Tuesday, February 26, 2008

AeA GREEN initiatives ...in the press...

Chris Hansen, AeA’s new President & CEO, has got his finger on the pulse of the high tech community. On February 11th, he brought AeA’s environmental policy efforts to the forefront by announcing Ms. Holly Evans (President, Strategic Council LLC) as an advisor to the association. In this capacity, she will also be available to assist member companies on environmental policy issues at the State, international & federal levels via an acclaimed newsletter “Environmental Issues Update” which analyzes product-related environmental requirements of relevance to the electronics industry.

“One of the biggest challenges facing the high-tech industry today is the increasing number of environmental bills & regulations at every level of government that have proliferated across the country, imposing costly and burdensome requirements on manufacturers, “ said Mr. Hansen. “Under Holly’s trusted and experienced leadership, AeA will be even better positioned to engage this legislation at every turn, and add to our lobbying capabilities around the world.”

(Click here to see the official press release and more details on Holly Evans)

As for the AeA Los Angeles Council (which I chair), we are doing our part to educate members of the high tech community on green initiatives. On 03/20/08, we are hosting an event entitled “How Going Green Impacts The Bottom Line.”

(Click here to see our official press release!) Or scroll down through this blog to see what issues we will be touching on!

Friday, February 22, 2008

AeA Los Angeles Council on Facebook!

You can now see all of the AeA Los Angeles Council events on Facebook!

03/11/08 - Dinner @ Water Garden's new restaurant "Prego" in Santa Monica with keynote, Bob Fox (RSVP now!)

03/20/08 - Green Event @ UCLA (lots of details in below blog entry! RSVP now!)

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

How Going Green Affects The Bottom Line

The AeA is putting on an event 03/20/08 from 5:30pm to 8:00pm designed to educate & engage high technology companies on the existing & emerging issues in "going green." Hosted by the UCLA Sustainable Resouce Center, the panel will highlight stories of companies that have made their green initiatives translate into the concept of triple bottom line: Profits, Planet & People.

Early bird registration (ends 03/10) is $55-dollars for AeA members and $75-dollars general public. RSVP now to guarantee your spot. Price will increase by +10-dollars thereafter.

Read additional blog postings for detailed event content!


While different decision makers want different rewards, they still want their green to turn to gold.

The CEO:
Since the main role of the CEO is to set strategy & vision, it’s hard not to consider aspects of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) when setting the direction of a firm. CSR has begun to shape the culture of firms across the country. What has bubbled to the top most recently are CSR issues & compliance standards around environmental stewardship.

The chief executive has to take notice of the slue of mandates & regulations aimed at making electronic goods (along with their production & disposal) less harmful to the environment. From sourcing, manufacturing, transportation, commercialization, distribution, consumption, and disposal of goods, the adherence to WEEE and RoHS are critical in the supply chain. When a company is not in compliance, it looses its ability to sell in certain markets.

The CIO:
The optimal use of information & communication technology is critical to the CIO. According to Gartner, CIOs should only expect to pay hefty energy bills but beware that the vast majority of U.S. data centers will face energy disruptions in the coming years.

Because data centers can consume 15 times the energy per square foot of a typical office building, the potential for economic & environmental benefits are impressive. This situation caught the attention of Congress in 2006, which ordered the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to study trends in data-center energy use. The agency delivered a report in 2007, estimating that the IT sector consumed roughly 61 billion kilowatt-hours in ‘06, or 1.5% of the total U.S. electricity usage — more than double since 20000.

  • How Green is the data center? (source: Gartner)

    Look at the example of Citigroup. This company pledged to spend $232M on a LEED-certified data center in Germany.

The CMO:
Not only do consumers favor companies that credibly demonstrate reduction of carbon impact, employees are also positively impacted green initiatives. However, environmentalists and savvy consumers are on the look-out for “green-washing,” or marketing campaigns that masquerade as real environmental progress.

A corporate initiative may have honest intentions and even be an absolute positive for the environment. But if it doesn’t address the company’s central environmental culpability, then there are significant risks.

  • Can Green be transparent? (source: Green Marketing)

    Toyota, the darling of environmentalists these days, has its own take on transparent green marketing. Fore years, the automaker has discouraged the word “green” in any of its internal or external communications.

The HR Executive:
From recruiting to employee retention, sustainability projects boost employee moral. Sometimes called the “hire calling,” these initiatives come in many shapes and forms, including: employee telecommuting, carpooling, green building, employee matching programs, payroll giving, wellness programs, etc.

As the talent shortage becomes acute, more organizations are going to take a stance on green recruiting. Job seekers coming out of college are now demanding to know the kids of things that potential employer are doing for the environment.

  • Employee Sustainability Projects (source: Strategy Business.com)

    There are many success stories that can be noted here. One example which stands out from the rest is Toyota Motor Corp. success of moving one of its divisions into an environmentally friendly, or “green” building in Torrance in 2003, employee moral jumped while absenteeism fell. Another is Wal-Mart’s “Personal Sustainability Project” which encourages employees to come up with programs that will improve health & wellness as it relates to people and the environment.

The CFO:
While chief executives are proclaiming their new environmental initiatives without much fanfare, CFO’s, as guardians of their companies’ financial welfare, are let to account for the impact of these programs on the bottom line. The return on investment for CSR depends on three things: the industry, the company’s existing reputation, and the way the company approaches the issue.

The impact of reduced supply chain risk, increased brand loyalty or green IT can still be hard to quantify. However, with rising energy pries, many companies are realizing prompt returns on environmental programs.

  • What return can I expect on my investment? (source: CFO magazine)

    For example, Herman Miller (furniture manufacturer) says the company sees $4.5 million in annual savings from $2 million in annual spending on environmental initiatives.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

CEOs - Barbarians or Heros?

Only about 1/1000 of 1 percent of the total worldwide workforce will ever become a CEO for a major firm. Of those who defy the odds and become the chief executive, more than half of them will be regarded as failures.

The AeA Los Angeles Council is hosting a “Dinner for Decision Makers” at the Water Garden’s new restaurant, Prego (formerly Bizou Gardens) on March 11th 2008 in Santa Monica, California. Invited to speak is Bob Fox -- a semi-retired executive who has been the CEO of 7 companies (including Canada Dry, Continental Can, Del Monte, Foster Farms & Revlon International). Currently Bob serves on the Board of 12 companies and has been engaged as a professor at UC Berkley & UC Davis.

Over dinner, Bob will give a straight-forward account of “the good, the bad, and the ugly” conduct of corporate chief’s he’s worked with or come to know during his 40-year career.

Included in the evening’s discussion will be these CEO's -- whom Bob has worked with:

And these CEOs Bob personally knows:

Find out which of these men Bob regards as truly great, and which he classifies as barbarians... and why!

To RSVP, click here, or call JoElla Lapiana (Executive Director of the AeA Los Angeles Council) at 818. 226.3800 .

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Corporate Social Responsibility & High Tech

As chair of a non-profit technology association -- known as the AeA (www.aeanet.org) -- I am leading a local effort to educate high tech executives & future decision makers on the importance of Corporate Social Responsibility.

As you might be aware, the AeA markets itself as the largest association of high-tech companies in the United States – with about 2,300 companies – representing all segments of the industry and 1.8 million employees. Nationally, our primary purpose is helping our members top & bottom lines. Locally, we are focusing our events on sustainability, corporate philanthropy, environmental stewardship & CSR.

TechLine Magazine recently published an article I wrote. See page 26. (http://www.aeanet.org/PressRoom/wadz_TechLine_Winter08.asp) Entitled: CSR in High Tech.