Good Read

Getting the most out of your sustainability program

Author: Achim Berg, Nils Schlag, and Martin Stuchtey on behalf of McKinsey & Company

Sustainability initiatives won’t create lasting value if they’re poorly managed. Here are four lessons from companies that are doing it right.

Among retailers and consumer-goods manufacturers, commitment to environmental and social objectives can take many forms—whether it’s distributing fair-trade products, reducing materials used in packaging, or ensuring humane working conditions at suppliers’ factories. Unilever, for one, has a detailed Sustainable Living Plan, and among the company’s goals for 2020 is to halve the greenhouse-gas impact of its products over their life cycles. Swedish furniture maker IKEA has installed more than 700,000 solar panels in its buildings worldwide and has committed to own and operate more than 300 wind turbines. British retail group Kingfisher’s sustainability plan, which it calls Net Positive, aims not only to make frugal use of natural resources but also to restore and regenerate the environment—“putting back more than we take out,” as the company says.

These programs can be powerful agents of change, both toward greater alignment between customer and corporate interests and toward a culture of systemwide innovation in products and business models. Yet some skepticism remains as to whether sustainability efforts have any impact on financial performance in the short and medium term. Our recent research provides answers to both of these questions.1In this article, we discuss how companies are creating value from their sustainability programs and what practices enable companies to keep these programs running smoothly and effectively.

How sustainability programs create value

In previous work, our colleagues have outlined the various ways that companies can use sustainability initiatives to manage risk, drive growth, or improve returns on capital (Exhibit 1).2In our latest research, we sought to unearth examples of how companies are actually doing it. We found that companies that built sustainability into their operations saw immediate benefits, which gave them the momentum to do even more.

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Implementing Zero Waste Programs At High-Traffic Facilities

Once the Zero Waste program details were hashed out, it was time for implementation. In Spring 2013, Brown and his team began piloting the Zero Waste program. It was launched in one of their smaller, contained sporting venues on campus, where they could control the materials being disposed.

During the baseball games at Packard Stadium, recycling and composting receptacles were set up throughout the grandstands and volunteer ambassadors of the program were on hand to help educate the sports fans on what and where to dispose specific items. 

“In compliance with our green purchasing requirements, the stadiums were already using food containers and cutlery that is either recyclable or corn-based,” says Lambert. In conjunction with the traditional stadium fare of hot dogs and nachos, it was no surprise that a Zero Waste initiative that included composting made sense.

“The fans were receptive and happy to help support our sustainability program,” adds Brown. “At one 3,000-person baseball game, we had an 81 percent diversion rate.”

Successes like this are what lead Brown and his team to promote the Zero Waste program on an even larger scale. During the 2013 football season, the program launched at Sun Devil Stadium, Frank Kush Field. The venue welcomes nearly 500,000 spectators each year, which means, if the program is a success, the environmental impact could be dramatic. 

In theory, the Zero Waste program is simple – nothing gets thrown in the trash. But educating a large group of people that don’t understand composting or aren’t accustomed to seeing the new receptacles is no small feat. 

“Asking people to sort their waste is a challenge,” says Lambert. “Change can be difficult, but it has to happen, which is why we have education programs in place.”

Radio and television announcements were developed and scheduled to air on campus networks. Signage accompanied recycling and composting receptacles. And educational videos were featured on scoreboards throughout sporting events. 

These messages communicate what the program is, why it has been implemented, and the types of products that should be dispensed appropriately in each receptacle. 

Following successful implementation in the sports stadiums, Zero Waste will be installed in six dining halls on campus.

“We plan to place the blue and green bins in food preparation and dish return stations to improve the diversion rates in these areas where compostable materials are likely high,” says Brown.

CORINNE ZUDONYI is the editor of Facility Cleaning Decisions magazine and CleanLink.com

Rethinking the Water Cycle

How moving to a circular economy can preserve our most vital resource

Three billion people will join the global consumer class over the next two decades, accelerating the degradation of natural resources and escalating competition for them. Nowhere is this growing imbalance playing out more acutely than the water sector. Already, scarcity is so pronounced that we cannot reach many of our desired economic, social, and environmental goals. If we continue business as usual, global demand for water will exceed viable resources by 40 percent by 2030.

