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Fast Company's 50 Ways to Green Your Business and Save

50 examples of how companies have taken green to heart and have revamped core processes to save money and more

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Fast Company provides 50 examples of how companies have taken green to heart and have revamped core processes to save or make money...and be more responsible about their waste and environmental impact. Imagine asking today how the Internet affects business. It's an absurd question, like asking how electricity changed business. Asking the same about sustainability, it turns out, is equally absurd. Like the Internet, sustainability spurs innovation in everything, from how you see your business model to whether you see your employees (why not let them work at home more?). Here are our favorite ways companies today are greening up--and saving money and making better widgets in the process.

We highly recommend you read the details of these earth-shifting, cost saving business strategies at Fast Company's Green Your Business. The details tell you so much more!

  • General Mills turns solid waste of oat hulls, a cereal by-product into fuel feedstock.
  • Take-back programs of e-waste isbeing led by Dell, who recovered 40,000 tons of e-waste for recycling.
  • GE launched Evolution hybrid diesel-electric locomotives that cut fuel consumption 5% and emissions by 40% compared to earlier models.
  • Wal-Mart is funding big truck manufacturers (ArvinMeritor, Eaton, International and Peterbilt) to develop the first heavy-duty diesel-hybrid 18-wheeler. Prototypes will be tested in 2008.
  • Green events by C3 Presents included banning Styrofoam cups, selling bamboo-based t-shirts, gel sanitizer and bio-diesel power generators.
  • Philadelphia Eagles also cleans their events by separating recylables and trash.
  • Tesco is labeling all 70,000 of its products with carbon breakdowns.
  • General Mills cut packaging by 20%...which put 500 fewer distribution trucks on the road each year.
  • Unilever redesigned shampoo bottles to cut plastic packaging to save 15 million bottles a year.
  • Liquid laundry detergent industry has concentrated the liquid in their bottles to save millions of galons of diesel fuel, 10 million pounds of plastic resin and 80 million sq. ft of cardboard since 2005. P&G is converting its entire collection of liquids to double concentration.
  • Ford has streamlined its painting process to cut VOC emissions and production costs by reducing painting time by 20%
  • Fox switched to renewable-source biodiesel on "24" during explosions and car chases and the switch didn't increase costs.
  • Fiat is rolling out EcoDrive by Microsoft to record performance data such as emissions and fuel consumption onto a USB key. The program analyzes the data on a PC to provie driving tips to lower emissions.
  • Coors produces ethanol by distilling waste beer.
  • Sierra Nevada Brewery in Chico, CA, installed a fuel-cell power unit and officially dropped off the grid. Energy efficiency is expected to be double what it was getting from PG&E. It plans to sell surplus energy back through the grid.
  • Star TV removed 1/3 of its fluorescent tube lights to save 18,000 pounds of emissions a year.
  • Texas Instruments now sells second-grade silicon wafers to the solar-power industry where they work just fine, thank you. They make money and eliminate millions of pounds of C)2 emissions and millions of watts of electric power.
  • Intel is using server room heat to warm the building and heat the showers in the gym. Heat exchangers also help use waste heat!
  • By 2009, the cost of powering and cooling data centers will eclipse the cost of the servers themselves. IBM's Project Big Green will double the efficiency of servers.
  • Whole Foods Market has replaced salad bar containers with ones made of sugar-cane waste that decompose in 90 days.
  • Eni turned Casual Friday into "lighter and cooler" attire and raised the thermostats 1 degree Celsius. Summer's savings were equvalent to 140 employees taking public transport for a year.
  • Bank of America build the first LEED Platinum certified skyscraper using a geothermal heat-exchange system. The building will use half the electricity of a conventional building.
  • Sun Microsystems has an Open Work program 10 years and 20,000 employees strong. Employees have the option to work at home. They save real-estate costs, prevent tons of emissions and increase productivity by 34%. They now consult with other companies to do the same.
  • Timberland, B of A, and Google all provide cash incentive programs to employees who buy hybrids.
  • Enterprise Rent-A-Car has upgraded half its fleet vehicles to get more than 28 mpg.
  • JPMorgan Chase is building a water cistern on its roof to collect water for toilet flushing. Low-flush urinals and toilets round out water use and cost savings by 30%.
  • Dyson's new hand dryer does its job in half the time with half the energy for commercial maintenance applications.
  • Kaiser Permanente replaced PVC vinyl floor covers with PVC-free rubber which cuts maintenance costs by as much as 80% and provides fewer slips and falls...and better health for people.
  • Otis reengineered it safety elevator with flat steel belts to eliminate bulky machine rooms and a lubrication-free system. The results is quieter, smoother ride and the regenerative drive technology returns electricity to the grid. They are 75% more efficiet than conventional drive systems.
  • Staples has greened 3,000 of its private-lable products to include at least 30% post-consumer waste. They are fostering industry-wide change.
  • Staples reinvented paper by adding stronger fiber content including regenerated (recycled) cotton and bagasse, a sugarcane by-product.
  • Waste Management now pipes methane from landfills to nearby buildings.
  • Nike has committed to local sourcing as much raw material as possible (recycled polyester and rubber, organic cotton, hemp) from 200 mile radius of the factory, cutting transportation impact. But the Considered line is made in China and Thailand...still requiring a lot of transportation of the final goods.
  • NetJets is charging clients $5,000 a year to pay for carbon offsets.
  • Patagonia is sourcing raw materials in its wet suits to use 80% less petroleum than competitors
  • Delta Air Lines launched an on-board recycling program and collected 60 tons of recyclables in its test program. The program will expand!
  • Delta also offers passengers carbon offsets for thir trips at the time of ticket purchase. The funds go to Conservation Fund's Go Zero program.
  • Ikea, Trader Joe's and Timberland's sell reusable sacks with incentives such as a 10% off coupon for each use.
  • Target slashed waste by 70% by recycling and refurbishing broken shopping carts, plastic hangers, shrink wrap, and rechargeable batteries.
  • Steelcase designed steel-framed reconfigurable walls that provide easy disassembly into component materials for recycling. They contain 30% recycled materials and reduce customer costs for reconfiguring office spaces.
  • The Gap and Banana Republic are turning attention to gift cards and price tags by converting to recycled materials.
  • EPA launched EPEAT (Electronic Product Environmetnal Assessment Tool) which rates the greenness of computers for large-scale buyers. More than 600 computers from 23 companies have been rated. Early adopters include Apple, Dell, HP and Lenovo.
  • Wegmans supermarkets started an organic research farm to develop best practices for cost-efficient and healthy farming in the Northeast. They will share their findings with the 800 farmers who supply its stores.
  • Wal-Mart and Marriott are examining suppliers' sustainability and efficiency efforts and making decisions on what they find.
  • The US Climate Action Partnership is a big-business coalition pushing for federal standards including 60-80% cutin emissions by 2050 and a uniform nationwide market free of current mix of state regulations...as well as fiscal incentives for new technology.
  • Baum Development, Chicago, launches the Green Exchange, space for green companies -- the country's first "green business community".
  • Columbia Records new CEO made sustainability demands before the took the job. Jack Johnson and Pearl Jam also have green requirements in their venue riders.
  • Presidio School of Management, in San Francisco launched an MBA program in sustainable management.
  • Companies are looking for Vice Presidents of Sustaiability or Director of Environmental Affairs. Leaders who understand the environmental impact of the company and look for ways to turn it inside out.

We highly recommend you read the details of these earth-shifting, cost saving business strategies at Fast Company's Green Your Business. The details tell you so much more!



Edited by Carolyn Allen, owner/editor of California Green Solutions
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