Category Archives: 3BL Media

Because You Asked: Can I Really Flush “Flushable” Wipes Down the Toilet?

Avoid a sewage-system horror story and pause before you flush those disposable wipes.

SOURCE: Recyclebank


Dear Recyclebank,

Is it safe to flushable disposable wipes down the toilet?

-Maria M., Schaumburg, IL


Dear Maria,

Repeated headlines about horrifying septic system disasters seem to indicate that “flushable” disposable wipes are in fact not flushable. For example, the 15-ton “fatberg” dislodged from a London sewer last fall was “caked in grease and fortified with wet wipes.”

These stories about costly sewage system clogs have multiplied as more disposable wipe products have hit the market in the past few years. Companies advertise their disposable wipes as “flushable” or “safe for sewer and septic systems,” but independent tests have found otherwise. A 2012 staff report by California’s Orange County Sanitation District noted that “field observations have found [flushable wipes] to be a cause of back-ups within the sewer system leading to sanitary sewer overflows, clogs at lift stations, and disruption within the treatment plant.” The report also summarized the results of the district’s flushability test: “After 24 hours the wipe remained intact and recognizable.”

Because the wipes do not disintegrate easily or quickly, they clog sewage treatment equipment and sometimes home septic systems as well. The National Association of Clean Water Agencies has reported the high costs associated with flushed wipes along with photographic evidence of wipe clogs.

Keep reading to find out why flushable wipes are wreaking havoc on home septic systems and municipal sewer treatment facilities.

Tweet me: Live Green @Recyclebank: Can I Really Flush “Flushable” Wipes Down the Toilet?

KEYWORDS: Ethical Production and Consumption, recyclebank, flushable wipes

Posted in 3BL Media | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Key Lessons on Getting Social with Business Sustainability



Taiga Company Blog by Julie Urlaub

Using social media for sustainability communications means finding ways to engage your audience and get them paying attention to you.  It may sound simple, but there are so many tools and strategies an individual company to take.  What is the right playbook?

“Corporations can take insights from social movements to create authentic sustainability initiatives that inspire consumer participation and propagation.”

This was an introductory to a recent GreenBiz article, How to Engage Consumers: 5 Lessons from Social Movements.  In this discussion, the author presents a parallel comparison between similarly directed communication plans.  As the article goes on to explain, social movements tend to focus on five guiding principles when seeking to drive participation and action.  Our sustainability consulting practices considers this guidance has a broader application in business sustainability stakeholder engagement.

Click here to continue reading

Leveraging 15 years of business development, marketing, and communications expertise in the Energy, Medical, and Information Technology industries, Julie Urlaub now consults and advises clients on purpose driven stakeholder communications in the social space. She is the Founder of the Taiga Company.

Tweet me: .@taigacompany Explains Key Lessons on Getting Social with Business #Sustainability: #socialmedia

KEYWORDS: Media & Communications, Business & Trade, Taiga Company, Social Media, communications, Julie Urlaub, best practices

Posted in 3BL Media | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Guest Post: Helping Farmers Feed the World – An Innovative Partnership with Chevrolet and Future Farmers of America

Tony Will, president and chief executive officer of CF Industries, discusses how his company is partnering with Chevrolet to help farmers and the environment.

SOURCE: General Motors


CF Industries strongly supports efforts to educate farmers about efficient, effective and responsible use of fertilizer.  In that spirit, today we are announcing an exciting new partnership with Chevrolet to benefit the National FFA Organization (FFA).  CF Industries is donating $600,000 to FFA to support excellence in farmer education and fertilizer best management practices.  Our future farmers must rise to the challenge of growing enough food to feed a global population projected to reach nine billion by 2050.  The efficient use of fertilizer is essential to meet this challenge.  Teaching tomorrow’s farmers the best information about fertilizer is truly in everyone’s interest.

Innovation is at the heart of this pilot program, starting with its financing – through the sale of voluntary carbon reduction credits earned from fertilizer manufacturing.  CF Industries operates facilities that installed nitrous oxide abatement technology in 2008, earning credits for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.  Last month, we arranged to sell a portion of these credits to Chevrolet in order to benefit FFA and further the fertilizer education mission.  This will help FFA reach its members with the best new information, like the 4R Nutrient Stewardship (4R) program that teaches farmers how to apply the right fertilizers at the right rate, at the right time and in the right place.

