Top 3 Recommended Sustainability Resources for Company Examples

The following three recommended resources are international organizations that offer broad information on sustainability to assist organizations, businesses, governments and communities in being greener. Keeping your business updated with sustainable practices starts at being informed of what other companies and organizations are doing to minimize resource use. Each organization has good information on company examples and application to various industries.

WRIThe World Resources Institute is a think tank that gathers information on critical areas of environmental need throughout the world. Using this research to employ experts, volunteers and WRI members, the organization forms integral partnerships that work on sustainable projects throughout the world. The resources available to the general public include the ability to create Strategic Relationships and becoming a member of a Corporate Consultative Group.

The Global Footprint Network provides cities, businesses and institutions with the ability to Global footprint networkasses their ecological global footprint. The first step towards finding out your ecological footprint is to go to the “Footprint Basics” tab, which includes a wealth of information for different groups on how to assess their contribution to environmental degradation. This website relates your footprint to that of other nations and organizations in the world, contrasting the differences created by levels of consumption and affluence.

nbis logoThe Network of Business Innovation and Sustainability is essentially a giant encyclopedia which links companies and organizations to all of the knowledge that they need to stay updated on the future of sustainability. Their network includes partners from governments, non-profits, individuals, professionals and even students. All of these people work together to teach, learn and innovate techniques and ideas about sustainability through events, workshops and discussions.

Environmental Sustainability Resources for Small Businesses from EPA

An essential small business resource is the Small Business Environmental Home Page. Funded by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Asbestos and Small Business Ombudsman (ASBO), the Small Business Environmental Home Page was developed in 1996 and serves as a comprehensive directory of sustainable business information and environmental compliance specifically targeted to small businesses and assistance providers.SBA Resources

The collection of resources is extensive and organized per the following:

Environmental Compliance. Locate updates, publications, and factsheets regarding environmental compliance regulations and new rule implementation. This includes links to state specific regulations, timelines, and agencies.

Sector-Specific Compliance. Sponsored by the EPA, sector-specific, web-based National Compliance Assistance Centers were formed to assist regulated entities (e.g., combustion processes, automotive recycling, food processing, paints and coatings, printing, etc.) with issues and language unique to each industry. The Small Business Environmental Home Page links to each of these assistance centers.

Sustainability Resources. Find helpful portals to EPA-sponsored resources related to recycling, landscaping, energy use, pest control, waste management, refrigeration and AC, and more. Users may also identify grants, funding, and incentive opportunities for sustainable business practices. Links to state-specific agencies, guidelines, and opportunities are provided when possible.

Environmental References. Extensive assistance is provided in the form of a searchable database of EPA publications and factsheets, videos, website links, funding opportunities, and more.

Performance Measurement. Small business owners and assistance providers will also find guidelines for performance measurement for measuring compliance, including logic models.

Shared Information, Events, and Conferences. The website includes a searchable database of upcoming events and trainings. Access state and national newsletters and listserves. Identify national conference schedules, including the SBO/SBEAP National Conferences and Trainings.

2 Degrees Sustainability Network – Best Practices and Connection to Other Sustainability Professionals

2 degrees sustainability networkIf you’re a sustainability professional, an excellent resource is available for you from 2 Degrees Sustainability Network, and it goes far beyond simple social media. It’s a true network of professionals and experts with programs, platforms and engagement methods that bring measurable results.

This network is free to join and offers avenues of engagement with peers online, as well as in-person, within the industry in a variety of valuable ways, including:

  • Forums and Discussions: interact, share knowledge and collaborate with sustainability professionals from all around the globe
  • Specialist Suppliers Marketplace: featuring sources for carbon management software, behavior change resources, renewable energy consultancy, etc.
  • 2 Degrees Live Events: offering face-to-face discussions, where participants share and tackle sustainability challenges
  • Resource Library: offers beneficial toolkits, webinars, case studies, legal documentation and more
  • Client Programs: thought leadership and managed services to facilitate cost and risk reduction, enable growth and increase sustainability

2 Degrees offers practical problem-solving especially suitable for sustainability-committed companies desiring to exceed compliance, address resource inefficiencies and scarcities, meet customer expectations and leverage scale. Free membership provides access to over 31,000 international like-minded professionals.

