Category Archives: Global Economy

Opportunities in This Tough Economy

Here is my response to an Economist article on what entrepreneurs and companies have to do in this gritty economy.  And this is what Embrace is doing!

All my best,



I love that you are being positive. A lot of cost-effective innovation is taking place here — and locally grown, locally serving. Even if the group is national and international, they know they have to relate locally and culturally. That’s the key, whether in economics, philanthropy or Corporate Social Responsibility.

Thank you -


Read the article:Gold-hunting in a Frugal Age

Africa Is Rising

Africa is rising up as it should.  What amazing stats here. What this means for us: As countries get richer, in-country philanthropy rises.  At the same time, we have to be aware of the challenges and corruption.

We should watch developing nations in dire straits – whose economies are burgeoning. Those who profit can give back.


Consumer Goods in Africa: A Continent Goes Shopping (The Economist, August 2012)

  • Africa’s middle class, spending $2-$20 per day, has grown from 27% in 2000 to 34% in 2010 according to the African Development Bank
  • South Africa offers a sound base to slowly penetrate the rest of the continent. In most of the continent besides South Africa, companies have to dig their own wells and generate their own electricity. Other countries also face greater corruption. Many bosses have to pay bribes to ship perishable goods.
  • Klaus Schwab, founder of the World Economic Forum, says companies are becoming more optimistic about working in Africa. Policies are more business-friendly than they were a few decades ago.

Update on Synergos Global Philanthropists Circle and President Clinton (Part Two)


This is Part Two of our series on the Synergos Global Philanthropy Meeting, focusing in the Middle East.    Synergos “addresses global poverty and social injustice by supporting and connecting leaders so they can work in collaboration to change the systems that keep people in poverty.” Pamela was invited to attend the New York Meeting of Global Philanthropists.  Read Part One here.

From abroad… The UK is coming up with more and more innovations in philanthropy.  I just read that their cultural minister is trying to allow people to make a donation when they are at ATMs. I am so heartened to see such good exploding across the world… :) in so many ways, that affect our lives practically!

Then we went on to a dinner session.  The session was 20 tables related to CSR, health, innovation and education, and then all different country areas.  I was put at the Middle East table, and it was amazingly fascinating.  I wanted to see how UniversalGiving could support more projects in philanthropy in the Middle East, in this burgeoning area.  Many of the forprofit people felt, interestingly enough, that an authoritarian government structure was better than a democracy.  They felt these countries were living in anarchy with no government, and it would be better to have their lives ruled by some sort of government structure.

I’ve long known that just because a dictator is toppled, that doesn’t mean democracy will immediately exist.  We have to be conscious of the fact that when America was created, it was called a “grand experiment.”  No one had had this type of structure before, and we were fighting tooth and nail to prove it could work.  I’m grateful that this structure, no matter how many “dents” it has, is still in place. It preserves so many freedoms for us, in the way that we operate, both in our personal lives and business.

Here’s too, an example of just one individual.  Ron Bruder is a high net-worth donor working on providing employment opportunities for young professionals in the Middle East.  He’s built shopping centers all over the U.S., and is now devoting himself full time to this effort.)    It’s incredible. He’s giving hope to so many in Syria, Tunisia, Lebanon.  Tunisia, he says, is the easiest… they just get it and in-country investors (important) match his funds, with positive government support, too.

I love sharing with you about these philanthropic insights in different areas across the world.   Please comment on what you are doing. We’d love to hear from you!

Update on Synergos Global Philanthropists Circle and President Clinton

Global Philanthropy and Reverse Innovation


Earlier this year, I attended a Global Philanthropy Conference in New York, where we were invited amongst 100 global high networth donors.  I wanted to share some exciting insights with you!

We’ve been honored now to be invited for our 6th year in a row, as part of Synergos.   It was a group of international, high-level philanthropists from more than 100 countries.  I was asked to review Peggy Dulaney’s (the granddaughter of John D. Rockefeller) speech, which she will publish for Synergos’ 25th anniversary.  She presented part of it at the meeting.

During this meeting, of approximately 150 individuals, we heard from Peggy and Bill Clinton.  Former President Clinton was quite formidable in the high calling he set for himself regarding philanthropy.  The Clinton Global Initiative is involved in numerous philanthropic projects.  Many of them revolve around renewable energy in hydro and electric policy and implementation.  He is focused on supporting both forprofit and nonprofit groups in this endeavor.

