Conscious Commerce Predictions: Accelerating Transition to a Circular Economy

Our turbulent political climate, world disasters and unprecedented events is fueling businesses, individuals to collaborate on tackling key challenges facing the planet and threats to humanity.  


By 2050 there will be 9.7 billion people on the planet, half of them will be in water-stressed regions, requiring 50 percent more energy. 

While progress has been made in support of the Sustainability Development (SDG’s) goals, gaps ensue mitigating climate change’s disruptions on peoples lives and economies, the circular economy, a $4.5 trillion opportunity, according to Accenture, is the new driver for innovation across industries, product lifecycles and global supply chains.

While attention on plastic waste, including bans on plastic bags and straws, is advocating sustainability, more effective programs are needed to address resource scarcity and climate threats, respond to societal pressure to preserve our planet for future generations. 

This transition requires companies, retailers, and consumers to adopt a systemic approach to developing new models that use less natural resources, tackle climate change, generate more economic growth and influence buying patterns. 

With escalating concerns about pollution, habitat loss and exploitation of natural resources, businesses are under pressure from investors, civil society and consumers to tackle these challenges.

A recap of the top realities we face:

Oceans: Nearly half of the ocean’s marine populations have declined over the last 45 years. About 13 million tones of plastic leak into our oceans every year, harming biodiversity, economies and health.  By 2050, there will be more plastic than fish if we keep producing (and failing to properly dispose of) plastics at predicted rates, plastics in the ocean will outweigh fish pound for pound in 2050, according to a report by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and World Economic Forum. 

Wildlife Species:  In just 20 years African elephants could be gone.  Despite the ivory ban in 1989, elephants continue to be slaughtered with only half the number of elephants left. Approximately 100 African elephants are killed each day by poachers seeking ivory leaving only 430,000 remaining. Elephants are a critical species as they create and maintain the ecosystems in which they live and for other plant and animal species to also survive.

Waste: Businesses are the largest producers of hardware waste and recyclables, with a study finding that £40 billion worth of hardware materials are in the bin. Consumers are discarding usable devices to get the latest new gadget or technology. The amount of annual waste is expected to increase globally to 51 million tons a year due to the digital economy. 

Forests: Warmer temperatures and changing precipitation patterns are driving forests northward, to higher elevation. Changing forest health and range has implications far beyond what types of trees will succeed. Trees are a major backbone of ecosystems that birds and other wildlife rely on for survival. If there is such an abrupt change in the natural landscape, the wildlife, the human systems, and the economies that rely on those systems will be challenged to keep pace with the rate of change.

Global Warming:  Global emissions are reaching record levels and show no sign of peaking. The last four years were the four hottest on record, and winter temperatures in the Arctic have risen by 3°C since 1990. Sea levels are rising, coral reefs are dying, and we are starting to see the life-threatening impact of climate change on health, through air pollution, heat waves and risks to food security. 

Reputation Dynamics Predictions:

What will be key to success for a circular economy for the long-term will be ‘inclusiveness’ towards devising holistic approaches to embrace key social and environmental trends:  

Growth of Consumer Power and Activism:  Recent research by consultancy firm Deloitte revealed over 80 percent of Millennials across Australia, Canada, China, India, the UK and the US find it important for companies to behave ethically and take steps to diminish their environmental impact. Consumers aged 25-35 are projected to spend 150 billion US dollars on sustainable goods by 2021.

Disaster Relief and Recovery: With the increasing number of natural disasters, corporations, emergence of mission-critical foundations and nonprofits are re-thinking approaches to disaster relief and recovery efforts. While many organizations will continue to provide immediate relief to victims of natural disasters through cash grants and product donations, companies are taking a more pro-active approach to restoring and building resilient communities for the long-term, such as affordable housing, trees and parks, mass transport and urban infrastructure; and resilience for the urban poor.

Growth of Sustainability Incentives: As corporations determine metrics, suppliers are incentivized to be more sustainable. For example Project Gigaton is a Walmart initiative to avoid one billion metric tons (a gigaton) of greenhouse gases from the global value chain by 2030. Suppliers can take their sustainability efforts to the next level through goal setting and receive credits. 

Urbanization: Nearly 70 percent of the world’s population (6.7 billion), are projected to live in urban areas. This calls for new innovative designs for cities and living spaces to include water resource protection, renewable energy, food is grown locally, supporting diverse cultures, population migration patterns and carbon-neutral infrastructures. 

Plant a Tree: Urban forests are dynamic ecosystems that provide critical benefits to people and wildlife. Urban forests help to filter air and water, control storm water, conserve energy, and provide shade. By reducing noise and providing places to recreate, urban forests strengthen social cohesion, spur community revitalization, and add economic value to our communities. American Forests, the oldest conservation organization in the US, is dedicated to protecting and restoring healthy forest ecosystems with a goal to plant a further 3 million trees.

Conclusion: A strong business case is a priority for companies looking to adopt effective circular economy practices. With financial incentives for businesses to shift to 100% renewable energy, adopting the circular model represents environmental conservation as an economic opportunity while restoring and building resilient communities for the long-term. 

It will transform our relationships as consumers, our buying habits, selection of clothes, food, utilities and choice of materials. 

However, what is fundamental to success is to treat our materials as precious resources, convene more alliances, work across multiple industry sectors, break down silos, and enforce action on a united front.   

It’s that Simple. Plant a Tree Today: www.americanforests.org

By: Samantha Taylor - Founder of Reputation Dynamics 

Since 2005, Reputation Dynamics (RD) has been committed to addressing social, environmental and human justice issues. RD mobilizes corporations, NGOs/civil society and academia to devise share-valued approaches and develop inclusive partnerships.

I look forward to connecting with peers who are making the world a better place, advancing the Sustainable Development Goals. Please contact me at:  


The Power of Private-Public Partnerships: Deconstructing Gender Bias for Resilient Communities


Multiple events such as UNGA, Women’s Funding Network conference, Concordia Summit, Global Goals for Sustainable Development, Bill & Melinda Gates Goalkeepers, have mobilized determined leaders in dialogues about ideas and commitments to investing in the world’s poor.  

Despite the current administration, challenging global economy and unprecedented global disasters, voices are amplified about gender equality for all.   

However, the gap between making women and men equal partners in the economy and society remains significant. In fact, according to the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report, economic gender equality is predicated not be achieved for another 170 years. 

Equal access is fundamental to society stability, ensuring resilient communities for the long-term.

Yet, the world’s political, cultural, humanitarian and environmental issues continue to be disrupted by the complexities of non-equal access and discrimination.

A recap of the realities we face:

  • Wage Gap: Women generally earn 79 cents for every dollar men earn
  • Women of Color: Occupy only 11.9 percent of managerial and professional positions
  • Executive Positions: Women hold 29/5.8% of CEO positions at S&P 500 companies
  • Poverty: In the U.S. in 2016, more than one in eight women, more than 16.9 million, lived in poverty.  14.5 million poor children, more than half, live in families headed by women
  • Human Trafficking: At least 21 million adults and children are bought and sold worldwide into commercial sexual servitude, forced labor and bonded labor.  Around $32 billion profits are generated

Oxford Dictionary’s Definition of Gender Equality = The state in which access to rights or opportunities is unaffected by gender’

Gender and racial inequality is not only a pressing moral issue, it is also a critical economic challenge.   

Women = 50 percent of the population: 

Improving the livelihoods of women and girls represents the single biggest opportunity for cultural, human and economic development.

According to a new McKinsey Global Institute report, $12 trillion could be added to global GDP by 2025 by advancing women’s equality. In addition, women are the world’s most powerful consumers controlling 65% of consumer spending.

Outdated norms and gender stereotypes are impeding achieving the systemic change required to better integrate women into society, holding back the global economic growth that will come from increased gender equality and women’s empowerment.

What is fundamental to success is deconstructing the roots of gender bias early.  Mitigating negative perceptions about both men and women in leadership and role in communities represents a powerful ripple effect, benefitting families, communities, workplaces and economies at large.

Now more than ever before, women around the world are poised to make significant progress but are faced with several issues which need to be addressed:

  • Lack of economic security
  • Domestic violence
  • Lack of access to education and healthcare

To be sure, if women do not achieve their full economic potential, the global economy will continue to suffer. Investing in women and girls, creates more stable families and communities.

A Powerful Solution - Private-public partnerships:

The U.S. devotes less than 1% of its annual budget to foreign aid with Trump recommending a 30% cut to the State Department’s budget including funding for USAID’s critical health programs.

 While U.S. foreign-aid programs have helped women and children fight disease and poverty, have access to basic needs, the public and private sectors are further poised to mobilize and action programs that close gender gaps in the workplace and communities at large.

Support of SDG goal 5, achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls. Includes raising the bar on sector expertise and programs that enable economic security, mitigate domestic violence, ensure access to education and health. 

For example, an Intel analysis states that making the Internet accessible to 600 million women and girls (40 percent from developing countries) could generate an estimated $13-18 billion in annual GDP across 144 developing nations.

A diverse range of for-profit and nonprofit organizations from multiple sectors are on the front lines of scaling up programs, partners and stated impacts for women and girls. Organizations of note include Coca-Cola’s 5X20, GAP P.A.C.E, Unilever’s Sustainable Living Plan, the Akola Project and The Women’s Funding Network.

