Friday, February 23, 2007

NEWS: Lack of Incentives Prevent Employees Going Green at Work

It appears that UK employees are looking to their employers to lead the social responsible movement by example. This comes in major contrast to individual efforts at home to ease the environmental footprint. At home, 91% of the UK public turn off lights not in use, and 54% use only enough water for what they need, whereas only 10% of employees employ such practices. This could be the result of the 43% who believe that their employers talk the socially responsible talk, but don’t walk it. An astonishing 49% of employees believe that their employers waste too much electricity, and 37% of employees said they would like more job-training on being environmentally friendly.

Chris Gabriel, head of Solutions Marketing, Logistics UK, believes, “This research shows that 2007 must be the year for turning well-meaning talk into action.” UK Logistics, along with a government environmental charity Global Action Plan, recommends some key steps in getting companies to get their employees to follow suit:

  • Incentives – companies need to offer employees incentives to bring environmental actions into the workplace. These include, but are not limited to, a better work-life balance, and energy saving profit sharing. Governments should also offer tax incentives to companies working to become green. This will help jump start compliance.
  • Leadership – employers must show commitment to environmental responsibility before employees will themselves commit. Employees are less likely to follow through if they know their employers don’t care.
  • Innovation – Besides traditional approaches to environmental responsibility, like recycling, employers should invest in better building design, or automatic heating and cooling systems.
  • Technology – employing strategies like eco-friendly kettles which use less energy to heat up, or video conferencing, which reduces employee travel, can help employers cut costs and save the environment.
  • Education – teaching employees about environmental responsibility, as well as encouraging eco-friendly attitudes and practices at work. This includes small steps like putting computers in “stand-by” or “hibernating” modes to big steps like employee seminars.

By following these ideas, companies can better themselves and their employees. Read more here.

Monday, February 19, 2007

VIEWS: Measuring CSR

How do we measure corporate social responsibility? Sir Andrew Likierman, Professor of Management Practice in Accounting and Acting Dean at London Business School, recently wrote about the topic. Titled, “Acting ethically - and being able to prove it,” Likierman argues that since companies set the CSR tone, there is no agreed upon definition. Likierman believes that in order to measure success, company CSR goals must be matched against their relative successes.

Likierman has four ways to approach such measurement:

  • First, companies must link CSR goals to tangible objectives that can be met, such as the amount of money invested in internal or social programs, or by financial performance.
  • Second, measures must be actionable and linked to outcomes. They should be broken down into informative levels that can be measured against external, established measures and successes.
  • Third, measurements should be based on credible data. Measures should be clear, and based over a long period of time to ensure transparency.
  • Fourth, recognition of measurement limitations. A good measurement framework is essential for credible measurements, but it isn't always sufficient to capture the intangible value of CSR.
We couldn't agree more.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

NEWS: In the War for Talent, Good Companies Finish First

The Good Search, a search practice that works to recruit for companies that attempt to be better businesses, recently released a survey about companies that are embracing social responsibility, and how employees feel about socially responsible companies. The survey results emphasize what Strategic Sustainability Consulting already preaches: social responsibility pays --in dividends.

Almost all respondents stated they would like to work for a successful company that was also “good.” About 92% stated they would trust a “good” employer, and would feel better and happier about themselves if they worked for a “good” company. However, only 36% of the respondents felt that they currently worked for a “good” company that had established corporate social responsibility reports. Furthermore, 9% felt that they worked for “bad” company with dubious ethics. Also, 91% believe that working for a “good” company reflects positively on them, as well as reinforces their ethical ideals. About 68% felt that having a “bad” company on their resume would reflect poorly on them and their careers.

A “good” company was defined by the following: Positive Work Environment (92% ), Family Friendly Benefits (73%), Profit-Sharing (67%), Superior Wages (59%), Superior Benefits (58%) and Wage Fairness (44%). Of the respondents, 44% wanted to work for an environmentally friendly company, and 37% wanted to work for a company that made socially responsible goods.

There is a growing population of workers who want to work for socially responsible companies. As the business environment shifts, the best way for companies to retain their employees, and attract qualified applicants, companies, if not already, should begin to focus on becoming more socially responsible.