Today, billions of people depend on the abundant, affordable food made possible by fertilizer use and modern farming knowledge.  Nitrogen is the main plant nutrient most essential to achieving high-yield grain harvests.  Already, an estimated forty to sixty percent of the world’s food production is achieved through the effective use of fertilizer.

North America’s farmers are truly a wonder of the world, and many of them got started through programs like those provided by FFA.  Over the last 40 years, our farmers have tripled domestic food production by using fertilizers and other modern practices to increase crop yields per acre.  At the same time they’ve decreased the amount of land under cultivation.  They are helping to reduce hunger across the globe, including in the developing world – while preserving land.  Their leadership and ingenuity point the way forward for farm communities everywhere.  Teaching tomorrow’s farmers about the principles of “4R” will help educate them about high-yield agriculture, profitable operations and reducing environmental impacts.

To grow enough food, farmers have two basic choices: try to keep putting more land into production, or utilize best practices – including advances in fertilizer efficiency, seed technology and mechanization – on existing land to maintain or even increase yields.  For many reasons, the first approach cannot be sustained economically or environmentally.  But the second approach has been proven to work, helping modern farmers maintain soil fertility and achieve higher-yield harvests decade after decade.

CF Industries’ is committed to serving North American farmers today and tomorrow.  As we work to promote best fertilizer management, we are investing nearly $4 billion in new U.S. fertilizer production facilities to help farmers keep the “green revolution” of modern agriculture growing for future generations.

About the author

Tony Will is President and Chief Executive Officer of CF Industries, one of the world’s largest nitrogen fertilizer manufacturers, headquartered in Deerfield, Illinois.

Tweet me: .@GM FastLane Guest Post: Helping Farmers Feed the World – An Innovative Partnership w/ @chevrolet & @nationalffa

KEYWORDS: Environment and Climate Change, CF Industries, FFA, National FFA Organization, Chevrolet, GM, General Motors, Future Farmers of America

Posted in 3BL Media | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Solar Energy for Sandy Survivors

GRID Alternatives Expansion to New Jersey/New York

SOURCE: Wells Fargo & Company


Last October, Jolyn Bright looked up at her roof in Asbury Park, NJ to see a team of employee volunteers from Wells Fargo’s Green Team installing the first-ever GRID Alternatives solar energy system on the Eastern seaboard. That day, it was just under a year ago that a tree during Hurricane Sandy came crashing through the roof of Jolyn’s rented home, leaving her, like so many others along the coast, homeless. She and her husband Warren went to stay with her mother while the house was being fixed, but when they returned it was full of mold. Instead of fixing it, their landlord suggested that they move to a new location.

Soon after, though, their luck turned, and they got the opportunity to buy their own home through Affordable Housing Alliance (AHA), a local housing nonprofit that Wells Fargo supports. When I heard that GRID was ready to come East, I was thrilled to be able to connect my friends at AHA to our friends at GRID. This helped forge a growing relationship that would ultimately help this community become more sustainable.

What makes my job so rewarding is having the knowledge that the solar energy system our team members installed last October with the help of GRID is expected to save the Brights about $350 in electrical bills in its first year. Jolyn never thought she would be able to have her own place, but she and Warren are now living in a beautiful sustainable home while saving energy and money.


Read more:

Tweet me: .@WellsFargo volunteers, @GRID & Affordable Housing Alliance bring #solar to #Sandy survivors

KEYWORDS: Volunteerism & Community Engagement, Energy, Wells Fargo

Posted in 3BL Media | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Verizon App Challenge Provides Students Opportunity to Advance STEM Skills

SOURCE: Verizon


July 18, 2014 /3BL Media/ – Entries for 2015 Verizon Innovative App Challenge Accepted August 4 – November 24, 2014

Wish there was a way to inspire young girls to become passionate about science, technology, engineering and math (STEM)? Looking for a way to engage your students in a rich, project-based learning experience that will pay lifelong dividends?

