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Archive for June, 2011

Can Sustainability Sustain?

A New Wave and Format for Stakeholder Engagement

By Lavinia Weissman


Boston MA

Last week, I attended the web-located press room briefing by George Kell, Executive Director of the UN Global Compact. George presented an overview of the UNGC’s 2010 Annual Review. What I heard did not surprise me.

The conclusion in my opinion was not new news. Of the 6,000 Global Compact members surveyed, there is not sufficient global adoption of sustainable measures. The 6,000 UNGC members represent less than 8% of 80,000 companies that need to embed sustainability.

The additional summary points were not new news.

  • CEO awareness is high. Execution and implementation is low;
  • Beyond the corporate headquarter of the UNGC multinational members adoption is low in subsidiaries and the small to mid-size enterprises that comprise the “supply chain;”
  • The excuse for low adoption continues to be insufficient resources for implementation.

From my perspective this analysis perpetuates “embedded sustainability” as a practice of risk management or compliance and not innovation.

Yet the global citizen voice reflected by its leaders and ordinary people are asking for the “discovery” of “embedded sustainability” as a response to problems inherent to how economic decision makers from all sectors have led us into the resulting harm of global warming and poverty and the resulting harm impact on rising incidence of disease, unemployment and declining conditions of habitat and local economy.

What I have learned….

Inadequate resources imply not enough money and more importantly, not enough educated people to perform the jobs of sustainability.  My downsizing research across numerous Fortune 2000 companies consistently showed that when corporate leaders downsized, they were also unwilling to support the retooling and education of a workforce with out of date skills.

In a downsized culture, motivation becomes a practice of survival and protecting one’s job. It is only when a catastrophe occurs, e.g. the BP Oil Spill that the economic decision makers release resources to repair harm and then offer the public a view of the company will now adhere to compliance and regulation.

The culture of response to a “catastrophe” becomes a culture of accountability in response to liability and wrong-doing. The leadership drivers are shaped top-down and across a hierarchy of organization where people are told what to do and when they cannot do it, they blame the organization for lack of training and skill.

In contrast, virtual team and innovation research showed that when creativity and imagination are fostered extraordinary results are discovered through the learning of sound science and applying that science through the adoption of tools (technology) that invites high performance of teams and people across networks of expertise that learn to cooperate in service of building outcomes for sustainable value.

In a culture of innovation, high-performance brings investment rather than proof of concept because no matter the landscape of diversity (culture and expertise), the people anywhere within the network shaping sustainable value are aligned on building capacity for the purpose of producing sustainable value.

Within the picture is a dilemma…

Traditionally investors and economic decision makers want to hedge their bets and invest in something that has been historically proven sustainable value.  Yet the need to learn sustainable value is a response to a burst in society that has led to economic upheaval from how investors of any kind and motive (business, philanthropy and government).

To deliver sustainable value, investors have to learn a leadership value for recruiting and facilitating an organization of people that recognize failure is part of the cycle of building successful sustainable value and organize investments that prompt societal responses to what we have to address for global climate warming, poverty, disease, water and energy in a incubator of learning where there is less overall risk to one investor and the discovery of great impact for a even a network of competitors.

For example, on the numerous occasions of  investigating the projected harm of non-ionizing radiation, I have wondered what would happen if the companies that rely on non-ionizing radiation for defense, telecommunications and medical equipment would invest in an organization to investigate forms of reducing risk of impact on the “growing proof” that non-ionizing radiation is resulting in a rise in cancers, e.g. Leukemia and brain tumors?

Instead over the last two decades or more, we have seen a heated debate in the press between the scientific community, regulators and commercial lobbying groups.

What is interesting to me if I look at the perspective of what it will take to engage stakeholders in a world of early adoption is most likely to occur if a system of accelerated action research is organized into a collaboration that is strategic, purposeful and engaged by deliberate design.

In my studies of how that occurs that can lead to multicultural adoption, I have witnessed and studies for sometime the behavior, culture and outcomes delivered by 3 capacity building organizations unique to specific issues of sustainability:

  • from the get go gave exceptional performance in service of its mission to build a world free of chemical harm. Chemical Sec had a unique beginning in that the initial investors were through an investment fund created by other non-profits.

ChemSec engages corporate stakeholders in the exploration of substitutes for harmful chemicals and serves a bridge of advocacy for the citizen voice that has suffered harm from chemicals that needs to be substituted now.

ChemSec is an European organization that has been invited to present in the US and become a hub of learning for a , Stanford doctoral candidate in the Green Chemistry network established through an alliance between faculty at University of California, Berkeley and Stanford University.

  • was founded in 1967 in the United States at a point in time, when non profits environmental groups refused any association with corporations out of what was defined a clear conflict of interest.

