Sustainable Business Alliance
The Sustainable Business Alliance is a membership organization for companies committed to greater environmental and socially responsible business practices. Our members are a diverse community of over 100 sustainable businesses in the San Francisco Bay Area. We strengthen our businesses through networking, education, and partnership opportunities. We learn from and support each other through strong community and collaboration.
Our mission is to promote sustainable business practices, nurture the environmentally-committed business sector, advocate the environmentally progressive policies, and improve the environmental profile of economic activity in the East Bay.
If you are already implementing sustainable practices in your business, or would like to learn more about greening your business, consider membership in our growing network of eco conscious entrepreneurs.
Available by appointment only
The makers of The Story of Stuff have a new video about the "manufactured demand" of expensive bottled water.
The Local Clean Energy Alliance has several creative videos posted for their No On Prop 16 campaign.
Van Jones reemerged in the public eye this week to set the record straight on his resignation as Green Jobs Czar under the Obama Administration. Van announced he will take on new positions with the Center For American Progress and Princeton University. He also will receive the NAACP’s President's Award at their 41st Annual Image Awards this Friday.
60 Minutes recently interviewed K.R. Sridhar, the CEO of Bloom Box about their upcoming clean energy technology that intends to revolutionize the way we produce and receive our electricity. The company has created a fuel cell generator where oxygen is pumped in on one side and natural gas on the other. The two combine inside the cell to create a chemical reaction that produces electricity. No burning, no combustion, no power lines from outside.
Oxfam has made a video to kick off their new campaign: Right to Know, Right to Decide. The campaign aims to achieve transparency about oil and gas companies' payments to foreign governments.
From out friends at Green For All:
The contest, hosted by Green For All, creatively showcases the promise and opportunity of the inclusive green economy, through art. From hip hop tracks about green-collar jobs to posters depicting thriving cityscapes, we've selected more than 40 finalists.
Now it's up to a popular vote to determine who takes home the Grand Prize: $1,000 and a professionally produced video of the winning artist's story.
Vote now for your favorite video, audio and image from the green economy!
From the maker: This was a piece shown at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago for the Buckminster Fuller exhibit. I was given free reign by the MCA in filming the exhibit before the opening. Yet, they didn’t have his three-wheel car, which kind of made me mad, but I assume it’s hard to move. I did another piece that accompanies this one. It is a more formal production and talks with some of the leading architects and sustainable designers in the country. I choose this piece because of its cinematography and imagery. I traveled to St.Louis and Edwardsville, Illinois to film two of Fuller’s famous geodesic domes. I did a loose interview with a friend that was an architecture student, a sustainable designer, and current Bucky enthusiast. This was a nice break from the precision and organization of producing a commercial.
Katovich Law Group organized a round-table discussion on new innovative ways small businesses can raise capital. While most small businesses are restricted from making a public offering, the Oakland based law firm is pioneering in this field by developing a legal platform to achieve this goal. Join the continuing discussion at the Cutting Edge Capital Raising ning site.
Cutting Edge Capital Raising for Small Business
In the United States today, small businesses constitute about one-half of the private economy in terms of output and jobs, but they receive almost no investment from the nation’s pension funds or from mutual, hedge, venture, or any other kind of investment funds. In a well-functioning financial system, roughly one-half of the investment should go to roughly one-half of the economy.
We begin the evening with a presentation about one of the primary causes for this market failure: the legal barriers to raising capital that disproportionately burden small businesses.
Next we discuss some cutting edge strategies that have been used to overcome these barriers.
We conclude with a discussion of legislative changes needed to address the barriers to capital-raising for small business and the formation of a working group to move the agenda forward.
Thomas Greco, Author of The End of Money and the Future of Civilization
John Katovich, President of Katovich Law Group, Presidio School of Management Professor, and Chief Legal Officer of the Boston Stock Exchange
Don Shaffer, President and CEO of RSF Social Finance
Leslie Christian, President and CEO of Portfolio 21 Investments
Derek Huntington, President of Sonoma County Go Local
Mike Leung, Worker Cooperative Credit Union Organizer
Jenny Kassan, Managing Director of Katovich Law Group and President of Community Ventures
Organized by Katovich Law Group
Bob Schildgen was the speaker for the SBA Speaker Series in November and we're finally getting around to posting the video of his talk and a summarized transcript.
