Green Business Bureau green business
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) leads the nation’s environmental science, research, education and assessment efforts. The mission of the Environmental Protection Agency is to protect human health and the environment. Since 1970, EPA has been working for a cleaner, healthier environment for the American people.
The EPA is led by its Administrator, who is appointed by the President of the United States. The EPA is not a Cabinet agency, but the Administrator is normally given cabinet rank. The agency has approximately 18,000 full-time employees.
Lisa P. Jackson is the current Administrator. She was recently appointed by President Obama. She is the first African-American to hold this post. She worked for the EPA for 16 years before moving to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection. She was the New Jersey Commissioner of Environmental Protection for two and a half years and most recently, the Chief of Staff to the Governor of New Jersey.
The environmental magazine Grist interviewed several New Jersey environmental activists and reported that opinion about Jackson was divided: “The split seems to be between those who work on energy and climate policy in the state’s capital [who were supportive of Jackson] and those who work on toxic cleanups at the local level [who were critical of her].”
In another development, an ex-EPA Administrator, Carol Browner, was appointed to a newly created position officially titled “Energy Coordinator”. While the role has not yet been clearly defined, her role seems to be that of an overseer, promoting smooth cooperation among the different energy and climate entities. Carol was the longest serving EPA Administrator from 1993 to 2001. She brings to the job a strong résumé in environmental protection, law and management consulting.
Another recent appointee is Nancy Sutley as chair of the White House’s Council on Environmental Quality. The Council on Environmental Quality coordinates federal environmental efforts and works closely with agencies and other White House offices in the development of environmental policies and initiatives. She was, most recently, the Deputy Mayor for Energy and Environment for the city of Los Angeles, California. She has also worked in the EPA and has served as special assistant to the EPA administrator in the Clinton administration.
All three women are strong defenders of the environment with solid backgrounds in the EPA. The new Obama government seems to be making a big priority of being green and is heading in the right direction. Here’s to a greener future!
The job market is bad but not uniformly so. There are always niches and lacunae where jobs exist and people are required. Green businesses are hot, happening and here to stay. The venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins has called it the “mother of all markets.”The green job market is an Aladdin’s cave for those who have the foresight to look beyond their nose. Myopia does not pay when choosing jobs. After going through several green job websites, these are the ones I liked best owing to the wide variety of jobs they handle the user-friendliness of their interface and because they are exclusively green.
The Environmental Career Center
The Environmental Career Center has been around since 1980. They assist job applicants and employers in matching the best fit candidates to the right green job. Apart from their website, they also publish the Green Careers Journal (6 issues per year) containing listings of more green jobs. They offer green jobs with companies like American Institute of Steel construction, Maine Conservation Corps, Ultra Systems Environmental and 3Degrees Group, Inc to name a few. They have now changed name to Green Careers Center. They may be contacted at :
Green Careers Center
2 Eaton Street
Hampton Virginia 23669
Sustainable business connects individuals with business skills with businesses, government agencies as well as green conscious non-profit organizations. It is a good starting point for those of you who would like to check out the green business and green job scenario before you are prepared to make a commitment. This company seems passionately committed to the green cause and when you visit the website you will realize what I mean. Consequently their job bank is diverse and interesting.
So if you want a taste of a job in climate change science, or a more exciting prospect of working on board a ship collecting and recording marine data, this is a good place to start looking for diverse jobs.
This company was born in 2004 with a focus on all aspects of job opportunities in Renewable Energy all over the world. They make it possible for candidates and employers in Renewable Energy to find each other easily. Apart from job listings, they provide recruitment services as well as analysis of employment in the Renewable Energy sector. Green Jobs gives applicants a chance to showcase their resume and apply for jobs with access to a directory of Renewable Energy companies.
Green Industry Jobs
If you are interested in green jobs in the Safety Industry, disaster management, waste management, landscaping, agricultural industry jobs, tree care, irrigation industry, turf, pest control and golf course careers this is the website for you. Apart from these it also has the conventional environmental career path options.
There are huge numbers of internet based placement companies who claim to assist you in your search for a green job. However, many of them are not exclusively ‘green’ and you may end up wasting precious time navigating their websites looking for a hint of green. After wading through a few of these I decided not to list them.
