How sustainability vets align their work-life identities

August 10, 2020 by  
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How sustainability vets align their work-life identities Ellen Weinreb Mon, 08/10/2020 – 01:00 As our professional colleagues in the Sustainability Veterans group expressed their sense of overwhelm and concern around the coronavirus pandemic and Black Lives Matter, we also reflected on how it relates to our lives, and vice versa. Sustainability Veterans is a group of professionals who have had leadership roles in corporate sustainability. We are now exploring new ways to further engage and make a difference by bringing together our collective intellectual, experiential, emotional and social capital — independent from any individual company — to help the next generation of sustainability leaders achieve success. To that end, we asked our vets to offer a succinct response to this question: The sustainability profession includes an identity that extends outside the workplace as much as inside the workplace. How does that play out in your personal life, in ways good and bad, and how has that affected you?  Their answers covered stories of leadership, perspective and passion. Here’s what they had to say: Understanding what matters most: Organizations ask employees to leave their personal passions at the door and pick them up on the way home. I was very fortunate to take my love of the environment and lead sustainability. However, I quickly learned that everyone was starting from a different place. Coffee and conversations about what mattered most personally and professionally helped me understand where sustainability could be an enabler and offer an invitation to their own sustainability learning journey. — Mark Buckley is founder of One Boat Collaborative and former vice president of sustainability at Staples. Sustainability is everyone’s job : Many saw me as the corporate “queen of green,” resulting in funny, and occasionally frustrating, encounters. Funny: I’d endure good-natured teasing from coworkers (“How many trees are you killing, Jackie?”), and others would hide their single-use water bottles or apologize for other eco-indiscretions. Frustrating: Some people thought sustainability was someone else’s job. I had to consistently educate others in the company that sustainability is everyone’s job (and show up early to run large print jobs!). — Jacqueline Drumheller evolved her career in corporate environmental compliance to a role launching and spearheading Alaska Airlines’ formal sustainability program. A welcome surprise: Becoming a spokesperson for a company was a surprise part of the role of chief responsibility officer, but a welcome surprise. It introduced me to so many passionate, knowledgeable people. I learned so much from them and am eternally grateful for the opportunity. — Trisa Thompson is a lawyer and former Dell Technologies’ chief responsibility officer. Walking the talk : I’m glad to have insights that should inform my behavior, but I don’t always succeed. Then I castigate myself and worry my peers are judging me. Even harder is walking the line between providing useful information and being sanctimonious when trying to educate others. I try to remember to be gentle with myself and with others! — Kathrin Winkler is former chief sustainability officer for EMC, co-founder of Sustainability Veterans and editor at large for GreenBiz. Power of individual actions: As a sustainability professional, I have observed how individual actions can lead to significant outcomes. In the workplace, I oversaw the activities of many employees who brought their passion, knowledge and energy to help build impactful social and environmental programs. I am committed in my personal life to leveraging my own individual power and encouraging those around me to make a positive difference in the world. — Cecily Joseph is the former vice president of corporate responsibility at Symantec. She serves as chair of the Net Impact board of directors and expert in residence at the Presidio Graduate School. Work on behalf of others : Sustainability professionals should expect to live public lives. As we work across competing positions and underlying social, political and economic interests, our honesty, reliability and personal behaviors become transparent and essential to the work. Our relationships are as important — or perhaps even more important — than our technical skills and knowledge. Our work is on behalf of others rather than ourselves, forging trusting relationships within and outside of our organizations. — Bart Alexander is former chief corporate responsibility officer at Molson Coors. He consults on leading sustainable change through Alexander & Associates and climate change action through Plan C Advisors. A lifetime commitment : My environmental identity was woken up in the late 1980s. I first took it into my personal life and then the workplace, which led to a complete career change. The passion moved beyond career to become a vocation, then a lifetime commitment. Along the way I got labeled the Queen of Green and Green Goddess (a Nike reference). But as Bill McDonough would say, “Negligence starts tomorrow,” so I learned to embrace it. — Sarah Severn is principal of Severn Consulting. She spent over two decades in senior sustainability roles at Nike, leading strategy, stakeholder engagement and championing systems thinking and collaborative change. Finding a balance : In my career, sustainability means looking at decisions to be made from different vantage points; how do my actions affect others, the environment and the budget. Over time, I have taken this approach with projects at home as well. Once the right balance is determined and the decision made, it is important to help people (family, friends, co-workers) understand the choice. This triple-bottom-line approach to decision making has proven to work for me. — Paul Murray , president of Integrated Sustainable Strategies, is retired vice president of sustainability at Shaw Industries. He was previously director of sustainability at Herman Miller. Communicating to non-experts: Despite spending my entire working time focused on sustainability issues and being passionate about making sustainable decisions on how I lived my personal life, I found it challenging to understand what was communicated (or not) about the sustainability value of the products I was purchasing. I used that frustration as I worked with our business units to make sure that our communications on things like our biobased polymers and fibers could be understood by people who weren’t sustainability experts. — Dawn Rittenhouse was director of sustainable development for the DuPont Company from 1998 until 2019. Permeates everything: When I go through my own checklist of what I want in my job, I have caught myself forgetting to list sustainability. It so permeates all of me, that is a given. It is the lens through which I see the world. — Ellen Weinreb is a sustainability and ESG recruiter, founder of Weinreb Group and co-founder Sustainability Veterans Contributors Kathrin Winkler Topics Leadership State of the Profession Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) On Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off GreenBiz photocollage / Shutterstock

