Fran's Clean Cars Rule!

Senator Pavley with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson at White House announcement of new federal emission standard for cars based on Pavley's bill.

Picture Gallery Here >>>

California's 2002 law, AB 1493 by then Assemblymember Fran Pavley, (now Senator Pavley), allows California to enact and enforce emissions standards to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from automobiles. But we had to fight for that right.

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who has been one of the biggest champions of the law, if not the biggest,  had this to say after the Obama Administration announced it has adopted a clean cars rule modeled after California's first-in-the-nation vehicle emissions standard:

"Thanks to the leadership of the White House, the federal government is following California's example and announcing tough national standards for cleaner cars. These new nationwide standards will drive car companies to provide cleaner automobiles that will create jobs and save consumers money at the pump. This is not only great news for consumers who will see a wider choice of clean, efficient cars in their showrooms, but also for all Americans who will see lower emissions, better environmental protection and greater energy security."

Since taking office, the Governor has aggressively pursued the enforcement of California's 2002 law, AB 1493 by then Assemblymember (now Senator) Fran Pavley, which allows California, independent of the Federal Government,  to enact and enforce emissions standards to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from automobiles. The state filed a lawsuit against the U.S. EPA in 2008 to overturn its decision denying California's waiver request to enforce the state's emission standards after the California Air Resources Board requested the waiver in 2005. The U.S. EPA granted California's waiver in June 2009.  For a complete chronology on the bill, Click HERE >>>.

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A Responsibility Revolution Extra: The Truth About Transparency

Guest Post from Jeffrey Hollender & Bill Breen

Timberland CEO Jeffrey Swartz and CSR Strategy Manager Beth Holzman: The Truth About Transparency A Responsibility Revolution Extra


 During the two years they spent writing The Responsibility Revolution, authors Jeffrey Hollender and Bill Breen conducted an intensive series of interviews at key companies on the leading edge of the corporate responsibility movement. In this bonus excerpt from Bill’s conversations with Timberland CEO Jeffrey Swartz and Timberland CSR Strategy Manager Beth Holzman, they share some of the additional insights and perspectives these encounters provided.



No company can claim to be authentically responsible if it doesn’t dare to get a little naked. Radical transparency—revealing your good, bad, and ugly impacts on society and the environment—is the first step toward turning critics into collaborators and collectively inventing aggressive ways to operate sustainably. As we show in The Responsibility Revolution, few publicly traded enterprises have done as much as the Timberland Company to innovate around transparency.


Along with Nike and Gap, Timberland was among the first big brands to reveal the locations of its suppliers’ factories and open them up to outside scrutiny. More recently, Timberland developed its Green Index, modeled on a nutrition label, which rates many of the company’s hiking boots and shoes on their environmental impact. There’s also the quarterly phone dialogs with CEO Jeffrey Swartz, in which callers query him about hot-button issues like eco-labeling and sustainable sourcing, and many more strategies for building a glass house.


When Bill Breen and I reviewed his interviews with Swartz, and other corporate-responsibility execs, we found that they’d dug into five essential truths about transparency. Each comes through hard-won experience.


Transparency is often irritating, difficult, and scary.


Swartz: Our efforts to be more transparent around our good and bad impacts on society and the environment started with the disingenuous discourse between activists and brands about where our factories are located. It was kind of a silly argument. It’s not hard to figure out where 300 million shoes are manufactured in China. Ten minutes with a phone book would give you the addresses. I didn’t want to have that conversation. And the best way to not have the conversation was to simply reveal the damn locations.


Holzman: When it came to releasing our factories’ locations, our biggest fear was that it might reveal secrets to our competitors, or they might learn of factories that they hadn’t considered sourcing from. But by 2005, the truth was inescapable: If we really are trying to improve the conditions in these factories and build trust with the stakeholders who are our biggest critics, we need to put it all out there.


Transparency starts conversations, which spurs collaboration.


Swartz: The important thing wasn’t the factories’ locations. The important question was the next question, Should [activists] see how these factories operate? That’s a good idea. Because once inside, they’d see that factories are dirty, smelly, noisy, and sometimes dangerous. I wouldn’t be in them unless I had made a judgment that I could defend to my kids. But the solutions to improving factory conditions are nowhere near as simple as we’d like them to be. Innovation can come from any seat in the orchestra, and by creating more of a three-dimensional dialogue with outside groups, we open up real opportunities for innovation that we wouldn’t otherwise capture.


