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UPDATE on CSR Counts Status

Dear Readers!

We are going to discontinue the CSR Counts blog. I would like to thank the over 250,000 readers who have taken the time to stop by since 2011!

If you are looking for similar content, I have moved to my new blog the The Sustainable Century where you can get information on a wider variety of sustainability topics focused not only on companies but on consumers, investors, and stakeholders as well.

At The Sustainable Century you will find not only blogs posts but podcasts where I interview some of the most interesting leaders and doers in sustainability from around the world.  We also offer Six Packs of blog reading podcasts so you can enjoy listening to a six in your favorite chair, in your car, on the train or  on your bike!

Check it out at –





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Is JP Morgan’s Dimon or Fossil Fuel Companies More Detached from Reality?

Please note that this article is being cross posted to The Sustainable Century blog…. www.csrcounts will be discontinued in two months…

The other day I wrote that fossil fuel companies were slightly detached from reality when one of them, Gulf Oil, ask us to trust them.

On Thursday, Jamie Dimon CEO of JP Morgan, in a hiss-fit of irritation and superiority, called his shareholders lazy.

Talk about detached, the Fossils got nothing on Dimon.

Is this the haze of arrogance obscuring the many important and necessary things investment banks do? Free advice: even if you don’t give a single hoot about sustainable economics, there is one set of stakeholders you don’t want to cat scratch often, and that’s shareholders.ARrogance quote

Still, it continues to amaze just how resilient US investment banks and their CEOs are considering myriad hubris. How long will shareholders (aka most of us via our pension funds) put up with their behavior and attitude that this outburst is surely just the tip of?

Perhaps not so long as one might think. The divestment movement, building on coal, which was built on tobacco divestment that was born of the divest from South Africa movement — all pretty successful — could easily turn its muck-raking eye to banking in a more organized and hurtful way.

That would be good for investment banking. It needs a good shot of humility through accountability and transparency, if only to root out all costly insider trading, fraud, poor lending practice, and, oh yea, maybe to avoid the next near global economic melt down as well.

There are investment alternatives to JP Morgan. Indeed, there are plenty of high return financial companies the world round to fill out the financial parts of our portfolios while sending a strong sustainability market signal JP’s way. Many large and largely mistake-free Canadian and European banks pop to mind.

I wonder if Dimon’s peers hail him for his civic responsibility as they did Morgan’s founder John Pierpont “J.P.” Morgan?  They probably don’t care as long as the mill keeps printing money. But do you think they wont remember the very minute profits fall?

P.S. I wonder what folks might be saying about Dimon lack of composure if he was a woman?

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JUNE 01 – NEW Sustainable Century Podcast Featuring Coro Strandberg….

Coro Strandberg is a Canadian thought leader in corporate sustainability… simple as that.

In our upcoming discussion on The Sustainable Century Podcast, Coro and I discuss corporate social value creation, transformational companies, and why it’s in a company’s interest to help resolve some seemingly intractable social, economic and environmental challenges.

Coro is head of Strandberg Consulting, a Canadian advisory providing market-based strategic counsel to businesses, governments and non-profits.  She was a long standing member on VanCity Credit Union and winner of the Canada’s Clean50, amongst other positions and awards!

Reach out to Coro at , or on Twitter @SustainOurWorld

Or check out #TheSustainableCentury on Twitter or @CSRCounts

SCDD 2 The Sustainable Century Podcast Series – With new interviews every two weeks, the series features leaders, doers and stakeholders working for more and better corporate, consumer and stakeholder sustainability….


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Oil Leaks in Your Bathroom and Why Trusting Oil and Gas Companies can be so hard

Note – This article is cross posted on The Sustainable Century blog….…. CSR Counts will be closing in two months in favor of The Sustainable Century.

Gulf Oil Corporation recently had an advert behind the home plate of a Boston Red Socks game which read something like: because you trusted Gulf Oil at the Pump… You can trust Gulf (Electricity) in your home.

It takes some steel to claim trustworthiness if you are a fossil fuel company (FCC) these days.  And in our homes at that?

Don’t know about you, but images of a Plains All American Pipelines bursting in my bathroom or a BP Deepwater Horizon erupting in my kitchen sink kind of leap to mind.

