From the Bollman Hat Company website/press release on American Made Matters™…”At a time when saving American jobs is more important than ever and the economic recovery needs a boost, a growing group of American manufacturers have come together to form American Made Matters™. The mission of this newly-reinvented organization (formerly SaveAnAmericanJob™) is to stimulate American manufacturing by promoting a broader understanding of why purchasing American products is vital to our future, and enabling consumers to easily identify goods that are American made.”
This consortium has an interesting group of manufacturers on-board, and growing, including K’NEX, Todd Shelton, Andrew David, Riccar and more…see the full member list. Although American Made Matters does not abide by the “Made in the USA” Federal Trade Commision guidelines, because the standards of manufacturing for American Made Matters differs (50% of cost and production for American Made Matters vs. 100% of cost and production for all or virtually all for goods carrying “Made In USA” labels), the founder of the organization Don Rongione, CEO and President of the Bollman Hat Company, states that “… at least 50 percent of costs are incurred, and final assembly occurs in the U.S. You might not be able to say ‘Made in USA’, but you can say you produce in the U.S. and comply with the Save An American Job standard.” (Save An American Job or SAAJ was the original organization name, which has changed to American Made Matters).
What I found really exciting was that some of these manufacturers are licensees. Over $5 billion in royalty revenue was generated through intellectual property licensing in 2010 according to the International Licensing Industry Merchandisers’ Association. These numbers equate to 100s of billions of dollars in retail sales of consumer goods in 2010. Seeing licensed propeties seeking out manufacturers in the United States, to license, make and market product lines, is an additional opportunity for real economic growth for America. Bollman Hat Company just recently signed two licensing agreements with American entertainment icons - multi-platinum, 3-time Grammy Award-winning Def Jam recording artist Ne-Yo for his brand Francis Ellargo, which signifies the ultimate gentleman, and Trevor Brazile, America’s #1 All Around Cowboy under Brazile’s Relentless brand with Bollman’s Bailey Western hats.
“Hats have always been a part of who I am” said Ne-Yo,“ so head-wear was the obvious first product to launch under my brand. Offering the world’s best quality and American made matters to me, so connecting with America’s oldest and the world’s best hat maker was also an obvious choice.” (see the full press release here)
We will be keeping an eye on this trend!
Correction - American Made Matters requires 50% of cost and final assembly to take place here in the United States in order for a manufacturer to be a member of American Made Matters. We originally post that figure at 60%.
Inside the Texas Spirit Theater, at the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum, the crowd gathered for the second night of the Lights. Camera. Help. Focus on Good Nonprofit Film Festival. Outside on the front lawn folks danced the Texas two-step under the setting sun at the Bullock summer music series.
David J. Neff, co-founder, opened the evening films with thanks to his many sponsors including Emma - Communicate in Style, and Convio. And then the show began….
The simplicity of the message and animation is compelling…it gets you thinking Water Changes Everything! This 3 minute PSA for Charity Water got the night going, but this was the beginning of an hour long emotional roller coaster.
Next up…A Thousand Suns (27 Minutes) an interconnected cultural view on agriculture and food sustainability from the perspective of the Gamo people of the Rift Valley in Africa.
After watching this film I thought I must find the filmmakers with the GlobalOnenessProject and send them the book Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe. Things Fall Apart is a fictional tale of a community and culture transformed, and destroyed, for what is considered “good” as defined by Christian missionaries and political influences. The novel takes place in Nigeria and takes us through the struggle of a leader desperate to hold on to the culture of the Igbo people in the late nineteenth century. A Thousand Suns is the story now…over 100 years later and it is not fiction. Things Fall Apart was a fictional novel during the first Greening movement in Africa. Read the book and watch the film. Are we repeating past mistakes? Is the AGRA serving the communities or do the people of the Rift Valley already have their own answers?
A little light hearted PSA It’s Jolly Holly-dog Celebration (1 Minute) for Best Friends Animal Society. I needed a laugh by now….ok, maybe it is a little creepy but funny!
