home  SUSTAINABLE SAN FRANCISCO
 A PROJECT OF THE TIDES CENTER

 Q   U   A   R   T   E   R   L   Y

 Volume 2, Number 1

Spring 1998 


       
 Index of
 Newsletters
 Contents

 Green Business Leader: Interface
 In the Spotlight: Promoting Green Business
    Business For Social Responsibility
    Sustainable Business Network
 Sustainable San Francisco Salutes the Green Ribbon Panel
 Director's Report
 Coalition/Alliance Reports
    Alliance for a Clean Waterfront
    Bay Area Transportation and Land Use Coalition
 BAAQMD Nominations for Clean Air Champions
 Get Involved with Sustainable San Francisco
 Welcome New Members
 What's Happening at the Department of the Environment

 



Green Business Leader: Interface

This issue of Sustainable San Franciscoís quarterly newsletter focuses on green business, a topic highlighted in many of the Sustainability Planís sections and well worth emphasizing.

We begin by introducing a company that exemplifies green business: Interface Flooring Systems (Interface). For those of you not familiar with Interface, this company is extremely noteworthy.

It is the first company to produce a corporate Sustainability Report, an effort that is commendable in itself, however, the report is also an excellent piece of work. Many leaders from the environmental and sustainability community, including Amory Lovins and David Brower, were assembled as the Interface Eco Dream Team. The talent involved in producing the report is evident in the beautifully articulated 16-page dialogue about Interfaceís journey towards sustainability.

The Sustainability Report presents Interfaceís "Path to Sustainability", which consists of the following seven ways in which Interface is changing its operations to achieve sustainability:

1) Eliminate waste: Interface has refocused its efforts from waste reduction to waste elimination. In order to accomplish this goal, Interface is recycling internal wastes, changing products, and changing its processes. In 1996, Interface reduced its solid waste output by 2,874 tons;

2) Benign emissions: Interface is focusing on the elimination of molecular waste emitted to natural systems that have negative or toxic effects;

3) Renewable energy: Interface is focusing on reducing the energy demands of its processes while concurrently substituting non-renewable energy sources with renewable sources;

4) Closing the loop: Interface is redesigning its processes and products into cyclical material flows;

5) Resource efficient transportation: Interface is exploring methods to reduce the transportation of people and products in favor of moving information. This will be accomplished through plant location, logistics, information technology, video conferencing, e-mail, and telecommuting;

6) Sensitivity hookup: Interface is working to create a community within and around the organization that understands the functioning of natural systems and our impact on them; and

7) Redesign commerce: Interface is working to redefine commerce to focus on the delivery of service and value instead of the delivery of material.

Sustainable San Francisco highly recommends obtaining a copy of Interfaceís Sustainability Report. This report may inspire you to suggest improvements that your business, city agency, or organization could make towards more sustainable practices.

To receive a copy of the Interface Sustainability Report, visit http://www.greendesign.net/interface/textinter.html or contact John McIntosh, Director of Marketing, voice: 706/812-6155; 800/336-0225 x6155; john_mcintosh@mailifsia.com.

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In the Spotlight: Promoting Green Business

Business for Social Responsibility: Founded in 1992, Business for Social Responsibility (BSR) is a national association of businesses, with more than 1,400 members and affiliated members. Collectively, BSR member companies have a sizable impact on the economy: their revenues total more than $1 trillion, and they employ nearly five million workers. BSR provides assistance to companies seeking to implement policies and practices which contribute to the long-term and responsible success of their enterprise and which fairly balance the competing claims of key stakeholders: their investors, employees, customers, business partners, communities, and the environment. BSR offers products and services on a range of corporate social responsibility issues related to audits and accountability, community involvement, the environment, ethics, governance, human rights and the global economy, the marketplace, and the workplace.

The BSR Education Fund is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization affiliated with BSR. Its mission is to work with the entire business community and others to help companies sustain their commercial success in ways that honor high ethical standards and benefit people, communities, and the environment.