It was so impressive to see how up to speed Clinton is on these technologies.  He’s a great example of post-presidency action.  He’s watchful of emerging projects that are successful abroad, which can be utilized here in the United States.  He didn’t bring this up, but this is what is called Reverse or Frugal Innovation.  Many professors from Harvard and Dartmouth are covering this important topic, which looks at low-cost, effective projects that are working abroad, and are then brought back to the United States.  Instead of the U.S. being the pioneer — international countries, and often developing ones, are the initiators.  This is in everything from medical services to lowcost shaving razors, that are now undercutting the market here. And GE is undercutting itself, by introducing lower cost razors, because it is afraid another country will do so.  Fascinating!

The Days of Linear Giving Are Over

The days of “linear giving” are over — what I mean is, it’s not “I give you this, you give me that.”   That’s Linear Giving and it doesn’t always happen.


First, you can’t truly give with the expectation that you are going to get something in return.  It’s just not the right motivation.  And it will upset the balance of giving, turning it into something it’s not…

We need to give because we sincerely want to. Because it’s the right thing to do. It’s helpful, kind, nourishing to the world. And ultimately it does help ourselves… we feel nourished and uplifted by the mere act of being generous.

And it won’t stop there. More good will continue to come to you, in ways you never expected.  From different places, different sources, and in unique ways!  It’s truly quite exciting…to see good unfold, when we let it go.

So let’s not give and expect back. It’s not A gives to B, and B to gives to A.

It’s A gives to B.  And then A gives to C and D.  Then X, M, Q and V give back to A at different times and ways in the future.

It’s circular, spherical, timeless, unbound, everconnected giving… which is taking place, and always has been.

How Utility Companies Are Working with Supermarkets to Get You a Better Deal

What a great way to partner. Utility companies are now working with supermarkets; we can soon buy an electricity plan along with our organic lettuce, sustainably farmed fish, and fair trade coffee.

As we progress in life, it’s important to see fresh ways we can take advantage of services or partner. Deregulation brings opportunity.

The essential takeaway is that buying behavior of all kinds will be combined and strengthened. It affords us more opportunities to save time and money. Yet we also should be aware that it gives reams of information to retailers. Our lives become more efficient and intertwined, yet less private.

Check out this excerpt from the article, “Selling Electricity Over the Counter” in the Wall Street Journal. It’s interesting to see this innovation taking place in Australia, the U.K. and the United States. Tell me what you think: Would you buy a plan and gain discounts, while losing privacy?


Wall Street Journal article:

Utilities around the globe are teaming up with retailers such as Marks & Spencer Group PLC in Britain, Coles Supermarkets in Australia and Best Buy Co. in the U.S. to sell energy and related products directly to consumers.

Retailers see a growing market in energy-conscious consumers who now shop for everything from power suppliers and energy-efficient appliances to solar panels, insulation and home-energy-management systems.

As more utilities have been forced to compete in deregulated markets, establishing alliances with retailers has helped them build customer loyalty and reduce customer churn.

Reliant has teamed up in Texas with electronics and appliance retailer Best Buy, in whose stores the utility now markets electricity plans and free home-energy monitors that help customers figure out how they can reduce their electricity consumption and save money. Similarly, Constellation, owned by Chicago-based power generator Exelon Corp., is experimenting with selling electricity plans through Best Buy stores in Illinois.

In Britain, Marks & Spencer, whose department stores feature staples from socks to scones, is selling natural gas and electricity from SSE PLC, one of the U.K.’s big six energy suppliers. Marks & Spencer also offers insulation and solar panels and provides advice on energy-efficient appliances.

In Australia, utility AGL Energy Ltd. in April linked up with Coles Supermarkets, a unit of Wesfarmers Ltd., via the Coles customer-loyalty program Flybuys. The program gives AGL residential customers rewards points for discounts on Coles purchases…Points can be used for purchases at Coles.

Which Country Wins The Day on Most Renewable Energy at 15%?

Congratulations to Germany, Iceland, New Zealand and Portugal, who lead the world in producing the most renewable energy, with more than 15% of their energy coming from renewable sources.  You are an example. I hope one day soon it’s 50%, then 100%.  Let’s think big.  For the U.S., we have a start at 2.5%, putting us at #7 among the G20 countries.

Regarding investments, South Korea had the biggest leap in investment, followed by China and Brazil. The U.S. was second in line in highest investing in renewable energy (behind China) for 2011.

The National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) reports that the G20 countries lead the world in utilizing renewable energy.  In 2010, these 20 countries produced more than 82% of the world’s renewable energy.  The NRDC defined it as “solar, wind, geothermal, tidal and wave electricity production.”  Wave electricity production refers to obtaining power from ocean surface waves.

It’s wonderful to ‘use the earth’ when it helps us live kindly, productively, and with intelligence.

Read the NRDC’s full report.

Photo courtesy of the NRDC.