Monday, December 14, 2009

Eliminating Blueprints, Saving Trees

Every year an estimated 42,000 trees are chopped down to print blueprints. Laid end to end, this is the distance from New York City to Washington DC. Software Advice wants to see the construction industry "go blueprint-less" in 2010 by replacing their paper prints with electronic plans.

Blueprints are a 167-year old technology. Today, the same blueprint-based activities can be achieved using onscreen takeoff and construction estimating software. Contractors can view plans, measure lengths and volumes, and markup plans on a computer screen.

So what will be the driving force to get the construction industry to move from paper to software? For starters, the US Green Building Council could offer a LEED credit for it. Additionally, the government could offer incentives for construction companies that switch from blueprints to software, similar to their program for doctors that switch from paper charts to electronic health records. So what do you think? Feel free to leave a comment over at the original post: The End of Blueprints.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Christmas Trees: Real or Artificial?

Which is more environmentally friendly?  A real tree or an artificial tree?  You'll have to read Ask Pablo for all the scientific life cycle analysis details, but if you purchased a live tree that was grown on a tree farm, you made the best "green" choice.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Save the Date: FT Investing in a Sustainable Future International Conference

Building on the success of the inaugural event in March 2009, the 2nd annual FT Investing in a Sustainable Future international conference (March 24, 2010) will reveal how some of the top minds in today's corporate, financial and investment arena are generating bottom-line profits by putting sustainable and ethical investment strategies at the heart of their organizations.

This international conference will be of particular interest to:

CEOs, CIOs, Institutional Investors, Asset Managers, Public and Corporate Pension Funds, Investor Relations Directors, Chief Responsibility Officers, Sustainability Directors, CSR Directors, Foundations and Endowments, Financial Advisors, SRI Funds, Investment Banks, and NGOs.

FT Investing in a Sustainable Future

March 24, 2010
Hudson Theatre
145 W 44th St, New York, NY

For more information, please contact Chrissy Sexton at or (212) 641-6369.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Clean Energy Ph.D. Fellowships Available at UCLA

The "Clean Energy for Green Industry at UCLA" is a brand new fellowship program that just started this year for students pursuing a Ph.D. at UCLA. It is an interdisciplinary program for first year graduate students and is funded by the National Science Foundation. The program focus is on clean green science as well business and policy. You can find more information at the program website,

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Georgia-Pacific PSO™ Program Increases Client Profitability in Tough Economy

Press Release

Georgia-Pacific PSO™ Program Increases Client Profitability in Tough Economy

Comprehensive Evaluation Enables Packaging Process Optimization

Atlanta, GA (April 6, 2009) – Georgia-Pacific is helping industrial and consumer product companies through this tough economic environment with its Packaging Systems Optimization (PSO™) program, which identifies opportunities to streamline packaging operations to reduce total supply chain costs.

PSO is an assessment tool that looks for sources of inefficiency and waste across the entire packaging supply chain, from manufacturing to distribution. The program comprises a rigorous process, wherein a team of packaging engineers analyzes areas including package design, material optimization, shelf impact and SKU consolidation, as well as line productivity, material handling and distribution.

After an initial analysis, the Georgia-Pacific PSO team delivers a detailed report that clearly outlines areas where cost-savings may be achieved. Recommendations may include anything from developing new box design concepts and refining packaging prototypes to automating manual processes. A Total Cost Analysis (TCA™) report is then developed, which quantifies the total cost-savings for those opportunities that have been identified.

“If comprehensively evaluated for efficiencies, the packaging process can be a source of considerable cost savings,” says Pat Smorch, director, packaging sustainability at Georgia-Pacific’s Innovation Institute®. “The PSO program was developed to look across the entire packaging supply chain, providing a holistic perspective on where modifications may be made.”

The PSO process also supports sustainability efforts. Recommendations to streamline material handling and warehousing practices can lead to significant energy efficiency improvements and greenhouse gas reductions.

The PSO program draws on the extensive in-house expertise and resources of Georgia-Pacific’s Innovation Institute, a creative, collaborative package design and innovation lab that simulates retail, warehousing and transportation environments. Georgia-Pacific’s engineering and design experts work together to identify opportunities to reduce supply chain costs, optimize package designs, increase shelf velocity and measure sustainability factors.

About PSO

Georgia-Pacific’s PSO program was developed at Georgia-Pacific’s Innovation Institute, which simulates retail and packaging environments, allowing customers to experience sustainable innovation and novel package design solutions in action. Designed to facilitate break-through thinking and next-generation packaging solutions, the Innovation Institute helps customers realize the full value of their packaging investment. For more information on Georgia-Pacific’s Innovation Institute visit

