Monday, December 10, 2007
Great article on green supply chain, with real examples. It seems to me that innovation starts with one or two people and a compelling idea. It doesn't necessarily take phDs - but it does take persistence, and hard work.
Viewing this as a cultural change in important, and cultural change takes time. Cultural change also takes a compelling trigger(s), like an awakening concern about the realities of climate change, or water shortages. We have plenty of triggers coming at us now - should we pause long enough to look, and listen and synthesize what is happening in the world around us. In today's rushed corporate environment, ripe with pressures and deadlines, people often lack "think time". This leads to an unconscious but potentially deadly complacency. In order to trigger cultural change, we will need to "wake up" our colleagues to the trigger events, and help them to pause long enough to connect the dots.
Al Gore and the IPCC have done much to help us with this task, as have the countless magazines with green issues, including HBR. There is an undeniable amplification and acceleration happening in the marketplace. And not a moment too soon!
Friday, August 31, 2007
Very interesting article that confirms the movement toward sustainability, and the greening of the supply chain. Here's the exec summary of the article:
"A new survey focused on company practices, policies, and plans for reducing environmental impacts associated with operations, reveals a green procurement trend. Conducted by EyeForProcurement, the study revealed that 50% of companies are employing policies focused on greening their supply chains. The belief that growth in greening supply chains will continue is almost unanimous, with 98% of participants stating they expect expansion. Results also indicate that customers from all sectors are increasingly demanding green products and services.
Sustainable procurement by study participants is mainly concentrated on packaging materials and raw materials used in manufacturing. Professionals surveyed indicated mixed motivations for these practices, including a combination of supporting their companies' environmental and sustainability strategies and a response to customer interest in green products and services. "
When you read the article, check out the Responsible Purchasing Network. A terrific information resource that will actually help your business move toward sustainable purchasing processes. You don't have to start from scratch!
Innovation that matters....
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
Energy efficiency easiest path to aid climate Environment Reuters
Yesterday, on 8.28,, the first day of Vienna Climate Change Talks 2007 , the United Nations began to review a 230 page report on about climate investments to 1000 delegates from 158 nations. Bottom line - we need to focus on energy efficiency. Here are a couple quotes from this news article:
- Energy efficiency is the most promising means to reduce greenhouse gases in the short term
- "global additional investment and financial flows of $200 billion-$210 billion will be necessary in 2030 to return greenhouse gas emissions to current levels," including measures for energy supply, forestry and transport
- The study foresees a shift to renewable energies such as solar and hydropower, and some nuclear power
- The report also estimates that investments in helping nations adapt to the impact of climate change would run to tens of billions of dollars in 2030, such as treating more cases of malaria or building dykes to protect beaches from rising seas.
27-31 August, Vienna, Austria marks the fourth session of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Further Commitments for Annex I Parties under the Kyoto Protocol (AWG 4) and the fourth workshop under the dialogue on long-term cooperative action to address climate change by enhancing implementation of the Convention. This meeting is taking place at the Austrian Center Vienna (ACV).
My comments: 158 countries have sent 1000 delegates to participate in this process. The actions required will fall heavily on the shoulders of leaders in government, business, and society to implement. This is both a tremendous business challenge, and an opportunity to innovate. Collaboration, innovative technology, ingenuity, strategic risk taking, cultural change - all this and more - will be required on a global basis.
IBM and many other global leaders are stepping up in significant ways. IBM is a gold sponsor of Corporate Climate Response Chicago - being held on September 25th and 26th. Gary Rancourt, from our Big Green Innovations team will speak on Energy Efficiency and Green Operational Innovation. The opportunities to improve our carbon footprint and increase energy efficiency, and often times - to save money in the process - go hand in hand.
A terrific book to read on this topic is Green to Gold - How Smart Companies use Environmental Strategy to Innovate, Create Value, and Build Competitive Advantage by Daniel C. Esty and Andrew S. Winston. Andrew Winston also offers an Eco-Advantage newsletter. According to Andrew "It’s a bi-weekly look not specifically on the latest news in green business, but more a strategic view – a lens for looking at how companies innovate and grow/profit with environmental thinking. "
Time to start thinking differently - and paving the way to a healthier, more secure future. And create Eco-Advantage along the way...
