3p Contributor: Kathryn Siranosian

As a corporate content specialist and a ghostwriter for C-level executives, Kathryn's work appears at Forbes, Industry Week and other leading trade publications and websites. She focuses on topics related to science, business sustainability, supply chain risk management and marketing. Find out more about Kathryn at www.CorporateWriter4Hire.com . You can follow Kathryn on Twitter: @CorpWriter4Hire.

Recent Articles

New SunChips Bag: 90% Plant-based, 100% Compostable

| Monday February 22nd, 2010 | 21 Comments

Frito Lay Canada (a division of PepsiCo) will roll out the world’s first 100% compostable chip bag in Canadian retail outlets beginning in March.

The new SunChips packaging will be made from more than 90% renewable, plant-based materials, and as a result, the bag will completely break down into compost in a hot, active compost pile in approximately 14 weeks.

“In order to continue to reduce our environmental impact as a company, finding sustainable packaging solutions was a must,” says Marc Guay, President, Frito Lay Canada, in a press release. “We know that environmentally-friendly packaging is a priority for Canadians. Using plant-based renewable materials to make packaging that will interact differently with the environment, represents the next small step in Frito Lay Canada’s environmental sustainability journey.”

The SunChips 100% compostable chip bag will start appearing on shelves in Canada this March in the 225g & 425g size bags. The remaining SunChips packages will transition into the compostable packaging in August 2010.

Here in the U.S., a prototype SunChips bag (made from one-third plant-based materials) is widely available. Frito Lay is planning to launch its new 90% plant-based, 100% compostable bag in the U.S. to coincide with Earth Day 2010.

Bag marketed as “the new sound of green”

The renewable material used to produce the SunChips 100% compostable bag is made from a plant-based material called polylactic acid (PLA). PLA is a versatile and compostable polymer made from starch.

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Crate & Barrel Warehouse Robots Cut Carbon Footprint of Retail

| Thursday February 18th, 2010 | 9 Comments

Can robots from MA-based Kiva Systems turn warehouses green?

Crate and Barrel thinks so.

So far, most companies have installed Kiva warehouse automation systems because they want to improve efficiencies and cut costs.

But, Crate and Barrel is betting that there’s even greater potential. The company recently purchased a Kiva system for its Tracy, Calif. Distribution Complex (DC), and it’s especially keen to see how these innovative robots can help drive carbon footprint reductions.

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Michelle Obama, Kaiser Permanente and the Link Between Sustainability and Health Care

| Friday February 12th, 2010 | 4 Comments

What do initiatives like Let’s Move! and the Partnership for a Healthier America, the new foundation which boasts First Lady Michelle Obama (above) as its Honorary Chair, have to do with sustainability?


Just ask Loel Solomon, vice president of Community Health Initiatives at Kaiser Permanente.

Kaiser Permanente, one of America’s leading health care providers and not-for-profit health plans, helped create the Partnership for a Healthier America, a non-partisan organization launched this week to address the serious national epidemic of childhood obesity.

And according to Solomon, efforts like this precisely illustrate how health care is inextricably entwined with environmental stewardship and even broader issues of sustainability. After all, The Partnership for a Healthier America was established to help facilitate improved understanding among all sectors about the role healthy food, physical activity and the environment play in good health. That means the foundation will be advocating for bike trails, sidewalks, community gardens, and a wide range of other issues commonly found on the pages of TriplePundit, Solomon says.

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Tesco Opens World’s First Zero Carbon Supermarket, Pledges $156 M to UK Green Economy

| Tuesday February 9th, 2010 | 0 Comments

Last week, Tesco, the UK’s largest retailer, opened the world’s first zero carbon supermarket.

The store has no net carbon footprint and exports any extra electricity generated back to the national grid.