SBA Speaker Event of 110309
Guest Speaker: Bob Schildgen, “Mr. Green”
I grew up in rural Wisconsin. We heated our house by burning logs in a wood-burning stove. Since the supply of logs was limited, we built a fire only when absolutely necessary. This is an example of how we behave when there is a direct and visible link between our energy source and the amount of that energy resource that we use. Our perception of our resource was very direct. We had a very personal relationship with the resource we had available.
This memory leads me to think that today we are failing to pay sufficient attention to our resources. Today, we are far more focused on how to meet our rising demand than on how to conserve our limited resources.
As a people, we have come to love technology, quick fixes, innovation and innovators – from Ben Franklin to Steve Jobs. But, I suggest, we often have too much faith in technology. Sometimes we have an almost religious belief in tech fixes. Instead of fixes, we should sometimes think about limiting our use of resources.
We think that we are superior to medieval religious believers who bought indulgences to assure that they were permitted to travel the path to Heaven. But tech fixes play something of the same role as medieval indulgences in our contemporary lives. Both are a way of avoiding real issues. Both are illusory. Driving a Prius allows me to reduce my carbon footprint only if I refrain from upping the number of miles I drive.
Many people think today that “energy” is the main issue, perhaps due to Al Gore. Not enough people are talking about resource conservation.
There has to be a way of delinking price of a commodity from the actual use of that commodity. If a commodity appears to be inexpensive, it does not necessarily mean that it is abundant. A government or an industry can artificially conceal the true cost of the commodity in order to get citizens to consume more of that resource in the short run. This is the case, of course, with oil.
I like to think of this kind of behavior as “magical use.”
Another example of this “magical use” is electricity. Electrical consumption in US today is 30% higher today than in the 1980’s. No matter how efficient today’s electrical networks are, if we are using electricity a great deal more now than we were thirty years ago, we are still using more electricity than we should be, since we do not have the natural resources which makes this level of usage supportable in the long run.
Today, we hear lots of enthusiastic talk about “the smart grid”, but we are failing to realize that part of the need for a smart grid is that we are engaging in “dumb consumption.”
Bob notes that some environmental columnists criticize conservations for “confusing acts of personal consumption and conservation for significant political action.”
Bob admits that this fixation on individual conservation behavior can be dangerous if we do not simultaneously figure out ways of creating public policy that addresses the critical sustainability issues.
A very important piece of the solution, as suggested in an article in recent Atlantic Monthly, is “understanding incentives.“
In conclusion, I support any legislation that succeeds in making energy use more effective and efficient.
“Renewable power” is a risky concept. Instead of leaning on it, we need to figure out how we can cut resource consumption “to the bone.” Only when we have done that does it make sense to think about using “renewables.”
We must remain aware that there are many contradictions built into our contemporary energy industry. For example, the only way that we can keep energy sales high, while simultaneously increasing energy efficiency, is by increasing consumption. But this is not a sustainable long-term strategy.
Bob’s personal admonition: “Heed the bigger picture. Focus on lowering consumption of resources, rather than on increasing natural resource inventory. Get back to that fundamental message of conservation!
A celebration of good community, good work and good spirits! Mark you calendar!
No door charge + Cash bar
2221 Broadway (3 blocks north of the 19th Street Bart station)
Many thanks to our event sponsor StopWaste.Org Complimentary appetizers from 5:30-6pm provided by StopWaste.Org!
Take a look at this video from last year's event:
What's the worst that can happen? Find out in this video, where Greg Craven makes a logical argument on why we need to respond to climate change. Find out more at Greg's website.
The Business Environmental Awards application deadline is fast approaching. Has your company demonstrated environmental leadership by implementing innovative/comprehensive sustainable business practices? If so, you may be eligible to receive special recognition for your achievements.
Acterra is currently accepting applications for the 2010 Business Environmental Awards. The deadline to apply is Friday, January 22nd. Download the application at www.acterra.org/bea.
