Thursday, June 26, 2008
Sunday, June 22, 2008
- $4.50 / gallon is driving our travel expenses sky high. Perhaps we consider saving our face to face meetings for key meetings only. Would you be willing to try new technologies in this project and work virtually for some meetings?
- What if I take the time I spend on the road and use it towards working on your project?
- The environment is very important to our company and we've committed to reducing our carbon footprint. Would you be willing to partner with us in this effort and reduce the number of trips we all take in this project?
I learned a new term today: LOHAS. Lifestyles Of Health And Sustainability. It speaks to the rapidly growing consumer market for sustainable products and services.
Unfortunately, the article that gave me LOHAS also gave me bad news on the greenwashing front. Natural Marketing Institute (NMI) did a study on LOHAS market trends and found four main themes:
- From Purchaser to Participant
- Sustainable Style
- Shades of Green for Everyone
- Greenwashing Washout.
Here are some sources to check out if you have some time:
- Are You Experiencing "Greenwashing Washout"? (Source article from GreenSage E-Zine)
- NMI Report (available for a mere $4,000 - no I did not buy it either, just giving you the opportunity to if you are interested)
- LOHAS Online
Friday, June 20, 2008
Thursday, June 19, 2008
- Sheep Replace Lawnmowers in Italy
- Sheep Replace Lawnmower Crews
- Sheep as Lawnmowers
- Discussion on sheep vs goats
- What's More Annoying than a 100-decibel yodel
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
With the price of gas crossing $4 a gallon (I paid $4.14 last time I filled up), lots of businesses and individuals are seriously considering trading in their fleets/cars for hybrid vehicles. Is it the right thing to do? This article in the Wall Street Journal argues that the answer is….maybe.
There are a number of reasons it’s a “maybe” – not the least of which is that a new car is a new car, and it’s wasteful to get something new manufactured when something old will do. Some of the other arguments include:
- It depends on how many miles per year you drive (the average American is 15,000 per car per year)
- Priuses cost $22K (that’s for the low-end model)
- You’re not going to get much money back for your trade-in, especially if it’s a guzzler
- Other small cars get pretty good mileage too…especially compared to your SUV!
All this said, I have a Prius and I love it. Not just for the gas, although that’s a big plus since when I calculated out the cost of getting a Prius vs. a similar-sized car, I was calculating gas at $2.50 a gallon. At $4+, I'm doing much better than I expected. The car is roomy, easy to drive, kinda cute, and my dog likes that it has a big back seat all for him. Of course, it does have a big old blind spot, but I’ve figured out how to work that out. For me, it was the right choice...but is it the right choice for everyone?
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
I’m travelling on business for a couple of weeks and was trying to be efficient in packing up my suitcase. While on the plane, I read an article in Time Magazine, “How to Live With Just 100 Things.” I guarantee I packed more than 100 things for my trip - even just socks and underwear for two weeks bring me close to 30!
In the article, Dave Bruno has challenged himself to have only 100 things (personal items) to live successfully. When applying this to business, I wonder if I could do it….despite its small size, my desk still has a good number of things (grouped below by category rather than thing) – I don’t think I make it even close to only 100 things!
1. laptop computer, docking station, monitor, power cord, mouse
2. external hard drive, jump drive
4. pens, pencils, markers, highlighters
5. notepads, post-its
6. binder clips, paper clips, rubber bands
7. reusable water cup
8. desk phone & headset
9. cell phone & charger
11. drawer full of personal items (lotion, shout wipes, splenda packets, contact solution, etc.)
12. snacks (mostly diet cokes & granola bars)
14. vendor freebies
15. recycle pile, trash can
16. work bag, lunch bag, gym bag
How does your desk add up?
Sunday, June 15, 2008
When it comes to incorporating social responsibility or sustainability in the workplace, it’s not just about creating a green building or complying with green building code; it’s about creating healthy and productive workplaces for people while increasing social and shareholder value for the organization.
The 100 Best Corporate Citizens list (from Corporate Responsibility Officer Magazine) ranks firms based on how well they perform in eight categories: shareholders, community, governance, diversity, employees, environment, human rights, and product. Their scores draw on both financial information and measures of corporate social performance. Here's my take on how the workplace can support these social performance categories:
Use minimal infrastructure resources to maximize shareholder value (minimize total amount of real estate needed which in turn impacts energy use, water use, cleaning, etc.)
Accommodate safe business practices that don’t negatively impact their surroundings.
Create a desirable environment which supports local recruiting.
Adopt operational policies and protocols in support of a healthy and productive work environment.
Accommodate a variety of work styles and work functions through flexible work settings, furniture, technology and training.
Design an environment is healthy and productive (access to natural light, visual stimulation, access to nature, etc.)
Support work-life balance through alternative work policies (work at home, desk sharing, etc.)
