Irish politics is a sport not for the faint hearted. As Conor Cruise O'Brien once said:Irishness is not primarily a question of birth or blood or language; it is the condition of being involved in the Irish situation, and usually of being mauled by it.
James Farrar focuses on the business balance between financial performance and social-environmental impact.
<p>James has more than 15 years of experience working on corporate sustainability issues from both the corporate and NGO campaigning perspective. He has worked directly within the banking (Farm Credit System), aviation (British Airways) and IT (SAP) sectors in the USA and Europe. His campaigning experience includes work at Amnesty International's business engagement programme and at Global Witness, a leading NGO campaigning on the issue of resource revenue transparency especially relating to so called 'conflict resources'.</p> James's day job is at SAP working within the Sustainability team. You can view James' extended profile on <a href="http://de.linkedin.com/pub/james-farrar/2/a47/743">Linkedin</a> and you can follow him on <a href="http://twitter.com/jamesfarrar">Twitter</a>.
Much of the corporate sustainability and responsibility agenda has been propelled since the '90s by the idea that voluntary action on the part of corporations is more effective than regulation. It has been a celebration of market dynamism over moribund regulation, the latter of which would provide only for the lowest common denominator.
Amanpour: A little more Davos & Friend Feed, a little less Damascus & live feed?The celebrated celebrity blogger, Robert Scoble, is ticked off with CNN over its weak coverage of the Iran election and aftermath.
Just as Shell brings to a close a difficult chapter in its troubled relationship with the Ogoni people in Nigeria, its relationship with community groups in the west of Ireland appears to be reaching new lows. Shell is the senior partner with Statoil and Marathon in an effort to bring off shore natural gas reserves on to the national grid in Ireland.
When Greenpeace first started campaigning on the electronics sector in 2005 we wanted to see companies change the way that products were made, used and disposed of to tackle the massive amounts of toxic e-waste being dumped in developing countries.
I've posted before in these pages about how the business lobby, under pressure to respond to climate change, is starting to fracture. There was another dramatic example of this yesterday in Kuala Lumpur at the annual general meeting of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) when the CEO, Giovanni Bisignani, took an extraordinary swipe at the UK government and the banking industry.
What's wrong with this picture? At a time where more leading companies than ever are integrating sustainability, not just into their mid term strategy but into the core of their business models, Jack Welch sits awkwardly on the landscape.
Cate Blanchett: A Promethean Encounter with CEOs in Copenhagen?The great and the good of global business got together in Copenhagen last week to try to reach consensus on what the private sector message should be to the UN led climate change negotiators who will agree a post Kyoto framework this December.
Its hard not to be impressed with the strength of focus coming from IBM these days on sustainability. I'm ususally pretty sceptical about sustainability marketing efforts and IBM have a high hurdle to jump to reach a point of public credibility.
Greenpeace upped the ante on the IT sector by switching focus from reporting on the environmental performance of consumer electronics to looking at how the industry as a whole is performing on climate change. Yesterday they launched their inaugural Cool IT ranking of the top 12 IT firms performing on climate change.
The passage of the Waxman Markey Bill through the US House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee this week has left behind it some hard feelings and a split in the business lobby. The US Chamber of Commerce came under severe pressure for lobbying against the bill whilst many of its members were pulling the other way.
Interesting developments this week for energy efficiency prospects with both Oracle and Google entering the fray of the green grid business. Oracle now boasts an end to end offering for Utilities so they can optimize resources and better manage sustainability performance.
Following on from yesterday's riff on traceability technology for Vietnamese fisheries, it turns out Silicon Valley may yet be its own best customer. Despite common knowledge of serious human rights abuses relating to the mining of cassiterite in the Democratic Republic of Congo the industry has not gone far enough to guarantee ethical sourcing to satisfy increasingly concerned stakeholders.
IBM's vision of a smart planet is proving to be an interesting intellectual platform from which to invite all actors to think how best to improve sustainability performance with smart use of IT. Yesterday's announcement (hat tip James) of a partnerhsip between IBM, FXA Group, the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters & Producers and the Vietnamese government is particularly interesting.
Annie Leonard’s Story of Stuff sustainability presentation has been doing the rounds in American classrooms and has stoked up many on both sides of the political divide. On one side, parents tell of angst ridden kids now wondering about the ecological footprint of Lego and on the other side free enterprise advocates say Leonard has misled the public - surely market forces kick in to correct all of this long before it starts to get out of hand?