Saturday, August 25, 2007
Very interesting sign of change - and focus. Here's a small excerpt from this article:
"The corporate roster of “chiefs” used to be pretty short: chief executive, chief financial officer and, maybe, chief operating officer. Then came the chief marketing and technology officers.
Now, the so-called C-Level Suite is swelling again — this time, with chief sustainability officers. These are not simply environmental watchdogs, there to keep operations safe and regulators at bay. The new environmental chiefs are helping companies profit from the push to go green.
“Environmental vice presidents usually spend company money, but this new breed is helping companies make money,” said Eileen Claussen, president of the Pew Center on Global Climate Change."............
............"The evolution was probably inevitable. Corporations are facing demands from all quarters to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, and to buy and produce green products. So, many chief executives are urging their managers to “figure out what products they should sell in a warming world,” said Jonathan Lash, president of the World Resources Institute.
Still, few corporate chiefs want to micromanage the changes. That means they are appointing environmental surrogates to do it for them. "
Read the article, which quotes Sustainability execs from many companies - Dow, Dupont, GE, GM, Owens-Corning, Home Depot, and Hilton Hotels...
This is getting very real folks. What is happening in your company? How can you be part of it? It's time to get smart about getting green, and it's time to get into action.
Wednesday, August 01, 2007
This article has many great examples of how entrepreneurs are tackling global problems and making money along the way. Think of it is "conscious capitalism"; this is a growing trend. In fact, in some companies, this corporate social innovation is truly integral to the business model and value proposition of the company as a whole. Here's an excerpt from this article:
"Entrepreneurs can instigate change in the social sector in the same way that they do in the business world, but they must not lose the characteristics that made their businesses successful when they step into the social and environmental sectors. As I've mentioned, entrepreneurs turn problems into opportunities. But what does this mean when it comes to problems like poverty or climate change?
Consider Dhaka, Bangladesh. Its 6.5 million residents produce between 3,000 and 3,500 metric tons of solid waste daily, less than half of which is collected. The rest is literally left to rot in the streets, resulting in serious health risks and pollution. But entrepreneurs like Iftekhar Enayetullah and Maqsood Sinha see value where others see garbage. Their organization, Waste Concern, started community-based composting plants for local residents to turn household waste into high-quality fertilizer sold for a profit. This network has created jobs and meets the great demand by farmers for organic fertilizer.
Similarly, climate change can seem like an overwhelming problem, but there are opportunities here as well for business approaches to arrive at solutions. We've launched Virgin Fuels, which will invest up to $400 million in the renewable-energy and resource efficiency sectors in the U.S. and Europe to fuel expansion and growth of promising products and technologies. It's part of our commitment to using up to $3 billion of the Virgin Group's future proceeds from all transportation interests over the next 10 years to tackle global warming. "
IBM is on the right track here - from the formation of our "Big Green Innovations" business unit, to the recently announced Global Citizenship Portfolio, which includes The Corporate Service Corps: IBM will team with non-governmental organizations to place small groups of employees from different countries and business units together outside of the office. They will address some of the world’s toughest problems, such as enhancing global economic opportunity and access to education resources. Over the program’s first three years, about 600 IBMers from around the world are expected participate.
Here's a quote from Sam Palmisano on this topic:
"IBM sees the potential for a powerful 'virtuous circle' - with mutually reinforcing benefits among empowered individuals, more agile and innovative companies, healthier and more vibrant communities and a more competitive nation," said Mr. Palmisano. "We fully expect that the Global Citizen's Portfolio will make IBM a more competitive and successful business. This will require investment. But as much as any company in the world, IBM depends on having the best expertise and talent. We believe that innovation - not only in our products and services, but also in how we run the company and in our relationships with employees, communities and civil society at large - will help us attract the smartest and most creative workforce."
Back to Richard Branson - and his "latest venture": Elders For a Global Village as told in this news article:
"In July of this year, we launched the Elders, a remarkable group of leaders to tackle the world's problems, including: Mandela, Graca Machel, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Mary Robinson, Kofi Annan, former President Jimmy Carter, Yunus, Ela Bhatt, Li Xhaoxing, and Gro Harlem Brundtland.
