Archive for the ‘Express 206’ Category

Divided We Fail To Deliver

Posted by Ken on May 5, 2014
Posted under Express 206

Divided We Fail To Deliver

I cannot stop myself from delivering a little lecture – more an alert – to none other than the United Nations. How much more could be achieved if our only truly international body – for the good of all people and the planet  - showed more signs of willingness to work with the private sector, with the many worthy not-for-profit organisations and engage with business and the media to more effectively communicate what it’s up to?

I have referred before to the “Sustainable Energy for All Campaign” which, in my view, failed to deliver because it did not effectively engage with relevant businesses, NGOs or media. Is the latest – the Sustainable Public Procurement (SPP) Programme – heading in the same direction?  Read More

The SPP Programme, the first action to get underway as part of the 10-Year Framework of Programmes on Sustainable Consumption and Production (10YFP), is reported in this issue, looks like it has not attempted to bring on board existing and relevant organisations. The International Green Purchasing Network (IGPN), for example, which has been going for the best part of ten years – largely under the patronage of the Japanese agencies – and is representative of at least 20 countries/economies around the world.  It has been effective in spreading the word on sustainable purchasing and procurement, so much so that a number of Asian countries, like Japan, have introduced “green” procurement policies into law. Yet, in spite of the fact that UN representatives have been on the IGPN advisory board, there doesn’t seem to be any attempt by UN to draw on the effective Network or work with its officers.

We just learn this week that the IGPN  HQ office in Tokyo  will no longer get support from Japan Fund for Global Environment and will have to source for funding elsewhere. As a more recent member of the Network – based in Singapore – I welcome the opportunity to trumpet the cause of green purchasing, sustainable procurement and supply chains. This newsletter issue, which focuses its attention on these various issues and opportunities, is an example of this. I have attended and spoken at IGPN events in Kuala Lumpur and Taipei, and I was recently asked to speak about “Green Procurement & Leadership” at a well-attended Singapore event, which I also report on in this issue. I am more than happy to wave the IGPN flag, just as I carry its logo on this newsletter, and reach out to all – UN included – to give support to a movement that addresses the very serious issues relating to consumption, green growth, responsible production, purchasing and procurement, and getting supply chains to be more sustainable in every way.  – Ken Hickson

Asia & Europe Leadership by Interface

Posted by Ken on May 5, 2014
Posted under Express 206

Asia & Europe Leadership by Interface

Interface becomes the first global manufacturer to offer customers carpet tile recycling in Asia. The  fully localised ReEntry programme is yet another key milestone in Interface’s journey towards its Mission Zero  goal – a commitment to eliminate any negative impact it may have on the environment by the year 2020. And in Europe, Interface manufacturing has achieved a 90% impact cut, with greenhouse gas emissions around 10% of what they were when Ray Anderson, Interface’s founder, issued this challenge in 1996. Read More

Radical Industrialists

Interface: How our engineers slash massive waste, emissions

By Peter Vogel in GreenBiz (17 March , 2014)

What happens when a team of European engineers take Ray Anderson’s vision of “radical industrialism” to heart? Interface’s factory in Scherpenzeel, The Netherlands.

GreenBiz readers are probably familiar with our sustainability plan at Interface, Mission Zero. Scherpenzeel, our main European manufacturing site, just reached 90 percent of the goals laid out in this plan. GHG emissions are now around 10 percent of what they were when Ray Anderson, Interface’s founder, issued this challenge.

Scherpenzeel is a full-scale carpet tile factory producing around a third of the company’s global output. Although it is a constant test-bed for new ideas, it definitely is not a small-scale pilot plant. Everything done there is proven at full scale and ready to be shipped to numerous clients and projects. Since 1996, the company has cut absolute GHG emissions by 90 percent and water use by 95 percent, while waste sent to the landfill has been eliminated altogether.

Most of this progress is owed to engineers. Where existing technology hasn’t provided the environmental performance needed, they’ve looked elsewhere for answers.

New technology drives progress

For example, the conventional carpet tile cutter produced an unacceptable amount of trimming waste, and nothing available in the industry significantly could reduce this. So engineers had to go outside of the carpet industry. The outcome was a bespoke ultrasonic cutting machine, using NASA technology from the aerospace industry. Waste from trimming was reduced by 80 percent.

As another example, the backs of carpet rolls need to be coated with a water-based plastic solution in order to hold the yarn. The conventional dryer for the process is energy intensive, running on natural gas. Engineers knew they had to find a better way than the 20 percent more efficient technology originally proposed by the suppliers. So a solution devised with a drier manufacturer used the moisture in the pre-coat to improve heat transfer and energy efficiency. The result was an energy savings of 40 percent from day one. There is even more potential, being explored now, which should lead to gas savings of more than 50 percent.

Usually, if you ask suppliers to improve their product, they will propose efficiency gains in the 10 to 20 percent range. By sending Interface engineers to work directly with supplier’s engineers, we’ve been able to jointly identify new approaches to the process, typically leading to 50 to 80 percent gains.

Working toward a new industrial model

The advantage of reducing energy use so much is that it makes it feasible to pay more for energy. This means all the energy at Scherpenzeel is sourced from renewables, including gas for the dryer made by anaerobic digestion of fish, chocolate and bread waste. This costs more per unit of energy, but there’s still a big overall savings compared with the conventional dryer.

The trade-off between a major energy saving achievement and approval to pay more for a sustainable energy source is a vital part of Mission Zero. If accountants “banked” the energy cost savings and declined the expensive new energy, it wouldn’t be possible to achieve zero environmental footprint. This approach to financing sustainability is discussed in our report “The New Industrial Model,” written in collaboration with Lavery/Pennell.

Sometimes, engineers cannot identify alternative technology and have to seek efficiency gains from what’s available. Here, obsessive attention to detail pays off. A heat scanner is used to show where to insulate heating equipment, which is wrapped up like a baby in winter. In the compressed air room, twice a year a microphone is used to listen for the “hiss” of air leaks — literally the sound of sustainability escaping, because air leaks are wasted energy.

Many of these energy saving projects pay back relatively quickly, and we believe that this approach is transferable to many industries. Carpet tiles are a relatively simple product, and a 90 percent impact cut has been achieved. Imagine the possibilities if this same culture shift were applied to other industrial processes.

Lessons for other companies

1. Big challenges empower employees.

2. Create a sense of urgency: Why wait if we can do it now?

3. Celebrate engineers and encourage them to get out of the factory and talk to other engineers. Listen to them tell their story below.

4. Create an engineering culture that believes “there has to be a better way,” using both big technology shifts and an obsession with small improvements.

5. Make a deal with finance: Some of the process savings must be reinvested in sustainable innovations that are in themselves not economic, such as a long return on investment items or more expensive raw materials.

6. Re-allocate most of the PR budget to achieving real progress; then the story sells itself (save just enough PR budget to give the engineers the credit they deserve). 

Peter Vogel is the European director of technology at Interface, where he is responsible for engineering, maintenance and process, and material research for Europe. He has a chemical techology background and experience in product development and process design, and has spent the last 15 years at Interface.



Getting closer to reaching its Mission Zero® goal, and extending its service offering in Asia, Interface enable carpet recycling through ReEntry™.

 (SINGAPORE, April 28, 2014)— Interface, a worldwide leader in the design and manufacture of carpet tiles, becomes the first global manufacturer to offer customers carpet tile recycling in Asia. Strategic partnerships ensure that carpet tiles suitable for recycling are diverted from landfill, allowing customers to recycle within the region. The announcement of a fully localised ReEntry™ program is yet another key milestone in Interface’s journey towards its Mission Zero® goal – a commitment to eliminate any negative impact it may have on the environment by the year 2020. 

In 2007 Interface, Inc., in Atlanta USA, became the first carpet tile manufacturer to implement a process for the “clean separation” of carpet fibre from backing, allowing for a maximum amount of post-consumer material to be recycled into new products with minimal contamination. In efforts aimed at reducing overall environmental impact, Interface continuously source recycled content for its products regionally, and has been looking for alternatives to recycling regionally as well.

In 2013, just two years after opening its manufacturing base in China, Interface created an exciting industry first by announcing the launch of ReEntry in China, enabling Interface to become the first global carpet tile manufacturer in Asia to offer its customers recycling in Asia. The company is currently well down the road to develop a similar recycling facility for its manufacturing plant in Chonburi, Thailand, following extensive work with local partners there.

At the recycling plant in China, used carpet is received and those tiles that are not made by Interface are tested for recycling suitability. In the recycling process the yarn is separated from the vinyl backing and cleaned yarn is then sent to the yarn manufacturer for recycling into new yarn. Yarn with high levels of impurity, also known as “fluffy” yarn, is sent to the engineering and plastic materials industry for downcycling into new material. The recycling process also includes turning the old backing into new backing. By processing the backing into crumbs and then combining it with Interface’s fibreglass sheets in the calendaring process, old backing is turned into new GlasBac™RE backing.

Interface Chairman and CEO Dan Hendrix states, “China is obviously a key growth market for Interface and as the global leader in modular carpet, we are committed to blending innovation and the best ideas from China and around the world. The launch of ReEntry in China is a true landmark for Interface because it is a further step towards the realization of our global aim to attain Mission Zero, and it also reinforces our belief that ground-breaking solutions can be achieved through truly ‘glocal’ partnerships.” 

Interface is a longstanding environmental pioneer, and is also working closely with fibre suppliers to continually reduce the virgin content in the nylons purchased. This has resulted in new and innovative technologies that significantly increase the recycled content of Interface products; currently reaching a total recycled content of up to 85%, including 100% recycled content Type 6 Nylon.

Since 1995, Interface has globally reclaimed more than 118 million kilograms of carpet through ReEntry, and by efficiently recovering type 6 and 6,6 nylon fibre Interface takes a giant step forward in carpet recycling and in the company’s ultimate mission to get off oil. Reflecting Interface’s Mission Zero goal, ReEntry will keep more carpet out of landfills while providing a steady stream of post-consumer recycled materials across the industry.


