Category Archives: Education

Highlights programs that support and promote education for workers of Fair Trade.

CHANGE = THREAT

Innovation is just fancy word for change that should take place in order to improve a situation or process. 

 

But in our minds, this is what we instinctively think: “CHANGE = THREAT”

 Why can’t we make small changes in our daily habits that move in a circular consumer pattern? Why is it so hard to make a conscience choice as a consumer? The old liner economic description of our purchasing habits is in the process of renovation and we must be aware of how and why! 

 

MAKE – TAKE- THROW system is the existing Linear Economic Model. Did you know that the average person in the U.S. throws away approximately 4.5 pounds of trash per person every day. And actually we have become much better at recycling in the last years! There has been a approximately a 34% increase in recycling since 1990’s. That is great news! 

 

So we are beginning to accept the idea and the importance of recycling. But sad to say this is not enough. There has to be revolutionary changes in the way we design, package, purchase and dispose of products. New ideas in the design of the actual products and their packaging is vital. A wise person once told me, “We can not keep doing the same things but expect a different result!”  This is where we can find advancements in the consumer waste dilemma. Cradle to Cradle (read more here) innovation and product design offers a new approach to the Linear product model. The idea focuses on changing the way we design our products so they do not have a negative environmental impact. Redesign, renovation and reduction of waste! 

 

Mountains of Trash

“Every year, Americans throw away the equivalent of 50 Great Pyramids worth of “trash.” The products and packaging that we discard represent staggering amounts of natural resources, including oil and other energy sources required to manufacture products from virgin materials. The health impacts of toxic chemicals used in everyday products threaten our health and the environment, and there is a disproportionate impact on low-income communities from the improper management of these materials

Circular Economics is the change that we are looking for! Here you see a diagram of the concept:

Circular Economy

Next a focus on food waste.

Circular Economy

What is this?

The circular economy is a generic term for an industrial economy that is producing no waste and pollution, by design or intention, and in which material flows are of two types, biological nutrients, designed to reenter the biosphere safely, and technical nutrients, which are designed to circulate at high quality in the production system without entering the biosphere.

It is sometimes explained as closing the loop of the product lifecyle. For me it represents a plan to change how the world designs, merchandises, and disposes of a product. It changes every aspect of the product lifecycle. I would like to spend more time researching the concept of the circular economy and plan on sharing as much information on the subject that I can find. I would like to start off by sharing a video from the Ellen MacArther Foundation that is leading the way for promoting the new economic paradigm.

Be prepared! It is a whole new way of looking at how our world works today and how it could improve!

Click her to watch the video.

Vulnerability and Electric Cars, part I

This summer I completed a six week long level 3 Norwegian language class . To my surprise, it was intense! I have to admit that after living in a country for 14 years, I should have taken the class long before I did! (My bad, but I had work, 3 kids, a husband and a dog, I had a life!)  But since I was in the process of looking for a job and wanted to sharpen my grammar skills I thought it was a good idea to do it this summer in prelude of my season of job searching in the  Oslo job market. It took  three weeks after the class was finished to get my grade.  And, YES, I passed!!! I can now study at a university level in Norwegian. But even though I’m past that phase in my life, its good to have the paper to prove it.

We had to turn in an essay on a topic of our choice. I instantly thought about my blog and how cool it would be to have a post written in Norwegian. But that’s a huge step for my writing skills to publish an essay written in a different language.  Talk about feeling vulnerable! It’s bad enough to speak a different language and lay your “heart on the line”,  but the written aspect just seems much more brutal. But here goes! The essay had to be at least 1200 words, so I squeaked by… Here is the first half of the essay:

E-bil fodeler ulemper

“Et karakteristisk trekk ved det moderne samfunn er bevegelsen, det hektiske liv og mobiliteten” (Hjorthol og Lian 2004:1). Menneskers mobilitet er sterkt knyttet til vår evne til å utvikle oss, realisere vårt begjær og gripe vår frihet. Hvordan et samfunn utvikler seg og planlegger i forhold til befolkningsvekst, er meget viktig for framtiden. Bærekraftige kommunikasjonsmidler kan vises i flere former. Kollektiv transport, personbiler og alternative framkomstmidler er levedyktige løsninger for personlig transport. Elektriske biler kan tilby et alternativ til fossilt brensel som har negative miljøkonsekvenser. Er du for eller imot elektriske biler? Kanskje spørsmålet ikke er så enkelt som vi først tror? For å kunne svare ærlig på dette spørsmålet må vi først tenke på mange ting som påvirker våre meninger. Vårt livssyn og tanker rundt vår daglige livskvalitet er meget viktig når vi vurderer store endringer i livet vårt. Endringer innenfor kommunikasjon kommer til å bli påvirket av vår interesse for miljøet, og ikke minst våre egne daglige rutiner og vaner. 

