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Doing Business for Good: B Corp Retreat

b corp retreat

How do you build a movement?

Last month, my business partner and I joined the global B Corp community in Toronto to affirm our commitment to harness the power of our business for sustainable growth. This year we focused on interdependence and the belief that we are dependent on, and responsible for, each other and future generations, and should collaborate with other movements fighting for social, environmental and economic justice.

You’ll see this in our strategic partner relationships, corporate giving through 1% for the Planet, our new relationship with The Climate Collaborative and our new packaging updates.

The annual retreat was the perfect antidote for a co-founder of a 9-year-old, mission-led business who often spends my days managing what feels like minutia, analyzing spread sheets and hoping my mission of helping people lead a waste-free life is making a difference. It was the perfect remedy to get recharged and reinvigorated!

Where else can you:

– Create a Declaration of Interdependence for your business, which in these political times is just what the doctor ordered

– Talk about how ‘relationships, not transactions’ are central to a successful business

– Sit at a round table and talk about the Challenges of our Economy: ‘consumption’ and ‘population’

– Share with other company leaders about what you are grateful for

– Transform fears in to actions

– Realize that the future is our creation!

We walked away inspired by all the companies ‘doing business for good’ and envisioned a world of conscious consumption driven by B Corps.

If you’re thinking of becoming a B Corp, I say go for it.

– Chance

 

 

Lunch Makeover Recipe #2: Vegetable Spring Rolls

Together with Thrive Market, we’re bringing you wrap recipe #2 of our lunch makeover series: Vegetable Spring Rolls. Don’t forget to cut back on plastic waste by packing your wraps in eco-friendly reusable containers, totes and insulated food jars.

Vegetable Spring Rolls

Yield: 1 roll
Time: 5 minutes

Ingredients

1 piece rice paper
½ cup shredded cabbage
½ cup spiralized or shredded carrots
1 Persian cucumber, cut lengthwise into ½-inch spears
½ avocado, pitted and sliced
Cilantro leaves

Instructions

Fill a large skillet halfway with water and heat until warm. Remove from heat and place rice paper into water for about 20 seconds, or until soft. Lay wrapper on a paper towel to absorb excess moisture, then transfer to a cutting board. On the bottom half of the rice paper (the side closest to you), spread the cabbage and carrots in one layer. Top with cucumber, avocado, and cilantro leaves. Carefully fold the bottom of the rice paper wrapper over the vegetables. Fold in the sides and continue rolling up from the bottom, keeping the rice paper tight. Serve immediately, with almond butter sauce on the side.

Vegetarian, Vegan, Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Whole30, Paleo

Savory Almond Dipping Sauce

Yield: About ½ cup
Active Time: 5 minutes

Ingredients

¼ cup Thrive Market Organic Creamy Almond Butter
1 teaspoon Thrive Market Organic Coconut Aminos Sauce
¼ cup water
1 teaspoon lime juice
1 tablespoon Thrive Market Organic, Raw, Unstrained Honey
1 pinch Thrive Market Organic Crushed Red Pepper

Add all ingredients to a bowl and mix until well combined.

This post has been modified, by permission, from Thrive Market. Recipes by Angela Gaines.

There is Now a Ton of Plastic Trash for Every Person on Earth

plastic trash

A new study released data on all the plastics ever made, and the findings are alarming. More than 8.3 billion tons of plastic have been produced since 1950 and over half the plastic ever produced was made in the past 13 years.

We have heard some pretty staggering facts related to single-use waste, and they’re so overwhelming that we’ve become desensitized in a way. But this one is hard to comprehend: There is now one ton of plastic garbage for every person on Earth. A study by ScienceAdvances released in July gathered global data on the lifecycle of plastic. They studied data on the production, use, and end-of-life management of plastic components for the first global analysis of all mass-produced plastics ever manufactured.

The Facts

The study estimates that of the 8,300 million metric tons of plastics have been produced and about 6,300 million metric tons has reached the end of its useful life and is now considered trash. Shockingly, only 9% of it has been recycled, 12% was incinerated, and 79% polluted landfills or the environment. If the trend continues, about 12,000 million tons of plastic waste will be in landfills or in the environment by 2050.