Dear green job seeker, some of the completely virgin sectors coming up rapidly with exciting new green job possibilities are bio-fuels, water quality trading, carbon trading and wetlands banking. So keep your mind open. Anything is possible.
The first time I came across the ‘please re-use your towel’ policy at a hotel, I was stumped. They even said they would change the sheets daily if I demanded it, but not otherwise. What was the point of living at a hotel if I could not lord it? But in retrospect I realized what a simple do-able thing it was. We do not throw towels in the wash after a single use at home, do we? Neither do we change the bed linen every day. Contrary to popular belief, going green does not cost more. As the above example proves, this cost-effective green idea is something we use in running our households daily.
A green business that implements green policies at every level, essentially uses as much is truly required (no wasteful spending) and finds more efficient ways of doing so. These call for innovation, unlearning and an ability to think outside the box. Hotels run on green principles have realized that simply going green has brought them more customers by virtue of the sheer goodwill this generates.
At this point let me explain what LEED certification is. LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. It is the most universally accepted third-party certification for standardized building and development practices. Architects, engineers, interior designers, landscape architects, construction managers, all use LEED to help build environmentally sustainable hotels and convert existing ones to smartly run green businesses. The certification is awarded by the U.S.Green Building Council on the basis of performance (no they do not visit the site) in five core areas. These are as follows:
• Water savings
• Energy efficiency
• Materials selection
• Indoor environmental quality
• Sustainable site development
LEED certification not only saves energy and reduces operating costs of a hotel, it says to the customer that this hotel is green and has received third party verification. As more and more hotels start adopting environmentally sustainable policies and practices, finding a green hotel in almost every city gets progressively easier.
While Marriott replaces incandescent bulbs with energy efficient fluorescent ones, the Accor group has been fitting its Motel 6 rooms with occupancy sensors. Thus the thermostat settings change when there is no one in the room.
The Hilton is conserving water a drip at a time. By using green business thinking, they are rapidly eliminating wasteful water practices by adopting better faucets, low flow showerheads and toilets that require lesser water per flush. Marriott further conserves an astounding 6 million gallons of water every year by buying towels that do not require prewashing.
The Starwood group is using water efficient landscaping in its new constructions. It has also been seen that sticking to the local flora is the smartest thing to do. Thousands of years of evolution have rendered local trees and plants the best fit vegetation for that geographic area. Who is man to challenge Nature’s decrees?
Hotels have enormous potential to recycle plastic. From bottles and key cards to shampoo and lotion containers, nothing has to reach a landfill. The in-room recycling bin policy championed by Marriott is a commendable innovation.
Green hotels, like all green businesses, are already reaping the rewards of their ethical and thoughtful practices by seeing smaller running costs, more customers and bigger profits.
When a major manufacturer spent millions to develop a new, environmentally friendly line of products, this was a reflection of modern society’s focus on “green tech”. Over and above the improved product itself, the green tech embodied in it was also a highly valuable asset. One of the company’s significant challenges was to guard its investment against appropriation by others, in this case through patenting that green tech. However, securing a patent requires establishing, to the satisfaction of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, that the green tech passes the test of ‘obviousness’ as defined in the law. In other words, an invention cannot be patented if it would have been obvious.
Any company seeking to patent new, “green” product technology almost inevitably must refute the notion that, if an element of a product is deemed harmful to the environment, simply removing such element would seemingly have been obvious.
Despite the difficulty inherent in patenting green tech, doing so is essential, for it protects the copious investment dollars now flowing into green tech. In 2009 alone the United States spent over $18 billion in the area – and this number does not begin to include green tech that extends beyond solar panels and wind turbines, to household or industrial products which are free of problematic materials, sanitizing of waste or by-products, pollution-remediation technology, etc.
Over and above meeting consumer demand and leveraging the marketing benefits of green tech, securing and enforcing IP rights to that technology can improve the business bottom line by warding off rival copycats, or by affording opportunities for licensing. Thus, there is the real prospect of doing well by doing good.
But, green tech related intellectual property (“IP”) rights are a two-edged sword, and there is a threshold “dark side” calculus that must be performed. For instance, assume that a rival has secured a patent on certain green tech of interest. Utilizing that technology to “green” an enterprise could infringe the patent. Unless a way is devised to proceed without transgressing the patent there could be crippling liability-related costs (damages, attorneys fees, etc.).
