A Review of Socially Responsible Corporations By Motley Fool

Can big business walk the talk and effectively integrate sustainable approaches into profitable corporate strategy?

The “Making Money, Making a Difference” series of articles on The Motley Fool suggests that US firms are successfully adjusting their thinking.

via PSD Blog.

The series is written by Fool contributor Jeremy MacNealy, who is writing an ethics and law thesis paper on corporate social responsibility at Duke University.

Project Agape– A Tech Social Venture Leverages Facebook’s Network


Called “Causes on Facebook,” it allows you to create a cause, or promote an existing one to their friends You can pick from 1.5 million non-profits in the U.S. It uses Facebook’s “feed” feature to notify friends when you’ve joined a new cause. Finally, it allows you to promote the cause in other ways, building up points through a reward system, letting you show off virtual trophies that you win on your profile page after say, donating money. Ultimately, it wants to make it easier to raise money for causes. It launches with formal partnerships with ten non-profits.

A few things to note about Project Agape. First, the founder, Sean Parker, is most popular for his cofounding of Napster. Since then he’s led several high profile internet startups but this is his first philanthropic venture. He was CEO of Facebook at one point, and it was most likely this connection that allowed him to get early access to Facebook’s new platform, which was just announced today.

“Causes on Facebook” was announced today with the “intent to showcase the strengths of Facebook’s new “Platform,” a set of tools to allow developers to build applications upon Facebook. The screenshots over at Venturebeat are pretty cool. You can check them out directly here and here.

NOW on PBS: A Series About Social Entrepreneurs And Their Ideas

There’s a new project launched by NOW on PBS covering social entrepreneurs.

Called “Enterprising Ideas,” the project will feature monthly broadcasts on social entrepreneurs, beginning with this Friday. We’ve created an unprecedented five-minute “preview” on YouTube of this Friday’s show, which I like to call “One Million Served:”

Here is the copy from the website about the first show which features a social entrepreneur in Kenya who used the franchise model to deliver affordable healthcare:

Can the quality of healthcare in developing nations be transformed by the same principle that makes fast food such a success here? On Friday, May 25 at 8:30 pm (check local listings), NOW travels to Kenya to investigate an enterprising idea: franchising not burger and donut shops, but health services and drugs in rural Africa. American businessmen are teaming with African entrepreneurs to spread for-profit clinics around the country in the hopes of providing quality, affordable medical care to even Kenya’s poorest people. But can they overcome obstacles like extreme poverty, corruption, fraudulent services, and long distances to establish a sustained solution to a chronic problem?

NOW is also launching a new website on May 25th at www.pbs.org/now/enterprisingideas that will feature a blog, a contest for social entrepreneurs, tips and tools, and much more.

Additional coverage: Boing Boing- PBS “Now”: Can US entrepreneurial know-how save lives in Africa?

Catching Up: IBM is soliciting good ideas in Africa, Digital Divide Metrics, Charity Link Love

IBM is soliciting good ideas for solving problems in Africa... As part of its three-week “ThinkPlace Challenge,” IBM wants people from around the world to submit suggestions on how it and other companies can partner with African governments, universities and local businesses to improve the economy and, subsequently, the lives of Africans.” — Link

A new study (pdf) published by the Pew Internet & American Life Project has found that there is a growing digital divide across America.” –Link

There is a charitable meme going around among search engine marketers: give non-profits some link juice! — “The rules are simple, copy the list of charities and links (grab it from whomever tags you) and add your 5 favorite charities or non-profit organizations to the end (link to their sites with anchor text of the causes they champion). Of course finish things off by tagging 5 other webmasters/bloggers and then publishing the post or the webpage.” –Link

The Members Project: American Express Rallying Members To Do Some Good For The World

Just found out about this program from American Express– this is how it works:

1. American Express rounds up card members to join. For each member, AMEX will donate $1 to The Member’s Project.
2. Members read, rate, and discuss the projects submitted by fellow Cardmembers.
3. Members are encouraged to submit projects or ideas.
4. Members vote for the winning idea.

Here’s their official copy:

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Introducing The Members Project, an exciting new initiative that brings American Express® Cardmembers together to do something good for our world.

Join Cardmembers to dream up, and ultimately unite behind, one incredible idea. American Express will bring it to life with up to $5 million.

So where does the money come from? It’s all about power in numbers. For every Cardmember that registers, American Express contributes $1 — up to $5 million for that one winning idea.*

Will you send meningitis vaccines to Africa? Rebuild a school in New Orleans? Or support small organic farmers? The possibilities are endless. The decision is yours. Join The Members Project today.

Get involved at membersproject.com.

Interesting Facts About Digital Waste

Think about this:

Each year, between 20 and 50 million tons of electronic waste is generated globally. Most of it winds up in the developing world.

Some of the most popular destinations for dumping computer hardware include China, India, and Nigeria. It can be 10 times cheaper for a “recycler” to ship waste to China than to dispose of it properly at home. With the market for e-waste expected to top $11 billion by 2009, it’s lucrative to dump on the developing world.

The silver lining behind this mess is that recycling the e-waste is big business:

Computers are much more than just wires and plastic; they are also a source of highly valuable metals, including gold, copper, and aluminum. One ton of computer scrap contains more gold than 17 tons of gold ore. Circuit boards can be 40 times richer in copper than typical copper ore. For this reason, workers in e-waste dumps in the southern Chinese city of Guiyu carefully sort the computers’ hardware and melt down the most valuable parts.

However, melting down the metals releases toxic chemicals into the environment and there isn’t any incentive to find a safer and more environmentally friendly way at this point. Check out the slide show and the rest of the story here, which I found via Slashdot.

The 2008 Social Capitalist Awards: Not Too Late To Sign Up!

“Registration is now open for the 5th annual Fast Company/Monitor Group Social Capitalist Awards, which identify and celebrate the top social entrepreneurs in the nation. This year, we’re introducing an experiment: we’re accepting applications from some for-profit businesses as well as non-profits. Registration takes two minutes; just go here before June 4.”

Read more here.

Weekend Reading: Solar Flashlights In Africa

Check out this article in the New York Times about a man who brought solar powered flashlights to many villages in Africa:

The inspiration for the flashlight hit him, he said, while working for Perenco in Asmara, Eritrea. One Sunday he visited a local dump to watch scavenging by baboons and birds of prey, and came upon a group of homeless boys who had adopted the dump as their home.

They took him home to a rural village where he noticed that many people had nothing to light their homes, schools and clinics at night.

With a little research, he discovered that close to two billion people around the world go without affordable access to light.

Link.