OFS furniture is eco-driven from tree to delivery

September 17, 2021 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

Based out of Huntingburg, IN, with multiple showrooms around the country, furniture manufacturer OFS sets the bar high for sustainable production, protecting the environment and setting an example for other companies.  Not only has OFS earned WELL Platinum certification for its home office, but it takes its environmentally-conscious stance so seriously that it named its sustainability program. Called Common Grounds, in honor of the idea that finding common ground is the basis for meaningful change, the program focuses on greening every step of the business cycle. Related:  Heirloom Design provides furniture that may never see a landfill The process began in the 1950s with the foresight of OFS’ leaders at the time, Phyllis and Bob Menke. Upon noticing the effects of poor forest management in southern Indiana, they established the Indiana Nature Conservancy. This allowed them to acquire land damaged by over-foresting practices. Replanting and maintenance of the forest led to the current 7,100 acres held and monitored by OFS and the Menke family. The land is part of the American Tree Farm program and is Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified.  Jarod Brames, Director of Sustainability for OFS says, “By prioritizing sustainability initiatives, we’re investing in our future. Our company’s leadership has always taken responsibility for the planet, dating all the way back to our inception — well before many others started this focus. It’s something we continue to take very seriously.” OFS is also partnered with One Tree Planted, a nonprofit organization dedicated to global reforestation. Through this association, OFS plants 60,000 trees annually, enough to counterbalance the company’s annual emissions over the lifespan of the  trees . The trees are planted in areas that are actively managed, which helps ensure increased survival rates and lost-tree replacements in a responsible way. The company also places an earth-friendly focus on packaging, using biodegradable foam that keeps furniture safe during shipping, yet reduces to 5% of its size once the unpacking is complete. To keep factory  waste  low, all excess wood chips are saved and stored to use for heat during the winter months. To further control the sustainable aspects of production and delivery, the OFS trucking company called Styline Logistics delivers all OFS furniture products. The company reports, “It has been part of the EPA’s Smartway program for over 17 years and utilizes bio-diesel in its operations.”  While OFS puts a notable emphasis on green production, it also provides a healthy work environment for employees with a central cafe that serves healthy  food  and a gathering space to build relationships.  Building on the belief that green products are the best option for consumers and the planet, OFS continues to meet the increasingly higher expectations within the industry. They achieve this by producing furniture with low emissions and relying on certified  natural materials  such as wood with FSC CoC certification, and BIFMA-level certified products, which is an industry-standard.  “At OFS, we’ve accomplished a lot when it comes to sustainability, but we also realize there’s so much more to do. Climate change is presenting some urgent challenges, and the pandemic has reinforced the importance of human health and well-being, especially in the built environment. As we look to the future, we’re aligning our efforts with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, beginning with Human Health and Well-Being, Responsible Consumption and Production, and Life on Land. These are areas where we can use our experience and unique position as a family-owned company to make the largest impact for our customers, colleagues and communities,” Brames says. For transparency in regards to chemicals in its products, OFS provides Health Product Declarations for the top dozen products in its lineup. However, it admits they are early in the game and promises to continue on its quest to remove harmful chemicals as it becomes aware of them. In addition to chemical content, the team emphasizes long-lasting product design. It works towards ergonomic and durable furniture options that will be around for a long time.  Brames explains, “Our products are crafted to last. The quality materials we use allow our furniture to withstand years and years of use, while still looking and performing at its best. This keeps products out of landfills and reduces the amount of  wood  and other materials used.”  In addition to the WELL-certified buildings, multiple showrooms have earned LEED certification. An event center on-site, called Cool Springs, includes 600-acres dedicated to educating visitors about forest management, the importance of biodiversity and the lifecycle of OFS products, from forest to furniture.  “The act of planting a tree is powerful and symbolic. Trees grow slowly, so we like to think of it as a long-term investment in our future. We invite everyone who tours our Cool Springs retreat and hardwood forest to plant a tree and take part in helping our planet,” Brames finished. + OFS  Images via OFS

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OFS furniture is eco-driven from tree to delivery