The power of private-public partnerships can take these complex problems and distill them down into concrete concepts, implementable programs that have measurable impact and long-term sustainability.

Shared value add dialogues, co-creation and design of programs at the local and global level with businesses, academia, nonprofits will continue to be essential for systemic change and improving livelihoods of women and girls.

Stay the Course: Transformative Change:

When people are inflicted by disasters and trapped in the cycle of poverty, ‘We the People’ are all at risk both at a local and global level.

Investing in the world’s poor remains a priority along with ensuring economic security and mitigating violence among women and girls.  This requires a renewed focus on scalable economic development and capacity building, opportunities for job training and employment for underserved populations, consistent access to basic needs and investments in children’s education.

By Samantha Taylor, President of Reputation Dynamics.


  • McKinsey Report - http://www.mckinsey.com/global-themes/employment-and-growth/how-advancing-womens-equality-can-add-12-trillion-to-global-growth
  • Partner Spotlight: The Women’s Funding Network is the largest network of foundations devoted to women and girls. We empower over 100 foundations, spanning 6 continents, to incubate, lead programs, and take collective action to solve complex social and economic issues - www.womenfundingnetwork.org

About Reputation Dynamics: Since 2005, Reputation Dynamics (RD) has been committed to addressing social, environmental and human justice issues. RD mobilizes corporations, NGOs/civil society and academia to devise share-valued approaches for community development and improvement of livelihoods.

Please contact me for a dialogue about creating successful private-public partnerships - sam@reputation-dynamics.com

    Narrowing the Divide between the Rich and Poor: Field Trip Report with TCU in Panama


    Upon arrival into Panama City, one is struck by the new skyscrapers, architectural wonders and causeways in celebration of the prosperous trade traffic navigating the Canal, reporting fiscal revenues of $2.61 billion in 2015.

    Panama is booming, with an average economic growth of 9 percent in the past five years, the highest in Latin America. Financial services and projects like the subway and multibillion-dollar expansion of the canal have contributed to this growth with the canal accounting for 10% of the country’s GDP.

    However, Panama illustrates the starkest disparities of wealth in Latin America.  Poverty in Panama, according to the World Bank, is a rural and indigenous territories phenomenon, as can be seen in the once vibrant town of Colon, an hour’s drive from Panama City.

    Despite the nation’s great wealth, we are reminded of the divide between the rich and poor, inequality that keeps almost 40 percent of its population in poverty – threatening to turn ‘The Boom to Bust’.  Furthermore, half of the country’s children are poor with nearly a fifth suffering from malnutrition.

    I invite you to read more about my visit to Colon, Panama with staff/faculty members from TCU’s Discovering Global Citizenship Program and reflections about poverty. 

    We took a very scenic train ride to Colon via the Panama railway fringing the edge of the canal and diverse, lush biodiversity with the occasional crocodile popping its head around passing ships.   The city of Colon sits by the Caribbean, wedged between a port and a cruise ship terminal. 

    Our day began with breakfast at Hotel Washington, once a popular venue with its marble lobby and majestic pillars, commanding a view of the water and an abandoned ship.  The crumbling and neglected hotel with wires sticking out of walls in precarious places, is in desperate need of repair.

    Today, Colon is where potable water, electricity, structurally sound buildings, and employment are all in short supply for the city’s 220,000 residents.

    Yet in the early 1900s, during and after the construction of the canal, Colon blossomed with theaters, clubs, restaurants and finely manicured boulevards, hailing distinguished visitors like Albert Einstein.

    The Lost Colon:

    'The 98 cent tour’ with Sister Barbara who runs MUCEC, a non-profit charity supporting distressed women in Colon, provided a whole other perspective on poverty in a span of a mere 4/5 blocks.  We were told to leave our bags and not have any cameras exposed. Following closely on Sister Barbara’s earnest heels of conviction through the mess and stench of unsanitary conditions, she takes the hands of the children to ask if they had any food or water that day.  Sister Barbara, originally from Brooklyn, has committed her life to this community to help these families see hope of a future.

    The visuals entailed rotting buildings with weeds sprouting from the cracks, a steady stream of sewage in the alleyways, jury-rigged water services, abandoned yellow taxis resting on deflated tires, while malnutritioned locals hang out in the streets.

    As Panama City grew and modernized in the post-World War II era, Colon’s vibrance wore off. The ultimate closing of American military bases with the canal’s transfer to Panama in 1999 accelerated Colon’s deterioration. Crime and poverty grew, and the middle-class relocated to the suburbs, Panama City or out of the country.

    Colon is the city that Panama forgot, in spite of vigorous development meant to court Caribbean cruise ships. Prior to 1869, the railroad connecting Panama City and Colon was the main transit across the continental Western Hemisphere. A last whiff of prosperity was seen during the construction of the Panama Canal.

    Meanwhile, just around the corner from Colon is a $5 billion canal upgrade, a so you would think hub for economic development, skills development, creation of jobs and opportunity to improve livelihoods, including the 27,000 people that continue to live in condemned housing.

    Colon’s duty-free trade zone, the largest in the Western Hemisphere, has done little to improve the town’s fortunes. Recent developments, including a hotel, an airport upgrade, a cruise ship dock enabling visitors to shop without entering the city’s squalor, have benefited mostly the businesses in the zone, a source of friction. Home to the zone’s 30,000 employees, Colon got lost in the middle of the free zone, and has become a challenge for the government, residents, businesses to revive what was once a thriving town.  Yet, it has been argued that projects like a new highway connecting Panama and Colon, the expansion of the canal, construction of a new hospital and other public works have reduced unemployment and poverty, yet these families continue to live in this squalor with no immediate way out.

    Plans are now in place for the revitalization of Colon but with a lot of skeptism about how to realistically save and restore some of the crumbling buildings and historical assets, recently attracting preservation experts to write a plan with the help of organizations like the World Monuments Fund.  This will entail moving families out and securing the provision of basic human needs.  But how and to where?

    In 2015 UN-Habitat reported signing two cooperation agreements with the cities of Colon and Panama to promote urban renewal and revitalization. These agreements, directly related to the issue of urban land use, planning and revitalization, seek to encourage public and private investment.

    To be sure, such disparities are growing starker in rising economies like Peru, Brazil and Ecuador where communities are excluded in urban development and renovation plans, keeping the divide firmly intact between the rich and the poor. Fundamental to any progress will be addressing the racial discrimination that has stagnated Colon, getting people out of poverty, creating jobs and improving livelihoods.

    This cannot be solved by government alone and will require other leaders from civil society, academia and international development partners to step in.  This is an opportunity to develop new models and approaches for mitigating poverty in the midst of social, cultural and political circumstances – scale and replication for ‘Boom to Bust’ scenarios such as Colon.

    In conclusion, I share Sister Barbara’s powerful perspective, hope for Colon and communities trapped in poverty around the world:  Change does, however, occur. We have witnessed repeatedly violated, humiliated and oppressed women find shreds of human dignity from which to build new lives and to grow. We have seen the malnourished children of these women learn to read or just to say “thank you”. Once launched, the empowering search for self-respect and human dignity is not easily lost.  Hence, after years of slow, painful struggle, and almost constant evaluation, our prospects are stronger than ever, and our motto remains “Si podemos” – “Yes we can”.

    By Sam Taylor, Founder of Reputation Dynamics.


    Sam Taylor is Senior Advisor to TCU’s Discovering Global Citizenship Program and accompanied Dr. Jane Kucko and John Singleton to learn more about the Universities work and community development partners.  TCU’s mission is to “educate individuals to think and act as ethical leaders and responsible citizens in the global community.”  The University transforms life and learning by infusing international perspectives and skills throughout the teaching, research and service missions with a focus on developing markets.


    About MUCEC: MUCEC began in 1985 with efforts to help some of the poorest of Colon’s impoverished inhabitants -- the abused women and their children with little or no income.  Unlike other programs, MUCEC seeks a permanent solution rather than a temporary fix of the problem via a handout. For more information: http://mucec.org/english/nosotros.html




    "The Uncondemned": Lessons to be Learned from Genocide: Field Report from Rwanda

    Last  month, I was fortunate to be part of a delegation in support of the private filmmakers' screening of "The Uncondemned" documentary in Kigali, Rwanda including the opportunity to meet the incredible women who made the case possible: witnesses JJ, NN, and OO, and Godelieve Mukasarasi, Chairwoman of the SEVOTA Association. The trip included genocide memorial site visits and opportunities to be further informed about the atrocities that took place during the Rwandan genocide in 1994.

    In 1997, a mismatched group of underdog lawyers went after rape as an international war crime for the first time. The film recounts their fight for the first conviction and follows the story of the heroic Rwandan women who risked a wave of witness assassinations to testify. The documentary is directed by former investigative correspondent to Bill Moyers (PBS) and political anchor at CNN, Michele Mitchell, and co-director, Nick Louvel. 

    Rape continues to be used as a tactic of war in conflicts around the world and the perpetrators of this violence are not being held accountable. "The Uncondemned" is inspirational and educational in addressing these challenges - it underscores the value of "seeing is believing" as we tackle our humanitarian and social justice issues.