Oceans to treasure and not to trash!

Posted by Ken on May 5, 2014
Posted under Express 206

Oceans to treasure and not to trash!

That’s the theme of two big events coming up. One in Japan and one in America. On June 24, the Plasticity Forum will be coming to New York City to share the wealth of knowledge from the leading edge of those who are facilitating a world where plastic is used, but without the footprint. Ocean Recovery’s Doug Woodring provides us with a preview.  Meanwhile in the city of Munakata, on the island of Kyushu, the Eco-100 International forum on 30 May to 2 June explores “Oceans of the Future”, co-hosted by UBrainTV. Read More

The city of MUNAKATA in Kyushu, Japan, hub of international exchange since ancient times, will play host to the first annual MUNAKATA Eco-100 International Forum in the spring of 2014, focusing on themes of environmental conservation and the education of the next generation.

Throughout history, humans have by turns given thanks for the gifts of nature and lived in awe of its power.

The Japanese are no exception, and have revered nature since time immemorial. This forum will discuss what kind of shift in values is required if we are to solve the environmental problems caused by the damage done to nature in recent times.

The forum will bring together environmental leaders from around the world including academics from the natural sciences, social sciences and humanities, representatives of international organisations, businesses, financial institutions and national and local governments, activists, and cultural figures. Participants will discuss possible solutions to some of the problems facing the global environment, coming up with practical suggestions that can be shared globally.

At the same time, university students, including international students, will be invited to Munakata with the aim of increasing their environmental knowledge and awareness, and nurturing the global citizens of tomorrow.

The First MUNAKATA Eco-100 International Forum

Theme: “Oceans of the Future”

May 30th ~ June 2nd, 2014 (4 days)


1. Giving the ocean back its power to nurture life

Clean up the oceans, protect the earth

2. Reverence for nature

How ancient spiritual and moral worldviews can help solve contemporary environmental problems

3. Oceans of cultural exchange

Aiming to promote international exchange and nurture a new generation of global citizens

4. Oceans of new ideas

Aiming for new developments through international, cross-sector interaction


The prioritisation of economic growth in recent times has led to marked environmental degradation. Not least is the damage humans have done to the planet’s life-supporting oceans by polluting them with waste, chemicals etc.

The 2014 MUNAKATA Eco-100 International Forum will focus on the theme of “Oceans of the Future”, seeking to come up with ways of cleaning up the oceans.

1. Marine pollution survey

Survey and report on pollution levels in the sea around Munakata with the support of international research institutes, Fukuoka Prefecture and Munakata City.

2. Proposing concrete strategies to clean up the ocean

Eminent academics, activists and corporate representatives from inside and outside Japan will discuss ways of cleaning up the sea around Munakata, with the aim of replicating these methods across polluted oceans world-wide.

3. Spreading the word

Discuss what is needed in order to clean up the oceans and protect the environment, and share the process globally.

4. Nurturing the next generation

Nurture a new generation of leaders capable of participating in environmental activities on an international level.

Organiser: MUNAKATA Eco-100 International Forum Executive Committee

Co-hosts: Munakata City, Munakata City Board of Education, UBrainTV JAPAN Co., Ltd.

Source: and




Published on 25 April 2014

Plasticity NYC 2014

On June 24th, the Plasticity Forum will be coming to NYC to share the wealth of knowledge from the leading edge of those who are facilitating a world where plastic is used, but without the footprint. What does this mean? It means all of the benefits of light-weighting, durability, flexibility, and color, without the hangover. The hangover comes in the form of plastic pollution, which no one enjoys, and where some get seriously penalized from having it, but which has not seemed to yet inspire the world audience to create ground breaking innovations that can harness the resource value that this material has, in a long term, circulatory fashion. And fashion is just where some of this material is going for its second or third life, instead of the circulatory currents that many now know exist in our major oceans, dispersing the artifacts of our waste creation to the places we flock to for “escape” and revival.

First launched at the Rio+20 Earth Summit, and subsequently held in Hong Kong, the Plasticity Forum is a cross section of thinkers, solution providers, brands, users and those who appreciate scale, to expedite the solutions and innovations that exist today to keep plastic from becoming a problem for our society. This problem, however, can be a huge opportunity, if that “scale” can come into play. Plasticity brings together the leaders in innovation, design, packaging, materials, recycling, and solutions, all of which are needed in a resource constrained world. Those who are at the front of this discussion, will win, with consumers, clients, and host governments. The latter is important, because waste is a sidelined discussion with often does not get much attention, but which increasingly burdens our societies, economies, and ecosystem. Tapping into this resource offers a world of opportunities.

The World Bank estimates that due to population growth, the world’s municipal solid waste (MSW) footprint could double by 2025. By 2050, it could triple to 6bn tons/year. However, there are few cities and countries which will be able to handle a doubling of MSW by 2025. To put this into perspective, today’s global waste footprint of MSW would cover the same land mass of California or Japan, at 10 meters (32 ft) deep. Wow. If it triples, that would be the same as covering all of New Zealand, California and Spain in 32 ft deep of trash per year. Almost all of this has value, but it is simply not being tapped.

Plastic is light weight, and lasts a long time, but its content and configuration are often not standardized across products or industries, creating gap in scale-optimization in term of encouraging re-circulation within products. Those who can resolve these issues within their production and recovery operations, with their consumers, and with their recipient nations, will open long-term business opportunities that fit within the needs of a globally alert, resource constrained environment of commerce and societal gain. The Plasticity Forum helps drive and inspire this discussion, to scale, where it is needed.



Innovations and Scalable Solutions for Plastic – Creating a World Without the Plastic Footprint


On the 24th of June, 2014, the 3rd annual Plasticity Forum will be hosted in New York City.  Following on from the success of the previous forums in Rio 2012 and Hong Kong 2013, this year’s forum will concentrate on “Innovation and Collaboration in a Material World”.  A showcase of ideas in motion, Plasticity will include the latest developments in waste as a resource,  scalable innovations in plastic that save money, use of new materials, designing for sustainability and solutions for a world where plastic is used, but without the footprint. 


Each year, Plasticity gathers together leading experts in the field include innovators, entrepreneurs, industry leaders, brand managers, educators, think tanks, government agencies, designers, angel investors and service industries to share their learnings, experience and future strategies. This year’s forum is proud to announce that Mr. Ron Gonen, Deputy Commissioner of Sanitation, Recycling & Sustainability for New York City & Founder of Recyclebank, will be one of the keynote speakers talking about the challenges and opportunities for cities and engaged recycling programs. Other speakers include:


             Mike Biddle, Founder and Director – MBA Polymers, Winner of the Gothenburg Sustainability Prize in 2012 – “How to Scale, Sort and Drive Value”

             Steve Davies, Director, Marketing/Public Affairs, Nature Works “Plastics – Rethinking Where They’re From, What They Do, and Where They Go”

             Robert McKay, Senior Business Manager, Global Sustainability – SABIC Innovative Plastics “Design and Sustainability for Scale in a Changing World”

             Steve Russell, Vice President, Plastics Division, American Chemistry Council “Too Valuable to Waste: Rethinking Used Plastics”

             Richard Mattison, CEO, Trucost, “Valuing Plastic – The Business Case for Measuring, Managing and Reporting”

             Elizabeth Balkan, Manager Solid Waste Policy and Sustainable Procurement, City of New York, “How Cities are Changing, and Where Companies can Play a Role”

             Steven Clambaneva, Director and Design Business Consultant, Design Studio, “Design and Sustainability for Scale in a Changing World”

             Sam Harrington, Product Design Manager, Ecovative Design, “A Kingdom of Possibilities – and a Growth Market you Won’t Believe”

             Gary Bencheghib, Film Student and Ocean Ambassador, “Leadership from our Youth”

 According to Doug Woodring, Founder of Plasticity, “Plastic doesn’t need to be a problem. There are solutions out there that can keep it from becoming waste, but we are not focusing on them in a scalable manner. The aim of Plasticity is to show who’s already doing it, how you can do it, and how you can make it commercial.”

The Plasticity Forum was originally launched at the Rio+20 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, as a platform to elevate the issues and discussion at large multi-lateral environmental events about plastic pollution.  The event was since hosted in Hong Kong, and will be held this year in New York City.  This one day business event is about the future of plastic and where the leaders are going with innovation, design, materials, recycling, and solutions, so that plastic does not become a waste product an impact our communities and environment.  Some estimates, including from the World Bank, estimate that the world’s municipal solid waste generation could double by 2025.  Few countries or cities are capable of handling this waste stream, of which plastic makes up an increasing percentage, due to the fact that recycling infrastructure in most countries cannot keep pace with the wide variety of materials and products.  

The Plasticity Forum is a cross section of thinkers, solution providers, brands, users and those who appreciate scale, to expedite the solutions and innovations that exist today to keep plastic from becoming a problem for our society. This problem, however, can be also be a large opportunity, if “scale” can come into play.  In a resource constrained world, those who are at the front of this discussion will win, with consumers, clients, and host governments.  Plasticity offers a global discussion and perspective on solutions, how to standardize across products or industries, and how to bring about new opportunities in production and recovery operations.


Your Choice: Green Wash or Green Wise

Posted by Ken on May 5, 2014
Posted under Express 206

Your Choice: Green Wash or Green Wise

On the important topic of “Green Procurement and Leadership”, Ken Hickson says there are signs that things are happening around the world “and we can, through effective communication, advocacy and sheer hard work, change mind sets and behaviours”. The branding industry can help by seeing that this is the responsible and ethical way to go. To lead clients beyond green wash to green wise. Read More

Article based on a presentation by Ken Hickson on “Green Procurement and Leadership” at the  “Purpose Matters” forum organised by  Hall & Partners in Singapore on 26 March 2014.

