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April 26, 2010

I have integrated the Shades of Green blog into the Green Impact site.  For the latest and greatest, check out:


Hewlett-Packard: What Does it Take to Be #1?

December 14, 2009
By Deborah Fleischer

#1I was recently asked to highlight some of Hewlett-Packard’s environmental printing programs, but after reviewing the materials the PR folks sent, I decided the more interesting story was to reflect on how HP got listed #1 in Newsweek’s recent rankings of green companies, as well as ranked highest in the category of electronics by Climate Counts.

So to find out why, I referred to an interview I conducted (for a piece I did on Tips for Getting Your Sustainability Project Off the Ground) earlier this year with Bonnie Nixon, HP’s director of environmental sustainability.   I went back to those notes to help answer the question, “What Does it Take to Be #1?”

Fast Company reflected on this same question last month and concluded, “What was confirmed to me is that behind every major corporate transformation story is a truly heroic man or woman. While I am sure HP has a team of hundreds who have contributed strongly to this position as number one on the Newsweek list, I was certain after spending more time with Nixon that she was an integral part of it.”

Five critical factors make a company like HP stand out:

  • #1:  Walk the talk
  • #2:  Educate and support suppliers
  • #3:  Engage employees
  • #4:  Reach out to a broad range of NGOs, including your greatest critics
  • #5:  Help your customers do the right thing

Read more…

Green Teams: Ten Best Practices for Engaging Employees in Sustainability

December 7, 2009 and Green Impact have partnered to release a new report, Green Teams:  Engaging Employees in Sustainability. Based on interviews with green team leaders from Intel, Yahoo!, eBay and Genentech, as well as a review of the latest literature on employee engagement and green teams, the report provides an overview of the best practices companies are using to support and guide green teams.

It is divided into four key sections:  making the business case for green teams; getting started; four emerging trends; and green team best practices.

It is a great resource for companies and organizations just beginning to think about creating a green team and for those ready to take their existing program to the next level.

Read more…

The Eight Biggest Myths About Sustainability in Business

December 2, 2009

mythpicVijay Kanal of Kanal Consulting recently posted a piece on titled The Eight Biggest Myths about Sustainability in Business

He kicks the piece off by saying, “Sustainability should be considered not just because it is the right thing to do, but also because it makes business sense. If an initiative cannot be justified from a strategic, financial, operational, marketing, or employee recruitment/retention perspective, don’t do it. But we have found that in almost every corner of an organization there is a fundamental business reason for being more sustainable.”

For each of the eight myths identified he presents details from companies in the green trenches, such as HP, P&G and Numi Tea, to counter the misrepresentations.

The short piece is a great overview of the business case for going green.

Read more…

Highlights from Green America’s Green Business Conference

November 24, 2009

By Deborah Fleischer, Green Impact

Green America’s Green Business Conference was the yenta of the green business world when it hosted its Product Expo:  Marketplace and Community Connections.  Participants were invited to set up a business display at this product expo that was modeled after the ever so popular speed dating concept.

The idea was to get all the conference attendees networking and doing business with each other.  One of my complaints about conferences is that they don’t do enough to promote networking and Green America has done a great job at this conference on integrating creative ways to encourage us to meet each other.

At a traditional speed dating event, you spend only three minutes speaking to a potential love interest and then move on.  If there is mutual interest, you follow-up on your own after the event. While the networking last night was a bit less structured, we were encouraged to circulate and meet as many businesses as possible.

Below I highlight a few of the businesses that made it onto my final dance card.

Read more…

Transit and Trails: Connecting People to Nature on Public Transit

November 24, 2009

City bus gg80_to_sf_webNature pic sunset_matt_davis_fog2_webDon’t own a car, but want to get out to one of the Bay Area’s hundreds of parks and trails? Or perhaps, you are trying to reduce your carbon footprint and wondering how to get to your favorite hike without using your car?

Transit and Trails is a new resource for outdoor enthusiasts who want to leave their cars behind and easily get information on how to take the bus (or ferry) to reach Bay Area hiking trails and campgrounds.

Read more…

The Gifts of a Challenge

November 9, 2009

One of my favorite newsletters arrived today from Patrick O’Neill, a unique management consultant from Canada. The theme of the newsletter is the essential functions that challenges play in the development of a leader.  He outlines 4 gifts we can receive from challenges:

* They call forward our personal powers – including our gifts, talents, character qualities, fortitude, skills, aptitudes, knowledge, resourcefulness and creativity;

* They help us develop new powers;

* They teach “right application” of these resources; and

* They expose that which requires change or strengthening in our nature or our approach.

He suggests that, “how we respond to a challenge can often tell us more about who we really are than years of contemplation.”

I feel like I am surrounded by talented, experienced colleagues and friends who are feeling discouraged and a bit beat down by the current economy. Both self-employed entrepeneurs and those who took the more traditional career path of a corporate position are being challenged by the current economy.

I personally am seeing the “gifts” play out at Green Impact as the economy and new boom of “green consultants” is pushing me to refine my niche and get more creative and skillful at marketing my services.

I was pondering this morning the fact that we only have 8 weeks left in 2009 and contemplating what my most significant goal for the rest of the year is.  Both professionally, and personally, it is easy to get pulled in so many directions.  I have never been a “niche” kind of gal, but have worked on a wonderful range of issues–land conservation, ecosystem services, program development, cross-sector dialogue, green business, stakeholder engagement and blogging.

If we all need to build our talents and skills and be more creative right now, where are the areas to put our energy? What are the steps to take to help us move forward?

I love these questions, but seem to be stuck answering them.  Do I focus more on my business the next 8 weeks?  Or do I focus less on business and more on my personal pursuits? Or, do I put the list aside and slow down? My list includes the ideas of painting everyday, trying one new activity each week, getting a cardio workout everyday, volunteering more and updating my web site.

What is on your list to accomplish before 2009 ends that can move you toward your goals?