A narrative commons for all the ideas, people, technologies, behaviors, and organizations that are working to improve global sustainability.

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"The Third World War Will be About Water"

Amrita Gupta 04/28/16

Rajendra Singh, known as the "water man of India," believes that critically depleted aquifers around the world can be revived with community effort.

Going into Business for Wildlife Conservation

Stanford Social Innovation Review 04/13/16

To achieve large-scale, long- term success, wildlife conservationists need to think like the private sector and invest in business innovation.

"We are Entering the Rare Metal Age"

Irene Pedruelo, David S. Abraham 04/06/16

David S. Abraham argues that as we move away from fossil fuels, the demand for the rare metals needed for green technology will increase. Understanding the political, economic,and environmental implications of these elements is at the heart of a sustainable future.

Social Good is Always Good Branding—Or is It?

Stanford Social Innovation Review 03/18/16

Building a brand solely on social impact is not a guarantee for success, and it comes with risks that can take businesses by surprise.

Fighting Food Waste with Paper and Spice

Irene Pedruelo, Kavita Shukla 03/08/16

At a moment when most of us look to Silicon Valley for the next highly sophisticated technological breakthrough that will change the world, it's increasingly unusual to interview an inventor and designer whose creation neither beeps nor shines.

From the Forest to the Health Clinic

Michelle Bussard 02/29/16

Dr. Kinari Webb and her team are saving lives and forests in Indonesia through a very unusual incentives program.

Claire Nouvian, Guardian of the Deep

Irene Pedruelo, Claire Nouvian 02/22/16

French environmentalist Claire Nouvian has devoted her life to protecting a resource that is largely a mystery to most of us: the deep sea.

Can the University Help Make Better Cities?

Alex Schafran 12/21/15

We need 21st-century institutions for 21st-century urbanization and cities. If we have the courage to reimagine and remake them, universities can be at the heart of this project.

From Lab to Table

Irene Pedruelo, Gilonne D'Origny 12/14/15

"New Harvest" wants to kick-start a bio-economy of animal products made without animals. Some have already called this revolution "the next .com."

COP21: Six Things You Need to Know About Climate Change

Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs 12/09/15

It is no exaggeration to say that the outcomes of the Paris climate conference will determine the future of our planet. As world leaders gather for COP21 this December and try to agree on a global legally binding climate treaty, we offer you six great posts that will help you understand the implications of climate change.

Boys and Girls Are Born Equal: The Power of Challenging Gender Norms Early in Life

Pranita Achyut 11/09/15

A program in India is working to redefine masculinity and the way that children think about their roles in society.

Can Mobile Technology Help Make Sustainable Business a Reality?

Cornelius Graubner 09/21/15

How can we bridge the disconnect between the growing interest of business and finance in the sustainability agenda and more decisive action towards better social and environmental outcomes?

Creating a Level Playing Field for Social Innovators in Africa

Stanford Social Innovation Review 08/31/15

By supporting local innovators, we can solve more social problems and deepen our access to new systems thinking.

A Coming of Age for Impact Investing

Stanford Social Innovation Review 08/26/15

The new benchmark is an indication of a fast-growing and increasingly sophisticated impact investing industry.

More Than a Meal

Stanford Social Innovation Review 08/03/15

Technical ingenuity and private funding enable Akshaya Patra to serve hot, healthy lunches to 1.4 million Indian children every day.

China's Disruptors: How Alibaba, Xiaomi, Tencent, and Other Companies are Changing the Rules of Business

Edward Tse 07/15/15

Entrepreneurs emerging from China are redefining the nature of business—not just in China, but everywhere in the world. The new millionaires and billionaires are determined to ride that wave of growth and see how they can shape it to serve their own ends.

"The problems are so huge I can't be pessimistic"

Irene Pedruelo, Cesar Harada 07/09/15

A conversation with Cesar Harada, inventor, environmentalist, and entrepreneur, on oceans, the difficulties of founding a startup, and letting curiosity guide your learning.

The Promise of Lean Experimentation

Stanford Social Innovation Review 06/29/15

The work of innovation can be slow and cumbersome—particularly in the social sector. But by adopting a model that is increasingly common in the business world, non-profit organizations can launch, test, and implement new programs and services more efficiently and more effectively.

The Next Pig Idea

Irene Pedruelo, Tristram Stuart
Policy Innovations

Food waste expert and environmentalist, Tristram Stuart, has had an unexpectedly big idea that could change the world.

Interview: The Guardian's Editor on His Climate Crusade

chinadialogue 05/11/15

"The Guardian" newspaper has waged an unprecedented campaign to keep fossil fuels "in the ground" as part of the fight against climate change.

Reversing Climate Change: A Vision of an Organic Planet

"Coach" Mark Smallwood 05/05/15

Mark Smallwood, executive director at Rodale Institute, claims that a global shift to regenerative organic agriculture can reverse climate change.

What Makes a City Great? It's not the Liveability but the Loveability

Irene Pedruelo, Ethan Kent 04/22/15

A conversation about cities, suburbs, and the consequences of exporting the "Western" city model to the world with Ethan Kent, senior vice president of Project for Public Spaces.

The Smartification of Humanitarian Response

Moses Sitati 04/08/15

The "data revolution" is underway, ushering a smart era of humanitarian and development work.

When Restrictions Apply

Stanford Social Innovation Review 04/06/15

Why general funding for non-profit organizations is the future of innovation.

Shakespeare on the Shop Floor

Rachel Burstein, Ann Kowal Smith 03/16/15

A pioneering organization is using literature to enable other sorts of conversations at the workplace—the types of conversations that successful companies need to have.

Bye, Doctor, Hi, "Cloud"

Irene Pedruelo, Alejandro Tocigl 03/11/15

A team of entrepreneurs based in San Francisco is turning the out-of-date diagnostic industry upside down.

Let’s All Slow Down . . . Time to Prioritize People over Cars on our City Streets

Slow Streets
Policy Innovations

New research supports the need for North American cities to really shift towards "slower" modes like walking and cycling.

New Mobile App for Eco-conscious Consumers Funded by Google, Facebook, and Amazon 02/25/15

OpenLabel provides reliable information about the sustainability of 20 million products. The days of nontransparent labeling may soon be gone.

"I like to make things that do not have a like or download button"

Irene Pedruelo, Daan Roosegaarde
Policy Innovations

This Dutch designer is transforming the way cities and urban landscapes work and feel. Glowing trees and smart roads are just two of his revolutionary ideas.

"Soy is a Huge Cloud Over All Agriculture"

Irene Pedruelo, Kathryn Redford
Policy Innovations

Kathryn Redford has a mission: revolutionize the meat industry. How? By using insects in animal feed, instead of soy or corn.

Could Open Labs Be the Key to Cracking the World’s Toughest Health Problems?

The Lancet Global Health 11/25/14

Despite the evident benefits inherent to open disease research and treatment development, investment in open labs has been scarce.

Berliners Await Landmark Decision on Sale of City's Power Grid

chinadialogue 11/14/14

Two young activists are trying to buy Berlin's electric grid in order to promote renewable energy.

Conservationists Use Social Media to Take on Peru's Booming Illegal Wildlife Trade 09/23/14

The illegal wildlife trade has long been ignored in Peru, but changes are afoot.

The Next Generation Greenhouse

Esther Dyson
Project Syndicate

Four Dutch engineers have started a revolution. They have developed plan production units the size of a city block and just a few stories high capable of producing the same volume of crops as a large farm.