EDF’s mission is to find market-based solutions based on sound science built from unlikely partnerships and non-partisan policy. EDF’s best practice fellowship program resulted in 51 MBA students generated for EDF’s corporate partners, “$350 million in net operating savings over the projects’ lifetimes. 400,000 metric tons of annual greenhouse gas emissions. More than 650 million kilowatt hours of electricity per year.

In contrast, the Myelin Repair collaboration out of a combined investment of $80M formed for MS research  by Scott Johnson, Founder and President

1.   Identification of over 150 novel potential targets;

2.   Development of 24 new research tools for broad application to other neurological disease

3.   Filing two US patents and applied for 16 more;

4.   Publication of 50 peer review articles;

5.   The launch of broader collaboration with pharma companies;

6.   Extending this research base for benefit to 70 other disease categories.

What do these organizations share in common?

None of these 3 NGO’s are lost in the “muck and myre” of protest and conflict.  They are focused on purpose that as uniting principle through which people can form an agenda and guide themselves to learn to innovate change.

Perhaps one of the most costly uses of donations and grants has been to fuel conflict and protest.   As Jochen Kleef, founder and CEO of Ecopoint.Asia recently reflected to me in an email,

“The thought this brought to my mind is, where would we be today if Greenpeace would have engaged with the establishment and stakeholders rather than confronting them.  I am not questioning Greenpeace’s achievements or the results they have achieved, but I think there could have been so much more coming out of the last 30 years…”

About the time of formation of the 1987 Brundtland Commission,

Greenpeace shifted its focus from the peace movement and antinuclear protest to building this engagement of conflict. This enabled a pattern that the US continues to be locked into today,

1.   Many NGO’s see it their role to protest “corporate greed;

2.   The scientific community in most instances refuses to engage with corporations or accept financial support for fear that this can be perceived as conflict of interest;

3.   As a result , this pushes an expectation that change can only happen if government authors policies and regulation; hence pushing the notion that risk management and compliance is what leads change to protect the environment and people.

Moving Beyond this Trap…

None of the 3 organizations I described previously are trapped by that system of thought.

Today, Greenpeace is a global NGO headquartered in Amsterdam, Netherlands with offices in over 40 countries and 2.8Mno donors and foundations providing grants.

So while leading NGO Think tanks around the world point out challenges to building resources to shift adoption of sustainability across subsidiaries of multinationals and small and medium size enterprise; one has to wonder with the lost jobs, inability of so many to gain the right education to be employed and the impact of global warming and toxic exposures on a growing geography of people facing poverty complicated with chronic illness.

What would have happen if Greenpeace had shifted its focus from the peace movement and antinuclear protest to building engagement with corporations to adopt sustainable practices instead of perpetuating and reshaping the protest and campaign methodology of anti-war to the environment?

Would Marc Gunther be reporting as he did last week that the cost of natural disasters in 2010 grew to $130B?

Would the economic powers struggling with the global recession continue to avoid the real focus for economic development by investing in the education of its people who are unemployed or becoming of age to join the workforce and create a sustainable method of employment to replace the dying system of full employment based on one life-time job?

Will leaders of the sustainability movement regroup themselves to sustain sustainability by acting on science as we know it today?

Is this form of innovation the best practice to return balance to our global ecology?

Ultimately to sustain sustainability and be effective in creating a global system of health for the environment, economy, people and habitat —-politicians, business and NGO leaders can learn from ChemSec, EDF and Myelin Repair Foundation the most important lesson on how to align purpose to accelerate cooperation and collaboration that will result in embedding sustainability into all aspects of the global economy.


Authors bio:

Lavinia Weissman is an sustainable market leadership coach, journalist, and publisher of As a speaker she describes the new emerging patterns of markets shaped by sustainable market leaders and the social networks they work with and employ.  As a coach, Lavinia works with all her clients to inspire professional development that assures a person the opportunity to embed sustainability as a leader into the network and culture of people they work with.


WEResearch Note – #pharma – Beyond Business as Usual!

A Research Summary

by Lavinia Weissman

Boston, MA


(graphic: from Vertex Pharmaceuticals collection)

Sanofi Aventis announced the completion of its acquisition of Genzyme, April ll, 2011.  Now is it business  as usual for this progressive global pharmaceutical company?

This raises the question what is “business as usual,” for pharma?  The answer is simple:  “There is no such thing as business as usual for #pharma.”

I began reporting on the changing space of #pharma after the Babson Life Science Conference in 2010, where Matthew Emmens, CEO of Vertex Pharmaceuticals in his keynote described his vision for the future #pharma

” Emmens recognizes that treatment for the majority of ailments, e.g. acid reflux, has and will continue to grow over the counter.   Therefore, the future is about creating a biopharm industry that is responsive to challenging disease that will address the 150 different types of cancer and growing number of systemic ailments. The challenge will be to fund this innovation and research and organize an investment formula that is dedicated to this new emerging market. “

Scott Johnson, CEO and capacity building, Myelin Repair Foundation has proactively since 2004 initiated discovery of an accelerated methodology that leaps beyond what Johnson describes as the Valley of Death. 