Any private or public business entity, division or facility located in Alameda, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara or Santa Cruz County is eligible to apply. Non-profit organizations are eligible if environmental work is not their central mission.
Acterra Award for Sustainability
Pollution Prevention/Resource Conservation
Commute and Transportation
Environmental & Sustainability Education
Sustainable Built Environment
View videos of previous award-winning programs. Two members of the Sustainable Business Alliance, Transcendentist and Hesperian Cleaners, have been winners in previous years.
This video shows how a group of researchers are keeping track of whether or not California is meeting standards set by AB32 - the 2006 law that mandates a 25% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020. Source: Boing Boing
From our friends at Acterra:
Acterra's Business Environmental Awards recognizes businesses and organizations for outstanding environmental leadership within the San Francisco Bay Area.
The 2010 Awards will recognize exemplary programs in the following categories: sustainability, pollution prevention/resource conservation, commute & transportation, environmental enterprise, sustainable built environment, and environmental & sustainability education.
If your company has demonstrated environmental leadership in one of these award categories, you may be eligible to apply for this special recognition. The application deadline is January 22, 2010. Applications and further information is available at Acterra's website.
The next Green Rheem Film Night is Thursday, Oct. 8th in Moraga, CA and will feature the documentary "The World According to Monsanto". This widely praised film exposes how Monsanto is uprooting our food supply and replacing it with their patented genetically engineered creations. As one review said "This is a movie for people that like to know what's in their milk!"
Due to the great turnouts we've had recently, we've lowered prices! Now it is only $10 for film, wine tasting, and appetizers, $8 for movie only, and $5 for students (online prices). If you'd like to attend all you need to do is purchase a ticket online.
There will be wine tasting and appetizers in the lobby starting at 6pm and the movie will start around 7pm. The reception will feature:
- Wine and olive oil tasting by Tom Powers of Diablo Vineyards, located in the beautiful Alhambra Valley near Martinez.
- Luscious food samples provided by Joni Sare, a chef and healthy eating coach based in Lafayette
- Representatives from the Brentwood Agricultural Land Trust will briefly describe their work and introduce the film
Green Rheem is organized by a collection of Lamorinda community organizations including:
Generation Green, Sustainable Moraga, Sustainable Lafayette, and Parents for a Safer Environment.
Check out Bay Localize's newest resource for local organizers, community builders, and the public sector: the Community Resilience Toolkit! The Toolkit's designed for groups to prepare their communities to weather tough times. Get your FREE copy today!
The Toolkit is designed for groups to prepare their communities to weather tough times. It places a special emphasis on economic and climate instability. The Toolkit provides resources to evaluate a community's relative strengths and vulnerabilities, and take action to build resilience. It covers the topics of:
- Transportation and Housing
- Jobs and Economy
- Civic Preparedness and Social Services
Here's a video from the recent toolkit launch party:
In this haunting portrait of America's oil-fueled excesses, director Adolfo Doring explores the inextricable link between the energy we use, the way we run our economy, and the multiplying threats that now confront the environmental health and stability of our planet. Taking as its starting point the inevitable energy depletion scenario known as "Peak Oil," the film surveys a fascinating range of the latest intellectual, political, and scientific thought to make the case that by whatever measure of greed, wishful thinking, neglect, or ignorance, we now find ourselves at a disturbing crossroads: we can continue to burn fossil fuels and witness the collapse of our ecology, or we can choose not to and witness the collapse of our economy. Refusing to whitewash this reality, Blind Spot issues a call to action, urging us to face up to the perilous situation we now find ourselves in so that we might begin to envision a realistic, if inconvenient, way out. Certain to inspire debate in classrooms across a range of disciplines, especially in economics, environmental studies, the natural sciences, and political science.
Awaken Cafe has a cute video advertising their Can Refill Program where you get 30% off for reusing your can. What a great idea!
Two former EPA attorneys are saying congress is getting it wrong with the American Clean Energy and Security Act (Waxman- Markey HR. 2454). They claim the proposed carbon offset program would actually increase the amount of C02 and make offset investors rich. The bill creates incentives that end up promoting more consumption of resources.