LØSNINGER FOR KOMMUNIKASJON

Bærekraftige løsninger i kommunikasjon skulle vært et mye større tema i dagens samfunn. Hvis vi ser på hovedområder for kommunikasjon så kan vi finne flere områder vi kan analysere og fordype når det gjelder ideen om livsstilsendringer. Tanken om å kjøre et alternativt fremkomstmiddel kan handle om hvor mye vi har lyst til å endre hverdagen vår idag for å ha en bærekraftig påvirking på framtiden.  Først må vi forstå hva man mener med «bærekraftig». Hva betyr det egentlig at fremkomstmidler skal være bærekraftige? Ordet «bærekraftig» kan ha mange ulike forklaringer.  Den mest brukte og mest nøyaktige begrepsforklaringen kommer fra det arbeidet som ble fullført gjennom Brundtland-kommisjonen i 1987. En ofte sitert definisjon av bærekraftig utvikling defineres i rapporten som: “utvikling som imøtekommer dagens behov uten å ødelegge mulighetene for at kommende generasjoner skal få dekket sine behov” (Brundtland: 1986). Bærekraftige løsninger er et meget spennende tema for tiden. Uttrykket har blitt mer populært og har fokus på mange forskjellige temaer. Man kan finner flere grupper rundt om i verden som fokuserer på bærekraftige løsninger for produksjon av mat og klær og for arbeidsforhold, men sjelden har jeg lest om bærekraftige fremkomstmidler. Livstilen er sterkt knyttet til tanken om og graden av interesse i bærekraftige løsniner. For å kunne endre vaner i vårt daglige liv, må vi vurdere våre motivasjoner, i tillegg til endringer i kjøpevaner og daglige rutiner.

ANALYSE AV FORDELER VED ELKETRISKE BILER

For at man kan ta en beslutning er det viktig å vudere fordeler og ulemper. Vi kan diskutere temaet i et bredt omfang og gi et oversikt over de ulike sidene som handler om noen av de mest populære punktene som er relevante for for- og motargumentene når det gjelder elektriske biler.

Fordeler med å kjøre en el-bil kan være mangfold, men temaet kan være åpent for diskusjon.  Det finnes ingen eksosrør på en elektrisk bil. Det blir ingen utslipp fra selve bilen, men det som skjer er at det blir CO2-utslipp under produksjonen av selve strømmen som blir brukt til å lade elektriske biler. Mesteparten av elektriske biler i USA blir ladet av elektrisk strøm som blir produsert av kull. Man burde lære mer om sin lokale elektriske  forsyning (Gordon 2011:1). Skal man ta flere på ferie i en el-bil, blir det mye mer plass til bagasjen for alle. Det finnes like stor bagasjeplass foran og bak. Der motoren står på en tradisjonell bil er det helt tomt på en el-bil.  Kapasiteten til lagring er helt utmerket. 

Drømmen om å være uavhengig av oljereservene er nærmere realiteten nå enn den noensinne har vært. Det finnes flere land i verden som ikke har naturressurser fra olje og er meget avhengige av andre land og politiske forhold. Det er ikke helt gratis å kjøre el-bil. Men de er mye billigere i drift enn biler med tradisjonelt drivstoff.  El-biler bruker en femtedel av bilens utgifter sammenliknet med bensin/diesel.

Ikke minst er en av el-bil-utgavene en av verdens raskeste biler på veien idag. Tesla el-bil er kjent for å være lynrask og er kåret til Norges raskeste bil. Opplading hjemme eller på kontoret er lagt opp til å være enkelt og lett tilgjenglig. Det finnes mange gratis ladestasjoner rundt omkring i Oslo som gir utmerket mulighet til billig betjening. I det første kvartalet av 2014, var 12 % av alle biler solgt i Norge Tesla el-biler. Men det ikke er så rart at el-bilens popularitiet skjøt til himmels i Norge. Det er mange store gevinster å skaffe seg ved å kjøre en el-bil på norske veier. El-biler er til dags dato tillatt å kjøre i taxi- og bussfelter, man har gratis tilgang til bomveger, gratis parkering, gratis tilgang til ferger og det er ingen merverdiavgift når man kjøper bilen (Shahan 2014:1). Når det gjelder kortsiktige fordeler har vi stor interesse for forbedringer i bærekraftige kommunikasjonmidler.

to be continued…

RADICAL CHANGE or DISRUPTIVE CHANGE?

