Tuesday, January 29, 2008

EVENT: Webinar – Implementing a Green IT Program

This is an exciting time in the IT industry as we collectively begin to look at the impacts of our business on society, the environment and of course the economy. As the businesses we support begin to look at the environmental impacts of operations, we must be ready to support them and do our part. There is no doubt that IT is a contributor to the problem, so how can we contribute to the solution? It can be hard to know where to start!

SSC is pleased to present Implementing a Green IT Program, an interactive webinar focusing on the practical steps to improving your environmental performance. In this 60-minute presentation you’ll learn about:

-- how to assess your organization’s IT impact,
-- benefits and opportunities around implementing Green IT practices
-- getting started with our five-step process for implementing a Green IT program
-- where to find resources to help you get started

This webinar is designed for IT directors, IT professionals and sustainability managers looking to evaluate and improve the environmental performance of the IT department.

Cost: $50
Time: Check our event calendar for the next date!

Strategic Sustainability Consulting is pleased to present this webinar in partnership with Jessica Vreeswijk, head of Pacific Sunrise Systems Consulting and GreenITTools.com. Jessica has spent over five years providing IT project management, operations management, consulting and technical services in the not-for-profit, government and corporate business sectors. Jessica has initiated the GreenITTools.com project in order to provide practical, hands-on tools for IT managers in small- to medium-sized businesses based on her own experience in trying to start a Green IT program. Jessica is an MBA in Sustainable Business candidate at Bainbridge Graduate Institute.

NEWS: Strategic Sustainability Consulting Releases 2007 Sustainability Report

"It's important to show our clients that we practice what we preach," says SSC President Jennifer Woofter.

WASHINGTON, DC – January 29, 2008 – Strategic Sustainability Consulting (SSC) is pleased to announce the release of its second annual Sustainability Report. In the report, readers will find information on SSC's economic, environmental, and social performance—all based on the Global Reporting Initiative's Sustainability Reporting Guidelines.

"Being transparent about our social and environmental impacts is key to our credibility as providers of sustainability consulting services," said SSC President Jennifer Woofter. "It's important to show our clients that we practice what we preach."

SSC works with organizations around the world to evaluate the environmental and social impact of their operations, then develops a sustainability action plan with practical steps for clients to take to "green" their footprint. An essential component of those recommendations is a communications strategy for sustainability topics.

"Whether it's a page on their website or a stand-alone sustainability report, we tell our clients that transparency is the single most important factor in being a responsible organization" said Woofter. "Sustainability is on everyone's mind these days, and businesses need to be able to communicate how they are dealing with issues ranging from carbon emissions and climate change to human rights in their supply chain. And that's true for us as well."

In addition to providing an excellent background on the company's recent operations, Strategic Sustainability Consulting also hopes this report will serve as an example to other small businesses, showing them that sustainability reporting isn't just for big companies—but can be beneficial for all organizations.

Download the entire report here: http://www.sustainabilityconsulting.com/pdfs/2007_sustainability_report.pdf.

About Strategic Sustainability Consulting

Strategic Sustainability Consulting provides under-resourced organizations with the tools and expertise needed to understand and manage their social and environmental impacts. Through sustainability assessments, green office auditing, supply chain management, stakeholder consultations, sustainability disclosure and social marketing, SSC helps organizations embrace their larger societal responsibilities and be the good corporate citizens to which they aspire. Find out more at www.sustainabilityconsulting.com.

For more information please contact:

Jennifer Woofter, President
Strategic Sustainability Consulting
(202) 470-3248
(202) 380-7544

Sunday, January 27, 2008

NEWS: SSC President Jennifer Woofter Featured in the Maryland Daily Record

It seems everywhere you turn these days, "green" is the new color of business. But how effective are specific eco-initiatives? And are these programs going to make a significant difference, or are they just window dressing?

Last week I was delighted to take a closer look at several local businesses and opine on how far their eco-commitments go. Here's the context:

The Daily Record was curious about which “green” strategies really help the environment, so we spoke to five Maryland businesses that have touted their environmental bona fides. We compiled lists of their environmentally friendly policies and then ran them by a panel of environmental experts, who weighed in on what works.
Joining me on the panel of experts were Joel Makower, chairman and executive editor of greenbiz.com and Greener World Media Inc. and Jane Wolfson, director of the Environmental Science and Studies Program at Towson University since 1998.

We looked at five businesses in the Washington, DC area and evaluated their environmental programs and commitments. We think you'll find the results interesting--whether its realizing that a law firm is making a strong pledge on climate change, or discovering cupcakes baked to perfection using wind power.

Check out the entire article here for inspiration on how companies of all shapes and sizes are making "green" a reality.

