Thursday, December 27, 2007

Sustainable & Responsible Businesses - 2007 Recap

Each week we highlight a "Sustainable & Responsible Business of the Week." We want to give you a broad picture of for-profit companies pursuing positive economic, environmental, and social impacts. Fortunately, the list is growing of companies that are models for success and which are leading change in this new era of sustainable business. To recap from 2007, here are our picks for Sustainable & Responsible Businesses of the Week:

If you are not familiar with these companies, read our posts and visit their websites! We look forward to highlighting more Sustainable & Responsible Businesses in the upcoming year and we hope you'll pledge to make your business more sustainable in 2008. "Because sustainable business is good business!"

Happy Holidays from your friends at Sustainable Business Design Consulting.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Hotlips Pizza - Sustainable & Responsible Business of the Week

Hotlips Pizza is a family-owned 4-restaurant business in Portland OR. Hotlips Pizza uses as many locally-grown ingredients as possible, including wheat, vegetables, cheese, and meat. They track food miles, use LED lighting, deliver pizza by bicycle or electric car, use the heat from their pizza ovens to heat water, compost waste, and are exploring alternative fuel use for pizza ovens. Hotlips Pizza, founded in 1984, has been covered by Fortune Magazine and The Oregonian.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Have An Idea for a Solar-Powered Router for the BOP?

The Rockefeller Foundation is co-sponsoring a contest search for a design of a solar-powered wireless router composed of low-cost, readily available hardware and software components. This router is to become part of a reliable Internet communication network connecting metropolises and remote towns in developing countries. The challenge requires only a written proposal, the deadline for submissions is Janaury 28, 2008, and the prize is $20,000. To submit a proposal, you must register through InnoCentive (challenge 5644660).

Geek the Vote 2008

Popular Mechanics has compiled "Geek the Vote 2008," a list of links "to make it easier to compare leading presidential candidates on several issues" related to science and technology. The site offers coverage of the candidates' positions in 8 areas: automotive, digital/tech, energy/climate, environment, gun control, infrastructure, science/education, and space.

The Popular Mechanics Geek the Vote 2008 can offer you additional information on the candidates' positions to complement the list compiled by ONE on the candidates' positions on combating extreme poverty and global disease, the list compiled by Global Development Matters on the candidates' positions on global development issues, the list compiled by Grist on the candidates' environmental positions, and the list compiled by the League of Conservation Voters on the candidates' energy plans and policies.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Seeking Nominations for 2008 Recycling Awards

The American Forest and Paper Association (AF&PA) Recycling Awards' deadline for entries is January 31, 2008. The awards "were created to encourage and recognize outstanding programs that promote the recovery of high quality paper for recycling. In 2008 AF&PAwill recognize a business, a community, a school (K-12), and a college or university."

Visit their website for complete details and to read about last years' winners.

Don't Vacuum that Broken CFL!

Now that U.S. legislation has passed to phase out incandescent lightbulbs between 2012-2014, we can expect demand for CFL, LED, and other alternatives to increase.

One drawback for current CFL bulbs is that they contain hazardous mercury. Have you thought about what to do in case a bulb breaks? From the Maine Bureau of Remediation and Waste Management comes the following guidelines for cleaning up a broken CFL bulb.

"The most important thing to remember is to never use a vacuum. A standard vacuum will spread mercury containing dust throughout the area as well as potentially contaminating the vacuum. What you should do is:

  • Keep people and pets away from the breakage area so that the mercury in the powder inside the bulb is not accidentally tracked into other areas.

  • Ventilate the area by opening windows.

  • Wear appropriate personal protective equipment, such as rubber gloves, safety glasses, old clothing or coveralls, and a dust mask (if you have one) to keep bulb dust and glass from being inhaled.

  • Carefully remove the larger pieces and place them in a secure closed container, preferably a glass container with a metal screw top and gasket seal like a canning jar.

