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Friday, April 29, 2011

Trafficking for Begging: Old Game, New Name

Trafficking for Begging: Old Game, New Name

By Iveta Cherneva

Published by Amazon Digital Services.


This review was first published on on 25th April 2011


Trafficking for Begging: Old Game, New Name describes an ugly industry; the exploitation of beggars is a form of human trafficking. The book gives a voice to the thousands of victims and uncovers details of this criminal activity. Apart from the legal and social discussion, the study also looks into psychological theories as to why people give money to beggars. The author suggests ideas for public campaign messages that can break the exploitative cycle of trafficking for begging based on these psychological theories. If you liked the movie Slumdog Millionaire, it is likely that you would also be touched by the main message brought by Trafficking for Begging: Old Game, New Name.


This is an important book which will not, regrettably, be mainstream reading for anyone in a corporate setting. The subject of trafficking in humans (especially children) for the purpose of begging and profiteering is one of the low sides of our society which prevails around us and which, as responsible citizens, we should be acutely aware of. I am reminded of several trips to India some years ago where it was impossible to move more than a few meters without being approached by a child asking for money. I recall one particular young girl, carrying a disabled baby in her arms, who touched my heart as she begged me to buy powdered milk for her baby brother and took me down several Mumbai alleys to a kiosk selling cans of powdered milk. My colleagues laughed at me when I recounted the story. In my naiveté, I had not imagined that the infant was not actually her brother. I didn't contemplate that she may have another unfortunate child caught into the web of begging, probably "owned" by someone who would profit from the cash after the tin of powdered milk was returned to the kiosk to wait for another unsuspecting business person or tourist.

Iveta Cherneva has published an important work, exposing the intricate operations of begging traffickers in Western Europe, as well as in emerging economies. Yes, even in Geneva, Switzerland, "amidst the wealth and seemingly calm social landscape, an Ugly Industry is quietly sitting on the pavement." Iveta Cherneva says that victims of human trafficking are "part of a ring with organizational complexity comparable to that of a medium-size business enterprise." In Trafficking for Begging, she exposes the factors behind trafficking and the "business" decisions that traffickers make in order to boost profits: "Beggars are forced, abused, beaten and even mutilated by their begging pimps in order to cause more pity. Cut On Purpose. Blinded On Purpose. With broken limbs On Purpose. Without an arm On Purpose."

There are many forms of exploitation and trafficking which for most of us will be simply inconceivable in their cruelty and abuse of human life and human rights. These might include "mail order brides, domestic servitude and nannies, recruitment of child soldiers, illegal adoptions, trafficking for ritual purposes and trafficking of prisoners, camel jockeys, drug smuggling, petty theft, construction and agricultural work, etc." Just reading this list engenders reactions of outrage and great sadness.

Iveta says that "One of the main aims of this book is to suggest an emerging paradigm shift on the international, regional and national level indicating a move away from a purely law enforcement approach to a human rights victims-centered approach. That would hopefully result into a change of mindset in policy making and full-fledged protection and assistance to trafficking victims." In Sweden, for example, this means outlawing the practice of prostitution by punishing the client and protecting the victim. Iveta Cherneva maintains that "by giving money to beggars on the street we only encourage the vicious cycle, which fuels the criminal activity."

Trafficking for Begging is based on the author's observations in Switzerland and much research in international law and domestic legislation from around the world. This self-published book includes some personal stories from begging victims, but it is mainly an intelligent and detailed overview of international legal frameworks that cover trafficking, exploitation and begging in all their forms and a proposal for a policy direction that could assist in curtailing the effects of such difficult issues our society must face.

Whilst this subject might not be directly related to CSR policy in most companies, it is certainly related to sustainability and the creation of a just and equitable society for all. How many corporations use their funds and influence to fight this type of crime against humanity in the same way as they poor funds into education, health and other more "acceptable" social needs? The Body Shop, always a company to champion a less popular cause, has made anti-trafficking a flagship program, and there may be others. Perhaps Iveta Cherneva's book may spark more initiatives, especially for companies who operate in regions of high-risk for begging trafficking, which, it seems, can be just about anywhere. In any event, reading Trafficking for Begging is a sobering experience and Iveta Cherneva earns my admiration for skillfully bringing this subject onto the radar.

elaine cohen, CSR consultant, Sustainabilty Reporter, HR Professional, Ice Cream Addict. Author of CSR for HR: A necessary partnership for advancing responsible business practices  Contact me via  on Twitter or via my website

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds and Actions

Enchantment Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds, and Actions

By Guy Kawasaki

Published by Penguin Books Ltd

ISBN: 978-1-58184-379-5

Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds, and Actions is Guy Kawasaki's tenth book. In it, he explains how to influence what people will do while maintaining the highest standards of ethics. The book explains when and why enchantment is necessary and what the pillars of enchantment are: likability, trustworthiness, and a great cause. The next topics are launching, overcoming resistance, making enchantment endure, and using technology. There are even chapters dedicated to enchanting your employees and your boss. Finally, because there are times you may want to resist enchantment, there is even a chapter about how to do this too. If you want to change the world - or even part of the world, this book is for you.

