Behavior change

The Water Short List: The Most Effective Actions U.S. Households Can Take to Curb Water Use

Read the full article in Environment Magazine.

The long-term sustainability of many urban water supply systems in the United States is under assault from a confluence of forces. Climate change, an aging and increasingly obsolete water infrastructure, an expanding population in water-scarce regions, and economic growth are several of the formidable challenges to meeting present and future freshwater demands.1 Water conservation (broadly defined as reducing water use) offers a cost-effective and environmentally benign way to address these challenges in comparison to capturing, transporting, and treating new supplies.2 American households, a key end user of publicly supplied water, can play a vital role by curbing their own water use through installing water-efficient appliances (e.g., clothes washing machines) and fixtures (e.g., faucets) and adopting conserving habits. Determining the extent to which overall water use can be curbed can demonstrate the potential broader role that households can play in contributing to more sustainable water systems. Furthermore, identifying the most effective actions can help individuals and households with limited time, attention, and resources prioritize actions with larger savings.

Intermarché – “Inglorious Fruits and Vegetables”

Intermarché, a French supermarket chain, launched the Inglorious Fruits & Vegetables, a media campaign, celebrating the beauty of less than perfect fruits and vegetables. The chain also made this produce available at a 30% discount and offered samples to show consumers that they taste the same as their more perfect counterparts. The goal of the campaign was to raise awareness about how much food is wasted because it doesn’t look perfect. The video below gives an overview of the campaign and its results.

Why targeting 4 human emotions is key to marketing sustainability

Read the full story in The Guardian.

While brands have been remarkably successful at feeding universal human drives, such as the desire for adventure, power or status, sustainability has not been seeing the same success in its messaging. What sustainability needs to create the same impact is a similar level of insight into the best way to embrace the full range of human emotions. Because it’s human emotion that’s at the heart of what motivates us.

6 reasons technology alone can’t solve water scarcity

Read the full story at GreenBiz.

Sustainably addressing water scarcity will require technology solutions both conventional and innovative — both the “hard path for water” and the soft path for water. The conventional “hard path for water” is characterized by centralized infrastructure and decision-making using technology and institutions developed in the 19th and 20th centuries: large dams and reservoirs, pipelines and treatment plants, public water departments and agencies and private companies.

6 ways collaboration can boost sustainability

Read the full story at GreenBiz.

A room filled with 10 companies, each at various stages of maturity in their sustainability programs. They’re in the same industry but are different sizes, from different markets, with different brand images and perspectives. My role is to facilitate discussion and gain consensus on a collaborative approach — despite all the differences.

I’ve been in rooms like this many times and have come to recognize there is always one constant: Collaboration is hard. Period. You have to balance competing needs and, compared to an individual corporate initiative, collaboration almost always takes more time, commitment and patience.

But it’s also worth it. Corporate collaboration can drive exponentially greater impacts. It can foster innovative solutions, level the playing field, move an industry, raise expectations for partners, influence policy and catalyze change in myriad ways.

At BSR, we recently launched five new collaborative initiatives for our member companies, and as I have worked with colleagues to get these started, I have been asking myself: How can we make these successful and just a little bit easier?

I came up with six ways. In the spirit of collaboration, I’m sharing my list:


Why sustainability requires leadership training

Read the full post at GreenBiz.

Making sustainability happen — at scale — and with the speed required to reap returns on investment under these conditions, requires business leadership to rethink and remix their skill sets to develop the versatility and agility they need.

Corporate Sustainability Practices: Waste & Recycling

Download the document.

When it comes to waste, everyone knows the 3-R mantra: Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle. But it’s tough to follow the 3 Rs when products, packaging and materials aren’t designed with end-of-life in mind.

GreenBiz Group and Waste Management recently conducted a joint research effort to identify current trends in waste reduction and recycling. The research was undertaken to identify insights into how waste and recycling decisions are made by sustainability executives, the metrics they are employing in their drive toward waste reduction, and the actions they plan to undertake in the future.

App aims to broaden the ‘eEcosphere’ for consumers and business

Read the full story at GreenBiz.

Can millennials and social networking really lead us to a sustainable future?

One startup is betting its business model on “yes.” eEcosphere aims to help users discover, adopt and share actionable ideas to build a more sustainable lifestyle — providing personally tailored tips and local resources to improve their everyday decisions. The company, which launched the iOS version of its application last month, targets millennials, is co-led by one and offers a practical solution for the conscious, connected generation searching for a sense of meaningful action.

The objective? To transform the idea of “being sustainable” from a destination into a lens for evaluating one’s current lifestyle, and through which opportunities to make simple yet meaningful behavior changes become apparent — not to mention fun and collaborative. Along the way, it aims to create new opportunities for companies to evolve more personal, valuable relationships with their younger customers.

Harness these forces to transform your sustainability practices

Read the full post at GreenBiz.

Sustainability is no ordinary change-management challenge. An entire economic system is in transition. That’s why forces beyond the ordinary are so badly needed.

Over the past two years, while doing research for my new book, “Building a Culture for Sustainability,” and for my teaching, I have been struck by three fundamental forces. These forces are at work across a range of companies and happening up, down and across hierarchies: co-creation, bottom-up initiative and people and companies taking the long view on who their markets will be and what those markets will need. It’s really happening, and whether in big ways or small it’s producing shifts in business culture.

I call them “TIPS”: transformative-impact practices in sustainability. We’re headed toward TIPS becoming standard operating procedure, and that’s amazing.