  • Next, begin collecting the smaller pieces and dust. You can use a disposable broom and dustpan or two stiff pieces of paper to scoop up pieces.

  • Put all material into the glass container. Pat the area with the sticky side of duct, packing or masking tape. Wipe the area with a damp cloth or paper towels to pick up fine particles.
    Put all waste and materials used to clean up the bulb in the glass container and label it “Universal Waste - broken lamp”.

  • Take the container for recycling as universal waste. To determine where your town has made arrangements for recycling of this type of waste, call your town office or check out the Maine Department of Environmental Protection website at
The next time you replace a bulb, consider putting a drop cloth on the floor so that any accidental breakage can be easily cleaned up."

Additional information can be found at

San Francisco Carbon Fund Announced

San Francisco has become the first U.S. city to create "in-city carbon offsets to meet local carbon reduction goals. Rather than funding replanting tree farms in other hemispheres or investing in alternative power systems on the other side of the planet" the San Francisco Carbon Fund will fund local projects within the city. The project is expected to "support energy efficiency projects and solar panel installations for low-income housing, as well as biodiesel conversion programs that support the conversion of waste into fuel" through nonprofit organizations such as The San Francisco Biofuels Cooperative, GRID Alternatives, and Ecology Action.

"The San Francisco Carbon Fund will begin as a pilot program to offset emissions from municipal air travel, and will be expanded to San Francisco residents, businesses and visitors once the program infrastructure has been established. The fund will also provide City government, residents and businesses information regarding the true costs of carbon intensive activities."

Read the full stories in the San Francisco Chronicle and the California Chronicle.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Global Warming May Soon See Santa Don Shorts

From Yahoo! Green: ROVANIEMI, Finland (AFP) - If the most dire climate forecasts come true the tourism industry in Europe's far north, already feeling the effects of global warming, may find itself promoting a Santa in shorts and a camel-drawn sleigh.

Each year at the end of autumn, residents, shopkeepers, travel agencies, reindeer herders and even politicians in the Finnish Arctic town of Rovaniemi -- home to Santa Claus' Village, one of the biggest tourist attractions in Finland -- look to the skies in the hopes of a snowy winter.

"Everyone working in tourism here is worried. The past three or four years have been difficult for us," says Jarmo Kariniemi, owner of the Santa Claus' Office in Rovaniemi which each year attracts 340,000 visitors eager to meet the "real" Father Christmas.

This December, with only a few weeks to go before Christmas, there are only 20 centimeters (seven-and-a-half inches) of snow on the ground, just enough for snowmobiles and dog- and reindeer sleighs.

But the rivers and lakes, which normally freeze over in winter and are used to take tourists on snowmobile or sleigh rides, have not turned to ice yet, and that's bad news.

Tourism generates some 235 million euros (345 million dollars) of direct and indirect revenue in Finnish Lapland, of which about 60 percent comes during winter.

It is an enormous amount of money for the region, hit hard by high unemployment and the rural exodus to bigger towns.

Seasons greetings to all my friends in Rovaniemi and at Rovaniemi Polytechnic.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Carbon Offsets & Renewable Energy Certificates Workshop

The Federal Trade Commission is hosting a public workshop, "Carbon Offsets and Renewable Energy Certificates," on January 8, 2008 in Washington DC. "The workshop will focus on consumer protection issues in these markets, such as consumer perception of carbon offset and REC advertising claims and substantiation for such claims. This workshop is one component of the Commission’s regulatory review of the Guides for the Use of Environmental Marketing Claims." Due to the increase in green advertising claims, the FTC is beginning an early regulatory review of the Guides, which have not been updated since 1998. A live webcast of the workshop will be available.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Add Our Widget to Your Site!

The Sustainable Business Design Blog widget is now available for you to put on your website. Just click through to our blog site, on the right side look for "Add Our Blog to Your Site!" and then click "Get Widget" for the code to embed on your site. Please help us expand our reach by adding our blog news feed to your web site.

