Everyone is a little Irish on March 17th, right. I come by it naturally from my Irish-born grandmother Irene so the wearing & living of the green is a wee more constant presence for me.
I’ve always thought of St. Patrick’s Day as one of the greenest days of the year. Second only to Earth Day (April 22nd). In fact, it’s a great precursor to all of Earth Month. Embracing these two green days is a wonderful way to celebrate the wonder of nature’s beauty as spring bursts with new life.
Enough waxing, let’s get to the drinking!
Although I prefer something black & tan most St. Pat’s days, I’ve been known to have a green beer or two. As lrish luck would have it, it’s never been easier to drink green! That’s great because who really wants to drink a bunch of pesticides?
Like many consumer products, the adult beverage industry is greening itself and becoming more sustainable. There’s even a Beverage Industry Environmental Roundtable.
Today we see:
Distilled Tips | A few things to look for in finding the most sustainable spirits to drink. Search out:
I’ll leave you with one of my favorite Irish expressions…
May brooks and trees and singing hills
Join in the chorus, too.
And every gentle wind that blows
Send happiness to you.
Remember to drink responsibly. You are what you drink.
What other ways do you like to green your drinking? I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts in the comments below.
Thank you for reading my post. Here at the Corporate Sustainability Advisors LLC blog and on LinkedIn, I regularly write about organizational, community, and personal sustainability. If you would like to read my future posts then please click 'Follow' and feel free to also connect via Twitter and Facebook.
Sharing a couple news items regarding GSA's Alliant 2 GWAC.
1. GAO recently denied protests. Evaluations and awards can now proceed. See the January 11th decision here.
2. GSA issued a revised Information Collection Request (ICR) notice for the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions information required under Alliant 2's Section G.25. Based on comments to the first ICR notice, including those of Corporate Sustainability Advisors, GSA has a new burden estimate for the GHG reporting. Per the new calculation, GSA estimates that the average Alliant 2 awardee will take about 120 hours each year to comply with the G.25 provisions. This is up from GSA's original estimate of 80 hours. The revised ICR notice is here. The public comment period closes February 13th.
The year-end holidays always serve as a reflection point for me. If you’re like me, the last week of the year is a great time to make your annual charitable donations. Not only can you (and/or your business) help causes you’re passionate about—you can also reduce your 2016 taxable income. Take this opportunity to do something special for your favorite non-profit!
This year, why not green your giving? As 2016 wraps up, I am slanting my giving to a few select environmental non-profits. Every year my concern grows about current and future economic, social, and environmental impacts from the changing climate. The recent data about the artic warming are uniquely alarming, especially for those in coastal communities.
In 2016, we witnessed unprecedented progress in collective actions from the public and private sectors to acknowledge and address climate change impacts—from the 200+ countries that signed the Paris Agreement—to the trillions of investment dollars shifting to companies with strong environmental, social and governance programs—to state and local efforts—to large businesses increasing their sustainability commitments and disclosures—to the growing number of B Corporations.
Some of the U.S. presidential campaign rhetoric and president-elect nominations, on the other hand, cast a pall on the common ground forged in 2016. With uncertainty at the U.S. federal level, the importance of environmental non-profits is greater than ever. From Apple to Leonardo to Zuckerberg—sustainable giving is the thing to do in 2016.
As you reflect how to increase your green giving, here are a few questions to ask to help align your giving with what’s most critical—from a sustainability perspective—to you. These questions will help identify what’s important and serve a general strategy to guide you as you select one (or more) environmental charities. All are in need of your support. Many organizations address multiple factors.
5 Factors to Focus Your Green Charitable Donations
Resources for Supporting Climate Resiliency and other Environmental Causes
After you’ve focused on the reasons for giving and have a general strategy, here are some resources about environmental non-profits. Most are national (U.S.) or global. If you want to give locally, use these and the general resource list below to help you with your research and selection process.
A Few of My Favorite Things | 14 Links to Help Make the Most of Your Donations
Many organizations provide other tips and resources to guide your charitable giving. Here are a few of my favorites—first focusing on general (primarily individual) donations; and, secondly, on corporate philanthropy.
General Charitable Donation Resources
Here are six general resources to guide your charitable donations.
And a couple newer—slightly contrarian—perspectives that I like.
Resources for Business to Consider and Boost Charitable Engagements:
Here are six resources to guide your corporation’s charitable donations and engagement.
What other tips or resources would you add to this list? I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts in the comments below.
Thank you for reading my post. Here at Corporate Sustainability Advisors LLC blog and at LinkedIn, I regularly write about organizational, community, and personal sustainability. If you would like to read my future posts then please click 'Subscribe to Blog' and feel free to also connect via Twitter and Facebook.
Homeowners in Portland Oregon soon will. The City of Portland just joined a small group of other US (Austin, Berkeley, Boulder, Santa Fe) and international cities (in the UK, Denmark and Australia) to require energy scores as part of home sales.