    I invite you to read more about my trip, highlights from a robust itinerary, and personal reflections about the impact of genocide on society.

    Wars, conflict, and persecution have forced more people than at any other time to flee their homes, seek refuge and safety elsewhere, according to a new report from the UN refugee agency. UNHCR's annual Global Trends Report: World at War, released on June 18, reported that worldwide displacement was at the highest level ever recorded. The number of people forcibly displaced at the end of 2014 had risen to a staggering 59.5 million compared to 51.2 million a year earlier and 37.5 million a decade ago.

    When the genocide in Rwanda ended in 1994, 800,000 people had been murdered – 300,000 of these victims were children. In addition, 95,000 children had been orphaned. Thousands of children were victims of brutality and rape, and thousands of children – some as young as seven – were coerced into military operations and forced to commit violent acts against their will.

    The lingering trauma of the 1994 genocide still leaves many women and youth with little hope for a prosperous future and rebuilding models can take years to restore communities and economies.


    Ntarama and Nyamata Genocide Memorial Sites

    Leading up to the screening, we visited two churches 25-30 km south of Kigali that are evidence to some of the most brutal killings during the 1994 genocide. These churches are two of the most moving memorials, having on display the bones, skulls and bloodied rags of those brutally murdered.  During the genocide, the Tutsis (persecuted minority of the population), sought sanctuary in the Catholic churches in the hopes that they would be a safe haven. People smuggled food and other essentials into the churches. It is thought that some of the clergy informed the Hutus of the secret mass of Tutsis that had taken refuge in the churches. Ultimately, the Hutus stormed the churches and massacred all the people.

    At Nyamata, the Nyamata Parish Catholic Church is the larger church. Here, grenades, rockets and automatic weapons were all used to massacre the people imprisoned inside the church. It is believed that 10,000 were killed inside the church with a further 35,000 killed around the church compound in April of 1994. The church houses the bloodied clothing of the victims piled up on the benches. A set of stairs leads down to a crypt where a shelf of skulls lie above a coffin of a woman who was repeatedly raped. The walls of the church show where the grenades blew holes in the walls, doors and windows were blown open.

    Next to the church is a large underground crypt. It is filled with thousands of skulls, femurs, and other bones belonging to the 55,000 people that were brutally murdered. There are crude, wooden coffins filled with bones of whole families, neatly stacked and all draped in purple covers.

    Ntarama is a small church and school where about 5,000 people, many of whom were women and children, were massacred.  People hiding in the separate kitchen building were burned to death. The children were taken into the one room school and killed by smashing their skulls against a wall.  There is a blood-stained wall where these massacres were carried out. The blood-stained clothes of the dead are draped over the church pews and the instruments used in the executions are grouped at the front of the church. At the rear of the church are all the skulls, other bones of the victims, pots and pans demonstrating community life.



    Private Filmmakers' Screening of "The Uncondemned" – June 17

    At 11 p.m. on the night before the screening, Michele summoned the core members of her team to advise us that not only had President Kagame agreed to attend the screening, but the entire logistics and location were also to be changed.  

    "The Uncondemned" is a feature-length documentary that traces the legal chase to a historic verdict—which included the first-ever conviction for genocide and for rape as a form of genocide. Shot in Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, The Netherlands, and the U.S., the film includes interviews with the first women to testify about rape as a war crime, as well as the genocidaires-turned-militia that committed the crimes. It has been a crime of war since 1919, but was not prosecuted until 1997, when a group of young prosecutors, activists and investigators went after that first conviction. Thanks to the extraordinary courage of the women of rural Rwanda, Witnesses JJ, NN, and OO, and their fearless leader Godelieve Mukasarasi, they changed history and formed a community to empower women and improve livelihoods. 

    More than 300 representatives from the government, private and civil society sectors attended the screening including his Excellency President Kagame, her Excellency, the First Lady, Jeanette Kagame and Ms. Barks-Ruggles, the United States Ambassador to the Republic of Rwanda. The documentary and its critical story was well received and publicized locally and internationally.

    Post-screening - A Visit to SEVOTA

    After the screening, we visited the ladies in Taba (home of the convicted Jean-Paul Akayesu) and were greeted by celebration, dance, and presentations made by the Deputy Mayor and principals. We were then each handed a gift with a hand-written card of thanks and appreciation.

    SEVOTA is a Rwandan organization that hosts forums for women who became pregnant because of rape during the genocide. The organization’s mission: Solidarity for the Development of Widows and Orphans to Promote Self-Sufficiency and Livelihoods.


    Lessons to be Learned

    Surely, the consequences of genocide are suffered not only by the targeted society, but also by humanity at large. Genocide has devastating consequences at all levels of society and a society cannot rebuild or manage its development in isolation.  It must include participation from the solidarity of other people and survivors who have suffered similar experiences in other communities around the world.

    Rwanda, now considered one of the safest countries in Africa, is a model for future learning as a society that underwent genocide and post-conflict resolution. To that end, Rwandan survivors' associations are advancing by establishing relationships with other survivors, creating organizations to learn from their experiences, and building resilient communities for women and orphaned children, including the provision of basic needs, health services, and education.  However, this level of work and advocacy has to be further advanced to help mitigate and prevent further acts of crimes against humanity. 

    We all need to think critically and understand what human beings are capable of, especially in the context of war and genocide. As such, we must cultivate transparency and open dialogue about common problems such as intolerance, bullying, domestic violence, rape, prejudice, hatred, abuse, gender inequality, and more. We owe it to ourselves and future generations to learn from these lessons.

    By Sam Taylor, Founder of Reputation Dynamics.

    "The Uncondemned" is currently in post-production and we welcome exploring opportunities to support this critical documentary including  sponsorship, hosting educational screenings, and/or alignment with SEVOTA Association's mission to help widows and orphans to promote self-sufficiency and livelihoods. "The Uncondemned" is a 501c3 through fiscal sponsor, Filmmakers Collaborative. We invite you to review the trailer: www.filmat11.tv/theuncondemned.

    About SEVOTA: A Rwandan organization that hosts forums for women who became pregnant because of rape during the genocide. Website: www.sevota.org 

    Featured Article: http://af.reuters.com/article/rwandaNews/idAFL5N0YQ2X620150616

    Please contact sam@reputation-dynamics.com to explore opportunities for partnership.

    "The Uncondemned": Filmmakers’ Screening and Educational Campaign to End Violence in Conflict, Rwanda, Africa

    In 1997, a mismatched group of underdog lawyers went after rape as an international war crime for the first time. This is the story of their fight for the first conviction - and the story of the heroic Rwandan women who risked a wave of witness assassinations to testify.

    "The Uncondemned" is a feature length documentary that traces the legal chase to a historic verdict, which included the first-ever conviction for genocide and for rape as a form of genocide. Shot in Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo, The Netherlands, and the U.S., the film includes interviews with the first women to testify about rape as a war crime, as well as the genocidaires-turned-militia that committed the crimes. It has been a crime of war since 1919, but was not prosecuted until 1997, when a group of young prosecutors, activists, and investigators went after that first conviction. Thanks to the extraordinary courage of the women of rural Rwanda, witnesses JJ, NN and OO (and their fearless leader Godelieve Mukasarasi), they changed history and formed a community to empower women and improve livelihoods. The documentary is directed by former investigative correspondent to Bill Moyers (PBS) and political anchor at CNN, Michele Mitchell, and co-director, Nick Louvel.  Their debut film, "Haiti: Where did the Money Go?," won the national Edward R. Murrow 2013 for Best TV Documentary as well as a Gracie Award for Best Investigative Feature.   

    There will be a private filmmakers' screening of "The Uncondemned” in Kigali, Rwanda on June 17 including the opportunity to meet the incredible people who made the case possible: witnesses JJ, NN, and OO, and Godelieve Mukasarasi, Chairwoman of the SEVOTA Association.  A number of influential representatives from local and international development communities, government, and the private sector will be attending.

    The team is in the final stretch to finish "The Uncondemned" and there are several opportunities to help support this groundbreaking film on the trial that made rape a war crime.  Despite this precedent-setting trial, rape continues to be used as a tactic of war in conflicts around the world and the perpetrators of this violence not being held accountable.

    "The Uncondemned" is currently in post-production and we welcome exploring opportunities to help support this critical film to include sponsorship, host educational screenings, including alignment with the SEVOTA Association’s mission to help widows and orphans to promote self-sufficiency and livelihoods. "The Uncondemned" is a 501c3 through fiscal sponsor Filmmakers Collaborative.

    We invite you to review the trailer (www.filmat11.tv/theuncondemned) and link to their Kickstarter campaign (http://kck.st/1zWIwJP).  

    About the SEVOTA Association:

    "Out of Rwanda’s total population of 11.5 million people, 25% are orphaned and vulnerable children. The lingering trauma of the 1994 genocide, which took nearly 1 million lives, still leaves many youth with little hope for a prosperous future."

    SEVOTA is a Rwandan organization that hosts forums for women who became pregnant because of rape during the genocide. The organization’s mission: Solidarity for the Development of Widows and Orphans to Promote Self-Sufficiency and Livelihoods.  