The Verizon App Challenge, now in its third year, is an exciting, creative and collaborative competition open to middle and high school students nationwide that offers $20,000 grants and the latest mobile technology to the winning teams. The Challenge also helps student develop and hone highly sought-after skills in STEM that will prepare them for STEM-related careers.

STEM skills are in high demand among U.S. employers and play a critical role in driving innovation and economic growth, according to a July 2014 Brookings Institution study that provides detailed evidence of a STEM-skills gap that exists in our country. The Verizon Innovative App Challenge hopes to change that, by inspiring students to embrace STEM through an engaging and empowering learning experience.

Since the App Challenge launched in 2012, nearly 2,300 student teams from across the U.S. have entered the competition, submitting more than 1,200 app concepts, and apps created through the contest have been downloaded more than 14,000 times.

In the initial stage of the App Challenge, student teams pair up with a faculty advisor to help guide them through the process. Winning teams then work with instructors at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab’s Center for Mobile Learning, who provide onsite and virtual training on coding, using the MIT App Inventor, to bring the students’ app concepts to life.

From the nearly 1,300 entries this year which generated eight winning teams from four middle schools and four high schools, leading apps were unveiled and demoed June 29 at the 2014 national Technology Student Association Conference, with 7,000 students, teachers and parents in attendance.

The 2014 winning teams and their respective problem-solving apps, many of which are available for download in the Google Play store are:

• Helena High School, Helena, Mont. – Exact 3D Extract, which uses mobile technology to create models for 3D printing.

• Open Window School, Bellevue, Wash. – HikeAbout, which offers maps for hiking trails and safety information for hikers.

• Bartlett High School, Bartlett, Ill. – FITTASTICK!, which tracks food intake and exercise, and encourages fitness and weight loss through social networking.

• Cheney Middle School, West Fargo, N.D. – Snap Docs, which converts hard copy text to editable documents, using mobile technology.

• North Hills Preparatory, Irving, Texas – Leave No Trace, which encourages reduction of energy consumption by displaying information about energy usage.

• Resaca Middle School, Los Fresnos, Texas – Hello Navi, which assists blind or visually-impaired people in navigating inside buildings.

• Westford Academy, Westford, Mass. – Tactillium, which delivers science education through a mobile device chemistry simulator.

• Jefferson Township Middle School, Oak Ridge, N.J. –Super Science Girl, which inspires interest in activities to encourage young girls to pursue science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) careers.

The third Verizon Innovative App Challenge opens August 4 and runs through November 24, 2014. For more information, visit

Melanie Ortel, Verizon Wireless

Tweet me: Entries for 2015 Verizon Innovative App Challenge Accepted August 4 via @verizongiving @eschoolnews

Contact Info:

KEYWORDS: Education, Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship, App Challenge, app, Middle School, STEM, Contest, Verizon

Posted in 3BL Media | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Ending Domestic Violence Is A Family Legacy

SOURCE: Mary Kay


Growing up, I knew Mary Kay Ash as “grandmother,” not as Mary Kay Ash the businesswoman and philanthropist. I remember all the special family moments we shared together.  She made such an effort to just to be our grandmother and believed in God first, family second, career third – she really lived her life that way.

Today, I’m so excited to be a part of my great grandmother’s continuing legacy as a board member of The Mary Kay Foundation. Last week, The Foundation kicked off its 6th Annual Suits for Shelters initiative at a “Think Pink” launch party and fashion show at Tootsies boutique in Dallas to collect business clothing for domestic violence survivors. Once again, I was inspired by how her commitment to help women lives on! It was refreshing to see the volunteers and leaders of multiple domestic violence organizations unite and celebrate the good work they are doing together. There is such a collaborative support community here in Dallas and the strength of these relationships spans across the country reaching our common goal of ending domestic violence.

Survivors of abuse are in desperate need of business clothing for job interviews or work because they typically leave with nothing but the clothes on their backs. Essentially, they are starting from scratch. That’s where Suits for Shelters comes in, helping survivors build confidence, gain employment, achieve financial independence and feel empowered.

We all know how great it feels to put on an outfit that makes us feel confident. Overcoming low self-esteem and depression is something domestic violence survivors battle every day, and a “new” outfit can give them a little boost, just when they need it most.

