Public Policy

Influential Women in Cleantech: Top 10 fighting for the Environment in our Governments

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It’s easy to forget sometimes that most governments are designed to move slowly and methodically, as to help maintain an equilibrium in society.  However, in the face of increasing signs of climate change, this slow pace can be thoroughly frustrating.  Whether your government’s reactions to global warming have made you wallow or feel uncharacteristically violent, often focusing on the good that is going on can help ease the tensions of what you think “should” be happening.  In this edition we’ll focus on women in the government positions who are working tirelessly to protect

Getting Ahead in Today's Job Market- Presidio Makes it Happen

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Everyone has heard the old adage, "It's not what you know, it's who you know"? In this tough economy - it is both. To make it nowadays, a person must have excellent qualifications and great connections.

 

Greenwashing Gets Sophisticated

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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.

Algae - A Smart Replacement for Petroleum

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For the past few years I have been extremely interested in algae as an alternative to petroleum. I was a student at the Green MBA and my interest was first peaked by my then classmate and now CEO of Skip to Renew, Stig Westling. Stig’s company develops and produces sustainable, environmentally friendly, and cost-effective industrial lubricants and greases.

 

This got me thinking - what other companies are out there and who is leading the pack in the biofuel market? My research led me to Riggs Eckelberry, the CEO and President of OriginOil. “OriginOil is proving its next-generation technology to greatly enhance algae biomass harvesting and oil extraction. This allows scalable industrialization to make algae a high-yield, cost-competitive replacement for petroleum.”

 

What is admirable about algae is that unlike many other biofuel alternatives is that it does not require farmland or fresh water therefore “fundamentally changing the world’s source of oil without disrupting the environment or food supplies”.

 

To say I am very excited about Riggs Eckelberry speaking at this month’s EcoTuesday on May 22nd would be a great understatement. I feel that the knowledge and expertise he can provide our members is invaluable. Not only has Riggs proved himself in the competitive tech market he has now undertaken this challenge in the world of alternative energy and proven to be successful.

 

Riggs Eckelberry has helped OriginOil become a publicly-traded technology firm that helps algae growers extract oil from Algae for use as a feedstock for the commercial production of transportation fuels, chemicals and foods. In January of 2011, Riggs Eckelberry was named to the Advisory Board of the National Algae Association. He speaks regularly on algae industry trends and writes the Algae Business column for Algae Industry Magazine.

 

I hope that as you read this you are as excited as I am and will attend what will surely be an amazing discussion about Algae as viable replacement for petroleum. Register today - there's only one week left!

Top 10 Women of Sustainability - Nikki Pava Listed

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(This article was featured in Renewable Energy News and Cleantechies.)

 

In this second installment in our series on leading women in cleantech and sustainability sectors, we offer up our top picks for the sustainability sector. Quite often this category is dominated by women working in Corporate Social Responsibility, as it’s a sector where women have made great strides to gain leadership roles in the last few decades. However, for our series, we are saving those women of CSR for a later post. This let’s us focus more on those women doing unique sustainability work that might otherwise not be noticed. Stay tuned for our Women of CSR post, it’s not far behind!


1. Nikki Pava – Co-founder, EcoTuesday & Founder of Alegria Partners

Nikki Pava is both the co-founder and president of EcoTuesday and part of the organization’s Ambassador team in San Francisco. EcoTuesday is a renowned networking event for sustainable business professionals that takes place every fourth Tuesday of the month in cities across the US. The organization’s 5-year anniversary celebration takes place on February 21st with special guest speaker Brian Black, president of the Sustainable Industries Magazine.


Most recently, Nikki launched Alegria Partners, an integrated marketing and sustainability consulting firm that helps to manage and grow businesses. Clients include Technology Forecasters, Blue Coat Systems, Maestro Conference and Greenopolis. As an independent consultant, Nikki has also worked in a strategic capacity with Williams-Sonoma on a project to decrease waste in their stores and played a key role in implementing Burning Man LLC’s five-year sustainability plan. She also helped Morrison & Forester (one of the country’s largest law firms) establish its Cleantech Practice Group. Nikki has an MBA in Sustainable Business from the Presidio School of Management and has worked in a strategic capacity with Fortune 500 companies, small- and medium-sized businesses, and non-profits to develop strategic plans and coordinate teams to reach specific and measurable goals.

