Limerick game designer scoops national award

first_imgFacebook Linkedin NewsEducationLimerick game designer scoops national awardBy Editor – May 17, 2017 1292 Print For more information on the 2017 eir Junior Spider Awards and further details on the winning entries log onto www.juniorspiders.ie Previous articleTrain services to be disrupted throughout month of JuneNext articleWin cinema tickets Editor TAGSJunior SpidersLIT Moylish center_img Advertisement WhatsApp Email Eir Junior Spider Awards, Croke Park, Monday 8th May 2017.Eir Junior Spider Awards, Croke Park, Monday May 8, 2017.A young Limerick game designer has had his creations recognised with a national award.James Corneille from LIT (Moylish campus) won in the Best Game/Mobile App category at this Eir Junior Spiders Awards which reward students and young adults, aged 4 to 19, for the innovative ways they use the internet, especially in the areas of website coding, development and design.Sign up for the weekly Limerick Post newsletter Sign Up James’ project, Skizzle Ninja, scooped top honours in the 16-19 years old category, “I’ve a passion in education,” said James, “so I wanted to boost that, for children, but in a fun and enjoyable way through animations.”As with previous years, the Awards provide an amazing springboard for students who wish to pursue a career in this sector by providing access to influential business executives from a range of sectors across Irish business.John Anslow, Head of Sponsorship, eir and Chair of the eir Junior Spider Awards Judging Panel said “This has been another great year for the awards. The level of talent in schools across Ireland is mindblowing and it’s such a pleasure to witness first-hand the creativity, passion, ingenuity and genius of our students. In addition to congratulating all of today’s winners I would also like to say well done to all those schools shortlisted. It’s a fantastic achievement to get that far. eir is very proud to sponsor these Awards, and to be at the forefront of recognising the talent that is clearly present in classrooms around the country.” Twitterlast_img read more

In other news: Environmental stories from around the web, July 19, 2019

first_img Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsored There are many important conservation and environmental stories Mongabay isn’t able to cover.Here’s a digest of some of the significant developments from the week.If you think we’ve missed something, feel free to add it in the comments.Mongabay does not vet the news sources below, nor does the inclusion of a story on this list imply an endorsement of its content. Tropical forestsSmall oil palm farmers in Peru are supplying huge companies like Nestlé with their product (Swissinfo.ch).More than three-quarters of commodity suppliers haven’t made deforestation commitments (Supply Chain Dive).Fewer forest elephants means more carbon in the atmosphere, research shows (ZME Science, Gizmodo).The Catholic Church is involved in conservation efforts in the Congo Basin (Crux Now).Poaching and habitat loss have cut the numbers of the Masai subspecies of giraffe by 50 percent, and they’re now considered endangered (National Geographic).Authorities arrested Hawaiian elders protesting the construction of a telescope on the summit of Mauna Kea (The New York Times).Bornean orangutans are holding steady in protected areas in northern Borneo, but aren’t faring as well in areas with oil palm plantations (PLOS ONE/EurekAlert).Other newsA U.S. climate scientist talks about her faith as an evangelical Christian (The Washington Post).U.S. officials say that several Asian countries are to blame for plastic in the world’s oceans, without acknowledging the United States’ own contributions to the problem (Pacific Standard).Iron particles released by human activity could be changing the ocean’s geochemistry (Scientific American).Images of an orphaned dugong in Thailand have gone viral, drawing conservation attention to the species (Smithsonian).China is working to get a handle on “rogue” CFC emissions (Nature).Loggerhead sea turtles are laying eggs at a record pace in the southern U.S. (Associated Press).Climate change has increased the size of California’s wildfires by 500 percent (The Atlantic).Natural disasters unleash a slurry of harmful chemicals (The New York Times).Not all bioplastics are biodegradable (Ensia).A tanker has spilled thousands of tons of bauxite into a bay in the Solomon Islands, just months after an oil spill hit the same area (The Guardian).The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency won’t outlaw the use of a pesticide that may cause problems for children, questioning the “significance” of the data (The Washington Post).Banner image of a loggerhead sea turtle by ukanda via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY 2.0 ).FEEDBACK: Use this form to send a message to the author of this post. If you want to post a public comment, you can do that at the bottom of the page. Article published by John Cannoncenter_img Conservation, Environment, Weekly environmental news update last_img read more