Can Drones Save Namibia's Wildlife?

Jason Gregg, Joe Noci 07/18/14

In Namibia, Joe and Gisela Noci's Survoyeur drones, which they design and build from scratch, have proven to be effective anti-poaching tools.

Now They're Cooking: SolSource Harnesses the Himalayan Sun

John Haffner, Scot Frank, Catlin Powers 06/16/14

With a solar cooker designed through community consultation, two young innovators are delivering clean energy to remote mountain villages, as well as your backyard BBQ.

India's National Green Tribunal: An Environmental Justice Experiment

Aditi Sen 06/11/14

India's National Green Tribunal provides the country with a more accountable legal mechanism to protect the environment and those whose livelihoods depend on it.

Medellín: A Light Unto Cities

Joseph Stiglitz
Project Syndicate

Once notorious for its drug gangs, the tale of the Medellín's innovative transformation holds important lessons for urban areas everywhere.

A Solar-backed Currency for the Refugees of Western Sahara

Mel Chin
Creative Time

Artist Mel Chin is working with Sahrawi refugees in northwest Africa to develop a local currency backed by solar power generation.

Brazil's Statute of Virtual Liberty

Pedro Abramovay
Project Syndicate

Government surveillance and Heartbleed-type security scares have shaken faith in online freedom, yet Brazil pushes ahead with an Internet bill of rights protecting net neutrality.

Community Justice in Liberia Emerges from Design Thinking

Blair Glencorse
Stanford Social Innovation Review

An experiment in design thinking has jump-started a mediation program in a neighborhood of Monrovia that was underserved by the justice system.

Electric Bicycles Moving from Niche to Mainstream

chinadialogue 04/23/14

The e-bike gains momentum as sales double in the United States in only a year. Is this the start of a new bubble or a real transportation revolution?

China Has a Long Path Ahead on Clean Air: Lessons from San Fran

Eugene Leong

Former San Francisco planning advisor Eugene Leong gives ten key policy lessons for China's leadership on mitigating air pollution.

Education Without Borders

Gordon Brown
Project Syndicate

There cannot be universal access to education without an agreement that we will cater to young people in conflict zones. A pilot project in Lebanon leads the way.

Make Eliminating Extreme Inequality a Sustainable Development Goal

Joseph Stiglitz, Michael Doyle
Ethics & International Affairs

Eliminate extreme inequality at the national level in every country. This idea should be included in the world's development goals.

Financial Innovation for the Wild

Philippe Douste-Blazy, Robert Filipp
Project Syndicate

Innovative development finance can mobilize private capital and public funding to create and commercialize technologies for regulating the trade in endangered species.

A Challenge to the World: Build a Better Conservation Drone

David Wilkie, Robert Rose
Wildlife Conservation Society

What would UAV developers design if they could imagine their inventions through the eyes of front-line wildlife conservation staff?

Humanitarian Innovators Swap Ideas at Annual AidEx Conference

Nicholas Rutherford, Neha Bhat

Nicholas Rutherford discusses trends in humanitarian innovation and the annual AidEx conference he runs where the sector meets to talk shop.

Reinventing Photosynthesis

Project Syndicate 10/24/13

Can artificial photosynthesis cure us of our fossil fuel dependency? Scientists at the California Institute of Technology say the field is primed for a breakthrough.

An Education Investment Bank to Finance Quality School for All

Carol Bellamy, Philippe Douste-Blazy, Robert Filipp
Project Syndicate

An education investment bank, capitalized in part by a financial-transactions tax, could extend high-quality schooling to all the world's children.

New Family Planning Technologies Expand Options for Women

Judy Manning, Zeda Rosenberg 09/26/13

New sexual and reproductive health innovations have the potential to revolutionize options for women by diversifying delivery forms, varying product duration, and targeting multiple health risks simultaneously.

The Right Social Policies Can Promote Intergenerational Ethics

Jan Hofmeyer 09/06/13

A new study by Bertelsmann Foundation analyzes fairness between the young and the old, and provides policy solutions for governments in aging societies.

Ghana Builds Bamboo Bikes

Bernice Dapaah, Neha Bhat
Ghana Bamboo Bikes

A bamboo bicycle builder in Ghana is working to end the triple problem of poverty, unemployment, and environmental degradation by training rural migrants in manufacturing and business.

How to Find the Treasure Buried in Your Mobile Phone

Matthias Weitzel, Christine Merk
Project Syndicate

Two German researchers propose a system for recuperating the recyclable metals and toxic substances in our old mobile phones.

The Story of Maria's Libraries

Eva Kaplan 08/05/13

Maria's Libraries is redefining what libraries can do for community development through a connected network of libraries across Kenya.

The Next Social Contract

Kemal Dervis
Project Syndicate

A radical reassessment of work, skill formation, retirement, and leisure is needed to cope with aging societies and evolving technologies.

The Right Green Industrial Policy

Dani Rodrik
Project Syndicate

Intelligent industrial policy should recognize errors and revise strategies accordingly. In the context of green growth, efforts to boost domestic industries can be globally desirable.

A New Primate Education Network Connects Conservationists

Tom Handley

The Primate Education Network is a one-stop shop for conservationists to connect and build relationships, share resources and best practices, and receive training.

Using SMART Technology to Stop Wildlife Poachers

Emma Stokes
Wildlife Conservation Society

Several major wildlife organizations collaborated on a free, open-source Spatial Monitoring and Reporting Tool to help park rangers improve their anti-poaching patrols.

Investing 2.0: Assessing True Sustainability

Bill Baue, Cary Krosinsky, Mark McElroy 05/13/13

We need to develop investment strategies explicitly tied to objective, science-based planetary boundaries and local ecological thresholds.

It's High Time for an International Environmental Court

Murray Carroll
ICE Coalition

Subject matter expertise. Compulsory jurisdiction. Standing for non-state actors. Precise and enforceable language. It's time to consider a court for the environment.

Innovation in Development Finance

Jomo K. S.
Project Syndicate

Over the last six years, roughly $6 billion has been allotted to innovative sources of development financing, and some recent proposals promise to raise far more.

Sustainable, Happy, Efficient: A Complete Indicator of Well-being

Eric Zencey 03/26/13

Only through a composite metric of progress and happiness can governments measure and deliver what matters most: sustainable well-being.

Innovation to the Rescue: New Ideas and Tech for Helping Refugees

Rocco Nuri, Neha Bhat 03/21/13

The UN refugee agency is adopting an innovation-centered approach in pursuit of better services, products, and outcomes for displaced populations.

Ma Jun: Information Empowers

John Haffner, Ma Jun 02/11/13

Chinese environmentalist Ma Jun walks the line between transparency and activism in his quest to clean China's air, land, and water.

Winning Round 1 in the Battle Over Chinese Air Pollution

Ma Jun

There is a road map for bluer skies in China: first monitoring and publication of air-quality data, then useful public health warnings, and finally targeting emissions at the source.

The Optimist's Timeline

Bill Gates
Project Syndicate

Digital empowerment is a long and ongoing process, says Bill Gates, but he remains optimistic that technological innovation will improve the lives of the poorest people.

Exchange Rates Innovated: The Global Currency Union

Michael Olson
Global Currency Union

Danish innovator Jesper Toft has developed a new exchange rate mechanism that enables currencies to relate in a more stable manner, free from political influence.

Jamaica's Electricity Mix in 2030

Worldwatch Institute 01/04/13

Jamaica is currently at a crossroads, where the policies adopted today can create a sustainable future in 2030 with the right tariffs, infrastructure, and financial incentives.