The study also found that plastic production is rapidly accelerating and single-use plastic packaging is now the largest plastic market. The world has made as much plastic in the past 13 years it did in the previous 50.

What to do?

Immerse yourself in plastic pollution news. Connect with people and organizations advocating for reducing plastic waste like Break Free From Plastic. Take the pledge to reduce single-use plastic at Plastic Pollution Coalition:

REFUSE disposable plastic whenever and wherever possible. Choose items that are not packaged in plastic, and carry your own bags, containers and utensils. Say ‘no straw, please.’

REUSE durable, non-toxic straws, utensils, to-go containers, bottles, bags, and other everyday items. Choose glass, paper, stainless steel, wood, ceramic and bamboo over plastic.

REDUCE your plastic footprint. Cut down on your consumption of goods that contain excessive plastic packaging and parts. If it will leave behind plastic trash, don’t buy it.

RECYCLE what you can’t refuse, reduce or reuse. Pay attention to the entire life cycle of items you bring into your life, from source to manufacturing to distribution to disposal.

Get serious about being part of the movement to eliminate single-use plastic. Learn more here.

Image credit: Justin Hofman.

Lunch Makeover Recipe #1: Sesame Salmon Salad Rolls

Together with Thrive Market, we’re bringing you a week’s worth of healthy, tasty recipes to makeover your lunch. And you can cut back on plastic waste by packing your wraps in eco-friendly reusable containers, totes and insulated food jars.

Sesame Salmon Salad Rolls

Yield: 2 rolls
Active Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients

For the quinoa
½ cup Thrive Market Organic Sprouted Quinoa
1 cup water
1 tablespoon miso paste

For the filling
1 can Thrive Market Non-GMO Wild Pink Salmon
1 teaspoon mayonnaise
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
½ teaspoon wasabi
½ cup beets, spiralized or shredded
½ cup baby arugula
½ yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced

For the wraps
2 nori sheets

Instructions

Make the quinoa: Follow package instructions, adding the miso to the pot when cooking. Cool quinoa completely before wrapping.

Make the filling: In a small bowl, add salmon, mayonnaise, toasted sesame oil, and wasabi. Mix with a fork, then set aside with the other veggies.

Make the wraps: On a work surface, lay down 1 nori sheet. Lightly wet hands and sprinkle half of the quinoa on the bottom half of the nori (the side closest to you). Place half of the salmon mixture, beets, arugula, and yellow bell pepper over the quinoa; roll from the bottom up. Repeat with remaining wrap. Eat immediately, or refrigerate for up to 2 days.
Gluten-free and dairy-free.

Savory Almond Dipping Sauce

Yield: About ½ cup
Active Time: 5 minutes

Ingredients

¼ cup Thrive Market Organic Creamy Almond Butter
1 teaspoon Thrive Market Organic Coconut Aminos Sauce
¼ cup water
1 teaspoon lime juice
1 tablespoon Thrive Market Organic, Raw, Unstrained Honey
1 pinch Thrive Market Organic Crushed Red Pepper

Add all ingredients to a bowl and mix until well combined.

This post has been modified, by permission, from Thrive Market. Recipes by Angela Gaines.

Guest Post: Turning Green’s Project Green Challenge Truly Changed My Life

project green challenge

Tamsin Stringer is a senior at Bloomington High School South and was named Project Green Challenge 2016 Champion. She was born in the UK, spent her early childhood in Japan, and has now lived for ten years in Indiana. At school, she is a student leader for the club Students Advocating for a Greener Environment (SAGE).

Turning Green’s Project Green Challenge gave me the chance to create positive change in my school, community and life. It gave me the confidence to step up for things bigger than myself and the opportunity to connect with people from all over the world.

Before October 2016, like many people my age, I had fallen into a conventional lifestyle. While I was part of an environmental group in my high school and participated in student initiatives to better our community, I didn’t actually know what it meant to live sustainably. I was being pulled into a world of consumerism and waste that I didn’t even know existed, and I didn’t think my daily choices had much of an impact.

