Sunday, November 25, 2007

NEWS: SSC Featured in the Washington Post

Exciting things are in the air here at Strategic Sustainability Consulting. Not only are we working with exciting clients, traveling to exotic locations (I'm typing this to you from Anchorage, Alaska), and developing new services for the coming year, we're also getting noticed!

Today SSC was featured in a special "green business" section in the Washington Post (the 6th largest paper in the US). I was interviewed for more than an hour, and got to share my excitement about opportunities for companies to improve their environmental footprint in a way that adds to their profitability and their employee satisfaction. You can read the whole article here:

Sustainability Consultant Takes Her Expertise to Market
by Anita Huslin, Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, November 26, 2007; D05

Aside from being thrilled to share this news with you, I also want to take a minute to reflect on the larger picture. It is now clear that 'going green' is a trend that is here to stay. If you've been a silent onlooker, now is the time to get involved.

I encourage you to take action today to make the world a greener place. If you want to make your company more eco-friendly, contact us today about starting an SSC Green Office Audit or getting a Carbon Footprint Analysis. If you are thinking about becoming a sustainability consultant, sign up for our Sustainability Consulting 101 webinar (offered next on December 12).

As I note in the article, "You can be dragged kicking and screaming, or you can take the lead." I hope you choose the latter.

Monday, November 19, 2007

PEOPLE: Spring Communications Internship at Strategic Sustainability Consulting

Strategic Sustainability Consulting (SSC) is a Washington, DC-based company that provides organizations with the tools and expertise needed to actively manage their social and environmental impacts. We specialize in helping under-resourced organizations implement sustainable solutions usually reserved for large, multinational companies. Please visit our website at for more information about our products and services.

We're looking for a communications intern to help on a variety of sustainability topics. If you believe you might be a good fit with our objectives (see below), please send your CV and a cover letter to, indicating the position for which you'd like to be considered.
We will accept inquiries through December 7th, with initial interviews on a rolling basis. Please be prepared to provide two writing samples and a list of references. NO PHONE CALLS PLEASE.

We're looking for an enthusiastic, creative, and sensible Communications Intern to assist with a range of communications projects. This is a position ideally suited to a graduate student (or mid-career changer) with a degree in communications, public relations, marketing, or related fields. Advanced undergraduate students are also encouraged to apply. Depending on skills and interests, intern projects may include:

- Assistance with media outreach and press relations
- Supporting the production and dissemination of SSC press materials, company statements and positions, and core messages
- Identification and development of news opportunities for positioning SSC
- Helping to retain business relationships
- Writing and editing reports and white papers

These internships are for 15-25 hours/week for January 14 – May 16, and may be conducted remotely (although DC-based interns are preferred). A small stipend may be offered, along with a performance-based bonus. This is a great opportunity for individuals with an interest in getting into the sustainability consulting field, but who can't make a full-time commitment.

PEOPLE: Spring Research Internships at Strategic Sustainability Consulting

Strategic Sustainability Consulting (SSC) is a Washington, DC-based company that provides organizations with the tools and expertise needed to actively manage their social and environmental impacts. We specialize in helping under-resourced organizations implement sustainable solutions usually reserved for large, multinational companies. Please visit our website at for more information about our products and services.

We're looking for 4-6 research interns to help on a variety of sustainability topics. If you believe you might be a good fit with our objectives (see below), please send your CV and a cover letter to, indicating the position for which you'd like to be considered.
We will accept inquiries through December 7th, with initial interviews on a rolling basis. Please be prepared to provide two writing samples and a list of references. NO PHONE CALLS PLEASE.

The SSC Research Interns will work closely with lead consultants to provide background material for ongoing consulting projects. Past assignments have included working on client "Green Office Audit" projects, researching stakeholder engagement in the mining industry, creating case studies on "green" supply chains, and developing surveys for employee satisfaction. If you have strong research and analysis skills, and can quickly gather and summarize data into its salient points, this is a great opportunity to dabble in a variety of sustainability topics.

These internships are for 15-25 hours/week for January 14 – May 16, and may be conducted remotely (although DC-based interns are preferred). A small stipend may be offered, along with a performance-based bonus. This is a great opportunity for individuals with an interest in getting into the sustainability consulting field, but who can't make a full-time commitment.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

BOOK REVIEW: Values-Driven Business

Values-Driven Business: How to Change the World, Make Money and Have Fun
Authors: Ben Cohen and Mal Warwick

What is the definition of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)? Ask 5 people and you will likely get 5 different answers. Mal Warwick and Ben Cohen’s book does not offer us a specific definition, but openly describes the unlimited options that businesses have to incorporate the various CSR values each finds uniquely important.

Perhaps your business would like to make a priority of giving back to the community or working on creating a supply chain that has minimal negative social and environmental effects, but you do not know how to get started. Maybe you are a business owner that desires to generously reward your employees, but fears it could affect your “bottom line.” Values-Driven Business inspires and encourages companies to pursue their own individual choices for CSR by sharing a number of stories from existing successful companies.

For instance, Juniper Communities, an assisted living company, built a 95-unit facility following nationally recognized building standards, resulting in a LEED certified building and revealing its commitment to a lighter footprint. Immaculate Baking not only buys the rights for the art used on its packaging for its organic goods, but was inspired to create a foundation that supports many of these artists that were more than just “struggling”, but barely surviving. Eileen Fisher, a women’s clothing company, offers a generous benefits package to its employees that includes profit sharing and $1000 per year, per employee for wellness classes and treatments.

Just as important as its stories, this book becomes an invaluable resource providing suggestions and tools a business can use to take the first step in implementing values unique to the goals of each enterprise. The authors decide to use the term Value-Driven Business in their book rather than CSR, but as explained in the preface it is a personal preference and along with a number of other common terms, can be used interchangeably.

The authors focus on the Small and Medium Based Businesses out there that are either curious about this concept or are ready to jump head first into this emerging and exciting facet of business. Whatever the goal of the reader, this book takes a step-by- step approach to encouraging enterprises to make decisions based on social, environmental and economic principles. It asks the reader critical questions such as “why are you in business?”, “are you ready to take the plunge?” and “can you make money in a values-based business?” The authors provide the guidance and tools for each individual business to answer the questions for itself.

