Sustainablog

This blog will cover some news items related to Sustainability: Corporate Social Responsibility, Stewardship, Environmental management, etc.

19.3.05

The business case for a business case: The Economist and Ethical Corporation have both missed the boat when it comes to corporate social responsibility

The Economist and Ethical Corporation have both missed the boat when it
comes to corporate social responsibility, says Phillip H Rudolph
High-profile critiques and defences of corporate social responsibility are
coming out of the woodwork. Most prominently, in its 22 January issue, The
Economist devoted 22 pages to a highly critical “survey” of the topic, and
on 31 January, Ethical Corporation entered the fray with a spirited
critique of The Economist’s piece. Corporate social responsibility has
suddenly become the David and Victoria Beckham of finance journalism.

Each article shares a common whipping-boy, albeit that each wields the
whip in a different way. The flagellated party is “the business case for
CSR”. The Economist devotes almost the entirety of its harangue to the
conclusion that there is not now and has never been a business case for
corporate social responsibility and that business leaders must not engage
in wrong-headed altruism at the expense of their shareholders. It defends
this approach by, among other things, flogging poor Adam Smith.

Ethical Corporation, on the other hand, takes the view that “the business
case analysis” that The Economist sets up and then shoots down is a sacred
cow that deserves to be slain. It posits that, if capitalism and ethics
come to loggerheads, capitalism must ultimately defer.

Unrealistic and extreme

Both The Economist and Ethical Corporation rest their conclusions on
unrealistic and extreme positions. The Economist refuses to acknowledge
that there is any argument that would support a business case for
corporate social responsibility. It argues that business decisions should
somehow be based solely on a narrowly defined notion of what is good for a
single category of stakeholders – the shareholders. Ethical Corporation,
on the other hand, refuses to accept that there is any need to make a
business case at all. This position, taken to its logical extreme, might
be construed to mean business decisions must be made by taking account of
the views of every stakeholder except the shareholders or, perhaps less
provocatively, that the views of shareholders must be subjugated to some
notion of the greater good.

Neither position is tenable but, importantly, neither position – when
carefully analysed – really argues against the need for a business case.
Rather, each simply defines its own conception of which factors and inputs
should properly be considered in the course of putting that case together.
A business’ franchise – its licence to operate – depends upon its ability
to balance conflicting and ever-changing demands and expectations.
Whatever label one chooses to attach to this process, business decisions
are – and must be – based upon a business case.

All of this teeth-gnashing and hand-wringing over the business case
obscures and distracts from the far more serious and important question of
how to motivate business leaders to manage the impacts of their activities
on their true stakeholders. Perhaps the business case terminology doesn’t
play well to corporate social responsibility advocates in Europe and other
parts of the world. Perhaps it is read, inaccurately, as a euphemism for
catering to the mercenary interests of shareholders. But in truth,
shareholders and owners are critical stakeholders. While the needs and
concerns of other stakeholders must necessarily be a driver for much of
what we call corporate social responsibility, minimising or diminishing
the importance of shareholder concerns is a recipe for disaster and would
represent a huge step backwards for the corporate social responsibility
movement.

Convergence, not divergence

Angst over the legitimacy of the “business case analysis” is also wholly
unnecessary. There is a perfectly compelling case that behaving in a
socially responsible manner, managing externalities and operating
sustainably enhances employee satisfaction, reduces legal risks, mitigates
non-governmental organisations’ concerns, addresses socially responsible
investment issues and generally reflects good management practices – all
things that ultimately maximise long-term shareholder value. In other
words, this is not an either/or proposition. The business case and the
social case are convergent, not divergent, concepts.

