Perspectives on greener product development and manufacturing from Sustainable Minds, our partners, customers and contributors.

Marketing

Sustainability signs are promising

By Sandy Skees on July 26, 2010

These days, the talk of a double dip recession and the lagging job market could obscure several positive indicators that provide good evidence that a significant and lasting change is underway.

Pay attention to the more important transformation that is affecting product development, business formation, job creation and the very way we live and work. In any number of areas, you’ll find upbeat indicators where you might expect to find a downbeat story:

Social Capital
A month after the Sustainable Brands 2010 conference in Monterey, CA, it's worth noting that many of the presenting and attending companies are truly integrating social impact into their sustainability efforts. 

For example, environment and ‘green’ issues, which have dominated sustainability discussions in the past, have given way to more practical explorations of new strategy, measurement, metrics and marketing initiatives. This has moved social programs from the periphery to the core.

Green still growing despite the recession – 2010 Green Brands Survey

By Lorne Craig on July 6, 2010

The 5th Annual ImagePower® Green Brands Survey is out, with some encouraging and surprising results. First, the environment is not going away, despite our best attempts to kill it. With over 9000 people polled in eight countries (Australia, Brazil, China, France, Germany, India and the United Kingdom) this study concludes that overall, concern for the environment is up 3.5%. And the growth is coming from some very interesting places.

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Building A Sustainable Company — Part II

By Vijay Kanal on June 21, 2010

I began my last blog with a promise to explore some of the first steps companies new to sustainability should consider. I ended it by promising to explore some of the important frameworks companies should include in a more rigorous approach to sustainability. This is more than just a theoretical approach; we engage in these frameworks with our clients to help them achieve their sustainability goals.

Opportunity Assessment
Where exactly is your company on the sustainability curve? That’s a big question, and we work to break it down by functional department within the company. The objective is to prioritize the strategies and actions that will have the greatest impact today, tomorrow and long term. How much it will cost is an important assessment, both from an investment perspective, as well as a holistic (i.e. not just financial) approach to ROI.

Deepwater Horizon: the Cost of Greenality

By EarthPM on June 1, 2010

A welcome: the authors of the blog below – Rich Maltzman and Dave Shirley – are respected project management experts and have recently released a book about green project management. Sustainable Minds is proud to add these well-respected experts and educators to our roster of blog contributors. We look forward to their unique perspective as project managers, and will be picking up relevant posts from their illuminating website.

In our book we talk about the Cost of Greenality.

Sustainable Minds release 1.3 – Unit conversions

By Sustainable Minds on May 19, 2010

Release 1.3 of Sustainable Minds allows you to enter data in the units your BOM or project uses and includes a broad range of both metric and imperial units. For example, 0.25 kg of aluminum can now be entered as 0.25 kg, 250 g, or 0.00027558 short tons. Sustainable Minds then converts the measurements to a common unit to deliver the impact assessment results.

Unit conversion is available for the manufacturing, use, and transportation stages of the product’s lifecycle, for both manual part and sub-assembly entry and BOM import.

Building A Sustainable Company — Part I

By Vijay Kanal on April 20, 2010

Clients who are new to building sustainability in their organizations often ask what their first steps should be. Recognizing that every company has a different set of business goals, hierarchy and culture, we recommend a valuable first step: start by measuring all things related to carbon emission, energy and resource consumption, and waste.

Even if it's not a precise measurement, a quantified approximation will establish a baseline against which all of your future efforts can be compared. Then, we recommend that you look across your industry and even beyond, to see what leading companies have achieved in lowering their environmental footprint. Based on this external benchmarking, you can begin to set goals and prioritize your own sustainability initiatives.

This prioritization must include input from, and assessment of the impact on different stakeholders, including customers, employees and investors. Draw up a Materiality Matrix that shows the relationship between impact on stakeholders and the impact on the company. This matrix can form the basis of setting the company’s strategy on sustainability.

The Car, 2.0

By Sandy Skees on April 5, 2010

Is the world ready for a new generation of cars, particularly the electric kind? There are at least 41 teams hard at work, and competing, on the assumption that the world is not just ready, but that it’s in desperate need for Car 2.0.

Energy and transportation analysts as well as green media sites like Earth2Tech have begun using the Car 2.0 moniker and predicting a sizable market opportunity. The new electric car infrastructure has implications beyond reducing the highly toxic impact that current fossil fuel transportation has on the environment. Electric cars will link to the smart grid, making them efficient and connected communicating transportation.

New in Sustainable Minds Release 1.2

By Sustainable Minds on March 19, 2010

This release makes it easier to purchase for use on a short-term project, purchase for your school, and distribute and include assessment results in all your presentations.

Printable and exportable assessment results
Now just click a button to print results views to a file (such as PDF), or saved as HTML files for inclusion in presentations, web sites, workshops or simply to print to share with the team. Additionally, results from each concept can be downloaded as a file. SBOM items are displayed by life cycle, and include the scores for all items, including impact category results. When you’re designing a greener product, Sustainable Minds LCA results in your presentation means you’ll have quantified information to support your design and manufacturing recommendations.

Sustainable Minds: Candidate for WEF Technology Pioneers 2011

By Sustainable Minds on March 9, 2010

2010 is turning out to be an incredible year for Sustainable Minds. We recently found out that Sustainable Minds has been nominated as a World Economic Forum Technology Pioneer Candidate for 2011.

The World Economic Forum is an independent international organization committed to improving the state of the world. It’s motto is 'entrepreneurship in the global public interest.’ The WEF engages world leaders in partnerships to shape global, regional and industry agendas and is well known by its annual meeting in Davos in January every year.

Patagonia – A Good Model for a Post Consumer Era Manufacturing Company

By Guest contributors on February 22, 2010

This post by guest contributor Gerard Furbershaw, designer, speaker, co-founder and COO of LUNAR, first appeared on LUNAR’s blog. He has served as President and Chairman of the Board of the Association of Professional Design Firms, Chairman of the San Francisco chapter of the Industrial Designers Society of America, and is a Trustee of the Design Foundation.

Manufacturing companies interested in transitioning to sustainable business models would benefit from considering what Patagonia has done. Through a combination of their values, mission, life cycle assessments, and actions, they have become pioneers on the path towards sustainability.