Monday, February 12, 2007

NEWS: Green Transportation Trends

There are many exciting green transportation trends currently underway.

One is PHH GreenFleet, a project created out of PHH Avral and Environmental Defense. PHH GreenFleet is a pilot program helping companies reduce greenhouse emissions among fleet vehicles. This is done by measuring and analyzing emission levels, and helping companies to reduce emissions through recommendations and implementation of better practices, quarterly measurement and reporting, and tools to offset remaining emissions. GreenFleet is currently helping Abbott Laboratories to reduce its emissions by 10% by 2010.

Furthermore, dirty diesel just got a cleanup. The diesel industry says it has met regulatory standards, allowing new 2007 diesel truck models to emit 90% less emissions than their 2006 counterparts. After billions of research and development, new diesel trucks employ ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel [ULSD], which also helps to reduce Nitrogen Oxide [NOx] emissions, at a mere 15ppm sulfur content rather than the old 500ppm content. These new trucks must meet their low-emission requirements for at least 435,000 miles. This cleaner fuel opens the doors for a wide array of applications in both commercial and individual uses.

A study by the National Biodiesel Board reported that the American Biodiesel industry will add $24 billion to the US economy between 2005 and 2015, with growth reaching 650 million gallons by 2015. The board also reports that Biodiesel will keep $13.6 billion in America that would otherwise be spent on foreign oil. The study also finds that 498 million of the 650 million gallons will be produced from soybean oil. As of 2006, there are 88 plants in America producing about 200-250 million gallons of Biodiesel, nearly triple the levels of 2005.

Also, General Motors, in a partnership with General Electric Plastics, has planned to create the Chevrolet Volt. The Volt will reach 40mpg on an electric engine, and will be created out of materials that will reduce part weight by 50%. These technologies will reduce fuel consumption, will release less carbon dioxide, and improve overall performance. GreenOrder, an independent environmental strategy firm, verified GM’s claims, and found that if 3.2 million passenger vehicles were made with these standards and technologies, greenhouse emissions would be reduced by 194,000 tons and save more than 20 million gallons of oil each year.

Finally, the word on the street is that Biomethane can be a saving grace. Made from organic wastes, and having the same chemical composition of natural gas, Biomethane can help clean up the environment by reducing the use of fossil fuels. Biomethane can be made out of animal, food, and municipal wastes, production is not affected by oil price/production swings, and can be pumped into existing natural gas pipe lines. Furthermore, Biomethane can also be formed into liquefied natural gas [LNG], or compressed natural gas [CNG] which can be used in vehicles running on natural gas, of which there are currently about 5 million worldwide. Biomethane can also be used as a renewable hydrogen source [chemical CH4].

Friday, February 09, 2007


Whether it is at a birthday party, graduation, wedding, or just because, everyone loves cake. However, the good people at Warren Brown’s CakeLove take the enjoyment of cake to the next level. Located in Silver Spring, Maryland and U Street in DC, CakeLove is a “green” cake enthusiasts dream.

Warren Brown left his life as a lawyer and founded CakeLove in 2002. With a deep passion for baking Brown has found success in his passion while including selection of “green label” cakes. Brown’s green label cakes include: Vegan; Gluten-free; Reduced-fat; and All Natural Sugars.

On top of their health conscious cake choices, CakeLove also offers classes in baking and decorating. They even have classes specifically tailored to the hearing impaired with an ASL certified interpreter.

CakeLove also works with charities, specifically Kid Power DC. Now people with a socially responsible sweet tooth can have their cake and eat it too! Check it out at CakeLove.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

EVENT: DC Workshop – Becoming a Sustainability Champion in Your Organization

We're delighted to announce that DC Net Impact is co-sponsoring this event, and will be raffling off 8 spots for this workshop series.

You care about the environment, social justice, and human rights. You recycle at home, make sure the lights are switched off at night, and take public transportation whenever possible. You avoid buying products from companies that contract from sweatshops, and even volunteer your time with a charity or two.

But what about at work?

