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Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is an idea that corporations have to consider the interests of customers, employees, shareholders, communities, and ecological considerations in all
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green@work : Magazine : Newlines : March/April 2007

Actions and initiatives worth noting

Levi's Embracing a Greener Jean with New Line

Robert Hanson, Levi’s U.S. brand president, said it best: “As the inventor of the jeans category, it is critical for us to continue to innovate with our products and within the category itself in order to drive positive change.”

That change is indeed coming from Levi’s, as the company is introducing jeans made with 100-percent organic cotton to their product line. Organic cotton will be used in select new and popular men’s and women’s styles within its Red Tab as well as the recently launched Levi’s Capital E lines. The jeans are identified as “Levi’s Eco” and are available exclusively at Levi’s U.S. stores, with additional productions scheduled to hit stores this spring. Other elements of the Levi’s Capital E lines include the use of recycled buttons, rivets and zippers, and natural indigo to dye some styles of jeans. These efforts were employed because of their minimized impact on the environment.

Organic farming practices can be used to grow natural fibers including cotton as well as food. Organic cotton farming starts with seeds that have not been genetically modified or treated with pesticides or fungicides. During the growth phase, weed control is achieved through hand hoeing or physical removal, and pest control is accomplished through the use of natural predators, trap crops and other biological and cultural practices. Farmers rely on natural processes such as seasonal freezes, rather than the application of chemical defoliants, to prompt the opening of the cotton boll and allow the cotton bud to be picked by hand or machine.

Earth Share of Georgia Carrying on Earth Day Traditions

Almost four decades after the first Earth Day was established, Earth Day Georgia is carrying on that tradition by inspiring thousands of citizens and business leaders throughout the state to do just one simple thing to help the environment on Earth Day, April 20. For Earth Day 2007, Earth Share of Georgia will be organizing three key events to promote environmental stewardship to leaders from the business world and the community at large.

On Friday, April 20, business and nonprofit leaders from the metro Atlanta area will gather to celebrate innovations in sustainable business practices at the Earth Day Leadership Breakfast. The breakfast will feature Charles Jordan from The Trust for Public Land as the keynote speaker.

On Saturday, April 21, Atlantic Station’s Central Park will be the backdrop for the 11th annual Party in the Park. Party in the Park is Atlanta’s largest Earth Day event, bringing together a diverse group of grassroots environmentalists, devoted philanthropists, and business professionals whose collective goal is to integrate sustainable practices and policies wherever people work, live or play. Proceeds benefit Earth Share of Georgia, Georgia’s only dedicated environmental fund.

The Corporate Green Day Challenge, held on April 28, mirrors the first Earth Day, when the National Education Association estimated nearly 10 million public-school children with their teachers took their classrooms to the woods to study the effects of pollution on nature. Past Corporate Green Day Challenges have seen more than 1,000 volunteers from Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., CH2M Hill, Emory University and Federal Home Loan Bank of America, helping to repair stream beds, restore urban nature paths, and replenish the tree canopy throughout the metro area.

Nicolow Named to Building Design & Construction's "40 Under 40" List

Jim Nicolow, AIA, LEED AP, who leads the Sustainability Initiative at architecture firm Lord, Aeck and Sargent, has been named one of Building Design & Construction magazine’s “40 Under 40” up-and-comers. Described by Building Design & Construction as “hotshots in the built environment,” Nicolow and the other winners were profiled in the magazine’s January issue.

Members of the “40 Under 40” group were chosen by the magazine’s editors from among 244 “outstanding entrants.” All 40 excel in their professional roles as architects, engineers, contractors, designers and AEC (architecture, engineering and construction) business developers, while giving back to their communities and professional societies.

Dell's Global Recycling Program Recognized as Industry Model

Dell, the company announced, has received the National Recycling Coalition's ninth annual Recycling Works Award for its longstanding efforts to promote individual producer responsibility. The award recognizes Dell’s leadership in recycling computer equipment, and its global policies making it easier for customers to become effective environmental stewards.

“When it comes to product recovery and recycling, our commitment to our customers and our shared Earth is clear and simple: Programs that help consumers make a difference will always be a cornerstone of Dell’s global business,” said Dell Chairman and CEO Michael Dell.

The company has implemented several programs to encourage free and easy recycling. Key initiatives include:

• Free consumer global recycling: Dell is the only computer manufacturer that offers consumers no-charge recycling services for its own branded computer equipment globally without requiring new product purchases.

• Reconnect program: Through Dell’s alliance with Goodwill Industries in several markets, consumers can donate unwanted electronics of any brand in any condition at Goodwill intake sites.

