Friday, February 29, 2008

Earth Hour 2008: See The Difference You Can Make

Earth Hour is coming up March 29, 2008 and cities, businesses, and individuals around the world will turn off lights for 60 minutes (8-9pm local time) "to deliver a powerful message about the need for action on global warming."

Businesses and cities can get involved by turning off non-essential lighting during this 60-minute initiative. For futher suggestions on what your business can do for Earth Hour, read "How Your Business Can Support Earth Hour 2008." For this year's Earth Hour in the U.S., Chicago is serving as the flagship city, with Atlanta, Phoenix, and San Francisco serving as partner cities.

Earth Hour started in Sydney Australia last year. During the inaugural Earth Hour event, 2.2 million people and 2100 Sydney businesses turned off their lights for one hour resulting in at 10.2% reduction in energy consumption for the hour, which is equivalent to taking 48,000 cars off the road for a year.

Visit their website to register yourself or your business as a participant in Earth Hour 2008.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Wal-Mart Seeks Cleantech Vendors & Green State Capitols

At today's Cleantech Forum XVI, Wal-Mart announced "The Cleantech Accelerator," a request for proposals from vendors who can offer cleantech solutions. Wal-Mart is seeking new vendors that can provide innovations at lower costs than what is currently available. They have specifically targeted the following areas:

  • Sustainable management of organic waste

  • Sustainable management of oil-based waste

  • Sustainable management of household hazardous waste

  • Alternative battery technologies for forklifts

  • Wind harvesting

  • Sustainable building materials

  • Closed-loop water processing

Working with Cleantech, they have created a web site for companies to submit their proposals.

In other Wal-Mart news today, the company also announced a partnership with the National Governor's Association to launch "Greening State Capitols." The partnership will offer two-day energy audits of capitol complexes and will make recommendations for efficiency improvements in the areas of lighting, HVAC, refrigeration and other equipment, technologies, and building structure.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Virgin's Bio-Fueled Flight

Virgin Atlantic Airlines completed the world's first biofuel-powered jet flight today. The test flight was fueled by 20% biofuel (from babassu oil and coconut oil) and 80% conventional jet fuel. It will take weeks to analyze the data and determine the carbon footprint of the test flight. The flight was intended to highlight the fact that "cleaner" flying is possible. You can read the full story at CNN and Reuters.

Owner Richard Branson has offered a $25 million prize to the scientist that can discover how to remove greenhouse gases from the atmosphere, has committed $3 billion to anti-global warming initiatives, and has pledged 100% of the proceeds from his transport businesses of the Virgin Group to environmental efforts.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Better World Club - Sustainable & Responsible Business of the Week

Better World Club (Portland OR) is a nationwide auto/travel club. An alternative to AAA and other auto/travel clubs, the Better World Club provides emergency roadside assistance, travel planning services (auto, flight, hotel), maps, trip routing services, partnership discounts, and auto insurance.

In addition to the standard fare for auto and travel clubs, the Better World Club also offers bicycle roadside assistance, discounts on hybrid or bio-diesel auto rentals, discounts at eco-lodging facilities, discounts on eco-tours, memberhip discounts for hybrid vehicle owners, an online carbon emissions calculator, carbon offsets for your auto or travel plans, and they donate 1% of revenue to environmental clean-up efforts and advocacy.

Sustainable & Responsible Business of the Week: If they can do it, so can you!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Breakthrough Generation Fellowship Program for Clean Energy

Are you ready to help create a new national clean energy economy? If you are between the ages of 18-28, The Breakthrough Generation is accepting applications for their Fellowship Program. The Fellowship Program will select 10 individuals to receive $5000 grants and provide all expenses to attend three summits/conferences.