You might not be in a position to dramatically change the direction of your organization, but you can have a positive influence on the environmental and social impact of day-to-day operations. That's where Strategic Sustainability Consulting can help. In this 4-week webinar series, you'll discover how to become a "sustainability champion" in your organization:

  1. Learn how to bring your personal values to the office in a positive, energizing way
  2. Convince your bosses that corporate social responsibility (CSR) is worthy of their time
  3. Determine the most important and strategic areas for an initial CSR program
  4. Implement a tracking program that truly measures progress towards sustainability

Each session is a 90-minute interactive workshop, where you'll gain a basic understanding of the topic, hear from an expert in the field, and have an opportunity to ask questions. These workshops are perfect for recent graduates and young professionals—those employees who have the passion, but not the decision-making authority, to tackle the challenges of organizational sustainability and corporate social responsibility.

Week 1 (March 6): Bringing Your Values to Work

Don't feel frustrated by the disparity between your personal values and your day-to-day workload! Very few of us actually have jobs where we're directly making the world a better place, but that doesn't mean you can't bring a spirit of positive social change to work with you each morning. We'll help you find a balance between your daily to-do list and the larger passions that motivate you to get up each morning.

Guest Speaker: Mary Guarino, Ph.D. is owner of StellarSelf, a personal coaching and wellness consulting practice focused on helping organizations that are dedicated to their employees’ well being, and helping individuals create more balanced, fulfilling lives.

Week 2 (March 13): Convincing Management That CSR Is Important

Unless you're in the top tier of management, it's unlikely that you can unilaterally introduce policies and programs to improve your organization's social and environmental impact. But by convincing your bosses that corporate social responsibility (CSR) is a good business investment, you can get the support you need to make some real changes. We'll show you how to make the business case for corporate social responsibility to your top management.

Week 3 (March 20): Building a CSR Program

Once you've gotten management buy-in, the next step is to start developing a corporate social responsibility (CSR) program. In this session, you'll learn how to conduct a "sustainability audit" to determine your organization's key social and environmental impacts, simple ways to start introducing CSR policies and programs, and low-cost strategies to energize your colleagues.

Week 4 (March 27): Tracking and Communicating Progress

A key part of any successful CSR program (no matter how small) is measuring and communicating your progress. Whether you're measuring pounds of recycled paper or hours of employee volunteerism, having hard data can make the difference between getting additional support (and recognition) and a sputtering enthusiasm. We'll show you how to set up your goals for maximum effect, what metrics to track, and easy ways to create internal and external CSR communications that inspire and energize stakeholders.

Date: Every Tuesday in March

Time: 12 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. EST

Location: CAAB Offices, 1801 K Street NW

Directions: 1 block from Farragut North—Red Line, 2 blocks from Farragut West—Orange/Blue Line

Cost: $250 (or $75 per individual session)*

Sign up at (click events)

* Ask your company if they will pay for these classes—it's part of your professional development, and by educating you on this important topic they will be helping themselves become more responsible corporate citizens!

** Also note: there is an online version of this event that happens the day after the in-person workshop. If you are able to attend some in person, but need to also attend some on the web, send us an email at and we can work out an arrangement.

VIEWS: What Makes An Accountable Supply Chain

We've talked recently about the importance of ethical supply chains. Now, I'd like to share more about SSC's approach to supply chain management, and the three components we consider to be critical in creating a successful and accountable procurement plan:

  1. Policies – the first step in creating a “green supply chain” is to identify the key environmental impacts of your products/services and create a policy that specifically addresses those areas. For example, if your company makes electrical components (e.g. semiconductors), then your key environmental impacts during the production process are a) toxic chemical use during production, b) energy use, and c) water use. So your policy should explicitly address the need to find eco-friendly alternatives for those areas. Whereas, if you are a basic office (without manufacturing), then your key environmental impacts have to do with land/building use and office supplies. Your policy then should deal specifically with infrastructure (green building, etc.), energy, and office materials.

  1. Programs – the next step is to set up a purchasing program that integrates traditional metrics (price, quality) with environmental (and sometimes social) indicators. There are a variety of ways to do this, and we specialize in helping our clients figure out a way to maximize their eco-priorities without sacrificing material availability and profitability. There is also a component of marketing here, since consumers will often pay a premium for eco-products, and this should factor into the purchasing program’s structure.