I usually review books about Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Sustainability, and Enchantment does not pretend to fall into these categories. However, there is nothing more fundamental to ensuring a sustainable future than the preservation of relationships, ethics and positive interactions with all we meet and with whom we interact. In this sense, Enchantment is the ultimate required reading for CSR and Sustainability; it precedes and prepares us for the entire journey of changing the world based on universal values and respect for all.

Enchantment is not the product of a scientific research program nor is it a collection of corporate case studies that define sustainability processes. It is the product of Guy Kawasaki's collective experiences, coupled with his intelligent development of an innovative basic behavioral model which can be summarized in one sentence: Enchantment will save the world.

At the heart of this book, is a compelling definition of enchantment which gives this word new meaning and an empowering platform with which we can immediately identify. Enchantment "causes a voluntary change of hearts and minds and therefore actions. Enchantment transforms situations relationships. It converts hostility into civility. It reshapes civility into affinity. It changes skeptics and cynics into believers." When you want to enchant people, you want to fill them with "great delight".

The book, Enchantment, is a how-to guide, describing the multiple situations in which you can genuinely and authentically enchant your colleagues, friends, family, associates, employees, your boss and even yourself in order to promote a worthy cause. Ranging from "Disclose your interests" (a key component of trustworthiness), to "Conduct a Premortem" (preventing potential problems in order to increase the likelihood of success) to "Make it Short, Simple and Swallowable" (when creating marketing messages) to "Default to Yes" (adopt a yes attitude, which buys you time, enables you to see more options and builds rapport), the book is peppered with chunks of great advice on how to build an enchanting attitude, behavioral framework and actually, way of life. Enchantment also applies in the world of social media (maybe, especially in the world of social media), and Guy Kawasaki includes two chapters on enchantment in email, twitter, websites, blogs, Facebook and other online hangouts. One of my favorite sections is the one called "Think Japanese", where lessons from Japanese wisdom inspired by Garr Reynold's book, Presentation Zen Design, such as Kanso, Shizen, Datsuzuko, Seijaku, Wa and Ma, will "make people think you're smart and more enchanting" (unless you are Japanese and this is your mother tongue, I guess) and also provide some useful insights. Personal stories from interesting personalities are offered throughout the book, showing how they have applied or experienced enchantment in practice.

But, getting back to CSR and Sustainability. There are some enchantment themes which are directly relevant to sustainability programs. "Diversify the Team" is one. "A diverse team helps make enchantment last because people with diverse backgrounds, perspectives and skills keep a cause fresh and relevant." "Empower your employees to do the right thing" is another - because employees care, and "money isn't their sole motivation". Also, ethics gets a mention - "not everyone is an ethical enchanter" - and Guy makes the case for resisting situations in which ethics might be compromised - rather like Code of Conduct training.

All in all, this is a short book with a powerful message which, actually, does enchant as you read it. Guy Kawasaki radiates throughout his book a certain nice-guy authenticity which makes his message credible and gives you an insight into how he has achieved wide acclaim and success as founder of and and advisor to many technology and social media ventures, as well as being a popular speaker and writer.

For all those struggling to sell CSR in organizations or those who want to achieve transformational results in promoting the cause of sustainability or simply improve relationships, Enchantment is well worth the read and will leave you, yes, enchanted.

elaine cohen, CSR consultant, Sustainabilty Reporter, HR Professional, Ice Cream Addict. Author of CSR for HR: A necessary partnership for advancing responsible business practices  Contact me via  on Twitter or via my website

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Responsible Business: Reimagining Sustainability and Success

The Responsible Business: Reimagining Sustainability and Success

By Carol Sanford

Published by John Wiley and Sons Ltd.
ISBN: 978-0-470-64868-1

This review was first published on on 19th April 2011.


The Responsible Business offers a new and strategic approach to doing business that holistically integrates responsibility into all aspects of an organization, allowing for returns at every level, business and social. This book goes beyond the often well intentioned but limited attempts at sustainability to present a framework that allows organizations to bring responsibility into everything they do and re-imagine success. From innovation, product development, and production processes to business management, strategic planning, and shareholder development, the author shows how being a Responsible Business is a practical skill that can be applied day-to-day at every level of the business.


