At many of our EcoTuesday events our members become inspired about sustainability issues but it can be overwhelming to keep up the momentum. How can they make an difference while going on about their daily lives?
At many of our EcoTuesday events our members become inspired about sustainability issues but it can be overwhelming to keep up the momentum. How can they make an difference while going on about their daily lives?
This month at San Francisco EcoTuesday we are very excited to have Linda Brown, Co-founder and Executive Vice President of SCS Global Services, speak. SCS Global Services has been working since the 80’s to promote sustainability by providing third party certification services in environmental performance and social responsibility, auditing, testing and standards development. SCS was launched long before sustainability became fashionable, much less a top priority, for companies.
“Greenwashing Gets Sophisticated” is the title of her presentation this month. Throughout the evening, she will point out that environmental and sustainable claims are not always what they are cracked up to be, and discuss the importance of educating ourselves about this issue to appropriately weed out the hype.
She’s in a good position to know. SCS launched its third party certification programs in response to greenwashing and has remained a staunch defender of legitimate green claims ever since.
What is a “third-party” certifier? Third-party certifiers are neutral organizations that verify claims on behalf of manufacturers, retailers, public agencies, NGOs and other entities. By contrast, “first parties” are the companies themselves, while “second parties” are other interested parties, such as industry trade associations. A legitimate third-party certifier provides scientific, non-biased assessment, with an emphasis on transparency in order to build awareness and support informed product comparisons.
SCS currently conducts certifications under 16 internationally recognized accreditations including green building, product manufacturing, food and agriculture, forestry, retailing and more. These certifications range in complexity from specific claims such as recycled content to complex sustainability and life cycle assessment based claims. Here is a quick primer on the types of claims that fall under this certification umbrella:
Single attribute environmental claims are simple, straightforward claims about one attribute of a product. For example, SCS’s Indoor Air Quality certifications look at the emissions of products like furniture, flooring, or carpet and verify that the emission factors pass the indoor air quality requirements of California Section 01350. Multi-attribute claims are claims about a broad set of attributes, for instance, a group of environmental, health and social measures. The “level” certification program, developed by the Business and Institutional Furniture Manufacturer’s Association (BIFMA) for furniture, is an example. The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification for responsibly managed wood is another.
Life-cycle assessments approach the issue of environmental performance differently. They look at and measure the entire scope of impacts associated with a product, process or service. Ideally, these results can be compared among product options to facilitate educated decisions.
SCS’s environmental and social mission is reflected in the company itself. For instance, in January of this year, SCS was one of the first corporations in California to become a California Benefit Corporation under the recently enacted AB 361 legislation, along with Patagonia and 10 other California companies. SCS is additionally a Certified B Corporation. B Corporations conduct business for the benefit of the people and the environment. They engage stakeholders to ensure corporate accountability and transparency by meeting higher legal accountability standards. They also meet comprehensive and transparent social and environmental performance standards.
To learn more about the environmental claims and greewashing, the challenges of third-party certification, and the importance of transparency, join us at EEFG at 6:30pm on Tuesday July 24th. Register here!
Please note, I am an employee of SCS Global Services but have made this article as objective as possible.
We're happy to showcase Green Dentistry during the June and July EcoTuesday events in San Francisco.
Green Dentistry is a truly revolutionary dental practice. Its founder, Dr. Nammy Patel, is the first dentist to make a serious commitment to green, sustainable business practices in the City. She and her staff take a unique approach to combine dentistry and conserve the environment, using non-toxicproducts, reducing waste and being minimally invasive. The team strives to save all types of energy in its daily practice and reduce the office's carbon footprint. Green Dentistry is the first LEED certified dental office in San Francisco and is located in Union Square.
As a dental client, the experience of visiting Green Dentistry is unlike any other dental experience around. The office is warm and inviting, the technology state-of-the-art, and the "perks," such as the heated lavender neck pillow make going to this dentist truly enjoyable.
In addition to her dental practice, Dr. Patel serves on the Board of the Green Chamber of Commerce and is an Enviro-mentor for the San Francisco Environment Agency, which helps small businesses become green. She is also the creator and founder of Whole Fusion, an almond butter spread that's healthy and delicious. Next month we'll share more about this aspect of her business - stay tuned!
