Retailers, brands see green for back-to-school shopping

Read the full story from the Associated Press.

For the back-to-school season, many parents and their kids are thinking green.

Concerns about the environment have them looking for secondhand clothing or fashions made from reused material — but price still rules. Shoppers want quality and style in backpacks, jeans and the like without spending a lot more money.

Retailers like H&M, Target and J.C. Penney are coming out with more clothes that use waste from all sorts of sources, like recycled denim or leather, nylon waste, remnants of old garments, or even plastic bottles.

Business leaders want Pittsburgh to become leader in sustainability

Read the full story in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Chief executives of 17 Pittsburgh-area companies engaged in a wide range of industries — from chemicals producers Covestro and Lanxess to the Pittsburgh Pirates and Eat’n Park Hospitality Group — have launched an initiative to promote and collaborate on sustainable practices they say will improve their corporate bottom lines and attract more businesses to the region.

“Keep It Cool” Campaign Mobilizes Consumers to Reduce Retailer Energy Waste

Many of us, on one shopping trip or another, have felt the inviting rush of cool air that hits you as you pass retailer after retailer with open doors and air conditioning blasting in the hot summer months.  Although seemingly harmless, this prevalent habit creates a surprising amount of waste and unnecessary pollution.  According to Con Edison, the average store running A/C with an open door wastes about 4,200 kWh of electricity over the course of the summer.  Generating this much electricity releases about 2.2 tons of carbon dioxide – the same amount of pollution emitted by a diesel semi-truck driving from New York to Miami.

The good news? A significant reduction in pollution is as simple as closing the door.  This simple change in behavior is “one of the quickest and least expensive ways to cut carbon emissions,” says Nate McFarland, the Director of Communications at Generation 180, a non-profit created to accelerate the adoption of clean energy and help support a cultural shift to an energy aware society. Generation 180’s first national campaign – called “Keep It Cool” – was designed to help consumers encourage retailers in their communities to end this wasteful habit.

The campaign leverages a mobile application for consumers to anonymously recognize shops that “keep it cool” with closed doors and reaches out to educate retailers who are allowing energy to escape through their open doors. A national map tracks all of the stores that are identified with doors open or closed. Consumers are being recruited to participate through a national social media campaign.  “Our Keep It Cool campaign empowers consumers to have an impact on wasteful behaviors in their own neighborhoods.  We believe this is good for business, the community, and the environment,” says McFarland.

How Keep It Cool Works
Anyone with a smartphone can participate in Keep It Cool.  All consumers have to do is take notice of retailers in their communities that have their doors open or closed while running A/C and send a pinned location to Generation 180 via Facebook Messenger.  Here is a short video on how it works.

Once Generation 180 hears from a consumer, they contact the retailer.  Stores with closed doors are recognized with a green pin on the campaign map promoting their location.  For stores with doors open, Generation 180 reaches out to remind them to close their doors to conserve energy.  After a week has passed, if their doors remain open, they place a yellow cation pin on the campaign map.  Generation 180 will invite all retailers contacted to commit to keeping their doors closed and join the effort to promote the campaign.

“The success of Keep It Cool depends on consumers getting into action and sharing their activities with their friends and social networks,” says Susan Klees, the campaign’s director. “We encourage everyone who cares about the environment to join our effort this summer – it’s an easy and fun way to make a difference and breathe easier in your own community.” To learn more and join the movement visit

About Generation 180
Generation 180 is a non-profit committed to advancing the transition to clean energy and supporting a cultural shift in energy awareness through original content, digitally enabled campaigns, and an empowered volunteer network.

3 trends shaping the future of sustainable retail

Read the full story in GreenBiz.

I spent the last six months having conversations with senior corporate leaders in the retail and consumer goods industry.

The effort was part of my work with the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB)developing industry sustainability standards.

Through the process, I gained an insight into the current state of corporate sustainability: how far it’s come in this sector, and how far it still needs to go. Here are three themes that emerged.

Consumers (Especially Millennials) Still Significantly Suspicious of CSR Motives: Harris Poll

Read the full story in Environmental Leader.

With reputation a top concern among companies in terms of maintaining and increasing market share, it may come as an unpleasant surprise to find that a large portion of consumers say that when companies develop corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs, they only do so to bolster their image. According to the recently released results of the Harris Poll Reputation Quotient, 40% of consumers say companies are primarily motivated by the publicity possibilities of their environmental and social initiatives and are not truly focused on the actual effectiveness of their efforts. And millennials seem to be the most suspicious of an organization’s motives.

4 Big Ideas in Sustainable Business

Read the full story from the World Resources Institute.

Green initiatives have taken root in the corporate world. Rising numbers of companies have promised to cut emissions, protect forests and watersheds, reduce food waste and take other steps to ensure a sustainable future for all. While President Trump recently decided to withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement, over 900 American companies announced that they are still in. Behind this momentum are passionate CEOs, conscientious consumers and an increasingly purpose-driven workforce.

It’s an exciting time—but there’s still much to do before business, people and the planet reach equilibrium. In mid-May, we brought together our corporate partners for MindShare, two days of open discussion on the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. As the communications lead, I was listening for trends, shared attitudes and big ideas. Here are four themes that emerged.

Sustainability and pallets: Making change for the long haul

Read the full story in GreenBiz.

As sustainability leaders such as IKEA have demonstrated, companies can direct suppliers to ship on lightweight, recyclable corrugated cardboard pallets. Doing so will save money, protect employees, reduce carbon footprints and advance zero waste goals.