MIKE ARMSTRONG: Coming up: Hold the phone! We may love our mobile devices, but do we think they’re secure? A new consumer survey may surprise you. Going greener is all the rage, even in the corporate world. We’ll talk with one business leader who tells us why. The founder of Commerce Bank has a new investment. It’s his first bank deal since being ousted last summer. We’ll tell you who he’s checking out. Philadelphia Business Today starts now.
MIKE ARMSTRONG: In a short amount of time, the cell phone has spread everywhere. But a new survey shows that as enamored as we are with the mobile devices, we’re still not sure they’re safe. Seven out of 10 cell phone users say they wouldn't use their mobile phone to bank or shop online. Only nine percent would ever use a credit card or transfer money over a cell phone. That’s bad news for retailers and it comes courtesy of Unisys. The Blue Bell company says it surveyed 13,000 cell phone users to come up with these results. Unisys says retailers and banks will have to do more to persuade us that cell phone transactions are safe, especially in this age of identity theft.
Suddenly, sustainability is the buzzword everywhere. Mayor Nutter named the city’s first sustainability director. His job? Expand recycling, cut the city’s energy use by 10%, and create specific environmental goals for every city department. But the corporate world is also pushing the concept, even if its definition is a little murky. Most view sustainability as reducing energy use, encouraging public transit, or recycling paper waste. Recently I talked with Collin McNeil, the present of Penjerdel, which gathered a number of companies together to discuss what
I asked Collin, why Penjerdel is trying to promote sustainability?
COLLIN MCNEIL: We believe the economy and quality of life are intertwined, and if you have cleaner air, a more productive transportation infrastructure, you have a better economy but you also have a better quality of life. One of the things we need to be doing is supporting SEPTA and working with SEPTA to enhance the level of service and the quality of service. So what we’re advocating is the companies that are able to be served by SEPTA encourage their employees to use mass transit and to make the schedules fit.
MIKE ARMSTRONG: Business is always trying to make its operations more efficient, and those championing sustainability say that goals to cut energy and raw materials use can only help that goal. But where should the encouragement or mandate to go greener come from?
COLLIN MCNEIL: You average company I think is driven by the executives, but also the employees pushing up, saying, Why aren’t we doing this? Why don’t we use recycled paper, why don’t we recycle our paper? I’m sure there’s a lot of paper down here that ought to be put in the proper receptacle one way or the other. And more of that needs to be done.
MIKE ARMSTRONG: Vernon Hill has wasted little time sitting on the sidelines since being ousted from Commerce Bank. Hill and three other investors have put $7.8 million into a small Philadelphia bank. The deal with Republic First Bank Corp. means Hill becomes a consultant to the bank for the next four years. Republic is the first bank that Hill has taken a stake in, but it’s not his first venture since leaving Commerce. He’s been busy investing and consulting with a number of companies, including a pet insurance firm and the Saladworks restaurant chain. That’s it for today. At the Inquirer, I’m Mike Armstrong for Philadelphia Business Today.