Plants on toxic grounds may yield harvest of useful materials | Why are sustainable cities difficult to create? | Why green marketers should care about household waste
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March 6, 2013
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SmartBrief on Sustainability

Setting the Example
Survey: Most construction firms expect to build green by 2015
Construction firms across the world expect 60% of their projects to be environmentally friendly by 2015, according to the SmartMarket Report of McGraw-Hill Construction. About 51% of the respondents expect most of their work to be green in 2015, up from 28% who reported the same in 2013 and up from 13% in 2008. The reason driving green building shifted from "doing the right thing" in 2008 to client and market demand in 2012, the report stated. Environmental Leader (3/4)
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Plants on toxic grounds may yield harvest of useful materials
Garden plants might one day be used to provide usable materials from grounds polluted by industrial waste. The toxic metal ions extracted could be processed to yield metallic nanoparticles useful for multiple applications. "If we can make high-quality nanoparticles during the bioprocessing steps which follow the harvesting of the plants, we have a unique driver for economic land transformation," said Louise Horsfall of Scotland's University of Edinburgh. NBC News (3/5)
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Creating Accountability
Why are sustainable cities difficult to create?
The latest version of the game "SimCity" can help explain why it's difficult to build a truly sustainable city. Six teams of urban planners faced off to play the game, trying to find a balance between doing what is known to work and building a sustainable community. The game is "designed to make players make unsustainable decisions. We want people to understand why it happens in the real world," said game designer Stone Librande. "If the game pulls you into this path that you know is bad and you know is wrong, you start to understand why we do things like mountaintop removal to get coal." FastCoExist (3/5)
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Green Marketing
Why green marketers should care about household waste
Helping consumers tackle household waste can help companies generate customer loyalty and media interest, writes Jacquelyn Ottman. "[H]ousehold waste prevention can lead to exciting new products while creating happier and more loyal consumers, and generating lots of free publicity," she writes. (3/6)
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The Responsible Leader
CSR pros need to learn to speak the right language
Sustainability professionals need to find the right language to persuade executives and employees that CSR is a big deal, says Gwen Migita, vice president of sustainability and community affairs for Caesars Entertainment. That might mean talking to executives about customer loyalty and discussing mitigated financial risks with midlevel managers. "You just have to continue reiterating it every day and engage employees," Migita says. Bloomberg BNA (free content) (3/5)
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Powering Tomorrow
Opinion: Feds should support R&D programs for renewable energy
The federal government should not lose sight of the gains made by the renewable energy industry, according to David Holt, president of Consumer Energy Alliance. The U.S. should boost support for research-and-development programs that help renewables become more competitive in the marketplace, Holt states. In addition, federal and state regulators should encourage faster development of power lines to carry renewable power to consumers, Holt writes. (3/5)
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Engage. Innovate. Discuss.
Ask "where" and "how" to plot a course for victory
Strategic success comes down to answering these questions: Which playing field do you want to be on, and how will you achieve success once there, David Burkus writes. "If you know how to ask and answer these two questions properly, then you can cut through the confusion and craft a strategy that really works," he writes. SmartBrief/SmartBlog on Leadership (3/5)
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Editor's Note
Help SmartBrief cover SXSW Interactive
SmartBrief will cover the South by Southwest Interactive Festival in Austin, Texas, from Friday to Tuesday, and we need your help. SXSW has way too many must-see events for our staff to cover, so we're turning to our readers to help document the best panels as blog contributors. If you're headed to Austin and want to contribute to SmartBrief's blogs on Social Media, Leadership, Finance, Food and Beverage or Education, check out our guest-post guidelines and send a note to Jesse Stanchak.
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A truly great city isn't governed by an algorithm, it's one that routinely delivers the unpredictable."
-- John McDermott, reporter, writing at FastCoExist
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