Follow her on Twitter>>

 

2. Elizabeth Sturcken - Director of Corporate Partnerships, Environmental Defense Fund

Elizabeth Sturcken is the Managing Director of the Corporate Partnerships program at the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF). There she develops and implements joint projects with leading companies in order to create environmental change. Elizabeth currently works with Wal-Mart to create a broad environmental change in crucial areas of its business, including climate change, China, seafood, and packaging. Additionally, she has worked with FedEx to develop environmentally advanced heavy-duty delivery vehicles. With UPS she helped implement innovative changes in their express delivery packaging.

 

3. Karen Flanders – Senior North American Representative at Prince of Wales’s Business and Sustainability Programme

Karen Flanders is a Senior North American Representative at Prince of Wales’s Business and Sustainability Programme where she contributes to the organization’s mission to draw on world-leading research and networks of Cambridge University to help business leaders address the critical global challenges they face today. Karen is also a Senior Associate (Fellow) with the University of Cambridge Programme for Sustainability Leadership (CPSL). In her 20 years of experience working on the sustainability field, both domestically and internationally, Karen has become an important member of several major corporations, NGOs and intergovernmental organizations.


Prior to joining CPSL and working with PWBSP, Karen served for eight years as the director of sustainability for the Coca Cola Company. Prior to that, she lead the European and global advocacy campaigns for WWF for 12 years. She is also part of the board of the Women’s Network for a Sustainable Future.

 

4. Bonnie Nixon – Executive Director, Sustainability Consortium

Formerly an executive with Hewlett Packard, Bonnie Nixon is known for her ability to inspire and serve as a catalyst for transformation in the field of sustainability and social and environmental responsibility. As Executive Director for The Sustainability Consortium (TSC), Bonnie is responsible for providing strategic direction and executing on the TSC’s bold vision for independent global product standards. TSC works to help set the standards and develop transparent methodologies, tools and strategies that will drive a new generation of products and supply networks that address environmental, social and economic imperatives. Some of the Board of Directors representatives are companies and organizations of the caliber of Arizona State University, the University of Arkansas, The Walt Disney Company, Wal-Mart, PepsiCo, Proctor & Gamble, Dell and more.


With her more than 25 years of experience in social and environmental responsibility for large corporations, Bonnie serves on many multi-industry consortiums, including global retailers, footwear and apparel, toy, pharmaceutical, chemical, automotive, consumer goods and mining. She is also the Board Chair for Sustainable Silicon Valley and Board Member of Blue Planet Network.

 

5. Marianna Grossman – Executive Director, Sustainable Silicon Valley

Marianna Grossman leads Sustainable Silicon Valley, who’s mission is to create a more sustainable future within the Valley by collaborating with local government agencies, businesses, and community organizations to identify and address the most pressing environmental issues of the area. Marianna’s goal is to catalyze innovation and action to produce economic value, while at the same protecting the environment. She brings more than 25 years of business and leadership experience with knowledge of climate change, sustainable technologies, Total Quality Systems and transformation management. All of this aims to create value for clients across the different sectors of the industry, including the entrepreneurship, computer hardware and software, semiconductors, automotive, educational and civic organizations. Marianna has also both developed and led training courses from executive to individual contributors on four continents. She is an expert in increasing revenues while at the same time taking advantage of both new market opportunities and improved use of energy.

 

6. Diane MacEachern – Author, Big Green Purse

Diane MacEachern is the founder & CEO of Big Green Purse, the award-winning environment-focused website. She is also the author of the best-selling book Big Green Purse: Use Your Spending Power to Create a Cleaner, Greener World as well as Save Our Planet: 750 Everyday Ways You Can Clean Up The Earth. She’s also a a regular commentator on Martha Stewart’s Whole Living radio program.


In addition to writing, Diane is a founding member of Green Moms Carnival, one of the most reputed green lifestyle blogging networks on the web. During her career, her main focus has been to empower consumers – especially women – to use their marketplace clout to protect the environment. Due to her passion in these endeavors, Diane has garnered a series of awards and recognitions, including the Best Green Website of the year 2007, being the finalist in the Books for a Better Life award 2008, being featured in the Top 100 Environmentalist Blogs from Design Sprout and much more.

