It’s not easy being “green”

World of green messaging

Crack open a “green” beer December 1, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — mandit @ 7:02 pm

The “King of Beers,” Anheuser-Busch, has jumped on the green wagon and has initiated different practices to help improve the quality of the environment. Anheuser-Busch not only holds 50 percent of the beer market in the United States but they are continuously dedicated to improving the quality of life. In 2008, they were named Number 1 in Social Responsibility in FORTUNE’S Magazines 2008 List of Most Admired Companies. 


The Web site, called OUR PLEDGE, dedicated to their environmental responsibility outlines the major initiatives they focus on, which include recycling and packaging, water conservation, energy and wildlife and habitats. Although Anheuser-Busch uses many aluminum cans for their beer, they also recycle a lot. They recycled around 27 billion aluminum cans annually, and also encourage their suppliers to do the same by sending promotional materials and supporting challenges for the top recyclers. The Anheuser-Busch Recycle Challenge has a school program where schools can earn money from recycled cans to purchase equipment and prizes including Golf events and Daytona 500 tickets. They are also very involved in litter prevention, and work closely with the Keep America Beautiful campaigns.


Since water is a major part of beer, it is no wonder Anheuser-Busch is worried about the water conservation. Anheuser-Busch Water Council has worked to reduce the amount of water used in each plant by 7 percent, which is 4.6 billion tons of water.


The breweries of Anheuser-Busch use renewable fuel to run their facilities. The Bio-Energy Recovery System generates energy from the brewing process wastewater. This energy from BERS generated enough energy to heat over 25,000 homes last year, and it reduced more than 250 million pounds of greenhouse gas emissions by using this renewable fuel.  Also the Anheuser-Busch Technology Center in St. Louis is LEED certified, and they are building two more facilities that will also meet these requirements.


Budweiser and Alligators- we’ll drink to that,” states all Anheuser-Busch does to help wildlife conservation. They host ten wildlife habitats that are certified by Wildlife at Work, which is a nonprofit organization dedicated to help wildlife habitats on corporate land. Within these practices, Anheuser-Busch allows alligators to be on their farm ponds in Jacksonville Fla., and they support gardens in Georgia and made peregrine falcon homes in Wisconsin.


Although, it seems like Anheuser-Busch is in a perfect place for their environmental practices, it is not that way for many of their customers. In the “Green Biz Report” for 2007, it seems that many Budweiser drinkers were disappointed after Greenpeace analyzed the beer and found presence of genetically altered rice in three of the four samples tested. After these claims of hurting the health of their customers, Anheuser-Busch released a statement: “the rice is approved for use in the U.S. and is not used in brewing Budweiser destined for export.” Anheuser-Busch also mentioned that they currently sell two organic beers, Wild Hop Lager and Stone Mill pale ale.


I found it very unusual that a beer company would worry about the environment because many of their customers probably do not even think about Anheuser-Busch’s practices, especially their practices towards the environment. Though I found it unusual, I think it is impressive that they do so much. Hopefully, more people will learn of their practices and whenever they crack open a Budweiser or Bud Light they will think about how Anheuser-Busch is helping the environment. Even it is one beer or one alligator at a time.


Starbucks creatively goes green November 17, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — mandit @ 2:41 pm

When I began to look for my next company to highlight, I decided to check out Starbucks to see how they helped the environment. Starbucks Coffee Company and Global Green USA created a Planet Green Game. The game involves creating a character that travels through a city implementing green initiatives. After each initiative, you learn how the change you made helps the environment. It is a fun and excellent way to show how little changes can positively help the planet.


After playing the game, I wanted to see what else Starbucks was involved in. I knew Starbucks cups were made of 10 percent recycled content and they promote reusable mugs to help the environment, but I knew the company had to do more to help.


Even after closing many stores and laying off employees, Starbucks announced their “Shared Plant program” in October 2008. This program outlines Starbuck’s green goals, and these goals are outline in The Green Report article called Starbucks keeps green goals. The goals are:

  • Purchasing all coffee through ethical sourcing practices
  • Making all store 25 percent more energy efficient by 2010
  • Using 100 percent reusable or recyclable cups by 2015
  • Obtaining 50 percent of the energy used by Starbucks store from renewable sources

Starbucks is also very concerned with climate change. Along with Conservation International, Starbucks is working hard to protect and restore forests, preserve rich biodiversity and address climate issues. The two groups are working together by joining with coffee growing communities in Chiapas and Mexico to help plant trees.


Over the summer, Starbucks even sold green umbrellas at their stores. The umbrellas for “Green Umbrellas for a Green Cause” were designed by celebrities, and part of the proceeds from the sales go towards Global Green USA, which Starbucks has worked with for many years. With the umbrellas and the game, Starbucks is working to improve the environment and doing it in creative and fun new ways.


