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.

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