Earth Day Resolution #2 – Whole Foods Takes A Big Step; What Can Your Business Do?

March 12, 2008

In late January, Whole Foods announced that they were going to cease offering plastic grocery bags to customers, effective on Earth Day (April 22, 2008). Instead, customers are being encouraged to purchase reusable shopping bags at Whole Foods or elsewhere.

From a business owner’s perspective, this is a very bold move. It’s usually not a great idea to add an obstacle to the sales process, and that is exactly what Whole Foods has done. The theory is that if you make it less convenient for a customer to buy something, then they will find somewhere else to buy it.

I believe Whole Foods will disprove that notion and to the contrary, increase customer loyalty through this initiative. Unlike many other markets, I always find that there’s a buzz when I walk into Whole Foods. People seem to really enjoy shopping there and part of that is their significant focus on promoting organic food and messaging throughout the store that is environmentally conscious. I would be willing to wager that the average Whole Foods customers share these philosophies and are prepared to go through the extra steps involved in bringing their own (reusable) bags each time they shop.

In honor of Earth Day 2008, business owners should consider making a pledge to truly understand the mindsets of their customers and make decisions that will benefit the company, the customer and the environment. Be Bold. Go Green. Benefit. If you would like to read more about the Whole Foods program, please click here, http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/byobag/.


Loca - What?!

March 9, 2008

An email arrived in my inbox this afternoon containing a suggestion from a co-worker for an upcoming blog topic. The message included a brief description and a few urls describing the following word…Locavore. I immediately thought to myself…Loca what?! Locavore. It was not a typo and it was not a dinosaur descriptor.

In fact, it was The New Oxford American Dictionary’s word of the year in 2007. The word is just a few years old and originated in the San Francisco area. Locavore is defined as a person who seeks out locally produced food. As I dug a little deeper on the internet, I came to find out that many Locavores only eat foods produced within a certain mile radius of where they live. There is even a challenge known as the 100-mile diet.

Wow! This seems to tie in nicely with Earth Day Resolution #1 – Go Green – I Mean Literally. The resolution encourages people to make an effort to eat more locally grown greens, fruits and other colored vegetables. Who knew it had such a fancy name and that locally could be translated into an actual mileage radius! Suffice it to say, I continue to learn something new every day and today, I learned a cool ‘green’ word.


Earth Day Resolution #1 – Go Green, I Mean Literally!

March 6, 2008

What would be a resolution, be it New Year’s, Earth Day, or Birthday, without it having something to do with eating habits, diet, or losing some extra pounds? It just seemed like the natural choice for our first Earth Day resolution to have something to do with food. Green food that is, but food nonetheless.

This Earth Day, why not resolve to Go Green, and I mean literally. Promise yourself that you will make an effort to eat more locally grown greens, fruits and other colored vegetables. In addition, start making organic food choices when local options may not be available.

By supporting your local farmers markets and agricultural services, you will contribute to a reduction in the amount of fuel needed to transport the food to your home. In addition, the more nutritious your diet, the better you will look and feel and the greener you will be.

In honor of Earth Day 2008, make a pledge to: Buy Local, Eat Organic, and Go Green! Green-up your food choices (and, may I add that Green M&Ms do not count!) to become healthier while simultaneously helping our environment.


Sticky Fingers and a Blue Trash Can

March 3, 2008

Having just returned from a week outside of the office, I was thrilled to walk into the kitchen to see that someone was kind enough to bring in a dozen fresh donuts. I went looking for a plastic knife, as my philosophy for eating donuts is that it’s less fattening to eat one in pieces (even if I wind up eating the whole thing).

My search for a plastic knife was unsuccessful, and then I remembered that part of our internal effort to become a Green office was to finish our current supply and then transition to actual silverware that you have to bring from home, and then take home to wash. Needless to say, I was unprepared for the change in regimen and as a result was forced to break apart the donut with my fingers. I wonder whether the resulting use of a paper towel (recycled of course!) after I washed my sticky fingers was as anti-green as if I had used a plastic knife in the first place.

Another change I noticed was the appearance of a blue trash can under my desk. After inquiring with my peers, I found out that it is specifically for paper, magazines, newspapers, junk mail etc. that can be recycled. I now have a bit less legroom under my desk, but am pleased that I have taken another step in our quest to operate as a Green office.


Countdown to Earth Day 2008

February 27, 2008

Mark your calendars now! April 22, 2008 is quickly approaching. As you can see, we at Green Business Alliance have added the Earth Day 2008 countdown calculator to our home page. In just 54 days, millions of people from around the world will celebrate the 39th Annual Earth Day. The focus of Earth Day is to raise awareness of and support our environment and eco-friendly habits. Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin was the principal founder of this event which dates back to 1970. It began as a nationwide grassroots demonstration on the environment intended to inspire gratitude for and consciousness of the Earth’s environment.

Earth Day festivities and events will be held here in the United States on Sunday, April 20th in major cities such as: Washington, DC, New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Denver, Dallas and Miami. Additionally, there will be Earth Day celebrations held locally in schools, community centers, and colleges around the world. The global action theme of this year’s events will be A Call for Climate.

