DuPont Packaging Awards Show Sustainability Drives Innovation

DuPont made the announcement of the winners for their 23rd packaging awards yesterday. DuPont packaging awards dates back to 1986. “The awards is the industry’s longest running, global, independently judged celebration of innovation and collaboration throughout the value chain.”

And welcome to social media! Because I learned about it via @DuPont_ability (their witter account for their sustainability news) and the winners was announced through a global webcast.

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DuPont made the announcement of the winners for their 23rd packaging awards yesterday. DuPont packaging awards dates back to 1986. “The awards is the industry’s longest running, global, independently judged celebration of innovation and collaboration throughout the value chain.”

And welcome to social media! Because I learned about it via @DuPont_ability (their witter account for their sustainability news) and the winners was announced through a global webcast.

Continue reading “DuPont Packaging Awards Show Sustainability Drives Innovation”

How Focus on Certainties can help Reinvent, Redefine Your Business, Career

“We are actually within the next 5 years that I would call the great transformation,” says Daniel Burrus in this interview with Dr. Moira Gunn of IT Conversations (Tech Nation). That’s kind of in-your-face prediction. Daniel Burrus is the author of the book “Flash Foresight.” (I haven’t read the book yet. However, listening to this conversation made me want to read it!)

The interview is thought-provoking. It brings certain conditions into perspective. Conditions that can impact the livelihood of either business or individual, if you ‘really’ care about your sustainability as a business or professional. Daniel Burrus, says “the future is where we’re going to spend most of our time.” Why not spend time thinking about it now?

The sure way to predict the future

The sure way to predict the future is by focusing on certainties instead of uncertainties. Things that you know will have bigger impact. For example, what do you think of the use of social technologies, will it go up? Yes or no? Yes, for sure. How about mobility? The number of people who’s buying smart phones? Growing or stagnant? The answer is: it’s growing.

Another one: population growth. According to National Geographic, world’s population soon will reach 7 billion people. Yes, you read that right. 7 billion people living on earth! How will this impact you, your job, your business?

 

http://images.nationalgeographic.com/wpf/sites/video/swf/ngplayer_syndicated.swf

 

The three certainties that can predict the future with accuracy, according to Daniel Burrus:  

1. Demographics

2. Technology 

3. Government regulations

That’s the big three.

Linking certainties with opportunities

There are other certainties that we can think of, i.e. people are living longer, that means we need to save more for retirement, stay healthy, etc. Figure out what this kind of certainty means to you. What are the opportunities if you are a financial professional or if you are in banking? Consumers are demanding more openness, transparency, access to better products, less toxic. If you are in the consumer products and haven’t made the move to clean products yet, this may be the time to create line of new products. Be innovative.

The same thing with access to (or scarcity of) fresh water, for human and business consumption. How does it impact you- say, if your key ingredient is water? You probably will need to start thinking about water efficiency – if you want to stay in business. Where’s the opening for your business? How do you keep the social license?

Some things are certain. The use of smart phones as replacement of a computer. Use of iPad in business. The growing number of users globally using Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social networking sites. More people using social networking tools will have a big impact to anyone, business-wise or career-wise. Do you see how your company might need to have social presence to stay competitive, or even for branding? Do you need to retrain yourself in social media, so you can ‘keep’ your job? Etc. Okay, you get the idea.

That’s just a start.

I’m sure you can think of other certainties in your line of business or job that can help you see the invisible future  through the lens of opportunities.

So start thinking about it…

Once you know what “certain” things are growing in your line of profession or business, you can start envisioning the future and start looking for opportunities. 

Check out the rest: Flash Foresight.

20 Sustainability Learning Resources

FOOD FOR YOUR BRAIN. These are some of the sites where you can learn and dig deeper on sustainability. Whether you’re an employee, business owner, professional, or even executive and career changer, the information available through these sites is priceless. The best part is, most of the resources it’s either available for free or for a small subscription fee.

The resources below provide you with the knowledge, the kind of information that includes things that would affect the sustainability of your business, i.e. climate change, energy efficiency, nature conservation, biodiversity, water efficiency, and more. It is by no means they are the only twenty sources out there. There are literally more than hundreds (probably thousands) sources globally! However, for the purpose of learning, we’re going to start one chunk at a time. It’s good enough to spin your head.

FOOD FOR YOUR BRAIN. These are some of the sites where you can learn and dig deeper on sustainability. Whether you’re an employee, business owner, professional, or even executive and career changer, the information available through these sites is priceless. The best part is, most of the resources it’s either available for free or for a small subscription fee.

The resources below provide you with the knowledge, the kind of information that includes things that would affect the sustainability of your business, i.e. climate change, energy efficiency, nature conservation, biodiversity, water efficiency, and more.  It is by no means they are the only twenty sources out there. There are literally more than hundreds (probably thousands) sources globally! However, for the purpose of learning, we’re going to start one chunk at a time. It’s good enough to spin your head.

Continue reading “20 Sustainability Learning Resources”

The Facts on Water

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Did you know that?