About Georgia-Pacific

Headquartered at Atlanta, Georgia-Pacific is one of the world’s leading manufacturers and marketers of building products, tissue, packaging, paper, cellulose and related chemicals. The company employs more than 45,000 people at approximately 300 locations in North America, South America and Europe. The familiar consumer tissue brands of Georgia-Pacific Consumer Products LP include Quilted Northern®, Angel Soft®, Brawny®, Sparkle®, Soft 'n Gentle®, Mardi Gras®, So-Dri® and Vanity Fair®. Dixie Consumer Products LLC, a Georgia-Pacific company, manufactures the Dixie® brand of tabletop products. Georgia-Pacific has long been among the nation’s leading manufacturers and suppliers of building products to lumber and building materials dealers and large do-it-yourself warehouse retailers, with brands such as Plytanium® plywood, DryPly® water repellent plywood, Ply-Bead® panels and Wood I Beam™ joists offered by Georgia-Pacific Wood Products LLC and DensArmor Plus® interior drywall, DensGlass™ Exterior Sheathing and ToughRock® wallboard offered by Georgia-Pacific Gypsum LLC. For more information, visit

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Business & Climate Change: A Blog Action Day Message

Nearly 10 years ago, Harvard Business Review published What Every Executive Needs to Know About Global Warming (Packard & Reinhardt, 2000).  The article continues to be relevant today and should be read by all managers and executives.

The authors encouraged businesses to look at climate change in terms of risks and opportunities.  Companies whose assets are affected by weather, such as insurance, real estate, agriculture, and tourism, were warned to plan for the consequences of climate change.  And all businesses, regardless of industry, were encouraged to prepare for anticipated regulations to curtail practices believed to be contributing factors to climate change; new opportunities may arise for a variety of companies and industries as a result of these changes.  The authors also advised companies to be honest and transparent with stakeholders and to be public about their intiatives toward climate change mitigation.  Lastly, they stated that there are "no excuses for inaction" in managing the business risks and opportunities associated with climate change.  The authors concluded by stating that thinking through the complexities of how climate change will impact the business is a test of management acumen; some executives are meeting this challenge head-on while others are not--and shareholders should ask why.

If your business is ready to plan for climate change, then I recommend A Three-Pronged Approach to Corporate Climate Strategy (Business for Social Responsibility, 2006).  In order for the world to decrease global emissions by the recommended 70%, companies need to think in terms of zero emissions as they plan their climate change strategies.  In a nutshell, it is recommended that companies analyze their value chains to identify opportunities to become more energy efficient, to invest in carbon emission offsets, and to invest in renewable energy.

Don't forget to participate in your local 350 Climate Action Rally on Saturday, October 24.  The Little Rock, AR event will be held at MacArthur Park from 2-5pm.  Hosted by Audubon Arkansas, 1 Sky, Sierra Club, and Village Commons, the event will feature local musicians, speakers and educational booths with presentations by State Representative Kathy Webb, Sierra Club, and Quapaw Quarter United Methodist Church.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Fresh, Healthy, & Local from a Vending Machine

What if you could get fresh healthy local food from a vending machine?  If you live in Germany, you can!  A German farm, Peter-und-Paul-Hof, is collaborating with a vending machine company to sell sell fresh milk, eggs, butter, cheese, potatoes and sausage along hiking trails in Switzerland and in thirteen German towns and communities through Regiomat vending machines. This approach provided a cost effective solution for the farm to reach end consumers at reduced costs.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

You're Invited: Halloween at Habana Outpost

Looking for a great Halloween party?  Our friends over at Habana Outpost are throwing a party that promises to be an eco-fabulous time.  First, the kid's party (of course!).  Then, the big kid's party.  So if you're in the Brooklyn area on Halloween, go get your green groove on at Habana Outpost.

Free Habana Halloween Kid's Party!

October 31st from 12- 6pm

Bring your little monsters and ghouls down for our free Habana Halloween party. Candy, games, crafts, prizes and more!

Monster Bash Dance Contest with DJ Juice E: 4- 6pm

Costume Contest @ 5pm

THE OFFICIAL Halloween and Last Call Party

Free – No Cover

Sat. October 31st from 9pm- 4am

Help us celebrate the end of another great summer at Habana Outpost on Halloween night with DJ Juice E in the Lowpost lounge (below Habana Outpost) There will be free giveaways throughout the night and a costume contest at Midnight!

Where : Habana Outpost

757 Fulton Street (Corner of South Portland ) Brooklyn NY

718 858 9500

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Take a Roll in the Hay: New Trends in Sustainable Tourism

Remember the old (and not always clean) jokes about the traveler who must sleep in the barn? Well it's no joke any more! In Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, every traveler is invited to take a roll in the hay as hay hotels (or "heuhotels") are growing in popularity. As the name suggests, hay hotels allow you to sleep in the hay in the barn.

Like all lodging, hay hotels can range from luxury accomodations to bare essentials with fewer amenities than a hostel. You can even choose to sleep among the barn animals

Without the need for new construction, heavy laundry bills or other forms of high energy consumption, hay hotels are also an effective means of low-impact, sustainable tourism. 

And the best part?  No beds to make!  In the morning, you simply fluff the hay with a pitchfork.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

"The Age of Stupid" Movie Global Premier on Sept. 21

The docu-drama, The Age of Stupid, is coming to a theater near you. The Age of Stupid is about "a man living alone in the devastated future world of 2055, looking at old footage from 2008 and asking: why didn’t we stop climate change when we had the chance?"

The movie will be broadcast live to over 700 locations in 40 countries from a solar-powered cinema tent in New York City on Monday, September 21.  Visit the movie website to find a location near you.