Any person diagnosed with a chronic or life threatening illness faces this valley emotionally and physically upon diagnosis.  This person lives in the context of questions:

  •   Will there be a cure for me before  I have to face total disability or impending death?
  •   Can I  sustain the cost of treatment to assure a quality of life out of which I can sustain myself and live?”

Johnson developed with his colleagues, an accelerated research collaboration , the describe as ARC. This model was put to use and built capacity for acceleration by  a group of researchers drawn from 4 academic institutions to combine their agenda in search of a cure.  Johnson with the Myelin Repair Foundation raised matching funds of $40 M and this matched the$40M of combined funding the academic research institutions had.  Drawing from resources from 4 medical schools, the community organized an agenda to leap beyond the “valley of death” where so many patients with MS get lost.

Myelin Repair Foundation in contrast to the FDA

Social innovation expert,  David Bornstein recently compared the results generated by the FDA in 2008 to what has been reported by MRF

In his NYTimes Editorial,  Bornstein reported that  Food and Drug Administration approved 21 drugs for use in 2008, in the same year 800,000 medical research papers were published exploring the cure for disease.  In contrast, the collaboration formed for MS research  by Scott Johnson led to these results:

  1. identification of over 150 novel potential targets;
  2. development of  24 new research tools for broad application to other neurological disease;
  3. filing two US patents and applied for 16 more;
  4. publication of 50 peer review articles;
  5. the launch of  broader collaboration with pharma companies;
  6. extending this research base for benefit to 70 other disease categories.”

Reporting on the pharmaceutical industry is growing complex, especially as more and more companies step their toes into examining the ethic of sustainability and corporate social responsibility.  The complexity ties to growing questions about how to oversee patient involvement in clinical trials for the progression of research, treatment and cure.

When does the patient become a guinea pig and when does the growing differences in approach to clinical trials internationally become an obstacle to the potential cure or treatment of disease? and when is quality of life more important than treatment?

There is a growing recognition of the implications of the quadruple bottom line (4bl) and its implications to health for people, environment, ethic and planet and its implications of how any company approaches any  initiative for health and treatment.

Sanofi Aventis has come to recognize that this context may in fact imply a process of learning and inquiry that implies shifting their corporate strategy beyond the tradition of how pharmaceuticals go about business as usual. In 2009, CEO Chris Veihbacher  announced  Sanofi’s  clear commitment to improve the health of as many of the 6.8B people walking the planet. With the publication of its 2010 report, a value was expressed to deepen this mission by describing itself as a global health care leader.

In coming to this conclusion, Sanofi has asserted an ethic to contain as part of their strategy and development model to appreciate today’s human economic challenges and factoring in societal issues of cost of health care and treatment, chronic illness pandemics, e.g. Diabetes, and access to medical care in its priority from a global view.

Sanofi Aventis continues to be a company to watch and learn from.  It is a company that has adopted transparency, so please do not look to Sanofi for perfection and answers to copy. Sanofi has added to its agenda the difficult question of how to balance profit and sustainability.  It is a systemic approach that moves beyond the traps of green marketing described this week by Joel Makower, “Green Marketing Is Over. Let’s Move On.”

Sanofi Aventis is acknowledge what I first heard described by Matthew Emmens, when he said pharma was moving beyond the marketing of generis to face the reality of responding to the activism and demand from communities of people living with chronic and life threatening illness.

The new health care leader will be paying heed to what the Myelin Repair Foundation response to the valley of death.  Pharma companies will be regroup into consumer goods, wellness products and services, treatment and cure innovation and much more.

Sanofi Aventis,  Novartis and GlaxoSmithKline are all early stage members of the UN Global Compact will continue to be companies to watch that are helping to author a new leadership and market place in support of health. In this context,

I believe we will be reading more about the annual cost of living with a chronic or life threatening illness.

I believe, we will be reading less about what pharmacy offers you or what generic drug is available for the least cost.

In the not to distant future,  I believe we will be reading more about how treatment, procedures, equipment is organized for ease of access and how the expense will be covered by patient and health coverage (insurance, government and assistance programs, and medical savings accounts) and what that implies to the supply chain, consumer product distribution and retail.


Authors bio:

Lavinia Weissman is an sustainable market leadership coach, journalist, and publisher of As a speaker she describes the new emerging patterns of markets shaped by sustainable market leaders and the social networks they work with and employ.  As a coach, Lavinia works with all her clients to inspire professional development that assures a person the opportunity to embed sustainability as a leader into the network and culture of people they work with.

