Archive for November, 2012

Parliament clears bill against child abuse

NEW DELHI: The legislation to protect children below 18 years from sexual abuse became a reality on Tuesday with Lok Sabha passing the bill earlier cleared by Rajya Sabha. Parliament’s nod came with the decision to keep the age of consent at 18 years despite opposition from child rights activists.

 

The bill provides for special courts for speedy trial of cases and stringent punishment up to life term for the offenders.

Winding up the debate, women and child development minister Krishna Tirath said, “The bill is gender neutral. It seeks to protect children from sexual offences… the burden of proof will be on the accused.”

 

Tirath said everybody below 18 years would be treated as child who would be helped by friendly provisions like in-camera trial, confidentiality and lodging of complaint at the place and time chosen by the victim.

 

While there was unanimous support for the bill, RJD chief Lalu Prasad raised the issue of erosion in values in the country and demanded the minister should have discussed the law in an all-party meeting. He said the provisions of the bill could be misused.

 

Prasad asked why the government did not move the Supreme Court against the decision of the Delhi High Court decriminalizing gay sex. “We are not animals, we are humans. Why have you not gone to the Supreme Court,” he asked.

 

He said values had fallen and “dirty pictures” made in the country was making family viewing impossible.

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Global Warming
Throughout its long history, Earth has warmed and cooled time and again. Climate has changed when the planet received more or less sunlight due to subtle shifts in its orbit, as the atmosphere or surface changed, or when the Sun’s energy varied. But in the past century, another force has started to influence Earth’s climate: humanity
How does this warming compare to previous changes in Earth’s climate? How can we be certain that human-released greenhouse gases are causing the warming? How much more will the Earth warm? How will Earth respond? Answering these questions is perhaps the most significant scientific challenge of our time.
 
What is Global Warming?
 
Global warming is the unusually rapid increase in Earth’s average surface temperature over the past century primarily due to the greenhouse gases released as people burn fossil fuels. The global average surface temperature rose 0.6 to 0.9 degrees Celsius (1.1 to 1.6° F) between 1906 and 2005, and the rate of temperature increase has nearly doubled in the last 50 years. Temperatures are certain to go up further.
 
Despite ups and downs from year to year, global average surface temperature is rising. By the beginning of the 21st century, Earth’s temperature was roughly 0.5 degrees Celsius above the long-term (1951–1980) average. (NASA figure adapted from Goddard Institute for Space Studies Surface Temperature Analysis.)
 
Earth’s natural greenhouse effect
 
Earth’s temperature begins with the Sun. Roughly 30 percent of incoming sunlight is reflected back into space by bright surfaces like clouds and ice. Of the remaining 70 percent, most is absorbed by the land and ocean, and the rest is absorbed by the atmosphere. The absorbed solar energy heats our planet.
As the rocks, the air, and the seas warm, they radiate “heat” energy (thermal infrared radiation). From the surface, this energy travels into the atmosphere where much of it is absorbed by water vapor and long-lived greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and methane.
When they absorb the energy radiating from Earth’s surface, microscopic water or greenhouse gas molecules turn into tiny heaters— like the bricks in a fireplace, they radiate heat even after the fire goes out. They radiate in all directions. The energy that radiates back toward Earth heats both the lower atmosphere and the surface, enhancing the heating they get from direct sunlight.
This absorption and radiation of heat by the atmosphere—the natural greenhouse effect—is beneficial for life on Earth. If there were no greenhouse effect, the Earth’s average surface temperature would be a very chilly -18°C (0°F) instead of the comfortable 15°C (59°F) that it is today.
See Climate and Earth’s Energy Budget to read more about how sunlight fuels Earth’s climate.
 
The enhanced greenhouse effect
 
What has scientists concerned now is that over the past 250 years, humans have been artificially raising the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere at an ever-increasing rate, mostly by burning fossil fuels, but also from cutting down carbon-absorbing forests. Since the Industrial Revolution began in about 1750, carbon dioxide levels have increased nearly 38 percent as of 2009 and methane levels have increased 148 percent.
 
