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Fishing With 3G Nets: How Qualcomm Promotes Sustainable Development Through Mobile Technology

Posted by Kristin Atkins on Wed, 2013-08-21 10:53

Qualcomm believes that mobile technology improves people’s lives. With this in mind, Qualcomm established its Wireless Reach initiative, which supports programs that bring wireless technology to underserved communities around the world. Working with global partners, Qualcomm identifies areas of need, including education, health care, public safety, the environment, and entrepreneurship, and develops programs tailored to benefit individual communities.

In August 2010, Qualcomm launched Fishing with 3G Nets in Santa Cruz Cabralia, Bahia, Brazil. Working in partnership with The United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Telefonica/Vivo Foundation, a mobile telecommunications company in Brazil, Instituto Ambiental Brasil Sustenavel (IABS), ZTE Brazil, a provider of telecommunications equipment, and the municipality of Santa Cruz Cabralia, the program was designed to promote economic development for isolated fishermen and mariculturists (oyster cultivators).

In Santa Cruz Cabralia, fishing is a primary source of income for many families. Poverty and overfishing led to a reduction in resources and posed a threat to the way of life in the coastal community. In addition, the industry suffered from a lack of investment and old infrastructure. As a result, Wireless Reach and its partners saw an opportunity for...

Technology and Education: The Potential of MOOCs

Posted by CSR + Tech Column on Tue, 2013-08-20 17:29

The goal of developing countries has always been to reach the point where aid is no longer needed, and with new technology has come new optimism that emerging markets can “skip steps” and advance rapidly as never before. Technology, especially the internet, has raised expectations, and the international education sector is no exception— both in terms of using new technologies to reach students and in the IT focus of the education itself.

Technology is opening new doors for educational institutions and members of the wider education sector, particularly those in the Global North, to establish a presence in new markets where there is significant demand for quality higher education and skilled workers.

One new trend in the education sector is the introduction of Massively Open Online Courses (MOOCs) to fill some of this demand. Growing in popularity, MOOCs are offered exclusively on the internet and hold great potential for scaling up: a single course can enroll over 100,000 students at a time. Most are offered at a university level for free, which eliminates both the cost and location barriers faced by many students in the developing world. And there may be even more possibilities if such courses can be delivered in villages and communities.

It’s too...

South Korean Teacher Makes $4 Million a Year

Posted by Mark D'Alessio on Wed, 2013-08-14 10:11

In this past weekend’s Wall Street Journal, journalist and author Amanda Ripley, profiled a teacher in South Korea who makes $4 million a year. Yes…$4 million. His name is Kim Ki-Hoon and he teaches in one of South Korea’s private, after-school tutoring academies called ‘hagwons’ where his lectures are videotaped then available for purchase on the internet. Mr. Ki-Hoon is paid according to his demand (which, evidently, is pretty high) in what Ms. Ripley calls “a free market for teaching talent.”

These private tutors are essentially ‘free agents’, meaning they don’t receive a base salary—their pay is based on performance. So, how is their performance evaluated?

Ripley writes, “Performance evaluations are typically based on how many students sign up for their classes, their students’ test-score growth, and satisfaction surveys given to students and parents.”

In South Korea, students truly are the customers. If you are a highly-respected teacher in a hagwon, countless numbers of students will pay for your services, which, as Mr. Ki-Hoon has demonstrated, can become quite lucrative. Most importantly, they are getting results....

Degenkolb’s 70-Year Tradition of Earthquake Chasing

Posted by Chris Poland on Tue, 2013-08-13 13:16

Learning from earthquakes through reconnaissance trips is a valued tradition at Degenkolb Engineers. Since our founding in 1940, our engineers have been observing damage after earthquakes through these trips and adjusting how we practice engineering as a result. Our experiences, combined with those of many others, ultimately lead to new design procedures and building code provisions. The learning continues with every earthquake—most recently those in Haiti, Chile, New Zealand, and Japan—and each is unique in its own regard. Haiti is teaching us, however, that when disaster strikes a developing country where modern building codes are not used, the challenge becomes working with the community to transition the construction culture to one that rebuilds using resilient community standards.

More than two years ago, the earthquake in Haiti crippled the already troubled nation’s infrastructure. The 7.2 magnitude earthquake displaced more than 3 million residents and damaged or destroyed hundreds of thousands of buildings, both commercial and residential. Effective enforcement of seismic standards was not present in Haiti before the earthquake.

Degenkolb initially sent a four-person reconnaissance team to assess the damage. During this 10-day mission to Portau- Prince, the team assisted with post-earthquake building...

Marriott LEEDs the Way to Green Hotels

Posted by Guest Contributor on Thu, 2013-08-08 08:48

Buildings consume more than 30% of the total energy in the United States, more energy than any other sector including transportation, and also consume more than 60% of the electricity used nationwide. They are the heaviest consumers of natural resources and are responsible for 38% of all CO2 emissions in the United States. Marriott strives to be a good neighbor by designing and constructing LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design)–certified buildings that can substantially reduce or eliminate negative impacts through high-performance best practices in construction and operation practices. These new LEED projects demonstrate Marriott’s commitment to LEED and reducing its environmental impact, which benefits all stakeholders, including owners, associates, guests, neighbors, and the general public. 

In 2005, Marriott designed and constructed the first hotel and conference center in the Americas and second hotel worldwide to achieve LEED certification: The Marriott Inn & Conference Center, University of Maryland University College. More recently, Marriott has worked with the U.S. Green Building Council to create a pre-certified LEED Volume Program (LVP) and prototype documents, which now enables its owners to deliver LEED-certified projects without going through the...

