Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Sustainable & Responsible Businesses - 2008 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 of companies leading change in this new era of sustainable business.

If you are not familiar with these companies, read our posts and visit their websites! We look forward to highlighting more Sustainable & Responsible Businesses of the Week in the upcoming year and we hope you'll pledge to make your business more sustainable in 2009. "Because sustainable business is good business!"

To recap from 2008, here are our picks for Sustainable & Responsible Businesses of the Week:

Alaffia/Agbanga Karite

Asha Imports


Better World Club

BetterWorld Telecom

Brilliant Earth

Boutique Mix


Clean Air Lawn Care

Clean Green Collision

Durango McKinley Paper Company

Earth Tones

ECO Car Wash

Fair Trade Sports


Frog's Leap Winery

Gaia Napa Valley Hotel & Spa

Galactic Pizza

Greyston Bakery

Great Lakes Brewing Company

Green Microgym

Greenway Maid

Higher Grounds Trading Company

Hopworks Urban Brewery


Immaculate Baking Company

Indigenous Designs

Izzy's Ice Cream

Juice Peddler

LJ Urban

Massanelli's Cleaners

Mom's Best Naturals

Natural Fusion Hair Studio

Newman's Own

Palm Theater

Pinehurst Inn

Pizza Fusion


SunNight Solar

Tropical Salvage


White Bear Racquet & Swim Club

White Dog Cafe

Zambezi Organic Forest Honey

Happy Holidays from your friends at Sustainable Business Design Consulting.

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

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Want to be Carbon Neutral for a Day?: Brighter Planet's One Day Campaign

Brighter Planet is offering you the chance to be carbon neutral for a day through its One Day campaign. According to Brighter Planet's website:
The One Day campaign is a small way to show your support to fight climate change. For every participant, Brighter Planet will donate 136 pounds of offsets -- the equivalent of one day's worth of CO2 emissions (based on the estimated average American footprint of 24.78 tons). The more people that give the gift of carbon neutrality for one day, the better. Thousands of gift recipients and givers will know that the climate movement is spreading far beyond the typical “environmental” realm and into the norm. All that Brighter Planet asks in return is that you consider conserving during the holidays.

One Day from Brighter Planet

We have been issued 25 certificates. To claim your One Day Carbon Free certificate, visit Please note that there are only 25 certificates available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Who is Brighter Planet?

Brighter Planet helps people take smarter steps for a healthy environment. With practical, carbon emission reducing solutions for consumers and businesses, Brighter Planet is committed to demonstrating that small, day-to-day actions can make a huge difference for the environment. To date, Brighter Planet members have offset 58 million pounds of CO2. The renewable energy projects they help build in communities across the United States decrease our national dependence on carbon emitting energy sources.

Why carbon offsets?

Carbon offsets play a crucial role in building a sustainable society. Many renewable energy projects are well suited to produce energy and meet stringent standards, but lack sufficient financing. Carbon offsets fill that void by investing in these projects.

What kind of offset projects does Brighter Planet support?

Renewable energy projects in communities across the U.S. decrease our national dependence on carbon-emitting “dirty” energy sources like coal burning power plants. Some are wind power in public school districts or open lands and others are cow power on family farms. They all meet Brighter Planet’s stringent project standards.

Where does conservation fit in to all of this?

The first step to reducing your footprint is to minimize the amount of dirty energy you use. Changes in your everyday life — some simple, others harder — will help. There are lots of ways you can conserve during the holidays and all-year long. While conservation is critical, it’s practically impossible to reduce your personal emissions to zero. You still need a place to live, a way to get to work, food to eat, and clothes to wear. This is where carbon offsets can be of great value.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Galactic Pizza - Sustainable & Responsible Business of the Week

Galactic Pizza (Minneapolis MN) makes excellent pizza from local and organic ingredients. But it's not the mouth watering pizza that makes Galactic Pizza our Sustainable & Responsible Business of the Week. The company emphasizes environmental and social responsibility in its operations. Just take a look at this long list of sustainability initiatives (from their website):