I’m so proud that The Mary Kay Foundation is continuing my great grandmother’s legacy to end the cycle of abuse. Through initiatives like Suits for Shelters, Nature Explore Classrooms and the $34 million donated directly to U.S. domestic violence shelters, we can make a difference.

How you can help: If you live in, or are visiting Dallas, donate gently worn suits, shoes and accessories to Tootsies from now through and August 4 to support The Mary Kay Foundation’s Suits for Shelters program.

Today’s blog post is from Mary Kay Ash’s great granddaughter, Jessica Bair. Jessica is a board member for The Mary Kay Foundation, and is committed to carrying on her great grandmother’s legacy of enriching women’s lives through the prevention of domestic violence. 

Tweet me: Carrying the legacy of an iconic businesswoman & philanthropist @MaryKay Fndn kicks off Suits for Shelters

KEYWORDS: Volunteerism & Community Engagement, Corporate Social Responsibility, Mary Kay, Mary Kay Ash, domestic violence prevention, Suits for Shelters, Mary Kay Foundation, Discover What You Love, financial independence, domestic violence shelters, Empowering Women, domestic violence survivors, Ending Domestic Violence


Posted in 3BL Media | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Promoting Talent Because People Matter Most

Volkswagen’s Take on Excellence, Success, and Involvement

SOURCE: Volkswagen Group


This is the 6th part of a series on highlights from the brand-new Volkswagen Group Sustainability Report 2013 – the summary of our efforts to strike a balance between resource efficiency, economic stability, and social responsibility.

Excellence. Success. Involvement. This is what matters to us. The Volkswagen Group, its brands and its companies are moving steadily closer to the goal of being a top global employer, thanks not least to their outstanding record on employment, participation and qualification.

Successfully tackling the current and future challenges facing the Volkswagen Group depends on all our employees – from apprentices right up to top managers – consistently turning in an outstanding performance to ensure that our innovation and product quality remain at the very highest level in the long term. That means recruiting talent and promoting skills, health and commitment. But it also means enabling our employees to play their part in building our success – and share in it. And it’s how we plan to achieve our goal of becoming the most attractive employer in the automobile industry by 2018.

Read on – or go directly to the new Volkswagen Group Sustainability Report


Securing excellent performance, generating success and enabling employees to share in the profits are central to the Volkswagen Group’s personnel management (PM) strategy. The key aims of the Group’s PM work are, therefore, qualifying our employees, promoting their health and fitness, and ensuring that they are involved. We are explicitly committed to diversity within the Company and support it through open attitudes, equal opportunities, and the targeted advancement of women.

The increasingly international nature of the Volkswagen Group and its complexity are the key challenges facing our PM work. Only a top team can deliver the outstanding performance that is required to make Volkswagen the top global automotive manufacturer. So, more than ever before, we need to promote talent across all areas. Our aim for the coming years is to continue to develop our employees’ existing high skills levels and problem-solving abilities. Vocational education and training and study form the basis for skills development within Volkswagen’s “Berufsfamilien” (professional families).

Building on this basis, our employees continue to learn and develop their skills throughout their working lives. Knowledge transfer – the passing on of knowledge and experience by our own specialists – is a key part of our strategy. Qualification takes place in line with the dual model, which integrates theoretical learning with practical training.

As a global undertaking with 106 manufacturing plants across Europe, North America, Asia and Africa, we are committed to respect, tolerance and cosmopolitanism. Volkswagen guarantees equal opportunities and equal treatment regardless of ethnicity, skin color, gender, disability, ideology, faith, nationality, sexual orientation, social background, or political conviction, provided this is based on democratic principles and tolerance towards those who hold different views.


Dual Vocational Training

Volkswagen is exporting the successful German dual vocational training model throughout the world. In December 2013, the number of employees in vocational education and training within the Group totaled 17,703 worldwide, including 12,611 in Germany – a record number. Volkswagen AG alone offers training in a total of 30 professions and on 19 courses to apprentices and students on combined practical and theoretical courses within the Company.

