In Episode 92 of The Wendel Forum (originally aired on March 16, 2013, on 960 KNEW AM radio), show moderator Dick Lyons, co-founder of Wendel Rosen’s sustainable business practice group, welcomes Gary Barker, founder and CEO of two companies. GreenHeart Global conceives, designs, develops and produces sustainable products for clients such as The Gap, LL Bean, Adidas, O’Neill and more. Ditto Sustainable Brand Solutions designs, manufactures and sells a line of sustainable hangers (to replace plastic and metal hangers) that are used in more than 5,000 stores world-wide.

Gary Barker, founder of Ditto Sustainable Brand Solutions

Gary Barker, founder of Ditto Sustainable Brand Solutions

Greenheart’s flagship design is its Ditto Hangers, which launched in 2007 after several years of R&D.  As many as 15 billion plastic retail hangers are made every year with 85 percent of them winding up in landfill.  Wire dry cleaning hangers had not experienced any design innovation for 60 years. The Ditto Hanger, in contrast, is made of 100 percent compressed, recycled paper and other recyclable materials such as starch-based adhesive and soy-based inks.  Made using certified manufacturers and certified non-toxic materials, a Ditto Hanger can hold more than 20 pounds and has won several international design awards.  Consumers can purchase them themselves at the Container Store, on Amazon and through www.dittohangers.com, among other places.

In developing, manufacturing and selling Ditto Hangers, Barker learned a lot about design, materials, sourcing, manufacturing, shipping and warehousing logistics, marketing, PR, branding, logos and displays.  That knowledge is applied to Ditto Sustainable Brand Solutions clients, including Disney, Levi’s and Addidas.  Launching a sustainable product “takes a lot of determination,” says Barker, who describes himself as a “bulldog” when it comes to his products.

Would you consider swapping out your hangers for Ditto Hangers?

Post Links:

Listen to the interview with Gary Barker:  Episode 92 of The Wendel Forum (27:41 mins; mp3)

GreenHeart Global’s Web Page: http://www.greenheartglobal.com/home/

Ditto Sustainable Brand Solutions’ Web Page: http://dittobrandsolutions.com/home/

960 KNEW AM Radio Website: http://www.960KNEW.com

Dick Lyons’s online profile: http://www.wendel.com/rlyons

In Episode 81 of The Wendel Forum (originally aired on October 20, 2012, on 960 KNEW AM radio), show moderator Bill Acevedo, chair of Wendel Rosen’s sustainable business practice group, welcomes Lauren Selman, founder of Reel Green Media, an environmental consulting and production company dedicated to greening the entertainment industry both on and off screen.

Lauren Selman of Reel Green Media

Lauren Selman of Reel Green Media

Reel Green Media started as a student project when Selman was at UC Berkeley. The company’s first movie project was Benjamin Bratt’s La Mission, which was filmed in San Francisco.  Selman initially zeroed in on composting and recycling movie set waste.  For example, the 80-person La Mission crew was going through as many as 500 disposable water bottles a day.  Selman substituted water jugs.  She then analyzed the energy used, including studying generators, transportation, hotel accommodations and caterers.  In addition, she consulted on whether the products that appeared on screen were environmentally friendly and promoting a green lifestyle.  In addition to movies, Reel Green Media now works on live events, such as the Golden Globes, the Emmys and the Oscars.

Selman also set out to reimagine beauty pageants, competing for the Miss Malibu title in a completely sustainable way with, for example, an all-organic dress and makeup.  She won the pageant’s Miss Congeniality title and the People’s Choice Award and influenced the way other contestants approached sustainability.

Bill and Selman discuss how greening the entertainment industry requires re-thinking basic concepts. For example, it’s not always easy to quickly get things – such as compostable plates – to remote areas where movies often film.  But studios are getting more on board with sustainable practices and both production structures and executives’ awareness is developing.  That, Selman says, will have ripple effect to entertainment industry vendors.