  • When conditions allow, our food is delivered to your door using 100% electric vehicles.
  • All of the power purchased to run our restaurant is renewable wind energy.
  • All of our mozzarella cheese comes from independent family farmers who humanely raise grass fed cows not treated with rGBH growth hormones or antibiotics.
  • We have incorporated a number of organic items into the menu.
  • We have the Second Harvest Heartland pizza, where $1 is donated to this hunger relief organization every time the pizza is ordered.
  • We strive to use packaging that is either made from recycled materials, or is 100% biodegradable.
  • We incorporate hemp products into each menu category, and print our menu on hemp paper. Hemp is not only good for you, it is also very good for the Earth.
  • In season, we try to purchase all of our produce from farms here in Minnesota or in nearby Wisconsin.
  • We have an in depth waste reduction program utilizing composting for food waste and recycling whenever possible.
  • 5% of our pre-tax profits are donated to charity.

Galactic Pizza has been featured by MSNBC, CNNMoney/Fortune, and Discovery's Planet Green, to name just a few. Galactic Pizza was founded by Pete Bonahoom.

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!

U.S. Sugar Wants to Turn Sugar Into Fuel

U.S. Sugar Corporation (Clewiston FL) hopes the waste generated from sugar production can be turned into fuel. The company is currently exploring the feasibility of building the world's largest second-generation ethanol facility which would convert sugar cane leaves and sugar-processing waste into ethanol. It is also hopeful that the facility will be able to process waste from other farming operations.

The announcement comes at a time when the Everglades Coalition, an alliance of environmental organizations dedicated to preserving the Everglades, has filed lawsuits to stop agricultural runoff polution created by sugar cane processing facilities.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

"We Need a Green New Deal"

Last Thursday, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon called on Obama and the E.U. to create a plan to confront the twin climate and economic crises.

He appealed for a modern, global environmental equivalent of U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt's 1930s "New Deal," which lifted the United States out of the Great Depression. "We need a Green New Deal," Ban declared. Coping with the financial crisis would need a "massive stimulus," he added. "A big part of that spending should be an investment -- an investment in a green future."

This sentiment has been echoed by many, including the U.N. Environment Programme (UNEP)under its Green Economy Initiative. The Green Economy Initiative is a partnership between UNEP and leading economists to provide research on creating a new green economy.

A Green New Deal economic stimulus package would invest in energy efficiency, renewable energy, support a low-carbon economy, and would create millions of green collar jobs.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Dallas Plans Country's First Self-Sustaining Urban Block

The city of Dallas TX has announced plans to create the country's first fully sustainable urban block. The 2-block area in downtown Dallas is across from City Hall and is currently a parking lot. There will be an international design competition to help design the area, which is envisioned to be an off-the-grid residential community - the first of its kind in an urban area.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Is Your Company's Website Carbon Neutral?

An often overlooked component of a green or sustainable business is the website. If your company intends to communicate its commitment to green or sustainable business practices, then consider a carbon neutral web host provider.

A carbon neutral web host provider invests in renewable energy , renewable energy credits, or carbon offsets for the amount of energy consumed in hosting websites for its customers. The customer (your business) can then proudly display a carbon neutral badge on the company website.

A keyword search of the Internet will find numerous carbon neutral web host providers. Here is a small sampling:

A2 Hosting

Acorn Host

Affordable Internet Services Online (AISO)


Go Green Hosting



Solar Energy Host

Think Host

Web Hosting Buzz

Free Electric Cars for Businesses in Ireland

Ireland has "a massive renewable wind resource" that helps make this plan feasible. A task-force has been established to work toward a state-wide network of recharging stations. The government will also provide a budget for research and promotion of electric vehicles. The government's goal is for electric vehicles to account for 10% of all vehicles by 2020, which represents approximately 250,000 electric cars over the next 12 years.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Planet Connect Grant Program

Calling all high school students: you could win $500 to implement a creative environmental solution at your school or in your community and an additional $500 for a local environmental internship.

Planet Connect is sponsoring the Planet Connect Grant Program. Planet Connect is a new online network for High School students to learn about the environment plus green college and career options.

The deadline for applications is January 20, 2009.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Immaculate Baking Company - Sustainable & Responsible Business of the Week

Immaculate Baking Company (Hendersonville NC) bakes delicious gourmet all natural and organic baked cookies and organic ready-to-bake cookie dough. The company philosophy is "Bake well, be creative, have fun and give back."

