Monday, May 25, 2009

I’ll take Sustainability for 500, Alex.

Want answers to your questions about sustainable business? Check out the new website ethipedia, the online encyclopedia of sustainable business practices, hosts a database of documented practices adopted by organizations seeking to incorporate greater social and environmental responsibility into their operations. With an initial store of over 75 case studies from around the world, this is the largest free resource of its kind.

"The goal of this portal is to offer a library of replicable strategies for applying sustainability principles to one's organization. By making this information accessible, this site hopes to accelerate the market shift towards sustainable operations," says the site's Co-Founder, sustainability consultant Brenda Plant.

The project was launched by ethiquette Inc., creators of the green consumer portal,, in partnership with Fondaction, Quebec's labour-sponsored venture capital fund. Content exchange partnerships have so far been established with the Canadian Business Ethics Research Network and the World Forum Lille, a European coalition of businesses implementing Corporate Social Responsibility strategies.

What are sustainable business practices? Practices recognized by ethipedia are ones that go beyond legal compliance and that demonstrate an improvement upon standard procedures.

The Practice must have a ‘net positive’ effect on the environment or social conditions when all surrounding and subsidiary effects are considered. That is, that a perceived benefit is not cancelled out by an accompanying drawback. The net positive effect of the Practice must correspond with one of 7 social or environmental areas of concern: respect for the environment, governance and transparency, respect for social justice, respect for workers, community economic development, respect for consumers and fair operating practices.

If you think companies can and should do better, check out the ideas and resources on this website.

"ethipedia opens the door to a powerful information exchange and the advancement of sustainability." Amy Domini, Founder and CEO of Domini Social Investments and the Co-founder of the Domini 400 Social Index, a stock market index selected according to a set of social and environmental standards.

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