Monday, October 01, 2007

EVENT: Webinar - Green Purchasing

A Green Purchasing Policy is essential for a sustainable workplace: it reduces your ecological footprint, minimizes unnecessary costs, and indicates to stakeholders your organizations’ dedication to people and the planet. This webinar provides the strategic framework and practical tools needed to develop and implement an effective Green Purchasing Policy.

Green Purchasing Webinar
Location: Online, At Your Desktop!
Cost: $50
Sign-Up: Here

Topics to be covered include:

-- Why It Is Important to Buy Environmentally Preferable Products
-- Definitions of Environmentally Preferable Purchasing
-- The Identification of Desired Environmental Attributes
-- Balancing Environmental Considerations with Performance, Availability, and Cost Requirements
-- How to Empower a Green Purchasing Team
-- Identification of Initial Priorities
-- Assigning Responsibilities and Establishing Deadlines
-- The Use of Existing Environmental Labeling and Certification Programs
-- Creation of a Communications Plan
-- Developing Measurable Goals and Reporting Requirements
-- Regular Policy Reveiw

This webinar is co-hosted by Alex Szabo of, a company dedicated to accelerating the transition to sustainability in the workplace. Through the online sale of green office products, expert sustainability consulting, and strategic carbon offsetting, works to make office greening easy and cost effective.

EVENT: Webinar - Understanding Carbon Offsets

Today, Americans introduce roughly 6 billion tons of CO2 into the atmosphere annually – over 25% of the 20 billion tons released worldwide – exacerbating the effects of global warming. Government initiatives such as the Kyoto Protocol attempt to curtail the impacts, but these initiatives are still years away from reaching full fruition. In the absence of effective government regulation, public demand for action has put a value on projects that reduce emissions, which in turn generate emission reduction credits. These credits are then used in carbon offsetting efforts.

Carbon offsetting is a relatively new concept for most people and, as such, has generated a good amount of debate. While simple at first glance, the market mechanisms supporting the generation and sale of offsets, as well as the way in which this activity results in actual emission reductions, are somewhat complicated. That's why we are pleased to offer:

Understanding Carbon Offsets, An Online Webinar

Location: Online, At Your Desktop
Cost: $50
Sign Up: Here

In this webinar we will explore how emission reduction credits are generated, tracked, and “retired”. At the end of this webinar, you will:

-- Have a clear understanding of the voluntary carbon offset market;
-- Understand how carbon credits are generated, traded, and “retired;”
-- Know how to accurately quantify an organization’s carbon footprint;
-- Be able to identify key criteria for procurement of high quality, unassailable carbon offsets;
-- Possess the ability to take an organization carbon neutral.

This webinar is co-hosted by Alex Szabo of, a company dedicated to accelerating the transition to sustainability in the workplace. Through the online sale of green office products, expert sustainability consulting, and strategic carbon offsetting, works to make office greening easy and cost effective.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

VIEWS: When Tech Support Doesn't Understand Energy Efficiency Questions

Note: The following missive comes from Scott Kleiman, one of SSC's Summer Interns. We thought it was a great story about how frustrating the pursuit of basic environmental information can be...and how important it is for companies to educate their employees about their corporate CSR issues...enjoy!

Strategic Sustainability Consulting publishes an annual Sustainability Report that reviews how effective we've been as a company in minimizing our firm's environmental impact as we work. As part of this effort, Jennifer asked each of the summer interns to track and calculate our own ecological footprints associated with our internships over the past several months.

Most of us work remotely, communicating primarily through conference calls, online "meetings," and email. Our efforts largely go towards supporting SSC's senior consultants' client-work, through researching company and industry information, brainstorming solutions, and helping write reports. We also contribute to SSC's ongoing knowledge base of solutions, case studies, webinars, and white papers. Consequently, the majority of our time is spent on computers. Indeed, as I put together my own footprint data, my largest impact was the electricity used by my 5+ year-old Dell laptop.

Having spent the summer reading and writing about specific strategies and steps for businesses to incorporate sustainability into their operations, and being familiar with Dell’s new energy efficient computing campaign, I expected determining the energy used by my computer to be a relatively straightforward process: multiply the watts used (a rate) by the number of hours I spent working at my computer for SSC, and I'd get a rough estimate of my total related energy usage for the summer (in Kilowatt-hours). How I was mistaken...

I purchased my computer before my freshman year of college, at that point of my life having little conception of energy efficiency, so I never thought to ask about my computer's energy footprint when initially configuring it. As I began looking for energy usage information, my first thought was that it would, of course, be noted among the maze of notations printed on the bottom of my laptop or its power transformer cube. Voltage requirements, as well as some other certification gibberish were there, but nothing specific about energy consumption.

Perhaps it was on the "Spec Sheet" Dell had included when it shipped my computer? Being the packrat that I am, I knew I had it stashed away in the front part of the second right-hand drawer of my desk at home, and I ran upstairs to check. Nope – it just showed me that I needed to clean my room.

“It’s the age of the Internet,” I thought. The information I didn't have myself should certainly be just a click away on the Dell website. After 15 minutes of navigating through endless attempts to convince me about the fantastic characteristics of Dell's many new computers that it sells, I concluded that my search terminology must have been wrong and decided to call Dell customer support.

The 20-minute call, which included 8 long minutes of listening to Dell's ubiquitous muzak, concluded with me trying to convince a supervisor that, "No, there's not a problem with my system. I just want to know its energy consumption. In watts. Please....". This was followed up by an email detailing instructions detailing how I should return my defective part to Dell, succeeded 2 weeks later by an express mailed Windows System Restore CD directing me to resinstall my operating system to fix my problem.