What makes Immaculate Baking Company sustainable and responsible? Immaculate Baking Company works hard to maximize its social impact by baking "Cookies With a Cause." The company created the Folk Artist's Foundation to provide support and exposure for folk artists. Folk art also adorns all cookie packaging. In addition, the company created Soul Food Fund "artreach" programs to reach kids both young and old to help them creatively express themselves. As an aside, the company holds the distinction of baking the World's Biggest Cookie in 2003; 102 feet wide and over 40,000 pounds.

Immaculate Baking Company was started in 1995 by Scott Blackwell.

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!

Ethical Corporation's 10 Ethical Leaders of 2008

Ethical Corporation has published its list of the 10 Ethical Leaders of 2008 who have done the most to advance the cause of responsible business.

  1. Barack Obama, US president-elect - For making the perfect start to addressing the world’s biggest challenges in 2009

  2. Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft and philanthropist - For outlining the opportunity side of responsible business with his vision for creative capitalism

  3. Richard Lambert, director-general, Confederation of British Industry - For proactive business leadership in setting the UK climate change agenda

  4. Donald MacDonald, chairman, UN Principles for Responsible Investment - For leading the UNPRI through the most significant year of its history

  5. Jessica Sansom, sustainability manager, innocent drinks - For turning the innocent founders’ commitment to sustainability into tangible results in the supply chain

  6. Howard Pearce, head of environmental finance and pension fund management, UK Environment Agency - For proving that asset owners can call their fund managers to account on ethics – provided they are committed enough

  7. Chris Wille, chief of sustainable agriculture, Rainforest Alliance - For helping to take ethical food and drink into the mainstream market

  8. Patrick Alley, director, Global Witness - For well-chosen campaigns on corporate complicity in human rights abuses in the Democratic Republic of Congo

  9. John Ruggie, UN special representative for business and human rights - For getting the business and human rights agenda back on track

  10. James Hansen, climatologist and head of Nasa’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies - For outspoken and informed criticism of government and business inaction on climate change

Read the full article here.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Companies Warned: Go Green or Go Under

According to the results of a report released last week by the World Resources Institute (WRI) and global consulting firm A.T. Kearney, companies in the fast-moving consumer goods sector were warned that if they do not implement sustainable environmental strategies, their earnings could be cut in half by 2018.

Fast-moving consumer goods include food, beverages, personal care items and household care items. The analysis "concludes that physical climate change, water scarcity, deforestation and climate change policies could significantly increase the price of commodities, packaging, manufacturing and logistics." Many fast-moving consumer goods are "tied to natural resources at risk from environmental pressures," such as oil, natural gas, electricity, cereals, grains, soy, sugar, palm oil and timber.

Some recommendations of the report include changes in design and packaging, a network of more and smaller manufacturing sites spread across the country, and more local sourcing of production inputs. "Cost increases for FMCG companies that do not implement such strategies could diminish company earnings by 13 to 31 percent in 2013 and by 19 to 47 percent in 2018..."

Monday, December 8, 2008

The 2008 Forecast Earth Hot List

Who were the 2008 movers and shakers in the effort to mitigate climate change? The 2008 Forecast Earth Hot List "reflects individuals, groups or companies that during 2008 initiated, undertook or encouraged positive action aimed at meeting the challenge of mitigating long-term global climate change."
This year's honorees include:

Remember GoodShop for Your Online Shopping

GoodShop: You Shop...We Give!
Online retailers are experiencing robust sales. Online sales were up over last year by 1% on Black Friday and by 21% on Cyber Monday.

If you still have some online shopping to complete, please remember to visit GoodShop. GoodShop is linked to hundreds of national retailers. When you shop participating retailers through the GoodShop site, a percentage of the sale will be donated to the charity of your choice. The charity must be registered with GoodShop; over 70,000 nonprofits are currently registered.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Wal-Mart CEO Scott to Retire

The news that Lee Scott is retiring in February 2009 as CEO of Wal-Mart came as a surprise to many. Scott has championed Wal-Mart's vision of environmental sustainability since 2005; laying out three sustainability goals: to be supplied 100 percent by renewable energy, to create zero waste, and to sell products that sustain our resources and the environment. The company has achieved many noteworthy accomplishments in these areas.

