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?

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