More Skin in the Game in 2013

Nassim Nicholas Taleb
Project Syndicate

Accountability has roots in ancient ethics, says Nassim Taleb: an eye for an eye. The essence of this simple risk-management rule deserves a revival in 2013.

Buds of Hope

Raji Ajwani-Ramchandani 12/11/12

With technical assistance from a local NGO, poor farmers in Maharashtra have been able to supplement their seasonal income by cultivating organic jasmine buds.

Policy Innovation for Technology Diffusion of Japanese Renewables

Aki Suwa, Joni Jupesta
United Nations University

Policy innovations that help to deploy renewable energy technologies are key to avoiding the Valley of Death, the gap between lab and marketplace.

Fostering Social Entrepreneurship in the New Tunisia

Ivan Pinto, Dinara Rafikova 11/21/12

With educated youth and a nation awakening to its social and political needs, the time is ripe for social entrepreneurs to flourish in post-revolutionary Tunisia.

Power, Process, Purpose: Elected Members of the Security Council Can Be Effective

Alex Bellamy, Tim Dunne
Ethics & International Affairs

When they are prepared to work hard and innovate, non-permanent members can leave an indelible mark on the UN Security Council, as Canada did through its activism on the Angola sanctions committee.

Forecasting the Future of Countries

Seth Kaplan 11/05/12

Measuring how countries develop is all the rage, but are these indicators examining the most appropriate data? Seth Kaplan says it's time we start looking more at social and political performance.

3D Printing Can Unlock Development Potential

William Hoyle, Evan O'Neil

3D printing is the new frontier in manufacturing, with potentially radical effects on patterns of global trade and development.

Rethinking Development Finance for City "Slums"

David Satterthwaite
International Institute for Environment and Development

The Asian Coalition for Community Action is challenging the top-down Big Aid funding model by providing small grants to low-income communities for the initiatives of their choosing.

Banking on Themselves: Self-Help Groups Empower Poor Rural Women

Raji Ajwani-Ramchandani 09/10/12

Microfinance groups have helped the women of Chimbali village overcome the constraints of physical access to banks, lack of education, and social taboos to build vibrant lives.

Policy Simulations Could Help Combat Sex Trafficking

Stephanie Bailey 08/27/12

Through virtual simulation of anti-trafficking policies, enforcement agencies would get a better grasp on how to target their efforts.

New Approaches to Humanitarian Migration

Michael Clemens
Center for Global Development

Many people cross international borders because their lives have been ruined by an earthquake, flood, drought, or hurricane. But they face a black hole of international law.

The Sustainable Development Solutions Network

Jeffrey Sachs
Project Syndicate

The new UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network aims to mobilize global knowledge and action around cutting-edge approaches for saving the planet.

Solar Computer Lab in a Box

Laura Hosman 08/16/12

An innovative project is bringing solar-powered Internet to a tiny off-grid Pacific island. While the technology is exciting, its success depends on a combination of training, skill-building, and partners.

International Funders Shift to Sustainable Transportation

Tanya Snyder 08/15/12

With global car usage on the rise, there is great need for investment in sustainable transportation modes. Fortunately, international development banks are adding transit projects to their portfolios.

Resources: From Curse to Blessing

Joseph Stiglitz
Project Syndicate

With the right policies in place, and unhurried fair negotiation of contracts, natural resources can be blessing for developing countries.

Open Source WikiHouse Disrupts Traditional Design

Alastair Parvin, Evan O'Neil 08/02/12

The WikiHouse open-source construction set enables users to download, modify, and share designs for small structures, which can then be assembled socially in about a day.

Asmita: Identity amid Crisis

Anukool Chavan, Girish Dixit
Asmita Agribusiness

Two young entrepreneurs launched a venture combining ethical finance and scientific crop management to boost yields and profitability for the suicide-prone farmers of India.

Eradicating Ecocide at Rio

Louise Kulbicki, Sarah Cunningham

Environmental lawyer Polly Higgins proposes a radical solution for environmental sustainability: Make ecocide a crime against peace on par with war-time violations of human sovereignty.

Reducing the Financial Burden of Education in Haiti

Susana Martinez-Restrepo, Daniela Gregr 06/11/12

The experimental Ti Manman Cheri conditional cash transfer program was launched on Mother's Day 2012 in Haiti to help mothers educate their children in some of the most precarious neighborhoods of Port-au-Prince.

City Development States: Why Lagos Works Better than Nigeria

Seth Kaplan 05/29/12

With a national government plagued by corruption and poisoned by dependence on oil money, state- and city-led development may be the best way for Nigeria to achieve progress.

Doing Development Better

Dani Rodrik
Project Syndicate

The best recent work in development policy indicates a convergence around diagnostic, pragmatic, experimental, and context-specific strategies.

The World Needs a Renewable Development Index

Alexander Ochs, Evan Musolino
Worldwatch Institute

Worldwatch is partnering with IRENA to help governments develop policies that can best utilize renewable energy's potential for national growth and development.

Fruits of Our Labor

Raji Ajwani-Ramchandani 03/13/12

Through cultivation of organic mango orchards, Adivasi families in India have been able to build sustainable income and supply the processed-food markets.

Do World Bank Country Classifications Hurt the Poor?

Seth Kaplan 03/12/12

The incoming World Bank president should create a more sophisticated system for classifying countries as low or middle income, using broad development indicators.

The Kasiisi Porridge Project Story

Nancy Merrick
Kasiisi Porridge Project

An innovative NGO in Uganda has helped bring daily porridge to hungry schoolchildren, and it is now expanding with a 20-acre multipurpose farm and indigenous forest to make the project sustainable.

An Opportunity in Myanmar

Gabriele Köhler
International Development Economics Associates (IDEAs)

Myanmar is ripe for social and economic innovation. A decent work and social protection agenda, combined with an industrial strategy, would help during its political transition.

Protecting Nature's Nomads

Achim Steiner
Project Syndicate

Since the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species entered into force in 1983, it has led to agreements to conserve more than 26 creatures, so that future generations can also marvel at these nomads of the natural world.

Can We Build Better Health?

Peter Williams

An open innovation design competition in Haiti has yielded housing prototypes that can improve ventilation and potentially reduce the transmission of infectious diseases.

Ecuador to World: Pay Up, or the Forest Gets It

Eric Chivian, Rigoberta Menchú
Project Syndicate

The trust fund to protect Ecuador's rain forest needs $100 million by the end of the year, or else the call for oil drilling will become unstoppable. The international community must not let this happen.

The Case for New Measures of Growth and Prosperity

Sean McGuire 10/06/11

A front-line implementer of the Genuine Progress Indicator explains his epiphany of seeing GDP growth diverge from alternative measures of well-being.

Happy Park(ing) Day 2011

Dani Simons
Institute for Transportation & Development Policy

Urban advocates, planners, officials, and artists join forces each September to install miniature parks and pop-up cafes in parking spaces normally reserved for cars.

The Fishery Pirates

Project Syndicate 09/07/11

The United States and Europe signed a historic agreement to cooperate against the global scourge of pirate fishing through better monitoring and enforcement.

States Find New Ways to Encourage Energy Efficiency


Instead of mandating a minimum investment in energy-efficiency programs, policymakers are designing incentives that reward utilities with new revenue for meeting or exceeding conservation goals.

In Defense of Fair Hiring

Erin Klett

Verité's new Fair Hiring Toolkit is a clearinghouse of tools and techniques for managing labor brokers and protecting migrant workers from exploitation during recruitment.