    Website: http://www.sevota.org

    Please contact sam@reputation-dynamics.com to support this critically important documentary and explore opportunities for alignment.


    Sam Taylor, Founder of Reputation Dynamics

    Client Spotlight: American Forests and Eddie Bauer


    To commemorate Earth Day and celebrate 20 years of partnership with American Forests, Eddie Bauer has made a commitment to honor the planet by setting a goal to plant 500,000 trees in 2015. And for all you outdoor enthusiasts, Eddie Bauer is making it easy to get what you need for yourself, family and friends while also helping preserve the landscapes you care about. 

    From today until Earth Day — April 22 — Eddie Bauer is making its “Add a Dollar, Plant a Tree” option available to both online and in-store customers. In addition, on April 21 and 22, Eddie Bauer will plant a tree for every transaction, whether online, in store, or by phone. Our 20-year partnership has resulted in the planting of more than 6.5 million trees in 150 ecosystems in the U.S. and Canada. Over the course of two decades, these trees have contributed to $100 million worth of improved air quality, $16 million in sequestered carbon and $20 million in enhanced water quality.

    Please help us continue to restore and protect our forests by supporting our work through Eddie Bauer.


    Sam Taylor

    Trends for 2015: Joining Forces is Vital for Resilient Communities

    In 2014, the UN Climate Summit, the first ever U.S.-Africa Summit, dwindling natural resources, gaps between the rich and poor has propelled awareness of advancing solutions for our complex challenges.

    To be sure, the influence of climate change is fueling global economic volatility, posing threats to natural resources and wildlife habitats. What is certain is that progress must be made to ensure a healthy planet for our future generations.

    A recap of the top realities we face includes:

    • Harsh climate: This burden cost $2.1 billion between 2000-2013 due to weather-related disasters.
    • Destruction of forests: Half of the earth's forest cover is gone with only 40 billion hectares remaining today. Every year, an average of 13 million hectares of forest disappear, often with devastating impacts on communities and indigenous peoples. The conversion of forests for the production of commodities such as soy, palm oil, beef and paper-accounts for roughly half of global deforestation. 
    • Threatened wildlife species: The London Zoological Society has reported that world wildlife populations have been cut in half from 1970 to 2010:
      •  In the 1970s, Africa was home to more than 1.3 million elephants. Today, as few as 419,000 may remain and 35,000 elephants are killed by poachers each year to feed the ivory black market.
      • The South African government recently reported a record 1,020 rhinos have been poached in the country since the beginning of 2014, surpassing the 1,004 rhinos killed in all of 2013.
    • Chronic diseases: Deaths from chronic diseases, such as cancer and heart disease, have risen by more than 50 percent according to the Council on Foreign Relations and are rising fast in low and middle-income countries, striking far younger populations than in rich countries.
    • Lack of education in Africa: Today, there are 30 million children who are not receiving education and according to the 2014 Education for All Global Monitoring Report, the shortage of quality teachers is the key problem.  Children are not receiving quality education and skills training for potential jobs.

    Major initiatives in 2014:

    First Ever U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit in D.C: The White House convened African heads of state and government, U.S./African corporations, civil society to strengthen alignment between the United States and opportunities for trade and economic investment in the continent. Africa is finally being recognized as the next major emerging market, access to new consumers and resources with a combined GDP upwards of $2 trillion.

    UN Climate Summit: President Obama unveiled a series of actions to urge the international community to cut emissions and help developing countries better prepare for climate change.  While the EPA proposed a new plan designed to cut carbon emissions by 30% by the year 2030:

    •  New York Declaration on Forests: More than 150 governments, companies and NGO world leaders endorsed a global timeline to cut natural forest loss in half by 2020, and strive to end it by 2030. 
    • The U.S. and China signed the first major deal on climate change to cut emissions.

    Predictions for 2015: Value of nature:

    While nature is deemed priceless, various studies have tried to estimate the value of ecosystem services (provision of timber, minerals, food and medicines) in financial terms.  The total value of ‘nature’ is estimated to be about $33 trillion per year of which the global economy is consuming about $7 trillion dollars annually.

    This is raising the bar on developing more inclusive partnerships between the public and private sectors to ensure the provision of basic needs (such as food and water) and solutions to ensure more resilient economies.

    Environmental awareness and education: With consumers and millennials more informed about the increasing role of crowd funding, digital and mobile network applications, for and nonprofit companies must improve how they share, advocate and demonstrate their commitments. Also, enlist participation from the public at large with authenticity and transparency.

    Forest and wildlife protection: Continued action to conserve, sustainably manage and restore forests can contribute to economic growth, alleviating poverty, creating food security, protecting wildlife species and habitats.

    Investment in Africa: Africa’s economic growth and prosperity will be driven by primarily investing in youth education and creating jobs. 

    Market access: More correlation and alignment between trade, new and existing markets is the focus of economic growth.  The co-creation of programs at the community-level with businesses, government and nonprofits is essential for long term sustainability, protection of resources and livelihoods.

    Conclusions: In a disruptive global economy, companies and individuals have significant opportunities to promote economic growth, develop new products and access new customers, while saving trees and protecting wildlife species. However, what is fundamental to this success is to convene more alliances, break down silos, enforce greater knowledge exchange and a more united front to address the complex challenges associated with climate change.

    By: Samantha Taylor - Founder of Reputation Dynamics.

    Conscious Commerce: Realities of “Years of Living Dangerously”

    images Protection of Forests: Critical For Future Generations

    Deforestation is an increasing contributor to global warming and environmental change impacting the health and well-being of the most rural communities. To be sure, the transformation of forested lands by human actions and the removal of trees without sufficient reforestation is one of the greatest drivers of biodiversity destruction, conflict, loss of habitat and wildlife species, and poverty.

    ‘Realities at a Glance’

    • We are losing 137 plant, animal and insect species every single day due to rainforest deforestation, which equates to 50,000 species a year.
    • Regions such as Indonesia lost more than 6 million hectares of its primary forest -- an area the size of England -- from 2000 to 2012.*
    • About one half of the forests that covered the Earth are gone with only 40 billion hectares remaining today.
    • There are fewer than 300,000 chimpanzees remaining in the wild.
    • Only about 22% of the world's original forest cover remains "intact" – contained in three areas: the Canadian and Alaskan boreal forest, the boreal forest of Russia, and the tropical forest of the northwestern Amazon Basin and the Guyana Shield.**

    In addition to the sourcing of paper and palm oil from forests, the impact of human behaviors continues to be profound. Forests are cleared, degraded and fragmented by timber harvest, conversion to agriculture, road-building, fires and in a myriad of other ways. The effort to use and subdue the forest has been a constant theme in the transformation of the earth, across societies and cultures, and is a major source of humanitarian conflict.

    ‘The Wake Up Call’

    Deforestation has important implications for life on this planet. Forests are the foundation of the global ecological system, the lungs of our planet and crucial for the future sustainability and survival of generations.

    Increasing population growth combined with poverty forces local communities to use forest resources in unsustainable ways in order to meet their basic needs such as food and water, as well as income generation for farmers and their families.

    Meanwhile, with the quest for Africa’s natural resources at an all-time high including palm oil production, competition is rising for the global demand for forest and extractive industry products. Africa also lost 3.4 million hectares of its forested area between 2000 and 2010.***

    Moving Beyond ‘Profits with Purpose’

    The protection of forests, ecosystems and wildlife species can no longer be solved in isolation and requires more integrated approaches to address the complex challenges and interrelated links with poverty. This includes protecting farmers and their communities to ensure provision of food, shelter, health and skills training.

    With the quest for new markets and customers, experts from multiple sectors – corporations, NGOs, fair trade and forestry experts - need to convene on shared value approaches for future ‘Years of Living in Prosperity’ in a globalized economy.

    While an increasing number of corporations have committed to using sustainable palm oil and protecting forests, at the most fundamental level, consumers need to be educated about responsible purchasing options, integrity of ingredients and be included into the ‘Call to Action’ to preserve the planet’s natural resources. With the acceptance of corporate responsibility continuing to drive brand reputation and purchasing habits among consumers, behavior changes are needed to influence more responsible purchasing decisions.

    Breaking down the systemic barriers to poverty is essential to preserving forests and protecting ecosystems to ensure the provision of basics human needs such as food and water, while developing responsible goods and services in the marketplace.

    Traditional models of giving are continuing to evolve with the new sustainability imperative. This will ensure integration across multiple disciplines in the supply chain, while creating programs and product development strategies. These models will align giving at the heart of ‘People Connection’ while protecting families and communities.

    In Conclusion: Corporations, supported by NGOs and governments, have profound shared values and our society cannot mitigate pressing social, economic and environmental issues without adapting to the realities of our planet and enlisting support from conscious-driven consumers.

    By: Samantha Taylor – Founder of Reputation Dynamics.



    • Years of Living Dangerously: Showtime documentary series about the human impact on climate change
    • *Scientists: Belinda Arunarwati Margono, Fred Stolle: Nature Climate Change
    • **World Resources Institute
    • ***FAO Global Resources Assessment 2010

    Conscious Commerce: Business and Social Innovation Trends for 2014


    *Eradicating Poverty and Protection of Farming Communities Imperative for Improving Livelihoods*

    The integration of ‘Doing Good in Society,’ new approaches and practices continues to evolve, becoming further embedded in business and throughout the supply chain,  raising the bar on industry performance and consumer loyalty.

