CRG Sustainable Solutions Leads by Example through Carbonfree® Business Partnership

Our newest Carbonfree® Business Partner, CRG Sustainable Solutions (CRGss) of Memphis, Tennessee, spends each day helping their client organizations create innovative and long-term sustainable business practices.  According to the CRGss website, “Sustainability is about the resources we use every day, and the future that each of us will face. The fate of our earth is up to each of us individually, so every choice we make, we should have tomorrow in mind.” 

CRGss was attracted to the Carbonfree® Business Partnership program as a simple, affordable step they could take as an organization to enhance their own operational sustainability. By neutralizing their estimated annual carbon emissions from general business operations, CRGss is leading in the same area of sustainability on which it advises and guides its clients.   

“We believe that we must begin to respect the planet, and live and conduct business in a manner that does not harm the environment,” explains Anthony Gilbreath, Director of Sustainability Solutions at CRGss, about the decision to become a Carbonfree® Business Partner.  Continue reading

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2014 Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) Reporting Deadlines are Quickly Approaching

The Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) is an international, non-profit organization providing the only global system for companies and cities to measure, disclose, manage and share vital environmental information. They work with market forces to motivate companies to disclose their impacts on the environment and natural resources and take action to reduce them.

If your organization has been invited to report to CDP, you will received an information request and an invitation to activate your online account. All responses to the CDP questionnaire must be submitted through the CDP online response system.

Climate Change Program

CDP’s climate change program works to reduce companies’ greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate climate change risk. CDP believes that improving corporate awareness through measurement and disclosure is vital to the effective management of carbon and climate change risk.

They request information on the risks and opportunities of climate from the world’s largest companies on behalf of 767 institutional investor signatories with a combined US$92 trillion in assets. CDP then provides this information to its 767 institutional investor signatories, as well as distributing it throughout the global market place to increase transparency around climate-related investment risk and commercial opportunity, and drive investments towards a low carbon economy. Continue reading

7 Green Tips for your Garden

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The following tips are from “The Ultimate Guide to Greening your Home”.

There are several benefits of gardening.  In addition to producing nutritious, organic food for you and your family, gardening can also save you money and provide you with a relaxing, rewarding hobby.

✔ Select the location carefully – Selecting the location of your garden is one of the most important decisions you will make during the planning process.  When choosing a location, keep these factors in mind:

  • Select a location that gets several hours of direct sunlight every day.
  • Make sure the location has access to a water hose. Your plants they may need additional watering, especially when they are young.
  • Try to choose a location where the ground is level (not on a gradient), but also drains well).

✔ Grow foods to replace supermarket food – The most direct way to benefit from gardening is to replace the food that you usually buy in supermarkets with food that you grow in your own garden.  The food that you produce can be grown in an organic manner, will be more nutritious and better tasting and will save you money.

✔ Avoid using weed killers – Weeds can be an eyesore as well as a persistent source of additional work.  Although, the use of weed-killers should be avoided in almost all circumstances, especially in the presence of your garden.  Weed-killers contain toxic chemicals that cannot only kill your vegetables, but could find their way into your food and water supply.

To stay on top of your weed situation, consider the following:

  • Don’t disrupt or till unused ground – This will bring seeds to the surface, which given a bit of water and sunlight, will bloom into weeds.
  • Cover bare ground with mulch – Mulch not only helps keep moisture in the soil, but it also helps keep the sun away from the seeds that become weeds.
  • Weed by hand, often and early – By weeding often, you will catch weeds before they have an opportunity to flower (creating more weeds), and you catch them when they are young and easier to remove.

✔ Use organic pest and disease control – There are several effective organic pest and disease control option available at lawn and garden stores.  By using these, you again avoid the use of toxic chemicals.

✔ Grow plants suitable for your climate – Plants suitable for your climate will require less water and fertilizer than nonnative varieties.