We hope this group will become the elders of our global village and play a role in alleviating human suffering. As Mandela put it, "This group can speak freely and boldly, working both publicly and behind the scenes on whatever actions need to be taken. Together we will work to support courage where there is fear, foster agreement where there is conflict and inspire hope where there is despair."
Thinking big and coming up with ideas that might seem ludicrous at the start are all going to be important if we want to radically change the path the world is headed toward to make sure that we build a far healthier, more equitable and peaceful planet for our children."
I am grateful to corporate leaders, political leaders, social entrepreneurs, and and leaders of all stripes who are taking these powerful actions - playing "bigger games" - that are creating a better future for all of us. These actions inspire me to "play bigger" everyday at IBM - to deliver on the promise of Innovation that Matters - really....
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
Well, Thomas Friedman agrees - we can turn green to gold, and use it to differentiate US manufacturing again. His quote:
"What can many U.S. companies still manufacture? They can manufacture things that are smart -- that have a lot of knowledge content in them, like a congestion pricing network for a whole city. What do many Chinese companies manufacturer? They manufacture things that can be made with a lot of cheap labor, like the rubber tires on your car. Which jobs are most easily outsourced? The ones vulnerable to cheap labor. Which jobs are hardest to outsource? Those that require a lot of knowledge.
So what does all this mean? It means that to the extent that we make ''green'' standards part of everything we design and manufacture, we create ''green collar'' jobs that are much more difficult to outsource. "
I think this is incredibly compelling, don't you?
Interesting article that highlights the growing scope of environmentally friendly initiatives in the Electronics marketplace. Every challenge represents an opportunity - and this article highlights the many challenges of producing and disposing of electronics, with a focus on PCs and phones, in a "green" or environmentally responsible way.
IBM is not mentioned at all, perhaps because we no longer produce PCs. IBM's record in this space is quite impressive, and of course there is always more work to do.
From the IBM Website: Check out our most recent Environmental News:
15 May 2007
IBM Receives Gold Band Rating in Business in the Community's Environment Index 2006IBM received a Gold Band rating in Business in the Community's Environment Index 2006, and led its industry sector once again.
26 Apr 2007
IBM Research and Global Real Estate Site Operations Receive the 2006 Chairman's Environmental AwardIBM Chairman Samuel J. Palmisano has announced that both IBM's Research and Global Real Estate Site Operations organizations will receive the 2006 Chairman's Environmental Award. The award for 2006 focused on energy conservation and energy efficiency across IBM's operations, products and services.
23 Mar 2007
IBM Announces New Greenhouse Gas Reduction GoalIBM announced its second greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction goal through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Climate Leaders program - a commitment to reduce its total global GHG emissions by 7% from 2005 to 2012.
16 Jan 2007
IBM Joins U.S. EPA's SmartWaySM Transport PartnershipIBM recently joined the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's SmartWay Transport Partnership. The company is participating in this program as a shipper of freight.
06 Dec 2006
IBM's Green Power Purchasing Recognized for Second Time in 2006The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy awarded IBM a 2006 Green Power Leadership Award for its renewable energy purchases in the U.S., including wind, solar and biomass-generated electricity.
This is not news to me - but it is music to my ears! Can you say Tipping Point?
What is not stated here is how incredible important and urgent this really is. I encourage each of us to assess our own impact, and the potential force for change that we individually and collectively can become.
If you are a purchasing agent, how will you ensure that your suppliers, the shipping process, the packaging, the disposal of packaging are "green"? How can you begin to make them "greener"? Who do you need as allies inside your company? Outside of your company? Now is the time to take stock and take action.
If you are a teacher, or a school administrator, or a parent, what can you do to make your school "green"?
How green is your workplace? Your home?
Everyone has a role to play, and frankly, this is one of those unique opportunities to be a leader in a huge, global shift. The opportunity is there to "do well by doing good".