McDonalds is “lovin” the environment November 12, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — mandit @ 2:50 pm

McDonalds, the fast food chain, has a long-standing record of industry leadership in environmental conservation. They have been recognized with awards by Audubon Society, Conservation International, Keep America Beautiful, the National Recycling Coalition and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. McDonalds is committed to implementing green practices in many aspects of the company.


McDonalds works closely with local neighborhoods to keep their streets and parks clean and attractive. They have regular litter patrols that go around the restaurants to ensure there is little to no litter around. The owners/managers also support local clean-up days, and offer free meals for volunteers.


Even within the restaurants, McDonalds provides a broad range of initiatives including:

Solid Waste Management

Along with Environmental Defense, McDonalds works to reduce was in the operations by:

  • Reducing the amount of material originally used
  • Recycling what they can
  • Using products made by recycled content

So far, they have already made great strides in these areas. With making changes to their packaging, they have already reduced 8.5 million pounds per year.

Electrical Energy Conservation

In the 1990s, McDonalds replaced their regular lighting to more energy-efficient fluorescent lighting. They are a member of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Green Light program, which is an award given by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to those who implement “green” lighting practices.


Supply chain

McDonalds works with the Conservational International to integrate socially responsible practices into their worldwide supply chain. Within their supply chain practices is the “responsible purchasing,” which is a program to include supplier social accountability “to protect the health, safety and human rights of the workers” and customers.

In 2003, McDonalds opened their first HFC/HCF/CFC-free restaurant in Denmark to see if these new practices would help the effects on global warming.



McDonalds’ Web site has a separate page for their Corporate Environmental Responsibility. This includes their ongoing commitment to reduce (with regards to their packaging) reuse (use reusable materials whenever possible) and recycle (maximum use of recycled materials in every day practices).


McDonalds has a surprisingly large amount of practices that serve to protect and enhance the world we live in. Since many of these initiatives were developed and implemented in the late 1990s, it will be interesting to see how McDonalds’ commitment to environmental conservation will grow in the future.


Evian protects their water supply & other environmental issues November 3, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — mandit @ 6:31 pm

Majority of companies are beginning to voice their “green” practices. Even Evian water is making efforts to help preserve the environment. Their primary concern is to protect the French Haute Savoie, the place where their natural spring water comes from. To do this, Evian asked the French government to help protect the surrounding areas to ensure their water is clean and pure.


They began trying to help the planet in 1992, when Evian started the Association for Protection of the Evian Mineral Water Impluvium Area, APIEME, which supports local water initiatives to guarantee long-term quality and purity of Evian water. Along with RAMSAR, Evian started the Water Protection Institute to help preserve water resources and aid in the education on sustainable management of water resources.


Evian’s interactive Web page dedicated to their environmentally friendly practices explains their three “eco-smart” initiatives: eco-smart bottling, eco-smart transportation and eco-design.


Ninety-eight percent of the plastic waste of Evian’s water bottle can be recycled. To help support their recycling efforts, Evian built a 107,000 square foot bottling center, which was awarded the ISO 14001 certification. This certification addresses companies that meet the International Organization of Standards’ (ISO) “environmental management” requirements, which include “minimizing harmful effects on the environment caused by its activities and achieves continual improvement of its environmental performance.”  


The eco-smart transportation talks about how Evian uses railroads to deliver their products because it decreases the amount of pollution put in the air. According to an article in Railway Tracks and Structures, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, 2.5 million fewer tons of carbon dioxide would be emitted into the air if trains were used instead. Also, the article says that trains are three times more fuel efficient than trucks that are normally used to make deliveries.


The eco-design aspect deals with their bottle design, which are made from polyethylene terephihalate (PET). PET is fully recyclable, and when it is recycled it can be used for a number of things, including clothing and toys.  Evian is also the first water bottling company to introduce the compactable bottle.


Evian’s commitment to their water preservation sustainable development strategies received some media attention in April 2008. is an online news source that provides up-to-date information about important issues. The article showcases their strategies and what they plan on doing to help the environment.


Therma-Tru opens the door for green practices October 27, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — mandit @ 1:10 pm

Since I am the Communications intern at Therma-Tru doors, and am the leader of the green initiatives movement at the Maumee location, I decided it would great to showcase all I know about Therma-Tru and what it means for them to be green.


As the pioneer of fiberglass exterior door industry and the most preferred brand in the business, Therma-Tru is committed to the responsible use of natural resources in creating high-performance entry and patio door systems. Therma-Tru’s environmental responsibility page of their Web site highlights their green initiatives, which include energy efficiency, durability, recycled content in their products and recycling.