Attorneys Laurie Williams and Allan Zabel offer a solution in their three part YouTube video:
- Clean energy must become cost competitive to fossil fuel energy within a known timeframe.
- Introduce carbon fees that make fossils more expensive, leveling the price difference between renewable energy. To keep energy affordable, carbon fees must be given back to consumers in the form of monthly rebates.
Visit carbonfees.org for more information.
New Yorker Colin Beavan decided to eliminate his personal impact on the environment for a year -- no car, no electricity, no material consumption, and no garbage. But when his wife and daughter were dragged into the fray, the No Impact Project had an unforeseen impact of its own.
Laura Gabbert and Justin Schein's documentary "No Impact Man," opening 9/11 in NYC and LA, provides an intriguing look into the experiment, and its impact on Colin's family life. View theater schedule.
Colin has also written a "No Impact Man" book, and started the non-profit No Impact Project to help people learn to reduce their impact by living the zero-waste lifestyle for one week.
Reposted from the Stop Global Warming Newsletter
Green for All has produced a dramatic new video for promoting the green economy. To learn more and take action to build the green economy, visit Green for All.
FOOD, JUSTICE & RESILIENCE FOR OAKLAND AND BEYOND
â€œFreshâ€ - New Thinking about What We're Eating
Stories about real people changing how we grow and eat food, featuring Will Allen, Michael Pollan and other people working to make our food system healthier, more sustainable and more accessible.
WHEN: Wednesday, July 29th, 6pm (potluck) and 7 pm (film)
WHERE: Humanist Hall, 390 27th St., Oakland (between Telegraph and Broadway)
The only SOLAR-POWERED movie theater in the East Bay!
Wheelchair accessible around the block at 411 28th Street, Oakland
Please bring some food to share for the potluck. Please also bring your ideas on what it will take to build a powerful and inclusive green movement in Oakland and beyond for the discussion after the film. For info, contact HumanistHall@Yahoo.com or (510) 681-8699.
$5-10 donations are accepted to support Humanist Hall
Sponsored by: Bay Localize, Communitree Movement, Oakland Resilience Alliance, Transition East Bay.
This is a documentary made from the first Financial Permaculture summit in Hohenwald, Tennessee. The week long workshop is a dynamic educational experience of greening the American community. You'll learn how to map the financial ecosystem of a community, apply permaculture principles to business design, design a regenerative business, and create ecological and socially responsible investment oppertunities.
The next Financial Permaculture summit will be from September 22nd through the 26th.
Colorado First made this excellent video examining how the multiplier effect of buying from local businesses strengthens a community and makes the local economy more sustainable.
Congress is about to vote on the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009. Ask congress to vote for the bill.
Fresh out of the editing room, check out Justine Burt's presentation on Sustainability Manager Training given at one of our monthly SBA Speaker Series events.
If you work on sustainability projects for your organization, you know how challenging the work is. You try to implement projects to reduce your organization's environmental impact but you frequently run into internal resistance. The key to success is to identify the specific technical, financial, and psychological barriers in you way, and use proven tools to overcome them. Justine Burt will share highlights of the tools she has gathered over 18 years of environmental change agent work. This is a preview of the two-day Sustainability Manager Training Ms. Burt will lead in Silicon Valley on May 14 and May 15. To learn more, visit greenwalatraining.com
Here's a video trailer for the award-winning documentary that tracks the research and development of electric cars in the United States as well as their subsequent poor-marketing and "orchestrated" downfall. More info here. And it looks like the makers fo the film have launched a new blog: Revenge of the Electric Car.
The East Bay Green Tours takes you through 'The Green Corridor', the epicenter of business sustainability. Catch an insider's look at how green businesses operate and succeed. The tour is educational and inspiring. Tours can also be crafted for your particular organization or school.
Check out this new promotional video that gives you a taste of what the tours are like!
This short YouTube documentary exposes the sources of air pollution in West Oakland. Neighborhood factories pump heavy metals like lead into the air, lowering West Oakland residents' life expectancy by 10 years compared to other Oakland residents.
Fresh out of the editing room is last month's SBA speaker event featuring Terry Mandel and Ken Homer. Video produced by Johnathan Mann.
