Gallo Blanco

galloblancoI’ve written about sustainability and its impacts for and on big business and large organizations in the past. I’ve tried to keep the topics focused on how sustainability can help them adjust or modify their policies, practices and procedures.

So, indulge me for a minute here. Too often we get caught up in the “Big Picture” of corporate activities and lose sight of the millions of little companies that are out there working every day to help us keep this economy turning.

On a recent business trip I stumbled on one such company, and it made me stop and think about the importance that these guys have on helping to create truly sustainable local communities and economies.

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Setting Sustainable Goals

goal_settingTell me if this sounds familiar. You’re gathered in a conference room, the senior leader in the room says that the purpose of this meeting is to establish your company’s environmental, sustainability, or recycling goals, pick your topic. Now here’s where it gets good. The meeting is scheduled for 30 minutes and she needs the goals for her meeting with the executives tomorrow.

Don’t laugh. I’ve been there. If you haven’t, good for you. You are one of the fortunate ones. I’m still surprised that after all this time we still have the mentality that goals can be pulled out of the air and then we act shocked when we are unable to accomplish the, often publicly, stated goals.

So, how do you go about establishing goals for your programs? Is their a better way? I think so and that’s what we are going to talk about. Continue reading

How do you define waste?

WasteLow hanging fruit…you’ve heard it before. When you are trying to get your organization started down the sustainability path, consultants and authors tell you to reach for the low hanging fruit. They want you to succeed, so they point you in the direction of quick wins. For many of them your waste stream is one of the first places they encourage you to look, and by waste stream they are referring to what you place in a dumpster. They talk about examining what it is that you are placing into the dumpster. They want you to be able to identify the items that you are throwing away and re-think how they got there. This is something you should do, but lately I’ve had several companies remark when I was introduced to them as the guy that is going to help us identify waste reduction measures say, “Oh, you’re the guy who is going to start our recycling program.” In my head, I’m thinking, “Oh, if it were only that easy!”

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Speaking the language of Sustainability

apples_orangesOver and over I have the same discussion with sustainability professionals, they want to know what they can do to enhance their presentations to fully engage their listeners, to open their audience’s mind to the possibilities that exist. Many times when they have a chance to talk about what they were doing or what they were planning to do within their organization they felt as if their message and plans were falling on deaf ears. Their audience was constantly checking their blackberry’s or looking as if they wished they were in any place other than sitting in a room listening to him or her speak.

Sound familiar? Continue reading

Sustainability, Know when to Call the Man.

auntbeaOne of my favorite television programs is the Andy Griffith Show, and one of my all time favorite episodes is “Bargain Day”, or as some refer to it, the “Call the Man” episode. In the episode Aunt Bee, searching for a bargain,  buys 150 pounds of meat from the new butcher in town only to have her freezer go on the fritz! I love this episode so much that I designed a training class around it.

So now you’re wondering how in the world does Andy Griffith fit into business, sustainability or strategy?!? Continue reading

Sustainability – Linear versus Circular Economic Model

garbage canGrowing up in the United States I’ve heard America referred to as “The Land of Plenty” or “The Disposable Society”. The quote “Go West young man” was often said to me as a young man, maybe jokingly or perhaps they were serious, while I was wondering what to do as I grew up. (And before you email, yes, the quote first appeared as the title to the 1851, Terre Haute Express editorial written by Mr. Soule and is often credited to Mr. Greeley.)

These expressions implied to me that we were living in a limitless country. Free to use what we wanted, expand as we wanted with no thought to where the next supply of “stuff” was coming from. Continue reading