All posts by Rachel

A Legal Structure for Buy-One Give-One and Other Hybrid Organizations

When first starting an organization the first question an entrepreneur must grapple with is: non-profit or for-profit? Once they have decided they must either grapple with the for-profit tax categories or register as a 501(c)(3). Once they have made their choice they are unable to change it. The severity of this problem has increased with the recent influx of hybrid organizations: organizations with revenue stream as well as a charitable mission. The rigidity of the legal system is keeping hybrids from thriving and serves as a hurdle to their creation. Throughout this paper I will address the current legal system and the hybrids that don’t neatly fit into it by delving deeper into the different legal structures available, hybrid models, and how companies have dealt with the system.

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Sup Bill?

I love the Cosby Show. Growing up, it was what I watched when I was sick, sad or bored. The Huxtables were part of the village that raised me. And, of course, at the center was the jello-loving, sweater-wearing, family-man, Bill Cosby.

High school hit, and I got really into stand-up. The reliance on words, the simplicity of one person a mike and a stage, and of course it was hilarious. Through stand-up, I reconnected with Bill. His style was like no one else’s. Bill performed sitting down. He doesn’t curse. Most of his comedy relies on observational humor and morality. He’s incredibly quick-witted. He broke form. And it worked.

So when it came to rape accusations, I kept my head in the sand.

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3-D Food Printers: A Delicious Solution

“Imports by airplane have a substantial impact on global warming pollution. In 2005, the import of fruits, nuts, and vegetables into California by airplane released more than 70,000 tons of CO2, which is equivalent to more than 12,000 cars on the road.” according to Food Hub. Rather than reducing the impacts of food transportation, with 3-D printing we could eliminate them.

“Imagine being able to essentially ‘grow’, ‘cook’ or prepare foods without the negative industrial impact – everything from fertilizers to saute pans and even packaging,” says Homaro Cantu, chef and owner of the Moto Restaurant in Chicago, Illinois, who has printed sushi using an ink jet printer. “You can imagine a 3D printer making homemade apple pie without the need for farming the apples, fertilizing, transporting, refrigerating, packaging, fabricating, cooking, serving and the need for all of the materials in these processes like cars, trucks, pans, coolers, etc,” he adds.

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“Buy-One, Give-One”: Just the Starting Point for Warby Parker

Warby Parker is a fashion company. They specialize in low-cost, designer quality eye glasses. Their name was inspired by two characters in a Jack Kerouac novel. Their glasses are available online and individually tailored to the customer. Their main aim is to be trendy. They also happen to be good. Warby Parker executes a largely unadvertised buy-one, give-one strategy. For every pair of glasses sold, a pair of glasses is donated to a person in need. Warby Parker comes across as a company that genuinely believes in doing good. My analysis of Warby Parker covers their charitable arms, how they manage to stay competitive, and their corporate strategy.
Through VisionSpring, Warby Parker has focused on glasses to underprivileged areas, the actual location varies based on demand. They are committed to this particular charity because they have the means and expertise but also because, 703 million people worldwide currently do not have access to eye care. Glasses have been shown to increase productivity by 35% and income by 20%. These statistics reaffirm the justice of Warby Parker’s approach.

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“Good Eyewear, Good Outcome”- Warby Parker

“For every pair of glasses that Warby Parker sell, they give a pair to someone in need.”-Warby Parker’s BCorporation Summary.

This is not the first company with this type of one-for-one giving strategy, everyone knows Tom’s Shoes. However, Warby Parker is unique in their strides to promote CSR.

Warby Parker’s Buy a Pair, Give a Pair Program has distributed over a million pairs of glasses to people in need. They have focused on glasses in underprivileged areas, because 703 million people worldwide currently do not have access to eye care. Glasses have been shown to increase productivity by 35% and income by 20%. Along wight their main charity partner, VisionSpring, Warby Parker has worked to not only donate, but also to train. VisionSpring has trained 18,000 workers in the manufacture, distribution, and reception of glasses.