In this context, the business case debate is the reddest of herrings.
Business case terminology is merely a tool, an enabler, for a dialogue
about the need for businesses to manage their impacts on stakeholders.
Often it is the necessary catalyst for a discussion that, The Economist
excepted, most would agree needs to take place. Without this catalyst,
business leaders whose fiduciary obligations and consequent legal exposure
are explicitly driven by their duty to shareholders might never open the
door to such a discussion. If business case dialogue is necessary to
motivate executives to focus on corporate social responsibility, then such
dialogue should be welcomed, embraced, and perfected.

www.foleyhoag.com

18.3.05

Business/NGO engagement all the rage

Business/NGO engagement all the rage
Ethical Corporation, 14 March 2005 - There was a time when representatives
of Rio Tinto and Earthwatch, BP and Fauna and Flora, would not be seen
dead in the same room. But today business-NGO partnerships are
commonplace.
Businesses and NGOs sit to discuss their activities, their mutual
interests and the potential for working together. They strike far-reaching
legal agreements. They provide sponsorship and endorsements. They go to
conferences together, presenting powerpoints together and swapping the
floor like TV-news announcers.
For modern companies, NGO engagement is now akin to investor and
government relations; to PR. For ethical and commercial reasons,
businesses now meet NGOs half-way, discussing their practices, their
policies and their point of view.
NGOs, for their part, have swapped the flak-jacket for the grey suit. They
are professional, diplomatic and solicitous. Each year, they grow in
stature, size and power. They appear on TV; their articles fill the
editorial pages of newspapers; they drive public opinion, shaping the
agenda.
So, in the past, journalists could expect a bunfight at an event like the
Ethical Corporation business/NGO partnerships and engagement conference
held on 22-23 February, 2005. But the anger is gone, mediated by
discussion and understanding. In place of strife, companies and NGOs talk
of the win-win, the mutuality of interests, the synchronous possibilities
of publicity and credibility, and the supra-importance of the brand.
Previously, NGOs and companies would argue in plain view with the cameras
rolling. Today, they discuss their disagreements discreetly and
measuredly, behind closed doors, away from the main hall. People who work
together, play together, who share secrets, do not bawl in public.
Companies have grasped the potential for heading off the opposition; for
burnishing their reputations with shareholders, government and customers;
for selling “ethical” products to the ethically-minded.
NGOs have realised there is the opportunity to improve their credibility,
to gain access and to generate new sources of funding. But both sides have
seen the risks as well.
Companies worry that in meeting and talking and liasing they could just be
wasting their time. They fear doing a lot and getting little in return
(save for inevitable accusations of “greenwashing” and lip-service). In
opening themselves up, they fear simply letting their guard down.
NGOs worry about getting “too close”. They fear falling out with their
old-time supporters or losing their integrity. In dressing like
businesspeople, eating and drinking like businesspeople, attending
conferences like businesspeople, they run the hazard of becoming just like
“them” – softened, co-opted and embedded.
Ethical Corporation’s conference revealed many of the benefits and threats
for companies and NGOs alike. Delegates heard what has worked, and what
has not; they listened to stories of culture-clashes on the one hand and
of genuine friendships on the other.
Not on offer, however, were any guarantees: for every partnership that
appears to deliver small victories, there are others producing headaches
and frustration. Companies and NGOs have the opportunity to achieve great
things together – but they can just as easily lose a whole lot at the same
time.
Day One
HSBC/WWF
The opening day of the conference started, in the main hall, with a
presentation from HSBC and WWF about how to drive sustainability issues to
the heart of banks’ lending practices. HSBC’s Amanda Combes and WWF’s
Robert Napier described how HSBC has now added the issue of sustainability
to its credit and risk workshops; how the bank has developed a new credit
policy for the forest industry; and, how HSBC has begun training some
senior personnel in sustainability issues. They both said the most
important part of this labour intensive relationship was transparency.
Greenpeace/NPower
Greenpeace and npower then presented their Juice initiative – which allows
the public to buy power produced by the npower’s off-shore windfarm in
North Wales. David Threlfall, from npower, said 50,000 customers had
signed up, and that only 7% had left after three years.
Both organisations are equally responsible for marketing the program,
though Stephen Tindale, from Greenpeace, said it did not actually
“endorse” the product. He felt, however, that Juice was a good and
innovative way for Greenpeace to promote the idea of wind power.
Moderator Rory Sullivan, director of investor responsibility at Insight
Investment, saw a potential pitfall for Greenpeace: that it might “be seen
endorsing the whole of npower’s business” (fossil fuels and all).