I have nothing against Gulf. I don’t particularly like fossil fuels, but they are not going away tomorrow, so we ought to judge FFCs by their transparency and plans to transition to environmentally sane energy, and not just our visceral sentiments about them.

Still, a not so clean and stellar impression of FFCs precedes them.

Indeed, when asked by a 2013 Harris poll “which industries are generally honest and trustworthy so that you normally believe a statement by a company in that industry,” just 4% of consumers found oil and gas companies to be trustworthy, beating out only tobacco companies… and even then by a mere 1%.

Here is just a short list of things that hardly inspire trust:

Fossil fuel companies will remain important for years to come, some will survive the transition to clean energy and other wont.

Trust will play a big role in the coming transformation and that trust will have to be earned through transparency and intention. Simply asserting trustworthiness, well, that is a start, but some serious effort will be required to gain consumer confidence along the way.

Photo credit: telegraph uk.

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Corporate Sustainability Strategy & Whose to blame when things go Wrong

In this inaugural episode of The Sustainable Century Podcast Series, David Chandler of the University of Colorado discusses corporate sustainability strategy with your host Marc de Sousa Shields, where they explore themes of corporate stakeholder influence, responsible consumerism, and whose fault is it when companies do really bad things.

With a PhD and MS in Management, David knows his stuff! He is co-author of Strategic Corporate Social Responsibility: Stakeholders, Globalization, and Sustainable Value Creation. For more about David:

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Scared Sustainable Yet? 19 Not-So-Rare Earth Minerals Running Out

We all know water is becoming scarce.

The developing world poor have known this all too well for centuries.

Herculean water conservation efforts by a few companies, cities and even some states show there is hope. But unless radically scalable solutions are found fast, California’s current drought is going to feel like a short, dry cough compared to what’s going to happen in the growing number of water-stressed communities around the world (e.g., Australia!).

Water is something we absolutely need to live, so we are pretty aware of its looming shortage.

What few realize, however, is that many other “life-necessary” resources are also coming close to running out.

Rare earth minerals have a noted “Scarcity Brand”, Read more

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Corruption in Mexico, Carlos Slim, the Mordita and I Just Wont Pay….

On our way by car from Cuernavaca to Canada we were pulled over, bags piled high to the ceiling, by the Mexico City police. We had entered Mexico City on the first day a new environmental initiative banning out of state cars on Saturdays.

Notice of the ban had been in the news. It was a big thing, but living a state away and not watching much television, we missed it.

So there we were, on the start of a 5,000 kilometer journey, only to be stopped by a couple of cops with a license for graft. This time, of course, they were legit and the fault was ours. They were right about the infraction but didn’t want to write me up, they wanted a bribe to let us go.

I exasperated them with all my arguments until I finally blurted “It’s the first day, we missed the notice. In any civilized country you’d be giving me a warning and nodding us on our way.”

I know. I actually said that. Worse, Read more

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40 Forest Facts…. Plant a Tree

If every American family planted just one tree, the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere would be reduced by one billion pounds annually.

This is almost 5% of the amount that human activity pumps into the atmosphere each year…

There is so much good coming from the forests, its time we protect them for that animals and ourselves! Here are 40 facts why….

Forest 1





Read more

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El Popo Knows….

 The other day I read about the debate whether or not we had entered the Anthropocene epoch, or, that moment in geological time everything became about us, homo sapiens.

It was an article in the The Toronto Star and it made me think: hey! we weren’t the center of attention for much of Mother Earth’s time here on, well…. herself…..

But I digress.

First things first. It seems the Anthropocene isn’t even an official epoch yet, Read more

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Sustainability Leadership and a $70k Minimum Wage

Dan Price. Remember the name.

Dan is the CEO of Gravity Payments who recently decided every one of his 120 employees should get paid $70k a year.

Is a $70k minimum wage a dream?

Perhaps, but one that raises two intriguing questions: is such a minimum wage possible and, more than this, is it desirable?


In the broadest of strokes, the answer is yes… for the USA at any rate.

Taking the 2013 US GDP of $17 trillion, subtracting 12% for corporate profits and $500 billion for taxes there is enough money to pay each of the 120 million full-time workers in the USA $70,000 and $35,000 to each of its 30 million part-time workers, and still have $113 billion in the pot!

If it works at the macro level, how about the micro?

Let’s take Walmart for example (of course!). Stephen Gandel of Fortune recently estimated Read more

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