Black-market anchovies: Report details Peru’s illegal fish meal industry

first_imgConservation, Environment, Fish, Fishing, Marine Biodiversity, Marine Conservation, Oceans, Overfishing Peru is the world’s leading producer of fish meal, made from anchovetas (Engraulis ringens) and used primarily as feed for aquaculture and livestock.It’s unclear precisely how much of the substance it makes because a sizeable portion appears to be off the books.Some 22,000 tons of fish meal are produced annually by illegal factories located in the Pisco province of southern Peru, according to a report by the NGO Oceana.The report identified three illegal mechanisms currently operating in Peru to produce fish meal for export and domestic use. Peru is the world’s leading producer of fish meal, but it’s unclear precisely how much of the substance it makes, given that a sizeable portion appears to be off the books. The industry is based on the anchoveta (Engraulis ringens), a silvery little member of the anchovy family that teems in massive schools in Peruvian waters. The fish, subject to natural boom-and-bust population cycles compounded by overfishing, support on their tiny backs the world’s largest single-species fishery, Peru’s $1.5 billion fish meal industry and tens of thousands of jobs.Official figures showing that Peru exports more fish meal than it produces hint at the fishy production. The country exported 867,000 tons but produced just 800,000 tons, on average, each year between 2012 and 2016, according to 2016’s Fisheries and Aquaculture Statistical Yearbook, put out by the Ministry of Production (PRODUCE).The scale of this illegal trade is substantial: Recently, producers in Peru have each year churned out around 90,000 tons of fish meal worth $130 million, according to a report by Apoyo Consultoría, a Lima-based consulting firm, for the country’s National Bank and Insurance Inspectorate.“Since much of the harvest used in this way is not declared, even though the volume in relation to the anchoveta population isn’t very big, it does represent an important distortion to the monitoring and biological management of this species,” Juan Carlos Sueiro, director of fisheries for the Peruvian branch of the international marine conservation NGO Oceana, told Mongabay via email.Sueiro co-authored an investigation for Oceana released in February 2019 that identified three illegal mechanisms currently operating in Peru to produce fish meal for export and domestic use. These are factories operating without installation permits or appropriate operating licenses; businesses that claim to produce food for human consumption but instead systematically divert anchovetas to fish meal factories; and drying fields, where anchoveta remains are dried in the sun in a labor-intensive, unsanitary and highly illegal way.The global market for aquaculture and livestock feed is driving increased production of fish meal and fish oil in places like Peru, West Africa, and India. But critics say the sector encourages the indiscriminate harvest of marine life without regard for ecological impact and takes seafood out of domestic food supplies, often in very poor and food-insecure countries. The use of fish meal in aquaculture has drawn particular fire as an inefficient use of marine resources. The cultivation of salmon or shrimp, for instance, requires more than six times as much wild fish, pound per pound, according to a recent report by the Netherlands-based Changing Markets Foundation.The aquaculture industry counters that there is little demand for wild forage fish like Peruvian anchoveta, so it makes sense to feed them to more marketable fish like salmon. Numerous efforts are afoot to develop alternative feeds and markets for species, such as tilapia, that require less fish in their diets. For the moment, however, global demand for fish meal is only rising.Mechanism one: Illegal fish meal factoriesThe Oceana investigation identified 10 illegal fish meal factories in the coastal province of Pisco in southern Peru. With no installation permits or operating licenses, these unmarked factories are located in agricultural areas and are difficult to access. They each process between 10 and 90 tons of mainly fresh anchovetas every day, or other species if necessary. Illegal fish meal factories in Pisco, according to the marine conservation NGO Oceana. Image courtesy of Oceana.The fish are brought directly from the artisanal fishing docks in the district of San Andrés and La Puntilla Fishing Complex 11 kilometers (7 miles) to the south, passing through around 10 different intermediaries along the way. “That’s where we lose track of them,” said Renato Gozzer, a fisheries engineer with the Peruvian NGO REDES and a co-author of the investigation. “The intermediaries’ world is pretty closed and dangerous. They are very territorial, dividing up the ports and acting like the Mafia,” he said.Since 2000, industrial fish meal factories have modernized their equipment in line with new environmental norms. The owners sold off the old machinery as scrap. “This equipment hasn’t been destroyed; it has been recycled and that’s what these illegal factories are using,” Gozzer said. Even with out-of-date machinery, the illegal factories can process up to 15 tons of feedstock per hour, three times more than a legal residual fish meal factory (one that processes otherwise unusable fish or fish parts) is authorized to process.The illegal factories use machinery discarded by the legal factories. Image courtesy of Oceana.Oceana estimates that each year these plants produce 22,000 tons of high-protein fish meal and 5,000 tons of fish oil with a total value of $32 million. And this is just a portion of Peru’s black-market fish meal industry.Mechanism two: Diverting anchoviesWhen an anchoveta is caught in Peruvian waters, its destination depends on the type of boat that catches it. If an artisanal fishing vessel catches it, it goes to a factory that handles fish categorized for “direct human consumption” to be processed and preserved by freezing or canning. The head, tail and intestines are removed and only part of its body will end up on the dinner table.The leftovers, which can legally comprise up to three-quarters of an anchoveta’s body, go to the so-called residual fish meal factories. This fish meal is of much lower quality than conventional fish meal made by factories that process whole anchovetas caught by industrial vessels.Anchoveta-fishing vessels along the Peruvian coast. Image by Andre Baertschi/Oceana.Oceana’s investigation found that whole anchovetas destined for the direct human consumption plants are systematically diverted to the residual fish meal plants. “[A] truck simply enters [an unmarked garage], holds the anchovetas for a while until they are no longer fit for human consumption and must be sent to the fish meal factories,” Sueiro