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.

Five Recommended Articles on Sustainability from 2013

Recommended articles on sustainability include a broad range of topics, from global warming to leadership to ideas on creating a sustainable business.articles

The World’s Best Sustainability Ideas by Susan Adams

This article was published in Forbes Magazine and rewards businesses and organizations who are implementing the best ideas in sustainability. Among the businesses on the list include those who have learned to help others irrigate rain water, create building materials from local soils, and a medical company which created biodegradable injection needles.

The companies are inspirational, and many of them started with a simple idea. Many businesses who have a small idea can glean inspiration from those who blazed a path before them.

Adding a sustainability standpoint, the article argues, will give clients and contractors an idea of who the business is as an entity. The article does go on, however, to remind businesses that sustainability must be proven, and not just stated.

Sustainability Trends 2013 by Environmental Leader

The Logistics, Carbon and Business Data Book: Fall 2013 Sustainability Trends provides sustainability executives, decision-makers, and research teams a collection of charts presenting logistics, sustainability and sustainable business-driven data.

Sustainability and the C-Suite: Who’s Engaged, Who’s Not, and How to Gain More C-Level Support by University of Oregon

In partnership with the Sustainable Industries Magazine and University of Oregon Sustainability Leadership Program, this 2013 CXO Study reviews C-level management engagement in sustainability and survey findings with sustainable leadership.

Teaching Climate Change to Skeptics by Carmen Nobel

This article, originally published in Harvard Business School’s Working Knowledge, is an acceptable read to encourage all office personnel to improve their sustainability efforts. The article states the fact that many American businessmen either believe climate change is man-made but there is nothing we can do or businessmen believe climate change is man-made and we should take action now, with a small percentage citing not enough evidence over time to make an educated decision about climate change overall.

Carmen Nobel moves forward to present facts for those who feel there is a shortage of long-term evidence. There is strong evidence, gathered over five decades, which prove a correlation between CO2 levels and human activity. The writer also cites data collected from ice cores in Antartica over thousands of years. The data proves that most CO2 damage began soon after the Industrial Age.

The article continues to argue that businesses which address climate change can build stronger brands, erase negative press and possibly save money.

Global Warming Finally Reaches the Last Arctic Region by Kathleen Ruhland

This article, published on The Conversation and reprinted by Scientific American, will further push businessmen to understand why they need to be sustainable now. The article states that the Hudson Bay area of Canada referred to as the Lowlands is the last arctic region on Earth to experience global warming.

Many skeptics were pointing to this area as proof that global warming was false, but their frigid arguments are quickly melting. The Lowlands were able to maintain steady, cold temperatures until the middle of the 1990’s. The ice of the Hudson Bay provided a natural freezer to keep the Lowlands cold and the biological communities stable.

Over the last few decades, however, the area is warming up at alarming rates. The ecosystems, from the polar bears to the humans living in the area, are falling apart faster than ever before. If businessmen want to improve their image, they will gear their business toward the fact that the world is working on its very last arctic ice region.

Here are more resources on sustainable business from eco-officiency.

Recommended Sustainability Apps to Track and Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

carbontracker_appThere are apps that are designed to measure business and individual carbon footprint from daily activities. These apps not only identify the environmental costs of your business activity, they also suggest ways to reduce your energy usage and other activities that you can do at home or work to reduce your carbon footprint.  Here are some recommended carbon tracking apps for business and individuals:

  • Carbon Track by SAP gives users an estimate of the CO2 emissions associated with key business activities such as travel, electricity  usage, and waste disposal and helps them understand their environmental impact.  For example, users can calculate the environmental impact of their next business trip and compare the CO2 emissions of different forms of travel.
  • Carbon Tracker by Softzilla is an iphone app that helps businesses measure carbon with certain business activities such as with different modes of transportation, switching off different types of office equipment and carbon effects of business waste.
  • Green Outlet is similar to Carbon Track but is designed for residential use.  Green Outlet helps homeowners discover which of their household appliances use the most electricity, predict their monthly electricity bill, and make informed decisions about their electricity use.  The app will also alert users when they have exceeded US guidelines for recommended carbon usage and connects users to options for purchasing carbon offsets.
  • Green You can help individuals take steps toward greener living.  Users begin by entering basic information about topics such as transportation, food, and housing to calculate their carbon footprint.  The app then helps users identify specific actions they can take for greener living.  The app tracks progress over time.

