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4 posts from February 2011

February 22, 2011

Annie Leonard or Jason Clay? Can Two Lefts Make a Right?

This is a BIG debate, who do your trust with the next economic market -- Citizens or Corporations?

Screen shot 2011-02-22 at 10.52.04 AM On the left is Annie Leonard, eco-consumer activist who has brilliantly explained complex issues surrounding sustainability, pollution and toxins in our products, air, water, earth and sky through Story-of-Stuff and more mini-movies. After all she has seen and researched, she is taking the stand against corporations who created the eco-economic mess we're in and  how the government is now just another one of "them." [3.3.11 full movie now available below] 

Screen shot 2011-02-22 at 11.00.29 AM  On the other left is for Jason Clay, Sr.VP of Market Transformation at the World Wildlife Fund; which is working to infuse sustainable standards across the biggest corporations -- the top 100 which control 25% of commodities affecting bio-diversity. The WWF is attempting fast and safe eco and economical growth by getting these corporations to join hands and come up with agreed upon standards that everyone can live with while keeping their retirement portfolios growing. His full TEDx talk is also found below and is well worth the 20 minutes to view.

Jason represents the standards that big business will abide by, he knows that voices aren't enough to kick start this thing, he says that, "...after 40 years the organic movement is .7 of 1% of the marketshare." Jason is a realist. He's working for fast change that has some metrics attached to it because corporations are machines which run on numbers.

The good news -- Corporations who created climate change and extensive pollution problems are the now the ones trying to reverse the issues by working together outside of global governments and creating agreed upon standards to get our planet back on track. This is the only way we'll be able to solve the issues as eco-talks at Kyoto, Copanhagen, etc. have proven that governments are too fragmented to create meaningful action. 

The bad news -- While WWF and corporations are working together to solve the problems, the average citizen is being cut out of the standard formulation process and through the supreme court, citizens are also being cut out from having a real voice in government as well. Whatever standard that big business comes up with, we'll all have to trust that it's the best solution. We have to trust that the standard making process is fair, reaches deep into the supply chain, and is accepted across the globe. We also have to trust that these newly formed "unions" of corporate responsibility won't be corrupted by power. How secure are you feeling with that notion right now?

Why Women Need to Care -- the process of corporations working together to produce standards will create bonds and establish more blatant market monarchies. This is where the new economic power will live, not in DC but between the sellers (corporations) and the buyers (consumers). To stay viable, corporations must retain their market share. Even the Fortune 500 turns over every 10 years as market winners become losers. Ladies -- lock and load up on what you believe in.

Money talks, but so does social media.

Annie represents the social media voice of women consumers who want something better for our homes, families and lives. She's using her voice to fight for political footholds. In Story-of-Stuff, Annie explains in 20 minutes the ramification of sustainability questions. Bravo. Through her work, she now has the ear of millions of concerned consumers. 

But consider this, what if we supported the highest sustainable standards will drive the next economy in the profitable direction? What if WE (women) were included in the standard conversation from the start instead of having it shoveled upon us later and expected to push it around. 

While companies are getting their sustainable act together, we can be bringing our own education level up to snuff. 

The following questions are a sampling of what kind of sustainability questions can be asked. Download CompanyProductForm. Sustainable Standards are a shorter version of this list as all stakeholders have to agree to the standards conditions and not all questions make the cut. When you do look at a standard, you'll have a better idea of what has been left out. 

Can two lefts make a right?  With all the checks and balances in the same room, i.e consumers/buyers, corporations/sellers and products/standards -- we have a good start on how to trust, but verify on a global basis. [3.3.11 - but as Annie shows above, before we can verify, we need to get our power back.]

February 11, 2011

Why I blog (still)

Screen shot 2011-02-11 at 10.02.02 AM
Karen Hanrahan asked us, the Green Mom Carnival, why we love to blog for her Valentine's Day Carnival.  The sisterhood is joined through our mutual green mission, but the question made me stop and think again – just why do I write posts after four years; what continues to drive me? 

To be honest it’s more of a love/hate relationship. I started because I had something to say that no one else was saying about women, sustainable products, and trusted values and how the they will drive the next global economy. I continue because I haven’t stopped having an opinion, even as women+green+leadership movement is mainstreaming.

In the old world of pre-Internet, permission-based leadership was our only outlet. We had to get the “title” or a news column before our voices had a vote. Today our voices are being searched and measured and tallied every second as companies look for new ways to impress their key buyers. It doesn’t matter that we have a big blog/twitter/Facebook following, our cumulative opinions are reaching the machines that crunch the numbers that tell corporations or politicians what we care about. Social media lets us lead from the outside in – every time I post a blog, I’m voting on how the world should work.

Admittedly, it’s hard to write from the heart. Most days I struggle, but then someone does something amazing or a company is changing for the better and  - well – I just have to tell someone.

Blogging is the soul reason for my professional and personal growth since turning 50. I have a world of women to thank for that. Their generosity and business savvy keeps me inspired from what to write to how to make it more fun. 

