Posts Tagged ‘CSR’

find yourself, by losing yourself, in something bigger than yourself

November 20, 2008

lecture by mark albion.

and  joy at criterion ventures an $85M social venture fund. 10 years ago she was a high school teacher in NYC.

  • think about the first step. keep walking costs low
  • success is personal.
  • support is critical. have a tribe

what is good about being 104 years old? no peer pressure

how are you going to measure success? what does success mean to you?

do it sooner rather than later. people think they need money first. it is like waiting with sex till later in life.

we live our life as if to survive, not thrive.

it is about doing a lot of little things, not a few big things.

joy had some interesting observations:

eat what you kill

in big systems you can do what you want, nobody notices

scope of influence. how to gain power in big systems


November 11, 2008

i think bottled water is very not green. i use fiji water as an example of bad american consumer values.

think how much energy is wasted transporting the bottle to the american consumer, and treating the bottle post consumption. bottled water is

  • convenient.
  • mobile,
  • clean,
  • much better for us than soda

but, why not carry a bottle and refill it?

take a look at

key takeaway:

  • fiji water claims to be carbon negative. full life-cycle not including post consumer disposal. Scope 3, not just 1&2. means business travel, sales people, and consequences of activities.
  • reforestation in fiji = 120% of carbon footprint. so active offset, not marketplace footprint.


barbara chang. fiji water. 20% of exports from fiji. roll international (resnick) bought fiji water in 2004. they also own. POM (pomgrenade in snowmen shaped bottles)

#1 in market share. 2% of market. small in the market, big in their local.

scope 1&2. not accounting for consequences means under-reporting by 80%. 4x?. there is a CMU study on this.

total emmisons: 86K tonnes CO2 eq:

23% ocean, 20% bottling, 3% trucking to port, 29% raw material, 3% packaging, 17% distribution, 2% consumptiion, 3% SGA,

trucking is 7x ocean. rail is 2x ocean.

1l bottle of fiji = 573 gms of co2 = backing a batch of cookies

today -115 = turning a laptop off for the night

788 european glass water

2650 75-ml bottle of wine

1120 30z sashimi

4350 4oz cheeseburger

4980 8 oz organic steak

8300 8 oz conventional steak

where do we get such a chart?

the politics of funding and the funding of politics

October 1, 2008

discussion on the politics of giving development aid, and receiving

key takeaways:

the aid business is an industry. complete value chain. lobbyists, consultants, bureaucrats, … and it will fight to maintain itself. expect more of the same.

agricultural subsidies in japan, eu, us works in the same way with over representation in political systems. think US senate.

many donors do not want the bottom line. look what they look for. a photo with a celeb, a dinner with hi-society?.

who are NGO accountable to. usually people on the outside. this will effect how an NGO function

i am left with what i came in with. common business ideas are not present:

  • bottom up over top down. ‘start with the customer’.
  • effectiveness, % overhead, ‘lean and mean’.
  • agree on what you measure, and ‘measure and analyze’.
  • accountability. ‘who is in charge’.

what is very present

politics and ‘holding on’. stability even in really bad governments. maintain the current.

e.g. aid in africa during cold war. anything so that it does not become communist


  • increase transparency, despite resistance. measurements and results have attribution issues which can hurt colloboration
  • china and its aid policy based on concessionary loans competing for natural resources especially in africa. like american aid in the 50s. big projects. big companies. CNOOC Chinese off shore petrol company.  see a paper ‘the side principle’

interesting organizations:

  • DAC- third party for measurements. chaina is not a member of dac. promoting transparency
  • MCC US common entity for foreign aid

look kaplan at harvard, linda bilmes, balanced scorecard for NGOs.

mckinsey nonprofit. paper on motivation of donors. similar to cars. it is not fuel effeciency per $


theory is that there are 7 deadly sins in the structure of develpoment aid

  1. impatience (with institution building)
  2. envy (collusion and coordination failure)
  3. ignorance (failure to evaluate)
  4. Pride (failure to exit [sunk cost, with notification])
  5. Sloth (pretending participation is sufficient for ownership)
  6. Greed (unreliable as well as stingy transfers)
  7. Foolishness (underfunding of global and regional public goods)


opposition party was spending more time with ‘donor’ community, then with own constituents. the ‘stage’ was not internal politics

registration was very low. reflection? little hope?

is aid effective? not really, but can manipulate the little data that exists

why is there not more effect?

game theory:

someone in the host country wants aid. sets political system to get it (guess what, and maintain it)

there are providing organizations, and different implementation organizations (ofter, foreign) with local implementation partners, finally recepients

who do you think aid is helping?

so lack of accountability, measure and monitor, and reporting. a very broken and corrupt system. and breakdown in motivations along the way. very relevant construct to VCs.

in ‘donor’ countries, ‘how many votes will i be getting for doing this?’ vs agricultural subsidies

if the above is a vertical model, you can expand it horizontally along the country axis. there are horizontal politics as well.

motivation and politics of certain ‘donor’ aid programs are complex. e.g. food aid, reduce excess capacity, raise prices for farmers.

woody allen jokes from ‘annie hall’ which are apropo

about giving foreign aid:
Alvy Singer: [addressing the camera] There’s an old joke – um… two elderly women are at a Catskill mountain resort, and one of ’em says, “Boy, the food at this place is really terrible.” The other one says, “Yeah, I know; and such small portions.”

about getting it:

person: doctor, my brother thinks he is a chicken

doctor: bring him in

person: oh, no, we need the eggs


a beautiful mind

September 17, 2008

our role for social values

‘A beautiful mind’ is a movie about Nash, who came up with nash equilibrium, highly relevant for understanding prisoner’s dilemma which i would like to link to individual vs common good

does a company have a role other than making profits

it it has other values, how does it state it and act legitimately and sincerely within that envelope

responsibility to employees

MBA is not a profession. doctors are. so they have an ethos. should we redefine MBA?

people can have sincere social preferences, but once in the board room the perception is that they lose that sincerity

does size of CSR matter. small decision are fine, but big ones?

so need to put value (price) on values on other than money.

only with other payoff structure (police, government) can reach higher mutual rewards


prisoner’s dillemma,

nash equalibrium –

adam smith fallacy (friedman as well) that group is better off if every member does what is best off for them