But after participating in more than 90 of the PGC challenges – advocating through art, interviewing local farmers, co-leading a school recycling effort – I began to have a different perspective on the world.

PGC taught me about the importance of fair trade, the significance of renewable energy sources, and the benefits of a sustainable food system. The challenges me forced me to come out of my comfort zone and advocate for the environment by taking real action. I wrote to my senators to support the legalization of industrial hemp, I spread awareness about the horrific labor conditions that make fast fashion possible, and so much more. Eventually, I completely changed my lifestyle habits. I started to minimize personal waste and made efforts to become zero waste with U Konserve’s fantastic lunch containers, glass water bottles, and reusable sandwich baggies. I started eating FLOSN (Fresh, Local, Organic, Seasonal, Non-GMO), and I made an effort to start buying products from more ethical companies – healthy hygiene products from Acure and Everyone, and organic food products from Amy’s and Clif Bar.

However, what really surprised me was the fact that with every new challenge, people around me were also affected. I wasn’t sure how my friends and teachers would react, but the ripple effects of each challenge were amazing. Everyone was so supportive, and several people I knew started making changes in their own lives as a result of what I was doing. Some pledged to stop buying fast fashion, some started drinking from reusable water bottles, and others became more conscious about sustainable food choices.

The PGC Finals, held in the beautiful rolling hills of Marin County, were some of the most inspiring days of my life. It was so motivating to be able to meet not only the peers I had engaged with online, but also the community leaders and company executives who took part in the eco-summit. Learning from these incredible people as they shared their diverse life and work experiences was such a privilege.

Since the PGC Finals, I have been ever-more inspired to create lasting change in my local community. I have continued my Green Resolutions project which involves individuals making pledges to live more sustainably, and I have been working with an elementary school teacher to raise awareness about environmental issues in younger children. One result of this last project was that the school decided to abandon the use of disposable styrofoam trays in the cafeteria, in favor of reusable trays.

A realization that I had after participating in PGC is that people have to come together to create change. Even though this program was a competition, it consistently spread the message of community and togetherness, which has inspired me to become more conscious of the world I live in from a local and global perspective. I feel like this kind of collective consciousness is even more important in the current political climate which sometimes seems to encourage extreme individualism and divisiveness.

I believe that any young person would benefit tremendously from taking part in Project Green Challenge. The journey itself is amazing, whether or not a participant makes it to the finals. Though it may seem like a lot of work and some late nights, I feel that every effort I put in was worth it, and it made me become a better person. Thanks to PGC, I have become an advocate for the environment and will continue to create positive change in our world as I take on new challenges in the future. Sign up today if you want to change the world.

I continue to believe in the words of Margaret Mead, who once said: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

Tamsin Stringer, PGC 2016 Champion

Jack Johnson’s Plastic-Free Initiatives

Jack Johnson's Plastic-Free Initiatives

Plastic-Free Concerts

We’re so grateful for Jack Johnson’s dedication to eliminate single-use plastic, and honored to have been included at the Plastic Pollution Coalition table at his concerts in Berkeley and Los Angeles, among friends and partners working together to offer alternatives to disposable plastic. His recent tour supports local and national non-profits educating the public about our plastic pollution crisis. At the concerts, fans can speak with the different groups, see examples of plastic-free solutions, and take environmental action.

jack johnson and plastic pollution

Smog of the Sea Film

Jack Johnson is also raising awareness in the new film Smog of the Sea where he, 5 Gyres founder Marcus Eriksen, and other citizen scientists assessed plastic pollution on a week-long journey through remote waters in the North Atlantic. They took water samples they captured using a trawl and began to sift through the debris and separate the plastics from the sea water and plant matter. The results were stunning. They found that the term “garbage patch” is a myth: the waters stretching to the horizon were clear blue, with no islands of trash in sight.

smog of the sea

But as the crew surveyed the water and sorted through their haul, a more disturbing reality set in: a fog of microplastics permeates the world’s oceans, trillions of nearly invisible plastic pieces making their way up the marine food chain.

The culprit? Single-use plastic.

Watch the trailer here.