✔ Use your own compost – Creating your own compost will not only reduce your household waste stream, but will also provide nutrients for your plants which will help them grow strong and healthy.  The following items can be used to make compost: kitchen waste, lawn clippings, chopped leaves, shredded branches, disease free garden plants, shredded paper, weeds (before they go to seed), straw, hay, newspaper, tea leaves, and coffee grounds.

Creating your own compost is a rather simple process.  You can purchase composting bins at lawn and garden stores, or make your own. Start with a layer of chopped leaves, grass clippings and kitchen waste. Keep adding materials until you have a six-inch layer, then cover it with three to six inches of soil, manure, or finished compost. Alternate layers of organic matter and layers of soil or manure until the pile is about three feet tall. A pile that is three feet tall by three feet square will generate enough heat during decomposition to sterilize the compost.

When your compost is ready, it can be mixed into the soil before planting or applied to the surface of the soil as a mulch. Keep the pile in a semi-shaded area to keep it from drying out too much. Keep it moist, but not wet. Beneficial organisms cannot survive in soggy conditions.

✔ Use organic soil amendments and fertilizers – Use of organic soil amendments and fertilizers avoids the use of toxic chemicals and provides a use for home compost materials.  Organic fertilizers can be found in most lawn and garden stores.

Has your organization had its Annual Sustainability Audit? If not, now is the time.

Memphis, Tennessee – November, 18 2013 – 3BL Media – The end of the year is the perfect time for an organization to conduct a sustainability audit.  Completing an audit at this time of the year provides an organization an opportunity to both reflect on the accomplishments of the current year as well as think about and begin planning goals and initiatives for the coming year.Why a Sustainability Audit?

A sustainability audit takes an inventory of all of the policies, procedures and practices of an organization and compares these to industry best practices.  An audit is both a ‘gap analysis’ and a ‘maturity analysis’ of the sustainability practices of an organization. In other words, it documents ‘what practices are in place’ and ‘to what extent these practices are implemented’ across a wide range of sustainability categories.<pastedGraphic.png>

Below is a list of some of the main functions of a sustainability audit.

1. Compares policies, procedures and practices to Industry Best Practices – This is one of the most important functions of a sustainability audit.  An audit should clearly show where an organization exceeds, meets and does not meet industry best practices across a wide range a sustainability categories.

2. Improves Planning, Structure and Accountability – A sustainability audit helps identify key initiatives and provides a means for accounting for these within a sustainability program.  This assists planning and accountability for sustainability activities across an organization.

3. Identifies New Sustainability Initiatives – A sustainability audit will quickly identify sustainability activities that have either never been considered or have yet to be implemented. 

4. Facilitates ‘Period to Period’ and ‘Business to Business’ Tracking – Once a sustainability audit has been conducted, an organization will have a comprehensive snapshot of all green activities.  If an organization has multiple locations, you now have a tool to compare these using exactly the same criteria.  The same is true about comparing operations from period-to-period.

5. Helps Improves Sustainability Performance – A sustainability audit can help an organization improve its sustainability performance.  It provides critical information that will improve planning, execution and follow-through for a range of initiatives. 

What a Sustainability Audit is Not

A sustainability audit is not an exercise in counting carbon or tallying the financial implications of sustainability initiatives. It is also not an in-depth examination of any specific program of work.  These are all tasks that need to take place after an audit has been conducted.  Only then will it be clear what practices will most benefit an organization.

Benefits of a Sustainability Audit

An organization can expect some great benefits from a sustainability audit.  Below are a list of just a few.

  • Lowers Cost – A sustainability audit helps identify ways to reduce consumption (raw materials, energy) and increase operational efficiency and effectiveness. This results in lower costs.
  • Improves Compliance – The number and complexity of international, national and regional regulations that address the environmental impact of products, services and business activities is increasing. An audit raises awareness of regulations that affect an organization.
  • Helps Lower Reputation Risk – Reputation Risk is defined as any action, event or situation that could adversely or beneficially impact an organization’s reputation. Behind financial and litigation risk, reputation risk in the global marketplace represents the greatest risk to an organization’s long-term success. Being aware of sustainability performance can significantly lower this risk.
  • Provides Competitive Advantage – Sustainable practices can provide an organization significant competitive advantages in the form of improved reputation, lower costs, better compliance, greater levels of innovation and many others.
  • Encourages Innovation – A sustainability audit requires an organization to take a fresh look at how their business is conducted, what resources are used to create their products and services, and how their products and services affect the environment and society once they are sold.  The process of reexamination results in the creation of new ideas and innovations to improve current and future practices.

