Writing for a Bluer, Greener World
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27
September
2014

My coverage of the Sustainable Brands New Metrics Friday afternoon workshop on top global price viagra thailands.

It’s Friday afternoon at New Metrics ’14, and next on the agenda is a workshop offering data-based insights and recommendations on top global supply chains risks from specialists in the field.

The conversation was co-led by Andrew Savini, Manager of Supplier Management & Audits at Intertek, and Mark Robertson, Head of Marketing & Communications at Sedex, who shared their companies’ data analyses of price viagra thailands and real-world experience.

To illustrate the scope and scale of the price viagra thailand ecosystem, they offered this quote from global beverage company Diageo: “At Diageo, we talk about 70,000 suppliers and third parties, spread across over 100 countries of the world. When multiplied by the number of sub-suppliers in the supply chains, you get in to hundreds of thousands of people impacted by our global supply chain, so it’s vital to prioritize the key areas.”

Starting off, they gave an overview of CSR supply chain key events in the past 10 years, from labor issues at Levi’s and the 2013 Rana Plaza disaster, to legislation, regulations, the proliferation of standards in the late 1990s, and the role of NGOs.

Data is the key to measuring progress towards responsible sourcing, they said, which they defined as the process of purchasing goods and services without causing harm to, or exploiting, humans or the natural environment.

On to risks, they shared the top 10 performance trends that audits around the world are picking up globally – fire safety, health and safety management, level of overtime hours, environment, management systems, machinery, chemicals and worker health/first aid/accidents, building/site maintenance and benefits/insurance – as well as how they look when sliced by China, Bangladesh, the United States, and by industry.

Not surprisingly, more mature industries such as food factories tend to perform better overall, due to years of scrutiny and regulations. By contrast, electronics factories have a way to go because of growth and increasing production.

A key price viagra thailand is whether suppliers have controls or evaluation procedures for subcontracted work. In the case of Rana Plaza, many suppliers didn’t know their manufacturing processes were subcontracted to an over-burdened building with locked exits. Globally, audits find that 2 out of 5 suppliers do not have these controls in place, with the number being nearly 4 out of 5 in Taiwan.

A brighter story is the case of the global frequency of adequate fire-fighting equipment — only 1 out of 10 facilities fail at this measurement. This indicates that many years of codes of conduct and auditing have positively influenced fire safety practices.

They then did a deeper dive into labor issues in Cambodia, and showed how signs of the labor unrest that broke out in early 2014 could be discerned in earlier factory audits. A year before labor strikes took place, Cambodia’s overtime rate was 1.5 times more than the global average, signaling that workers were approaching a breaking point.

The conversation moved on to solutions and the case for multi-tier transparency. According to a PwC & MIT study, globally, only a third of companies are actively seeking transparency below Tier 1 in their supply chain. This is a problem because the highest risks and most issues are found deeper down (in the case of a garment’s supply chain, Tier 1 is the assembly, Tier 2 is the mill and Tier 3 is the cotton farm).

Intertek research backs up the case for companies to take on deeper levels of transparency – 40 percent of Intertek audit requests from global clients have something wrong with the audit request entity, and 70 percent of brands in a recent Intertek survey admitted their organizations would most likely lack the capability to trace back to production.

Externally, the drivers for improving price viagra thailand management are compliance and traceability. The first, compliance, is fueled by regulations and legislation, investor pressure and consumer pressure. Pressure to improve traceability stems from the reality that in a connected world, issues become news in seconds.

What this means for companies is that transparency is expected, the “bare minimum” is no longer acceptable, greenwashing will be called out and criticized, and companies need to know where the next Rana Plaza could be.

The session wrapped up with their advice for what executives should keep top of mind.

Robertson said that sustainability leaders are looking to “not just meet regulatory requirements but go beyond compliance. That starts with protecting workers and doing more around benefits [such a providing a living wage] or training.”

As well, forward-looking companies are harnessing the power of Big Data from government datasets and news sources, expanding traceability beyond Tier 1 and forming collaborations with NGOs and other business leaders.

Posted by Claire Sommer in Green Business - (0 Comments)
26
September
2014

My article about the Friday afternoon Sustainable Brands New Metrics 14 workshop on employee engagement case studies.

Rounding out the final afternoon of Sustainable Brands’ New Metrics ‘14, Susan Hunt Stevens, founder & CEO of WeSpire, led a candid, data-rich conversation with representatives from TD Bank, Intel and CA Technologies about their employee engagement programs.

“These three people are doing really amazing work not only in employee engagement, but more importantly, connecting employee engagement to broader business value and key HR metrics,” Stevens said.

She explained that WeSpire technology helps global companies engage their employees in sustainability and responsibility initiatives — she said WeSpire customers have saved over $1M while reducing their environmental footprint in waste, water and energy, since July 2013.

But the real win comes from more engaged employees and seeing that as a real value. She said that disengaged employees cost companies an estimated $450-550 billion in lost productivity. Looked at this way, sustainability isn’t just a department goal but a business driver of overall success. When employees get engaged at work with social and sustainability initiatives, you can measure the impact in overall productivity and results.

Starting off, Linda Qian, CSR Communications Manager at Intel, shared her company’s “cherries and pits” — successes and misses — experience with a global employee recycling program. This was one element of Intel’s overall program that offers options for employees at all stages of the sustainability continuum from “light green” to “dark green.” Notably, she said that Intel ties compensation to sustainability metrics. For this year, the bonus metric was tied to the global recycling rate.