Here is an excerpt from a audio transcript on the two different perspectives of what drives change in behavior concerning energy alternatives.  I would love for you to let me know what you think about this topic! 

 

RADICAL CHANGE VS DISRUPTIVE CHANGE – Dr Steve Cayzer & Dr Carolyn Hayles

“…Well, in energy, I think we can probably put something in all of those four quadrants that we’ve talked about. In the incremental and sustaining quadrant, the bottom left quadrant, I would put improvements in efficiency of the internal combustion engine that powers our cars.

You see, over the past few decades, people have been making cars more efficient in terms of the amount of fuel that they need to travel. But this hasn’t fundamentally changed the architecture of the internal combustion engine nor has it changed our relationship with our vehicles.

That’s not to say it isn’t important. And in fact, those sorts of innovations are the bulk of most innovations anywhere.

But up at the radical end, I would argue you could put carbon capture and storage. This, as you probably know, is a technology that attempts to capture the harmful emissions from producing our energy from coal.

It’s radical because it’s still in development. It hasn’t been deployed to scale but it has huge potential. But it’s actually sustaining because it doesn’t actually change the structure of the coal industry nor the way in which we use energy that’s generated from coal.

Now diametrically opposed to that, I would argue something close to what Carolyn’s been talking about is the– just turning down your thermostat. What could be easier than that? It is almost the opposite of radical. But I would argue that just as we’ve been talking about with passive houses and people getting used to them, I’d argue that that is actually quite disruptive because it requires behavioural change.

It requires people to change the way that they live in their house. And as I talked about in Week Two, behaviour change is perhaps one of the most difficult sustainability challenges.

So is there something that’s both radical and disruptive in terms of energy?

Well, I would argue that what might fit up there is the European super grid because, if you think about that, the notion here is that we can have energy across Europe generated from renewable sources, primarily renewable sources, but of course, it overcomes the disadvantages of renewables being intermittent. So it’s not always windy where you want the energy but it’ll be windy somewhere in Europe. So you could export say wind from northern Scotland or perhaps some solar power from southern Spain to the areas that it’s needed.

But that’s quite radical in the sense of long-distance transmission of energy, perhaps energy storage, smart grids, not to mention all the political challenges. And it’s also, I would argue, disruptive because it changes the way that energy markets work, both nationally and all across the continent up Europe.

So I think we can sum up, can’t we, by saying that, broadly speaking, radical change requires technical innovation. But disruptive change requires market innovation.

Yes, and we’ve looked at both radical and disruptive change in housing and energy.”

 

© 2014 University of Bath 2,   Audio Transcript  https://ugc.futurelearn.com/uploads/related_file/file/2943/9eeda0bbc6e60997ee276e68e2b95ee7-SP4_4_3.pdf

Simon Sinek: How great leaders inspire action

Simon Sinek: How great leaders inspire action

This video gets to the heart of WHY we buy what we buy. Our passion is our energy and subconsciously we are looking for connections. It is so interesting to dissect the idea of why we make the purchasing decisions that we do and why we do it. I highly recommend watching this TED video for a good weekend treat. Here are a few of the topics that I found very helpful:

  • Why? How? What? All inspired leader and companies think and communicate completely opposite from all the rest; from the INSIDE out.
  • “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it!”
  • “Talk about what you believe, because you will attract people that believe in what you believe.”
  • “The Law of Diffusion Innovation” – My belief is that an innovation, no matter how good it is, cannot be successfully adopted without social acceptance and behavioural change.
  • “There are leaders and then there are those who lead.”

 

Thanks for the share from FutureLearn.com

Petroleum and Butterflies…

I have been reflecting on the a branding model theory and the recent EnerWE Conference held in Stavanger, Norway. The biggest query facing  the North Sea energy industry is addressing the communication challenge: “the Elephant in the room”. Watch the video presentation from the conference.

So what do Petroleum and Butterflies have in common?  The petroleum industry has a communication challenge and the Butterfly Branding Model from Wolf Olins has a possible solution. Since the discovery of petroleum as an energy source, it has drastically improved the quality of life for mankind since the early 1900s, yet the industry has failed at every turn to convey this message.