The CurrentState Sustainability Audit

CurrentState™ is the leading sustainability audit in the market. Based on the Three Tiers of Sustainability™ framework, CurrentState™ is both very comprehensive and easy to use.   The Three Tiers framework organizes sustainability into 3 main categories: Green IT, Business and Facilities. It then further divides these categories into 28 additional sub-categories.  This ensures that no area of sustainability is left unexamined.Difficulty and Expense

CurrentState™ requires the submission of an easy-to-complete survey.  The survey has been specifically designed to be concise yet comprehensive.  CurrentState™ does not require the submission of detailed records or metrics, such as electricity bills, KPI data or carbon counting.  This means that the time needed to submit a survey and receive a Findings Report can take ‘days’, not weeks or months.  This not only saves an organization valuable time, but also significantly lowers costs.  CurrentState™ can provide an organization unsurpassed intelligence on an organization’s sustainability performance at a fraction of the cost of other evaluations.

CurrentState™ Findings Report

The CurrentState™ Findings Report defines in specific terms exactly what tasks an organization needs to complete (Quick Wins) and what policies and procedures an organization needs to consider (Recommendations) in order to improve sustainability performance. In addition, the report contains analysis of each main sustainability category and each sub-category as well as comparison charts and graphs.

A Findings Report can be used as:

  • a blueprint to develop a sustainability program;
  • a way to demonstrate to management, a board or the public an organization’s sustainability progress;
  • a method to identify gaps in an current green efforts;
  • a way to document and track sustainability performance from period to period;
  • a way to determine current sustainability compliance with major international standards and certifications.

Find Out More

To find out more about CurrentState™, please check out our product page.  Alternatively give us a call (901) 766-0880 or send an email to Mary Singer (msinger@crgss.com).  You could be filling out a CurrentState™ survey within minutes! 

 
CurrentState Product Page -> http://crgss.snack.ws/currentstate.html
Sample CurrentState Findings Report -> http://www.flipsnack.com/559DD986AED/ftm0b9mn
CurrentState Testimonials -> http://www.photosnack.com/559DD986AED/phc5eknkContact Information

Mary Singer – CEO

CRG Sustainable Solutions
Telephone: +1 901 766-0880

Email: msinger@crgss.com
Website: http://www.crgss.comAnthony Gilbreath – Sustainability SME

CRG Sustainable Solutions
Telephone: +1 901 766-0880

Email: tgilbreath@crgss.com
Website: http://www.crgss.com

Top 10 Tips for Eating Green

The following in an excerpt from the book “The Ultimate Guide to Greening your Home“.

Making some simple changes to your food buying habits and food choices, can make a significant impact on the environment and your health.  Every food purchase you make is a ‘vote’ on how and where you want your food to be supplied.

✔ Eat less meat – Reducing the amount of animal products in your diet can prevent tons of greenhouse gases from entering the atmosphere. The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) released a report in February of 2009 which concluded that livestock is responsible for 18% of our world global warming emissions. Yearly global meat production is projected to more than double from what it was at the turn of the century by 2050, which will only increase the associated global warming gases.

✔ When buying beef, look for organic and grass fed – Organically raised beef will have significantly lower levels of antibiotics and should have no growth hormones. The raising of grass-fed cows has a much lower environmental impact than that of corn-fed cows.

✔ Buy local foods – Buying food produced locally has several positive effects on the environment and your health.