Their website states that proposals should seek to "achieve on-the-ground local solutions and build the larger movement for bold national action on clean energy." The ten proposals selected "will be determined by the quality of their project idea, their demonstration of a strategic plan and an ability to carry out its implementation, and the fulfillment of three overarching principles" as described below:

  1. Clean Economy: does the proposed project accelerate the transition to a clean energy economy?

  2. Empowerment: does the project empower others, particularly young people, to advance progressive social change?

  3. Transformation: does the project's local component have high potential to be replicable and scalable to support larger-scale transformation?

The deadline for applications is March 21, 2008.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Are Genetically Modified Foods Part of the Solution?

In a recent Ethical Corporation Editorial, it is suggested that we should reconsider "often vilified" genetically modified (GM) crops for the role they can play in addressing climate change-related food crises. They argue that climate change will cause a decrease in food production while the world's population will increase.

The Editorial states, "Biotechnology companies can help answer the climate-related food crisis in three ways: reducing the greenhouse gas emissions associated with farming; developing crops better able to withstand extreme weather brought about by global warming; and making biofuels production more efficient."

The article concludes, "GM alone cannot solve the world’s emerging food crisis. But there could be areas where GM crops can step in where conventional breeding techniques have so far failed....The potential benefits of GM in combating global warming, if verified, could mark the start of its rehabilitation in the eyes of the general public."

Sunday, February 17, 2008

LJ Urban - Sustainable & Responsible Business of the Week

LJ Urban (Sacramento CA) is building an eco-urban community in Sacramento CA, appropriately named The Good Project.

The Good Project consists of 35 LEED-certified homes with Energy Star appliances, solar panels, air intake air conditioning, tankless water heaters, low-flow plumbing fixtures, reflective roofing, recycled countertops and insulation, compact flourscent lights and occupancy sensors, and more eco-friendly features. Most unique, however, is that for every eco-urban home sold, they will train a local mason in West Africa to build sustainable homes, through their Do-Some-Good-Now Commitment.

Not ready to move to Sacramento and buy a home? No problem! LJ Urban has established the Do Some Good Now website and for every 100,000 visitors between now and July 1, 2008, they will fund the complete training of a local mason in West Africa to build eco-friendly homes in their local communities. Their goal is to train 20 masons through this program. You can go to to help, just by visiting the website! As of this writing, there had been 5644 visits to the website.

LJ Urban's Good Project was inspired by the simplicity of TOMS Shoes' (read our post here) model of giving away a pair to children in need for every pair that was purchased. According to their video, LJ Urban: An Introduction, LJ Urban is a real estate development company, but they would never call themselves that. Rather, they have set out to be catalysts of social change. They dare you to "Dream Big, Live Small, Do Good."

Sustainable & Responsible Business of the Week: If they can do it, so can you!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Conferences on Green & Sustainable Business

The number of conferences on green business and sustainable business grows every day. Here is a small list of upcoming conferences (arranged by date).

Greening Your Business: The Case for Sustainability, Poughkeepsie NY, March 14

Green Business Conference, Palo Alto CA, March 21

The CFO Green Conference, New York NY, March 28

Oklahoma Sustainability Network Conference, Norman OK, March 28-29

Seattle Green Festivals, Seattle WA, April 12-18

Greening Rooftops for Sustainable Communities Conference, Baltimore MD, April 28-May 2

Sustainable Enterprise Conference, Rohnert Park CA, May 2

Green Business Conference, Chicago IL, May 14-16

Green West Expo, Los Angeles CA, May 20-22

Business and Sustainable Development Conference, Washington DC, June 12-13

LOHAS 12 Forum, Boulder CO, June 18-21

Southwest Washington Sustainability Conference, Vancouver WA, July 10-12

UC/CSU/CCCSustainability Conference, San Luis Obispo CA , July 31-August 3

Opportunity Green Sustainable Business Conference, Los Angeles CA, September 26-27

Sun Valley Sustainability Conference, Sun Valley ID, October 23-25

Ecotourism and Sustainable Tourism Conference, Vancouver BC, October 27-29

Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education, Raleigh NC, November 9-11

Green Business Conferenece, San Francisco CA, November 11-14

Good And Green—The Green Marketing Conference, Chicago IL, December 3-4

Friday, February 15, 2008

The Piramal Prize Competition for Entrepreneurial Ideas to Address India's Health Crisis

The Piramal Prize seeks to enable cutting-edge entrepreneurial ideas that bring the highest standards of health to India's masses. Plans must directly or indirectly address the health crisis in India. Entries may be for-profit or not-for-profit, and should be sustainable business models that have a significant social impact. The most viable business model will receive INR 10,00,000 (10 Lakh / 1 million) in seed funding in addition to potential venture capital.

