business and human rights & CSR

There are few if any internationally recognised rights that businesses cannot impact.

Why should business care about human rights?

There are few if any internationally recognised rights business cannot impact – or be perceived to impact – in some manner.  Therefore, companies should consider all such rights.” Professor John Ruggie, UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative on Business and Human Rights. Protect, Respect and Remedy: a Framework for Business and Human Rights, April 2008.

So now that’s clear, what are we doing about it? And how do much covetted corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives fit into the business and human rights agenda? [Read more…]

“More than you’ll ever need … inside!”

“More than you’ll ever need … inside!”

In keeping with our recent focus on consumption I was struck by the call of a Sri Lankan scientist to assist “rich countries to curb their climate-damaging consumption habits through a set of consumption goals  – in the same way the poor have ‘Millennium Development Goals’   (MDG’s) to get them out of poverty”.

What a brilliant idea!  His reasoning is obvious: 20% of the worlds richest people are responsible for 80% of consumption.

And of course, the always impressive team at the Worldwatch Institute in Washington responded to the call with a first draft: [Read more…]

how to start a movement for sustainability

how to start a movement for sustainability

The beginning of a new year offers an opportunity for a fresh start full of good intentions.

2010 marked the beginning of a new decade with great hopes for sustainable development including biodiversity – BUT it  was not a good year for global sustainable development. It was marked  and marred by an entirely preventable, highly publicised, major environmental disaster and, in the main, a “business as usual” approach.

It was also marked by increased calls for true sustainability versus the rhetoric of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and its various incarnations. So what kind of year will 2011 become and be remembered for? Will it become known as the year where we galavanise into  positive action? Will it be remembered for a substantial swing towards long term planning? 2012 will mark the 25th anniversary of the 1987 Brundtland Commission report, Our Common Future – what do we have to show after 25 years of mainstreaming sustainable development ? Not much I am afraid.

BUT, there is hope yet.

There are many excellent initiatives aiming to  deliver a sustainable lifestyle for all. What can we do to accellerate positive change?  Among many other things we need to highlight and promote the work of  entrepreneurs who drive worldchanging intiatives, small and large, wherever they may be. It has long been a passion of mine to build on existing achievements and I adore Derek Siver’s simple but compelling TED video below on how to start a movement which brings home the importance of courage to go against the tide, team work and puts a smile on ones’ face!

Check out these articles and intiatives for further stimulation and I look forward to your comments!

‘Splashing around in the citizenship shallows‘ by John Elkington

The Transition Decade for a safe climate future 2010 – 2020

i am dreaming of a green christmas

i am dreaming of a green christmas

Christmas and New Year are just around the corner and product advertising is rampant.  Among the many voices competing for our attention is an emerging call for a greener Christmas. For obvious reasons: while Christmas is a time for generosity it is also a time for great excess. The amount of waste that goes to landfill in Australia over the festive season is higher than any other time of the year. So is the amount of energy consumed in households.

BUT: We can have a good time at Christmas and New Year AND do something good for the planet. Here are three of my favorites and a list of hyperlinked resources for further exploration:

1. Go nowhere.  Transport is the 2nd largest contributor to climate change. In addition to saving greenhouse gas emissions you also gain time to relax, and spend less time packing bags, on the road and setting up at the destination. If you absolutely have to go somewhere to join family and friends, take the bike, train or bus.

[Read more…]

medium sized enterprises united through First 5000

medium sized enterprises united through First 5000

First 5000 launch 20 Oct at NSW Parliament House

According to the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) SMEs account for about 90 per cent of business worldwide, employing 50 to 60 per cent of the world’s workforce. In Australia, Australian Bureau of Statistics data indicate small businesses in Australia comprise up to 89 per cent of all employing enterprises, with medium businesses making up another 10 per cent.

The SME sector is not only huge but also extremely diverse – with  60% of all of these businesses not having any employees – this diversity creates challenges on many levels and  areas including responsible business practices,  corporate sustainability and philanthropy.

[Read more…]

John Elkington – the diplomatic provocateur

John Elkington – the diplomatic provocateur

Last week I attended a most interesting conversation with John Elkington organised by the Global Reporting Initiative Australia focal point.    John is one of the best known sustainability movers and shakers who has been described by Business Week as “a dean of the corporate responsibility movement for three decades.” He originated the term triple bottom line, established the think tank SustainAbility and is currently the Founding Partner & Director of Volans.  In his own introduction he explained his role on the GRI board as a provocateur who would like to create constructive disruption and spends much of his time these days supporting disruptive innovators….

[Read more…]

hello cool world!

hello cool world!

true love between two speciesThis blog is an opportunity to voice our uncensored views and share ideas with others. It focusses on individual action and corporate sustainability activities to assist us to reconcile our lifestyles and corporate behaviour with the needs of society.

The blog will be managed by me, Ulrike Schuermann alias chief blogger. My passions are social justice, the environment and positive social change – which is an increasingly difficult challenge considering the current state of the world.  My desire to stimulate positive change has influenced the choices I have made to date.

Having been educated in Germany at the University of Duesseldorf in adult Psychology, Sociology and Pedagogic I tend to drift towards educating and sharing the lessons I learn with as many others as possible. I love to de-clutter and de-mystify the vast array of corporate sustainability and responsibility approaches and create meaning for those who work in these areas. I also love to focus diverse groups of people on common ground to achieve results. [Read more…]