Increases in concentrations of carbon dioxide (top) and methane (bottom) coincided with the start of the Industrial Revolution in about 1750. Measurements from Antarctic ice cores (green lines) combined with direct atmospheric measurements (blue lines) show the increase of both gases over time. (NASA graphs by Robert Simmon, based on data from the NOAA Paleoclimatology and Earth System Research Laboratory.)
The atmosphere today contains more greenhouse gas molecules, so more of the infrared energy emitted by the surface ends up being absorbed by the atmosphere. Since some of the extra energy from a warmer atmosphere radiates back down to the surface, Earth’s surface temperature rises. By increasing the concentration of greenhouse gases, we are making Earth’s atmosphere a more efficient greenhouse.

Doordarshan’s ‘piracy’ spoilt India’s image

 

The first stage of the India-Pakistan cricket series, the one-day internationals, will be over by the time you read this. It has — barring the controversy over rigging and Shoaib Akhtar’s [Images ] bowling action apart — gone off rather well. Most media reports have reflected the enthusiasm of the Pakistani crowds. My own feelings, however, are mixed, and that because of two issues that have not received their due in the media.

The first is the manner in which Doordarshan grabbed the rights to telecast the series. Don’t get me wrong, I am happy that most Indians got the chance to see some exciting matches but has the enthusiasm for this game eroded India’s [Images] image in the larger world?

 

Let me explain what I mean with a parallel hypothesis. This, we all admit, is the Internet Age, one where familiarity with a computer is absolutely essential. The operating system that takes pride of place is Microsoft’s [Images] Windows (in some flavor or the other). Would this justify some organization such as, say, the NCERT [National Council Of Educational Research Training] engaging mass copying of this software and distributing it? Would it be acceptable if NCERT agreed to pay some nominal fee to Microsoft and also agreed that it would try its best to prevent the pirated discs from being exported outside India?

 

There would be an immediate uproar if the above scenario took place. But that is, if you change a few names here and there, precisely what happened with regard to Doordarshan and Ten Sports. The latter had bought the television rights to the India-Pakistan series fair and square. Doordarshan had not even placed a bid because the relationship between India and Pakistan was so bad at the time that it seemed unlikely the tour would ever take place. So when the first match took place, Doordarshan’s riposte was to steal the signals and broadcast them on its own.

 

The excuse on offer was ‘public interest.’ That is nonsense! ‘Public interest’ is about pollution of the air we breathe and the water we drink, it is about protecting the common man from the vagaries of bureaucracy, and it is trying to ensure that no child lacks access to a decent school and primary health. But when did the ‘Right to Entertainment’ become a Fundamental Right in the Constitution?

 

India is already looked down upon in sections of the developed world because of its lackadaisical approach to intellectual property rights. Does anyone believe that this piracy — which is what Doordarshan’s actions amount to — have helped the situation? Haven’t they, if anything, amounted to a handful of mud thrown on India’s face?

 

If the brouhaha over the television rights amounted to a black mark for the Indian establishment, the other great, untold story of the series is the reaction of the Indian people at large. Not so very long ago a match between India and Pakistan was a match that could ignite riots almost at will. The communal divide was absolutely clear at such times.

 

I remember visiting Vadodara on one occasion when a police officer who was accompanying me — a Sikh gentleman — pointed in utter disgust at a Muslim shopkeeper who had put up photographs of various Pakistani cricketers. ‘Can’t you at least put up a picture of Syed Kirmani as well?’ he barked at the trader. You could tell the religious affiliation of the owner by the pictures in his shop. In those days the police were always nervous about a riot following a match — either because Muslims would celebrate a Pakistani victory or Hindus would demonstrate their exultation at an Indian win by taking a procession through the Muslim quarters of the city.