Sustainable office renovation in Barcelona earns LEED Gold

September 15, 2021 by  
Filed under Business, Green

Designed by Sanzpont Arquitectura, this sustainable renovation completely transformed a 1970s office building in Barcelona,  Spain . The project, a new headquarters of the Naturgy Group, overcame several structural obstacles to achieve LEED Gold certification. The building includes a main facade with large windows for ample  natural light . A series of photocatalytic krion 3D modules also give the building the ability to purify the air. The south facade incorporates photovoltaic louvers to protect from the sun in the summer while generating clean energy. According to the designers, the louvers generate enough energy to power 1,562 points of light for four hours a day for up to 35 years. Related: This O-shaped tower will reduce solar gain by 52% The building also has a large portion of its roof dedicated to a  natural green space . Landscapers incorporated drought-tolerant native plant species that provide extra insulation, improve the microclimate and help reduce solar gain. How did the architects develop such a sustainable design? To start, they conducted a detailed study of the area’s climate and environment to determine the characteristics of the building and how it responds to its surroundings throughout the year. The project was also designed using the latest BIM cloud technology to create virtual models of architecture, engineering,  interior design  and the urban environment before bringing the project to fruition. One of the challenges presented to the designers was the existing structure’s insufficient pre-existing floor heights and deformed slabs. The original use for the building was limited to housing — with structural regulatory requirements far below that of modern constructions. The building was changed from housing to offices by modifying and eliminating patios and adding access ramps to the basements. New supports were added, such as an emergency staircase and a new foundation. At 7,000 square meters in size, the newly renovated building also uses  carbon fiber  to reinforce concrete slab ribs and pillars.  + Sanzpont Arquitectura  Images by Sergio Sanz (courtesy of Sanzpont)

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Sustainable office renovation in Barcelona earns LEED Gold

14 eco-friendly van life essentials every vanlifer needs

September 15, 2021 by  
Filed under Eco, Green, Recycle

Whether you’re hitting the trail for a weekend trip or committing to van living, there are some items you need to make your time more enjoyable. These eco-friendly van life essentials will keep you comfortable and help reduce your environmental footprint. Wildland Coffee Minimize the coffee -making supplies required for your cup of joe with Wildland’s Coffee in a Tea Bag. This convenience produces your morning brew in five to eight minutes. Simply prepare it as you would tea; drop the compostable coffee bag into hot water and allow it to steep. Conscientious coffee lovers will appreciate that Wildland Coffee uses ethically sourced beans from Brazil. Related: Couple turns old van into home-on-wheels for just $1K Layover travel blanket A light, packable blanket can go where you go. At only 11.4 ounces, the Layover by start-up Gravel will clip on to your day pack or stash away in the van with packed measurements of about 5 inches by 7 inches. Even better, the compressible insulation is made up of 100% recycled PET plastic. Allez Another ethically sourced essential, Allez uses plant-based ingredients for natural cleansing. The cloths are biodegradable , compact, lightweight and handmade in the U.S.A. Through a partnership with Purchase to Protect, Allez has stewarded over eight acres of protected rock climbing areas. Bee’s Wrap There’s no reason to fill your drawers (or your garbage can) with plastic wrap. Instead, grab some Bee’s Wrap for your food storage needs. The wraps are compact, come in a variety of sizes and reduce  waste . Bee’s Wrap is made in the U.S. from certified organic cotton, responsibly sourced beeswax, certified organic plant oils, and tree resin. Mioeco reusable towels Skip single-use paper towels and napkins in favor of bleach-free, organic cotton reusable ‘ unpaper ’ towels. The GOTS-certified material is produced via carbon-neutral,  solar-powered  manufacturing too. Osprey Arcane bag Adventure requires gear. Whether heading to the library for research on your next destination or packing up for a week in the wild, the Osprey Arcane series has you covered with bags that keep your smaller items organized and your essentials close at hand. Every bag is constructed from 100% recycled polyester fabric made from water bottles and offers a lifetime repair guarantee. Big Potato Games We all need a little entertainment in our lives, so when choosing games for your limited space, look to Big Potato Games , a brand dedicated to using the smallest box possible for space efficiency in shipping and storage. The company has also implemented a  plastic -free initiative, aiming to make 64% of its games plastic-free by the end of the year. Plus, the brand plants one tree for each game sold, supporting mangrove trees in Madagascar and working toward reforestation in Mozambique and Kenya. Plants Speaking of trees, your van life also needs some greenery, so select a cute flower pot and a favorite  plant  to hang indoors during your journey. Succulents are a resilient and popular choice that will brighten up any space. Reli. biodegradable trash bags Although you may be close to zero waste, it seems there’s always some trash to deal with. When the need calls, ‘ Reli ’ on biodegradable bags that break down in the landfill after being exposed to soil, air and  water .  All-natural sponges Even if you move all your belongings into a van, cleaning is still part of life, unfortunately. When choosing tools for the job, go with  natural materials . Standard sponges are often made using polyester or nylon, which is not recyclable or biodegradable. In contrast, Helping Out Mother Earth sponges are all-natural. Bite Toothpaste Continue your zero waste journey with toothpaste bits that come in a reusable glass jar instead of a tube. Bite Toothpaste Bits are made with natural, plant-based ingredients, and refill packs are made from 100% biodegradable cellulose. Wood utensils Food tastes better in nature, and cooking is better for the planet when you eliminate plastic from the process. Stock up on bamboo cooking utensils, or sets made of sustainably sourced wood.  Canning jars You may not be canning jam or salsa, but canning jars are the ideal storage device throughout the entire van. Use half-pint jars for herbs and spices and larger jars for nuts and seeds. Outside the kitchen, use a jar to store cotton balls and swabs, make an easy toothbrush holder or pot plants. Clothing  A minimalist van lifestyle means choosing quality over quantity, especially when it comes to clothing . Whether you’re dressing for work or the mountain, look for natural materials that will biodegrade back into the soil at the end of the piece’s usable life. Brands like prAna, Patagonia, Tentree, and Cotopaxi can get you started. Reviewing the essentials Wildland Coffee and Allez sent sample products for me to try out. Although I haven’t moved into van life quite yet, it’s on my radar. I am an avid backpacker and camper , however, so both products are a good lifestyle match. The Wildland Coffee is a ‘wild’ idea. I typically go with French press or drip when I have room. When I don’t, I use a funnel and an unbleached coffee filter that I bury afterward. But a simple tea bag in hot water is brilliant and simplifies the process immensely. It doesn’t get any easier to make a cup of coffee. The flavor is described as chocolatey and creamy. I wouldn’t say there’s that level of complexity, but it’s worlds better than instant coffee (yuck!), and the flavors are mild and well-balanced. I would be grateful to have this brew as part of my backpacking wake-up call. The Allez wipes are ultra-convenient, especially considering space and weight constraints when backpacking. I was shocked at the generous size. They’re very thick, too. I think I could wipe down my car with these things, so they can certainly handle anything nature throws my way. Better yet, they didn’t leave my skin feeling stripped like a lot of wipes do. I’m extremely sensitive to scents, so the Cactus Bloom and Chaparral scent was a little strong for me. That said, my husband’s sniff test didn’t find it to be overpowering, and he really enjoyed using the cleansing cloths himself. Images via Wildland Coffee, Allez, Osprey, Lindsay McCormick , Pixabay , and Dawn Hammon / Inhabitat 