Located in Ramsey, Cambridgeshire, this new supermarket boasts several eco-friendly features, including:

  • A combined heat and power plant which runs on bio fuels from renewable sources
  • Timber framing derived from sustainable sources rather than steel (which significantly reduced the carbon footprint of construction)
  • Interior lighting that dims as the natural daylight increases, and skylights that allow daylight on to the sales floor
  • LED lights in the parking lot and gas station (This is the UK’s first LED-lit parking lot.)
  • Rainwater collection facilities on the roof which provide water for use in the car wash and to flush store toilets
  • Refrigerant gases in the fridges, heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems that have virtually no environmental impact
  • Solar-powered street lights and crossing signals
  • Additional energy-efficient equipment, such as low energy bakery ovens

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Six Ways the NFL Is Greening Super Bowl XLIV. Really.

| Thursday February 4th, 2010 | 11 Comments

Sure, companies like Audi and GE like to take advantage of the Super Bowl’s huge viewing audience to promote their latest “green” message. Even Pepsi threw its hat in the game by saying it wasn’t going to advertise in this year’s game.

But, just how sustainable is the event itself? Is the NFL taking steps to reduce the environmental impact of the Super Bowl? What is the league’s view of sustainability, in general?

For answers, I talked with Jack Groh, director of the NFL’s Environmental Program, and he described these six ways the NFL is greening Super Bowl XLIV:

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UPS Adds 245 CNG Trucks to Its Green Fleet

| Wednesday January 27th, 2010 | 0 Comments

Last week, UPS announced it has deployed 245 new delivery trucks powered by Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) to cities in Colorado and California.

The vehicles are part of UPS’s continued effort to:

• reduce its emissions from the use of fossil fuels, such as gasoline and diesel,

• lower its carbon footprint, and

• offer an immediate competitive advantage to small- and medium-sized businesses looking to green their supply chains.

In fact, UPS now operates one of the largest private fleets of alternative fuel vehicles in its industry–more than 1,900 in total with these additions.  This heterogeneous “green fleet” utilizes multiple alternative fuel technologies, including CNG, hydraulic hybrid, hybrid-electric, electric, liquid natural gas, liquid petroleum gas and propane.

“At UPS, we employ a ‘rolling laboratory approach’ to test the benefits of multiple technologies rather than committing to one,” explains Steve Leffin, Corporate Sustainability Manager at UPS. “This is ultimately what allows UPS to invest smartly and investigate ways to be as efficient as possible, so that our customers benefit from that efficiency–in time, cost and footprint.”

So, why is the company specifically adding CNG trucks now?

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New Laser Phosphor Displays (LPDs) Consume Up To 75 Percent Less Energy Than Plasma, LCD Systems

| Friday January 22nd, 2010 | 4 Comments


Move over plasma and LCD display systems.

New, improved HD technology is on its way to the marketplace.

Prysm, a privately held company based in San Jose, spent the last five years developing an innovative technology called Laser Phosphor Display (LPD), and according to Roger Hajjar, Prysm CTO and co-founder, this new LPD technology has the potential to revolutionize the electronics industry and replace every other high-definition screen on the market, including plasma, LED, LCD, and DLP.

In short, LPD is a new category of large format displays, he says. It offers freeform flexibility, scalability, long-lasting performance and incredibly high quality image resolution–from near or far distances and any viewing angle.

What’s more, Hajjar points out that new LPD technology also has the lowest cost of ownership and smallest carbon footprint of any large format display currently on the market. For example, LPD display systems:

  • are manufactured without toxic or regulated materials.
  • can be end-of-life recycled without concern for toxic or regulated materials.
  • consume up to 75 percent less energy than other video wall or HDTV technology.
  • run “cooler” than other HD systems and so do not require additional air conditioning/ventilation.

To put LPD’s energy savings in perspective, Hajjar explains that some businesses now spend up to $1 million each year to power large LED video walls. LPD technology can bring those costs down to $50,000. How? Because an LPD system consumes fewer watts per display than a standard home light bulb –that’s less than 100 watts per square meter, he says. In addition, an LPD display does not require additional air conditioning or ventilation systems.

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Partners in Health Does “Whatever It Takes” in Haiti

| Friday January 15th, 2010 | 3 Comments

Sustainability in health care isn’t only about energy efficient buildings, innovative technology, and effectively using resources. It’s also about people. It’s about access. And, it’s about creating health care solutions that work within the context of other constraints, such as culture, infrastructure and economy.