The team picked recycling because it was a goal that everyone could contribute to by changing their behavior.  The biggest learnings, or pits, came through a bumpy program rollout and unanticipated employee pushback. But the cherries, Qian said, were that, “The ability to engage all employees in a tangible way does have positive results. We did see an overall reduction in waste produced and increased recycling.”

Brad Peirce, VP of TD Environment at TD Bank, next shared that his company seeks to be “as green as our logo” with leadership in protecting critical forest habitats, greening the urban environment, and a commitment to climate action through renewable energy. In addition, the company believes that engaging employees in these issues helps attract talent, enhance the brand and increase productivity.

Peirce said the bank has found that employees were at different stages along the continuum of green, with some superstars such as an employee named Tim Little, whose passion for talking about TD’s environmental initiatives turns customers into advocates. The challenge was to engage more employees in this way. The solution was the online “Green Pledge Challenges” with seven simple, measureable actions.

To make it go viral through the company, they added game elements and enlisted the support of senior execs and middle management to report progress weekly by lines of business in a friendly competition.

In less than six weeks, 40 percent of bank employees took the Pledge and the number continues to increase.

“We learned a lot from our data about where employees need to do better and how to help them,” Pierce said. “The pledge became a proxy for us to understand our company better, and for employees to see through a different lens that their individual actions add up to collective impact.”

Finally, Andy Wu, Principal of the Office of Sustainability at CA Technologies, discussed how his company measures whether its sustainability programs and initiatives have a positive impact on employees.

In 2011, the company launched numerous employee engagement campaigns, including a Good to Green Game and video vignettes, a Green Teams pilot that expanded in 2012, and the CA Sustain program in 2012. It also added a question to the annual employee survey, asking whether CA Technologies demonstrates its commitment to global sustainability of the environment and our communities.

Over the past two years, the program’s results show increasing employee engagement towards the company’s sustainability commitments. Favorable responses on the 2013 employee survey have jumped from 76 percent to 84 percent. And survey results for Green Team locations were even better in 2012, showing an 89 percent favorable response versus 82 percent favorable for the company overall.

Going forward, Wu said CA Technologies is looking at ways to run studies and separate sustainability from other factors that employees care about. And he noted the partnership role that the Human Resources team plays, saying: “HR has been very helpful in identifying some of the issues we have and how sustainability aligns with retention and satisfaction.”

Posted by Claire Sommer in Green Business - (0 Comments)
26
September
2014

My wrap-up of Sustainable Brands New Metrics ’14 Friday morning plenaries.

The final morning of Sustainable Brands’ New Metrics ’14 conference started with an invitation from MC Bill Baue, co-founder of the Sustainability Context Group, to imagine “what if?” sustainability pioneer Donella Meadows were in the room and what she would say.

“Am I working at a leverage point that has the most potential to leverage systemic change?” Baue asked, referring to Meadows’ landmark book, Places to Intervene in a System. He then asked attendees to keep this in mind for the day’s theme of analyzing and engaging consumers and employees, and to consider how New Metrics can help us inform and illuminate ways “to transform systems for a more sustainable — and indeed flourishing and prosperous — future.”

Terry Garcia, Chief Science and Exploration Officer at National Geographic, announced the global release today of findings from National Geographic’s fifth 2014 Greendex with GlobeScan’s Eric Whan.

Eric Whan, Terry Garcia, Alexander Gillett

L-R: Eric Whan, Terry Garcia & Alexander Gillett

The survey highlights a growing concern about environment and climate change and how that’s going to impact quality of life. But despite this, it also shows that a corresponding change in consumer behavior has only grown slowly.

Even with this gap between intention and action, there’s some good news in the survey. Whan said that a growing sense of anxiety — an awareness — shows the preconditions for making change. And that, “In my opinion there are no better change agents than marketing and branding people.” He ran through some of the survey’s deeper findings, including which groups seem more willing to change, that people are willing to pay more for more sustainable choices, and what actually motivates them do take actions.

Amy Fenton

Amy Fenton

Next up was Amy Fenton, Global Leader of Public Development & Sustainability at Nielsen, who shared new research on whether consumers actually follow their words and intentions with their wallets.

“In fact, the profound answer is ‘yes,’” Fenton asserted. “Consumers do care and their actions will follow. There are preconditions for how that change occurs, but consumer change can result in increased revenues.” Indeed, the latest data from Nielsen’s 2014 Global Corporate Social Responsibility survey shows that 55 percent of global online consumers across 60 countries are willing to pay more for products and services from companies that are committed to positive social and environmental impact.

Jenny Rushmore

Jenny Rushmore

Focusing in on millennials, she said that since over 50 percent of those willing to pay more globally for more sustainable choices are millennials, this is the group brands need to be thinking of long term.

Next, Jenny Rushmore, Director of Responsible Travel at TripAdvisor, discussed the novel metrics her company is using for its green hotel rating program by saying that it’s “a totally different way of doing research that avoids current pitfalls and opens up new exciting possibilities.” This work is the first time guest perception research has been done with a very large sample set of unprompted responses, gathered from the TripAdvisor’s GreenLeaders database of both sustainable hotel practices (over 4,000) and traveler reviews of those practices (over 30,000).

One of the striking takeaways from the research is that highly-visible green practices like sustainable food that directly add value to the consumer experience can improve the customer’s overall experience and potentially increase revenue by bumping up the hotel’s rating overall.

Highlighting another example of how new metrics can help consumers make better informed purchasing decisions was Alexander Gillett, CEO of How Good. His company’s food rating labels help create shifts in purchasing behaviors by giving shoppers an at-a-glance view of a product’s environmental and social impacts.

