Monday, September 24 , 2018, 7:39 pm | Fair 62º

 
 
 
 

Sarah Ettman-Sterner: Green Hawk Means Business

Do you know the first thing about sustainability? We can help

[Noozhawk note: Ah, Santa Barbara — famous for beautiful weather, beaches, mountains and a laid-back lifestyle. On the flip side, the “American Rivera” is a serious contender for the honor of being the capital of “everything environmental.” Even before the pivotal 1969 Santa Barbara Channel oil spill, which spawned the birth of Earth Day, the community was deeply involved in learning more about our human connection to nature’s past, present and future. Our sunny city by the sea leads the nation and the world in the quest for learning and doing more to become sustainable. In this issue, Noozhawk debuts Green Hawk Means Business. This is the place to discover local, national and international companies, consultants and organizations that are genuinely pursuing sustainable practices that are good for people, the planet and the bottom line. These enterprises know that green is more than the color of money. It has the power to be the key to business success and customer satisfaction, if done correctly.]

Sarah Ettman-Sterner
Sarah Ettman-Sterner (Nick Sterner photo)

But first, a little background about what green and sustainable really mean ...

Sustainability 101

At the heart of running an authentic green business is a clear understanding of what sustainability means. When you Google “sustainability,” it’s challenging to find a definition that most people can understand. Here is a good one from the Sustainability Leadership Institute:

Sustainability can be described as each of us doing our part to build the kind of world — economically, environmentally and socially — that we want to live in, and one that we want our children and grandchildren to inherit. It means becoming aware of all interconnections — visible and invisible — in which our day-to-day choices affect the intricate balance of social, economic and ecological systems.

The U.N. World Commission on Environment and Development (Brundtland Commission) introduced the far-reaching implications of the term, “sustainable,” in its widely cited report, Our Common Future (1987): “Humanity has the ability to make development sustainable — to ensure that it meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs.”

While the corporate world is beginning to embrace green practices, we, as consumers, play an important role in shaping how they do business. We are learning to make product choices based on more than just price and brand. There is a growing recognition that the 3Rs — Reduce, Reuse, Recycle — are only three of many business practices required for companies to be competitive and for customers to choose their product. Today’s society demands better environmental accountability and stewardship from the global business community.

“Greenwashing” = Brainwashing

We are also beginning to differentiate between real sustainable enterprises, products and services, and those that pay lip service, using tactics known as “greenwashing.” Time Magazine’s Bryan Walsh covers this issue in his article entitled “Eco-Buyer Beware: Green Can Be Deceiving.”

According to the GREENWASHING INDEX published by EnviroMedia Social Marketing and the University of Oregon, greenwashing is:

“... when a company or organization spends more time and money claiming to be ‘green’ through advertising and marketing than actually implementing business practices that minimize environmental impact. It’s whitewashing, but with a green brush ... it’s just making green claims to sell more stuff. ... Smart businesses are finding out that doing right by the environment actually does increase profitability in many cases. With so many easy ways for businesses to reduce their environmental impact or improve their products and processes, it’s just sad when they don’t. It’s even worse when they don’t make changes and claim to be a green company just to push their agenda. When properly trained, consumers see right through this ‘green screen.’ Then greenwashing backfires, hurting the company’s reputation and, ultimately, their sales.”

Walmart — Green Giant?

More than ever, big and small companies are adapting to new ways of doing business. And when they pay attention — responding to current social, cultural, technological, economic and environmental factors — they can save money, increase revenue and be good corporate citizens. An added bonus is the opportunity to use marketing messaging that highlights their efforts to be sustainable. Take corporate giant Walmart’s recent announcement of its new Sustainability Index, used for selecting suppliers based on energy and climate; material efficiency; natural resources; and people and community.

According to Walmart president and CEO Mike Duke, “Customers want products that are more efficient, that last longer and perform better. And increasingly they want information about the entire lifecycle of a product so they can feel good about buying it. They want to know that the materials in the product are safe, that it was made well and that it was produced in a responsible way.”

Want to know more? Click here for Walmart’s Sustainability Index “15 Questions for Suppliers.”

Walmart may be attracting media attention for its new sustainable ‘tude, but the truth is that the Index (actually known as the Environmental Sustainability/Performance Index or EPI) has actually been around since 1999!

Here’s the CliffsNotes version of the 21 sustainability indicators, which you can easily apply to life at home, school and work:

» Air Quality

» Biodiversity

» Land

» Water Quality

» Water Quantity

» Reducing Air Pollution

» Reducing Ecosystem Stresses

» Reducing Population Growth

» Reducing Waste & Consumption Pressures

» Reducing Water Stress

» Natural Resource Management

» Environmental Health

» Basic Human Sustenance

» Reducing Environment-Related Natural Disaster Vulnerability

» Environmental Governance

» Eco-Efficiency

» Private Sector Responsiveness

» Science and Technology

» Participation in International Collaborative Efforts

» Greenhouse Gas Emissions

» Reducing Transboundary Environmental Pressures

Green Hawk Business Spotlight

Sustainable living doesn’t take a degree in environmental studies, although UCSB is a top school in this field; the future is bright with green jobs! What it does take is following simple guidelines consistently, being open-minded and possessing the will to change.