Sunday, July 01, 2007
Last month I decided to actively hang a coaching shingle to broaden my impact beyond IBM, where I am very "activated" 32+ hours per week. Immediately, a client and I "found" each other, and I started working with a local brain researcher and his team this week on an amazing compelling purpose - to cure or "fix" emotional brain disorders. And so I decided it was time to get serious, and actually "hang a shingle" on the internet, an invitation to potential clients that might just see themselves as "aspiring world changers", or "conscious capitalists", or "social entrepreneurs", or healers or researchers committed to making this world a better place.
I will absolutely not compete with IBM, or provide services that IBM offers to our clients - my main focus is coaching and catalyzing change by partnering with social entrepreneurs - "bigger game" coaching.
So, a toast to my newest "bigger game" - i3activate, a place of inspiration, innovation, and impact. Feel free to knock, if you are so compelled...
And have an inspired, innovative, and impactful day.
Friday, June 22, 2007
Check out this article about a new nonprofit group - Climate Counts - that will make it easier for you and me to make better decisions about everyday purchases. They have released a simple scorecard for 56 consumer companies which ranks/rates companies on their environmental track record for several years, and they intend to expand and update this list annually. On a scale of 0-100, only 4 companies scored over 70-Nike, Unilever, Canon, and IBM. Certainly there is room for growth for even top performers!
Every dollar we spend represents a "vote" for the companies that manufacture and distribute that product or service, whether or not we are conscious of that vote. In the past, our selection criteria has been limited by what we know about the product - usually based on packaging or perceived performance. Even for those of us that have wanted to "vote" for greener products/companies, our ability to make fact-based decisions has been limited by the information available, and by time constraints.
Climate Counts has a handy pocket guide that you can print from your home computer, and Climate Counts on the Go - text "cc" and then the name of the company you are wondering about to 30644, and you'll get the information back while you're shopping (provided by Working Assets Wireless - a socially responsible communication company worth knowing about!). FYI - my 14 year old daughter Kelsey just tested this for me - and it really does work! She checked on Gap first, and got back a message that Gap is number 2 of 7 ranked. Nike is in first place. It has flaws - she then typed Old Navy, which is part of Gap, and it came back with the message that they haven't scored that company yet.
Our IBM Consumer Products Consulting Practice is talking to our clients about the concept of "full value traceability" which would help clients understand even more information about where the product was manufactured/sourced, and when (important for perishables - particularly with recent food scares - think spinach and peanut butter), as well as other information - with the idea of getting this information to the product label/shelf. More to be done here - Innovation that Matters.
I had a discussion recently with representatives of a consumer products company that has a really solid environmental record. This corporate leader doesn't believe that consumers really are putting their $$ where their values are - yet. It's up to all of us to demonstrate that we do care - by making environmentally informed buying decisions!
Big KUDOS and THANKS to the founders of Climate Counts for making it a little bit easier.
Tuesday, April 03, 2007
If you haven't heard of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and the report released in February, then follow the link here to the Washington Post article. Here's an excerpt:
"An international panel of climate scientists said yesterday that there is an overwhelming probability that human activities are warming the planet at a dangerous rate, with consequences that could soon take decades or centuries to reverse.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, made up of hundreds of scientists from 113 countries, said that based on new research over the last six years, it is 90 percent certain that human-generated greenhouse gases account for most of the global rise in temperatures over the past half-century.
Declaring that "warming of the climate system is unequivocal," the authors said in their "Summary for Policymakers" that even in the best-case scenario, temperatures are on track to cross a threshold to an unsustainable level. A rise of more than 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit above pre-industrial levels would cause global effects -- such as massive species extinctions and melting of ice sheets -- that could be irreversible within a human lifetime. Under the most conservative IPCC scenario, the increase will be 4.5 degrees by 2100."
Bottom line - the debate on "if" we are causing global climate change is over. Now the bigger challenge - what will we do about it? The good news, many people, many scientists, many governments and many corporations are now treating it as a real issue.
The first step on the road to recovery --- admitting you have a problem!
Monday, April 02, 2007
So, think you can't really make a difference in this whole global warming thing? Think again! Check out this excerpt from a Fast Company Article:
"Compact fluorescents emit the same light as classic incandescents but use 75% or 80% less electricity.