Echoing what TripAdvisor learned about customers, the food industry is a bellwether for how new metrics can help influence more sustainable customer decisions in other sectors. “Food is one of the areas where there is positive change,” Gillett said. “Some of the things that are happening in food will probably be happening in other industries in 10 years.”

How Good is finding that giving customers more information can bump up sales for sustainable products. He shared how putting a “This product is great for the environment, society and the world” label on the shelf under a high-rated product led to a 46 percent increase in sales for that item in conventional grocery stores.

Roya Kazemi

Roya Kazemi

After a break, the sessions continued with Roya Kazemi, Director of GreeNYC, the NYC Mayor’s Office of Long-Term Planning and Sustainability. She shared research that the City has done on how best to engage residents on sustainability issues, and what her team has learned about branding, messaging and media strategies that get results.

When NYC Mayor DeBlasio recently announced the city’s new goal to achieve an 80 percent reduction in emissions by 2050, he not only made NY the largest city in the world committing to that goal, but also made Kazemi’s job that much bigger. There’s a lot that the City is doing on the levels of infrastructure and policy, but consumers have to be a big part of that. “Household energy use is 39 percent of New York City’s CO2 emissions, so consumers have to be a big part of it,” she said. She pointed out that consumer behavior change can have an impact in a matter of months, compared to legislation that can take years.

Suzanne Shelton

Suzanne Shelton

Kazemi then described the data-driven approach they’re using to guide strategic decision-making. The detailed plan they rolled out focuses on the top 10 actions to reach people who aren’t currently doing them, to help NYC get a significant way to the goal using a positive voice, clear call-to-actions, and the use of a branded mascot named Birdie.

Kazemi’s presentation was a perfect tee-up from New York’s citywide plan to Shelton Group CEO Suzanne Shelton’s, on applying behavioral economics to inspire behavior change around energy-efficiency actions.

“Energy-efficiency is actually the best thing we can do for the environment,” Shelton said. “The problem is that none of us really want to be energy-efficient — and that’s a perception problem.” She laid out the program her company runs with utility companies to drive energy-efficiency behavior change. The “Do 5 Things” program rests on the insight that getting people to do just five things — not 2 and not 25 — is the sweet spot for getting customers engaged, happy with their savings and highly likely to do the next thing. She described how they tailored messages and methods to four distinct customer segments and used off-beat marketing messages to catch customers’ attention.

Steph Sharma

Steph Sharma

“If you want to change behaviors,” Shelton said, “you have to know who you’re talking to, customize the actions for them, make the action list manageable, and apply behavioral nudges over time.”

Shifting gears a bit, Steph Sharma, Managing Partner of Lead the Difference, posed a provocative metrics question to the room: “If human capital is a company’s greatest asset, then why does business-as-usual reflect it only as a liability?” She then explained how ongoing analysis is delving into the possibilities of making human capital more real on the balance sheet, how it could be measured, what the barriers are, and what it could mean for how we organize and manage businesses overall.

If the task is to discover which metrics represent the actual value created by humans, then one of the challenges is to determine the right inputs and outputs. As the analysis continues, Sharma said that information will be shared widely and openly. “This is all about keeping humans central,” she said, towards the goal of making humans a real asset to businesses and doing it correctly.

Tom LaForge

Tom LaForge

Finally, Tom LaForge, Global Director of Human & Cultural Insights at Coca-Cola, took the stage to discuss how culture shifts are changing how brands see themselves and position themselves in the marketplace.

“What’s emerging is that brands are starting to stand for something good — we’re entering an era where brands stand for solving problems of society,” he said. “Corporations and government have the power to make change. What I’m hoping is happening is that we the people — including the people who use your product — think that the good they want to see in the world is possible if they team up with the right people.”

The morning wrapped up with LaForge saying, “This is the world you have to prepare your organization for. This new era of social branding is about what’s the right way to do business. Start thinking about words like ‘right’ and ‘good.’ We are assessing brands at a social level and we need metrics that can help us measure and assess if a brand is helping society.”

Posted by Claire Sommer in Green Business - (0 Comments)
25
September
2014

My coverage of the Sustainable Brands New Metrics 14 Thursday afternoon workshop on the #socialfootprint approach to product sustainability.

L-R: João Fontes, Dirk Voeste, Charles Duclaux, Sébastien Zinck and Lindsay Clinton. | Image credit: Sustainable Brands

Thursday, the second afternoon at Sustainable Brands’ New Metrics ’14 conference, featured a follow-up deep dive session into the topic of one of the morning’s well-received plenary presentations — how to quantify a product’s “social footprint” as a next step in assessing sustainability.

While the sustainability field has developed many ways to assess products’ environmental footprints, until now few tools have helped accurately measure the social impacts that products have on workers, local communities, suppliers, consumers and more throughout their life cycle.

This workshop expanded on the Sept. 1 release of the Handbook for Product Social Impact Assessment, developed by PRé Sustainability and a Roundtable of 12 leading companies in various industries: Ahold, AkzoNobel, BASF, BMW Group, DSM, L’Oréal, Marks & Spencer, Philips, RB, Steelcase, The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company, and a chemical company led by PRé.

The Handbook gives companies a tool to understand risks and opportunities in product development through the whole supply chain, and support better decision making.

Lindsay Clinton, Director at SustainAbility, moderated the panel of representatives from BASF, L’Oréal and Steelcase, and João Fontes, Social Footprinting Expert at PRé.

Fontes explained what sets this tool apart from others in terms of measuring social impact: “This social footprint integrates a lot of efforts and tools that companies have available at different departments. In terms of the methodology, the social footprint is life-cycle oriented, while at the same it gives the practitioner the flexibility to define the scope of the assessment.”