So, avoiding the pitfalls of, and realizing profit from, innovations in green tech entails familiarity with relevant patent, as well as trade secret and other know-how, considerations. Additionally, there may be software and related code created in connection with green tech solutions. Copyright considerations are therefore also implicated. And, commercial exploitation of green tech generally involves publicizing it for competitive benefit. Consumers must be alerted to the source of “green” goods or services via using a suitable trademark or service mark, proclaiming the environmentally friendly nature of such goods or services in advertising, or displaying a term or symbol which signals attainment of approved environmental standards. This brings trademark, unfair competition, false advertising and regulatory considerations into play.
Over the coming weeks I will be writing a series of blog posts on the challenges and benefits of IP in the green tech field. Future posts will discuss:
- An exploration of how green tech and related IP pervade modern business dealings;
- Considerations bearing on avoidance of infringing others’ patent rights when practicing green tech;
- Pitfalls in promotion of the greening of commercial products and services, including trademark infringement, false advertising, and regulatory compliance issues;
- Protection of IP relating to green tech, including strategies for establishing the patentability of green tech inventions, preserving trade secrets, and developing trademark rights; and
- Monetizing IP relating to green tech, including policing and licensing operations.
With thirty-five years’ experience in the intellectual property field, and now a partner at the international law firm of Troutman Sanders, George Snyder helps companies protect their green technology and green brands. He has a Chemistry degree, and works in a wide range of sub-specialties, including patent and trademark registration procurement, patent-infringement clearance and trademark availability analyses, patent and trademark litigation, and agreement preparation, both inside and outside the U.S.
For a long time a myth prevailed that a choice between business and environment had to be made, however today, thanks to the sustainability movement and contribution of environmental experts, the myth is dispelled. So Right So Smart is a documentary that explores the avenues of harmonizing economy with environment, and it succeeds big time. Narrated by Daryl Hannah of Kill Bill and Splash fame and one of America’s foremost sustainability advocates, the documentary film showcases some of the country’s household business names that have turned the green corner and profited. This includes Wal Mart, Barenaked Ladies, Stonyfield Farm, Patagonia and Guster.
However the showpiece green business featured in So Right So Smart is Interface Inc, the world’s largest manufacturer of modular carpets. Ray Anderson, Interface founder Chairman, reveals that company costs went down and not up after his business turned green, which will come as a pleasant surprise to many CEOs who believe that there is inverse relationship between environment sustainability and company bottom lines. Anderson states that his company’s goal is to become 100 percent environment neutral by 2020 by eliminating its negative environmental impacts. But he continues that the biggest benefit businesses can reap by going green is the tremendous goodwill generated in the marketplace, which is otherwise impossible to achieve, even by million dollar marketing budgets.
Even Wal-Mart, the world’s largest retail chain, has profited from going green. Its goals are to solely use renewable energy, completely eliminate waste and sell environment sustaining and strengthening products. So Right So Smart tries to initiate a dialogue between the top environmentalists and business brains to develop new synergies between economy and environment. The film’s primary message is that investing in green business isn’t a costly proposition even in recessionary times, rather green businesses profit majorly in the long run by investing in environmentally sustainable business.
The USP of So Right So Smart is it’s realism as contrasted to idealistic pro-environment propaganda. The film discusses the issues, doubts, and challenges that await any management contemplating going the green way. Apart from Ray Anderson, the film also features other icons like Dr. David Suzuki, Janine Banyus, Paul Hawken and Yvon Chouinard. Scheduled for May 30 release the film has already created ripples in various film fests. It won the Best of Festival award at Wild and Scenic 2009, America’s top environment film fest, and has also been nominated for the Las Vegas and Atlanta Film Festivals.
A must watch for all and particularly, green activists, business heads and the remaining doubters.
- Details of total area per square foot of the building
- Date when the building was placed in service
- Certification regarding savings targets met either 50% for 3 systems or 16 2/3% for individual system, from a licensed engineer or contractor who is not related or linked to the person or business availing themselves of the deductions. These certifications should adhere to procedures in Appendix G of ASHRAE Standard 90.1-2004 and calculations, if any, should be done on software approved by the US Department of Energy. The certifiers should have visited the buildings since their service initiation to ensure that they meet their savings targets. They should follow the inspection procedures and standards developed by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and also provide a list of the building’s energy saving features along with its estimated annual energy costs.