There are plenty of businesses here in our own backyard that are excellent practitioners of real green values. So take some time to learn about local establishments that are working hard to make the Santa Barbara area the place to live, and live well. Check them out and reward them with your business!

Dream Green Teammovegreen is one Santa Barbara company that stands out as the model for a successful, sustainable business. movegreen was founded by longtime friends Erik Haney and Patrick Wilkinson. Haney was working in the moving industry, while Wilkinson had always wanted to start an environmentally responsible business. Put the two together, and the result is movegreen. Here’s what they do and how they do it (very well!):

movegreen

» Carbon-free moving by purchasing carbon credits through CarbonFund.org to offset the carbon dioxide emissions that are created by the business

» Plant 10 trees with every move by teaming up with the international nonprofit group, Trees For The Future

» New trucks powered by biodiesel

» Reuse and recycle all packing materials

» Offer reusable plastic containers

» Minimize the use of paper, by using tablet PCs for free in-home estimates and print all documents double-sided

movegreen now offers free electronic waste recycling, too. Just collect your unwanted and un-needed used electronics and drop them off at movegreen’s warehouse, 747 S. Kellogg Road. It’s that easy! Pick-up services are available for a small fee. Good job, guys!

Linda Adams
Linda Adams

Spend a Little, Save a Lot — Give your home or office a green “tune-up” by investing $99 in a 90 minute eco-consulting session with Linda Adams of Green Irene.

Adams, an interior designer, is no stranger to what makes a home beautiful and functional from an eco point of view. She’s been a practitioner of California organic living since her days living in Berkeley in the 1960s. She’ll show you how to save money on your monthly water bill, by demonstrating how much water old-style shower heads waste and how easy it is to replace them with low-flow fixtures. This simple change will translate to savings on your next water bill.

Green Irene

Adams will also explain how to break the habit of spending money on name-brand cleaning products that actually don’t do a good job and aren’t good for you. Learn how to be a smarter shopper for eco-friendly alternatives that get the dirt out and get your home naturally clean, without the use of toxic chemicals. One of my personal favorites is Green Irene’s “Twist” soft cleaning cloth, made of bamboo and corn. They are 100 percent sustainable, biodegradable and compostable. They slurp up dust and grime on all surfaces, especially the nasty ash from our recent fires. Then, just wash, dry and re-use. Say “hello” to Green Irene and “goodbye” to wasteful practices like using aerosol dusting spray and trashing loads of disposable paper towels/packaged synthetic cloths/wipes for your cleaning jobs.

A final tip: If you’re looking to sell your home, ask Adams about how to get a green-certification designation as part of the staging process. It indicates to potential buyers the upgrades you’ve implemented to enhance value and quality of living.

Great Grub in Goleta — Jungle George Grill, 5722 Calle Real in Goleta, offers fresh, tasty, wholesome food that is reasonably priced. What‘s groovy and green about this restaurant is the attention to detail when it comes to take-out orders; Jungle George Grill uses Tater Ware, 100 percent biodegradable, GMO-free, bio-based, microwave-safe #7 containers, with the slogan, “We’re the Solution, Not the Pollution.” Good food in guilt-free take-out (containers) rocks! Call 805.845.3334 for more information.

Darwin Says “Change is Good” — In today’s challenging economic climate, the Darwinian theory of survival of the fittest is much in evidence. Darwin was all about adaptations to changes in the environment, the process of evolution. It works for plants, animals, ecosystems, people and businesses, too. If you want to make some “green,” perhaps it’s time to green up the way you do business.  The Green Business Santa Barbara County program helps businesses integrate environmental responsibility into their operations in a manner that is sustainable as well as profitable. The certification process is a straight-forward recertification once every three years and it’s completely free! Plus, in addition to excellent guidance on methods to improve your environmental footprint, green-certified businesses benefit from free marketing and public recognition as exemplary businesses. Contact director Frances Gilliland at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) (remember to mention that Sarah @ Green Hawk sent you ...).

Green Hawk On the Hunt — We want to know more about people and companies that contribute to our community’s leadership position as green innovators. Do you know of an organization that’s a first-adapter of green energy technology? New construction or remodeling? Novel solar or wind energy projects? Please pass your suggestion to us for consideration. We also will profile Green/LEED homes for sale/under construction and energy-efficient office space for lease. Always of interest is information on new hybrid fuel-efficient car models, so tell us about your ride! And, don’t forget to share news about consumer products and services that save energy. E-mail Sarah at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Remember, don’t get down, green it up!

— A member of the Society for Environmental Journalists, Green Hawk interactive producer Sarah Ettman-Sterner provided the “voice” for Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Ocean Futures Society for more than a decade. Her contributions appear on the PBS HD TV series, Jean-Michel Cousteau Ocean Adventures and the Toxic Flame Retardants Web site. Sarah’s work has appeared in Elle (the May 2009 “Blue Issue”), The Guardian and The Sunday Times in Great Britain, Paris Match, Vogue, Diver, DiveLog, National Geographic, United Airlines’ Hemispheres Inflight Magazine and Southwest Airlines Spirit magazine. As an interactive producer for Green Hawk, she focuses on current environmental trends and marine-related topics and can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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