Many experts have claimed that wasteful treatment of water results from dysfunctional political or economic systems and ill-defined markets. But the real issue is that water has been pushed into a linear model in which it becomes successively more polluted as it travels through the system, rendering future use impossible. This practice transforms our most valuable and universal resource into a worthless trickle, creating high costs for subsequent users and society at large. Since the linear model is economically and environmentally unsustainable, we must instead view water as part of a circular economy, where it retains full value after each use and eventually returns to the system. And rather than focus solely on purification, we should attempt to prevent contamination or create a system in which water circulates in closed loops, allowing repeated use. These shifts will require radical solutions grounded in a complete mind-set change, but they must happen immediately, given the urgency of the situation.

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25 Life Lessons Written by a 99-Year-Old Man

By Macy Williams

My great-grandfather is 99 years old, and living almost a century has taught him a thing or two. Andy Anderson's life story is one for the big screen — he met my great-grandmother on a Saturday, and they married on the following Saturday. They stayed together until my grandma took her last breath 67 years later. In between those 67 years, they had two children, adopted another son, and were the greatest party throwers in the county (we have the pictures to prove it).

Without going to college, Andy worked his way to the top; he became the corporate manager of the dairy department of Safeway for the entire country. He earned the nickname Mr. Cheese, which eventually turned into Grandpa Cheese among the family — a name that has admittedly gotten a few brow raises. My point is, Grandpa Cheese has taught me a lot about life. I could think of no better person to give the world a few life lessons than him. Here's what he has learned in his 99 years.

  1. Always maintain a good sense of humor.
  2. Never be too good to start at the bottom.
  3. Exercise every single day, even when you don't feel like it.
  4. Don't spend more money than you make.
  5. Drink orange juice every day.
  6. Love at first sight is not a fable.
  7. Having a bad job is better than having no job at all.
  8. Eat around the mold; don't go wasting food.
  9. Your family is the most precious thing you will ever have in life.
  10. Eat sausage every day — it worked for me.
  11. Your life is delicate, and if you neglect yourself, you'll spoil. That's what cheese taught me.
  12. Don't ever be afraid to be your true self.
  13. Everyone has too many clothes. Wear what you have and quit buying more.
  14. You must be able to forgive, even if it's difficult to do.
  15. Save your money now and spend it later.
  16. Love is not always easy; sometimes you have to work at it.
  17. Find something comical in every single situation.
  18. If you're faced with a problem, don't delay trying to figure it out. But if there's no way to figure it out, you have to forget about it.
  19. Make sure you're doing what you love; don't be afraid to follow those dreams you have for yourself.
  20. Education is important, but not necessary. Life can be an education in itself.
  21. Explore your world and stay curious.
  22. Try not to take yourself so seriously.
  23. My full name is William Bradford James Anderson, and my initials always remind me to ask myself, "Why be just anybody?"
  24. Have common sense. Think about the most reasonable answer to every situation. If you don't have common sense, you're a bust.
  25. Life is a gift that you must unwrap. It's up to you to determine if what's inside will lead you to happiness or dismay. You have the power to make that decision for yourself.

If you're wondering what Grandpa Cheese is up to these days, he's riding his motorized scooter around Benicia, CA, and "planning on what I'm going to do when I start to get old," he says.

Fun Facts!

1. If you are right handed, you will tend to chew your food on your right side. If you are left handed, you will tend to chew your food on your left side.

2. If you stop getting thirsty, you need to drink more water. For when a human body is dehydrated, its thirst mechanism shuts off.

