Land of Hope

The article from Time Magazine, demonstrates how innovative environmental policies are pushing back the deserts.

Turning threats into opportunity: economists have a word for climate change: externality, meaning a by-product of economic activity not included on the balance sheet. It can be positive (a beekeepers' bees pollinating neighboring crops) or negative (pollution from a power station). If the beekeeper doesn't charge for pollination or the energy company doesn't pay a pollution tax, the price of honey or power does not reflect its true benefit or cost. Climate change is the mother of all negative externalities.

What if the externality could be accounted for, in a way that helped the poor? What if the economic rule book could be rewritten so that fighting climate change became development? Pavan Sukhdev, a Deutsche Bank economist working with UNEP, is doing just that — or rather, as Sukhdev prefers to describe it, he's "rediscovering" some long-lost economic principles. In the 20th century, he says, two bad assumptions crept into the dismal science. The first was that public goods — things we consume together, like clean air and sewage-free seas — were subordinated to private goods, like cars and iPods, which are consumed individually. Second, we assumed natural capital like trees, grasslands, wind, sunshine, water and soil had no value because it was mostly free; we also assumed it was not as good as industrial capital at creating wealth. "Guess what," says Sukhdev. "That's some pretty bad economics." To make his case, he cites an effort to remove imported water-intensive plants from a drought-stricken part of South Africa; the project restored the water table, revived farming and gave paid work to hundreds. He also points to environmental activist Wangari Muta Maathai's Nobel Prize — winning tree-planting project on Mount Kenya, which improved farm productivity by boosting soil quality and water retention.

Lego's Social Media Strategy

Diving into LEGO's Strategy Behind Connecting Their Amazing Network of Fans -- presented by Jake McKee from GasPedal on Vimeo.

This article is written by Digital Buzz

This is a great video from Jake McKee (formally LEGO’s Global Community Relations Specialist) discussing how LEGO found, supported and incubated their biggest fans from around the world to help pull the company out of a pretty dark time to be back on top of the world, lead in part, by a strong social media strategy.

A word of warning, this is a 30 minute video, from a conference late last year (so skip the first 30 secs) and is not exactly their strategy, but more a case study of success, however, it’s well worth the time, and probably something you won’t have time to watch at your desk today so just make sure you remember to watch it later!

Jake McKee makes three really strong, but incredibly simple (how often do we see simplicity works socially?!) points.

1. Look beyond your target customers
2. Support existing fans
3. Find what works and replicate

1. Look beyond your target customers
Your target market isn’t always your biggest group of talkers. For years, LEGO was focused on kids — that is, until they realized adults had created their own community of enthusiasts. When LEGO started connecting these talkers, not only did they increase their word of mouth, they immediately helped their bottom line. Whereas kids were spending $20 a year on LEGOs, these adults were spending around $1,000.

2. Support existing fans
Without LEGO’s knowledge, adult fans had already created an online LEGO community and marketplace. LEGO approached this group by offering support and resources in the form of an ambassador program. By offering to support what these fans were already doing so well -instead of demanding ownership and control -LEGO was welcomed into the community.

3. Find what works and replicate
The enthusiasm of the adult fans helped teach LEGO how to gain more participation from their other fans- including kids. Jake says that when you find something that works with one fan group, try applying it to other groups of talkers. Because the fundamentals of great communities are the same, strategies behind one fan community can often generate similar success for another community. (via
Igor on Viral Blog)

Coca Cola sharing what matters...

Coca-Cola: Sharing What Matters, Adam Brown; presented by GasPedal and the Social Media Business Council from GasPedal on Vimeo.

Notes while listening to the video...

First, listen and Review what is being said. Not just in a crisis, what are people talking about already? Then create content like that (gives ideas of what to say).

Secondly, Respond to the community.

Thirdly, Record - video is the future - dah.... take with a specific purpose - be educationally entertaining. What is the most interesting content.