said. A direct human consumption factory suspected of diverting whole anchovetas to residual fish meal plants, which are only supposed to process fish heads, intestines, and other discarded parts. Image courtesy of Oceana.Oceana compared the official export and production volumes of cured anchovetas, known as curados. Exports were marginal, so most of the production, some 5,200 tons annually, should be available for consumption within Peru. The strange thing, according to Sueiro, is that “in Peru, we don’t eat anchovetas; we export them.”Despite the lack of a domestic market to consume the curados that are allegedly available, the number of factories that produce curados has increased recently, from 61 in 2011 to 73 today. Moreover, together only five of them produced nearly half of the country’s curado exports over the last five years. For Sueiro, this doesn’t make sense, especially given that they did so while possessing less than 6 percent of the total curado-processing capacity. One possible explanation, according to the Oceana report, is that some of the other 68 curado factories “systematically divert fresh anchovetas to factories that make illegal fish meal.”A comparison of catches (orange), production (gray) and exports (yellow) of cured anchovetas known as curados for the Peruvian department of Ancash. Exports of curados are marginal and there is no domestic market that justifies such high production rates. Image by Mongabay Latam based on official data from PRODUCE.Mongabay Latam asked PRODUCE and the Ancash regional government why they continue to award operating permits to curado factories if there is no market that justifies their production. However, neither organization responded by the time of this story’s original publication last February. According to the report, the residual fish meal factories, when processing complete anchovetas and not the leftovers, produce high-quality fish meal that is mainly sold internationally. The report identified two pathways for these sales: Conventional fish meal plants, the ones that process the catch from the industrial fishing fleet, purchase the fish meal and sell it as their own product. Or the residual fish meal plants, which export it directly through brokers who specialize in taking this fish meal abroad. A representative of the National Fishing Society (SNP by its Spanish acronym) told Mongabay Latam that it has “ensured that all factories that are associated [with it] comply with the IFFO RS certification so the customer has a guarantee for the traceability and origin of their products.” The SNP recommends that buyers only purchase fish meal from factories that hold that certification, one of the most common standards, which was set up by the Marine Ingredients Organisation, a London-based trade group for the fish meal and fish oil industry.But in Peru, the official records of the quantity of primary material received and the quantity produced from it are based on legal declarations that the factories send to the Ministry for Production. According to the Oceana investigators, that means there is no real-time system of traceability that would allow the correlation between the amount of fish received and the quantity of fish meal produced to be checked against concrete evidence. Fishing boats. Image by Andre Baertschi/Oceana.“[T]his weakness in controlling fish production statistics leaves a loophole for the directors of the factories for Direct Human Consumption that are engaged in the illicit diversion of anchovetas to illegal fish meal production to declare fictitious production quantities so the records show they are making the products they are authorized to produce,” the report states. The SNP representative confirmed that the group is aware of the problem and is implementing the Anchoveta Fishing Improvement Project “through which we aim to encourage scientific investigation and the management of this fishery,” including improving the traceability of anchoveta fishing by artisanal and small-scale fishers.Mechanism three: The drying plainsSince the residual fish meal plants are not processing the leftovers from the direct human consumption factories, drying plains have proliferated to fulfill this demand. Here anchoveta leftovers are spread out on the ground to dry in the sun; then they are ground by hand in a process that is both illegal and unsanitary.The drying plains also receive waste from the local markets and the fishing boats, as well as fish from the artisanal boats that is not accepted by the factories due to its advanced state of decomposition. When there is an excess anchoveta catch they also take fish that the factories lack the capacity to accept. Oceana identified more than 25 drying plains in the departments of Ica, Ancash and Piura.Fish leftovers drying in the sun on the drying plains. Image courtesy of Oceana.The product is often sold to residual or illegal factories, which use it to top up their stocks and lower costs. “The quality of the production on the fields is too low to be sold on its own, but if two tons of this fish meal is mixed with 20 tons of a better-quality fish meal, it’s fine,” Sueiro said.In Peru, the production of fish, poultry and livestock species that require a balanced diet is growing, and “fish meal is the main ingredient and one of the most important sources of protein in making these foods,” according to the Oceana report. However, the legally produced fish meal and the fish oils are almost entirely exported, leaving the growing domestic demand for fish meal unmet and incentivizing illegal production, the report says.Sueiro outlined to Mongabay several ways the illegal production of fish meal complicates sound management of the Peruvian anchoveta fishery and raises economic and nutritional issues for the country: it prevents managers from knowing the true volume of anchovetas removed from the sea; the illegal businesses pay no taxes and provide only precarious employment; illegal fish meal has no sanitary control, presenting a health risk to the animals that eat it; the sector also inhibits innovation in efforts to encourage people to eat anchoveta directly. The latter, Sueiro said, is something that groups like Oceana are keen to do to improve nutrition and develop more ecologically efficient uses for the fish. “[N]either the State, nor PRODUCE, nor the NGOs, nor the fisherman know where this is heading,” Sueiro said. “[W]hat we have done is shed light on the problem so we can understand how it works. Now the competent bodies need to do their work.”Mongabay Latam sought responses to questions from PRODUCE, but the agency did not respond. This story was first published in Spanish on Mongabay Latam on Feb. 12, 2019. Additional reporting by Rebecca Kessler. Article published by Maria Salazarcenter_img Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsoredlast_img read more

