Should ‘Sustainability’ Be Banned?

29 08 2013

Green Printer Online Dispatch

Is the oft-used term “sustainability” now just an empty buzz word? The Guardian seems to think so. Or at least one of the contributors to the site’s Green Blog does.

Blog writer Doug King argues that because companies now use the idea of sustainability as “just another tick-box” to show they are no worse than any of their competitors, the term has lost its efficacy.

“As with many aspects of business, the innovators and early adopters have a clear understanding of what they are doing and why. However, by the time that new practice features in business handbooks, it has become a fad that must be followed in order to maintain market share,” he says.

And because the term is so closely associated with the trendy concept of corporate social responsibility (CSR), the word is not only ineffective but actually doing harm to the cause.

In King’s mind, the idea of CSR was that companies considered their actions, what sort of impact they would have on the world around them and made decisions based on that analysis. But because CSR has become a fad, companies aren’t truly concerned about creating a positive impact—instead, their goal is to meet just another minimum set of requirements to keep them competitive.

And while that’s a decent point, does intention matter all that much as long as some progress is being made?

 



 



First Driverless Car Hits the Road

27 08 2013


Green Printer Online Dispatch

While vehicles with hybrid or fully electric engines are nothing new, one Asian nation now holds an interesting new auto-related title: The first to have a completely driverless vehicle hit the road.

The shuttle carts passengers between Nanyang Technological University (NTU) and JTC Corporation’s (JTC) CleanTech Park in Singapore. And on top of not needing anyone behind the wheel, the vehicle is also entirely electric and doesn’t burn an ounce of fuel on its two-kilometre trek between the two institutions.

The shuttle, named NAVIA, was borne from a partnership between NTU, JTC and Induct Technologies, and will be tested by the university’s Energy Research Institute. The institute will optimize the vehicle over the next two years, work out any potential bugs the shuttle might have with navigating through traffic and will be implemented as an entirely autonomous mode of transportation. The presence of the shuttle on Singapore’s streets could be the harbinger of many more green-energy, driverless vehicles to come.

 



How To Buy a Green Home Printer

22 08 2013

Green Printer Online Dispatch

A number of appliance manufacturers have been quick to jump on the sustainability bandwagon. But there’s a room in the typical Canadian home that many don’t consider when looking to go green: the home office.

Particularly in heavy-duty home offices, appliances can eat up energy (consider all the scanners, fax machines, printers and computers). But it’s possible to cut your energy consumption by simply investing in a printer that gets the green seal of approval.

Here are some recommendations about what to look for when printer shopping:

Look for labels

When comparing brands and models, check to see if the printer you’re eyeing is certified as being energy efficient. Is it EnergyStar certified, for example? Does it have EPEAT certification? There are a number of “green” labels to watch for, and such certifications will ensure the appliance won’t eat up excess electricity.

Go for All-In-One

Although you may only be in the market for a printer, consider condensing a few of your office appliances into a single machine. Most major brands now carry numerous models of printers that also scan, copy, fax and perform other functions. Not only does going for the all-in-one option save energy, but also space.

Find Additional Eco Functions

Many newer models of printers now feature an ink-saving mode, which will prevent changing those pesky cartridges too often. Some models also have a “sleep” mode, which cuts back on wasting electricity should the printer be left on.



Customer Spotlight: Green Banana Cards

20 08 2013

A love of postcards and graphic design is what originally inspired Virginie St-Jean, owner of Green Banana Cards, to attempt to turn her two passions into a business.

During her planning process, she decided to be realistic about the fact that Joe Schmo on the street isn’t necessarily interested in buying packs of beautifully designed postcards. However, if she differentiated her cards in a very unique (and Canadian way), her idea might just be viable.

“Since postcards are not as popular as they used to be with the general public, I thought that the only way to be successful selling postcards was to create a novelty product,” she says.

So, she began by designing a moose into her first product. Customers who receive the card can cut out the various parts and assemble them into a three-dimensional paper moose. And as the popularity of the product grew, she added on other animal designs, including a puffin, wolf and mammoth. St-Jean is currently up to 14 designs total, and has plans to add animals from Down Under to her line of cards in the spring.

Her designs are ordered wholesale for gift shops all over the U.S. and Canada, and she also offers smaller custom orders through her Etsy store.

Another aspect of her business that sets her apart is her commitment to using sustainable papers and inks for her products. Green Printer Online‘s line of eco-friendly paper and the ability to order directly online is why St-Jean chose to work with us exclusively.

“I get a quality product and it often ships faster than expected, which is great.”

 



10 Canadian Companies Make List of Most Sustainable in World

16 08 2013

Green Printer Online Dispatch

Canadian companies are often known for their efforts to be “green.” And 10 Canuck companies have been recognized for taking the concept of corporate social responsibility seriously.

Media and research company Corporate Knights compiles an annual list of the Global 100 companies that are the most sustainable in the world. And 10 of those just happen to be Canadian. And that’s something to both celebrate and a new standard to hold other companies to.

And surprisingly, many of the Canadian firms are mining corporation or major power players in industry. The top Canadian company to make the list at No. 21 was B.C.-based miner Teck Resources. Next up was Barrick Gold Corp. at No. 40, and Canadian National Railway at No. 57.

The report bases the rankings on a variety of statistics, including “green” factors such as energy and water consumption, and equality issues including the relative number of women on their board and CEO compensation.

 

 

 

 



German Village Takes Title of World’s Greenest

13 08 2013

A Green Printer Online Dispatch

While the fair Canadian city of Vancouver has the noble goal of becoming the greenest city in the world by 2020, there’s a small town in Germany that may have already earned that title.

The university town of Freiberg I’m Breisgau, nestled in southwest Germany’s Black Forest, is considered by many to be the “greenest” or most sustainable city in the world currently. According to a report from The Vancouver Sun, the town’s reliance on numerous solar panels for energy in both commercial and residential buildings plays a major role in the title.

It also helps that many of Freiberg’s approximately 230,000 residents either use public transit via the tram, bicycles or their own two legs to get them wherever they need to go.

Additionally, the city has several energy sustainable neighbourhoods, including one that is hailed as being the only one in the world that creates more energy than it consumes, which it then feeds back into the city’s power grid (for a tidy profit, of course).

Perhaps Canadian towns and companies could learn a thing or two from the way residents and workers in Freiberg tackle sustainability together.