NGO accountability
In between the presentations, four delegates sat for a debate on NGO
accountability.
Having asked companies for years to become more accountable, NGOs are
finding the situation is reversed: it is the companies that now want more
disclosure.
Geraldine Peacock from the Charities Commission, which regulates NGOs in
the UK, said British standards were lax compared with the US. “We don’t
have good systems of accountability,” she said. “Some people say there is
chaos.”
She added: “If we are going to have genuine accountability, we need a
stronger Charities Commission.” Peacock wants to see a public database of
NGOs that all parties can interrogate for information.
Seb Beloe, director of consultants SustainAbility, began by noting that
NGOs are now global; they hold substantial resources; they are better
organised than before. He agreed with the need for more accountability.
But he was worried businesses may have a “hidden agenda”, that businesses
were now trying to put NGOs back in “their place”.
Simon Burall, from the One World Trust, expressed concern that “the
prospect of an Enron NGO is a real possibility”. He highlighted serious
hurdles to greater NGO accoutability, including confusion of over what
accountability is and the costs involved for NGOs with limited resources.
Burall agreed with Beloe: businesses have a hidden agenda. He said that
companies had been making an effort to brand NGOs as left wing in an
effort to discredit them.
Andrew Pendleton, from Christian Aid, said his organisation was “falling
short” of basic accountability standards. Like Burall, he said the
“writing was on the wall” for non-accountable NGOs. “We cannot rely on the
old adage of ‘doing well by doing good’,” he said.
RWE/Care International
After lunch, German power company RWE (Thames Water) and Care
International talked about their project to develop an “easyJet model” for
delivering water supplies in emerging markets. Care’s Leah Hibbin noted
that governments are going to fall well short of international targets to
improve global water supplies: currently one in six people worldwide have
no access to supplied water. To meet the Millennium Development Goals, a
minimum of 285,000 people would need to be hooked up daily to new
supplies, she said.
Water development is caught in a trap: NGOs are not able to bridge the gap
and governments tend to be inefficient and lack resources. Thames Water’s
Christian Matossian said companies like his have little financial
incentive to invest in emerging markets.
Thames and Care have formed a coalition with Unilever and WaterAid, called
WSUP, to develop a new approach, which Matossian said shares the risk for
all sides.
Unilever/MSC/WWF
The next speakers, consumer products giant Unilever, the Marine
Stewardship Council (MSC) and WWF, discussed their partnership to create
an international certification system for sustainable fisheries.
Dr Dierk Peters, from Unilever, said the company has an incentive to
promote sustainable production: “If over-fishing continues, our fish
business is over,” he warned. There is also a marketing incentive.
Customers are demanding “to know where the food comes from,” he said.
Peters said he hoped other companies would follow Unilever’s lead, if it
is seen as successful.
Rupert Howes, from MSC, said the process of bringing companies into the
agreement had been “agonising”, and that some companies were continuing to
dismiss the standard saying “we’re managing just fine without you”. But he
said he believed it was worth it: companies were deriving a business
benefit, and the value in terms of conservation had been “visible”. MSC
now puts its label on 229 separate products and Sainsbury’s promises to
use only MSC fish by 2010.
Asian Pulp and Paper
The timber industry provided the most combustible tale of the day, in the
shape of Asia Pulp and Paper, and its disastrous “co-operation” with WWF.
Arian Ardie, who had recently left APP, explained how the partnership
collapsed after the company failed to stop sourcing illegal timber within
an agreed six-month timeframe. There was a lack of trust and transparency
in the relationship, he explained, blaming APP for not coming clean. “[The
NGO] knows more about your operations than you ever thought they did. They
will find out,” he said.
APP is now in serious financial difficulties and has a poor reputation for
sustainability around the world.
April
Engagement guru Jonathan Wootliff was on hand to provide a more positive
story from his work with one of APP’s competitors, Singapore-based April.
In doing so, he offered a balanced guide to the business-NGO partnership:
directives that encapsulated many of the best lessons from the
conference’s opening day.
Starting from the business perspective, Wootliff said:
1) Neglecting NGOs can hurt your business.
2) Building trust with NGOs takes a long time.
3) Be prepared to work with the most extreme elements (“Not everyone is
nice,” he noted. “Sometimes you do not want to get up in the morning.”)
4) Do not use meetings with NGOs for PR benefit.
5) Involve key decision makers in the engagement process. Do not make
false promises; better say, “I can’t do it”.
6) Know what is true. Do not say something is fact if you have not checked
it.
7) NGOs can give mixed messages. Be wary.
8) Use NGOs as verifiers. “Get them counting the lorries coming in and out
of the factory.”