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Alibaba: Highest IPO, but What’s Happening Internally?

Alibaba is listed as one of Fast Company’s Most Innovated Companies, as it should be. Alibaba is revolutionizing business. In America, we know of America as the highly successful online retailer that recently acquired SnapChat (an app that is banned in China), but in their country Alibaba is reshaping industries. They are diversified and highly profitable: their expertise stretches from cinema to banking and they had the biggest IPO ever. Everything they touch turns to gold, yet I don’t know anything about their corporate culture. Alibaba deserves all the laud it may receive for the results of its business, but its internal functions are a mystery.

From my first search, i found out that as of 2014, Alibaba had 22,072 employees. Cool, this means nothing to me.

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The Obama Legacy: As Told by Charles Blow

According to Charles Blow’s speech at Bucknell University, there are four main components the the Obama administration will be remembered for: foreign policy, Obamacare, Diversity advancements, and the publics reactions to these actions. While Blow is a staunch Obama supporter, his speech showed the downsides as well of the triumphs of Obama’s eight years in office.

Blow sees foreign policy as a blight on the administration. While citing sources of remembrances Blow juxtaposes the ending of Guantanamo with the heavy use of drone killings. By doing this he is able to point out just how overshadowed any positive policy changes would be in comparison to the blight of computerized killings.

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For George Orwell, it was the year symbolic of an oncoming communist future.

For Apple, it was a year in which they were still the underdog.

Had Apple’s famous 1984 Superbowl commercial ran this year, the reaction would’ve been entirely different. In 1894, Apple was a fledgling company who made cheerful computers with monitors rounded to mirror the human face. Today, Apple is a giant whose products we have become completely reliant on and whose secrecy masks user data misuse and child labor in China.

Today’s Big Brother isn’t Microsoft–it’s Apple.

All Apple products are manufactured in China. We know this. We know that they’re probably made by people that are overworked and underpaid, but we don’t really know to what extent.  The company that manufactures all Apple products is called FoxCon. Mike Daisey went to FoxCon and reported a portion of what he saw on the podcast, This American Life. He went undercover and was able to observe FoxCon at work. From the floor, the most startling thing he reported was silence. 30,000 people work at FoxCon. 30,000 silent people, not allowed to talk on the line. 30,000 people who create no noise. No whirring machines sound because when human labor costs next to nothing, whatever can be done by hand–is.

Your iPhones are handmade in China.

Chinese people working 16 hour days without breaks handmade your Mac.

The precision that Apple is renowned for is made at the cost of 30,000 people’s fine motor skills.

1984 is here.

Who is Accountable for Child Labor: A Response

In her blog, Kelly Pont addresses the issue of child labor. She points to the problem of third world poverty needing to rely on their children to work to provide adequate sustenance juxtaposed with the first world demand for cheap products and consumer ignorance. She sees transparency as a huge step in the right direction to fix this problem.

I completely agree. I believe that our culture is a major factor in foreign child labor. While most Americans would not knowingly purchase products made by children, children provide the cheapest labor and a lot of American companies knowingly or unknowingly purchase raw materials from operations that exploit children. I am definitely not an expert in this issue. However, it stands to reason that a significant part of the problem can be alleviated through knowledge and transparency. US companies must be held accountable for their supply chains and US consumers must be more informed about the products that they are purchasing.

US regulations that mandate companies know the processes by which the materials they need are collected could be a foreseeable solution. More mandates for companies to post this information in a public forum would decrease first world demand for these products. Maybe demand would even increase for more sustainable products that pay third world adults a living wage. That’s idyllic, but not impossible.

The problem with this solution is the timeframe. Big government pact ion such as this is not likely to come any time soon. So for the short-term rather than putting blind faith in companies consumers should look for companies that are sustainable leaders in their sectors. There are responsible options out there. Research into companies before buying a product. Look for companies that are benefitting the universe. Until the government swoops in, we have to act as smart consumers and do our part to decrease demand for products that utilize child labor.