Wednesday, October 29, 2008

SunNight Solar - Sustainable & Responsible Business of the Week

SunNight Solar (Houston TX) is a company focused on the triple bottom line that makes solar-powered flashlights. The lights are rugged and durable and suited for harsh conditions in which no light is available. The lights use a low-environmental impact battery and can be used for either task lighting or room lighting. The solar-powered lights offer an alternative to kerosene, wood, and other forms of lighting used in developing countries.

SunNight Solar is home to the extremely popular BoGo Light program. For each flashlight purchased, the company donates one flashlight to a nonprofit for distribution in a developing country and gives them $1 per flashlight to offset importation and distribution costs.

Lights for Good is a fund-raising partnership with nonprofit organizations.

WarLights allows you to purchase a flashlight for distribution to American troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Three new giving programs are being developed: Save Our Sisters (which will donate lights to women's groups and collectives in developing countries), Village Lights, and Need It/Take It.

Mark Bent started SunNight Solar in 2005.

Sustainable & Responsible Business of the Week is a weekly behind-the-scenes look at what businesses are doing to be more sustainable and responsible in their operations.

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

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Conferences for Green Business

November is shaping up to be a very busy month for business conferences on sustainability-related topics. Here is a sampling of what's on the calendar.

Opportunity Green to be held November 8-9 in Los Angeles.

Green Festival to be held November 8-9 in Washington DC.

Co-Op America's Green Business Conference to be held November 12-13 in San Francisco.

Green Business Boot Camp to be held November 12-14 in Seattle.

The Sustainable Advantage: Creating Social and Environmental Value to be held November 13-15 in Philadelphia.

Green Festival to be held November 14-16 in San Francisco.

Greenbuild International Conference and Expo to be held November 19-21 in Boston.

Alternative Energy & Clean Tech Industry Conference to be held November 20 in New York City.

Green Business: Separating the Green from Business to be held November 20 in Fayetteville NY.

Social Venture Institute to be held November 21-22 in Philadelphia.

The Accountability Project CSR/Sustainability Training to be held November 25-28 in Toronto.

Business Adaptation to Climate Change to be held November 28 in Calgary.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Newly Published Books on Sustainability Topics

Like to read? Then check out some of these recently released books (below are the promotional descriptions of the books).

The Green Collar Economy: How One Solution Can Fix Our Two Biggest Problems (by Van Jones) debuted at number 12 on the New York Times best sellers list. Provocative, personal, and inspirational, New York Times best-seller The Green Collar Economy is not a dire warning but rather a substantive and viable plan for solving the biggest issues facing the country--the failing economy and our devastated environment. From a distance, it appears that these two problems are separate, but when we look closer, the connection becomes unmistakable.

SustainAble: A Handbook of Materials and Applications for Graphic Designers and Their Clients (by Aaris Sherin) has just been released. The book explores eco-friendly print and paper production and highlights companies who are making innovative products. The work of both established and emerging designers from around the world is featured. Projects are traced from concept through to practical considerations of production. The book itself is an example of sustainable design. It is printed with vegetable-based inks on Mohawk 100 percent post-consumer-waste paper. In addition, no two covers are alike as they reused the printing leftovers that would otherwise have been wasted.

Entrepreneur Journeys, Volume One (by Sramana Mitra). Venture capitalists are chasing hot areas with planet-scale problems: energy, water, global warming. Industry legends, including John Doerr and Vinod Khosla, have become prominent spokesmen for the issues, pumping huge sums of capital into these eco-markets. In our enthusiasm for green, however, there's a forgotten industry segment that remains woefully unaddressed – education. With the advent of social media, and with the revival of entrepreneurship and investments in consumer Internet services, technology-enabled education looks like a huge opportunity for wealth creation.

Greening Your Business: The Hands-on Guide to Creating a Successful and Sustainable Business (by Daniel Sitarz) helps create green standards by providing a step-by-step approach to analyzing business operations and developing detailed plans to make those operations much more energy and resource efficient. Greening Your Business provides small and medium business owners with a comprehensive guide to saving energy, saving materials, and saving money by reducing their businesses’ impact on the Earth. Every element of a business’ impact on the environment is examined in this book from energy and water use, waste generation, transportation, computing and office equipment, supply chains and purchasing, building practices to product and service design. Each copy of the book comes with a CD which contains dozens of computer templates and worksheets for developing a complete business environmental plan, along with Excel® spreadsheet programs that calculate a business’ carbon footprint. The CD also includes additional green business strategies and over 1,500 pages of business environmental publications.