A Read on Inside Books was the most powerful 9.5 minutes of video I have seen in a very long time. When the volunteer at Inside Books said that the most moving letter he ever read was from an inmate who had been incarcerated longer than he had been alive…I too was ready to spend a Thursday night packing up books, or at minimum buying postage for those who were doing all the work. A controversial subject…should prisoners be allowed the pleasures of education? Maybe a different question to ask is…who benefits by not offering the offender the opportunity to educate themselves?
Open Season: On Native Woman. Ok this was the most difficult. Stories on domestic violence and sexual abuse leave me with no words. This is personal. My own mother was a victim of domestic violence - witnessing such violence as a child leaves scars and recovery is life long. To see a film about women, and have it called Open Season was almost too much for me. The women in the film, the statistics, and their stories…again I have no words for. If you are courageous find a way to watch this sad but moving portrait. This film is not available for viewing on the Internet. Click the link on the title for information on the filmmaker and connect with their Facebook page.
Build. Believe. Become. (5 minute) PSA for Saint Louise House empowering woman with children who are facing homelessness in Central, Texas. This clip was very inspiring…this work is saving a generation.
A Public Services Announcement not approved by AJWS (American Jewish World Services)….saved my night! All the films and PSAs I watched moved me. I was moved to tears, anger, frustration and then laughter. Watch and see what I mean.
Unexpectedly we had to leave…family will do that sometimes. The night’s long film was Urban Roots. I ordered it this morning and cannot wait to see it. Detroit is rebuilding and a garden… many, many gardens is not a bad place to start. I will let you know what I think.
The last night of the Festival is tonight…
Satruday, July 30th 3:00 - 6:00PM (Free parking in lot on Red River - Lot 39)
Wrap party immediately after the screening!
“Lights. Camera. Help. The Nonprofit Film Festival is the world’s first film festival dedicated entirely to nonprofit and cause-driven films. This 3-day event gives films-for-a-cause the attention they deserve by putting them up on the big screen in a theater setting”
The hardest part of the Lights. Camera. Help. Focus on Good Film Festival is this is real life, and now what do you do with what you know? Try to get out there and do something GOOD!
With over 6,000 non-profits in the metropolitan area of Austin, Texas (Central Texas as it is referred to here) there is a lot of heart and soul in this city working for the Good of others.
Since arriving in Austin in May, I have had the good fortune of being guided through the nonprofit sector here by leaders in the community. I was lucky enough to arrive just before the Greenlights’ Board Summit, which took place in the Bob Bullock Texas State Museum lobby, showcasing over 50 Austin area nonprofits seeking to fill a variety of board level positions. Matt Kouri, the Executive Director of Greenlights, along with his team and the support of Leadership Austin, informed attendees of how to get involved, and get onboard with the general idea - is if you live here, you should give here. Austin actually has an organization - I Live Here, I Give Here, and they too are focused on encouraging this younger population, with an average age in the mid 30s, to not just take the time to volunteer, but to financially invest in the Good of Austin.
Greenlights is a 10 year old organization that is a catalyst of leadership and evaluation in the Austin nonprofit community. Coming from a very active nonprofit community in Brooklyn, New York myself, it is refreshing to see an umbrella organization like Greenlights that is analyzing the landscape, while also providing necessary feedback and services to improve the work and collaboration within the “giving” community. A difficult, but pertinent, question Greenlights asked this spring, “Does Central Texas Have Too Many Nonprofits?”. This topic is a sensitive subject to take on, but one that is on the minds of many communities challenged with resources - especially with the continued economic recession.
On November 19, 2008 The Foundation Center in NYC gathered over 200 nonprofit executives to discuss “game changing” initiatives in the face of financial crisis (follow the link) The Economic Storm: Challenges and Opportunities Changing the Paradigm to Meet Community Needs. Much of what was described that day in 2008 is still being felt in 2011. As small community nonprofits are faced with tightening services and administration funding, linking with like minds - just as households are doubling up to get through these tough times - may be a necessary prescription for our community groups.