Johnson Ohana Charitable Foundation and
Kokua Hawaii Foundation

Jack Johnson also created the Johnson Ohana Charitable Foundation, a non-profit public charity supporting environmental, art and music education worldwide. In addition to funding environmental initiatives, the Foundation builds relationships with grantees offering music and arts education for youth, primarily in Hawaii and California. Music grants are given to support school- or community-based music programs, and art grants support a variety of visual and performing arts programs. Most recently, the foundation has supported environmental art projects that integrate sustainable local food and plastic-free initiatives.

Also founded by Johnson, the Kokua Hawaii Foundation is a non-profit organization that supports environmental education in schools and communities in Hawaii. Their mission is to provide students with experiences that will enhance their appreciation for and understanding of their environment so they will be lifelong stewards of the earth.

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Green Thursday: Best Resources for Eco-Friendly Back-to-School Products

Green Thursday: Best Resources for Eco-Friendly Back-to-School Products

While you’re soaking up some much-needed summer rays, the back-to-school season is right around the corner. We recognize how important it is to start off the school year feeling totally equipped to take on the world. But the sad reality is that so many popular back-to-school products aren’t doing you – or the planet – any good. In fact, the vast majority of conventional items are laden with harmful ingredients, swathed in layers of wasteful packaging, and produced using unfair labor practices. The National Retail Federation predicts that this year’s back-to-school shopping will spike ten percent from last year, totaling a whopping $83.6 billion in spending. And most of those products are taking a significant social and environmental toll. Even with the best of intentions, it can be difficult to distinguish between conventional and conscious brands. So what’s a back-to-school shopper to do?

Green Thursdays

Enter Green Thursdays – Turning Green’s brand new back-to-school initiative, designed to help you put your dollars toward eco-friendly products with a positive impact. For your purchasing pleasure, we have curated a checklist of some of our favorite conscious brands in the following ten categories:

1. Body: Everything you put directly on your body, including shower gel, deodorant, toothpaste and more. Have you ever checked out the ingredients labels in your “go-to” products?

2. Clean: Most cleaning products contain VOCs (volatile organic compounds, such as ammonia), which contribute to indoor and outdoor air pollution. Not the case with our preferred brands!

3. Home: From desk lamps to houseplants, our list will help you make your living space as green as can be.

4. Study: Hit the books with 100% post-consumer recycled notebooks, eco-friendly backpacks, and tech galore.

5. Eat/Drink: Our list of FLOSN (fresh, local, organic, seasonal, non-GMO) snacks, beverages and meals makes it easier than ever to nourish the body and mind.

6. Bathe: Ethically made towels, toilet paper and shower shoes will help green your morning and evening routines.

7. Active: Healthy body, healthy mind. Gear up with some of the greenest brands in the business, featuring activewear, yoga mats and more.

8. Sleep: Cotton is one of the most pesticide-laden crops on the planet. You’ll sleep well knowing your sheets, pillowcases and PJs are 100% organic cotton.

9. Zero Waste: Reusable water bottles, food containers and utensils make it easy to eat on the go without creating waste.

10. Wellness: Maintaining your wellness is the key to crushing it at school. Herbal supplements, natural pain relievers, and essential oils will help you feel your best all year round.

As you curate your living space this year, we encourage you to buy less and shop smart while using Turning Green’s new Back-to-School Checklist as a guide. You can assess your personal footprint and take practical steps to reduce it. Look for labels like USDA Certified Organic, Non-GMO Verified, Fair Trade, and 100% post-consumer recycled, as well as items that are second hand, recycled and upcycled. If you have to buy new products, consider our checklist your comprehensive guide to supporting businesses and companies that are doing right by people and planet.

Choosing these products over conventional brands means voting with your dollar. It means carving out a bigger piece of that $83.6 billion pie for conscious goods. It makes a statement that you care as much about what you’re putting in, on and around your body as you do about how those products impact your community, and the earth as a whole.

For the next six weeks, our Conventional to Conscious blog will highlight each of these ten categories, with tips about why, what to look for when you’re shopping and spotlights on some of our eco “hero” partner brands. Starting Thursday, July 27, we’re teaming up with industry leaders to help you and students across the country transition from conventional to conscious living with our #GreenThursday Giveaway. With your support, we will make this the greenest back to school season ever.