Green Procurement & Leadership

By Ken Hickson

There are signs that things are happening around the world and we can, through effective communication, advocacy and sheer hard work, change mind sets and behaviours. The branding industry can help by seeing that this is the responsible and ethical way to go. To lead clients beyond green wash to green wise.

The subject of the forum was “Purpose Matters” and when Arnaud Frade of Hall and Partners asked me to take part, I willingly took up the mantle on the subject he pointed to: “Green Procurement and Leadership”. Mainly because I had given two talks recently around the same topic and it was close to my green and blue heart.

To procure, according to my reliable Oxford dictionary, is to “obtain by care or effort, acquire or bring about”.

But how much care and attention goes into procurement and purchasing decisions whether by companies, large and small, by Government purchasing officers or by the consumer?

Price is important and whether a product, machine or piece of equipment does the job it is made for.  But how much more important is it for us to know how it is made, what does into its manufacturer, where it comes from and who produced it.

Rather ambitiously I offered to come up with best practices and case studies from Europe, America and Asia Pacific. I also agreed to cover:

             Perceptions of Green Purchasing

             Status of Public Procurement

             Examples of Education and Engagement

             From Green Washing to Green Wise

             Case studies of Industry Leadership

             Opportunities for Green Purchasing Network

For me, no matter what colour you give it, Green Purchasing means six very important things:

             It must incorporate Ethical Production, both in terms of what is produced, where and how,  like the classic Nike case years ago – denied at first but later admitted to and now changed – of using sweatshop labour practices in factories ; 

             It involves Responsible Management, with corporate social responsibility and transparency uppermost. We can think of “sustainable” palm oil and paper products in this regard;

             Sustainable Supply Chains mean just that, and some companies, like Walmart, have gone to a lot of trouble to get every aspect of the supply chain and delivery systems in order;

             How can we create and maintain Consumer Demand for products and services which are “green”, responsibly produced and shipped?  How to produce a discerning consumer?

             Government can have Procurement Policies in place which stress the importance of these factors and produce guidelines for industry and the retail sector.

  • Standards and certification are vital and we are seeing it more and more. Look at the energy mark and safety certifications on electrical appliances.

So we are seeing a movement towards Green Procurement around the world:

•A Government Policy for Green Procurement is a Vital Starting Point

•Some internal policies evolving in Ministries & Agencies in Singapore

•Local & regional encouragement from NGOs, Green groups & industry bodies

•Possible support from European chambers & Japanese companies

The United Nations has just announced a global programme and campaign on Sustainable Public Procurement (SPP), following on from its Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP) efforts.

It has set up an information hub or clearing house which refers to “the use of services and related products, which respond to basic needs and bring a better quality of life while minimizing the use of natural resources and toxic materials as well as the emissions of waste and pollutants over the life cycle of the service or product so as not to jeopardize the needs of future generations”.

Japan has provided some distinct leadership in this area with its Public Procurement Policy, which is in reality a Basic Philosophy for Procurement of Eco-Friendly Goods. It includes:

             Environmental attributes in addition to price and quality considerations

             Consideration from environmentally diverse viewpoints:

– Products that contribute to the formation of a socio-economic system through an environmentally sound material cycle

– Products that contribute to reducing greenhouse gases

             Consider reducing environmental impacts throughout the product’s lifecycle, from manufacture to disposal.

             Commit to long-term use, correct utilization, and appropriate disposal of procured goods and services

Japan has made this into Law and requires manufacturers to meet these strict standards and provide information on their products.

It regularises various eco-labelling organisations and maintains international standards.

And Government Ministries and agencies have to incorporate these standards into their purchasing decisions as well as police the regulations.

Of course it goes beyond regulation and enforcement to the very necessary education and engagement required to get everyone on board and to understand why we need to go in this direction.

We could learn from Canada where they have set up the Sustainable Procurement Institute (see to serve the needs of all who buy goods and services and who need to learn how to do this in an environmentally and socially responsible manner and for the lowest life cycle cost. It clearly states:

“Sustainability will be the defining issue in the 21st century in the world of business as organisations recognise competitive and efficiency advantages”.

Its outreach is for purchasing professionals, project managers, property managers, maintenance managers and those entering the purchasing profession.

In addition it can help professional buyers and those who purchase goods in the public, private and non-profit sectors to find sustainability tools and techniques.

It sets out to deliver the highest quality training relating to green procurement, ethical procurement and sustainable procurement, including lowest life cycle cost.

The Institute specialises in sustainability and its connection with procurement. Continuous improvement as new fields in sustainability unfold and new ideas in sustainable procurement emerge internationally.

Working hard behind the scene and spreading the word effectively, in Asia particularly, has been the International Green Purchasing Network. It has been quietly working away for the past ten years and involves at least 20 countries and economies, with worthwhile input from some European countries, the US as well as some representatives from the UN. It’s mission:

•Globally promote the spread of environmentally friendly product and service development and Green Purchasing activities

•Internationally share information and know-how on Green Purchasing and environmentally friendly products and services

•Harmonise the efforts of Green Purchasing and the development of environmentally friendly products and services from a global viewpoint

Europe has set some very high standards for environmentally friendly and ethically produced products and services. It has standardised a European wide labelling systems – see – and covers a vast range of labelled products and services. It is approved and maintained by the European Commission.

From the US we see a very well run programme from the National Kitchen and Bath Association, an industry body which cares about its members and the consumer. It says:

             Consumers want to purchase products that are safe and reliable and good for the environment

             Do business with companies that are committed to protecting the global environment.

             Mission to enhance member success and excellence, promote professionalism and ethical business practices, and provide leadership and direction for the kitchen and bath industry worldwide.

             Become a primary force in the field of sustainability, or green design. We’re expanding our educational programs in this area.

             Committed to helping consumers and professionals understand their options for creating more energy-efficient living spaces, we’ll increase our focus on environmentally friendly products and practices.

For more go to the National Kitchen & Bath Association

Green Wise Not Green Washed

In all this it is important not to be fooled by those who try to cash in on this move to green and try to promote goods and services which are a pale imitation of what they should be.

A definition of green wash: Disinformation disseminated by an organisation so as to present an environmentally responsible public image… but perceived to be unfounded or intentionally misleading.

From the UK I came up with 10 signs of greenwash which included:

1.            Fluffy language

2.            Green product versus dirty company

3.            Suggestive pictures

4.            Irrelevant claims

5.            Best in class

6.            Just not credible

7.            Jargon

8.            Imaginary friends

9.            No proof

10.          Outright lying.

Check out the work of BSR – About BSR (Business for Social Responsibility), whose mission is to work with business to create a just and sustainable world. We envision a world in which everyone can lead a prosperous and dignified life within the boundaries of the Earth’s natural resources. See

Also look at the work of Futerra. Its mission is to make sustainable development so desirable it becomes normal. Futerra was founded over a decade ago as a crazy new idea. Today we are the industry leading sustainability communications agency (with the odd crazy idea still).Read about our decade of work and dip into our thought leadership.

Is anyone out there listening? Is anyone doing something about green purchasing, procurement and supply chains? Does it really matter to brands and business?

For some it definitely matters. Marks and Spencers is a very good example:

Plan A is about doing the right thing:

•We launched Plan A in January 2007, setting out 100 commitments to achieve in 5 years.

•We’ve now extended Plan A to 180 commitments to achieve by 2015, with the ultimate goal of becoming the world’s most sustainable major retailer.

•Through Plan A we are working with our customers and our suppliers to combat climate change, reduce waste, use sustainable raw materials, trade ethically, and help our customers to lead healthier lifestyles.

•Explore our Plan A commitments for 2010 – 2015, and watch our Plan A film for 2012 here.

We looked at other case studies of industry leadership from around the world.

From Australia, the work of Ecospecifier Global :

•Home of the Planet’s Leading Certified and Verified Sustainable Products.

• has over 6,700 sustainable products, materials and technologies, making it one of the world’s most expansive sustainable knowledge bases.

•As a Leading Global Source of life-cycle assessed product information, links independent information with a powerful search interface.

• promotes all sustainable products from around the world, specialising in categorisation of products into Building, Hospitality, Health & Beauty, Personal Care and Cleaning Products.

•The database also provides extra categorisation according to the World’s Best Building Rating Schemes such as Green Star and LEED. helps reduce the time and costs of researching the World’s Best Sustainable Products.

We looked at Certified Forests and the work of PEFC, FSC, Double Helix and the printing industry to make people aware of the importance of only buying pulp, paper and timber products from reliable, responsible, environmental and ethical sources.

One of the best examples in the world is still Interface, the world’s leading carpet tile producer:

1.Eliminate Waste

Our goal is to reduce, and where possible, eliminate waste. We define waste as anything that does not add value for our customers.

2. Benign Emissions

We aim to eliminate all emissions that may have a negative impact on natural systems.

3. Renewable Energy

We harness renewable energy sources such as solar, wind and landfill gas in order to reduce our dependency on fossils fuels.

4. Closing the Loop

We redesign processes and products so they can be recovered to make new products. Customers can return their used carpets at their “end of life” to create new carpets.

5. Resource-Efficient Transportation

Through proper planning, our goal is to transport goods and people efficiently and to keep waste and emissions at a minimum.

6. Build Sustainable Communities

We help to create communities that understand the importance of sustainability.

7. Redesign Commerce

With a sustainability-based business model, we aim to influence the entire business world into building a better environment for everyone.

Walmart has set itself apart from others by “Working together for a safe, responsible supply chain”.

The foundation of Walmart’s business has always centered on helping people live better. Applies not only to our customers and associates, but also to the workers who make our products.

WalMart’s Sustainability Index projected to include 300 product categories, engage up to 5,000 suppliers by end of year 2013.