Deadline for submissions is April 1, 2008.

Entrepreneurship in Sustainable Development: SEED Awards Deadline Approaching

From the SEED Initiative:

The SEED Initiative is launching its SEED Awards 2008. The SEED Awards for Entrepreneurship in Sustainable Development is an annual international competition, designed to support locally-led, innovative, entrepreneurial partnerships in developing countries, which have the potential to make real improvements in poverty eradication and environmental sustainability.

The SEED Initiative assists young and promising initiatives in strengthening and scaling up the impact of their activities. This is not a cash award. Instead, a comprehensive package of tailor-made support services, with a value of US$25,000, will be provided to Winners.

The support services respond to the challenges that emerging partnerships face when planning and implementing new ideas, including access to relevant expertise and technical assistance, meeting new partners and building networks, and developing business plans and identifying sources of finance.

Deadline for submissions is March 16, 2008.

Mighty Green Paper: Sustainable Business Design Does Carbon Consulting Right

Thanks to Olga Orda (Equo3 Strategies, a sustainability public relations, writing, and research firm) for the following great write-up at Green Options.

When companies make the shift to reduce the carbon footprint of their supply chain, paper is one of the first – but perhaps most overlooked – ways to shed those office carbon pounds.

But the carbon, environmental and cost savings benefits of switching from virgin paper to more sustainable paper didn’t escape Sustainable Business Design - a consulting firm that provides carbon footprint, greenhouse gas audits and “The Low Carb Corporate Diet” ™ service.

Nancy E. Landrum, Ph.D., of SBD demonstrated that a local, multi-site client who had not thought about paper purchasing as a way to “go green” experienced “immediate environmental and financial success in their quest for green” by simply making the change to recycled paper.

But how big of a success was it exactly?

“The final combination of paper choices recommended to the client represented a 10% cost savings, 13% fewer carbon dioxide emissions, and 35% fewer trees when compared to their previous product,” says Landrum.

And, if offering climate change and carbon strategies that work wasn’t enough, Landrum oversees a blog worth reading at, check out the January 30 post for a list of useful webinars like “A Guide to Green Purchasing (Feb. 20)”. It’s like attending a green learning conference across the country minus the across country flight emissions – we are loving it.

Webinars on Sustainability

Upcoming webinars for the last half of February. Save the it online!

Sustainability in Government (Feb. 19)

A Guide to Green Purchasing (Feb. 20)

Implementing a Green IT Program (Feb. 21)

Energy Rebates: Using EPAct Incentives to Reduce Energy Costs (Feb. 26)

Measure the Environmental Impact of Workplace Assets and Operations (Feb. 27)

Supply Chain Improvements that Save Money While Saving the Environment (Feb. 27)

Carbon Offsetting (Feb. 27)

Corporate Sustainability (Feb. 27)

Sustainability Careers for MBAs (Feb. 28)

For a full list of upcoming and archived (on demand) webinars, please visit our site.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Free Bikes at Ripon College

Ripon College, a small rural college in Ripon WI, is making a giant gesture: free bikes to all incoming freshmen.

According to their website, we are all "increasingly susceptible to the societal ills of obesity, traffic congestion, fuel consumption and pollution." And so the College is taking steps to make the campus "safer, greener, more pedestrian- and bicycle-friendly,...(and) a healthier and greener community."

