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Michigan's Role in the Blue Economy

A number of Israeli companies are looking toward Michigan to set up shop and look at ways of using Michigan's Great Lakes for their economic gain and our environmental survival. Michigan is located on America's North Coast, but it is really the world's "Fresh Water Coast." Endleman, a large independent PR agency, recently published a report on water. In the report, they state that the World Resources Institute is working with investors to develop meaningful disclosure around corporate water use and behaviour. In fact, some are pushing for companies to put on labels, how many gallons of water it takes to make a product.

With water becoming more scarce, Michigan has a real opportunity to capitalize on our position in the Great Lakes. We can work to attract an entice companies to Michigan to research and develop new technologies around water. We also can work to stay focused on our strengths -- manufacturing and work to help re-locate companies to Michigan who rely on water in their manufacturing process.

As stewards of the Great Lakes, the State of Michigan should lead the way in creating regulations for how manufacturers can use and re-use water from the Great Lakes for manufacturing. Then create the framework to attract manufacturers from all over the world, who rely on water in the manufacturing process to come to the Great Lakes. The key issue, in my opinion, is how can companies use and re-use the water in the Great Lakes. [gallery]

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Who's watching what is posted on social media sites?

YouTube logoAnother case to watch is one emerging from (Turin) Italy that involves four Google executives who are charged with defamation and violating the privacy of an autistic youth by allowing a (2006) video of the child being abused to be posted on YouTube. This case is being closely watched by the public relations community as it has far-reaching implications for sharing video and other content on the Internet. The defendants are: chief legal officer David Drummond, former chief financial officer George Reyes, senior product marketing manager Arvind Desikan and global privacy counsel Peter Fleischer. All have denied any personal or professional wrongdoing. When the video sparked outrage, Google removed it. The company cooperated with Italian authorities and police found the youths, who were sentenced to community service.

The issue is: Who polices peer-to-peer video sites? Some rely on the users to flag inappropriate content. But once the video is out there, what is the responsibility of the company? What responsibility does the user have to avoid posting clearly offensive junk? Stay tuned to YouTube for its conclusion.

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Is it political? Managing Legislative Disputes

Conflict among lawmakers and regulators is inevitable. The issues that come before the legislature and other government bodies can have the potential to divide a community. As a result, policy makers tend to avoid controversial issues or postpone crucial decisions hoping to avoid conflict. At the same time, key constituencies work to weigh in and share their views, meet with lawmakers, send emails or call them directly, hoping to help the lawmakers reach a consensus. However, carefully structured dialogues, mediated or facilitated by skilled third-party neutrals could offer a more effective and durable method to resolve conflicts and build consensus around controversial and often complex public policy issues. As the Detroit City Charter Commission evaluates the existing Charter, it is recommended that they create a process by which to resolve disputes, at the Council Table, between citizens and with the business community. I will present to the Charter Commission a recommendation on what that policy can be and look forward to working with them in assisting in the creation of a public policy dispute resolution process. A full copy of the report can be downloaded at www.northcoaststrategies.com.

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