UnitedHealth Group Creates Practical Innovations to Fight Diabetes

Posted by Richard Migliori, M.D. on Wed, 2013-08-07 17:49

Creating a modern, efficient, and sustainable health care system that provides access to high quality, affordable health care is a major challenge facing policymakers, providers, payers, and other health care stakeholders. Doing so requires addressing variations in the quality of care, the increased prevalence of chronic diseases, and the fragmentation of existing information.

As the nation’s largest health services and benefits company, UnitedHealth Group is uniquely positioned to develop and bring-to-market practical innovations that address that challenge and help Americans live healthier lives. UnitedHealth Group invests $2 billion annually in technology to help make those innovations a reality. That investment has paid off. For example, UnitedHealth Group has embraced wellness and prevention programs and fostered behavioral changes; empowered consumers with decision support tools through transparency initiatives; and aligned incentives and driven better health outcomes through data analytics and payment reform.

UnitedHealth Group’s prevention programs use technology to identify and mitigate the risk of disease by fostering behavioral changes. To prevent the onset of diabetes, we partnered with the CDC and the Y to develop the Diabetes Prevention Program. This diet and exercise program helps create healthy lifestyles for people on...

Not Just a Line on a Resume: The Importance of Skills-Based Volunteering in the Job Hunt

Posted by Guest Contributor on Thu, 2013-08-01 17:11

By: Dana Mitchell

“Our product is our people.” This view – simplistic yet powerful – is the way of life for most professional services firms, especially Deloitte. In client service, there is no “product” in the traditional sense of the word – there is no item that requires hours of engineering, design, branding, and production. There is no packaging material that must be eye-catching, functional, and also environmentally sustainable.

Professional services firms rely on each and every team member to be an ambassador of their brand: whether the brand emphasizes innovation, results-orientation, or something else, hiring and growing the best people is paramount to a firm’s success in the industry. Consequently, firms like Deloitte, KPMG, Bain & Co., and McKinsey & Co. spend incredible amounts of time and resources recruiting and developing their people through specialized trainings, social retreats, and educational events. Employees are not only immediate drivers of operational success, but they are also important to the long-term shaping and maintenance of the overall company culture.

Since people are their product, it makes sense that firms want the best of the best and their recruitment process is one of the most important pieces within their operations. Traditionally, human resource teams target top students from the world’s leading universities that excel in “tried-and-true” identifiers such as GPA, strength of academic curriculum,...

Jobs, Profits, Taxes

Posted by Drs. Brad Googins & Phil Mirvis on Wed, 2013-07-31 13:13

Following publication of our volume Beyond Good Company:  Next Generation Corporate Citizenship, which identifies the five different stages that companies move through on their sustainability journeys, we have mostly followed Stage 5 “game changers” like Unilever, IBM, Nestlé, Dow, Danone, and others. These “game changers” have devised progressive, innovative and profitable corporate responsibility (CR) strategies, but the news of late turns our attention back to stage 1--where companies equate social responsibility to “jobs, profits, taxes.” 

Remember Milton Friedman’s old saying: “There is one and only one social responsibility of business—to use its resources and engage in activities designed to increase its profits so long as it stays within the rules of the game, which is to say, engages in open and free competition without deception or fraud?”  That standard seems to define how some otherwise leading companies today are approaching jobs, profits, and taxes.

“Fashion Victims” in Bangladesh 

Some 1,127 textile workers died in the collapse of a shoddy garment factory outside Dhaka, Bangladesh in April, 2013, roughly four months after a fire claimed 111 in another of the country’s 4,500 such facilities.  The latest:  in mid-June, hundreds more workers in two other plants were sickened from drinking contaminated water....

America’s Best Friend in an Emergency – Private Sector Altruism Helping Communities

Posted by Guest Contributor on Tue, 2013-07-30 16:09

By: Rich Cooper, Vice President, Research & Emerging Issues

In October 2012, Hurricane Sandy ripped along the eastern seaboard, killing 285 people and causing more than $62 billion in damage. In New York and New Jersey, storm surges topped 13 feet above low tide, flooding subways and communities and leaving millions of people without power. While the storm lasted just a few hours, the long-term impact will linger for months and years. Many communities remain in a tight spot today, and it is challenging everyone to do their part to help America recover.

When the going gets rough, businesses gets moving. One of the best friends this country has on its most challenging of days is the private sector. We saw this in the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita that devastated the Gulf Coast. Wal-Mart and other big retailers applied their ultra-efficient supply chain approach to bringing fresh water, food and other supplies to the people who needed it, sometimes much faster than the public organizations that were charged with emergency response. That same kind of private sector...

Certification Can Help Boost Consumer Trust

Posted by Ruth Kinzey on Thu, 2013-07-25 10:16

Although trust in business is reported to be improving , a company can actively take steps to  enhance their overall credibility by obtaining various certifications. Certifications, specifically ones displayed on a product’s label, add a level of certainty and quality assurance during the consumer’s selection and purchasing process.

When consumer’s see a third-party certification is displayed or visible on a product, customers believe that specific standards have been met because an outside organization has verified findings through an audit or a rigorous testing process. Consequently, with today’s focus on protecting the environment, proof of sustainability claims is an important contributor to building consumer trust.

For example, Lowe’s finds that customers recognize products bearing the ENERGY STAR or Watersense labels as money-savers (via lowered utility bills) that do not sacrifice performance, style or comfort. According to Lowe’s Public Relations Manager Steve Salazar, Lowe’s shoppers buy products with these labels because they know these items have been thoroughly tested and meet stringent efficiency guidelines. Plus, the ENERGY Star rating is easily understood, representing an objective assessment from an acknowledged authority: the EPA....

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