And, for an NGO, Wootliff suggested:
1) Go slow. You can move too fast.
2) Concentrate on the facts. Stick to what you can verify.
3) Work out who in the company you should be dealing with.
4) Find out who is in charge. Understand the hierarchy.
5) Understand corporate culture. It is important to understand how a
business works.
6) Identify targets for the company.
7) Be clear about commitments and agreements – for example, sign off on
minutes of meetings.
8) Provide incentives for companies to change.
9) Accept that some of the company’s initiatives are legitimate.
Concluding his talk, Wootliff described his personal journey from being a
Greenpeace activist to paid-up consultant. Five years ago, when he
started, “it took me months, if not years, to see anything that they were
doing that was positive,” he said.
He has endured many insults for his switching of sides, but Wootliff said
he felt that he could do more by working with companies, than from the
outside. “I really strongly believe that good forest management, by
companies with shareholders and executives, is the only hope for
high-density forests in the future,” he said.
Rainforest Alliance
Environmental NGOs are in the forefront of the move to form partnerships
with companies, and it was another forestry-minded organisation – the
Rainforest Alliance (RA) – that came to the platform next.
Food group Kraft has been working with New York-based RA to create a “a
common code for the coffee community”: a code that promotes sustainability
among coffee suppliers and distributors. Chris Willie, from RA, explained
that coffee was a major source of damage to worldwide ecosytems, a major
employer in some of the world’s poorest countries, as well as being an
industry significantly under threat from environmental damage.
Annemieke Wijn, from Kraft Foods, said the factors driving the company’s
policies included a guaranteed long-term coffee supply; meeting consumer
demand for “ethical” coffee; and the fact that promoting sustainability is
“the right thing to do”. She admitted that the code accounted for only a
tiny of fraction of Kraft’s overall coffee output (some of it was on offer
during conference breaks) and only involved a few companies. But Wijn
described the initiative as a useful start. “We need to work on a
sector-wide code. But while we’re doing that, it’s important to get
something going. This is a ‘priming the pump’ initiative.”
European Trade Union of Textiles/Nike
For the final session of the day, the European Trade Union Federation of
Textiles and Nike discussed a joint project to improve conditions for
textile workers in Bulgaria.
Sonya Durkin-Jones, Nike’s director of corporate of responsibility,
recounted the tortuous process of bringing a range of Bulgarian
stakeholders to join the program, which encourages training circles on the
factory floor. Patrick Itschert, the union’s general secretary, said that
if called upon he would repeat the exercise – but not without better
planning and a tighter definition of what everyone hoped to acheive.
Day Two
The sessions on the conference’s second day offered more intimacy. Gone
was the big-table grandstanding and the clunky powerpoint presentations;
in came smaller forums and more opportunity for discussion.
The conference split into quarters, offering four tracks of simultaneous
discussion on many topics from biodiversity to community volunteering.
Anti-corruption
In one session, Mark Pyman, of corruption watchdog Transparency
International, got together with Rodney Whittaker, a lawyer from
GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), to discuss their efforts to stamp out corruption at
the pharmaceutical giant. Pyman talked about the advantages of an
organisation like TI coming in from the outside; the disadvantage is that
TI can end up providing “cover” for a company’s worst deeds. Pyman noted
that three industries were responsible for the greatest volume of