Implement transportation demand management strategies in place to minimize carbon footprint (public transportation incentives or rebates, bicycle or other personal transportation accommodations).
Design a workplace that is highly flexible and adaptable, accommodating organizational change and minimizing construction impact.
Create work policies and practices that ensure a safe and healthy environment
Building materials, furniture and all products used in the workplace are safe, non-toxic and reusable if not easily recyclable.
Friday, June 13, 2008
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
Monday, June 9, 2008
What does the workplace of the future look like? Better question... what is the nature of work in the future? Right now, most people associate work with an "office" or a single physical space where they do work. But with technology, we no longer need to be tethered to one place. In fact, for many knowledge workers, they are almost never in the office anyway (they just don't like to admit it). So, if we're completely untethered, how would we like to work? I'm willing to bet it wouldn't be in a place like this:
My idea of the perfect workplace? How about something like this...
It's one of the quietest places I've ever been and a short commute from my house… the Library of Congress Reading Room. Now that's a workplace that is inspiring and very condusive to working on heads-down tasks. Or how about any other library for that matter.
How about when I need to collaborate? How about a place like this?
You’re probably thinking… So you’re talking metaphorically, right? Actually, I’m not. Using libraries and cafes or other public or private spaces available to us could really be an individual or team choice. Do we even need an office? Or if we have one, perhaps it's much smaller, as we only need it to collaborate, use special equipment or regularly connect with our colleagues from time to time. Given the wide variety of choices we have to work in truly people-centric, productive places, why would we ever choose to sit in a Dilbert cube again?
Sunday, June 8, 2008
Using under-floor generators, the technology could use the footsteps of pedestrians to power thousands of light bulbs at shopping centres. It uses the pressure of feet on the floor to compress pads underneath, driving fluid through mini-turbines that then generate electricity, which is stored in a battery.
The Sunday Times reports that engineers have carried out a trial of this technology at Victoria Underground station in central London, and have calculated that 34,000 travellers passing through every hour could power 6,500 light bulbs.
The article goes on to explain that the same principle can be applied to harnessing energy from trains moving over railway lines. But the most relevant application of this technology for this blog is the possible application in new office buildings.
Here is a link to the original article.
Saturday, June 7, 2008
There is a fine line between "green bling," flashy green technology that gives lip service to sustainability, and "eco-iconic," the new term for eco-friendly goods and services that are bold, iconic markers and design, helping their eco-conscious owners show off their eco-credentials to their peers.
Tuesday, June 3, 2008
I'm not a huge fan of oil companies, but I am a big fan of scenario planning, a methodology for writing stories about business futures, first started by Royal Dutch Shell in the 1970s. Peter Schwartz' The Long View is a fantastic read for those interested in more reading about this. I was reading Shell's latest thinking on oil production today and noticed they continue to use this scenario planning methodology. And when you think about it, who has more interest in thinking through the future of energy than a company that lives and dies by it? Here are two "futures" they describe on their website.
Read more about Shell's Scramble and Blueprints scenarios here. I haven't gone through a fact-checked every statement, it is presented very well. Extremely thought provoking.
To help think about the future of energy, we have developed two scenarios that describe alternative ways it may develop. In the first scenario – called Scramble – policymakers pay little attention to more efficient energy use until supplies are tight. Likewise, greenhouse gas emissions are not seriously addressed until there are major climate shocks. In the second scenario – Blueprints – growing local actions begin to address the challenges of economic development, energy security and environmental pollution. A price is applied to a critical mass of emissions giving a huge stimulus to the development of clean energy technologies, such as carbon dioxide capture and
storage, and energy efficiency measures. The result is far lower carbon dioxide emissions.
I was putzing around on Starbuck's Corporate Social Responsibility website and found their Planet Green Game. It's fastastic! You pick an avatar and choose your own adventure, collecting green trivia points along the way. You can also go to a movie theater and view 7 movie shorts. Very interactive and very, very clever (maybe slightly addictive). http://www.planetgreengame.com/
Sunday, June 1, 2008
Those of you familiar with Facebook know of the many plug-ins available. Vampire battles, Super Poke, gift giving, etc. One of my favorite time-waster plug-ins is (Lil) Green Patch.
Basically, (Lil) Green Patch allows users to send and receive plants, care for each other's green patches, and buy decorations for the green patches. This is all fun and cute, but the great thing about (Lil) Green Patch is that for every 10 plants you send to your friends, the sponsors contribute enough funds to save 1 square foot of rainforest.
Every month, (Lil) Green Patch donates revenue (after expenses of course) to funding a portfolio of reforestation projects. The most recent donation was made May 1, 2008 to the Adopt An Acre program of the Nature Conservancy.
With 454,680 daily active users, (Lil) Green Patch has saved over 20 million SF of rainforest thus far. If you have Facebook and some time to kill, it would be a great way to help the planet while doing some business (or social) networking.