A Global Minimum Wage System

Thomas Palley 07/21/11

A global minimum wage system would establish a set of rules for determining local minimum wages, and it would reconnect wages with productivity growth.

Legislating Transparency in the Extractive Sector

Kathryn M. Martorana
Oxfam America

The SEC has an opportunity to demonstrate that the United States takes transparency and accountability seriously and intends to act as a global leader in fostering secure, equitable, long-term resource partnerships with developing nations.

The Dance 4 Peace Story

Sara Potler
Move This World

From Bogota to the Bronx, Dance 4 Peace is teaching young people the empathy and social skills they need to promote peace in their communities.

Fixing Our Broken Oceans

Achim Steiner, Joshua Reichert
Project Syndicate

Marine management remains a fragmented patchwork of national and international bodies, with separate and often overlapping jurisdictions, and no global accountability.

Bike to the Future

Justin Gerdes

Though their ridership stats are heading in opposite directions, China and San Francisco are both committed to bicycle policy innovations.

The French Cure the Resource Curse

George Soros
Project Syndicate

The campaign to ensure that extractive industries disclose all payments in their host countries is gaining momentum, and France is leading the effort.

An Intergovernmental Panel on Systemic Economic Risk

Kevin Gallagher

An Intergovernmental Panel on Systemic Economic Risk would help innovative financial regulations spread from country to country and avoid future crises.

Alternatives to Alternative Energy

H. T. Goranson
Project Syndicate

The catastrophes in Japan might finally achieve what decades of conflict in the Middle East have not: compel governments to invest in the research required to develop viable energy alternatives.

Valid Solutions for Malnutrition

Laurance Allen 04/05/11

Health and nutrition pioneer Steve Collins is building a social enterprise to battle severe acute malnutrition with ready-to-use therapeutic foods grown and manufactured in the developing world.

Zhang Yue: A Call for Discipline in a World Out of Control

John Haffner, Zhang Yue 03/28/11

Air conditioning pioneer Zhang Yue has bold ideas for energy efficiency, sustainable buildings, and corporate culture: discipline today to preserve life in the future.

Better Safe than Sorry

Susan Aaronson, Ian Higham 02/28/11

Corporate executives should never have to apologize for violations when they can instead build global opportunities by advancing human rights.

Innovating Sovereign Wealth Funds

Saleem H. Ali, Gary Flomenhoft 02/17/11

As we struggle to tackle financial and ecological sustainability, sovereign wealth funds such as in Alaska deserve far greater attention for positive adoption.

Lawyers Without Borders

K. Cyrus Habib, John Haffner 02/10/11

Rather than bowing to the conservative phobia of global law study, American law schools should meet the growing demand for globally literate legal practitioners.

Happy Developments in Kitengesa, Uganda

Patricia Lynne Duffy 01/12/11

A grant for a Ugandan library served as the root for entrepreneurial ventures: a reusable sanitary pad factory, chair rentals, a vegetable nursery, and educational programs.

The Frontiers of Power

Malavika Jain Bambawale
Project Syndicate

Off-grid renewable energy technologies represent a viable solution for reaching the 1.5 billion people in the world without access to electricity.

WikiLeaks and the Possibility of Open Diplomacy

Peter Singer
Project Syndicate

If governments did not mislead their citizens so often, there would be less need for secrecy, and if leaders knew that they could not rely on keeping the public in the dark, they would have a powerful incentive to behave better.

Science Diplomacy in South Asia

Saleem H. Ali, Bharath Gopalaswamy 11/24/10

The United States should play a more active role in building trust between India and Pakistan around nonpolitical issues such as science and sustainability.

Kongjian Yu: The Art of Survival

John Haffner, Kongjian Yu 11/22/10

Landscape architect Kongjian Yu is pioneering energy efficient and spiritually enriching designs to reconnect China's rapid urbanization to the land.

Converting Plastic Back to Oil

United Nations University 11/15/10

We find ourselves on top of an oil and plastic mountain, and the only way forward is down. A Japanese inventor leads the way with a machine to make oil out of plastic.

Beyond the Two-Degree Target

Oliver Geden
Project Syndicate

Climate change requires an alternative paradigm that combines realism with a positive global vision. "Climate neutrality," or working toward net zero emissions, could present a better target.

Peer-to-Peer Microfinance Empowers Young Entrepreneurs

Espen Berg
United Youth Development Organization

United Youth Development Organization facilitates peer-to-peer microlending between young people to tap their energy and innovation for sustainable entrepreneurship and development.

Welcome to the Urban Revolution

Jeb Brugmann, Evan O'Neil 10/28/10

We must become masters of a sustainable, just, and ecological urbanism writes Jeb Brugmann in his analysis of how the advantages of urban settlement are changing our societies and the face of the Earth.

Sustainability: An Engine for Growth

Jeff Hittner
Corporate Eco Forum

Sustainability is changing the way businesses think about innovation, writes Jeffrey Hittner of Corporate EcoForum.

Inventive Mobility for the Urban Future

Larry Burns, Scott Corwin, Rob Norton

Inventor Larry Burns of GM describes his vision for the future of personal transportation in a world of megacities.

Women Solar Entrepreneurs Transform Bangladesh

Making It: Industry for Development 08/16/10

Training women entrepreneurs to set up their own renewable energy businesses could bring hope to the 1.6 billion energy-starved people all over the world.

A Chance to Dream

Indian Institute of Journalism & New Media 08/13/10

The Shanti Bhavan school helped erase my illiteracy through an education not confined to the pages of a textbook; an education demanding open-mindedness; an education not tainted by prejudices based on gender or caste.

Politicizing Economic Policy

Jayati Ghosh
Making It: Industry for Development

If state involvement in economic activity has now become imperative, how can we ensure that such involvement is democratic and accountable?

Declaration of Support for an Efficient Renewable Energy Future

Dave Andrews, Godfrey Boyle, Gregor Czisch, Mark Delucchi, Mark Z. Jacobson, Nick Jenkins, Daniel Kammen, Roy Morrison, Andrew Smith, Candida Spillard 07/19/10

Fossil fuel business as usual courts ecological catastrophe, resource wars, failed states, and mass migration of the desperate. Ten prominent clean energy analysts, researchers, and engineers voice their support for eliminating 80 percent of fossil fuel use in the next 20 years.

Wind Power on Urban Rooftops

Alex Salkever
Yale Environment 360

New technologies, feed-in tariffs, and tax credits are helping to propel the small wind industry, especially in the United States. Once found mostly in rural areas, turbines are now popping up on urban rooftops.

Simulating Environmental Diplomacy

Saleem H. Ali, Markus M. Mueller 06/23/10

Incorporating environmental issues in conflict resolution may have positive psychological effects on the willingness of parties to cooperate.

Afghan Women: Artfully Unforgotten

Heather Metcalfe
Artfully Unforgotten

Afghan women are the last ones to see themselves as merely victims. The creative nonprofit Artfully Unforgotten helps tell their stories of resilience through artistic media.

From Poachers to Caretakers

John Kasaona
TED, Integrated Rural Development and Nature Conservation

When a Namibian NGO set out to protect wildlife, hiring poachers with intimate knowledge of the bush was the obvious but counterintuitive choice. Now nature conservancies cover millions of hectares and generate sustainable local revenue.

Participatory Budgeting Hits Chicago

Yes! Magazine 04/21/10

Citizens of Chicago's 49th Ward are experimenting with a new system to decide how public money is spent.