Success of Microsoft’s ‘moonshot’ climate pledge hinges on forest conservation

first_imgArticle published by Glenn Scherer One mechanism by which the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement incentivizes greenhouse gas reductions is via carbon offsets, payments that compensate nations, states and private landowners who agree to keep forests intact in order to preserve carbon storage capacity and biodiversity.But problems exist with forest carbon offset initiatives: corrupt landowners, lack of carbon accounting transparency, and low carbon pricing have caused wariness among investors, and failed to spur forest preservation.Now, in a landmark move, Microsoft has pledged to go “carbon negative” by 2030, and erase all the company’s greenhouse gas emissions back to its founding in 1975 by 2050. A big part of achieving that goal will come via the carbon storage provided by verified global forest conservation and reforestation projects around the globe.To achieve its goal, Microsoft has teamed with Pachama, a Silicon Valley startup, that seeks to accurately track forest carbon stocks in projects in the Brazilian and Peruvian Amazon, the U.S. and elsewhere using groundbreaking advanced remote-sensing technology including LiDAR, artificial intelligence and satellite imaging. Diego Saez-Gil, a native Argentinian with a graduate degree from Stanford, is a serial Silicon Valley entrepreneur. Pachama is his third company. He got the idea while touring the Peruvian Amazon with his two brothers and witnessing massive deforestation from illegal gold mining. “We all wanted to do something about it,” he said. Image courtesy of Pachama.Microsoft made global headlines in January when it announced that it will become “carbon negative” by 2030, erasing all the company’s greenhouse gas emissions since its founding in 1975 — a move, the tech firm deemed “a bold bet and moonshot” for climate mitigation that in part requires the conservation and restoration of vast swaths of carbon-storing forests.Behind those headlines is a little-known Silicon Valley startup that will be tracking forest carbon stocks in projects around the globe on behalf of Microsoft, using a pioneering array of advanced remote-sensing technology including LiDAR, artificial intelligence and satellite imaging.Pachama, with $4.1 million in early investor backing, will closely monitor verified carbon offset projects to ensure Microsoft’s investment in the global carbon market is actually achieving forest preservation and emission reductions critical to slowing the rate of climate change.“Our goal is to put this technology to the service of making faster, cheaper, and the more reliable issuance of carbon credits involving forests,” said Argentina native Diego Saez-Gil, 37, a serial entrepreneur, environmentalist and Pachama’s founding CEO. “Companies such as Microsoft and many others have been buying other carbon credits. But they stay away from forests because of questions around [project] permanence,” whether actual forest is being preserved, “and lack of trust regarding projects over time.”Saez-Gil, in an exclusive interview with Mongabay, said Microsoft will soon announce its partnership with Pachama. In the meantime, he said the startup is lining up certified forest projects in North and South America that will go toward Microsoft’s initial goal of absorbing part of the 16 million metric tons of carbon it says it will emit in 2020 across its 12-country footprint.“There are a lot of things we’re going to do together with Microsoft,” Saez-Gil said, including monitoring 60,000 hectares (148,263 acres) of intact rainforest in the Brazilian Amazon state of Pará, and an additional 20,000 hectares (49,421 acres) in approved U.S. forest projects across Vermont, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Tennessee and California.“Right now, the bigger ambition with Microsoft is that we can bring them more [forest] projects,” Saez-Gil added. “They have a big volume of carbon offsets that they want to purchase, but there aren’t that many projects, right? So hopefully, we can monitor and onboard new projects. We are a small company, but we have big ambitions to help this large corporation meet its goals and see that the money goes to the right conservation projects.”New England forests in-total, and a small area seen close up. Pachama will be focusing its work for Microsoft at first in the forests of New England, Brazil and Peru. Image courtesy of Pachama.Paris and carbon offsetsA primary mechanism for achieving carbon reduction pledges under the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement is the use of carbon offsets to compensate nations, states and private landowners who agree to keep forests intact in order to preserve their biodiversity and carbon storage capacity. But problems with corrupt landowners, lack of transparency in carbon accounting and meager carbon pricing have kept carbon offsetting — and its broad potential to incentivize forest preservation — from taking off with would-be investors.But the Paris accord recognizes that energy and transportation sector emission reductions will be insufficient for holding global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above a 1900 baseline; the earth has already warmed 1o C (1.8o F). So, to meet Paris commitments, climate action will also require “negative emissions” from landscape-based solutions including carbon sequestration via forest preservation and restoration, to agroforestry, a highly climate- and biodiversity-positive form of agriculture that is estimated to currently sequester 45 gigatons of carbon from the atmosphere, a figure which grows by .75 a year while feeding communities.Pachama works closely with four organizations that certify legitimate forest-based carbon offset projects: the American Carbon Registry, Climate Action Reserve, Verified Carbon Standard, and Gold Standard. A key Pachama goal: enable smaller, private landowners to participate in carbon offsetting to preserve their forests rather than selling off their trees as timber and wood pellets, or allowing forestlands to be used for farming or mineral extraction.Saez-Gil asserts that Pachama’s comprehensive monitoring will be both monthly and rigorous, a standard critical to Microsoft, as the high tech firm has pledged regular reporting and transparency in its carbon offset investments.Pachama will use high tech innovations to meticulously ground-truth forest carbon and monitor verification goals. Drone-mounted LiDAR technology will scan forests in 3-D, from the canopy to the ground, to precisely estimate carbon density per tree. NASA satellite imagery will reveal any major deforestation and other drastic landscape changes. Artificial intelligence and machine learning will be used to analyze satellite images to further estimate carbon storage.If fire, logging or other deforestation reduces the carbon capacity of a particular project, Pachama will report the change immediately to protect Microsoft’s investment and to make sure emission shifts are accurately counted.The company will also work actively to connect verified carbon sequestration projects with corporate carbon investors, and help assure a good carbon price.Microsoft, for example, will pay forest protection projects at the rate of $15 per ton of carbon stored — better than the current global average of about $10 a ton, but a price that will need to rise for greater participation, observers say. Pachama will collect payments from Microsoft and other investors, pay the forest project holder and retain a commission.LiDAR, an aerial forest monitoring technology that uses lasers reflecting on targets, can measure tree height and size, capturing the canopy in incredible detail and converting it to data that can be analyzed for carbon storage. Image courtesy of Pachama.Independent experts cautiously optimisticExperts in carbon accounting and remote sensing voiced cautious optimism about this new private-sector model in which one company makes carbon reduction commitments, then contracts with a second company to assure accurate carbon reporting. Ideally, this results in the slowing of devastating deforestation, especially in critically important tropical and boreal forests.Bill Moomaw, professor emeritus at Tufts University and a global expert in carbon accounting and sustainable development, is especially impressed with Pachama’s use of LiDAR: “It is the eye in the sky that can actually determine not just the actual canopy cover, but also the density of the wood beneath the canopy. This can all be translated into tons of carbon.”While applauding Microsoft’s plan, Moomaw worries that $15 per ton for carbon may not be sufficient as an incentive, except perhaps in poorer regions, like rural Brazil. He also stressed that project selection is key, conserving forests truly threatened with commercial deforestation.“I don’t want to get carried away with [applauding] what this company [Pachama] is trying to do,” Moomaw said. “But the news on climate is so bad every day, and this sounds like a really astounding thing.”Sassan Saatchi, a senior scientist with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, is an expert on satellite imaging of global tree cover and carbon stocks. He warned that transparency and verification in reporting will be crucial for Pachama.If it achieves that, Saatchi concluded, the benefits could be worthwhile: “The private sector… can be fast in making observations more accessible to other companies that want to reduce their carbon footprints and mitigate climate impacts. This is Pachama’s role to play and they can play it well.”Banner image caption: A small section of New England forest analyzed using photogrammetry, the science of making reliable measurements via the use of photographs and especially aerial photographs. Image courtesy of Pachama.Justin Catanoso, a regular contributor to Mongabay, is a professor of journalism at Wake Forest University. Follow him on Twitter @jcatanosoFEEDBACK: Use this form to send a message to the author of this post. If you want to post a public comment, you can do that at the bottom of the page. Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsoredcenter_img Agroforestry, Amazon Conservation, Amazon Rainforest, Artificial Intelligence, carbon, Carbon Conservation, Carbon Credits, Carbon Emissions, Carbon Finance, Carbon Footprint, Carbon Market, Carbon Offsets, Carbon Sequestration, Climate, Climate Change, Climate Change And Conservation, Climate Change And Forests, climate finance, Climate Science, data collection, Deforestation, Environment, Forest Carbon, Green, Happy-upbeat Environmental, Land Use Change, LiDAR, Rainforest Deforestation, Rainforests, satellite data, Satellite Imagery, Saving Rainforests, Saving The Amazon, Temperate Forests, Tropical Deforestation, Tropical Forests last_img read more