The Age of Stupid USA Trailer from Age of Stupid on Vimeo.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Lil Peppi: 10-Year Old Eco-Rapper

Cardell Hopkins, aka "Lil Peppi," has been rapping since he was 3 years old. While his lyrics have always been positive, Lil Peppi has taken an environmental turn and has become an eco-rapper. Now at the mature age of 10, he has performed nationally, has made a video for Whole Foods, and has won a Sierra Club award.

When you visit his website, what messages will you see? "Skool is kool" and "Save the Earth," of course!

Lil Peppi - Environmental Rapper Interview from Captain Planet FDN on Vimeo.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

What Happens to Your Recycled E-Waste?

When you upgrade your cell phone, computer, printer, iPod, mp3 player, calculator, or other electronics, what do you do with the old one? Like any responsible person, you recycle it.

So what happens to all that e-waste from responsible e-cyclers? In case you missed it, 60 Minutes just aired an expose on the electronics recycling industry. It has been estimated that as much as 75% of used electronics received in developing nations for the purpose of recycling actually ends up as hazardous e-waste. Watch this 13-minute video documenting one example in Hong Kong.

To ensure your e-waste is recycled responsibly, look for a recycler that has met e-Stewards certification.

Watch CBS Videos Online

Thursday, August 27, 2009

SunEco Energy and J.B. Hunt Algae Power Hits the Road

Press Release

SunEco Energy and J.B. Hunt Algae Power Hits the Road
Biodiesel, powered with SunEco algae oil reduced emissions 82% with no loss of power

CHINO, Calif., July 29 /PRNewswire/ -- J.B. Hunt Transport Services, Inc. (Nasdaq: JBHT) and SunEco Energy today announced the signing of a cooperative agreement, which could lead to J.B. Hunt becoming a significant purchaser of biodiesel made from natural algae oil using SunEco Energy's proprietary technology.

The two companies conducted a series of successful tests using biodiesel made by SunEco Energy from 100 percent natural algae oil produced at the company's pilot plant in Chino, California. These tests, using a 20 percent and 50 percent blend of algae oil with petroleum diesel, measured an 82 percent reduction in particulate emissions with no loss of power.

"Transportation fuel is virtually 100% oil-based," said Gary Whicker, senior vice president of engineering for J.B. Hunt. "Finding alternative energy sources to put in our fuel tanks is good business for our company and our nation. SunEco's innovative process to produce renewable fuel supplies from algae grown in American ponds is an intriguing new option. Our initial experience with their algae-based biodiesel is promising, and we are excited about the opportunity to work with SunEco Energy to move towards a lower cost, less carbon intensive, and more secure energy supply for our business."

"We are very pleased that J.B. Hunt, a leading transportation company, took the steps to test our fuel in their trucks and are taking further steps to become a leader in the use of renewable fuels," said Dan Gautschi, Chairman and CEO of SunEco Energy. "The SunEco technology has been in development for over five years, with an operating pilot facility over the past two years which has allowed us to continually produce barrels of oil rather than beakers, enabling us to provide oil for tests in a variety of applications."

SunEco's proprietary technology utilizes naturally occurring algae strains in a monitored environment to produce an oil product suitable for making renewable transportation fuels and other oil-based products, and, as a byproduct of the process, a high-quality animal feed supplement. SunEco is currently raising additional funding to enable the large scale deployment of the technology in U.S. and international markets, including a large development in the Imperial Valley region of California.

J.B. Hunt Transport Services, Inc. focuses on providing safe and reliable transportation services to a diverse group of customers throughout the continental United States, Canada and Mexico. Utilizing an integrated, multimodal approach, J.B. Hunt provides capacity-oriented solutions centered on delivering customer value and industry-leading service.SunEco Energy is committed to leading the deployment of commercially viable bio-products made from natural algae strains. The Company's primary objective is to deliver reliable clean and sustainable energy products for transportation fuels and livestock feed, thus breaking the trade-off between food or fuel. Looking forward, the company intends to expand its product range to include a full scope of uses currently obtained from petroleum, such as, plastics, inks and dyes, as well as nutri-ceuticals.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Ramen Noodle Coin Purses: The Latest Fashion Accessory

If you thought that backpacks made from recycled juice drink pouches were cool, wait til you see the change purses made from recycled Ramen noodle packages. These ultra cool coin purses are available from Boutique Mix (Washington DC). And, of course, if you like the Ramen noodle coin purse, you'll love the Kool Aid messenger bags made guessed it...Kool Aid juice pouches.

With all the nifty items out there made from recycled packaging, there's no better time to show off your favorite products and enjoy them a second time around!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Obama White House Seeking LEED Certification

According to National Geographic's Green Guide, the Obama White House seeks to be the greenest White House in history.

To do this, the White House is currently pursuing LEED certification. Changes planned or currently underway are in the areas of procurement (considering toxicity and life cycle in purchases, using biodegradable cleaners, low VOC paints and sealers, and recycled content products and equipment), energy efficiency (lighting, power, heating, cooling, computerized energy management systems, occupancy sensors), water conservation (low-flow fixtures), and a reduced waste stream (increased recycling).