corruption: defence, oil and public construction. Property, power and
pharmaceuticals are next on the list.
Whittaker said cutting out corruption in the pharmaceutical industry made
good business sense. “It is in GSK’s interest to support TI, to have a
level playing field. Generics companies in particular are paying a lot of
money to get business.”
Whittaker explained how GSK had designated compliance officers for every
one of its businesses. He said GSK tried to create a “a culture of
integrity” through the provision of “clear rules, clearly communicated”.
It is important, he added, to get management buy-in for the
anti-corruption initiative to succeed. “Unless you get line people
involved, you are not going to get very far,” he said.
Biodiversity
Another track, titled Biodiversity, featured partnerships in the
environment arena. BP and Flower and Fauna International (FFI) discussed
their relationship, which grants FFI special access to monitor some of
BP’s operations. FFI’s Annelisa Grigg said NGOs needed to establish clear
boundaries when working with companies. Tony Croucher, from BP, said that
the company’s 15 year relationship with FFI had not always been easy.
“It’s a challenge to maintain a relationship in a complex world, as both
organisations have changed,” he says
Rio Tinto and Earthwatch talked about their partnership – one part of
which involves Rio employees going on Earthwatch educational fellowships.
David Hillyard, from Earthwatch, was keen to point out the risks of the
alliance. “Our board was extremely concerned about working with Rio Tinto
nine years ago,” he said. “Some of our members wondered why an
environmental NGO was working with a mining company. And that’s not
something that’s gone away. Even now, we have a working group looking at
this.”
The financial side of the relationship was one potential complication. “We
get substantial funding from them. That creates a power relationship,”
said Hillyard. “We have to ask ourselves to what extent we are responding
to business needs; to what extent is it our own needs. The last thing we
want to be is an apologist for a mining company,” he added. “Mission creep
is an issue. It’s important that both sides focus on their own goals.”
For his part, John Hall, a manager of corporate relations at Rio Tinto,
talked of the need for transparency in the relationship. Most importantly,
it is important to react positively when things go wrong, he added.
Delegate feedback
Speaking at the close of the conference, delegates had mixed reactions as
to how it all went.
One participant, an academic, who did not want to be identified, said:
“I’ve been to a lot of these things. You tend to get a lot of the usual
suspects, the same old companies wanting to talk about their great
partnerships with NGOs. You have to wonder how sincere a lot of them are.”
A representative from a leading consumer products company agreed: “A lot
of people just want to pat themselves on the back for working with NGOs.
The second day was more useful. People got to ask the questions they
really wanted to ask.”
Another participant, from a leading NGO, said he had noticed an increase
in the number of development-NGOs attending compared to previous events.
“I’ve seen a lot of people from Save the Children, Oxfam and so on. They
want to understand what this partnership thing is all about. Up to now,
it’s mostly been environmental groups doing partnerships,” he said.
Christopher Anderson, an external relations executive at Newmont Mining,
described the two days as “a landmark that couldn’t have happened three to
five years ago”. Struck by the lack of government representatives in
attendance, he said this pointed to the irrelevance of governments on many
of the issues under discussion. “Increasingly it isn’t government but NGOs
that we need to work with. The governments in many of the countries that
we work are weak. NGOs – the civil society – are more of a natural fit for
businesses.”