Dr. Patel and her staff will be at this week's EcoTuesday at Yoshi's and you can meet her in person to ask questions. We look forward to seeing you there - please register beforehand so we know you're coming!
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November's speaker in Silicon Valley was Adriane Erickson from Acterra. If you missed the networking event last week, you still have a chance to apply for Acterra’s Environmental Awards, see below for more details.
Applications for Acterra’s 2012 Business Environmental Awards are now available - click here.
This year’s categories are: Environmental Project, Environmental Innovation, Sustainable Built Environment, and the Acterra Award for Sustainability.
Any business, municipality or organization located in the following counties is eligible to apply: Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz County. Non-profits may also apply if environmental work is not their central mission.
The deadline to apply is Friday, December 9, 2011. For more information, please contact email@example.com.
This year’s theme of Accelerate fits perfectly with the current momentum of the green economy. We must continue this acceleration in order to have the amount of positive change we need in this world.
Personally, I am especially energized to listen to Conde Nast 2011 Designer of the Year, Yves Behar speak about Redefining Design. Founder and Chief Designer of fuseprojects, Behar has lead many inspiring projects including One Labtop per Child, underwear designed with compostable packaging, “See Better to Learn Better” and many more. Redefining the way we design products incorporating sustainability in every step of the way is the design of today.
The owners and creative visionaries, Kendra L. Baker and Zachary E. Davis, use sustainably grown local ingredients, such as wild fruits, vegetable, herbs, and even flowers to bring ice cream lovers new flavors with each season. A recent Yelp reviewer states, "Some of the best ice cream in Santa Cruz. The flavors here are very strange, so be open! You can still get a lot of the classics, too." There are reports that there are often lines out the door on nice, sunny days.
Davis is an alum of the Green MBA and the business plan for The Penny Ice Creamery was his Capstone project before completing the program in 2009. He and Baker secured a loan through the Small Business Administration, funded by federal stimulus funds. Davis had a very unique idea: to thank Obama for the loan with a "THANK YOU" video (it's fun to watch!) instead of a card (his mom must have been proud!). In it, Baker and Davis shared how the loan made it possible to contribute to the local economy through creating jobs and buying goods from other local businesses (when they opened their shop, they hired 11 employees and worked with 20 local businesses). The video got the attention of those at The Huffington Post and the Santa Cruz Sentinel, and was soon after "retweeted" by The White House.
In what came as a complete surprise, in November 2009, Vice President Joe Biden called Davis to thank him for creating the video and recognizing the Administration for the stimulus package. What was even more thrilling was a call the following January, when the pair was invited to sit in Michelle Obama's chamber during the State of the Union address to the nation.
The journey to Washington DC seems like an incredibly fantastic event to take place during the infancy of a local business! The Penny Ice Creamery is a clear example of the types of companies that are born during (and after) a student's time at the Green MBA. While a trip to Washington DC wasn't a part of Davis' Capstone plan, the entire Green MBA curriculum is designed to support business professionals reach their goals.
Please join us on Tuesday, October 25 in San Francisco for a great speaker and the opportunity to talk directly with Green MBA grads! Register soon and see you there!
Your customers, investors, employees, investors, community, suppliers, and family.
This is just a short list of the many types of stakeholders that support your company. All stakeholders are important for the progress and prosperity of a business.
Strategic employee engagement is the most effective way to foster successful economic, environmental and social initiatives in a company. Employees are learning more about best practices around sustainability, which in turn helps to save the company money. Companies can support these new ideas to spur innovation that will have a ripple effect with the other stakeholders. When a company focuses attention on the employee stakeholder group, it thrives.
On Wednesday, September 21, I will be participating in a roundtable discussion entitled, "Community and Stakeholder Engagement: A Sustainable Approach" and will be joined by representatives from B Corporation, The Green Chamber of Commerce, and the Centre for Sustainability and Excellence. We will discuss communities, renewable energy, stakeholder groups, and more.
The event takes place at the Hotel Palomar from 6:30-8:30. The cost is $30 and food/drink is provided. The first ten people to sign up for the roundtable will gain free entry to EcoTuesday in SF, so register today!
