Rafael Protacio's blog | Net Impact

Rafael Protacio's blog

Net Impact, Racial Equity, Social Justice in This Time and Place

June 1, 2020

Dear Net Impact Community,

2020 has challenged us in ways we could not have imagined. COVID-19 has secluded us.  The economic downturn has been disastrous to many. While we know that those who have the least to lose, are often most impacted during crisis, the issues of inequity and injustice are clearly front and center. And now, we are again reminded of the stark inequities with the murder of George Floyd. We have all witnessed the horrifying news of the last few weeks, and history has taught us these are not isolated incidents.  Rather, this is due to systemic and institutional racism. As sustainability and social impact leaders, we know that silence is not an option when faced with inequity and social injustice.  We have an obligation to stand up for what is right, in this time and place, or there will be no change. 

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once asked the question, “what is it America has failed to hear?’” That was in April 1967.

It would appear much of America is still not listening as 155 years in America, of largely silent and civil protest has yielded just incremental change. The failing to listen, the failure to make a just life for all Americans is a call to action of all Americans, particularly those of us who do not fear jogging in the suburbs, bird watching in the park, or who haven't had the ’talk’ with parents about making eye contact with police and keeping your hands visible. It is part of our duty as citizens, part of our history and culture to act - every one of us, how we can, in this time and place. 

As we Reimagine Capitalism, business as a force for good, all stakeholders - employees, community, consumers, shareholders, all of us voters, human participants in our own outcomes, let’s drive change. As we think about system design change of Democracy too – let’s work toward movement focused on the marginalized, as the center will find its way. We will increasingly incorporate civic engagement, social justice and racial equity into our work and raise public consciousness on these matters. We aren’t activist – we activate activism in our community, over 150,000 members strong, over half a million in the 28 years we’ve sought to inspire, equip and motivate our network of leaders to drive a just and sustainable world.

I am hopeful, and hope that you can be hopeful too in these bad times. We do important work at Net Impact. With our work, we reach a network that is a powerful community that chooses to self-identify as seeking a just and sustainable world.  These times may make you feel like Sisyphus pushing a rock up the hill, just to have it fall back to the bottom as we approach the peak. I think it’s more like the “asymptotic” math principal - you can't achieve perfection (get the rock to the peak, achieve true racial equity/harmony) but you/we can approach it. Individuals can make a difference, together we can hasten change. As historian Howard Zinn said, living “in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory.”

So do what you can, what you feel capable of, what is necessary.  Let’s be ‘whole people’, making a difference however/wherever we can. I want you to know that this organization has your back; I have your back too. I know this is difficult for our members, staff, our friends, families, partners and communities. We are here to support each other, but we are also here to fight the good fight. 

If not us, who? If not now, when? 

Be Safe.

Peter M. Lupoff

Chief Executive Officer

Net Impact



 

Net Impact logo

7 Steps to Landing a Sustainability Job in the COVID Era

Last week recruitment specialists Acre released their in-depth look at how opportunities in sustainability are faring post Covid. Here are seven things to take on board if you’re looking to bag your next big role.

1. Climate change is the next big crisis waiting to happen - and companies get that now

It’ll be no surprise to hear that roles in sustainability and impact investment took a big hit during the crisis, with a 35% decline in advertised opportunities compared to pre-Covid.

But don’t let that leave you despondent. Post-Covid 19 Acre expect to see sustainability pushed even higher up the agenda than before. The sudden shock of the pandemic has forced execs to take a long hard look at what might be coming next to threaten their business. And guess what? Climate change is top of the list.

2. Recruitment is already on the up

From that steep drop-off in opportunities at the height of the pandemic, the number of roles being advertised are already beginning to stabilise.

The great news for job seekers is that these roles are also coming from companies serious about sustainability too. That’s because hiring for any new role in the current economic climate comes with extra scrutiny, meaning those firms looking to bring new people on board have thought it through extra carefully.

3. Keep an eye out for new roles in resilience 

The shock of the pandemic has left companies aware of the need for good solid contingency plans, and that’s led to the emergence of a brand new role, say Acre. The resilience or adaptability specialist.

A person in this role will likely act as a conduit between EHS and sustainability teams, and other business functions, such as HR, finance and operations, they say. They’ll focus on business continuity and creating a clear contingency plan in the event of a future crisis.

Innovative and forward thinking? This could be the ideal role for you.

4. Look to food, banks, and healthcare for the best opportunities 

It’s no surprise to hear that the likes of apparel, non-food retail and hospitality suffered the most during the pandemic. And we’re likely to see further closures in these sectors in the coming months too, as the buffer of the government furlough scheme is removed.

For the best chance of finding a new role in sustainability right now, pay close attention to those sectors largely unaffected or – in some instances – buoyed by the virus. That includes food and drink, banking, and healthcare, say Acre, with specialists in these fields all positive that sustainability roles will continue to be prioritised in both the short and the long term.