A legacy of harmony and pride

first_imgThe national flag flew high during the World Cup.(Image: Bongani Nkosi)  Although the spirit of the 2010 Fifa World Cup has touched South Africa in many significant ways, the legacy of unity is above all else for Dr Irvin Khoza, chairperson of the tournament’s Local Organising Committee.Never before have we seen South Africans so united, Khoza said during an emotional address at a press briefing in Johannesburg on 12 July. “Today we talk about South Africans of all colours saying our team, our country.”Flags and fan gearThe national flag became a phenomenon during the month-long spectacle and was flown with pride by South Africans of all races and creeds. Just about every car on the road seemed to have one attached to its rooftop.Public and private organisations came to the party as well and displayed the country’s flag on their building façades. It was also a prominent feature at many events in the run-up to the World Cup.But it wasn’t only our colours that stood out: in the spirit of welcoming the world to the country, flags of all 32 participating nations were hoisted in many places. This turned the streets, stadiums and other public venues into a sea of vibrancy.Then there was the green and yellow Bafana Bafana gear, which became a popular fashion item before and during the tournament. South Africans wore the shirts, especially on Fridays, to show the team they were behind it.“Never before have you seen so many people wearing Bafana’s jersey and flying their flag,” said Khoza.The two trends were inspired by the Fly the Flag and Football Fridays campaigns initiated by the International Marketing Council. The organisation distributed as many flags as it could around the country, while South Africans went all out to buy the official Bafana shirts made by Adidas. This was no small investment, as they sell for anything between R550 (US$73) and R900 ($120). Locals also bought their own flags to display.George Chauke, from Giyani in Limpopo province, became one of the ultimate supporters by adorning his car with 261 flags of different countries, including those which didn’t participate in the World Cup. He spent a whopping R7 500 ($996) on the flags.Deeply movedKhoza, one of the top football administrators in the country, was deeply moved by the enthusiasm shown.“It has touched all South Africans ‒ even those who do not follow football,” he said.Nicknamed the “Iron Duke”, Khoza is also vice-president of the South African Football Association, and chairperson of the Premier Soccer League and Orlando Pirates ‒ a highly respected local team.Mandela at Soccer CityThe date 11 July 2010, when the World Cup final was played, was significant as it marked the 47th anniversary of the arrest of the Rivonia Treason Trialists, Khoza said at the press briefing.The group captured by apartheid police on 11 July 1963 consisted of a number of senior African National Congress members ‒ all heavily involved in the liberation struggle. They included Walter Sisulu, Govan Mbeki, Ahmed Kathrada, Denis Goldberg and Arthur Goldreich.Although Nelson Mandela was not part of the initial group, he was later implicated in its anti-apartheid activities and forced to stand trial with the others. All 10 of the accused went to prison.During the trial Mandela was charged with sabotage and sentenced to life imprisonment on Robben Island. He was released 27 years later and soon became the country’s ultimate hero and president of the newly democratic South Africa.It is in this context that Khoza spoke of the appearance of Mandela, now frail and in his nineties, at Soccer City before the final World Cup match was played between Spain and the Netherlands.“The crowning experience was when Madiba came onto the pitch,” said Khoza.The football boss was also touched by the sight of a jubilant Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu at the final. “For 90 minutes he was dancing and not watching the game,” Khoza said, adding that the last time he saw Tutu rejoicing like that was in 1994, after he cast his vote in South Africa’s first democratic elections.last_img read more

