Category Archives: Business & Society >

Good idea: from food waste to job skills

Food waste is a growing problem. By some estimates, about one-third of the food the world produces is lost or thrown away. But what if we could tackle food waste while also delivering skills and professional development? An enterprising British firm is doing this by selling supermarket surpluses at a discount and using its stores as mini-community centres, where customers … Read more…

Growing pains in the sharing economy

As a business writer, I’ve got used to the corporate jargon. But at one time I found it pretty confusing. Why did everyone want to share information with me? Were they going to divide it into pieces, like a cake? Once I was asked if I’d share my phone. But how was that possible without going back to the old … Read more…

CEO perspective: Jack Larsen, UnitedHealthcare Medicare and retirement

For many companies, a corporate awakening comes with a crisis. At UnitedHealth Group, a stock options scandal prompted some senior management soul searching. “It was painful,” recalls Jack Larsen, chief executive of UnitedHealthcare Medicare and retirement. “But we can’t lose sight of the fact that we are a very social business, carrying out social policy.” The stock options scandal, which … Read more…

Technology changes the entrepreneur’s game

Entrepreneurs are happier and more satisfied with their work than most. That’s what the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) found in a recent report. And while launching a start-up involves numerous setbacks and disappointments, some believe that, assisted by technology, the climate for entrepreneurs and social entrepreneurs has never been more favourable. Of course, technology can’t fix all obstacles. Take red … Read more…

CEO perspective: Ajay Goel, Tata Power Solar

After returning to his native India in 2012 to take on a job at Tata Power Solar, one of the first things Ajay Goel did was to head out of the office. As chief executive of a company with a more than 20-year history in solar power, he wanted to meet his customers – and many of them were the … Read more…

CEO perspective: Shibu Shibulal, Infosys

A recent Infosys sustainability report quotes Edward Wilson, US biologist and author, on the need to “raise people everywhere to a decent standard of living.” This need is particularly pressing in India, where the IT outsourcing giant is based. Because the country’s social problems are so acute, says Shibu Shibulal, Infosys chief executive, companies can make substantial contributions through their … Read more…

Stirring up healthcare’s melting pot

They’re calling it Moon Shots – a plan to accelerate development of cancer-fighting drugs. And for Ronald DePinho, the challenge is as much organisational as it is scientific. But he’s not alone. Many argue that in order to meet the avalanche of demand for healthcare that lies ahead, the sector must get much better at team working. “It’s about the … Read more…

Leadership perspective: Cargill’s Greg Page

For anyone familiar with Cargill, the name brings to mind things that are big – very big. As one of the world’s largest privately owned companies, the agribusiness giant buys, trades and distributes agricultural products in vast amounts. Yet for its executive chairman, Greg Page, the global food system also relies on things that are small. He’s talking about smallholder … Read more…

Challenging the resource curse

Gazing down from a helicopter at the dense foliage of an Indonesian jungle, Christine Bader’s heart sank. It was 2000, and she was looking at a site on which BP, her employer, was to build a natural gas plant. Rainforests are not the only casualties of extractive and energy industry operations – so are the communities around them. But while … Read more…

The unexpected benefits of bureaucracy

As chief executive and founder of a Liberian enterprise, Chid Liberty knew he would encounter hurdles. Liberty & Justice makes clothing for export to the US while providing jobs for Liberian women. But in a country emerging from the violence and destruction of a civil war, Liberty expected to face everything from corruption to power outages and failing infrastructure. Overcoming … Read more…