Monday, March 31, 2008

Greening Your Office

There's a good article today over on about creating The Zero Waste Office. Waste has been one of my primary concerns going way back to grade school in the 70's where I was taught to "waste not, want not" and "reduce, reuse, recycle". The latter of which is hierarchical. That is, try to reduce first, if that's not possible, reuse, then recycle. It seems too often people jump right into recycling without trying the others first. Being one that pretty much abhors waste, I'd like to see people begin bragging about how much they've reduced and reused before they talk about their recycling efforts. Which gets me back to the article. It's one of the few I've read recently that actually brings up the old reduce, reuse, recycle concept. The thing is, it makes perfect business sense. Reducing and reusing saves money, recycling usually doesn't, and in fact may even cost money. Any organization, whether it's a for-profit business, a non-profit charity or even a family, can benefit from saving money by reducing and reusing.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Greener Wine: Shipping by Sail

As a recurring theme here, one way businesses need to work to make their products more green is to improve the shipping process. Here's a story about French wine makers going back to the way they used to ship wine - by sail. I've said this on numerous occasions in discussions - we used to do things without the use of oil or major machinery and it would be wise of us to go back a reexamine those old ways. Shipping wine by sail, a product that does not need to rush to market, is a great example. Of course if the journey takes too long there might be a few cases missing by the time the boat reaches its destination.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Green Builder Directory

For those that haven't already seen the press release or heard about the directory that was discussed by Niall Cytryn at the most recent Green Business Networking event I'm posting it below. On a similar note, due to the popularity of green building we will focus the next event on the topic. More to come soon.

The Sustainability Institute Introduces Green Building Directory

A one of a kind innovation for South Carolina, a new service that illustrates the growing green building industry throughout the state, is here. On March 7, the non-profit, North Charleston-based Sustainability Institute began accepting entries for the South Carolina Green Building Directory. This is the first online resource of its type in the state allowing instant access to information on sustainable products and services. The directory will be fully operational in April, and is available free of charge to businesses and non-profit organizations who register with the site.

Three South Carolina state government agencies – the Department of Health and Environmental Control, Department of Commerce, and Department of Energy – are supporting the Sustainability Institute project through grant funding. The Institute has designed the online service to help create markets for green building materials and services within the state. The web site has space for hundreds of companies to exhibit information on their products and services, creating a virtual free market for the regional building industry.

“The Sustainability Institute and its state agency partners are proud to offer the Green Building Directory as a cutting-edge tool to the building industry,” says Bryan Cordell, Executive Director of The Sustainability Institute. “We believe that it will become a valuable tool to building industry professionals across South Carolina and the southeast region. The Directory will connect customers with companies offering sustainable products and services in a unique way that stimulates green commerce.”

“We owe a great deal to our Project Manager, Niall Cytryn, and our Web Developer Laura Addis, who have contributed to making the Directory a reality,” adds Cordell. Sustainability Institute staff and consultants maintain the site.

The Institute is emailing electronic postcards to prospective participants. A news release will be sent to the media during the week of March 17 targeting homebuilders associations, chapters of the US Green Building Council and the American Institute of Architects, professional industry associations, and individual businesses.

Cordell believes the Directory is a boon to companies seeking to showcase their products and services to prospective clients and contractors. Information on companies can be viewed for free, with links and summaries on each company and non-profit listed on the site. According to Niall Cytryn, The Institute’s Project Manager for the SCGBD, “For building professionals, the Directory will offer the highly-sought after ability to search for products by type, applicability to LEED credit, CSI Division, and proximity to site location.”

Cordell concludes, “We envision that the use of this directory will result in much greater utilization of sustainable products and services throughout South Carolina and the southeast.”

For more information on the South Carolina Green Building Directory (SCGBD), contact the Sustainability Institute by phone at 843-529-3416, email:, or online at

Friday, March 28, 2008

Government Money to Help Small Businesses Develop Green Technology

The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program is something that is always included in lectures about alternative ways for start ups to get money besides the more traditional funding from FFF (family, friends and fools), angels and venture capitalists. However for my students it's often just an interesting note since it is focused on high tech, like nano- and biotechnology, which undergraduate business students are not likely to be involved with. But now, as GreenBiz News reports, SBIR seems to be working with the EPA to offer a set of grants specifically focused on green technology, which includes "pollution prevention, biodiesel and ethanol, solid and hazardous waste, air pollution control and homeland security" in addition to nanotech. Grants are $70,000 and will be given to 25 companies. Proof of concepts are due by May 21.