Closer to home, I set out a 12 point plan for what I feel needs to happen in Singapore and elsewhere to make real progress:

1.            Define green purchasing

2.            Promote approved standards, marks, certification

3.            Follow Europe’s example – agree on one unified standard

4.            Follow Green Building Councils– maintain & share standards

5.            Communicate effectively – make your voice heard

6.            Upgrade international website & newsletter

7.            Replace green wash with green wise

8.            Encourage adoption of green procurement policies

9.            Work with manufacturers, distributors, supply chain and retailers

10.          Praise and promote responsible and sustainable producers

11.          Collaborate with NGOs, Government, industries & business

12.          Educate for green consumerism

There are signs that things are happening around the world and we can, through effective communication, advocacy and sheer hard work change mindsets and behaviours. The branding industry can help by seeing that this is the responsible and ethical way to go. To lead clients beyond green wash to greenwise.

I see the importance of partnerships and  performance. Private and public sector co-operation. The involvement and NGOs and community groups. Leadership by manufacturers, suppliers and retailers. A new era of green consumerism.

Ken Hickson is Chairman of the Green Purchasing Network in Singapore, as well as Chairman and CEO of Sustain Ability Showcase Asia – SASA – and Regional Director Asia for Be Sustainable. He is also a Governor of WWF Australia and author of the 2013 book “Race for Sustainability”.



Procure Astutely & Make Everyday Products Sustainable

Posted by Ken on May 5, 2014
Posted under Express 206

Procure Astutely & Make Everyday Products Sustainable

Positive Impact, operating in Australia and Singapore, teams up with the Asia’s leading sustainable manufacturer with over 15 years research and development experience to bring scalable eco-solutions, going beyond supplying he eco-products to inspire industry to nurture talent, procure astutely and develop best practices for a sustainable and healthy business. Meanwhile, The Guardian bring us convertible designs, which can make products more durable, reducing consumption and waste. Here are 12 of the most intriguing, interlocking consumer products on the market or coming soon. Read More

What or Who is Positive Impact

Positive Impact launched in Australia in 2008 and the Singapore subsidiary followed in January 2013.  The company has evolved from an eco merchandise company into a full service corporation solutions organisation helping businesses design and implement their projects relating to all areas of Corporate Social Responsibility.

In December 2013 Positive Impact teamed up with the Asia’s leading sustainable manufacturer with over 15 years research and development experience to bring scalable eco-solutions.  The products service a range of industry sectors including hotels, hospitals, schools, conferences, events and the products are made from materials such as bamboo, rice husks, wheat straw, PLA (corn), organic cotton, biodegradable plastic, E-Leather and basgasse.

Positive Impact is an enabler, a facilitator and a connector.  Our mission is to create social and environmental change by cultivating business partnerships. We want to inspire industry to nurture talent, procure astutely and develop best practices for a sustainable and healthy business.

Employing and implementing a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) program is a big job.  We are here to help you through the process, one step at a time.

Miki Massey is the Founder of Positive Impact.   After 10+ years working in sales and marketing Miki transferred her skills across to follow her passion of developing environmental and social impact partnerships.  Initially she worked for Australian environmental firm Neco and then launched her own business in 2008.  

Our Services

Sustainable Sourcing

We are committed to supplying our customers with quality, affordable, innovative and sustainable products.

Our objectives are to:

             Deliver a comprehensive range of sustainable products enabling our customers to minimise their requirements for raw materials and toxic plastics

             Single supply chain with simple re-ordering processes with quality control procedures

             Engage with our suppliers to ensure they operate within our code of conduct and strive to continually make improvements

             Encourage a our customers to green their supply chain

             Help our customers design communication strategies detailing objectives, efforts and achievements

In addition, Miki has expanded her offering now to also make sure Positive Impact can support organisations large and small with:

             People Development – We design tailored training, development, health and wellbeing programs

             Community Engagement – We connect businesses to charity, social enterprise & environmental programs

             Environment – We are passionate about protecting our environment and aim to encourage businesses to take holistic approach to enhancing corporate cultures



Modularity gone wild: making everyday products sustainable

Convertible designs can make products more durable, reducing consumption and waste. Here are 12 of the most intriguing, interlocking consumer products on the market or coming soon

Sarah LaBrecque in The Guardian (3 April 2014)

Modular playhouse from Play Modern.

Modular playhouse from Play Modern: Looking for a customizable and safe playhouse for your child? This US-based company’s outdoor structures are all made with FSC certified materials, and have non-toxic finishes, including one that is made from whey, a byproduct of cheese-making. They are also certified by the California Air Resources Board which means they meet stringent formaldehyde emissions standards for composite wood products.

To add to their sustainability credentials, the structures have no added urea-formaldehyde (common in most engineered wood products) and the railings are made from part-recycled aluminum and can be 100% recycled. They fit together in a one or two story configuration, with the option of a slide or personalized lettering.

Fantasia lamp

Fantasia lamp by Manifattura Italiana Design: This lamp can be propped up by anything you happen to have lying around which fits in the base, be it spaghetti, flowers, broom handles or carrots. The 3D printed base is made from bio-plastic, which is derived from renewable biomass sources, such as vegetable fats, corn starch, or microbiota. Although the bulb shown here is a low-watt incandescent light, it can be fitted with a more energy efficient bulb such as halogen or LED, up to 150W. The lamps will soon be available for order.

Interface carpet tile

Harmonize and Ground Waves carpet tiles by Interface: The global carpet tile company is known for its commitment to principles of sustainability, and strives for zero negative environmental impact by 2020. Tiles can be mixed and matched and have a simple, glue-free installation. They come in hundreds of colors and have 100% recycled content fiber that combines reclaimed carpet fiber with salvaged fishing nets. Carbon offsetting is also available for all lines, so you can go tile-neutral.

10-unit furniture system

Shigeru Ban 10-unit modular furniture system: Goodbye flatpack frustration. These L-shaped units can be combined to make different kinds of seating, from individual chairs to multi-seat configurations. You can make a stool, chair or table base with one pack of 10 pieces, or a bench, sofa or coffee table with two. The system is made from UPM ProFi, a durable, non-toxic composite made from cellulose based fibers and clean plastic polymers. These are by-products of other industrial processes so would otherwise be going to waste.


Indoor aquaponics garden by Aqualibrium: And you thought fish tanks were retro. All you need are a few fish to grow peppers, kale and eggplant. The units use a closed loop ecosystem whereby fish produce nutrients that are cycled up to feed the plants. The water is then cycled back down to the aquarium, fresh and clean for the fish. And if fish aren’t your thing, the system can act hydroponically, where pre-bottled nutrients are used instead.


Modular phone by Phonebloks: The current model of consumer electronics is that of planned obsolescence. Usually only one or two components in a phone will break, while the rest of the unit is still functioning, so consumers have no choice but to get a new phone. Phonebloks has designed a unit comprised of detachable blocks (battery, antenna, gyroscope, etc) which can be replaced when necessary, so the whole phone needn’t be discarded. It works on an open-source platform and was originally conceived to tackle problems of e-waste. Although not on the market yet, a prototype is currently being developed.

Energy Floors

Human powered interactive dance floor by Energy Floors: Don’t waste your energy. The potential power of human movement is huge. On these tiles, the kinetic energy of walking or dancing people converts into electricity which is used to power the floor’s LED bulbs. The modules of the dance floor flex slightly when stepped on which creates a movement that can be transformed into electric power by a small internal generator. Each module can produce up to 35 watts of sustained output and can be used to light up the floor or even fed back to the grid. Party on!

Daily Needs chicken coop

Daily Needs modular chicken coop & garden by Studio Segers: This indoor system provides all the components you need to assemble housing for chickens and small pets, raised beds for vegetables, a composting bin, and a tool shed in a configuration of your choice. Developed with social, ecological, and economic relevance in mind, the system was a recipient of the Ovam Eco Design Award Pro in 2013.

GreenGrid Modular Green Roof System by SealEco.

GreenGrid modular green roof system by SealEco: Extend your garden area, or even create one by using these sedum planted modules on your flat roof. Simply laid on your existing roof, these low maintenance modules will attract butterflies and bees and can help absorb heavy rainfall so it doesn’t reach your gutters. It’s colorful all year round with tiny pink, white and yellow flowers in the summer and is quite low-maintenance. The plants don’t need cutting, just a bit of a check once or twice a year.

Nula dress

Adjustable children’s clothing by Nula: Adjustable children’s clothing by Nula. Kids growing too fast and putting a hole in your pocket? This line of children’s clothing is designed to fit for three years and can be adjusted by adding or taking away pieces, or using straps to tighten or loosen. The clothes are manufactured in the US from sustainable materials such as organic cotton and help parents reduce the amount of clothing moving from factory to closet to landfill. Designs will be available from their website soon.

ecospace gym

Modular studio by Ecospace: Commute to the back yard instead of across the city. These customizable studios are made mainly from sustainable wood that comes from renewable, certified sources and are designed to maximize energy efficiency with high insulation values in floors, walls and roofs. Sedum roofs are optional and improve insulation while low-energy, under-floor heating keeps you warm in colder weather. It’s also possible to integrate renewable energy options into the design, including photovoltaic solar panels, ground and air source heat pumps, wind turbines, biomass boilers and log burning stoves.

Zeoze shoes

Zeoze shoes by Daniela Bekerman: Where mod meets modular. Daniela Bekerman is a freelance designer based in Madrid and specialises in graphic and industrial design. The shoes are available to order from her website.

Singapore Gives Urban Sustainability Prize to China’s Suzhou City

Posted by Ken on May 5, 2014
Posted under Express 206

Singapore Gives Urban Sustainability Prize to China’s Suzhou City

China’s Suzhou city, which has managed to avoid the worst impacts of urbanisation – pollution and traffic congestion – wins the Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize 2014 which recognises liveable, vibrant and sustainable urban communities around the world.  Singapore is once again taking the lead to encourage governments and industry to come together to share and co-create solutions with an integrated approach to urban sustainability at the World Cities Summit, along with the Singapore International Water Week and CleanEnviro Summit Singapore from 1 to 5 June 2014. Read More

Suzhou City conferred Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize 2014

Singapore, 24 March 2014 – Suzhou, Jiangsu Province, China, has been conferred the Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize 2014 for its demonstration of sound planning principles and good urban management. Despite facing numerous challenges through Chinas rapid industrialisation and urbanisation processes, Suzhou has overcome difficulties through several stages of transformation to achieve remarkable economic prosperity, and preservation of its celebrated cultural and historic heritage concurrently.

