Advantage Green at the US Open

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The US Open ended on Monday with plenty of excitement and an inspiring win by Rafael Nadal. Plenty of records were set and matched during the week in all sorts of categories…and the players weren’t the only ones setting them. 

The US Open organizing committee together with the United States Tennis Association (USTA) has been working since 2008 on reducing the impact of the US Open on the environment and this year they went further than ever. For example, over the last two years, the US Open collected an average of 121 tons of compostable waste each year. This year they expect to collect over 155 tons.  The US Open has expanded their composting program to include fan generated waste as well as kitchen waste; they offset not only the carbon emissions generated by the fuel consumed by the event, but also the emissions generated by player travel to the event; they participated in a meeting for representatives from all four Grand Slam tournaments to exchange ideas about sustainability; and, if that wasn’t enough, Tournament organizers also produced and aired a 30 second public service announcement encouraging sustainability.

These last two points are significant. Sustainability really is about cooperation. We must work together to create real change and to make real progress towards a sustainable future. In that regard, sporting events are in a unique position to model social responsibility and encourage sustainable behaviours. They have direct access to millions of fans worldwide and, more significantly, the influence necessary to promote change. In the US Open’s words, they have the advantage – and they have impact.

Reeve Consulting recently attended the annual meeting of the Green Sports Alliance in New York. There, hundreds of representatives of the sporting world and sustainable business met to discuss progress and opportunities for sport to be that model of social responsibility and, of course, to reap the financial and promotional benefits of sustainable and green practices. We like where this conversation is going, and see our role as helping to broaden the scope of discussion to include a complete triple match point on sustainability – a look at the environmental, social and economic impacts of major sporting events.

Do You Know Your Water Footprint?

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This week is World Water Week and the UN has declared 2013 the Year of Water Co-operation. I didn’t know that, and I’d be willing to bet a lot of Canadians don’t know it. After all, we are privileged to live in a part of the world with such an abundance of water that we rarely even consider it. Yet, if we are to run environmentally conscious, sustainable companies, then we must look beyond our piece of paradise and consider the wider repercussions of our impact on the water supply.

One of the newer developments in business sustainability is water footprinting. Like carbon footprinting, water footprinting is a measure of how much water is used and to what extent water is polluted by a business, family, or individual. In the recent Global Risks 2013 survey, international leaders and business executives identified water availability as one of the top 5 global business risks today. The survey urges businesses to consider the risks to production, the supply chain, their reputation and their relationships with the community, and ultimately their bottom line from water scarcity and pollution. The risks are present in most industries, but they are particularly pertinent to sectors such as fashion and manufacturing where the supply chain includes goods being produced in India, Mexico and other water-poor areas.

One method of identifying our impact on the water supply is to apply Water Footprint Network’s water footprint assessment methodology. The assessment involves a four-stage process:

  • setting the goal and scope of the assessment;
  • calculating the total volume of freshwater used to produce goods and services (the water footprint);
  • assessing sustainability in terms of local water scarcity and pollution levels; and
  • working to reduce the water footprint or improve sustainability.

At Reeve Consulting, we endeavour to consider all the risks in every aspect of your supply chain, and we’ll help you find the ones you haven’t thought of yet.

Wimbledon Aces Sustainability Challenges during London 2012 Games

There were no shortage of environmental concerns surrounding the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing – the smog, algae, choking traffic, and alarming increase in demand for energy were all pointing to a potential environmental disaster. Beijing successfully avoided a green nightmare – and simultaneously, Vancouver 2010 was put a stake in the ground around moving from a ‘green’ to a ‘Sustainable’ Winter Olympics. So the London 2012 Summer Olympic Organizing Committee knew they no choice but to follow through on their radical promise to host a truly sustainable Olympic games.

 

With initiatives ranging from local community work, travel, and waste management, the London 2012 Organizing Committee integrated sustainability into many aspects of the Games.  However, as avid tennis fans, nothing caught our attention more than the initiatives at Wimbledon Stadium where sustainability was a hot topic.