Green-Collar Jobs Are Good Jobs

Green Collar Jobs: An Analysis of the Capacity of Green Businesses to Provide High Quality Jobs for Men and Women with Barriers to Employment is a report from the City of Berkeley’s Office of Energy and Sustainable Development and is authored by Professor Raquel Rivera Pinderhughes of San Francisco State University. The report identifies 22 sectors of the U.S. economy currently providing green collar employment and states that "placing job ready workers with barriers to employment in green collar jobs can be an effective way to provide low income people with access to good jobs that can lift these individuals and their families out of poverty."

Green collar jobs are expected to grow (Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency: Economic Drivers for the 21st Century predicts over 40 million green industry jobs by 2030; a four-fold increase in growth from 2006), yet Pinderhughes' report finds that "most firms are not adequately prepared to address the work force development issues that will accompany rapid growth. Seventy-three percent of the business owners/managers surveyed stated that there was a shortage of qualified green collar workers for their sector, with the greatest needs in energy, green building, mechanics, and bike repair."

You can read the executive summary here and the full report here.

Pinderhughes is a partner in the Green Jobs Campaign of the Ella Baker Center, founded by Van Jones. Jones was recently highlighted in the NY Times and TIME Magazine for his vision that the green collar job movement could help combat poverty in the U.S.

Emerging Opportunities in Carbon Markets Conference

Emerging Opportunities in Carbon Markets conference will be held in Miami Florida January 17 & 18. The conference is hosted by UK Trade & Investment at the British Consulate-General Miami and Environmental Finance Publications and will cover carbon emissions trading and the markets that have emerged as a result of climate change. According to the website, attendees will:

  • Learn, from leading industry and government specialists, how to identify opportunities in carbon trading
  • Discover how carbon emissions liabilities can be converted into financial assets
  • Understand the potential for Clean Development Mechanism projects in Latin America
  • Find out how the US can benefit from what’s happening in Europe
  • Hear about other companies’ experiences in the voluntary US market
  • Take advantage of many opportunities to network with other delegates and speakers throughout the conference especially at the drinks reception after day one

Saturday, December 15, 2007

FEED Projects - Sustainable & Responsible Business of the Week

FEED Projects is selling the FEED Bag. Your purchase of one bag will feed a child for an entire school year through the UN World Food Program.

From their website: "Our personal commitment to working against hunger is matched with a commitment to the environment and to safe and healthy working conditions for all we work with. FEED bags are made with sustainable materials and are designed to be used as an alternative to disposable paper and plastic bags. This environmental and fair labor commitment is an added value in all FEED products."

FEED bags can be purchased through their website (which redirects you to or through TOMS Shoes' website, a company that donates a pair of shoes to children in need for each pair you purchase.

FEED Projects, LLC was started by Lauren Bush and Ellen Gustafson soley for the purpose of making and selling FEED bags to raise money to help feed the world's hungry children.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Jolly Green Santas

Green Santas will be on bicycle passing out gifts this weekend, Dec. 14-16, in London, Birmingham and Manchester. Gifts to be distributed to lucky shoppers include: energy-saving ECO kettles, "The Low Carbon Diet" book, and packs of Christmas tree seeds. Green Santas are sponsored by

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

New Report: Joining the Fight Against Global Poverty

Joining the Fight Against Global Poverty: A Menu for Corporate Engagement, a new report from the Center for Global Development:

In the last decade more and more of the world's leading corporations have sought and found ways to join in the fight against global poverty. In an increasingly interdependent world, there are many opportunities to do good while doing well commercially. Yet the approaches taken, and the logic of different tactics by different companies, have not been much studied. This new report, based on interviews with 15 corporations that have been active in "development" work in poor countries, offers a menu of six approaches.