During the roundtable, I will focus on the following:
Employee Engagement Through Building A Green Team: Your Key To Sustainability
Please join us this month in cities across the country to meet new business contacts and friends. Our event this month will take place on Tuesday, September 27. We encourage you to register beforehand so that we know you'll be joining us. In San Francisco ten people will have the opportunity to quickly share their "elevator pitch" about their company in supportive environment! We hope to see you at an EcoTuesday this month.
By the way, our November event will be held a week earlier, on November 15. We will not be hosting a December event.
One of the best things about organizing SF EcoTuesday is the opportunity to meet and showcase sustainable business leaders partnering with designers to create thoughtful experiences. My hope is to draw more people from the design community to SF EcoTuesday as a place to connect business ideas with design strategy and solutions. This is a chance for designers to directly network with entrepreneurs and be more involved in work that effects change for the common good. As a designer my personal goal is to be more focused on working for and partnering with organizations who’s goals are to build a more sustainable world.
A great example of this is our upcoming speaker, Dr. Larry Weiss from San Francisco company CleanWell. Dr. Weiss and business parter Sam DeAth teamed up with IDEO to create CleanWell, a line of healthy hand cleaners to promote healthy habits. Weiss and DeAth had a compelling mission inspired by a personal story and an all-natural product based in science. Using design thinking to build a business, IDEO brought their expertise to craft CleanWell into a meaningful experience and brand. The combination of CleanWell and IDEO has succeeded in connecting people to a brand that goes beyond a product by resonating with our daily choices in a tangible and thoughtful way. Good hand washing habits with a healthy, enjoyable cleaner negate the need for us to expose ourselves and the environment to toxic chemicals.
Their collaboration resulted in a line of non-toxic, alchohol-free alternative to hand sanitizers and cleaners, produced cruelty-free and made from sustainably grown ingredients. The packaging is considerate in it’s sharp and simple visual design, including low-tac adhesive for easy removal for minimal branding in the home. IDEO designed the packaging and graphics for CleanWell’s line of spray and toweletts, as well as helped build operational and manufacturing capabilities. IDEO’s expertise comes from an interdisciplinary team including industrial designers, engineers, business specialists, and communications and graphic designers who create “multifaceted experiences that connect people to brands in harmonious, meaningful, and emotional ways.” Four years later, CleanWell can be found in Whole Foods, Rainbow Grocery, Walgreens, Target and many other retail locations. Both Seventh Generation and Method sell products powered by CleanWell technology. Through these partnerships the CleanWell logo itself has become a mark of excellence, representing the highest standard in all-natural cleaning quality. You can read more about the IDEO CleanWell case study here.
We hope you can join us this Tuesday, January 25, at The San Francisco W Hotel at 6:30 pm. $5 with online registration ($10 at the door).
We are thrilled to have Dr. Larry Weiss, CTO and co-founder of CleanWell, as our speaker in San Francisco this month. Dr. Weiss will discuss his company's approach to business that is inspired by real life and by people with a common passion.
CleanWell’s mission was born 10 years ago from a family’s need to find cleaning and disinfecting products that were highly effective but also safe. CleanWell is committed to creating natural technologies that offer a way to clean without compromising our personal health and safety, or that of the environment. CleanWell’s all-natural hand sanitizer and line of naturally scented hand washes deliver a variety of environmental advantages because the active ingredient is made from rapidly renewable natural resources that are sustainably grown without pesticides or fertilizer. Learn more at www.CleanWellToday.com.
Dr. Weiss is a widely published physician, scientist, and expert in the chemistry of natural products, infection control and epidemiology. He's a graduate of Cornell University and Stanford Medical School, and has served as a NIH Fellow, clinician academic, and teacher. He and his family, plus three miniature longhair dachshunds wash their hands and paws at least five times a day. He blogs at "A Better Way to Clean".
This month we are being generously hosted by the W San Francisco. W San Francisco recently obtained Silver LEED-EB certification, which makes them one of seven existing build hotels in North America, and the first Starwood and W property to secure this highly sought after (and difficult to obtain) distinction within the green community. W is committed to ensuring that their guests can feel good about their impact on the environment without sacrificing style or substance. We'll be meeting in the The Industry Room.