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14 eco-friendly van life essentials every vanlifer needs

A Standard for Net Zero

September 15, 2021 by  
Filed under Business, Green

In the last year, a wave of companies have committed to “net zero.” But what does being a net zero business mean in practice? There isn’t yet an agreed-upon standard; in the fervor to get going, some are misusing the term. At Watershed, we think it’s important to maintain a high bar. In this piece, we share how companies can achieve true net zero: measure emissions across the entire value chain, reduce carbon as much as possible, and remove the rest. Net zero companies aim to achieve for their own business what the world must accomplish to beat climate change. Fundamentally, net zero is not an accounting exercise—it’s an imperative to think big on climate. 

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A Standard for Net Zero

The space-age tech we need to save our planet

September 15, 2021 by  
Filed under Business, Green

Sponsored: We are still woefully uninformed about our oceans. Researchers at KAUST are pushing the boundaries of what’s technologically possible.

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The space-age tech we need to save our planet

Going the Distance – Charting the Journey to Net Zero

September 14, 2021 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

Climate change isn’t a future problem — the crisis is already here. Extreme weather and rising temperatures pose grave risks to our communities and environment, forcing relocation or migration, causing billions of dollars of damage to infrastructure, triggering severe water scarcity, wiping out natural habitats and putting endangered species at risk. Climate change also poses risks for business, from physical health and safety risks to financial risks. Its implications are interlinked and can pose multifaceted risk across environmental, economic, social and technological aspects throughout industries. The climate risk is urgent and the time to act is now. More and more companies are stepping up their efforts and are committing to reaching net zero emissions. But while the business case for decarbonization and net zero is clear, there is no standardized path to reach this destination. To help businesses kickstart the journey to net zero, we’ve defined the net zero mindset, outlined the core challenges that must be addressed to succeed, and laid out a roadmap for how to get started with corporate net zero strategies.

