Back On The Scene!

Hey Good people, It's been a little while since we here at Good vs Evil have posted anything. Ok who are we kidding?...it been like almost a whole year! I guess our only excuses is we've been really busy saving the world, obviously!  And now that that's finished, we're back to posting again. Here's what's been up to:

Children Of Haiti Project (COHP)

Children of Haiti is a huge win for us. We were able to help this amazing non-profit with their website and all branded components. We worked on their logo, website, photography and fundraising collateral. The challenge was to grow the donor base so that COHP can scale their education program across Haiti. Our solution is to show how successful the COHP initiative is and how dramatically the kids have benefited from this program. Also, we wanted to design a site that visitors would want to feel welcomed in. Friendly fonts, fun info-graphics help to turn boring statistics into a pleasant and positive experience. You can take part of this life changing organization by sending a donation or volunteering at Children of Haiti Project.

 

Carol Cone & the Purpose Collaborative

Goodness. We have so many great things to say about Carol. Some of you might know her as she is basically the mother of Cause Marketing. We were blessed to have developed the website design and many components of her brand. The challenge was positioning Carol Cone as the catalyst of the Purpose Collaborative and Idea Accelerator. Our solution is to create a website that turns Carol into an industry authority on the purpose driven economy. Her website helps to showcase Carol's huge initiatives such as Microsoft Youthspark, American Heart - Go Red / Avon - Breast Cancer Crusade as examples of how effective she can be. It also clearly explains what the Purpose Collaborative is and how the Idea Accelerator works. In addition, the site is also a staging area so other companies can post informative research and news for visitors to read. Check them out here: Purpose Collaborative. 

 

Touchstone Metrics

 

This is a fascination group that is figuring out how to get a Social Good rating applied to companies along with their valuation index used to rate the investing worth of a company. Our solution is Build a brand symbol that combines the precision of mathematics, with the strength of stone. It was important to establish a feeling of reliability as Touchstone Metrics is a group developing a rating system (like Moody's) to grade companies on how they impact the environment and how well they treat their employees. This rating will be displayed next to it's financial performance to give investors a choice of investing in companies that perform well in addition to having strong social good initiatives. You can check out here: Touchstone Metrics.

And that's just the tip of the melting ice berg but gives you a nice snapshot. Stay tuned for more conversation of weekly things happening around New York and the world. 

Your friends over at Good vs Evil.

 

 

Conscious Magazine’s 3rd Issue Launch Party. A Thing of Beauty & Purpose

Last Wednesday, we here at Good vs Evil had the privilege of attending Conscious Magazine’s 3rd Issue Launch Party. We had a blast meeting new and old friends who are also committed to fighting for the forces of good.

We love Conscious because their core ideals of storytelling, community, collaboration, and education are making the world a better place. We love their focus on the good in the world achieved through positive stories and inspiring ideas, focused locally and globally, which urge us to do participate in improving our role here on the planet.

Not to mention how beautiful the new issue looks! All too often social good companies lack a needed aesthetic, but Conscious achieves this with design as impressive as its content.

Issue03_Cover_1024x1024.jpg

 

The part was Held at Warburg Realty’s beautiful flagship office, last week reminded us why we love doing what we do. It was co-hosted by 100 CamerasThe Style LineElle CommunicationsModavanti, and yours truly. Also there sponsoring the event was ONE Hope Wine and Rehabulous. The party brought together attendees from all industries.  We were blessed to meet new people in marketing and advertising, design, finance, and all kinds of social ventures. It was quite inspiring to hear what they’re working on and how they’re changing the world.

It's us! The Good vs Evil team.

It's us! The Good vs Evil team.

Some friends we talked to included Ilya Lyashevsky from WeShelter, an app that helps alleviate homelessness in New York City, and Brandon Robinson from Building Beats, an NGO that teaches inner-city kids how to DJ, entrepreneurial skill, leadership techniques, and other life skills.

Co-founders Rachel and Elena with Alex.

Co-founders Rachel and Elena with Alex.

Co-founders Rachel & Elena, pictured above, gave an excellent speech midway to formally introduce the 3rd issue of Conscious and other key members of the team, as well as to highlight Conscious’s upcoming goals. They urged us to help propel Conscious’s continued success by spreading the word, which we are eager to do, and we encourage you to pick up an issue and do the same.

One of our favorite articles from the issue, Future Farming by Rob Dietz, highlights a new approach to ecological farming. It presents the problem of farming practices that have increasingly become damaging to communities and ecosystems through intense pursuits of higher output and profits. Then goes to showcase a solution of a new, organic model that results in higher performance and great sustainability. A problem, a solution, all concisely presented. Boom.

Another article, Future of Media by Sophia Markoulakis, explains how media platforms have transformed since the introduction of print, television, radio, mobile and digital. Markoulakis gives tips on how to find media that upholds journalism's ethics of accuracy, research, transparency, diverse sourcing, and unbiased reporting. We found it highly motivating!

Really though, every article is fantastic, so go read them and support Conscious today by visiting their website and subscribing. You can get a print or a digital copy, and you'll have two awesome magazines per year to look forward to. 