The BSR Education Fundís Business and the Environment (BATE) Program assists BSR members and the general business community in developing policies, practices, and tools which increase value to customers and shareholders while decreasing companiesí environmental footprint. BATEís mission is to help companies integrate environmental considerations into business decisions and strategies and to help create more sustainable systems of commerce. BATE has a number of initiatives underway, including projects to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, promote resource productivity, reduce environmental impacts through green product and green building design, foster adoption of sustainable business practices, and help companies "close the loop" with customers and suppliers.

Sustainable Business Network (SBN): is an internet network that provides:

The SBN Journal delivers information to internet users in the form of a free, online-only monthly publication. Rather than re-developing the wheel, the SBN Journal culls the most compelling news and articles from a wide variety of leading trade publications in sustainable business. The journal covers every sustainable business sector from renewable energy to social investing, from green building and construction to organic agriculture.

The SBN Journal offers a succinct snapshot of thinking and activity in the sustainable business community to keep interested individuals informed, energized, and inspired about the many positive developments in our burgeoning field.

Sustainable Business Opportunities helps green businesses find resources they need to grow investors, partners, distributors, licensees, solicitations to further the transition toward a green economy. With 400,000 visitors each month, all specifically interested in sustainable business, SBN is an essential network to foster these connections.

Green Dream Jobs is the first job and internship listing service devoted to helping people find jobs with green businesses and organizations. The green economy is growing; you no longer have to be an engineer or a forester to work in service to the environment. But how do you find jobs in sustainable businesses like recycling, renewable energy, green building, and eco-management? The SBN Green Dream Jobs section is a great place to begin your search.

SBN Library is a thorough collection of resources on sustainable business and is updated monthly. It includes organizations, government agencies, publications, databases, mailing lists, funding sources, and university programs.

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Sustainable San Francisco Salutes the Green Ribbon Panel
Written by Maggie Johnson

Sustainable San Francisco has recently accepted both the baton and the remaining assets of the San Francisco Green Ribbon Panel. The Panel was created on Earth Day 1990 as a project of the San Francisco Small Business Advisory Commission, and became a nonprofit organization in 1992 following changes at City Hall during the Jordan administration. With financial support from several City departments, including the Bureau of Energy Conservation, the San Francisco Water Department, and the Solid and Hazardous Waste Management Programs, the Panel was dedicated to assisting and rewarding San Francisco businesses that were going "green." During its eight years of activity, the Green Ribbon Panel gave Environmental Achievement Awards to over 50 San Francisco businesses.

What makes a business "green"? Generally, the business will have made a conscious effort to investigate and reduce the impact of its activities on the environment. Energy conservation, water conservation, reduction and recycling of solid waste, and reduction or elimination of the use of toxic and hazardous materials are the primary areas in which businesses can change their behavior to improve the environment and, in many cases, their bottom line. For many businesses, especially small businesses, there is little time or motivation to look beyond daily concerns, which were summarized by a local business owners during one of the Panelís focus groups as "the three Pís: police, parking, and profits."

San Francisco businesses received the Green Ribbon Panelís Environmental Achievement Award in one or more of the following categories:
  • Energy conservation,
  • Transportation/commute trip reduction,
  • General water conservation and water conserving landscaping,
  • Waste reduction, reuse, or recycling,
  • Toxics and hazardous material use reduction.

Nomination of these businesses was followed by opera-tional review and site visits by Panel specialists. Panel staff and volunteers prepared brief case histories summarizing the environmental achievements of each nominee. The awards themselves were presented at an annual event in which both winners and local politicos had the opportunity to compare notes and snap photos.