Energy Efficiency

Ninety-eight percent of Therma-Tru fiberglass door systems are ENERGY STAR rated and filled with CFC-free polyurethane foam to offer five times more insulation than wood.  The tight seal that exists by designing complete systems with components that work together creates an energy efficient envelope for the home, stabilizing the interior temperature and decreasing energy costs.



Because fiberglass doors don’t crack, swell, split or rot like wood doors, their long-term durability reduces the frequency of replacement. 


Recycled Content

Therma-Tru qualifies recycled products for its composite wood end rails and sill substrates (materials in the bottom and top of the door) including recycled wood chips, diapers and plastic bottles.  Also, the wood products used in Therma-Tru Door systems such as the door frame components come from managed forests.



Therma-Tru takes extra measures to recycle waste products in their plants, including steel, propane canisters, wood, cut-outs and scrap doors.  I know that in the Maumee facility, Therma-Tru associates have recycled over 6.53 tons of paper in 2008 thus far.


Green building standards

Since, the building products industry is trying to agree on a widely-accepted standard on how to validate building practices on how to be environmentally friendly, many different organizations including National Association of Home Builders, NAHB, and U.S. Green Building Council, USGBC, have created standards for green building. USGBC has developed LEED, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is the national benchmark for design, construction and operation of high performance green buildings. Therma-Tru doors can contribute points in the Energy category, the Materials category and in the Innovation and Design category.


Therma-Tru doors can also contribute 128 points to NAHB National Green Building program in the resource efficiency, energy efficiency and indoor environmental quality categories.


E-waste recycling for Best Buy October 15, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — mandit @ 5:19 pm

There are currently over ten million unwanted or obsolete electronics that are thrown into landfills each year. However, in an article concerning electronic waste, or e-waste, Jim Harford, DEQ Hazardous Waste Compliance Assistance Special, over 97 percent of computer and other electronic content can be recycled. This provides a great opportunity for electronic companies and stores to do something about e-waste.


In the beginning of June 2008, Best Buy announced they would be taking on a new e-waste recycling project. Best Buy was propositioned by As You Sow, a social responsibility group, to develop a plan to help recycled old electronics to ensure they do not poison our landfills.  In the beginning, the project was available at 117 locations, but now is offered at the 922 Best Buy stores.


On Best Buy’s recycling Web page, they state that customers recycled more electronic products with Best Buy than any other electronic store, including Wal-Mart and Circuit City, who have similar programs. However, Circuit City’s recycling program offered gift cards to customers that recycle with them.  Also, Best Buy states, “We’re proud of the long-standing programs that help our employees, customers and communities which have seen more than 20 million pounds of e-waste and 77 million pounds of appliances recycled in 2007.”


They also discuss what electronics they help recycle. They will remove old or obsolete appliances, such as washers and dryers, and televisions from the customer’s home, if they purchase an appliance or television from a Best Buy store.


Every Best Buy store in the United States has free recycling kiosks to drop off old cell phones, rechargeable batteries or ink-jet cartridges. This is no cost to the customer, and it is located directly inside the door of the stores.


Best Buy sponsors and hosts Weekend Recycling Events at some of their U.S. stores’ parking lots. At these events, customers can recycle computers, monitors, printers, fax machines, TVs, Audio Equipment and DVD players.


E-waste is not going anywhere, and it is a great competitive advantage for Best Buy to have recycling programs that primarily deals with E-waste.


Green in the sky… October 8, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — mandit @ 6:32 pm

Most likely, the last thing on vacationers mind is if the airline they are flying with is concerned with the environment. However, when you think about how much pollution airplanes must put into the air, it is no wonder airlines are making new initiatives to help keep the planet healthier.


In December 2007, Continental Airlines joined Delta, Virgin, Cathey Pacific, and SAS in allowing travelers to view their booked vacation’s carbon footprint, which is a measurement of the impact one has on the environment. The Carbon Offset Program allows travelers to view their footprint before they travel, and also gives them the option to donate to Sustainable Travel International.


Sustaiable Travel International is a program that supports responsible tourism, ecotourism, sustainable development and helps travelers and travel providers protect different environments they visit.  


Continental Airlines, along with the carbon offset program, is trying to make their company more “green.”
They are reducing global emissions from their actual aircrafts and the ground equipment. They believe the way to do this is a wave of the future, but will continue to look at the available technology. Working on the inside of their terminals and offices is another “green” initiative.


Airplanes are rough on the environment, and there is no real way to get around this. Airline companies, such as Continental, are just trying to find their place in the world of green messaging.