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4 posts from June 2008

June 18, 2008

Stephanie Barger is Zeroing in on Zero Waste

Barger_2Meet Stephanie Barger, the Founder, Treasurer and Executive Director for Earth Resource. She's also a nonprofit Consultant and Mortgage banker. On June 26, you can add Event Planner as she and many other concerned business professionals are coming together at the Irvine Ford Plant to learn how to create a zero waste producing business.

That's no small feat. Imagine what you would look like if you had to carry ALL the waste you generate every day in a bag tied to your belt. How long could you function? Now imagine trying to eliminate that "bag" for a whole company.

ZeroCity planners, big and small business, manufacturers and facility managers will all be there. It's open to the public. If you're in Orange Country next week, you may want to drop by.

June 26, 2008 - 8 am to 5:30 pm at the Ford Motor Company, 1 Premier Place, Irvine, CA 92618.

For more information or to register go here.

June 16, 2008

And on behalf of Green Consumers Everywhere...

A couple weeks ago, Sustainable Life Media held a highly successful conference on how to market green or sustainable products in a truthful and authentic way. All the speakers and the participants were there to talk/listen on how to talk to this market. Only ONE speaker, Diane MacEachern, was there representing the consumer's side of the table.

The following is her presentation as taped by Mario of Melodies in Marketing.

June 04, 2008

Yes, we can (and must) Save the World through Mindful Shopping

FbofwOver on La M, the debate continues in the comment section on whether we can buy our way out of this global warming problem. The answer is not only "Yes," but "Yes, we have to."

[My thanks to Lynn Johnston for capturing in one cartoon why many give up before trying. On some level we all know our good work can be undone in a manufacturing minute.]

The "Smokestacks" are causing the problem and the ONLY thing that will keep the smokestacks happy is profit. Consumer action is half of the solution, the SMaRT Sustainable Standard is the other half. With both not only have we solved the emission problem, but transformed the market safely and kept our retirement portfolios intact. Yes, as Tom Friedman points out, we'll lose MANY products and companies along the way. Detroit's feeling that pain now, but we also will replace them with mindful companies and products we can all live with.

If you want to see how serious business is about change, take a quick read down today's blog at Sustainable Life Media. The stacks want to do it, they just don't know how to do it and they don't know how to talk about it in terms that breadwinners and buyers can understand. Oh, and by the way, it's also required by the EPA.

Green_brands_2Not only do we/consumers have to do it, we have to write about our intent before or after we do it. Every time we write about Sustainable products we like, those products stay in the marketing mix and the other ones die.

GM has FINALLY decided that going small and green will bring bigger profits. Why? Because Toyota and Honda made the top ten brands and ate their lunch. You can't go 10 feet in California without running into either car.

Those top ten brands were made inside of buildings which a consumer can also affect - by DEMANDING that the brands are made using Sustainable Standards that certify when a product is in compliance. INSIDE the SMaRT Sustainable Standard are requirements for conserving energy and lowering emissions, VOCs and PVCs (plus over 1200 other chemicals). Not only do the standards cover their buildings, but also the operations and processes for the entire supply chain as well - even if those smokestacks are in China.   

Smart_certifiedThe SMaRT Standard (Sustainable Materials Rating Technology) covers six areas of product development:

  • Safe for public health & environment
  • Renewable energy & energy efficiency
  • Biobased or recycled materials
  • Facility or company requirements
  • Reclamation, sustainable reuse
    & end of life management
  • Product Innovation

Under these areas, products are required to:

  • Provide Feedstock Inventory Documentation
  • Document No Input and Output Stockholm Chemicals
  • Maintain a Manufacturing Facility Energy Inventory
  • Inventory of all bio-based and Recycled Content Materials
  • Have EMS Environmental Policies and Targets.
  • Have Social Equity Indicator Reporting for Manufacturers
  • Compete an ISO Compliant Life Cycle Assessment
  • Have Operational Reclamation and/or Sustainable Reuse Program
  • Meet Product Performance Durability Standards (long lasting products)

And encouraged to keep going until they have achieved:

100% Reduction of Over 1300 Pollutants covering 12 Environmental Impacts
100% Use of Green-e Renewable Power
100% Post Consumer Recycled or Organic/BMP Biobased Materials
100% Reuse/Product Reclamation
Social Equity for Manufacturer & Suppliers (worker's rights)

That's a pretty big stick, but sticks are also fun to chase - especially if you're one of the Big Dogs attending the Sustainable Brands conference.