Realizing the phone call was fruitless, I returned to the Dell website and booted up their online chat for customer support. Maybe typing out my problems would overcome the language and/or culture barrier that seemed to be preventing the very nice customer support agent from understanding my question over the phone. I excerpt from the instant message conversation below:

Scott: "I'd like to know about the energy usage of my Dell computer"
Scott: "Dell Inspiron 8200"
Agent: "I do understand that you are wanting to know the energy usage and I will do my best to assist you.
Agent: "For references - The warranty expired on the system on 07.30.2005. Is this your first contact with Dell regarding the energy usage?"
Scott: "I'm not sure --"
Scott: "I'm not having a problem with my system"
Scott: "I only need information about its energy usage"
Agent: "Scott, allow me 3-6 minutes to research this information."
Agent: "Thank you for holding. I do apologize for the delay. The power information that I have is that the system uses a 8 cell battery and a 65 Watt Adapter."
Agent: "Scott, it has been a great pleasure working with you today. I'm going to send you some important information for your records. I apologize for its lengthiness. Let me know if you have any questions about it."

My struggle illustrates one of the many challenges that remain as both consumers and companies look for ways to become more sustainable. (To read how this same issue manifests for many corporate IT managers, check out Andrew Binstock's article "How Many Watts Does that PC Consume Exactly, and Why?" from GreenerComputing News.)

In many cases, the enthusiasm and marketing efforts voiced by high-level executives are not consistently matched by the products and employees that support them. As Dell aims to be a leader among computer manufacturers in selling environmentally responsible systems, it must ensure that relevant environmental impact information about its products is both easily available for consumers online, and that its customer support staff understands corporate priorities in being able to communicate that data.

Even if new, environmentally innovative product lines are slower to evolve than the processes to publicize those accomplishments, developing corporate habits of transparency and openness towards customers can go a long way to helping companies of all sizes and sectors attract the attention of the new green consumer audience.

Neil from Dell Responds (in record time!):

I’m at Dell Headquarters in Austin, Texas and I just read the post on your blog but comments were disabled. I’ve worked in support here at Dell for a long time on the phones, in chat queues, and now in the blogosphere and can honestly say that I’ve never heard that question so I had to do a bit of looking around. What I found was a site;, that has energy calculators and other info that you were seeking, only not for the system Scott has. I was only able to find it for later model servers, workstations, and the Optiplex and Latitude lines of desktop and notebook computers.

I realize this isn’t ideal for consumers with Inspirons and would imagine that as more consumers begin to seriously factor that sort of thing into their purchase, it will become available. I haven’t been a part of this site so I don’t speak from experience on this, but I would guess that the reason only the newer models of business machines were featured is that it is only a consideration for companies going forward and other factors will still dictate when the current systems are to be phased out either way. I can inquire about a specific system if you’d like but I think the general rule of thumb with the newer, dual-core machines is to enable the power saving features, kill unnecessary visuals, and not leave it on unnecessarily. If there’s any info you’d like me to find, I’d be glad to try and help track it down.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

PEOPLE: The SSC Fall Interns

We'd like to take a minute to welcome our new fall interns. They are an intrepid bunch with a wide-ranging skill set, and we're looking forward to tapping into their knowledge!

Bing Han

Bing Han has recently obtained her Honors Business Administration degree from the Richard Ivey School of Business at the University of Western Ontario, Canada. She has been involved with many not-for-profit organizations through work and extracurricular activities. Although she has always aspired to live a sustainable lifestyle, it was a recent backpacking trip to Europe that inspired her to pursue a career in sustainability. She is also a self-acclaimed movie and concert buff.

Davida Steinberg

Davida Steinberg is a recent MBA grad from Emory University in Atlanta, where she concentrated her studies on Sustainable Business Strategy. Davida's experience includes consulting for local government and national nonprofit clients on sustainability-related issues and managing projects at Benevolink, an Atlanta-based company facilitating corporate philanthropy through consumer-directed giving to nonprofit organizations. During her undergraduate time at Mount Holyoke College, Davida spent a year studying in Egypt. When not knitting or traveling, Davida continues to be an active leader through her volunteer positions with DC's professional NetIMPACT chapter and the DC Jewish Community Center.

Heather Shand

Living in and loving Portland, Maine, Heather Shand has spent a number of years working in the marketing and advertising world. A couple of years ago she changed direction and became a freelancer working in the production realm of photo shoots and local television commercials. Ready once again to learn something new, she is following her desire to make a difference in the way we live and work by gaining professional experience in the sustainability industry. She is also an outdoor enthusiast, loving time spent on a bike, on a hike or skiing in the winter.

John Nangle

John Nangle is currently a Masters student at George Washington's school of International Affairs in Washington DC. Before that John spent three years in Panama as a Peace Corps volunteer, working with rural communities to improve water sanitation and promote conservation of local resources. His interest in sustainability and environmental awareness are what lead to John pursuing a career in sustainable consulting. He also enjoys sports and traveling.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

EVENTS: Sustainability Careers for MBAs

Are you a current MBA student or recent graduate who is struggling with the independent job search that comes along with looking for a career that matches your passion for making a difference in the world? Are you confused about how to position your pre-MBA experience to help get you to where you want to be next? Or do you not even know what career options might be available to you and where to find sustainability job listings? We can help!

Join us for an interactive webinar discussing Sustainability Careers for MBAs. We'll cover:

• An overview of career opportunities across common MBA concentrations such as marketing, finance, operations, and other areas -- customized according to the interests of the call participants.
• An overview of generalist (or sometimes not so "generalist"!) career opportunities such as sustainability managers and consultants.
• How to position your pre-MBA experience to get your foot in the door with the type of organization best suited to your background and career plans. Plus, learn to guard against the #1 mistake made by job seekers in this field.
• Key job-search resources as well as resources to stay on top of your game and not be overwhelmed. Also, learn a surprising fact about recruiting for sustainability careers.

Please note that while this seminar is geared toward current MBA students and recent graduates, all are certainly welcome to join.

The webinar is hosted by Karen Seeh, Principal of jihi Consulting and an SSC Associate. Prior to her move into independent consulting, Karen worked for 10 years in the public, private, and non-profit sectors - starting as an early promoter of the triple-bottom-line and then moving into CSR as well as exploring hybrid business models. She has an MBA in International Business and Sustainable Enterprise from UNC-Chapel Hill and a BA in Political Science and Environmental Studies from IU-Bloomington. Throughout her career, she herself has explored many avenues in sustainability and has provided advice to hundreds of students and job seekers.

Cost: $50

Sign-Up on Our Website for a Live Session
Download a Recorded Session from Our Online Store

Space is limited to 8 people to ensure an interactive experience where you can ask questions and get real answers, so reserve your space today. Once you've signed up, you'll receive an email with log-in and call-in details.