Are you more likely to see a movie that used sustainable practices in filming?
Post Links:

Listen to the interview with Selman: Episode 81 of The Wendel Forum (27:41 mins; mp3)

Reel Green Media: http://www.reelgreenmedia.com

960 KNEW AM Radio website: http://www.960KNEW.com

Bill Acevedo’s online profile: http://www.wendel.com/wacevedo

In Episode 79 of The Wendel Forum (originally aired on October 6, 2012, on 960 KNEW AM radio), show moderator Dick Lyons, co-founder of Wendel Rosen’s sustainable business practice group, welcomes Peggy Cross, founder of Bay Area-based EcoTensil, which produces eating utensils made from sustainable materials.

Peggy Cross of EcoTensil

With a background in packaging and marketing, Cross developed a whole line of certified compostable eating utensils made from “silky smooth” paperboard, similar in mouth feel to a soda cup.  The taster spoons are a particularly better alternative to plastic tasters, which are made from petroleum in China and are used for two seconds at ice cream shops, grocery stores or at trade shows, yet will exist on the planet for thousands of years.  In contrast, EcoTensil’s taster spoon offers efficiencies in storage, shipping and waste management, and companies using it can offer customers something obviously greener.  Interestingly, EcoTensil’s first clients, which still represent 25 percent of her business, were prisons because users can’t hurt themselves or others with a paper spoon.

In launching EcoTensil, Cross learned that everything in the start-up world takes longer than you think and costs twice as much money.  As a result, she recommends not launching a start-up without an abundance of tenacity and perseverance.  She also says that entrepreneurs should not just want to make money, but they must also have a passion for what they do.

Wouldn’t you like to ditch the splintery wooden taster spoon?
Post Links:

Listen to the interview with Peggy Cross: Episode 79 of The Wendel Forum (27:49 mins; mp3)

EcoTensil Website: http://ecotensil.com/about.html

960 KNEW AM Radio website: http://www.960KNEW.com

Dick Lyons’s online profile: http://www.wendel.com/rylons

What does the Iberian Lynx have to do with a bottle of wine?  The Cork Forest Conservation Alliance. 

In Episode 48 of The Wendel Forum(originally aired on January 28, 2012, on 960 KNEW AM radio), show host Bill Acevedo welcomes Patrick Spencer, Executive Director of Cork Forest Conservation Alliance (CFCA).

Originally founded in 2008 as Cork ReHarvest, the Oregon-based CFCA is a nonprofit that campaigns globally for the protection and preservation of the Mediterranean cork forests, its inhabitants (including the Iberian Lynx) and biodiversity, through education, direct action, and partnerships with communities, businesses and governments. In addition to the group’s educational campaigns, a major piece of their work is to collect and recycle cork before it reaches a landfill. Bill and Patrick discuss the group’s four main areas of focus, and the new “Real Cork Inside” program.

Recycling

CFCA has developed a distribution network to collect used wine natural corks and recycle them close to where they are collected, thereby reducing the carbon footprint in the recycling circle.  Whole Foods Markets, with drop off locations in their 300 stores in the U.S., Canada and the U.K., is by far their largest partner.  There are many other locations in the network with drop-off locations from Surry, British Columbia to Austin, Texas.  Once collected, the cork is recycled into products including cork floor tiles and numerous industrial and consumer products.

Education

A primary mission of the organization is to educate the wine community, various manufacturers and consumers regarding the sustainability of cork.  The group frequently participates in outreach, sustainability seminars and conferences, and hospitality industry programs to correct some common misperceptions about the harvesting of cork. Cork is actually the bark of certain oak trees.  Patrick explains that, contrary to popular belief, the trees are not cut down in order to harvest the cork. It is harvested by hand by individual family farmers working the 6.6 million acres in the Mediterranean cork forest region. The bark re-grows and is harvested about every 9 years from trees that can live up to 300 years.

Stewardship

CFCA works with local governments and with other nonprofit organizations throughout the world to become a central hub for information, education and advocacy related the harvest of cork.

Environmental business development

To further the mission of the organization, CFCA actively works with companies looking to up-cycling spent wine cork. Using natural cork in other products diverts large quantities of waste from landfills and offers many businesses a more sustainable alternative in the production of goods and products. By working with business leaders in a variety of industries, the group is able to identify new opportunities to create all kinds of environmentally favorable applications – from flooring in schoolyard playgrounds to bobbers for fishing.

