The Global Catastrophic Tragedy That Started in Japan

It is hard to understand all of the dimensions and implications of the tsunami, earthquake and, at least, partial meltdown that struck Japan on March 11.  Comprehending it from the perspectives of nature, emotions, humanitarianism, geography, global warming, nuclear devastation and common sense is off the charts.

The tsunami caused by the earthquake alone has caused incredible suffering and the loss of many thousands of lives. Homes have been destroyed, businesses, lifestyles, family units, property…  If this was the extent of the damage, it would have been an horrible tragedy.

Unfortunately, it set off another wave of terrible events starting with the cooling system failure and ensuing explosions at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant.  This caused the astronomical release of radioactive material into the atmosphere.  Radiation has been detected in Tokyo’s drinking water, milk supply and vegetables making them unsafe to consume.  It has been detected in beans in Taiwan.  As of today, radioiodine-131 has been detected in Massachusetts, California, Washington, Florida, Pennsylvania and North and South Carolina.

The disaster continues to unfold as Yukiya Amano, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency and the world’s chief nuclear inspector, cautioned that the nuclear emergency could go on for weeks, if not months more.  See http://tinyurl.com/nuclear-disaster.

Although there are very polarized points of view on the subject, some experts say that one of the possible consequences of global warming is increased earthquake activity.  If this is the case one can see the spiraling effect this is having on the environment.  One natural disaster (the earthquake) led to another (the tsunami) and caused the nuclear disaster.  The nuclear disaster never should have occurred because nuclear energy is not a sustainable answer to our energy problems and should not be utilized.

Regardless of what New York State officials say concerning its safety, the Indian Point Nuclear Facility is only 38 miles north of New York City and it is built on a fault line.  What happened in Japan could easily happen here.

We need to use renewable green power solutions as much as possible and get two monkeys off our backs — nuclear energy and the use of fossil fuels.

Fourth International Environmental Protection Exhibition

The fourth International Environmental Protection Exhibition will be held in Macau starting on March 31, 2011.  The keynote speaker will be former under secretary general of the United Nations, Klaus Toepfer.  This year’s theme is “Green Opportunities – Low Carbon Urban Development”, advocating “Green Cities, Smart Technology, Sustainable Growth”.

Activities are planned including forums, assorted business exhibitions and something called, “Green Public Day”.  The main goal of the event is to communicate the sharing of knowledge between Macau and other countries with respect to environmental solutions.

More than 250 foreign companies have already signed on as participants in this year’s expo.  Last year’s event saw nearly 6,000 visitors with over 350 companies exhibiting.

Macau is located close to Hong Kong and the two cities are treated similarly by The People’s Republic of China.  Macau reportedly also has the longest life expectancy in the world but that’s an entirely different form of sustainability.

Ghana CSR Company

Based in South Africa, MTN is the largest telecommunications company, in Africa. They are committed to supporting corporate socially responsible initiatives in Ghana. The MTN Ghana Foundation primarily focuses on creating health and education programs.

MTN is a triple bottom line company aligning themselves with the ideals of sustainable business development in which corporate decisions are based on social, environmental and governance factors rather than just financial or economic ones.

The foundation’s projects have included building several schools as well as an ICU at a children’s hospital. MTN also operates a scholarship program that has helped over 1000 recipients.

According to Robert Kuzoe of the MTN Ghana Foundation, “the positive results on the communities has made the foundation more determined and committed to pursuing more CSR projects in the coming year to support social and economic development of the communities in which MTN operates. Though the Foundation is only three years old, it has chalked tremendous successes in promoting health and education in Ghana and we remain committed to give back to our communities in the coming years of MTN’s operations in Ghana.”

Stonyfield Farm, a Sustainable Company

Stonyfield Farm (makers of the organic yogurt) has been selected as one of the 25 most socially responsible companies by Will Marre, CEO of Releadership Alliance.  Marre’s list can be viewed at http://www.willmarre.com/blog. It is entitled, “Giving is Winning”.

Marre has set out to demonstrate how successful companies are achieving amazing success by considering the triple bottom line instead of only the bottom one.  Stonyfield embraces the use of sustainable farming techniques by being organic, considering the health of the cattle as well as its human employees and by donating 10% of its profits to various environmental causes.  Stonyfield has also built the largest solar photovoltaic array in the state of New Hampshire to date which has also saved them almost $2 million in energy costs thus far.

Gary Hirshberg, CEO of Stonyfield says, “”Running a green business is not just an ethically and environmentally responsible activity, it is the basis for economic growth in the 21st century.”  The truth is that sustainable business development is not only better for the planet and its citizens.  It is also better for company profits and growth.

Savant Creative Group helps companies grow through sustainable business development methods.  Running a sustainable company merges the prospects of prosperity and ethical responsibility.

Sustainability Initiatives in 2011

With economic conditions remaining flat at best, what hopes can we have for increased sustainability initiatives in the coming year?  GreenBiz.com recently asked several executives what they were looking forward to in 2011.  It appears that no one is coming out with any groundbreaking new campaigns and strategies.  Most of the comments centered around maintaining activities that were already underway.

It takes a lot of courage to invest in new sustainable modalities amidst economic uncertainty.  Most sustainability related investments such as energy audits and revamps, recycling campaigns, and even vendor overhauls take between three to five years in order to become profitable.  Corporations are looking at producing short-term profit scenarios taking them farther away from a sustainable future.  Even though most are trying not to invest this is the time for action.

Slow economic periods provide for the best opportunities to rebuild marketing strategies, branding campaigns, and communications with the public in order to lay the fertile ground work for the next wave of prosperity.  Savant Creative Group is an ethical marketing firm helping clients achieve sustainable business development based on a balance of short and long term initiatives.

Posted in: Sustainability