February 22, 2013
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SmartBrief on Sustainability

Setting the Example
Blue coating material can help reduce heat on roofs
Cool roofs don't have to be white. Researchers are at work discovering new pigments with "cooling" capacities, according to this article. A case in point is the brilliant blue coating from Oregon State University researcher Mas Subramanian, which was made from manganese cooked with a combination of yttrium and indium oxides. "Given the right chemical properties, even dark pigments ... turn away much of the sun's heat," writes Michael Coren. FastCoExist (2/21)
Rabbit is latest trend in sustainable meat craze
Rabbit dishes are springing up on menus across the country in part due to the meat's low fat and cholesterol content, but also its sustainability -- rabbits generally reproduce multiple times per year. "There was a time when customers were afraid," said Matthew Accarrino, executive chef at SPQR restaurant in San Francisco, "but now it's become the other white meat. A whole rabbit is just a few pounds; it's not like buying a 200-pound pig to get a whole animal. That makes it very manageable for a chef and a home cook." Chicago Tribune (tiered subscription model) (2/21)
Creating Accountability
Climate is harmed when predators are eliminated, researchers say
The elimination of predators by humans has a knock-on effect on the rest of the food chain -- and even on the planet's climate, researchers say. The ecological imbalances caused by removing predators can lead to an up to tenfold increase in carbon emissions, studies claim. New Scientist (2/17)
Green Marketing
7 ways to communicate CSR more effectively
A study of CSR communications at the largest 251 European companies shows some of the strategic hits and misses of companies attempting to promote their environmental actions. One takeaway from the study: Tell the truth about your mistakes. "It is only natural for managers to want to share the good things about their company with the world. But stakeholders can be skeptical if everything seems too good to be true," the researchers write. MIT Sloan Management Review (free content) (2/21)
The Responsible Leader
Firms join activists for eco-boycott campaigns
Some companies are boycotting firms that are environmentally or socially irresponsible in much the same way consumer activists do. While the boycotts can be somewhat opportunistic, they frequently lead to lasting relationships with activist groups and help shape the companies in the long term, writes Matt Palmquist, citing research. Strategy+Business online (free registration) (2/26)
Powering Tomorrow
Vilsack: Ethanol, RFS are vital for farm sector
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack urged the agricultural sector to defend homegrown ethanol and the Renewable Fuel Standard against attacks by oil-producing states and their allies. "This is an important industry to agriculture. It's an important industry to consumers of this country because you absolutely pay less at the pump because we have a healthy renewable fuels industry," he said, adding that the RFS is "the linchpin" of a thriving biofuel industry. Nebraska Radio Network (2/21)
Engage. Innovate. Discuss.
Volunteering could be good for your leadership skills
Many business leaders spend time volunteering, writes Karin Hurt. That gives bosses a chance to hone their skills in a non-hierarchical environment, meet people and explore new fields. "Volunteering is an investment in the community -- and in your growth as leader," Hurt writes. SmartBrief/SmartBlog on Leadership (2/21)
Volunteering offers new perspective on priorities."
-- Karin Hurt, writing at SmartBlog on Leadership
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