If you have any questions, feel free to email SSC at or call us at 202-470-3248. We look forward to seeing you soon!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

NEWS: SSC Interviewed for Deliver Magazine

We're delighted to be featured in the August issue of Deliver Magazine, the "the leading online information resource for marketing professionals".

The article, entitled "Sustainable Economics", focuses on how companies should communicate their social and environmental activities to the investment community. Here's an excerpt:

Green investing isn’t new — for 20 years some analysts have regarded socially responsible investing as a proxy for good management — but it has recently gone mainstream. Along with consumers and suppliers, investors also need to know a company’s green initiatives.

But investors aren’t necessarily looking for a totally rosy picture, says Jennifer Woofter, president of Strategic Sustainability Consulting, a Maryland-based firm that helps organizations manage their social and environmental impacts. If anything, she says, reports about a company’s eco-footprint that are too sunny are bound to raise suspicions. Instead, she says, investors just want consistent evidence that the company is committed to gauging and addressing its key social and environmental impacts.

“That means the company is probably doing some good things but also recognizing and dealing with bad things,” Woofter says. Admitting a company’s weaknesses is more effective in sustainability reports than “greenwashing.”

Read the whole article here.

We also want to congratulate Deliver on producing an all-green edition. As the magazine notes:

When we at Deliver® decided to devote an entire issue to eco-friendly marketing, we knew we should do more than just write about it. We needed the magazine to reflect the environmentally conscious efforts we were espousing. It wouldn’t seem fitting to emphasize the “green” potential of a direct mail piece such as this while using all virgin paper, or in a magazine printed entirely with energy from fossil fuels. That we needed 100-percent recycled paper was a given — as was the need for environmentally friendly inks, which, in this instance, are mostly a blend of soy and a mixed vegetable oil package. We also worked with our printer to use paper manufactured with wind-generated energy.

What did going "green" mean for this issue? Deliver cites the following impacts:

— 101,000 Pounds of paper used
— 100% Percentage of post-consumer recycled content
— 969 Number of trees preserved
— 411,862 Gallons of wastewater flow saved
— 2,799 Pounds of waterborne waste avoided
— 45,571 Pounds of solid waste prevented
— 89,728 Pounds of greenhouse gases prevented, net
— 686,800,000 BTU s of energy saved
— 46,622 Pounds of air emissions prevented
— 20 Barrels of crude oil saved

Be sure to check out the other articles in this edition--it is chock full of green marketing commentary, suggestions, and analysis. Enjoy!

Monday, August 13, 2007

NEWS: Green Supply Chain Trends

via Greenbiz:

According to an August 2007 study by EyeForProcurement, "greening" of supply chains is a growing phenomenon around the world. It got us at SSC wondering, is the SME world following suit?

The survey asked 188 procurement professionals -- primarily in the United States, Europe and Asia -- about their companies' practices, policies and plans for reducing the environmental impact of the materials used in their work.

-- half of companies have policies on greening their supply chain

-- companies are nearly unanimous in their belief that green supply chains will only continue growing

-- two-thirds of the professionals in the survey said that they are practicing green procurement to support their companies' environmental or sustainability strategies

-- half also said they're responding to customers' interest in greener products and services

But are these beliefs actually affecting procurement practices? Although companies are increasingly aware of the benefits and importance of green procurement, most of them are only acquiring a small portion of their materials in that way. Only 13 percent of respondents are sourcing half or more of their products and services sustainably, while 55 percent said they source less than 10 percent of green goods.

At SSC, we think that supply chain issues are a great place to start a sustainability strategy--and we offer a variety of related services. Unlike expensive auditing firms or niche advocacy groups, our supply chain management services allow clients to focus on the social and environmental issues important to them. More importantly, we provide guidance through each step of supply chain management--from supplier auditing to creating a "green" procurement policy--so that even organizations new to corporate social responsibility can feel confident that they are implementing best practices from start to finish.

Contact us today for a free consultation!

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

PEOPLE: Fall Internships at Strategic Sustainability Consulting

Strategic Sustainability Consulting (SSC) is a Washington, DC-based company that provides organizations with the tools and expertise needed to actively manage their social and environmental impacts. We specialize in helping under-resourced organizations implement sustainable solutions usually reserved for large, multinational companies. Please visit our website at for more information about our products and services.

We're looking for 4-5 fall interns to help on a variety of sustainability topics. If you believe you might be a good fit with our objectives (see below), please send your CV and a cover letter to, indicating the position for which you'd like to be considered. NO PHONE CALLS PLEASE.

We will accept inquiries through August 24th, with initial interviews on a rolling basis. Please be prepared to provide two writing samples and a list of references.

These internships are for 15-25 hours/week for September 15 – December 15, and may be conducted remotely (although DC-based interns are preferred). A small stipend will be offered, along with a performance-based bonus. This is a great opportunity for individuals with an interest in getting into the sustainability consulting field, but who can't make a full-time commitment.

Marketing Intern

How do you market a small consultancy to worldwide clients? How do you take advantage of e-based "webinars" to reach clients who wouldn't normally be able to benefit from expert sustainability advice? We're looking for an enthusiastic, creative, and sensible Marketing Intern to review our marketing strategy so far, and to design a plan going forward. This is a position ideally suited to a graduate student (or mid-career changer) with previous marketing experience. It will be a largely self-directed project, so applicants should be self-motivated and be capable of exploring options with minimal hand-holding.

Research Interns (3-4)

The SSC Research Interns will work closely with lead consultants to provide background material for ongoing consulting projects. Past assignments have included working on client "Green Office Audit" projects, researching stakeholder engagement in the mining industry, creating case studies on "green" supply chains, and developing surveys for employee satisfaction. If you have strong research and analysis skills, and can quickly gather and summarize data into its salient points, this is a great opportunity to dabble in a variety of sustainability topics.

Jennifer K. Woofter, President
Strategic Sustainability Consulting

202-470-3248 (office)
202-380-7544 (mobile)
jkwoofter (skype)

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

NEWS: Women and the Environment

We're always intrigued by the interplay between social issues and environmental sustainability, and so we were especially interested in recent posts from and about women, purchasing power, and the environment.