Beginning in 2018, sellers of certain single-family homes in the City of Portland must obtain a home energy score and share the report with:
To reduce costs and carbon emissions, the City has adopted its new ordinance in hopes of increasing the pace of energy efficiency improvements in its residential stock. The energy assessment and report is similar to a miles per gallon sticker required for car sales.
Among other benefits, these disclosures help homebuyers make more informed decisions about the total cost of owning a particular home.
Read the adopted City code language, Title 17.108, and FAQs from the City.
This move follows a similar push in the City’s commercial buildings market. In 2015, the City adopted an ordinance, Title 17.104, mandating energy benchmarking and disclosure for large commercial buildings. That rule requires owners of buildings greater than 20,000 square feet to report annual energy use. The City estimates that by mid-2017, about 80% of Portland’s commercial building stock will report energy performance data via the ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager tool. The US Environmental Protection Agency maintains the Portfolio Manager tool. It is widely used in the commercial market. Read the associated administrative rules for the commercial building ordinance here.
New Rule: Federal Government Contractors Required to Make Representations About GHG Emissions Public Disclosures
Federal agencies have amended the Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR) to require certain contractors to indicate whether or not they publicly share information about their corporate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions inventory or goals. Published in the Federal Register on November 18 (81 FR 83092), the new rule does not actually require contractors to calculate or reduce their GHG emissions, just that they indicate whether they publicly disclose either emissions or goals information.
In the final rulemaking the government clarified the purpose and goals of the FAR modifications. The representations are intended to help the government better understand, not regulate, the GHG management practices of its industry partners. The rule is designed to be a low-burden, minimally intrusive effort to enable greater insight into the GHG management practices of the federal supply chain.
Effective December 19, 2016, the final FAR rule establishes an annual representation requirement for contractors to indicate whether or not they publicly disclose GHG emissions data and/or emissions reduction goals. For companies that do publicly disclose such information, they must also indicate where it is publicly available on the Internet. The requirements are applicable to companies that had $7.5+ million in federal contract awards in the prior federal fiscal year.
The final rule is almost identical to the proposed rule released in May 2016 (81 FR 33192). Some minor clarifications where made to address comments made to the draft rule.
New FAR provision 52.223-22 (and an equivalent at 52.212-3 for commercial/COTS items) representations:
The new rule may be a target for repeal by the incoming administration because it is based on an Executive Order of President Obama (EO 13693). On the other hand, the EO and rule mirror the supply chain practices of many successful US-based and global corporations. Applying such practices to the US government’s $400 billion supply chain could well have bi-partisan appeal as they will likely result in cost savings to the companies and taxpayers alike.
GHG management is closely connected with cost savings from energy use reduction, and serves as an indicator of operational efficiency and excellent management practices. Thus, organizations that purchase large volumes of goods and services (e.g., AT&T, Bank of America, Coca-Cola, Nike, Walmart) have started asking their supply chain (i.e., the companies they buy from) about these practices.
Private and publicly-traded companies are enhancing their environmental, social and governance (ESG) practices, including disclosing details about their GHG management and other sustainability practices through tools such as the CDP and the GRI Sustainability Disclosure Database. For example, nearly 10,000 organizations have submitted more than 35,000 reports via the GRI database. Last year, companies representing more than 50% of the combined market capitalization of the G20 reported emissions data to CDP. These public disclosures, and the management efforts behind them, help the bottom line.
In response to these efficiency opportunities, supply chain management practices, and investor expectations, many federal contractors already have GHG and energy management programs. This is especially true of the largest contractors. The Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) just released the 2016 Federal Supplier GHG Management Scorecard that reflects a survey of approximately 80 companies and represents $214+ billion in FY15 federal procurement spending (about half the annual contracted amount). Of those surveyed, about 57% (by count) or 73% (by contracted dollars) have public GHG emissions inventories in 2015 or 2016.
Slightly fewer have public GHG reduction goals for 2016 or beyond—about 44% (by count) or 62% (by contracted dollars).
Whether or not the new rule remains in effect throughout the next administration’s term, there are compelling business reasons for federal contractors and other companies to manage their GHG emissions and energy use.
The 2016 scorecard about the top federal government contracting companies' greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and climate risk management activities was released today. Like other organizations that purchase a large amount of goods and services (e.g., AT&T, Bank of America, Coca-Cola, Ford Motor, Nike, Walmart)), the federal government asks its supply chain about these sustainability practices.
The CDP's supply chain program is a widely accepted portal through which private companies seek information from their suppliers about their GHG management, climate risk, and other sustainability practices and impacts The GSA and Navy also use the CDP. The CDP supply chain program represents a combined purchasing power of more than $2 trillion US.