The time is now to start thinking about your Earth Day plans. This blog marks the first in a series dedicated to this global environmental celebration. Check back soon for the next installment of Green Business Alliance’s Earth Day blog.


REC’s – Dollars and Sense

February 25, 2008

RECs, Renewable Energy Credits, Green Tags, Tradable Renewable Certificates, Renewable Energy Certificates. What does it all mean? Let’s begin with the basics of renewable energy (also referred to as clean energy). There are varying forms of this energy which are derived from resources that can not be depleted. In other words, these resources are naturally replenished. Wind and Solar power are two common examples of renewable/clean energy. Biomass, Biodiesel, and Geothermal are also types of clean energy. 

So what exactly is a REC (Renewable Energy Certificate) and how much does one cost? According to Wikipedia’s definition of Renewable Energy Certificates, RECs are “tradable environmental commodities that represent proof that 1 megawatt-hour (MWh) of electricity was generated from an eligible renewable energy resource. These certificates can be sold and traded and the owner of the REC can claim to have purchased renewable energy.” Businesses and individuals can buy these RECs whether or not they have access to clean energy.

The cost of the REC depends on which type of renewable energy one is interested in purchasing. The price of these renewable energies can fluctuate. The quantity of the RECs purchased is often determined by how much electricity a business or home uses over a period of time. The REC provider will help you with the calculation. Suffice it to say that RECs are not super expensive. For example, a business I know recently purchased RECs to offset their yearly energy consumption in their 6,000 square foot office. The total amount of the RECs was less than $350 for the year.

The bottom line is that purchasing RECs makes good business and environmental sense without breaking the bank.


GreenVisibility Directory Vision

February 19, 2008

Our objective for establishing the GreenVisibility Directory is to provide businesses who commit to becoming Greenified with a well promoted platform to showcase their products and services. We also intend to incorporate a series of Community features to further interweave the companies and broaden their reach with interested businesses and consumers.

Although promoting a Green Directory is a new endeavor, it is well within our scope of expertise, as Green Business Alliance’s founders have been heavily involved with the Interactive Marketing industry since 1999. Their company, www.morevisibility.com has been a recognized leader in the Search Engine Marketing and Optimization arena since inception. With that experience as a backdrop, the plan is to develop a national directory of businesses that place a significant emphasis on following basic principles to Greenify their businesses.

The essence of the Directory will be its eventual reach and community-like features. Over (what we hope) will be a very compressed period of time, major growth and evolution will occur. The larger the number of companies who participate in the Green Business Alliance program, the greater the footprint of the directory will be.

There is stronger momentum for companies to Greenify their businesses now than ever before. Green Business Alliance is taking the lead in bringing together these like-minded business professionals to flourish online through a community enabled directory. More details on the community dimension to follow in the near future.


Go Green And Boost Employee Satisfaction

February 15, 2008

Like with so many other things in life, it is easier to act tomorrow than today about the environment. The planet was here before any of us, and contrary to a lot of the doom and gloom being spread, will be here when we leave.

 That being said, businesses play a very important role in the lives of their employees as well as in their community and with customers. An employer who commits to becoming a Green company sends a clear message that they are forward thinkers, which carries with it important benefits.

Wells Fargo Bank is one of many large corporations who has made a staunch commitment to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives. Although environmental issues are just a component of CSR, Wells Fargo has made a significant investment in outlining and abiding by a CSR platform. For a detailed report on their initiatives, please click here.

Although most businesses do not have the resources to engage in such a large scale initiative, we believe that even a modest effort can have a significant impact on employee satisfaction and consequently the success of the business.   


The Stairs – a Green and Healthy Choice

February 12, 2008

Believe it or not, there are more beneficiaries of Greenifying than simply our environment and your business. Some Green steps can directly impact your health. For instance, let’s examine your method of transportation to and from work. Yes, if one is able to bike or walk to work rather than drive, obviously the reduced emissions from the vehicle benefit the environment. Engaging in aerobic activity in lieu of driving a car for your commute benefits your heart and body.

Here is another easy way to help the environment while helping your heart. Stairs! If your office is above the first floor, take the stairs rather than the elevator. Walking up to your office will burn some calories while at the same time save the electrical energy used during each push of the elevator. It may not seem like a big sacrifice (unless, of course, your office is on the 90th floor!) but the rewards are both healthy and environmentally beneficial. On average, a 3 minute walk up the stairs burns about 25 calories. Greenify – for the environment, your business, and your health!


Recycled Paper Travails

February 9, 2008

Going Green will require a company to modify some of the ways that it operates, and sometimes this may require a bit of an adjustment, but these steps are not too onerous and tend to be well supported by employees. For example, switching to recycled paper (for printing) is an obvious item on any company’s to-do list. From a practical perspective, this simply involves swapping one kind of paper for another whenever printer paper is purchased.

The adjustment referenced above is not just related to purchasing a different type of paper. Since the paper is thinner it is sometimes harder for the printer to grab a single sheet at a time and as a result, multiple pages may be passed through. It doesn’t jam the printer, but there may be blank pages within the document that is being printed. If this happens, just reuse those sheets and that way, nothing will be wasted and the benefits associated with using recycled paper will remain intact. 


Green Business Alliance - Home Greenify For Better Business - Greenify Now