Research confirms that, while fear makes us stupid, collaboration makes us smarter. Without a map that pinpoints safe havens in our current economic landscape, we'd be wise to explore this difficult terrain with others! Through lively, interactive dialogue, we'll search together for buried treasure - insight, wisdom, untapped potential - that can light our way, individually and collectively, in these dark times. As sustainable business leaders, solopreneurs, team members, and activists, even the innovative ways of thinking, seeing, and engaging that got us where we are now are not sufficient to take us where we need to go. We invite you to join fellow green business practitioners for a timely opportunity to reclaim and co-create wiser ways to work sustainably, with ourselves, with our colleagues, and with our communities. Expect a practical, meaningful, and stimulating evening!
Time and again, co-presenters Terry Mandel and Ken Homer have seen collaborative tools significantly outperform problem-solving approaches in diverse work environments. Terry has advised leaders, entrepreneurs, emerging and established companies, and nonprofit organizations in the US and abroad since 1979. As principal of The Terry Mandel Collaborative, she advocates for individuals, teams, and systems committed to making a difference that matters - through leadership mentoring, strategic planning, change management, marketing/branding, organizational restructuring, meeting design and facilitation, and collaborative learning programs. Ken is the founder of Leading Collaborative Conversations, a consultancy dedicated to supporting organizations that want to include more voices and make better choices in the decisions that determine their success. An integral member of the core team that developed the World CafÃ© dialogue process, Ken is also certified as an Integral Coach through New Ventures West, where he serves as adjunct faculty. Both are known as lively, sensitive, and skillful facilitators.
Inspirational speech by Van Jones given at the Green For All Conference in Washington D.C. Van tells us to be brave, and to recognize the green jobs movement is really about people coming together for the well being of the community. Oakland already misses you Van!
Fresh from the editing room: Bill Roth's presentation from the February SBA speaker event. Bill talks about the converging trends that signal a Green Economic Revolution where the environment takes center stage within our economic growth and sustainability.
Bill Roth is the Green Business Coach for Entrepreneur.com with a regular column. He is also President of NCCT, an East Bay firm that has participated in the development of the first hydrogen fueled Prius and in-grid, non-thermal solar peak power plants. As a professional economist Bill published in 2008 his critically acclaimed book, On Empty (out of time) that provides compelling documentation and layman language economic explanations on what Bill has labeled the Green Economic Revolution.
The Inauguration Bash on January 20th was a festive and memorable event. 170 Bay Area green business owners celebrated a new year and a new president at The Washington Inn in Downtown Oakland. Click here to see photos from the event.
Because this is such a pivotal time for America and green business, we interviewed people at the event, asking them what President Obama and local government can do for the green economy. Watch what they have to say:
To close the evening, Gil Friend, CEO of Natural Logic Inc and Director of Sustainable Business Alliance, offered a toast and a challenge to sustainable business owners.
The WSJ ran a story on squeezing more miles out of hybrid vehicles, interviewing our local Toyota Prius hackers Daniel Sherwood and Paul Guzyk. The duo operate 3Prong Power, a Berkeley based hybrid laboratory where you can double the MPG of your green machine.
"To convert a Prius, the mechanics add a heavy tray of wheelchair batteries to a tool-storage space beneath the cargo deck at the back of the Prius hatchback. They strengthen the suspension, tweak the electronics and software and -- voila! -- the car that emerges from the shop is a plug-in hybrid, able to run as a pure electric before tapping its gasoline engine. Conversions take a couple days for a well-equipped garage with knowledgeable mechanics."
Earth Cinema Circle is an environmental DVD club where ever other month you receive a DVD with 4 films in the mail just like NetFlix. The cost is $17.95 (plus shipping) and you get to keep the disc. Comes in eco-friendly packaging and the shipping is
350.org is asking people to leave a rating and comment on their latest video. Help Climate Change awareness climb the YouTube charts.
Green for All has released two new tools to engage people around the country in community, discussion, and action: The Green Collar Economy book and a chapter-by-chapter video companion guide with the author Van Jones.
