5 tips on how to green your valentine

5 tips on how to green your valentine

vcm_s_kf_m160_160x112Do you love Valentine’s Day and want to share the love for the planet as well as your loved one? You are not alone and there are plenty of options! Here are just five:

  1. show some love for animals: you can make a donation in your loved one’s name and receive a beautiful gift certificate via email; you can adopt an animal; or make another really wild gift;
  2. buy a locally grown plant instead of red roses;
  3. organise a healthy outing or picnic instead of a sit down 3-course dinner;
  4. buy organic, local, fair trade and/or vegan chocolates;
  5. give the gift of giving: volunteer your’s and your date’s time at a local charity and spend a day together sharing the love with others in need.
Valentine’s Day gifts that don’t cost the world…

Valentine’s Day gifts that don’t cost the world…

We all want to love and be loved and that’s one of the reasons why the notion of Valentine’s Day is spreading around Valentine's Daythe world – as well as the assistance from corporate marketing teams who don’t miss an opportunity to increase product sales, of course.

Let’s take this opportunity and embrace this special day for lovers from all walks of life and co-opt the agenda for a green and sustainable Valentine’s Day, and at the same time  do our bit to spread the love.  Surely love and sustainable living is compatible!

Here are a few ideas for a loved up Valentine’s Day: [Read more…]

Business and Human Rights and Corruption – An Overview

Business and Human Rights and Corruption – An Overview

DSC01109This is an introduction to the core concepts of business and human rights and why we never get anywhere in the prevention of human rights abuses if corruption persists.

Human Rights and Business – the Issues

 

Globalisation

Human rights and globalisation are arguably two of the most influential features of international relations in the 21st century. Businesses are sources of well documented human rights abuses but also have the capacity, and particularly the resources, to promote human rights.

Business is at the heart of almost every effort to improve development and people’s living standards because it is the main source of economic activity. [Read more…]

Nikolaus komm in unser Haus …

As a child I loved Nikolaus Day on 6 December. We used to put our boots in front of the entrance door and the next morning they were filled with, what was for us at the time exotic nuts, mandarins, lovely apples and some chocolates.  This tradition originated from Saint Nicholas – also called Nikolaos of Myra – a historic 4th-century saint and Greek Bishop of Myra in Lycia. Because of the many miracles attributed to him, he is also known as Nikolaos the Wonderworker. He had a reputation for secret gift-giving, such as putting coins in the shoes of those who left them out for him.

Do people still commemorate Nikolaus in Germany these days? In the spirit of St Nikolaus, here is a lovely list of Christmas gift suggestions by Oren Arnold:

To your enemy, forgiveness
To an opponent, tolerance.
To a friend, your heart.
To a customer, service.
To all, charity.
To every child, a good example.
To yourself, respect.

Happy Nikolaus!

PS: check out this super daggy video of a typical Nikolaus song Nikolaus komm in unser Haus… and here is the text so you can sing along!

Nikolaus komm in unser Haus,
pack die großen Taschen aus.
Lustig, lustig, trallerallala!
Heut ist Nikolaus Abend da,
heut ist Nikolaus Abend da.

Stell das Pferdchen unter den Tisch
dass es Heu und Hafer frisst.
Lustig, lustig, trallerallala!
Heut ist Nikolaus Abend da,
heut ist Nikolaus Abend da.

Heu und Hafer frisst es nicht,
Zuckerplätzchen kriegt es nicht.
Lustig, lustig, trallerallala!
Heut ist Nikolaus Abend da,
heut ist Nikolaus Abend da.

World Kindness Day is here!

IMG_0590There are a million days for this and that – some go, some stay – the time is right for the World Kindness movement to catch our imagination and help us live up to our fullest kindness potential.

The World Kindness Day is very close to my heart and appeals to me for many reasons BUT first and foremost because my mother was born on 13 November and she also passed away on 13 November. It makes this day very special to me and I couldn’t think of a nicer association than World Kindness Day where many, many people in the world commit acts of kindness.

Here are a few of my favorites:

  • Random acts of kindness have long been on my wishlist for all sorts of occasions and are included on the alternative Christmas presents and here is a long list of kindness ideas produced by the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation in case you require inspiration.
  • A kindness checklist divided into Kindness to yourself; Kindness to Others and Kindness to Earth. It is proposed that we all keep a a checklist of the monthly acts of kindness in the three categories as a way of raising our awareness about kindness .
  • Cross species kindness between a blind dog called Bak and a goose named Button, a story so touching it might bring a tears to your eyes!

