2009 - [Sustainable Concepts] Sustainability Projects and Governors
Ranked for Environmental Responsibility
2009, vol. 75
Welcome to the June 2009 newsletter from Design Forward.
Please take some time to enjoy this month's features.
Quote of the Month: "It is horrifying that we have to
fight our own government to save the environment."
Lisa A. Swan
Tips for Getting Your Sustainability Project Off the
Article by Deborah Fleischer
In Part I of this series, I focused on the business
value of going green. This piece focuses on in-the-trenches
advice for new sustainability directors at companies
just getting started on implementing a sustainability
1. Look at the big picture and identify your company's
greatest impacts. Review your key business operations
to understand the key environmental issues for your
business and the opportunities and risks presented
by these issues. Alex McIntosh, Director of Corporate
Citizenship at Nestlé Waters, advises new directors
to "think broadly about what sustainability means
to your business, look beyond your four walls, up
and down your full value chain." Then," he continues,
"quantify your impacts [green house gas (GHG) emissions
or life cycle assessment (LCA) or tons of waste] and
prioritize the places where your impacts are the greatest.
Pay lots of attention to how people inside the company
are being rewarded or penalized for their performance
in those areas."
2. Land some quick wins -- go for cost savings.
To start, prioritize and focus on capturing the low-hanging
fruit. Look for opportunities that will deliver results
quickly, such as increasing efficiency and reducing
waste. Scan your business and look for logical opportunities
to save money and develop measurable metrics to track
3. Be authentic. If you are going to use sustainability
as a product differentiator, be sure you have done
all you can to be authentically green. This does not
mean you have to be perfect. Consumers want honesty
and transparency, not perfection. But with today's
social media tools, it only takes a moment on Twitter
for someone to accuse you of greenwashing.
4. Develop internal partners. For directors
getting started, begin to network throughout the company
and create relationships with directors who oversee
key functions, including product design, procurement,
sales, supply chain, governmental affairs, social
investment, analyst relations and employee engagement.
Look for opportunities to gain their trust and educate
them on the value sustainability offers the company,
including product differentiation that can capture
market share and drive top-line revenues.
5. Engage your stakeholders. McIntosh suggests
meeting with as many people as you can outside of
your company, "prioritizing to meet with the most
influential and interested stakeholders first."
"Stakeholder engagement is an important, essential
element in good citizenship and good business strategy.
You need to know what issues are most important to
the people that are most relevant to your business,"
Include your supply chain, customers, investors and
employees in your outreach so you can understand what
leadership looks like or what risks may be coming.
What issues do they care about? What is important
to them? How are they tackling their end of the equation?
Answers to these questions can help inform your strategy
6. Engage employees. If you are short on resources
to implement new programs, look to your employees.
Bonnie Nixon, Director of Environmental Sustainability
at Hewlett Packard, explained that the company engages
employees on multiple levels, ranging from providing
them energy kits to reduce their personal carbon footprint
at home to offering incentives for biking to work
to encouraging them to innovate more and find ways
to imbed sustainability into product design, the supply
chain and the sales process.
7. Develop a communications strategy. A key
component to a sustainability program is communicating
both internally and externally about your efforts
and results. Develop a strategy that details how you
are going to communicate your efforts -- both your
successes and future areas for improvement.
8. Develop a long-term strategy. Going green
does not happen overnight. Hunter Lovins, the president
and founder of Natural Capitalism Solutions warns,
"avoid the temptation to be green all at once. This
is a years long process, like continuous improvement."
Bonnie Nixon adds, "in addition to a short-term strategy,
you need to develop a longer term plan that looks
at potential trends and regulations out there and
what your future customer segment is going to look
Ultimately, you want to aim for an authentic strategy
that is linked to your company's mission, vision,
brand and values that will deliver significant, quantifiable,
Deborah Fleischer is the founder and president
of Green Impact, providing strategic environmental
consulting services to mid-sized companies and NGOs
who want to launch a new green initiative or cross-sector
collaboration, but lack the in-house capacity to get
it up and running. She brings expertise in sustainability
strategy, program development, stakeholder engagement
and written communications.