Charles Duclaux, Head of Corporate Responsibility Reporting and Environmental Innovation for L’Oréal, explained his company’s motivation to join the Roundtable, saying that the initiative “perfectly fit with one of our 2020 sustainability commitments to social and environmental improvements.” Participating in the Roundtable pilot also moves the cosmetics company forward in fulfilling its pledge to help customers make more informed choices with product information.

Then, Sébastien Zinck, Manager of Eco-design and Life-Cycle Assessment for Steelcase, described how his company conducted a pilot to evaluate the social impact of one component part of a chair. “We see the big potential of these metrics to make improvements on social issues, and bridge the gap between academic research and industrial needs,” he said.

Next up was BASF’s VP of Sustainability, Dirk Voeste, who spoke about his company’s upstream position in many of the products made by fellow Roundtable members, the responsibility that comes along with that, and how this tool can help make better business decisions.

“Social metrics are getting very critical for us,” he said, noting the importance of using a standardized frame for making decisions.

Fontes walked through the steps of the social footprint methodology, which is similar to a Life Cycle Analysis. The process starts with setting goals and scope, moves on to data inventory, and then to reference points as performance indicators for benchmarking and comparison. Roundtable members helped create and validate the process that also incorporates international standards for social issues.

At the end of the seven-step process, Fontes said, “you have a visual dashboard color-coded, where you can see the areas where you or one of your business partners are doing a great job, as well as the areas that need attention.”

While still a work in progress, the social impact tool has huge potential to help companies measure and improve their relationships between products and people through the entire product value chain.

The speakers said the next phase of refining the product social footprinting methodology is underway and the Roundtable for Product Social Metrics is looking for new corporate members to join and collaborate.

Posted by Claire Sommer in Green Business - (0 Comments)
25
September
2014

My coverage of the Sustainable Brands New Metrics 14 Thursday afternoon workshop on adding context to sustainability goals.  (First half written by Tamay Kiper.)

A two-part session on Thursday afternoon explored sustainability context through examining the evolution of corporate sustainability goals, and case studies from leading companies proactively applying it to their goal-setting processes.

First, Sustainability Context Group co-founder Bill Baue — moderator of both parts — led a discussion on the state of corporate sustainability goals and equipping companies with practical advice on how to incorporate context.

Baue started by explaining the concept of context — which calls for assessing “the performance of the organization in the context of the limits and demands placed on environmental or social resources at the sector, local, regional or global level” — and raised the question: “Where are we now in sustainability and where are we going?”

Panelist Mark McElroy, founder & Executive Director of Center for Sustainable Organizations, further explained the necessity for Context Based Sustainability (CBS) in environmental goal-setting, as well as the need to turn to climate science for thresholds, to then devise a way to apportion them to organizations. A new CBS method, the MultiCapital Scorecard (MCS), which Ben & Jerry’s has just adopted, puts Trajectory Targets (interim goals) and Triple Bottom Line concerns in scope and assessing performance relative to both final (Sustainability Norms) and interim (Trajectory Targets) goals.

Next, Bob Willard picked up where his morning plenary presentation left off, further explaining The Future-Fit Business Benchmark — which defines the science-based, minimum acceptable levels of environmental and social performance that a company must reach if it is to be truly sustainable and fit for the future — and expanding on the 21 Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for businesses. Social KPIs were divided into 5 categories (Employees, Community, Customers, Investors and Suppliers, & Partners) and Environmental KPIs included Energy, GHG, Water, Materials, Products, Waste and Land. A company’s Future-Fit performance on these KPIs ensures its environmental and social impacts do not contribute to the issues.

Andrew Winston, author of The Big Pivot, engaged the audience with the latest updates from the PivotGoals Data introduced at SB’14 San Diego in June, and emphasized that 75 percent of Fortune 200 companies now publicly share sustainability goals. Echoing McElroy’s and Willard’s insights, Winston divided these goals into two categories: Science-equivalent — what external thresholds would demand for some large part of the business (not the full value chain); and “Future Fit” compatible — moral, ethical, or based on a flourishing model, but not technically ‘science-based.’ Winston encouraged the audience to track companies’ sustainability goals online on PivotGoals.com, and feedback from the audience was to track these goals periodically to see if companies were successful meeting these goals.

Then Cynthia Cummis, Deputy Director of GHG Protocol at the World Resources Institute (WRI) introduced its science-based target-setting framework, which aims to raise the ambition of corporate GHG reduction targets to support a transition to a low-carbon economy and keep the planet below a 2-degree temperature rise. She then explained how WRI’s Sectoral decarbonization approach (SDA). — a sector-specific decarbonization pathway based on the 2ºC carbon budget, expected sector activity and mitigation potential — aims to engage the leading multinational companies to set science-based emissions reduction targets by the end of 2015, and demonstrate to policy-makers the scale of ambition among leading companies to reduce their emissions and act as a positive influence on international climate negotiations.

After a round of audience questions and a short networking break, Baue returned with a fresh set of panelists to delve into case studies from EMC, Cabot Creamery and Autodesk, detailing each company’s experience incorporating sustainability context into their efforts.

“We’re in transition from incremental goals towards more ambitious goal-setting that takes the larger context of ecological limits and social impacts into consideration,” Baue said.

Emma Stewart, Head of Sustainability Solutions for Autodesk, kicked things off the three reasons her company got into science-based goal setting.