Need proof? Just look at the medical crisis now unfolding in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake in Haiti. To be clear, earthquakes are acts of nature. But, as Tracy Kidder explains in the New York Times, the Haitians’ “extreme vulnerability to earthquakes is manmade” —and it only serves to underscore the urgent need for sustainable, community-based health care in the world’s poorest countries.

The Boston-based international aid organization Partners in Health (PIH) has been working for more than 20 years to fill that need for several of the world’s most indigent populations.

Since PIH’s flagship project launched in Haiti in 1985, the organization’s community-based health care model has proven successful in delivering effective care both for common conditions like diarrhea, pneumonia, and childbirth —which often prove fatal for poor and malnourished populations—and for complex diseases like HIV and tuberculosis.

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iWasteNot Systems: A Dating Service for Trash

| Wednesday January 13th, 2010 | 0 Comments

Looking for 50,000 pounds of inedible egg product, a gently used photocopier,  a few 55-gallon drums of alkaline degreaser, or a dozen wooden cable spools?

As the old adage says, to some that’s trash . . .but to others, it’s treasure.

Just ask James Ruttan, CEO of iWasteNot Systems, Inc., in Ontario, Canada. He, together with his father and three out of four younger siblings, has built a business centered on the concept of reuse –both residential and commercial.

Started in 2003, iWasteNot Systems is a software-as-a-service company that supplies web-based surplus materials exchanges for organizations throughout North America. By providing software, web-hosting, security, support and training, iWasteNot Systems helps clients create and operate residential, mixed industrial-commercial, agricultural-biomass-forestry, electronics and in-house materials exchanges.

And, what’s more, the company can even track and report on the weight and nature of the materials reused and then calculate the dollar savings and the greenhouse gas emissions avoided through the waste diversion.

As Ruttan explains it, iWasteNot Systems is grounded in “preaching the path,” making the choice to reuse materials as easy, inexpensive and effective as possible. Or, put another way…

“Think of it as a dating service for trash,” he quips.

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Stryker Ups Commitment to Sustainability by Acquiring Ascent Healthcare Solutions

| Tuesday January 12th, 2010 | 0 Comments

A few weeks ago, Stryker, an international powerhouse in medical technology and one of the largest players in the $35.6 billion global orthopedic market, acquired Ascent Healthcare Solutions, the  leading provider of medical device reprocessing and remanufacturing services for hospitals and surgery centers across North America.

It’s an acquisition that underscores the delicate balance the health care sector must strike between three seemingly disparate elements: quality care, cost and sustainability.

Ascent helps customers reprocess and recycle medical products—such as reusable blood pressure cuffs, compression sleeves, and orthopedic external fixation devices—that they would otherwise  needlessly throw away.  In fact, according to the Ascent website, in 2007, the company saved hospitals and their patients in excess of $100 million dollars in supply expenses, while diverting 3.4 million pounds from community landfills (an estimated $1.6 million in waste savings).

Triple Pundit asked Patrick Anderson, Vice President, Corporate Affairs of Stryker, to fill us in on the details of this new acquisition and what it says about the growing importance of sustainability in the health care sector.

Stryker’s products include:  implants used in joint replacement, trauma, and spinal surgeries; endoscopic, surgical navigation, communications and digital imaging systems; and patient handling and emergency medical equipment.

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Top 10 New Green Ideas to Watch in 2010

| Wednesday December 30th, 2009 | 33 Comments

As part of their end-of-year Trend Report, JWT recently published “100 Things to Watch in 2010,” an intriguing list of predictions based on the observations of the company’s Trend Scouts stationed throughout the world.

Of these 100 things, one-quarter are decidedly green –a healthy percentage which, according to Ann Mack, Director of Trend Spotting at JWT, indicates that sustainability as a business concept is “here to stay.”

“We didn’t go in looking for a quota of things for any particular category,” Mack explains, adding that the final list of 100 was culled from more than 200 original submissions. “The fact that so many on the list are green shows that the environmental movement is not a flash in the pan. Instead, it has real weight and momentum, and both consumers and retailers realize that. Companies have to get up to speed fast, if they are not already, to make themselves more environmentally-friendly and attractive to the consumer.”