5. To give yourself the best shot, brush up on your video interview skills 

During lockdown companies had no choice but to carry out recruitment processes entirely online. And from what Acre discovered, that looks set to continue, even once face-to-face interviews can safely resume. Employers found the process more efficient and a great way of putting candidates on a level playing field.

For job seekers that’ll mean prioritizing video interview prep for the foreseeable future to ensure you stand out. There are lots of ways to do this: ensuring you familiarise yourself with the video software being used, having a practise run with friends or family, and making good choices when it comes to where you choose to have the interview.

For more tips click here for my advice on How to nail your Zoom interview.

6. Don’t rely on your technical skills to shine

There’s always going to be a place for technical expertise. Particularly when areas such as ethical trade, plastic reduction and biodiversity are all set to remain front of mind.

But these technical skills won’t be enough on their own. Post-Covid Acre predict that the ability to communicate well, negotiate new ways of working and juggle sustainability with commerciality, will be more important than ever before.

For job seekers that means highlighting a broad set of skills both on both your initial application and in interviews.

7. We can all expect roles with greater flexibility post-COVID

As Acre sums up in its report:  “If the last three months have taught us anything, organisations are realising that there is no one-size-fits-all solution to an efficient workforce.”

More flexibility in how, when and where we work could be one of the silver linings to lockdown. Employers have realised by adjusting working hours or offering remote working they can increase mental wellbeing without any loss to productivity.

For job seekers that could mean a far wider selection of roles to select from, as companies race to increase the autonomy they give staff.

Make the most of this new attitude by asking about any potential flexibility, such as remote working, even where not specified.

Navigating the jobs market post Covid isn’t easy.

But the good news for sustainability professionals is that, not only has recruitment in many sectors already stabilised, there’s a new appreciation across top execs of how vital it is to have people on your team that can help you plan for the next big crisis.

If you’d like to have a chat about how best to showcase your skills and adapt your approach, then why not book in a trial session with me? We can chat through your positioning, career, challenges and CV and work out whether further coaching could give you that extra boost you need.

Shannon Houde is a guest blogger for Net Impact and an ICF-certified career and executive coach who founded Walk of Life Coaching, the first international career coaching and professional development advisory business focused solely on the social impact, environmental, CSR, and sustainable business fields.

7 Steps to Landing a Sustainability Job in the COVID Era | Net Impact

Climate Justice: The Positive Role Business Can and Must Play

Those who have done the least to cause climate change are the ones suffering most from its effects. Climate Justice requires ratability – a sharing of burdens and benefits while safeguarding the rights of the most vulnerable and marginalized.

 Before we get too much further, let me put it out there: we at Net Impact Central, take the view that climate change is science. Observations throughout the world make it clear that climate change is occurring. The globe is warming and rigorous scientific research demonstrates that greenhouse gases emitted by human activities are the primary driver. Net Impact’s mission is to inspire and equip emerging leaders to build a more just and sustainable world. Climate justice requires we look past the certitude of science to the impact on real people if we are to fulfill this mission.

 The effects of climate change fall most heavily on populations that are already marginalized - including those who are young, elderly, low-income, or who have existing health conditions such as asthma. For these, global warming and carbon emissions aren’t just environmental issues, they’re social justice issues.

 

Justice and Equity

 If justice requires fair and equal treatment, how do we adjust for circumstances where unequal power and culpability may impair justice? Climate crisis is a function of human activities, largely those of industrialized nations. There are countries, economies, industries – ways of life, so tied to the damage of the planet, accustomed to unpriced ‘externalities’ and collateral damage largely borne by others, that it is hard to get past the biases attached to maintaining status quo. Therefore justice is hard to accomplish without equity amongst actors. Equity is often conflated with ‘equality’, or sameness, and assumes incorrectly, that we all have equal voice, treatment and outcomes. Equity, however, implies that some may need to experience or participate differently (not equal) in order to maintain or approach fairness. Climate justice requires equity given the unequal power and culpability of global participants.

 If we can agree that Climate Justice requires equitability of parties, ratably amongst the powerful and marginalized, we are in a good place to tick off the Top 5 Inequities[1] to fix in order to effect Climate Justice:

 

1. The Degree of Responsibility for Climate Change

 “That is the greatest injustice of climate change,” says Mary Robinson, Adjunct Professor of Climate Justice at Trinity College Dublin, former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, and former President of Ireland. “That those who bear the least responsibility for climate change are the ones who will suffer the most.” 

 

2. The Impact of Climate Change on the Global South

 People in the “Global South” (countries located in Asia, Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean) contend with persistently lower incomes compared to countries in the Global North. These are the countries, as noted above, that are hit hardest by climate change, with little to no responsibility for the current climate crisis. 

 There’s the conundrum of the ambitions of the Global South to improve economic stature, to modernize production, more efficiently utilize their natural resources and join the international trade ‘club’ as an equal member. Yet to do so, is it moral, equitable to compel participation in Climate initiatives now that the Global North finds it necessary? For the Global South to sustainably grow, develop resilience, against existential threats from climate change requires both the support of, and trust in the Global North.

