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SF EcoTuesday: Innovative Design Panel W/InterfaceFLOR, Lifefactory & Autodesk

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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?

 

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.

Healthy Teeth Equals Healthy Living

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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!

Susan Cann

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As Community Liaison for Macroscopic Media LLC, I am assisting with a new feature-length documentary, "Unacceptable Levels." An entrepreneur, writer, graphic designer, & creative thinker, I share my vision of sustainable living in homes, offices, & over coffee in local cafes. I am also the founder of two local Meetup groups: a grassroots effort to remove showcase lawns & replace them with edibles and drought-tolerant natives, & women who strive toward living more simply & sustainably.

Primary EcoTuesday City: 
Silicon Valley

Veriflora Certified Sustainably Grown Plants and Flowers at the Opportunity Green Conference

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flowersVeriflora®, one of this year's Opportunity Green Conference sponsors, is a leading sustainable agricultural certification and eco-labeling program recognized as the gold-standard in the floriculture and horticulture industries. Most of the flowers around the conference as well as the long stem roses that were given out during Thursday evening's party were Veriflora certified.

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Veriflora<!--[endif]-->® certified growers who participated include California Pajarosa, www.pajarosa.com; Resendiz Bros., www.resendizbrothers.com; Green Valley Floral, www.greenvalleyfloral.com; and F & B  Farms and Nursery, www.fandbfarms.com.

 

Veriflora certifies cut flowers, potted plants, improved input devices, and peat moss products through its ‘Responsibly Managed’ peatlands annex.  The multiple attributes of sustainability addressed by the Veriflora certification (for more information click here) include:

1. Environmental Sustainability 

Sustainable Crop Production

Resource Conservation and Energy Efficiency

Ecosystem Protection

Integrated Waste Management       

 

2. Social & Economic Sustainability

Fair Labor Practices

Community Benefits

 

3. Product Integrity

 Product Quality

Product Safety

 

If you want to know where to buy Veriflora certified fresh cut flowers or potted plants, go to the Preferred Retailer Program page on the Veriflora website.

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

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.

A Green MBA Success Story: The Penny Ice Creamery

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The Penny Ice Creamery, located in downtown Santa Cruz, is one of the many businesses that have made a huge impact on a local economy and launched by a Green MBA graduate. 

 

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!

 


 

 

Community & Stakeholder Engagement: Your Key to Success

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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

  • Your employees as important stakeholders
  • Tips you can use to get employees enrolled in your company's sustainability intitiatives
  • How strategic initiatives increases motivation and productivity

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.

mrtnmambi

Primary EcoTuesday City: 
Portland