Behavior change

6 reasons technology alone can’t solve water scarcity

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.

From ‘Blue’ to green: Utah State learns how to win over critics

In this article for GreenBiz, members of Utah State University’s sustainability team detail how they used a marketing campaign to turn resistance to a new campus sustainability fee into support for the projects that the fee funds.

The genesis of climate change activism: from key beliefs to political action

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Climate change activism has been uncommon in the U.S., but a growing national movement is pressing for a political response. To assess the cognitive and affective precursors of climate activism, we hypothesize and test a two-stage information-processing model based on social cognitive theory. In stage 1, expectations about climate change outcomes and perceived collective efficacy to mitigate the threat are hypothesized to influence affective issue involvement and support for societal mitigation action. In stage 2, beliefs about the effectiveness of political activism, perceived barriers to activist behaviors and opinion leadership are hypothesized to influence intended and actual activism. To test these hypotheses, we fit a structural equation model using nationally representative data. The model explains 52 percent of the variance in a latent variable representing three forms of climate change activism: contacting elected representatives; supporting organizations working on the issue; and attending climate change rallies or meetings. The results suggest that efforts to increase citizen activism should promote specific beliefs about climate change, build perceptions that political activism can be effective, and encourage interpersonal communication on the issue.