“As an environmental scientist, I’d never seen the level of consensus and clear guidance that we have on climate science,” she said. Secondly, she found the current practices around goal-setting to be “ripe for disruption” due to short-term timeframes and guesstimate benchmarking that would “save the climate, but 39 years too late.” And finally, rising regulations expectations beginning to affect Autodesk’s customers opened an opportunity to be more responsive to their needs.

This analysis led Autodesk to build C-FACT (Corporate Finance Approach to Climate-Stabilizing Targets), a science-driven method for setting GHG emissions reduction targets against real-world limits, which Autodesk has since made freely available to all companies.

EMC’s Chief Sustainability Officer, Kathrin Winkler, spoke next about her company’s role as one of the first to set a carbon-reduction goal with the EPA climate leaders program. They hit that initial goal and then moved on to setting, and achieving, better ones for 2012, 2015, 2020 and 2050. Winkler described how the company has customized its glidepath for achieving its carbon stabilization goals, based on the C-FACT model, and cautioned that flexibility is key to meeting future challenges.

“The thing with absolute goals is that they kind of lock you into a mindset, and depending on what happens with climate science, business might need to do more,” she said.

Up next was Jed Davis, Cabot’s Director of Sustainability, who shared his company’s context-based sustainability journey as a nearly 100-year-old Vermont-based cooperative with 1,200 dairy farm families. He described the company’s sustainability motto — “Living within our means, Ensuring the means to live” — as a “straightforward way of baking in context-based sustainability that implicitly is about respecting some thresholds and limits.”

Baue and the panel then fielded inquiries from the room about how CBS and C-FACT can be applied to resources other than carbon (as Cabot is doing for water), material traceability, and for small businesses and cities. Stewart noted that the City of Palo Alto has just adopted C-FACT as its baseline target, as Autodesk customized the methodology for cities earlier this year.

Winkler shared another example of when context involves a company setting its own thresholds. Most hardware IT companies set goals for materials take-back in terms of tonnage, she said, but a better question to ask is: “How much are we getting back in terms of what we put out? Making e-waste isn’t the goal. The point is to create a closed loop. In this case, you set the threshold.”

The session closed with plenty of questions left to ask about ambitious sustainability targets and practice, but with a clear sense that setting real-world science-based goals is no longer just a possibility, but an imperative.

Posted by Claire Sommer in Green Business - (0 Comments)
19
September
2014

Here’s #SDGs info: 17 goals & 169 targets to be achieved by 2030. v @guardian @hlovins http://t.co/Nluc0QU8fA

 

Sept. 19 Peoples Climate March “What Are We Marching For” Event (read up from bottom)

–Phil @350 “This march is about getting people to feel part of the wave” Completely agree.

–Whoa. I think Hunter Lovins just said that the US & China are going to do a #carbon deal as G2

–Think #ActOnClimate is impossible? Hunter Lovins: UN approved 17 #SDGs. A year early. Done. http://t.co/Nluc0QU8fA

–Jo Confino talking about our deep connection to each other and the earth and the universe–coming back to ourselves.

–A word I haven’t heard often enough in business: duty “What is our duty to each other?—Jo Confino

–Hunter talking about “a new narrative” for a new way of doing biz that works for all.

–Donna Morton @PRINCIPIUM_imp “We can align money with our hearts and who we want to be”

–Phil @350 “As humans our capacity to connect is our biggest asset”

–Excited to hear @joconfino @350 @hlovins #PeoplesClimate @BardMBA http://t.co/30XuJQfafp

RT @CoryBooker: Grateful. RT @KayakMediaTweet: So proud that my #nj senators signed the #PeoplesClimate support letter!

RT @ForecastFacts: @KayakMediaTweet @SustainBrands @intel @Verizon @Ford @google lots more talking on this next week too. Will they walk?

1st leading brand to do right thing RT @consumerist: Crest Confirms It’s Distancing Itself From Scandalized NFL http://t.co/uB1vgIuwdg

My latest @SustainBrands: The #CVSEffect in Action: ‘Walk the Talk’ Edition with @Intel, @Verizon, @Ford and @Google http://t.co/m80i1d3Oyh

So proud that my #NJ senators signed the #PeoplesClimate support letter! Thx u @SenatorMenendez @CoryBooker #njenviro http://t.co/1Jt6tuLO8c

@ASBCouncil I want the world to #ActOnClimate because I see a fairer, freer, healthier, greener, bluer world for all of us #ClimateSummit

Desmond Tutu’s #climate summit prayer: “May we learn to sustain & renew the life of our Mother Earth” http://t.co/7V6Ob8prXw

MarcGunther: Is traveling to the #climate march worth the carbon footprint? @GernotWagner ponders the question http://t.co/7pW2fwIz0q

@emorwee NICELY DONE. A theoretical physicist walks into a Congressional hearing. You won’t believe what happened next.

 

Sept. 18 #GreenBizSummit (read up from bottom)
–Verizon’s Gowen makes great rec to find #sustainability expertise w/new grads & veterans

–Love @jeanawirtenberg’s idea that biz owners can be part of a “Conspiracy for Good”–win-win-win for planet & ppl & profits

–@jeanawirtenberg puts biz success in context of #climate change that affects all of us.