The biennial Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize is jointly organised by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA), Singapore’s land-use planning and conservation authority, and the Centre for Liveable Cities, to honour outstanding achievements and contributions to the creation of liveable, vibrant and sustainable urban communities around the world. The award seeks to recognise and celebrate efforts in furthering urban solutions and sustainable urban development.


This year’s Prize Laureate was selected from 36 nominated cities, through a rigorous two-tier process comprising a Nominating Committee and a Prize Council.

Chairman of the Nominating Committee, Kishore Mahbubani said, “Suzhou has always been one of China’s most beautiful cities. It could have been destroyed by modernisation and industrialisation. Instead, Suzhou’s leaders took a holistic approach and sought to achieve the triple goals of economic and social progress as well as the preservation of its significant historical heritage. It has been spectacularly successful in meeting these goals and it richly deserves the Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize.”

Mayor of Suzhou, Zhou Naixiang said, “We are honoured to receive this award. This is an affirmation of our effort in striving for excellence in urban planning and development. Winning this award is an enormous encouragement for us to push for more innovative solutions for Suzhou to develop in a sustainable way while preserving our treasured historic and natural heritage.”

We congratulate the city of Suzhou and its leaders on this well-deserved commendation. Mayor Zhou Naixiang and his team have spearheaded robust and practical measures to tackle the challenges of modern day urbanisation while upholding Suzhou’s rich culture and heritage. The foresight of Suzhou’s leaders in implementing the city’s reinvention and revitalisation is a quality that resonates strongly with Keppel, where we value sustainability as an intrinsic driver of positive urban development,” remarked Mr Loh Chin Hua, CEO of Keppel Corporation, who also affirmed the Company’s commitment and extension of sponsorship towards another five cycles of the Prize from 2020 to 2028.

Winning ingredients of Suzhou

The key to Suzhou’s rise is strong leadership and good governance in implementing a comprehensive Master Plan to develop the city. It has carried out good urban management practices, such as implementing a balanced and holistic urban development, achieving economic vitality while ensuring the preservation of its culture and heritage. Investments in physical infrastructure are complemented by effective social integration policies, enabling the city to manage rural-urban migration challenges well.

Extension of sponsorship

Keppel Corporation has extended their sponsorship of the Prize, doubling the current sponsorship amount by another S$1.75 million, up to year 2028. Keppel’s strong support as sole sponsor since the inaugural award in 2010 enables the continued recognition of cities who have taken bold and innovative steps to create liveable, vibrant and sustainable urban communities. The Prize provides a valuable platform for fostering knowledge transfer between cities, catalysing sustainable urbanisation through a rich exchange of ideas and experiences.

Prize Award Ceremony at World Cities Summit

The Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize is a key showcase at the upcoming World Cities Summit which will be held from 1 to 4 June 2014 at the Marina Bay Sands. The Laureate will receive the Prize at the Lee Kuan Yew Prize Award Ceremony and Banquet which will be held on 2 June 2014. The Prize comprises a gold medallion, an award certificate, and S$300,000 sponsored by Keppel Corporation.

The World Cities Summit is a premier platform for government leaders and industry experts to address the challenges of liveable and sustainable cities, share integrated urban solutions and forge new partnerships. Under the theme “Liveable and Sustainable Cities: Common Challenges, Shared Solutions”, the fourth edition of the Summit will seek to share new insights and best practices in urban solutions, explore opportunities and public-private partnerships and highlight new trends on urbanisation challenges around the world. For more information, visit

Singapore, 15 April 2014 – Singapore is once again taking the lead to encourage governments and industry to come together to share and co-create solutions with an integrated approach to urban sustainability. They will converge at the World Cities Summit, Singapore International Water Week and CleanEnviro Summit Singapore that will be jointly held from 1 to 5 June 2014 at the Sands Expo & Convention Center at Marina Bay Sands, Singapore.

Leading integrated platform for urban sustainability

The World Cities Summit (WCS), Singapore International Water Week (SIWW) and CleanEnviro Summit Singapore (CESS) is the leading global platform for government and city leaders to discuss urban challenges and chart new directions and solutions for more liveable and sustainable cities of the future. Some 20,000 high-level delegates are expected to attend, including ministers, mayors, government and industry leaders, representatives of international organisations and academics. The involvement of key stakeholders across the spectrum of urban planning, water planning and waste management is critical, given the new and complex challenges facing cities.

According to the United Nations1, over five billion people – or 60 per cent of the world’s population – will live in cities by 2030. To meet this exponential growth, about US$57 trillion in investment is required globally in infrastructure such as water resource management, solid waste management, transport, energy and telecommunications2. This is nearly 60 per cent more than the US$36 trillion spent over the last 18 years. In addition, as resources become scarce, it is becoming increasingly apparent that a lack of regard for environmental sustainability could threaten long-term development.

The need for innovative and integrated urban solutions has always been imperative for Singapore. Given its small size and limited resources, Singapore has always adopted a forward-looking and integrated approach to urban planning and sustainable development to ensure a quality living environment for our people. Other cities are also adopting a more holistic approach to achieve sustainable growth – a key reason why mayors and government leaders from around the world are converging in Singapore in June to share ideas and solutions to tackle urban challenges effectively.

Integrated solutions for liveable and sustainable cities

Technology and innovation will also play a critical role to boost productivity in the infrastructure sector whilst governance will ensure that infrastructure deals are being structured for efficiency and effectiveness to meet the needs of residents. The events make it possible for the public and private sectors to engage in solutions- oriented dialogue that will attract investors, increase infrastructure investments, and promote beneficial partnerships to make cities liveable and sustainable.

Highlighting the need for an integrated approach to urban planning, Mr Khoo Teng Chye, Executive Director of the Centre for Liveable Cities said: “The interconnected nature of sustainable development calls for going beyond borders, both geographical and disciplinary, to coordinate strategies and make good decisions that benefit citizens. Problems are rarely contained within predefined jurisdictions such as one government agency or a single neighbourhood. This is a lesson that Singapore has learnt on its journey to urban sustainability. The World Cities Summit, Singapore International Water Week and CleanEnviro Summit Singapore demonstrate global thought leadership for a more holistic and sustainable approach to city planning.”

Representing the Singapore International Water Week, Mr Chew Men Leong, Chief Executive of PUB, Singapore’s National Water Agency, said, “With challenges such as extreme weather conditions threatening global water security, it is now more important than ever before for the world’s water ecosystem to pool resources and share best practices. Over the years, SIWW has established itself as a global platform for connecting the public sector with the private sector, water technology start-ups with potential investors, buyers with sellers, essentially to co-create water and enable solutions to meet these challenges.”

Mr Ronnie Tay, Chief Executive Officer of National Environmental Agency said, “As cities grow rapidly, business activity and consumption patterns drive up waste volumes. The World Bank has anticipated that by 2025, 4.3 billion urban residents will be generating about 1.42 kg/capita/day of municipal solid waste, making up an estimated total of 2.2 billion tonnes per year. Hence, many cities face the challenge of building a clean and liveable environment, and acquiring sustainable environmental solutions. We hope CESS 2014 will be a useful platform for environmental leaders, policy makers and industry captains to come together to discuss these important challenges and possible solutions.”

Mr Ng Lang, Chief Executive Officer of the Urban Redevelopment Authority, co- organiser of WCS 2014 said, “The theme for World Cities Summit – ‘Common Challenges, Shared Solutions’ – reinforces the importance of collaboration between all stakeholders in urban development. With more than 100 mayors and 1,400 business leaders and industry experts expected to attend WCS, it is a leading platform for global leaders who shape cities to come together to address liveable and sustainable city challenges, share integrated urban solutions, and forge high-level partnerships.”

Source:, and

Putting Food Waste in the Picture Here, There and Everywhere

Posted by Ken on May 5, 2014
Posted under Express 206

Putting Food Waste in the Picture Here, There and Everywhere

Food waste is in the spotlight. A Sri Lanka student Kandage Kiyara Chenuli Perera (aged 8) was the Asia Pacific winner of the UNEP annual International Children’s Painting Competition, which attracted 63,700 entrants, based on the theme, “Food Waste – Save the Planet – Save Food, Wasting Food is Wasting the Planet”. This weekend just past (3-4 May), in Washington DC there’s a Future of Food Hackathon, which followed Friday’s Forum on Food, part of the National Geographic Society’s eight-month series on food in collaboration with the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).  “Food: A Forum” considered “Sustainable Sustenance,” covering the concept of sustainability and its implications for food. SASA is determined to make a study of food waste in Singapore and South East Asia as part of a global search for solutions. Read More


Sri Lanka Student Wins Asia Pacific Prize for UNEP International Children’s Painting Competition

Bangkok, 22 April 2014 – A Sri Lanka student’s painting caught the eyes of judges, making it the Asia Pacific winner of the United Nations Environment Programme’s (UNEP) annual International Children’s Painting Competition. Eight-year old Kandage Kiyara Chenuli Perera’s painting, based on the competition theme, “Food Waste – Save the Planet – Save Food, Wasting Food is Wasting the Planet” beat more than 63,700 entries from Asia Pacific to make her the winner of this year’s competition.

The UNEP Tunza International Painting Competition is an annual event that is jointly organized by UNEP, the Japan-based Foundation of Global Peace and Environment (FGPE) and Nikon Corporation.

“As a little girl I have a habit of saving money (coins) in a little till. So that idea inspired me to draw that painting. Through my painting I would like to say to all children of the world that we should obey and save food for future just like little ants,” said Kandage Kiyara Chenuli Perera.

