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Numerecology

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Author: the Inkslinger

Lots of enviro fact finding on the radar this week in the form of two major reports and several public opinion surveys that point to a coming crossroads that’s fast approaching. Does humanity blow right through the intersection and run off the rails? Or do we make the right turn and drive into a new era of sustainability? That, dear Yorick, is the question...

The International Energy Agency published it’s annual summary of the global energy situation this week. The World Energy Outlook looks at the state of things around the world and is not so sanguine about what it finds. The burgeoning economies of China and India are getting as hungry for energy as ours is, and we all know what’s happened here where 4% of the world’s population has somehow and against all odds found a way to produce 25% of its greenhouse gases. Think about what happens when 33% of the world’s population develops a similar appetite. That’s essentially what the IEA does here, and believe me when I say this is not a story to read to the kids at bedtime. There’s a scary monster under the bed, and it’s called Inaction…

Meanwhile, just days earlier, the United Nations Environment Programme releasesd its Global Environment Outlook. It’s another tough read and not because it uses big words or is written in Flemish. Rather, it’s a fairly unflinching look at what the environment is up against and the many ways humans need to back off a bit. Still, unlike the IEA report, whose authors probably leapt off the nearest building ledge as soon as they shut off the printer, the U.N. maintains some level of optimism that we can do what has to be done. It’s not like we have no idea how to defeat this beast called unsustainability and have no other option but to hide quivering in caves. The knowledge we need is there. The question in the U.N.’s view is does humanity have the collective cahones to use it and can we summon the will to do what it takes to make the new paradigm it would create work?

Several new surveys suggest that we do and can.

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Managers Need To Do a Better Job Managing. Me included!

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A few weeks ago, Stefan Stern, writing in the Financial Times, noted:

“New research into the UK workforce, to be published this week, reveals that the British malaise is as serious as any. The online market research group, YouGov, has surveyed 40,000 employees working at all levels in all sections of the economy. Only half (51 per cent) feel fully engaged by the company they work for. Less than two-thirds (63 per cent) say they feel loyal to their employer and an even smaller proportion (51 per cent) believes their employer deserves any loyalty.”

If human capital is our greatest resource, why do we so often fail to engage, value, and develop it? I believe that part of the reason is that it’s hard work that many of us don’t know how to do. At Seventh Generation, we've made it a goal to create the best working experience that anyone has ever had. Without commitment and focus, success is not possible. And, as I know all too well, even with commitment and focus, you sometimes fail.

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Once More Around the Blogosphere:

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Author: Kendra Sibilia

As I’ve said in previous posts, Seventh Generation is not just a product but an idea. To continue with this idea, there is always a mind behind an idea. Jeffrey Hollender is that mind for Seventh Generation. All of his hard work, incredible values and intellect are not solely appreciated by the employees, bloggers also notice. CSRFanatic’s latest post expresses appreciation for Jeffrey.

“He sets a high standard for building an enduring a great company through his unwavering dedication not to compromise the company’s vision and mission.”

CSRFanatic includes many excerpts from other websites and magazine articles that support his conclusion. Jeffrey stands by his values and makes it look so easy to stand strong against all negative influences. Keep up the good work, you set an amazing example!

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Spreading the Meme at Deringer

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Author: the Inkslinger

One of our corporate responsibility goals is to “green” our supply chain. That means spreading our gospel of sustainability to all the other companies we work with so that they eventually become responsible businesses we can keep doing business with. It’s a big and important part of what we do but something you’re unlikely to hear much about because it happens “behind the scenes.”

The fact is that many of the companies in our supply chain are pretty traditional. They’re often not real tuned into environmental ideas and/or overly aware of or concerned about the impacts they’re creating. So we try to change that.

For example, we use a logistics company called Deringer to facilitate the shipment of our stuff from place to place. On Earth Day, we made a little video for them with the idea of turning them on to environmental action and kind of getting them stoked about making some changes. It worked! Here’s an e-mail Tara at Deringer shared with us today about some cool new ideas taking hold at the company:

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Reflections On Growing My Self

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Sometimes I forget that my job is more about growing my self than growing others. It is, or at it least seems to be, easier to grow others than to grow me. I usually have a point of view about who you need to be or become to do your job better. Such clarity about myself, however, is often elusive.

The amazing success of Seventh Generation has created possibilities and opportunities that we couldn’t have dreamed of a few years ago.
Those possibilities become expectations and then commitments to achieve some pretty amazing things. For me, that produces both excitement and fear, anticipation and anxiety. On the fear front, I wonder how I can provide the leadership needed to sail across the ocean on a 100-foot vessel when the totality of my experience is guiding a model sailboat across a pond in Central Park.

At times, I notice that the hand I place on the tiller of the boat trembles, and that trembling produces vibrations in the boat that slow it down. Other times I notice that I am inclined to change directions when it seems that we are not sailing quick enough. These actions may seem impulsive or reactive. But never having sailed across this part of the ocean, I can’t know how fast we are already going relative to our potential or whether a new direction will get us to our destination any quicker.

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How to Be Better and Do Better

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My recent post about roadkill and global warming generated some thought-provoking comments, among them this note from fellow inspired protagonist Kevin:

Jeffrey, if you eat meat despite the evidence that a meat-based diet is non-sustainable, how then can we have hope about the future of ethical consumerism?

To shed light on the answer, Stanford's Center for Social Innovation recently came out with an interesting report.

There may be a fundamental disconnect in the marketing of socially responsible products. It is the difference between what people say they want, and what they actually buy.

http://www.ssireview.org/articles/entry/the_other_csr/

If you have the time, I would certainly appreciate hearing your response.

I was going to post my reply here simply as a comment on the original post, but then I thought that maybe it deserved to be a post of its own. So here goes…

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In the Swirl with Peter Senge

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On a mostly sunny late afternoon last week, Peter Senge
and I crossed paths at Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe, where he was vacationing with his family, and I was attending a management retreat. As frequent readers of the Inspired Protagonist know, I’m a huge fan of Peter’s. During the conversation he shared two thoughts on strategic planning that resonated with me since that’s what I was in Stowe trying to do.

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Synchronicity

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“One of the most important roles we can play individually or collectively is to create an opening, or to ‘listen’ to the implicate order unfolding, and then to create dreams, visions, and stories that we sense at our center want to happen...”

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