 

3. The Ability and Capacity to Deal with the Impacts of Climate Change

Extreme weather-related disasters have doubled in the past 20 years.[2] The consequence: reduced yield of major crops, food price hikes and income loss.

 The most vulnerable countries, their people, are also some of the least equipped to deal with extreme weather and drought. The likely persistence and increased severity of the impacts of climate change highlight the urgent need for disaster management and progress toward resilience against future events.

 

4. The Intergenerational Impacts of Climate Change

 The last 150 years of economic growth - and resulting increase in greenhouse gas emissions - are only beginning to reveal their costs. It’s clear that younger generations will suffer these consequences more greatly than their parents and grandparents. 

 In 15 years or so, climate change could force an additional 100 million people into extreme poverty.[3] Even if all carbon dioxide emissions were halted NOW, most of the current effects of climate change could persist for centuries.[4] 

 

5. The Gender Disparity of Climate Change Suffering

Women worldwide, often serve as both providers and caretakers for their families. Women are responsible for food, water, childcare, and managing these elements and efforts within their larger communities. Women and girls spend 200 million hours fetching water every day.[5] In short, as The Mary Robinson Foundation has said, “Climate change is sexist”.

 Despite women often having fewer rights, resources, and often the last to eat when climate threatens food security, a community’s ability to mitigate climate-related disasters is heavily reliant on them.

 

What Can Business Do?

 All businesses are on a journey toward greater sustainability – just at different places on the trip. They care, not for some dysfunctional reason – businesses are not anthropomorphic, making decisions based on some need to be liked – but because all stakeholders demand it. Corporate sustainability is increasingly part of valuation, so bluntly, it just makes good business sense.

 Businesses are run by people, conducting business with people, selling to people, owned by people and afforded the opportunity to operate in communities, by people. And people are demanding that business be a force for good, and companies, more pragmatically, increasingly believe that business can make money and drive demonstrable social and environmental impact. As business comes to embrace the coming mainstream view that they operate for, at the behest of broader stakeholders (employees, community, consumers, supply chain participants and shareholders), then considering all stakeholders, again, is just good business. 

So what can all businesses do to play their part in fomenting climate justice? Here are a few action items:

Carbon Footprint, Water Use: Many have, or are beginning to, conduct their organization’s carbon impact and/or water use assessment. From this evaluation, they can begin to think about the strategic actions to take. Companies are considering materiality as well – what actions have the most marginal positive impact? What do consumers, employees, community and shareholders think would be the most meaningful actions to take?

Legislative Partnership and Cooperation: Companies should actively monitor legislative and regulatory developments so they don’t get caught unaware or unprepared by policy changes or unexpected regulation. Further, some legislation may be of front and center importance to some/all stakeholders. Many issues are not matters of right or left, but of right and wrong. We should insist that businesses (and all of us) take stands that place them on the right side of history. In some instances, companies, industries can lead a charge around legislation that benefits people and planet, rather than simply respond to it.

 Analyze and Disclose Climate Risk: Those companies rationally considering risks and opportunities and probability weighting them, already analyze their climate change risks, from physical exposures to policy changes to transition challenges to financial impact. It’s hard to imagine public or larger private successful companies not doing this. Public companies have an obligation to disclose this to shareholders, at minimum. First, this is simply best practice, but investing capital inevitably penalizes less transparency. Perhaps companies will be obligated to produce Climate Risk reports as a matter of law. More rigorous analysis also can help companies identify risk indicators to monitor, and fulfill the likely expansion in requirements for climate risk disclosure by institutional investors, lenders, and legislatures.

 Be Attentive to Stakeholder Interests: Companies should prepare for increasing pressure on climate issues from all stakeholders and be proactive where it makes business sense, to address matters sooner rather than later. As companies increasingly acknowledge the business case for broad and ratable stakeholder objectives, the bar on disclosure and responsiveness has been elevated. Public companies should count on increased engagement around climate and all matters relevant to employees, consumers, community and supply chain.

 

Climate Justice and the Upside of Change 

We all know the right thing to do here. Businesses are pragmatic, and once management conquers fear of change (which they eventually do, or suffer by not doing) businesses embrace it. The risks to businesses associated with climate change also present many opportunities – opportunities to strengthen the connection with the consumer, create greater loyalty and affinity amongst current and future employees, suggest new products and revenue streams, and comfort shareholders in the coherence and vision of a longer term perspective. Business, increasingly a force for good, can have the legacy of helping forge climate justice and make a more just and sustainable planet.

 


[1] From Principles of Climate Justice – Mary Robinson Foundation  - https://www.mrfcj.org/

[2] According to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

[3] IBID

[4] IBID

[5] UNICEF

Climate Justice: The Positive Role Business Can and Must Play   August 2020

How to Nail Your Zoom Interview

Thanks to Coronavirus there’s been a major increase in the number of recruiters opting for video interviews. Even in March, in the early stages of social distancing, there was reportedly a 524% spike in companies asking prospective candidates to interview online, rather than in person. 

