Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Globe 2006: Day 1 - Plenary - Leading the Sustainable Economy

Globe 2006 brings government, business and civil society together under the sails at Canada Place in Vancouver.

The opening plenary, “Leading the Sustainable Economy”, was chaired by Maurice Strong with presentations by Tony Hayward, CEO, Exploration & Production Business British Petroleum and Ramesh Ramachandran, President, Dow Chemical Canada Inc.

Hayward was ‘on-script’ and spoke expansively about the various advances BP has made in managing their environmental stewardship. In BP’s view they anticipate 40 years of oil, 65 years of gas, and over 100 years of coal – at current consumption rates.

In his speech Hayward commented, “Triple Bottom Line is confusing. There is only one bottom line … profit”. Don’t mistake that snippet … he went on to say profit is assured by a corporation being mindful of social and environmental mandates.

Interesting to learn of BP’s drive to encourage micro-finance in their countries of operation.

During the Q & A, Hayward was asked whether BP’s pension investment policy reflected the corporate sustainability platform – his answer wasn’t definitive. BTW - Pensions came up a lot today.

Ramachandran was more expansive at one point referencing, without attribution, Shirley Chisholm’s, "Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth". Interestingly, he came back to the quote while riffing on the global considerations of multi-nationals operating in a competitive environment and mused on corporations being mindful of high rent neighbourhoods, when so many parts of the world can offer similar infrastructure. The comment didn’t go over so well.

Tags: for:vsef, Globe 2006, Sustainability


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Saturday, March 25, 2006

They know where they are. Do you?

We're playing with Wayfaring. Truth be told ... we have no idea how this might evolve. Here's the map to local social enterprises ...

Have ideas? Suggestions? Let us know.
Tags: for:vsef, Social Enterprise, Nonprofit, Map


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Friday, March 24, 2006

Idea: A podcast/Flickr Gallery Tour

The VSEF is always looking for community engagement tools and mashups are a favourite.

Currently we're looking for examples of galleries/museums using a combination of podcasting and a service like Flickr.

Beyond galleries and museums we see an application for public art installations. To prompt some thinking, here's a view of Christo's "Gates" project in New York:

Let us know if you find any.
Tags: for:vsef, Podcast, Flickr


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See you at Globe 2006

Next week Vancouver welcomes delegates to Globe 2006.

The themes for Globe 2006 are:

Here's a summary of Globe 2004

BTW - ... We'll be there and look forward to sharing notes.

Tags: for:vsef, Social Economy, Sustainability, Globe06



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Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Event: April 5, The Vancouver Social Co-ops Forum

The Vancouver Social Co-ops Forum will be held on Wednesday, April 5, from 1:00 pm to 4:30 pm at Heritage Hall, 3102 Main Street, Vancouver. Coffee and registration begins at 12:30 pm.

The Vancouver Social Co-ops Forum is presented by the Social Co-ops and Social Care Project of the BC Co-operative Association (BCCA) and three local organizations; Langara College Continuing Studies, the Social Planning and Research Council of BC, and the BC Association for Community Living.

The Vancouver Social Co-ops Forum will include an overview of co-operative enterprises, BCCA's video Civilizing the Economy: Social Co-ops and Social Care, and presentations about emerging social co-ops in the region.

A series of forums throughout BC has introduced social co-ops and assisted communities to find ways to use the social co-op approach to address local service issues. The Vancouver Forum is the last in the series.

Social co-ops are social enterprises based on the principle of reciprocity - the production and exchange of a good or service that provides a benefit to both the community and to co-op members. Often the member/owners of social co-operatives are the service recipients. There are many different types of social co-ops, and the Forum is a great opportunity to learn about these and how they may have relevance in your community.

Phone Langara College at 604-323-5323 to register and quote course number 50825. This event is free but it is necessary to register.

Refreshments will be served.

Western Economic Diversification and VanCity Savings support BCCA¹s Social Co-ops and Social Care Project. The project is building awareness of social co-op enterprises and identifying groups and communities interested in piloting social co-op projects. For more information about the BCCA Social Co-ops Project, contact Cheryl Hewitt at BCCA.

Tags: for:vsef, Social Economy, Nonprofit, CO OP

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Tuesday, March 21, 2006

It's about your stories ...

Seth Godin's presentation to Google staffers is available, and we're happy to share.