3. Chewing gum while peeling onions will keep you from crying.

4. Your tongue is germ free only if it is pink. If it is white there is a thin film of bacteria on it.

5. The Mercedes-Benz motto is “Das Beste oder Nichts” meaning “the best or nothing”.

6. The Titanic was the first ship to use the SOS signal.

7. The pupil of the eye expands as much as 45 percent when a person looks at something pleasing.

8. The average person who stops smoking requires one hour less sleep a night.

9. Laughing lowers levels of stress hormones and strengthens the immune system. Six-year-olds laugh an average of 300 times a day. Adults only laugh 15 to 100 times a day.

10. The roar that we hear when we place a seashell next to our ear is not the ocean, but rather the sound of blood surging through the veins in the ear.

11. Dalmatians are born without spots.

12. Bats always turn left when exiting a cave.

13. The ‘v’ in the name of a court case does not stand for ‘versus’, but for ‘and’ (in civil proceedings) or ‘against’ (in criminal proceedings).

14. Men’s shirts have the buttons on the right, but women’s shirts have the buttons on the left.

15. The owl is the only bird to drop its upper eyelid to wink. All other birds raise their lower eyelids.

16. The reason honey is so easy to digest is that it’s already been digested by a bee.

17. Roosters cannot crow if they cannot extend their necks.

18. The color blue has a calming effect. It causes the brain to release calming hormones.

19. Every time you sneeze some of your brain cells die.

20. Your left lung is smaller than your right lung to make room for your heart.

21. The verb “cleave” is the only English word with two synonyms which are antonyms of each other: adhere and separate.

22. When you blush, the lining of your stomach also turns red.

23. When hippos are upset, their sweat turns red.

24. The first Harley Davidson motorcycle was built in 1903, and used a tomato can for a carburetor.

25. The lion that roars in the MGM logo is named Volney.

26. Google is actually the common name for a number with a million zeros.

27. Switching letters is called spoonerism. For example, saying jag of Flapan, instead of flag of Japan.

28. It cost 7 million dollars to build the Titanic and 200 million to make a film about it.

29. The attachment of the human skin to muscles is what causes dimples.

30. There are 1,792 steps to the top of the Eiffel Tower.

31. The sound you hear when you crack your knuckles is actually the sound of nitrogen gas bubbles bursting.

32. Human hair and fingernails continue to grow after death.

33. It takes about 20 seconds for a red blood cell to circle the whole body.

34. The plastic things on the end of shoelaces are called aglets.

35. Most soccer players run 7 miles in a game.

36. The only part of the body that has no blood supply is the cornea in the eye. It takes in oxygen directly from the air.

37. Every day 200 million couples make love, 400,000 babies are born, and 140,000 people die.

38. In most watch advertisements the time displayed on the watch is 10:10 because then the arms frame the brand of the watch (and make it look like it is smiling).

39. Colgate faced big obstacle marketing toothpaste in Spanish speaking countries. Colgate translates into the command “go hang yourself.”

40. The only 2 animals that can see behind itself without turning its head are the rabbit and the parrot.

41. Intelligent people have more zinc and copper in their hair.

42. The average person laughs 13 times a day.

43. Do you know the names of the three wise monkeys? They are:Mizaru(See no evil), Mikazaru(Hear no evil), and Mazaru(Speak no evil)

44. Women blink nearly twice as much as men.

45. German Shepherds bite humans more than any other breed of dog.

46. Large kangaroos cover more than 30 feet with each jump.

47. Whip makes a cracking sound because its tip moves faster than the speed of sound.

48. Two animal rights protesters were protesting at the cruelty of sending pigs to a slaughterhouse in Bonn. Suddenly the pigs, all two thousand of them, escaped through a broken fence and stampeded, trampling the two hapless protesters to death.

49. If a statue in the park of a person on a horse has both front legs in the air, the person died in battle; if the horse has one front leg in the air, the person died as a result of wounds received in battle; if the horse has all four legs on the ground, the person died of natural cause.

50. The human heart creates enough pressure while pumping to squirt blood 30 feet!! - See more at: http://productiveatwork.tumblr.com/post/119557373#sthash.6DFcgwxM.dpuf