For interviewees this can feel like a daunting prospect.

“I’m so worried about where to look and the wi-fi crashing in the middle of the interview,” says Fiona, a 27-year-old that has just learned she’ll be facing a three-strong panel interview via video for a stakeholder engagement role with a top food brand. “It’s been three years since I’ve had any kind of important job interview and it feels really nerve-wracking that my first will be carried out online. Not being able to connect in person feels a bit stilted.”

These concerns are understandable. With video you don’t get the chance to shake a recruiter’s hand or look them directly in the eye. It can feel harder to respond to body language and gauge social cues through a screen.  Then there are all the potential pitfalls of technology: what if I can’t set up the software? What if my laptop suddenly dies partway through?

Don’t panic!

There are lots of steps you can take to prepare mentally, physically, and technologically for a video interview, as well as ways to tailor your approach during the process itself. You can sell yourself and your skills through a screen, just as easily as you would in person.

Before the interview:

Set the scene. Make sure you find a quiet spot in advance, one that’s private and free of distractions to carry out the interview. Pay particular attention to your backdrop: go for something neutral and uncluttered and leave about 3 feet between your head and the back of the wall to avoid flattening the image. Finally let family or housemates know in advance where you’ll be and when so there are no unwelcome interruptions.

Practise with the software. Check which video conferencing software will be used and make sure you’re familiar with it. Download it in advance, have a play with the various functions, and test both audio and your web camera with it. Best of all, ask a friend or family member to carry out a mock interview with you using the software.

Dress to impress. Don’t be tempted into thinking your outfit isn’t as important during a video interview. Or that you can get away with simply dressing from the waist up. Dressing for success isn’t only a tired old cliché, studies show that we’re better at both strategic and creative thinking when we wear more formal business attire. So even if your prospective employer can’t see it – the right outfit will give you an extra boost.

For a 1:1 interview:

Watch your tone. Though it might be tempting to raise your voice to be heard through a microphone, doing so is more likely to create distortions for the interviewer. Instead adopt a normal pitch, even mimicking the tone and tempo of the interviewer where possible to create rapport.

Prioritize the camera. What matters is that the interviewer has a clear view of you, rather than the other way around. So pick your device according to the best camera, and even consider investing in a flexible arm mount to capture the best view. During the interview make sure you look directly at the camera to make eye contact too, rather than the screen itself.

Create a cheat sheet. One big advantage of video interviews is the ability to have a few notes or prompts nearby. Make sure you’re not looking down at a notebook though. Instead attach a few strategically placed post-its around the screen.

Keep energy levels high. You might be at home, or even in your bedroom, but don’t let that stop you from oozing energy and positivity through the screen. This is even more important when interviewing for a role that requires great communication skills. With remote working set to become the norm long after the pandemic, interviewers will see this as a showcase for how you’ll present yourself to future clients.

For a panel interview:

Take a pause. The combination of several people on a video call, slightly different devices, and the potential for short time delays, is a recipe for interrupting and talking over one another. Keep this to a minimum by leaving a brief pause between their question and your answer. That gives any other panellists the chance to add their thoughts, and you an extra second to collect your own.

Don’t forget, you’re always on show. When you’re one of several people on a call it can be easy to forget that you’re the focus. Whether you’re speaking or not always remember you’re being evaluated. Use non-verbal cues to show that you’re actively listening to what’s being said (eye contact, nodding along and leaning slightly toward the camera) and eliminate any potential distractions, such as mobile phones.

Have a strong close. With a video interview the end can be more abrupt. There’s no shaking the hand of each panellist or opportunity for small talk as one guides you back to reception. So ensure you have a strong close prepared. Thank each panellist by name, clarify next steps and reiterate how grateful you are for the opportunity.

Have more questions? Then why not join me on my next Coffee and Connect event. Taking place live every Thursday you’ll have the chance to ask me anything you like on preparing for your next video interview, as well as having the chance to win a 1:1 coaching session. I look forward to seeing you!

Shannon Houde is a guest blogger for Net Impact and an ICF-certified career and executive coach who founded, Walk of Life Coaching, the first international career coaching and professional development advisory business focused solely on the social impact, environmental, CSR and sustainable business fields.

How to Nail Your Zoom Interview | Net Impact

6 Documentaries on Climate Change You Need to Watch

6 Documentaries on Climate Change You Need to Watch

As temperatures and pollution rates around the world continue to rise, many people are wondering what they can do about climate change. Becoming educated and informed about a topic is the first step in change. 

Entertainment is an easily digestible form of media that allows people to become educated on topics in a captivating, interesting way. Here are 6 documentaries that you can watch to become better informed on the realities of climate change.