According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, incoming freshmen who sign an honor code that they will not bring a car to campus during the 2008-09 school year will receive a Trek 820 mountain bike, a helmet, and a bike lock all valued at approximately $400. Ironically, there's not a bike shop in town. But Ripon College President David Joyce hopes to change all that.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Sustainable Business Design Featured on GenGreen Network

GenGreen™ has named Sustainable Business Design as the Featured Business on the GenGreen Network, in Little Rock AR. GenGreen chose Sustainable Business Design for their outstanding efforts in green business practice and for their promotion of sustainable living through their consulting services.

GenGreen selects businesses that they feel set an example for their communities. They choose these companies to acknowledge them for their efforts in environmental stewardship. Being named one of The GenGreen “New Green Leaders” is a highly sought after title that GenGreen is pleased to give to Sustainable Business Design.

GenGreen, a company headquartered in Colorado, created its’ network to help people throughout the United States live their sustainable lives more easily by finding the “green” companies, organizations and people on a local level. Businesses can post green jobs and events on the website. Community members can participate in the dynamic nature of the website by connecting to different groups, blog and find eco-friendly resources in their area.

For more information go to, or email

Remade: Nokia's Recycled Phone

Nokia has released a short video showing a new concept phone, Remade. The Remade phone is made from recycled materials, such as upcycled aluminum cans, plastic bottles, and rubber tires. The internal materials are environmentally-friendly, energy-saving, and made from non-toxic electronics. The phone also has a no-waste charger. The Remade concept phone was created to determine if a phone could be made from recycled items without the use of new materials.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Pizza Fusion - Sustainable & Responsible Business of the Week

Pizza Fusion (Fort Lauderdale FL) is a pizza chain with with a wide variety of organic, vegan, gluten-free, and lactose-free menu items. Seventy-five percent of the menu is organic, they only use all-natural free-range chicken and organic beef and they serve organic drinks.

But their differences don't stop at the menu. Each month they host fun lessons on sustainability through "Organics 101" for kids. The company delivers pizzas in company-owned hybrid vehicles, uses compostable food containers, and offsets 100% of power consumption through renewable energy certificates. Each franchise restaurant is LEED certified. They also encourage customers to return their pizza boxes for recycling and their website offers tips for sustainable living alongside a carbon footprint calculator.

Founded by Michael Gordon and Vaughan Lazar in 2006, Pizza Fusion has over 20 franchises in 9 states. Pizza Fusion's tagline: "Saving the world, one pizza at a time."

Sustainable & Responsible Business of the Week: If they can do it, so can you!

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Colorado Carbon Fund Established

The State of Colorado has just announced the creation of the Colorado Carbon Fund. This is a voluntary carbon offset fund aimed at investing in Colorado community-based projects for clean energy and climate mitigation. The Colorado Carbon Fund is being created by the Governor's Energy Office and expects to be operational by spring 2008.

The Colorado Carbon Fund follows a recent trend of investing in local carbon offset projects rather than investing in carbon offset projects in other parts of the world. The city of San Francisco started their own San Francisco Carbon Fund in 2007.

Sustainability & Higher Education: New Research Centers & Degree Programs

Two recent events of interest in the area of higher education and sustainability.

First, The University of Nottingham's Centre for Innovation in Carbon Capture and Storage (CICCS) launched this past week. The CICCS "works on research at the interface of science and engineering, and international cooperation in order to accelerate technological innovation in the field and lead to a wider deployment of carbon capture and storage. The Centre will also have a strong programme on knowledge transfer and training with a range of opportunities for industrial engagement." The Centre seeks to "promote interdisciplinary activity to bring groundbreaking ideas from basic science and develop them into new products, processes and services, as well as consider public acceptability issues."