The dual model of vocational education and training has now been adopted at many sites outside Germany, with others developing the system. Over three quarters of all apprentices within the Group are currently being trained in line with this tried-and-tested system, including those in Spain, Hungary, Russia, the USA, Mexico, India and China.

Dual vocational training began at Volkswagen’s Kaluga plant in Russia in 2010, and since 2012, the plant has added the role of warehouse logistics operator to its existing training professions (motor vehicle mechatronic, construction and production mechanic, automotive painter, and general mechatronic technician).

Since 2011, Volkswagen has also been training general mechatronic technicians to German standards at its Indian plant in Pune. The “Volkswagen India Academy” collaborates with the local Industrial Training Institute to provide this training. In May 2013, Volkswagen Group South Africa was commended for its ongoing commitment to initial and continuing qualification in the context of South Africa’s most important empowerment awards.

In 2012, SEAT switched its vocational education and training system in Spain over to the dual model and has, since then, integrated the facility more closely as a training location.

And in summer 2013, Audi began training the first apprenticeship year of young skilled workers for its new San José Chiapa plant in Mexico, which is scheduled to come on stream in 2016.

In Hungary and China, the Company is already making use of the tried-and-tested combination of theoretical learning and practice-based training. A further pilot project is currently under way at the Belgian location in Brussels.

Health and Fitness

Protecting and promoting good health is not just a social responsibility and part of Volkswagen’s corporate culture but also vital to the Company’s ongoing economic health and viability. The Volkswagen Group’s integrated approach to health management goes well beyond traditional preventive health care and occupational safety and also includes a member of aspects such as work organization, ergonomics, leadership style and prospects for each individual.

The common objective is to combine ergonomically state-of-the-art workplaces and innovative work processes using a mix of scientific findings and practical experience. The successful switch to the new Volkswagen Golf model in 2012 provided an opportunity to make ongoing improvements in workplace ergonomics. To reduce the impact on health of shift work, Volkswagen AG plants have introduced new shift patterns. Ergoshift patterns involving short-cycle, forward-rotating shifts facilitate the body’s transition from one shift pattern to the next. Surveys among around 1,200 employees across five Volkswagen AG plants show that these ergo-shift patterns impose less stress on employees’ fitness, health and well-being.

As part of the Company’s Holistic Ergonomics Strategy, the 2013 “Ergonomics Day” at the Volkswagen brand in Wolfsburg (Germany) presented measures for adapting both products and production processes to different age groups. MAN has put all jobs at its production plants through a systematic ergonomic assessment as a way of managing demographic change, boosting employee performance and preventing physical impairment. The Audi Checkup has been running since 2006, while Volkswagen introduced its Checkup in 2010. The Checkup is a free, comprehensive preventive medical examination available to all employees. It helps maintain and improve the health, fitness and performance of the workforce. Nearly 61,000 staff have so far undergone Volkswagen Checkups, while almost 60,000 Audi Checkups have been carried out. Other Group companies have been bringing existing screening and preventive health programs into line with the Group-wide standards represented by the Checkup. In 2013 these included ŠKODA in the Czech Republic, where more than 15,000 ŠKODA Checkups have since been carried out.

To ensure a common standard of health provision across the Group, a multi-level audit system was developed in 2010, comprising self-audit and expert audit. Many sites have already successfully completed a self-audit, and some have conducted an expert audit.


Advancement of Women

The Volkswagen Group is aiming to have 30% women at all levels of the management hierarchy in Germany in the long term. In line with this, the proportion of women in management within the Volkswagen Group in Germany rose from 9.3% in 2012 to 9.8% in 2013. 27.4% of all apprentices across the Group in 2013 were women. Our aim: 30% women at all levels of the management hierarchy. In each discipline we take the proportion of female graduates.

As a starting point, we take the proportion of female graduates in each discipline, so that, for example, around 10% of all the mechanical engineers we recruit should be women. For electrical engineers, the proportion is also 10%, rising to 50% in business areas. Volkswagen is keen to increase the proportion to nearly 30%, however, and is actively seeking to recruit talented women. The tools it is using include special information days on industrial or technical vocational education and training at Volkswagen and hands-on experience days for young women.