After the requirements are met, the Big Dogs can get competitive and earn higher and higher ratings of silver, gold and platinum. Its not impossible, Forbo/Marmoleum and Knoll Life Chair have already have done it. Milliken carpet is on its way.


But they can't do it alone.


They and all the other companies trying to go green need buyers for their Sustainable Certified products, people who appreciate the work that has been done on a very high level.  Which brings us back to the first side of the buyer/seller equation - consumers.


Take a gander at that top ten list again. If you were hired to change the world, which "demographic" would you focus on to make it happen faster? On that list you have, groceries, cleaning supplies, lotion and potions, cars and home appliances. Without doing a massive research project, take a wild guess on which gender has the greater influence either directly or indirectly buying these products?


In the end, after all the discussions and  the chatter it's going to come down to tightly linking these three tipping points together - women+companies+sustainable standards.


That's the new balance of power in this global economy. What happens among them happens about the world and it all starts with the heart of a women making the right choices while her purse is open and being willing to talk about them.


Men can expedite the process by educating the women in their life on the SMaRT Sustainable Standard or other Standards that use a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) across the entire supply chain. While women are the buyers, you are the "sellers." Let's get to work, shall we?

Your continuing ed starts here:

SMaRT Standard Market Overview - for High C's (9 pages)- Download">http://www.sustainableproductsblog.com/mts/files/mts_smart_sustainable_standard_overview_2.1.08.pdf">Download mts_smart_sustainable_standard_overview_2.1.08.pdf

SMaRT Standard Overview - Supplier Education - (slide show) Download">http://www.sustainableproductsblog.com/mts/files/act_smart_presentation.pdf">Download act_smart_presentation.pdf

SMaRT Standard for Consumer Orientation - (slide show)Download">http://www.sustainableproductsblog.com/mts/files/smart_sustainable_standards_102_consumer_orientation_51008.pdf">Download smart_sustainable_standards_102_consumer_orientation_51008.pdf

Forbo Sustainability Report - for High C's, Supply Chain, Distributors, Investors, Consumers (20 pages) Download">http://www.sustainableproductsblog.com/mts/files/forbo_sustainable_manufacturing_and_marketing.pdf">Download forbo_sustainable_manufacturing_and_marketing.pdf

June 01, 2008

Could Women Preserve Agricultural?

Coral_rose_2 Coral Rose gave me a head's up on this story that asks, Could Women solve the food crisis? It recognizes the women who keep 80% of third world nation's fed. (thanks Coral)

On Tuesday, the United Nations will open a "food summit" in Rome. Leaders and high-level officials from around the world will meet at the Food and Agriculture Organization headquarters. The F.A.O. says they will discuss the effects of rising food prices, limited resources, climate change, increased energy needs and population growth. ... The International Center for Research on Women says one answer is investing more in female farmers. ... Rekha Mehra is the director for economic and development issues at the Washington-based nonprofit. She says improving women's ability to get resources and technology can directly increase agricultural productivity.... After all, women produce as much as eighty percent of the food in developing countries.

Coral has been doing her part as well. She's been working in the organic farming for the fiber industry the majority of her career. In her blog post today, she addresses how changing agricultural practices which will be needed to bring down climate change emissions.

"The Rodale Institute’s 23-year findings show that organic grain production systems increase soil carbon 15 to 28%. Moreover, soil nitrogen in the organic systems increased 8 to 15%. The conventional system showed no significant increases in either soil carbon or nitrogen in the same time period. Soil carbon and nitrogen are major determinants of soil productivity.

HandsOver on Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, (thanks Diane ) Barbara Kingsolver, Steven Hopp and Camille Kingsolver record what it's like to grow your own the old fashion way. Growing your own was called everyday life when I was 16, now 40 years later I'm still growing things. Looks like the things I learned from my mother, stuck.

Over on Kitchengardners.org, Marge Braker, of Preserve shows us how to make your own small batches of homemade jam in about 15 minutes. Like Barbara, she's preserving more than jam, she's preserving a way to eat better and more backyard local.

The more we change, the more we need to stay the same in some areas. How about you - it's June 1, isn't it time you planted a few seeds?