Monday, August 24, 2009

Solar Cell Phones Take Off in Developing Nations

CNN reports that Safaricom Ltd. has launched Kenya's first solar-charged phone this month. "The handset comes with a regular electrical charger and a solar panel that charges the phone using the sun's rays" and retails for approximately $35.

Samsung introduced a solar-powered phone, the Solar Guru, in India in mid-June.

Both phones are aimed at emerging markets where electricity supply can be scarce and residents often pay vendors to recharge cell phones.

Friday, August 21, 2009

2009 Guide to Graduate Business Programs Now Available

Net Impact has just released Business as UNusual: 2009 Student Guide to Graduate Business Programs. The 2009 edition is the latest annual report offering current students' perspectives on their business school's curriculum, programming, and support in the areas of social and environmental sustainability. The Guide features student perspectives from 87 schools in the Net Impact network. The Guide can be dowloaded free of charge from the Net Impact website.

Monday, August 17, 2009

New Book on Sustainable Business is Released

Press Release

Business Expert Press (BEP) is pleased to announce the release of “Sustainable Business: An Executive's Primer” authored by Nancy E. Landrum and Sandra Edwards.

This book offers an overview of how sustainability is applied throughout the organization. Chapters are organized by familiar departments or functions of the business and cover the applications and terminology of sustainability throughout each area.

Whether you are an executive, an entrepreneur, an employee, or a business student, this book will help you understand the big picture of what it means to be a sustainable business and will give you the information you need to begin your journey toward sustainability. You can read more about this new BEP release at

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Students: Be a Correspondent for Mother Nature Network

Mother Nature Network (MNN) is looking for college student correspondents to blog about events in their states. This is an ideal internship for anyone interested in a career in writing, editing or environmental issues and can be great for journalism, environmental studies and active students who want a résumé-building experience that might lead to a great job in new or old media.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Giant Carrot Spotted in Chicago

We are all very busy pulling together the last minute details for our Carrotmob event this weekend in Chicago (Sunday, August 9, 12-6pm at Fox & Obel's).

I can't thank Christine Esposito, Laura Flanigan, Heather Roth, Hehershe Busuego, Erin Espeland, and Emily Breuker for their hard work and dedication in making this happen and for organizing an incredible cadre of volunteers and supporters in Chicago.
Don't forget to "JOIN THE MOB" this Sunday at Fox & Obel's. In the meantime, check out the great video our team put together. And don't forget to check out the photos of the Colossal Carrot (even Mayor Daley likes the Carrotmob idea!).

For more information, check out the Carrotmob website, the Carrotmob Chicago website, and the Fox & Obel website.

See you this Sunday! Carrotmob...where orange is the new green!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

A TOMS Shoes Offer for my Friends

Okay, so I'm a TOMS Shoes-aholic. You already know this is one of my favorite sustainable businesses. I give the TOMS Shoes gift pack for birthdays, for holidays, to say "thank you," and for just about any other reason I can find. Today, I just bought and gave TOMS Shoes and got this cool offer for $5 off any online purchase over the next 7 days. The offer even said I should share the promo code with all my friends. So because we're friends, use code ShareTOMS for $5 off at

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Backpacks Made From Juice Drink Pouches

Finally, after admiring the many cool recycled products made by TerraCycle, now I can buy them online! For those of you who aren't familiar with TerraCycle, it all started with worm poop. The company makes great fertilizer and packages it in discarded soda bottles and milk jugs. The product was wildly successful and became available on store shelves and online.

Then the company ventured into the creation of other products made from discarded waste (in fact, you can sign up to collect and send in the types of items they need...and they'll pay you for it!). The company now has items made from discarded wine corks, potato chip bags, juice drink pouches, plastic shopping bags, cookie wrappers, and so much more. I have long admired the school backpacks made from juice drink pouches (and the lunch boxes and the pencil cases) and now I can finally own one (or two!).

With back-to-school shopping just around the corner, check out TerraCycle's e-commerce site. Where else can your kids get a super cool recyled backpack for under $12?

Monday, July 20, 2009

Holy Trash Heap, Batman!

QUESTION: Where can you find millions of pounds of trash, mostly plastic?
HINT: It's the largest trash dump in the world.
ANSWER: The Pacific Ocean.

Wind and ocean current patterns have created the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre. The Gyre is composed of the Western and Eastern Pacific Garbage Patches, more commonly known collectively as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. The Gyre contains millions of pounds of trash, most of which is plastic. For more information, watch this CBS 2004 video report or this more recent Oprah 2009 video report.

To bring attention to this problem, one of our favorite environmental photographers, Chris Jordan, has created a piece of Eco-Art entitled Gyre. The image is not photography. It's not even paint. It's "2.4 million pieces of plastic - the estimated number of pounds of plastic that enter the world’s ocean’s every hour!" All the plastic used in the piece of art was collected from the Pacific Ocean.

Below is an image of Gyre by Chris Jordan; notice Mount Fuji in the background.

Here is a closeup of Mount Fuji. You can see this work of art is made from plastic trash gathered from the Pacific Ocean.

