Today we talk with Ryan McPherson, Chief Sustainability Officer at University of Buffalo. He heads the Climate Action Plan at the university. The University has the goal of climate neutrality by 2030. They plan to achieve this goal by having 10 strategies to achieve it. Strategies such as “Not all electricity is created equal”, “Waste not”, and “putting a price on pollution”. These goals were driven by the availability of sustainable solutions, policy changes and by students demanding immediate action. These are actions for other universities and corporations to emulate. Learn more about these goals will be achieved in our latest episode.
We have this love-hate relationship with plastic. It is versatile, durable, light-weight and used in a multitude of applications. How do we recover and give this plastic a second life or third life?
Today we have with us Doug Woodring, Founder and Managing Director of the Ocean Recovery Alliance – Bringing Creative Surprise to Environmental Engagement. Ocean Recovery Alliance is focused on entrepreneuring programs to reduce plastic pollution, both on land and water, by creating strategic solutions for governments, industry and communities which lead to long-term, hands-on business practices that engage. They purposefully design programs to educate, build awareness and provide solutions which inspire positive societal change at the community, national and international levels. We learn more about their initiatives such as their global app that crowd sources and alerts authorities about trash on land along waterways. They have worked with cosmetic companies such as LUSH to help them look at their products and how they can reduce the plastic – for instance by eliminating glitter from all their products. Learn more of such efforts by the non-profit Ocean Recovery Project on this episode.
In the winter of 2012, I had the good fortune of visiting Barefoot College Tilonia – located in Tilonia, Rajasthan, India. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that visit was indeed life-transforming. The Barefoot College founded by Mr. Bunker Roy in 1972, is a community-based grassroots organization working to make marginalized communities sustainable and self-sufficient. He believes in the Gandhian philosophy that knowledge, skills and wisdom found in the villages should be used for their own development.
Though he went to the prestigious Doon School and St. Stephens College, he realized the wealth of wisdom in rural India (Bharath) needs to be harnessed and showcased.. The Barefoot College’s one program in particular – Solar Mamas is filled with inspiring stories. Of women from around the globe who come to an unfamiliar country, where they don’t understand the language, culture or food. These women come to become solar engineers. They come as mothers and grandmothers, and return back as tigers electrifying their villages with solar lamps. How do these illiterate women who have never left their villages become solar engineers? Listen to learn more in our latest episode.
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The Nobel prize winning economist Dr. Milton Friedman, said the business of a business is making money – but within the acceptable social norms. Dr. Raghuram Rajan, Katherine Dusak Miller Distinguished Service Professor of Finance at Chicago Booth School and he was the 23rd Governor of the Reserve Bank of India, looks into how “social norms” have changed and how the businesses need to adapt to adopt sustainable practices. May it be their impact on the planet, how they treat their employees and or make their products. He talks about how there needs to be regulations to guide and help the corporations to achieve these goals.
Further, with countries setting goals for netzero, how can we actually have a plan that is accountable and works. Dr. Rajan proposes a global incentive scheme to reduce carbon emissions. On April 19th, 2022 he presented this solution to The Coalition of Finance Ministers for Climate Action that required countries who exceed the per capita global country average for carbon emissions, estimated at 5 tons, will pay to a global carbon incentive fund. He calls this payment Global Carbon Incentives (GCI). He further explains – “this annual payment would be calculated by multiplying the excess emissions per capita by the country’s population and a dollar amount called the Global Carbon Incentive. So if the country’s population is 30 million, its per capita emission in 17 tons, and the GCI is set at $10, it would pay $30 million*(17-5)*10= $3.6 billion. Countries below the global per capita average would receive a payout commensurate with their “under-emission”.
This fund could be managed by a quasi government agency like the World Bank. Mindful Businesses is one of the first media outlets to share Dr. Rajan’s solution. Listen to it in our latest episode.
Coalition of Finance Ministers for Climate Action.
Today we have on our show the passionate and even maybe maverick Jonathan Lundgren, director and founder of Blue Acre Farms and Ecdysis foundation. The word ecdysis means the process of shedding the old skin and that is what Blue Dasher farms wants to do by operating regenerative farm and scientific research hub designed to help foster a revolution in our food system. Blue Dasher Farm combines cutting edge science with hands on experience to remove barriers to the adoption of regenerative agriculture.
They believe in a food system that promotes soil health, farm biodiversity, and nutrient dense food – all while benefiting the farmers who grow it. As a researcher who was honored by President Obama, in 2015 as one of the recipients of the Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers, Jonathan talks about his time at the USDA and how going against the grain is not easy. But he felt change was urgent and left his job at the USDA to start Ecdysis foundation and Blue Dasher Farms along with several of his research fellows. Blue Dasher Farm relies heavily on their ability to show that they can support. They want to take the wind out of the argument “that may work on a research farm, but it would not work on my place.” They are transparent and willing to compare their profitability to other more conventional operations. Although Blue Dasher is a for-profit enterprise, their mission is to help promote the regenerative agriculture movement and strive to be financially solvent while farming in a sustainable way.
Whether designing for equity in education, accessible healthcare, inclusive communities, new scientiﬁc discoveries or the “next big idea” in business, Cannon Design leverages a full suite of end-to-end services to help organizations and the people and communities they serve to flourish.
Cannon Design does this through a design approach they created called Living-Centered Design. Living-Centered Design realizes that to create a world where people continuously flourish, we must address the complex interdependencies that exist between people, businesses, communities, society and the environment.
We talk with Eric Corey Freed, director of sustainability at Cannon Design, about how a well-designed building can not only have an environmental impact but also increase productivity. How can we achieve that? Listen to Eric on Mindful Businesses podcast.
Jeffrey Hollender, co-founder and Board Chair of the American Sustainable Business Council (ASBC), which through its national member network represents more than 250,000 businesses in a wide range of industries. He was co-founder and CEO of Seventh Generation, which he built into a leading natural product brand known for its authenticity, transparency, and progressive business practices.
As an early thinker and adopter of sustainable practices, Jeffrey brought to market several green products. He talks about how and why is a living wage important. He talks about the impact of a living wage on an individual and societal level – both emotionally and financially. What sustainability means is far more than just doing no harm – we have to be a net positive. Do more good through regenerative practices. AT ASBC, he leads and lobbies for policy changes in these issues which he is passionate about. Listen now only on Mindful Businesses.
In this episode, we chat with sustainability expert, author, and educator Dr. Robert Sroufe. If you a business owner Dr. Sroufe shares tips on how you can be sustainable. He had the opportunity to spend time in Sweden and he compares how Americans differ in our lifestyle and habits compared to the Swedes. He offers are tips for sustainable living for all. Listen to him now.
Being a fifth generation cotton farmer gave LaRhea Pepper the knowledge, grit and passion to farm the way her granddaddy had taught her. She set out to to create the non-profit Textile Exchange to build a community that can collectively accomplish what no individual or company can do alone.