Organizations like Greenlights, who are supporting nonprofits to think outside of their comfort zones and see opportunity in collaboration, instead of obstacles…they are like a jug of water in a drought summer season - precious and worth every drop.
As I further explore Austin, it will be fascinating to watch and learn from a generous of spirit city, and see how they too creatively face the difficulties of our times.
These thoughts are the sole opinion of Jennifer Hilton/The Good Roundup.
Can this work? Check out the page and send feed back…I would be very interested in hearing others thoughts. fosfo is a crowd sourcing system reporting on best efforts or worst actions of companies based on varying principles of CSR selected by each individual when you sign up to make entries. These entries are rated and commented on to increase or dispute accuracy of claims towards the businesses or services being reported on. But what happens if and entry is dreadfully wrong? Will the consumer have time to shop and scan every item until they miraculously find the “good” product? Will consumers be inspired to participate in fosfo or are they inundated with so much that the process will lose its appeal? I reached out to Executive Director Stephane De Messieres to ask a few questions..will post as soon as we have a chance to connect.
The idea is very compelling, but are there ways to make it easier? Let me know at email@example.com or post your comments.
I found Pam Koner, a couple years ago, when I was researching people addressing hunger in America. I read about her work starting Family-to-Family and how an article in the New York Times inspired her to create change by introducing families with resources to families with need. The most inspiring piece is that Pam believes these families should get to know each other by writing letters, and that in communicating further understanding around poverty, and also wealth, could take place. Pam was also a 2009 CNN Hero Award Nominee…hear her story here.
Pam and I worked together on introducing Family-to-Family to other folks in the American hunger movement after I had attended a workshop at SXSW in 2010 called the Cause Lab. Family-to-Family was recognized as an Honorable Mention for Best Idea to end hunger with We Can End This. It was a pleasure working with her - she is a leader with a very unique and compassionate perspective.
So take a moment and VOTE as Pam Koner and Family-to-Family are semifinalists for the Energizer 2011 Hall of Fame award.
Over the last month there has been numerous reports, commentaries, tweets and blog posts (including this one) on the announcement of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition. Apparently this effort grew out of what seems to many the unlikely collaborative relationship between Walmart and Patagonia Inc. Patagonia is one of the leading environmentally conscious apparel manufacturers in the world. (Ranked in the top 20 Best Companies from Better World Shopper in addition to leadership partnerships such as Pepperdine University’s MBA Environmental Entrepreneurship Development (EED) program). Walmart as we all know is the worlds largest retailer and has often, over the last decade, weighed heavy under scrutiny regarding a variety of corporate practices. However, since Walmart announced its own initiative for environmental indexing in 2009, through a collaboration with the Sustainability Consortium, one would ask why does this seem such an “unlikely partnership” between the two companies?
I think this is a quite obvious partnership and a testament to what could potentially be one of the biggest shift in corporate governance, transparency and forward movement for universal quality standards on CSR - particularly in areas focused in environmental concern. Why wouldn’t Walmart look to the best example for learning and development of environmental standards and why wouldn’t Patagonia offer a willingness to educate the largest retailer in the world? It would appear to me to make sound business sense for both companies. Walmart has the opportunity to further expand sustainability practices and Patagonia has the opportunity to positively influence environmental practices that would effect consumer goods manufacturers globally. This seems like a winning proposition for all, including the environment. Perhaps the only downfall is that the expectations and proposed standards will far exceeded the normal practices of suppliers who are struggling under costs of production, shareholder demands on profit margins, and our insatiable demand for low cost consumer price indexing.
However, with a growing legion of companies, NGOs and government agencies involved in the Sustainable Apparel Coalition including: Adidas, Arvind Mills, C&A, Duke University, Environmental Defense Fund, Esprit, Esquel, Gap Inc., H&M, HanesBrands, Intradeco, JC Penney, Kohl’s Department Stores, Lenzing, Levi Strauss & Co., LF USA, a division of Li & Fung Limited, Marks & Spencer, Mountain Equipment Co-op, New Balance, Nike, Nordstrom, Otto Group, Outdoor Industry Association, Patagonia, Pentland Brands, REI, TAL Apparel, Target, Timberland, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Verité, VF Corp and Walmart, perhaps consensus can be found around the key imperative variables - Planet, People, Profit and an index delivered to the consumer that allows for educated purchasing and growing awareness around the impact of our consumption.