A WELessons Learned – Business Can Make Life Better for People

Lessons from the Field

by Carol Sanford


Seattle, WA

When I was very young I lived in the Panhandle of Texas in a place with about 2000 people in the whole county. Mostly farmers and ranchers with a few service businesses thrown in. Everyone knew everyone else and had a strong experience of how tightly woven together we were in disaster and prosperity.

I had an uncle who was always asking me “who else cares about what you are about to do?”. He did not know the term “stakeholder” but he understood the concept. People knew intimately the lives of their customer and how they were affecting them with their choices. They overtly worked to make lives better by their business choices.

You went to church with the people on Sunday who worked for you. You knew the good farmers and the bad ones, and those who understood how soil got healthy. It became a place where unique strains of wheat where developed and the same for cattle. People knew that different soils produced different bread characteristics.

They were one of the first to create organic cotton because they directly could see the impact of fertilizers and sprays on their “cricks” and wondered if they could grow cotton without it.

Texas Organic Cotton Farmers

They were able to market the cattle, wheat and cotton from the county at special rates because they understand how the creation of these happened and therefore could build in characteristics that made them distinctive with much higher value offered.

And, yes, we did the barn raisings for families who had one taken down by a tornado and feed families when they lost all they had, for as long as it too to get them back on their feet.

It had many problems and some values I did not agree with, especially regard race. It think it was because of this systemic experience I had that let me be so aware of the racism and how inconsistent it was with the overall sense of responsibility.

I know it was driving me all my life to change such views so people saw the uniqueness and essence of each individual and want to develop it and create systems where it could be contributed. It was at the core of my sense of responsibility when I supported Stelios Tsesos in changing the prevailing ethic in South Africa as it formed a new Government.

Shopping Colgate in So. Africa

Stelios lead the Colgate Africa regeneration that supported rebuilding a great business there in the day time and built capability to lead and govern in the townships at night.

Creating what would now be called “entrepreneurial incubators,” the effort lead to hundreds of new businesses in the townships that rebuilt the economic structure and created a return that doubled every four months in terms of revenue.

They were the only company to have no labor strikes, which crippled all other businesses in Johannesburg and most of South Africa during that time. Responsibility became an ethic in everything Colgate did. I learned to see it in Texas, particularly when it is not pervasive, the glaring gap stands out even to a child. And it would serve companies to discover this.


Author’s Bio:

Carol Sanford is an author, speaker, consultant and songwriter. She is the author of The Responsible Business (John Wiley Publishers, 2010).

May-June 2011 Issue of #tsomu

Update from Hazel Henderson,

Moving a Sustainable Economy Forward

by Rosalinda Sanquiche


Jacksonville FL

Ethical Markets Media has been elected to help spearhead the Green Economy Coalition, a worldwide group including WWF, IUCN, Global Footprint, TEEB and other path-breaking groups who are supporting the “Green New Deal,” the Green Economy Initiative (see Hazel Henderson’s keynote address) launched and supported by UN agencies, including UNEP, UNDP, ILO and the Rio+20 conference to be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in July 2012.

We invite you all to join in this global effort which is helping break many climate change log-jams by supporting the private investors since 2007 who have already invested over $2 trillion in growing low-carbon green economies.  We agree with the new summaries for policymakers from UNFCCC, WMO and IPCC that much progress on climate change can come from the transition to renewable energy and focusing on curbing regional emissions of soot (black carbon), methane, VOCs and ozone.  Watch our Green Transition Scoreboard® (GTS) at and our daily news of additional public and private progress on our pages: Green Prosperity Funds, Energy Efficiency, GreenTech and Sustainability News.  These newer policies can improve human health directly while pollution can be reduced rapidly and less expensively in many localities!

Ellen Brown, Ethical Markets advisory board member, launched the Public Banking Institute (PBI), a non-partisan think-tank, research and advisory organization dedicated to developing publicly-owned banks at all levels — local, regional, state, national and international. Public banks have played an historic role in fostering access to cheap and readily available credit for governments, businesses and individuals. PBI members include past and present community and civic leaders, businesspeople, educators, political economists, writers and banking professionals. The group shares a concern over the destabilizing actions of a private banking industry that, through its corporate business model, has precipitated the economic imbalances now witnessed across the US economy. Hazel Henderson is honored to serve on Ellen’s PBI advisory board.

Ethical Markets welcomes veteran financial journalist Ellie Winninghoff (see “Broadening Fiduciary Duty” and “New Tools for Investing“) to our advisory board.  Ellie will serve to keep us abreast with her in-depth ethical investment analyses and coverage of the new RI Academy in Australia, providing courses in ESG asset valuation models for portfolio managers.

We also welcome Dr. Susan Linn to the EthicMark® advisory board, which Hazel co-chairs with Rinaldo Brutuco, president of the World Business Academy.  Dr. Linn, author of Consuming Kids and co-founder and director of Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood, will participate exclusively on the not-for-profit category of the EthicMark®.

