Greening Westin: It's All You

For a while hotels have been asking you to help them save the environment. A recent Westin I stayed at took this to a whole new level, and there were little cards around the room to help me understand how I was helping. Examples (my paraphrasing): “If you want to save the earth, hang up your towels and we won’t wash them” “If we don’t wash your linens the planet will be healthier, so you should leave this card on the bed” “This shower has a really cool two-head system, but we’ve turned one off to help conserve water” “If you can’t find any information about the hotel or its restaurants, its because we’ve put them on the TV in order to save the environment.

Welcome to the People's Republic of JPMorgan

“JPMorgan” is a registered trademark of JPMorgan Chase & Co. Sorry for starting with a legal disclaimer, but you’ll see why in a minute. You may recall that 18 months ago Greg Papadopoulos and I published a book called Citizen Engineer, where we tried to help engineers understand key topics related to the role in society, including sustainability and intellectual property. Since then we’ve traveled around giving talks (on our own dime) to help spread the word to students and engineering professionals.

Two Reasons Why Carbon Management Software is Not the Next Big Thing

In my experience Chris Mines at Forrester is the top analyst covering the green enterprise, but I think he’s slightly off the mark on his latest article “Five Reasons Why Carbon Management Software is the Next Big Thing”. Before I talk about where he’s wrong, let me say that he’s right on the money that ECEM is an important function in the enterprise going forward, and as I’ll cover below, I think its just the tip of a larger iceberg.

The EPA Turns to Bridge Burning

Over my years as Sustainability Officer at Sun I’ve publicly given lots of credit to the EPA, primarily for their world-leading Energy Star program and for the excellent Climate Leaders program. Boy, do I feel foolish now. First, in my eyes they tarnished their crown jewel, Energy Star, with the politically motivated and poorly conceived Energy Star server specification (a longer, separate story that I won’t cover here). But I still felt justified in singing their praises as long as they still ran the excellent Climate Leaders program.

Expense Tool Done Right

Yesterday I went looking for a simple tool to do expense tracking while I travel around, and found a great fit in Xpenser. You can post expenses over IM, SMS, email and through the web. When using email you can even attach a photo of the receipt, presumably taken with your phone. All it expects is a text stream of the form “{activity} {amount} {tags}", such as “Dinner with Jim 46.

Prepare to be Inventoried

In our eco team at Sun we are faced with a wave of new external environmental reporting, monitoring, and measurement requirements. We’re big on transparency, but the costs and implied morality are getting to be a drag. One example. Everyone wanted a price on carbon so that it was built into the economy. But even though that appears to be on the way, its now not enough. Now there are folks who want us to report details on the GHG emissions of every aspect of our business, including some who want us to report the complete carbon footprint of each product through the entire supply chain.