Who's Seth Godin?

He's the bent thinker behind - Permission Marketing, Purple Cow, and a whack! of internet/marketing succeses. His pitch, ... people, you and me, buy the story, more than the product. So, tell a story that matters to people.

Don't take my word for it. This is what Bill Taylor, Founding Editor, Fast Company magazine said about Godin:

    Godin and his colleagues are working to persuade some of the most powerful companies in the world to reinvent how they relate to their customers. His argument is as stark as it is radical: Advertising just doesn't work as well as it used to-in part because there's so much of it, in part because people have learned to ignore it, in part because the rise of the Net means that companies can go beyond it."

Tags: for:vsef, Seth Godin, Nonprofit, Marketing


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Monday, March 20, 2006

UNHCR goes Hi-tech

The UN has a number of agencies taking great strides to share the work they perform. You can find podcasts and video. Although their use of media isn't easy to share, the VSEF thinks the following UNHCR video is worth making the effort.

Vancouver has a vibrant technology/media community ... to date little has been produced to benefit local nonprofits. But then local nonprofits aren't asking, are they?
Tags: for:vsef, UNHCR, Nonprofit, Tools


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Sunday, March 19, 2006

Event: March 24, CESR Challenge Award Ceremony and Reception

Hear local MLA and Happy Planet founder Gregor Robertson speak about his experiences building a planet-friendly enterprise, and honour the efforts of this year's CESR Challenge competitors. Awards will be presented by city councillor and VP of Business in Vancouver, Peter Ladner. This black-tie event will be the place to meet Vancouver 's sustainable business luminaries over free appetizers and drinks.

Award ceremony and keynote: 7-8:30pm, SFU Harbour Centre, Fletcher Challenge Theatre

Reception: 8:30-10pm, Canada Export Centre (across from HC, 602 W. Hastings ), Lower Exhibit Hall

RSVP after Mar.20: Everyone $10.50. RSVP to

Bring your own mug and get a discount
Tags: for:vsef, Social Economy, Nonprofit, NetImpact

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Saturday, March 18, 2006

Profile: Farm Folk/City Folk

Food. It's not more basic than that. Yet over the last century, with advances in technology and transportation, food production has become increasingly complicated and elaborate, with a loss of the sense of our primordial relationship with it. Food often travels long distances and undergoes less-than-healthful processes to keep it fresh for our table.

FarmFolk/City Folk is a nonprofit society that acts as a catalyst for the local production of a diversity of foods; a food production system that is economically viable and provides healthy financial returns to farmers; and the preservation of farmland in BC. Farm Folk/City Folk is also working with BC seed producers to create a BC organic seed strategy and sponsors the Small Scale Food Processors Association.

FarmFolk/City Folk promotes local consumption partly by organizing and selling tickets to food tours for the public and professionals such as the BC Chefs Association, where farms, food and beverage processors and wineries are visited, and attendees enjoy the fresh culinary delights of local producers - from ostrich to Black Angus beef, hazelnuts to shitake mushrooms, cranberries to winter squash.

Every fall, in the Lower Mainland and on Vancouver Island, FarmFolk/City Folk celebrates the harvest with its Feast of Fields - a luxurious outdoor sampling of local foods prepared by some of BC best chefs, food producers, brewers and vintners. Feast of Fields also helps keep FarmFolk/City Folk financially sustainable.

For ten years FarmFolk/City Folk has been spinning a vibrant web of relationships with farmers, city communities, businesses, individuals and organizations throughout BC - all in the effort to foster an appreciation of sustainable food and farming, promote health, nutrition, environmentally and economically viable food production.

This profile is taken from "A Social Economy Showcase BC Stories". A project of BC Social Economy Roundtable, VanCity and IMPACS.
Tags: for:vsef, Social Economy, Nonprofit, TechSoup


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Profile: Co-operative Auto Network

Launched in 1997 as a student project at Simon Fraser University, the Co-operative Auto Network is a nonprofit co-operative venture incorporated to foster car sharing as an alternative to the privately-owned automobile.

The Co-operative Auto Network (CAN) is an environmentally-responsible and economically-sound choice for manyVancouverites' mobility needs. Through car sharing, the 1,900 memberscontribute to CAN's goals of improving air quality, reducing stresses on green space and eliminating many non-point sources of pollution in the Lower Mainland.