This is not a new topic for the oil industry. Some companies started incorporating sustainable business practices as early as 2007. So why is there such a chasm in communicating this concept? Can solid branding strategies lead to strong social media plans which result in increased ROI?

This theory is exemplified through the Butterfly Branding Model. Let’s now take a look at the elements of the model and apply the concept strategy to the petroleum industry.

Butterfly Branding Model

The Butterfly Branding Model Strategy:

WHAT IS WRONG WITH THE PETROLEUM INDUSTRY? Perceived as greedy and environmentally destructive, lack of transparency, denial and cover-ups.

WHAT MAKES THE PETROLEUM INDUSTRY SPECIAL? Petroleum is an energy source that has simplified and drastically improved the quality of life for mankind since the early 19th century.

 IDEA/Branding Foundation: Continued focus on sustainable business practices is vital. While focusing on improvements in the quality of life for the individual and the community, petroleum companies will have the opportunity to connect with communities (customers and or consumers) on a human to human level which will result in optimized feedback, innovative solutions and possible improvements in production methods. ROI can be shared satisfying the stakeholders, the company sustainability and the new focus of investments back into the local community. Revitalization of local parks, farms and community activities for children and elderly should be in focus to gain a connection and become involved with the consumers.

How does the industry communicate this to the public? The petroleum industry needs to believe in their mission, act in their mission and work their mission: Improve transparency. Strive for more economical, safer and less environmental destructive methods of drilling for energy recovery. Hence: “Sell to people that believe what you believe”. (which leads me to my next blog post).

Read more about Wolf Olins.

What’s a girl like me doing in a place like this? – EnerWe 2014 Energy Communication Conference

My #EnerWe conference table buddies.
My #EnerWe conference table buddies.

 

That’s exactly what I was asking myself last week as I enter the conference hall to find a seat in a group of strangers.  Luckily I’m not shy…and I bumped into a friend of a friend right as I was walking in to the conference. I was introduced to some other very fascinating attendees!  I got to try GoogleGlass! I was encouraged to become more familiar with Google+ (and no this is not paid for by Google! ;o) and I was very impressed with the diversity of the guest speakers.

 

So why was I there?  I asked my self these repeatedly as my husband and I drove to Stavanger Norway to attend the first annual EnerWE Energy Communication Conference. After a life spent with a man that was was a Ph.D. in Petroleum Engineering, I had picked up a little along the way, but I was obviously conflicted about the potential involvement with an business sector that, I felt like was in complete conflict with my personal values and interest. After all, I started a blog a year ago to keep myself busy while waiting for my Norwegian version of a Green Card for living and working permission focused on Fairly Traded and Ethical Business!  Wow. I felt like I was deviating way off track on this excursion.

 

Why was I venturing into a market segment that was so “opposite” of my blog focus and my value center? Why would I want to become  associated with a business segment that struggled with bad PR? Environmental catastrophes and negative social perceptions at every turn? Then I reflected on something my father once said why discussing politics and why I had chosen to change my political party.  I felt like there was no reason for me to be affiliated with an organization that was moving in a direction that was very different than my core values. But he said, “Why not become more involved and try to make a difference? Why not stick it out and be a positive support to other people that may feel the same way that you do but don’t know how to change the problems?”  Then I understood that maybe there is a demand for more Social Responsibility in this market segment as well? The interest in the dynamic prevalence and growing marketing channel of Social Media was the initial reason for my participation in the conference.

 

I was fascinated as we learned from the EnerWE conference that the industry is aware of it’s challenges and some companies are focusing on addressing the issue.  Øyvind Ihlen, Professor at the  University I Oslo, drove right to the most important concern for me and apparently a growing concern for the Social and Environmentally aware energy companies:   “The Elephant in the Room for Energy sector:

Climate and Environmental concerns of neighboring communities. How to improve public relations? Bringing High tech oil and gas industry to the level of local communities and individual neighbors..”

BINGO!  There it was!  My theory was confirmed. My mission was defined and my purpose was justified!

Overall I would say the conference was well worth my time to learn more about the North Sea Petroleum and Energy companies and how they perceive themselves. But best of all was the journey the people that I met along the way!

 

p.s.

This morning I was greeted by a tweet that I and another conference attendee had won the EnerWe Instagram contest!  WaaHooo! Check it out on Twitter.

 

Check out the conference summary.

You can find other pics from the conference at #enerWe on Instagram.

 

 

 

 

http://www.enerwe.no/

 

conference friends

 

bayerngas

FMCtechnology

aibel

Goodbye Stavanger