Holzman: As it turned out, our competitors were in many of the very same factories that we were in. So we began to pool our resources to work collectively to improve conditions, instead of working individually on a one-off basis. For example, we’ve collaborated with Levi-Strauss and other brands on auditing the factories that we collectively source from. This frees up resources for our assessors and the factory management to focus on longer-range challenges, such as developing worker-training opportunities and upgrading management systems. The resulting improvements inevitably impact conditions on the factory floor.


Transparency depends on data.


Swartz: To be more transparent, you first need to gather lots of information. If you look at the environmental footprints we have in manufacturing only footwear, the volume of what we’ve learned—in an effort to go back to activists to say here’s what we know—has amazed us at almost every turn. 


Gary Hirshberg first alerted us to the fact that we were wasting time looking inside our factories, that in terms of our environmental impact it’s all about the cows. Methane emissions from cows are our single biggest source of greenhouse gas, by far. The problem is, nobody slaughters a cow for its hide.  They slaughter it for its meat. The hide and especially the leather that goes into our boots is a derivative product. But still, we have a derivative responsibility. Cows emitting methane might be only 20% of our problem, but we need to be accountable for our entire supply chain, from cows in the field to shipping the final product.


Timberland is not a cow company; it’s a shoe company. But it turns out that the best way for us to be a more sustainable company is to innovate around the cows—to find ways to use less leather.


Holzman: We had a lot of pressure from stakeholders on leather.  So we needed to have a lot more transparency around where that leather comes from and how it’s procured and tanned, since there’s a lot of chemicals and processes involved. As a result, we are now working with several other brands through the Leather Working Group to establish better protocols and measurements. If you don’t have the data and you don’t have those deep partnerships, your transparency initiative won’t win much credibility.


Transparency promotes accountability.


Swartz: I got the idea for the design of our Green Index labels from the signage at Whole Foods. The signs were very simple in their assertions: Here’s where this produce comes from. Here’s why it’s organic. I thought, Why can’t we put some kind of signage or label on our products, as a way to show their environmental impact? All the regulatory folks at Timberland told me my idea was dumber than dirt. We’d be admitting that we pollute, that we aren’t good at what we do. They argued that we don’t have a legal requirement to disclose, so why do it? But I believe naively that if you tell the truth, most people will applaud.


Holzman: The Green Index is obviously an eco-label that communicates to the consumer, Here’s this product’s environmental footprint. But the Index is even more of a tool for our designers. By publicly scoring the environmental impact of our products, the Index pushes designers to choose raw materials that go into the product, such as organic cotton, that are less harmful. That visibility makes all of us at Timberland accountable; it’s a powerful incentive for promoting sustainability.


Transparency is a potent competitive weapon.


Swartz: When we say that 5% of our energy is renewable, were also admitting that 95% of our energy isn’t. So I asked our team, How does that 5% compare to Nike? Their answer: there’s no way to know. My reply: There’s one way to know, let’s put the number on a label, and if consumers decide that that’s important, Nike will have to tell them.


Now, Nike is competitive, and they won’t want to disclose their energy from renewables unless it’s at least 1% higher than ours. Putting the label on our products is not about the consumer. Because honestly, the amount of pushback from the consumer has been minimal. But as an action-forcing mechanism inside our industry, it’s been dramatic. If Nike gets to 6% renewable, we won’t have a problem as long as we get to 7%. In other words, transparency can force all of us to try to get from 5% to 15% to 50% renewable energy. That’s a conversation that couldn’t have been forced until the motivation was market-based.


At the end of the day, if the consumer doesn’t care about this, it won’t work. But the consumer is really a proxy to spur the industry to push the envelope on sustainability.



Jeffrey Hollender and Bill Breen are co-authors of the recently published book, The Responsibility Revoluti Bill Breen is the Editorial Director, and Jeffrey Hollender is the Co-Founder and Executive Chair of Seventh Generation. Jeffrey is also the author of The Inspired Protagonist, a leading blog on corporate responsibility.


Recycle, Reuse, Rejoice!


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Marriott's Green Keys And 47 Million Recycled Pens

At the recently concluded Globe 2010 Conference, one of the topics discussed was “Consumption and Retail.” David Cheesewright, CEO of Wal-Mart, Canada, pointed out that a philosophy of “buy less” isn't one that will resonate all that well with retailers...or consumers. Still though, as Jeffrey Hollender, CEO of 7th Generation, the Vt.-based poster child of sustainable corporations, said, there truly can be a path followed of “how to be a less bad business.”

Marriott's Green Keys, literally...

Marriott International has come up with a way to combine consumption with their environmental standard of doing business and they've done so by putting their sheer weight in numbers and purchasing power in practice by purchasing sustainably.