From the founding one employee and sixteen members driving two cars in January 1997, CAN has grown to a fleet of 102 vehicles, supported by an online booking system and ten staff members. It has been shown that CAN members who have given up a car to join the network reduce their driving by 75 percent or more. Further estimates suggest that every CAN membersaves two tonnes of particulate matter from entering the atmosphere every year, while their health and fitness improves along with their bank account.

CAN continues to grow and evolve, now including corporate car-sharing for businesses and fostering innovative new partnerships with real estate developers: when CAN cars are integrated into new developments, the number of parking spaces required at the site is reduced.

This profile is taken from "A Social Economy Showcase BC Stories". A project of BC Social Economy Roundtable, VanCity and IMPACS.
Tags: for:vsef, Social Economy, CO OP, Co-operative Auto Network


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Friday, March 10, 2006

Workshop: April 6, On-line Stakeholder Engagement

As part of SFUs Sustainable Communities initiative, Alexandra Samuel and Ann Svendsen will present a one day workshop to explore "On-line Stakeholder Engagement".

It'll be a full day that promises to ...

    ... give you the knowledge and understanding to incorporate online tools into your own engagement toolbox. Designed for leaders from business, government and civic society organizations, the workshop will combine hands-on exploration of online tools with an introduction to the models and practices you need for your own online engagement planning.

You can register for the event here.
Tags: for:vsef, engagement, stakeholder, Alexandra Samuel



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Thursday, March 09, 2006

Workshop: May 17 - 21, Word Power - Find your blog's unique voice

Alexandra Samuel and Rob Cottingham of Social Signal will host a workshop "Word Power - Finding your blog's unique voice".

The workshop will ...

    position blogging within your communications strategy while we sharpen the writing skills this unique new medium demands. [You'll] explore a range of strategic blogging applications: from leadership communications to crisis management, from issue advocacy to community-building, and from real-time messaging to team collaboration. And [...] tackle challenges like topic choice, audience targeting, calibrating tone and building readership. [The]bonus tech teach-ins will give [..] hands-on experience with a range of blogging tools.

Tuition for this four-day workshop is $395 Cdn ($346 US). It is at Hollyhock so meals and accommodation are extra.
Tags: for:vsef, Social Signal, Alexandra_Samuel, Hollyhock


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Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Event: March 22- 24, Nonprofit Technology Conference - Seattle

Do you see technology changing the nonprofit workplace? Not sure? This N-TEN event will lay it out for you.

The theme for the conference is Changing Lives and Building Community: Nonprofit Technology in Action and will ...
    present the leading research, case studies, and real world experience from the sector to provide participants with the strategies and skills they need to do even better work.

Tags: for:vsef, N-TEN, Nonprofit, nptech

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Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Technology Benefiting Humanity

The Technology Museum has opened nominations for the 2006 award.

To learn more about The Tech Awards look here. But in brief ...
    The Tech Awards program inspires global engagement in applying technology to humanity's most pressing problems by recognizing the best of those who are utilizing innovative technology solutions to address the most urgent critical issues facing our planet. People all over the world are profoundly improving the human condition in the areas of education, equality, environment, health, and economic development through the use of technology. It is the goal of The Tech Awards to showcase their compelling stories and reward their brilliant accomplishments.

Here is a link to Tech Award Laureates.
Tags: for:vsef, Tech Museum, Nonprofit, innovation


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Foundations: MIA???

Thanks to John Berger, The Emancipation Network, for pointing to this Alliance interview with Jed Emerson.

It's a solid primer to the Skoll World Forum theme for 2006 - the current social capital landscape.

Two questions/answers from the interview stand out:

What are the challenges in developing this hybrid capital market?

    I think there are a number of problems. One is a fundamental financial illiteracy on the part of many of those involved. You have a lot of folks who understand the traditional charitable approach and a lot who understand the mainstream market approach. So you have two sets of people trying to solve a common problem who are using different language. It’s the Tower of Babel in the social sphere. A lot of time is spent just trying to figure out how many chairs to put around the table, never mind what’s on the table for discussion. We need, as a field, to come together to understand what it is we are actually talking about. We have people referring to grants as investment with a certain set of assumptions behind the term, and other people talking about investment with a completely different understanding.

