Tag Archives: environmental education

Jib Ellison, The CEO Whisperer

THE CEO WHISPERER  … an excerpt from the book, Force of Nature by Business Book Summaries

Authors: Humes, Edward

By age 30, Jib Ellison achieved a reputation as one of the top river rafters in the world, and he built a network of current and former corporate chiefs who sought him to lead their company-sponsored river expeditions. He got corporate leaders away from their offices and spreadsheets and out in nature where they could see, first-hand, the impact that their businesses were having. He also taught executives how to change corporate culture to foster innovation, teamwork, and communication, and he helped companies solve problems and manage crises.

In 2000, Home Depot, which was facing mounting pressure to address its enormous environmental footprint, enlisted Ellison to help create a program for obtaining and marketing wood certified as harvested in an environmentally responsible manner. Home Depot’s CEO agreed with Ellison that embarking on a sustainability initiative could bring Home Depot new business and market opportunities, in addition to making it a much greener company. This Home Depot experience proved to be a turning point in Ellison’s career. It cemented his belief in the notion that communities, companies, and whole countries need to live within natural limits, taking only those resources that nature can replenish, and limiting harmful waste to amounts that nature can safely absorb.

Through his lens of sustainability, Ellison saw the business argument in favor of going green, an opportunity that almost no business leader was seizing. Business leaders were not interested in talking about eco-efficiency because they thought it meant complying with onerous regulations, not blazing new trails voluntarily. Their assumption would turn out to be false. Ellison knew that those who were willing to embrace a “sustainability revolution” now would gain an enormous advantage in the future, and it was Ellison who would show Wal-Mart the way.


Ellison had one shot to prove that all this talk about profit and planet could lead Wal-Mart to the sweet spot where environmental commitment and rising stock prices go hand in hand. That chance came in the form of the corrugated cardboard box holding a toy car and truck set. Reducing the size of the box led to $2.4 million in annual savings for shipping the toys and meant some 4,000 fewer trees would have to be cut down for cardboard. About a million barrels of fuel would also be saved due to the reduced shipping volume. Ellison’s next task was to figure out where else this could be done. Because business growth and stock price were the first and foremost of Wal-Mart’s demands, any initiative had to consider return on investment first-sustainability was no exception to this rule. Ellison had to come up with a series of quick wins. It would take months of planning to figure out what those quick wins might be and to convince the company to pursue them. Ellison would have to burst the “Bentonville Bubble” where outsiders with new ideas are viewed with suspicion.

Data indicated that 90 percent of Wal-Mart’s impact on the planet comes from its supply chain, so any meaningful sustainability initiative would have to involve the company’s suppliers early on. Ellison recruited evangelists in the company for his cause. He arranged for Claire Watts, the executive vice president of apparel merchandising, to meet with cotton farmers in Turkey where the material for many of the clothes and other products Wal-Mart sells originates. The conventional cotton fields resembled a toxic wasteland, while the organic fields were beautiful and a pleasure to walk through. Affected by what she saw, Watts began working to commit Wal-Mart to buying organic cotton products. Within a year, Wal-Mart became the single largest purchaser of organic cotton in the world.

Teams of Wal-Mart managers were paired with outside experts to craft sustainability goals. Each team tried to find efficiencies in a different part of the business: energy, transportation, suppliers, waste, food, and packaging. As they looked at their operations with different eyes, they found and adopted the most efficient, least wasteful, most planet-friendly alternatives. Scott would argue that sustainability fit Sam Walton’s prime directive of efficiency and cost-cutting.


Stop Waste’s Business Efficiency Awards 2014

Jim Foley, Greater Bay Area region president at Wells Fargo and vice chair at the East Bay Economic Development Alliance addressed an audience of local leaders at Stop Waste’s Business Efficiency Awards 2014 held at Zero Net Energy Center in San Leandro, Calif.