 

Chasing Coral (2017)

Chasing Coral | Official Trailer [HD] | Netflix 

The ocean is a beautiful, yet mysterious place. Chasing Coral is a documentary that focuses on a part of the ocean that is quickly diminishing in places across the globe - coral reefs. Shot over a period of 3 years, a team of divers, scientists, and photographers look into the reasons for why these coral reefs are vanishing and gives possible solutions to combat this alarming phenomenon. By tying the phenomenon to human action, the documentary  provides a sense of accountability for the continued disappearance of coral reefs around the world. Watch this documentary to learn more about “coral bleaching” and what steps are being taken to save this natural place of beauty. 

 

Our Planet (2019)

Our Planet | Official Trailer [HD] | Netflix

For a look at the diverse wonder of the world, watch Our Planet. Our Planet is a comprehensive deep dive into various ecosystems around the world, and gives insight on the conservation efforts to save them. From the jungle to the grasslands, the arctic to the ocean, the documentary focuses on the great impact that humans and climate change have on various environments and their inhabitants. In collaboration with the World Wildlife Fund, Our Planet is a great documentary exposing how climate change has affected and will continue to affect the world.

 

Before the Flood (2016)

Before the Flood - Trailer | National Geographic

Before the Flood investigates the detrimental effects of climate change around the globe. In collaboration with Leonardo DiCaprio and featuring big names like Barack Obama, Pope Francis, and Elon Musk, the film exposes the way that corporations and businesses have benefited from systems that largely contribute to climate change. An idea that many climate change documentaries don’t cover is considered in the documentary - carbon tax. Before the Flood is an informative, entertaining documentary that warns of unsustainable living environments if climate change continues on its current route. 

 

RiverBlue (2016)

RiverBlue - Official Trailer

RiverBlue looks at how the fast fashion industry has contributed to the degradation and pollution of bodies of water across the globe. By exposing the chemical manufacturing process and disposal of chemical wastes into bodies of water, the documentary shows how environments and communities around the world are negatively affected by the fashion and textile industries. The fashion industry is one of the largest contributors to pollution, and the film acts as a call for systematic change that will help to revitalize the world’s rivers and water sources. 

 

Normal is Over: The Movie 1:1 (2019)

Trailer Normal Is Over The Movie 1.1,©2019 

Normal is Over is a documentary that focuses on the various issues present in the world and how they are connected. Climate change, species extinction, resource depletion, disease prevalence, and socioeconomic issues are interconnected and contribute to the degradation of ecosystems.  In addition to looking at the problems present in our world, the film looks at how people across the globe are making conscious decisions to combat climate change. Everything is connected, and this film does a great job of showing how actions are dependent on and play off of each other. 

 

2040 (2019)

2040 - Official Trailer

2040 is a more positive look at the outcome of the world. By investing in sustainable solutions and making conscious, active efforts to reduce carbon levels in the atmosphere, the film provides solutions that could help the world and its communities combat climate change. Structured as a letter to his 4-year old daughter, Damon Gameau suggests that technologies like renewable energy and electric transportation can help to steer us off the path of an unsustainable future. This optimistic view of our future provides hope that we can make our world healthier and liveable for future generations. 

Net Impact is committed to discussing and finding solutions for issues within our communities. By inspiring leaders to organize and collaborate, we hope to inspire leaders to enact change wherever possible. Check out our website to learn more about available opportunities.

Climate change films to watch | Net Impact

Nothing About Us Without Us Redux

Almost a year to the day, deep into my first month as Net Impact’s CEO, I wrote a piece entitled, “Nothing About Us Without Us.” It was mainly about recognizing the broad constituencies impacted by decisions made by the privileged few - a more significant concept I breezed through. My point was more that we, at Net Impact Central, are stewards of our organization, an affinity member network of the like-minded, seeking to foster a more just and sustainable world. Our stewardship would not be about you, without you

One year later (quite a year), the expression, Nothing About Us Without Us, is a more front-and-center entreaty - a call to action. We can rise to that call.

Global Dissatisfaction Can Yield Collective Influence and a Voice

These feel like fractured times. Physical distancing forced on us and civic issues appearing polarizing with little consensus built. But what we say and believe doesn't seem to be acted upon or enacted by our leaders. 

It manifests in the attraction of some to populist, jingoist politics and pundits, businesses moved to adopt stakeholder (vs. solely shareholder) objectives, to the current international outrage at the disproportionate risks borne by the marginalized due to COVID-19. When you add in the heinous racial inequities galvanizing all peoples worldwide, you find a common thread: our institutions have not reflected the will of people. As we’ve become more connected, as capitalism has lifted most out of poverty, increasingly apparent inequitable symptoms have been treated with palliative solutions, applied by the powerful who seek to retain control of the narrative. Thus, they can always drive solutions that allow them to maintain their power.