6 Steps to Better Email Outreach

first_imgHere are six great, easy steps to improving your email outreach that Anne Holland presented at Marketing Sherpa’s Email Summit:Opt-ins – Make it easy for people to sign up to hear from your nonprofit right on your home page. Don’t make them have to hunt long and hard to find how to sign up, or go to through many steps and pages to do it.Welcome messages – Only half of folks Marketing Sherpa surveyed welcomed new sign-ups within 72 hours. You can stand out just by saying hi and starting a conversation once people do opt-in to hear from you.Transactional emails – People open them at much higher rates than anything else. Of course – they want their receipt or to track their stuff if they’ve bought something. So when you receipt (and I hope, thank) donors, you might consider putting in a bit of nice additional content. I wouldn’t ask for more money right then because donors are tired of that, though.Reputation – from AOL to Earthlink to Yahoo!, providers are sorting spam by the reputation of the organization sending the mail. Even though you’re a nice nonprofit, you might get blocked if you’ve had too many bounces or unsubscribes from your emails. So think about slashing your list so it’s just made up of people who really want to hear from you, and consider being more careful about sharing it with people who might spam your supporters.Design and rendering – Did you know half of all folks 25-54 have images blocked on email by default? Wow. And a high number of folks read all their email in preview panes. MAKE SURE your emails appear right. It turns out when people get an email with a funky layout or blocked images, many think it’s spam. Second, make sure that if your images are blocked, there is something interesting to read so you don’t lose people. Third, put what’s interesting at the top and at the left so people can see it in preview.Landing pages – Sherpa says they give you the best bang for your buck. So don’t just write great emails. If people click through, make sure the place they go is very compelling.last_img read more

What makes for motivation

first_imgJeremy Gregg at the Raiser’s Razor blog asked me to answer the following question: What drives your philanthropassion? In other words, why have I, like you, chosen to be overworked and underpaid in the third sector?Part of the answer for me is, I spent a number of years working as a journalist in very poor countries. And the poverty and pain I saw on a daily basis was hard to simply witness, over and over. So I stopped reporting and started working to remedy what I was seeing. (This is not to say journalism does not do much to contribute to the social good or to right wrongs – it does. I just wanted to be more involved in the story.)So part of my motivation is based on need.But the bigger part of it is based on change. I saw enough good when I was reporting that I also grew to believe there was hope in most situations. And that, ultimately, is the most motivating thing of all.I started my book this way: We all have moments in life when we happen upon our calling, and mine was when I encountered a giant, smiling condom in Cambodia. I go on to tell the story of being inspired by the ground-breaking work of the nonprofit PSI to make AIDS prevention fun and hopeful (including via a giant condom balloon), to great success. I saw the good in the story and possibility in the future.I think ultimately, what makes for the most powerful motivation (at least for me) is not how bad something is now but rather how much better it could be.last_img read more