What that means is that if every one of 110 million American households bought just one ice-cream-cone bulb, took it home, and screwed it in the place of an ordinary 60-watt bulb, the energy saved would be enough to power a city of 1.5 million people. One bulb swapped out, enough electricity saved to power all the homes in Delaware and Rhode Island. In terms of oil not burned, or greenhouse gases not exhausted into the atmosphere, one bulb is equivalent to taking 1.3 million cars off the roads.
That's the law of large numbers--a small action, multiplied by 110 million. "
Dan and I have changed almost all of the lightbulbs in the house since we saw An Inconvenient Truth. We took the old ones to The Rescue Mission, but perhaps we should have thrown them out. Our thinking was that if someone in need of lightbulbs is shopping at the Rescue Mission, they probably aren't aware of the value of compact fluorescents.
Dan is now (right this minute) taking an inventory of the remaining traditional bulbs so that they can be replaced. Listen, it's the right thing for the environment, and for your pocketbook! Here's another excerpt from this article:
"Swirl bulbs don't just work, they pay for themselves. They use so little power compared with old reliable bulbs, a $3 swirl pays for itself in lower electric bills in about five months. Screw one in, turn it on, and it's not just lighting your living room, it's dropping quarters in your pocket. The advantages pile up in a way to almost make one giddy. Compact fluorescents, even in heavy use, last 5, 7, 10 years. Years. Install one on your 30th birthday; it may be around to help illuminate your 40th. "
One simple step to help our world, and to save money! So what's stopping you? Get the kids in on the action, screwing and unscrewing light bulbs. They know about global warming, they are learning about it in science class. And it's almost Earth Day - so go for it!
Saturday, January 20, 2007
More evidence that corporate leaders are conscious about the challenging realities of climate change, AND that they are willing to take a stand. Kudos to Alcoa Inc., General Electric Co., DuPont Co., Duke Energy Corp, Caterpillar, PG&E, the FPL Group, PNM Resources, BP and Lehman Brothers, who have formed the United States Climate Action Partnership.
If you are still a "Doubting Thomas", I ask you to examine your motives for this position, and also to look more closely at the science. If you have refused to see "An Inconvenient Truth" because you don't like Al Gore's politics, I ask you to open your mind a bit. I have had very close friends say to me "I won't watch that movie - no way." As Al Gore states in the film "This is not a political issue, this is a moral issue." If you love your children, you owe it to them to swallow your pride, or whatever is getting in the way, and get educated. Look at the funding sources and credentials of the scientists that are confirming the issue, vs. those that are denying that humans are causing the current warming trend. And if you work for one of the companies that is "in denial" or funding fear, uncertainty and doubt, work internally to create change. Individuals most come together into groups and take a stand for our planet, and future generations. If not you, who?
Luckily, I believe that the tipping point is fast approaching, if not already here. Our favorite waitress at the local breakfast place heard Dan and I discussing global warming today, and she piped right up "You've got to see that movie!". She thought the beginning was "kind of boring", but that we definitely have a problem, and we all need to do something about it. I was thrilled! I shared with her that we have changed all of our lightbulbs, we replaced our worst windows, we source our electricity from renewable sources, and we are planning to replace our vehicles with hybrids. And I continue to try to create awareness with anyone who will listen.
We will continue to look for ways to do more. I am considering buying carbon credits to offset my air travel. I am supporting an IBM Thinkplace idea that is asking IBM to consider bidding "net-zero carbon impact" projects. I am working with my sales organization to identify clients with whom we can partner to drive "green" innovation.
And what about you? One by one, we can use our ingenuity and our passion to pave the way to a much brighter future (brighter, but not warmer!). Hey, we put a man on the moon - we can do this!
Thursday, January 04, 2007
You know my blood is running green these days, and I am sure that Dan and I will find more than a few things to laugh about. Hey, it's been a long road, but Dan is totally on-board with buying organic, replacing light bulbs, windpower, socially responsible investing (well - I think he's on board, he signed the paperwork), and hybrid cars (plug-in hybrid if we had the option). Let me tell you, it's a process, a dialogue, AND an education! For Dan, even though he is definitely NOT an Al Gore fan, the movie "An Inconvenient Truth" hit a chord that really shifted his perspective on the environment, and our responsibility to future generations. Anyway, we're gonna check out this new show! Tune in!