 

This time, it has all been mercifully ‘incident-free’ (to use the euphemism employed by the police). Barring some tension in Satara in Maharashtra [Images], all of India seemed to rejoice or mourn as one. (And even in Satara, the elders of the Muslim community stepped in to rein in the mischief-makers almost as soon as they started bursting crackers after the Indian defeat in Rawalpindi).

 

The police — so I am assured by several friends in the service — have never been so relieved. It is, of course, early days yet but this is the first time in many years that policemen have been able to sit back and actually watch cricket. This seems to be true in states across India. And this is one factor that actually does make one feel good. (Or would if it had been reported by the media!)

 

Part 1: WRITE A RESUME THAT GENERATES RESULTS

 

This award-winning guide to resume writing will teach you to write a resume equal to one done by a top-notch professional writer. It offers examples, format choices, help writing the objective, the summary and other sections, as well as samples of excellent resume writing. It is the most trusted resume-writing guide on the planet, used by more than a million people each year.

 

Writing a great resume does not necessarily mean you should follow the rules you hear through the grapevine. It does not have to be one page or follow a specific resume format. Every resume is a one-of-a-kind marketing communication. It should be appropriate to your situation and do exactly what you want it to do. Instead of a bunch of rules and tips, we are going to cut to the chase in this brief guide and offer you the most basic principles of writing a highly effective resume.

 

Who are we to be telling you how to write your resume? As part of our career consulting practice, we have coached and advised Fortune 500 C.E.O.s, senior members of the last few presidential administrations, thousands of mid and early career professionals, artists, technical people and others in nearly every field of endeavor.

 

Our specialty at Rockport Institute Career Change is working with clients who want to choose or change to a new career, one they will love; work that makes full use of their talents, fits their personality, their values, and is also practical. Our staff has been commended for excellence by two U.S. presidents. Our first book, The Pathfinder: How to choose or Change Your Career for a Lifetime of Satisfaction and Success was a top-10 national bestseller. That is our one and only specialty. If you think you may be in the wrong career, check out our website or read reviews of our books on amazon.com.

 

Are you an executive or professional looking for an extraordinary, professionally written resume? As authors of this, the world’s most widely used, regularly updated guide to resume writing since 1995, we can connect you with the very best expert resume writers. Send us an email. We’ll get right back to you.

 

This guide is especially for people looking for a job in the United States. In the U.S., the rules of job hunting are much more relaxed than they are in Europe and Asia. You can do a lot more active personal marketing in your resume here. You may have to tone down our advice a few notches and use a more traditional, conservative format accepted in your field if you live elsewhere or are in law, academia or a technical engineering, computer or scientific field. But even when your presentation must fit a narrow set of rules, you can still use the principles we will present to make your presentation more effective than your competition’s.

 

THE GOOD NEWS AND THE BAD

 

The good news is that, with a little extra effort, you can create a resume that makes you stand out as a superior candidate for a job you are seeking. Not one resume in a hundred follows the principles that stir the interest of prospective employers. So, even if you face fierce competition, with a well written resume you should be invited to interview more often than many people more qualified than you.

 

The bad news is that your present resume is probably much more inadequate than you now realize. You will have to learn how to think and write in a style that will be completely new to you.

 

To understand what I mean, let’s take a look at the purpose of your resume. Why do you have a resume in the first place? What is it supposed to do for you?

 

Here’s an imaginary scenario. You apply for a job that seems absolutely perfect for you. You send your resume with a cover letter to the prospective employer. Plenty of other people think the job sounds great too and apply for the job. A few days later, the employer is staring at a pile of several hundred resumes. Several hundred? you ask. Isn’t that an inflated number? Not really. A job offer often attracts between 100 and 1000 resumes these days, so you are facing a great deal of competition.

 

Back to the fantasy and the prospective employer staring at the huge stack of resumes: This person isn’t any more excited about going through this pile of dry, boring documents than you would be. But they have to do it, so they dig in. After a few minutes, they are getting sleepy. They are not really focusing any more. Then, they run across your resume. As soon as they start reading it, they perk up. The more they read the more interested, awake and turned on they become.

