Published on March 3, 2014
The Gamut of Green • • • The Facts About our Environmental Impact Agriculture, Packaging, Waste Pioneering for a Better Future by Alissa Marrapodi October 2013
Green's Many Shades Sustainability is an ongoing journey of progress, change, transparency, challenges, rewards and making a difference. It encompasses ecological, social and economical issues. Darrin C. Duber-Smith, MS, MBA, and Gregory S. Black, Ph.D., outlined six shades of green in their book The Many Shades of Green. From red marketer—a company that ignores all the principles and concerns of green marketing —to deep green marketer—a trailblazing company not only adhering to sustainable processes, but often going above— every company falls into one of the six stages. Where are you?
The Stats Since sustainability is sitting on our doorstep demanding change, it's not only important to know the stats, but it's equally important to know what advancements, technologies, processes and more have been developed and implemented across all verticals of business. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), fossil fuels used to generate electricity are the single largest source of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in the nation, and the second largest comes from the combustion of fossil fuels from gasoline and diesel used to transports people and goods.
Take it to the Market "Often, strong policy is a necessary but insufficient condition, and technology is not the bottleneck: Capital has to flow to solutions in a well-functioning marketplace." – Carbon War Room Corporate Knights developed the concept of clean capitalism—an economic system in which prices fully incorporate social, economic and ecological costs and benefits, and actors are clearly aware of the consequences of their marketplace actions. Jigar Shah, CEO, Carbon War Room, told Corporate Knights’ editor in chief, Tyler Hamilton, one of the most effective ways to make meaningful steps toward a lowcarbon economy is to harness the power of greed, and use it as a force for social and environmental good. He stressed it's not a lack of entrepreneurial spirit, innovative business models or technologies required to create a low-carbon world, "What's lacking are the market-based tools required to level the field, which is currently occupied by powerful, high-carbon enemies,” he said.
Facts and Fossil Fuels "… Factory farming is a broken system that doesn't reflect our values. Who would want a farm system that is the leading cause of global warming? Or one of the two or three most damaging things to the environment?" —Johnathan Safran Foer, author of Eating Animals Three facts you need to know : 1.Experts predict clean energy will really begin to accelerate by 2030,but fossil fuels will still contribute to a little less than half of the world's primary energy by 2050. 2.Solutions to the energy crisis such as energy from biomass and wind power may only sustain for so long, as they too are finite and have limitations/repercussions. 3.N.A. is embarrassingly trailing behind many major industrialized countries such as China, which just released its five-year plan to increase in GDP by 2020; and Latin America, a leading host to sustainable sourcing projects.
Agriculture "We live in a world where viable agricultural land is diminishing at the same time that human population and its demands on the marketplace are increasing at an exponential rate." – Leslie Pinaire, sustainability consultant Agricultural land scarcity, mono-cropping and ensuring there won't be a drought of this or that ingredient are just a few issues plaguing crops.
Packaging As with most things, a balanced perspective of packaging is essential. Packaging is both functional and aesthetical; but, it's also a large contributor to an organization’s carbon footprint. On the other hand, it's necessary. Packaging is also a great avenue for companies to show off their green stripes. Light-weight boards, doing more with less, post-consumer resin, plant-based plastics and more are helping move packaging into a greener box. Guidelines and definitions from organizations such as the Sustainable Packaging Coalition (SPC), a project of the non-profit GreenBlue, and Consumer Goods Form (CGF) make it that much easier for companies to work toward a definitive goal.
Waste Here are a couple waste-eliminating organizations you probably should hear about: • • The CradletoCradle® (C2C) design framework adds value versus subtracting value from the environment by seeing waste as food, aka creating materials as assets that leave a positive footprint. TerraCycle’s philosophy is all things are reusable in nature, and garbage is a modern, man-made idea. The organization takes organic waste and feeds it to red worms, which then create worm poop that is used as fertilizer and filled into used 20-oz. plastic bottles (think Pepsi bottles), attached to an end run/over run trigger sprayer and sold as TerraCycle Plant Food.
The Future Whether it's collaborating with organizations such as the Sustainability Consortium or working toward transparency by working with the Global Reporting Imitative (GRI) or another organization, it's your responsibility to be responsible. Be innovative and daring and smart. Get connected and educated. The key here is do.
Thank You Thank you for viewing “The Gamut of Green” slideshow. For more about sustainability, download the Boardroom Journal’s free digital issue, “Sustainability: Exploring its impact on the global food supply chain.”
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