For a number of years, the Volkswagen, Audi, MAN and Porsche brands have taken part in a national initiative, “Girls’ Day”, and in 2013, they offered 2,370 female school students in Germany a practical insight into the careers offered by the automotive industry. With the “Women Experience Day” Volkswagen forges links with female students early in their academic careers. Launched in 2012 it is aimed at female students and graduates in engineering subjects.

Since 2004, the Company has been running the “Woman DrivING Award”, a competition aimed at top female engineers. The competition is held across Germany every two years and is designed to encourage young female graduates into employment in technical areas, where they can contribute to designing and producing the cars of tomorrow.

Audi, too, is aiming to recruit talented women, for example through careers guidance events targeting female school students and the “CareerDay Women” initiative for young women studying technical subjects. Since 2001, Porsche has been using the “Femtec.Network” platform as a targeted tool for recruiting highly skilled female engineers. The platform is a collaboration between eleven technology companies, with nine technical universities joining the scheme in January 2014. The aim is to foster women studying engineering and science subjects.


Read the 1st Volkswagen Sustainability Report highlight on renewable energy

Read the 2nd Volkswagen Sustainability Report highlight on solar power

Read the 3rd Volkswagen Sustainability Report highlight on water protection

Read the 4th Volkswagen Sustainability Report highlight on Brazil

Read the 5th Volkswagen Sustainability Report highlight on eco-friendly production

Tweet me: #VWCSR Read what top employer #Volkswagen does for #qualification, #health and advancement of women

KEYWORDS: Diversity and Human Resources, Volkswagen, dual educational training, Health, Prevention, People, women and diversity, employer


Posted in 3BL Media | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Retro is the New Recyclable

Send us your old electronics

SOURCE: Waste Management


Send us your unwanted electronics

It’s amazing how electronics have changed over the years, from 8-track players to iPads and rotary dials to cell phones (don’t fret younger readers – we’ve provided some Wikipedia links so you can learn what those devices are).

In fact, it seems as soon as you buy any form of electronic, it becomes obsolete by the time you break the seal on the package. However, while there may be little to compare between generations of consumer electronics, most of them have at least one thing in common – they can be recycled.

At Waste Management, we’ve been focused on recycling electronic waste (known in the business as e-waste) for some time. One of our branches, the WM Product Recovery Group, is dedicated to keeping electronics out of landfills and putting them back into an environment where they can be reused or recycled. This group specializes in paying you – the recycler – for your unwanted cell phones, laser and ink jet cartridges, tablets, laptops, eReaders and so on.

Certified by various organizations overseeing environmental stewardship – eStewards, R2, RIOS, ISO 14001 and ISO 9001 – the Product Recovery Group has developed its business to preserve data integrity, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and reduce the need within manufacturing to excavate raw materials for the development of electronics. Everybody wins.

When it comes to bigger organizations, Waste Management also manages end-of-life electronics through a national network of state-of-the-art processing facilities, which are certified to e-Stewards’ standards with complete transparency over the recycling process. To collect those items, our teams help organize e-waste collection events, where anyone in the vicinity can drop their old electronics off for safe recycling.

This tactic has proven to be so successful that colleges and universities – many of which have developed climate action plans and zero-waste goals – are developing their own programs for students.

An example of that is the University of San Diego, which has been doing good for the environment through an e-waste collection program, and turning a profit doing so. Three years ago, the University opened its Electronics Recycling Center (ERC), an e-waste collection facility that’s open to the public. Since then, it’s collected over 900,000 pounds of electronics, generating more than $200,000 in gross revenue.

Just this week, Waste Management participated in a webinar with the University of San Diego to talk about the things campuses can do to reach their sustainability goals. Check it out here.

So, if you’re into giving your e-waste a second life, let us know what you’re recycling. Post photos on our Facebook page (there’s a link to it on our blog here). Help us to make retro the new recyclable.

Tweet me: Retro is the new recyclable? Read on via @WasteManagement

KEYWORDS: Environment and Climate Change, Business & Trade, ewaste, Recycling, recycle, San diego


Posted in 3BL Media | Tagged , , | Leave a comment
Page 3 of 6012345678910...2030...Last »