Green in Gridlock

Green in Gridlock
The Washington Post, 15 March 2005 - While President Bush and many of
today's Republican leaders seem to be out of step with the American public
and much of their own party when it comes to environmental conservation,
the tactics of some environmentalists also play a significant role in
creating the political polarization and stalemate that have caused
gridlock for more than a decade on environmental policy.
The environment is not a "liberal" cause; it is everyone's cause. An
overwhelming percentage of Americans care deeply about conservation of
natural resources and the environment. This includes strong majorities
across all major demographic categories: ethnic, religious, racial, age,
gender and political party affiliation.
There are a variety of theories on the causes of the gridlock on such a
popular issue: corporate shortsightedness, the influence of money on the
legislative process, the alleged interest of Democrats in having the
environment as a perennial campaign issue and the perceived antipathy of
Republican leaders. But while all play a role, the polarizing tactics and
strategies of some environmentalists are part of the problem as well.
During the 1990s the major laws governing the fundamental environmental
infrastructure of our nation -- the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act,
the Endangered Species Act and Superfund -- were all due to be
reauthorized. All had been reauthorized before, some several times. But in
the past 15 years, none of them has been reauthorized.
During that time progress came to a stop on emerging issues, such as
climate change -- which threatens the entire planet -- and on old ones,
such as improving energy efficiency, which saves money, prevents pollution
and reduces dependence on foreign oil. The Environmental Protection Agency
tells us that 860 billion gallons of raw sewage still flow into our
waterways annually. And while our air is cleaner, it is still not
healthful.
All of the major environmental acts of Congress that we rely on were
imperfect bipartisan compromises. In the current climate, however, we
have, by letting the perfect be the enemy of the good, chosen in effect to
accomplish nothing. When we stop compromising in a bipartisan fashion,
environmental progress stops as well.
For example, the Wilderness Act of 1964 was a compromise. It protected
only a fraction of the land that qualified. But it did set up an inclusive
process for adding areas, and every president since 1964 has signed bills
protecting additional land. Few environmentalists would argue that passing
the Wilderness Act was a bad idea -- yet, would they support this
compromise if it were before them today?
In 1990, the last time the Clean Air Act was reauthorized, it was a
compromise. Acid rain emissions were reduced by 40 percent, but not by the
60 percent that scientists told us was needed. Toxic mercury emissions
were not controlled at all. It wasn't a perfect bill, but it reduced air
pollution. Clearly, we are better off than we would be if it had not
passed. But would such a compromise be acceptable if it were being
considered today?
Before the 1990s, the leaders of national conservation groups took the
political support and public opinion available to them and, in most cases,
made the best deal possible. The nation passed some important, though
imperfect, legislation.
In the early '90s, this dynamic changed. When Republican leaders attempted
to roll back long-standing protections, national environmental leaders
came under intense criticism from some local and more radical
environmental groups for being too close to power, too accommodating and
too compromising. This dynamic is reemerging today.
A lack of civility in the rhetoric and tactics used by some groups also
has played a role in the stalemate on many current environmental issues.
When communications about the environment are too extreme, too dire or too
partisan, large segments of the public tune out and dismiss the message.
Presenting solutions, expressing concern about lost opportunities or
engaging Americans in "can do" thinking are better ways to generate
interest in conservation.
Results from the last elections are a good case in point. Voters in 121
communities in 24 states passed ballot measures to create $3.25 billion in
public funding to protect land as parks and open space. Since 1996, 1,065
out of 1,376 conservation ballot measures have passed in 43 states,
raising more than $27 billion in funding for land conservation.
When given the chance, Americans vote for conservation solutions -- even
if it means a tax increase. If you look at the campaign materials for
these initiatives, you see little strident rhetoric and a lot of practical
solutions.
The case for environmental protection is itself a great one, full of
compelling examples of smart solutions that are good for the environment
and the economy at the same time. Americans want environmental solutions.
They deserve a better commitment to finding those solutions from Congress,
the administration, business groups and the environmental community.
The writer is executive director of the Izaak Walton League of America.

