If you’re a small business owner in the SF Bay Area who is looking for help “going green”, the Inspiring Green Leadership group has an event on Tuesday April 3rd that can help you out, for free. Details follow: Be Coached by a Volunteer EnviroMentor who Wants You to be a Green Business If your business is an office, a retail operation, a hotel or a restaurant and it is located in San Francisco, you are eligible for the program. Come to the Engagement Event on April 3 and you’ll learn how the Saving Green by Going Green Accelerator will support you to become recognized as a green business by the City of San Francisco. We will explain in detail how the program works as well as pair you with a volunteer EnviroMentor. In a nutshell, if you choose to participate, you will be coached by a volunteer until July 1 to support you in greening your business. When you pass the city’s inspections, you’ll become a recognized green business. And best of all, it’s free! Click to continue reading »
With all the dizzying array of decisions couples must make in regards to planning their wedding, I’m heartened by the fact there are more sustainable choices and resources available. This is particularly on my radar right now because I’m getting married in June. I’m also finding that more and more couples are becoming conscious of how their choices affect the environment and strive to make their big day as sustainable as possible. The media is picking up on it, too, with a whole section of the NY Times recently devoted to green weddings. As someone about to get married, I can now hire organic caterers, work with a florist who primarily uses locally grown flowers, send our invitations on recycled paper — and work with a green wedding planner. One that I know personally is Presidio School of Management grad Corina Beczner who recently launched Vibrant Events, a green wedding and special event company in the San Francisco Bay Area. The idea formed while she was a student in the two-year Presidio MBA in Sustainable Management program, and in her final semester she created a venture plan in the Capstone course to bring her vision into reality.
Are you concerned about your contribution to the climate change crisis? Are you still unsure about carbon offset programs? Well, you are not alone. While I am a strong believer in the value and importance of offset providers such as DriveNeutral and Native Energy I also realize that there are some organizations out there, whose carbon offsets might not be as verifiable or that take too much profit for themselves. If I can’t convince you to offset your emissions with a legitimate offset provider I would certainly like to help you to neutralize your climate impact in another way.
Lesley Nagy of BayArea TV 20′s “Your Green Report” interviewed me and Arcadia Maximo about the Carnival of the Green last week! I thought it was pretty fun. Be sure to check out this week’s carnival on Arcadia’s Site The Goode Life. If you have a blog and are interested in hosting the carnival or submitting posts, pop over to treehugger and read how!
Natural Capitalism co-author Hunter Lovins lists Green to Gold as a must read. Not only did I read and enjoy it, but through Triple Pundit I was given the opportunity to interview Dan Esty, one of the passionate authors of Green to Gold – How Smart Companies Use Environmental Strategy to Innovate, Create Value, and Build Competitive Advantage (Yale Press, 2006). The book provides an easy-to-read analysis of the challenges and opportunities that businesses face when incorporating environmental strategy. It also offers practical steps businesses can take to become more competitive in this new business climate. Mr. Esty introduces his book this way: What sets this book apart in the marketplace is that it is written with a business perspective for business people in business language with business examples and all of that adds up to something different than what has been put out there before. Specifically, it is not an environmentalist telling businesses how to behave, but is a business perspective on bringing the environment into corporate strategy. The following is from my interview with Dan Esty on March 6, 2007:
(This is a new version of an article originally published on Mariri) In Central America, particularly Costa Rica, we are seeing a record-breaking increase in the amount of foreign conservation groups and green investors arriving ready to buy as much land as they can afford in order to “protect the rainforest” and calling on their friends, relatives and business partners to join in – often times at the expense of farming, ranching and indigenous communities that are seen as ‘destructive’ and contributing to the environmental problems of the region. Foreign-owned private protected areas, organic farms, native tree plantations, eco-communities, summer camps, retreat centers, and other eco-friendly land uses are replacing the clear-cut ranch and pesticide laden farms once owned by the local people. And although there is no denying that the local people are often times mismanaging precious resources and that most of these types of land buyers are hundreds of times better than large scale land development companies or mono-crop plantations that are also coming in by the thousands and openly destroying endangered ecosystems and local communities, eco-minded land buyers are also having an impact, and not always a positive one. And if the goal of ‘green’ investors and conservationists is to help solve problems such as environmental degradation, cultural extinction, and social injustice, then it is increasingly important for them to see the larger potential impacts of their interventions so they can help advance genuine solutions to these issues, instead of inadvertently contributing to them.
According to Supercomputing Online ” in 2005, total data center electricity consumption in the U.S., including servers, cooling and auxiliary equipment, was approximately 45 billion kWh, resulting in total utility bills amounting to $2.7 billion.” The average emissions per MWh in the US are 0.61 metric tons (mT), so US data center electricity use amounts to 27.45 million tons of CO2 emissions annually. With 200,000,000 internet users in the US (2005), that is 137 mT for each one of us. But this is a whole other topic…
Next week Hoff Stauffer will be answering questions about global climate change and what we, as a global community, can do about it. Please submit your burning questions to pablo.paster(at)gmail.com or in the AskPablo comment section. Hoff, who has done research and consulting on energy and environmental issues for many years and was the first Director of Economic Analysis at the US EPA, is focusing on Global Warming. Since the science is clear, he believes: “The debate in the United States on global climate change is shifting from whether to do something about the problem to what to do.” But he is concerned that inflexible conventional wisdom and misperceptions are inhibiting progress. “Given the irreconcilable problems with cap and trade, we need to transcend the conventional wisdom and shift the debate to a more viable strategy….[that] relies on performance standards for new sources of GHG emissions.” “The notion that ‘draconian measures’ would be required [to mitigate global warming] is an unfortunate misperception that has inhibited meaningful action.” See some of his recent articles in Foreign Policy in Focus: A New Standard, Climate Change: Is It Prudent to Wait?, and Climate Change Roundtable.