    I also think we have a capital mismatch. There is potentially a lot of mainstream capital that we could access, but having said that, a lot of capital is not appropriate for the type of work we’re trying to finance. The flipside is that we’ve got a lot of opportunities to structure grants in much more creative ways than we have done to date. Loan guarantee funds speak to that, but we need to be much better at documenting and sharing information about how to actually do some of these deals. You have to be conversant with some of these techniques in order to understand the opportunities and the dangers.

What do you see as the dangers?

    We are beginning to move into areas of risk that we don’t really understand. There are expectations that this type of blended value investing can ‘do good’ without compromising financial performance or social value. In the long term, that might be so, but we need to acknowledge that we are trying to put two parts into a whole that may not actually fit right now. I’m a little concerned that a lot of the things that we would want to see in an efficient capital market are not in place, and I’ve seen money start to move as if they were. We need to be very careful, because all we need is one of these funds to go south and no other deals will be done for the next ten years because everyone will run to their respective corners.

    That’s why I think this conversation, both at the Skoll Forum and with the Alliance issue that you’re going to release in the fall, could not be more timely in terms of bringing people together to discuss these hard questions. We’re going to have to embrace a common framework, both conceptually and in practice, for understanding exactly what these opportunities are, what the risk profile looks like, and what financial returns are realistic from these various instruments. Unless we do these things, we’re going to be in a bad situation in a few years.

For further discussion of social capital markets, look at this exchange at SocialEdge.
Tags: for:vsef, SocialEdge, Social Investment, Social Capital Market


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Friday, March 03, 2006

30 Days of Sustainability

Vancouverites are set to begin 30 Days of Sustainability, which "aims to educate and integrate sustainability into the values of everyday citizens, corporations, NGOs, government and society".

Did you hear about the campaign?

The 30-DoS crew have done a great job of spreading the word within 200m of SFU.

The Flickr portion of the campaign will be fun to follow.

Another part of the campaign will capitalize on the energy of the Philosophers' Cafe series. But if you can't attend one of those sessions ... well there's always the chance to riff on-line and participate in 30 questions.
Tags: for:vsef, Flickr, Nonprofit, Sustainability



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Is Your Organization Looking for New Office Space?

Happy to pass this along from the folks at Pivot.

Pivot Legal Society is seeking responsible co-tenants interested in sharing high-quality office space with a group of socially engaged lawyers and accountants.

Up to 4200 square feet are available for rent at this affordably-priced Eastside location close to public transit.

One Month Free Rent!

New tenants will get one month's free rent for a one year lease or more.

Shared Resources include:
    - secured underground parking (20 stalls)
    - 23 bright offices, 17 with natural lighting
    - two kitchens
    - reception area
    - library
    - boardroom
    - daycare
    - mailroom
    - copyroom
    - outdoor deck
    - enclosed patio
    - secured outdoor lounge
    - large accessible rooftop
    - elevator; wheelchair access

For more information, contact Pivot Legal Society at (604) 696-1322.

About Pivot Legal Society
Pivot's mandate is to take a strategic approach to social change, using the law to address the root causes that undermine the quality of life of those most on the margins. We believe that everyone, regardless of income, benefits from a healthy and inclusive community where values such opportunity, respect and equality are strongly rooted in the law.

Tags: for:vsef, DTES, Nonprofit, Pivot Legal


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Thursday, March 02, 2006

Event: March 23, George Noroian - Making Sustainability Profitable

George Noroian, formerly of Happy Planet, will be presenting at the Vancouver Board of Trade. I, recently, met George at a function for Pivot. He's got something to say.

The presentation will cover:

In this workshop, participants will learn:
    - What sustainability is and is not
    - How to boost company performance through sustainability
    - How to incorporate sustainability into your company’s strategy and core business processes
    - Four keys to creating sustainable business opportunities

Who should attend:
Leaders and managers in small and medium-sized businesses who are interested in boosting their bottom line performance while improving their environmental impact and competitive position.
Tags: for:vsef, Vancouver Board of Trade, Sustainability, CSR



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Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Delivering that message

NetSquared continues to offer useful resources for large and small nonprofits. This UNICEF post, for instance.

While podcasting promises one way of getting a message to your constituency, the power of using video is well worth noting.

Don't think of this as a tool for international NGOs. Smaller organizations are taking advantage to Google Video. For example, here's something from SOLID.

Tags: for:vsef, SOLID, Nonprofit Net2


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