#GreenThursday Giveaway

Launching at 8am PT each Thursday morning (July 27-August 31), we will offer a giveaway on the Turning Green Instagram. One winner and a friend they tag will be randomly selected to win an ecofabulous #GreenThursday Essential Back-to-School Package (valued at more than $300). Turning Green will announce and notify the winners the following Friday morning at 8am PT.

Green Thursday Back-to-School products

 

Project Green Challenge

Want to dive more deeply into living green this Fall? Sign up now for Project Green Challenge 2017 starting on October 1st.

 

This is a guest post, with edits, from our friends and partner, Turning Green.

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9 Healthy Road Trip Snacks for the Whole Family

9 Healthy Road Trip Snacks for the Whole Family

Traveling is exciting but can be difficult with a car full of hungry kids. To keep everyone happy we like to get creative and pack an assortment of healthy road trip snacks. When we’re prepared with homemade real food snacks, we tend to avoid the overly processed stuff available along the road (and everyone feels better).

1. Wellness Energy Bars from The Wellness Mama

Wellness Energy Bars from The Wellness Mama

2. Roasted Chickpeas from Stuffed Suitcase

Roasted Chickpeas from Stuffed Suitcase

3. Peanut Granola Bars from The Healthy Maven

Peanut Granola Bars from The Healthy Maven

4. No Bake Energy Bites from Cooking Classy

No Bake Energy Bites from Cooking Classy

5. Baked Oatmeal Fruit Cups from The Wholesome Dish

Baked Oatmeal Fruit Cups from The Wholesome Dish

6. Savory Vegetable Terrine from Gourmande in the Kitchen

Savory Vegetable Terrine from Gourmande in the Kitchen

7. Blueberry Vanilla Greek Yogurt Bars from Half Baked Harvest

Blueberry Vanilla Greek Yogurt Bars from Half Baked Harvest

8. Parmesan Quinoa Bites from Whole Lifestyle Nutrition

Parmesan Quinoa Bites from Whole Lifestyle Nutrition

9. Easy Homemade Cheese Crackers from Living Well Mom

Easy Homemade Cheese Crackers from Living Well Mom

See more healthy road trip lunch ideas and snacks to make and pack. Happy traveling!

Post courtesy of our friends at Mighty Nest.

 

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Road Trip Essentials: What to Pack When Traveling with Kids

traveling with kids

Everyone looks forward to summer vacation: school is out, work slows down and it’s the best time to plan a few trips with your family. Whether they are short trips for a weekend away, or a long flight across the country, traveling with kids is a challenge, so here are some tips to help you prepare for your next summer outing.

Listen

With the pull of social media, it’s nice to find something to do in the car so that kids spend time looking out the window instead of staring at a screen. Downloading audio podcasts is a favorite of ours for long road trips. Look at Common Sense Media for age-appropriate recommendations. Find a biography, a book-on-tape (like the Penderwicks, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle or James and the Giant Peach), or choose from the seemingly endless list of riveting TedTalks (about everything from Bees to Creativity), and time will fly by.

Read

Many schools have a summer reading list, so road trips and flights are the best time to get going on reading homework. If books aren’t holding your child’s attention, try checking out magazines from the library. Little kids will love Ladybug and Spider, and our all-time favorite is Stone Soup. Also try books with riddles or poems like Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein or science books like Exploratopia by San Francisco’s Exploratorium.

Play

Any version of Taboo is a great road trip game, and even the drivers can play without taking their eyes off the road. Similar to Password, one person tries to get everyone else to say a word by saying anything except the “taboo” words listed on their card. It’s tricky and encourages some creativity. And, there’s always the old-fashioned license plate game that can keep kids busy for hours. Everyone in the car keeps a list of all the states they can find represented by license plates on passing cars. It’s easy to change the game depending on the ages of the kids: after older children find a state, they can name the states that border it, or name the state’s capital. Also try homemade travel board games like travel tic-tac-toe or a marble maze. You could also pass the time by sewing your course on a map, then you can keep the map later as a souvenir.

