / CSR information.
  • Important discussions and topics are being shared and discussed. A very promising breeding ground for potential new ways of stakeholder engagement, etc.
  • Great technology and amazing interactivity features that can only help visualize and expose certain aspects of Sustainability / CSR in a positive way.

Negatives

  • What about my privacy? Are the new privacy settings really working? Will these new rules be enough for everyone to feel safe while sharing something on Facebook?
  • From a company point of view it can be said that the barriers of entry for companies on Facebook are still to high (Just look at the revenues Facebook is making from ads…not much in comparison to how big they are). Could this be a sign that the consumer is disinterested in the corporate world on Facebook? How can a company run a Facebook campaign and properly tap into the vast stakeholder feedback that it could offer?

The unknown Facebook factor for Sustainability / CSR

Will Facebook also be a platform for promoting Sustainability / CSR or help us be more sustainable? Sometimes it seems to me that the things we do on Facebook such as joining a group or becoming a fan of something/ omeone is just too superficial. Where is the use in it?

In summary
I do not think we could imagine a world without Facebook now but this is not true for the Sustainability / CSR field. Currently there are different platforms that are more significant. And not Facebook.

So the questions is: Isn’t Facebook really just a platform for connecting with your friends and family or will it transform into something different over time? Something more complex….. Mark Zuckerberg definitely things so.
For the Sustainability / CSR field, Facebook still needs to evolve in order to be more accessible. Maybe is this something the Facebook teams are currently working on. Who knows…………