Posts Tagged ‘Ray Anderson’

The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why. –Mark Twain


A few years ago, the environmentalist – Daryl Hannah, wrote an article entitled;  “If Food Waste Were a Country, It Would Rank No. 3 for Greenhouse Gas Emissions”.  In that article, she suggested that maximizing regional self-sufficiency with prudent agricultural practices and energy production conservation methods will strengthen local economies, make them more resilient  … and ease the sense of scarcity and the economic burden increasingly felt by the majority. To my chagrin, I have to agree with Ms. Hanah. Food is a critical Sustainability issue and will continue to be so for the next four decades, especially if we don’t begin addressing it today.

In 1980, just as the Green Revolution began being implemented in much of the world, 47 percent of all children in the developing world had stunted growth, a good measure of their nutrition level. By the year 2000, it had dropped to 33 percent. The Green Revolution laid the cornerstone for adequate nourishment by increasing the available calories and protein of the developing world’s people. Statistician Amy Pearce estimates that Norman Borlaug’s Green Revolution resulted in over 245 million lives being saved due to improved nutrition.

As Borlaug continued his efforts to expand agricultural success, he found himself fighting off some environmentalists who denounced his methods of using large amounts of fertilizer and pesticide. Borlaug responded, “Some of the environmental lobbyists of the Western nations are the salt of the earth, but many of them are elitists. They’ve never experienced the physical sensation of hunger. They do their lobbying from comfortable office suites in Washington or Brussels. They have never produced a ton of food. If they lived just one month amid the misery of the developing world, as I have for 60 years, they’d be crying out for fertilizer, herbicides, irrigation canals and tractors and be outraged that fashionable elitists back home were trying to deny them these things.”

Borlaug notes that without modern farming technology, an additional area the size of the contiguous United States would have to be farmed to feed today’s world population. Thus, a side benefit of Borlaug’s Green Revolution may be that it saved more land for wilderness than any other single environmental initiative.[1]

Thirty two years later, the EPA quantifies the magnitude of food waste in the United States. “More food reaches landfills and incinerators than any other single material in municipal solid waste (MSW). In 2012 alone, more than 36 million tons of food waste was generated, with only five percent diverted from landfills and incinerators for composting.”

The US EPA suggests six ways of utilizing food more efficiently. “How Can I Divert Food From Landfills?” If you go to that web page will read kore details (http://www.epa.gov/waste/conserve/foodwaste/), but the generally focus are on these six points:

•    Source Reduction/Prevention – Preventing food waste before it is created
•    Feeding People – Donating fresh, wholesome food to those in need
•    Feeding Animals – Feeding safe, fresh food scraps to animals like pig farms
•    Industrial Uses – Rendering fats, oils, and grease and turning it into products or biofuel
•    Composting – Turning food waste into a valuable soil amendment
•    Anaerobic Digestion – Turning food waste into renewable energy and a valuable soil amendment

This problem is on the mind of Ken Botts who is the special projects manager of the University of North Texas Food Department. Ken and I had lunch the other day and he shared that he firmly believed in Sustainability and one of the tenants is to eliminate waste, in his case – food waste. He shared that the food department is trying to do a better job of communicating the issue of food waste and plans an awareness campaign to launch UNT’s food waste recovery program. This is an extension of his efforts from last year: http://ntdaily.com/unt-to-launch-food-waste-recovery-program-in-fall/

What are the environmental benefits from reducing or eliminating food waste?
•    It reduces methane generated by decomposition in landfills
•    It reduces natural resource (land and water) use associated with food production
•    It creatives a valuable soil amendment (nutrients are returned to the soil)
•    It improves sanitation, Public Safety, and Health at your facility

What are the economic benefits from reducing or eliminating food waste?
•    It lowers overall disposal costs
•    It reduces over purchasing and labor costs
•    It receives tax benefits by donating food

What are the social benefits from reducing or eliminating food waste?
•    It feeds people, not landfills

As Ray Anderson, the first Sustainability pioneer, said;  “I also believe that it doesn’t happen quickly (e.g. Sustainability) … it happens one mind at a time, one organization at a time, one building, one company, one community, one region, one new, clean technology, one industry, one supply chain at a time … until the entire industrial system has been transformed into a sustainable system, existing ethically in balance with Earth’s natural systems, upon which every living thing is utterly dependent.”

If we listen to what Mr. Anderson urged, that identifying waste is not only a part of the solution, it is the action we must be take to eliminate the waste. We quantify success by results measured. So, we can finally see that it is indeed “transformed into a sustainable system, existing ethically in balance with Earth’s natural systems, upon which every living thing is utterly dependent.” To divert food waste from landfills would be testament to Mr. Anderson’s insight. In this case, benefits for American citizens dependent on food stamps and those countries, globally, that do no have enough food today. Reclaiming 36 million tons of food could be the largest gift to the world.