We can change this. We can all adopt a philosophy of Nothing About Us Without Us. It starts with each of us insisting on being heard or responsibly asserting our influence. Some would have us believe we are all irreconcilably polarized. I disagree. A collective revulsion of our increased marginalization is unifying. We should pull the camera back to see the larger dynamic of who controls the narrative and our lack of voice, as driving a universal disdain. 

Taking the Red Pill or the Blue Pill

Nope, not talking US politics, talking movies. Recall the line from The Matrix where Neo essentially tells power, “I came here to tell you how it's going to begin. I'm going to hang up this phone, and then I'm going to show these people what you don't want them to see. I'm going to show them a world without you.” This feels more like where we are. What if we take the red pill?

Net Impact Mission 

Our stated mission is to inspire and equip emerging leaders to foster a just and sustainable world. There is a palpable shift in our Net Impact Network, and a worldwide collective desire to be heard, insisting upon equity and justice. We are an aware and engaged membership of over 160,000 boots on the ground that can also activate. We listen and are answering this collective community call. Ours is the network, the generation that can make real change.

Activate Through Civic Engagement - Stand for Something or Fall for Anything

A first step in getting things done is to assert your rights of citizenship. Be steeped in the local issues and vote. Engage others amongst your friends, family, community to do the same. Call out systemic issues you see, polling places that aren’t open, voting machines that don’t work. Do you hear elected officials only point out the problems and flaws in the voting system, with no solutions? Say Something! Suggest something! Help drive inclusion and equitability. Real democracy and those that cherish and nurture it, should want expanded participation. Here are some questions for you to ponder:

  • Why isn't Election Day a holiday? How easy do you think it is for the working poor or those historically systematically denied rights to choose to, or be comfortable enough to enter a polling place? To vote on a workday?
  • Wouldn’t our elected officials be more accountable if most people voted? Wouldn’t voters trust outcomes more as well?

Nothing About Us Without Us

I am not suggesting that you take a particular stand - but if you are going to make a difference in this world, you must have a view, you must articulate it and participate in improving our systems and institutions. You should/could activate the engagement of others too. We are a robust community. If not us, who? If not now, when?

This article is a part of a continuing series by Peter Lupoff and Net Impact staff, exploring what it means to “Reimagine Capitalism” as collateral to, and in support of NI20 - Reimagining Capitalism - a learning journey with regular digital conversations and workshops. For more information: https://www.netimpact.org/reimagining-capitalism

Nothing About Us Without Us Redux | Net Impact

5 Climate Change Solutions That Will Help the Earth

One world issue that’s remained a hot topic in recent years is the topic of climate change. Previously a concept that most of us only heard about in school and media, the effects of climate change have been more prominent in recent years. 

As news of rising temperatures, increased air pollution, and more frequent natural disasters like tropical storms continues to plaster screens across the globe, many people are wondering what they can do to aid in combating climate change. While systematic and organizational changes from governments and corporations are the most important component in addressing climate change, there are also actions that you can take. Here are 5 climate change solutions you can implement in your life today.

Reduce. Reuse. Recycle. 

One of the most common climate change solutions is recycling. Recycling helps to change the way that materials are harvested and produced are made - through the use of recycled materials, the need to clear out land and harvest virgin materials is decreased. From the systematic recycling of plastics to repurposing and upcycling, you can do your part. In addition to helping reduce energy consumption, recycling can also help to reduce costs by decreasing the number of one-time-use items you buy. 

Make Environmentally-Conscious Purchases

Fossil fuels continue to rise due to increased industrialization. Cutting back on consumption or making purchases with the environment in mind can help to disrupt the industries that are contributing to climate change the most. When buying items at the grocery store, think about using a reusable bag and buying in bulk. Using a reusable grocery bag cuts down on the amount of plastic you use, while buying in bulk can help to reduce the amount of packaging you need to dispose of. Making sure that your purchases are environmentally friendly allows you to ensure that the businesses you support are doing their part to reduce pollution and waste. This climate change solution is a simple way to change up your routine that will help to make your life more sustainable. 

Change the Way You Power Your Life

With new developments in technology and energy, the way that the world is powered is rapidly changing. Solar panels have been the most popular form of renewable energy for homeowners, with 64.2 GW of installed solar energy units - that’s enough to power 12.3 million American homes! Investing in an electric car can also help you to reduce your carbon footprint. Electric cars have zero direct-emissions which helps to improve the air quality in the community that you live in. By changing the way you power your life, you are employing a climate change solution that will benefit your entire community. 

Implement Plant-Based Meals 

The food industry is a large contributor to climate change - the food industry (production, processing, transportation, retail, and waste) account for up to one-third of all greenhouse gas emissions. The decision to eat plant-based meals helps to send a message that will be sent upwards to retailers, food producers, and policymakers. Less reliance on meat can lead to less land being used for production, less greenhouse gas emissions from livestock, and better management of scarce resources. Individuals and communities around the world are making conscious decisions and efforts to educate on the impact of food on climate change. Whether it’s one meal a week or your whole diet, this climate change solution  will benefit your health and the environment. 