Consider these facts:

¨ Consulting firm A.T. Kearney estimates that women determine 80 percent of consumption, purchase 60 percent of all cars, and own 40 percent of all stocks.

¨ Women are up to 15 percent more likely than men to rate the environment a high priority.

¨ Women comprise up to two-thirds of voters who cast their ballots around environmental issues.

¨ Women are more likely than men to volunteer for and give money to environmental causes, especially related to public health.

¨ Women report both more support for environmental activists and more concern that government isn't doing enough.

¨ Women support increased government spending for the environment, while men favor spending cuts.

According to Grist (which sites all of the following survey data), polls also show that about 68 percent of American consumers have gone green, preferring health-conscious and environmentally responsible products. "Since 90 percent of women identify themselves as the primary shoppers for their households, and women sign 80 percent of all personal checks, it's safe to say that women are leading a quiet revolution in green consumerism."

What does this mean for you? If you employ women or sell to women (and we know you do!), then looking at ways to be more environmentally responsible can pay dividends—not just in reduced energy costs and less waste, but also in terms of improved customer loyalty, a strong reputation, and happier employees.

Friday, July 13, 2007

News: Can sustainability and globalization co-exist?

In a report released by Shell, Ford, Novo Nordisk, Vodafone, The Skoll Foundation and others, globalization and sustainability are assessed within the frame of 21st century business. The conclusion: “there is no more business as usual.” The report, entitled Raising Our Game: Can We Sustain Globalization, was released by consulting firm SustainAbility. The report illustrates four different scenarios for 2027, titling each scenarios after a card suit. The best scenario, “Hearts,” depicts a neo-renaissance of politics, economics, and sustainability coalescing homogenously.” Diamonds,” the worst scenario, depicts democratic lifestyles sweeping the globe, and destroying ecosystems and disabling decision makers and inhibiting society’s ability to respond.

The report outlines seven recommendations:

  • Plan for the unexpected
  • Focus efforts in areas of developing needs and booming populations.
  • Over time, a blended value bundle will be the norm in future business.
  • Work to increase Earth’s “immune system” through market intelligence and creation. Be a source for help.
  • Find opportunity in social and environmental issues
  • Step outside the comfort zone to find new innovations, technologies, and solutions.
  • Get involved in the politics, and find the vision, courage, and innovation to lead your company into the next business sphere.

If your organization needs help thinking through these issues, why not contact SSC for a consultation?

Sunday, July 08, 2007

NEWS: Business owners are willing to go green

Wells Fargo/Gallup polled 600 small-business owners and found that two-thirds would pay more for environmentally friendly goods and services. They also found that 43% of business owners polled “believed their customers would be willing to share the added cost of being environmentally-friendly.” However, 49% of owners were worried customers would not be willing to pay more for greener products and services. Still 47% of owners surveyed have already implemented greener practices/products into their business.

ArmorLite Roofing created a roofing material that was, “lightweight, durable, and used the least amount of natural resources.” Their product has been well received by clients, including state and federal governments. ArmorLite creator Frank Lane has been pleasantly surprised at the reception his product has received from consumers: “"I knew what I was doing would be important, but I didn't realize the magnitude of importance it would have in the community and the response that we would receive."

As consumers get more aware of their purchasing power, and the mainstream becomes more and more sustainable, don’t let your business get left behind. SSC can help your business become a sustainable enterprise.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

NEWS: College students are concerned about the environment more than jobs.

A survey was conducted of more than 400 college students of the class of 2011 and their parents to determine whether or not there has been any change in overall attitude over a generation. The study found that while parents were more concerned about post-graduation employment, the college students were, in fact, more concerned about the environment. Both groups were equally concerned with making enough money to be self-sustained, good grades, and keeping up with schoolwork. Of the students polled, 18% stated that the environment was their biggest social concern. Also, 91% stated they would pick an employment position they were passionate about over earnings. When the class of 2011 graduates, time will tell if these ideals hold true.

Friday, June 22, 2007

NEWS: The Economist's Report on Business and Climate Change

In Early June The Economist featured a cover story entitled, “Cleaning Up: A 15-page report on how business is tackling climate change. The report included several articles on how big companies are going green and why. The report discussed that the driving force toward green energy is not just moral pressure, but there is growing economic pressure as well. In spite of the current interest in greenhouse-gas emissions, emissions are continuing to rise:

“If greenhouse-gas emissions are to be stabilized, then the carbon price or the support mechanism for clean energy, or both, will have to rise or be adopted worldwide, or both. And if that happens, the returns on clean-energy investment will increase even further and the companies that have already invested in such businesses will have a head start over those that have not.”

Therefore, customers, businesses and governments are realizing solving the climate change problem will provide new markets, technologies, business, and money to be made.

The Economist report featured:

This article explains how a new business is forming out of the carbon market. More and more companies involved in power generation that once believed climate changed was the work of fiction, are coming out of the woodwork to create their own emission control promises and encouraging government regulation. Since states like California have created regulations or are working on creating them, companies are encouraging a federal government policy that is universal within all the 50 states. The companies however are not just interested in a cleaner environment or a universal policy to make paperwork easier, there profit involved:

“There is money in it, (federal regulation) too. If the American government adopts a cap-and-trade system, it will hand out permits to pollute. They are, in effect, cash. According to Paul Bledsoe of the National Commission on Energy Policy, those allowances are likely to be worth in the region of $40 billion. Companies therefore want to be involved in designing those regulations.”

A Swedish power utility company, Vattenfall, is working on quantifying what ways of cutting carbon are cheaper. Insulation improvement, Fuel-efficient vehicles, Lighting system, Water heating, and sugar cane biofules, can both cut emissions and save money for people and business. However, the immediate savings are too small and the effort involved talks to much work, and electricity bills are too “boring” to think about. Also, people responsible for these changes may not have the knowledge or capital to make the initial investment to change.