And don't forget to browse the USGBC's Green Book Club. Books are categorized by Global Systems, Natural Systems, Human Systems (including Business & Economics), and Built Environment.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Payless ShoeSource Announces First-Ever Affordable Green Footwear Line

Payless ShoeSource Announces First-Ever Affordable Green Footwear Line

New Brand Shows Retailer's Passion to Democratize Green; Retailer Also Signs Agreement with Summer Rayne Oakes to Serve as Eco Consultant to Help Drive Innovation

TOPEKA, Kan., Oct. 13 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Payless ShoeSource announced today plans to launch the first-ever affordable green footwear line due in stores early next year and that it has signed an agreement with Summer Rayne Oakes, Discovery Network's Planet Green fashion and beauty expert and author of Style, Naturally: The Savvy Shopping Guide to Sustainable Fashion & Beauty (Chronicle Books, February 2009), to serve as the green footwear brand's Eco Consultant.

The new brand is a key part of Payless' mission and strategy to democratize fashion, design and new ideas in footwear and accessories and to position Payless as a "House of Brands" retailer, offering well-recognized, fresh new brands -- all at a great price.

The forthcoming line will include on-trend, fashionable footwear and accessory products that are also green through the use of sustainable and eco-friendly materials such as organic cottons and linen, natural hemp and recycled outsoles, as well as the use of eco-smart packaging. The line will be seasonally refreshed offering the latest trends; the new brand will launch initially for women, expanding to include kids' and men's styles in the future. The "green" shoes will be available at prices, on average, of under $30 a pair early next year in about 500 stores with select styles appearing in 1,000 stores, as well as generally available on

"The sustainability movement is pervasive today and is touching so many elements of consumers' daily lives and they are interested in more and more green product options being available to them," said Matt Rubel, CEO of Collective Brands, Inc., the parent company of Payless ShoeSource. "But green items are often expensive and inaccessible to so many. With our mission to democratize the latest ideas in footwear and accessories, we are in the best position and proud to bring forward a green footwear line that is affordable and accessible to all.

Our alliance with Summer Rayne Oakes is important to this new brand initiative. Summer Rayne is a trend-setting expert in Eco Fashion, and she will help us launch our new green brand, as well as assist us in driving innovation with fresh, new eco-smart ideas for this brand going forward."

The new line is unique not only as the first-ever affordable green footwear, but also because it will stress fashion first, while being eco-smart.

"When Payless approached me to partner with them on what would be their first-ever affordable green line of footwear, it was an offer I couldn't refuse," said Oakes. "It's high time a stylish line of shoes can be both environmentally friendly and reasonably priced. Payless is at the forefront of a significant movement bridging fashion, environmental awareness and accessibility -- an undertaking I am proud to be a part of."
The contract between Payless and Oakes is a multi-year arrangement. Oakes will be involved in seasonal line reviews focusing on materials use and aesthetics for the product, packaging, and in-store materials, as well as participate in other marketing activities for the brand. Additional terms of the deal were not disclosed. Payless said it expects to launch the new brand name closer to when the shoes are available in stores next year.

About Payless & Collective Brands

Payless ShoeSource, Inc., a unit of Collective Brands, Inc., is the largest specialty family footwear retailer in the Western Hemisphere and is dedicated to democratizing fashion and design in footwear and accessories and inspiring fun, fashion possibilities for the family at a great value. As of the end of second quarter 2008, the company operated more than 4,500 stores. In addition, customers can buy shoes over the Internet through at

Collective Brands, Inc. (NYSE: PSS) is a leader in bringing compelling lifestyle, fashion and performance brands for footwear and related accessories to consumers worldwide. The company operates three strategic units covering a powerful brand portfolio, as well as multiple price points and selling channels including retail, wholesale, ecommerce and licensing. Collective Brands, Inc. includes Payless ShoeSource, focused on democratizing fashion and design in footwear and accessories through its more than 4,500-store retail chain, with its brands American Eagle(TM), Airwalk(R), Dexter(R), Champion(R) and designer collections Abaete for Payless, Lela Rose for Payless and alice + olivia for Payless, among others; Stride Rite, focused on lifestyle and athletic branded footwear and high-quality children's footwear sold primarily through wholesaling, with its brands including Stride Rite(R), Keds(R), Sperry Top-Sider(R), Robeez(R), and Saucony(R), among others; and Collective Licensing International, the brand development, management and global licensing unit, with such youth lifestyle brands as Airwalk(R), Vision Street Wear(R), Sims(R), Lamar(R) and LTD(R), World Snowboarding Championships(TM), Sugarboards(R), Carve(R), genetic(R), Dukes(TM), Rage(R), Ultra-Wheels(R), and Skate Attack(R) brands. Information about, and links for shopping on, each of the Collective Brand's units can be found at