• Asset recovery services: Dell offers product recovery services that help business and institutional customers responsibly manage the retirement of used IT equipment.

• Computer donation: Through Dell's partnership with the National Cristina Foundation, customers can donate any working computer system to nonprofit organizations in their areas.

Report Confirms Importance of Responsible Investing

Fourteen of the world’s largest investment companies recently launched a ground-breaking report for the United Nations Environment Program Finance Initiative (UNEP FI) to confirm the growing importance of environmental, social and governance concerns to the global investment industry.

“Show Me The Money” is a 47-page summary report synthesizing more than 1,000 pages of research from the mainstream financial analyst community. The report covers the impact of qualitative and new risk issues on company value. Industries covered include the auto industry, aerospace and defense, the media, and the food and beverage industries.

“The mainstream investment community is waking to the burgeoning opportunities associated with sustainability promoting companies, technologies and investment funds. From clean tech to renewables and ecosystem services, the growth industries of the 21st century are emerging at an accelerated pace,” explained Achim Steiner, UNEP executive director and United Nations undersecretary general.

UNEP FI is a unique public-private partnership between UNEP and more than 160 banks, insurers and asset managers.

Lead Balancing Weights Causing Concern for Automakers

The Ecology Center recently released its second Lead-Free Wheels Survey of new vehicles. Lead wheel balancing weights constitute one of largest uses of lead in the world. The survey of new 2006-2007 model-year vehicles showed that while many automakers have aggressively phased out lead wheel balancing, some have made no progress. Additionally, no aftermarket tire retailers have committed to phasing out lead wheel weights.

“Lead wheel weights falling off cars and trucks is one of the last major, unregulated sources of lead pollution in the U.S.,” said Jeff Gearhart, campaign director of the Ecology Center. “This survey shows that lead-free wheel balancing is a cost-effective way to reduce the use of lead in vehicles. Anyone who installs tires needs to get on the bandwagon.”

Based on the results of the 2006 survey, the Ecology Center estimates that approximately 50 percent of the new cars sold in the United States at the end of 2006 had lead-free wheel weights. This accounts for about 68 million lead-free wheel weights on new cars in 2006.

In 2004, the Ecology Center estimated 38 million wheel weight were installed on new vehicles. These numbers show a 79-percent increase in the use of lead-free weights being used. Over the course of two years, more than 1,500 tons of lead was eliminated from vehicles in the United States.

Lord, Aeck and Sargent to Adopt The 2030 Challenge

Lord, Aeck and Sargent Architecture, a pioneer in sustainable, energy-efficient architectural design, has become one of the first architecture firms in the country to adopt The 2030 Challenge, an initiative that calls on the global building sector to immediately reduce energy usage by 50 percent in new buildings and major renovations in order to avoid hazardous climate change.

Specifically, The 2030 Challenge sets several targets for the fossil fuel reduction standard for all new buildings, with the ultimate goal being the design of carbon-neutral buildings, or buildings that use no fossil-fuel, greenhouse-gas-emitting energy to operate, by the year 2030.

“High-performance buildings make both environmental and economic sense,” said Terry Sargent, AIA, Lord, Aeck and Sargent’s senior design principal. “Our clients recognize that increased energy efficiency reduces the cost of ownership for their facilities, while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.”

Added Jim Nicolow, AIA, LEED AP: “Lord, Aeck and Sargent has a long history of creating ecologically responsible projects that predate the widespread use of the terms ‘green’ and ‘sustainable.’” Nicolow, a senior associate who leads the firm’s Sustainability Initiative, noted that Edward Mazria, AIA—the founder of Architecture 2030, which issued The 2030 Challenge—was the guest speaker at Lord, Aeck and Sargent’s annual State of the Firm meeting, where sustainable design was the overriding theme.

“Given our longstanding commitment to sustainable design, our track record of innovative green projects, our early adoption of the LEED Green Building Rating System, and staff of more than 30 LEED-accredited professionals, and our in-house quantitative analysis capabilities, leading the industry by adopting The 2030 Challenge energy-performance targets was a natural next step,” Nicolow said.

The Lord, Aeck and Sargent Sustainability Initiative is tasked with evaluating the firm’s environmental impacts and identifying strategic opportunities, goals and performance benchmarks as the firm moves forward. The recommendation to adopt The 2030 Initiative was made by the “How We Practice” task force, which focuses on how the firm designs buildings and seeks opportunities and strategies to facilitate the routine integration of eco-effective design in all of the firm’s projects.


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