Big thanks to W San Francisco and CleanWell for supporting us in kicking off SF EcoTuesday 2011!
Please join us on Tuesday, January 25th for this great event. Register for the event here.
While this festival is partly a showcase and marketplace for just about any green product you can think of -- from jewelry, clothing, and towels to food and drinks to the latest electric cars -- and may therefore seem less serious than the more businesslike green conferences in the Bay Area, it serves an important function in getting so many people involved and engaged. There's a lot to be said for making green more mainstream. And in between shopping, you can also choose among talks on a wide range of subjects. The ones I attended exemplified the energy and message of the festival, and the theme of personal and global engagement.
There's an urgency to environmentalism today that can't be denied. As Bill McKibben of 350.org reminded his audience, climate change is happening faster than we'd thought -- and while we have the technology to solve many of our problems, the political will isn't as easy to come by. John Perkins, author of Hoodwinked, pointed out that this is the first time in history that the whole world is confronting the same crisis. But it's also the first time that we're all communicating with one another, in a way that wasn't possible even a few years ago. As an illustration of this, 350.org has more than once virtually gathered people from all around the world -- their Global Day of Action was called "the most widespread day of political action in the planet's history," and this year their Global Work Party drew people to 7,347 events in 188 countries.
We all have tremendous power to make changes. If you don't believe that, just look at the many examples of people who have helped change the world. Rallies organized by 350.org's predecessor in 2007 helped convince political leaders to set a goal of cutting carbon 80% by 2050. In Florida, as Perkins recounted, the head of an environmental agency had the courage to take a stand against a coal-powered plant, and the people stood behind her. The coal company got the message and is now the largest wind and solar company in the U.S. While they used to spend millions against CO2 taxes, now they fight for them -- because the people spoke.
So what can you do? It depends what your passion is; it's up to all of us to get involved in any way we can and do whatever makes the most sense for us. Connect with others who are trying to do the same things; volunteer to install solar panels; join organizations that force corporations and governments to change. It took just a few people to convince the administration to put solar panels back on the White House; imagine what we can do with many more of us. If we all engage in activities like this and make our voices heard, change will happen. And events like the Green Festival, which bring so many green-minded people together, can help facilitate that and inspire us all to keep pursuing our goals.
I'm happy to introduce our two new San Francisco EcoTuesday Ambassadors!
Jesse Martinez and Jenny Martinez (no relation) have fully stepped up and taken the lead, which has have been a huge help for me in San Francisco as I take a step back (to have a baby) and play a more minor role in organizing the monthly events.
Thanks so much to everyone out there for joining me in welcoming the new family members!
HERE GOES - OUR NEW AMBASSADORS!
Originally from the big state of Texas, Jesse has enjoyed being in San Francisco since 1997. After a few startups and Corporate Life, he currently helps companies minimize or eliminate paper usage through document-driven business process improvement techniques. He is not only passionate about volunteering for great causes (Food Bank, March of Dimes, Habitat for Humanity, etc.) but helping other organizations become more “green” through their efforts thru Connect the Dots. As an EcoTuesday Ambassador, his mission is to help facilitate the bringing together of other like passionate individuals so that we can make a difference/impact on this planet in our lifetime.
Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, I have worked as a designer for local technology companies and startups. My specialty is the design of brands, web and interactive tools. I believe design can effect change for the common good. My passion is to work for and partner with organizations who’s goals are to build a more sustainable world.
What to do when your scheduled speaker falls ill and can't join us? Turn the 'virtual mic' on ourselves!
We hope Jurriann feels better soon and we do look forward to rescheduling him for an upcoming talk because we love what Ode Magazine is doing. This spontaneous turn of events actually gave us an opportunity to hear more from each other. And what do you know...we have an amazing community so varied and full of creativity. I was struck with the potential we had in the room that night - we are making it possible to green our homes and businesses through renewable energy, zero waste, supporting the local community, serving sustainable food, having a healthy sense of ourselves, healthy indoor and outdoor environments, and are able to create and sell our own sustainable products. Pretty fantastic! Let's help spread the word about these folks. Here is a recap of most everyone we heard from:
Albert Hartman / High Tide
High Tide's products provide on-demand reliable power required for remote geographies, emergency situations, and mass adoption of mobile electronic devices. Check out their bicycle mounted USB charger, RollerGen.