Second, Unity College, a small rural college in Maine specializing in outdoor and wilderness education, has announced that they will begin two new degrees in sustainability, one in Food and Agriculture and the other in Sustainable Design and Technology. Both programs are expected to start in the fall of 2008. For a list of colleges and universities offering degree or certificate programs in sustainability (in the field of business), please visit our site and view the list on the right side bar.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

"Carbon Fast" for Lent

Today is the first day of Lent. The Bishop of Liverpool, the Rt Rev James Jones and the Bishop of London, the Rt Rev Richard Chartres, are joing with Tearfund to encourage Christians to reduce carbon usage for the forty days of Lent by following a Carbon Fast.

According to an article in The Telegraph, "Lent is the time when Christians traditionally give up such things as sweets, chocolate or alcohol in recognition of the 40 days Christ spent fasting in the desert to prepare for his ministry. This year they will be asked to think about their own carbon footprint and follow a few simple steps designed to help cut CO2 emissions."

"Those taking part in the Carbon Fast will be asked to remove one lightbulb from a prominent place in the home and live without it for 40 days. On the final days of the Fast they will be asked to replace it with a low-energy bulb which over its lifetime will save 60kg of carbon dioxide per year and up to £60," states The Telegraph.

The Carbon Fast outlines 40 actions you can take, one for each day of Lent. Other suggested actions throughout Lent include recycling, unplug your phone charger when it's not charging, turn off electronics instead of using the standby mode, and turning off lights when you leave the room.

According to Tearfund, "climate change is already hitting places like Bangladesh, Ethiopia and Niger hard. Climate change shows us that our energy-hungry lifestyles are harming our poorer neighbours across the world, now. The moral imperative for us to act is unquestionable and inescapable."

Tearfund also has a website section with resources to help you and your church get involved with the Carbon Fast. The resources include a PowerPoint presentation, sermon notes, and other materials.

You can visit the following websites to find out more: Tearfund, Carbon Fast website, Carbon Fast plan, the press release, article in The Telegraph.

"Six Degrees Could Change the World" Broadcast

"Six Degrees Could Change the World" will air this Sunday, February 10 at 8pm ET/9pm PT on the National Geographic Channel. Based upon scientific research and climate models, the broadcast, as well as the website, presents a powerful look at what will happen to the Earth, degree by degree, if the climate continues to warm. The production was inspired by the book, Six Degrees: Our Future on a Hotter Planet, by Mark Lynos.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Izzy's Ice Cream - Sustainable & Responsible Business of the Week

Izzy's Ice Cream Cafe (St. Paul MN) was started by Jeff Sommers and Lara Hammel in 2000. Izzy's Ice Cream makes homemade ice cream using local ingredients, when possible, such as local maple syrup and dairy and cream from local and family-owned farms.

Since making and freezing ice cream is an energy-intensive process, the ice cream parlor runs entirely on solar power. The shop is organizing to put more solar panels on their roof in order to supply solar power to the neighborhood. Another eco-friendly thing they do is to deliver ice cream in thermo-insulated bags instead of refrigerated trucks.

Izzy's sells Peace Coffee in their shop. Peace Coffee is also a Twin Cities company, is organic and fair trade, and is delivered to them locally on bicycle.

Sustainable & Responsible Business of the Week: If they can do it, so can you!

Friday, February 1, 2008

Calculate Your Water Footprint

"Every aspect of our lives is connected to water, and we use enormous amounts of it to make everything from electricity to food to household products." H2O Conserve is "a web-based project that offers tools and knowledge that enable individuals to make water conservation part of their everyday lives," according to their website.

The "H2O Calculator takes all this into account, and after you answer a few questions it reveals just how much water your lifestyle requires. How much do you think you use? Well, the average American guzzles an astonishing 1,189.3 gallons per day according to the calculator’s measure – not just a drop in the bucket!"

“By allowing visitors to calculate their “water footprint” - including the water they use at home, the water used to produce their food, energy and household products, we hope to get people thinking about water in a whole new way,” says Wenonah Hauter, Executive Director of Food & Water Watch.

H2O Conserve is a project of ICCR, GRACE, Food & Water Watch, and the Johns Hopkins University Center for a Livable Future.

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