The Return of Industrial Policy

Dani Rodrik
Project Syndicate

Economists enamored of the neoliberal Washington Consensus may have written off industrial policy, but successful economies have always relied on government policies that promote growth by accelerating structural transformation.

What Asian Century?

Guy Sorman
Project Syndicate

The shift of economic and political power from West to East does not signal an Asian Century, but rather the first Global Century, marked by interdependence and reciprocal progress.

Where There Is No Ambulance There's Text

Daniel J. Gerstle
HELO Magazine

Since 2008, Nadim Mahmud and Frontline SMS: Medic have been deploying text-messaging platforms in rural Africa and Asia to link their health workers with doctors at faraway hospitals.

Borneo Can Say "No" to Coal Power 03/22/10

Plans for a coal power plant in northern Borneo have run into stiff opposition, and new research by the Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory shows that better alternatives exist locally anyway.

Slums: The Future

Whitney Eulich 03/16/10

With an unconventional planning methodology, the Urban Think Tank envisions solutions for the barrio communities of Caracas.

Conservation and Governance

Peter Zahler
Wildlife Conservation Society

Afghanistan's rich heritage of biodiversity is threatened by conflict. Yet conservation matters for more than just wildlife: It can, and should, provide a way for rural Afghan communities to manage their natural resources.

Public Procurement with a Conscience

Robert Senser
SweatFree Communities

Although efforts to adopt decent labor standards through free trade agreements are stymied on the international level, a network of activists are working to make ethical procurement a government priority in the United States.

A Permaculture Strategy for Haiti

Geoff Lawton, Evan O'Neil
Permaculture Research Institute

Geoff Lawton of the Permaculture Research Institute discusses how to strategize and deploy sustainable local food production across Haiti as part of earthquake relief and long-term recovery.

Taking the Waves

Andrew Macdonald, Evan O'Neil
Islay Energy Trust

An innovative tidal power installation off the coast of Scotland could help demonstrate the ocean's potential for delivering renewable energy.

A Global Innovation Commons for Clean Tech

Yes! Magazine 01/20/10

The Global Innovation Commons is a massive interactive archive of energy-saving technologies whose patents have expired, been abandoned, or simply have no protection.

Developing a Reconciliation Indicator

Anjanette DeCarlo, Saleem H. Ali 01/19/10

A composite indicator is needed to substantiate the impact of community-led reconciliation processes and to better target sustainable development aid in post-conflict zones.

Micro-donations Can Make a Massive Difference in Global Health

Bernard Salomé, Evan O'Neil
Millennium Foundation

Policy Innovations talks with Bernard Salome, managing director of the Millennium Foundation, about raising funds for global health through small donations made when people purchase travel.

"We will not die quietly."

Mohamed Nasheed 11/13/09

If vulnerable developing countries make a commitment to carbon neutrality, those opposed to change have nowhere left to hide.

Jumpstarting a Clean Energy Revolution with a National Institutes of Energy

The Breakthrough Institute 11/12/09

Modeled on the National Institutes of Health, a new National Institutes of Energy would effectively apply R&D funding to the goal of developing new, low-cost commercial clean energy technologies.

The Economic Revolution Is Already Happening

Gar Alperovitz

Thousands of alternatives to the corporate model have sprouted up over the past few decades -- worker-owned companies and cooperatives, neighborhood corporations and trusts, community-owned technology centers, and municipally owned enterprises.

The Land Ethic

Alanna Hartzok 10/20/09

An economic restructuring based on a full understanding of the role of economic rent is needed for a new economic framework beyond both the old right and the old left.

End of ICE Age, Dawn of Smart Grid

John Lash 10/16/09

The largest fuel shift in world history will push America's antiquated electricity system to evolve into a smart grid, and in the process it will also reshape the geopolitical energy map.

Minding Our Minerals

Saleem H. Ali 10/09/09

Certain resources are destined for depletion if they become locked into built infrastructure or recovery costs prove too high. But this could all change if more attention is paid globally to material cycling and consumer responsibility. We need a global strategy for efficient minerals extraction, use, and reclamation.

No Safe Harbor for Illegal Fishing

Nayan Chanda
YaleGlobal Online

Earlier this month in Rome, ninety-one countries reached an agreement to halt illegal fishing by denying unlawful catches the possibility of being landed in ports.

Under the Cover: Global Corruption Report 2009

Robin Hodess, Devin T. Stewart
Transparency International

Policy Innovations interviews Robin Hodess of Transparency International on her organization's brand new Global Corruption Report 2009, which this year focuses on corruption and the private sector.

GDP Fetishism

Joseph Stiglitz
Project Syndicate

Are statistics giving us the right signals about what to do? In our performance-oriented world, measurement issues have taken on increased importance: What we measure affects what we do.

Fighting Biopiracy

Project Syndicate 09/15/09

For more than a decade, a single patent owner disrupted the bean market in the United States and Mexico. Although the patent was eventually rescinded, the case shows how the intellectual property system facilitates monopolization of public and collective resources.

Commission on the Measurement of Economic Performance and Social Progress

Joseph Stiglitz
Commission on the Measurement of Economic Performance and Social Progress

The Commission's aim is to identify the limits of GDP as an indicator of economic performance and social progress, to consider additional information required for the production of more relevant indicators, to discuss how to present this information in an appropriate way, and to assess the feasibility of alternative measurement tools.

Can Innovation Be Taught?

Santiago Montenegro
Project Syndicate

Most experts agree that there are no ready-made formulas or recipes for how to innovate. But is it possible to create the appropriate conditions under which innovation may flourish?

The Happy Planet Index

Juliet Michaelson
new economics foundation

The fact that economic growth can be conceived of in opposition to the health of the planet suggests that neither can claim to be regarded as the true overall measure of success in human society. A much more convincing case is made by the concept of well-being.

Good Ideas Are From Anywhere

Anthony F. Lang, Jr. 07/30/09

The recent confirmation hearings of Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor touched upon a central issue of the international legal and moral order: natural law and global constitutionalism.

A New Start for Non-Proliferation

Mohamed ElBaradei
Project Syndicate

Mohamed ElBaradei proposes a key measure to strengthen non-proliferation: Establish an IAEA bank of low-enriched uranium to guarantee supplies to countries that need nuclear fuel for their power reactors.

The Two-headed Problem of Asian Hydropolitics: Security and Scarcity

Saleem H. Ali 07/02/09

With the Tibetan plateau serving as a third pole of available water, and the rift widening between China and the Dalai Lama's government in exile, it is high time that innovative strategies be considered for conflict resolution and water scarcity in Asia.

Special Innovation Zones to Restore Social Sizzle

Alex Steffen

Imagine a free-fire zone for sustainable innovations, where new approaches could be tested rapidly without institutional, legal, and regulatory inertia.

Information Gaps Hinder CSR Achievement

Jeff Hittner

IBM recently completed its second annual survey of senior executives from around the world on the importance of green and sustainability issues to their corporate strategies, and the results are encouraging in some respects. But they also indicate how far businesses still need to go to be truly sustainable.

The Right Way to Electric Cars

Esther Dyson
Project Syndicate

Excitement about electric cars abounds nowadays, but consider the number of existing gasoline-powered cars: about 850 million. It would take years of new-car sales to make a dent in that number, so why not keep the cars but replace their engines?