Do your part to help: decrease your use of plastics or RECYCLE!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Napkins: Paper vs. Cloth?

Pablo's done it again! In his ongoing AskPablo series of life cycle analysis comparisons, he examines the debate between paper versus cloth napkins. Which is the better environmental choice?

The study uses the following assumptions:

Restaurants will wash cloth napkins after each use, use excessive bleach, and use a napkin 50 times.

Homes will wash cloth napkins only once a week.

So what is the worst choice for napkins? Cotton napkins win hands down.

And what is the best choice for napkins? Based upon the assumptions used in the study, paper napkins are the best choice for restaurants and linen napkins are the best choice in homes.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Onion News Network Takes on Taco Bell

Ready for a chuckle? Check out this video from Onion News Network, entitled "Taco Bell's New Green Menu Takes No Ingredients From Nature."

Taco Bell's New Green Menu Takes No Ingredients From Nature

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Our Book is Finished!

It's been a busy past six months at Sustainable Business Design. A few large projects have been underway (in additional to our usual daily activities).

One of the projects recently completed is our book, Sustainable Business: An Executive's Primer (available in August 2009). The book serves as an excellent introduction to sustainability as it applies to business operations. Each chapter shows how sustainability is incorporated into each functional area of the business (accounting, finance, information systems & technology, marketing, research & development, operations, human resources, and strategy).

The second half of the book provides brief case examples of sustainability initiatives being implemented by a variety of businesses. You'll read over 50 case examples from TOMS Shoes, Habana Outpost, Keen Footwear, Zambezi Organic Forest Honey, Great Elephant Poo Poo Paper Company, Burgerville, Boutique Mix, Earth Class Mail, Eco-Libris, Hopworks Urban Brewery, LJ Urban, Tropical Salvage, VerTerra, White Dog Cafe, and so many more! These are the same examples you've read right here on our blog over the past two years in our Sustainable & Responsible Business of the Week feature! We're already gearing up for a new weekly list of sustainable and responsible businesses and hopeful that they will serve as the case examples in a second edition of our book!

Monday, July 13, 2009

"Grant for Change" Now Open for Nominations

Nau's first annual Grant for Change is to support those who instigate lasting, positive change in their communities.

This year's $10,000 grant will highlight the efforts of people who move in the spirit of the Nau Collective…

ATHLETES who are challenging assumptions about what it means to move through the world.

ARTISTS, designers or other creatives who are moved to design better solutions to the world's greatest problems.

ACTIVISTS who are seeding positive change in their communities, and moving others to do the same.

Visit the website to nominate someone. Nominations are open 'til August 17th, the voting 'til August 31st.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Carrotmob is Coming to Chicago!

Carrotmob is Coming to Chicago!

Here is your chance to help a local business become more environmentally-friendly by shopping during our Carrotmob event.

When? August 9, 12-6pm

Where? Fox & Obel's Market, 401 East Illinois Street, Chicago

Check out our Carrotmob web page to stay abreast of events! RSVP on our Facebook events page!

What is Carrotmob? Watch these entertaining brief videos.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The Good Entrepreneur Competition

Courtesy Net Impact

One Idea to Change the World
CNBC and Allianz have partnered to launch a competition to identify entrepreneurs across Europe with environmentally responsible business concepts. "The Good Entrepreneur" kicked off at the beginning of June, and the winner will receive a prize package valued at more than €250,000 including €50,000 cash.

Applications close on July 31, and the three finalists will be announced in August 2009. The finalists will then be featured in a four-part televised series on CNBC, documenting the progress of each person. In the series finale, a panel of high profile judges will reveal the winner of the competition. Do you have an idea that could change the world?

Monday, May 25, 2009

Win $20,000 to Put Your Green Idea Into Action

Press Release

SunChips and National Geographic have joined forces to create the Green Effect, an initiative to inspire individuals to spark a green movement in their communities.

YOU could be the one to make a difference in your community—for the planet! Submit a description of your Green Effect idea by June 8, 2009. Ten finalists will be announced July 7, 2009. Online viewers and a distinguished panel of judges will review these inspiring ideas.

We'll award $20,000 each to five people or groups that have the best ideas for green change. The five winners will also be profiled in National Geographic, and the winners will travel to Washington, D.C., to share their projects with environmental leaders.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Students Show How University Could Reduce Paper & Ink Costs by 39% or More

Students in the Sustainable Business class at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock completed a research project to identify ways the university could become more "green" and environmentally-friendly in printing practices and paper purchases while also saving money. The College of Business was used as the students' case example.

The students explored several green printing practices and ultimately made the recommendation that the College switch to 30% recycled paper, change default printer margins to 0.75" on all College computers, install PaperCut printer management software on all College computers, change default settings on all printers and copiers to duplex (double-sided copies), and install EcoFont as the default font on all computers.

The combined impact of these recommendations implemented in unison would reduce the College's paper and ink purchases and result in at least a 39% cost savings over current methods; this would require the purchase of 151 cases of paper (instead of the current 251 cases) and 26 laser ink cartridges and toner (instead of the current 30 cartridges). The environmental benefits of implementing these recommendations would be

  • 87.3 trees saved,

  • 11.3 tons of wood saved,

  • 16,659 pounds of CO2 emissions prevented,

  • 57,753.6 gallons of water saved,

  • 33,449.9 kilowatts of electricity saved, and

  • 6,985.7 pounds of solid waste prevented.

