Sustainability 2008: The Early Birds

In addition to Eric Strovink’s guest post this morning, a few bloggers have been quick out of the gate in their efforts to contribute to the first cross-blog series of 2008.

Dave Kuketz over on the Business Memory Blog was so inspired by the topic, that he couldn’t wait to get his entry up and posted it shortly after he received the invite two weeks ago. According to Dave, sustainability is about caring for the environment, about being green, about conservation, carbon credits and your carbon footprint, and the carbon footprint of your vendors; its about dangerous chemicals in toys or in consumer products, in our foods, in our skin care products; its about the humane care of animals; its about awarding business to those businesses who deserve it most because they follow the same principles you do; its about social corporate responsibility and making the world a better place. Furthermore, good clean data is the fuel that enables strategy and decision-making and analysis, good data enables change, (and) good data can … help companies strive toward their sustainability goals. Enter the age of e-Sustainability.

Brian Sommer of Services Safari was also quick to the draw with his post on a sustainability case study. According to Brian, sourcing of the capital equipment for the new facility [being constructed by his client] has also taken a green and sustainable approach and almost all of the equipment being installed has been from secondary markets … sparing landfills and junkyards from further (and unnecessary) debris. Furthermore, much of the discussion involving the feedstock for this facility centered around possible use of alternative technologies that would permit greater utilization of recycled materials. Brian also notes that many traditional sourcing techniques are not used frequently in the acquisition of alternative or recycled assets, and a special set of skills is required by these professionals. Thus, a sustainability mindset will require more than just training, but a new skill set as well.

Then, still not content that he had made a significant enough contribution to this very important cross-blog series, he followed it with a second post on sustainability vs. durability over on Services Safari. In it, he noted that while previous generations of cell phones were long-lasting with a high degree of interchangeable parts, today’s cell phones don’t hold a candle to their predecessors. They aren’t made to be durable or lasting, and, just like our laptops and desktop computers, failure and / or planned obsolescence is running at an ever increasing pace. The throwaway nature of today’s technology is clearly running counter to the concepts of sustainability and corporate social responsibility. Technology manufacturers need to do more when it comes to extending the lives of the products they sell and recycling technology that is no longer useable. As Brian points out, technology manufacturers should be focussed on creating products that can be easily upgraded (and, in this instance, Apple is doing a poor job with the iPhone and MacBook Air – the fact that you can’t even replace the battery is why, despite the fact that they are in many ways superior to competitor’s products, yours truly won’t buy them, even though he uses a MacBook Pro as his primary machine), that are durable, and that are supported for 10 years – not 10 months! (And, they should design for recycle from the outset!)

David Bush of e-Sourcing Forum jumped in with his warm-up post on carbon-neutral blogging where he noted that everyone these days seems to be jumping on the green bandwagon. He also brought up the question as to whether or not consumers would pay more for green products, which is important because consumers vote with their wallets, and if consumers don’t change their buying decisions, why should companies change their practices?

And the next guest blog goes up tomorrow morning! Stay tuned!