Entries Tagged 'The book' ↓

Have you heard about sustainability 2.0?


It’s been six months since we started spreading the word about Sustainability 2.0, a book we at El Viaje de Odiseo consultancy firm wrote on topics of sustainable development, Web 2.0 / social media and collective intelligence.

During this time we mapped the web to find relevant conversations on these same topics, looking to start interacting with those who were also talking about combining sustainable development practices with social media possibilities. We got to know blogs, groups, websites, forums and people that would help us continue down this way. And we started talking with all of them, in some sort of wide network about sustainability 2.0.

This gave us the opportunity to start our own conversation – mainly through this blog -, seeing where that would lead us.

Our next steps will be to follow our research: have you heard of companies pulling an enterprise 2.0? Do you have ideas on what sustainability 2.0 should represent? Do you think of ways social networking, citizen participation and sustainable practices could join? We want to know, and make of this blog an online hub where all things “sus2.0″ will be discussed.

And we want the conversation to happen in an active, dynamic and participative manner. So we will be giving you opportunities to speak and do. Thanks for joining us!

What is a prosumer?

Every day, often more than once we get involved in a certain type of activity that requires our time and money, but no so frequently our thoughts and reflection.

Yes, we’re talking about buying and consumption. How much thinking did you invest the last time you purchased something?

From Sustainability 2.0, the book:

Over the course of the 1990s, in line with the growth of the participative media and the responsible consumer and free trade movements, a new type of customer began to emerge, the most distinctive trait of whom was an awareness of the impact of his/her actions on the environment and society.

A minority within the world population began to gather at the front doors of companies and say, “Enough! Down with pollution, down with destruction, down with slave labor, child exploitation, pauper’s wages, unfair rules and productive models that are non-sustainable in the long term.”

Satellites, camcorders, blogs, Web 2.0 and cell phones all served to facilitate communications among these different groups and to the chagrined surprise of companies, different forms of interaction came into play and consumers grabbed control like never before, organizing themselves into a variety of movements.

This is the new consumer, the prosumer.

To further this topic, we suggest reading this article on consumers choosing to buy green.

What is greenwashing?

It may have nothing to do with Green Lantern and his ring of power, although the concept is definitely related with corporations’ power and their impact on the planet.

So let’s say you’re part of an small or big company that is looking to get green, sustainable, or just ‘eco’. But, do you know what is greenwashing?

Let’s hear it from Sustainability 2.0, the book:

“The term “greenwash” stems from the word “whitewash” (which means to gloss over or cover up
something) and is used pejoratively to describe certain marketing actions that some companies make
use of in seeking to somehow compensate for other actions that have “soiled” their brand image, due
to the negative impact of these actions on the environment.
A number of environmentalist organizations have concentrated their efforts on exposing and denouncing
“greenwashers”, to the point of actually creating rankings, such as America’s Ten Worst Greenwashers,
which, in 2002, was led by the makers of Kraft’s Post Selects cereals for promoting their product as
“natural” when they were, in fact, packaging “laboratory” cereals.
Actions like those of the companies included in this ranking are easily qualifi ed as “greenwashing”.
Others are not so easy.

Wal-Mart, the world’s largest corporation, with revenues of 315 billion dollars and more than 11 billion in
profits for 2006, is frequently accused of non-sustainable conduct. In reaction to this, the chain recently
launched a line of organic clothing and, in the process, became the world’s largest buyer of organic
cotton. Simultaneously, Wal-Mart kicked off its Sustainability 360 plan, which projects annual
investments of 500 million dollars with the aim of achieving a level of sustainable products equal to
20% of all products offered by its stores in just three years’ time. Whether this is a real change of values
or another case of “greenwashing”, the fact that 100 million people a week are being invited to consume
responsible products, and more than 60,000 suppliers to manufacture them, makes the impact of doing
business in this way clearly predictable on a worldwide scale.”