Recommended Sustainability Resources for Colorado Small Businesses

Because Colorado continues to be a leader in small business implementation of environmentally-friendly business practices, our state has created an abundance of organizations and resources which can help guide a business in their sustainability plans.

CORE

CORE is dedicated to helping Colorado denverorganizations implement sustainability in their operations, products, and workforce development, focused on small and medium businesses. They have success stories that share sustainability best practices of businesses in the Colorado community.

Certifiably Green Denver

They can give free and confidential assistance with your environmental questions and concerns.  Because they work specifically with the small businesses of Denver, they can give you knowledgeable information to help with avoiding environmental liability specific to this area, while not sacrificing your profitability.

Denver Energy Challenge

You can find information regarding rebates and also find help with your energy-saving efforts.  You can even talk to an expert by phone Mon. thru Sat. (8:00AM to 6:00PM) at (720) 865-5520.  These are the people to talk to if you are preparing to do an “energy upgrade” as they will help you throughout the process.

Watts To Water

This water conservation program recognizes and awards small business for their water conservation efforts. All hotels and offices with over 5000 sq. ft. of space can participate with minimal effort, but the benefits to your business are great.

Denver Regional Council of Governments

This organization focuses on enabling telework as an alternative to commuting which will help our community reduce pollution, ease traffic congestion and create higher levels of employee satisfaction.  They can work with your company to help you implement a tele-commuting plan that can work in your situation.

The Colorado Carbon Fund

They have created the first, statewide, voluntary offset program in the U.S., with special attention paid to the GHG reduction projects in our state, which will mean verifiable and permanent carbon offsets.

Eco-officiency offers sustainability consulting services in Colorado and nationwide. We provide expert business advisors to assist organizations and individuals in becoming more sustainable in their work and personal lives.  Contact us to discover how we can help you today!

Small Businesses Can Save Money by Preventing Pollution and Waste

A recent story in the Daily Journal of Commerce notes that small businesses in Washington State found that by preventing pollution and waste they saved money. Over the past four years, specialists worked with small business owners to “help them properly manage, store, and dispose of hazardous materials” so they wouldn’t end up in the air, water, or soil.

Why it Matters

These efforts are important considering that DoSomething.org reports: 

  • 40% of America’s rivers and 46% of America’s lakes are too polluted for fishing, swimming, or aquatic life
  • 1.2 trillion gallons of untreated sewage, storm water, and industrial waste are discharged into U.S. waters annually
  • Each year, U.S. factories spew 3 million tons of toxic chemicals into the air, land, and water
  • Over 80% of items in landfills can be recycled, but they’re not costing taxpayers millions of dollars

Results of Helping Small Businesses Prevent Pollution

Because of the efforts in Washington State, one golf course took action to prevent pesticides from leaking into the ground, including developing a prevention and clean-up plan, as well as moved gas cans into cabinets for flammables. Additionally, a group of dental offices along with two veterinary hospitals adopted practices to dispose of hazardous waste, such as dental amalgam and fluorescent tubes, while a group of specialists worked with a local mall to correct storm water system problems.

Your Small Business Can Prevent Pollution and Waste

As a small business owner, you may be wondering how you can do your part to help prevent pollution and waste. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) suggests that when your small business generates waste, it costs you more money because you pay for it twice – “once when you buy it and the second time when you throw it away. The bottom line is that preventing waste will save you money.”

Some EPA suggestions for waste prevention include:

  • Purchasing durable, long-lasting materials which reduce waste and hopefully will reduce cost
  • Using products free of toxic materials to improve air quality and reduce toxins in the environment
  • Reducing the amount of packaging to reduce waste
  • Recycle and compost waste materials

When it comes to running your small business, you have a choice to improve your local community’s environment. Let us show you how. Click here to find out about how we support small businesses.