When Carol Sanford speaks, it's well worth listening. In her first book, The Responsible Business, Carol defines what a responsible business is ("a co-creative partner ensuring the vitality and health of all the communities to which it belongs") and what it is not ("a set of metrics to be tracked or behaviors to be modified"). Responsibility is "central to both the purpose and the prosperity of a business and must be pervasive in its practices." Carol goes on to reinforce the concept of responsible business with case studies from her vast experience of consulting to Fortune 500 and other companies, with stories from Herban Feast, Kingsford Charcoal (now part of the Clorox Company), Colgate, Seventh Generation (in the Jeffrey Hollender heyday) and E.I. Du Pont, before summarizing the five recurring themes that turn companies into responsible businesses: Reality - connecting to the real lives of stakeholders; Systemic Effects - as the only measures of success; Systemic Wholes - to combat fragmentation and promote integration; Self-Direction - the redesign of work to "evoke self-directed people doing self-directed work that is self-evaluated within the context of a business strategy" and Capability Development - building critical thinking skills for internal and external stakeholders.

By this time we have come to understand Carol's approach. It is not one where corporate responsibility is a project to be led by a single person or a group. It is a fundamental redesign of the way a business is led, structured, performs and interacts holistically with stakeholders. This is the point at which we meet the Pentad.

The Pentad, the geometrical framework for responsible business, is Carol's own stakeholder model which sees five core stakeholder groups as most significant to overall business success: (1) customers, (2) co-creators (everyone who is involved in creating the product or service for the customer which includes employees, contractors, vendors and raw material suppliers, (3) Earth, (4) communities and (5) investors. This is not light-years removed from the stakeholder models that have contributed to sustainability thinking in recent years, but the uniqueness of Carol Sanford's model is threefold. First, the concept of co-creators as one indivisible group is new, based on the view that employees and suppliers work together toward one shared goal - serving the customer. This approach is arguably much more suited to today's business, where supply chains are often outsourced, than models which separate employees from the rest of the supply chain. Thinking in terms of a supply chain, maintains Carol, "actually destroys understanding of the co-creative process" because the upstream contributors often get overlooked or undervalued. The second unique aspect of the Pentad model is that it has a defined, and not open-ended, number of stakeholders into which everyone connected with the business in whatever way can find a voice. The third aspect of the model is the way it is used. The stakeholder impacts of any decisions are discovered by evaluating each group's interest in turn, and in the Pentad-prescribed order. In this way, stakeholder understanding follows a logical flow, with the most important impacts finding their place in the right order of things, in a way which can enable a company to take the appropriate action, after all impacts have been assessed as part of an indivisible whole and without giving precedence to any stakeholder group. This integrated approach provides the bedrock for the responsible business as part of the universal ecosystem which aspires to help stakeholders live as "responsible and creative contributors to their communities." There is clear merit in this thinking. Stakeholder understanding and engagement is one of the most under-developed aspects of the sustainability movement today. Having an informal chat with a supplier at a conference, or conducting an annual employee satisfaction survey is not stakeholder engagement and it is not a dialog about sustainability. Deep stakeholder understanding comes from discussing the tough issues in a structured way and truly listening to all points of view.

The Responsible Business continues with multiple stories from companies that have applied the Pentad model and the successes they achieved. Taking us through a tour of how the brain works in order to unlock creativity and "conscious choice," Carol builds her case competently and with the wisdom of a business veteran. Much air-time is devoted to the way organizations should be structured to do work of the future and the inappropriateness of many current structures for responsible business. Hierarchies, for example, should not govern decision-making; work teams should be autonomous and self-organizing and learning should be on the job. Ultimately, providing a map of how to become a responsible business and detailing the steps to take, this book forms a sound guide to achieving transformational value.

In The Responsible Business you can read about "urban acupuncture" and the turnaround of a Brazilian city Curitiba, the way Google changed the game on bandwidth auctions, how Procter and Gamble applied their guiding principles in their plant in Lima and how Seventh Generation and Whole Foods worked together in "co-creation" to provide freedom of choice for customers. And much more.

The Responsible Business is an intensive read with a worthy central message, substantiated by years of practical experience and deep insights. For anyone who has not yet subscribed to this approach, the Pentad model may be just what you need.

elaine cohen, CSR consultant, Sustainabilty Reporter, HR Professional, Ice Cream Addict. Author of CSR for HR: A necessary partnership for advancing responsible business practices  Contact me via  on Twitter or via my website
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