Of the 25 green items on JWT’s list, we whittled it even further, creating this short list (in alphabetical order) of the Top 10 New Green Ideas to Watch in 2010:

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Autodesk Launches Online Game to Build Awareness About Green Building

| Tuesday December 22nd, 2009 | 0 Comments

Here’s a question to test your sustainability IQ:

What’s the number one source of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States?

Think carefully. In a survey last year, only 4% of Americans answered that question correctly.

Could it be cars? Trucks? Planes?

No. No. And, no.

The number one source of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States is . . . buildings.

That’s right, buildings. Which means our homes, schools, offices, shops, and manufacturing facilities offer tremendous opportunities to save energy, save money, and curb climate change. As Steven Chu, US Secretary of Energy summed it up so succinctly,

“Energy efficiency is not just low-hanging fruit; it is fruit that is lying on the ground.”

In fact, 38 percent of all carbon emissions in America come from powering our buildings, and according to McKinsey & Company, energy efficiency measures alone can tackle about half the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions 60 to 90 percent by the year 2050.

But, what can be done to spread the word? How can engineers, architects, landlords, and the like –as well as the general public –be encouraged to address building performance?

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How Twitter Can Make You a More Ethical Holiday Shopper

| Monday December 14th, 2009 | 6 Comments


Like it or not, ‘tis the season for lots (and lots) of holiday shopping.

Wouldn’t it be great if we could harness at least some of that consumerism to help benefit environmental and social causes?

Cause marketing guru Olivia Khalili believes we can.

Earlier this month, Khalili launched iGiveTwice, an online Twitter campaign designed to encourage people to choose gifts that have social or environmental benefits.

After all, stop and think about it for a minute. When you go out shopping, you usually have plenty of choices, right?  So, why not choose a gift that is

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Minnesota Startup Uses Moss — Yes, Moss — to Keep Pools Clean

| Wednesday December 2nd, 2009 | 3 Comments

CWS Clump-of-Moss_220Moss. We’ve all seen it growing in bogs, on tree trunks, and in-between cracks in the sidewalk.

But, did you ever think that this common plant could potentially revolutionize an entire industry?

Enter David Knighton, MD, co-founder and CEO of the Minnesota-based startup, Creative Water Solutions. Knighton, a physician, inventor and entrepreneur–who also happens to be an amateur pilot–was flying a plane to northern Minnesota when he noticed the lakes becoming clearer and cleaner as he traveled northward. Earlier, he had read an article about how moss was used to treat wounds in World War I. It all got him to thinking:

Could the sphagnum moss that’s native throughout northern Minnesota be responsible for keeping the lakes so crystal clear? And, if so, could it do the same for pools and spas?

Eight years and $4 million later, Knighton believes the answer to that question is an emphatic “Yes.”

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h.u.m.a.n. Reinvents Vending with Eco-friendly Machines and Healthy Snacks

| Friday November 20th, 2009 | 3 Comments


human_healthy vending machineh.u.m.a.n. Healthy Vending is on a mission to change the world–one snack at a time.

The Los Angeles -based company is turning the $30 billion/year vending industry on its ear by using state-of-the-art, energy efficient machines filled only with healthy foods and drinks.

In addition, h.u.m.a.n. (short for “helping unite man and nutrition”) donates 10 percent of its proceeds to charities that fight obesity and malnutrition.

“At h.u.m.a.n., we believe that the sustainability of the environment cannot exist without the sustainability of our own health,” says Sean Kelly, a 26-year-old fitness buff who co-founded the company with Andy Mackensen in 2007. “Think about it. How are you going to get people to care about sustainability if they don’t care about themselves? Once we can connect with people about their health, I think we can connect with them about sustainability.”

Thanks mostly to refrigeration and lighting, a traditional vending machine can burn through 3500-4000 kWh/yr .  But, h.u.m.a.n. Healthy Vending can cut that energy expenditure by up to 50 percent. h.u.m.a.n. machines use energy-efficient cooling units, triple pane insulation, and LED lighting. They also are equipped with remote inventory monitoring devices which allow for greater operational efficiency and reduce the amount of trips required for maintenance and stocking.

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