Building a Continental Renewable Super Grid

Roy Morrison 05/28/09

As the planet warms and the economy cools, renewable resources are emerging as a realistic means to solve both problems in a timely fashion. A continental-scale smart grid would slash global greenhouse gas emissions and turn society toward a prosperous and ecological future.

Carbon Tax and Dividend

James Hansen
YaleGlobal Online

Western governments are pretending to take actions that alleviate climate change. But their cap-and-trade approach is a minuscule tweak to business-as-usual, worshiped by lawmakers who are afraid to confront fossil special interests. What is needed is a gradually rising fee on the carbon content of oil, gas, and coal, with proceeds distributed fully to the public.

Preventing Climate Change Summit FAIL

Scott Barrett
YaleGlobal Online

Scott Barrett recommends that the United States negotiate a skeleton agreement in time for Copenhagen, and follow up with supporting agreements focusing on individual gases, sectors, and R&D efforts. Success in Copenhagen should not be defined by setting goals that lack domestic support and that cannot be enforced, but by laying a foundation for making incremental improvements over time.

Digital Workforce Initiative Transforms Gulf Coast Job Prospects

Rita J. King 05/05/09

One means to revitalize the post-Katrina Louisiana economy is to educate a digital workforce steeped in twenty-first century skills: creative collaboration, communication, and interactive media such as video games.

Spring 2009 Poetry Contest Winners


Policy Innovations is pleased to announce the winners of its Spring 2009 Poetry Contest. The following five submissions, each from a different city, represent the inspiration we had hoped to spark with this contest. Thank you to all who participated!

Two States, One Capital

Jonathan Cristol 04/09/09

As part of a future two-state solution, Jonathan Cristol proposes making Jerusalem a free city, fully open to both Israeli and Palestinian passport holders.

Green Business Boom for Carbon Trust

Michael Rea, Scott Kaufman, Evan O'Neil
Carbon Trust

Michael Rea and Scott Kaufman of the Carbon Trust discuss their efforts to bring about a low-carbon economy through energy efficiency at mass scale, the incubation of emerging green technologies, and product life-cycle analysis and carbon labeling.

Pay for Play: Tax Credits for Paid Time Off

Dean Baker
Center for Economic and Policy Research

One method for Congress to quickly boost demand in the economy while at the same time promoting important public ends is an employer tax credit for paid time off.

Simultaneous Policy for Global Problems

John Bunzl
International Simultaneous Policy Organisation

Instead of a global race to the bottom, coordinated international action could help governments make tough policy choices without scaring off capital and factories. John Bunzl explains his Simultaneous Policy campaign.

The Foreign Exchange Transaction Reporting System

Hazel Henderson 03/18/09

The April G-20 summit in London should aim to achieve oversight of global banks and other financial players. Transparent foreign exchange reporting and a currency transaction tax would help.

The Global Ethics & Integrity Benchmarks


Global Ethics & Integrity Benchmarks is a tool for helping multinational organizations assess and measure their progress in making a formal and transparent commitment to ethics and integrity in the workplace.

The Biotech Frontier

William Haseltine

In this strategy+business interview, William Haseltine explains the medical, energy, and industrial implications of the revolution in genetic science.

Kenya Waits for Rain

Think Impact 03/05/09

The Student Movement for Real Change spearheaded a dam expansion project in Kayafungo, Kenya, as a way to alleviate the growing water crisis.

Peer-to-Peer Finance: A Flight to Simplicity


Since bank capital will likely be further depleted as the credit crunch spreads into the productive economy, peer-to-peer finance offers a solution from an entirely unexpected direction.

Black Carbon an Easy Target for Climate Change

John Lash 02/09/09

The particulate matter called black carbon is the second most potent greenhouse warming agent after carbon dioxide. Filtering it out of diesel emissions today would have a quick impact on climate change.

Doing the Right Thing: How Organizations Can Help us Make Ethical Decisions

Art Kleiner

When faced with a difficult situation such as product liability, do you tell the truth or hide it? How can the practice of consciousness, discipline, and empathy help organizations make ethical decisions?

The Struggle for a Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone in Central Asia

Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists 01/12/09

A nuclear-weapon-free zone in Central Asia supported by the major nuclear weapon states will send a strong message to other regions that might consider following suit.

The New Science of Sustainable Dynamics

Roy Morrison 12/18/08

The concept of sustainability is used as a policy guide today, but beyond this important sense of applied ethics sustainability must also become a science.

The Afghan Children's Songbook Story

Louise Pascale 12/11/08

Restoring traditional music to the schoolchildren of Afghanistan has helped to spread literacy and rebuild culture and community that was censored by the Taliban.

Saving the Congo

Seth Kaplan 10/14/08

The scale of Congo's resource curse, weak governance, and civil war calls for policy changes beyond anything typically contemplated by the international community.

The Founding of Transparency International

Peter Eigen
Innovations: Technology, Governance, Globalization, Transparency International

Transparency International was founded to fight systemic corruption ranging from large procurement contracts that impede national development down to petty extortion on the local level.

Cogeneration Can Slash Carbon and Costs

Roy Morrison, Pentti Aalto 08/14/08

At home or on the city level, cogeneration of electricity and heat is one of the most promising means of using existing technologies to increase efficiency, save money, and slash emissions.

The Greening of Islamic Politics

Saleem H. Ali, Haris N. Hidayat 08/11/08

For centuries, Muslims considered Indonesia to be Islam's most distant outpost. Yet this diffuse country with multiple identities is leading the way in the greening of Islamic politics.

A United Nations Parliamentary Assembly Could Drive Global Innovation

Andreas Bummel
Campaign for the Establishment of a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly

As a hinge between parliaments, civil society, the UN, and governments, a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly could become an important catalyst for the reform and development of the international system.

Hot Dry Rocks

Project Syndicate 06/16/08

Drilling for nonconventional geothermal energy could deliver clean base-load power to the grid.

The Open Education Revolution

Jimmy Wales, Richard Baraniuk
Project Syndicate

Open Education promises to turn the current textbook production pipeline into a vast dynamic knowledge ecosystem that is in a constant state of creation, use, and improvement.

To Cope with Oil Shock, Emulate Japan

YaleGlobal Online 06/06/08

With the price of oil skyrocketing, the only way out is for Western nations, the gluttonous users of petroleum, to cut their consumption and emulate Japan in its consistent drive for energy efficiency and alternate sources.

Redesigning Global Economic Governance

Barry Herman 05/06/08

The financing for development conference to be held later this year in Doha could set the stage for building economic and financial multilateralism in a new mold.

Building a Foundation of Trust

David Shinn, Joshua Eisenman 04/24/08

China's presence in Africa is often viewed as part of the scramble for resources, but it also opens the door to U.S.-China cooperation on energy, security, corruption, and health.

Rising Sun for Electric Cars

Roy Morrison 04/22/08

Southern New Hampshire University is experimenting with parking lot solar to charge electric cars and feed renewable energy back into the grid.

Renewable Energy Hedges

Roy Morrison 03/25/08

Instead of being price takers in an unstable power market, customers can use renewable energy hedges to transform their purchases into a tool for sustainability.

The Global Links Initiative Story

Fan Li
Global Links Initiative

The Global Links Initiative amplifies the new trend of social entrepreneurship in China through its multi-country network.

Fair Contracts for Poor Countries

Karl P. Sauvant
Project Syndicate

An Investment Contract Aid Facility could help negotiate fair and durable agreements between poor countries and natural resource companies.

A League of Democracies

Didier Jacobs 03/03/08

John McCain introduced the idea of global democracy during his 2008 U.S. presidential election campaign. The idea is worth exploring, and perhaps further than McCain intended.

