Blog 6

This week in sustainability we wrapped up our discussion over Biomimicry. The nature principles are principles that we should look to more often to help our plant stay clean and sustainable. Some of these principles include how nature runs on sunlight, uses only the energy it needs, recycles everything, rewards cooperation, and more. If we were to use these principles in our daily lives there is no telling how many years we would add to this planet.

We also got to look into how we could become more sustainable in our merchandising careers. Merchandising has three main sustainable practices that we looked into. The first principle was Satisfy Increasing Stakeholder Demands. So how might we accomplish this principle? We would have to meet investor and regulatory requirements for increased transparency. Then we provide products for more conscious consumer and lastly ensure a proactive stance in terms of compliance. The second principle we talked about was Reducing Risk. You would first have to reduce reputational risk such as child labor or product recalls. Then reduce supplier risk and “Farm to factory” traceability such as forest products or conflicts minerals. The next principle we went over was Identifying New Opportunities. In order to accomplish this principle you would have to reduce costs, reduce time-to market, define company reputation and culture, Ensure product quality, and enter new markets. The last principle we discussed was Ensuring supply resiliency for the long-term.

During this week we looked over SWOT analyses, allowing us to see the strengths and weaknesses of different companies. This is actually a great tool to use when you are trying to find out if a company is sustainable or not. So I used the SWOT analysis to compare a sustainable company versus a non-sustainable company. I did my research and found Starbucks to use as my sustainable company. Starbucks uses recycled paper products and organic, shade-grown coffee. It has pledged to incorporate green building standards in all construction by 2010. While the company has encouraged all of its suppliers to commit to preserving the environment and be mindful of energy and water uses, Starbucks itself has been accused of water waste. The non-sustainable company that I found was Conagra Foods. The firm has also paid out numerous pollution fines related to its farming and processing activities. Frequently, Conagra is involved in nitrate pollution, which sickens not just freshwater like rivers and lakes, but also oceans. Excessive nitrates in the water can cause algal blooms that attract non-native species, creating a permanent environmental imbalance. Furthermore, they can also penetrate groundwater and pose a public health risk.

This week we broke into our learning community groups and did a environmental awareness activity. In this activity we were to create awareness in store and eco-packing about environmental issues. We talked about using the myocillim mushroom packaging and also just having signs around the store that talk about the products sustainability. But we also agreed that we didn’t think that kind of marketing was effective because people don’t even read sale signs, because why would they read signs about sustainability?

Wednesday of this week we had our first LOLA Show and I would say it went pretty well. A LOLA Show is when each learning community was given a topic and each member of that group was to make a presentation power point and present their finding to the class. This weeks LOLA Show topics were over Biomimicry, Industrial Ecology, and Nature Centered Design. The first learning community did their presentations over The Complete Cycle. Their first speaker talked about that tree material use and how if we don’t stop using the trees like we have been that we could be in trouble. But she luckily found that bamboo is a good material to use in place of wood and also found a company called Timberland that is starting to plant trees to help with this issue. The last speaker to talk in this learning community talked over The Consumer. In this presentation she talked about ways for the consumer to become more sustainable like bringing their own bags to stores, recycling more, and maintaining of clothing items. I found it very neat and interesting how this group worked together to show us the start and finish of the cycle.

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