–3rd panel coming up…who’s going to mention #climate change first? Hasn’t come up yet but key for all #nj biz

–@MayorBollwage hears about @newjerseypace as a renewable energy bldg job-creating financing option for municipalities #pace

–@MayorBollwage refreshingly real about urban energy resiliency challenges. 54 languages in his town, to start

–Here’s the lead: #Nj Smallbiz Development Centers offering free business counseling 4 biz owners. Competitive advantage ppl

–Yes. St. Peter Univ President: “#sustainability is about a moral & ethical responsibility to future generations”

–Love that #green team action gets ppl involved in local gov’t & their towns win-win 4 stronger communities

–Glad NJDEP rep con’td w/ #sustainability progress needs mindset change for long-term investment & returns 2/2

–NJDEP rep starts w/ short-term vision that #sustainability is “keep ppl employed & keep biz going” …. 1/2

–+1 Pam Mount defines #sustainability as #njenviro plus local economies & equity issues like fair wages and health insurance

–Terhune Orchards #smallbiz owner Pam Mount talking #sustainability & growing @sj_program as well as food for #nj families #GreenBizSummit

–Vivian Brady-Phillips Deputy Mayor, #JerseyCity-turning brown fields into parks for people

–Tweeting at #NJ #Sustainability & #smallbiz Summit in #jerseycity

 

Great debunking by @thinkprogress @emorwee: Congressman: Don’t trust climate scientists, they’re in it for the money http://t.co/lTnkYc4Rm9

+1 MT @MichaelEMann @sawtoothwave Make your voice heard. Vote, write ltrs to the editor, educate yr friends, colleagues, family. #AskDrMann

Want change? Dig in the dirt. Thx u @robintransition. Pls read @drgrist http://t.co/R5nygSwxno

YES “… of the things they love, of place, of possibility, of things their children love and value. 2/2 http://t.co/R5nygSwxno

READ: “We need to speak to peoples’ values, of community, of family….”1/2 http://t.co/R5nygSwxno @robintransition #susty @buildresilience

Instructive 4 how #NJ gov’t works MT @njdotcom NJ sells controversial pension investment tied to MA gov candidate http://t.co/IVDdm84pNC

RT @NewEconomics: Why the Climate Movement Must Stand with Ferguson http://t.co/s5Rv3r8350

This is imp bc Texas drives the nat’l textbook mkt MT @cgiller TX proposes schl books 2 deny manmade #climate change http://t.co/39SzSmfUjh

@RL_Miller Yeah. And even better–what if we fix #climate change & it’s actually really good for our families http://t.co/I5flx9zhFh

Interesting! Thanks Julie MT @TaigaCompany Illinois Considers GHG Metric for Evaluating Utility Performance – http://t.co/mqwVXbj0FR

How about #NJ gets a coordinated #climate plan? Thx @NJSierraClub’s Jeff Tittel OpEd on shore rebuilding http://t.co/6lpuusxcSq

Watching….Launch of a new Climate Economy Commission report for #climate action http://t.co/8kFxuR2aHF #ncereport

Great explainer MT @njspotlight Sen. Bill Package Cld Fundamentally Change #NJ Power Sector http://t.co/B1pliwzc80 @NewJerseyPACE #njenviro

Way to go @emorwee MT @climateprogress 7 big food co.s say #climate change poses a threat to their products http://t.co/dtAIcLNfga #csr

@NJ_Politics: Resolution aiming to stop Christie keeping N.J. out of emissions pact OKed by Senate panel http://t.co/PV8qF0tBw2

Super interesting that Exxon prices #carbon the highest of energy co.s. Thx for reporting @joconfino @GuardianSustBiz http://t.co/4aZmQXPUq7

Concrete win-win examples by @Jeanawirtenberg: How #NJ big biz are helping #smallbiz #sustainability http://t.co/8irsg1dBYC

Like that 1st pt is positive action to #InvestinClimate 160 Environmentalists’ #Climate Declaration http://t.co/evbEmtYap0 H/T @drgrist

Comments wanted MT @joconfino Who are the top tweeters on #economic transformation? @GuardianSustBiz http://t.co/hFFhLkKwle #susty #socimp Sep 15, 2014

Who speaks for your #smallbiz?Read @ASBCouncil research on what biz owners really want #Sustainability @triplepundit http://t.co/TmYTjHGVLn

#NJ Senate takes up #RGGI re-join today http://t.co/E12Yntx4SY #ACPress @wjmckelvey #njenviro

Posted by Claire Sommer in Green Business - (0 Comments)
18
September
2014

Here’s my latest for Sustainable Brands.

Seven months ago, this series kicked off with CVS’ surprise announcement that it would no longer carry tobacco products in its retail stores. Fast forward, the company announced Sept. 3 that it had met its goal a month ahead of schedule and had a new name to match its bold, new vision of a tobacco-free America — CVS Health.

In follow-up articles, I’ve talked about leading businesses that have taken big steps for the common good because it’s the right thing to do — even if it costs the company financially in the short term — and the most recent talked-about companies banding together to work on climate and energy issues.

This time I want to point to a trend of businesses being called out publicly to make their “walk match their talk” on climate action commitments, political contributions and trade association memberships. It’s worth noting that pressure from responsible investment and climate action groups factor into all of the examples below, as more proof of the power of collaboration.

By nature I’m more inclined to shine a light on positive examples, but this wave of businesses being exposed for disconnects between their stated values and actions merits a closer look. My hope is that these efforts will spur actions that we can broadly acknowledge as steps in the right direction for leading brands.

I started tracking this issue of talking-versus-walking in January when the Union of Concerned Scientists released a report called Tricks of the Trade: How Companies Influence Climate Policy Through Business and Trade Associations. The report shows that “companies choose not to be transparent about their affiliations with trade and business associations.” One of the key issues that author Gretchen Goldman raises are disconnects between businesses’ positions on climate change versus the positions held by their business and trade groups.

In March, Intel became the first US company to commit to aligning its company policies and political contributions. The decision came after what was described as “fruitful negotiations” with investor group NorthStar Asset Management, Inc. and the filing of a shareholder proposal. In hindsight, this news that didn’t get a lot of ink early in the year looks prescient. What’s notable here is that the commitment goes behind disclosure — “tell us what you’re doing” — to doing things differently in the future.