This project was completed by Amila Barakovic, Brigitte Armato, Chris Watson, Erica Griffin, William Tarter, and Anita Ojeda under the direction of Dr. N. Landrum.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Online Business Degrees in Sustainability

The list of colleges and universities offering degrees, majors, or certificates in sustainable business continues to grow (see a complete list in the right sidebar of this blog). I often receive emails asking if I know where to get an online degree in sustainable business. For those asking this question, last week, two new programs were announced.

The University of Wisconsin has launched an online Bachelor of Science degree in Sustainable Management. Students must complete the first two years of undergraduate general education studies before being admitted to the Sustainable Management program. The program includes courses in environmental studies, triple bottom line accounting, natural resource management, information systems, logistics, supply chain management, and sustainability.

For those seeking a graduate degree, Marylhurst University has launched an online MBA with curriculum in sustainability. The program includes courses in Program topics to include:
Ethical Issues and Environmental Law, Green and Social Marketing, Ecological Economics,Managerial and Environmental Accounting, and Management: A Triple Bottom Line Approach.

Update July 22, 2009: University of Southern Maine offers an online graduate certificate in sustainable business.
Update August 17, 2009: Antioch University offers an online MBA in Organizational and Environmental Sustainability

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Coca-Cola Company Introduces Innovative Bottle Made From Renewable, Recyclable, Plant-Based Plastic

Press Release


ATLANTA, May 14, 2009 - The Coca-Cola Company unveiled today a new plastic bottle made partially from plants. The "PlantBottle™" is fully recyclable, has a lower reliance on a non-renewable resource, and reduces carbon emissions, compared with petroleum-based PET plastic bottles.

"The 'PlantBottle™' is a significant development in sustainable packaging innovation," said Muhtar Kent, Chairman and CEO of The Coca-Cola Company. "It builds on our legacy of environmental ingenuity and sets the course for us to realize our vision to eventually introduce bottles made with materials that are 100 percent recyclable and renewable."

Traditional PET bottles are made from petroleum, a non-renewable resource. The new bottle is made from a blend of petroleum-based materials and up to 30 percent plant-based materials.

"The Coca-Cola Company is a company with the power to transform the marketplace, and the introduction of the "PlantBottle™" is yet another great example of their leadership on environmental issues," said Carter Roberts, President and CEO of World Wildlife Fund, U.S. "We are pleased to be working with Coke to tackle sustainability issues and drive innovations like this through their supply chain, the broader industry and the world."

The "PlantBottle™" is currently made through an innovative process that turns sugar cane and molasses, a by-product of sugar production, into a key component for PET plastic. Coca-Cola is also exploring the use of other plant materials for future generations of the "PlantBottle™."

Manufacturing the new plastic bottle is more environmentally efficient as well. A life-cycle analysis conducted by Imperial College London indicates the "PlantBottle™" with 30 percent plant-base material reduces carbon emissions by up to 25 percent, compared with petroleum-based PET.

Another advantage to the "PlantBottle™" is that, unlike other plant-based plastics, it can be processed through existing manufacturing and recycling facilities without contaminating traditional PET. So, the material in the "PlantBottle™" can be used, recycled and reused again and again.

Coca-Cola North America will pilot the "PlantBottle™" with Dasani and sparkling brands in select markets later this year and with vitaminwater in 2010. The innovative bottles will be identified through on-package messages and in-store point of sale displays. Web-based communications will also highlight the bottles' environmental benefits.

"The 'PlantBottle™' represents the next step in evolving our system toward the bottle of the future," said Scott Vitters, Director of Sustainable Packaging of The Coca-Cola Company. "This innovation is a real win because it moves us closer to our vision of zero waste with a material that lessens our carbon footprint and is also recyclable."

The Coca-Cola Company -- the first company to introduce a beverage bottle made with recycled plastic -- has been focused on ensuring the sustainability of its packaging for decades. It has put resources behind creating packaging that is recyclable and investing in recycling infrastructure to ensure that its packages are collected, recycled and re-used. Earlier this year, the Company opened the world's largest plastic bottle-to-bottle recycling plant in Spartanburg, S.C. The plant will produce approximately 100 million pounds of recycled PET plastic for reuse each year -- the equivalent of nearly 2 billion 20-ounce Coca-Cola bottles. These efforts are all focused on helping "close the loop" on packaging use and produce truly sustainable packages for consumers.

