Tag Archives: sustainable

Rubber Meets the Road – guest blog for Ethical Value

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Please consider visiting Ethical Value for consulting on CSR best practices!

Publishing simultaneously with Ethical Value – http://bit.ly/174hNas

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Let me be clear I am not an eco-warrior, or a war protester. I have the utmost respect for NGO workers but there is something terribly flawed in the pervasive hand-out, not hand-up mindset of so much of what is called ‘aid’ coming from the private sector or governments.  Create jobs with all that money for goodness sake! Image

Since the 1970s (in the tender bloom of my teenage years) I have maintained that doing right by the world around us, ethically, in terms of product development, green i.e. sustainability and its net results in recycling, reclaiming, up-cycling, stewardship of the planet as well as solving the Earth’s ‘pressing problems’ need not be mutually exclusive to creating jobs and building economies which scale and have positive impact. Making money out of ‘doing good’ is not a horrible thing! What is horrible, in my humble opinion, is leveraging ‘feel good’ marketing and communications to increase profit with only nominal re-investment in society or none at all (while fat, dumb and happy Joe or Jane consumer thinks they are making a difference in voting with their wallet).

My personal efforts with Thistle & Broom were driven by the belief that to sustain the cultural heritage of a specific country whilst positively impacting the lives of the actual artisans creating bespoke luxury products by their earning 66% of the retail price was a noble and ideal business model. Honestly, given my own elimination of the brick and mortar storefront a decade ago, T&B should have served as a paradigm shift for the luxury goods space and made me a key-note speaker at the Financial Times Business of Luxury Summit at least once.  Alas, I suppose I must content myself with having been quoted in The Economist!

There are plenty of other like-minded individuals with deeper pockets, outside investment, and, far cooler products than, say, an authentic hand-knit Fair Isle jumper. People who understand that doing good and having positive impact can only be sustainable with innovation and, yes, volume sales.  It’s why, as the driver of an 1989 Turbo-charged Saab convertible and someone who once sold luxury automobiles while simultaneously serving as the Finance Director for a United States Congressional campaign, who looks at the Bentley Continental GT and gets a total head rush, I am VERY EXCITED about the various vehicles of Croatia-based RIMAC Automobili and United States based BRAMMO.

ImageImageThe products of these companies fire on all possible cylinders for me (pun intended) even as I am not a motorcycle rider, nor likely to ever spend $1m USD on a limited edition car, or ride an electric drive bicycle. They are based in sustainable practices and if they only eliminated the consumption of petroleum based fuel they’d rock; but what both the RIMAC and BRAMMO marques offer are exquisitely designed, breathtakingly engineered and (mostly) practical transportation solutions.

As a modest car geek, you’ll forgive me if I get ridiculously excited about the tire shredding capability of the RIMAC Concept One car, 1088HP, 0-100kmp (0-60mph) in 2.8 seconds, a Bulgarian leather interior that is so gorgeous it belongs in MOMA and the Tate Modern, the coolest placement of engines ever – one at each wheel; something that RIMAC CEO Mate Rimac calls All-Wheel Torque Vectoring (AWTV) – the car is first and foremost a super car that just happens to out-perform combustion engines. Did I need to mention it’s also urbane and sexy?

Equally but differently so, Craig Bramscher of BRAMMO has taken his eco-consciousness and early adopter mind-set to create world class motorcycles that cherry picked engineering from precision racing brought such down to street level for law enforcement as well as commuters. PS, I LOVE that Craig has staff to teach an all-female riding school!

The men behind these machines certainly embrace the mantra of “I feel the need, the need for speed”, Vrrroom, and their teams excel at meeting their objectives.  It is only a matter of time before the Top Gear guys are begging for the opportunity to drive (or ride) any of these machines, very likely bumping into the top 10 episodes of all time in the process!  From an outsiders view, both companies successfully leverage the passion of their founders and best in class commitment to their portfolios while providing real value to employees, customers, their respective economies and the world at large.  It’s an exciting possibility to consider that in our near future that technical innovation and sustainability will be “where the rubber meets the road” fostering dynamic system changes across all aspects of our global economy.

