20 Slices
Medium 9781605094656

2 Audits Measuring Where You Are

Mager, David Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

Whatever sustainability target you have set for yourself, in order to hit the bull’s-eye you have to know where you are standing in relation to your target. The process for assessing your current sustainability performance is called a sustainability audit. In a sustainability audit, you try to quantify your energy and material use and your emissions and releases to the environment. You also seek objective evidence to assess whether you are in compliance with regulations and any voluntary commitments that you have made vis-à-vis the environment or sustainability. A sustainability audit is your environmental report card.

Every line item in your profit (and loss) statement, cash flow statement, general ledger, and balance sheet has a corresponding environmental impact. The sustainability audit quantifies that impact. While a sustainability audit is a look backward, it is a crucial step in moving forward toward sustainability. To get where you are going, you have to know where you are. Creating a plan helps you find what additional key measures you need to assess. After the audit, you may discover items that should be included in your plan.

See All Chapters
Medium 9781605094656

Resource A: Cover Letter and Employee Questionnaire

Mager, David Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

This sample cover letter and questionnaire are available on our Web site, www.streetsmartsustainability.com, translated into many languages. If you speak a language for which we don’t have a translation, please translate these items for us and we will post them on our Web site and acknowledge your input.

Dear Valued Employee:

Our concern for sustainability, the environment, and social responsibility is one of the highest priorities of this company. As another step in making continuous improvement toward excellent sustainable practices, we are about to have a comprehensive sustainability audit performed.

A key part of the sustainability audit will be a confidential survey of the employees. You can respond to the survey questionnaire online or by mail. You have the option to fill out the questionnaire anonymously. What is important to us is to learn what you feel are the company’s strengths and weaknesses in fulfilling its environmental and socially responsible commitments and what you feel are steps we could take to improve this company.

See All Chapters
Medium 9781605094656

11 Waste Turning an Environmental Problem into a Business Opportunity

Mager, David Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

This final chapter is about Joe’s favorite topic and about the ultimate in being sustainable; instead of using resources and producing waste, using waste to produce resources. Sustainable businesses are popping up all over that are making money by turning an environmental problem into a business opportunity. In the United States, we create a lot of waste. This waste can be repurposed into something useful to create jobs, sustain the environment, and inspire innovation.

Living creatures spend most of their time finding and eating food. A creature that finds a food source that no other species is using is defined as its own species and guaranteed survival. That is one of the reasons why in nature, every creature’s waste is another creature’s food.

Life has been on this planet for approximately 3.5 billion years. With an estimated annual biomass production of approximately 200 gigatons,1 if all creatures’ waste was not eaten by other creatures and recycled, the entire surface of the earth would be covered in excrement approximately 700 miles thick.

See All Chapters
Medium 9781605094656

4 Metrics If You Can Measure It, You Can Manage It

Mager, David Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

This chapter details three powerful analytic tools—the input/output mass balance analysis, life cycle analysis, and break-even analysis. These diagnostic tools help you see what’s up with your organization so that you can make changes. The input/output mass balance analysis quantifies your releases to water, emissions to air, and solid waste; the life cycle analysis shows the impact of your product or service from cradle to grave; and the break-even analysis tells you how much savings you will get from environmental improvements or how much you have to decrease costs or increase revenue to pay for environmental improvements.

Matter cannot be created or destroyed; it can only be changed from one form to another. This basic law of physics and chemistry is the theory behind one of the most powerful tools in sustainability auditing—the input/output mass balance analysis. In simple terms, the weight of the raw materials and manufactured goods you buy plus the water and air you add should equal the weight of products you ship plus the weight of your emissions to air, the weight of garbage and recyclables that leave your facility, and the weight of material you discharge down the drain.

See All Chapters
Medium 9781605094656

5 Design Making It Sustainable from the Start

Mager, David Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

The best way to get green is to design green. Every company or enterprise is constantly involved in design. Organizations design innovative products and services and innovative ways to make existing products and to perform existing and new tasks. So green design is a common entry point for companies seeking to become sustainable. This chapter provides guidance on sustainable green design of products and services.

It turns out that proactive green design is much more cost-effective than reactive solutions to environmental challenges. The design Rule of Tens states that if it costs $10 to come up with design criteria, it costs $100 for the actual design, $1,000 for the prototype, $10,000 for the preproduction run, $100,000 to produce the product, and $1 million to recall it after a flaw is discovered that could have been addressed in the $10 design phase.

In chapter 4 we discussed the life cycle analysis. The first rule in sustainable design is to review all of the LCA categories. To design a more sustainable product, ask and answer the question, “What improvements can be designed into the product in the preproduction, manufacturing, packaging, distribution, use, and disposal phases as a function of inputs of energy, water, and material, and outputs of emissions to air, releases to water and solid waste, and impacts on human health and ecology?” If you completed an LCA matrix (see resource E), the boxes that are highlighted in red represent the greatest environmental impact. These are the areas to focus on in your green design efforts for the next product iteration.

See All Chapters

See All Slices