Weekend reading from Business Week on Muhammad Yunus’ new book:
Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus, who pioneered the concept of microcredit—providing the poorest of the poor with tiny loans to start their own moneymaking ventures—is promoting a new idea these days. He calls it “social business,” and in his just-released book, Creating a World Without Poverty, he contends that it promises to relegate destitution across the globe to where it belongs: inside a museum.
Link to Businessweek.
I’ve written about cell phone recycling in the past so I felt it relevant to link to this lengthy New York Times Magazine article from last week on cell phone recycling. Some interesting companies mentioned in the article include: GreenPhone, Collective Good, and Recellular.
Nicholas Kristof pens this inspiring article about social entrepreneurs from Davos, Switzerland.
Here’s an interesting little initiative that I just read about in the New York Times– it’s called the Carbon Disclosure Project and it involved 11 multinational corporations trying to address the issue of climate change:
The companies in the program, called the Supply Chain Leadership Collaboration, include giants in their sectors like Cadbury Schweppes, Dell, Nestlé, PepsiCo, Procter & Gamble and Tesco.
The venture is being coordinated by the Carbon Disclosure Project, a British nonprofit organization that helps companies and investors to cooperate in the battle against climate change.
The idea of charity gift cards has been around for a while but a major hurdle was the lack of legitimacy with regards to the authenticity of several of the outlets that are dabbling in this space. This New York Times article sheds some more light into charity gift cards and names a few of the bigger players.
“This is a movement that has exploded in the last year,” said Trent Stamp, president of Charity Navigator, a Web site that uses information from federal financial filings to evaluate charities.
Here’s Businessweek‘s summary of the distribution issue in Africa:
The slow pace of progress has unleashed an ideologically charged battle over the best way to disseminate the life-saving nets. On one side are people who say that bed nets should be given away for free by governments and nonprofits to reach the maximum number of people as quickly as possible. On the other side are backers of so-called social marketing, who argue that bringing businesses into the mix improves efficiency and adds economic incentives and benefits to doing good.
Merry Christmas! Here’s a roundup of links from the past week.
OLPC a Hit in Remote Peruvian Village
Doubts about whether poor, rural children really can benefit from quirky little computers evaporate as quickly as the morning dew in this hilltop Andean village, where 50 primary school children got machines from the One Laptop Per Child project six months ago. Link
Chevron Sued Over Green Washing
The suit also claims that while Chevron used its involvement to “green wash” their media image they withheld financial and technical assistance. Green washing involves the exaggeration and misrepresentation of a company’s commitment and actions to be environmentally conscious.
2 Young Hedge-Fund Veterans Stir Up the World of Philanthropy
GiveWell’s findings are available on the Internet, without charge, at www.givewell.net. In evaluating charities, Mr. Karnofsky and Mr. Hassenfeld press them for information, analyzing the numbers in much the same way they did at Bridgewater. The Smile Train, for instance, a charity that repairs cleft palates, was asked how much it spent in each region and each country to treat how many patients in each.
Social laptops for xmas: Lenovo vs. OLPC
Some background on the Lenovo program from NYTimes (sorry no link)– “Lenovo has announced they are gearing up to sell a basic personal computer for ‘China’s vast but poor rural market’. The pricetag could be as low as $199. ‘The new Lenovo unit will include a processor and a keyboard and will use a buyer’s television set as a monitor, Chen said. He said he had no details on the processor size or other features. The new PC goes on sale later this year at prices of 1,499 to 2,999 yuan ($199-$399), Chen said. Lenovo is the world’s third-largest PC manufacturer, behind U.S.-based Hewlett Packard Inc. and No. 2 Dell.'”
Here’s a theme we’ve written about extensively on this blog–
Increasingly, nonprofit experts are beginning to question one of the fastest-growing sectors of giving, the practice of building a donation into the purchase of items as varied as fine jewelry and Always feminine products.
The same questions are asked and no one really has any answers so far. What’s interesting is that some charities don’t even know that their brand is being used to entice shoppers to buy the primary product:
The World Wildlife Fund, a major charity that works to preserve and protect animals and the environment, was among them. John Donoghue, its senior vice president, was disconcerted to learn that his organization was among a number of charities named as beneficiaries of items bought from Barneys’ “Have a Green Holiday” catalog.
“Unfortunately, just like Barneys shoppers, we’re in the dark as to how or if Barneys and the manufacturers will fulfill their commitment to donate a portion of the proceeds from these products to W.W.F.,” Mr. Donoghue said.
Read the full article at nytimes.com
Don’t have time to read and analyze this right now so I’ll just link:
Demand for African stocks is so robust, in fact, that it has created a bottleneck. Because these markets are tiny and illiquid—Zambia’s total market value is just $2 billion—foreigners can’t pile in all at once. Those who don’t want to wait on the sidelines must find their own opportunities away from the stock exchanges. “The private equity skill set is really in demand here,” says Gibian. His firm has invested more than $400 million in sub-Saharan Africa this year, vs. $325 million in the previous six years combined.