Worldwide, 13% of the world’s energy needs are supplied by renewable resources. The three biggest sources are currently geothermal, hydro-electric power, and biomass. However, these sources aren’t perfect. Geothermal energy is limited by geology. Hydro-electric power is limited by building dams, use of large amounts of land, and government participation in large-scale production. Biomass is limited by the expense of long-distance shipping and old technology. Wind and Solar energy become next best expandable renewable resources. Countries that currently engage in large scale use of solar power, include Germany, Denmark, and China. Advanced technology and economies of scale have both dramatically reduced the price of solar cell technology, thus making solar power a more viable option for consumers. As with all things in life, minor setbacks do occur. One such example was a recent shortage of silicon, which inflated the price of solar cells. The silver lining in that cloud is that it forces companies to invest in thin-cell technology, which uses much less silincon, which, overall, is better for the environment. Energy tariffs have also made renewable energy more complex than need be. Nevertheless, big energy players have begun to invest in renewable energies. Such companies include GE and BP. Another factor in the future of renewables is politics. Luckily, wind and solar energy is less politically-risky, and can thus be shielded from partisan strategy.

The carbon market is a place where traders can buy and sell non-carbon in the form of carbon credits. The purposes of the market are to establish a price for carbon and to allow companies to cheaply buy carbon credits. Carbon credits primarily come from two sources. The first is from corporate allowances. The second is certified clean mechanisms in developing countries. Such an example would include capturing methane gas from pig stool to create electricity. In fact, last year alone, developing countries accounted for 562 metric tons of CO2 [$5.33 billion] traded. China is an up and coming polluter, and appropriately, last year, purchased over $4billion worth of carbon credits. Europe is still having a tough time in cutting emissions, partly due to the continued use of coal.

Nuclear energy in wealthy nations is responsible for a large chunk of energy: 18% in Britain, 19% in the U.S., and a whopping 80% in France. However, the nuclear society in America has been buzzing with activity of recent, for three reasons. First, the nuclear approval process was reformed in the 1990’s. Second, global warming has increased the need to find energies that emit less carbon dioxide. Third, the Energy Policy of 2005, which provided the nuclear industry with a tax credit, provided for $1.25 billion for innovative technologies, as well as another $2billion in insurance for regulatory issues. The application deadline is the end of next year, and so far 22 companies has applied to build 32 new nuclear plants. There are three problems that still remain. The first is waste removal. There is no long-term waste solution, but nuclear experts agree that waste can be safely stored in dry-storage casks surrounded by inert gases for about 100 years until a solution is found. Second, terrorism is still a worry. While plants are build strong enough to survive most routine attacks, plants can never be completely ready for innovate attacks. Third, costs for nuclear energy are higher than that of coal, by about 2KWH. However, new technologies may help to reduce the costs, and new plants with new technology appear to be the only viable way to gauge real-world cost savings.

Statoil, a Norwegian oil company, collects oil, but doesn’t contribute to atmospheric global warming. This is because the company pumps the carbon dioxide back into the ground. This innovation, called Carbon Capturing and Storing, or CCS, is considered a quick fix for global warming. While standard pulverized coal can be burned more cleanly at higher temperatures, energy demands are too burdensome for this technology alone, which is why CCS is getting a closer look. CCS is currently being done in three places: Norway, Canada, and Algeria. According to the International Energy Agency, about 15 new CCS power plants have been approved for production. The abundant use of coal is a good reason to further investigate the use of CCS.

Greenhouse emission cuts and fuel standards are beginning to toughen up. The EU has enacted mandatory fuel efficiency laws, and now more governments are following suit. In January 2007, California announced its goal to reduce carbon emissions from fuels by 10% by 2020. Hybrid cars, while a current quick fix, are not the answer, as their carbon savings will soon be offset by the overall increase in global car ownership. Some real changes have to take place. One change is ethanol, which gives off CO2 , but, in theory, soaks it up through the plant’s photosynthesizing phase. There are three problems with ethanol. First, the market is currently limited. Most American cars can take E10 fuel [10% ethanol] but only about 6 million cars are currently “flex-fuel” ready, and can support E85 [85% ethanol]. Second, ethanol is expensive. While competitive with gasoline in price at the pump, subsidies cost the American taxpayer billions, and import tariffs keep out cheaper ethanol, such as that from Brazil which is made of sugar cane. Third, ethanol isn’t very green. Some experts believe that ethanol, due to its energy use for growth, releases more emissions than saves. Celluosic ethanol, or ethanol made from anything with cellulose in it, may be a better, greener ethanol. Other ideas that are still alive are electric and hydrogen cars. However, hydrogen is currently very expensive to produce, costs about the same as gas at the pump, and there are only 3 fueling stations in the world: one in Iceland, one in Washington, DC, and one opening in California. Hydrogen fueled cars cost about $1million to produce. Other ideas include cars ran on Lithium-Ion batteries, similar to those in laptop computers, only much bigger.

While green thinking has greatly increased over the past few years, more so in the last year alone, some worry that being green could be a trend that could die off. One risk could be the loss of greenness as fashionable. For example, it may only be a matter of time until Hollywood mega stars move one to the next big thing, and leave their hybrid cars behind. The second risk is oil prices. While they have been high for some time, if the price per barrel were to come crashing down, so would the hopes of expanding alternative energies. Third, politics can interfere. Companies are banking of alternative energy tax breaks and incentives to help. The best way to ensure that the green revolution becomes a permanent fixture and not a trend is to vote in officials who will continue to implement green policy, and to buy from companies who are committed to green ideologies. Carbon prices must be set, and the richest and developed countries must take the plunge to permanency before developing countries can follow suit.

Venture capitalists of the internet boom of the 90’s are now trying their hands at alternative energies. At the other end of the spectrum are established companies looking for new markets in new energies. An example is GE and its Ecomagination campaign. While the venture capitalists claim that alternative energy is geared to small business, pointing out the number of small wind and solar powered farms, the alternative energy market is still dominated by incumbent companies who have the capital to move mountains and market new ideas.

SSC can help your organization understand what these new developments means for your organization and can assist your business in navigating the carbon market.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

RESOURCES: Climate Change for Small Business

Individual small business owners often have difficulty imagining their role in managing climate for the simple reason that it's hard to measure climate impact on such a tiny scale. But the total climate-related impact (or "carbon footprint") of small businesses certainly add up. While your small business may produce actual greenhouse gas emissions, it certainly has an indirect impact on climate: electricity, heating, cooling, and transportation all translate into BTUs with global warming potential.
So begins Climate Change for Small Business, a background brief from This 5-ish page document outlines why small businesses should care about their contribution to climate change, steps for calculating a small business's climate change impact, and a list of resources for further information.