Michael "Merc" Martinelli / Verdafero
Verdafero helps organizations understand, develop, and execute successful sustainability initiatives by offering consulting and software as a service (SaaS) tools for sustainable business development. Their focus is small and medium enterprises (SME) who want to effectively manage their “Triple Bottom Line” - People / Planet / Profit.
Ingrid Ramsay / Closets Van Go
Closets Van Go and Kitchens Van Go is dedicated to helping you make your home a masterpiece — artistically, affordably and sustainably. They have a mobile showroom and a large variety of green woods and finishes.
Susan Wright / Connect the Dots
Connect the Dots consults exclusively for the nonprofit community to reduce their environmental footprint as they continue to focus on their social missions.
Nicola "Nikki" Ferenz / Gamechanger
GameChanger helps both big and small companies build powerful, breakthrough brands with fast, flexible new approaches to growth and innovation.
Bodhi Vela Cole / Style Consultant
Bodhi believes that everyone’s unique beauty should be celebrated and embraced. Image coaching is a process where your internal world is transcribed into a wardrobe that has you feel your best.
Chris Sofis / Sofistry
Sofisty's primary service offering is centered on Modern Cabana, an eco-fabulous spare room (think art studio, guest room, kids' play room, yoga/exercise studio, massage studio, or brand new office space . . . you get the idea) which will fit in the smallest of San Francisco gardens.
David Nuss / Runka
Runka was born from a concern that all of us share in preserving the planet. The site provides options for purchasing both practical and exotic products that promote recycling and the use of sustainable materials.
Linda Delair / EarthSource
EarthSource's mission is to proliferate the use of FSC-certified, sustainable and environmentally healthy wood products by educating architects, designers, woodworkers and contractors about the cost-efficiency and long-term benefits of specifying such materials for their building plans.
David Callicott / GoodLight
All GoodLight Natural Candles are paraffin-free, non-toxic, clean burning, 100% palm wax that contains no additives or blends, and use cotton wicks containing no lead or zinc or other metals. GoodLight works with the Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) and GreenPalm organizations pioneering sustainability in palm farming.
Matt Carreira / I Love Blue Sea
I Love Blue Sea sells the largest selection of only sustainable seafood that is sushi-quality fresh at the best prices. The fish is filleted right before it ships to you. The next day it's delivered to your doorstep in all eco-friendly packaging.
Evan Wynns / The San Francisco Energy Cooperative
The San Francisco Energy Cooperative is a consumer owned cooperative corporation dedicated to providing ownership of renewable energy production to anyone who is interested in investing in our energy future and wishes to have a hand in its growth.
As Alice Wu stated, they are now designing nine months ahead for Fall 2011 and started by making the clothing themselves & showing locally in NY. But as the industry waits for customers to catch-up, what is being done to educate consumers about sustainable fashion? Joslin and Alice share their perspective with us regarding consumer outreach and education:
We are thrilled to have Jurriaan Kamp, the founder of Ode Magazine, as our speaker in San Francisco this month. Kamp will discuss his thoughts on the power and need for optimism and solutions in ourcurrent world, the role of media and specifically Ode in making a positive impact needed to create a sustainable world.
Ode’s mission is to publish stories about the people and ideas that are making a difference. The magazine for “intelligent optimists,” Ode reports on positive news in the areas of health, science, spirit, life, energy and business. Odemagazine.com is a vibrant community that connects readers from around the globe.
Jurriaan Kamp founded Ode Magazine in The Netherlands in 1995 with his wife, Helene de Puy. The magazine continues to thrive there and in 2007, Ode Magazine’s U.S. offices opened in the Bay Area.
Before founding Ode, Kamp was an editor, correspondent in South Asia and Chief Economics Editor at the Dutch daily newspaper NRC Handelsblad. He is the author of Small Change: How Fifty Dollars Changes the World and Because People Matter. Ode Magazine in the Netherlands recently published its 100th issue.
Please join us on Tuesday, September 28th for this amazing opportunity. To register for the event, click here.