Follow her on twitter here>>

 

7. Nina Simons – Founder, Bioneers

Nina Simons is a social entrepreneur, Co-CEO and Co-Founder of Bioneers, a national nonprofit that helps highlight, gather and disseminate breakthrough solutions to the most pressing environmental and social challenges. Nina’s life and work have been shaped by her passion for the natural world, women’s leadership, systems thinking, and the arts’ capacity to shape culture and consciousness.


Throughout her career, Nina has served as president of Seeds of Change and as director of strategic marketing for Odwalla, being instrumental to the success of each of these companies nationwide. Since beginning Bioneers in 1990, she and her partner and husband Kenny Ausubel have collaborated to grow the organization and its influence. Bioneers now reaches many millions through its annual conferences, satellite conference partners, award-winning radio series, broadcast and print media, interactive website and book series.

Nina Simons has also been vital in restoring the “feminine” to a balanced place in our culture. In 2006, she began offering Cultivating Women’s Leadership, a five-day intensive for diverse women with the passion and capacity to effect change in their communities. This intensive training emphasizes skillful collaboration across differences, and the creation of relationships and networks to cultivate leadership, build alliances and encourage mutual support.

Follow her on Twitter here>>

 

8. Pamela Gordon – Author, Lean and Green: Profit for Your Workplace and the Environment

Pamela J. Gordon is the President and Founder of Technology Forecasters Inc. (TFI), as well as being the Lead Consultant for TFI Supply Chain and TFI Environment. TFI is an organization that helps technology companies create more efficient supply chains while at the same time reducing their environmental impact. She specializes in sustainability and is a popular keynote speaker, having presented at high-tech conferences in Asia, Europe, and the Americas. Before founding TFI, Ms. Gordon was a senior analyst at McGraw Hill’s electronics industry market-research firm Gnostic Concepts Inc. She is also the author of the influential 2001 book, Lean and Green: Profit for Your Workplace and the Environment. It features 17 electronics companies from around the world and has been required reading at the University of California Haas School of Business.


On top of all of these achievements, Ms. Gordon has received the 2011 Sustainability Summit Community Award which was given in recognition of “the person who has most generously dedicated time and effort to support the development of a legacy of environmental stewardship in the [electronics] industry.”

 

9. Astrid Lindo – Co-founder, The Living Seed Company

A native of Colombia and raised in Miami Beach, Astrid Lindo always lived close to the earth. This led her early on to understand modern human’s disconnection with the natural world and contributed to her desire to found The Living Seed Company and inspire people to live more harmonious lives with their environments. The organization specializes in providing people with the best possible choices for food diversity.


With her formal training as an interior designer from the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City, she has also built a career as an ecological interior designer. Astrid holds a Certificate in Green Building and Permaculture, as well as an LEED accreditation. Her firm Astrid Design Studio supports more sustainable practices in the design field.

Follow her on Twitter here>>

 

10. Stacie Shepp – 2011 Executive Director, San Francisco Green Chamber of Commerce

In 2011, Stacie Shepp was the fearless leader the San Francisco Green Chamber of Commerce. The organization empowers businesses to achieve economic, environmental, and social sustainability. Members benefit from increased visibility, educational tools to improve operational performance, and extensive networking opportunities.


Stacie is also co-founder of Earthsite, a Digital Consultancy for Sustainable Brands that specializes in building web strategies, design and social media marketing campaigns that are sustainable and optimal. Stacie is a graduate of the Green MBA program at Dominican University of CA.

 

About the author:

Lisa Ann Pinkerton is founder of Women In Cleantech & Sustainability, a San Francisco Bay Area group dedicated to the advancement of women in various environmental and technology sectors. She is also Founder and President of Technica Communications, where she handles marketing and public relations strategies for cleantech and biotech companies. Lisa Ann is a former award-winning broadcast journalist who reported for National Public Radio, PBS Television, WPXI-NBC, American Public Media, and Free Speech TV.

Presidio’s Sustainable Management Program-Rethink Everything!

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Nestled within the bustle of San Francisco city life lies the serene Presidio National Park, home of the prestigious Presidio Graduate School. Founded in 2003, Presidio Graduate School educates and inspires a new generation of skilled, visionary and enterprising leaders to transform business and public policy and create a more just, prosperous and sustainable world.

How does Presidio Graduate School accomplish this while offering rigorous MBA, MPA and Executive Certificate programs? Presidio’s sustainable management program is “a strategic approach to rethinking everything.” This forward thinking is what makes Presidio one of the top sustainable programs in the country.