  • Water covers about 70% of the Earth’s surface.
  • Most of this water is undrinkable because 97% is salt water. 
  • Only 1% of water is found in rivers and streams.
  • Approximately 1 billion people do not have access to safe drinking water.
  • About 6,000 children die every day from diseases.
  • Most of the cities where large numbers of people live without taps and toilets have plentiful water supplies.
  • Freshwater fish and other aquatic animals are considerably more imperiled than those that live on land or in the oceans.
  • It takes 1,000 times more water to grow food for an individual than to meet that person’s need for drinking.
  • Irrigation increases yield for most crops by 100 to 400%.
  • About 70% of freshwater withdrawals are used for irrigation. 
  • Water withdrawals for agriculture, assuming no gains in efficiency of use, are expected to increase by 45% by 2030.
  • The earth’s water is finite, but it is infinitely renewable

From Product Water Footprint Assessments [pdf], a report by The Nature Conservancy and Coca Cola

Sustainability for Business: Reason #2

REASON #2: RESOURCE CONSTRAINT

The other week, we talked about the number one reason for business to start thinking about sustainability. That is growing population. Today’s world population is approximately at 6.8 billion people (and counting) with 2 billion people in the emerging middle class.

So we have rising population, increasing living standard and higher resources demand to deal with.

As more people climbing up the middle class ladder consumer consumption also goes up. Higher consumer consumption puts more stress on the existing social and economical infrastructure threatening the supplies of food, natural resources such as fresh water, energy, wood and fish. 

Rising_middle_class

image: World Business Council for Sustainable Development – Vision 2050 [Click on image for larger view]

 

RESOURCES AT RISK

Forget about the demand for fossil-fuel based for awhile. Let’s just see where we get our resources from. Then you understand why we have a big problem.

OIL and GAS

Via McKinsey Quarterly:

Just four countriesIran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and Venezuela hold some 50 percent of known oil and gas reserves. Nationally-owned companies now control 85 percent of them. Many of the key providers are highly exposed to broader political instability, which makes security of supply a major risk

emphasis added

Security of supply affects market pricing.

RAW MATERIALS

Source of materials include whatever nature provide to people and business. Fresh water, fish, food, energy and wood.

Demand vs. supply

According to Global Footprint Network:

In 2006, humanity’s Ecological Footprint worldwide was 17.1 billion hectares (gha); with world’s population at 6.6 billion people the average person’s Footprint was 2.6 global hectares. But there were only 11.9 billion gha of biocapacity available that year, or 1.8 gha per person. This overshoot of approximately 40% means that in 2006 humanity used the equivalent of 1.4 Earths to support its consumption. It took Earth approximately a year and four months to regenerate resources used by humanity (that’s us) in that year. 

emphasis added

To put it in a plain language: We’re screwed! We’ve overdrawn our natural resources. Basically, we are in the red. In monetary language, we spend more than we can afford. We are in deficit.

In graphic, here’s what we’re looking at. 

Humanity_ecological_footprint

If we continue do business-as-usual, we could lose the Earth. We might have to relocate to Mars 🙂

World_ecological_footprint_to_2060

graphic: Global Footprint Network

Continue reading “Sustainability for Business: Reason #2”

Sustainable Development: Eco-Efficiency, Circa 1996

Eco-efficiency is a management philosophy term first coined by World Business Council for Sustainable Development, a CEO-led global organization of some 200 companies dealing with business and sustainable development.

“eco-efficiency is achieved by the delivery of competitively priced goods and services that satisfy human needs and bring quality of life, while progressively reducing ecological impacts and resource intensity throughout the life-cycle to a level at least in line with the Earth’s estimated carrying capacity.” In short, it is concerned with creating more value with less impact.

Take a look at the report below that was written in 1996. Fast forward 14 years – where are we? Well, it’s obvious that we’re not there yet.

Though, as time progresses, more corporations joined WBCSD from 120 to 200 and counting. But, the reality in the sustainable world, change is a slow progress.

Many businesses are still not in the buy-in mode yet – with the concept.

Why not?

I meant, if you look at the seven (7) elements that make up the eco-efficiency strategy, wouldn’t this something that of interest to any kind of business?

The 7 elements of eco-efficiency, via WBCSD:

R – Reduce the material intensity

E – Energy intensity minimized

D – Dispersion of toxic substances is reduced

U – Undertake recycling

C – Capitalized on use of renewables

E – Extend product durability

S – Service intensity increased

Eco-efficiency, embraces other concepts, such as ‘pollution prevention,’ ‘source reduction,’ ‘waste reduction,’ ‘waste minimization,’ and ‘cleaner production.– circa 1996

Because when businesses integrated sustainable development into their overall business strategy, it help them to analyze their resource productivity (energy, raw materials, supply) that improve business performance, and find opportunities.

Isn’t it that what a business want: save money, market share, growth, competitive advantage and profit, no?

Businesses that have implemented eco-efficiency are leaders in their respective industries. A sample of the line up, are companies like Interface, HP, Dupont, SC Johnson, United Technologies Corporation, and more.

It’s just amazing, how this report below prove that this vision of eco-efficient leadership stood to the test of time. (Treat this as an intro).