Thanks for having us, Conscious!

Can't wait to do it again.


 

 

 

Fast Fashion: Fun or Evil?

fastfashionexcess.jpg

Here in New York, as well all over the world, fast fashion stores like Zara, H&M, and Topshop continue to appear like a fast spreading rash. While the fast fashion model is fun, allowing us to constantly experiment with new trends and appearances for ourselves cheaply, it also presents a dark side that the low costs don’t represent.

Fast fashion has grown because retailers figured out that high volume, low cost models can be 2x more profitable than traditional fashion retail models. It works because fast fashion preys on impulsive and wasteful decision making, which feels neurologically pleasurable and is sparking a race to the bottom for, yes, prices, but also labor conditions, product quality, and environmental resources. The most guilty of these brands are H&M, Forever 21, ASOS, and Zara.

But the cheap prices on these garments don’t reflect a larger issue of exploited labor, waste of resources, and appalling working conditions. You might have heard of the factory collapse in Bangladesh which killed over 1,000 people – they were forced to sew cheap clothes in a factory that was reportedly falling apart. It seems crazy that a thousand people should lose their lives so Westerners can keep buying their $10 shirts.

And we aren’t alone in our thinking. Many don’t think of fashion as an industry that can promote sustainability. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reports that every year Americans throw away 12.7 million tons of textiles; this amounts to sixty-eight pounds per person. And 88% of this waste (11.2 million tons) goes directly to a landfill near you rather than being recycled. Not surprising when you consider that even eco-conscious consumers often don’t feel guilty about or even realize the harm that comes from fast fashion clothes.

So, how can you save the world through your closet?

  • Do your research - Buy from companies that source from ethical labor and sustainable materials. Brands like Patagonia, Maiyet, Everlane, and Ten Thousand Villages, all take massive steps to empower the communities that make their clothes.  

  • Buy better - Invest in fewer, but higher quality pieces that will last.

  • Buy used clothing - It’s fun, it’s green, and thrift stores are inundated with too many clothes.

  • Take a photo of your closet before shopping – Do this to avoid buying repeats and also see a visual representation of areas your wardrobe lacks in or has too much excess

  • Know what you want to buy before you go shopping - Plan shopping trips when you know you're in need. For example, lay out a map of stores you want to visit, and tell yourself, "I need new dress shirts for work." Resist making purchases outside of your goal.

  • Wait 3 days before buying - Sit out the impulsive desires and tell yourself you can go buy what you want if you still want it three days later.

  • Imagine three outfits you can wear with something before you buy it - If you can't think of at least three, it'll likely end up sitting unused in your closet.

  • At the start of the season, turn all of the hangers in your closet around - Flip them when you actually wear the item off the hanger. After a couple months, identify the clothes that you never wore and ask yourself if they still belong in your closet.

And on a side note: made in USA doesn’t necessarily mean without sweatshop labor. The shirt could have been assembled in USA, but the fabric could have been made with exploited labor.

How can we save the world together?

  • Take action! While changing your own habits is important, pressure governments to create better organized inspection groups that talk directly to the workers. Brazil has a powerful model that works because the inspectors are more like consultants who are paid well and not overburdened with too many factories to assess.

  • And pressure corporations to be transparent about their labor practices. In April, participate in Fashion Revolution Day where consumers take to Twitter to ask companies about their sourcing habits. If they don’t want to tell you, or they don’t even know themselves, they’re probably participating in the fast fashion model that is destructive and wasteful.

Uber, Lyft, and the Social Media Frenzies

What did New Yorkers do during the BU (before Uber) era? It’s difficult now to imagine having no choice but to stand on a city corner, lifting the entire weight of your arm above your head, just to hail a simple taxi; most probably in the pouring rain or oppressive heat.

But it’s 2015, and apps like Uber and Lyft have made taxis a thing of the past. It’s no surprise then that New Yorkers cried out in anger and despair when New York City threatened to limit Uber’s growth due to concerns of Uber drivers increasing traffic, noise, and pollution in the city. Uber even offered free rides to a protest against the bill on June 29th. The de Blasio administration quickly backed down, but only for now. They are currently conducting a study of Uber’s effects for noise & pollution.

Yet Uber remains wildly popular and profitable, thanks in large part to its successful marketing and advertising efforts. Uber has sold young people on the convenience and repurposes their controversial attributes as innovation for the entire transportation industry. Uber sells the “sharing economy” model it’s based on as a convenient, efficient, and market-based solution to society’s problems.

However, in other parts of the country and the world, Uber has caused backlash, even riots, for not only its threats to traditional taxis, but also its attempts to skirt laws and regulations. Uber has also received negative press for suggesting they would dig up dirt on reporters who are critical of the company--one executive was even “disciplined” for tracking a BuzzFeed reporter - whatever that means.

Uber’s practice of labelling all drivers as independent contractors threatens the workers by making it very difficult for them to unionize. Not only that, they advertise higher wages than most drivers will actually see and make bold claims of job creation, as well as reducing pollution and congestion, but don’t necessarily have the data to support.