Business Ethics Gone Without TRACE

Alexandra Wrage
TRACE International, Inc.

As a neutral third party, TRACE works with commercial competitors to address the challenges they all face, delivering an antibribery message to corrupt officials.

In Pursuit of a Carbon-Free Economy

John Lash 02/13/08

The climate crisis requires better tools to compare the true environmental value of greenhouse gas reduction versus sequestration, so that we know whether to invest our limited resources in efficiency or forests, renewable energy or carbon storage.

The Fair Trade Future

Laura Raynolds, Douglas Murray
Center for Fair and Alternative Trade Studies

The Fair Trade movement is a promising vehicle for alternative globalization, yet its dramatic growth has fueled a number of new challenges. Has Fair Trade's original agenda been eroded by the market forces it set out to change?

Green Stimulus

Dean Baker
Center for Economic and Policy Research

Recession could open the door for stimulus that is both progressive and climate-friendly, especially if targeted at housing and transportation.

Forming a Donor Monitor NGO

David Lempert 01/16/08

Money stuffed in envelopes. Gifts of cars, computers, and overseas junkets. It sounds like the criticism typically leveled at corrupt MNCs, but it also occurs in the international development community. A Donor Monitor NGO could bring accountability and standards to the field.

Why Vote?

Peter Singer
Project Syndicate

In cases of low voter turnout, a minority of the population can determine a country's future, leaving a discontented majority. Compulsory voting laws can keep democracy robust and governments responsive.

Cooperative Energy Security for Sustainable Development

Robert M. Cutler 01/04/08

Cooperative energy security for sustainable development implies a long-term balancing of energy, environment, and economic development. Only a strategic triad of publics, governments, and industry can bring to bear the distributed knowledge required to accomplish this task.

North Korea Gets NGO Religion

Scott Snyder 12/11/07

The North Korean famine of the mid-1990s posed challenging ethical and humanitarian dilemmas for foreign aid workers who responded to the crisis. It also yielded a paradox: Despite the antipathy of the North Korean system to outside religious influence, it is primarily American NGOs with financial backing from religious organizations that have maintained development and exchange programs with the DPRK.

Furnace Cities

Bjørn Lomborg
Project Syndicate

It's possible to see, right now, what global warming will eventually do to the planet. To peek into the future, all we have to do is go to Beijing, Athens, Tokyo, or just about any city on Earth. These urban heat islands could be the platform for inexpensive climate solutions.

The Gulden Coffee Story

GÜLDEN Coffee 11/07/07

Not your average cup of joe, GULDEN coffee differentiates itself from large producers by specialty roasting and Direct Trade practices that bring the company in close contact with farmers and consumers.

Exchange Rates: There is a Better Way

Thomas Palley 11/06/07

Exchange rates matter more than ever under globalization. The current system has contributed to global financial imbalances, which pose significant economic risk and have created political tensions between countries over how to adjust them, and within countries over job losses.

Merck's Dubai Ethics Center

Ken Stier 10/12/07

Resolute ethical business standards can be a distinct bottom-line liability for companies operating in environments where corruption is more the rule than the exception. To address this obstacle Merck decided to underwrite the creation of an ethics center in Dubai.

M-PESA: Mobile Money for the "Unbanked"

Innovations: Technology, Governance, Globalization 08/02/07

Kenya's largest mobile network operator recently launched an innovative payment service for the unbanked. It's called M-PESA, combining the M from mobile with the Swahili word for cash. Together these technologies are helping spread microfinance and financial services to the poor.

Suing against Corruption: The Role of Civil Law

Bryane Michael 07/23/07

As more and more World Bank and USAID money is spent on complex anticorruption programs, business can lead the way in the fight against corruption by using civil remedies, taking corrupt officials and the governments they represent to court.

Multi-Functional Platform in Senegal

Negar Rachel Treister
United Nations Development Program

In the Senegalese village of Bantantinty, labor-saving technology is boosting agricultural productivity, creating jobs, and generating income. The UNDP-sponsored Multi-Functional Platform performs a range of tasks that previously fell to the village women, easing their dawn-to-dusk workload and freeing their children to attend school.

A Clean Hands Trust for the People of Sudan

Leif Wenar 06/21/07

In Part 4 of the Property Rights and the Resource Curse series, Leif Wenar argues that a trust-and-tariff mechanism could be used against countries that insist on buying resources from the worst regimes. The revenues would go to repressed peoples such as the Sudanese.

The Past and Future of Sustainability

Bill Baue

To celebrate its 20th anniversary, SustainAbility published Raising Our Game: Can We Sustain Globalization? The report proposes four potential scenarios for how the future will unfold depending on how business attends to social and environmental sustainability.

Civil Society Activism

Richard Calland
AccountAbility, Global Reporting Initiative

Although thinking on the multilateral response to the power of the for-profit sector is growing, transparency is not yet a core part of the agenda. Civil society, however, is further along the conceptual road toward transparency. Pressure from stakeholders for accountability on social and environmental issues is a major driver of companies' self-interested efforts to be good corporate citizens.

Stopping the Flow of Stolen Resources

Leif Wenar 06/05/07

Citizens of countries that don't meet official U.S. standards for minimal political rights can't possibly authorize the sale of their natural resources. Yet corporations within U.S. jurisdiction continue to deal with such disqualified regimes. The case for stopping this flow of stolen goods must be made in court.

Might Makes the Right to Sell?

Leif Wenar 05/15/07

Leif Wenar analyzes the causes of the resource curse, showing how customary practices left over from the era of absolute state sovereignty still give property rights to whoever can exert coercive control over a population. This might-makes-right rule contradicts the movement toward citizen ownership of natural resources.

Nonprofit Brands: Don't Waste Their Power

Value News Network 05/11/07

John Quelch of Harvard Business School says NGOs that operate on a global scale have some of the most trusted brands in the world and don't even realize it. This leaves a lot of untapped potential when it comes to fundraising, partnerships, and scaling up activities and effectiveness -- the difference between surviving and thriving.

Hybrid Value Chains

Valeria Budinich, Olivier Kayser

Ashoka is forging ahead with sustainable enterprise through its Hybrid Value Chain program in rural Mexico. Farmers, citizen sector organizations, and corporations work together to install irrigation systems. The result is better crops, sustainable funding independent of grants, and fair profits.

Sustainable Civil Society Is the Economy's Immune System

John Elkington
Value News Network

Paul Hawken and John Elkington discuss the ethics of capitalist value creation, life at the bottom of the pyramid, and the rise of Sustainable Civil Society.

Property Rights and the Resource Curse

Leif Wenar 04/30/07

In a series of articles, Leif Wenar confronts the fact that raw materials used to make consumer goods are often stolen from the poorest people in the world. Repressive regimes violate property rights and sell a country's resources in international markets, siphoning off the money to retain power. This resource curse leaves the bulk of the population mired in poverty.

In Search of Sustainable Enterprise

Value News Network 04/23/07

The corporate relationship with the environment has evolved from regulatory obligation into business opportunity. Stuart L. Hart and Mark B. Milstein look at whether GE's Ecomagination initiative represents an even newer mutation: sustainable enterprise. Will the greening of products suffice? Can the corporate titan develop clean, small-scale technologies that help the billions of people at the base of the economic pyramid?

A West African Union

Seth Kaplan 04/05/07

Debt relief will offer West African states short-term help, but a strong regional organization is needed to cure deep-rooted troubles. Local leaders must be given the authority and responsibility to develop such an organization, but they will need financial and technical support from the international community.