 

Most resumes in the pile have only gotten a quick glance. But yours gets read, from beginning to end. Then, it gets put on top of the tiny pile of resumes that make the first cut. These are the people who will be asked in to interview. In this mini resume writing guide, what we hope to do is to give you the basic tools to take this out of the realm of fantasy and into your everyday life.

 

THE NUMBER ONE PURPOSE OF A RESUME

 

The resume is a tool with one specific purpose: to win an interview. If it does what the fantasy resume did, it works. If it doesn’t, it isn’t an effective resume. A resume is an advertisement, nothing more, nothing less.

 

A great resume doesn’t just tell them what you have done but makes the same assertion that all good ads do: If you buy this product, you will get these specific, direct benefits. It presents you in the best light. It convinces the employer that you have what it takes to be successful in this new position or career.

 

It is so pleasing to the eye that the reader is enticed to pick it up and read it. It “whets the appetite,” stimulates interest in meeting you and learning more about you. It inspires the prospective employer to pick up the phone and ask you to come in for an interview.

 

 

OTHER POSSIBLE REASONS TO HAVE A RESUME

 

To pass the employer’s screening process (requisite educational level, number years’ experience, etc.), to give basic facts which might favorably influence the employer (companies worked for, political affiliations, racial minority, etc.). To provide contact information: an up-to-date address and a telephone number (a telephone number which will always be answered during business hours).

To establish you as a professional person with high standards and excellent writing skills, based on the fact that the resume is so well done (clear, well-organized, well-written, well-designed, of the highest professional grades of printing and paper). For persons in the art, advertising, marketing, or writing professions, the resume can serve as a sample of their skills.

To have something to give to potential employers, your job-hunting contacts and professional references, to provide background information, to give out in “informational interviews” with the request for a critique (a concrete creative way to cultivate the support of this new person), to send a contact as an excuse for follow-up contact, and to keep in your briefcase to give to people you meet casually – as another form of “business card.”

To use as a covering piece or addendum to another form of job application, as part of a grant or contract proposal, as an accompaniment to graduate school or other application.

To put in an employer’s personnel files.

To help you clarify your direction, qualifications, and strengths, boost your confidence, or to start the process of committing to a job or career change.

 

WHAT IT ISN’T

 

It is a mistake to think of your resume as a history of your past, as a personal statement or as some sort of self expression. Sure, most of the content of any resume is focused on your job history. But write from the intention to create interest, to persuade the employer to call you. If you write with that goal, your final product will be very different than if you write to inform or catalog your job history.

 

Most people write a resume because everyone knows that you have to have one to get a job. They write their resume grudgingly, to fulfill this obligation. Writing the resume is only slightly above filling out income tax forms in the hierarchy of worldly delights. If you realize that a great resume can be your ticket to getting exactly the job you want, you may be able to muster some genuine enthusiasm for creating a real masterpiece, rather than the feeble products most people turn out.

 

 

WHAT IF I’M NOT SURE OF MY JOB TARGET?

 

If you are hunting for a job but are not sure you are on a career path that is perfect for you, you are probably going to wind up doing something that doesn’t fit you very well, that you are not going to find fulfilling, and that you will most likely leave within five years. Doesn’t sound like much of a life to me. How about you? Are you willing to keep putting up with pinning your fate on the random turnings of the wheel?

 

 