Energy Efficiency and Sustainability Resources For Small and Medium Businesses In Colorado

Here in Colorado we take the business of sustainability very seriously. In every corner of the state the push is on to improve our businesses to increase energy efficiency and support green business operations. Here are some resources, programs, incentives and guides available online to assist small and medium sized businesses;

The Main Street Efficiency Initiative (MSEI) is a Colorado Energy Office (CEO) program that helps small business lower energy costs as well as their carbon footprint.

Recharge Colorado has a resource page that is specifically for small businesses seeking information for energy efficiency, water efficiency and renewable energy projects in Colorado.

The Energy Efficiency Guide for Colorado Businesses will help you find ways for your company to save energy.  Their recommendations are sorted by sector that provides specific suggestions depending on the type of business.

Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency (DSIRE) has a website full of valuable information and tools for small businesses.

CORE, the sustainable business association for Colorado also has a separate page for resources that include articles, business success stories and downloadable reports.

And of course, we at eco-officiency provide a wealth of resources for businesses to become greener in their operations.

Contact us if we can help you find the answers you are looking for when it comes to finding resources and information to help green your business.

Small Businesses Profit from Sustainability

A report published by multiple entities offers insight into how small businesses can profit from sustainability.  Sustainability initiatives can be challenging when most small businesses don’t own their building or facilities nor manufacture their products. This report focuses on case studies from the United Kingdom, United States and Canada. It offers some best practices on sustainability that small businesses can employ immediately with little cost and high return.

Click here to download the free report, SME’s Set Their Sights on Sustainability.

K.J. McCorry Contributing Author to Newly Released Book: A Simple Path to Sustainability

This newly released book, A Simple Path to Sustainability,  was built around case histories showcasing 12 Colorado small to medium sized organizations that have outstanding records of sustainability. The book was designed specifically to help smaller enterprises gain knowledge on best practices as well as inspire owners and management to undertake sustainable strategies. K.J. McCorry, owner of eco-officiency and sustainability consultant is a contributing author of one of these chapters on New Belgium Brewery.

The case studies collected detail on each company’s journey from initial sustainability idea through building a comprehensive plan, establishing a new company culture, engaging stakeholders and planning for the future. Each chapter also provides the challenges encountered along with lessons learned. Here are a few of the companies that are discussed in the book; Eco-Products, Boulder Community Hospital, Boulder Outlook Hotel, Boulder Valley Credit Union, First Affirmative Financial Network and Guaranteed Recycling Xperts.

The book is now available for purchase from e-retailers such as Amazon.com and Google.com.

A Simple Path to Sustainability: Green Business Strategies for Small and Medium Sized Businesses (ISBN: 0-3133-8269-7). Edited by Fred Andreas, Elizabeth Cooperman, Blair Gifford and Graham Russell.  

10 Things I’ve Learned on the Road to Sustainability

Mitch Jackson, Vice President of Environmental affairs and sustainability at FedEx, wrote a good and distinct article on how businesses can start sustainability within their organizations.  This was published by GreenBiz.com July 6, 2010. Click here to see the full article.

To learn more about FedEx corporate sustainability program, click here.


Alpine Bank- Helping Employees Improve Health

In the recent Colorado Biz magazine, they have listed the top Colorado companies to work for. Among them, was Alpine Bank.  They were noted for their wellness program that provides ‘wellness bucks’ for each employee who participates in at least three of the wellness programs that Alpine Bank offers. Alpine Bank also has been proactive with their green initiatives with a commitment to reach by 2012 the following;

  • 20% reduction in energy use
  • 20% reduction in paper use
  • 10% reduction in water consumption
  • 25% reduction in courier fleet fuel consumption

To learn more about Alpine Bank’s sustainability initiatives click here.