  • Standards Compliance: adhering to high standards for workers' rights, environmental protection, or other development issues

  • Charitable Giving: through a company foundation or by supporting public or non-profit charitable organizations

  • Resource Engagement: directly contributing a company's goods or services

  • Commercial Leverage: companies doing well by doing good

  • Development Entrepreneurship: where an explicit commitment to the poor is the core business strategy

  • Policy Advocacy: using the company's influence to improve the policy environment for development, in the host country or home country.

It also offers practical anecdotes about what has worked for corporations (and what hasn't), and explains some of the advantages companies have found in pursuing a developmental agenda, including reputational benefits and attracting informed customers. One of the guiding principles of the report is that companies bring much more to the table than money. Financial resources are often necessary, but corporations' skills, ideas, and ways of operating in the marketplace can make a much greater contribution.

Calling On All Consumers to Help Uncover Greenwashing

From EnviroMedia: EnviroMedia Social Marketing, a 10-year-old U.S.-based social marketing firm that works solely on environmental and public health issues, is calling on consumers around the globe to send examples of both good and bad green marketing campaigns to this Web site. EnviroMedia co-founders Kevin Tuerff and Valerie Davis are in Bali announcing the new effort, along with a global call for consumers to submit TV, print or online environmental ads they would like to see ranked on the new “EnviroMedia Greenwashing Index.”

“We’re calling for an end to greenwashing,” said EnviroMedia CEO Valerie Davis.

EnviroMedia will reveal a compilation of the consumer greenwashing submissions and illustrate how consumers believe the ads stack up on its Greenwashing Index on January 7, 2008, a day before the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) holds its "Eco in The Market" forum in Washington, D.C., to address green advertising claims. The FTC recently announced it will accelerate by one year a review of its environmental marketing guidelines, due to a rapid rise in green advertising.

Submit your greenwashing example, watch for the results on January 7, and cast your vote!

Business Planet Site Launched by World Bank Group

Business Planet website has now been launched by The World Bank Group.

"Business Planet maps flagship online databases of the World Bank Group that support private sector-led growth and financial market development in developing countries. It is an entry point to powerful data sources such as Doing Business, Enterprise Surveys, Financial Indicators, Privatization Database and Private Investment in Infrastructure Projects.
Business Planet features more than 20 maps that cover over 190 economies across issues like How easy it is to do business, How often firms are expected to bribe tax inspectors, and much more. "

What Is Your State's Carbon Footprint?

Which state has the highest carbon footprint? Or the lowest? You can find out at the interactive website of or by looking at their United States Carbon Footprint Tables. Vermont ranks best all around. My state doesn't rate so well in output by population or electricity usage, but does well in total carbon output. How does your state fare?

The Greening of U.S. Cities

More and more U.S. cities are announcing their "green" plans:

Chicago seeks to be known as "the green city." "Mayor Daley really has committed to making Chicago the greenest, most environmentally friendly city in the nation." Some of the initiatives proposed or underway:

  • a green roof is required on all buildings that receive some city funding
  • plant more trees
  • the first hydrogen fueling station in the U.S., which will be used for city shuttle buses.
  • four wind turbines have been installed atop one of the city's many skyscrapers.
  • require all new public buildings to incorporate recycled or renewable materials and energy-saving green technologies
  • green medians with natural grasses, mulch, flowers, and bushes
  • quintupling bike lanes

New York City seeks to be "the first environmentally sustainable 21st-century city." Some of the initiatives proposed or underway:
  • enclosed highways, more green space, river cleanup
  • more energy efficient lighting on everything from the Brooklyn Bridge to the Rockefellar Christmas tree lights to the Times Square ball
  • Yellow Cabs must go green

Los Angeles seeks to become “the greenest big city in America.” Some of the initiatives proposed or underway:
  • use 20 per cent green energy by 2010
  • pilot project where bio-solids from local sewage treatment plants are converted into clean energy
  • requires all new public buildings to meet LEED standards
  • mandated low flow toilets and showerheads for the entire city
  • installing smart irrigation systems in parks, diverting more treated waste water from the oceans for outdoor use, and creating more green space with native trees and plants to absorb storm runoff to stave pollution of the ocean and the region’s groundwater
  • building carpool lanes, making the city more bike-friendly and expanding public transport
  • expansions to the light rail and subway system
  • plant trees
  • increased recycling programs and proposals to divert green waste to ethanol production facilities