If you enjoy my blog please consider ‘buying me a cup of tea’ in your currency via PayPal to livelikeadog@gmail.com and then, please do share it with your friends on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter – I am @TeresaFritschiTo order my book, please click on the cover art of my book below, thank you! 

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Reinvention

Today I applied for roles in two Scandinavian countries, one as a consultant for an IT deployment and the other handling corporate communications for a firm in the global textiles industry. Both, as I see it, are opportunities to leverage my communications skills within spaces where I have considerable work experience but to do it outside of my comfort uprootzone.  Each company has been in business at least 165 years; which got me to thinking about reinvention and staying relevant. The ‘synergy’ of my desire to uproot, disrupt and cull the best of my first 52 years and move to a foreign country where I know absolutely no-one and I don’t speak the language and the most certain cycles of reinvention of these two companies have embraced to stay vital seems worth exploring on a more macro basis.  Disruption and migration is as old as mankind – a chief example being our history of being hunter gatherers for millions of years to ‘suddenly’ turning to settlements and agriculture about 12,000 years ago.  Setting down ‘roots’ as it were, someplace that we ‘make’ home versus wandering.

Anyone that reads this blog, or personally knows me, has already come to understand that I am a ferocious gardener.  In making something grow we nourish our souls, our bodies and (if done with reverence) also the Earth.  As ‘we’ (an ever larger segment of thinking society) school gardenFINALLY GET that our kids should know where food comes from and should be able to pronounce everything in it, that they can create beauty at the same time as they become stewards of the planet by digging in the dirt with their own hands, that an earthworm is a critical part of the ecosystem and should be regarded with a kind of spiritual partnering toward human-kinds’ very existence, that there is an opportunity to reclaim blight and turn it toward sustainable urban farming.

World Food Programme cites 870 million people in the world do not have enough to eat. No one should be hungry – ever – not when the richest 10 percent of adults in the world own 85 hungerpercent of global household wealth and 2% of the world’s population ‘use’ more than 50% of our collectively available resources.  In an attempt to provide foodstuffs and reclaim urban areas suddenly there are plenty of people very excited about vertical gardening.  The MacArthur Foundation, in its Fellow Program (aka Genius Awards) back in 2008 included Will Allen for his Growing Power efforts.  Stephen Ritz received a standing ovation at the 2013 Social Innovation Summit at the United Nations for his efforts with Green Bronx Machine.

ImageBut any little girl over the age of 9 or 10 who has read Frances Hodgson Burnett’s wonderful The Secret Garden understands that walls planted with espaliered trees thrive in the longer ‘season’ offered by the sun warming the brick or stone walls.

Espaliering is an ancient horticulture practice dating back to the Romans but brought to artistic merit by the Europeans during the 17th century.  ImageEspalier is French, but originates from the Italian spalliera, which means “something to rest the shoulder (spalla) against,” is the process of controlling plant growth in a flat plane, usually against a wall or fence, sometimes formed into a hedge by training the trees against a free-standing trellis or fence that eventually becomes redundant.

So, the idea that vertical gardening should be tied to left wing liberals, the über-intelligent and hippie dropouts is utterly ridiculous – for goodness sake it doesn’t take a genius to recognise that our planet is only so big, with finite and diminishing resources, GMO being thrust upon a hungry planet and a population desperate to survive.  To stretch our capacity to grow foodstuffs by espalier or vertical gardening is common sense thousands of years old. And so with companies like Green Living Technologies and folks like Will Allen and Stephen Ritz filling a void our stomachs and consciousness. I am reminded – Everything old is new again     

If you enjoy my blog please share it with your friends on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter – I am @TeresaFritschiTo order my book, please click on the cover art of my book below, thank you! 

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Available at Amazon, Lulu and Barnes & Noble!