Building The Village Education Project

Katherine Chamblee
The Village Education Project

After teaching elementary school for ten weeks in a small village in rural Ecuador, I came away from the experience with a lot more than the standard shock at the poverty and conditions in the developing world. Instead, I was surprised by how little is really needed to change those conditions.

Saving the World with a Cup of Yogurt

Sheridan Prasso 03/09/07

Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus, the father of microcredit, has a new idea. It's called social business enterprise, and the first step is a yogurt factory in Bangladesh.

Investor Suffrage

Glyn Holton 03/08/07

Recent market crashes and financial scandals are symptomatic of a capitalism in which shareholders have lost control over the corporations they own. To reassert control, shareholders must overcome obstacles that prevent them from voting their shares. The solution is to form a proxy exchange through which investors can conveniently secure, transfer, aggregate, and exercise their voting rights.

Give Bpeace a Chance

Matthew Hennessey
Business Council for Peace

The Business Council for Peace helps women build businesses in regions ravaged by war. They believe in a simple, innovative equation: Women + Business = Peace.

Everyone a Changemaker: Social Entrepreneurship's Ultimate Goal

Bill Drayton
Ashoka, Innovations: Technology, Governance, Globalization

Ashoka founder Bill Drayton explains the power of the growing trend of social entrepreneurship and how it is disrupting old patterns of action and perception. He believes that its greatest contribution is contagion: Each social entrepreneur catalyzes more like-minded changemakers into being. Educating young people in the skills of leadership, teamwork, and applied empathy is key to the future of this process.

The Company that Anticipated History

strategy+business 02/16/07

Eskom, Africa's largest electric company, has shown the world how to combine social leadership and business success.

Creative Industries as Growth Engine

Keith Nurse 02/12/07

The cultural and creative industries are areas in which many developing countries enjoy some comparative advantage. The rise of the digital economy and the increasing commercialization of the arts create a window of opportunity for these countries.

Corporate Leaders Group Putting Human Rights in Focus

Business Leaders Initiative on Human Rights, Ethical Corporation 02/03/07

By Lisa Roner. Republished with permission from Ethical Corporation. A group of big businesses is going further than just keeping its nose clean by trying to advance human rights, particularly in emerging economies. The Business Leaders Initiative on Human Rights is working to make the Universal Declaration of Human Rights relevant in the business context and to inspire other businesses to do likewise. Members strive to set minimum standards and to exemplify leading practices in harmonizing commerce and human rights.

Applying National Treatment to Carbon Tax


The U.S. Congress is taking a commendable interest in curbing global warming, but it needs to be careful in what it legislates. Solutions such as the Kyoto process could merely push more energy-intensive industries to such places as China, which already emits more carbon dioxide into the air than does the European Union. Instead, the United States could impose a carbon tax on domestic energy-intensive products and on imports not subject to comparable levies.

A HandCrafting Justice Story

HandCrafting Justice 01/23/07

Thomas J. Hollywood recounts the story of how the women of La Florida, Peru, came to work with HandCrafting Justice, a fair-trade partnership that helps women struggling for economic justice in developing countries.

Gross Domestic Innovation

Balkrishna Rao 01/19/07

OECD countries will need to be ever more innovative in order to adapt to a growing global workforce that is increasing in technological savvy. Rao proposes measuring Gross Domestic Innovation (GDI) as a means of tracking progress and influencing policy.

The Food for the Hungry Story

Lauren Erickson-Mamane
Food for the Hungry

Every year, nearly 11 million children die before they reach the age of five. Malnutrition underlies an estimated 60 percent of these deaths. However, local solutions, which use available resources, can be utilized to combat malnutrition.

The Instituto Promundo Story

Gary Barker
Instituto Promundo

Since 1999, Promundo, a Brazilian NGO, has been carrying out research in a variety of countries to understand how it is that some men and boys come to question their privilege and power, and in the process treat their female partners differently.

The Positive Deviance Initiative Story

Jerry Sternin
Positive Deviance Initiative

Policy Innovations interviews Jerry Sternin of the Positive Deviance Initiative.

The Green Gold Story

Catalina Cock Duque
Green Gold Corporation

The Certified Green Gold Program (GGP) provides a sustainable development alternative to underprivileged communities by fostering fair trade practices and ten certification criteria as a guarantee of socially and environmentally responsible artisan small-scale mining (ASM).

The AccountAbility Story

Steve A. Rochlin

AccountAbility's mission is to advance innovations in accountability in order to promote sustainable development. It strives to build the definitions and requirements for accountability and sustainable development in the 21st century.

The Global Goods Partners Story

Global Goods Partners 12/08/06

"Going beyond fair trade, Global Goods Partners enables people to buy fairly traded products while at the same time promoting the comprehensive advancement of marginalized communities around the world."

The International AIDS Vaccine Initiative Story

Robert Hecht
International AIDS Vaccine Initiative

The International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) has expanded the scope of research by introducing six novel vaccine candidates into clinical testing in the past six years. Senior Vice President Robert Hecht explains IAVI's groundbreaking practices in science as well as policy and advocacy.

The Mercado Global Story

Ruth DeGolia
Mercado Global

"Without fail, the women in every community I have ever worked with in rural Guatemala have asked me to help them find a market for their artisan products.... Mercado Global was founded as a response to this need."

The Student Movement for Real Change Story

Saul Garlick
Think Impact

Saul Garlick founded the Student Movement for Real Change to empower U.S. students to learn more about the Global South and to improve conditions there. The Student Movement has helped construct classrooms in South Africa and is raising funds to construct a water pipeline in Kayafungo, Kenya.

Putting Teeth in Corporate Social Responsibility

Keith Slack 11/21/06

Keith Slack discusses how corporate social responsibility could become more effective by changing the incentives that govern corporate access to capital and markets.

The Ethical Metalsmiths Story

Jennifer Horning
Ethical Metalsmiths

Ethical Metalsmiths is dedicated to increasing awareness of ethical issues in the mining industry, creating a market for metals and gemstones that are sourced and labeled in accordance with broadly-accepted international standards, and connecting independent metal artists and jewelry designers with these materials.

The Innovations Journal Story

Philip E. Auerswald, Iqbal Z. Quadir
Innovations: Technology, Governance, Globalization

Philip E. Auerswald and Iqbal Z. Quadir, founding editors of Innovations: Technology, Governance, Globalization, recount the evolution and aspirations of their new journal: By drawing attention to innovations in the public interest, we intend to encourage critical thinking about them, and to spur their proliferation.

Equitable Legalization: Give Consumers Legal Protection against Amoral Trade

Kim Beng Phar 10/31/06

Kim Beng Phar describes the difficult and often impossible legal paths that citizens and consumers face when trying to sue for human rights violations in a system where trade is globalized but justice is not, and proposes a solution.

Development and the WTO: Two Separate Undertakings

Liem Giok In 10/12/06

Liem Giok In asserts that developing countries must claim their own negotiation space in global trade talks. She proposes a two-track approach to multilateral negotiations: one track with a clear development agenda, and another for the market-expansion agenda of the stronger economies.

Reward Pharmaceutical Innovators in Proportion to the Health Impact of Their Invention

Thomas W. Pogge 09/26/06

Thomas Pogge proposes that pharmaceutical innovators should have the option to forego the conventional claim to exclusivity in favor of an alternative patent that would reward them, out of public funds, in proportion to the health impact of their invention.

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