The Brand that Keeps on Giving: Why Starbucks is #1 on the Net

I feel a sense of irony sitting here at my local Starbucks drinking my skinny vanilla latte, writing about why Starbucks is at the top. But honestly, it’s where I go to write all my articles.

So…Why Starbucks?

Being in a Starbucks makes me feel good.

Be it the fresh “fair trade” coffee served in a recycled cup telling me that I’m a “pioneer” for using it. My cup holder letting me know that it’s also made of recycled materials. The napkin informing me that Starbucks doesn’t use trans fats, artificial flavours or high-fructose corn syrups in my brown bagel.

I feel very socially responsible buying coffee from Starbucks.

However, I’m at the end of the line…Starbucks’ goodness actually begins with their mission statement.

“We’ve always believed that businesses can – and should – have a positive impact on the communities they serve. So ever since we opened our first store in 1971, we dedicated ourselves Read more…

The Creators Project – When a dream becomes reality

What would you say if someone told you that you could do anything you wanted, with no financial restraints?

That’s the exact question that video director Spike Jonze asked (Vice’s) Shane Smith in a conversation over dinner.

Smith said that his dream was to launch something along the lines of 1920s salons in Paris, where writers, artists, musicians and playwrights gathered to exchange ideas, resulting in a rich cultural cross-pollination. – sourced from Wired

And so began, The Creators Project

A multi-year program dedicated to identifying leading artists, TheCreatorsProject.com enables them to showcase their works and artistic visions through interactive media, creative conferences, new multi-disciplinary collaborative projects and its website.

Together, the partnership between Vice (an online den of nefarious activity and enlightening information technology) and tech giant Intel have brought together some of the world’s leading and most relevant innovators in music, art, film, design and architecture in hopes to connect global youth through a Read more…

“Tag Your Green” – GE’s Ecomagination Project

Corporations…they’re evil right?

Maybe you’ve seen the 2003 documentary “The Corporation”, maybe you haven’t but maybe you should.

What you do need to know though is that there are a lot of corporations who do operate with a blatant disregard for our society and our environment.

Yes, the environment belongs to you!

However, these days, things are starting to shift. More companies are trending towards being “green” and being more “socially responsible” and, for the most part, their intentions are good (with a little bit of business thrown in there of course).

CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) is about how companies manage the business processes to produce an overall positive impact on society.

One Corporation who’s starting to lead in a more socially responsible way is General Electric (GE).

About 5 years ago, they launched their CSR initiative called Ecomagination.

Ecomagination is GE’s commitment to imagine and build innovative solutions to today’s environmental challenges while driving economic growth.

It’s a Read more…

Nike: Working Towards a Better World

Sports have always been an important part of my life.

Whether it’s basketball, baseball, tennis, football, swimming, running or soccer, I’ve always been involved in sports in some aspect or the other.

Playing sports has kept me fit and out of trouble. It’s taught me individual (strength, perseverance) & team (interpersonal, collaboration) skills.

Most importantly, sports have taught me responsibility.

My actions (big or small), always have an impact on myself, teammates and the game. By being accountable, it’s forced me to always strive to become better.

Better World

Nike is a brand that’s synonymous with sports.

Seek high performance in any sport, and you’ll find a Nike product that is specifically designed to help you do better.

In recent years however, Nike has opened up its “better” focus towards positively impacting society, and the environment.

Earlier this year, Nike launched its corporate responsibility micro-site “Nike: Better World” with one mission: Make the world better through sport.

Start of by Read more…

Paint It (RED)

What’s found in stores, socially responsible, and (RED) all over?

In our society, shopping has become somewhat of a sport. Black Friday deal-hunting crowds make headlines and entire television shows are dedicated to the premise of coupon collecting. Surely we are all motivated by getting the most ‘bang for our buck’. So, what about the possibility of changing a life while you pick up a new t-shirt? Funding the donation of antiretroviral drugs to AIDS inflicted communities at the same time you buy a new iPod? To me that seems like the ultimate bargain.

This is the very premise of (RED). (RED) is all about letting our purchasing power speak for those who do not have it. It’s about recognizing our ability to choose what we buy and picking the product that can bring about positive change.

In the beginning

(RED) was created by musical artist Bono in conjunction with Bob Shriver, activist and politician. It came Read more…

Acumen Fund: Investments not Grants, Building Business Models to Solve the World’s Problems

This story begins with Jacqueline Novogratz’s favourite blue sweater…

Jacqueline Novogratz: Founder of Acumen Fund

And so this amazing tale inspired Jacqueline’s ambitious venture into social good with her creation of Acumen Fund: an organization dedicated to investing in social entrepreneurs and enterprises focused on providing critical goods to the world’s poor.

Investing Patient Capital in Social Entrepreneurs

By using the idea of patient capital (where investors are willing to make a financial investment in a business with no expectation of turning a quick profit) and investing this into people trying to solve vital problems for the poor in their region, this essentially creates a system that combines both businesses (whose bottom line is profit) and philanthropy (a focus on creating a positive impact on society), ultimately breaking the cycle of poverty.

Since a social entrepreneur’s model is based on not one but three bottom lines – People (society), Planet (the environment) & Profit Read more…

FiveByTwenty: Coca-Cola’s Pledge to Empower Women

When I say ‘Coca-Cola’s reputation’, what is the first thing that comes to your mind?

Coca-Cola may not have the greatest reputation for its business practices around the world, but for thousands of women in many developing countries, the Company’s business decisions aren’t looking so unjust!

When It All Started

At the 2010 Clinton Global Initiative Meeting in New York City, Coca-Cola’s CEO Muhtar Kent announced the Company’s FiveByTwenty project – their pledge to empower 5 million women entrepreneurs in the developing world by 2020. The idea is to integrate profit-making with local community support, not through charity, but through innovative and inclusive business models. For women entrepreneurs around the world, this means access to the skills training, small-business loans and professional networks that are crucial to the prospect of a bright future for themselves and their families.

By 2020, The Coca-Cola Company aims to partner with civil society and other private sector actors Read more…

Amex Launches Facebook “Friends of Japan,” Supporting Earthquake Victims

The earthquake in Japan occurred months ago, but there are still many areas of the country that need support. Last month, American Express set out to reignite attention and support for the relief efforts by launching “Friends of Japan,” its first-ever global social media program on Facebook.

Friends of Japan is a social, word-of-mouth campaign that builds upon previous contributions and fundraising activities by Amex since the disaster struck.

The campaign encourages people from around the world to share messages of hope through the Amex Facebook page (facebook.com/americanexpressjapan). Visitors from around the world will receive a customized experience based on their location, as the “Friends of Japan” area on the page will be translated into Chinese, English, French, German, Korean, Portuguese and Spanish.

Visitors can select one of four messages or create their own messages of hope for Japan, in the form of a virtual postcard. American Express will donate $1 for every Read more…