4 Tips on Using Photos Online

first_imgAs promised in yesterday’s post, Bryan at Collective Lens has been kind enough to provide these tips, as well as these stunning photos, generously shared by the talented Shehzad Noorani and Kathy Adams.copyright Shehzad NooraniSathi’s (8 years old) face is blacked with carbon dust from recycled batteries. Often she looks so black, that children in her neighborhood call her ghost. She works in battery recycling factory at Korar Ghat on the outskirts of Dhaka. She earns less than Taka 200 ($3.50 approx) per month.Kathy Adams, Empowerment InternationalLook Mom, I CAN count! Empowerment International works with not just students in Nicaragua but also their parents. Getting the parents involved and supportive of their child’s education is one key to success in completing at least primary school (in a nation where only 50% of the enrolled 1st graders complete 5th grade).– Use photos to tell a story. “A picture is worth 1000 words,” as they say. Imagery can go much further than written text to bring out the events and emotions of a particular cause or issue. One photo can describe a pressing situation, warm the heart of the viewer, or cause your audience to react and respond. Furthermore, with multiple photos organized into a photo essay, an entire story can be told from the big picture to the smallest details in an efficient and effective manner.– Use photos to grab the attention of the viewer. In today’s media-driven society, words alone can not compete for the attention of your desired audience. With television, movies, YouTube, texting, and millions of competing websites, your message must make an instantaneous impact. This is especially true if you are vying for the attention of today’s youth. If your message is text only, you should not expect most people to read more than five sentences. Lead with a powerful photo.– Use photos to create an emotional impact. Human faces attract the viewer’s eye faster than any other subject matter. Use this to your advantage, and display photos that showcase the human impact of an important issue and the work that your organization is doing around it.– Copyright issues are extremely important. If you see a photo on the web, you are most likely not allowed to use it. The photographer has full copyrights to the photo unless otherwise noted. However, it doesn’t hurt to ask for permission! Many photographers would be delighted to hear from you, especially if you’re using the photo for a good cause. Keep in mind that the production of good photography costs money and is a career for many people. Also, many websites such as Collective Lens and Flickr allow photographers to mark their photos with Creative Commons licenses, and then allow the public to search for photos marked with these licenses. These licenses allow others to freely use the photos, but only under certain conditions, and always with attribution. For example, a photo marked with a Creative Commons Non Commercial license (CC-BY-NC) can not be used for commercial or advertising purposes. However, it is permissible to use it in an editorial story. It is also important to note that the people in the photos have rights as well. If a photo is to be used for commercial purposes, then every identifiable person in the photo must sign a release. If a photographer does not have releases, then he or she should have marked the photo with a Creative Commons Non Commercial license. Sometimes copyright rules can get complicated, but don’t let that deter you from asking questions if you have doubts about a photo. If all else fails, email the photographer and ask for permission.last_img read more

