Category: sustainability strategy

August 17, 2011 • Energy Efficiency, Sustainability, Travel & Leisure

Happy “low carbon” summer holidays!

by Sara Hoefkens

About two weeks ago, as I was sipping from a cocktail on a white-pebbled beach in a Greek bay with crystal blue clear water, I started thinking about the enormous amount of energy that is used every year in making people’s summer holidays happen. Holidays account for a surprising amount of the energy we use each year, with flights, driving, hotel stays and added extras like boat trips all contributing to our carbon footprint. continue

July 12, 2011 • Current Events, Energy Efficiency, Sustainability

Google invests in residential solar projects

by Rich Wilson

For a few years now, clean energy and sustainable business practices have been driving large-scale efforts inside companies of all sizes. Whether the end goal was cheap energy, response to impending government regulation or even a little positive media exposure, evidence of the new green corporate landscape is everywhere. The green movement is gaining a substantial amount of momentum with little evidence of slowing down, due to large-scale implementation of energy efficiency projects. I recently stumbled on an article that discussed how Google has invested $280 million through a partnership with SolarCity, a California-based solar design and installation company. continue

April 13, 2011 • Sustainability

Go Big Red, er, Green!

by Sarah McKee

WKU Office of Sustainability

WKU is home, not only to my college years, but also to the Hilltoppers, the red towel and the big blob mascot known as Big Red.  Red is the most common color found on “the hill,” the term students and alumni lovingly use to refer to the steepest climb you’ll ever face at 7:30 in the morning.  Now, Western Kentucky University is adding another color to its palette: green! continue

March 10, 2011 • Electricity, Sustainability, Travel & Leisure

From Radios to iPods

by Katie Schultz

While I was researching my topic for last month’s blog—the electrification of rural America—I stumbled across some related topics that caught my attention. Specifically, how did the mass electrification of the U.S. influence our music? continue

March 2, 2011 • Current Events, Sustainability, Travel & Leisure

Sundance: More Movies, Less Megawatts

by Sarah McKee

I’m a huge movie fan and there are many reasons why this time of year is one of my favorites: the Oscars, the anticipation of the upcoming year’s movies and the reviews from the Sundance Film Festival.  This year I’ve been on such a movie high that I’ve already decided on next year’s vacation — a trip to Sundance to see its glory all for myself!

Although I have a whole year to plan my trip to Utah (the next festival is in January 2012), it was raining today and there’s no better time to plan a vacation than on a rainy afternoon. I’ve officially begun my research.  As I checked out the various venues and my lodging options, I learned that the 2011 Sundance Film Festival utilized renewable energy credits to offset the electricity use for the fifth consecutive year. continue

March 1, 2011 • Energy's Lighter Side, Sustainability, Travel & Leisure

Sustainable Tourism: Why It Pays to Bet on Green

by Chad Holder

Winning with sustainability

On March 16, I will be visiting Las Vegas. In an effort to encourage corporate sustainability, specifically sustainable tourism, I’ve taken it upon myself to support companies that exhibit environmental stewardship and energy efficiency. That’s why I just might seek out and congratulate a Caesars Entertainment Corporation representative for the company’s very successful corporate sustainability strategy.

At this point, it bears mentioning that the timing of my visit to Las Vegas, the location of Caesars’ Nevada headquarters and a certain college basketball tournament are all purely coincidental. Also coincidental: that I planned this trip with seven other Murray State alumni last June. continue

January 27, 2011 • Energy Efficiency, Perspectives, Sustainability

Sustainability = Brand Management.

by Kent Evans

I truly enjoyed this MIT Sloan Review article regarding sustainability and innovation. Not only was it well-researched and written, but I particularly warmed up to one of its key findings: the primary driver for enhancing a company’s sustainability position is how it affects their brand. Music to a marketer’s ears.

Getting a clear definition of “brand management” can be tricky. Depending on who you ask, you get different answers. Branding giants like Interbrand have claimed to be able to put an economic value on a company’s brand. Business valuations have upheld that “brand equity” can drive significantly higher earnings multiples, elevating an organization’s financial value. Brand value is real, but it can be hard to succinctly define. Its meaning will likely evolve over time like “corporate communication” has in light of Facebook, Twitter and mobile devices. For our purposes here, let’s say that brand management is any activity that  affects someone’s opinion of a product or organization. So, in essence, it’s perception management.

(I can hear the brand management purists groaning now…) continue

January 19, 2011 • Energy Efficiency, Perspectives, Sustainability

If 2 is a party, but 3 is a crowd, what is 7 billion?!

by Sara Hoefkens

A new study by the Population Reference Bureau (PRB)  shows that in 2011 the entire world population will hit 7 billion people, assuming that 2.6 new babies are entering our world every second. Twelve  years ago we hit 6 billion people, and 24 years ago we hit  5 billion people. And … fasten your seat belts because the PRB predicts that the entire world population will double itself by 2050!

Reflecting on this enormous boom in world population, a team of experts has prophesied how this possibly could impact – for good or bad – Earth’s energy sources in the next 25 years. Providing sufficient energy to allow everyone to lead decent lives will be an enormous challenge whilst returning to a world that relies on human and animal muscle power is not an option. continue

January 17, 2011 • Energy Innovation, Energy's Lighter Side, Perspectives

Offensive Coordinators are Communists

by Ann Barczak

strategies in football...strategies in energy...

I never miss an opportunity to relate football to any subject.  As a manager with direct reports, I used to hold a “Monday Morning Quarterback” meeting each week.  We would review relevant topics such as “never let it come down to your kicker,” or “…to be successful with the Wildcat offense, you have to have the best backs…”  Football is one of those universal sports, that resonates with a variety of people.  Knowing the game has served me well in a male-dominated industry and even prepared me for motherhood -who knew that a  topiary could be used as a weapon?  “Don’t hit your brother – that’s roughing the passer!  Ten yards from the spot of the foul or you go to bed early!” 

I began my undergraduate studies in the heat of the fall in South Alabama as a co-ed at Auburn University. I spent four years at the loveliest village on the plains.  I walked the halls that once housed the likes of Bo Jackson, Pat Sullivan and John Heisman.   Auburn girls participate in sorority rush a few weeks before classes, but more importantly, we like to be settled on campus in time for the first home football game.   From that first game, until we breathe our last breath, we are officially Auburn Girls.  We know and love football.  We especially love our Tigers. continue

December 22, 2010 • Energy's Lighter Side, Perspectives

Are you contagious?

by Sarah McKee

Ebenezer Scrooge, A Christmas Carol

You are probably familiar with A Christmas Carol, the classic holiday tale of Ebenezer Scrooge who hates all things happy and then reforms with the help of three ghosts.  Scrooge is most known for his attitude in the beginning of the story: cold, greedy and mean.  The extent of Scrooge’s social network was one family member and one deceased friend — how empty his Facebook page would have been!  After reading an article in Wired magazine that explained how loneliness can be contagious,  I started to wonder if maybe Scrooge isn’t entirely to blame.  After all, Scrooge had a very “scroogey” friend, Jacob Marley.  Maybe Jacob is somewhat responsible for Scrooge’s bad behavior.  Jacob was probably just infecting Scrooge with his unhappiness as if it were the common cold. continue

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