Contact us for more information on how we can help you reduce your carbon footprint and improve your environmental impact.

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!

Five Recommended Business Books on Sustainability

The following short list is comprised of five books that offer real world guidance and advice on sustainability in business.  These books can help business owners, managers, organizational leaders and environmental managers/sustainability coordinators to improve their organization’s economic performance as well as their environmental impact.   All of these books stress how important this green evolution is for the future of our businesses, our people and our planet. We hope that you will find them to be valuable additions to your green library. If you would like to start employing green practices in your business, please contact us, we would love to help you.

The Business Guide To Sustainability: Practical Strategies and Tools For Organizations  Authors: Darcy Hitchcock and Marsha Willard

“This easy-to-use manual has been written by top business consultants specifically to help managers, business owners, organizational leaders and aspiring environmental managers/sustainability coordinators to improve their organization’s environmental, social and economic performance.”

Getting Green Done: Hard Truths from the Front Lines of the Sustainability Revolution  Author: Auden Schendler

“If we’re going to cut CO2 emissions 80 percent by midcentury, it will take more than a recycling program and some hemp shopping bags. We’ll only solve our problems if we’re realistic about the challenge of climate change. In this witty book, a sustainable business foot soldier with over a decade’s worth of experience illuminates the path.”

Natural Capitalism: Creating the Next Industrial Revolution Authors: Paul Hawken, Amory Lovins, L. Hunter Lovins

“In this groundbreaking blueprint for a new economy, three leading business visionaries explain how the world is on the verge of a new industrial revolution. Natural Capitalism describes a future in which business and environmental interests increasingly overlap, and in which companies can improve their bottom lines, help solve environmental problems and feel better about what they do all at the same time.”

Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things Authors: William McDonough and Michael Braungart

“Reduce, reuse, recycle” urge environmentalists; in other words, do more with less in order to minimize damage. As William McDonough and Michael Braungart argue in their provocative, visionary book, however, this approach perpetuates a one-way, “cradle to grave” manufacturing model that dates to the Industrial Revolution and casts off as much as 90 percent of the materials it uses as waste, much of it toxic.”

Green Project Management  Authors: Richard Maltzman, David Shirley

“Detailing cutting-edge green techniques and methods, this book teaches project managers how to maximize resources and get the most out of limited budgets. It supplies proven techniques and best practices in green project management, including risk and opportunity assessments.”

Sustainability Assessment Tools- Small to Medium Sized Businesses

Some organizations want to conduct their own sustainability assessments. If so, here are some assessment tools and resources;

 

eco-officiency: Developed in Excel, this sustainability assessment tool has over 360 questions customized for each primary area and department of an organization. Departments include Administration, HR, IT, Facilities and Operations, Marketing and Communications, Purchasing, Finance, Accounting, Product and Research/Development, Events and Conferences. Organizations can have departments answer the questions themselves or it can be conducted at a management meeting. The cost to download this sustainability assessment is $75.

Three Steps to Eco-Efficiency, Canada: This assessment tool was developed by the Ministry of Environment of Canada to assist small and medium-sized manufacturers to develop an eco-efficiency program that is custom tailored to their business needs. The tool is a free download.

Earth Charter: This assessment is a free download available from Earth Charter International. The assessment is designed to improve practices based on the Earth Charter principles.

World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) Measuring Impact Framework: The WBCSD developed a framework to assess the contribution of business to the economic and broader development goals in the societies where business operates. It is designed to help companies understand their contribution to society and use this understanding to inform their operational and long-term investment decisions, and have better-informed conversations with stakeholders.

The International Society of Sustainability Professionals released in 2010 a consolidated list of Sustainability Assessments. For members it is a free download and for non-members there is a fee to download.