Friday, January 18, 2008

PEOPLE: SSC Spring 2008 Interns

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

Geneviève Laquerre is originally from Trois-Rivières (Quebec) but her numerous work and travel experiences in Europe, Hawai´i, Mainland USA and Latin America qualify her best as a citizen of the world. Masters graduate in Sustainable Development Management, Geneviève is dedicated to sharing her passion about conservation and holistic development. She has worked with various international public, private and non-profit organizations as well as with indigenous communities. Her career interests include building sustainable communities and businesses, promoting ecotourism and participating in various education and outreach projects in coastal areas, tropical climates, and developing countries. To achieve a balanced lifestyle, Geneviève believes in surfing, yoga and embracing all that nature has to offer.

Kelly Scanlon is a doctoral student at The George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services where she is studying environmental and occupational health with a focus on the science of sustainability and its relationship to public health. In addition to her academic schedule, Ms. Scanlon is a consultant with the Division of Occupational Health and Safety at the National Institutes of Health. As a resident of Washington, DC, Ms. Scanlon regularly enjoys the city's plentiful museums, parks, and cultural activities.

After graduating from the University of South Carolina, Jennifer Garner participated in an AmeriCorps program in DC, leading volunteers on service projects across the country. She then moved to San Francisco and worked with KaBOOM!, building playgrounds with community organizations and corporate sponsors. In August 2006, Jennifer returned to DC to pursue her MBA at GWU and plans to work in the corporate social responsibility arena either in marketing and business development or consulting. Between classes, involvement with the GW's Net Impact chapter, and other fun projects, Jennifer enjoys running, discovering new music and road trips.

Lorre Walker is a proposal coordinator with PBS&J in Austin, Texas. She has an MBA in Business Management from St. Edward’s University and a BA in English from Texas Tech University. Lorre is an experienced researcher in corporate social responsibility, sustainability, and global business. She has taken many global business seminars including Czech Republic and Costa Rica, and has been an Alumni Advisor to MBA global business capstone students, including a project for 3M China. In spring 2007, her paper, “The Current State of Corporate Social Responsibility in the Czech Republic” was published in Arete.

Maria Fyodorova has over 10 years of consulting experience managing economic development projects for a variety of donors including the US Government, the World Bank and various foundations. Ms. Fyodorova has provided strategic management and program development support to interdisciplinary teams in Brazil, Mexico, India, South Africa and the Philippines. Ms. Fyodorova also spent several years working on climate change policy issues with a coalition of businesses though the Business Council for Sustainable Energy and served as the Industry Liaison for the Clean Energy Group at Winrock International. She will graduate in May 2008 with her MBA in Sustainability and Strategic Management from GWU in Washington, DC. Her interests include ethical souring, "greening" the supply chain and change management best practices. In addition, Ms. Fyodorova writes a DC-focused green living blog titled Righteous (re)Style. In her spare time, she participates in efforts to green her community, designs jewelry, practices yoga, rock-climbs and plays with her two dogs.

Friday, January 11, 2008

VIEWS: Comparing CSR actions in the US and Europe

Thanks to our fall intern Heather Shand for the following comparison of corporate social responsibility in the US and Europe:

A recent study done by Germanwatch, an independent environmental group, has found that out of the 56 nations doing the most polluting, the United States ranks at the bottom of the list in its actions to protect the climate (just one country above Saudi Arabia).

In contrast, the top 10 nations who are doing the most to counter climate change are mostly European nations. Although the Germanwatch study was focused on countries as a whole and the impact they are having on the environment, the same trend follows with regard to CSR actions in Europe and the United States. Why is this?

Of course, not all European companies are picture perfect with their triple bottom lines, but in general the Europeans are significantly ahead in the race. Regulations are one reason for this. The European Union and its individual nations create and follow more stringent regulations than the United States. For instance, products such as toys, electronics and cosmetics that contain specific plastics, toxins or chemicals are not allowed into the EU. The European Union has found that these toxins or chemicals are either already harmful to people and the environment or MAY be harmful. This is a prime example of the EU taking a more pro-active approach through regulatory actions. They react to potential hazards and long term affects, whereas the U.S. government waits for absolute scientific proof before banning anything dangerous.

This type of forward thinking can be paralleled here in the States as recently proven by the state of California. Beginning in 2009, any product containing phthalates cannot be distributed, sold or manufactured in California. This will force companies to change their sourcing to become more environmentally friendly, resulting in fewer harmful chemicals ending up in both people and landfills.

Moral attitudes may be another driver of action versus inaction. US companies still need a financial incentive for becoming more sustainable, while European companies are more likely to make their financial, social and environmental commitments equal to one another. Even with the stricter regulations CSR reporting is still voluntary in the European Union, but individual countries and companies still show strength in their own progressive actions. France, for example was the first country in the world requiring public companies to produce CSR reports.