Being over 50, I remember what it was like when women's opinions didn’t count even if they were asked for. All that changed when blogs and social media launched. Today I can’t imagine a world without a free exchange of ideas. Think of how one-sided and boring it would be. 

Happy Valentines Day -- kisses to all who love their work.




February 08, 2011

Ladies, take a bow for kick starting transparency in household cleaners

Today, Clorox, the name synonymous with toxic bleach, announced that it's going transparent with its products ingredients.

"...it is now disclosing preservatives, dyes and a palette of fragrances used in its cleaning, disinfecting and laundry products in the U.S. and Canada. The Ingredients Inside program is available at www.CloroxCSR.com/ingredients-inside/" more

That doesn't mean that these products are safe or less harmful, but transparency is a step in the right direction. It also establishes a benchmark for other companies to follow. Once there is transparency, bad ingredients will be seen and no one wants that, consequently companies will work extra hard to come clean themselves before going public. 

Ladies, take a bow. YOU drove this action.

The picture below was taken from Mom's Voices.org. [correction, the site is called Women's Voice of the Earth] Do a search on "toxic cleaners" "toxic cosmetics" (both sink into your skin) and you'll see countless mom generated books and blogs on the subject. Public pressure is the wind beneath the toxic-free movement's wings. Mom's Voices is one of many women-fueled sites on this subject.

Screen shot 2011-02-08 at 8.35.05 AM

Listing all ingredients is a brave, first step for Clorox. They, like Wal Mart, are turning their Darth Vader image into a force for green good by taking a leadership for green position. It won't be easy for Clorox and those like them, unlike Seventh Generation who started out green, Clorox had to justify the reformulation and changing entire production lines before they could make a move. Public pressure made them do it, otherwise they would have started out clean like Seventh Generation. 

Here are a few more books on the subject, all written by women. Do you have a book on Toxic-free living? Please let me know. --Mary(dot)inwomenwetrust(dot)com

Screen shot 2011-02-08 at 9.31.54 AM Practically Green: Your Guide to Ecofriendly Decision-Making
By Micaela Preston

Screen shot 2011-02-08 at 9.34.02 AM Smart Mama's Green Guide: Simple Steps to Reduce Your Child's Toxic Chemical Exposure  By Jennifer Taggart






The Green Parent: A Kid-Friendly Guide to Environmentally-Friendly Living
By Jenn Savedge

 Screen shot 2011-02-08 at 9.36.52 AM Big Green Purse: Use Your Spending Power to Create a Cleaner, Greener World
By Diane MacEachren



Screen shot 2011-02-08 at 8.56.53 AM

Green Cleaning For Dummies Elizabeth B. Goldsmith , Betsy Sheldon 






Screen shot 2011-02-08 at 8.59.03 AM Better Basics for the Home: Simple Solutions for Less Toxic Living Annie Berthold-Bond 



Screen shot 2011-02-08 at 9.02.15 AM Green Cleaning Christine Halvorson Erika Swanson Geiss 


February 02, 2011

Influential Moms or Business Women?

Ironic Dot connecting this morning...

  • Dot 1 -- At what point will women cross from "Influencer" to "Shrewd Business Woman"  in multi-book author, Maria Bailey's Media Post article she lists several of these Mom Influencers and their accomplishments. All reach thousands each week. As a "media" they are considered highly successful, but because they are Moms, they are known as "influencers." Full article here. I wonder what a girl has to do to be seen as a business first...
Trisha Novotry, known online as 24/7 Mom
Andrea Deckard, known online as the founder of www.Savingslifestyle.com.
Lisa Druxman, founder of Stroller Strides.
Pamela Nagata, coordinator for Sandiegoparent.com.
Molly Gold, founder of Go Mom Inc    on her live show on MomTV.com  
  • Dot 2 -- A report just out researching who gets venture capital money. The conclusion of the research? When the business model was lead by a man, it was given more recognition and funding. When the exact same business model was lead by a woman, the funding was more likely to be denied. That's sad news for 6.5 million women-owned firms. 

(thanks to Yvonne for finding this 2009 study) Kimberly Weisul, writing on BNET, says, "...new research from the University of Utah Kaufman Firm on Entrpreneurship lends weight to the argument that discrimination is at work. After studying the reactions of 222 MBA students to different founding teams, researchers Robert Wuebker and Lyda Bigelow found that even though the personal qualifications and the firm financials were identical no matter the gender of the CEO, women-led firms were seen as having a poorer strategic position, and female founders were perceived as less capable."

Connecting the dots - woman are coveted for their ability to grow out these massive sectors of influence, sometimes without money or power but by the shear force of their personalities and yet -- they are given less financial respect than those who have to buy their way to influence. Go figure. 

Who would you trust with your investments -- someone who is trying to buy your affection through a business model or someone who has the same business model AND the ability to grow a base of support? It's time for the money lenders to start looking at opportunities the same way business is looking for influencers.

There is a revolution going on in more places than Egypt...