No matter your interest or educational background, Presidio Graduate School will teach you how to harness your power to design healthier products, address complex social injustices and understand environmental issues that affect us all. Presidio integrates sustainability into every course – from sustainable leadership to life cycle accounting, from social marketing to ecological economics. Students apply sustainability frameworks and methods to real-life business cases both within actual companies, non-profits and government agencies, and within their own career and/or entrepreneurial plans. Presidio allows students to tackle real world problems in a real world setting.

Sustainability is not a buzz word; it is a real way of thinking about the world in a holistic and healthy way. It is important to teach students and future leaders how to transform the business world to become more sustainable. If you are interested in taking your career to the next level or in learning more about the Sustainable Management programs at the Presidio Graduate School, please make sure to sign up for one of their upcoming information sessions.

Why are 26 Cities Green With Envy?

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Well in 2011, San Francisco took the title as the “greenest city in North America”. The study, conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit studied the environmental performance and commitments by 27 major metro areas in the U.S. and Canada, and we won!

 This is greatly due to the efforts of this month’s guest speaker, Johanna Partin. Johanna serves as Director of Climate Protection Initiatives in the office of San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, where she advises Mayor Lee on citywide sustainable energy, climate, transportation, green building and other programs promoting sustainability for San Francisco.

In addition to creating change in the mayor’s office Johanna has over 17 years' experience in the fields of renewable energy, microfinance, gender equity and sustainable development, and has worked both locally and in more than 15 countries around the world.

If you are interested in learning more about change starting at the local level and how you can help Johanna and the city of San Francisco keeps it title, come to our next EcoTuesday event January 24th at The W Hotel, SF.

To see what topics Johanna will be discussing and register for this very special event, click here.

Call for Applications: Acterra’s 2012 Business Environmental Awards

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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 awards@acterra.org

People for Bikes at Opportunity Green Conference

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Family bikingFrom speakers to sponsors to attendees, this year’s Opportunity Green Conference had many visionaries that spanned the green economy. One particular booth that I loved was peopleforbikes.org. People for Bikes, a non-profit focused on promoting biking across the nation. Many of our cities in the US need to incorporate bike lanes into their city planning.

 

Why do we ride? A few interesting facts from the People for Bikes’ website: 

47% of Americans would like to see more bike lanes, trails, and bridges in their communities.

  • I personally would love to see the Bay Bridge not only create a bike lane from the East Bay to Treasure Island but also from Treasure Island to San Francisco. How many people travel across by foot or by pedal on the Golden Gate Bridge a day? How wonderful would it be if the Bay Bridge would be accessible by foot or by pedal? 

1 pound of CO2 pollution cut for every mile pedaled. 

50% of trips Americans make are less than 3 miles.

  • How wonderful if you could get your exercise while commuting! 

$8,000 spent on average each year owing and operating a car.

3 hours of riding per week reduces the risk of hear disease & stroke by 50%.

$10 saved each day by commuting 10 miles round trip by bicycle instead of car.

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This year’s conference theme of Accelerate fits perfectly with this non-profit.  “We chose the theme ‘Accelerate’ for this year’s conference because the successes that have gotten sustainably-minded people and companies to where we are today accelerates and offers the momentum to drive to an even better future.”

The goals of People for Bikes align well with the goals of green acceleration.

People for Bikes:

One for all: Build a national movement to improve bicycling in our country.

Opportunity Green:

We facilitate the movement to transform business for good, through advancing change and market transformation by providing open-minded professional unprecedented approaches to sustainability.

People for Bikes:

Let our voices be heard: Every six years, the federal government allocates billions of dollars to expand and improve our country’s transportation infrastructure.  We must improve our bike infrastructure to have the healthy planet everyone dreams of.

Opportunity Green:

Because we have the unique opportunity to do good for our world and our business simultaneously. Now is the time when our leadership is most needed, and will have the most impact on the future of our organization and communities.           


We must Accelerate the use of biking in order to have the future we all wish for.

 

Power to the Pedal People.

Accelerate At The Opportunity Green Conference This Week

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This week on November 10th and 11th, I will be representing EcoTuesday by attending the Opportunity Green Conference in Los Angeles. This is a wonderful conference that happens yearly with visionaries attending from the green economy. Go to the Opportunity Green website for more information.


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.