WHAT DOCUMENTARY STORYTELLERS CAN LEARN FROM SCREENWRITERS

WHAT DOCUMENTARY STORYTELLERS CAN LEARN FROM SCREENWRITERS
As the recent box office success of films like Supersize Me ($11.5 million, 2004), Mad Hot Ballroom ($6.3 million, 2005) and March of the Penguins ($77.4 million, 2005) lure more documentary filmmakers to seek a traditionally risky theatrical release, audiences are lured too, by the promise that non-fiction cinema can tell stories that are as dramatic and entertaining as feature films. This trend, which began when the acclaimed 1994 film Hoop Dreams began its $7.8 million run, has accelerated in the past five years with the success of films like Capturing the Friedmans (2003), Tupac:  Resurrection (2003), and Enron:  The Smartest Guys in the Room (2005). All of these well-crafted documentaries borrow from the plot devices of fiction films. Whether the story-driven documentary will eclipse the essay-driven format is debatable, but one thing is clear:  commissioning editors from stations like HBO, the Sundance Channel and Showtime want stories.
Whereas screenwriters are free to dream up plot twists for a three-act story, documentary filmmakers must design scenes based on what was actually filmed in real life.  These two constraints-”what was filmed” and “real life”–present special challenges.  Whether a documentary editor is using a three-act storyboard or some other narrative design, how does she stay true to actual happenings when she must persuade and contort them into climaxes and plot turns?  This article will outline the principles of classic three-act narrative structure as taught by professional screenwriters, and it will examine how documentary filmmakers can adapt these structural demands to the randomness of real life.
WHAT A STORY IS NOT
Documentaries do not fit tidily into three acts.  Having said that, devising a narrative arc does not mean dividing the film into three parts, and then arbitrarily labeling each part an act.  The first, second and third acts look remarkably different from one another, and each fulfills a unique and specific purpose in composing the story. Keep in mind that a story, in the screenwriter’s sense of the word, is not a profile (for example, a film about an eccentric uncle who farms nuts), a condition (human rights abuses in Haiti), a phenomenon (the popularity of multi-player video games) or a point of view (social security should be privatized).  Simply stated, a story chronicles the efforts of the main character to achieve his or her heart’s desire in the face of opposition.  Screenwriters understand that defining the “hero’s quest” is the foremost dramatic requirement of a three-act structure.  Act One sets up the protagonist’s desire (boy meets girl), Act Two presents obstacles that thwart the goal (boy loses girl), and in the final act, the climax reveals whether or not the protagonist achieves his heart’s desire (boy wins girl forever after).  Documentary filmmakers would do well to hone in on their protagonist’s desire in their earliest concept paper, a mandatory preamble to rolling tape.
ACT ONE:  LAUNCHING THE STORY
The function of act one is to establish the world of the film, introduce us to the characters, and launch the protagonist’s quest.  In a two-hour dramatic film, act one (also called the “set-up”) runs about thirty minutes, or a quarter of the film.  At the start of the act, the audience is introduced to the film’s setting and characters.  A protagonist emerges at the “catalyst” or “inciting incident”, when an external event upsets the main character’s world.   This mandatory structural device kicks off the real story, as the protagonist begins his quest to restore equilibrium to his life. For example, in the action movie Jaws (1975), a woman is killed by a shark, and the town sheriff finds her decaying body.  This horrific discovery is the inciting incident, or catalyst, because it begins the sheriff’s quest to kill the shark and thereby restore tranquility to the terrorized resort town.  While many people use the word “protagonist” to simply mean “main character”, screenwriters define “protagonist” as a character who possesses a yearning or desire for something.
PORTRAYING THE INCITING INCIDENT
The inciting incident plays such a critical function in the overall story structure that Hollywood screenwriters follow a rule:  the inciting scene must be visually depicted on screen, preferably in present story time. In other words, the story cannot be launched through exposition (boring) or backstory (too removed).  This imperative presents a major problem for documentary filmmakers constructing a narrative arc.  Frequently, by the time a documentary filmmaker gets interested in a film, the inciting incident has already happened.  Equally problematic, this rousing scene was probably not caught on film.  Sometimes filmmakers get lucky.  They set out to film one story, and a more powerful story unfolds in front of the camera.  In The Revolution Will Not Be Televised (2003), Irish filmmakers Kim Bartley and Donnacha O’Briain intended to profile Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez.  Suddenly they found themselves in the midst of a coup.  They caught the upheaval on camera and it became a visually riveting catalyst for a very different film.
Shaping archival or news footage into an inciting incident is another solution.  In Metallica:  Some Kind of Monster (2004), the inciting incident occurs a slim four minutes into the lengthy 140-minute movie, when an MTV news clip announces that the bass player has left the band.  This incident launches the narrative arc of the movie, as the remaining three members seek to improve their interpersonal act and, by extension, their next album.
 