The San Francisco Green Ribbon Panel was one of the first groups in the Bay Area to recognize the potential of incentive awards to encourage businesses to rethink their effect on the environment. Other communities have also implemented business awards. The Palo Alto Regional Water Quality Control Plant has recognized its business communityís efforts through the Clean Bay Business program in which a variety of businesses including auto repair shops, pharmacies, and printers receive certification as a Clean Bay Business (see http://www.city.palo-alto.ca.us/palo/city/environmental/cbb.html for more information). Businesses enjoy the marketing advantage of the programís targeted advertisements listing and promoting Clean Bay Businesses. The Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) is currently working at the regional level to promote ecological efficiency through their San Francisco Bay Area Green Business program (see http://www.abag.ca.gov/bayarea/enviro/gbus/gb.html for more information).

Sustainable San Francisco hopes to build on the work of the Green Ribbon Panel and is currently reviewing the possibility of continuing the Panelís Business Environmental Achievement Program. If you are interested in volunteering to help Sustainable San Francisco with this programís development, please call us at 415/285-6106.


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Director's Report
Written by Janet Jacobs, Project Director

Sustainable San Francisco spent these past few rainy months making presentations, working in coalition with other like-minded organizations, and getting our own house in order.

February was a big travel month. We were invited to participate on two different panels about urban sustainability planning. The Bay Area Environmental Forum invited us to their monthly event in Mountain View, where a lively discussion took place among the fifty or so interested folks gathered to hear the panel presentation. We also headed up to the University of Calgary, Canada, (all expenses paid!) where we shared the stage in a presentation to faculty and students in the urban planning department.

Also in that rainy February, Donelle Gregory joined our staff as Strategic Development Director, bringing a new vigor to our organization. Before joining Sustainable San Francisco, Donelle worked as an environmental planner with an environmental consulting firm where she was involved with numerous environmental impact analyses for urban and economic development, military base closure, and natural resource management projects. Donelle and I have spent a good deal of February and March putting in place the systems that will help us grow into a more effective organization.

Spring is finally here; wildflowers and Earth Day celebrations abound. We in the Bay Area are lucky to have hundreds of opportunities to get close to the earth: planting trees, cleaning and reclaiming natural areas, walking, biking, hiking, you name it. Some useful volunteer calendars are provided below.

San Francisco Bay Area Ecocalendar. A calendar of environmental activities and events in the Bay Area. Sponsored by Bay Area Action (BAA) and the Peninsula Conservation Center Foundation (PCCF). Call BAA at 650/321-1994 or visit the website at http://www.ecocalendar.org/.

Green City Calendar. The bi-monthly Green City Calendar lists daily hands-on environmental volunteer opportunities, events, and seminars. Call Green City Project at 415/285-6556 for more information.

Volunteer Network. Links over 425 Bay Area environmental groups and provides a point of entry for residents, schools, companies, and other organizations to become active with these groups. Call Green City Project at 415/285-6556 for more information.

Bay Area Progressive Calendar. A calendar of activism-oriented events in the San Francisco / Oakland / Berkeley area. Call Eric Moon, American Friends Service Committee at 415/565-0201 x14 or visit the website at http://www.emf.net/%7Echeetham/cal.html.

Source for Natural Resource Volunteer Activities in Golden Gate Park. A bi-monthly calendar of hands-on activities in Golden Gate Park. Call 415/561-3034 ext.3444 for more information.

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Coalition/Alliance Reports

Alliance for a Clean Waterfront
The Alliance for a Clean Waterfront promotes cleanup of toxic soil and groundwater contamination, environmental restoration and ehancement, reduction and elimination of sewage overflows and polluted stormwater runoff, and implementation of wastewater treatment alternatives and water recycling by monitoring proposed and ongoing development affecting San Franciscoís water resources.

The Alliance is currently evaluating proposed development at China Basin, Mission Bay, Hunters Point Shipyard, Candlestick Point, and the Port of San Francisco to reduce Bay pollution and opportunities to enhance the bayside environment.