Redirect - Cross pollinate and link everything together. Goal is to make sure everyone can find everything. Link to other websites who talk about similar information.

Politics and Social Media

I believe social media and political activism go hand-in-hand. Social media has provided individuals with the tools to participate in the political system and subsequently reinvent what we call activism. Voters used to primarily participate at the ballot box; now they can engage, interact, follow, share, etc with politics online on various digital platforms. I'd like to call this process the democratisation of media. Only publishers could create and distribute content, now everyone can participate in the debate.

Go Green Challenge

Fairfield city and Circul8 have designed the Go Green Challenge. It's an interactive game where the individual player (called the Go Green Hero) mission is to improve the health of the planet and people by "blitzing" the suburb of Fairfield into a clean and green space. The players have four minutes to find and change as many inefficiencies over to sustainable technology and practices. When the game begins you write your name and take a photo of yourself which is uploaded into the system. When the game ends a newspaper appears with you score, photo and what changes you have made to become more sustainable. This is an engaging and educating online application!

What principles should guide your sustainable communications?

I am just amazed at the lengths the Peats Ridge festival has gone to intergrate sustainable practices and technologies. Brands can't organise their events in the same way - the benchmark is here. We are so conditioned in our habits and behaviours!

Issues ranging from:

1) Recycling- four bin system of waste sorting
2) Container deposits - patrons can earn money from aluminum can recycling
3) Cutlery & Crockery - Traditionally they used cornstarch cutlery a more readily biodegradable material then traditional disposable products. While cornstarch will eventually break down it will not compost in the majority of commercial composting systems. Instead they are moving across to FSC certified wooden cutlery.
4) Powering the event - Through biodiesel and solar energy
5) Water Management - Grey Water treatment, drinking fountains for refilling stations to minimise waste generation and transport emissions.

For more details check out the website

"Green marketing is a key point of brand differentiation and honest communication of environmental outcomes has the potential to inspire real loyalty in your audience. However care must be taken with any green claims made by the festival. False or overstated claims have the potential to seriously damage the integrity of your event and at worst could result by fines and penalties imposed by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission. Even worse false claims damage consumer confidence in environmental business and hamper environmental action in general.

Here is an excerpt from the Total Environment Centre’s Green Cred Checklist a great quick guide to environmental claims.

1. TRUTH - If I make this green statement, can it be proven to be true 100 percent of the time?

2. MATERIALITY - Even if it is true, does the green statement really matter i.e. is the problem being avoided or remedied substantial and significant, or trivial and insignificant?

3. FULL DISCLOSURE - Are there any other environmental or sustainability issues being overlooked, especially negative ones?

4. SUBSTANTIATION – Whatever is being claimed, and whoever is making the claims, are they backed up by firm evidence? "

Thoughts on Social Media

The rapid change in technological advancement has facilitated new digital platforms. Indeed it has fundamentally changed the way that brands engage with consumers, companies and society. It’s a cultural shift in behaviour, in particular with smartphones, social networking sites and digital technologies (iPad). The debate surrounding these platforms (Facebook) if they will they stay or go (MySpace)…. only time will tell. The shift of consumers participating, engaging, creating communities and sharing (UGC) with brands is here to stay.

Social Media is the interaction and connection between consumers. Digital platforms such as Facebook and Twitter facilitate these connections. The future of Social Media is within ‘trusted economies and networks’ whereby brands partner with influencers and create ambassadors to distribute content. This will be largely affected by Facebook’s development and initiation of the social graph. Indeed friends and influencers’ recommendations will be more important. All media will become social and interactive, and traditional channels like TV will integrate digitally and utilize the social graph. Information will become more personal, highly targeted and highly recommended through WOM. The will be less ‘push’ communications and consumers will ‘pull’ content that provides value and entertainment. The way consumers have conversations have changed, from one-to-one to one-to-many on multiple platforms (Hootesuit) in real time. This will provide more transparent, measurable and granular information.