If a documentary filmmaker does not have footage of the actual inciting incident, how does she bring it to life on screen?  Another common solution is to comb through interviews for a soundbite that reconstructs the inciting incident.  Sometimes even a periphery character can recall a particular moment that will change the lives of the characters forever.  In Capturing the Friedmans, an 88-minute film, the inciting incident occurs seven minutes into the story, when a postal inspector appears on screen for the first time.  He recounts that in 1984, U.S. Customs had seized some child pornography addressed to Arnold Friedman.
 
If an interviewee is going to relate the catalyst event, an editor should choose an exceptionally charismatic storyteller.  Remember, this is the moment the story is supposed to take off.  If a lackluster soundbite can’t fuel the launch, an editor may need booster material:  narration, location footage, reenactments, animation, etc. Whereas a screenwriter can start the story with a single inciting scene, the non-fiction storyteller must often construct an inciting sequence.  As long as the sequence gets the story off the ground, it’s fine to employ a slow burn rather than pyrotechnics.
 
POSING THE CENTRAL QUESTION
The inciting incident gives rise to the protagonist’s quest-alternately called the “hero’s journey” or “object of desire”-as well as formulating the film’s central question.  Will Romeo and Juliet stay together?  Will the sheriff kill the shark?  Will the Jordan family save their farm?  The central question is always some variation of the question, “Will the protagonist reach his goal?”  After a long period of struggle in act two, this central question is finally answered for better or worse in act three, at or just following the film’s climax.
 
Like narrative films, documentaries are at their best when the protagonist’s object of desire and the movie’s central question are concrete and specific.  In Troublesome Creek, the family’s larger desire was to survive financially, but their concrete goal was to pay off their back loan and get off the Troubled Accounts list. In The Times of Harvey Milk (1984), the protagonist wants equality for gay people, but his quest is drawn into dramatic focus by his bid to get elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.  In Spellbound (2002), the central question that causes the viewer to hold his breath every time a child spells out a word is very specific:  which child will win the national spelling bee contest?
 
While casting the right characters is critical in a documentary, many seasoned filmmakers won’t undertake a film featuring even the most colorful cast unless they foresee that at least one character’s quest will provide the film with a narrative spine.  In an historical documentary, this is relatively doable with the advantage of hindsight.  But the dramatic arc of a verite film, in which life is recorded as it unfolds, is understandably difficult to predict.  It’s unlikely that filmmaker Fredrick Wiseman wrote a detailed, three-act treatment for Titticut Follies (1967).  Likewise, the Maysles brothers couldn’t have foreseen the dramatic arc of Salesman (1969) before filming.  Sadly, these grand experiments in cinema verite would probably not get funded today.  At a minimum, commissioning editors and foundations require that a treatment for a verite film describe the protagonist’s quest, articulate the central question, and then envisage the conflicts the protagonist will face during the course of the production schedule.

Four emerging trends in corporate social responsibility

Four emerging trends in corporate social responsibility
 
By any count, the world is changing faster than ever before. Human numbers are growing faster, and the impact of our activities is being felt in more and more ways. This change has profound implications for business, and means that the world of CSR – or how businesses respond to society’s expectations – is at the forefront of this change. So it’s worth looking for what are the current trends and where are they heading.
 
What drives trends in an area like CSR? Three things.
 
One – attitudes to business and its relationship with society are changed and shaped by outside events. These can be demonstrations of social problems that substantially change the environment within which companies do business, which are partially or wholly caused by business activities, or which businesses are likely partners in finding solutions.
 
These can be as diverse as extreme climate events raising the profile and public concern about climate change, right through to a run of incidences of corporate corruption. Businesses are called upon to change behaviors or solve problems because of something external to them.
 
