Friday, August 31, 2007

New Survey Indicates Companies Support Green Procurement

Responsible Purchasing Network::News Item Detail

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 - Corporate Climate Response - Green to Gold

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

Companies Giving Green an Office - New York Times

Companies Giving Green an Office - New York Times

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

Richard Branson's Latest Venture - The Elders

Richard Branson's Latest Venture

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....

Green Wombat: The Electric Car Opportunity

Green Wombat: The Electric Car Opportunity

Gotta read this one! I love what Jeff Skoll is up to - go Electric Car - and let's see what Honda and Detroit decide to do...