Many insightful minds are writing about the global implications of business-as-usual and the trends, good and bad, business-as-usual can’t handle.  See Hazel’s book reviews in Seeking Alpha: review of World 3.0 by Pankaj Ghemawat; review of The Globalization Paradox by Dani Rodrik; and, review of Consumptionomics by Chandran Nair.

Ethical Markets advisory board member Riane Eisler and Hazel Henderson will give a joint presentation to the Conscious Partnering Conference on May 26 at 8:30 p.m. ET. Whether birthing a business or building a movement, true partnership is essential for success. Yet, most of us never learn how to create GREAT partnerships.  The Conscious Partnering Conference 2011, May 23rd-May 27th, features world-class pioneers like Riane, Gary Zukav, Gay & Kathlyn Hendricks, Deva Premal and many other leaders and phenomenal couples sharing stories, insights and practices to create amazing relationships in all areas of work, family, friendships and business.  Register for free here.

Rosalinda Sanquiche, Ethical Markets executive director, will be presenting at the Northeast Florida Green Chamber on June 3. Rosalinda is on the executive council of this new Green Chamber, one of many forming throughout the US in response to the counterproductive lobbying of traditional chambers unable to recognize the value of ESG and the green transition in business.

Judi Schweitzer, Ethical Markets’ senior sustainability advisor, will be attending Sustainable Brands 2011, where sustainability, brand and design communities come together to shape the future, discover how to make smart strategic choices, improve problem solving skills, and inspire others to help bring healthier, smarter brands to market. Monterey CA, June 7-10.  Use nwemsb11 to register with a 20% discount.

Hazel Henderson is teaching again at Schumacher College for their course “Rethinking Finance: Good Servant, Bad Master?” with Ethical Markets Advisory Board members Tessa Tennant and Ann Pettifor, as well as Nathalie Buschor, Mark Burton and Julie Richardson.  July 11-15, 2011.


Authors Bio:

Rosalinda Sanquiche, MA, is Executive Director of Ethical Markets Media and principal author of the Green Transition Scoreboard® Report. She serves on the Global Advisory Board and as a content editor with In all Rosalinda does, she brings an exceptional global view and clarity drawn from her experience working with American Wind Energy Association, the North Florida Land Trust and EthicMark (r) Advisory Board.

WEAction Research Briefing: George Kell, #ungc 2010 Update

Live from the UN Press conference –

UN Global contact outreach through 6,000 companies over 130 countries. This is a small fraction of companies to impact societal scale change for sustainability.

Goal to increase this outreach through 20,000 companies by the time RIO is launched.

For Immediate Release

By Lavinia Weissman


Boston MA

Source:  Press Conference Live @ UN Global Compact Press Conference

Written Report:  Press Release fro UNGC

George Kell, Executive Director of UN Global Compact provide this overview summary and analysis of UNGC progress over 2010.

Of the 6,000 members surveyed,

1. The percentage of UNGC member  corporations bring about change as a result of UNGC engagement is up to 80%.

2. The 6,000 have the power of 25% influence at the front end of issues of the 80,000 total multinational companies.

3.  75% of multinationals are only beginners building awareness.

4.  Ownership form a great influence

  • Public owned companies have 57% of impact;
  • State owned – 32%
  • Private owned – 18%

5. Size matters; Large companies working the issues the most, although within their subsidiaries there is only a 28% implementation.

6. Huge gaps on policies and supported by CEO’s and actual implementation and specific action, corruption, human rights, environmental issues and cuts across all areas of implementations. Awareness is high on material, risk and compliance sides.  Execution and implementation continues with very high gaps.

7. Supply chain continues to be one of the most significant gaps. Details on this at pp. 24-25.

8. Good news in 6,000 participants in survey taking action with NGO”s, MDG’s and 70% increase in concrete actions.

9. Response on environmental issues accelerated.

Projection for the future: UNGC is going strong,

Challenges:   implementation to drive quality.

Priority: Accelerate attention on human rights, corruption and environmental programs for implementation and execution.

Leadership foot print most critical in commercial domains for societal long term goals.


Authors bio:

Lavinia Weissman is an sustainable market leadership coach, journalist, and publisher of As a speaker she describes the new emerging patterns of markets shaped by sustainable market leaders and the social networks they work with and employ.  As a coach, Lavinia works with all her clients to inspire professional development that assures a person the opportunity to embed sustainability as a leader into the network and culture of people they work with.

New Normal Brief – Treasure Hunting for Clean Tech

Prospecting for Energy Savings in Business

by Dave Wann


Golden, Co

U.S. business will play a key role in achieving President Obama’s recent call for 80% of U.S. electricity from clean energy by 2035. And the billions of dollars saved can also put people back to work.

