Day: October 4, 2011

SMEs Set Their Sights on Sustainability: Case Studies from the UK, US and Canada

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The case studies that follow show that across different business models there are some universal truths on which companies converge. Some began with sustainability as the fundamental principle driving the company, while others have steadily shifted well-established businesses towards a more sustainable model, but all have found that emphasizing sustainability improves their profitability, generates greater loyalty and commitment from employees, and cements relationships with customers and suppli- ers. Their experience shows that any SME, in any industry, can take meaningful steps towards sustainable business practices and quickly see benefits accrue.

From its work with larger organizations the A4S has identified 10 elements that are integral to embedding sustainability within organizations. These case studies illuminate a similar set of elements that are crucial for SME companies to implement sustainable practices in smaller organizations.

A Hunt Where Efficiency is the Prey

Read the full post at GreenBiz.

Companies usually pay workers to keep facilities running. But some firms are learning that making teams of their employees stop, listen and look around for waste can pay dividends toward the bottom line.

A growing list of companies are turning their employees into sleuths tasked with a single purpose: to identify and quantify opportunities to save energy. The process is called a Treasure Hunt, and over the last decade, more than 200 of the events at GE have uncovered $150 million in energy savings.

Moving Beyond Carbon: The Future of Resource Management Software

Read the full post at GreenBiz.

While much has been written about carbon management (and much of it by me…), I’ve always been aware of the bigger picture that carbon is just one of many — depending on the company, it can be 30 or more — environmental, compliance and safety processes that large companies have to track across the many countries of their operations.

At last week’s Enablon user conference in Chicago, I got the opportunity to better understand how large companies manage those processes, especially around risk, regulations and transparency requirements.

How Open Innovation Can Solve Environmental Problems Large & Small

Read the full story at GreenBiz.

We is smarter than me.

That’s the premise behind a partnership between the Environmental Defense Fund and InnoCentive. You probably know EDF — they’re a (mostly) business friendly nonprofit that looks for solutions to environmental problems. InnoCentive is a company that has built an open Internet platform to connect other firms, governments and NGOs to creative people all over the world who can help them solve problems.

Last week, EDF and InnoCentive declared a winner in their first challenge, which looked for a new approach to the old problem of agricultural nitrate pollution: He is Patrick Fuller, 23, who is studying for a PhD. in chemical and biological engineering at Northwestern. He’ll be awarded $5,000 for his idea, about which more below.

Why Companies Should Merge Voluntary and Required Sustainability Projects

Read the full post at GreenBiz.

To merge or not to merge? That is the question facing many companies with both a mandatory reporting requirement for environmental regulations and voluntary activities focused on improving the overall sustainability of the business. Two experts made the case for merging the two efforts to an audience at a webinar this week.

‘App Store’ Aims to Get LEED Buildings to Deliver on Performance

Read the full story at GreenBiz.

There are two big challenges in ramping up the potential impacts of green building technologies: Getting more green buildings built, and making sure they are performing as efficiently as expected.

Today, just in advance of the annual Greenbuild conference, Indie Energy has launched what it thinks could be a solution to the performance problem. The company’s Energy App Exchange is an open platform for developers to create solutions to make sure sustainable buildings deliver on their promise.

For Traditional Cider, Head To The Laundry Room

Listen to the story at NPR. Audio should be available by 7 pm EDT. Great example of upcycling e-waste.

To celebrate the fall apple season, Freeport, Maine, neighbors Ned Wight and Gino Giumarro decided they wanted to buy a home cider press. But after realizing it would set them back hundreds of dollars, they stumbled onto another, more feasible option: convert a washing machine into an apple press. Five years later, their creation is still churning out cider with the best of the traditional models. Patty Wight sent this audio postcard.

Green Building Operations & Maintenance Manual for Public Housing

Partnering with Siemens Industry, Inc., and nine public housing authorities across the United States, Green Seal developed the Green Building Operations & Maintenance Manual: A Guide for Public Housing Authorities. There are three versions of the manual for different climate regions within the United States: northern, southeast, and southwest.

New method cleans up textile industry’s hazardous waste

Read the full post at SmartPlanet.

Historically, the garment industry has been incredibly hazardous to the earth, spilling dangerous chemicals into rivers and agricultural land, tainting local drinking water.

However, a Swedish doctoral student, Maria Jonstrup, has discovered a new way to purify the discharged toxins, leaving only water behind. Her efforts are an attempt to clean up process of dyeing textiles once and for all.

Long-awaited supply chain emissions reporting guidelines are published

Read the full post at Smart Planet.

The Greenhouse Gas Protocol has finally published guidelines that will give businesses deeper insight into the greenhouse gas emissions profile of their supply chain partners. In short, the time for corporate procrastination when it comes to assessing the environmental impact of business partners across the supply chain is past.

The guidelines were developed by the World Resources Institute (WRI) and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD). They are focused on analyzing and reporting Scope 3 data, the emissions and environmental impact produced by a company’s supply chain and “value chain” partners in the course of creating, delivering and managing its products and services.

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