If you've seen An Inconvenient Truth but aren't quite sure what YOUR business can do to help combat climate change, this white paper is a great place to begin. Once you've read it, we're convinced that you'll want to take the next step in calculating your office's carbon footprint.

That's where we come in--Strategic Sustainability Consulting now offers Office Carbon Footprinting. In addition to measuring your climate change contribution, we'll also recommend ways to go carbon neutral in the most cost-effective and credible way possible.

Contact me at or 202-470-3248 for more information--let's talk!

Friday, June 01, 2007

PEOPLE: Meet the SSC Summer Team

We're so pleased to have a great team of research and marketing interns this summer--they are an amazing group of talented students and recent grads that are making a huge contribution to our work. Read on for their details...

Anders Edvardsen is a Norwegian MBA (strategic management) student living in New York. He also holds a MSc in Philosophy from Copenhagen Business School, with a minor degree in Sustainable Business. He has worked as a research assistant for a political / philosophical think tank in Copenhagen, as well as in marketing research for the Danish branch of the Nielsen Company. He is especially interested in organization wide strategic sustainability planning and the integration of sustainability issues into long term vision and core business practices.

Britt Hinchliff is currently a 4th year student at the University of California- Berkeley studying Business Administration and Public Policy. Her interest in sustainability began 3 years ago when she realized that companies could actually be positive actors in the world and make a significant impact. She has experience in the business and non-profit sectors, and being born in Brazil and raised in Latin American, she speaks fluent Spanish and Portuguese.

Christina Benz has a B.S. in Business-Marketing from Indiana University an MBA from The University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. She spent her MBA studies focusing on sustainable enterprise and won the Net Impact National Case Competition in 2006. She will spend this summer sizing up the sustainability "score card" for multiple North Carolina businesses and conducting research for strategic sustainability initiatives. Her enthusiastic approach, progressive market insights, blend of public and private sector expertise, and expansive network of experts and organizations help her clients generate business value by integrating sustainability into their marketing and overall business strategies.

Denise Buhrau, a native of Germany, is currently pursuing a PhD in Consumer Behavior and Marketing at Tulane University. She has an abiding interest in consumer judgment and decision making. Her interest in sustainability is based on her own acknowledgement of a discrepancy between environment-related behavior in the US and in Germany. Through her internship, she wants to understand and learn about sustainability-related issues at the practical level. Denise enjoys mountain biking, playing the drums, and conducting an orchestra.

Erik Rainey is a 2006 graduate of the University of Rochester where he studied Japanese Language and Culture and Political Science. He currently lives in Miyazaki, Japan teaching English to high school students as a part of the JET Program. Erik is a 2006 StartingBloc Fellow and is interested in pursuing a career in sustainability consulting.

Frankie Cheung studied computer science at NYU and has worked almost two years in a business management role for a technology division of Merrill Lynch. After watching Al Gore's documentary, "The Inconvenient Truth," Frankie became increasingly aware of the problems facing the world today. As a result, he is currently exploring the field of sustainability as one of the paths toward a rewarding career where one can contribute to the solutions of the some world's problems. Currently, he is interested in green building, ecological footprinting, and corporate responsibility reporting.

Rose Carbonell is currently an MA candidate of Florida State University and will be graduating in just a few months. She's from Brazil, where she worked for Philips Electronics in the Social Sustainability department. Her job in Brazil allowed Rose to work with many non-profit organizations and in many ways changed her goals in life. Now, she would like to use her skills to help build a better world.

Scott Kleiman has spent summers pruning vineyards and building pig-pens as a farmhand at Spannocchia, an organic farm in Italy, and teaching teens about food, nutrition, and cooking at the youth development organization Brainfood in Washington, D.C. He graduated cum laude from Middlebury College in 2006 with a degree in political science and was Spring 2007 Fellow at the StartingBloc Institute for Social Innovation. While an undergraduate, Scott cooked for Dolci, Middlebury's Student-Run Restaurant, sat on Community Council, and was an active member of Ross Commons.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

NEWS: Employee Volunteer Programs Help Companies Gain Competitive Advantage

Deloitte & Touche USA LLP recently conducted a survey entitled 2007 IMPACT, which studied Generation Y employees (ages 18-26) and community service. The conclusion is that Generation Y employees have a strong desire to engage in community service, and want employers to offer time and opportunities to do community service. The survey found the following:

  • 62% want to work for companies that give them opportunities to engage in community service.
  • 80% identify as volunteers.
  • 74% state they do volunteer work to give back to the community or to fulfill a personal desire to give back.
  • 82% believe volunteer work helps build leadership skills.
  • 26% stated that community service engagements were mentioned at their job recruitment.

So how does your employee volunteer program stack up?

Monday, May 07, 2007

NEWS: Legislating Corporate Social Change

The next step in getting companies to create, integrate, and execute CSR practices could be congressional legislation. With bi-partisan support, S. 367, entitled “Decent Working Conditions and Fair Competition Act” has been sponsored by Senator Dorgan [D-ND] and Senator Graham [R-SC]. The bill would allow private plaintiffs and retailers to sue corporations that engage in unfair competition and/or deceptive trade practices by receiving products from sweatshops. Furthermore, the bill would prohibit sweatshop goods from being imported into the United States. The bill would provide for monetary damages, attorney’s fees, injunctive relief, FTC investigations, and the public publishing of corporate violators. As of now, the bill has only been introduced in the Senate. Only time will decide the fate of the bill. Learn more here.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007


As our network of contacts grows, we've recently run across several companies with super cool products and services. Not only do they make use of cutting edge technology and capitalize on the Web 2.0 social media frenzy, they also offer great ways to learn more about how people are thinking about the environment.

