Category: Posts

Digital Security: Business’s Social Responsibility?


Harriet Pearson, IBM

At the BBB Forum on corporate citizenship in NYC recently, IBM’s Harriet Pearson, VP Security Counsel and Chief Privacy Officer, made a good case for why Internet security should now be considered a number one business responsibility issue.

The recent LinkedIn snafu is just one example of the exposure a company faces when hackers gain control.  That sort of break-in is reason enough to address security and electronic privacy.

But the argument for data protection as a social responsibility concern goes deeper.

There are four drivers putting these issues on leadership’s corporate citizenship agenda , Pearson explains:

  1. Data
  2. Connectivity
  3. Risk
  4. Regulation

1.Data Proliferation

“There’s been more data created in the past two years than… Continue reading “Digital Security: Business’s Social Responsibility?”


The cost of disaster: Putting a price tag on climate change

©2012 Ann Goodman

Professor John Mutter

In this era of apparently mounting natural disasters worldwide—many, such as floods from hurricanes, likely related to changing weather patterns linked to climate change—one might ask: How much do such disasters cost? How are the costs calculated?
In fact, someone has asked—analyzing not just the cost of the event itself, but the larger economic costs linked to build-up and often long recovery.

“The public focus [of a disaster] is on the moment, the trauma of the extreme event,” says John Mutter, Professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences, as well as International Public Affairs, at Columbia University’s Earth Institute. “The economic loss focuses on that moment, too—what was actually lost at the time.”

However, that loss to the economy—the chain of production, consumption and everything that goes into it—doesn’t happen in a moment, but actually begins after, he says, “with losses that go beyond the value of the built structures trashed at the time, beyond the capital asset loss, to a deeper economic loss that happens over time.”

Three-pronged process

The theory of calculating disaster costs is just developing, as natural disasters become more prevalent; business can incorporate principles from a three-pronged process into new strategic thinking on what disaster is and how it might affect particular sectors or individual companies. Continue reading “The cost of disaster: Putting a price tag on climate change”

PharmaJet’s Global Return on Health

© Ann Goodman 2012

Q&A: Following UN Women NYC’s “3 Pillars of Sustainability,” May 8, 2012, Ann talks with Pharmajet’s Heather Potters, Founder and Chair, about the role of business in global health.

PharmaJet’s Heather Potters with her mother

1. Ann: PharmaJet is a new medical device company, and your mother developed the technology.  What’s the company’s role in furthering sustainable development?

Heather: The company’ mission is to make a positive contribution to reducing the global disease burden through injection delivery of vaccines with its devices, safely and effectively.

2. Ann: How do you do that?

Heather:  We’ve developed a simple, innovative needle-free jet injection technology—focused on delivery of vaccines into the body.  “Needle-free” is not new, but the way in which PharmaJet has approached it is.  A variety of care givers, customers, patients, governments, and NGO’s have used the technology and confirmed it to be very useful and desirable in a variety of healthcare environments, as an alternative to needle-syringe and the resulting disposal, needle-stick, needle re-use and liability issues they face.

3. Ann: Is the traditional vaccination process potentially a global health issue?

Heather: The aim of vaccination is to help the body generate immunity to disease. Continue reading “PharmaJet’s Global Return on Health”

Water Sanitation & Sustainability

© 2012 Ann Goodman

Q&A: Following UN Women NYC’s “3 Pillars of Sustainability,” May 8, 2012, Ann talks with charity:water’s head of programming, Christy Scazzero, on how awareness of water sanitation affects global sustainability—and the impact it’s had in the developing world.

Christy Scazzero of charity:water

1. Ann: What does charity:water do to advance sustainability?

Christy: charity: water is a non-profit organization that helps bring clean, safe drinking water to people in developing countries via an online donor platform. We do this through raising awareness about the water crisis and funding non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to implement water programs across sub-saharan Africa, Asia and Haiti.

2. Ann: How do you define sustainability?

Christy: We’re committed to ensuring that communities benefiting from water systems continue to have uninterrupted access to clean water. For the purposes of charity: water, water, sanitation, and hygiene services are considered “sustained” when systems and procedures Continue reading “Water Sanitation & Sustainability”

How Men Work with Women on Family Planning—and Achieve Sustainability

© Ann Goodman 2012

Lara Crampe, IIRR’s Development Officer

Q&A: Following UN Women NYC’s “3 Pillars of Sustainability,” May 8, 2012, Ann talks with IIRR Development Officer Lara Crampe about how one community addresses poverty, environment, food security, health and welfare.

1. Ann: What does the Institute for International Rural Reconstruction (IIRR) do to advance sustainability?

Lara: IIRR has been working for more than 50 years in community-led development. We work with rural communities in Southeast Asia and East Africa. Our work put communities in the driver’s seat of their own development. We believe that this is absolutely necessary for sustainability and effectiveness in development work. We have more than 150 partners that we work with and through on the ground. To us, the key feature of a sustainable development project is that the local people are involved in all levels of planning, direction, implementation, management, and ultimately the success of the work.