However, these attitudes are beginning to change in companies throughout the United States. Obviously the media has started making climate change a priority in their reports, which has helped the public learn that our personal actions and choices affect people and the environment around the world. The growing belief that producing goods and services with fewer negative social and environmental impacts can actually create a positive financial outcome is finally changing the attitude of larger U.S. corporations.

With regard to wide-spreading and possibly powerful regulations, we as citizens tend to have more influence on the state level as shown with California and its restriction on phthalates. Rather than waiting on the federal government to take steps, state level governments can begin their own campaigns to protect the environment and people. Consumer choice can force the hand of companies reluctant to jump on the green bandwagon. With consumers becoming more and more aware of where and how a product is made, many are beginning to make sustainable purchases and investments a priority.

So, while Europe has had much success due to regulations and being pro-active, it appears that one of OUR biggest assets in the United States for strengthening CSR is the individual. Many of us feel the importance of CSR and we have the opportunity to do as much as possible to incorporate it into the companies where we work. Many owners and employers are too busy to think about their eco-footprint, often allowing employees to take the initiative. Many times this begins with small steps, but an employee’s actions can gain rapid momentum resulting in a strong impact on co-worker and stakeholder actions. It is this chain of events currently being set in motion by individuals that will have a powerful influence on reducing our overall corporate environmental impact.


The State Of Responsible Business; EIRIS; www.eiris.org

The Communication of Corporate Social Responsibility: United States and European Union Multinational Corporations; Department of Management at DePaul University study published summer 2007; http://www.springerlink.com/content/f83v0051353071r2/




Monday, January 07, 2008

PEOPLE: SSC Interns - Where Are They Now?

Every once in a while we like to check in with our former interns. Read on for updates!

Alicia Godlove was an intern with SSC during the summer of 2007, working on a Green Office Audit and Strategic Action Plan. Since completing her internship, Alicia entered the Donald Bren School of Environmental Science & Management at the University of California, Santa Barbara to get her Master of Environmental Science and Management. She is specializing in Corporate Environmental Management and is involved with Engineers Without Borders at UCSB.

Anders Roe Edvardsen was an intern with SSC during the summer of 2007, working on different projects including drafting several research papers on topics such as the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Corporations, the UN Global Compact and Eco-Efficiency Indicators. Since completing his internship, Anders has been focusing on finishing his MBA degree in strategic management at Pace University with excellent results. He has also been traveling the east coast of the United States, doing trips to Europe and recently visitedEthiopia in order to experience different cultures and learn about local sustainable entrepreneurship. Anders is currently preparing for his graduation through job searches in management/strategy/sustainability consulting and the energy sector. He is looking for jobs in both the US and in Europe.

Britt Hinchliff was an intern with SSC during the summer of 2007, working on compiling a database of sustainability tips. Since completing her internship, Britt has been studying business in Barcelona, Spain, while working on her Spanish. She plans to graduate in May 2008 from UC-Berkeley and is currently looking to work in the area of Corporate Social Responsibility.

Christina Benz was an intern with SSC during the summer of 2007, working on sustainability strategy consulting, ecological footprint assessments and business development. Since completing her internship, Christina has written a business plan for the Institute for Sustainable Development in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and conducted a water impact assessment for a publicly-traded mining company. As an independent consultant, Christina is currently researching a leading company in the agricultural industry to write an MBA case study on product stewardship in emerging markets, and is looking for further opportunities in sustainability strategy (i.e. risk mitigation, carbon footprint assessments, stakeholder engagement development and/or assessments, etc.), and/or sustainability-related marketing communications (i.e. transparency and competitive benchmarking, market research, CSR reporting, etc).

Erik Rainey was an intern with SSC during the summer of 2007, working on a Green Office Audit for a key client and the SSC Sustainability Action Plan for small businesses. Since completing his internship, Erik has finished his teaching position in Japan and returned to the United States where he is developing software for a small telecommunications firm. Erik is soon relocating to San Francisco and looking for a position in the sustainability consulting field.

Lori Kitchen was an intern with SSC during the spring of 2007, working on: calculating Eco Footprints and creating recommendations for organizations to reduce their carbon output; assisting with webinar presentations; and researching and writing projects such as reference guides for a CSR workbook. Since completing her internship Lori graduated from American University with a B.A. and accepted a position as a Program Assistant at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). At USAID Lori is working on global health issues especially involving maternal and child health and sustainable programming.

Scott Kleiman was an intern with SSC during the summer of 2007, supporting SSC's engagement with a large research-based nonprofit and contributing to SSC's forthcoming book, Sustainability 101: A Toolkit. Since completing his internship, Scott has joined Ceres, a nonprofit organization that partners with investors, environmental groups, and other stakeholders (SSC among them) to encourage companies and capital markets to strategically incorporate and address environmental and social challenges. In his role as Program Fellow, he manages special projects supporting Ceres' operations, and works with the Communications and Corporate teams on a variety of initiatives.