Her painting, along with other winning entries, will be exhibited at various venues in Japan and other countries and the websites of UNEP and Foundation of Global Peace and Environment (FGPE).

“Kiyara, a girl from Sri Lanka and a regional winner of Asia and the Pacific, depicted children happily working together to keep and save the precious foods in an “Earth bank”. Mother Earth has kept producing all foods for all lives on the planet for billions of years. We ought to appreciate its abundant blessings, however, at the same time, we should be aware we must suffer from a serious food shortage if we keep wasting food and causing environmental destructions. The expression of the winning picture is bright and active to make people easily understand the importance of saving food. I hope it will inspire a lot of people to take actions in their daily life,” said Ms. Tomoko Yano, Secretary General of the FGPE.

Kandage Kiyara’s entry will move on to the global level, to compete with entries from other regions – West Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, Europe and North America. The winners of the global competition will be announced at the Global Winners Ceremony.

“Through this year’s competition children have shown us ways to tackle food waste in our homes, communities and schools. Their paintings make it clear that food waste, like most

environmental issues, is directly impacting on their lives and those of their families and friends. And through their art they have shown that there are actions we can take now,” said Kaveh Zahedi, Regional Director, UNEP Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific.

Kandage Kiyara wins a US$1,000 cash prize and all-expenses-paid trip for her and an accompanying adult to Nairobi, Kenya for a prize-awarding ceremony during the UN Environment Assembly that will take place 23-27 June 2014.

“It is my great pleasure to be a part of Asia Pacific’s Children Painting competition. Food Waste is the theme for this year which raises children awareness on the value of food and the effect of food waste on the environment. Currently, many countries are wealthy while starving is one of the main problems in some countries. This project tremendously benefits both in strengthening environment awareness and encouraging children’s painting competencies. I do hope that this great activity will continue,” said Nobuyuki Muraishi Managing Director & President, Nikon (Thailand) Co., Ltd.

The selection of the regional winner was carried out by a Jury Committee made up of UNEP staff, representatives from Nikon and art students.

UNEP Tunza International Children’s Painting Competition

The regional winners of the 23rd are announced on Earth Day, 22 April 2014. This year’s theme of the International Children’s Painting Competition on the Environment is “Food Waste – Save the Planet – Save Food, Wasting Food is Wasting the Planet”. Children aged 6 – 14 were invited to use their artistic skills to show the impact of food waste on the planet.

The painting competition has been held since 1990 with over a million entries from children in over 100 countries received.

The global winners will be chosen by a jury comprised of representatives of competition organizers. All regional and global winners will receive a cash prize (US$ 1000 for the regional winners, US$ 2000 for the first prize winner) as well as an all-expenses-paid trip to Nairobi, Kenya.

United Nations Environment Assembly

From 24 to 28 June 2014, the first session of the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) of the United Nations Environment Programme will convene at the UNEP headquarters in Nairobi with more than 1,200 participants, including Environment Ministers, Government delegates and representatives of major groups and stakeholders. The overarching theme of the first session is “Sustainable Development Goals and the Post-2015 Development Agenda,including sustainable consumption and production”, which is designed to inform ongoing discussions on the formulation of a set of targets and indicators that would succeed the Millennium Development Goals. Ministers will also discuss the issue of illegal trade in wildlife, an issue that is generating increasing global attention due to its adverse impact on biodiversity. Other issues on the UNEA agenda range from environmental rule of law to UNEP programme of work and budget.


FAO and National Geographic Announce Collaboration Exploring Future of Food

30 April 2014, Rome – The National Geographic Society and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) are teaming up to raise awareness on food and agriculture issues as National Geographic, a U.S.-based nonprofit institution, begins an eight-month, in-depth report on food issues starting with a May cover story in National Geographic magazine and online at

The official launch of the collaboration will be marked by a three-day event taking place 2-4 May 2014 at National Geographic headquarters in Washington, D.C., beginning May 2 with an afternoon panel discussion, “Food: A Forum,” which will highlight issues of food security and sustainability. The event will be live-streamed at

The panel discussion will be followed by a two-day Future of Food Hackathon May 3 and 4, during which scientists, data journalists and programmers will develop apps and tools to address solutions for feeding the planet by exploring broad FAO data sets that shed light on food distribution, transportation, costs and environmental legacy over the last 50 years. From May through December, FAO experts will provide perspective and data for National Geographic’s food coverage, which includes in-depth articles in the magazine each month and additional features on the website. Both organizations will share content and participate in related events to help educate and promote awareness about hunger and nutrition.

Among the themes that will be addressed are food and agricultural statistics and trends, feeding megacities in a world of changing demographics, reducing food loss and waste, the role of animal and insect protein in diets, and global forestry issues.

“Combining FAO’s specialized expertise with National Geographic’s 126 years of award-winning photography and reporting is very exciting, and this agreement will help bring up-to-date information about hunger and nutrition challenges and solutions to a very wide public audience,” said Mehdi Drissi, FAO Chief of Media Relations.

National Geographic magazine, the Society’s official journal, is read by more than 60 million people each month in 40 languages, while the Society’s digital media receives more than 27 million visitors a month.

“Reporting on food is a natural extension of our coverage of water, population and environmental issues,” said Chris Johns, editor in chief of National Geographic magazine. “We believe offering clear-eyed information about issues surrounding this essential topic is an important service to our audiences, and we are thrilled to partner with FAO, an organization that is on the front lines working in this area.”

The two organizations plan to collaborate on a number of initiatives throughout the year, including the Committee on World Food Security (13-18 October 2014), World Food Day (16 October 2014), the Second International Conference on Nutrition (19-21 November 2014) and the International Year of Family Farming that runs throughout 2014.

National Geographic editorial staff met with senior FAO experts in Rome in February to gather information for the series and develop a framework of collaboration that will be formalised with the signing of a memorandum of understanding later this year.

The Future of Food series is the latest in a number of large-scale National Geographic investigations that have included energy, climate, water and population.



Sustainability and Art Come Together in Events like i Light Marina Bay

Posted by Ken on May 5, 2014
Posted under Express 206

Sustainability and Art Come Together in Events like i Light Marina Bay

The energy-saving ‘Switch Off, Turn Up’ campaign which ran in tandem with the festival in March achieved energy savings of 268,890kWh, a marked 25% increase on 2012, with a record 52 buildings participating. Sufficient to power the festival more than 45 times over. In the associated sustainability workshop German sociologist Sacha Kagan drew attention to the importance of sustainability and art: “One promising way for cities to develop these qualities of resilience is through art.” SASA was involved as the sustainability consultant for i Light Marina Bay in 2012 and 20154 and is exploring further ways bring together “artists for sustainability”. Read More

The third edition of i Light Marina Bay generated the largest energy savings and participation from the community to date while drawing record crowds

i Light Marina Bay 2014 , Asia’s only sustainable light art festival, closed on 30 March with record energy savings from its ‘Switch Off, Turn Up’ campaign and drew its largest turnout since its first edition in 2010.

The energy-saving ‘Switch Off, Turn Up’ campaign ran in tandem with the festival from 7 to 30 March. It rallied Marina Bay stakeholders and building owners to switch off non-essential lighting and turn up air-conditioning temperatures during office hours throughout the festival period. The campaign this year achieved energy savings of 268,890 kWh, a marked 25 per cent increase from the last edition in 2012, and had a record 52 buildings participating. The energy saved is sufficient to power the festival more than 45 times over.

The biennial festival, organised by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) for the third time this year, attracted some 685,000 visitors, a 20 per cent increase from the last edition and the highest number the festival has seen.

Mr Jason Chen, Director for Place Management, URA, said, “The successes this year are very encouraging as they affirm how much we can achieve with our festival partners and Marina Bay stakeholders. We hope that visitors and participants not only enjoyed the installations, but also took away the important message of sustainability and will take steps to help make a positive change for our environment. We hope that the festival will continue to grow and spread the meaningful message to a larger audience.”

Over the three-week long festival, visitors were enthralled by 28 interactive and thought-provoking installations curated with the theme “Light+HeART” and placed around the Bay. The installations were designed and created by local and international artists who pushed the boundaries of creativity to incorporate energy saving measures in the design, construction and operation of their works.

Besides the light art installations, visitors also enjoyed an array of complementary events and activities such as free guided tours, boat rides, sporting activities, bazaars and culinary treats. i Light Symposium 2014 and other talks held in conjunction with the festival also kept an active conversation on the topic of sustainability, increasing awareness and inspiring the adoption of sustainable practices. The festival also partnered this year’s Earth Hour where all installations were switched off from 8:30pm to 9:30pm on 29 March.

i Light Marina Bay 2014 was supported by:


Friend of i Light:  Marina Bay Sands

Sustainability Workshop Partner: Philips Lighting

Art Installation Co-creators

Arup (Singapore), Kurihara Kogyo Co., Ltd, Martin Professional Pte. Ltd., Meinhardt Light Studio Pte. Ltd., OTTO Solutions Pte. Ltd., Panasonic Systems Asia Pacific, and Traxon Technologies / OSRAM

Innovation Partner

A*Star (ETPL and SIMTech)

About Marina Bay

Marina Bay is the heart of Singapore’s city centre and a new destination for the local community. It provides Singapore with an opportunity for further urban transformation and to attract new investments, visitors and talents. Marina Bay has been planned with sustainability in mind, adopting environmentally-sustainable strategies and technologies in its development. Extending seamlessly from the existing Central Business District, Marina Bay is the new focal point that reinforces Singapore’s position as a leading global city. It offers extraordinary potential for growth and development in the heart of the city, an advantage that few other cities can offer, and creates an exciting array of limitless opportunities for locals and foreigners alike, to explore (live), exchange (work) and entertain (play).


About Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA)

The Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) is Singapore’s national land use planning and conservation agency. URA’s mission is “to make Singapore a great city to live, work and play”. We strive to create a vibrant and sustainable city of distinction by planning and facilitating Singapore’s physical development in partnership with the community. As the main land sales agent for the State, our multifaceted engagement strategy includes the sale of State land to attract and channel private capital investment to develop sites for meeting our land use needs. As the place manager for Marina Bay, we promote exciting activities within Marina Bay in collaboration with other government agencies and private stakeholders. To create an exciting cityscape, URA also actively promotes architecture and urban design excellence. For more information, please visit us at

Let artists shape a resilient city

by Sacha Kagan for the Straits Times (10 April 2014):

LAST month, I was invited to give a keynote address on art and sustainability at the i Light Symposium held at the URA Centre in Maxwell Road. The aim of the conference was to bring together leading thinkers in the area of light and art, interrogating art’s power to improve society. I had diverse conversations with artists, architects, social scientists and others, on unsustainable development. I visited neighbourhoods ranging from Marina Bay to Bukit Brown.

These first impressions raised my awareness of the specific challenges of urban resilience for Singapore. In particular, impending climate change raises the question of Singapore’s “resilience” to serious future crises.

Will it survive when the trusted approaches that granted wealth and stability to the island in the past are severely tested?

The concept of “resilience” comes from the scientific study of how natural and social systems, in the past, have managed (or not) to survive by evolving in response to changing circumstances.

Species, ecosystems and societies that have proved able to survive extreme crises share three characteristics:

“Redundancy” or having multiple pathways to doing similar things. Redundancy, however, is severely reduced by efficiency. Efficiently organised societies generally have less redundancy, thereby threatening their resilience.

Diversity – for example, having multiple ways to see the world and express ourselves, as well as multiple ways to learn from experience and transmit knowledge. Cultural diversity, as well as biological diversity, should be preserved and even increased.

Self-organisation, or the ability of communities, neighbourhoods and groups of people to organise themselves to help determine their responses to crises. This goes against the expectation that direction should come from the top. It also goes against the naive expectation that some natural market laws will spontaneously solve problems.

Urban resilience requires the realisation of these three characteristics through a city’s fabric. Singapore has a rich cultural diversity, but there is much room for progress concerning the other two characteristics.

One promising way for cities to develop these qualities of resilience is through art.

I do not mean the promotion of commercial art or art for art’s sake. Rather, the involvement of artists and other unconventional creative people in the process of urban development, to help un-plan our cities. Artists should be allowed to shape spaces where the creative and experimental spirit of the city’s inhabitants is stimulated.

Contemporary city dwellers should be allowed to freely re-imagine possible futures and experiment with more sustainable ways of life. Creative, non-commercial “spaces of possibility” are needed, countering the cancerous growth of malls in the city.

The locations of these spaces should not be government-controlled or pre-designated, as these approaches kill creativity.

Instead, they should be spaces that grow organically from efforts by the different creative, social and cultural communities.

One hopeful example of how artists have made an impact on city spaces comes from the city of Hamburg in Germany. In that city, artists are generally being pushed to market themselves as business entrepreneurs for a short-sighted “creative city”. But many artists and creative folk opposed that strategy. In 2009, a group of them formed a “Right to the City” network, gathering 100 local groups around one common principle: Urban development should be determined by its inhabitants, not by real estate.

On Aug22, 2009, 150 artists, architects and marketing experts illegally occupied a group of buildings called the “Gangeviertel”, historic workers’ quarters in the city’s centre. It was not an ordinary “squatting” but an art exhibition and series of events.

The occupiers did not merely protest against the plans of the city government and the investor: They put up an elaborate alternative plan to re-imagine the place as a centre of culture, complete with work places and social housing, to inject vibrancy into an area dominated by commercial and expensive residential buildings.

For the first time in decades, the city government, which normally evacuates occupied buildings by force within 24 hours, listened to the proposal. Seduced by the artists’ vision, they even bought back the buildings from the investor and gave the occupiers a year to finalise their concept. Rehabilitation work started late last year. Historical buildings were saved and social housing preserved.

Realising urban resilience through the arts will be a great challenge in Singapore, too, but it is not an impossible one. I saw many creative seeds which would need to be encouraged to grow. I saw young people with interesting ideas, designing and making objects, growing their own food.

There are many values of cultural heritage and biodiversity being rediscovered in the historical site of Bukit Brown.

Such sites can become exactly the kinds of undesignated spaces of experimentation and imagination that a city needs.

The writer is a research associate, Institute of Sociology and Cultural Organisation, Leuphana University, Lueneburg in Germany.

Source:  and

Coming Clean: Energising Solar For the Good of Mankind

Posted by Ken on May 5, 2014
Posted under Express 206

Coming Clean: Energising Solar For the Good of Mankind

Perhaps in spite of, and not because of, the current Government’s mixed feelings on anything that looks like clean energy to upset the “fossil-fuel-eyed” status quo, Australia’s inventiveness and entrepreneurial spirit reigns supreme as we see with the Pollinate Energy artistic approach to energising solar for the good of mankind to RayGen Resources winning a big China contract for its solar technology. Thanks Australia CleanTech’s John O’Brien for alerting us to these and other advances down under. Read More

By Sophie Vorrath in Reneweconomy  on 1 May 2014

Pollinate Energy is all about shining a light. The Australian founded not-for-profit clean energy company last year won an award from the UN’s Momentum for Change program for helping slum-dwellers in India replace expensive and highly polluting kerosene lamps with cheaper solar energy.

The company focuses on training members of the local community to distribute and install solar lighting systems as micro-entrepreneurs, or “Pollinators.” So far, it has provided solar systems to 10,000 housholds in 250 of Bangalore’s slum communities, in turn saving 40,000 litres of kerosene and 100,000 kilograms of carbon emissions.

But Pollinate’s latest solar lighting project has a less functional purpose… It also has a name: Ray. Ray, as the company notes on its website, “is a light sculpture powered by the sun, hanging out at Sydney Harbour” as part of the four-week Vivid Light 2014 event.

Created by Pollinate in conjunction with Southern Cross University, the seven metre tall installation is made up of strips of multi-coloured light connecting to a base. The idea is that passers-by can pull on Ray’s vines (located in charging pods), resulting in coloured light shooting towards the top of the sculpture. This action will gradually fully charge Ray, at which point he will “overflow in a surge of sound, light and colour.”

For Pollinate, this project embodies the company’s vision of positive change through sustainable and renewable energy.

“He was born out of our willingness to showcase our progress so far, and a metaphorical touch to the impact one light can have on an entire family living in energy poverty,” it says.

For the team at Southern Cross University, led by Barry Hill, creator of SCU’s Sunflower solar generator, it is a chance to test the technology – which is still in development, but has been used successfully to power stages at music festivals such as Bluesfest and Womex Brisbane, and at the Byron Bay Writers Festival – in a new and very different way.

“Ray has meant that we can showcase how we are making the Sunflower generator highly interactive,” said Dr Hill on the Pollinate website.

 “It is a project that has allowed us to test a new data communication system that we have designed to allow solar generator data to be used in the creation of audio visual works. In a sense we are making the Sunflower generator into a musical instrument by using the data gathered from the power generation and discharge cycle to send data to the Hi Ray website and control aspects of the graphic design and audio soundscape.”

Most importantly, he added, “the Ray project is one that shows that renewable energy is a great solution for marginalised communities all over the world that have no access to any safe power source and this impacts on their ability to live, communicate and survive in the 21st Century.”



11 April 2014


New CSPV technology to forge billion‐dollar global market

Australian technology company, RayGen Resources, has signed a $A60 million investment and distribution deal to supply its leading‐edge solar power generation technology into China, with a target to secure global exports beyond $1 billion by 2020.

The deal signing with ZhuoZhou Intense Solar Ltd (Intense Solar) was witnessed today by Andrew Robb, MP Minister for Trade and Investment, in Shanghai as part of the Australia Week in China trade mission. Mr Robb described the agreement as a “tremendous example of Australian innovation finding a market in China which results in jobs, investment and trade for Australia.”

In addition to a $2 million equity investment in RayGen, the deal will see Intense Solar buying RayGen’s Australian‐manufactured advanced semiconductor and computerised control components for further assembly in China with locally made parts. In turn, Intense Solar will sell the complete product within China on an exclusive basis. RayGen will sell the high tech components in increasing scale over the next few years, with minimum total sales of $58 million.

At the heart of the distribution deal is RayGen’s revolutionary Concentrated Solar Photovoltaic (CSPV) technology. CSPV is a major advancement on conventional solar technologies because it delivers lower cost and higher efficiency. It uses computer‐controlled mirrors to direct a concentrated beam of sunlight onto ultra‐efficient solar semiconductor devices originally designed to power spacecraft. Twice as efficient as traditional solar panels, RayGen’s technology enables industrial‐capacity solar energy delivered off the grid at on‐the‐grid prices.

RayGen’s solution will produce clean power more cheaply than fossil fuel generation especially in remote, sunny areas.

RayGen CEO, Bob Cart, said the company’s world‐leading technology solution made it a compelling proposition for rapidly developing markets like China with burgeoning demand for low‐cost clean energy options needed to address acute air quality problems.

“Intense Solar saw our solution last year as result of a trade mission hosted by AusTrade. They decided that we offered the best, most innovative solution to meet China’s ever‐increasing demand for power generation”, said Mr Cart.

“We’re delighted they’ve chosen to partner with us and we’re excited by what we see as a huge opportunity to marry Australian innovation and know‐how with Intense Solar’s market access and manufacturing capabilities in China.”

“The deal wouldn’t have happened without the support of AusTrade, along with the Chinese government which also provided its approval and support”, he said. Mr Cart said he hoped the RayGen deal would pave the way for other Australian technology companies to commercialise their ideas by value‐adding to the mass‐production capabilities of economic powers like China and other offshore markets. “Our partnership with Intense Solar shows there’s a significant export market to be gained from this approach and, based on the current trajectory, we believe sales of CSPV products will pass the billion‐dollar mark by the end of the decade”, said Mr Cart.