Start the Conversation 

Creating awareness about issues helps to get the ball rolling on change. Having informed, motivated dialogue on climate change can increase the amount of people who are interested and invested in the topic of climate change. This can lead to further conversations with industry leaders and policymakers on what can be done to decrease the negative effects of climate change. Organizations are taking stances on climate change, and calling on their communities to have these valuable conversations and create solutions. 

Find out more about what individuals, groups, and businesses are doing about climate change by staying updated with Net Impact. Together, we can build a more sustainable future. 

Climate change solutions | Net Impact

4 Tips for Building Resilience as a Powerful Career Tool

As Darwin once said:

“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent. It is the one that is most adaptable.”

More than your education, your experience or your skill level, studies show that the way in which you respond and adapt to adversity can determine how successful you’ll be.

Challenging as I know it is, the Coronavirus is the perfect opportunity to take a long hard look at your own resilience and take steps to improve. Are you taking these current challenges day-by-day? Are you seeing setbacks as an opportunity to improve? Are you able to stay motivated despite all this uncertainty? Resilient jobseekers will share common personality traits that will likely make their answers yes. For more on what makes a resilient jobseeker take a look at this short vlog.

Yes, some of us are lucky enough to be born with these qualities. In fact, research has found that around 40% of resilience is determined by biological factors. But that leaves 60% to play with, and all sorts of solid research on how to do so. Here are 4 practical steps to get you started. 

Practise looking at setbacks through the lens of opportunity:

Resilient people don’t only adapt, they turn rejections or setbacks into opportunities to learn and grow – what is known as a growth mindset. Those without this mindset tend to ruminate, taking each rejection personally and finding themselves unable to move past a cycle of negative thoughts.

One way to break this cycle is by getting thoughts out of your head and onto a piece of paper. Rather than ruminate, reflect on the setback. What could you have done differently? What specific lessons can you learn? How can you apply these to your next move? By physically writing these constructive thoughts down you’ll find it easier to move past rejection.

Build relationships that boost your resilience:

The people that you choose to have around you can have a big impact on your own resilience. Make time for those that emit optimism and positivity and think carefully about those that can feed your less resilient habits. This applies to friends and acquaintances, but it also relates to professional role models and mentors.

One-on-one coaching or mentoring can be another hugely effective way to boost resilience. And building this sort of relationship can just as easily be done from a distance. Calls, emails and virtual meetings can be just as good in providing reassurance and boosting your resilience during challenging times.

Cultivate calm and self-compassion:

Looking after yourself with quality sleep, regular exercise and proper nutrition is clearly a major contributor to physical and mental health. But people who stick to these sort of healthy habits tend to feel more resilient too. Just as important is incorporating some element of conscious calm in your day via a mindfulness practise. This doesn’t have to be meditation – take a look here for a great alternative using just your tongue – but it should bring you back to the present moment and help cultivate a sense of calm to take you through your day.

Fake it:

OK, this one can seem a little controversial. But there is good science that backs up the idea that by projecting strength and resilience, even when we don’t quite feel so optimistic, we can actually cultivate the real thing. Practise maintaining your composure around others and take on the role as the optimistic and resilient group leader. By doing so you just might trick your brain into believing its own hype.

Life might be extra challenging for many of us right now but that shouldn’t mean surrendering to those negative voices in our head. Use this current period of uncertainty to build up supplies of resilience and keep your goals and aspirations on track.

For a more in-depth look at your own resilience take a look at this training course from The Resilience Institute and then feel free to get in touch with me to gain insights on your results. In my one-on-one coaching sessions we can create a tailored plan of practical strategies to boost your resilience and ensure you’re in the best possible position to achieve your career goals, no matter what obstacles come along.

This article was originally published on Thrive Global.

Shannon Houde is a guest blogger for Net Impact and an ICF-certified career and executive coach who founded, Walk of Life Coaching, the first international career coaching and professional development advisory business focused solely on the social impact, environmental, CSR and sustainable business fields.

4 ways to build resilience as a career tool

Reimagining Capitalism: Visualizing the World We Want

Net Impact is excited to announce a new digital event series around Reimagining Capitalism. Our ambition is to make this more about the journey than a ‘distribution of disparate content.’ Over the next few months, we’re taking on this critical theme. We’ll explore the topic through a variety of formats, bringing in a range of voices to engage with our global community. Join us!

Why It Matters

Historically, capitalism, as an economic system, has stoked ambition, driven business formation, jobs, wealth, education, reduced hunger, better healthcare, housing, prospects and contentment. Yet many people have been, and continue to be excluded, marginalized or exploited as part of these broader improvements.

The world is saddled by persistent challenges, problems that no one feels particularly and directly accountable for, yet are roadblocks to the furtherance of a just and sustainable planet. As the core of Net Impact’s mission, we want to address this head-on.