The “Real Cork Inside” programLook for the Acorn - Real Cork Inside logo

The “Real Cork Inside” ™ certification program was developed to help wineries let consumers know that they have committed to using natural cork in bottling their wines. Because most wineries put foil or plastic capsule over the top of the bottle, a consumer often can’t see if the bottle uses natural or synthetic cork. Now consumers can look for an acorn symbol on the bottle that indicates the winery is committed to using natural cork closures. This trademark logo is licensed by CFCA to certified wineries in the program and gives the consumer the power of choice.

 

Post Links:

Listen to the interviews with Patrick Spencer:  Episode 48 of The Wendel Forum (27:41 mins; mp3)

Cork Forest Conservation Alliance website: www.corkforest.org

Whole Foods Market cork program press release: http://wholefoodsmarket.com/pressroom/blog/2010/04/06/whole-foods-market%c2%ae-partners-with-cork-reharvest-to-recycle-wine-corks-help-save-mediterranean-cork-forests/

960 KNEW AM Radio website: http://www.960KNEW.com

Bill Acevedo’s online profile: http://www.wendel.com/wacevedo

In Episode 43 of The Wendel Forum (originally aired on December 3, 2011 on Green 960 AM radio), show host Bill Acevedo talks fiber with Lewis Fix of Domtar Paper.  That’s tree fiber, not cereal.

The company, which was actually founded in 1848 in England, is one of the leaders in sustainability in the paper industry. In 2002, Domtar became the first North American paper company to achieve Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification from the forest to the marketplace. 

According to Lewis, Domtar sees itself as more than just a paper company.  They are in the business of moving fiber.  What does that mean?  Usually when you think of paper products, you think of copy paper, annual reports and marketing brochures.  But their products are much more diverse than that.  They are used in such diverse places as sticks for lollipops and medical products. And like many companies looking to be more efficient with their production while creating less waste, Domtar is exploring ways to use the papermaking byproduct lignin as a bio-fuel.

In addition, the company values being a good corporate citizen regarding its environmental impact and its impact in the communities in which it operates.  With 13 pulp and paper facilities throughout North America, the company recognizes the importance of being engaged locally.

Lewis discusses the responsibility that Domtar embraces to have an open dialogue regarding how they are managing forests, watersheds, and other resources.  They hold themselves to a high standard of transparency (third party and multi-stakeholder).  Lewis and Bill discuss the debate regarding whether it’s better to use virgin or recycled paper, as well as a few of Domtar’s partnerships with organizations such as the Rainforest Alliance and World Wildlife Fund.

They also have some exciting new initiatives to promote, including The Paper Trail, a web transparency tool inspired by Patagonia’s Footprint Chronicles to help track the chain of custody in the supply chain all the way to store shelves.

From a Domtar press release:

The Paper Trail (http://www.domtarpapertrail.com) develops personalized reports that measure Domtar products across five categories: water usage, the distance fiber travels to a paper mill, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, waste sent to landfills and renewable energy usage. The data is displayed in real-world equivalents, with comparisons to issues such as the amount of water the average household uses or the amount of waste it generates. The Paper Trail will also illustrate how Domtar compares to the rest of the industry in these particular categories.

We think you might think differently about fiber after listening to this interview.

Post Links:

Listen to the interview with Lewis Fix: Episode 43 of The Wendel Forum (mp3)

Domtar Paper website: http://www.domtar.com

Forest Stewardship Council website:  http://www.fsc.org/

The Paper Trail: http://www.domtarpapertrail.com

Green 960 AM Radio website: http://www.green960.com

Bill Acevedo’s online profile: http://www.wendel.com/wacevedo

Rip Curl Pro Search is going on in San Francisco for a few more days (Nov. 1 – 12), so it seems the perfect time to talk about what’s happening to green the surfing industry.  Yes, blue is the new green.

