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Quality vs. quantity

As consumers we have the power of choice and we should not under-estimate this power. In an effort to combat the big problems in today’s world, we as the consumer have a relatively easy and effective role to play. The power of better product selection.

The following are a few brief thoughts on what you may take into consideration:

Quality, it is self-evident that better quality products generally have a longer useful life and in addition in most cases due to their longer useful life have a lower impact on the environment.

Chemical make-up, we really should demand to know what is in our products. Taking it a step further, we should demand to have the chemical components of the product explained in an interpretable manner, as the average consumer is not a chemist major.

Origin, we should take note of where the products are produced. This can get complicated when products have lots of components that could potentially come from all over the globe. A simple logo stating how many kilometers to the nearest 100th kilometer the components and product has travelled to sit on the shop shelf would help consumers make informed purchasing decisions.

Need vs. want, the most difficult product selection decision by far. How many times have you bought something in the spur of the moment, only to realize later that, you do not really need it and basically just wasted your money? It has happened to me a good few times and I am sure it has happened to you too! So let’s try and not buy stuff that when we stop and think for a whole 60 seconds about it, we really do not need. As that is just wasting our natural resources at the end of the day.


What is “Green” in 200 words?

Anyone and everyone, without any precise or concise definition or explanation, are currently using the term “Green”. So, here is what I think the definition should include:

For a person, company, organization, industry or government (entity) to be Green, means it has no CO2 and Green House Gas (GHG) emissions or negative impact on the environment, and in fact to be truly Green the entity should have negative CO2 and GHG emissions. Hence, the entity would actually through its activities have a positive impact on the environment, at each and every point.

I challenge all of you to use this definition when critically judging for yourselves if something is Green or not! As “green washing” is everywhere, and we should not allow entities to try to convince us that they are Green, when they are talking utter nonsense. Naturally we cannot go from where we are today to being Green in 1 day or 1 month, but in 75 months we need to be there!

Change brings opportunities with it, such as new markets, so coming from a business school we should be able to see these opportunities in change. Please, keep you educated minds and opportunity seeking eyes open!


Reflections on my Master’s Thesis

I decided early on that I wanted to do my Master’s Thesis in cooperation with a company. I wanted to do something in the “Green IT” sector, but with a business focus. I have been interested for some time in sustainability, energy efficiency and finding measures to lower our impact on the environment. I truly believe that organizations can lower their impact on the environment without incurring additional cost in the medium to long term. Naturally for many environmental initiatives there is an upfront investment that organizations need to make, but these do and will pay for themselves in the medium to long term.

With this outlook and opinion I went in search of a topic where I could combine energy efficiency, “Green IT” and business management. I must admit it was a challenge trying to find a topic that encompassed this combination, but I feel I have found one. I wrote my thesis on “Green” Datacenters with a focus on energy efficiency and I develop a proposed Management Investment Decision Framework to allow Management to make better informed decisions on “Green” Datacenter project investments. I managed to set up a collaboration with a large German IT service provider for my thesis. I found working together with a company both challenging and enriching, as it stretched me on multiple levels of professionalism. Time-management, planning, and deadlines were tough and pushed me to learn quickly in areas outside of my comfort zone.

I am not sure how good the finished product of my thesis is, as it is still being reviewed. A few things are certain though, I thoroughly enjoyed my self-chosen topic, even as the time pressure became intense at the end. In addition, I learnt a lot about myself during the process, tested new boundaries and coped with situations that were extremely challenging. Overall writing a Master’s Thesis was a rewarding experience, although that said, I really do not want to write another one anytime soon! One was enough.


Synergizing Networking and Time-management

While I am here in Copenhagen I have set myself the ambitious goal of networking intelligently.  What, on earth, do I mean by “Intelligent Networking”?

Well I am extremely interested in entrepreneurship, so I am attending all of the Wednesday networking functions at the Copenhagen School of Entrepreneurship.  This is starting point, in an attempt to surround myself with people that are also hunting for opportunities and hopefully I will successfully be able to forge sustainable business orientated relationships with some of the participants.

I am also interested in renewable energy, currently bio-gas production, so I am trying to set-up a cooperation with a company involved in the bio-gas industry for one of my mini projects here.  This would be ideal from a time management perspective if I am successful.  In addition while here in Denmark, I want to continue to improve my German, so I have been joining German exchange students for lunch and benefitting from both their good company and some German speaking practice for me!  And next week I start my optional Danish course, so hopefully that will help at a later stage at one of the Wednesday networking events.

In its essence I see “Intelligent Networking” as making an effort to network within groups where you can both add and gain value from the interaction.  And to link that to time management, simply do not waste your time with stuff that bores you and brings no value to anyone!


My Thoughts on Ethics

Ethics has become an issue of great importance in the business world today. I have a few basic thoughts on ethics, which I will share with you in this blog entry and effectively add to the discussion on ethics.

In my opinion, ethics should be lived. This means that the “do as I say, not as I do” attitude needs to be abandoned. Living ethics is at an individual level and involves one’s conduct in both a personal and professional capacity. So if I intentionally or knowingly deceive, discriminate or lie about someone else, be it a girlfriend or goalkeeper, I have behaved in an unethical manner. This line of argument could be extended to say that despite the perhaps minor unethical behavior in the personal sphere, this mentality as well as moral and value core could be reflected in some shape or form in the individual’s professional sphere. The only one who can truly judge this is the individual him/herself. That said, most educated individuals are excellent at rationalizing any given self-conduct until it is seen as acceptable. Therefore, we should be careful not to get too defensive when performing a self-evaluation on whether or not we act ethically.

From a business perspective many organizations have developed sets of “golden rules” with respect to ethics, but these are not always followed by all. Managers and directors should always bear in mind that no matter how well the company does financially, if that success comes at the cost of damaging and harming the environment or society, the managers and directors have sold their integrity to please a shareholder, fund manager or investment banker that they are more than likely never going to meet! Integrity can only ever be lost, never purchased or regained. Keeping ones integrity goes hand in hand with acting ethically, so let us try and be more courageous and thoughtful than we have ever been before.

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