This is beginning to change as a generation of business owners and operators, students and educators, employees, community, consumers, even some legislators, are beginning to question the longer-term harm that may be a consequence of the objective to maximize profits today, with little regard for people and planet or the future. The flaws in capitalism may be reparable, and perhaps evolve to be a better, more equitable version.

The consequence of these common beliefs across varied stakeholders suggests we are at the outset of the system design change of capitalism - when big changes are possible and on the horizon. This requires that we must Reimagine Capitalism, conceiving of a version of the system that can drive better, more inclusive outcomes for shareholders, employees, consumers, suppliers, communities and the planet. We can manage for a double bottom line (or even a triple one!). We can do well and do good. 

What We’re Doing

Net Impact is proud to participate in Reimagining Capitalism via the curation and hosting of a series of conversations, workshops and events bringing together world-class leaders, thinkers, iconoclasts, companies, asset owners and our broader impact-focused community. 

First up is a conversation that can frame the topic and pose solutions too - a discussion with Rebecca Henderson, Professor of Harvard Business School and author of the just-released “Reimagining Capitalism in a World on Fire”, in conversation with PBS News Anchor, Paul Solman scheduled for July 9, 2020, 10:00am PST. 

Registration link

Stay tuned for more in this series as we all work together to build a more just and sustainable world.

If not us, who? If not now, when?

Reimagining Capitalism with Net Impact 2020

Civic Engagement for Students During Summer 2020

Civic responsibility has steadily declined over the decades. In 2014, one poll found that Americans were "less likely" to ask what they can do for their country, with a mere 37% believing that keeping up with news and public issues was important. In 1984, this figure was 56%. The passage of time seems to have led to people becoming skeptical that they can actually make a difference, so why try?

Fortunately, it seems the tide is changing. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought people together to unite in fighting for common goals or, at the very least, recognizing the problems society faces. Since civic engagement involves people working to make a difference in their communities (or on a larger scale) and learning the skills, knowledge and values to accomplish these goals, many now realize they must get involved to make change happen.

Students looking to increase their civic engagement during summer 2020 can consider the following top 10 opportunities and initiatives.

1. Stay informed

Being informed is one of the first steps to civic engagement. Students can follow news updates to learn what's happening on the national, state and community levels. Understanding how to find trustworthy news sources is vital. To further increase knowledge (with social distancing in mind), attending college or community-sponsored events about issues or visiting museums are good initiatives.

2. Learn U.S. political philosophy and history

The basics of the U.S. government are taught in public education, but students can further develop their understanding by taking a summer course in political science, public policy or related topics. Learn more about why the Founding Fathers structured the government the way they did to better understand the government of today.

3. See government in action

Students can learn valuable lessons by attending municipal council or community board meetings. With isolation policies in place to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, opportunities might be limited. However, students can still watch television or web-based broadcasts and submit questions and concerns via online channels.

4. Initiate community-based projects

Young people are great at driving change and can often identify new solutions because they approach long-standing problems with fresh perspectives. Students can look to engage with their friends and neighbors to solve a local problem. Many initiatives such as delivering groceries to people at high risk for COVID-19, initiating neighborhood cleanups, planting trees and refurbishing playgrounds can be safely done while social distancing.

5. Join a volunteer organization

Summertime is the perfect time to volunteer while between semesters. Need doesn't stop even when the rest of society does, and organizations are still looking for help. Research to see what local or national programs are seeking assistance. Even with COVID-19 restrictions in place, plenty of volunteer opportunities exist.

6. Host a virtual debate watch party

As Election Day nears, candidates will debate key issues. While it's likely virtual debates will occur, so can watch parties. Organize a Zoom (or another video app) event with fellow students and friends. Inviting people with diversified beliefs to represent different viewpoints can lead to a healthy discussion, as long as it's respectful.

7. Register to vote

Students not registered to vote should make a point to register over the summer. The break between semesters is a great time to explore the viewpoints of the candidates on the ballot or any issues local communities will be voting on. If you're over 18, you have the right to vote. Exercise that right.

8. Support local small businesses

Small businesses make up 99% of all U.S.-based businesses, and many have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. Where affordable, young adults can support local businesses to help them stay afloat during this health crisis. They can take it a step further by researching which companies support community or hold values they believe in - consumer dollars speak loudly.

9. See the First Amendment in action

As society begins to open up post-pandemic, if any public demonstrations or marches are scheduled, college students can look to attend one. Alternatively, if summer doesn't open up possibilities to go out and show support for an issue, searching for online grassroots efforts to join can make an impact too.

10. Join a local club

Joining a club is a fun way to increase civic engagement for students because they can meet local people with common interests. Connecting with people in the community often insights more neighborhood pride and increased awareness of community-based problems, resulting in better opportunities to fulfill a need and help others.

College students wanting to become more involved in civic engagement will find there are many opportunities. Net Impact's programs seek to help new leaders broaden their thinking, grow networks and ultimately make a positive impact in society. Contact us to learn more about our programs.

Virtual convening over summer - staying civically engaged

Pages