And the controversy is miles away from ending. Take a look at these useful articles to learn more:
Greenwashing on del.icio.us

Networked people

How many friends does a person have? How many professional contacts does one attain in a lifetime? Do we live in a small world? How does one generate a circle of friends?
In order to try and respond to some of these questions, American psychologist Stanley Milgram carried out a unique experiment in 1967: He selected a target addressee at random and then chose different people in different states who didn’t know this person and who had to try to get a letter to that random addressee. The instructions were that they had to send the letter in question to a person that they knew and considered that this person might have a greater possibility of knowing the target addressee. The person receiving the letter must do the same thing, and so on until the letter reached its final target destination. To the surprise of many, the letters reached the target after circulating through an average chain of only five or six people. This permitted Milgram to maintain what was to become known as the “Theory of the Six Degrees of Separation”, which, simply stated, holds that every one of the earth’s inhabitants is connected by a distance of no more than six people. However, in the 21st century, the tools of Web 2.0 allow these degrees of separation to be narrowed still further. For example, if a user publishes his/her profile in LinkedIn, a social network for professionals on the Internet, he/she can link up immediately with a Harvard professor, send a message and have an answer in a matter of hours. Presuming that each individual knows —considering workmates, family members, and MSN and e-mail contacts— about a hundred people, it is enough for one member of the circle to link up with another one in order for the chain to project to infinity.
One of the first people to realize the potential of virtual communities was communications mogul Rupert Murdoch, who, in July 2005, acquired MySpace for 580 million dollars. This most highly used of all portals by adolescents to make friends, listen to music, upload photos and videos and organize social outings was the outgrowth of a new business model that Murdoch was smart enough to see in time. By 2007, MySpace had 180 million registered users with 230,000 signing up daily. Their motivation: getting together with others on the Internet.

This is an excerpt from Chapter 6: Networked People of Sustainability 2.0, the book.
Download the complete book or contribute to the wiki-version.

The Network Generation

“Erica is 16, an only child, who lives in Sao Paulo, Brazil. She has a Mac in her room, a broadband connection and an iPod that’s well stocked with music. Like her teen-aged friends, Erica never knew the world without Internet. For her, information obtained from the mass media has a value equivalent to amateur or alternative media. She listens to a song by Britney Spears followed by one by a British Indie group without any prejudice whatsoever. She puts in very few hours in front of the TV set, but never misses an episode of Lost, her favorite television series. She also watches Japanese Anime, which she downloads using BitTorrent (a technology for sharing files). Much of the music on her iPod she bought through iTunes, but her friends also copied it. She only listens to the radio when she’s riding in the car with her parents and she never reads print newspapers.

Erica spends the greatest part of her free time connected, chatting with her friends. Many of them can be found in Orkut, a social network where she has posted her profile and where her acquaintances leave her their comments. With her most intimate friends, she constantly exchanges cell phone text messages.

Julián is 17 and lives with his parents and three brothers in a working class neighborhood in Buenos Aires Province, Argentina. As soon as he finished high school, he began working as a messenger in a telecommunications firm.

Since his passion is music, with his first pay, he went into Mercado Libre (an e-commerce site) and bought himself an mp3 player so he can listen to his favorite groups while he travels from place to place. On the weekends, he rehearses with a rock band, in which he is a percussionist. He and his buddies in the band opened a space in MySpace in which to upload some of their songs and another one in Fotolog, where they post pictures of their shows and announce the dates of their upcoming gigs.

Every afternoon, before returning home from work, he spends an hour at a cyber-café, where he can chat, visit his friends’ personal pages, post comments, watch funny videos on You Tube and read the day’s news. On the train ride home, he exchanges text messages with his girlfriend on his cell phone.

Erica and Julián belong to the Net Gen[#_edn1 [1]], a generation of networked individuals who learn, think, buy, believe and relate in ways that are different from those of their parents. While the previous generation grew up reading newspapers, listening to radio and watching television, they sit in front of their computers, interacting and participating.”

This is an excerpt from Chapter 5: The Network Generation of Sustainability 2.0, the book.
Download the complete book or contribute to the wiki-version.