However, GreenBiz doesn't provide a link to the news source and I can't find the solicitation on the SBIR website. I'll keep looking into it, but if anyone knows more about the program please leave a comment or contact me.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Skysail Results

Last month in one of my blogs about ports I mentioned a project to add sails to a shipping freighter. Well, the first trip has been completed and the results are in. On a trip from Germany to Venezuela the ship cut fuel by 20%. That's, according to CNET, 2.5 tons of fuel, or in economic terms, $1000 per day. There's been plenty of talk that being more green makes business sense. When you get numbers like this, it's hard to refute that notion.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Predicting the Future for Business

In one of the many various electronic newsletter that I receive ( - focused on innovation) there was a link to a recent NPR piece on predicting the future for business. The main gist of story was about companies' attempts to come up with the next iPod or similar "next big thing." Although not discussed in the NPR piece, the e-mail led into the story with
"While every company is looking for “the next big thing,” few successfully find it. How can you avoid failure when looking toward the future? Keep it simple, and solve people’s most fundamental problems."
This is something I teach my entrepreneurship students - focus on solving problems. This works for the case of green business very well - work on solving environmental problems, but from a consumer perspective. That is, look at consumer problems that are also environmental. A good example is in energy. It costs quite a lot for people fill up their cars or heat/cool their homes. Many of the solutions we can think of also have environmental benefits, primarily that being getting us away from or reducing the use of fossil fuels: solar power, led lighting, bio-diesel, etc.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Next Green Business Networking Event

Join us for the next Green Business Networking event Monday, March 24th. It will run from 4:30 pm - 7:00 pm on the second floor of the Tate Center (enter through the Beatty Center, 5 Liberty Street). This event will feature a slightly different format. In one room we will have the Executive Directors of: The Navy Yard at Noisette, The Sustainability Institute and The Michaux Conservancy in attendance. Each will speak for 10-15 minutes about their organizations, which we'll follow with an interactive discussion on the implications for green business in the Lowcountry. In the main gallery we will have our usual informal networking along with the food and beverages.

Our hope is to bring together a variety of knowledge, skills, motivation, and expertise to share ideas about helping businesses be more environmentally-friendly, starting new sustainable businesses, finding employees/employment and generating general networking contacts here in Charleston and the Lowcountry. So come out and meet like-minded representatives from local businesses and organizations plus CofC students, alumni, staff and faculty. If you know anyone that might be interested, please feel free bring them with you.

Volunteers: we’re looking for volunteers to help set up and tear down at these monthly events - only about 10-15 minutes worth of work. If you’re interested, please contact me at hansend [at]

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Green Event Looking for Business and Organizations to Participate

You may have heard about this already. Andrea Canberg, one of my colleagues over in the Hospitality and Tourism Management department, has been working with students to put on a green event. Andrea and her students are looking for businesses and organizations to set up to vend and/or distribute information at the event.
Here's a copy of the flyer:

The College of Charleston &

Other Brother Entertainment Present

Eat, Drink, & Be Green!

All proceeds will go toward Green Initiatives at the College.

Together We Can Make a Difference!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Charleston Harbor Resort & Marina at Patriots Point

Hank Futch & Greg Walker of the Blue Dogs will be playing!

4:00pm to 8:00pm

Tickets are $10 in advance, and $12 at the door.

Children 12 and under are free!

Tickets will be available on March 21stth at:

Half-Moon Outfitters and the College of Charleston Bookstore.

For more information contact:

Andrea at canberga [at] or visit

Planned by Event Management HTM 362 Class!

Proceeds will be used to improve the recycling program, implement energy efficient practices, create environmental awareness programs, and to make our campus a more environmentally sustainable campus!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Green Collar Jobs

"Green collar jobs" has been a frequent buzzword lately. I was even interviewed about it a couple months ago (the day of the first green business networking event). In the interview I defined green collar as any job at a company that itself could be considered green. So both traditional blue and white collar can be called green if the job is with the right company. A reason for the increase in the buzz about green collar is that it's a way to put a more positive spin on support of environmental improvements, in particular led by the government. People might resist the government spending money to improve our environment directly or imposing restrictions on existing businesses, but they tend to be in favor of helping to create new jobs. The green collar movement (if you want to call it that) is a combination of both. By investing in businesses and industries that can be considered green, the large number of nascent firms, start ups and small businesses can grow. And that means hiring more workers. For example, expanding the renewable energy industry would lead to plenty of job growth as plants and wind turbines and such need to be built, workers will be needed to maintain them, managers will be needed to manage the firms and resources, etc.