 

So you like strawberries? So do we (locally sourced strawberries, that is).

 

This year’s Wimbledon organizers faced an astounding sustainable supply chain challenge.  In order to meet the estimated demand for Wimbledon’s famous strawberries and cream, over 61,730 lbs of English strawberries needed to be picked and delivered to Wimbledon stadium.  These strawberries weren’t of any old variety.  The official Wimbledon strawberries are Grade 1 English strawberries from specially registered farms in Kent, thus supporting local, seasonal and organic produce while giving consideration to healthy eating, sport, and well-being.

 

            Let’s re-energize!

 

Rainy days at Wimbledon are somewhat of a tradition.  Despite the cold weather, Wimbledon has undertaken a thorough review of heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning systems and controls as a part of a strategy to develop and implement a long-term energy/carbon reduction strategy.  This includes investigating opportunities for on-site solar PV, solar water-heating and biomass.

 

The successes of Vancouver 2010 and London 2012 have gone a long way to integrating sustainability into mainstream culture and sporting events.  Although the London 2012 Organizing Committee successfully branded the 2012 Games as the “most sustainable games ever”, it fell short of several of its ‘green’ goals, including delivering 20 percent of electricity during the Games from new local renewable sources.  Interestingly, many corporate sponsors made good on their “sustainable vision” for the Olympics.   Dow solutions are helping enable more sustainable Games in several ways. The resin flooring system for the Eton Manor water sports facility is created from Dow epoxy products with low volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which reduces health risks and improves environmental safety. The resin flooring system will remain at Eton Manor after the Games as the center transforms into a unique mix of sporting facilities.  Indeed, it is often the smaller, and more measurable sustainable goals that when delivered create a larger impact.

 

We applaud London’s efforts and particularly some of the innovative programming at the Wimbledon Tennis Club. Now the torch is passed to Sochi 2014 and Rio 2016 respectively. We’ll bring updates on their goals and progress in the coming weeks.

New Report Reveals Trends & Best Practices in Canadian Municipal Sustainable Purchasing and Ethical Sourcing

Reeve Consulting and the Municipal Collaboration for Sustainable Purchasing recently released the first annual Trends and Best Practices in Canadian Municipal Sustainable Purchasing report, the most comprehensive discussion of municipal sustainable purchasing and ethical sourcing in Canada to date.

Beyond revealing key trends across the country and valuable best practices, the report offers a national snapshot of how Canadian municipalities are implementing sustainable purchasing programs.

Complete with a listing of common program barriers and recommended solutions, the report is a valuable resource for municipal decision-makers looking to implement impactful sustainable purchasing programming.

>> Download the Summary Report.

The full report is available from Reeve Consulting by request at tim@reeveconsulting.com or 604-763-6829.

Status of municipal sustainable purchasing in Canada

Sustainable purchasing has become a hot topic in the municipal sector. Few other internal sustainability initiatives can directly contribute to multiple civic agendas around zero waste, climate leadership, economic development, staff engagement, risk mitigation, improved operational efficiencies and cost reductions.

While comprehensive sustainable purchasing is still a relatively new field for local governments, municipalities are finding the support they require through the Municipal Collaboration for Sustainable Purchasing (MCSP). Formed in 2010 as a pilot project, the MCSP is comprised of a group of Canadian municipalities that are leveraging their collective experiences, knowledge and resources to strengthen their respective sustainable purchasing programs.

The Trends and Best Practices in Canadian Municipal Sustainable Purchasing report documents the great wealth of expertise shared by these and other local governments, pulling from them practical insights for municipalities looking to advance their sustainable purchasing practices.

Emerging Trends in Municipal Sustainable Purchasing

Key findings of the study show that municipalities continue to give priority to environmental issues over social or ethical considerations. The study also found that achieving some noteworthy early returns on investment, particularly a strong financial return, is key for generating momentum and further senior support for the advancement of sustainable purchasing practices. Municipalities say that their efforts are focused on developing realistic annual action plans, implementing policies or guidelines and collaborating with others to share experiences and resources.

