Companies focus on corporate responsibility, in part, to land conventions and new business

Read the full story at Vegas, Inc.

Big corporations focus on environmental initiatives, philanthropy and workplace diversity in part because it’s the right thing to do.

But they also care about corporate citizenship because it helps them land business.

Las Vegas resort companies are well aware that leisure travelers, companies and groups are increasingly looking to book meetings and conventions at socially conscious venues.

Symbolic Rather than Substantive CSR Action to Maximize Financial Impact?

Read the full story at Triple Pundit.

Academics are as interested as companies in understanding the business case for sustainability. Actually, they dig even deeper as we can learn from a new paper entitled “Do Actions Speak Louder Than Words? The case of CSR.” Written by Olga Hawn and Prof. Ioannis Ioannou, this paper explores not if CSR affects financial performance, but rather under what conditions.

While the literature concludes that ESG actions have a statistically significant yet small positive  effect  on  financial  performance, the researchers explain, past research  has  not  fully  examined  the  mechanisms  that  could  moderate  this relationship. Ioannou and Hawn focus on a very interesting aspect of this relationship – the differential impact of symbolic and substantive CSR actions on the market value of firms, and its dependency on the level of the firm’s prior CSR-based intangible assets. The results as you will see are quite surprising and even a bit troubling.

Toxic trade: why junk electronics should be big business

Read the full post at Ars Technica.

The global manufacturing of electric and electronic devices requires a total of $21 billion in gold and silver every year, yet less than 15 percent of these valuable metals are recovered from electronic waste, according to representatives at the UN-backed initiative, Solving the E-waste Problem (StEP).

At current rates of production, $16 billion (or 320 tons) in gold and $5 billion (7500 tons) in silver are put into media tablets, smartphones, computers, and other devices annually. With growth in demand for smartphones and media tablets showing little sign of diminishing in the next few years, the flow of gold and silver from deposit to waste facilities is only likely to accelerate.

The result is that, collectively, refuse sites are effectively sitting on precious and valuable metal “deposits” worth billions of dollars. StEP points to the steady and extremely rapid growth in the price of gold in the decade up to 2011—from $300/ounce to $1500/ounce—despite a 15 percent increase in supply in that period. The values of silver, copper, tin, and to a lesser extent palladium (all used in the manufacture of electronics devices), are also markedly higher today than 10 years ago. Hence, e-waste itself is an ever more valuable, and therefore tradable, commodity.

Chemical-Free Floor Care

Read the full story at Environmental Leader.

Floor care — specifically stripping and refinishing floors — poses many challenges for building administrators. First, it’s costly. This is due to the fact that it is typically both time- and labor-intensive. It is estimated that as much as 90 percent of the cost of floor care is attributable to labor costs, and as such it can be one of the most costly of cleaning tasks.

For sustainable facilities, stripping and refinishing floors can also cause the kinds of significant environmental impacts that administrators try to avoid. One of the biggest concerns is the actual chemical stripper that is used to remove old finish and soils from floors. Traditional floor stripping chemicals are among the most powerful — and potentially harmful — cleaning agents in existence.

Remembering Stephen Covey: The Seven Habits Of Highly Effective Climate Hawks

Read the full post at The Energy Collective.

The 7 Habits is one of the few self-help books I would recommend without hesitation because it is based on examining what the most effective people do. And what the most effective people do is act systematically. Covey’s approach to analyzing what the best people was one of the inspirations for my new book — out next month —  in which I examine what the most effective communicators do. If course, they use a system also: rhetoric.

The 7 habits are ones that everyone would be wise to follow, but because they are systems oriented — and because they are aimed at bringing about change — they have a particular value for climate hawks who want to change the energy system in time to preserve a livable eco-system. Here is the short version of them (with my additions in parentheses and links to Covey’s longer description of them).