  • Keeps local farmers working – Buying from a local farmer cuts out the middle man and keeps local farmers working. Investing in the local economy also helps ensure that future generations have access to local, flavorful, and abundant food.
  • Reduces food transportation – Food transportation is one of the largest and fastest-growing sources of greenhouse gas emissions on the planet. Some food items, which could be supplied locally, may travel thousands of miles to reach your supermarket.
  • Provides more nutritious foods – Local food tastes better and is better for you. Produce loses nutrients quickly. Food grown locally was likely picked within the last few days versus the last few weeks or longer. Locally raised meat is typically organic and free from growth hormones and other artificial fillers.

✔ Buy your packaged food in bulk – Buying your packaged food in bulk will reduce the total amount of packaging. Buying in bulk is also usually cheaper than buying small quantities. However, be sure not to buy too much.  If you are not able to eat all the food before its ‘best by’ date, this could result in spoilage or food waste.

✔ Buy FairTrade certified foods – The objective of the FairTrade Mark is to ensure that farmers and workers in developing countries receive a fair price for their products and that the conditions for the production and trade of a product are environmentally responsible. By buying food with the FairTrade mark, you are not only supporting farmers in developing countries, but you are also supporting sustainable farming practices.

✔ Make ocean-friendly seafood choices – Nearly 75% of the world’s fisheries are fished to capacity, or overfished. Our seafood choices have the power to make this situation worse, or improve it.  To avoid the ‘farm raised’ vs ‘wild caught’ question, which can get quite complicated, use a guide published by the Monterey Bay Aquarium at http://montereybayaquarium.com. The recommendation in their Seafood Selector considers the fishery, habitat, species, management, and several other factors to recommend the most sustainable choice.

✔ Before going to the store, plan ahead – Be sure to plan before going to the store to avoid multiple trips.  Also, while creating your shopping list, be sure to do some research on the most sustainable options (so you don’t have to make a quick decision in the store).

✔ Take your own shopping bags – Be sure to take your own shopping bag to the store with you.  Both plastic and paper bags have negative effects on the environment.  Neither paper or plastic is more environmentally friendly than the other, so it is best not to use either. Try to find a durable, reusable shopping bag made from either recycled or natural materials.

✔ If you are not sure where the food is from, ask – Before buying food in a supermarket or in a restaurant, be sure to know where it comes from.  There is a big difference in apples flown in from New Zealand than those raised locally.  If it is not clearly marked, ask.

✔ Look for free-range poultry products – When poultry products are marked as free-range (eggs, chicken, duck, etc.), you will know that they were not raised in inhumane conditions.

5 Tips to Green your Baby’s Nursery

Making sure your nursery is a nontoxic environment is especially important because newborns spend most of their life in the nursery—an average of 16 to 17 hours a day.

The following in an excerpt from the book “The Ultimate Guide to Greening your Home”.

By following the tips below, you can help ensure a safe, eco-friendly environment for your nursery.

✔ Paint with low- or no-VOC latex paint – Painting with low- or no-VOC paint may cost more than conventional paint but it will release fewer or no volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into your home.

Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are emitted as gases from certain solids or liquids including paints. VOCs include a variety of chemicals, some of which may have short and long-term adverse health effects. Concentrations of many VOCs are consistently higher indoors (up to ten times higher) than outdoors.  Continue reading

11 Tips for Green Lawn Care & Landscaping

The following tips are from “The Ultimate Guide to Greening your Home“.

By properly maintaining your lawn & landscaping, you cannot only save on your utility bills, but you can also save water and significantly reduce your family’s possible exposure to hazardous chemicals.

✔ Water wisely – If you need to water your lawn, consider the following tips:

  • Try to water early in the morning.  Watering early in the morning reduces the amount of water lost from evaporation.
  • If you have automatic sprinklers, be sure that all the water is being absorbed and not simply running off.
  • When watering, avoid paved surfaces.
  • Be sure to check your irrigation system for leaks several times during the growing season.
  • Install a evapotranspiration system to help regulate watering.
  • Consider replacing your above ground irrigation system with a subsurface drip system. Subsurface drip systems can be up 90 to 100% efficient. Continue reading