    In fact, according to a recent study, Profile of the Practice 2013, by the Carroll School of Management Center for Corporate Citizenship at Boston College, above-average industry performers are more likely to have a formal corporate citizenship department, led at the executive level, with higher budgets for corporate citizenship and charitable giving.  Today, almost 60% of companies now have an executive leading corporate citizenship - a 74% increase over 2010.

    However, the companies that will be the most successful industry performers and maintain consumer loyalty will be those who have a hybrid approach to protecting the planet providing benefits to business and improving the lives of people in rural communities.

    With increasing volatility of climate change, world disasters and emerging markets, fueling radical change in business and community response models, it is imperative to close the gap between consumer expectations and perceptions about corporate responsibility impacts to transform brands, manage reputations and motivate talent.

    A recap of the top issues and realities we face:

    Widening Gap between Poverty and Inequality:  Rates are high in the US and around the world with 46.5 million in the US and approximately 413 million in Africa.   These populations fail to meet their most basic needs with shortages of food, clean water and lack of access to proper education.     

     Vulnerable Children: There are more than 151 million orphans and vulnerable youth worldwide who are in need of a loving family and a prosperous future.

    Climate Change: Increasing drought, flooding, and changing climatic patterns are at the route of hunger and poverty.  Deforestation is undermining the livelihoods of millions of people, requiring radical changes in farming practices and crop management.

    Food Security and Agriculture:  The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that nearly 870 million people of the 7.1 billion people in the world, mostly living in developing countries, were suffering from chronic undernourishment in 2010-2012. This is due to not having enough land to grow, or income to purchase enough food.

    Key predictions for 2014: Our ‘Knowledge-Driven’ Economy is Driving Market-Sector Relevance

    Despite contributions from the private and public sectors, the social, cultural and environmental circumstances of populations in under-served markets remain complex and unsustainable requiring new approaches and investments to address poverty at the fundamental level.

    Breaking down the systemic challenges of poverty is essential to protecting ecosystems to ensure the consistent provision of human needs such as food, health, shelter and education, while developing responsible goods and services in the marketplace.

    The New Dynamics of Philanthropy:  Traditional models of giving are changing to motivate innovative change, ensure integration across multiple disciplines, supply chain, new market access and product development strategies. These models will increasingly align giving at the heart of ‘People Connection’ and protecting families.

    Investment in Rural Communities: More correlation and alignment between trade, new and existing market access is the focus of community investment.  The co-creation of programs at the community-level with businesses, government and nonprofits aligned based on the market-sector needs of the economy is essential for growth and development:

    • Public-Private Partnerships: Community approaches are raising the bar on more inclusive partnerships to improve livelihoods and represents considerable benefits including co-creation of  community-driven and locally-owned models, provision of education, human needs, skills training and job creation;
    • Focus on Farming Communities and Agriculture:  A million ton cocoa shortage is anticipated by 2020 so supporting cocoa farmers in Africa and small-holder farming communities is key especially during times of drought;
    • Creating Jobs in the Supply Chain:  Investing in small- to mid- size companies in the supply chain to create jobs in rural communities;
    • NGOs: Aligning with NGOs to develop new standards for community measurement and impact.  Non-profits need help diversifying funding sources beyond individual donors, become less reliant on government funding, and seeking long-term partnerships and higher funding ranges with corporations.

    Spotlight on Africa: More than 220 million Africans will join the middle class as consumers within five years, presenting opportunities to develop and sell more products and services.  Africa is the world’s fastest growing region after emerging Asia and fostering new approaches for development challenges, while providing opportunities to life millions out of poverty.

    Story Telling: Companies must improve how they share, advocate and demonstrate their CSR commitments, inform and enlist participation from the public at large with authenticity and transparency.

    In Conclusion: Corporations, supported by NGOs and governments, have profound shared values and our society cannot mitigate pressing social, economic and environmental issues without adapting to our knowledge-driven economy and increasing demands from conscious-driven consumers.

    By: Samantha Taylor - Founder of Reputation Dynamics

    It takes a Village to Raise A Child: A field report from Rwanda

    DSCN1329In memory of Anne Heyman and acknowledgement of her contributions providing a future for Rwanda's children. May the legacy of her work continue to help orphans and vulnerable youth around the world. During the summer, I was fortunate enough to visit a community youth village in Rwanda on assignment for a client – Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village.  Not only an inspirational experience, it was educational and underscores the value of ‘Seeing is Believing’ as we tackle our complex global social, economic and humanitarian issues.

    It was also no coincidence that I was preparing for new beginnings in my own life. I realized that nothing compares to what orphaned and vulnerable children have to suffer.  The reality is that there are still more than 151 million orphans and vulnerable youth worldwide who are in need of a loving family and prosperous future.

    I invite you to read about my trip and learn more about Agahazo Shalom Youth Village (ASYV), a unique residential community and high school located in Rwanda, which is home to 500 vulnerable youth, many of whom were orphaned during and in the aftermath of the 1994 genocide.

    DSCN1306Upon arrival at Agahazo-Shalom’s magnificent 144-acre campus with commanding views of a vast, lush green valley, one of the students who greeted me looked me straight in the eyes.

    Piercing my heart and soul. I was struck by the confidence and vitality of these youth going about their activities around the village.

    Founded and mostly funded by Anne Heyman and Seth Merrin in 2008, this remarkable community model has been developed based on ‘Restoring the Rhythm of Life,’ by providing a safe, structured environment in which they can heal and thrive.

    Agahozo-Shalom means ‘a place to dry one’s tears in peace.’ It is indeed a place of peace and tranquility along with more than 100 species of birds.

    The mission of the Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village is to enable orphaned and vulnerable youth to realize their maximum potential by providing them with a safe and secure living environment, health care, education and necessary life skills.

    Anne and her Founders built everything from scratch. They bought the land, they built the houses and dining room, imported vehicles and equipment, established a health clinic, installed a water pump and IT services, hired local staff, built a farm – all major accomplishments in less than five years.   This is marked by the famous mango tree which is home to many visitors and meetings.

    DSCN1284My visit coincided with the first ASYV Alumni event and celebration for the 103 of 118 students, just six months after graduating from Agahozo-Shalom, who journeyed from all parts of Rwanda to gather, present art, music and words of reflection in anticipation of their future and jobs.

    Rwanda, home to the famous silverback gorillas, is an attractive destination for future economic and social investment in Africa.  However, out of Rwanda’s total population of 11.5 million people, 25% are orphaned and vulnerable children. The lingering trauma of the 1994 genocide, which took nearly 1 million lives, still leaves many youth with little hope for a prosperous future.

    DSCN1410Rwandan citizens struggle to achieve an adequate quality of life with 76% living on less than a dollar a day and 70% of university graduates are unemployed.

    The village includes a state-of-the-art school, residential facilities, a health clinic, a farm, sports fields, an art and science center and Amphitheatre.  The vast dining hall serves these kids and staff three meals a day from the kitchen.  DSCN1336Interacting with these kids in the dining hall signifies community, camaraderie and celebration.  They have discos on Friday nights and on Sunday mornings you can join them in Gospel singing and worship.  Music is everywhere in the village and if not in dining hall, the students listen to radios.  Where ever I went with Anne around the campus, the students flock to ‘Grandma’ full of thanks, hope and praise for a chance of a future.  And ‘Village Time’ always brought special surprises and talents of the youth in performance art under the magical African sky in the Lily Safra Amphitheatre.

    We are reminded of the power of art and music to help with trauma and healing.

    At 5.30 am, amongst the shrilling birds, I wake to hear the kids playing the drums to start another day in the rhythm of life.

    These kids, selected from districts around Rwanda, come from challenging circumstances, living on or making a living from the street, had no food or shelter, suffer abuse and conflict.

    DSCN1433DSCN1296After a full day of school, meals, sports and electives the day concludes with reflection and family time in one of the communal houses of 16 students headed by nurturing family mums.  I heard a moving story from one of the students and his personal circumstances.

    I took drugs to forget about my problems, spent nights crying because I did not have money for clothes, did not love anyone and had no hope. When I came to ASYV, I thought it was a dream. I started to reconstruct myself and over time I gained respect, helped others, developed hope, and envisioned my future’

    Kigali Genocide Memorial Museum

    A trip to the museum tells the history of Rwanda leading up to the genocide and catalogues the 1994 massacre with personal testimonials, photographs and videos.  There is also a small room dedicated to children, innocent victims of the genocide which are just heart wrenching.

    I hung out with the kids one night at the art center to do some beading on a pen.  I was not able to complete it as the electricity went out and left to retrieve my torch light.  Towards the end of my trip, a select group of students wanted to see me before I left, they presented me with a couple of gifts…the finished beaded pen and a bracelet.

    Anne Hayman’s belief in and commitment to these youth is summed up in a remark she made at the Alumni event.

    “We wanted to teach you how to be thinkers. You have already exceeded our expectations and I know that for all of you it is just going to continue to get better”

    The Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village represents a model that can be replicated to enable vulnerable youth around the world to become responsible citizens and have a prosperous future.