About The Coca-Cola Company The Coca-Cola Company is the world's largest beverage company, refreshing consumers with nearly 500 sparkling and still brands. Along with Coca-Cola®, recognized as the world's most valuable brand, the Company's portfolio includes 12 other billion dollar brands, including Diet Coke®, Fanta®, Sprite®, Coca-Cola Zero®, vitaminwater, POWERADE®, Minute Maid® and Georgia® Coffee. Globally, we are the No. 1 provider of sparkling beverages, juices and juice drinks and ready-to-drink teas and coffees. Through the world's largest beverage distribution system, consumers in more than 200 countries enjoy the Company's beverages at a rate of nearly 1.6 billion servings a day. With an enduring commitment to building sustainable communities, our Company is focused on initiatives that protect the environment, conserve resources and enhance the economic development of the communities where we operate. For more information about our Company, please visit our website at

Monday, May 18, 2009

Making Your Impact at Work: A Practical Guide to Changing the World From Inside Any Company

Making Your Impact at Work: A Practical Guide to Changing the World From Inside Any Company, is designed to empower current and aspiring social intrapreneurs to find ways to integrate sustainability into their day jobs.

Building on the grassroot efforts started by its own employees, eBay partnered with Net Impact to develop this report as a way to empower current and aspiring social intrapreneurs to change their organizations one department or project at a time to ultimately influence the definition of sustainability jobs and business.

Making Your Impact at Work summarizes key themes identified in the experiences of social intrapreneurs and provides a model for future changemakers to follow as they create a positive impact in their own corporate positions.

The accompanying In-Depth Case Studies, which are available to Net Impact members, profile 15 social intrapreneurs representing a range of functions and industries, and provides details on the planning and execution of their corporate change projects. The 13 companies represented include Accenture, Best Buy, Clorox, McDonald's, Google, among others.

Net Impact and eBay hope that these new publications will inspire the next generation of social intrapreneurs and provide the guidance necessary to make their projects successful.

Please visit Net Impact for more information.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Apply for the Student Sustainability Leadership Award

The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) is now accepting applications for its annual Student Sustainability Leadership Award. The award will be given to an undergraduate student attending an AASHE-member school who has played a leadership role in implementing campus sustainability. The $750 award will be given to the winning student in September.

Deadline for applications is July 1, 2009.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Earth Day at Work

From the U.S. government's site, here are some tips on how to take action at work.

Commute for the environment

Green your building

  • Apply green building principles to your office buildings. They affect natural resources, land use, energy use, worker and public health, and community well being. With sustainable design - or green building - tools, the federal government can protect human health and worker productivity, reduce costs and risks, and build with greater responsibility towards future generations. Green Building principles lead to building in greater harmony with the environment, consciously sustaining and renewing natural resources.

  • Go Green with GSA. The U.S. Government Services Administration has many environmental initiatives to help federal agencies Go Green. These initiatives range from green products to constructing and leasing green buildings.

  • Clean Green. Using environmentally preferable cleaning supplies helps reduce pollution.

Reduce energy use

Reduce, reuse, and recycle office products

  • Buy recycled content, remanufactured, and recyclable office products, and recycle them when appropriate (including e-cycling electronics). At a minimum, buy recycled paper and recycle it again. See the small business guide to pollution prevention for more information:

  • Clean Out Your Files and recycle papers you no longer need. Many organizations sponsor cleaning weeks; check with your office management staff.

  • Use spell check and proofread before you print or copy. Print double sided whenever possible. Minimize the amount of paper you use.

  • Buy reusable office supplies instead of disposable supplies.

  • Set up an area to store and exchange reusable office supplies, such as binders

  • Recycle fluorescent bulbs properly to prevent hazardous mercury from entering the environment.

In addition to these items, check the Environmental Protection Agency's "At the Workplace" page.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Downtown Atlanta's Zero Waste Zone

Atlanta has created a Zero Waste Zone in the downtown convention district in an attempt to divert waste from landfills. The pilot phase of the program focuses on recycling and diverting food waste.

The Hyatt Regency sends excess food to the Atlanta Community Food Bank and scraps are picked up by Greenco Environmental for composting. The compost is then bought by organic farmers and gardeners. The Hyatt expects to save $8000/year in the food recycling program.

Refuel Biodiesel picks up used grease from Emory University and Chick-fil-a, converts it to biodiesel, and returns it to the businesses to be used in biodiesel fleets.

The Zero Waste Zone program is an initiative of Atlanta Recycles and the Green Foodservice Alliance. The program also includes Ruth's Chris Steakhouse, Levy Restaurants, Georgia Dome, Georgia World Congress Center, and other businesses.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

What's the Deal with CFLs?

In a departure from usual posts, this is a personal commentary.

I don't know about you, but I've been disappointed with my compact flourescent lightbulbs (CFLs). Two years ago, I changed all the lightbulbs in my house and replaced them with CFLs. This was no cheap feat, it cost a few hundred dollars. But the touted benefits included the fact that CFLs use 50-80% less energy, which reduces carbon emissions, and the bulbs last up to 10 times longer than incandescents.

My first disappointment came a month later when there was no difference in my electric bill. In fact, the next month's electric bill increased, but it was summer and the air conditioning was in full swing. Besides, lighting is such a miniscule part of the electric bill, I may not have noticed the difference anyway. But I figured I was still helping the environment and the lights would pay for themselves over the lifetime of the bulbs.

Think again. Over the past 2 years, I've had to replace 7 CFL bulbs: 3 exterior bug lights, 2 globe vanity lights, and two 3-way lights. I know this because, like a good recycler, I've kept all of them in a bag for hazardous household waste disposal.

