What’s Love Got to Do With Doing Business?

Most of us don’t think of love as being an important aspect of business. Sustainable change agent Giles Hutchins explains why it is, and how to help your company tap into the power of love.

Giles Hutchins, author, The Nature of BusinessA while back I stumbled across a video on YouTube that struck me as very provocative and very, very important. The video was entitled The Future of Business, and in it the man on the screen mentioned the importance in business of – of all things – love.

When most of us think about business, love is just about the last thing that comes to mind. However, this man was talking about love as something very primary in the shift to a sustainable future, which includes the way we do business.

“This man” was Giles Hutchins, a business change agent who has worked in business for nearly 20 years, formally as management consultant for KPMG and then as global director of sustainability for Atos International. Giles specializes in taking inspiration from nature and applying it to sustainable business transformation. By that he means not just trading conventional technologies for ones that are less destructive, but a true transformation to a new paradigm, one that is inspired by and in harmony with nature.

Giles is also the author of The Nature of Business: Redesign for Resilience, an excellent book which explores how the increasingly unpredictable, interconnected and uncertain nature of business in modern society calls for a more emergent, dynamic approach to organizations and leadership.

Giles was kind enough to agree to speak with me via Skype earlier this month to further explain the importance of love in business.

(You can listen to the full interview here: Interview with Giles Hutchins on love in business)

Giles maintains that the biggest problems we face as a society today cannot be solved through technology alone, because they are not a product of technology.  Rather, he attributes the root cause of our environmental crisis to an “inherent anti-life approach,” which, he says, stems from an illusion of separation.

“We tend to see ourselves as separate from each other and from the world around us. And the way in which we manage our businesses today… is very much rooted in this sense of separation of self from nature.

Snakes and Vultures watercolor painting in progress

“(But) if we look at how reality really works, how nature operates, how organisms live, how each of us thrive and survive in the world, we actually realize that nothing, absolutely nothing is completely separate from anything else.

“And so it’s important, I think, to come with that (more natural kind of) thinking if we’re then going to start dealing with some of these profound challenges that we face today, otherwise we add to the illusion of separation which causes further downstream ramifications… We need to get to the root cause of the challenges that are now facing us…

“Love as deep attunement of our ego self, with our true self; of our conscious mind, with our unconscious imaginable presence; of our soul with the World Soul; of our rational mind with intuitive heart. Love is awakening to the divine presence flowing through every action, every moment, every relationship, every interaction that we undertake.

“So it’s a foundation, an all-pervasive presence flowing through everything, which is fundamental for us to tune into. We’ve lost that deeper sense of Love; re-embodying and re-member that Love helps us see beyond the illusion of separation.”

Illustration: Hands with glowing heart

While love is an abstract concept, its effect is real and very tangible. However, it’s not something that can be mandated into a company’s DNA. Rather, it flows out from individuals within an organization.

“There are many organizations that perhaps people wouldn’t think of (being based on love), which have people in them that are inspired by love, and perhaps those people may only be inspired by love for just 10 or 15 minutes of their day…

“…there are examples of organizations that have a purpose-driven, value-based organization…but I think it’s important to realize that we all are individuals working in organizations and perhaps through our lives we sometimes have moments when we are “in love,” when we’re flowing, we’re deeply attuned, focused on the activity, loving the activity that we’re doing, and therefore what we’re doing is laced with love. (That is what I mean by being) in love, that we are deeply resonating with what we’re doing.

“For instance I could talk to people in a call center and you know, many of them may be disenchanted with what they’re doing, just doing it purely to meet the bills and to pay off debts, yet you can come across someone who clearly is motivated and enjoying what they’re doing, and have a conversation which is quite different – a love-based sharing – and in that moment inspired by love.

“Everything has interrelationships, and our environment clearly has a massive impact of how we are and how we feel.

“And so if you have a culture that’s very much ‘anti-life’ (highly competitive and carcinogenic) that rubs off on us, it’s very difficult for us to then be inspired by love.

“Yet we create an environment through our own interactions which then contributes to a wider environment which might then inspire team members, which may then go on to inspire other teams in the organization, which then either helps that business unit or the wider culture. That’s a bottom-up approach.

“Vice versa you can have a top-down approach where you have purpose-driven leaders creating space for an environment based on love, recognizing that people are more motivated and more creative if they’re actually coming from love; recognizing the importance of that for organizations in these challenging times.