In Episode 38 of The Wendel Forum(originally aired on Green 960 AM radio on October 29, 2011), show host Bill Acevedo talks with Michael Stewart, one of the founders of Sustainable Surf, which is a 501(c)3 that works to improve the adoption of sustainability in the surfing industry.

From their website:
Sustainable Surf works with key players within the surfing industry to dramatically improve the environmental performance of their products and services. In parallel, Sustainable Surf engages surfing consumers with innovative campaigns around sustainable surfing products, and educates surfers about the lifestyle choices that can further lower their impacts on the ocean environment.

You might think that the impact on the environment caused by surfing is just a drop in the ocean, but surfing represents a $7 billion dollar industry.  Now there is a movement to reconnect with surfing’s more sustainable roots.  Surfboards are an obvious place to start. Historically they were made from wood products, but over the years petroleum based materials became the norm. Wet suits, accessories, apparel and all of the “stuff” that goes with the surfing lifestyle have an impact.  From raw materials and supply chain, to manufacturing and distribution, it’s time for the surf industry to step up and take responsibility for its environmental impact. And then there are the waste and end-of-life issues for all that gear. 

Michael Stewart of Sustainable Surf

Michael Stewart of Sustainable Surf visits The Wendel Forum studio

Michael and Bill discuss these issues and the major initiatives that Sustainable Surf has embraced to help the industry become more green and to reduce the impact to our coastlines caused by those who enjoy the sport.  Current projects include the Waste to Waves program, the Ecoboard Verification Program and the greening of the Rip Curl Pro Search event in San Francisco.  If you’re checking out the action at Rip Curl Pro, take a minute to notice the recycling and upcycling initiatives, the use of biodiesel, and the high waste diversion goals (90%) for the event. 

You may also want to participate in the beach clean up program going on Saturday, November 5, from 10:00 a.m. to noon.

Post Links:

Interview with Michael Stewart of Sustainable Surf: Episode 38 of The Wendel Forum (27.23 mins; mp3)
Rip Curl Pro website: http://live.ripcurl.com/index.php?Search2011
Sustainable Surf website: http://SustainableSurf.org/
Current Sustainable Surf projects: http://sustainablesurf.org/projects/
Green 960 AM radio website: http://www.green960.com/main.html
Bill Acevedo website bio: http://www.wendel.com/wacevedo

How many times have you gone into the grocery store and realized that you left your reusable bag in the trunk of your car?  Or maybe you take a walk and spontaneously decide to pop into the local market to pick up a couple of items.   

In Episode 19 of The Wendel Forum(originally aired on Green 960 AM radio on June 11, 2011), host Bill Acevedo interviews ChicoBag founder and president Andy Keller.  ChicoBag attempts to address the lifestyle issue of making reusable bags accessible when you need them.  The ChicoBag compacts down into a size so small that one (or more) can easily be carried in a pocket or purse. It can even be strapped to a belt loop.

Andy tells us the story of how he got the original inspiration for his company and the path he took to get started (including buying his first sewing machine).  Along the way, the company has made a number of product advancements as the technology for recycling has improved, including launching the new rePETe™ line of products made of 100% post consumer waste recycled plastic water bottles. 

As a mission-driven company, ChicoBag does more than sell bags.  They look for ways to help people reduce waste.  The Bag Monster is the fictional character they use to help people wake up to the huge amount of plastic bag (and other) waste we produce.  To promote education in this area, the company has launched a blog at http://www.bagmonster.com/.  People can go here to share ideas about how to reduce plastic bag use, track legislation related to the use of plastic bags throughout the country, and find numerous useful links to other organizations and information. 

Andy also posted information and photos from his recent trip to the South Pacific Gyre (where he witnessed first hand the effects of waste on our planet’s oceans in this floating Garbage Patch).

Check out the full interview by clicking on the Episode link in this post.  
 
Post Links:

Discussion with ChicoBag’s Founder Andy Keller: Listen to Episode 19 of The Wendel Forum (approx. 27 minutes)

ChicoBag’s website: www.chicobag.com

The Bag Monster blog: www.bagmonster.com

Green 960 AM Radio website: www.green960.com

About show host William Acevedo: www.wendel.com/wacevedo

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