Use the book and guide to organize friends, neighbors, or colleagues, and spark dialogue about how to bring an inclusive green economy to your neighborhood, town, or city.
Whether you are already part of a community group, book club, or school, or want to start something new, these guides will help you generate ideas and actions.
Stay in touch with Green for All by signing up for their mailing list.
The holidays are fast approaching, which means it's time to channel the gift-giving spirits. The folks at Shop Oakland, Buy Local Berkeley, and East Bay Express are asking us to forget the big box stores this season and support our local economy by spending at least $100 at local indie businesses.
To put things in perspective, if all the East Bay Express readers spent at least $100 at local businesses in the month of December, they would be making a $58.8 million dollar impact on their community. Directing our spending power locally keeps money from leaving the community, which is vital for creating a sustainable local economy.
Be a part of this massive financial injection and make the pledge! East Bay Express is giving away $1000 in gift certificates from locally owned businesses for those who send in an email pledge. Buy Curious and Shop Local!
Propagating the concepts of local self-reliance, Peak Moment TV covers a wide variety of topics concerning energy, climate, and the economy. They maintain a video blog of interviews with experts and community leaders. It's an essential guide for surviving in challenging times.
Here are a few selects:
As reflected in his weekly Financial Sense Newshour, Jim Puplava has been factoring peak oil into his financial picture for several years. In this interview, Jim talks about the â€œcrisis windowâ€ opened by the current 2008 global credit crunch, and deepening over the next several years as oil supply begins its permanent decline.
Drawing parallels with the current financial meltdown, Matthew Simmons expresses his alarm about gasoline stocks being the lowest in several decades and refinery production down following recent hurricanes. He warns that if there were a run on the â€œenergy bankâ€ by everyone topping off their gasoline tanks, the U.S. would be out of fuel in three days, and grocery shelves largely emptied in a week.
As the volunteer garden manager, Patrick affirms gardening isn't just for leisure â€” it helps build community. It creates bonds among people from diverse social spheres â€” through shared work, classes, potlucks and, most of all, shared passion.
The more a community can get its food, energy, and manufactured goods from local sources, the less vulnerable it will be to rising and unstable oil prices, and the less it will contribute to climate change. The main goals of relocalization are to increase community energy and food security, strengthen local economies, and dramatically improve environmental conditions.
Julian gave a few suggestions for how businesses can adjust to the changes brought on by Peak Oil:
- Become energy aware - think about your energy budget.
- Relocalize and shorten supply chains - meeting a community's needs from local sources.
- Inform local government and newspapers about your concerns - they will listen to business owner.
Julian also warns us about prop 7 & 10. He says to vote NO. They are deceptive, waste billions of dollars, and move us further away from using sustainable energy.
For more information, check out these additional programs sponsored by the Post Carbon Institute:
The half-hour presentation plus Q & A, features Darien Louie, one of the veteran public voices articulating growth strategies for financial sustainability-related organizations of both the for-profit, special district, governmental, and non-profit agencies active in our contemporary community. Darien is convinced that the EBCF has big potential values for both non-profit and for-profit entities that are committed to building their organizations according to Triple Bottom Line guidelines -- benefits to people, planet, and prosperous business.
Don't live near Oakland? Find a Green Jobs Now event in your area.
And don't forget to sign the "I'm ready for green jobs now!" petition. You can also sign it by text messaging "GREENJOBS" to 69866.
It's time for a new economy built on social responsibility and sustainable business practices. Join us on September 27th for a national day of action calling for green jobs to revitalize our communities and jump start local economies.
The Sustainable Business Alliance will be co-sponsoring a free concert and rally at Mosswood Part in Oakland, organized by the Ella Baker Center. Join us for free food, inspiring testimonials to celebrate green jobs, and a showcase of solutions for youth and young adults in the green economy. We're expecting hundreds of people to come out and enjoy sun, food, and inspiration. To demonstrate just how big this movement has become, we'll also take a giant group photo -- and we want you to be part of the picture.
Please RSVP if you plan on joining us!
And don't forget to sign the "I'm ready for green jobs now!" petition. You can also sign it by text messaging "GREENJOBS" to 69866.