[1] Wilson, Chuck, “Father of the Green Revolution – He Helped Feed the World!”,ScienceHeros.com, Retrieved: 18 Sep 2012


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Owners, Executive and other Leaders are investigating a global world concerned about Sustainability, that type of understanding can be difficult to obtain. In early December 2013, I published my second book entitled “Building a Bridge to Benefits”. If you are interested in reading about the book or want to purchase copies today, here is the link to CreateSpace, an Amazon company, go to: https://www.createspace.com/4532590

Contact information and Services
A Certified Sustainability and Quality consultancy
•    Sustainability and Quality Consulting
•    Sustainability and Quality Workshops
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Jarvis Business Solutions, LLC

Toll Free: (888) 743-3128
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Web site: http://www.JarvisBusinessSolutions.com

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Ray Anderson - Interface Founder & Chairman

Ray Anderson – Interface Founder & Chairman (Photo credit: Interface_Europe)

Ray Anderson was truly the first industrial pioneer of Sustainability. He proved the concept and made doubters into believers through his actions, tenacity and commitment to doing the “right thing”. Reading about the people who helped reorient Mr. Anderson’s foundation is a long list of rich intellectual capital and recognized Sustainability gurus in their own right.

Please visit this article: http://ow.ly/cGij0

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At his carpet company, Ray Anderson has increased sales and doubled profits while turning the traditional “take / make / waste” industrial system on its head. In a gentle, understated way, he shares a powerful vision for sustainable commerce.

Today, we have many sources of information and knowledge. That is true for topics surrounding Corporate Social Responsibility, Sustainability, Business Transformation, etc. I have discovered some very good videos that are supported by the Creative Commons (CC) license and comply with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). For more information, please go to originating sites for more information (TED, YouTube, and other  web sites). We hope you enjoy these videos and share with your friends and colleagues.

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We give special recognition for Ray Anderson, founder of Interface, maker of commercial carpet tile. He recognized the way we have traditionally created, operated and planned our enterprises in a short sighted method, often without regarded to the impact on our planet, was not the best approach. During his tenure, Mr. Anderson improved his company and his corporate web reflects that progress:

•    Interface has a goal to be powered by 100% renewable energy. As of 2010, eight of nine factories operated with 100% renewable electricity, and 30% of our total energy use was from renewable sources.
•    We reduced our greenhouse gas emissions from our global manufacturing operations by 35% from our 1996 baseline through diverse strategies including process efficiencies, energy efficiencies (such as lighting and equipment replacement), fuel switching, and use of renewable energy.
•    Our waste reduction efforts have resulted in a 76% decrease in total waste to landfills from our carpet factories since 1996.
•    Interface has several facilities around the world certified by U.S. Green Building Council‘s (USGBC) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification system, a third-party certification program that awards recognition for high performance green buildings.
•    Quality Utilizing Employee Suggestions and Teamwork (QUEST) began in 1995 as a program to drive waste reduction efforts at our factories. It’s an employee-led system to define and eliminate waste. This allows for more optimal yarn usage and significantly less waste. It is estimated that the portable creels reduce scrap yarn up to 54%.
•    All of our global factories have been certified to conform to ISO 14001, the international standard for environmental management systems. ISO 14001 helps us minimize the environmental impacts of our operations while working toward continuous improvement.
•    Trees for Travel™ – Program designed to track and neutralize the carbon emissions from employee business air travel. Interface has planted more than 118,000 trees to neutralize the carbon emissions from business related air travel since this program started in 1997.
•    Cool Fuel™ – Program to track and offset carbon emissions from company cars. Using money received from corporate fuel card rebates, Interface purchases certified carbon offsets to balance the carbon emissions of our corporate fleet. Interface has purchased 2.4 million gallons of Cool Fuel and retired over 27,000 metric tons of certified carbon offsets as a result of this program.
•    Cool CO2mmute™ – Program offering Interface employees the opportunity to neutralize the emissions from their daily commutes and personal travel. Interface matches employee contributions to purchase tree plantings that neutralize carbon emissions from their commutes. Nearly 45,000 trees have been planted since this program began in 2002.
Mr. Anderson recognized that Sustainability was a change in leadership and the corporate culture. Since business models were none existent during the late 20th century, experimentation with ideas, methodologies and empowering his employees to become engrained in that philosophy was based on hard earned lessons learned. The message was embraced by everyone. One of his prized “awards” was given to him. It was a poem that was written by one of his employees, Glen Thomas, that made the point of why Sustainability is important to everyone:

Tomorrow’s Child
Without a name; an unseen face
And knowing not your time nor place
Tomorrow’s Child, though yet unborn,
I met you first last Tuesday morn.

A wise friend introduced us two,
And through his shining point of view
I saw a day that would see
a day for you, but not for me.

Knowing you has changed my thinking,
For I never had an inkling
That perhaps the things I do
Might someday, somehow, threaten you.

Tomorrow’s Child, my daughter-son,
I’m afraid I’ve just begun
To think of you and of your good,
Though always having known I should.

Begin I will to weigh the cost
Of what I squander; what is lost
I should never forget that you
Will someday come to live here too.

As Ralph Waldo Emerson said; “Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” I think Ray Anderson would probably agree.

Jarvis Business Solutions, LLC, © 2011, For services: www.JarvisBusinessSolutions.com

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