The company has established Sustainable Value Networks, The Personal Sustainability Project for employees, the Sustainable Packaging Scorecard, has increased purchases of local and organic products, and continues working to green the 60,000+ suppliers that make up its supply chain. Wal-Mart has also announced a wind power purchase with Duke Energy that will provide up to 15% of the energy requirements for stores and other facilities in Texas. And the company has most recently announced the formation of a Green Jobs Council to foster the development of green jobs in the U.S.

There have been many other pioneers of socially and/or environmentally sustainable business models and operations. Yet by virtue of the sheer size and the magnitude of Wal-Mart's reach, Scott's influence in bringing "green" to mainstream business can't be denied - he has helped bring "green" into the lexicon of everyday business.

Wal-Mart has yet to address its social sustainability issues with the same fervor. But Scott recently addressed suppliers in China and "outlined a series of aggressive goals and expectations to build a more environmentally and socially responsible global supply chain."

We are all hopeful that Wal-Mart will continue its leadership in green (and sustainability) efforts under new CEO Mike Duke.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Wal-Mart Launches Green Jobs Council

Press Release

Wal-Mart Launches Green Jobs Council
Council to Identify Opportunities for Green Job Creation

Bentonville, Ark., Dec. 2, 2008 -- Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE: WMT) has established a partnership with many of its leading sustainability suppliers to facilitate the creation of green jobs in the United States. The Wal-Mart Green Jobs Council is comprised of representatives from throughout the retailer’s divisions, including store operations, real estate, logistics and sustainability, and representatives from suppliers across a variety of industries.

“We believe that creating green jobs is essential to keeping the United States competitive in the global marketplace,” said Leslie Dach, executive vice president of corporate affairs and government relations for Wal-Mart. “At Wal-Mart we believe that by bringing these companies together and working collaboratively we can help develop a larger green job workforce in this country.”

As part of its company-wide sustainability goals, Wal-Mart is committed to being supplied 100 percent by renewable energy, creating zero waste and selling environmentally-friendly products. The company is moving toward these goals by using sustainable sourcing practices including energy efficiency, waste reduction, renewable energy and lifecycle management. These initiatives are making Wal-Mart a more sustainable company and helping create a favorable environment for green job creation.

For example, Wal-Mart recently announced its first substantial purchase of wind energy in the U.S. which will lead to the creation of green jobs in Texas. The wind power will supply up to 15 percent of the retailers’ total energy load in approximately 360 Texas stores and other facilities. This is one example of the dozens of projects Wal-Mart is implementing across its operations with green job creation potential.

At an inaugural meeting of the Wal-Mart Green Jobs Council, participants identified their top catalysts for creating green jobs, including government policies, executive leadership for sustainability programs, and market drivers such as increased customer demand. Top barriers identified by the group include a lack of a trained workforce and lack of access to capital, especially in the current economic environment.

Participants are also working to more clearly define standards for green jobs and to work collaboratively towards facilitating green job development. More than 30 suppliers participated in the inaugural meeting, including large and small companies such as BP Solar, Dematic, General Electric, HydroPoint Data Systems, Lennox, ReCold, Schneider Electric, SwissLog, Systecon, Thermastor, and Zurn.

“Wal-Mart’s Green Jobs Council is driving collaboration among a variety of companies that are focused on America’s most valuable resource; the American worker,” said Christopher Spain, chairman and chief strategy officer for HydroPoint, Data Systems in Petaluma, Calif. “To overcome both rising unemployment and dwindling natural resources, we must invest in our nation’s workforce through the development of jobs that preserve the environment for generations to come. I believe the goals of the Green Jobs Council are highly achievable. ”

Wal-Mart plans to convene its next Green Jobs Council meeting in Washington, D.C., in early 2009.

About Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE: WMT)
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. operates Wal-Mart discount stores, Supercenters, Neighborhood Markets and Sam’s Club locations in the United States. The Company operates in Argentina, Brazil, Canada, China, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Japan, Mexico, Nicaragua, Puerto Rico and the United Kingdom and, through a joint venture, in India. The Company's securities are listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol WMT. More information about Wal-Mart can be found by visiting Online merchandise sales are available at and

Hopworks Urban Brewery - Sustainable & Responsible Business of the Week

Hopworks Urban Brewery (Portland OR) is a brewpup offering organic beer and restaurant menu items made from local ingredients. But it's what goes on behind the scenes that makes Hopworks Urban Brewery our Sustainable & Responsible Business of the Week.

