Although the Rana Plaza tragedy drummed up much media attention and outrage, avoiding a similar calamity will be possible only by checking off a multitude of safeguards.
Language is an interesting device. It helps us communicate with each other, share our ideas, thoughts, feelings. Yet, more often than not, all of the above get lost in a morass of misinterpretations and misunderstandings. The concept of sustainability isn’t safe from this either. It’s easy to overuse the S-word these days.
Unless one is living under a rock, chances are my readers have heard about United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals which were conceived to raise millions out of poverty in the developing world. According to the Nobel Peace Prize laureate Mohan Munasinghe, “throwing money” on the developing countries is not enough to make the world’s development path more sustainable. At the World Resources Forum in Beijing, he talked about why the rich need to focus not only on development aid and technological inventions but also on curbing their own consumption. First of all, why shift our attention to consumption? “Focusing on sustainable production is not a sufficient condition for sustainability.
Professor Munasinghe is the Sri Lankan professor who vice-chaired the UN’s International Panel for Climate Change (IPCC) and the author behind the sustainability triangle, a classic concept in our environmental economics textbooks which he first presented at the 1992 Rio Earth Summit as part of his work called sustainomics. (more…)
When we think about international environmental conferences, similar pictures come to our minds: experts flying in to chic venues, abundance of good food and long discussions of impacts that are hard to gauge. Which brings us to the question: do we really need to launch the tradition of another yearly environmental conference in Europe? Dr. Harry Lehmann, who conceived the idea of the European Resources Forum, thinks that the answer is certainly yes. Before heading for the first sessions of the ERF in Berlin, my colleague Tanaka Tabassum and I spoke to Dr Lehmann on his motivation for “another” environmental conference. As well as leading the planning division of the German Federal Environmental Agency (UBA), Dr. Lehmann is a veteran in the field of sustainability policy with an academic background in physics. Clearly, this is not a man who builds castles in the sky.
This article is based on a talk with Livia Macedo from MakeSense Shanghai on social enterprise in the world’s second biggest economy. As we count down the days to the World Resources Forum (October 21-23), our attention has been turning increasingly towards fascinating China where it will take place. Given the novelty of the Chinese social enterprise scene, I sat down with Livia Macedo, who is actively involved in the Shanghai hub of the social enterprise network called MakeSense, to talk about the prospects of Chinese social entrepreneurship. Livia, a former mentor of the Choice movement for social enterprise in her home country Brazil, has carried out a market research on social business in China as the national coordinator for edge, and at the same time she has been advocating social enterprise for Shanghai university students, locals and expats alike though the MakeSense gang.
On social enterprise emerging in China:
This has been the title of an article published in the Spring issue of Stanford Social Innovation Review. Recently, the BBC reported about social entrepreneurship being not only a growing trend in China, but also a philanthropic activity with bigger potential than traditional NGO actions. What’s more, China daily wrote about the increasing popularity of social enterprises.
Business can be beautiful! This is no oxymoron. It has already been proven by the growing number of innovative set-ups in the world that create products which not only serve the purpose of personal utility or indulgence, but they also bring about positive environmental and social change in the world. However, we, as consumers, haven’t heard as much about the products as their appeal would lead us to believe. Known by the names of social enterprise and social entrepreneurs, the two concepts have been around since the early 1980s. These business models brought to life to solve social and environmental challenges through the entrepreneurial approach of trading and making profit have been the “next big thing” ever since I started my university studies some five years ago.