About Summer Rayne Oakes

Summer Rayne Oakes is a model-activist and spokesperson, resident expert, and youngest board of advisors for Planet Green, Discovery Network's new eco- lifestyle channel. The Cornell University graduate and environmental scholar has received media accolades including Vanity Fair naming her a Global Citizen, Outside naming her one of the Top Environmental Activists, Cosmopolitan naming her Fun, Fearless Female of 2007, and CNN's Nicole Lapin nominating her as a "Young Person Who Rocks." Through her work as a consultant Summer Rayne advises companies and organizations, and works on sustainable development and environmental programs in the U.S. and abroad. In February 2009, she'll release her first book, Style, Naturally: The Savvy Shopping Guide to Sustainable Fashion & Beauty published by Chronicle Books.

SOURCE Payless ShoeSource, Inc.

/CONTACT: Mardi Larson, +1-612-928-0202,, for Payless/
2007 Collective Brands Inc. ® All rights reserved.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Arkansas' First Greenhouse Gas Emissions Report Released

The Center for Climate Strategies has released the first report on greenhouse gas emissions in the State of Arkansas. The study was commissioned by the Arkansas Governor's Commission on Global Warming and is based upon 2005 data. Among the findings of the report:

  • 58% of emissions come from two sources: (1) electricity consumption from coal-fired power plants and (2) everyday transportation using cars and trucks.

  • Arkansas forests act as a carbon sink, absorbing more greenhouse gases than they emit.

  • the state accounts for 1.2% of national emissions.

  • emissions increased 30% from 1990-2005 compared with a 16% increase nationwide during the same time period.

  • residents emit about 31 metric tons compared to 24 metric tons per-capita nationwide; or 29% more.

The Arkansas Governor's Commission on Global Warming has developed the following recommendations:

  • a statewide reduction of 20 percent below 2000 levels by the year 2020, 35 percent by 2025, and 50 percent by 2035.

  • an investment of about $3.7 billion over 17 years to put these measures in place.

  • establish an Arkansas Climate Change Center.

  • adopt nuclear power as a cleaner alternative to coal-fired power plants.

  • ban new coal-fired power plants until "sequestration" technology is available.

  • require electric companies to supply a percentage of their electricity from renewable energy sources.

  • reduce current demand for electricity use through adoption of energy-efficiency practices.

  • a sales tax exemption for purchase of energy-efficient products.

  • expand biomass conversions.

  • forestry management to preserve as many trees as possible.

  • tax incentives and financing for renewable energy systems and net metering.

  • energy audits, weatherization, and other energy-efficiency programs for low-income residents.

  • rebates for purchase of fuel-efficient vehicles.

Arkansas' First "Green" Business Park

A 70-acre "green" business park is being planned in Fayetteville, Arkansas. A groundbreaking was held last week for the Mountain Ranch Business Park.

During construction of the business park, developers will be "using biodiesel in construction equipment, using recycled paving, using native stone for landscaping and drainage structures, locally sourcing materials, and using low-impact landscaping and street lighting." In addition, developers will be "recycling “green” waste — selective logging of the site’s timber and mulching the logged trees instead of burning or otherwise disposing of the wood." All the green practices and features in the business park will help add points toward LEED certification for new business tenants in the Mountain Ranch Business Park.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Asha Imports - Sustainable & Responsible Business of the Week

Asha Imports (Harrison AR) sells Fair Trade environmentally-friendly items imported from India. The line of products includes bags (from recycled material and/or plastics), saris, and accessories.

While Fair Trade ensures that producers are paid fair wages for their work, Asha Imports goes one step further in making a real impact in the lives of producers. Asha Imports partners with others in Calcultta India to offer women in the sex trade an opportunity to leave this lifestyle and instead gain meaningful employment by making jute bags to be distributed through the company. Through additional partnerships, Asha Imports seeks to purchase products from organizations or businesses that employ individuals from slum areas who are seeking to improve their lives.

Asha Imports is a member of the Co-op America Business Network and is a member of the Fair Trade Federation. The company was founded in 2006 by Dylan and Molly Fila.

Sustainable & Responsible Business of the Week is a weekly behind-the-scenes look at what businesses are doing to be more sustainable and responsible in their operations.

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

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Campus Sustainability Day: October 22

Various higher education campuses across the nation will be celebrating Campus Sustainability Day tomorrow, Wednesday, October 22, 2008.