Companies (and investors and academic research) have found a close, positive correlation between financial performance from companies with good environmental, social, and governance (ESG) practices. Near the top of the list of environmental programming is GHG management because of its close connection to energy usage and costs. Companies with good GHG management programs and reduction goals can realize significant financial savings--something critical to all federal contractors in these hyper competitive times. For example, those reporting to the CDP for three or more years reported an average annual savings of $1.5 million per initiative. First time CDP reporters had an average savings of $900,000 per initiative.
Stay tuned for more in-depth analysis about the 2016 scorecard in an upcoming post.
The federal government's 2016 supplier scorecard is located here. Does your company have red or yellow scores? Let us help you get to green (and save some green).
A dash of this. A dash of that. Like the best dishes, each company’s social responsibility recipe will be slightly different and evolve over time. Creating a recipe from scratch is both daunting and exciting.
The Silicon Valley Community Foundation (SVCF) recently published a helpful guide, Starting With Purpose, about why and how startups should bake in sustainability and other corporate responsibility as an integral part of creating a new business.
Investors, customers, and employees are increasingly seeking out companies that integrate environmental, social, and governance practices into their business strategy and purpose. The nimbleness and innate creativity of new companies provides an optimal atmosphere in which to embed social responsibility practices into the corporate strategy and culture.
Doing so early can help the business thrive with a triple bottom line: prosperity, people, and the planet. This is especially true for businesses that are built around products or services designed to create positive environmental or social impact such as clean tech, clean and/or renewable energy, and energy management and efficiency companies.
Here are six ingredients recommended in the SVCF guide:
Does your startup seek to impart social change in addition to generating bottom line profit? We’d love to help you create your secret sauce. For more information on how we can help your company, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Let’s cook-up something great together.
With increasing regulator, investor, and customer interest, board members must pay more attention to their company’s sustainability practices, impacts, and disclosures. The days when boards can view these as “soft issues” that they can ignore are quickly passing. Focusing on quantitative sustainability metrics and linking to innovation initiatives are ways that board members can help drive long-term corporate performance and value.
If you have 10 minutes or so, watch this @BoardResources interview with Evan Harvey (@EvanHarvey99, Nasdaq’s Director of Corporate Responsibility) for a great overview about why and how boards of directors should be more involved in their company’s environmental, social, and governance (ESG) programs.
I concur with Mr. Harvey’s three recommendations to boards about how they can begin to monitor sustainability more responsibly:
The General Services Administration (GSA) just released the request for proposals (RFP) for the $50 billion Alliant 2 government wide acquisition contract (GWAC) for information technology (IT) services. The Alliant 2 GWAC has been in the news as the future of government IT contracting because of its evaluation process and flexibility to provide leading edge technology solutions.
An innovative requirement for the unrestricted contract that hasn’t made the headlines or many bidders radar is Section G.25. This section requires the awardees to publish a “Sustainable Practices and Impacts Disclosure” or SPID within 12 months of award of the master contract and annually thereafter for the life of the contract.
In my experience and research, most federal contracting firms do not have sustainability programs, apart from some of the largest companies. And, as indicated by CEQ’s 2015 Federal Supplier Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Management Scorecard, even the majority of the largest federal contracting companies do not have greenhouse gas emission (GHG) reduction goals.
GSA and other agencies are giving the contracting community time to build-out their sustainability programs. For example, the Alliant 2 contract doesn’t require its contractors to have a complete Scope 1 and 2 GHG inventory until 12 months after the first SPID. GSA provides another 12 months before the contractors must set and report on their GHG reduction targets. GSA is encouraging, but not requiring Scope 3 GHG reporting. GSA will evaluate compliance for these disclosure requirements via the Contractor Performance Assessment Rating Systems (CPARS) annual review.
These contract mandates mark a big change in the federal market. The feds have been following the lead of large commercial retailers and manufacturers to reduce costs and environmental impacts from their own operations for almost a decade. Now, like Walmart and Nike, the federal government is also working to green its supply chain.
In all likelihood this represents the future of federal contracting for most large and mid-sized firms. Even for many small businesses. As Kevin Kampschroer, GSA’s Chief Sustainability Officer, recently noted, “By disclosing [GHG and other sustainability impacts], GSA’s private sector partners can prepare themselves to do business with us in the future, as the agency continues to incorporate carbon disclosure goals and performance criteria into specific contracts.”
For those who think these supply chain greening efforts will only impact firms that support civilian agencies, think again. The DoD, Air Force, and Army have been the three biggest buyers on the Alliant 1 GWAC. In addition, here are three other recent indicators to illustrate the scope of this trend.
To all future Alliant 2 winners, do not underestimate the time it takes to build a sustainability program robust enough to have GHG reporting and reduction goals. As a significant co-benefit to contractual compliance, however, you’re likely to realize cost savings from reduced energy use. It’s never too soon to start planning (and saving).
Hi. I'm Colleen, Corporate Sustainability Advisor's founder and owner. Blogging about corporate sustainability trends, benefits, and best practices.