2. Ann: What is IIRR’s LOWO program for family planning? What makes it particularly sustainable? Continue reading “How Men Work with Women on Family Planning—and Achieve Sustainability”

Ann Introduces UN Women’s “3 Pillars of Sustainability”

© Ann Goodman 2012

It was an honor to moderate the UN Women NYC’s panel–“Three Pillars of Sustainability”–at Saatchi & Saatchi’s Manhattan offices Tuesday evening, May 8.

As we approach the global Rio + 20 conference on sustainability next month, the topic could hardly be timelier.

Below, I share with you my introductory comments to the audience of over one hundred men and women in the business, government and non-profit sectors.

Stay tuned–right here–for more inspiring voices from the panelists!

Anna Falth, Aaron Baum, Christy Scazzero, Heather Potters & Lara Crampe

“Thanks to the whole crew at UN Women NYC for inviting me to moderate this important panel tonight–especially Cheryl, Diane and Dee Dao.

“And particular thanks to these two remarkable young girls, age 6 and 8, who have raised money for water wells in the developing world! Their work embodies a key message of the initial definition of sustainable  development, namely “meeting the needs of the present without  compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own  needs.” There’s inter-generational equity built into the definition.  And the future is our inspiration in the present! Continue reading “Ann Introduces UN Women’s “3 Pillars of Sustainability””

Speaking of Rio+20: A Conversation with UN Assistant Secretary General Liz Thompson

© Ann Goodman 2012

Imagine: You’ve been a practicing lawyer for 20 years. You’ve been elected to Parliament. You’ve run the environment Ministry for a whole country. You’ve been a Cabinet member. You own a successful business, including the building from which it operates. You have an impeccable financial record.

Then imagine: You go to ask for a loan for a larger building to support your expanding energy and environmental consulting practice, and the bank clerk asks you to bring in your husband — to sign the loan papers.

“No mature man with a successful business and a track record with the bank walks in and hears the desk officer say ‘you must bring your wife in to sign, or you can’t get a loan,'” explains H. Elizabeth (Liz) Thompson, now U.N. Assistant Secretary General and co-Executive Coordinator for the June Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development.

Her personal experience at the bank in her native Barbados, where she was the first graduate of the University of the West Indies to be appointed to the Cabinet and served as an elected Parliamentarian for 14 years, 12 of them as Minister of Environment, is among the many graphic indignities women face that have made Thompson an ardent supporter of women’s development, access to jobs and investment in the ‘green economy’ that is a central theme and objective of the upcoming international meetings in Rio.

Recruited by the U.N. in 2010, Ms. Thompson’s role “is to support the objectives and themes of the conference, build consensus around the objectives and themes, work with stakeholders at the political level, as well as non-state actors internationally, including the NGO community, business leaders and multilateral development world,” she explains.

As if that weren’t enough, she and a miniscule staff also support the negotiations and the U.N. Millennium goals and process, providing strategic messaging and producing papers and articles for U.N. agencies like U.N.EP and U.N.CTAD, as the Summit approaches.

A big role for big business

Thompson’s vision for the Rio summit outcomes includes a bigger role for business in sustainability — and a better role for women. Continue reading “Speaking of Rio+20: A Conversation with UN Assistant Secretary General Liz Thompson”

What Companies Can Learn From Cities: Rosenzweig on Climate

© Ann Goodman 2012

How might urban climate change affect business?  What can business—and cities—do about it?  And how might each help the other prepare for a potential threat to what’s clearly a mutually beneficial relationship?

Who better to answer the questions than Cynthia Rosenzweig, Senior Research Scientist at NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies and the Columbia University Earth Institute, and Adjunct Professor at New York City’s Barnard College.

The world-renowned urban climate change expert is the Co-Editor of the recently released book, Climate Change and Cities: First Assessment Report (ARC3) of the Urban Climate Change Research Network (UCCRN) published in 2011 (Cambridge University Press).  The UCCRN was hatched at the C40 Large Cities Summit in New York City in 2007, with more than 300 members in cities around the world.

Urban Climate

Depending on scientific estimates, cities account for 40-80 percent of total greenhouse gas emissions worldwide.  The urban population is forecast to nearly double to 6.4 billion, or 70% of the world’s population, by mid-century, according to the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division.  That would lift emission levels, along with urban temperatures.  ARC3 projects that temperatures in 12 cities it studied (including New York, London, Shanghai and Sao Paulo), could rise between one and four degrees Celsius by 2050.”

Those radical changes challenge cities to re-evaluate how to protect people, prioritize investments, deploy assets, and rethink growth and development.

Read more, first posted on January 30, 2012, on Ann Goodman’s blog on GreenBiz