Sustainable San Francisco is a member of this coalition and through this membership hopes to promote implementation of Sustainability Plan, Water and Wastewater Action 14-c: Conduct a full, fair and independent study of alternative wastewater, storm water, water supply and use policies.

For more information regarding the Alliance for a Clean Waterfront contact: Leslie S. Caplan, Baykeeper, 415/626-1477.

Bay Area Transportation and Land Use Coalition
The Bay Area Transportation and Land Use Coalition encourages public agencies, private developers, and groups of concerned citizens to promote policies and take actions leading to a Bay Area with intelligent, sustainable land use patterns.

The Coalition is actively involved in the 1998 update of the Regional Transportation Plan (RTP). The Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) will hold workshops to discuss the RTP on April 18, April 25, and May 2, each in different parts of the Bay Area. For specific information on the workshops or to be put on the MTCís mailing list, please call the MTC at 510/464-7700.

Sustainable San Franciscoís involvement with this coalition is in accordance with Sustainability Plan, Transportation Action 2-2-b: Create a public/private lobby for bay-region transportation.

For more information regarding the Bay Area Transportation and Land Use Coalition contact: Stuart Cohen, Coordinator, 510/843-3878.

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BAAQMD Nominations for Clean Air Champions
From http://www.baaqmd.gov

People can improve air quality by making simple changes in their lives, such as ridesharing instead of driving alone, switching to non-aerosol products, or using natural gas fireplaces. Others may go the extra distance by acting as leaders in the fight for clean air, educating community members about air quality issues, or by supporting pollution control measures. The Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) has developed a Clean Air Champions program to recognize individuals and organizations who exemplify what can be done to reduce air emissions in the Bay Area. Past winners have included electric car enthusiasts, a Girl Scout troop, an environmental rap singer, a school club that builds electric cars, a 72-year-old bicycle commuter, and two university students who developed a clean air transportation page on the World Wide Web.

This yearís champion will win great prizes, such as a new mountain bike and brunch at the Claremont Resort and Spa. In addition, the American Lung Association of the Bay Area will also sponsor a child at one of its asthma camps in the name of 1998ís Clean Air Champion.

If you know someone who is making a difference, simply describe in one page how your nominee has helped improve air quality and why. Send your letter on an official entry form (available by calling 800/HELP-AIR) to Clean Air Champions, Bay Area Air Quality Management District, 939 Ellis Street, San Francisco, CA 94109, or fax to 415/749-5101. Include an address and daytime telephone number for both you and your nominee. You can also provide nominations on the internet at http://www.rides.org/champs/.

Nominations will be accepted beginning April 1, and the deadline for nominations will be the end of Clean Air Month, May 29, 1998. The 1998 Clean Air Champion will be announced in August.

For more information on Clean Air Champions contact Teresa Lee, BAAQMD at 415/749-4900 or Karen Licavoli, American Lung Association at 650/994-5864.

Clean Air Champions is sponsored by BAAQMD, RIDES for Bay Commuters, Inc., United States Environmental Protection Agency, KCBS All News 74, KPIX Channel 5, American Lung Association of the Bay Area

Sustainable San Francisco supports this activity to promote Sustainability Plan, Air Quality Action 1-l: Implement public education campaigns about the importance of air quality and the need for research and the need to reduce dependence on automobiles.

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Get Involved with Sustainable San Francisco

Sustainable San Francisco is looking for interested individu-als or organizations to help with our Actions in the Works report scheduled for publication within the next few months. This report is a catalogue of San Francisco city agencies, businesses, nonprofit organizations, community-based organizations, and educational institutions implementing actions in the Sustainability Plan. The report will serve as our baseline to determine where we, as a commuity, need to focus our energies to meet the Sustainability Planís objectives for year 2002.