Today I ran across a comprehensive study (pdf) on green jobs. They look at three industries: energy efficiency, wind power and biofuels. I wont pretend to have read through all 50 pages, but in skimming it one thing I got was that the greatest opportunity is in energy efficiency. That is, there is a lot more potential to create new jobs in improving home energy use. What I like about it is that it's also much more open to entrepreneurial activity. In my entrepreneurship classes my students frequently work on ideas related to starting businesses geared towards improving home resource efficiency. In fact I've encouraged my current students to come out to the next event to talk to all of you about their concepts, so please be encouraged to share your thoughts with them.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Green Contracting Guide

Yes, I've been negligent this week in posting on the blog. So as a quick attempt at reconciliation I'd like to offer this guide on Green Performance Contracting (pdf). From the Greener Buildings website:
This guide from the Leonardo Academy addresses how all interested parties can bring sustainability into performance contracting. It looks at how building owners can bring green issues into contracts for upgrades and also how contracting services can include sustainable measures in their offerings.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Green Business Connections

Looking for investment or an investment opportunity? Looking for some other green business connection? I just ran across this page this morning. Build Business Relationships, Find Vendors, Distributors, Partners, Sell Excess Inventory!

Here are a couple examples:
We are looking for development partners for our business promoting and facilitating travel, trade and sustainable investment in Africa.
Futura Solar seeks licensing partners, manufacturers, installers, green developers.
Ecuador organic shrimp farm seeks development partners and distributors.
Upscale vegan women's shoe line hand-made in Italy seeks strategic partner knowledgeable about the shoe industry.

One thing I notice is lots of bio-diesel businesses. The other notable is that these businesses are all over the world.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Upcoming events

There's not much upcoming that I'm aware of in the immediate future (of course my awareness may be the problem). I imagine that a lot of organizations are just saving up for Earth Day/Month, so expect plenty of event announcements soon. In the meantime, Wednesday, March 12th, will be the next installment of Green Drinks Charleston. It's held at the Trusted Palate at 563 King Street beginning at 7 pm. Of course the next Green Business Networking event will be Monday March 24th, from 4:30 - 6:30.

St. Patrick's Day is this Saturday. [You may have heard that Irish bishops set it for March 15th this year (instead of the 17th) due to conflict with Holy Week.] Besides being noted for drinking and parades, it's also highly associated with the color green. I'm not aware of any past attempts to link it with the environmental shade, but that might be a good idea. So here's a suggestion, if you're already planning on wearing something green that day, why not make it environmentally "green"?

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Green Product Design Conference

This might be of interest to a few people. In June is hosting a large product development conference focused on green design. It's two days (Th/F 6-12/13, 2008) of speakers, workshops and interactive sessions just up the road in Alexandria, VA. It's a bit pricey ($1799 before April 1), but you can get 15% off by using a code "greenbuzz".

Two particularly interesting sessions are:
  • Panel discussion on: "The New Tools: Biomimicry, Cradle-to-Cradle, Green Chemistry" featuring Jason Pearson, Executive Director, GreenBlue; Biomimicry Guild; Dr. Cenan Ozmeral, GVP Functional Polymers, RBU, BASF
  • Invited Panel from IDEO, Ziba, Frog and Tricycle
ps. I could have sworn that it was run or co-sponsored by the Product Development & Management Association (PDMA), but there is no mention of it on the conference website or the PDMA's website. And the "Green Gurus @ Play" is just like the PDMA's Gurus @ Play. But it should be a good event none-the-less.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Local Living

I'm back in Charleston now, and it's time to get back to local stories. I ran across an interesting organization this morning, the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies, which has a chapter here in Charleston, Lowcountry Local First. It should be of interest to most of you that read this blog, whether you're a business and would consider joining or you're just looking to support local businesses. Here is the LLF description:
Lowcountry Local First advocates the benefits of a local living economy by strengthening community support for independent locally owned businesses and farmers.
We are an alliance that educates the public on the importance of supporting the local economy, and encourages businesses and consumers to be environmentally sustainable and socially responsible. We are one of 52 chapters of the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE)
We envision a sustainable global economy as a network of Local Living Economies, building long-term economic empowerment and prosperity in communities through local business ownership, economic justice, cultural diversity and a healthy natural environment. Independent businesses create wealth by engaging local people in the production, marketing, and consumption of goods, they pay taxes, and reinvest in our communities.
We educate the public to:
• Reduce material and energy costs
• Recycle and reuse waste
• Buy and sell locally.
• Support local agriculture
The list of member companies is a good resource (found under membership page). While you probably already know local businesses from national chains, it's good to know which businesses are getting involved in things like this. Buying local is of course one of the simplest changes we can make towards being more environmentally-friendly from the simple fact that transportation is reduced. Which means less fuel burned and all the benefits that accompany that. And that goes for not just consumers, but businesses as well - remember that your supply chain can have a huge environmental impact.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

News From the Road

I'm in Chicago for a few days and rather than keep you waiting until I get back for a new post, I'm going to be lazy (and get back to the assorted celebrations I'm here for: wedding, birthday and engagement). A sort of follow up to the french fry story: read here about a new service to help companies analyze the carbon footprint of their entire supply chain.