Forward-looking companies and federal incentives have stimulated industrial process innovations, lighting upgrades, and fleet fuel efficiency improvements, but there is still a mother lode of opportunity to generate much less industrial energy per unit of product – a third to a half less.

Profit isn’t the only stimulant. Especially important in the U.S. are renewable energy standards set by twenty-nine states, mandating that increasingly percentages of electricity must be generated by renewable technologies in specified time periods. (Another five states set ambitious voluntary goals.)

Together, these states consume close to half the country’s electricity; when New York called for 24 percent; Illinois 25 percent, and California, 33 percent, renewable energy as an industry swiftly moved from fantasy to reality. EPA’s declaration that greenhouse gases would be indeed be regulated as air pollutants was another stimulant, as is the virtual guarantee that Congress will eventually pass a climate change bill, putting a price on carbon emissions.

Another key policy strategy that may soon be on the table is the incremental shifting of subsidies away from the coal, oil and gas industries – which annually amount to $47 billion or more – and toward renewable energy. Belgium, France and Japan have phased out subsidies for coal, and Germany intends to phase out the entire industry, encouraging innovation and helping to shift automakers toward efficiency.

Another great idea is share the profits of efficiency improvements along the whole supply chain, making designers, builders/manufacturers and marketers stakeholders in innovation.

Where Industry Spends Energy, and How to Spend Less of It

Industrial Processes(these percentages are author estimates based on data from various sources)

  • 40% petroleum refining and chemical manufactur
  • 19% steel
  • 8% other metals
  • 9% paper
  • 7% cement
  • 5% food processing

Heat generated in industry and power generation often goes up the stack or into the nearest river. Yet energy expert, Tom Casten estimates that the waste heat could provide up to 20 percent of U.S. electricity needs (up from its current 7 percent) if it was used to turn turbines.

The concept is simple: when you have waste heat, generate electricity; when you generate electricity, use all the waste heat. Called cogeneration, this technology is already widely used in metals, glass, and silicon manufacturing.

Waste heat can also be used to heat or cool (with absorption chillers) buildings and campuses. Denmark and the Netherlands generate 40 percent of their electricity with cogeneration, and also widely employ “district heating” in buildings.

The petrochemical industry uses more energy than any other manufacturing sector, yet certain trends may begin to significantly reduce energy consumed. For example, research is expanding in the field of green chemistry, using chemicals that come from living organisms (such as microbial enzymes or soybeans) rather than once-living organisms (such as fossil fuels).

Green chemistry pathways typically use less energy per unit of product because they take place at room temperature and have fewer intermediate steps. (However, this transition will be gradual because some chemical pathways and reactions are centuries old standard practices.)

If organic agriculture takes a larger share of the market, less energy-intensive nitrogen fertilizer (which comes from fossil fuel) will be necessary to produce the same yields. Trends that may reduce energy consumed in the manufacture of energy-intensive plastics include a backlash against plastic containers because of health and environmental effects; a trend toward localization, reducing the need for plastics in shipping; and a gradual transition to plastics made with green chemistry.

By using recycled rather than virgin steel, paper, aluminum, plastics and other materials, the worlds’ most energy-intensive manufacturing industries can radically reduce energy use. For example, the recycling of steel cans in the U.S. is currently only 60 percent, but as that percentage increases, more efficient equipment that utilizes recycled materials can be used.

According to the Environmental Policy Institute, if three fourths of steel production were to switch to electric arc furnaces using scrap, energy use in the steel industry could be cut by almost 40 percent. Similarly, if all cement producers worldwide used the most efficient dry kiln process in use today, energy use in the cement industry could drop 42 percent.

It’s a similar story throughout the industrial sector: recycling and changing the processes in energy-hungry industries like paper, cement, aluminum, transportation equipment, and fabricated metal products can reduce overall energy consumption in manufacturing by 50 percent or more.

However, in some cases, cultural change may produce larger reductions than efficiency improvements. For example, more than one-sixth of the energy used in the food processing industry is used in animal slaughtering and processing. Only a reduction in meat eating will significantly reduce energy use in this case.

About half of the paper manufactured is used for packaging and wrapping paper; about 30 percent is printing and writing paper; and 20 percent is newsprint and household uses. With a noteworthy trend toward more regional buying; the failure of many newspapers and magazines; the reduction of paper use from cost-conscious changes in office policy; and increased use of electronic products like Kindle.

Only toilet paper is likely to remain at current levels of production. (And even there, a transition to a narrower width and less “fluffy” paper can reduce materials and energy use).

The innovative European experiment with “extended producer responsibility” (also known as the Take-Back Law) may well lay the groundwork for a radically different flow of materials through the global economy. This law requires manufacturers to take their products back at the end of their useful lives.

Rather than ending up in a landfill at the end of their useful lives, packaging, electronic products and other goods are collected at central locations and sent back to manufacturers. This brilliant political innovation encourages designing for durability, modularity, and non-toxicity in products, and increases recycling by closing the loop in the flow of “nutrients,” just as nature does.

