Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt sat down and talked to reporters at the Sun Valley conference in Idaho last week, dropping all sorts of science about Google +, Google China and whether or not we are in a tech bubble, among other things. One of the most interesting nuggets of info relayed was the fact that Schmidt could envision startups wanting to build on top of the Google+ platform, which now has 10 million users in its beta but no API in sight. “You could image the scenario where the social platform is so successful that you’ve got startups that are building on top of Google + that are so incredibly sexy and exciting that we would pay top dollar very fast … That’s a great scenario because then you know you’re winning,” he said. According to Schmidt, Google M&A made the decision last year to accelerate the acquisitions of companies below the HSR threshold, or the amount that is subject to FTC notification requirements and a waiting period (currently $66 million).
When is enough enough? A group of leading companies that we work with at Forum for the Future tell us that even their substantial progress on sustainability is not enough. And we think they're right. The next wave of corporate sustainability will be about innovating the fundamental logic of how a company creates value, in short creating "sustainable business models." In this emerging field, what examples and best practice can you suggest that help us all understand what to do next?
Not so long ago, any overture an entrepreneur made toward environmental sensitivity served her company well. Customers responded favorably to these businesses, whether or not their particular shades of green came from sincere and meaningful efforts or superficial marketing campaigns. Things are different today. Prospects are knowledgeable about environmental issues, and they have little respect for the business that makes false sustainability claims.
Clean tech investments rose 12% quarterly and 23% year-to-year in 3Q 2011, totaling $3.34 billion and 189 transactions. Slowing activity in major economies and the possibility of another breakdown in the global financial system hampered clean tech investment growth in 3Q, yet overall investment levels continued to exhibit strong growth, according to preliminary results of a Cleantech Group research report . “While financing remains constrained, it’s great to see growth in venture activity,” said Sheeraz Haji, Cleantech Group CEO. “Energy Storage emerged as our top sector, indicating continued strong interest in advanced technologies for grid-storage as well as for electric vehicles. Global enterprises continue to investment aggressively into clean tech.”
Fair Trade-certified coffee is growing in consumer familiarity and sales, but strict certification requirements are resulting in uneven economic advantages for coffee growers and lower quality coffee for consumers. By failing to address these problems, industry confidence in Fair Trade coffee is slipping. Jesus Lopez Hernandez picks ripe coffee cherries on a farm associated with Cooperativo Las Brumas, near Matagala, Nicaragua. (Photo by Janet Jarman/Corbis) P eter Giuliano is in many ways the model of a Fair Trade coffee advocate. He began his career as a humble barista, worked his way up the ladder, and in 1995 co-founded Counter Culture Coffee, a wholesale roasting and coffee education enterprise in Durham, N.C.