Albuquerque seeks to be known as "one of America's most green-friendly cities." Their initiatives include:
  • embraced the Kyoto targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions
  • buy only alternative-fuel vehicles for the city fleet
  • possible revisions to the building code to promote green-friendly homes and businesses
  • more of the city government's energy use to come from wind or solar power

Berkeley, Oakland, Richmond and Emeryville, California will also work together to become "green."

Monday, December 10, 2007

California First in U.S. to Require Emissions Reporting

In a move many expected would soon come to the U.S., the first requirements have now been established for mandatory reporting of greenhouse gas emissions. Last week, the state of California announced that mandatory reporting will be required from "oil refineries, electricity generating plants, cement kilns and other major polluters. Under the new mandate, businesses will begin tracking their carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide and methane emissions next year with the first report due to the state in 2009."

Read the full story here.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Turning Business Education on its Head (from Business Week)

BusinessWeek offers a story this week on the 180 Academy for executives, located in Copenhagen. "The program isn't anything like business school, where students focus largely on areas of their expertise. And that's the point. Conventional business education leads executives to build on their strengths—improving profit margins, boosting efficiency, and benchmarking the best practices of rivals. This school aims to teach midcareer executives something many think is unteachable: how to be innovative."

The Danish government is committed to fostering innovation as a necessary condition for competing in an increasingly globalized economy. "The academy is the latest in a series of initiatives from the country cited by a World Economic Forum report in March as the top nation for innovation leadership and government policy. It's an unusual national strategy that shows how seriously national officials are taking the power of innovation and creative thinking. (Britain also has a national program, Designing Demand (, 10/3/2007), intended to foster innovation within small business.)"

Read the full BusinessWeek story here.

A Lightbulb Better Than CFL & It Lasts 35 Years!

I admit I love new technology and that's one of the things that makes the sustainability movement so exciting. But who can get excited over a lightbulb? The folks at Lemnis Lighting can!

Lemnis Lighting has introduced the new Pharox LED lightbulb (available for purchase in the U.S. through Upscale Lighting). But, you might ask, who would pay $59 USD for a lightbulb? Consider these facts about the Pharox LED bulb: one bulb has a lifetime equivalent to 50 incandescents or 8 compact flourescents, it lasts up to 50,000 hours or up to 35 years, it uses no mercury (unlike CFL), can be recycled, and it can save over $250 in energy costs during the lifetime of the bulb.

New CEO for Coca-Cola

Muhtar Kent, COO of Coca-Cola, has been named the new CEO, effective July 1, 2008. He will replace current CEO, Neville Isdell. Coca-Cola has recently encountered much controversy over their practices in Colombia and India, resulting in many boycotts and lost contracts. Mr. Kent's record with Coca-Cola is not unblemished (he was previously accused of insider trading) and it remains to be seen how he will handle Coca-Cola's corporate social responsiblity and environmental practices.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Is Your Candidate Dedicated to Reducing Poverty & Disease?

While several websites are tracking 2008 U.S. Presidential Candidates' positions on climate change and the environment, the ONE campaign has now posted the Candidates' plans to combat extreme poverty and global disease.

"ONE Vote '08 is an unprecedented, non-partisan campaign to make global health and extreme poverty foreign policy priorities in the 2008 presidential election."