Two – expert practitioners have a vision for how sustainable business should operate, and develop new ideas, or increase expertise on past experience, and implement these within the business. This defines how businesses focus their attention when the spotlight isn’t particularly on them. Do they define CSR as being about philanthropy, or environmental management, or core purpose and the business model?
 
Three – outside agencies create a vision for the achievement of future goals, and actively recruit businesses and partners. So in recent years, the involvement of businesses in finding ways to meet the millennium development goals has been an example.
 
So with all these factors in play, what are some of the demonstrable trends? Here are a few that I find particularly interesting.
 
1. Moving from reporting to engagement
 
The current model of CR reporting has hit something of a ceiling in terms of the quality of data. We have spent the last ten years evolving our approach to measuring our progress and still haven’t come close to the original goal – to find ways of measuring CSR in a reliable and meaningful way that enables us to compare the performance of individual companies.
 
Why have we hit the ceiling? Because some of the most significant information is difficult, even impossible to measure. But particularly, because the context behind the data makes it neither valuable nor reliable to use this information to draw conclusions about how well a company is doing.
 
And the small improvements in the integrity of the data won’t make any difference to how many companies’ different stakeholders actually bother to engage with it.
 
So some companies are now starting to focus their aim on the engagement side. Since customers, employees and suppliers generally don’t read reports, companies are beginning to experiment with ways to interest, entice and even seduce those stakeholders into wanting to engage with the company about what it’s doing.
 
It’s early days for this one, but the implication of this trend is that CSR executives become less compliance focused and more involved in discussion with marketers. That is a move that is also supported by the next trend.
 
2. it’s about the business model
 
More companies are starting to understand a little more about the scale of the challenge that faces us in terms of sustainability, and they’re wondering what this means for their business model.
 
Here’s the central dilemma. On your current model, if your company does very well, does that result in damage to the environment? Is the achievement of a positive outcome something you have to work hard to achieve in spite of your business process? Or can you find a business model where the better the social outcome you achieve, the better your business does in terms of profit?
 
It’s not as though easy answers to this one jump out at you from all sides. Interface Flor carpets tried to tackle it when, for their business customers, they offered a service of professional floor covering rather than selling a thing, i.e. Carpet. The principle was sound – on the service model, you had the incentive to provide the professional effect with the use of the least amount of material. With the old model, you make more profit if you replace more physical square meters of carpet.
 
The only problem in that case was that the customers weren’t ready for it. They wanted to own their carpet. Just as we all want to own our things – cars, phones, electronic household goods. Leasing was what we did when we, as a society, didn’t have much money. Changing that attitude is beyond the ability of any one company, apparently.
 
But this one doesn’t go away, so companies will keep trying to crack it, and we will see more innovation in this space. But again, it involves the marketers because you have to be able to come up with solutions where you can take your customers with you. You can be one step ahead of them and take them with you. But if you’re three steps ahead, you’ll lose them.
 
3. Finding our own identity and respect
 
CSR Executives have been asking themselves for some time whether they are part of a proper professional discipline or not. When Accountability was first formed in the late 1990s, it was styled the Institute of Social and Environmental Accountability with a view that it would become the professional body for ‘accountability professionals’. That didn’t happen, but we’ve seen the CRO in the States and the Corporate Responsibility Group in the UK tackling the same question.
 
There are pluses and minuses here. An acknowledged profession can establish standards of expertise for those entrusted by companies with this important responsibility. It can gain respect within corporations and increase the authority of its voice in the board room.
 
The potential minuses come because of the baggage that comes with professionalization. Not to put too fine a point on it, professions usually create for themselves a series of perverse incentives. In particular, every profession builds its own jargon and sense of exclusivity – which is part of communicating to the rest of the world that this is a real area of expertise that ordinary mortals can’t hope to understand. Which is why you need to hire people with the appropriately high skill level?
 
That’s an appropriate way of being if you’re happy to be in an adjunct office doing mysterious things on behalf of your employer. If you define your role as influencing across the business however, this may not be the most effective model. If we need step-changes and destructive innovation in the future – does a well-ordered profession helps or hinders that?
 