The Coming Transformation of Social Enterprise

first_imgProfessor Kash Rangan is one of the pioneers of Harvard Business School’s Social Enterprise Initiative, now 15 years old. Back in 1993, most people took a “spray and pray” approach to philanthropy—writing checks to charities and hoping something would happen. But Rangan and HBS professor Jim Austin, picked by Dean John McArthur to lead the new initiative, saw the potential for research, curriculum, and career development around the challenges of social enterprises, including both nonprofit and for-profit organizations. Over the ensuing years, the initiative flourished as did the nation’s social enterprise organizations.Today, the United States has more than 1.4 million non-profit organizations, and they account for 5 percent of GDP. Annual contributions have grown faster than the economy for years, and experts predict an avalanche of cash ahead. By 2052, an estimated $6 trillion will flow directly to social enterprise organizations. Concurrently, a new generation of business leaders and philanthropists is experimenting with hybrid forms of social enterprises while demanding more transparency and accountability from the organizations they are funding. In Rangan’s view, the sector is poised on the brink of transformation, a topic he enthusiastically expounded upon during a recent interview in his Morgan Hall office.Roger Thompson: The terms “social enterprise” and “nonprofit” seem to be used interchangeably. Are they synonymous?Kash Rangan: No. There’s an important distinction. Very early in the program we decided that we wouldn’t focus purely on nonprofits. We thought it should be about social enterprise, regardless of whether it’s for-profit or nonprofit. We defined social enterprise as an entity that’s primarily in the business of creating social value. As long as an organization creates significant social value, we don’t care how it sustains itself—with internally generated surplus or with donor funds.Americans give roughly $300 billion a year to nonprofits, yet we really don’t know much about what charitable organizations actually accomplish. Why aren’t nonprofits more accountable and transparent with all this money?That’s a very big issue in this sector because there is no common measure or framework to assess whether these organizations are accomplishing their mission. Even simple measures are not widely reported, like we got X donations, and we took care of 1,000 children at a cost of $80 a child, which is less than $120 a child spent by comparable organizations. Even that amount of reporting would be very useful, but it is not the norm.By and large the reporting focuses on the costs of raising money. The lower the better, with the logic being that more money can then go to actual programs. So an organization might report, “We spend 6 percent on fundraising, whereas the industry average is 12 to 14 percent.” That’s typical, but beyond that, we don’t know how the other 94 percent is used. How many people came into the program, and what benefits did they get? And then the even bigger question beyond cost efficiency and effectiveness is, what impact did the organization have? Granted it is very complex to get all the way to that level, but even signposts along the way could be very useful.Q: Which is harder: raising money, building a successful organization, or achieving real impact?A: They are all interrelated, but raising money is not the hardest of the three. Getting money is hard, but it is not more difficult than the other two. That’s why there are over 1.4 million nonprofits, each with some amount of funding.Putting the money to good use, building a successful organization, showing that you have a demonstrable impact in achieving your mission, and then scaling the organization are the hardest to accomplish. When you show impact, more money will flow in.Q: Given how few nonprofits can document impact, would you say these organizations suffer from a leadership deficit?No, I wouldn’t put it that way. Many nonprofit leaders are fantastic, more than is acknowledged. They work hard, and they are very passionate about what they do. So I wouldn’t call it a leadership deficit. I think there’s an imagination deficit.“I wouldn’t call it a leadership deficit. I think there’s an imagination deficit.”Leaders typically ask, “Am I accomplishing my program?” But that is too narrow a view. Nonprofit leaders need to be more visionary. They need to stretch themselves more and worry about mission impact. I believe nonprofit leaders get too bogged down in operational issues, be it fundraising, or managing the board, or program execution. They need to be more strategic.Q: What role can HBS and other business schools play in helping develop the next generation of social enterprise leaders?A: I don’t think the business schools by themselves are going to solve this problem. Whether it’s HBS or any other business school, ultimately I think students come to learn how to be leaders in the business arena. Right now 5 percent of our graduates go to work in the nonprofit sector. To expect 20 to 30 percent is asking too much. Maybe we could pump the percentage up to 7 to 10 percent. But at the end of the day, even counting graduates from other business schools, if you produce 2,000 to 3,000 MBAs a year to work in a sector with more than 1.4 million nonprofits, it’s just a drop in the bucket. There are huge salary discrepancies as well.Ultimately our impact lies beyond directly producing leaders for nonprofits. At least half of our graduates between ten and fifteen years out are quite involved with nonprofits. They might not be directly engaged as leaders, but they sit on boards, provide donations, and serve as volunteers. And they can influence and bring about change. That’s where the education we impart at HBS is so important. Our approach to social enterprise has broad appeal to students who may not even go to work directly in the sector. Without it, they would always approach nonprofits as philanthropy. I believe our curriculum conditions our graduates to ask the difficult questions on performance, and even go beyond and recall cases, frameworks, and solution approaches. It is quite a different approach to participating in the sector. In a way they become the catalysts for internal change.Q: Many alumni get involved with corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives. Critics of CSR often cite Milton Friedman, who famously said that “the social responsibility of business is to increase profits.” Do you agree?A: I absolutely think it’s too narrow a view. In the decade of the ’90s, maximizing shareholder value became a corporate mantra. But the notion that the corporation exists only to maximize shareholder value lasted only a decade. It was a historical anomaly. In almost every other decade business leaders have acknowledged that corporations exist within the larger fabric of society. The School’s second dean, Wallace Donham, said that the focus of a business is to make a decent profit decently.Q: Venture philanthropy, which applies principles of venture investing to social enterprises, has become a hot topic lately. Is venture philanthropy a good idea?A: The first generation of venture philanthropy had its roots in the success of venture capital. Investors were carried away by the notion of gaining economic returns on their investments, not huge returns but some returns, as a way of forcing an efficient use of their capital. The shining example was microfinance, which provided attractive returns, so why not otherforms of social enterprise?I don’t think that’s a realistic view of the work of nonprofits in general. If you look at social service organizations working at the cutting edge of where markets have failed, the idea of venture philanthropy clicking is a little hard for me to buy into. Venture philanthropy has to come of age and reorient itself by defining what measures of social return it is looking for. In some instances social and economic returns could be correlated, but in many cases they won’t. If you are looking for a social and not an economic return, then loyalty to the program rather than an exit strategy may be a better use of funds. The venture philanthropy community has some translation work to do. Right now venture philanthropy is only a small part of the landscape.Q: Another hot topic in the nonprofit world is the idea of creating a for-profit business to help underwrite the cost of operations. Is this the way to go to secure a reliable stream of funds?A: I don’t think so. There’s a lot of charitable money available. Family foundations now number more than 34,000, an increase of 22 percent between 2001 and 2005. Big foundations have more money in their endowments than they can give away. And there is an intergenerational transfer estimated at $6 trillion over the next fifty years specifically earmarked for social enterprises. None of these sources of money is actually looking for an economic return. They’re definitely looking for a social return. That being the case, I don’t think that nonprofits should quickly jump at creating for-profit enterprises. In certain segments like health care, and even arts and culture, it might make sense when the for-profit and nonprofit parts are tightly linked by a common purpose or platform. For example, in health care several very successful social entrepreneurs have created a hybrid model where paying clients subsidize the “free” clients. The whole organization, however, is doing only one thing, eye surgery or heart surgery or orthopedic surgery and so on.But to think that an environmental organization could sustain itself by selling mugs and T-shirts is a bit of a stretch. It is not that hard to put together a for-profit arm, but to have it be a significant contributor to the core mission requires considerable strategic work. It may not be possible for a vast majority of organizations in this space. It could be an unnecessary distraction.Q: Where do you see social enterprise heading over the next decade?A: I am an optimist, and I believe we will see refreshing changes in that time frame. The new cadre of donors, the new family foundations, the folks who are involved in venture philanthropy, the new generation of entrepreneurs, and business leaders engaged in corporate social responsibility initiatives all will start attacking social issues in a much more disciplined way. Nonprofits too are very adaptive organizations. I expect to see some common understanding in the sector of what performance means, and how social value creation is measured and reported. From there on it is only a matter of aligning the money with the causes they care about. Perhaps investment intermediaries will emerge to ease the introductions and connections. There may be some consolidation of nonprofits at the top, but the sector will be a lot more vibrant with many new players and actors helping to facilitate the transformation.About the authorRoger Thompson is editor of the HBS Alumni Bulletin.Copyright © 2008 President and Fellows of Harvard Collegelast_img read more