Then, a much-shared article in June by Climate Progress discussed the US Chamber of Commerce’s preemptive swing at President Obama’s climate plan (the Chamber’s report opposed EPA rules that hadn’t been released yet, saying that they would be bad for jobs and the economy). The quote that grabbed my eye was this: “The Chamber does not speak on behalf of Prudential.” Well then, I wanted to ask, who does?

Then last month, Microsoft announced it had cut ties with the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) because of concerns about the lobbying group’s opposition to renewable energy. Pressure from two responsible investment groups — The Sustainability Group and Walden Asset Management — played a role in the decision. And a few weeks later, a Common Cause-led campaign with over 50 organizational co-signers called on Google to drop its ALEC membership as well.

Which brings us up to earlier this month, when Forecast the Facts released its new “Disrupt Denial” report and social media campaign. The group says that “companies like eBay, Ford, Google, Microsoft, and UPS also contributed to the $641 million climate deniers in Congress have received from US businesses since 2008.” It’s too soon to say if this campaign will be successful, but if it is, then Intel’s example provides a path for other companies to follow.

As the year has progressed, I’ve felt increasing optimism from examples in the business world, op-eds and mainstream media that climate reality is winning out. The World Bank released a statement in August showing business leader support for carbon pricing and China just announced it will have a carbon market up and running by 2016. More companies are stepping up to talk about climate change as a material business risk and sharing their energy plans with investors and shareholders. And many of those companies have signed on as supporters for the Sept. 21 People’s Climate March in New York City that kicks off Climate Week and the Sept. 23 UN Climate Summit.

At the same time, there are plenty of people ready to write off the Summit’s chances for a treaty in 2015 or if it’s even possible to stave off climate catastrophe. But what’s different this time is that the business world has been asked to take on larger and more meaningful commitments. The We Mean Business coalition announced it will launch on Sept. 22 with a new report on the business case for moving swiftly to a low-carbon economy and the opportunities available to those companies who take action now.

The science is clearer than ever that our globe is heading towards “irreversible” climate impacts. So there’s not a day to waste — as individuals, business owners and citizens — to make sure future generations have a world fit to live in.


Posted by Claire Sommer in Green Business - (0 Comments)
12
September
2014

A friend’s slithery, spiny ceramic chainmail piece. It clinks, it moves, it’s astonishing. http://t.co/1cWeJoRTkS ruthborgenicht.com

#NJ #Green champion @TerraCycle has a new reality show on @Pivot_TV called Human Resources Fri 10pm ET http://t.co/xTBxpuBJVa #njenviro Sep 11, 2014

Capturing Hearts & Minds w/Green Teams from @earthpeopleco’s Anna Clark http://t.co/y58dojMdON

Hey @NewJerseyPACE #PACE is one of the ingredients MT @drgrist The State Clean Energy Cookbook: https://t.co/ObNA89G2bp

@GovernorVA launches #climate change commission & Dr. @MichaelEMann was there http://t.co/dXb0LL2GiR Wish #NJ was as cool.

Strong endorsement for #NJ to rejoin #RGGI from Star-Ledger EB w/ Christie cast as Nero http://t.co/WJsoEIsrcW

Thanks Sen. Bob Smith–#NJ Draft Leg Would Bump Up New Jersey’s Renewable-Energy Goals http://t.co/weKKD2NZJl

Univ of California Task Force says they won’t #divest $10B in carbon funds from $91B endowment, but will invest $1B & add #solar http://t.co/O52IenrnA5

Solutions not excuses–Look at what @NewJerseyPACE is working on for #NJ #susty #climate clean #energy jobs http://t.co/6Xe0Vwi3dk

Hey @KevinIMoss, congrats on great BT teleconferencing #sustainability piece. Practical & replicable biz advice http://t.co/xC1TvoDFr9

Sane sensible #sustainability! MT @GuardianSustBiz Cut emissions, save money w/teleconferencing http://t.co/xC1TvoDFr9

Next in #NJ #RGGI fight that’s cost $114M so far: Mon 10AM Sen Enviro & Energy Cmttee H/T @EnviroPolitics #njenviro http://t.co/9tllSJwD6J

Great piece by @earthpeopleco’s @AnnaClark on Making & Doing: The Joy of DIY http://t.co/ihhAd9cnzd

Sigh, but kudos 4 progress in tough places MT Cities Preparing For #Climate Change, Just Won’t Say So http://t.co/ZrNxasFgZo

Note this: Would have been 1st “necessity defense” for #climate MT @KuffnerAlex Plea deal 4 #climatetrial protesters http://t.co/pWeMYj8O1c

“This time around, the case for renewables was based on economics” Austin, Texas big new #Solar law http://t.co/5HPDLkuMCd

Another #NJ #climate OpEd from a nun who’s also an investment fund director for fed Clean Power Plan http://t.co/LvwV6YdvxL #njenviro

Great explainer on where #NJ offshore #wind political saga stands by @NJSpotlight’s Tom Johnson http://t.co/pRglw2P18t

Q for @CFigueres at #CWNYC: Who are next biz who will take big bold #leadership #climate actions?

@AndrewWinston What’s your thought? Imp next step in convo, or placating? Mr. Swensen’s 11% decade avg returns indicates he’s a smart man

Cogent accessible read on #climate risk: “The more uncertain we are, the more careful we should be” #sustainability http://t.co/v3qqdBq5Az

Strong #NJ @starledger Ed Bd op-ed supporting Obama’s #climate treaty plans. Denier comments prove the pt. http://t.co/q9Iw3vGyTu

Posted by Claire Sommer in Green Business - (0 Comments)
11
September
2014

Posted with permission by the American Sustainable Business Council-New Jersey.