Campus Sustainability Day is an annual event at colleges and universities across the nation. Usually held in October, colleges and universities are encouraged to "create events on campus and elsewhere that draw participants for the exchange of ideas and knowledge among faculty, staff, and students, from across all departments and disciplines, and even from across the campus "edge" between town and gown."

Campus Sustainability Day began in 2003 and is an initiative of the Society for College and University Planning (SCUP). In support of colleges' and universities' local activities, SCUP hosts a supporting webcast for viewing on campuses. This year's webcast will be "Climate Realities, Progress and Challenges." The webcast will be moderated by Alan Rifkin of The New York Times and will feature Anthony D. Cortese (Second Nature), Richard H. Moss (World Wildlife Fund), and Jessy Tolkan (Energy Action Coalition).

Monday, October 20, 2008

Dunkin' Donuts' First Green Store

Dunkin' Donuts has announced the opening of its first LEED-certified store in St. Petersburg, Florida. The store is built with energy-efficiency in mind and expects to reduce heating and cooling costs by 40%. The store was also built with water-efficient features.

The new Dunkin' Donuts will use trays for in-store orders to eliminate the use of paper bags, coffee will be served in paper cups instead of styrofoam, will encourage customers to bring their own reusable mug, and will use green cleaning products. In addition, the store will recycle and donate leftover food to food banks. The new green store also has special parking for hybrids and carpoolers.

Now if only the donuts were calorie-free!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Poverty: What Can A Business Do?

In honor of Blog Action Day, today we look at how businesses (and individuals) can increase social impact through a focus on the reduction and elimination of poverty.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2007, 37.3 million people in the U.S. lived in poverty. According to UNICEF, 26,500-30,000 children around the world die each day due to poverty. Half the world — nearly three billion people — live on less than two dollars a day.

So what are some things you or your business can do?

  1. Read Joining the Fight Against Global Poverty: A Menu for Corporate Engagement. This report from the Center for Global Development was created from interviews with 15 corporations. It offers 6 approaches being used by the corporations to combat poverty, and offers anecdotes from their experiences. "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."

  2. Check out the Blog Action Day 2008 resources page for links to organizations and other efforts working to reduce global poverty.

  3. Support microcredit - both Kiva and MicroPlace generate peer-to-peer microloans for entrepreneurs in emerging economies. Through April 2009, Think MTV is offering you a free $25 loan gift certificate so you can start giving and help in the fight against global poverty.

  4. Educate yourself - read what other businesses are doing and find ideas that your business can implement. For example, Sustainable Business Design's weekly Sustainable & Responsible Business of the Week feature often highlights many wonderful things businesses are doing to fight poverty at home and in emerging countries. We have covered the initiatives of LJUrban, Thanksgiving Coffee, Babajob, FEED Project, White Dog Cafe, TOMS Shoes, Husk Power Systems, Greyston Bakery, Zambezi Organic Forest Honey, Boutique Mix, Higher Grounds Trading Company, Grameen America, and many others, each making their own unique contribution in the fight against poverty.

  5. Base of the pyramid strategies (BOP) are business strategies that specifically seek to conduct business in emerging countries while simultaneously pursuing triple bottom line objectives (social, environmental, and economic). The specific social impact sought through BOP strategies is the alleviation of poverty. Consider ways your company can engage with the BOP and support companies that are currently engaged in the BOP.

  6. Support Fair Trade - seek out opportunities to purchase Fair Trade products for you or your business. Fair Trade products ensure that those who produced the product in developing countries were paid a fair wage under humane working conditions. You can purchase Fair Trade clothing, handicrafts, coffee, cocoa, sugar, tea, bananas, honey, cotton, wine, fresh fruit, flowers, and other products.

  7. Ther are many ways you can help for free - instead of spending those spare minutes playing solitaire or chatting online, visit,,,,,, or Each of these sites offers a free way you can help, just by playing or clicking.

  8. Check out the ONE campaign website to see where your U.S. presidential candidate stands on reducing extreme poverty and global disease.

  9. And if you have any doubts about your ability to help alleviate poverty, just visit The Global Rich List to see how fortunate you are and to see how many others could use your help.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

A Growing Green Economy in Little Rock

Little Rock, Arkansas' green economy is growing. Last year, Dutch company LM Glasfiber announced the planned construction of a wind turbine blade manufacturing facility in Little Rock AR. The temporary facility currently employs about 500 people while the company will eventually employ more than 1000 green collar workers once construction is completed on the new facility. The Little Rock facility serves as the company's North American headquarters.