Best Practices in Municipal Sustainable Purchasing

Readers wanting to fast track their efforts will find great value in the report’s identification and description of the 10 Program Success Factors required to maximize the impacts and benefits of sustainable purchasing.

Among these elements are following a written action plan, defining a clear sustainable purchasing policy and product guidelines, developing supplier scorecards and Codes of Conduct that outline fair labour standards, providing adequate training for purchasing and staff and engaging directly with suppliers in sustainability conversations.

These and more best practices are discussed in detail in the summary and full report.

Municipalities team up to overcome the challenges

The release of the report also marks the first year of full-fledged programming for the MCSP, which through its collaboration and resource sharing programs will help participating municipalities address challenges and priorities raised in the 2010 Trends & Best Practices in Municipal Sustainable Purchasing report. This includes seeking goods and services that conserve energy, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and minimize waste, as well as increasingly using scorecards and eco-labels to evaluate suppliers based on multiple social and environmental measures.

Key activities and tangible deliverables for the MCSP in 2011 include:

•          4 best practices peer exchange teleconferences

•          2 technical training webinars on focusing specific best practices

•          The 2011 Trends & Best Practices in Municipal Sustainable Purchasing report

•          Individual customized action planning sessions for each municipality

•          Access to a helpful resource library

Fast Track your Municipal Sustainable Purchasing Program – join the MCSP

Local governments of all sizes are invited to participate in the MCSP. If you’re interested in joining the project, or would like more information, please contact Tim Reeve at tim@reeveconsulting.com or Kevin McCarty at kevin@reeveconsulting.com or by phone at 604-763-6829.

The MCSP project is led by a steering committee comprised of the cities of Edmonton, Ottawa, London, Whitehorse and Victoria and is being facilitated by Reeve Consulting.

Fair Trade Certified jeans and t-shirts coming to stores in the U.S. in 2010!

Flickr / geishaboy500

When buying clothes in North America, it is quite difficult to know whether or not they were produced in a sweatshop. But now, two leading independent groups have teamed up to try and make it easier for consumers to select ethically produced clothes, simply by looking at the label.

Transfair USA and Social Accountability Accreditation Services Social Accountability Accreditation Services (SAAS) – the agency that oversees the SA8000 certification for ethical factories (i.e. “non-sweatshops”) – teamed up this year to integrate auditing processes in a pilot project that will result in the first Fair Trade Certified jeans and t-shirts in the USA market! A groundbreaking effort on three fronts.

First, Fair Trade certifying bodies have been grappling to extend Fair Trade Certification beyond basic agricultural commodities (e.g. coffee, tea, fruit and cotton) to the production of garments and other factory made items. This recent move by Transfair USA to extend the Fair Trade label to clothing is the first of its kind. Consumers will soon be able to look at the label on their jeans and trust that they were not produced in a sweatshop.

Second, it is rare to see two third-party certifying bodies double check each other’s work, so to speak. Often, our trust, as consumers, must be put into a single certification system. Now, however, when consumers buy Fair Trade Certified apparel in the USA (on shelves in Fall 2010) they can be assured that SAAS was also closely involved in ensuring that the garments were not stitched together in a sweatshop. This brings a new level of strength and legitimacy to third-party product certifications.

Third, Transfair USA and SAAS’s partnership is also groundbreaking in that they are working together to make it easier for factories to demonstrate compliance with ethical standards. Ethical compliance auditing processes can be cumbersome and many manufacturing facilities are reporting “audit fatigue” as a result of having to complete multiple audits per year for different agencies. Transfair USA and SAAS’s efforts to integrate their auditing process will help alleviate some of this pressure.

This type of partnership between Transfair USA and SAAS will hopefully generate a ripple effect in the third-party product certification space. Will we see more certifying bodies joining forces to harmonize standards and auditing processes? Or will consumers continue to have to wade through multiple certifications and try to decipher which ones are better? Reeve looks forward to seeing how this will influence other agencies and maybe one day Transfair Canada will partner with someone like SAAS and bring Fair Trade Certified clothing to our stores.

Click here for more information on this partnership.