Brussels emissions crusade drives small car production

Brussels emissions crusade drives small car production
Financial Times, 11 March 2005 - Strip away the glitz and glamour of the
Geneva motor show and visitors this week will find the dominant theme is
dowdy. Instead of overpowered sports cars and luxury limousines, many
manufacturers are showing off tiny city cars.
Toyota, Peugeot, Volkswagen, Chevrolet and Renault all featured new small
production or concept cars, following the lead taken by Fiat with its
Panda a year ago. Ford is considering how to replace its ageing Ka, one of
the smallest cars on the road, while the smallest car sold in any volume,
the Smart, is being kept alive by DaimlerChrysler in spite of being a
financial disaster.
Even BMW and Mercedes, better known for upmarket saloons, are courting
small car buyers with their 1-Series and forthcoming B-Class hatchbacks.
However, all this activity is not prompted by a sudden surge in demand for
small cars.
Sales of "supermini" cars, the size of the Peugeot 206, have been growing
as financially strapped customers - particularly in Germany, Europe's
biggest market - trade down; smaller cars been doing less well.
Instead, the pressure to produce small cars comes from Brussels where the
European Commission demands that carmakers reduce emissions of carbon
dioxide, identified as a cause of global warming, from their vehicles.
The quickest and easiest way to lower pollution is to sell more small
cars, which are lighter and have small engines. They also have tiny profit
margins.
Fujio Cho, president of Toyota, the world's second-largest carmaker, said
last week that the main reason for launching its Aygo was to meet carbon
reduction targets - not to boost profits. "Our primary concern relates to
environmental issues," he said. "We have very strong commitment to
environmental aspects and this is part of that."
Jurgen Schrempp, chief executive of DaimlerChrysler, is equally blunt
about the importance of selling small cars to meet European emission
targets. Daimler is drawing up a business plan for its Smart small car
division, even as analysts call for its closure after estimated losses of
Euros 500m last year. "Smart is a low consumption vehicle which adds to
our fleet emissions (efficiency), which is very important," Mr Schrempp
said in an interview last week.
The interest in small cars comes as manufacturers realise how hard it will
be to meet voluntary targets agreed with the European Commission for lower
CO emissions. The goal is to cut average CO output of new cars sold by 24
per cent to 140g per kilometre driven by 2008 for European manufacturers
and 2009 for Asian producers. Manufacturers have so far met annual
targets. But, they say, that was only possible because of the remarkable
rise in sales of diesel engines, which are more efficient. Even if the
140g per km goal is reached, it will not be enough. Negotiations are due
to start this year between carmakers and the Commission about the next
step in reducing emissions. Brussels is keen to see a 120g per km level
adopted as a target for 2012.
Motor executives are warning against such a step, which they say could
only be achieved through heavy investment in new tech-nologies and by
forcing drivers to stop buying the biggest, heaviest vehicles. Both moves
would damage an already financially stretched industry and push up the
price of cars.
"One can't say that 120g per km is impossible," says Georges Douin, head
of product, strategic planning and international operations at Renault.
"You can reach 120g per km with extra cost and time - but not in 2012."
Instead, the industry wants a change of approach. Rather than just making
cars more efficient, it wants Brussels to pay attention to the way they
are used.
"We are all mistaken when we are talking about the emissions of cars,"
says Jean-Martin Folz, chief executive of PSA Peugeot Citroen, the French
carmaker. "The problem which is completely overlooked is that it is not
the car manufacturers who emit CO ... it is the people who drive the cars.
Their driving habits are much more important."
He points out that buyers of gas-guzzling Ferraris probably produce a lot
less CO than drivers of fuel-efficient diesel hatchbacks because the
Ferrari spends most of its time in the garage. "Of course cars emit more
or less," he says. "But it is up to you to drive more or less."
The Commission is waiting for formal talks to start this summer before it
comments on whether it might accept a change. Visitors to Geneva are
getting a taste of the impact a new CO target could have.
Copyright 2005 The Financial Times Limited