Last week, it was announced two more companies in the wind energy industry would began manufacturing activities in Little Rock: Polymarin Composites, another Dutch company, and its supplier Wind Water Technology. Polymarin Composites manufactures blades while Wind Water Technology manufactures blade motors. They will co-locate in a converted Levi Strauss factory and will create a combined 830 new green collar jobs for central Arkansas.

Monday, October 13, 2008

How To Become a Sustainable Business

How does a business become a sustainable business? First, keep in mind that there is no easy one-step approach to becoming sustainable; sustainability is a continuous process that requires critical self-analysis, honesty, innovation, and risk. That is, before beginning this journey toward sustainability, a business should be prepared to be self-reflective, critical, and honest about all its operations and associated impacts and a business should be ready to take risks and be innovative, moving beyond its comfort zone and business as usual.

Second, consider that sustainability encompasses the operations of the entire business: every process, every activity, and every function. A business will not be able to implement one or a few changes and proclaim that the business has now achieved sustainability. A business should be prepared to apply the aforementioned critical self-analysis, honesty, innovation, and risk across all processes, all activities, and every function of the business. Sustainability is a company-wide change in mindsets, views, and practices related to how the business operates.

Lastly, realize that sustainability incorporates a triple bottom line in evaluating company performance: the environmental, social, and economic impact of the business (also referred to as planet, people, and profit). Since pursuit of this triple bottom line is central to sustainability, it requires further explanation.

Environmental Impact

The efforts that a business makes to reduce its environmental impact is equated with the term "going green." Since "green" initiatives can often be translated into financial terms (cost, return on investment, savings), this is often the first step a business will pursue in beginning the sustainability journey. Among some of the commonly implemented activities here are creating company "green teams" to explore and champion ways to become more environmentally-friendly, recycling and reducing waste, using recycled products, changing to compact flourescent lightbulbs, implementing energy-saving activities, pursuing LEED certification, and implementing ISO 14001 standards. Check out our list of FREE Ways to Begin Greening Your Business.

Social Impact

The efforts that a business makes to increase its social impact often refer to the impact of company policies, procedures, practices, and operations on employees, on those employed by its suppliers, and on communities, cultures, and society. A business should critically evaluate the impact of its own practices and policies on employees. A business should also demand transparency from suppliers to understand where all supplies were generated and the conditions under which they were produced. Common activities include the use of Free Trade products (such as coffee in the break room), avoiding products that may have been made with child or forced labor (check out Co-op America's 9 Cool Ways to Avoid Sweatshops), contributions to solving social problems, implementing SA8000 standards, providing fair and safe working conditions, living wages, insurance and other benefits, and a work-life balance.

Economic Impact

The efforts that a business makes to maximize its economic impact often refer to the economic impact the business has on communities or societies within which it operates. This does not refer to the "profit" the company shows on financial statements, but rather refers how the community or society "profits" from the presence of the business, which in turn will result in continued profitability for the company. That is, economic impact refers to the continued prosperity of the business due to the economic benefit it provides to the community or society. Common activities include the payment of fair and living wages, providing positive impacts on the local economy and on local economic development (job creation, tax dollars, property values), and assessing the stress or relief created for local public service systems as a result of the business' operations.

So how can your business become a sustainable busines? To begin your journey, pick one thing, one process, one activity, or one department. Be prepared to apply critical self-analysis and be honest in identifying the associated environmental, social, and/or economic impact of current business practices, processes, and operations. Begin by measuring the current impact, set goals and timelines for improvement, and then track and measure those improvements and results. Don't be afraid to experiment and learn what other companies are doing. Listen to employees, suppliers, customers, and others, including critics.

As your company begins its sustainability journey, remember that changes will impact operations company-wide. Therefore, sustainability education is important for employees, suppliers, and customers alike, as is communication of progress toward sustainability goals. It is also important not to overstate claims or accomplishments (referred to as "greenwashing"). Yet another word of caution is to remember that sustainability is three-pronged, while "green" is becoming mainstream, sustainability requires that you not overlook the other areas of impact (social and economic impacts).

As a company begins to build a track record of changes and successes, continue bringing more processes, activities, and departments into the fold until the entire organization is focused on the triple-bottom line of sustainability. There is no end to this journey, it is a continuous process.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Wal-Mart Better Living Business Plan Challenge

The Wal-Mart Better Living Business Plan Challenge 2009 is accepting entries.

(The Challenge) provides a forum for students to showcase their best ideas and to help Walmart learn from some of the brightest minds in the world. The competition challenges students to invent sustainable products or develop sustainable business solutions and present them to a panel of Walmart executives, suppliers, and environmental organizations. In addition to gaining an audience with some of the top business and sustainability leaders in the United States, the winning school will receive $20,000 to invest in their business or product.

