Sustainable Product Development Tool Now Offered for Free

Read the full story from Environmental Leader.

Product developers and manufacturers looking to produce more sustainable products now have a access to a free tool: the Cradle to Cradle Certified Catalyst Program.

The Catalyst Program helps product developers, designers and manufacturers better understand and implement the Cradle to Cradle Certified Product Program, which provides a roadmap towards developing responsible, sustainable products based on five characteristics: material health, material reuse, renewable energy, water stewardship and social fairness.

The core of the Catalyst program is a 2.5-hour self-paced online course. It provides the context for Cradle to Cradle Certified product development, along with an overview of the product standard and resources.

Why corporate action on water remains a trickle

Read the full story at GreenBiz.

It’s been almost 10 years since the Coca-Cola Company (PDF) vowed to “safely return to communities and nature an amount of water equal to what we use in our finished beverages and their production,” with a deadline of 2020 for doing so.

To get there, it teamed up with a broad array of NGOs and government aid agencies, who established clear rules for “replenishing” the aquifers and waterways that make up a watershed, and in 2015 the company announced it not only had reached its target five years early, but even surpassed it by putting 15 percent more water into the system than it took out.

The company formally announced the results last month in Stockholm, where all sectors of society congregated for the Stockholm International Water Institute’s annual World Water Week, and the accomplishment puts it at the head of a small pack of peers such as MillerCoors, Keurig (PDF) and IKEA (PDF) — each of whom also has teamed up with outside partners to both set and work towards clear replenishment goals.

This tiny pack, however, is dwarfed by a massive herd of corporates that have made similar promises without offering any indication of how they’ll deliver or whether they’re making progress — and it’s not just a water problem.

Why sustainability metrics fail to measure achievement, and how to fix them

Read the full post at GreenBiz.

Most major corporations have adopted public reporting to communicate their performance in moving to sustainable management of their business. These reports reveal the companies’ total impact in terms of resource consumption and waste generation as well as normalized versions that attempt to convey corporate improvement in using resources and reducing wastes.

Companies strive to reduce their overall environmental footprint regardless of their overall growth, but the normalized version of the metrics are used to portray their actual efficiency. A growing company might increase its total water consumption but still claim improved efficiency by showing a reduction in water consumption per unit output. The claims based on this type of metric (overall average intensity) generally have been accepted at face value.

Closer examination, however, reveals that overall average intensity seldom, if ever, provides an accurate measure of corporate improvement in efficiency.

Startups woo Accelerate audience with climate, waste, ag solutions

Read the full story in GreenBiz.

Six startups whose endeavors span the sustainability landscape — from carbon removal to advancing the circular economy to saving bees — took 2 minutes each on the VERGE stage Tuesday to pitch to a roomful of tech innovators, investors and sustainability leaders.

People want solutions, not physical products: rise of the subscription model

Read the full story in the Guardian.

The subscription model is being adopted by suppliers of kitchen appliances, furniture and even toys. Could it one day dominate over traditional ownership?

How three-day weekends can help save the world (and us, too)

Read the full story in GreenBiz.

Almost everyone enjoys a bank holiday. A three-day weekend means more time to spend with family and friends, to go out and explore the world and to relax from the pressures of working life.

Imagine if, rather than a few times a year, we had a three-day weekend every week. This isn’t just a nice idea. Beyond the possibilities for leisure, three-day weekends might be one of the easiest steps we could take to radically reduce our environmental impact and future-proof our economy.

A reduction in working hours generally correlates with marked reductions in energy consumption, as economists David Rosnick and Mark Weisbrot have argued (PDF). In fact, if Americans simply followed European levels of working hours, they would see an estimated 20 percent reduction in energy use — and hence in carbon emissions.

With a four-day week, huge amounts of commuting to and from work could be avoided, as well as the energy outputs from running workplaces. At a point when we need to massively cut back our carbon outputs, instituting a three-day weekend could be the simplest and most elegant way to make our economy more environmentally friendly.