Social media data reveals how Lyft may seriously threaten Uber if Uber keeps acting selfishly and enacting suspiciously unethical practices for financial gain and industry dominance. Sound familiar…[cough]...Microsoft?

As the study goes, Crimson Hexagon analyzed social media conversations of two similar social campaigns (to benefit women) launched by Uber and Lyft at about the same time. After removing news-sharing and/or neutral posts, 94% of Lyft’s total conversation was positive, compared to only 64% of Uber’s total conversation.

Here’s some reasons why Lyft’s campaign was probably better received than Uber’s:

  • Lyft does a much better job at treating women properly.

  • 14 out of Lyft’s top 30 executives are female.

  • The company also partnered with It’s On Us in September 2014 to help raise awareness and fight against sexual assault. 

Here’s what we know about Uber:

  • Comparatively, Uber’s executive board has 0 women presiding on it.

  • There are many reports of women feeling unsafe in Uber vehicles, and even cases of sexual assault (Uber even suggested the woman’s outfit was to blame. Damn.)

While Lyft has faced its own lawsuits like Uber, it has no history of mistreating women. With the Internet and easy sharing, Uber may want to respect the power of social media to sway public opinion. People can post experiences quickly and persuade a vast audience with a press of a button. Surprisingly, as we get more in bed with technology, it is ever more imperative that companies look past the bottom line and treat their workforce and customers more like people instead of numbers on a spreadsheet.

With almost perfectly equal services, prices, and availability of drivers in the same markets, there is very little difference between the two companies. And almost nothing stopping a user from clicking the Lyft icon on their phone over the Uber icon - especially if supporting a more socially responsible company is important to them (that would be Lyft btw).

Be careful, Uber-–Lyft is in your rearview mirror with its passing signal blinking.

 

Will Shell Destroy Alaska?

Photo: nsidc.org

Photo: nsidc.org

The Juicy details

This past Wednesday, after months of controversy, the Obama administration extended Shell’s permits to drill in the Arctic. Originally set to expire in 2017, Shell sought an extension because 8 years and 7 billion dollars later, Shell still has not succeeded in drilling for oil. Apparently, problems “beyond Shell’s control” such as damaged drilling rigs and ruined spill containment systems delayed the process past the date of the first lease.

The US government says 26 billion barrels of oil potentially sit along Alaska’s northern coast (fairly significant compared to the US’s thirst of 7 billion barrels/year). Shell claims extraction is “clearly in the national interest.” That may be true in the sense that the US loves cheap oil, but what other factors must be considered?

Extreme Risks

Major risks are embedded with Arctic drilling. Sensitive populations of walrus and salmon face an already changing ecosystem due to global warming that the burning of petroleum has caused. Not to mention, they would face further devastation in the case of a spill (in which a US government study says there is a staggering 75% chance of). To continue, the Arctic's extreme weather and lack of proper infrastructure will make clean-up very difficult in the case of a spill. Which leads us to the cleaning up a spill. The normal methods of chemical dispersants and burning oil, can be quite harmful to the environment. Plus, nobody really knows what happens when millions of gallons of spilled oil sit under the ice for 8 months. But we surmise it can’t be very good for our already stressed ecosystem.

Motivation

Why is Shell so eager then? Well, for starters, they’ve already sank $7 billion on the Alaska project. Knowing they’re that deep in the hole (and willing to invest even further) tells you that they are estimating a return many times that. Shell also argues the local economy will benefit with significant job creation for Alaska. But those estimates are ranging from a few hundred to a few thousand positions, which is about a malls worth of jobs. You be the judge there.

And it’s true that right now we need oil. We use it in almost every aspect of our lives. It’s in practically most of the things we use everyday like:

 

- Rubber items
- Perfumes
- Crayons
- Roofing
- Soap
- Hand Lotion

- Toothpaste
- Tires
- Deoderant
- Carpets
- Glue
- Trash Bags

 

...and that's just the tip of the oilberg.

But to us, just drilling for more oil feels like a band-aid for a much greater issue. What's necessary is a cultural shift that emphasizes sustainability instead of wanton consumption. Everywhere, we are surrounded by examples of excess, From appliances designed for obsolescence (your car or anything in the kitchen), ultra thick plastic take-out containers you throw away, shelves bursting with a vast array of cleaning materials & fragrances, to the thousands of toys that sit unused by children each day. But we are so used to it, we accept crazy (and unsustainable) for normal. 

Power to the people

Fortunately, for those of us who see a different way, there are many effective tools that we can use to voice our opinion and create change. Websites like change.orgpetitions.whitehouse.gov, and petitions.moveon.org give us the power we need to address pressing and urgent issues of our Earth’s future. While the petition to stop Shell's arctic drilling did not win, the fight does not end there. As we keep demanding greener sources of energy, companies will see more of an incentive to research and pursue better technology for more efficient batteries, solar, wind power and other clean energy resources.

Never before has one person been able to join a movement so easily and affect change. Knowing that, why would you NOT, take 2 minutes to fill out your name and help change Shell's risky oil explorations to a focus on a cleaner, more sustainable future? Or go one step more and make your own petition here.