If you can make telephone calls, provide database assistance, photocopying, printing, graphic design, photographs, or general administrative asssistance, or if you have a bit of extra time and have specific knowledge about organizations working within any of the 15 topic areas covered in the Sustainability Plan: Air Quality; Biodiversity; Energy, Climate Change, and Ozone Depletion; Food and Agriculture; Hazardous Materials; Human Health; Parks, Open Spaces, and Streetscapes; Transportation; Water and Wastewater; Economy and Economic Development; Environmental Justice; Municipal Expenditures; Public Information and Education; and Risk Management, please contact Sustainable San Francisco at 415/285-6106.

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Welcome New Members

In November 1997, Sustainable San Francisco became a membership organization. We had a great response to our initial membership offering and our numbers grow every day. If you are interested in joining Sustainable San Francisco, please complete and mail the membership application on page 7 of this newsletter. Sustainable San Francisco would like to thank the following individuals and organizations for supporting Sustainable San Francisco through membership:

California Academy of Sciences; San Francisco League of Urban Gardeners; Peter Albert; Bob Besso; Tom Chester; Denise DíAnne; Peggy da Silva; Kevin Fox; Paul Gillespie; John Holtzclaw; Jeff Jackson; Maggie Johnson; Redmond; F. Kernan; Peggy Lauer; Dave Massen; Peter Mezey; Mitchell Near; Arthur OíDonnell; Laura Pappas; Rick Ruvolo; J.M. Seropan; Geof Syphers; Holly Van Houten; Kate White; Barbara Wilkie

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What's Happening at the Department of the Environment
Written by Karen Noll, Department of the Environment Reporter

Not to preach to the choir, but many people I have talked to do not know that San Francisco does indeed have a Department of the Environment. There is certainly an informed minority of active San Franciscans who know of the Departmentís existence, and they have been coming in increasing numbers to the Environmental Commission meetings to have their thoughts, ideas, and requests on sustainability issues heard. It is the mandate of the Department of the Environment to carry out the objectives in the Sustainability Plan for San Francisco by hearing from citizens and working with other city departments.

The Environmental Commission holds its regular meeting at 6:00 PM on the second Tuesday of every month at the War Memorial Performing Arts Center, 401 Van Ness Avenue, San Francisco, usually in Room 207. If you are interested in attending a meeting and would first like to receive an agenda, contact the Department of the Environment at 415/554-6390 (see http://www.ci.sf.ca.us/environment/ for more information about the department). The Department office is located on 1540 Market Street, Suite 160, San Francisco, CA 94102. You can also just show up to a meeting and put your name on the mailing list for future agendas.

Each month, the Commission focuses on a different topic and hears speakers from various backgrounds representing many interests. Just to bring you up to speed, hereís what has been happening this year alone: in January, representatives of the Public Utilities Commission (PUC), Golden Gate University, the Alliance for Municipal Power, Pacific Gas and Electrive (PG&E), and Southeast Alliance for Environmental Justice (SAEJ) spoke on energy issues facing San Francisco; in February, representatives from the Urban Habitat Program, San Francisco Transportation Authority, Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD), and the Department of Public Health addressed air quality issues; in March, the focus was on biodiversity with speakers representing the California Native Plant Society, Golden Gate Audubon Society, San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department, and private citizens; and in April, the topic was environmental health with speakers representing the Department of Public Health, the Toxic Links Coalition, and Communities for a Better Environment. There have also been ongoing discussions and resolutions made on the Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program concerning requests for chemical use exemptions from various city agencies.

There is a lot of good work being done by various organizations in the San Francisco Bay Area, all working towards goals which relate to the Sustainability Plan. Attending Commission meetings is an excellent way to keep on top of San Franciscoís environmental issues and to voice your concerns and ideas. Sustainable San Francisco will begin featuring a quarterly Environmental Department update in this newsletter, and we will continue to be a source of information for how you can speak up, take action, and be a vital part of keeping San Francisco on the track of sustainability.

Sustainable San Francisco
P.O. Box 460236
San Francisco, CA 94146
voice: 415/285-6106
Fax: 415/648-2558
e-mail:sustainable@igc.apc.org

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