Earth Day Message From the Trenches

This post originally appeared on Akhila’s blog.
As you know these days I have been busy with my new venture. We finally have a website up and running and you can check this out – would love to hear your thoughts.
I have re-emerged for this blog post on Earth Day as it seemed fitting to break my silence today. The Green Den has received overwhelmingly positive responses from the CSR community and I’ve been totally blown away.
We are now of course actively seeking clients, networking and getting our name out there. It’s been exciting so far but the real work starts now. We also have our blog up and running which you can check out here. While you’re at it, you can also sign up for our bi-monthly newsletter.
Last year in my Earth Day post I said that I wanted to make an expedition to a rainforest and grow my own organic vegetables. Happy to report that I have achieved one of those goals. My organic garden with its own compost is happy and thriving. I even got a bumper crop of tomatoes a couple weeks ago. I plan on adding more vegetables over the next month. The expedition is still in the works!
What has really changed in this year? On the onset, perhaps not much. The BP disaster has left many people still reeling – a year from that and the US congress still wants to push for offshore drilling. No real progress has been made in climate talks, new laws etc. In India, the environment ministry is finally waking up to the fact that there is an environment to protect. There was also a report of increasing tiger numbers but unfortunately, there were also stories of elephants encroaching on farm lands. Or is it the other way around?
There are many environmental challenges that are still solve and still many others to even acknowledge. One of the biggest new developments in India is the acknowledgment that corruption is so wide spread. Recent scandals have rocked businesses and made investing in Indian business a high-risk venture. This scenario needs to change because without a stable economy, we cannot talk about environmental protection and social progress. This year I have no goals, except to work really hard on GDC. I’m all geared up to change ‘business as usual’ because I believe the time has finally come to think about things differently.
We cannot solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them
– Albert Einstein

Companies Can Save The World!

This post by Juan Villamayor originally appeared on his blog – A Touch of Green

The first goal of the United Nations Millennium Development program is to end poverty and hunger. This sounds like something that governments andNGOs are doing already (or should be doing). However, companies and citizens have an important role to play here too. In fact, businesses have tools to reach this goal in an efficient way, mainly through actions along their supply chain.

Both multinational corporations (MNC) and many small and medium entreprises (SMEs) are based in developing countries, or work with suppliers from these countries. What they do and how they do it has a tremendous impact on the lives of many people. Transforming their impact into something positive is not complex. Here are some simple ways how a company can contribute to end poverty and improve living conditions in developing countries:

  • MNC are often on the spotlight due to children labor controversy. Their responsibility is very high since they are also accountable for what their suppliers are doing. With suppliers mainly in India, Turkey and Bangladesh, the clothing retailer H&M knows this very well. This company has launched a program with UNICEF in order to protect the rights of children in cotton producing areas in southern India. Maybe that’s not enough, but it’s a step in the right direction.
  • Very often women are the ones who suffer most the consequences of poverty and exclusion, and most of the time it is due to discrimination and the lack of school education. NIKE supports “girl effect”, a program addressed to adolescent girls in developing countries aimed at improving their lives and giving them a chance for a better future. As NIKE states, “for girls in developing countries, the effects of poverty and lack of resources can often be seen through early marriage, childbirth and increased HIV infection rates. Such setbacks for women also impact their communities.”
  • Let’s take Coca-Cola. Reducing their water consumption is not only a question of sustainability but also a question of cost reduction. However, they are also aware of the fact that access to clean water is a big problem for many people. This problem affects health and complicates the lives of millions of Africans (mainly women), who have to go very long distances to get water for their daily consumption. Coca-Cola Company supports a project in Kenya to provide safe water to primary schools in Western Kenya.

These are examples of how companies can save the world and help eradicate poverty. Us, citizens and small businesses can do it too at our scale. Examples will follow soon.

You can save the world!


What have I learnt from my GRI training?

Juan Villamayor, our core consultant shares his views on the GRI training he attended in Barcelona.

This week I have attended a training on the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) in Barcelona. The GRI is the most extended standard for sustainability reporting. Although I still need to study and go deeper in this issue, my first conclusions are the following:

What have I learnt from my GRI training?.

A New Beginning…

The birth of GDC was quite literally a journey with many ups and downs. Spurred on by a bad job market and a series of unfortunate events, GDC came to be because it was realized that the need of the hour was holistic, international approaches to environmental and social problems. It got its name from the blog that Akhila Vijayaraghavan started two years ago to catalogue her green journey. After a stint with Greenpeace, Akhila worked for several SMEs gaining ground-up experience in sustainable business practices and then qualified as a CSR Practitioner. Then she discovered the great world of Twitter and GDC was conceptualized after several conversations with like-minded individuals in the sustainability field who went on to make up the core team.

The result: First of a kind, knowledge-share sustainability consultancy that harnesses the social media boom and pools in expertise from around the world.

Akhila has been mulling over GDC’s core business plan the past few months and it finally all came together this month. To put things succinctly, she envisioned a global network of environmental experts offering cutting edge services for businesses. GDC provides services which will establish a culture of sustainability from ground up by providing businesses with various environmentally sound solutions to maximize profitability. Our services include:

  • Consulting, report and CSR policy writing
  • Smart eco-business solutions for cost savings
  • Environmental services with strategic advice on climate change, biodiversity, waste management and pollution abatement
  • Stakeholder engagement and community development
  • Communication of environmental initiatives
  • Training and learning opportunities

GDC’s team of consultants include experts from Europe, US and India to bring truly global solutions to socio-enviro issues in the business context. Having a business strategy based on sustainable development sees great returns in terms of maximizing brand image, profitability and market share. At GDC we want to help tap into the true potential that every business has because we believe that ‘business as usual’ is on its way out.

So we are a revolution born out of social media and are out to revolutionarize the world of business. We don’t expect it to be easy or quick but when the job is done, we’ll be proud to say that we were among the first to start working on solutions. So see the world differently with us.