4. Taking the role of global citizens
 
Businesses have always taken an interest in influencing the public policy agenda, but historically purely from a defensive purpose of fending off potential restrictions on its ability to make profit. But as physical evidence for climate change increases and the urgency of taking action keeps pace, companies are starting to re-evaluate what is their role as change agents.
 
Companies are pragmatic entities, and ones that are used to defining themselves around adaptability to change. That makes them almost uniquely suited to responding to global environmental challenges.
 
Certainly, governments are struggling in this regard. The global economic situation has placed many of them in defensive positions where their citizens are holding them responsible for the fact that suddenly they can no longer afford the things they used to be able to. It is a difficult backdrop to take bold action in an area that many people will believe to be separate and disconnected to their current discomfort. And the fact that it isn’t disconnected at all makes no difference if that’s what people believe.
 
And, of course, in the US we have this astonishing polarization based on party lines with a powerful segment of leaders and institutions actively hostile to science and rationality.
 
So we are seeing more individual business leaders prepared to make statements that are bigger, and more directly involved in political leadership than we have seen in the past. Whether Polman at Unilever telling shareholders that they don’t come first, or Schulz in the US taking out full page ads calling on better governance, suddenly engagement with these societal problems is becoming more accepted as an aspect of business leadership.
 
Conclusion
 
It’s worth noting that not all these trends are pulling in the same direction. And the fact they are emerging trends does not make their continued emergence inevitable. Some of them may well turn out to have been a momentary experiment, quickly to be abandoned.
 
But they are emerging because powerful forces are driving them, and although something big could happen tomorrow that suddenly changes everyone’s context, by and large these forces seem unlikely to go away in the short term.
 
Is your company part of these trends, or should it be? If you’re a CSR membership organization, is this part of your discussion with your members? Should it be?

How to Write a Newspaper Article

How to Write a Newspaper Article
When you write a newspaper article, you share your thoughts with thousands, or maybe millions of readers. This can be a very rewarding experience, apart from helping you make a living as a reporter if your articles are good enough. There is now a lot of competition in the field of writing, with more and more freelancers sharing their thoughts (and doing quite a good job at it). In order for them to be good enough, it is imperative that you know how exactly to write a newspaper article. There is not much room to be creative when writing a newspaper article. However, you can follow your own unique writing style and deliver accurate and beautifully written material to your readers. Read on to know the tips for writing a newspaper article.
 
Tips for Writing a Newspaper Article
Think of a good story idea. The idea could be as simple as covering a local event that is happening in your neighborhood. Or, it could be an in depth report on investigation of a political scandal.
Get a rough draft of the material you are going to write. This could be in the form of random notes and audio or video recordings.
When you sit to write the article, ensure that you have a catchy headline. Also, remember that the headline should be accurate and should be in the present tense.
Surprise your readers and make them curious by keeping the first sentence short and dramatic. Your readers should want to know more and should want to read on.
Put the facts of the story first. Be clear about what you are writing and so not complicate things.
Keep the five W’s in mind and remember to use them: What happened, When did it happen, who was involved, Where did it happen, and Why did it happen.
Be accurate in what you write and ensure that all facts are correct.
When writing your article, use active verbs wherever you can. This will add more depth to your article.
Remember that in every story, there are two sides. Be fair and let the readers make up their minds, rather than taking sides. Of course, this does not apply if you are writing about some social evil or injustice, which is known not to have two sides to it.
If there are familiar, people or events covered in the article, find new ways to describe them. Avoid using clichés.
Use proper spellings and grammar. Badly written articles can give others a bad impression of you as a writer.
Make your story stand out from the others by looking for a special ingredient to add in. This could be a bit of humor or just anything that will make your newspaper article stand out, among all the rest of the black and white print.
Finally, review and edit your article keeping in mind the headline that you have chosen, ensuring that the story ties in with it.
Add in a picture if necessary.
Send your article to the newspaper editor to be reviewed and published.