Students must declare their intent to compete by November 1, 2008. There will be several rounds of competition until the 8 final teams are selected to present their plans in Bentonville AR and the final 2 teams will present before Wal-Mart executives and a live audience. First, second, and third place winners will receive $20,000, $10,000, and $5,000 respectively.

The competition is sponsored by Wal-Mart, Net Impact, and The Applied Sustainability Center at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Incorporating Sustainability Into Halloween

Halloween is one of my favorite celebrations. But how can we make it more sustainable? Here are a few suggestions:

  • Parties - Decorate with LED lighting, don't use disposable plates, cups, and utensils, email your invitations, and support the farmer's market when purchasing pumpkins, apples, and food. Use your waste and recyclables (such as styrofoam, cardboard, tin cans, and other items) to create decorations.

  • Pass out Fair Trade chocolate - Fair Trade chocolates come from organically grown cocoa in rainforests around the world. Through Fair Trade practices, these chocolates benefit cooperatives and small family farms, allowing for a commitment of social justice as you make a direct contribution to the livelihood of the farmers and workers.

  • Skip the candy - pass out healthy food treats or non-food items, such as Halloween party favor bubbles, rings, erasers, temporary tattoos, etc.

  • Homemade costumes - instead of buying more stuff you don't really need, why not create a unique one-of-a-kind costume from materials you already have at home? If you must buy items for your costume, visit the resale and thrift shops. And be sure to skip the makeup and face paint.

  • Reverse trick-or-treat - as your children go door-to-door, they will pass out Fair Trade chocolate along with a card with information on problems faced by cocoa-growing communities, such as poverty, child labor and environmental degradation.

  • Donate candy - do your children really need to eat all that candy they collected? Donate your extra candy to foodbanks, schools, churches, shelters/agencies that work with children, Ronald McDonald houses, pediatric hospitals, nursing or veterans' homes, or Meals on Wheels.

  • Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF - as you go door-to-door, collect money for UNICEF that will be used to help children around the world.

  • Walk or go to a one-stop trick-or-treating site - if walking, make sure you have your BoGo flashlight (which donates one flashlight to those in the developing world for each one you purchase). Or go to a one-stop trick-or-treating location rather than driving around.

  • Green Halloween - organize, host, or attend a Green Halloween event in your community. "Think outside the candy box" and make Halloween something meaningful.

  • SightNight - participate in SightNight for the Gift of Sight Foundation and Lions Club International by collecting used eyeware during trick-or-treat.

  • Donate treats to the troops - donate your extra candy to one of the many organizations, dentists, or orthodontists that will send it to our troops.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Newman's Own: A Tribute - Sustainable & Responsible Business of the Week

In honor of Paul Newman, this week's Sustainable & Responsible Business of the Week will be devoted to Newman's Own, a pioneer in natural organic products and corporate philanthropy.

Newman's Own, Inc. (Westport CT) was founded in 1982 by Paul Newman and A.E. Hotchner. The company offers over 150 varieties of all-natural foods and beverages. The company donates all profits and royalties after taxes for educational and charitable purposes. To date, Newman's Own has generated over $250 million in proceeds to thousands of charities worldwide. Particularly close to his heart were the Hole in the Wall Camps, now the leading global family of camps for children with life-threatening illnesses, which Paul Newman started over 20 years ago.

Today, Newman’s Own is a thriving company with hundreds of millions of dollars in annual revenue.

Sustainable & Responsible Business of the Week is a weekly behind-the-scenes look at what businesses are doing to be more sustainable and responsible in their operations.

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

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Grameen Health to Establish Independent Collaborations with Pfizer, GE Healthcare, and Mayo Clinic to Create Sustainable Healthcare Delivery Models

BOSTON, Sep 24, 2008 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Grameen Health, an affiliate of Grameen Bank, the pioneering micro-financing organization in Bangladesh that shared the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006 for its work to alleviate poverty, announced today that it will establish independent partnerships with Pfizer Inc., GE Healthcare, and Mayo Clinic to create sustainable models for healthcare delivery in the developing world.

Grameen Health has chosen to work independently with these partners because of their respective expertise: Pfizer Inc is the world's largest research-based pharmaceutical company, GE Healthcare is the world's largest manufacturer of medical devices such as ultrasound and CT/MRI, and Mayo Clinic is the world's first and largest integrated, not-for-profit group practice.