A few last questions…
1. What happened to the relationship with the Sustainability Consortium? Hopefully what is not happening is that industries are breaking off from higher than expected standards to create their own more palatable indexing of sustainability and in the end do little to shift our necessary paradigms.
2. If the American Apparel and Footwear Association is in support of these initiatives are they planning on becoming a member like the Outdoor Industry Association, and encouraging membership from their association members? One would think that their input and influence would help in achieving an index which would have additional global reaching proportions.
3. Will the Licensing Industry Merchandisers’ Association of brands and manufacturers (licensors and licensees) apply indexing information to their products and become further involved in the sustainability conversation? Read Carol Spieckerman’s recent blog post on the LIMA website. Carol is the CEO of New Market Builders
4. Where is the National Retail Federation on the proposed indexing? No announcement on their site.
If any group has additional information to share please forward to Jen@thegoodroundup.com
After contacting a former colleague and friend at Sony and inquiring about how they were all doing this morning, which she assured me they were doing the best they could in the wake of the current disaster and working together which made her feel quite proud…I then asked if there was news of the Corporation response…
Press Release from Sony Corporation:
Sony Support for Japan Earthquake Relief Efforts
(Tokyo, March 13, 2011) - Sony Corporation today announced that, following the devastating earthquake and tsunami that struck the northern region of Japan on March 11, Sony and its group companies will donate 300 million Japanese yen to help relief and recovery efforts in communities affected. Additionally, a disaster relief fund will collect donations across the Sony Group from employees worldwide, and their contributions will be matched by the company through a matching gifts program. The company will also donate 30,000 Sony radios to assist the relief of earthquake victims, while the Sony Group will prepare further product donations going forward, taking into account the local needs.
The Tohoku region is historically important for Sony, with a high concentration of manufacturing sites, and many employees and their families have also been affected by these devastating events.
“In times like these, we are reminded of how important and fragile we are and of the positive impact we can have - both as individuals and, collectively, as a Company - to assist those in need,” said Howard Stringer, Chairman, CEO and President, Sony Corporation. “We will continue to make the utmost effort to help the swift recovery of the affected communities in the region.”
In addition to the corporate relief efforts by Sony, who has a significant presence and interest in the immediate region, many other companies are making commitments in the millions of dollars to support Japan as it faces what is being considered the most costly and devastating natural disaster in history. See the current report from the Business Civic Leadership Center.
Remember the time when we would see disaster and feel utter hopelessness. In the wake of the tsunami and earthquake that has hit Japan there is an immediate opportunity to be involved in a solution instead of sitting idly by feeling hopeless, or watching transfixed. See the Network for Good for a list of organizations seeking support. If money is not the answer for you call the local office of an organization, and see if they are in need of volunteers to help get relief out to those in need.
Too often we feel helpless when in actuality we can make a difference by our actions. The internet is an amazing tool for immediate opportunity in creating solutions.
After a year of blogging, it was time for a little overhaul. I wanted to give Good Works Work a new look and also create community conversation around all the “Good” I have been seeing. As I have refocused my career from traditional brand licensing and brand management to non-profit and corporate social responsibility, I am intrigued by the abundance of “Good” messaging and how effective it is on us as consumers. I am also interested in the changing way that companies are building in ideals of “Good” into their business plans. So The Good Roundup is a place to have a full blown conversation around ” What is Good ? “. Is Good the new black? Are we really changing the way we build community, business and the politics of living?
A big thank you to my friend Heather Mulcahey for helping with the new icon - a bit more serious, but keeping with a little humor on a topic having such a big impact.
Please send leads and ideas that are local, national and global and email firstname.lastname@example.org. Join in the conversation and keep coming back, this is just the beginning...