September 22, 2014

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    Sylvia Earle on ocean conservation: SXSW Eco 2014 preview

    This October, SXSW Eco will once again convene global experts and leaders in Austin, where they will discuss the latest data, trends and solutions to lead us towards a hope-filled, sustainable future. The annual conference focuses on environmental and sustainability issues like energy, smart planning, sustainable food, and increasingly, the ocean. The conference announced last week that ocean legend, Dr. Sylvia Earle, is to give the final keynote speech. Sylvia Earle, also known as “Her Deepness,” is one of the world’s leading ocean experts. She is a marine biologist, a National Geographic “Explorer in Residence” and was the first female…






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    Window shopping: Planning energy efficiency upgrades

    I cringe at opening my electricity bill during the summer in Texas. On 100-degree days, my air conditioner fights to keep the inside cool, but it’s a losing battle. I rent an old house with lots of cracks and crevices, which makes cold winters difficult as well. The old windows are layered shut with paint and cannot be opened. Actions such as setting my thermostat and adding curtains slightly improve the performance of my ancient windows, but ultimately I need some new ones. According to energyguide.com, the average home can attribute about 25% of the energy required for heating and…






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    How sustainability leaders hold steady over the long haul

    Pioneering a sustainability initiative is a lot like buying a boat. Sooner or later, the realities of maintenance overshadow whatever aspirations first inspired the investment. After the brainstorming sessions, public proclamations and other outpourings of enthusiasm fade, the day comes when you have to face facts: This is going to take work. Without the resolve to weather a few storms, your sustainability program is at risk of puttering out or blowing up in your face — that is, if it ever gets going in the first place. (In fact, if you are perpetually stuck in launch mode, you may even…






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    Wyndham Worldwide’s green governance

    Dr. Jeana Wirtenberg, nationally recognized expert in organizational change, shares the fourth of four exclusive excerpts adapted from her new book Building a Culture for Sustainability. At Wyndham Worldwide, sustainability has a governance structure that is unique in three distinct ways: Wyndham Green, Wyndham Green Council, and alignment of Wyndham’s human resources and corporate services. First, Wyndham Green is placed as high as any strategic initiative could possibly be; it is coordinated by the highly placed Sustainability Leadership Council, which is part of the Wyndham Green Council and has among its members key executive officers such as WW’s chief human resources…






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    How Sanofi creates a virtuous cycle with sustainability

    Dr. Jeana Wirtenberg, nationally recognized expert in organizational change, shares the third of four exclusive excerpts adapted from her new book Building a Culture for Sustainability. Our whole focus is patient-centric. This is core to who we are and integrates CSR into everything we do. —John Spinnato, 2012 What has inspired me most as I’ve come to know Sanofi and its people over the last 10 years is their extraordinary level of caring and humanity, manifested in the company’s overriding commitment “to improve the health of all seven billion people on the planet.” Whether this translates into helping people in Africa…






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    How to speak art and science to an audience

    Yesterday I hand fed a blue jay, helped rehabilitate a pigeon that had lead poisoning, and felt the tiny feet of a curious cardinal named Ben walk across my back. These are just a few of the fulfilling experiences I had while volunteering at the Wild Bird Fund Center, New York City’s first wildlife rehabilitation center. The center’s services—which include providing full examinations, x-rays, surgeries, splinting, diagnostic tests and medicine when required—are dependent on donations and the help of volunteers. I became a volunteer at the center for four reasons: I love drawing animals, especially birds. I love science, especially…






Book Reviews

Putting 'responsible business' out of business
Posted by Claire Sommer on Friday, August 22, 2014


Putting 'responsible business' out of businessChristine Bader’s book The Evolution of a Corporate Idealist: Girl Meets Oil offers hope and practical advice for anyone trying to stimulate meaningful change in our multi-stakeholder, shareholder-beholden, profits-focused world. Doing this kind of work is hard, but then again, pretty much anything ...
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How 9 companies are creating a culture of sustainability
Posted by Claire Sommer on Friday, August 22, 2014


How 9 companies are creating a culture of sustainability Jeana Wirtenberg knows sustainability is about people. Living, caring human beings – who get things done. It’s not “green.” Or “eco.” Not goals or dashboards. Not on their own, at any rate. It’s people who make these things actually happen. Sustainability is people at ...
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The Big Pivot: A realist's guide to a climate-challenged present
Posted by Claire Sommer on Friday, August 22, 2014


The Big Pivot: A realist's guide to a climate-challenged presentIf you’ve ever thought of dropping a book on your boss’s desk, in the hopes of sparking a Ray Anderson-type conversion, here’s a tip. Don’t use the new IPCC report: It’s gloomy, terrifying and a muddle. Try this instead: Andrew Winston’s business transformation book for ...
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Sweat and the city: The urban heat island effect
Posted by Ann Drumm on Friday, August 22, 2014


Sweat and the city: The urban heat island effectCities are heating up at double the rate of global climate change, with major implications for human health. Managing urban heat is just as important a response as reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and the benefits will be felt much sooner.  Cities should ...
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