EU countries have also adopted industry-altering efficiency standards for 23 different appliances and electrical end-uses, from battery chargers to street lighting.

Even more ambitious is Japan’s Top Runner program, which sets appliance standards based on the most efficient products already on the market. Though voluntary, this program successfully relies on Japanese pride in quality products to set – and mentor – new performance levels.

Commercial  (Service-providing offices, businesses and government)

  • 30% lighting
  • 14% heating
  • 13% cooling
  • 10% office equipment
  • 7% water heating
  • 6% water heating
  • 6% ventilation
  • 4% refrigeration

“We can compost and conserve all we want at home,” writes Time Magazine journalist Lisa Takeuchi Cullen.,9171,1630552,00.html “But as soon as we hit the office, we turn into triplicate-printing, paper-cup-squashing, run-our-computers-all-night-so-the-boss-thinks-we’re-working earth befoulers.”

A single office worker can easily go through 10,000 pieces of copier paper a year, in cahoots with computers that collectively burn $1 billion worth of energy a year when they are not even being used.

Offices, stores, and public buildings consume more than 70 percent of the electricity used in the U.S., and are responsible for more than a third of the country’s carbon dioxide emissions. Heating, cooling and powering the se buildings has become one of humanity’s biggest energy challenges.

The challenge is to design and construct (or retrofit) greener buildings that provide light, heat, coolness and electricity for equipment far more efficiently. At the Ford Motor Company’s Rouge River Plant, a 10.4-acre, heat- absorbing roof surface was replaced by a “green roof” of hardy plants that keep the building cooler in summer and warmer in winter, reducing energy consumption by 25 percent.

Two New York City office buildings – one recently constructed and the other – the iconic Empire State Building, built back in 1931 – are also raising the bar of green building design.

The 4 Times Square Building, 48 stories high and with 1.6 million square feet of office space, was designed with sophisticated energy software to ensure that lighting, windows, and heating/cooling systems work together optimally. 15 kW of photovoltaic panels were integrated right into the sides of the building – doubling as a construction material – and two large fuel cells supply 100 percent of night-time electrical needs and 5 percent of peak load needs. The hot water by-product from the fuel cells helps heat the building as well as its potable water.

The Empire State Building project, which will save building occupants $4.4 million a year, demonstrates that a combination of computer-age logic and upgrades to windows, lights, plug-load controllers and air conditioning systems can reduce energy consumption by forty percent in existing buildings – a critical finding since at least 10 percent of the energy a building uses in its lifetime is consumed in construction and demolition.

The U.S. Green Building Council, which administers the coveted LEED certification awards for building efficiency, has recently added awards for building retrofits. These include installing automatic shutoffs – occupancy sensors – for lighting, and snooze controls that power computers down automatically after 15 minutes of idle time, cutting a machine’s energy use by 70%.

One of the most interesting heating and cooling innovations for a large building is the Eastgate Centre, Zimbabwe’s largest office and shopping complex. Convection tubes used by African termites to keep their mounded, high-rise colonies cool inspired this passive cooling design. Taking advantage of large temperature swings from dusk to dawn, the design breathes fresh, cool air into the building, reducing energy consumption by 90 percent compares with conventionally cooled buildings.

A similar strategy has recently been used at a London building across from Westminster Palace.  And the British are also front-runners in the adoption of LED lighting.  Buckingham Palace has recently been given a royal makeover, including the conversion of 60-foot high ceiling lights, chandelier fixtures, and exterior lights which last as long as 22 years. So stingy with electricity are the LED bulbs that lighting the palace’s entire façade requires less electricity than running an electric teakettle.

There’s no doubt that compact fluorescent bulbs have already led the way to light bulbs that are semi-permanent, more like plumbing fixtures. But currently designed, CFLs contain mercury, which typically becomes a hazardous waste when the bulb finally burns out. Most CFLs are not dimmable, so they always use maximum power regardless of how much light is needed.

Still, they have saved a lot of energy and reduced a lot of greenhouse gas emissions already; from 2001 to 2006, global sales of these energy miser bulbs more than tripled, from 750 million bulbs to 2.4 billion. Maybe CFLs just need a deposit system that ensures they’ll be recycled.

And since LED bulbs have a few problems of their own, CFLs are likely to be around for awhile. LED light works better as a spotlight rather than a multi-directional light. Although their lifetime is up to four times as long as a CFL, the quality of light degrades over time.

However, one thing is certain: the Edison bulb, which converts 90 percent of its electricity to heat, is headed for the museum, unless it can be radically upgraded.  Various studies suggest that completely converting the world’s fixtures to LED technology could slash carbon dioxide emissions from lighting by up to 50 percent in 20 years.

