GreenBiz.com has released the fifth annual edition of its State of Green Business report, one of the most comprehensive discussions and measurement of the environmental impacts of the emerging green economy. In addition to documenting corporate progress in improving their environmental performance, the report tracks larger trends that will affect corporate America in 2012.
This free, downloadable report measures 20 aspects of environmental performance, from carbon emissions to paper use and recycling, includes essays from industry experts.
There’s good and bad news in this year’s report; the good news is that companies continue to dedicate time, money and staff to setting and meeting ambitious environmental goals.
The bad news is that their research shows declining momentum on some of the indicators. Among the downgraded topics include investments in clean technology innovations, overall energy intensity, certifications of LEED buildings, and paper use and recycling.
How does your business rate? How can you implement ideas presented in this report to benefit from the efficiencies outlined?
It’s next to impossible to miss today’s biggest news if you go online at any point or see a newspaper; several of the web’s most prominent sites are “going dark” in protest of SOPA and PIPA, the proposed anti-online piracy legislation.
SOPA, the Stop Online Piracy Act, is a bill that seeks to “crack down on copyright infringement by restricting access to sites that host pirated content,” according to a great report by CNN Money. These bills are supposedly aimed at websites – mainly overseas – known for their access to and promotion of illegal downloads of movies and other digital content. While many agree that restrictions on privacy are needed, there are complicated consequences that reach much farther. The proposed legislation would require U.S.-based search engines and other service provides to withhold or block services with sites that connect to these problematic sites, but many fear that the restrictions are the beginning of a slippery slope into censorship.
Sometimes, an idea is just so simple and good, it makes you slap your forehead and wonder why no one thought of it sooner. Professor Muhammad Yunus, the “father of microcredit”, spent years developing the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh with a financial concept that turned business lending on its head: lend self-selected groups of women up to $3,000 to get their small businesses off the ground.
The goal all along was to eradicate poverty, not to make a profit. Yet the loans perform positively, with repayment rates in excess of 99%. And this concept can work in any economy, and any culture, from its origins with 7.5 million Bangladesh borrowers to Grameen’s presence in 38 countries and over 100 million microcredit loans. Continue reading →
Here in North America, energy use represents approximately 30% of operating costs for commercial buildings, and HVAC comprises 30-80% of that energy cost. It’s not rocket science to recognize that implementing simple, energy efficient measures can dramatically reduce consumption; accordingly, business owners and commercial property managers are actively seeking ways to leverage these efficiencies without the costs and complications associated with complex burden of major structural improvements. Continue reading →
Bringing businesses into the “green” tent is challenging even under the best of circumstances, with sustainability initiatives commonly taking a back seat to immediate profit concerns and the everyday tumult of commerce. But small businesses, especially ethnic small businesses, are often left out of the public policy conversation and partnership opportunities that would help them go green. I attended this thought-provoking panel discussion, “Can Small be Green? – A Panel Discussion Building for California’s New Majority,” sponsored by The Greenlining Institute in partnership with 89.3 KPCC , which focused on how ethnic small businesses can help anchor California’s environmental policies in local communities. The Greenlining Institute is a national policy, organizing, and leadership institute working for racial and economic justice.
Since 1999, La Sirena Grill has been committed to supporting sustainability and what they deem “some simple beliefs: to preserve the planet for future generations, nurture the soil, be humane to animals, and accomplish zero waste while creating innovative food and a place to enjoy family and friends.” Not such a small order!
Whether it’s “people, planet, profit” or “ethics, environment and equity” or some other catchy alliterative phrase, corporations around the world are embracing the concept of the triple-bottom line (3BL): it simply makes good business sense to invest in sustainable, socially responsible business practices.
In the course of doing the hours of research to ensure that these blog posts add value, I often encounter resources that are so good I want to keep them for myself! Solutions For Green is an inclusive online resource; it’s a directory identifying green, high-performance and sustainable solutions. This self-service directory covers consumer, commercial, industrial and government applications of both products and services that help people improve the energy efficiency, air quality and other smart solutions in their buildings and operations. Continue reading →
This past weekend, 10,000 activists gathered in Washington, DC for PowerShift 2011, a national summit focused on empowering young people to implement solutions to climate change. One of their key objectives was to send a resounding message to the US Chamber of Commerce: “you don’t stand for me!” In his speech at the event, author Bill McKibben criticized the US Chamber for “being the single biggest roadblock to reducing global warming emissions, and for urging the EPA not to regulate carbon.” Whatever your political views, these events demonstrate an organized effort and an important shift in voter and consumer expectations; businesses must heed the call for environmental responsibility to maintain and grow their consumer base.
When you think of great mens’ haircuts, you may not always think of the closely-cropped styles worn by military personnel. But Sport Clips proudly associates with U.S. service members overseas through their “Help a Hero” program. At Sport Clips, sports-themed outlets known as “the perfect place for a guy to get great service and a great haircut,” the mission extends beyond their banner-covered walls.
Through the generous support of Clients and Team Members across the country, Sport Clips has been the largest single corporate donor to the Veterans of Foreign Wars’ Operation Uplink™ program. Sport Clips’ Founder and CEO Gordon Logan, who is a veteran and lifetime member of the VFW, says, “More than 344,508 connections with family and loved ones were made last year through the efforts of our team members and Clients. They’ve generously given their time, enthusiasm, and means to sponsor free call days on Christmas, New Year’s Day, Memorial Day, Fourth of July, and Veterans Day.”