Greener key cards. Marriott has “unlocked” the door to a greener hotel stay by purchasing 24 million key cards made of 50 percent recycled material, saving 66 tons of plastic from being dumped in the landfill.

Marriott International and its sister property, Renaissance Hotels, spend about $10 billion each year buying products and services for its more than 3,500 hotels around the world. “Recognizing this purchasing power, we’ve teamed up with our vendors to introduce these 'greener' solutions at no extra cost.”

Recycled pens. The 47 million pens that Marriott purchases for its guest and meeting rooms in the U.S. and Canada are made of 75% recycled material.

The Inn & Conference Center by Marriott, at the University of Maryland in D.C., earned its U.S.G.B.C. LEED certification thereby distinguishing it as the first environmentally-friendly hotel and conference center in the U.S. Marriott's Headquarters, also in D.C., was the first site in the D.C. area to introduce Connect by Hertz which makes SmartWay cars available for employees who use public transportation or carpool for their use during the day.

Conferences and meetings are two areas Marriott International has focused considerable attention on in terms of waste, energy and carbon footprint reduction. It has been awarded more Energy Star labels than any other hotel company and it has committed to reducing greenhouse gases by 40,000 tons annually.

The average meeting at a Marriott Hotel:

Has 1,000 attendees, spans 3 days, produces 12 tons of trash, uses 200,000 kilowatts of power and 100,000 gallons of water. Here are some best practices Marriott has put in place to lighten that waste, energy and carbon load:

  • 100 % post-consumer fiber writing pads
  • Meeting rooms set with pitchers of water rather than bottled water
  • Bic Ecolutions pens made from recycled content and biodegradable ink
  • Access to recycling containers in or near meeting rooms
  • Boxed lunches in recyclable containers including biodegradable cutlery, kits and napkins
  • Organic, sustainable and natural food and beverage options including Fair Trade teas, coffee and chocolate options for meeting rooms.
  • Banquet buffet tables go linenless and are made of 49% recycled aluminum and are 99% recyclable
  • Safe-to-donate food given to designated food banks

Marriott's Green Meetings and Conferences

When you stop to realize that we need 11 earths to sustain our current level of consumption habits in North America, all these shifts help and help considerably. Consumer behavior change is key.

Marriott's Four Green Keys designation also earned its being chosen as an Olympic Family Hotel – the IOC stayed at the downtown Vancouver property as well as the Olympic Broadcasting Service. At that property, they have switched out all the TV sets to energy efficient TVs, they compost and donate that to urban gardens, and they use biodegradable cleaning supplies. They're also nestled up against the water and overlook Stanley Park, two inspirational landscapes that nature freely displays. “Vancouver is already a natural beauty destination,” is a pervasive feeling visitors to the city are easily overcome with.

Kodak Theater, Hollywood, Adjacent to Renaissance Hotel

In Hollywood, the Renaissance Hotel abuts the Kodak Theater, home to the annual Academy Awards, and therefore the ready choice of accommodation for attending guests, family and friends.

A few more things they've shifted with their Marriott purchasing muscle:

Low VOC Paint. Marriott buys nearly one million gallons of paint that are low in Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC), which are safer and less polluting.

Eco-pillows. Marriott began replacing last year the 100,000 synthetic pillows that it purchases with those filled with material made from recycled bottles.

Coreless toilet paper. By the beginning of April, 2010, 500 hotels will offer “coreless” toilet paper, thereby eliminating 2 million cores a year, saving about 119 trees, nearly 3 million gallons of water, and 21 tons of packaging waste annually.

Earth-friendly towels. The one million towels Marriott purchases in North America don’t need to be pre-washed, thanks to a unique manufacturing process, saving six million gallons of water.

We were assured by Marriott that they are “happy to look at fresh ideas.” We've got three for them: Uniforms could be made from eco-textiles; In-room bath amenities could be organic and packaged in recyclable containers; Bathrobes could be made out of organic cotton or another eco-friendly fabric.

When you're talking about quantities like 47 million pens, these are no small green things.

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Earth Awards, Calling All Entries!

By Marissa Moss

Calling all sustainable designers – The Earth Awards wants you! The 2010 Earth Awards are on a global mission to discover creative and sustainable design solutions and innovations and bring international attention to the designers who created them. The grand prizewinner receives $50,000 and category winners take home $10,000, so if you think you make the cut you must submit your designs by May 10th. The six entry categories are: built environment, fashion, products, systems, future and social justice. Submissions must also meet the following criteria: achievable, scalable, measureable, useful, original and ecological. The 2009 winner is Neri Oxman, founder of Materialecology, an “interdisciplinary design research initiative at the interface between science, art and design. Submit your design and find more information at The Awards will take place in London on September 16, 2010.

