Our annual Innovation Blog, which we publish near the Chinese New Year was published on February 8, 2016. This year we focused on transportation with information on Remix, a transit planning tool for municipalities, the Copenhagen Wheel, a devise to make cycling more convenient to a broader segment of the population, and Volta, an electric vehicle recharging station available free to retail developments. Check it out.
THIS IS THE YEAR OF THE RED FIRE MONKEY! We all know that the monkey is a clever and playful animal who can be an effective problem solver but also a trickster. As we celebrate 2016’s Year of the Red Fire Monkey, there should be exuberance, entertainment and time for devoted entrepreneurs to carry on their innovative ways. However, those looking for quick and easy solutions could get duped as some monkey spirits will be on the ball, and quick to have their fun and games.
Doo Consulting wishes all of its colleagues, clients and friends the very best in 2016. Though it is the year of the Fire Monkey, according to Chinese Five Elements Horoscopes, Monkey also contains Metal and Water. Metal is connected to gold. Water is connected to wisdom and danger. Therefore, we will deal with more financial events in the year of the Monkey. Metal is also connected to the Wind. That implies the status of events could change very quickly. Think twice before you leap when making changes for your finance, career, business or personal relationships in 2016. Your individual prospects for the year can be found here.
We want to thank everyone who is a part of our ever expanding network. Our portfolio grew in geographic and economic breadth. We returned to our consulting roots with the opportunity to work on the development of sustainability plans for the City of Bowie, Maryland, and the Broadmead Retirement Community. A new accreditation in the WELL Building Standard
WELL Buildings are suddenly the rage among designers! Once upon a time, you could barely get LEED from their lips. So this is good news in some ways; and a little odd in other ways. Are you part of the movement to incorporate health and well being in your design and development decisions? Are you getting questions from your clients and tenants and potential partners about wellness initiatives? Engagement in personal health issues is popular with the millennial and the “Z” generations, and the boomers are interested in fitness, nutrition, food quality, and transparency (show me).
This is a nation of amazing contradictions, paradoxes and ironies. In the United States, there is an extreme hyper consciousness about allergies to foods and food groups that did not exist 40 years ago – for example, Read more
Nature is speaking. Will we listen? In time? Watch these beautiful vignettes about specific elements of nature – water, the forests, soil, flowers – appreciate the glory and power of each as expressed in the narration that accompanies each gorgeous self portrait – including a feature of mother nature herself. The message is clear. Nature is powerful, All of nature is VERY necessary for our lives and ability to live – for the air we breath and food we eat. But make no mistake. We are not necessary to nature. Not much more needs to be said. But much needs to be done. Does everyone understand, each in their way, in their place? can we have the conversations about what can and must be done? Do we have the will to make reparations where they must be made?
By: Lorraine Doo
Not too long ago, folks were asking what buildings had to do with health. Following that question, and over the past five years, more architects, building owners, developers and manufacturers have come to understand that some of the materials or the process of manufacturing the materials that make up the building, its pipes, paints, flooring, adhesives, and furnishings are comprised of chemicals and compounds that are harmful to humans, the environment or both. Turned out that the stuff IN the building could make people sick. There WAS a connection. A small group of people continued to demand data, and to demand transparency from manufacturers. As data became available from the pioneer manufacturers willing to share the connection became clearer. The demand for materials that do not contain such common but harmful chemicals such as formaldehyde, asbestos, hydro chlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), lead, mercury, bisphenol, halogenated flame retardants (HFRs), Phthalates, Polyvinyl chloride, and arsenic (in wood) is increasing and the tipping point for change is close.
So what does social responsibility have to do with buildings?
The answer is the same. Everything is connected.
Organizations that have increased their sustainability IQ’s have gained a positive return on their investments from more energy and water efficient systems. Building occupants, whether employers, employees, residents or patients have benefited from sustainable building strategies such as more effective air ventilation controls, and low VOC materials. As sustainable practices were occurring, whether based on good business sense or a concern for employees or for the environment, some organizations were also embedding social responsibility into their organizational operations – doing good things for the local community, for charitable causes, or social issues. Those companies with the greatest success where embedding that social responsibility directly into their mission statements and charters as permanent, on going programs for a charity or environmental cause.
So what does that have to do with a building?
