Cities and states across the country are implementing green programs to support environmentally sustainable practices. And increasingly, businesses are taking measures to move forward with innovation in energy, design and manufacturing that harness green principles. Greening your business has proven value beyond the bottom line, and more and more we are learning how impactful our day-to-day choices are on the world. This resource guide serves to highlight what’s happening nationally and locally with innovation and green initiatives that we can support, promote, and be inspired by!
Design for the Environment
Herman Miller has been designing furniture with the environment in mind for a long time. Their Design for the Environment (DfE) team is responsible for developing environmentally sensitive design standards for new and existing products with a commitment that extends beyond regulatory compliance, and incorporates a comprehensive, holistic approach.Four key areas are addressed:
Material Chemistry and Safety of Inputs: What chemicals are in the materials we specify, and are they the safest available?
Disassembly: Can we take products apart at the end of their useful life to recycle their materials?
Recyclability: Do the materials contain recycled content, and more importantly, can the materials be recycled at the end of the product’s useful life?
LCA (Life-cycle Assessment): Have we optimized the product based on the entire life-cycle?
This summer VOLVO announced they plan to only build electric and hybrid vehicles starting in 2019. Dictated by customer demand, this is the first major automaker to abandon automobiles and SUVs powered solely by fossil fuels and the internal combustion engine.
Navigant predicts an increase in electric and hybrid vehicles to around 3.7 million in 2018 and to more than 9 million by 2025. Volvo, based in Sweden, will launch five fully electric cars between 2019 and 2021.
DESIGN & MANUFACTURING
Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things is a groundbreaking book in the sustainability and design field co-authored by architect William McDonough & chemist Michael Braungart.
A play on the corporate business phrase “cradle-to-grave”, this book calls for the transformation of human industry through ecologically intelligent design that seeks to create systems that are not only efficient but also essentially waste free. This design model in its broadest sense is not limited to industrial design and manufacturing; it is considered to be a philosophical model that can be applied to many aspects of human civilization such as urban environments, buildings, economics and social systems.
You can find cradle to cradle certified products at the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute www.c2ccertified.org.
For a cradle to cradle certification program go to McDonough Braungart Design Chemistry (MBDC) http://www.mbdc.com.
Green Business Certifications
With everything from LEED certification, USDA Organic, Energy Star, EDGE, Fair Trade, Certified Humane, Forest Stewardship Council, GRESB, Palm Oil, Cradle to Cradle (C2C) and more coming every day…green certifications hold businesses to an environmental and ethical standard that communicate a level of commitment to their customers that often result in a customer’s commitment to the company. Learn more at Green Business Certification Inc. (GBCI) (www.gbci.org) and Small Business Trends (http://www.smallbiztrends.com/2016/10/green-business-certification.html).
California Certified Green Business Program
California is asking all small businesses to join this certification program that helps companies meet federal, state, and local environmental standards and addresses energy use, wastewater reduction, solid waste reduction, pollution prevention which results in significant savings and customer recognition.
Small Business Environmental Assistance Program
This Program was established by Title V of the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990 and provides technical and regulatory assistance to small businesses ranging from free and confidential consultations to referrals to other environmental programs. Learn more by calling 1-800-722-7457 or go to http://www.dep.state.fl.us/air/emission/sbeap/sbeap.htm.
A Bold Plan for Sustainable California Communities
Senate Bill 375: The Sustainable Communities and Climate Protection Act of 2008 marked the first law in the country with the explicit goal of designing better cities to fight climate change.
Green Lodging Florida
The Florida Green Lodging Program is a voluntary initiative of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) that designates and recognizes lodging facilities that make a commitment to conserve and protect Florida’s natural resources. The program’s environmental guidelines allow the hospitality industry to evaluate its operations, set goals and take specific actions to continuously improve environmental performance. Learn more about the Florida Green Lodging Program at http://www.dep.state.fl.us/greenlodging/.
Electric Power Generation Employment
Coal 86,035 / Natural Gas 52,125 / Oil/Petroleum 12,840
In the United States, more people were employed in solar power last year than in generating electricity through coal, gas and oil energy combined. According to a new report from the U.S. Department of Energy, solar power employed 43 percent of the Electric Power Generation sector’s workforce in 2016, while fossil fuels combined accounted for just 22 percent. – Solar Employs More People In U.S. Electricity Generation Than Oil, Coal And Gas Combined, Niall McCarthy, Forbes Magazine, January 25, 2017.
Wind generation provides the third largest share of Electric Power Generation employment. Firms that support the nation’s wind technology sector employ a total of 101,738 workers—a 32 percent increase since 2015.
Each year, the United States throws away 40% of its food supply – That’s 67.58 billion pounds of waste going into the landfill, damaging our environment.
FOOD RESCUE US App
50,000,000+ Million Americans are food insecure. This innovative App was designed as a solution to the food waste problem. Wherever you are – and however much time you have – the app lets you play a critical role in rescuing and delivering meals to people in need – and makes bridging the gap between excess and access possible. Since 2011, food rescuers at Food Rescue US have rescued and delivered over 20 million fresh and healthy meals to people who don’t have enough to eat. Get involved, go to http://foodrescue.us.
*In July 2013, Massachusetts became the first state in the nation to put forward regulations to ban businesses of a certain size from sending organics to landfills or incinerators.
Did you know that the urban waste produced from cities around the world is enough to fill a line of garbage trucks stretching more than 3,100 miles – that’s a distance from Florida to Washington – every day!
Zero Waste by 2020
San Francisco has set a goal to go Zero Waste by 2020! That means zero discards are sent to the landfill or high-temperature destruction. Instead, products are designed and used according to the principle of highest and best use and the waste reduction hierarchy:
Composting and recycling more can help residents, businesses and city government save money, conserve natural resources, and prevent pollution.To achieve 100 percent zero waste, SF Environment will continue to advocate for state legislation and partner with producers to develop a producer responsibility system, where producers design better products and take responsibility for the entire life-cycle of a product, including take-back and recycling.
From the San Francisco Department of the Environment you can learn more about the Zero Waste City (http://www.sfenvironment.org/zero-waste-by-2020).
The City of Daytona Beach Recycling Rewards Program
In June 2015, the City of Daytona Beach began the Recycling Rewards Program. $50 cash is awarded to 30-50 households each month that recycle properly. There is nothing for recyclers to do except put their filled recycling bins curbside on their designated days. Want to get started? Need a recycling bin? Call 386.788.8890 or 386.671.8670. Learn what items can be recycled at http://www.codb.us (Departments > Solid Waste > Recycling Rewards Program).
Environmentally educated employees can improve a business’ profitability and help it retain skilled workers, improve community relations and reach its sustainability goals.