In The Sustainability Revolution, Edwards has given us a neat presentation of both the evolution and main principles of the sustainability movement up to the time of printing (2005). This is an important book because — without actually defining what sustainability is— Edwards gives us a pretty clear idea of what’s involved in “being sustainable”. At a time when “sustainability” is quickly becoming a buzz word, this book would be a very useful resource to a wide range of people, especially those looking for a starting point to learn how sustainability applies to business. Edwards covers all the critical standards and benchmarks, reflecting how broadly relevant the basic principles and themes are: from Natural Step to Natural Capitalism; the ICC Charter to The Earth Charter. Though at times Edwards’ writing is dry or dull, he is deftly able to organize dense information. For quick reference, look to the timeline and chart on page 124-126. +++ reviewer bio follows +++ Kate lives in San Francisco, and is currently earning her MBA at Presidio School of Management. Her motivation to engage sustainability in the arena of business started six years ago with books like “If Women Counted”, by Marilyn Waring and “Natural Capitalism”, by Paul Hawken, Amory & Hunter Lovins. She is particularly interested in working with the small business sector to promote sustainability and localism.
Natural Capitalism was published at a poignant moment in human history. As we edged toward the new millennium, it appeared that the unintended consequences of industrialization were finally getting the spot light: the U.S., along with several other countries, was on the verge of joining the Kyoto Protocol; electric and hybrid cars had hit the market and gained popularity, and Ray Anderson of Interface Carpet became the poster child of the business case for sustainability. There is no doubt that this monster of a book contributed significantly to the sustainability movement that was gaining huge momentum (and continues to do so today). At the time it was written, when others felt the need to be revolutionary, Natural Capitalism was evolutionary. Without leaving the capitalist system, it gives us a framework to re-organize our market-driven economy around valuing all forms of capital: natural, human, manufactured, and financial. Hawken and the Lovinses propose Natural capitalism as the means to have both a prosperous economy and thriving natural environment, while meeting all human needs.
BYOB’s not what it used to be; at least not at IKEA. Their new mantra is “Bring Your Own Bag” and it is music to my ears. For years I’ve endured the look of surprise or scorn when I’ve answered the inevitable “paper or plastic?” with a third unspoken option “I brought my own.” I even typically bag my own since it takes the bagger a while to contemplate my words, having never been trained for this alternative customer response. I’ve found that if I stop the bagger after they’ve put one item in the plastic bag, the bag is thrown into the garbage, defeating the whole purpose my not wanting the bag :( So, how many plastic bags do we use? According to ReusableBags.com, each year 500 billion to 1 trillion bags are consumed worldwide – that is 1 million per minute! They are seldom reused and billions end up as litter each year. The U.S. discards 100 billion polyethylene plastic bags annually. The cost to retailers to provide plastic bags is $4 billion per year.
What you see above is a collaborative project between TreeHugger and Daylife. It’s an index of the frequency with which certain key terms appear in the press and online media. It’s not exactly scientific, but it gives a fun look at the zeitgeist of green.
In The Next Sustainability Wave, Bob Willard gives us an overview of the drivers for sustainability in the corporate world. This is Willard’s second book on outlining how to build the case for sustainability in business ( The Sustainability Advantage, his first, was published in 2002). The book is written for corporate business leaders, and Willard clearly knows his audience. It is particularly formatted for executives or those who like their information is bit-sized parcels (on the right side is text, with bold headers; on the left are quotes, cartoons, or anecdotes pertaining to the header). Willard argues that although there are executives that have a personal passion for sustainability, businesses need a great deal more leadership in this arena. His arguments center on the bottom-line impact, but he also suggests that as the popularity of “sustainable” grows, firms that do not adopt sustainable practices will eventually have a public relations crisis. His stance is that social and environmental responsibility is not a moral imperative, but a business solution.
Chris McLaren, owner of Lush Beverages of Ottawa, Canada, sent this week’s question. He changed his packaging from glass to PET this year, partially for environmental reasons. But to date no one has been able to quantify those reasons for him. I will give it the old Boy Scout try to see if I can substantiate his decision numbers.
Santa Barbara: Apr 2 – Apr 4 ECO:nomics The Wall Street Journal’s celebrated ECO:nomics conference brings together global CEOs, top entrepreneurs, investors, policymakers and environmental experts for discussion and debate about the most critical issues. Register here.
San Diego: Apr 24 – Apr 27 Social Venture Network Spring Conference SVN conferences convene and connect influential, innovative business leaders, impact investors and cultural entrepreneurs to create an experience where attendees can share the ideas and resources they need to succeed and grow. Register here.
New York: May 13 – May 14 Shared Value Leadership Summit For business leaders and problem solvers who see exciting market opportunities at the intersection of business goals and societal challenges, the Shared Value Initiative is the leading community shaping research, partnerships, and practices. Register here.
Southern California: May 19 – May 21 Fortune Brainstorm Green As the premier conference on business, sustainability, and green investing, Brainstorm GREEN delivers fresh thinking, actionable solutions, and unparalleled opportunities to build top-level relationships. Register here.
San Diego: Jun 2 – Jun 5 Sustainable Brands 2014 Discover what happens when brand strategists & designers connect with sustainability teams to drive innovation. 20% discount with code NW3pSB14sd. Register here.
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