Thursday, April 24, 2008

Wanted: Your Ideas for Healthcare Reform

Have an idea to improve the U.S. health care system?

ChangeNow4Health is sponsoring an open challenge for you to submit your ideas "for improvements to the United States health care system. The key requirement is that the idea must be able to be implemented quickly and effectively."

Up to three finalists will be awarded $10,000 each for the best solutions. Deadline for submission of ideas is May 23, 2008. Details and guidelines can be found at

Monday, April 21, 2008

Call for Climate

On Earth Day 2008 (Tuesday, April 22), citizens are asked to participate in "Call for Climate" by calling your Representative or Senator and asking them to "enact tough and fair climate change legislation." U.S. residents can phone 1-202-224-3121 and residents of other countries can check the website to find the appropriate phone number for their country. Call for Climate is sponsored by Earthday Network.

Earth Day Every Day (At Work)

In honor of Earth Day, what can your business do to make a difference?

Create a list of options for becoming more environmentally-friendly in the workplace and begin with a single project. Establish goals and timelines for your project, assign responsibility for various tasks associated with the project, and remember to measure results so that you can share your success stories.

Here are some project ideas for starters:

Green Team - Create a Green Team to begin discussing and exploring issues related to sustainable business. Educate employees through emails, newsletters, and announcements. Get everyone involved!

Recycled Paper - Make the switch to recycled paper. It's possible to experience immediate financial and environmental benefits by making this single change at your office.

Green Procurement - Develop a green procurement policy that gives preference in purchasing to products and service providers that have minimal environmental impact.

Recycling - Establish a recycling program.

Reduce Your Emissions - Commit to reducing your carbon emissions by following the steps outlined in the Low Carb Corporate Diet.

Make every day Earth Day.

baabaaZuZu - Sustainable & Responsible Business of the Week

baabaaZuZu (Lake Leelanau MI) was started in 1994 by Sue and Kevin Burns. baabaaZuZu makes clothing from items that would otherwise be discarded. All clothing is made from 100% recycled materials, primarily wool and tweed. Most of the supply comes from second hand shops. Each product is unique but all have a common pocket and hand sewn blanket stitch. The product line consists of jackets, vests, hats, scarves, mittens, purses & bags, pins, and Christmas stockings.

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

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Pinehurst Inn - Sustainable & Responsible Business of the Week

Pinehurst Inn Bed & Breakfast (Bayfield WI) is an historic inn, built in 1885. In 2003, owners Steve and Nancy Sandstrom added the Garden House, a green building that is energy-efficient and used sustainable materials in construction. The Pinehurst Inn uses solar hot water heaters, green cleaning products, and organic linens and towels. Pinehurst Inn composts food and garden waste, recycles, avoids chemical treatments on lawn and gardens, serves locally grown organic food and organic coffees and teas, and has converted their vehicle (the Grease Car) to run on recycled grease. The Inn also purchases carbon offsets for their business as well as offsets for 50% of customers' travel to the Inn.

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

Monday, April 7, 2008

nvohk's Social Business Model: You own it, you manage it, you wear it

"Social" or "open" forms of business are gaining in popularity, from open social software to wikipedia, social marketing, social lending, social design, participatory retail, Web 2.0, and many other collaborative forms with the purpose of engaging the masses. nvohk™ (Los Angeles CA) has only been around a few months and they are already generating a lot of attention with their social business model.

nvohk™ (pronounced 'invoke') will create eco-friendly clothing, with your help. The site is open to everyone to become a member-owner. Membership is limited to 40,000 member-owners and they will officially launch business when they reach 5,000 member-owners (down from the previous goal of 20,000 member-owners to launch). They currently have over 2100 members. Member-owners will contribute $50/year to join and will have the opportunity to vote on designs, advertising, sponsorships, and other business decisions. Ten percent of net profits will go to charities selected by the member-owners and 35% of net profits will be returned to member-owners through reward points. Member-owners have no legal or financial responsibility for the company.

nvohk™'s website states that they are "the first community-managed eco-friendly surf-inspired clothing company." I think it's appropriate to say "how gnarly!"

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Clean School Bus USA - Encourage Your School District to Join

The Environmental Protection Agency's Clean School Bus USA initiative is a voluntary program that seeks to reduce children's exposure to diesel exhaust and the amount of air pollution created by diesel school buses. They will to do this by eliminating unnecessary bus idling, retrofitting buses with better technologies and/or using cleaner fuels, and replacing the oldest buses with new, less-polluting buses.

Realizing these alternatives can be costly to schools, funding is available to assist schools through the EPA's regional offices. A map on their site allows you to identify your state's regional office and their contact information. You can also check their site to see which school districts are already participating in your state. Funding is also available to assist states in implementing diesel emission reduction programs.

Beyond the environmental impact, why does the Clean School Bus USA initiative matter? A study from the National Resources Defense Council and the Coalition for Clean Air found that children riding a diesel school bus may be exposed to up to 4 times more toxic diesel exhaust. This level of exposure "pose(s) from 23 to 46 times the cancer risk level considered significant under federal law." Diesel exhaust can also exacerbate asthma and other respiratory illnesses. Children are the most vulnerable to the toxic effects of diesel exhaust and air pollution because they breathe 50% more air per body weight than adults.

If you are a parent, grandparent, school board member, school employee, or concerned citizen you should encourage your school district to voluntarily become involved in the Clean School Bus USA initiative.

Copyright©2007-2010 Sustainable Business Design