These multiple, independent collaborations will focus on social business models in which the businesses are self-supporting and any profits are re-invested into the system in order to reach more of the poor. This approach is cost-effective and maximizes the benefits that patients receive. The models will be transferable to other healthcare delivery systems.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), among the biggest obstacles to improved health outcomes are inadequate health delivery and financing mechanisms that place the heaviest burden on the poor and sick, who are the least able to pay.

The independent collaborations will initially explore and evaluate ways to improve the existing Grameen Health delivery and financing systems in Bangladesh, with the aim of creating models that can be adapted for the needs of the 4 billion people around the world whose annual income is less than $3,000.

"As we address the challenges of global health access, we are pleased to partner with these and other organizations that share our belief that solutions to improving access to medicines and healthcare can be socially responsible and sustainable, yet commercially viable," said Professor Muhammad Yunus, who shared the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize with Grameen Bank, which he founded and now directs. "In Bangladesh, we have found that only an economically viable solution can create the infrastructure needed to enable people to sustain themselves, alleviating the poverty cycle. We believe our knowledge and expertise in micro-financing can be applied toward the development of a sustainable health care system."

Read the full article here.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Michigan Buckeyes?

Football season is here and so is a creative new campaign to raise awareness of the effects of climate change. In Ohio, the Save the Buckeye campaign warns the state that global warming could push the growing region of buckeye trees north to Michigan.

Ohio's state tree is the buckeye tree. Ohio is also home of the revered Ohio State Buckeyes whose nemisis is Michigan. Billboards read, "Michigan Buckeyes? Global Warming is Sending Ohio's Buckeyes North." To capture attention, billboards have been placed near the Ohio State University campus and campaigns are held during tailgate parties.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Nature Is Calling

Nature is calling. And researchers are listening. Here is a summary of recent conversations.

On Honeybees. Bees are decreasing at an alarming rate. Referred to as Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), the cause remains unknown, although many suspect pesticides are the culprit. Bees are critical to pollinating crops and producing food supplies.

On Trees. Researchers at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) have found that walnut trees release an aspirin compound during times of stress. The scientists were measuring the chemical emissions of plants (which affect pollution and local climate) when they made the discovery. The researchers believe the trees release the aspirin compound to begin something similar to an immune response system in order to help the tree resist and recover from the stress. The researchers also believe the release is a mechanism by which to communicate and alert other plants of the danger.

On Birds. Birdlife International has released a report stating that sharp declines in common birds worldwide are a sign of a biodiversity crisis. The report states that the declining bird population is a sign of our deteriorating global environment and that human-induced climate change may pose the greatest stress. As many as 1-in-8 of all the world's birds are threatened.

On Arctic Ice Caps. Ice caps in Greenland and elsewhere are melting faster than predicted. The Greenland 2007 rate was a new record and corresponded to 50% of the ice's total surface. NASA images show that the entire summer polar ice cap has decreased by more than 20% since 1979.

In addition, animals worldwide are changing their feeding and migration habits. Combined, these stories from nature tell us that something is amiss. Are you listening?

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Explain Carbon Caps & Win $10,000

Do you think you can explain the concept of a carbon cap and how it will reduce our dependence on oil? Can you do it in 30 seconds?

The Environmental Defense Action Fund is seeking videos or visual analogies that will capture the public's attention and explain how carbon caps can reduce oil dependence. Videos or visual analogies are not to discuss climate change, but are to focus exclusively on reducing oil dependence. The winning entry will win $10,000 and the second-place video and second-place visual analogy will each win $2500. Deadline for submissions is November 21, 2008. See the EDAF site for more details.

JohnsonDiversey Announces Most Ambitious Climate Commitment in Cleaning Industry

Press Release

JohnsonDiversey Announces Most Ambitious Climate Commitment in Cleaning Industry

Company pledge to WWF Climate Savers Will Slash Greenhouse Gas Emissions

LAS VEGAS,NV. and WASHINGTON, DC. - September 10, 2008 - World Wildlife Fund announced today that JohnsonDiversey, one of the world's largest providers of commercial cleaning products and services, has joined the WWF Climate Savers program, pledging to significantly reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions from their operations. The company announced it will invest $19 million over the next five years to achieve these commitments, but anticipates operational savings of $31 million over the same period, which demonstrates, say company officials, that sustainability is the right approach for both the environment and the bottom line.

Watch the announcement here:

Additional video Links:

WWF President and CEO Carter Roberts said the actions being taken by JohnsonDiversey to address climate change will set a new standard for the cleaning industry and serve as a model for other companies seeking to transform the way they do business to help preserve the environment."