Submissions Deadline: May 17, 2010

Marissa Moss is a public relations consultant for GriffinSchake based in NYC. She is also a freelance journalist.

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Where The Puck Are We Going?

I guess it could be said that at last week's Globe 2010 Conference, people were watching their p's and q's...and f's...and still finding a way to tell it.

One of the most heartening awakenings to come out of the conference was to see corporate leadership acknowledge the fact that we can't solve these problems with the same minds that created them.


Nicholas Parker, Executive Chairman, Cleantech Group LLC, based out of San Francisco stated that, yes, much of these issues of fuel efficiency, GHG emission reduction and Climate Change are questions of technology. “The technology is interpersonal neurobiology.” [Meaning the way we think.] “This is the technology. [here he tapped his forehead] We're not going to solve the problems with the minds that created them.”

He added that we need “hypergrowth in happiness.”

“Climate change is not a problem. It's a symptom of a problem. We have an accounting problem. We're liquidating the assets of our resources and calling it income...The failure to imagine the future is what's getting us here. If you don't know where you're going, how can you get there? So, where the puck are we going?” he asked the large audience assembled to hear him and others speak on the Town Hall panel. “We are going to look back in 30-40 years and see that this was a much easier problem to solve than we thought. We need to think along the lines of an abundance economy and we need to be inclusive.”

Joining him in the discussion was David Runnalls, President and CEO, International Institute for Sustainable Development, Ottawa, Canada, “The fact is we don't have much time. We have to make a major dent in GHG emissions by 2020. 2050 is too easy a goal because we'll all be dead by then. We have to get going on this idea and do something with it. We can't just fiddle around with it.”

Stay tuned for Globe 2012

Tony Manwaring, CEO of Tomorrow's Company, London, UK noted the instability that comes from the world heating up – food scarcity issues, national security. He defined a green economy as one where “economic, social, spiritual and environmental capital are valued.”

He stated that “two years ago [the Globe Conference is every two years] we were talking about getting real. We need to bring the future into the present.” He shared that he missed his kids. An interesting point given that most of the panels were dominated by male speakers with a light sprinkling of the occasional woman and no kids were featured. Given that we are discussing to ad nauseum the future of the Earth's resources, it would make sense to include in that discussion some of the people who will be around living on it. Or is that just my particular brand of logic?

Manwaring continued by pointing out that there needs to be established relationships between government, business and civil society. Runnalls chimed in noting that there is a false dichotomy of top-down or bottom-up instigation for change and shift. He called out the “constipation of the international process. Sooner or later we have to come to an international agreement to reduce GHG emissions that has a greater amount of equity globally.”

On another panel, “Now What? Dialogue On Implications For Business From Cop 15,” Graeme Sweeney, Exec. VP, CO2, Shell International Petroleum Co., Ltd. noted that “This is an AND conversation. Not a dialectic. It's not governments or corporations. It's governments and corporations.”

Speaking on the same topic, Dan Hendrix, Pres. And CEO of Interface Inc. showed some empathy for the little guy when he said that, “The reason why companies don't get on board with it is because the CEO doesn't get on board with it. And you have to have a board [of directors] that goes along with it. Interface is now the darlings of Wall Street – because we're green!” His lieutenant, Dianne Dillon-Ridgley spoke at the women's networking luncheon, as well.

Fast forward to Friday, the final day of the conference, back at the Town Hall Meeting. Moderator Christopher Henderson, Pres. Lumos Energy, Ottawa, inspired attendees when he said that “We're going to make our luck today.” He also posed the challenge, “What are you going to take away from the conference? What are you going to do on Monday?”

British Columbia's Minister of State for Climate Action, John Yap stated that it's all about choices. “Green is mainstream,” he said, “Climate change is the challenge of our generation.” He cited the example of a new condo development in Victoria that is using geothermal energy for its power infrastructure, thereby significantly lowering its carbon footprint. “The consumers who choose those condos will be paying for the geothermal rather than, for example, granite kitchen countertops. Choices. It's about choices.”

*Note: Christopher Henderson's book on First Nation's Energy Rights is due out in August. The book discusses his area of expertise which is “legal proceedings and aboriginal rights” as they pertain to land holdings and renewable energy sources.

Read More Here >>> Green Oil And The Globe

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