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How sustainability vets align their work-life identities

Report Report: Circular, leaders, weather and renewables

July 17, 2018 by  
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2018 Information and Communications Technology Benchmark (KnowTheChain) scores the top 40 companies across the Information and Communications Technology industry based on their actions to mitigate forced labor in the supply chain. The report gave the highest score to Intel, followed by HP Inc., Apple, and HPE.

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Report Report: Circular, leaders, weather and renewables

3D-printed ovaries let infertile mice give birth

May 18, 2017 by  
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Three-dimensionally printed organs are pretty old hat by now. But while the technology has been applied to everything from artificial ears to replacement brain tissue , working ovaries have been outside the realm of possibility—until now, that is. Scientists from Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine and McCormick School of Engineering have developed “bioprosthetic” ovary structures that allowed infertile mice to not only ovulate but also birth and nurse healthy offspring, according to a paper published this week in the journal Nature Communications . Composed of rapid-prototyped gelatin scaffolds, and primed with immature eggs, the bioprosthetic ovaries successfully boosted the hormone production necessary for restoring fertility in the mice, researchers said. “This research shows these bioprosthetic ovaries have long-term, durable function,” Teresa K. Woodruff, a reproductive scientist and director of the Women’s Health Research Institute at Feinberg, said in a statement. “Using bioengineering, instead of transplanting from a cadaver, to create organ structures that function and restore the health of that tissue for that person, is the holy grail of bioengineering for regenerative medicine.” Related: Organovo’s Bioprinter Technology Could Lead to 3D Printed Human Organs Woodruff and company plan to test the structures in pigs, with an eye toward human trials in the future. The technology could have significant implications for women with fertility issues, particularly cancer patients who often lose their ovarian function after intensive chemotherapy. “What happens with some of our cancer patients is that their ovaries don’t function at a high enough level and they need to use hormone replacement therapies in order to trigger puberty,” said Monica Laronda, co-author of the study and a former post-doctoral fellow in the Woodruff lab. “The purpose of this scaffold is to recapitulate how an ovary would function. We’re thinking big picture, meaning every stage of the girl’s life, so puberty through adulthood to a natural menopause.” + Northwestern University Photo by Duncan Hull

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3D-printed ovaries let infertile mice give birth

Extraordinary man builds 25 plastic bottle homes for refugees in Algeria

May 18, 2017 by  
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A Sahrawi refugee in Algeria is rebuilding lives – literally. Born and raised in the refugee camp in Awserd near Tindouf, 27-year-old Tateh Lehbib Breica is constructing disaster resistant homes using discarded plastic bottles – for himself and others. These recycled homes are specifically built to endure harsh desert conditions for an affordable price. It’s no easy feat to construct homes in a climate where temperatures can spike to around 113 degrees Fahrenheit. Sandstorms also prey on refugee shelters in five camps near Tindouf, Algeria, where people live after fleeing violence in the Western Sahara War over 40 years ago. But the area also faces destructive rainstorms – in 2015 heavy rains wrecked thousands of homes. Related: Mayor born in Syria converts abandoned Greek resort into a sanctuary for refugees Breica may have found a solution in old plastic bottles filled with sand. He has a master’s degree in energy efficiency after participating in a United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) scholarship program. He’d intended to build a rooftop garden, growing seedlings in the bottles, but the circular shape of the energy efficient home he was building posed a challenge to that idea. He wondered what he could do with the bottles instead and recalled a documentary on building with plastic bottles he’d seen during his time at university. The plastic bottle homes can better withstand storms than adobe , mudbrick, or tent homes, and are water resistant. The homes have thick walls, and partnered with their circular shape, stand up better to sandstorms. Breica built the first bottle home for his grandmother, who was hurt while being carried to a community center to hunker down during a sandstorm. Working with UNHCR, Breica has built 25 homes so far. He’s earned the nickname Crazy with Bottles for his work. Although he’s won awards for his design, he said, “People still see me as the guy obsessed with recycling bottles and building unusual houses.” Via UNCHR Images © UNHCR/Russell Fraser

