How to turn Millennials into sustainability champions

Read the full story at GreenBiz.

Millennials – that is, young adults born between 1980 and the early 1990s and also known as Generation Y – have been given a bad rap. Labeled as lazy, pampered, spoiled, aimless (and myriad other not-exactly-true titles), Gen Y has struggled to prove its worth during a very trying time in our country’s history.

As a Millennial, I find the flack shelled out to my generation to be unfair at best. Sure, there are members of Generation Y who fit the labels – but, to be fair, what generation doesn’t have members who are entitled, spoiled and/or lazy? The public is fascinated with stories of Millennial mass unemployment, insurmountable student loan debt and the growth of a generation of Peter Pans who might never venture away from the nest.

What many generally fail to see is all of the good within my generation’s ranks. The creatives. The go-getters. The scholars. The philanthropes. They’re all there, trying to find their way in the world when so many have said they can’t make it. The system is against them and still they press on, creative by choice and entrepreneurial by necessity. And marketers need to pay close attention – after all, Millennials will soon be the most powerful spending force (their spending power is currently estimated to be around $990 billion).

Attracting Millennials’ attention isn’t too difficult – all it takes is an understanding of their makeup. Here are a few things about Millennials to keep in mind:

9 skills for success in corporate sustainability leadership

Read the full story at GreenBiz.

The following is adapted from the book Changing Business from the Inside Out: A Treehugger’s Guide to Working in Corporations, by Timothy J. Mohin, Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 2012. Reprinted with permission.

While numerous graduate programs are popping up that offer training in sustainable business and corporate responsibility, very few people in the corporate responsibility (CR) field have these degrees. Most people working in CR positions have education and experience in some other area and have followed their passion to get to one of these jobs. After talking to several of my colleagues and thinking through my own experiences, I identified nine core skills that are important elements to success in corporate responsibility:

Two stories on Apple and EPEAT from GreenBiz

Apple’s EPEAT reversal shows sustainability’s clout covers Apple’s decision to rejoin the registry. Apple puts spotlight on proliferation, value of eco-labels uses Apple’s decision to discuss the wider impact of eco-labels on product development.

Marks and Spencer’s Emerging Business Case for Sustainability

Read the full story from the MIT Sloan Management Review.

Five years ago, the UK retailer Marks and Spencer announced what it called Plan A, a commitment to tangible steps to make the company more sustainable. T-shirts for associates featured the slogan, “There is no Plan B.”

As it says at the Plan A website today, “We launched Plan A in January 2007, setting out 100 commitments to achieve in 5 years. We’ve now extended Plan A to 180 commitments to achieve by 2015, with the ultimate goal of becoming the world’s most sustainable major retailer.”

The company’s new 56-page “How We Do Business Report 2012” [PDF] details what the company has achieved in the past five years.

Marks and Spencer has also prepared a separate report called “The key lessons from the Plan A business case.” [PDF]

How Dell Turned Bamboo and Mushrooms Into Environmental-Friendly Packaging

Read the full story from the MIT Sloan Management Review.

At Dell, the sustainability team, working with suppliers and recyclers, has developed new compostable packaging materials made from bamboo and mushrooms. As John Pflueger, Principal Environmental Strategist, says, “It’s absolutely amazing.”

Energy Efficiency Tax Incentives in the Context of Tax Reform

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This paper looks at tax incentives for energy efficiency in the context of tax reform.  It reviews experience with current and past energy efficiency tax incentives and based on this experience provides some guidelines on the most effective ways to apply limited funds to maximize long-term energy savings.  Specific options discussed include medium-term incentives for advanced technologies and practices that can permanently transform markets and repayable tax incentives.  The paper also includes an analysis of the costs and savings of 13 specific proposals, ranking them on federal cost per million Btu of energy saved.