Friday, December 15, 2006

Environmental Issues Ahead for Corporations

I'll digress briefly from the conversation about carbon emissions and delve a bit deeper into the larger scale environmental issues that will challenge corporations in the next 5-10 years. The regulatory environment relative to climate change is in flux. Companies will be affected by stronger environmental rules and regulations that will impact their operations in nearly every way. It will become obvious, as leading companies begin to outperform the laggards, that is in the corporate world's best interest to stay ahead of the regulations. Outperforming companies will have adopted sustainable business activities and will be selling their success to their competitors in the form of consulting services.

As an example, here is a short excerpt from a recent article on the hazards of electronic wastes:
Priorities will include launching pilot projects to establish take-back systems for used electronic products; strengthening global collaboration on fighting illegal traffickers of such products; and promoting best practices through new technical guidelines.
Why not be ahead of the curve?

From another perspective, that of an employee of a company selling highly accurate and high quality instrumentation to the pharmaceutical industry among others, it is good to see citizens of that industry contributing toward a sustainable future.

Abbott Recognized for Sustainable Activities

Genzyme's Environmental Commitments

Friday, December 08, 2006

Offsetting Business Travel Emissions

So, what small actions will I take to be a sustainable business person? My first step will be offsetting carbon emissions from business travel through Carbonfund was recently recognized as the #1 organization for voluntarily offsetting carbon emissions. Their robust verification methods along with value priced offsets make them the leader that they are. I had the pleasure of meeting a member of the Carbonfund team at a NetImpact meeting in Cambridge, MA in September. We have kept in touch over the past few months and he has agreed to help me record my business travel and guide me through my project. In the short term, I will simply purchase enough offsets to negate my auto mileage for the good ol' '97 Camry. CarbonFund offers three vehicles for offsetting carbon emissions, efficiency projects, supporting renewable energy, and reforestation. I plan to support renewable energy and energy efficiency projects.

In January 2007, I plan to set up a carbon fund account to more easily track and maintain my offset balance for the remainder of the year. I'll be chronicling the setup process here in the hopes that it will help others that may be interested in taking similar actions can use my experience as a resource.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Green Job Changer?

I decided to leave Seven Cycles and the bike industry and join Thornton Inc. a manufacturer of instruments to accurately measure water purity in a variety of industries.

Seem like an odd transition? Not really. I spent six years in positions of increasing responsibility with Festo Corporation, a global pneumatic and electronic controls and service provider, before transitioning into the bike business in 2001 to pursue my newfound passion for cycling. Festo serves some of the same industries as Thornton, pharmaceutical and semiconductor to name a few, So I have a basic expertise in their operating procedures. Festo is also of similar size to Mettler-Toledo, Thornton's parent company, equipping me to navigate internally as well.

It was not an easy decision to make. Seven Cycles is one of the premier companies in the bike business, one that is striving to do things differently and better than any other company. In fact, its manufacturing system based upon lean manufacturing (minimizing waste) meshed with my overall interest in sustainable business. In the end, despite my affinity for Seven's mission and engagement in their success, It became clear after conversations with friends and family that the opportunity with Thornton was something I would not pass up.

For someone interested in sustainable business and renewable energy, why go back "to the dark side" as one of my associates called it? First of all, "the dark side" is probably not the best term. The fact of the matter is that all companies have the potential to make tremendous positive and negative impacts in the global community. Certainly there are companies that are currently making great sustainable strides, but the ones that have yet to take action to minimize their environmental impact represent the bulk of the world's businesses and therefore the greatest potential. Therefore, is it not in my personal best interest to accept a career growth opportunity with someone I have worked with before and in the planet's best interest for me to take some small action to spread the sustainable gospel to a new place? I think so.