I’m a great believer in the power of green business to create a positive change. My background includes financial management and business development positions, as well as serving as an advisor to the Israeli Minister of the Interior. My green business experience includes two companies I co-founded: Hemper Jeans (www.hemperjeans.com), an eco-fashion company with a vision of creating fashionable jeans made of hemp, and Eco-Libris (www.ecolibris.net), a green company working to green up the book industry in the digital age by promoting the adoption of green practices in the book industry, balancing out books by planting trees, and helping to make e-reading greener. Currently, I manage Eco-Libris’ operations. I’m also an adjunct faculty at the University of Delaware’s Department of Business Administration, CUNY and the New School, teaching courses in green business and new product development.

Articles by Raz

Have companies forgotten how to create genuine wellbeing? Do old marketing tactics miss the mark?

Genuine-stamp-GreenEarlier this month at the Sustainable Brands conference in San Diego, gDiapers CEO, Jason Graham-Nye said: “I think sustainability is like fight club. The first rule of fight club is don’t talk about fight club. The first rule of sustainability is the word is so dead.”

And he’s not alone. In one of the conference events, Raphael Bemporad – co-founder and chief strategy officer at BBMG and Tensie Whelan, president of Rainforest Alliance – presented a new report entitled The New Sustainability Narrative, which tries to address the following problem:

Sustainability doesn’t mean anything real to consumers. Too often, it brings to mind technical issues or seemingly insurmountable environmental challenges.

“Sustainability doesn’t mean anything real to consumers. Too often, it brings to mind technical issues or seemingly insurmountable environmental challenges.”

I guess this problem statement shouldn’t be surprising news to anyone involved in or following the many efforts to engage consumers in sustainability.  The issue it raises has long become the Achilles’ heel of the sustainability movement, making companies wonder what on earth can be done to get consumers on board.

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Posted in Business and Sustainability, Communication, Green Consumer, Marketing and Communications, sustainability trends, The Hub | Tagged , , , , , | Comments closed

Can the “Shared Value” promise resonate with the ‘square people’?

Porter at SV SummitEarlier this month Thomas Friedman wrote on the New York Times about two very different groups trying to shape the economic environment worldwide.

The first was Davos men–the “transnational, cosmopolitan elite drawn from high-tech, finance, multinationals, academics and NGOs,” who regularly attend the Davos World Economic Forum.

The second group was the “square people”–according to Friedman, it includes mostly young people, who are aspiring to a higher standard of living and more liberty, seeking either reform or revolution in their country (depending on their existing government) and “demanding a new social contract.”

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Posted in Business and Sustainability, raz godelnik, Shared Value, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Comments closed

Sustainable Consumption is so Capitalism 1.0 – The Future (Capitalism 2.0) is all about Sustainable Communities

CommunityOn Sunday, Swiss voters rejected a proposal to limit executives’ pay to no more than 12 times the lowest-paid workers in their companies.

This vote ended a very interesting week in which the Governor of Colorado proposed strict limits on greenhouse gas leaks from drilling, Scotland embraced natural capital, the EU decided to devote 20 percent of its 2014-2020 budget to climate spending, the Massachusetts state Senate passed a bill that would raise the state’s minimum wage to $11 an hour, the two groups of retailers that signed separate safety agreements in Bangladesh agreed on joint inspection standards, and JPMorgan signed a $13 billion settlement over its mortgage practices.

What’s the common denominator in all of these stories? These are developments that address some of the major sustainability issues we face, from climate change to inequality to ethics of supply chains. Some of these developments seem to be more successful than the others, but they all look to generate systemic and substantial changes.

Oh, and there’s one more thing – they have nothing to do with sustainable consumption.

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Posted in Capitalism 2.0, Culture Change, raz godelnik, Social Impact, systemic change | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments closed

Nintendo: A Missed Opportunity to be Innovative in the Elimination of Conflict Minerals


Mario Tells Nintendo that ‘Slavery is not a Game’

Nintendo is the poster child of disruptive innovation. Disruption experts like Anthony Scott like to use the Wii as an example of new market disruption, explaining how “instead of focusing on sharper graphics, crisper sound, or more complicated interfaces, Nintendo is expanding the market by making video games simpler and more accessible.” Hell, there’s even a Harvard business case study entitled “Nintendo’s Disruptive Strategy: Implications for the Video Game Industry.”

Why am I bringing this up? Because when it comes to conflict minerals, Nintendo is no innovator, and actually seems to be lagging behind most other electronic companies. That’s why the company was targeted by the anti-slavery group Walk Free in a campaign asking Nintendo to ensure its suppliers source minerals responsibly.

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Posted in Business and Sustainability, Conflict Minerals, CSR, Innovation, Leadership, raz godelnik, Risk Management, Social and Environmental Impacts | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Comments closed

Whose responsibility is it to ensure safe working conditions? The company, the consumer or perhaps – BOTH.

Let’s say you have two options to choose from: A T-shirt that has been made using questionable labor practices for $9.90 or a T-shirt of the same quality that has been made ethically for $10.00. What would you choose?  (EDITORS NOTE – see below.   Is this a problem which money alone can solve?  Can the consumer really be left to carry this burden alone?)

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Posted in Behaviour Change, Business and Sustainability, Ethics, Green Consumer, Human Rights, raz godelnik, Sustainable Supply Chain, Workers Rights | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Comments closed
  • TSSS EVENT: Sport and Sustainability: A Focus on the 2015 Toronto Pan Am Games (FREE Livestream)

    Pam AM TorontoJoin TSSS on April 1st as our panel explores the power of sport to reach people and communities like nothing else can. Topics to be discussed include: Community Engagement, Sustainable Purchasing, Importance of a Clear Vision, Diversity and Inclusion, Branding and Leaving a Legacy. Learn more
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