  1. Performance – the final step is to actually implement the program, and here is where we provide supply chain auditing services. Sometimes we review suppliers that are already being used, to judge whether they are meeting the policy’s goals. Other times we seek out new suppliers, especially when the supply chain is not already well-established. Ideally, any committed company factors in an annual review of their suppliers, to ensure that their policy/program is working correctly, and here we help too.

If your organization is ready to take a look at its supply chain from a social and environmental responsibility veiwpoint, please email me at for a free consultation. Getting started is easier than you think!

Sunday, February 04, 2007

EVENT: Webinar: Caring for Creation (Sustainability for Faith Communities)

Climate change, the conflict in Sudan, poverty—faith communities are increasingly turning their attention to "big" issues surrounding ecological stewardship, social justice, community service. But while most spiritual groups acknowledge the imperative to "care for creation", figuring out how to get started and how to maximize their group's effectiveness can be challenging.

SSC is pleased to offer Caring for Creation, an interactive "webinar" focusing on simple and cost-effective ways to help your faith community in its journey towards environmental and social responsibility. In this 90-minute presentation, you'll learn:

¨ Key social and environmental issues where faith communities can have an impact.

¨ Practical tips about choosing which issues to focus on.

¨ Suggestions for setting up volunteer programs for maximum long-term effectiveness.

¨ A list of SSC's favorite resources and relevant case studies.

Cost: $60

Register at: (click "Events")

Space is limited to 20 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.

EVENT: Webinar - CSR 101 for Entrepreneurs

Today, nearly all big businesses have a public commitment to "corporate social responsibility" (CSR). Wal-Mart has announced sweeping environmental goals related to energy efficiency and "green" packaging. Hewlett Packard is opening training centers for small business owners to learn how to grow their businesses with technology. And Hain Celestial Group has started an initiative to better understand consumer’s community priorities and to develop “social purpose” programs.

Even though the business value of CSR has been well established, it's often overlooked by entrepreneurs with a new business idea. That's a grave mistake, because a strong CSR program can help you cut costs, enhance brand awareness, access new sources of venture capital, improve customer loyalty, and set your business apart from larger competitors.

That's why we're pleased to offer Corporate Social Responsibility 101 for Entrepreneurs, an interactive webinar about the opportunities and challenges associated with social and environmental responsibility for new business ideas. In an hour-and-a-half, we'll cover:

¨ A general overview of corporate social responsibility, and why it's valuable to entrepreneurs.

¨ Key CSR issues, including energy efficiency, labor standards, product safety, and corporate governance.

¨ Simple and low-cost ways to demonstrate your commitment to "good business ethics".

¨ Metrics to track your progress, and how to measure the value of your CSR programs.

¨ Ways to publicize your efforts to maximize the financial rewards of corporate citizenship.

The webinar is hosted by Jennifer K. Woofter, president of Strategic Sustainability Consulting (SSC), a Washington, D.C. based company that specializes in providing under-resourced organizations with the tools and expertise needed to manage their social and environmental impacts. Using a combination of traditional strategic planning techniques and cutting-edge sustainable development knowledge, we offer clients a highly customized approach to bridging the gap between values and performance.

Sign-Up at (click Events)

Space is limited to 20 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.

EVENT: Webinar - Creating an "Green" Supply Chain

Purchasing decisions have a significant impact on an organization's environmental footprint. As more and more companies seek to buy eco-friendly supplies, the opportunities for "green" supply chains have expanded as well. But with so many different choices, how do you know which products to choose, and what suppliers to buy from?

SSC is pleased to offer "Green" Purchasing, an interactive "webinar" focusing on simple and cost-effective ways to make your procurement system as eco-friendly as possible. In this 60-minute presentation, you'll learn:

¨ Key environmental impacts in the procurement chain.

¨ Practical tips about setting up a green procurement policy.

¨ Suggestions for selecting environmentally-friendly suppliers.

¨ A list of SSC's favorite green suppliers and relevant case studies.

Cost: $50

Register at: (click "Events")

Space is limited to 20 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.