Eat

Of course traveling with kids is never easy without snacks to help perk up weary minds and pass the time. Pack more than you think you’ll need, and include a variety of healthy snacks, dips and treats. Try these energy bar and bite recipes, full of protein, easy to make (many are no-bake) and store, and low in sugar. Cut fruit or a selection of veggies and dips are also great road-trip snacks. For a longer trip, try these healthy lunch ideas. Pack your snacks in easy-to-clean, leak-resistant stainless steel containers. Don’t forget to bring water in glass water bottles. It will also be handy to have your reusable bottles and containers at your destination for family outings.

Photo courtesy of SuperShuttle.

10 Tips to Help You Raise Eco-Conscious Kids

Tips to Raise Eco-Conscious Kids

To ensure that our planet remains healthy for future generations, it’s our responsibility to teach kids how to be eco-conscious. According to the EPA, Americans generate about 254 million tons of trash every year. That breaks down to 4.4 pounds of trash per person per day. And, we’re only recycling and composting about 1.5 pounds of that waste. Each bag of trash we roll out to the curb has to be collected, then taken to a landfill where it’s either buried or burned.

Unfortunately, neither burning trash nor burying it is good for the planet. According to National Geographic’s story Human Footprint: Where Does All the Stuff Go? burning trash releases gasses into the air, contributing to dangerous smog. Burying trash in landfills simply covers it up, and because the trash isn’t exposed to air and water, it fails to break down and instead releases toxins into our air, soil and groundwater.

Trash is just part of our environmental problem. Our carbon footprint also includes the cars we drive, the electricity we use, the water we waste and the food we buy. Almost every action we take somehow impacts our planet.

The good news is that we can lower our impact with a few easy changes, and we can teach our children to be mindful of their everyday behaviors to decrease their carbon footprint as well. Follow these 10 tips to raise eco-conscious kids:

Flip the switch

Don’t waste unnecessary electricity. Even very young kids can be mindful of their electricity usage and should turn off lights and other electronics when not in use.

Turn off the faucet

Another great way to help younger kids participate is to help them remember to turn off the faucet when they are soaping up their hands or brushing their teeth.

Don’t toss out food

According to the NRDC, “40 percent of food in the United States today goes uneaten. This not only means that Americans are throwing out the equivalent of $165 billion each year, but also that the uneaten food ends up rotting in landfills as the single largest component of U.S. municipal solid waste where it accounts for a large portion of U.S. methane emissions.” Don’t toss out food. Begin a family compost effort so that food can be used to help the Earth, not linger in landfills.

Start a family garden

The best way to help the Earth is to plant more green! Organic produce gardens, flower gardens or shrubs and trees all help the planet. Every bit of green adds more oxygen and eliminates carbon dioxide from the environment.

Leave the car at home

Driving creates pollution. Bike or walk with kids when you’re able. Encourage them to embrace more natural, eco-friendly forms of transportation.

Donate clothes, shoes and toys

It’s best to buy fewer clothes, and try shopping at consignment and vintage shops. If you do have items that you don’t need, don’t toss them in the trash. Instead, donate used items to a local charity or thrift store. Your older items may be someone else’s treasure.

Limit red meat

Red meat and carbon dioxide go hand-in-hand. According to the World Resources Institute, raising cattle for beef uses an incredible amount of resources like pasture and water, and “ruminants, of which cattle are the most common, accounted for nearly half of all agricultural production-related greenhouse gas emissions in 2010.”

Pick it up

Trash and litter pollutes our planet. Teach kids to not be a “litter bug” and encourage them to pick up trash when they see it lying around in parks, beaches or other areas.

Reuse

Saving the environment means reusing items when possible. Buy books and other items at thrift stores and donate them back. Use reusable water bottles and lunch containers so your kids limit single-use plastic and learn that everyday actions can have a huge impact.

Recycle

Even though recycling is not the answer to our waste problem, it is important to do if you have items that can be recycled. Glass, paper and aluminum can usually be easily and efficiently recycled. Check with your local waste-management service to find out which plastic products can be recycling in your county.

This is a guest post, with edits, from Uma Campbell.