Thursday, December 11, 2008

How do you source your copy paper?

Yesterday I had to print some handouts for the course I taught on Sustainability for CPAs. Our office is primarily paperless so buying copy paper isn't something we do very often but I purchased three reams for us to have on hand.

And here is the cool part. The paper we purchased was FSC-certified made from 100% post-consumer waste. It was manufactured using Green-e 100% Certified Renewable Energy (from biomass), and processed chlorine free. This paper is made without cutting down any trees or creating any additional green house gases.

And guess what? The manufacturer is Gray's Harbor Paper manufactured right here in the northwest (Hoquiam, WA). This is a locally owned company that closes the recycling loop by taking our local paper waste and turning it back into paper. I think everyone in the northwest should be buying their paper. Here is a great story about the company and their impact on the community.

Too much of the paper we recycle in the northwest is shipped across the ocean to China where it recycled using dirty coal-fired plants like the one pictured above then shipped back to us at enormous environmental costs. Harbor 100 should be the paper of choice for any northwest firm interested in sustainable economies.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

More Than Money

I was at BGI this weekend where I help teach accounting and finance. Mark Albion, the former Harvard Business School professor, best selling author, and founder of Net Impact was there. I had met Mark before and found his book True to Yourself — Leading a Values-Based Business, and personal life story, inspiring as I ventured out into the real world with my MBA.

Mark's new book is called More Than Money: Questions Every MBA Needs to Answer and he was again talking about the importance of a creating a life of meaning. As an MBA, I have a lucky lottery ticket and the question is, what should I do with my lucky ticket? The cultural expectation is to cash it in for money and status, but is that really fulfilling? To me the answer is no.

Mark told the story of how he used his MBA skills to help a small scale fisherman. You can see that story here in a 3-minute video I hope will prompt some discussion and thought about sustainability, business and life.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Bullish on Sustainable Business

Our accounting firm is in the process of adding staff which means we are growing. As a new firm, it would be hard to get any smaller but still, I remain bullish on the market sectors and business organizations committed to sustainability.

Why in the face of continued negative economic forecasts am I hopeful? Because I know that humans have and will always have an economy and that the green economy is the economy of the future and will continue to grow accordingly.

While the old economy is changing, the leading green edge is vibrant. For example, here is a recent report showing LEED building starts are up five fold. Here is another story about a research report showing that 2009 will be a good year for green IT. I also suspect part of Barack Obama's economic plan will include a huge capital infusion towards building the green economy of tomorrow.

I meet every day with business owners and entrepreneurs. All of them are concerned about the economy while simultaneously excited about the future. Our job, as business leaders, is to remain hopeful and to build the types of triple-bottom line organizations we will need in the emerging economy.