Can anyone live on $10,712 a year?

Higher wages benefit business by increasing consumer purchasing power, reducing costly employee turnover, raising productivity, and improving product quality, customer satisfaction and company reputation. Today’s minimum wage workers have less buying power than minimum wage workers had half a century ago. We cannot build a strong 21st century economy when more and more hardworking Americans struggle to make ends meet.

The federal minimum wage is finally increasing on July 24 for the first time in nearly eleven years. Yet, there are no shortage of business groups who opposed the increase and claim, “It’s bad for business.” Please join me in saying a raise for those at the bottom won’t hurt the bottom line. In fact, states that have raised their minimum wages above the stagnant $5.15 level have had better business trends than the other states.

I joined with more than 650 business owners and executives to sign a statement supporting an increase in the minimum wage. Other leaders supporting the increase include Costco CEO Jim Sinegal and apparel industry leader Eileen Fisher. Our support made a difference in Congress.

Now, we need your help to grow our signatories list to more than 1,000 business people before July 24 to get our positive message in the media and all around the country. Whether you are in a state with a $5.15 minimum wage or a state with a higher minimum wage, please join us by adding your name today!

Please go to Business for a Fair Minimum Wage and add your name to this important statement to strengthen business support for a higher minimum wage.

Response to Marc Gunters post of August 6th…on offsets

Marc , not sure why your defending offsets. I sit with the question of “offsets” here at 7th Gen and wonder why it is we are all agreeing to a framework that is not strong enough to meet the challenge of what we need to do to build the needed architecture and infrastructure for a new world design – a design that looks at the deeper question raised by an economy, a present economy, built on waste (an economy built on building more waste (GDP)). If you are going to raise the question on offsets, I think we need to see the elephant in the room – the layers of questions that we need to bring to the surface and begin to build the frameworks to design anew. Right?

Before trying to address the bigger question on economy built on waste, let’s ask why use the offset framework and why offsets only for carbon dioxide. Yes, there is a global climate crisis (CO2) question, but there is a water question, an air question and a chemical question (we are still selling and releasing chemicals into the environment that we have no idea what their impacts are on present health (people-planet) or future health). You know the rap. So let’s change the idea away from offsets and focus on impact and the true-cost of our impact(s) from all our actions. What the true cost question does is reach past the offset framework out to a level of design-consciousness that is working to understand the WHOLE system (Bucky-esque). I think we need to begin using WHOLE systems thinking to see the relevant questions and begin to design for the WHOLE. I know people want to hold on the idea of incremental change strategies, but to not hold the WHOLE system in our thinking and to not design at that level, we are still deconstructing, trying to deal with the symptom and not the deeper questions. I can’t help but stress that we need to build the frameworks to take on the deeper questions.

This is a long rap. One not best for blogging, better for true dialogue. I do want to say that at 7th Gen we are road testing the idea of design. Yes, we did our carbon footprint. We are also doing (as best we can) a full impact assessment. We are not doing offsets. We are not going carbon neural. We are trying to understand our whole-present state. From here we are thinking design – how to do more with less – how to set goals that create more and more efficiency using less and less resource in our WHOLE value chain. I must stress this design is not just for CO2, it is for all our waste-impact.

We are assigning a dollar value to our impacts though we are using the CO2 dollar impact as a guide for now. We are taking that money and investing it back into the smaller system-value chain we are engaged-in which includes our employees. I am not sure why we would pay a third party to invest in the partial solution model, a non-system framework. I must admit the quest here is to keep awakening our thinking, questions that push beyond the architecture of present design. I keep falling back into doing things as is and not seeing the opportunity to design for a non-waste economy that holds the well-being of every single being in that design. Are there holes in my WHOLE system, here and now thoughts? yes. And am happy to bring in dialogue so that we are designing (and not offsetting), upgrading our thinking and prototyping of systems that “positively” impact us all and the future. WR

Philanthropy as a competitive sport

This week the Financial Times reported that Ark, or “Absolute Return for Kids”, set up by leaders in the hedge fund industry raised $53 million at a single event, up from less than $5 million in 2002. Dinners bided over $1 million for a Kenyan safari. The head of one hedge fund group commented “I donate because I’m superstitious; I worry that if I don’t, my luck will run out.”

Ok, as strange as this sounds it represents a huge opportunity to educate this small group of people on how they can use their money and resources to generate real and lasting systemic change. I have said for a long time that there is a huge business opportunity to help those with lots of money develop personal strategies to take on the most difficult issues. Giving money away is hard work, as Bill Gates has found. It’s easiest to give it away in big chunks to established causes – traditional risk management.

Someone needs to step into this void. Here is the article in FN. Business buys into giving something back