Article and Picture © GreenBiz.com
on "Eight Tips for Getting Your Sustainability Project
Off the Ground" on Lisa's Blog.
Ranks 50 State Governors for Environmental Responsibility
Greenopia's research team has released a new ranking:
this time it's a comprehensive ranking of all 50 United
States governors. Topping the list is Governor Bill
Ritter of Colorado followed closely by Governor Arnold
Schwarzenegger of California. The
entire ranking results are available at 50 Greenest
Governors. See Top Ten below.
"We looked at all 50 governors in the US and compared
their policies, transparency, and interest group ratings
and ranked them. It was a monumental task," said Doug
Mazeffa, Greenopia's director of research. "People
want to know which Governors are the eco-leaders or
laggards, and especially identify those making repeated
Data for this study was collected from each governor's
own web pages and cross-checked against credible sites
such as VoteSmart and OnTheIssues. Energy and emission
data was collected from the Department of Energy and
the environmental platform data for each political
party was collected from either the DNC or RNC's main
As part of Greenopia's mission to keep consumers (and
voters) informed on issues of eco-friendly importance,
the Greenest Governors project reveals which state
governments are most dedicated to preserving the environment.
The US Constitution preserves the notion that America
is a federation of sovereign states and legal powers
not specifically granted to the federal government
are retained by the states. This means that Governors
and state legislatures hold significant sway over
state-based green initiatives and policies.
"Over the past few years we have begun to see certain
states emerging as environmental leaders," remarked
Gay Browne, Greenopia founder and CEO. "Those states
enacting environmental laws stricter than federal
guidelines have gone to greater lengths to protect
the environment and to create more sustainable development,
including green jobs."
The Top Ten Greenest Governors
1. Bill Ritter of Colorado
2. Arnold Schwarzenegger of California
3. Ted Kulongowski of Oregon
4. Christine Gregoire of Washington state
5. John Baldacci of Maine
6. Martin O'Malley of Maryland
7. Bill Richardson of New Mexico
8. James Douglas of Vermont
9. Jon Corzine of New Jersey
10. Jodi Rell of Connecticut
Colorado Governor Bill Ritter, had the following
comment to make regarding the analysis done by Greenopia,
"I very much appreciate this honor as an acknowledgment
of our success at building a New Energy Economy all
across Colorado. Over the past 2˝ years, we have established
Colorado as a national and international leader in
renewable energy. While renewable energy and energy
conservation are vital to our environmental future,
the recession has also made it clear how important
they are to our economic future. Thanks to our New
Energy Economy, we are creating thousands of new jobs,
attracting scores of new companies and leading the
way toward greater energy independence through research
Article & Picture © Greenopia Comment
on "Greenopia Ranks 50 State Governors for Environmental
Responsibility" on Lisa's Blog
on August 1: Building Green
Building Green: Making Your Home More Energy Efficient
Join Design Forward's Lisa Swan in Glendale on August
1, 2009 for a Building Green seminar for home owners.
Class Description: Whether you are interested in a
new house, remodeling your existing home, or just
adding a few sustainable features, this innovative
class will give you an in depth review of green building
and sustainable architecture. Learn about solar and
wind energy, wall systems such as straw bale, insulated
concrete forms and foam insulation, natural and recycled
materials, efficient windows and appliances, and more.
Also learn how you can save money through State and
Reference Class: SI011
Instructor: Lisa Swan is the owner of Design Forward,
a residential design firm, specializing in sustainable
and green projects. She is an Honors' graduate of
the Illinois Institute of Technology, with a Bachelor
of Architecture and has an MBA from Norwich University.
Date & Time: August 1, 2009 9:30am - 12:30am
Cost: $35, plus $10 materials fee is payable to the
instructor in class.
Location: Glendale, CA - Garfield Campus of the Glendale
Register Begins June 1, 2009: http://www.glendale.edu/cse
on this article on Lisa's Blog
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