RayGen was a finalist in the 2013 Australian Technologies Competition supported by the Department of Industry. This led to an invitation by AusTrade for RayGen to join the trade mission to China. RayGen has received $2.75million in Federal and State Government grants since its inception in 2010.

Mr Cart said his company’s agreement with Intense Solar showed that technology innovation was capable of producing returns on taxpayer funding for the benefit of the broader Australian economy.

About RayGen

Established in Melbourne, Australia in 2010, RayGen has developed technology that aims to deliver the world’s lowest‐cost energy generation technology solution. It is revolutionising remote energy production for various applications such as mining. The company was a finalist in the 2013 Australian Technologies Competition and has been awarded Victorian and Commonwealth government grants to help fund the development of its innovative technology solutions for both domestic and offshore markets.


Managing Forest Production To Avoid Deforestation & Pollution

Posted by Ken on May 5, 2014
Posted under Express 206

Managing Forest Production To Avoid Deforestation & Pollution

The Forests Asia Summit, which gets underway in Jakarta Monday 5 May, will see ministers from across Southeast Asia join CEOs, civil society leaders, development experts and the world’s top scientists to share knowledge on how to accelerate the shift toward a green economy by better managing its forests and landscapes. The production and export of pulp and paper, palm oil and a host of timber related products have contributed to the devastating deforestation, out of control burning and serious air pollution, particularly in Indonesia. We also see why some companies are so supportive of the Sustainable Green Printing Partnership (SGP). Read More


Forests Asia Summit

The Forests Asia Summit, Jakarta, which gets underway in Jakarta Monday 5 May, will see ministers from across Southeast Asia join CEOs, civil society leaders, development experts and the world’s top scientists to share knowledge on how the region can accelerate the shift toward a green economy by better managing its forests and landscapes.

Southeast Asia is one of the world’s most dynamic regions. Its economy is growing rapidly led by a rising middle class but it faces major policy challenges: inequality, uncertain land tenure, unsustainable land use, a loss of biodiversity, food insecurity and climate change. Against this backdrop, some Southeast Asian economies are adopting a green-growth approach, voluntarily establishing targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to sustainably manage their forests and landscapes. Similarly, leading businesses are committing themselves to sustainable land use and investment practices.

Still, more needs to be done. Agricultural expansion in Southeast Asia threatens the world’s third-largest tropical forest and the many ecosystem services they provide. And unsustainable land-use change has made the region one of the world’s largest sources of greenhouse gas emissions.

Informed by the latest research and best practices, the Forests Asia Summit will allow participants to share knowledge with policy makers and each other in the pursuit of new green-growth pathways for development.

The Summit – organized by the Center for International Forestry Research and co-hosted by the Indonesian Ministry of Forestry – will be the largest in Asia in recent years and is expected to attract more than 1,000 leading stakeholders from Southeast Asia and across the world. Tens of thousands more are expected to participate online or through nationwide broadcasts. There will be special learning events with leading global experts on the Green Economy, the Southeast Asian haze crisis, climate change negotiations and the Sustainable Development Goals.

The Summit

Forests Asia will inform and be informed by national initiatives and key processes in Southeast Asia:

  • promote bilateral and multilateral exchanges to improve the implementation of green growth policy
  • strengthen law enforcement and governance relating to land tenure, land use and trade
  • develop a low-carbon economy and enhance adaptation capacity to achieve win-win synergies between climate change and economic development
  • re-affirm the potential for REDD+ in ASEAN and lessons learned thus far for climate change mitigation, biodiversity conservation and livelihoods
  • find the balance between economic growth and social development to reduce and prevent negative impacts to food security.


Forests Asia will produce several key outcomes:

  • commitments to an integrated regional research program, beginning with a pilot program to alleviate the haze crisis
  • commitments to investments in sustainable landscapes
  • commitments to continued multi-stakeholder dialogues to refine evidence-based policy options for key regional challenges.

Southeast Asia is one of the world’s most dynamic regions. Its economy is growing rapidly led by a rising middle class but it faces major policy challenges: inequality, uncertain land tenure, unsustainable land use, a loss of biodiversity, food insecurity and climate change. Against this backdrop, some Southeast Asian economies are adopting a green-growth approach, voluntarily establishing targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to sustainably manage their forests and landscapes. Similarly, leading businesses are committing themselves to sustainable land use and investment practices.

Still, more needs to be done. Agricultural expansion in Southeast Asia threatens the world’s third-largest tropical forest and the many ecosystem services they provide. And unsustainable land-use change has made the region one of the world’s largest sources of greenhouse gas emissions.

Informed by the latest research and best practices, the Forests Asia Summit will allow participants to share knowledge with policy makers and each other in the pursuit of new green-growth pathways for development.

The Summit – organized by the Center for International Forestry Research and co-hosted by the Indonesian Ministry of Forestry – will be the largest in Asia in recent years and is expected to attract more than 1,000 leading stakeholders from across Southeast Asia and globally. Tens of thousands more are expected to participate online or through nationwide broadcasts. There will be special learning events with leading global experts on the Green Economy, the Southeast Asian haze crisis, climate change negotiations and the Sustainable Development Goals.


Partnering for Printing Sustainability

By John G. Braceland, in WhatTheyThink, the printing and publishing industry’s leading media organization(21 March 2014):

The Sustainable Green Printing Partnership (SGP) is a non-profit organization providing sustainability certification in the printing industry and as such, sponsoring organizations play a large role in ensuring the organization will continue. In this article John Braceland focuses on some of the sponsors and why they continue their support.

I interviewed five sponsors: Fujifilm, HP, Prisco, 3M and Unisource. All five organizations participate at different sponsorship levels. However, there were a few common themes between the organizations:

1)    A strong interest in protecting the environment

2)    SGP’s focus on continuous improvement

3)    A desire to see the printing industry get greener

I was surprised that these same thoughts came from very different organizations. SGP was founded by a number of stakeholders, associations, printers and vendors. It is evident, after seven years of existence, that this organization has clear objectives and continues a strong partnership between these stakeholders. Here is some insight into why these companies stay involved.


I spoke with Girish Menon from Fuji. Fujifilm has had a long history of environmental stewardship.  They were the first private company in Japan to establish a public trust fund, 1 billion yen, in 1983 that continues to disburse ongoing support for environmental efforts.

Fuji wants to reduce the environmental impact of their products. Because of their strong environmental focus they wanted to partner with an organization that could give them feedback on not only how their products performed but other opportunities for reducing environmental impact.

A big attraction is SGP’s focus on not just becoming certified and standing still, but each year reducing a company’s environmental impact. Fuji has a strong continuous improvement culture and wants to help the printing industry become better by that focus.


Jonathan Graham, from HP, has been on the board of SGP for a year. HP became involved when they developed their latex ink technology. Their goal is to have environmental sustainability in all products. HP’s feeling is that sustainability in the printing industry is a have-to-have not a nice-to-have. They were looking for an organization that would be an agent of change in the printing industry.

The paper industry took responsibility when they created the chain of custody certification. The industry was receiving a bad rap about paper usage. HP was looking for an organization that could do the same thing in the printing industry.

Similar to Fuji, HP is looking for an opportunity to interact with printers about the environmental impact of their products. Another big attraction for HP is the idea that being environmentally responsible makes you more efficient. SGP certification focuses on the total operating environment – again the continuous improvement idea. With more and tougher environmental regulations, being environmentally responsible will save the printer money.


Bill Malloy, from Prisco, has been involved in SGP since early in its formation. Prisco saw environmental regulations growing tighter in California. Plus, end users were increasingly looking for marketing solutions with low environmental impact. Prisco wanted to be involved with helping to shape the organization. They didn’t want to see SGP become a green washing or marketing group. They wanted to see an organization that could help the printing industry set a standard on what it meant to be environmentally responsible.

Prisco did not want printers to just pay a fee and become certified, or, just use the logo as a sales tool. They wanted comprehensive criteria as well as continuous improvement each year. Bill felt the severity of the recession slowed down certifications and some of the focus on environmental sustainability by end users. Now that the economy has stabilized he sees more reasons why printers should participate.


Mike Kesti, from 3M, has been their point person for SGP. 3M has a strong sustainability component in their company, which is good for their business model. Their primary interest is large format graphics media. They wanted to be part of the discussion defining what it meant for a printer to be sustainable. They also wanted to learn in the process so they could bring this back to their own product development.

3M felt it was important that SGP incorporate continuous improvement in their metrics and not be tied to specific technology. They are sensitive to the printer’s customers’ needs for an environmentally friendly sustainable product. 3M wants to have end users specify their brand because of performance and sustainability.


Andrew Gustyn, from Unisource, spoke to me about their involvement with SGP. They have been involved with SGP for over three years. He feels they have just scratched the surface of their relationship.

Unisource continues to promote environmental responsibility. They wanted to be involved with an industry focused environmental organization. The printing industry had no standards on what it meant to be green.  Also, they were looking for standards that covered the operation from start to finish, not just in the prepress or pressroom.  Unisource wanted to share best practices and foster a sense of responsibility towards the environment.

There are three different sponsorship levels: Silver, Gold and Platinum. Some sponsors are involved on the Board. If your organization would like to learn more about being a Sponsor for SGP, contact Martine Padilla, Executive Director of SGP at 310-809-6124 or

It is clear from talking to the sponsors that they have a real synergy with SGP and are looking for more than just name recognition. These organizations are investing in pushing the printing industry to new levels of environmental responsibility.

John G. Braceland is Managing Director for Graphic Arts Alliance a member run purchasing cooperative. He is also President of JB Solutions, a company that creates and manages purchasing cooperatives in various industries. Previously, he was President and owner of Braceland Brothers, a multi-plant printing company headquartered in Philadelphia, PA.