    We invite your support of ASYV’s upcoming end of year campaign to ensure the provision of food, health, shelter and education programs for the 500 youth.

    To support this terrific nonprofit, further information can be found at – www.asyv.org.

    A video link of Reputation Dynamics journey with Anne Heyman  to Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village can be found at - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hg3KP4SZk0s

    Posted by Sam Taylor


    Employee Engagement 2.0: Business and Social Purpose



    Date: Thursday, December 12, 2013: 1.00 – 2.00 ET   Format: Webinar presented by Sam Taylor

    The most successful organizations now must be driven by purpose as much as by profit. They also recognize that increasingly social purpose is becoming a critical component in terms of motivating, recruiting and retaining talent.

    In this presentation, Sam Taylor, Founder and CEO of Reputation Dynamics, provides perspectives on how to align “Doing Good in Society” with business strategy, competitive edge and employee engagement. Topics covered include:

    • Why companies with a social purpose perform better
    • The role of social purpose in employee engagement
    • Case studies of how to drive a company with social purpose
    • Practical advice on how to seek out “do good” companies to work for, and more

    This presentation is for any business leader who wants to gain insight into the far-reaching benefits of corporate social responsibility; for company Chief Talent Officers who care about retaining their best workers; and for any executive seeking a new opportunity with a company that has a strong social commitment.

    We hope that you will be able to join us, for further information and to sign up, please visit – www.execunet.com


    A Salute to Women of Vision: Gloria Awards

    MSFoundationGloriaMsFoundationDebCox Last night was a celebration of women and their contributions to fight for global justice at the Ms. Foundation for Women's 40th Anniversary co-hosted by Gloria Steinem and Anika Rahman. 

    An inspiring list of honorees included:

    • Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton - champion of economic justice for women
    • Saru Jayaraman - co-founder of Restaurant Opportunities Center United -workers rights and standards of equality
    • Kierra Johnson - Executive Director of  Choice USA - reproductive justice activist
    • Sunny Clifford - an Oglala Lakota from the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota - access to emergency contraception
    • Lauren Embre - The Embrey Family Foundation - improving her community and the lives of women and girls worldwide
    • Diane von Furstenberg, founder of DVF Studio - mentor to women leaders and entreprenuers
    • Melinda Wolfe - Bloomberg L.P., diversity and professional development

    The event hailed attendees from a variety of sectors including nonprofit, academic, foundations and representatives from the entertainment world including Canadian R&B singer-songwriter - Deborah Cox, American actor, dancer and singer - Ben Vereen and television host - Tom Murro.

    There is still so much more to be done mobilizing the collective power of women to mitigate pressing world issues:

    -American women still earn an average of 25% less than men

    -Birth control and basic services are still controversial

    -Every day, at least 800 women die while giving life and, unlike other global health challenges, most pregnancy and childbirth complicatoins can be prevented

    The Ms.Foundation for Women fights to eliminate barriers for all women.  More information - www.forwomen.org.

    Posted by Sam Taylor

    Jeff Corwin’s Wild Adventures Launches at the Franklin Park and Stone Zoos, Boston

    JCCWe are excited to announce the launch of ‘Jeff Corwin’s Wild Adventures' for families and their kids. JeffCorwinConnect, Inc. (JCC) co-founder, Emmy Award-wining TV host and wildlife biologist Jeff Corwin has launched his pioneering interactive audio tours - ‘Jeff Corwin’s Wild Adventures’ - at two of the most prestigious zoos in New England – Franklin Park and Stone Zoos. Over 680,000 visitors of all ages will have the opportunity to go on a “Wild Adventure” with Jeff as their personal guide and to learn about the different animals residing at the Zoos. The audio tours will focus on the challenges these endangered species face today, and encourage visitors to get involved with conservation programs at the Zoos.

    JeffCorwinConnect has partnered with French company Orpheo Inc to develop and provide the latest cutting edge technology for this program which was designed for visitors of all ages. The audio tours are offered on iPod Touch devices that have a custom app, which is interactive and allows visitors to plot their own trails while being able to track which exhibits they have already seen. The app also greatly reduces the need for using paper maps and is eco-friendly by design. Visitors also get to hear the calls (sounds) and see images with close ups of the animals on the devices. This ensures that visitors experience beyond what is visible or heard when at the Zoos.

    JeffCorwinConnect is a wildlife-nature focused, global trans-media edutainment company that develops branded mobile, digital and consumer products, creating online and onsite experiences, for kids and families.

    Please contact us regarding partnership and sponsorship opportunities to advocate for and protect our endangered species.

    Conscious Commerce: Business and Social Innovation Trends for 2013: 'Raising the Bar on Private-Public Partnerships'

    Earth boy - AfricaWhile corporate responsibility and sustainability (CR) continues to fuel radical change in business and philanthropic models, reputation management and employee engagement, CR alone is not enough to mitigate pressing social issues and consequences of climate change. Despite contributions from the private and public sector, the social, cultural and environmental circumstances of populations in under-developed markets remain complex and unsustainable.   A recap of the daunting realities we face include:

    • Water: Nearly 800 million people lack dependable access to clean water and about 2.5 billion people lack access to modern sanitation, putting them at risk of disease;
    • Hunger: About 1 billion people across the globe go to bed hungry every night, 200 million of them are children;
    • Education: 60 million children are deprived of access to education;
    • Blindness: 45 million blind and 135 million visually impaired people live around the world, of which 90 percent live in under-developed countries; 
    • Poverty: 61 percent of Africa’s one billion people live on less than $2 a day;  
    • Climate Change: Driven by fossil fuel use and deforestation, is undermining the livelihoods of millions of people.

    Meanwhile, corporations are continuing to explore growth, investment and social impact opportunities overseas including China, Asia and now Africa is the new spotlight. These markets represent the four billion people who live in poverty and potential customers for new products and services.

    Africa is Rising: Africa is the world’s fastest growing region after emerging Asia with Africans expected to number 2 billion by 2050.  By 2020, more than half of African households are projected to have discretionary income: 85m-130m. This economic expansion is fostering new approaches for development challenges while providing the opportunity to lift millions out of poverty. The Obama administration recently launched a ‘Doing Business in Africa’ initiative to promote economic growth, trade and investment in Africa.

    The Power of NGOs: NGOs have become increasingly influential in world affairs, and the World Bank estimates that more than 15 percent of total overseas development aid is channeled through NGOs.  They are the new leaders for the conscious movement representing broad public interest, expertise in the field, tackling complex social and environmental issues.  NGOs are developing new standards for community change and impact, have the connections with local governments and businesses to change policies.  Non-profits are diversifying funding sources, becoming less reliant on government funding, and seeking long-term partnerships with corporations.

    The Role of Public-Private Partnerships: Corporations continue to be challenged by developing solutions for sustainable, long term change to scale.  Further dedication of resources toward more inclusive private and public partnerships is critical for improving livelihoods and represents considerable benefits for both parties including co-designing community-driven and owned models, building quality programs, skills training and job creation.

    The collective power of partnerships’ are fundamental to properly understanding and navigating the economic, social and political circumstances of our most vulnerable communities in need.

    Corporations, supported by NGOs and governments, have profound shared values and our society cannot progress, break new ground, or mitigate our pressing world issues without greater collaboration.

    By Samantha Taylor

    The Nature Conservancy - Advancing Sustainable Conservation in Africa

    BetterTNC_logo-4e664ce4196a3Reputation Dynamics is excited to work with The Nature Conservancy on corporate marketing and social responsibility development to support awareness, growth and development of their programs in Africa. Since the 2006 launch of the Africa program, TNC has been protecting land, freshwater and marine ecosystems in key African regions including, Kenya, Tanzania, Namibia and Mozambique.    With the population of Africa expected to double by 2050, there will be greater demands for energy, food and water which will pose challenges that need to be addressed to ensure the resilience of the continent's natural resources, alleviate poverty and improve the quality of life for underserved communities.

    For more information - http://www.nature.org/ourinitiatives/regions/africa/index.htm.

    Helen Keller International - Preventing Blindness and Reducing Malnutrition

    HKIReputation Dynamics is excited to work with Helen Keller International on corporate development.  Founded in 1915 by Helen Keller and George Kessler, Helen Keller International (HKI) is among the oldest international NGOs (non-governmental organizations) devoted to preventing blindness and reducing malnutrition in the world. HKI currently work in 22 countries: 13 in Africa, 8 in Asia-Pacific, and the United States.  HKI's mission is to save the sight and lives of the most vulnerable and disadvantaged.  HKI combats the causes and consequences of blindness and malnutrition by establishing programs based on evidence and research in vision, health and nutrition.  For example, HKI's Vitamin A supplementation programs have helped save the sight and lives of nearly 100 million children in Africa.

    For more information - www.hki.org - and please contact me if you would like further information about this terrific nonprofits work led by CEO, Kathy Spahn.

    Reputation Dynamics Charity: Give The Gift of Water: Samburu Trust

    A community of up to 2,000 can benefit from a single waterhole, built by local labor for $25,000. Help us reach our $25,000 fund raising goal to construct one reservoir. We have raised $10,000 so far.