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Extraordinary man builds 25 plastic bottle homes for refugees in Algeria

You’re A Very Wicked Pair, Sense & Sustainability

October 23, 2015 by  
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A recent study commissioned by G&S Communications measured Americans’ awareness of and opinions about corporate social responsibility and environmental stewardship. It’s a surprisingly interesting study to read (available here if you’re…

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Scientists Find Gold Growing in the Leaves of Australian Eucalyptus Trees

October 23, 2013 by  
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For the first time, scientists have found gold naturally incorporated into a living organism. Published in the journal Nature Communications , researchers from Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization ( CSIRO ) have confirmed that particles one-fifth the diameter of a human hair have been discovered in the leaves and branches of eucalyptus trees. Read the rest of Scientists Find Gold Growing in the Leaves of Australian Eucalyptus Trees Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: australia , brisbane times , commonwealth scientific and industrual research organisation , CSIRO , daily mail , eucalyptus trees , gold exploration , gold mining , gold particles , mel lintern , nature communications , precious metals        

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Scientists Find Gold Growing in the Leaves of Australian Eucalyptus Trees

Potential vs. reality: Sustainability’s value when investing in technology

October 3, 2013 by  
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Research by GreenBiz Group and AT&T finds that Information and Communications Technology (ICT) executives and sustainability leaders need to speak the same language.

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Potential vs. reality: Sustainability’s value when investing in technology

Potential vs. reality: Sustainability’s value when investing in technology

October 3, 2013 by  
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Research by GreenBiz Group and AT&T finds that Information and Communications Technology (ICT) executives and sustainability leaders need to speak the same language.

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KAIST Develops a Metal-Graphene Composite Material Hundreds of Times Stronger Than Pure Metals

August 26, 2013 by  
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Graphene  © AlexanderAlUS/ CORE Materials Researchers from the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) have developed a new metamaterial that is proven to be hundreds of times stronger than pure metals . To maximize the potential increase in strength provided by the use of graphene, the KAIST team created a multi-layered structure, alternating layers of graphene and metal—this composite  nanomaterial  consists of graphene inserted into copper and nickel. The resulting metal-graphene multilayer composite material is the first of its kind, and the team’s research was published in the science journal, Nature Communications  in July of 2013. Read the rest of KAIST Develops a Metal-Graphene Composite Material Hundreds of Times Stronger Than Pure Metals Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: Chemical Vapor Deposition , composite stronger than metal , KAIST graphene composite , Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology , metal-graphene composite , Molecular Dynamics Simulation , nature communications journal , Transmission Electronic Microscope        

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KAIST Develops a Metal-Graphene Composite Material Hundreds of Times Stronger Than Pure Metals

INFOGRAPHIC: Shingle Recycling – Turn Your Roof Into a Road!

August 26, 2013 by  
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Shingle recycling is a huge opportunity that is evolving way to slowly. About 22 billion pounds of roofing waste is removed from U.S. homes each year, the majority of which is asphalt shingles. Almost all of this roofing waste ends up in landfills. While shingle recycling has become available in more and more locations over the last few years, the great majority of homeowners and roofers do not have access to a shingle recycling facility near their community. Shingle recycling is such a great opportunity because recycled shingles contain asphalt that can be used in paving asphalt roads. Hot mix asphalt (HMA) producers purchase the recycled shingles to enhance their paving mixtures and create better roads. Check out Hometown Roofing Contractors ‘  Shingle Recycling  infographic below to learn more about the size of the problem — and the size of the opportunity! Read the rest of INFOGRAPHIC: Shingle Recycling – Turn Your Roof Into a Road! Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: eco roofing , eco shingles , how to recycle shingles , recycled roads , recycled roofing , recycled streets , recycling , Shingle roofing recycling        

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