Changes in corporate business practices are essential if we are to see real progress in tackling climate change, one of the most critical issues facing the world today," Roberts said. "By joining Climate Savers, JohnsonDiversey is demonstrating that the world's leading companies will find even greater success competing in the global marketplace when they operate in an environmentally responsible way. We hope and expect the rest of their industry will take notice and follow the powerful example being set by JohnsonDiversey to reduce emissions and help preserve the health of our planet."

JohnsonDiversey Chairman S. Curtis Johnson said the company's involvement in Climate Savers is consistent with its long heritage of protecting the planet for future generations.

"This commitment is one of our core values, as it has been since my great-great-grandfather founded the first of the Johnson companies 122 years ago," Johnson said. 'Our objectives have always extended beyond financial growth to include promoting the health and well being of our planet and the people who share it."

By 2013, JohnsonDiversey officials pledged to reduce emissions from their operations by 8 percent below 2003 levels, an 89,000 ton reduction in emissions. To achieve that target, the company outlined a number of operational initiatives including:
  • Improving the fuel efficiency of its worldwide auto and truck fleet by switching to vehicles with the best fuel efficiency in their class and alternative energy vehicles;
  • Upgrading the energy efficiency of its buildings, manufacturing plants and operations in major sites around the world; and
  • Installing on-site alternative energy sources such as fuel cells or wind turbines.

By becoming the first company in the cleaning industry to sign on to WWF Climate Savers, JohnsonDiversey joins a rapidly growing list of leading corporations from around the world that are working with WWF to reduce their emissions and operate in an environmentally responsible way. The announcement was made today in Las Vegas during ISSA/INTERCLEAN(R) North America 2008, the cleaning industry's leading trade show.

"Our customers all over the world are asking us to be their partner in developing solutions to reduce their environmental impact, protect human health and safety and improve the economic strength of their enterprises," JohnsonDiversey President and CEO Ed Lonergan said. "Our goal is to not only practice sustainability in all we do, but also to help our customers become more sustainable in their operations."

Company officials say this latest initiative is part of an ongoing effort to integrate sustainability programs into their operations. For example, in 2007 the company assisted more than a thousand European hotels and health care facilities in reducing energy consumption by a total of 35.5 million KwH by applying a low-temperature laundry washing system. The decrease in carbon dioxide emissions was equivalent to taking more than 1,200 passenger vehicles off the road for a full year. The company also helped food and beverage customers in 21 sites around the world save a billion gallons of water in 2007 through its water management program.

JohnsonDiversey first collaborated with WWF in 2004, supporting water conservation.

WWF's Climate Savers was founded in 1999 and currently comprises 17 major international companies which, by 2010, will collectively cut carbon emissions by over 14 million tons annually – the equivalent of taking more than 3 million cars off the road every year. Climate Savers companies were among the first to recognize that climate change poses both risks and opportunities to business. Leading corporations are partnering with WWF to establish ambitious targets to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions voluntarily. By increasing efficiency and pioneering deployment of clean energy technology, Climate Savers companies are saving hundreds of millions of dollars, proving that protecting the environment is sound business practice.

Climate Savers is a business initiative organized by WWF to mobilize companies to cut carbon dioxide emissions. Cutting-edge partnerships with these companies provide solutions to climate change, as targets agreed with WWF must be demonstrably more ambitious than previously planned or communicated by the company, placing the companies at the forefront of emissions reductions in their sectors. A Climate Savers agreement involves negotiations between WWF, the company concerned and independent technical experts who later monitor and verify compliance with the agreement.

As part of its Climate Savers Program, WWF has agreements with major corporations from around the world: Johnson & Johnson, IBM, Nike, Polaroid, Hewlett Packard, The Collins Companies, Spitsbergen Travel, Xanterra Parks and Resorts, Sagawa, Sony, Nokia, Tetra Pak, Lafarge, Catalyst, Novo Nordisk, and Nokia Siemens Networks. All of these companies have pledged to reduce their global warming emissions considerably.

Read more about Climate Savers –

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Palm Theater - Sustainable & Responsible Business of the Week

The Palm Theater (San Luis Obispo CA) is an independently owned movie theater and holds the distinction of being the first solar-powered theater in the United States.

In 2004, the theater installed 80 solar panels providing enough energy for sunny summer months and partial energy for less sunny days. The solar panels have resulted in a 50% decrease in energy costs.

Jim Dee has owned the Palm Theater since 1988 and expects to recoup his costs after 5 years.

Sustainable & Responsible Business of the Week is a weekly behind-the-scenes look at what businesses are doing to be more sustainable and responsible in their operations.

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

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