And last but not least, here are a few quotes and poetry about kindness by people from different spheres of life:

Kindness is a language that the deaf can hear and the blind can see. Mark Twain, ( 1835 – 1910) Author and Humorist

We think too much and feel too little. More than machinery, we need humanity. More than cleverness, we need kindness and gentleness. Charlie Chaplin (1889-1977), Comedic Actor, Filmmaker, Writer

Three things in human life are important: the first is to be kind; the second is to be kind; and the third is to be kind. Henry James (1843-1916), Author

Life is mostly froth and bubble; Two things stand like stone: Kindness in another’s trouble, Courage in our own. Adam Lindsay [Lionel Gordon] Gordon (1833-1870) Poet

Please take a moment to let me know your kindness ideas and let’s keep the kindness momentum going :)

Think before you eat and help save our environment!

Who cares about World Environment Day ? I do! And it seems that each year there are more and more people who care about positive environmental action.  Here are a few facts followed by the low down of some of my favorite initiatives for World Environment Day 2013.

What is Environment Day about?

The motto for this year’s UN World Environment Day is THINK EAT SAVE – an anti-food and food loss campaign that encourages you to reduce your foodprint by making you more aware of the environmental impact of the food choices you make.

We are all invited to raise awareness and take action and nothing is more pertinent and unifying than food – we all need to eat and drink to live each and every day.

a well stocked delicatessen in NYC

a well stocked delicatessen in NYC

Why is food important to the environment?

[Read more…]

Governments and Corporate Sustainability – a Rudderless Ship?

Governments and Corporate Sustainability – a Rudderless Ship?

Sustainability ‘Made in Germany’ – Way to Go!

1572-3Following the global financial crisis there was a widespread desire to emerge from it with economic reform that would meet the true needs of society. Gone were the days when sustainability thinking was the domain of marginalised environmentalists. It was a wake-up call which required affected governments to bail out companies to prevent financial ruin – setting new terms and conditions for the financial industry in the process.

[Read more…]

Mission Driven Fundraising & Social Marketing Campaigns

Mission Driven Fundraising & Social Marketing Campaigns

Mission driven fundraising refers to fundraising that is designed and implemented to promote the organisational mission. There are many misaligned fundraising initiatives solely focused on raising money and completely detached from the organisational mission – a topic for another time.

When fundraising and mission merge positive results are almost guaranteed – provided a good social marketing campaign is part of the strategy – no fundraising  strategy can succeed if not enough people know about it – no matter how good it is.

Fundraising Overheads

Fundraising consumes an enormous amount of resources – money and time, often up to half of what is being raised. There has been much public discussion about the acceptable level of expenditure for fundraising campaigns as these resources, on the face of it, compete or are taken away from service delivery resources.

Headlines like “Charity Spends More on Fundraising than Research” don’t inspire public faith in charitable organisations and are regularly reported in the media. [Read more…]

Corporate Sustainability Strategies – a feel-good gimmick or good for the planet’s bottom line?

Corporate Sustainability Strategies – a feel-good gimmick or good for the planet’s bottom line?

The failed attempt of voluntary corporate sustainability strategies to save the planet.

Corporate sustainability strategies developed in response to the resource constraints of the 21st century.  These constraints are the result of over population and over consumption and their damaging effect on the health of the earth.

Even the gentle Sir David Attenborough has joined the chorus of people arguing for fewer people in the interest of more biodiversity and a quality environment in his speech People and Planet in March 2011.

We have been trying to persuade companies to engage in voluntary corporate sustainability programmes of all kinds in order to address the obvious negative impacts of the way the ‘developed’ world does business.

Corporate sustainability strategies or planned abandonment?

However, do we ever stop to consider if it actually makes sense for a particular industry to engage in sustainability programmes or should it rather be a question of planned abandonment of this particular industry/product/ manufacturing process?

Water courtesy coca colaTake the issue of water. [Read more…]

Bottled Water

Bottled Water

Bottled water is redundant.

Today, water is a readily available commodity and consumer item in industrialised nations. We have the luxury of choice: to spend our money on a variety of bottled water, use tap water or install a water filter at home and in the office. However, more than 1 billion people globally don’t have this luxury. [Read more…]