The Presidential Candidates were asked to outline their plans for reversing the spread of HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis, eradicating malaria, improving child and maternal health, achieving universal primary education, improving access to food and clean water, and making additional commitments to the world's poor. You can view video responses from candidates, read public statements, and select Candidates for comparison.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

GLOBE 2008 Trade Fair and Conference on Business and the Environment

The GLOBE 2008 biennial trade fair and conference on business and the environment will be held in Vancouver, BC, March 12-14, 2008. There are five conference themes: Corporate Sustainability, Climate Change & Energy, Finance & Sustainability, Building Better Cities, and Future of the Automotive Industry. The conference expects to attract more than 2000 attendees. A preliminary program is available online highlighting the planned workshops, panel discussions, and speakers. Early registration ($500 discount) ends December 14, 2007.

Richardson's New Energy Revolution to be Presented at Green XChange Conference

Gov. Bill Richardson, 2008 Presidential Candidate, will outline his proposal for a New Energy Revolution as the keynote speaker of the upcoming Global Marketplace Conference. The Green XChange Global Marketplace Conference will be held December 10-11 in Los Angeles CA. The conference "brings together leading private and public decision makers who buy, manufacture, sell, finance, endorse and legislate green technologies, products, innovations and services."

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

World Bank Launches "The Doing Business Blog"

The World Bank launched a new blog last month. "The Doing Business Blog is devoted to business regulation reform. For five years now, Doing Business has looked at the laws and regulations across economies and ranked them based on how easy they are for doing business. We believe that encouraging business is key to creating jobs and alleviating poverty." All of the Doing Business Blog authors are members of the World Bank Group.

100 Most Influential People in Business Ethics

Ethisphere has released their 2007 list of the 100 Most Influential People in Business Ethics. Topping the list is Neelie Kroes, the Dutch European Commissioner for Competition, who also made Forbes' 2007 list of The 100 Most Powerful Women.

Ethisphere states, "You may not agree with the politics, methods or actions of all of the people on the 100 Most Influential in Business Ethics for 2007. In fact you probably don’t. However, the bottom line is that all of these people influenced business ethics and resulting business behavior over the course of the year, whether that be influencing customers to demand ‘greener products’ from companies, to requiring greater disclosure by corporations about product safety, to forcing companies to look at their anti-bribery or anti-competitive compliance programs. All were influential somehow."

It's Here! Zopa USA

Zopa has officially launched their U.S. peer-to-peer (social) lending services and website. "Zopa is about connecting people who've got money with people who need money, and about doing good at the same time that you do do well." Zopa is one of several P2P lending services available.

Earth Class Mail - Sustainable & Responsible Business of the Week

Can you imagine a life without all that annoying junk mail? Earth Class Mail can! By offering online post office boxes, "Earth Class Mail is changing how postal mail is delivered, for the betterment of individuals, businesses, national post offices, and most importantly – the planet. Instead of making physical postal deliveries which are so dependent on fuel for planes and trucks, we deliver postal mail online - where people can deal with it instantly, anywhere in the world."

How does it work? Customers "log-in to view pictures of their mail and decide what they want to do with each piece. For example, they can choose which pieces to have opened and scanned so they can read them online, and which to recycle, archive, or have sent to them in “snail mail” form wherever they are located." You can also identify certain pieces to automatically be delivered (such as bills).

Studies report that the average person recycles perhaps 20% of her mail, while Earth Class Mail customers recycle more than 90% of their mail. We expect to have recycled more than 5 tons of paper a month by the end of this year alone. In 2008, our goal is to recycle more than 200 tons of paper. For every ton of paper we recycle, we reduce the marginal air pollution generated by new paper production by 74%, and water pollution by 35%.

Give One, Get One Laptop Offer Extended!

So you missed the November 26 deadline for the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) Give One, Get One campaign? Good news! The offer has been extended through December 31, 2007 and, thanks to Shaping Youth (a forum for discussion on media and marketing's influence on kids), I have learned that T-Mobile will give U.S. customers one free year of wi-fi with their OLPC purchase.

For a donation of $399, one XO laptop will be sent to empower a child in a developing nation and one will be sent to the child in your life in recognition of your contribution. $200 of your donation is tax-deductible. You can read our original post on the OLPC campaign here.

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