Authenticity

Jack Black in the movie, School of Rock, said “Those who can’t, teach. Those who can’t teach, teach gym.” I think a similar quote can be used for the enormous explosion of coaches that have sprouted up, particularly around sustainability.
Everyone seems to be coaching or wanting to get into coaching, particularly in the field of CSR and sustainabilty. It would seem that in order to be a coach, it means that you are able to transfer knowledge to someone less experienced. Unfortunately, most of the coaches or advisors around sustainability lack two essential ingredients; namely understanding or talent and authenticity.
Sustainability is an essential ingredient to business and personal life, and it is essential for survival. Unfortunately, most are looking at it and CSR, in particular, as a communications public affairs, issue. Not a strategic issue. This approach will fail. The other mistake being made is that those pushing themselves as so called “coaches”, have no authenticity. This phase is just a new way of packaging an old product. In a time, where everyone is clamoring for some minute scrap of reality and authenticity, there is no future to being an unauthentic person selling the idea of sustainabilty to sell more hours (consulting). We need more authenticity and not more coaches, hustling hours.
As Yoda said “Do or do not. There is no try”

Sustainable Investment in Switzerland

Zurich based onValues released their survey last week entitled “Sustainable investments in Switzerland 2007”.  Here’s an excerpt of the executive summary:

The survey also asked participants to highlight emerging themes for the next 2-3 years. The
most frequently mentioned ones were (in decreasing order of importance):

• Sustainability issues in emerging markets (e.g. infrastructure, energy and
environmental aspects). Participants seem convinced that the combination of
interesting investment opportunities and the huge sustainable development
challenges in emerging markets offers potential for interesting investment products
satisfying both the ‘altruistic’ and the financial motives of investors.
• New materials/recycling
• Sustainable commodities (e.g. timber and second-generation biofuels)
• Microfinance and other strategies to combat poverty (seen as important but leading to
lower AuM than the top themes)
• Healthy living (seen as important but leading to lower AuM than the top themes).

Click here to download the whole thing as a PDF.

Polysilicon Dangers

It is no secret that solar panels are in high demand around the world, as they are looked at as a good source for renewable energy. And indeed on the surface, who could argue with the concept that our energy should come from the sun and create zero emissions in the process.

Photo Credit: ReutersBut in a recent WashingtonPost article I read about one ingredient needed to capture solar energy that I had never heard of before; Polysilcon. Now Polysilicon is apparently in 99% of electronics, and an essential component of solar panels.  Manufacturing that polysilicon creates waste, and while the process of making it requires a large amount of energy, the process of recycling the waste is yet another costly process.  And as Corpwatch and the WashingtonPost have recently pointed out, in places like China, alot of manufacturers are choosing not to do the recycling part… choosing instead to dump the waste.

As the demand for solar panels skyrockets, the value of polysilicon has gone through the roof.  The reporter at the Post refers to Chinese Polysilicon companies as the “.com’s” of China.  While business is booming, companies are cutting corners and dumping that waste wherever they can.  Land where polysilicon waste is dumped or buried becomes contimanated; nothing can grow there and people should not live nearby.

I strongly recommending reading the article for the full details.  There is definitely an issue here that needs addressing.  If solar energy is indeed one of our main sources of energy for a sustainable future, then something must be done to make sure the process of getting the tools we need to harness that energy, doesn’t wind up destroying the earth and countless lives.