In the U.S., lighting currently consumes about 6 percent of all energy use. With a boost from federal stimulus funds, lots of cities have already installed the low-maintenance LED bulbs for street and parking garage lighting. Three major California cities, Los Angeles, San Jose and San Francisco have by 2010 installed about a quarter of a million bulbs.

The next major market is likely to be office, retail, and government buildings.  There are about half a million federal buildings alone in the U.S., according to Earth Policy Institute, and they will pioneer the use of LED lighting.

As a result of these many converging and interacting forces, governmental policies are beginning to yank global energy systems in a new direction, just in time.


Author’s Bio:

David Wann is an author, filmmaker and speaker on the topic of sustainable design and lifestyles. He is the author of The New Normal: An Agenda for Responsible Living (St. Martin’s Griffin, 2011),   Affluenza: The All-Consuming Epidemic (Berrit Koehler, 2001), and contributing editor to

May-June 2011 Issue of #tsomu

May-June 2011 Issue of TheStoryofMeaningfulUse

Letter from the Publisher

Lavinia Weissman

Boston, MA


This next series of articles to be released into our new magazine format for examine the thought leadership and new practices coming into use to build new metrics of health for the environment, economy, people and habitat.

This new format of preparing a series of articles for a cycle of publishing was a bit overwhelming this first round; it pushed me to think and organize my work differently.   When I go into a learning cycle, I often have to find some real inspiration and within a few days the inspiration came to my door.  This inspiration was about repair of harm, I began to learn about through 3 major media events – a live broadcast, a outstanding interview and a sneek preview of film;

Given the events,  it provoked much discussion and debate in the mainstream press and social media.  Yet by the end of a week, I found myself pushed by these events to rethink  the sustainability practice of “transparency.” Transparency is any person’s  or institution’s power to adopt.   If you don’t practice transparency, you are diverting energy to “privacy, privilege and secrecy.”  Yet if you practice transparency you are opening the door to the very human aspect of life that “nothing is perfect.”  Transparency implies failure as lessons learned and opportunities to take those lessons and innovation change.

To me this is the essence of the world of people and communities practicing the discipline of “capacity building.”  From wherever I sit and draw my perspective, I continue to see a growing need for capacity building – in terms of recognition of need, resource and investment identification and a more common understanding that there is a need for a “cycle of capacity building.

Convening a group of people, who have the intention to innovate change requires a cycle or sustained capacity building. Capacity building is about breaking down the systemic barriers that re-enforce old patterns of behavior that keep a dying system perpetuating as that system ceases to serve more and more of the people who live in that system.

The community begins its learning when a small group of people recognize they need to budget and allocate resources to beginning an investigation int new responses to unmet needs from which a healthier society can take form to serve people into perpetuity. This means authoring a method of exercising precaution that addresses systemic harm that cannot be stopped by continuing in a form of “business as usual.”

These 3 events also implied a strong position that physical and violent harm, in particular to women and children should not be part the global future.

Yet the progress for achieving the UN Millenial Goals of 2000 to end poverty by 2015 is not sufficient.  And for the most part, according to the 2011 report on the State of Green Business, the world is still treading water in its progress to become a Green Society.

I am finding more and more – that what I publish, facilitate as change and build social media practice for is about “capacity building.”

Thee 3 media events inspired me to renew my faith and belief that a majority of people can convene to discern, learn and act to build a healthy sustainable economy so all species can live in health; this is the focus and context for anything I think about, work on integrate with into my work with others.

Over the next two weeks, please enjoy the roll out of articles for the May/June 2011 cycle of publication for All these articles provide a basis, a perspective, a briefing from which to learn how to engage in capacity building and monetize its development and ongoing capacity to su

Watch on Twitter, Facebook and from my updates for the publication of these articles:

Prime Category Author Title
Lessons Learned Carol Sanford Business Can Make Life Easier
Research Note Lavinia Weissman #pharma Beyond Business as Usual
New Normal Brief Dave Wann Treasure Hunting for Clean Tech
Ethical Markets Media Rosalinda Sanquiche Update from Hazel Henderson
Capacity Building Lavinia Weissman Can Sustainability Sustain?
Book Review Lavinia Weissman The Responsible Business by Carol Sanford

Watch for a new post on  CSRWiretalkback as part of the SanofiAventisStoryCapture on how CEO Chris Viehbacher is leading a mission to guide Sanofi’s mission beyond the mindset of pharmaceuticals to becoming a global health leader.

And finally learn about’s new learning community, WorkEcology’s Women in Sustainability.

The core value that aligns women to join this professional association is based on the value for sustainability. This implies you wish to discern and learn with other women how to live a healthy life in a healthy world.

Groups can form anywhere for a size of 6- 10 members.

To  learn how to become a group leader or join a group already meeting click “contact,” on this page.

Warm thoughts,

Lavinia Weissman