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from swerve of shore to bend of bay

links for 2009-08-17

  • It's no surprise that moods are sagging in mid-2009. The capital markets are stalling, the banks are barely lending, the federal government stimulus is not stimulating enough, and job losses are mounting. Incumbent politicians promise that things are getting better, but not in your city, where the powers-that-be are shutting down the zoo and raising public transportation fares, making subway rides so expensive that cars still clog the roads.

    Even optimists feel anxiety. Perhaps you are a visionary leader, intrepid innovator, or enthusiastic entrepreneur determined to make the best of it, recession or not. But your new projects are stalled like the stock market and the traffic jams. Revenues aren't coming fast enough. Customer layoffs remove your advocates and disrupt communication. Workers are tired and irritable. Budgetary naysayers are louder. You're wondering if you should consider pulling the plug….

  • No alternative to sustainable development: Even so, many companies are convinced that the more environment-friendly they become, the more the effort will erode their competitiveness. They believe it will add to costs and will not deliver immediate financial benefits.

    Talk long enough to CEOs, particularly in the United States or Europe, and their concerns will pour out: Making our operations sustainable and developing “green” products places us at a disadvantage vis-à-vis rivals in developing countries that don’t face the same pressures. Suppliers can’t provide green inputs or transparency; sustainable manufacturing will demand new equipment and processes; and customers will not pay more for eco-friendly products during a recession. That’s why most executives treat the need to become sustainable as a corporate social responsibility, divorced from business objectives.

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