    Please Give Now:


    Key Issues In Northwestern Kenya: 70% of children will remain illiterate without access to school 51% of the population suffer from blinding trachoma 82% of women walk over 30 minutes for drinking and household water  In Kenya only 38% of the rural population has easy access to safe water
    The Water Challenge
    The Water Challenge Video
    Ol Malo Lodge www.olmalo.com

    Samburu trust


    On January 16, 2012 our group climbed Mt Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, the highest peak on the continent of Africa, and the tallest free standing mountain on earth to fundraise for a water reservoir for the Samburu people and wildlife in Northern Kenya. We then visited the Ol Malo project and founding director of the Samburu Trust, Julia Francombe, to learn more about her incredible work for the Samburu people who have been severely impacted by Kenya's drought. I invite you to read more about a nonprofit dedicated to working with the Samburu people to secure their land, its wildlife and shared future.

    I was extremely fortunate to spend an impressionable part of my childhood growing up in Kenya, East Africa which continues to have a profound impact on my life, work and spiritual journey. At the age of 10, I remember staring at the magnificent ice cap of Kilimanjaro while on regular family safaris in the Amboselli Game Reserve and longing to climb it. It had a lot more snow then and, due to climate change, today its ice cap is forecast to disappear entirely within 20 years.

    With the increasing spotlight on Africa for business and community development, I longed to return to Kenya despite fear and trepidation that my treasured memories would be shattered. I decided that it was important to go back with a social purpose which is how "Climb Kilimanjaro for Water" was created.

    Along with fellow trip organizer Christine Barker, it was important to select a cause that was tangible and could have impact among a plethora of initiatives addressing social and humanitarian issues in Africa. We selected water as a priority concern.

    My associate Dominique Callimanopulos at Elevate Destinations introduced us to Julia Francombe, daughter of Colin and Rocky Francombe, who own a private ranch called Ol Malo in the North Western region of Kenya. Julia created the Samburu Trust in 2000, in response to Kenya experiencing the worst drought in living memory which has impacted the health and livelihoods of the Samburu people.

    The Samburu, quite distinct from the Masai, are semi-nomadic pastoralists who herd mainly cattle but also keep sheep, goats and camels. The name they use for themselves is Lokop or Loikop, a term that implies to them as "owners of the land" ("lo" refers to ownership, "nkop" is land). The Samburu move with their herds of cattle, sheep and goats in search of pasture and water.

    After a fairly smooth flight from Nairobi to Liosaba we embarked on an extremely rocky and bumpy hour and a half road trip to Ol Malo.  We were greeted by Rocky Francombe and an absolutely breath taking view of Kenya's Northern Frontier District from the edge of a rugged escarpment where Ol Malo sits on the end of the Laipikia Plateau.

    Built, owned and managed by Colin and Rocky Francombe, with the help of the Samburu people, Ol Malo is built out of natural local materials sculpted into a luxury lodge along the edge of a rocky hillside. Slated pathways wind down to four private rock and olive wood cottages. Every attention has been paid to detail, privacy and value of self reflection in the dreamy backdrop of the African plains. About 20 or so elephant were taking water from a reservoir in the distance while the adopted family pet Kudu strolled in to join us for our buffet lunch.

    While Julia was in transit from Nanyuki, Colin had arranged for us to visit a local Samburu settlement known as a manyatta. A manyatta may consist of only one family, a man and his wife/wives. Each woman has her own house, which she builds with the help of other women out of local materials, such as sticks, mud and cow dung. Large ritual settlements, known as lorora, may consist of 20 or more families. Settlements comprise housing two or three families, with 5-6 houses built in a circle with an open space in the middle. The circle is surrounded by an acacia thorn bush fence and the center of the village keeps animal pens safe from predators.

    They are people both proud and protective of their culture and the ancestral lands to which it binds them. Their settlements are positioned in areas of beauty, while they also give great attention to their physical appearance, color and adornment.The Samburu, wearing Shukkas wrapped around their waists, arrange their hair into elaborate plaits and wear hand crafted beaded jewelry which is produced by the women.

    We were in for a treat as the male Samburu warriors performed their traditional dance with considerable vertical leaps, encouraged by the cries of other warriors, while the young Samburu women watched from the side lines joining in with their rhythmic chanting as appropriate. The chants and dances signify the blessing of cattle, preparation for war and victory in a hunt.

    When I was living in Kenya, it was very difficult and oftentimes not allowed to take pictures or video of the Masai or Samburu. We were careful to ask permission and they were absolutely fascinated by the cameras often giggling at pictures of themselves and actually encouraging us to take more.

    We were invited inside into a dark and smoky manyatta and sat next to a fire, while our guide Luya explained the process for preparing a staple diet of milk and blood which was being mixed in a gourd by one of the Samburu wives.  Curious children would pop in bringing more sticks for the fire and reach out to hold our hands, accompanied by chickens.

    Sitting in the warmth of the fire of the Francombe's intimate living room, Julia arrived with her daughter and dogs, Cindy and Foxy right behind her.  A courageous, fearless leader and visionary, it is of course no co-incidence that Julia climbed Kilimanjaro at the age of 14 and spent the nights in caves.

    Julia and her family have developed a remarkable charity, the Samburu Trust, working in an area of approximately 1 million acres whose path follows the migratory people and wildlife within the Waso ecosystem, representing a troubled community of 26,400 people with considerable issues to address.

    The 2000 drought resulted in the Samburu people of Northern Kenya losing 80% of their livestock. As herds recovered, they were hit by successive droughts in 2006 and 2009. Changing weather patterns, over-saturation of livestock and land mismanagement have triggered repeated emergencies of food security, poverty and tribal conflict.

    Woken by a most dazzling sun rise and three rare Stone Partridge birds on the window sill, Julia took us on a tour to show us the priority project areas, reservoirs and school settlements. Little did we know that we would be put to a water challenge later on in the day.

    As we drove into the trust area, several Samburu women were sitting around the property making jewelry out of the beadwork - another business set up under the Samburu Trust. Ol Malo designs produces beadwork that supports the Samburu directly.

    Today, the trust runs several programs including educating children through a network of nomadic schools, eradicating trachoma, improving general health, protecting wildlife and providing sustainable water for the livestock, wildlife and people who are an integral part of the ecosystem.

    Julia took us to the first ever location for a reservoir - Matasia.

    "This was the first group of Samburu women I got to know, Cheeky Dermaris, Mama Biaso. I spent days with them at home and was shocked by the distance they had walked to get water. The women would walk 3-4 hours every two days to get unclean, polluted water," said Julia.

    Julia took action and built the first reservoir - Matasia Reservoir - which has been a great success, providing water for more than 10,000 head of cattle during the drought. The water lasts for up to 3 months.

    Julia's close association with the Samburu has enabled the Trust make a continuous and accurate assessment of theneeds of the people, its culture, wildlife and the environment through the creation of dedicated programs.  She has also been able to achieve this with the help of her Samburu Manager - Munytaki Liokitop.

    "I have made some mistakes and tried to push projects. My vision is that the projects are designed by the Samburu for the Samburu - we work hand in hand with them. Our plan for 100 years and beyond our lifetime" said Julia.

    We had the honor of being invited to have tea in her managers Manyatta, meet one of his wives, Kiliwas, who just had a baby girl and mingled with children who have trachoma. Julia is spending a lot of time providing education about trachoma and how to prevent it which continues to be a great challenge.

    We were then escorted to another dam next to a water troff surrounded by cattle, where Christine and I were tasked with our water challenge - carrying water from the reservoir to the car and over a brick wall.  Despite our mountain fitness, it was a challenge to say the least.  After about 10 minutes, we could not carry the potable container any further and were humbled by how heavy a container of water was - 20 litres. It is Julia's goal to reduce the time carrying water from 3 hours to half an hour.

    In addition to the reservoirs, Julia has created two schools, Ol Malo and Kalwalash, with two teachers per school where 50 children attend per school and plans to build more. These schools are very unique in that they are owned and run by the tribal elders - following the Kenyan curriculum - they also include song and dance, are earthy and organic.

    "Our vision was to have a Naitengen - translated means an area where knowledge is passed - knowledge to read, knowledge of the land and water, the cattle, culture and wildlife in which the Samburu people live," said Julia.

    On an early morning horseback ride, I got to see the children participate in a dance before start of school. These lucky children get to go to school and learn the value of water, including washing their hands and faces.

    Julia had a little surprise for us at the the end of the day, she showed us the exact location for the new reservoir that we are fund raising for - to be built to the left of the big rock.

    "New Site: Ol Donyo Lotim"

    Julia has a very aggressive 10 year plan and many compelling programs to support her dream and vision. The provision of water is essential for success. There are plans to build 120 open water reservoirs over a ten year period, thereby providing clean water within a 30 minute walk of every Samburu homestead. Open water reservoirs are a sustainable water supply, preventing erosion and providing people, their livestock and wildlife access to safe, clean water.

    Now that's an added incentive and satisfaction that my memories of Kenya were not shattered but sharpened by its beauty, cultural diversity and soul that has something to teach us all.

