Sustainablog

This blog will cover some news items related to Sustainability: Corporate Social Responsibility, Stewardship, Environmental management, etc.

25.10.06

Sun Microsystems Responds to Climate Change





Corporate Climate Response

Moving climate change action onto Wall Street and Main Street



An Interview with
Dave Douglas
Vice President of Eco Responsibility, Sun Microsystems


What is your role within Sun Microsystems?
I am the Vice President of Eco Responsibility .  In this role I drive the eco responsibility of our products and services, as well as  improving the sustainability of our own operations.  While I oversee a number of large projects in this area, one of the most important parts of the role is to be a visible advocate the large number of smaller projects that our employees come up with.  Some of our most impactful and innovative advances in eco responsibility have been driven by individuals with no formal sustainability role within the company.

What do you think is the main challenge for companies who want to respond to climate change?
In my experience the biggest problem is the lack of good information about the environmental impact of  a company’s products and services, and how they operate their company.  For example, in our space we find that more than half of the CIOs don't receive the energy bill for their own computer facilities, let alone the detail of where all of the power goes.  It’s not rocket science to get this data; it’s just never been used for anything before.  I know from our own datacenters that once this information was made available, it was obvious where the easy improvements in energy efficiency were going to be.

As a result of this lack of information, many companies don't realize the potential economic gains from their environmentally driven projects.  I hear time and time again that companies that set out to reduce their GHG emissions find unexpected economic benefits from their initial project.  These gains are good for the business, and they also reinforce to the organization that there doesn't have to be a tradeoff between economy and ecology.

What has been the most satisfying and/or successful aspect of Sun’s response to this issue?
The most exciting thing for me has been to see us use our own products and technology to great effect within Sun.  Our energy-efficient “Niagara” servers are saving us over $1000 year in energy cost each, and our Sun Ray thin clients are saving more than  10,000 tons of CO2 per year over a PC-based solution.  But our most exciting is our iWork internal program, which uses technology to enable and encourage remote work.  Over 45% of Sun's 35,000 employees work regularly outside of Sun offices, and the program has resulted in huge environmental and economic wins for Sun.

What have been and what are the major roadblocks for progress in this area – both internally to Sun and externally in the market place?
Most of the major roadblocks have been typical of any major change in focus in an organization -- change processes are hard.  We all know that anytime we change how people measure themselves, it creates uncertainty and brings out natural resistance.  Here we're asking people to not only watch the bottom line from a financial point of view, but also from an environmental point of view.  In this case it’s harder since employees can't see or feel green house gasses, and initial guesses about what the big contributors may be are often way off the mark.   Once real data is gathered and you can communicate to people what the potential is, both environmentally and economically, and once a success or two have built up some credibility, the normal and expected pushback against change can start to be worn away.

What one piece of advice would you give to a company or organization that is beginning this process with a blank sheet of paper?
Don't start with a blank piece of paper!  Don't do anything until you've gathered basic data on the environmental impact of your products, services and internal operations.   Based on that it'll be easy to identify the places where easy gains can be made.

And as a piece of bonus advice:  when you pick your first projects make sure they're going to have financial gain for the company in addition to environmental gains.  It will make the change process so much easier if the company sees that there doesn't have to be a tradeoff between sustainability and financial success.

Dave Douglas is speaking at Corporate Climate Response, NYC, 30-31 October, together with representatives from Wal-Mart, GE, Sun Microsystems, Aveda, AMD, Interface, Lens Governance Advisors, NFL, Baxter Healthcare Corporation, Ben & Jerry’s, Whole Foods Markets, Chicago Climate Exchange, Cheyne Capital Management, Innovest Strategic Value Advisors, Interface Research Corporation, Ceres, Reuters, Cargill Emission Reduction Services, Citigroup Investment Research and many more -
click here to see agenda

Corporate Climate Response




24.10.06

Thinking Beyond Pipes and Pumps: Top 10 Ways Communities Can Save Water and Money


thanks to Susan for this one


Could be interesting...

Article is from: http://www.waterdsm.org/

Thinking Beyond Pipes and Pumps: Top 10 Ways Communities Can Save Water and Money
Thinking Beyond seeks to inspire and facilitate action. It is a practical resource designed for community leaders, water managers and policy makers seeking to make the case for a comprehensive and long-term appraoch to water demand management. By illustrating the potential of this approach, it urges communites to take water security to the next step--to think beyond the pipes and pumps and embrace new ways of managing water that offer opportunities for big savings, of both water and money.

*Please note: The full report has been optimized for faster web viewing and some of the tables and images are a bit fuzzy as a result. A higher resolution pdf (for printing) will be posted shortly and printed copies will be available later in October.

Other similar articles and downloads can be found at :   http://www.foecanada.org/

23.10.06

The New Yorker: What if you built a machine to predict hit movies?

The New Yorker: Fact: "THE FORMULA
What if you built a machine to predict hit movies?
by MALCOLM GLADWELL
Issue of 2006-10-16
Posted 2006-10-09

One sunny afternoon not long ago, Dick Copaken sat in a booth at Daniel, one of those hushed, exclusive restaurants on Manhattan’s Upper East Side where the waiters glide spectrally from table to table. He was wearing a starched button-down shirt and a blue blazer. Every strand of his thinning hair was in place, and he spoke calmly and slowly, his large pink Charlie Brown head bobbing along evenly as he did. Copaken spent many years as a partner at the white-shoe Washington, D.C., firm Covington & Burling, and he has a lawyer’s gravitas. One of his best friends calls him, admiringly, “relentless.” He likes to tell stories. Yet he is not, strictly, a storyteller, because storytellers are people who know when to leave things out, and Copaken never leaves anything out: each detail is adduced, considered, and laid on the table—and then adjusted and readjusted so that the corners of the new fact are flush with the corners of the fact that preceded it. This is especially true when Copaken is talking about things that he really cares about, such as questions of international law or his grandchildren or, most of all, the movies.

Dick Copaken loves the movies. His friend Richard Lig"

Stop Your Engines

Children and the environment