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News from the Case Foundation and what people are talking about this week in the world of giving, tech and everything in between.
WaterPartners merges with Matt Damon's H2O Africa This week, Matt Damon announced the launch of Water.org, a new organization formed through the merger of H2O Africa, an organization he co-founded, and WaterPartners International. As The San Francisco Chronicle's "The Thin Green Line" blog put it in their coverage of the news, "Mr. Damon has used his celebrity to advance causes linked to poverty, which has led him to an interest in safe drinking water." According to the press release announcing the new organization, Water.org will "leverage grassroots awareness-building expertise and nearly two decades of demonstrated innovation and success in the sector to help the nearly 890 million people without safe water and the more than 2.5 billion people without safe sanitation."
In addition, WaterTech Online reported: "Water.org said that later this year it will launch an 'online experience' that will bring unprecedented transparency and connectedness between donors and those in need.'"
Wal-Mart to develop product sustainability index This week, Wal-Mart announced that it will develop an index that measures the social and environmental sustainability of every product, working closely with a consortium of scholars, suppliers, and environmental groups recruited by the company. The New York Times reports:
Rather than a retailer or a product supplier’s focusing on only a few sustainability goals — lower emissions or water conservation or waste reduction — the index would help them take a broader view of sustainability by scrutinizing and rating all sorts of environmental and social implications.
In the same New York Times article, a spokesperson from Procter & Gamble notes the importance of creating an index that is industry-wide, rather than asking companies to adhere to multiple sets of standards. According to an article on the Fast Company blog, the consortium will "use a Life Cycle Assessment to measure the cradle-to-cradle impact of a product from manufacture through disposal," and the company hopes to ultimately transition management of the index to a nonprofit organization. Over at Slate's The Big Money site, Marc Gunther debates the potential of the index to give Wal-Mart the power of "America's regulator" by determining which products are high enough on the index to appear on the retailer's shelves. He notes that "for the index to work, consumer-goods makers will need to understand the origins of everything they put into their products."
Razorfish proposes creation of social influence score As part of a new report on social marketing, digital marketing agency Razorfish has proposed the creation of the social influence measurement (SIM) score, a new standard for measuring online sentiment around a brand or industry. According to ClickZ, "the score is meant to support brands' attempts to improve net sentiment by benchmarking against themselves and their competitors." The Hard Knox Life blog has a good summary of the report, highlighting some key points, and notes that "measurement continues to be a factor that holds back Social Media marketing so it will be interesting to see if SIM begins to take hold."
A MediaPost article also points out that the study comes to the conclusion that marketers must do a better job in their social media efforts. An interesting tidbit from the MediaPost piece:
The findings revealed a paradox, though, in that 62% say they don't seek out brand opinions via social media but 71% share recommendations on products and services on social sites at least once every few months.
American web users spend most time on Facebook According to the latest report from Nielsen Online, Americans are spending more time on Facebook than any other Web site, with an average of 4 hours, 39 minutes and 33 seconds spent on the social networking site during the month of June. A Computerworld article also points out that "Facebook saw a 700% increase from April 2008 to April 2009 in the amount of time users were spending on the site."
On InternetNews.com, Michelle Megna notes that "the rankings come as social networking continues to gain in popularity while the sites themselves grapple with how to make money and ensure privacy for their millions of users." And Mashable notes that Facebook's top ranking in time spent on the site is "a huge deal; in a world where user attention is the ultimate currency, pageviews have been losing their importance and marketers are focusing on the time users spend on a site."