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If we were to look at the 12 leverage points described by Donella Meadows as the places to intervene in a system to try and change it, I believe we would find Monsanto at #12, the first step in the journey. Item 12 is Numbers. It is concerned with measuring and setting targets. Monsanto’s CSR report is full of numbers and targets, primarily aimed at increasing agricultural yield, which is the part of the problem they have been working on. But most experts who have studied world hunger as a system problem, say that poverty, inequality and distribution are the root causes. There is enough food being produced right now, to feed everyone, if we could just get it distributed. In fact, we produce 17% more calories per person today than we did 30 years ago, despite the increase in population. Why then, do we need to double production when the population is only growing by somewhere around 28%?
Interesting article, but more data might be needed before a conclusion can be drawn. Read the article here.
From a carbon emissions point-of-view, is it better to buy products online or in a store? You probably guessed the former. And if so, you’re right, according to a study conducted by MindClick GSM, a sustainability consulting firm and released today by GigaOM Pro, a subscription based research and analysis service covering green IT (among other topics).
The researchers took these numbers and ran with them, calculating that the negative environmental impact of an in-store purchase made on Black Friday is 50 times that of an online purchase made on Cyber Monday. And in more general terms, it found that carbon emissions related to purchasing an item inside a store represents an increase of more than 15 times that of an online purchase.
The inaugural report is located at http://www.usps.com/green/report/2008/welcome.htm. The Postal Service also has a page with more information about their green efforts at http://www.usps.com/green/welcome.htm
“This 2009 Corporate Social Responsibility Report details our Company’s performance and progress in Fiscal Years 2008 and 2009 in critically important areas ranging from corporate governance and ethics to environmental initiatives and our positive economic and social contributions.”
“Live Positively is our commitment to make a positive difference in the world by redesigning the way we work and live so sustainability is part of everything we do.”
Provides sustainability profiles for colleges and universities in the U.S. and Canada.