Hopworks Urban Brewery refers to itself as an Eco-Brewpub and touts everything from composting to rain barrels to being powered by 100% renewable energy. No one tells it better than Hopworks Urban Brewery's own website:

Sustainable Points-No LEED green washing, just the facts G


  1. Biodiesel fired brew kettle using HUB fryer oil

  2. Waste pizza oven heat captured to heat brewing water

  3. Organic barley malt

  4. Zero VOC epoxy floor coating with walnut shell broadcast for texture

  5. Cool-Fit pre-insulated glycol pipe-most energy efficient pipe available

  6. T8 fluorescent lights-cool running and energy efficient

  7. Flow meter on brewing water to minimize waste

  8. Organic spent grain used by local cattle rancher

  9. Biodiesel fired delivery truck

  10. Wort heat exchanger hot water recovered for subsequent brew

  11. Walk in cooler compressor remote operated on cool roof

  12. Tasting room bar base constructed from recycled material


  1. Building professionally deconstructed- all useable material recovered and sorted

  2. 1/3 all framing material used recovered from deconstruction

  3. Ceiling blasted with corn cob instead of sand-eliminates risk of silicosis for blasters

  4. Booths constructed entirely from ceiling joists

  5. Finish trim constructed from recovered trim

  6. Vault finished with recovered ship-lap sheathing

  7. Bar base constructed from recovered framing, office paneling, and ceiling joists

  8. Bar foot rail made of old boiler pipe

  9. Tables recovered from restaurant remodel

  10. Low and zero VOC finishes

  11. Reflective membrane roof w/3" rigid insulation-74% UV radiation reflected, no heat island, significantly lower operating environment temp for mech equipment on roof

  12. Air conditioner economizers

  13. 93% efficient gas furnaces, 4 residential furnaces provide zone heating more efficiently than commercial gas packs

  14. Insulated, low-E window and door upgrade

  15. Skylights provide natural light to mezzanine

  16. Hot water recirculation provides hot water on demand-no wasted line purge

  17. Low flow toilets- 1.28 GPF

  18. Hand dryers eliminate paper waste- fastest, most energy efficient dryers available

  19. Plentiful covered and uncovered bike parking

  20. Bike repair stand at front door

Parking and Landscape

  1. 6000 sqft Eco-paver west parking lot- rain water remains on-site

  2. Native species used exclusively for landscaping

  3. South Parking lot features 5000 gallon retention/settling pond

  4. Rain barrel captures roof run off- used for irrigation, general wash down, and future greenhouse

  5. South retaining wall constructed of recycled basement slab


  1. Organic Made from scratch Roma Tomato Sauce

  2. Use of Shepherd's Grain "Food Alliance Certified" flour for our pizza dough & other bread items (pretzels, foccacia bread)

  3. Organic Milk

  4. Organic field greens, romaine & various seasonal vegetables

  5. Dressings made from scratch, less packaging

  6. 100 % post consumer waste

  7. 100% recycled dinner napkins

  8. Waste recycling programs that strive for zero waste

  9. Recycling food waste for animal feed & composting

  10. Organic coffee from Stumptown "Holler Mtn"

  11. All to go material 100% post consumer 100% recycled material

  12. Compostable plastic to go cups (corn based)

Hopworks Urban Brewery was founded by Christian Ettinger in 2008.

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!

Monday, December 1, 2008

More Green Jobs on the Horizon

In a recent Democratic Radio Address, President Elect Barack Obama announced that his economic team is developing an Economic Recovery Plan that will create 2.5 million jobs by January 2011. The plan will

put people back to work rebuilding our crumbling roads and bridges, modernizing schools that are failing our children, and building wind farms and solar panels; fuel-efficient cars and the alternative energy technologies that can free us from our dependence on foreign oil and keep our economy competitive in the years ahead.

Obama's commitment will help green jobs continue to grow. Recent reports suggest green jobs are on the rise. In California, it is reported that the green job sector is booming. The alternative energy industry, and solar in particular, has exploded in California, resulting in thousands of new jobs.

To learn more about green jobs, visit the Green for All and Apollo Alliance websites.

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