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Going the Distance – Charting the Journey to Net Zero

Navigating the Decarbonization Journey

September 13, 2021 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

For the global business community, decarbonization is an economic imperative. Investors expect it, regulators require it, and customers demand it. The world must be carbon neutral by 2050, and multinational corporations have a key role to play in achieving that outcome. But while the call to decarbonize is clear, large corporations often face a web of overlapping challenges when getting started. Barriers include a lack of subject matter expertise and technical proficiency, challenges in shifting to circular business models, disparate data sets, supply chain complications, and high capital requirements. In addition, there’s an urgent need to align with evolving business principles, including agility, circularity, connectedness, transparency, operational efficiency, resilience, and social equity.  As the world moves toward a carbon-free future, corporations are no longer asking if, when, or why to decarbonize. They’re asking how. Guidehouse’s report, Navigating the Decarbonization Journey, explores the challenges multinational corporations face and offers success strategies for those looking to transform their operations as quickly and as profitably as possible.  Download the report now to learn the shared success factors that are emerging from current decarbonization efforts, and how those principles can be applied to help corporations navigate their toughest decarbonization challenges.

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Navigating the Decarbonization Journey

California climate policy at risk in recall election

September 10, 2021 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

California may risk its climate reform progress in the upcoming recall elections. On September 14, California residents will vote to either affirm Governor Gavin Newsom or elect a new governor. Many worry that a loss for Newsom would prove detrimental to both the state and national fights against climate change. For a long time, California has positioned itself as a leader in the fight against climate change . Past governors such as Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jerry Brown, and Newsom have enacted some substantial regulations to phase out fossil fuels. These gains may be lost if climate change deniers take office. Related: Petaluma becomes first US city to ban new gas stations Climate-friendly policies enacted by the past three regimes include shifting away from natural gas in home heating, limiting tailpipe pollution from cars and trucks, and requiring utilities to source 100% of their electricity from clean energy by 2045. California’s Air Resources Board has also been ordered to lower statewide emissions to 40% below 1990 levels by 2030. Election rules state that if 50% of voters choose to recall, Newsom will lose his position as governor. In that case, the seat would go to whichever candidate earned the most votes, even if they didn’t get the majority of votes. Polls in the past week suggest growing support for Newsom. However, some remain skeptical due to competition. The leading Republican candidate, according to polls, is Larry Elder, a conservative radio host who has said that “ global warming alarmism is a crock.” Behind Elder is Republican businessman John Cox, who claims California’s climate policies are detrimental to the economy. Richard Frank, a professor of environmental law at the University of California, Davis, says “There’s the real potential for a huge shift in direction,” if Newsom loses the election. “California has had substantial influence over the direction of climate policy both nationally and internationally, and that could easily wane,” he added. Via The New York Times Lead image via Pixabay

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California climate policy at risk in recall election

NOMA Collectives Joshua Tree Edit highlights global artisans

September 8, 2021 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green, Recycle

California-based NOMA Collective, the brainchild of  interior designer  and creative director Rebecca Haskins, partners with craftspeople from places like Guatemala, Mexico, India and Sub-Saharan Africa to connect lesser-known global artisans with conscious consumers. Seeking out women’s cooperatives, small family-run businesses and individual artists, the company can provide unique pieces that are not only made using traditional, generations-long crafting techniques but also made one at a time by hand. All products are  fair trade  through ethical work environments and crafted using locally sourced materials, many of which are natural or recycled. Already the collective features gifts and home decor such as baskets, blankets and throws, pillows, rugs, napkins and hand towels, amongst others. Related: GlobeIn offers unique, handmade items from around the globe NOMA’s latest collection is inspired by the shapes, textures and colors of the desert — specifically  Joshua Tree National Park  in southeastern California. This area is known for its pastel sunsets and vast stretches of arid desert landscape, dotted with a variety of cacti, succulents and spikey Joshua “trees” (which aren’t really trees but rather plants more closely related to the yucca family). Dubbed the Joshua Tree Edit, the collection features pops of greens, blues and light pinks akin to that of the West Coast desert setting. Among the collection are the Santiago Blankets in both navy and grey colors and a pair of thick wool throws that come from the mountain region of Momostenango, Guatemala. The  wool  is locally sourced and spun by hand on an antique wooden spinning wheel before being dyed using non-toxic dyes, a process that can take up to four days to complete. The collection also includes several baskets, like the Abaco Hamper, which is hand weaved using reduced strips of  recycled plastic  in the West African nation of Senegal. There are also decorative bowls, like the Ivy Wooden Bowl carved by artisans in remote Rwanda. + NOMA Collective Photographs courtesy of Charlotte Lea

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NOMA Collectives Joshua Tree Edit highlights global artisans

Why family businesses are positioned to lead on ESG

September 8, 2021 by  
Filed under Business, Green

Many family businesses have yet to make an explicit stand on environmental, social and governance goals, but their long-term view on value creation is changing the equation.

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Why family businesses are positioned to lead on ESG

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