February 20, 2013
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SmartBrief on Sustainability

Setting the Example
Floating filtration islands on Mississippi could filter nutrient runoff
Floating islands fashioned from recycled plastic beverage containers and seeded with native plants could perform the filtration function once performed by wetlands along the Mississippi River, absorbing nutrient runoff from nearby agriculture. The runoff now creates a number of problems, including oxygen-starved dead zones in the Gulf of Mexico as the collected nutrients run downstream. The New York Times (tiered subscription model)/Green blog (2/15)
Green roofs spread in Australia as their benefits are realized
Green roofs are being installed on several prominent buildings in Australia due to their aesthetic and energy benefits, Angela Fedele writes. "There's no question about the environmental benefits of green roofs, but the social benefits are not yet fully explored. Up on the roof, everyone is equal," said landscape architect Daniel Baffsky. DesignBuildSource.com.au (Australia) (2/20)
Creating Accountability
Retrofits of nuclear-test sensors could analyze environment
Raymond Jeanloz, an earth scientist at the University of California, Berkeley, wants to repurpose some sensors used to monitor nuclear tests so that they could be used to monitor pollution, tsunamis and more. Currently, 34 member states of Open Skies Treaty fly aerial surveillance to collect military information. Jeanloz says retrofitting the sensors the aircraft uses could allow them to also "monitor air pollution or the spread of microorganisms (like those that cause diseases) across the globe." LiveScience.com (2/14)
Green Marketing
Are you a green marketer or an outlaw?
It's all too easy for overenthusiastic eco-marketers to wind up on the wrong side of the law, writes Deanne Katz. It's important to keep track of which words are specifically regulated and to remember that even unregulated claims need to be factually accurate. "Truth in advertising always applies. ... If you make a claim, you need a way to back it up," Katz writes. FindLaw/Free Enterprise blog (2/19)
ISO offers tips on credible environmental labeling
Eco-labeling is becoming confusing to consumers, says a study from August. To counter this, the International Organization for Standardization has issued three standards to give manufacturers guidelines on creating environmental labeling and declarations that are credible and clear to consumers. Environmental Leader (2/18)
The Responsible Leader
Twitter's top green leaders
Using social media to talk about sustainability is only now catching on among executives, writes Joel Makower. Among the best tweeting execs: Best Buy sustainability chief Leo Raudys, FedEx sustainability leader Mitch Jackson and Timberland Vice President for CSR Mark Newton. GreenBiz.com (2/19)
Powering Tomorrow
Plant cell-wall discovery may unlock future of biofuels
Discovery of a possible connection between two types of cell-wall glycans and the arabinogalactan wall protein may offer biofuels a significant step forward. Researchers Li Tan and Debra Mohnen hope their discovery will lead to further research of plant cell walls and open up access to the sugars inside that can be used to economically create biofuels. DomesticFuel.com (2/19)
Engage. Innovate. Discuss.
The 4 tenets of companies with a higher purpose
Companies exist for reasons besides earnings, argue Whole Foods CEO John Mackey and nonprofit co-founder Raj Sisodia in their book, "Conscious Capitalism." Companies must discover that higher calling, work on behalf of all stakeholders and have a self-aware, diligent sense of leadership and culture, Henna Inam writes. SmartBrief/SmartBlog on Leadership (2/19)
'Sustainable,' 'green,' and 'organic' are all words businesses use to display their commitment to the environment. Or at least to greenwash their products and draw in eco-friendly customers."
-- Deanne Katz, legal writer, writing at FindLaw.com
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