So with much enthusiasm, I encourage you to check out Peacock Nine and their WeBreatheGreen tool. Here's a summary from their Vice President, Leila-Scott Mitchell:

Peacock Nine is a boutique consumer research and strategy consulting firm based here in Chicago and Shanghai. Our goal is to help close the gap between companies/decision-makers and their customers/consumers so that they can place safer “bets” (product portfolio, pricing, communications, organizational strategies, etc.) that are aligned with the unmet needs of those they serve. While we conduct traditional market research (focus groups, surveys, etc.) we are also leading the revolution when it comes to creative consumer research by continually adding to and revising our suite of online research tools.

Philosophically, we are a team of creative, ravenously curious individuals who believe in helping our stakeholders fulfill their personal passions. My personal passion, for instance, is to make a positive and lasting contribution to the “Green Movement”! Our latest foray into helping our clients understand the green world is

WeBreatheGreen is an online community of eco-conscious individuals who are willing to share their voices regarding the “green” marketplace (product ideas, packaging preferences, best practices, messaging refinement, etc.), ultimately serving as advisors to decision-makers who understand the importance of their customer’s/consumer’s opinion. The benefit of utilizing a Customer CabinetTM such as WeBreatheGreen is continual access to an otherwise “expensive” sample, longitudinal data collection and consumer-driven insights for a fraction of the cost of traditional market research. In short, a community like WeBreatheGreen gives our client’s significant competitive advantage by tapping into the collective intelligence of their existing and potential customers/consumers.

I love the idea of tapping into the mind of the eco-conscious individual--what a cool way to help keep the Green Movement chugging along!

Friday, April 27, 2007

EVENT: Webinar - Principles of Sustainability

Right now, there are many changes occurring in the world, the most obvious is climate change and the new mainstream attention towards sustainability. There are dozens of frameworks and strategies for dealing with these changes, and yet there is little discussion about the meaning of sustainability for individuals and organizations. If we want to move in a sustainable direction we must first understand what it means at a basic level: what is sustainability in principle, and how can we develop technologies and cultures that are sustainable? As business leaders, we have an important role in shaping the emerging paradigm. This presentation will focus on understanding principles for sustainability so that we can design from a whole systems perspective and truly be creative.

Strategic Sustainability Consulting is pleased to offer "Principles of Sustainability", an interactive webinar designed to help participants understand a conceptual model for sustainability so that our decisions are rooted in conscious actions. In this 90-minute event, you’ll learn:

¨ A basic understanding of how you interact within our global system and how this is critical for developing strategic sustainability plans

¨ Key questions to investigate in your life and organization

¨ How to bring alive the creativity within you to develop truly sustainable practices, cultures and systems

Strategic Sustainability Consulting is pleased to have Miriam Karell and Ingrid Jacobson facilitate this workshop. Miriam Karell is a sustainability strategist and the founder of Three Point Vision, a company that inspires business leaders to integrate community, creativity and consciousness into their daily operations. Ingrid Jacobson is an experienced educator and facilitator for teams and individuals. She is currently consulting with Ella Baker Center for Human Rights in Oakland, CA to develop a long term sustainability strategy for their "green collar" jobs campaign.

Cost: $50

Register at: (click "Events")

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

RESOURCES: The Search for Green Is Over

Watch out Google, Yahoo, and, you’re about to get a dose of green power. is a green search engine which allows users to search for websites which incorporate social and environmental values. Using co-op technology based on Google's search engine, is able to make searches quick and relevant. Launched in 2006 by green MBA graduates,’s mission is to “make it easy for mainstream to go green.” Founder Joey Sheep states, “People want to go green, but they often don't know where to start or even what questions to ask." Now, seekers have a place to go, and making it onto’s list of the top 10 best websites of 2006 will help users go green.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

EVENT: Webinar - Creating a Family Friendly Workplace

Job sharing, telecommuting, and even lactation rooms—companies all over America are instituting policies and programs that benefit employees with children. Family-friendly benefits not only make working parents happy, but they also improve job efficiency and reduce employee turnover.

Employees are seeking out organizations that have better work-life balance policies, and organizations stuck in the old model are losing out on talent and productivity. But how exactly do you create a "family friendly" workplace?

SSC is pleased to offer Creating a Family Friendly Workplace, an interactive "webinar" focusing on simple and cost-effective ways to assist working parents while also improving productivity and job performance. This webinar will cover:

-- The benefits of a family friendly workplace for both employees and your organization.

-- The key policies involved with making your workplace “family friendly” and ensuring a healthy work-life balance.

-- Resources to help you make smart policy decisions and examples of successes in workplaces

-- How to not leave out the single/childless employees, and ways a "family friendly office" can benefit all employees.

Strategic Sustainability Consulting is pleased to have Lori Kitchen facilitate this workshop. Lori is SSC’s Special Projects Manager and will be receiving her Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from American University. Along with her B.A. she is also receiving a special certificate from AU’s Women and Politics Institute in Women and Politics, Policy, and Political Leadership. Lori is a member of the Women & Politics Institute's Young Women Leaders Board Political Training Program. As such, Lori is very interested in women in the work place and has devoted much of her study to the topic of family friendly workplaces and work-life balance.

Cost: $35

Register at: (click "Events")

Space is limited to ensure an interactive experience where you can ask questions and get real answers, so reserve your space today. Once you've signed up, you'll receive an email with log-in and call-in details.

Monday, April 09, 2007

NEWS: Green Energy for Your Home

Mike Tidwell of Takoma Park. Maryland has decided to go green. Tidwell has outfitted his home with solar panels on the roof, soy-based insulation, a corn-burning stove, and energy efficient appliances. Concerned about his contribution to greenhouse gases, Tidwell has made great strides to reduce his carbon footprint. Tidwell said to the Washington Post, “"I'm not living in a cave and freezing to death. The point is, this is do-able." What happens on cloudy days when Tidwell can’t collect enough solar power? Simple. Tidwell also has backup power connected to his home from Washington’s energy supplier PEPCO. PEPCO has green alternatives to “standard” electricity. Buyers can choose from 100% wind-generated energy or 100% green-electricity.

This wave of “greening” the home isn’t just restricted to Tidwell. Washington area-based Chesapeake Wind&Solar, a company that installs solar panels, has seen business double every year for the last three years.

Tidwell hold open houses every two months to showcase his green home to others interested in the community. What does Tidwell have to say to the world? "There are people who say it cannot be done. I've done it, and I've done it on a budget, and I have a great life."