17.3.05

[Toronto area] Creativity Day, TRIZ Problem-Solving Course

----- Forwarded by Jean-Francois Barsoum/Markham/IBM on 09/03/2005 09:57
-----

Norbert Hoeller/Markham/IBM
09/03/2005 08:49

To
Jenny Choy/Markham/IBM@IBMCA, Valerie Fox/Toronto/IBM, Leta
Vaitonis/Toronto/IBM, Jean-Francois Barsoum/Markham/IBM, Nicole
Summers/CanWest/IBM, Chris Kirby/CanWest/IBM, Bernie Michalik/Markham/IBM,
Jeff Gilchrist/Toronto/IBM, Leo Marland/Markham/IBM, Gunay
Uner/Toronto/IBM, Guy Hilliard/Toronto/IBM, Brian Waterworth/CanWest/IBM,
Dan Shire/Markham/IBM, Joseph Kim/Markham/IBM, Minesh Lad/Toronto/IBM,
Lenny Zhao/Toronto/IBM, Mervin Gan/Toronto/IBM, Michael
Nitsopoulos/Toronto/IBM, Jay Mehta/Toronto/IBM, Hanita Mekuz/Toronto/IBM,
Georges Ayoub/Toronto/IBM, Simon B Azar/Markham/IBM, Cathy
Goodman/Markham/IBM, Joseph Kiwan/Quebec/IBM, Lana Mai/Markham/IBM, Sylvia
Cannon/Markham/IBM, Christine Cirka/Ontario/IBM, Ghassan
Shahwan/Ontario/IBM, Irina Vasilieva/Toronto/IBM, Karen
Cheung/Markham/IBM, Pauline Lam/Toronto/IBM, Jennifer Nip/Markham/IBM,
Nelson Yeung/Ontario/IBM, May Jim/Markham/IBM, Teresa Louie/Markham/IBM,
Ian Burnham/Markham/IBM, Khadir U Ahmed/Toronto/IBM, Dipesh
Mistry/Markham/IBM, Megan Bawn/Markham/IBM, Mark D Scott/Ontario/IBM,
Robert Narejko/Ontario/IBM, Cynthia Herst/Ontario/IBM, Bill
Houston/Ontario/IBM, Winnie Padley/Toronto/IBM, Jevon Joseph/Ontario/IBM,
Chris Goldsmith/Markham/IBM, Andy Liu/Markham/IBM, Elena
Krajcik/Toronto/IBM, Vivian Jiang/Toronto/IBM, Leo Fonseca/Toronto/IBM,
Jaime Ooi/Toronto/IBM, Raymond Leung/Markham/IBM, Thomas Su/Markham/IBM,
Michael P Castellino/Markham/IBM, Shahir Daya/Markham/IBM, Puneet
Saxena/Toronto/IBM, Savio Da Costa/Ontario/IBM, Jitendra
Allam/Toronto/IBM, Gary Spence/Ontario/IBM, Lin Xie/Markham/IBM, Brian
Helstrom/Ontario/IBM, Stewart Bond/Toronto/IBM, Tareq
Al-Shumari/Toronto/IBM, Juan Dong/Markham/IBM, Marcelo
Martins/Toronto/IBM, Michael G Ribeiro/Markham/IBM, May Jim/Markham/IBM,
Jennifer Nolan/Markham/IBM, Asa Fok/Ontario/IBM, Donna Dancer/Ontario/IBM,
Ylleana Hanbury/Ontario/IBM, Erin McClennan/Toronto/IBM, John
Murphy/Markham/IBM, John C Murphy/Ontario/IBM, David D Tse/Markham/IBM,
Philippe Charmet/Toronto/IBM, Rubbab Tassawar/Markham/IBM, Nena
Vukovic/Toronto/IBM, Currie Boyle/CanWest/IBM, Jim Ingratta/Markham/IBM
cc

Subject
Creativity Day, TRIZ Problem-Solving Course

I got the following information from Cam Howey of Stelco about Creativity
Day, a world-wide event I had never heard of. http://www.creativityday.ca
has a number of activities throughout the month of April, including a
half-day of workshops at the Ontario College of Art and Design on Sunday,
April 17th.

TRIZ Problem Solving Course
A number of the concepts described at the InnovationFest are based on a
problem-solving methodology called TRIZ (an acronym for Theory of
Inventive Problem Solving). TRIZ claims that anyone can be creative and
innovative, by providing a series of tools for analysing problems,
identifying possible solution paths, solving contradictions, and
leveraging ideas from other disciplines. IBM and Bell are bringing one of
the top North American instructors to Toronto for a three-day TRIZ course
on April 25-27. The first two days will be on the principles and practice
of TRIZ, with lots of exercises on the various tools and techniques. The
last day will give you a chance to solve real-life problems in a group
setting. I had the opportunity to take the two-day course last year, and
came away with a much better appreciation for the methodology that I had
gained through months of reading.

If you are intrigued, we have available seats. The cost for the three
days will be under $1500/person. More participants will reduce the cost
for everyone. If you are interested, please drop me a note.
Thanks,
________________________________
Norbert Hoeller Consulting I/T Architect
IBM Global Services - Securities Industry Services
08/SG4/251/TOR
245 Consumers Road, Toronto ON, M2J 1R3
New: Tel (416)478-5643, Fax (416)478-5463
Internet: nhoeller@ca.ibm.com