    By Sam Taylor


    212 979 6092

    Long way to go: Banks slow to embrace CSR for reputation recovery

    CSR Best Logo The financial services sector has undoubtedly had much to contend with in recent years. Following the collapse of Goldman Sachs in September 2008, growth stumbled to a halt and the banks became whipping boys for the media and politicians - perhaps not totally undeservedly - for their role in the financial crisis.

    Today, rebuilding stakeholder trust combined with enforcing stricter financial regulations are top priorities for all banks.

    Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has emerged as a critical tool for organizations to protect reputation, empower employees and rebuild trust with its stakeholders. Multiple industries are continuing to embrace the benefits of CSR, but the financial services sector is still lagging behind.

    A committed CSR policy acts as a self-regulating mechanism enabling a business to monitor and ensure it is compliant with the rule of law, adopting ethical standards and ensuring transparency.

    The 2012 100 Best Corporate Citizens List (http://www.thecro.com), recently published by Corporate Responsibility Magazine, provides an index of top corporate citizens ranked on seven categories to determine the annual ranking – employee relations, human rights, climate change, philanthropy, governance, environmental and financial performance.

    This year's list was topped by global pharmaceutical giant Bristol-Myers Squibb, while the technology sector was well represented with IBM, Microsoft and Intel taking the next three spots. The top ten also included companies as diverse as Accenture, Campbell Soup and Nike.

    However, not only were there no banks in the top ten, there were none in the top 50. The highest ranked financial services company, ranked 56, was JP Morgan Chase & Co. Only two others made the top 100, Wells Fargo (80) and State Street Corp (83).

    This illustrates how the financial services industry has been slow to embrace CSR and recognize the benefits it can bring. Banks have traditionally placed greater emphasis on compliance and issues posing a 'direct risk' including being held liable for polluting the environment.

    The industry has only recently begun to appreciate the importance of more 'indirect risks', such as reputation and the responsibility of banks related to lending activities (client's solvency/continuity or collateral). Risk management is no longer just about the potential financial risks, but increasingly the environmental and social consequences of lending money to clients with dubious sustainability performances. With everything that the financial services sector has endured in recent years perhaps it isn't surprising that CSR hasn't been top of mind in the boardrooms of many financial institutions but that is a mistake that banks simply can't afford to continue to make.

    A notable company is Bank of America, which updated it core values and operating principals after adopting a CSR approach. The company published it first CSR report last year and its progress was recently recognized with a PR News award. The report details its socially responsible initiatives, which are now part of the bank's overall strategy. These include:

    • Funding solar power and energy efficiency programs
    • Supporting the revitalization of neighborhoods across the US
    • Lending and investing in small businesses that are the backbone of the economy
    • Encouraging employees to volunteer over a million hours in nonprofits and community organizations
    • Funding innovative arts and culture organizations

    "The progress reflected in this report demonstrates our commitment to creating opportunities that help the economy move forward through responsible business practices, lending, investing and charitable giving," said Anne Finucane, Bank of America's global strategy and marketing officer.

    While Bank of America represents how CSR is starting to make an impact in the financial services sector, the Best Corporate Citizens List demonstrates how the industry as a whole needs to step up to the plate. CSR is an important opportunity for banks to take responsibility for their actions and positively impact stakeholder groups.

    If the banking sector is to truly succeed in rebuilding its battered reputation there needs to be a more serious commitment to becoming socially responsible and engaging with the key issues that stakeholders demand. Is your company doing enough?

    Posted by Sam Taylor.

    Champion Clean Water Campaign: ‘One Village at a Time’

    Sponsor a safe water station in India or Ghana

    Wish you could do something about the world water crisis, where you could clearly SEE your impact? You can.

    Safe Water Network's Champion Clean Water Campaign is a practical way for a company's employees to help the billion people around the world without access to safe, affordable water. It is a customized corporate social responsibility or employee engagement program that is making real impact in communities in need.

    Children celebrating the launch of a safe water station in India

    Your Support Counts: Whether you have an existing social responsibility program or are launching a new philanthropic initiative, the Champion Clean Water Campaign complements traditional employee giving and corporate matching gift campaigns. We will customize the Campaign to meet your requirements including:

    • Creation of educational materials about water, sanitation and health for employee awareness and sign‐up.
    • Opportunities to build awareness, visibility and recognition for your customers and other stakeholders.
    • Customized workplace giving events to mark key milestones of the water station development and impact on the community.
    • Alignment with Safe Water Network's collaborative network of partners, water sector leaders and technical experts.

    Champion Clean Water, One Village at a Time

    We've provided almost a quarter of a million people safe, affordable water, and with your support, we will reach many more. We offer several options ranging from a single village for $25,000, up to $250,000 for a cluster of villages that would include a "service depot" of supplies and ongoing support. Pledges above $50,000 receive a customized employee engagement package.

    To learn more about the Champion Clean Water Campaign and life‐changing work of Safe Water Network, please contact: engagement@safewaternetwork.org.

    How the Champion Clean Water Campaign Works

    Pledge* Your organization can help Safe Water Network to assess, engage, build, launch, manage and ultimately transfer ownership and operation of a water station to a village of roughly 5,000 people.
    Monitor Every step of the way, your employees will see their impact on the community. Regular field updates (twitter feeds, dedicated web pages, blogs) will report on progress and how clean water is making a difference: improving livelihoods, easing the burden on women, improving children's health…
    Results We work with the village as a genuine partner to ensure long‐term success: on‐the‐job training and support, standardization of operating procedures, manuals and tool kits…Demand generation activities help improve efficiencies and educational programming improves health and hygiene practices.
    Impact As an advocate, your participation adds to the collective knowledge of Safe Water Network because every step at every site is monitored, evaluated and documented to refine our approach and quantify results to make the human right of safe water available to all.

    By Sam Taylor

    Disaster Relief Employee Volunteering - Field Report from Haiti and Update on Japan Plans

    We are taking this opportunity to provide you with an update on the significant progress being made by Elevate Destinations Disaster Relief Programs.  In addition to completing another successful Haiti trip, Elevate Destinations won a prestigious honor from National Geographic Traveler and is planning a volunteer relief initiative in Japan.

    Haiti – Report from the Field: In March 2011, the Elevate Haiti trip was an unequivocal success.  Volunteers from all over the United States were able to:

    • Raise over $10,000 for the St. Joseph’s Family and the rebuilding of their homes for orphaned and ex-slave children.
    • Bond and play with the kids, sharing extraordinary moments filled with laughter and music.
    • Contribute to amazing progress on the construction of both the Port-au-Prince Home and the Jacmel Community Center extension.
    • Show solidarity with Haitians during their rebuilding phase.
    • Support the employment of over 20 Haitian workers hired for the rebuilding process.

    We invite you to review the report and “Before & After” pictures from Urgent Service Travel Director, Andrea Atkinson. “The first time I was in Haiti was in May 2010. It was 4 months after the earthquake. It had been 4 months since St. Joseph's School for Boys had been ravaged and Bill, the director, had fallen from the 7th story to the ground below, saved from being crushed by the rubble only by the strength of a sturdy tree that held it back”. Read the full report from Haiti here.

    However, there is still more to be done.  Ongoing funding, volunteers, and support are crucial to the completion of the new orphanage – which will benefit more children than in the 28 years prior combined. The building will be completed in 2013.  Until then, we have a monumental but achievable task ahead.

    Disaster Response in the Gulf: Our trip to the Gulf to help with restoring marine habitats after the BP Oil Spill is being planned for next year. Our partnership with non-profit, Ocean Foundation, is developing and expanding as we learn of additional needs in the region caused by the recent tornadoes. A custom trip is possible upon request.

    Disaster Relief Plans for Japan: Elevate Destinations is saddened by the tragedy that continues to grip Japan and is moved by the amazing interest in volunteering in the country. Elevate Destinations is working to secure effective partnerships with non-profits in Japan, so that when the country is ready for second response disaster relief, we are ready to mobilize. We are focusing again on the needs of the many children orphaned by the earthquake and tsunami to help them rebuild their lives.  We expect to offer a volunteer trip late this year or early in 2012.

    National Geographic Traveler Award: The trip "Elevate Haiti: Jacmel Community School Volunteer Build-Out," has been selected as one of National Geographic Traveler magazine’s 2011 “50 Tours of a Lifetime,” and is featured in the May/June 2011 issue - Read the article online

    About Elevate Destinations Disaster Relief Programs: Elevate Destinations is a social enterprise with expertise in travel organizing and humanitarian issues. Elevate’s staff has extensive knowledge of international sustainability development issues to ensure that each service opportunity is economically, socially, and environmentally sustainable for the long-term. Elevate Destinations custom designs extraordinary individual, group, and family trips, donating a percentage of profits to the protection of natural resources and community development in destination countries. These programs provide communities with funding, resources, and human capital, enabling concerned citizens to engage in urgent service and life-changing experiential learning. Additional information about the sponsorship benefits and costs is available at http://www.elevatedestinations.com/urgentservicesponsor.html

    Elevate Destinations and Reputation Dynamics has partnered together to help corporations combine corporate contributions with first hand employee participation, maximizing positive impact for employee engagement and the communities that are most affected.  Please contact us to explore how we can help you design signature programs worldwide, tailored to your company's strategic giving interests.

    Sam Taylor