Posts Tagged ‘sustainability’

During a meeting with a client this morning, he mentioned an article he had recently re-read about Facebook, written back in 2005. At that time, there were a few million Facebook users, and the article talked about how the social network would be mostly for college students.

Fast forward to today: Facebook now has more than 500 million users. And they are most definitely not just college students. My mom is on Facebook. My Grandma is on Facebook. And some people even have profiles for their dogs.

So, what’s my point? Well, other than the fact that I can no longer post scandalous photos on my profile (as if I ever did), social media is blowing up. And it’s not just the hardcore geeks who are blowing it up.

I just discovered this company, Futerra Sustainability Communications, a PR/communications firm based in the UK. They focus exclusively on CSR and sustainability, and have a rather kick-ass blog. One recent post discussed social media. I took one quote in it’s entirety, because it sums it up really well:

A key realisation that many at the table felt was that social media is moving ‘beyond the usual suspects’. This is in relation to age, sex, and location but also sustainability knowledge & engagement. Social media creates a dialogue with potential advocates that other media sources have little influence over.

So, basically, social media may be opening up doors to communicate issues of sustainability with people previously not very reachable. Of course, reaching out to people and actually affecting change are two completely different things.

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FedEx is often on the cutting edge of sustainability. I wrote an article about their electric fleet for the Memphis Business Journal, and now, they are at it again, with pedicabs on the streets of Paris. There are currently three in operation, with plans to add several more in the near future.

The tricycles are started manually, and then powered by the driver, with some electric assistance. Not only are the vehicles completely free of CO2 emissions, they also allow the driver to avoid traffic by using pedestrian-only areas in the city.

Another plus? The driver in this video has some ripped calves from all the pedaling. I don’t know about you, but having my packages delivered in a sustainable way by a buff young driver makes all the sense in the world…

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I love getting e-mail. I think it’s a feeling left over from when I was a kid, and getting mail was an event that only happened a few times a year. I remember the first time I got a credit card offer… it was a big defining moment in my life. Needless to say, my dreams were shattered when my mom pointed out that a 15-year-old couldn’t have a credit card. But thankfully, I still get lots and lots of them today.

These days, most of my e-mail consists of the kind of material on par with credit card offers. Offers like, “Save my Nigerian prince brother and I will transfer $1.5 million dollars into your bank account!” or “Enlarge you _______!” or “Lose 48 pounds in the next 3 hours!” show up on a regular basis in my Inbox. And then of course, I get a newsletter from every website I ever visited since 1998.

So, the idea of signing up for Google alerts, just so I can get MORE e-mails, seem counterproductive, but at least Google alerts are on topics I actually want to read about.

Today’s alert summary on “sustainability” brought up a blog post from Smart Planet, an interactive website sponsored by CBS. The post was about prioritizing your CSR goals for sustainability. I won’t summarize it here, because you should just go read it. But one tip stood out to me, and made me think of how it applied to what I’m usually talking about on this blog.

“You need tools that analyze in real time, not just a moment in time. Yes, I know that getting a grip on your carbon footprint is not easy. But, once you do, why would you report it just once a year?”

The tip ends with a great question: why would companies just report it once a year? Especially when powerful (and virtually free) tools, like Facebook, Twitter, e-books, websites, YouTube, etc., are easily available? And who really wants to read an annual report? I mean, seriously. I would much rather watch a cool video like the one below on a topic like corporate social responsibility. Or view a Facebook photo album about a company’s latest going green efforts. Or get a tweet when my favorite company has reached an important sustainability goal.

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I found a post on Fabian Pattberg’s blog about a recent virtual CSR conference. Pattberg has a great wrap-up list of some of the topics and speakers.

A virtual CSR conference sounds like a great idea. I’ll have to keep up with the news for 2011, because I would love to participate in something like this.

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This is interesting. A study done by the National Real Estate Investor and the U.S. Green Building Council found that 88% of real estate developers and 86% of corporate executives indicate that green design is as important or more important now than it was before the recession.

Although the commercial real estate industry is struggling, and projected to still decline more in 2010, sustainability has increased among developers.

Contrary to some common misconceptions, sustainability doesn’t always cost more money. In fact, if it’s in regards to conserving resources, it can actually save money… which means it’s a viable option in recessionary times.

I see this even in my own life. I buy less of everything, and re-use more. Not only do I save money, but I find that I have less waste to deal with and less stuff in general, which saves me time. Win-win situation.

Find the full overview of the study here.

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The fashion industry hasn’t really had a big reputation as being eco-friendly (starving models, sweatshops, think of all those wasted clothes and shoes at the end of a runway show), but Germany, as usual, is changing perceptions about what fashion should really be about.

The Key To is a green fashion event, with a focus on sustainable lifestyle and culture. When I was in Berlin last October, my neighbor was a raw food chef, Boris Lauser. I was Facebooking with him the other day and he mentioned that he was catering this event, so I decided to check it out.

This is the list the required guidelines for exhibitors and participants. The cool thing is that this event is hugely successful and (from what I’ve heard) very stylish. Going green isn’t always sacrifice and cutting back. It’s really more of a frame of mind, an attitude about how to treat the earth and other people.

The event is twice a year, in January and July. I know I won’t be able to make it this July, but January is a possibility. That gives me plenty of time to start my model diet and work on my catwalk stroll.

Click here for a video about the green fashion event The Key To.


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Video clip from World Conference on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) held in Bonn in April 2009. These young people participated in a workshop titled “Young ESD Voices From Around the World.”

Very interesting international perspective on the issue of sustainability.

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