And last night, one of the bulbs exploded! Yes, exploded! It was a 3-way bulb, two light settings had already burned out, but it still offered one level of lighting and was still in use. That is, until it exploded for no apparent reason. Fortunately, no one was sitting near the lamp at the time.

After this incident, the room was allowed to air due to the risk of mercury exposure. The remnants of the bulb have now been placed in my bag for hazardous household waste disposal, and this brings the grand total to 8 CFL bulbs replaced in a span of two years.

So where are the energy savings and longer lifespans that have been claimed? I have to say I've been very disappointed. What's the deal with CFLs?

Monday, April 13, 2009

The Best Business Programs in Sustainability

Business Week has published its annual list of the overall Best Undergraduate Business Programs. The rankings also list the best undergraduate business programs by specific disciplines: marketing, corporate strategy, financial management, quantitative methods, ethics, business law, calculus, microeconomics, operations management, macroeconomics, and accounting.

For the first time, the rankings identified the best 101 undergraduate business programs in sustainability. Interestingly, none of the 11 top-ranked best undergraduate business programs even placed in the sustainability rankings.

Top 10 Best Business Programs in Sustainability

  1. Illinois

  2. Boston College (Carroll)

  3. Rutgers

  4. Xavier (Williams)

  5. George Washington

  6. Richmond (Robins)

  7. Cal Poly (Orfalea)

  8. Massachusetts (Isenberg)

  9. Rensselaer Polytech (Lally)

  10. Wake Forest (Calloway)

Related articles:

Online Business Degrees in Sustainability

Where to get a Business Degree in Sustainability

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Top Ten Greenwashing Companies in America

24/7 Wall St. has offered its list of the Top Ten Greenwashing Companies in America. According to the article,

Every company on this list makes a substantial investment in creating a perception that they are friendlier to the environment than their peers are or that they are on the side of good or that saving the global ecosystem should be part of a corporation’s broad public responsibility–its good citizenship. These firms often spend millions of dollars on advertising to support the way that their companies are perceived in the green world. But, hidden behind these efforts, each corporation on this list is a Herculean polluter. And, that fact points to a hypocrisy which is almost completely hidden from the public.

So who made the list?

  1. General Electric

  2. American Electric Power

  3. ExxonMobil

  4. DuPont

  5. Archer Daniels Midland

  6. Waste Management, Inc.

  7. International Paper

  8. BP

  9. Dow Chemical

  10. General Motors

To read a full description of why each company is on this list or to read the methodology, check out the 24/7 Wall St. article.

Monday, April 6, 2009

GoodCompany Ventures Now Accepting Applications for 2009 Program


GoodCompany Ventures Now Accepting Applications for 2009 Program
Philadelphia Area Investors Launch Innovative Incubator For Social Entrepreneurs

Philadelphia, PA - March 23, 2009 - GoodCompany Ventures, a team of social finance investors and start-up experts, today announced the launch of a business incubator targeting entrepreneurs with innovative solutions to unmet social needs. The program will provide facilities, mentoring and access to a network of capital sources to qualified entrepreneurs whose business models offer investors an attractive mix of financial return and social impact. The program will culminate in a venture fair where companies will pitch their ideas to investors.

“The program is the first of its kind in the social sector, repurposing a proven venture strategy in this emerging sector," stated Jacob Gray, Murex Investments Partner. “Unlike conventional venture incubators, GoodCompany Ventures doesn’t extract an equity commitment from entrepreneurs, but expects a commitment of time and creativity toward building a community of social entrepreneurship.”

“This incubator program will be a pioneer,” said Garret Melby, founder of Iolite Social Capital. “Just as Xerox Parc, Idea Lab and other technology incubators helped create the foundation of the information economy, GoodCompany Ventures will support entrepreneurs seeking to build a socially and environmentally sustainable economy.”

Applicants will be recruited nationally via venture capital, social finance, and academic networks. A pool of eight to twelve candidates will be selected to participate in the 2009 incubator program that begins in June.

The program has been developed jointly by Resources for Human Development, Inc. (RHD), an innovator in social finance with a successful track record in social enterprises, and Murex Investments, a “double bottom line” equity fund backed by leading financial institutions.
Applications for the GoodCompany Ventures Program are now being accepted online at The application deadline is April 20, 2009.

About GoodCompany VenturesGoodCompany
Ventures catalyzes start-ups with innovative solutions to big, unmet social needs. GoodCompany entrepreneurs are offered a great place to work in Philadephia, a community of like-minded entrepreneurs and access to a network of capital sources and expert advisors. We champion models that offer investors financial return and social impact. More information is available at or via email at

Apply Now
Applications are now being accepted for entrepreneurs and operators. Application deadline is April 20.

Potential mentors, sponsors, investors and interns are always welcomed.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Earth Hour, Saturday, 8:30pm

Don't forget to do it in the dark, whatever "it" is. Whether you are reading, eating, watching television, exercising, or anything else, remember that Saturday, March 28 at 8:30pm local time is Earth Hour. Turn off all nonessential lighting for 60 minutes to show your support for saving the Earth and creating a healthier environment. Isn't "it" more fun by candlelight anyway?

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