The event, which was sponsored by Wells Fargo, recognized local businesses for their efforts to reduce waste and lead local environmental change. Each awardee had the chance to accept their award and briefly explain the reason behind the change.
Congratulations to the 2014 award winners!
Company City Award
America’s Best Coffee Roasting Company Oakland Waste Reduction Excellence in Food Processing
traX Berkeley Excellence in Eco Social Media Innovation
The Sacred Wheel Oakland Waste Reduction Excellence by a Restaurant
The Home Depot Several Waste Reduction Excellence by a Building Material Supplier
Kaiser Permanente  Livermore Waste Reduction Excellence in Commercial Property Management
South Shore Center Alameda Waste Reduction Excellence in Commercial Property Management
Carriage House Apartments Fremont Waste Reduction Excellence at a Multi-family Property
Reliance Metalcenter Union City Waste Reduction Excellence in Manufacturing
Recology Grover Environmental Products Several Excellence in Quality Compost Production
Republic Services Newby Island Compost Facility  Several Excellence in Quality Compost Production
WM EarthCare Several Excellence in Quality Compost Production
Zero Net Energy Center, IBEW and NECA Electrical Training San Leandro Energy Efficiency Excellence in Commercial Construction and Operations
About StopWaste
StopWaste is a public agency responsible for reducing the waste stream in Alameda County. They help cities, businesses, schools, and residents reduce waste through source reduction and recycling, market development, technical assistance and public education. Stop Waste’s vision is that by 2020, less than 10% of Alameda County’s trash will be readily recyclable or compostable. Check out their website, there are guides, info and events! – editor
Our commitment to our environment 
At Wells Fargo, we believe those of us who can, should lead positive environmental change and we embrace that responsibility. We foster and fund entrepreneurial ideas for new and emerging clean technologies with leading universities and incubator programs. We are investing in nonprofits focused on sustainable agriculture and forestry, land conservation and water resources, habitat and urban ecosystem restoration, green infrastructure, and environmental education.

Edgewood Education Center April 5

You are invited to the Edgewood Park Nature Center opening

Dedication of the Bill and Jean Lane Education Center at Edgewood County Park

A dedication of the Bill and Jean Lane Education Center at Edgewood County Park and Natural Preserve in Redwood City is planned for April 5, 2011.

The Bill and Jean Lane Education Center — along with the programs it will support — is designed to inspire environmental stewardship. It will also aid in recruiting the volunteers that support the many programs at the park such as the school educational programs, spring wildflower walks, scientific research, the Weed Warriors and the Volunteer Trail Patrol.

The build was funded with private contributions and includes many green design elements.

See the event invitation in the link at the top!  It is a spectacular building, make sure to RSVP.
The dedication is from 3:00-5:00 with the program at 3:30. For more information or to RSVP, contact RSVP@SupportParks.org or call 650.321.5812.

Caritas Creek Environmental Education

This amazing group, has been providing a top-notch outdoor experience for decades. They make the difference for so many urban kids, and now they are having a fund-raiser, come join us!
We had a great time last year – great food, music, and auction items! And the same will happen at the upcoming event! Please go to www.caritascreek.org for details.

  • Our 3rd annual pasta dinner celebration
  • SF Italian American Club
  • 25 Russia Avenue, San Francisco, CA
  • $60 donation at the door
  • Sunday September 27 at 3:00 -8 p.m.

If you’re unable to attend, please consider making a donation. Your assistance will help us keep this impactful program affordable. With today’s economic stress – and the strains that schools and families are feeling – your support is needed more than ever. Caritas Creek brings a meaningful, joyful learning experience to school children , a respite for teachers and a fresh outlook for many children that never have the chance to leave the urban environment.

UPDATE: What a great event and this benefit had a huge show of support with former campers, moms and dads that “remembered when”, board members and friends and family. It was a heart-warming event and full of laughter, tasty food, some “camp-ground style” silliness , and wonderful stories. This group has it JUST RIGHT their focus is clearly on making the best possible outdoor experience for the kids. Bravo Caritas Creek!!