Companies function and operate in buildings, which are embedded in communities, from which the employees are hired, and where myriad issues exist or are of a shared concern. Buildings manufacture, produce, consume and extrude things. They use energy, are responsible for carbon output, greenhouse gas, waste, and possibly toxic substances. Socially responsible companies, within those buildings, actively contribute to, and participate in the communities in which they operate. One feature that distinguishes socially responsible corporations, similar to reporting material content, is transparency in reporting sustainability performance and impact on the environment from the work their company performs – both successes and challenges. Authenticity and honesty are critical; and improvements can be reported next year, proving that the company is being managed well and has a good core of committed employees.
What are some good examples of socially responsible companies? There are thousands across the globe – but here are just a few you may know. If you know one we haven’t listed, leave a comment about that company and tell us what you admire about them. We’ll begin a list here and watch the diversity of activities.
- Patagonia – Supports sustainable agriculture and other food related programs. Allows purchasers to track their jacket on line to the sheep who “donated” the wool; participates in the 1% for the planet…. And much much more!
- Southwest Airlines – Up-cycles used leather seat coverings from the Evolve retrofit into new products to support local communities in several African nations. This pilot will create products that provide access to employment, skills, training and livelihood.
- Tom’s Shoes – began with the “one for one” campaign. Now a multi-varied program of global programs of services from water to eye glasses to assisted savings. For example, more than 780 million people don’t have access to safe water. TOMS Roasting Co. purchases support water systems in seven countries – in the same regions where they source their coffee beans.
- SurveyMonkey – Instead of offering cash and prizes to survey takers, Survey Monkey donates 50 cents per survey completion to the taker’s charity of choice. In 2013, the company donated more than $1 million to organizations such as the Humane Society, Boys & Girls Club of America, and Teach for America.
- H&M – Takes any used clothing and repurposes it to make new clothes in their factories.
How does your building stack up? Want help? Contact us today.
By: Leyla Balimtas
How social media changes the conversation of sustainability in business…
The environmental issues in our world are nearly inevitable. We as humans will always be using our environments because they are not only readily available to us, but they also provide the resources that we need to survive. And the main users of the environment are businesses and industries. Yet while businesses are using these resources, they can also replenish what is lost, and act as role models in the global aspiration for sustainable living.
Ray Anderson, sustainable business pioneer, discusses in a Ted talk that, “we are each and every one a part of the web of life… and we have a choice to make: during our brief visit to this beautiful blue and green living planet – to hurt it or to help it.” Ultimately, it is business, and namely, social media, that has brought the concept of sustainability to the world’s attention.
With the emergence of a social media-dependent world centered upon concepts of sustainability, it has become increasingly difficult for companies to ignore their responsibilities to the environment. Once businesses understand their role in a sustainable world, the next step in the transformation of current enterprise is to apply social media thinking to sustainability. This will result in the creation of a stronger, more responsible business.
There are five main themes that revolutionize the social media of an organization into one that promotes sustainability and further modernizes a company: having a magazine mentality, creating apps, developing new and emerging channels, branding a personal touch, and implementing big ideas. Whether it is creating a personal marketing campaign or showing how clients should develop sustainable practices, techniques like these put a business in the right direction for success.
With the adoption of any of these sustainable practices, revolutionizing a business in and out of the social media world is completely achievable. And once revolutionized in this respect, the economic benefits of going green will soon follow suit. Just look at the techniques and success of major companies like Walmart, Starbucks, or Nestle. All are businesses that have adopted sustainable practices, and all remain dominating companies in an increasingly competitive world.
By: Leyla Balimtas
What is it and how does it play a role in business?
Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is a self-regulatory principle where a business monitors itself and takes the moral, ethical, and philanthropic responsibilities for its effect on the environment and impact on social welfare. As a whole, an organization’s primary responsibility is to its stockholders. And to meet this responsibility, a company’s CSR goals and its business ethics must work together to ensure that the legal and discretionary responsibilities match the values and actions of the organization.
The overall nature and concept of CSR is relatively new, having only been in use since the 1960s. At this time, with the advent of the civil rights movement, consumerism, and environmentalism, society’s expectations of business has evolved. Many people, both inside and outside of the corporations look to those companies to internalize the full cycle of their operations, spearheading solutions to issues such as waste and pollution created by their operations. Society wants businesses to use their influence in the world and their human and financial capital to “make the world a better place.”
Businesses, whether local or global, affect many lives from their supply chains to their customers and downstream through the disposal of their products. It is for this reason that so many companies and industries take their corporate social responsibilities seriously. For more information on this topic, go to HERE.