This letter was sent as submitted comments on the NJDEP’s proposal to formally repeal the law that allowed NJ to be part of the multi-state RGGI clean-energy coalition.

September 5, 2014

Submitted Comments Opposing Governor Christie’s NJDEP Proposed Repeal of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Regulations

Alice Previte, Esq.
Attn: DEP Docket No. 04-14-15
New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection
Office of Legal Affairs
P.O. Box 402
401 E. State Street, Seventh Floor
Trenton, NJ 08625-0402

Dear Ms. Previte:

Please accept these comments on behalf of the American Sustainable Business Council-NJ, representing diverse companies and business associations, regarding NJDEP Docket No. 04-14-15.

The American Sustainable Business Council-New Jersey and its network of NJ-based business owners and supporters are dedicated to pursuing a sustainable economy in New Jersey.  Therefore, we request the reinstatement of New Jersey into the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. Throughout the Northeast, RGGI has consistently shown that it contributes to bolstering state financial coffers, while also reducing greenhouse emissions. RGGI also serves to stimulate new markets for renewables and clean energy technologies, which lead to additional job growth and the attraction of new financial investment capital.

As business leaders in New Jersey, we see RGGI as a very smart investment; one that mitigates the risk of climate change, while producing much needed revenue and the cause of many new, well paid, in-state jobs. RGGI demonstrates that economic gain and environmental stewardship are entirely compatible. RGGI is a business investment that pays significant dividends with almost no associated risk.

We call upon Governor Christie to re-engage New Jersey in RGGI for the following reasons:

1/ RGGI is a market-based and impactful way for New Jersey to reduce its global warming emissions, while at the same expanding its clean energy economy.

2/ RGGI is a source of revenue. New Jersey can generate millions of dollars in carbon revenues through RGGI. These dollars can be invested in local economic opportunities. Prior to its withdrawal from RGGI in 2011, New Jersey raised over $113 million in revenues.

3/ RGGI helps to mitigate the very real risks of climate change. Rising sea levels and extreme weather events like Hurricane Sandy demonstrate the economic risks associated with inaction. RGGI is a prudent insurance policy against further damage.

4/ RGGI is an effective and flexible way for New Jersey to comply with EPA’s recently announced draft carbon standard for power plants.

5/ Residents of New Jersey want climate action. An overwhelming majority (80%) of citizens support limits on carbon emissions.

RGGI is a proven program that generates benefits for businesses, creates jobs and provides a positive impact on the economy.

Since 2009, the program has helped to:

  • Reduce climate-altering carbon pollution by almost 30 percent;
  • Cut electricity prices by 8 percent;
  • Create more than 23,000 job-years of work;
  • Lock in more than $1.8 billion in long-term savings on energy bills; and
  • Add more than $2.4 billion in economic activity to the region.”

As business leaders, we recognize a good investment when we see one, and RGGI stands out as a clear case in point. RGGI is only an early example of the adjustments and steps we will all have to make in the dawning era of climate change recognition, but it is one that has proven its worth to us within the NJ business community.

We encourage the Christie Administration to appreciate the business case for rejoining RGGI.

Sincerely,

Matt Polsky

Business Engagement Manager
American Sustainable Business Council-New Jersey

Posted by Claire Sommer in Green Business | Green Government - (0 Comments)
8
September
2014

Sustainability. Green. Renewables. Resilience. These buzzwords seem to be popping up everywhere.

That’s because global climate change is here and now. As a coastal state, we’re already feeling the impacts of climate change because we’re vulnerable to storms, flooding and sea level rise. And, we know more is coming, based on research not only from global organizations like the IPCC but NJ’s own Climate Change Impacts Report.

Big businesses are already getting ready, spending millions of dollars on hardening their infrastructure and reevaluating where their raw materials come from and how they get produced.

But what about smaller businesses, especially right here in the Garden State? Here’s five great NJ sustainable business resources for small business owners.

1. Got 5 Minutes? Grab some ideas from this “Go Green” guide just for small businesses from the NJ Small Business Assistance Program.

3. Got 15 Minutes? Sign up for free webinars, resources and networking opportunities from the American Sustainable Business Council.

3. Got a few hours? Schedule a free NJ Clean Energy Program energy assessment. Attend the next New Jersey WasteWise Business Network meeting on Nov. 13.

4. Got some time after work? Drop in to you town’s Environmental Commission or Chamber of Commerce to talk with people in your community about energy efficiency, recycling, renewable energy, and whatever else is on your mind.

If your hometown or the town your business is in is part of Sustainable Jersey’s program, check out their programs to go green, save money and make your community a great place to live.

5. Got a day+: Join the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection’s new Sustainable Business Registry that provides resources and recognition for businesses that adopt sustainability practices.

If you aren’t sure where to start, you can meet with a NJ Small Business Development Center sustainability consultant for free, one-on-one Pollution Prevention and Sustainability help.

These resources can help you make sure your business stronger than the (next) storm, but that’s just a beginning. Really, being a “sustainable business” is just what small business owners have always done: save money on energy, make less waste, create new ways to serve customers better than your competitors, and contribute to your community’s wellbeing.

Being a sustainable business owner is all about doing business today so all of us can thrive tomorrow. It’s about helping people, places, and businesses be better in every way, for all of us.

Posted by Claire Sommer in Green Business - (0 Comments)