“And of course it’s a mixture of both. It’s neither top-down nor bottom. Both of those are kind of old ways of looking at things.  We affect the change through the actions and interactions that we do. There are catalysts like leadership and creating a culture that help foster a loving environment.

“Having worked at different levels in organizations and consulted for a variety of different people from people on the shop floor right through to global CEOs, (I’d say that) it often seems everybody has the same challenges and barriers to love.

“Take someone on the shop floor who’s saying, ‘Well yes, but what can I do to change the organization? Well it’s not first-and-foremost about ‘changing the organization’ or ‘the world’, but rather changing what you are doing and how you are being. That person has similar challenges, barriers and fears as a global CEO would have in that regard. And of course both of them have just the same amount of opportunity if they choose. So part of it is an attitude. It’s a way of attending our attention, and our quality of awareness is all part of that.”

As it turns out, some of the world’s largest corporations – including Apple, Yahoo, General Mills, and IBM – are catching on to the benefits of Incorporating mindfulness and other love-centered practices into the workplace.

For example, Google’s “Search Inside Yourself” employee training was described by one participant as “organizational WD-40, a necessary lubricant between driven, ambitious employees and Google’s demanding corporate culture,” who added that “helping employees handle stress and defuse emotion helps everyone work more effectively.”

This and similar voluntary programs have been widely reported to improve focus and productivity, increase employee satisfaction, improve communication, and reduce stress in the workplace.

I asked Giles what he would recommend to enable the switch to a more love-centered business or even to enable one’s employees or coworkers. He replied:

(A lot of organizations are trying) to bring in a greater clarity of awareness and sense of purpose into their organization, which helps people slow down and…sense with how they’re acting and interacting.

And so it’s a sense of presence, whether that is having 10 minutes of silence at the beginning and end of every day, or encouraging people in work-breaks to engage in contemplative practices such as meditation or having meetings walking in the park, or doing some stretches or yoga. Things like that, which help align the mind, body and soul in the workplace which is essentially healthy for the business.

Some of that is at a personal level, encouraging people to be aware of certain things. And by the way this isn’t in any way a kind of propaganda or mainstream sort of education put on people. It’s very much there as an invitation and general awareness for people to take or leave as they wish. Everybody is on their own journey and a part of this is recognizing that.

And at perhaps a more systemic level in the organization is recognizing what kind of leaders that you want in your business. How do you emulate success in the organization? What type of people do you want leading other people? And I think this is about walking your talk. And so leaders who are actually leading from the heart, who are leading with love, are the ones that are going to help emulate a culture like that in the organization.

Listen to the full interview with Giles Hutchins here.

To explore Giles Hutchins’ work further, visit www.thenatureofbusiness.org.

How have you experienced the effect of love in business? How has it made a difference in your organization or in your life?

Paper and Sustainability: Interview with John Fields of J&A Printing

John FieldsAre digital media really more sustainable than paper?

That’s the common conception – that posting something online has little to no environmental impact, while paper represents waste.

But have you ever stopped to analyze this assumption?

John Fields has.

John Fields is a sales rep for J & A printing in Hiawatha, IA, He is also a regular attendee at LOHAS and other sustainability conferences, is a member of the Regional Sustainable Business Alliance in Cedar Rapids, IA, and continues to educate himself about what sustainability is.

Last month, John was kind enough to agree to speak to me about paper and business sustainability.

You can listen to the entire interview here.

John had a lot of fascinating things to say about the topic, but I especially wanted to share his thoughts on the digital vs. paper conundrum. Here’s an excerpt from the interview:

 

Anne Michelsen:

So, a lot of people look at the use of print, they look at the papers, the inks, everything that’s used, and they think, “Oh, I won’t go there. Let’s just stick with digital because it’s a lot more sustainable.” How can a sustainably-minded company justify the use of print? And is it really any more difficult on the environment than digital? Because I know there’s a lot of issues with digital, as well.

 John Fields:

Well, when I first agreed to this interview, I did some looking online for facts and figures on sustainability and printing, and I came away way more confused than I was before.  I found that there’s so many statistics online to support whatever view you want them to have. Some of them go back to the 90s and were referring to studies back in the 90s, which are really no longer relevant. But if you look at the sustainability of print versus digital, I think that there’s room for both. Of course, I embrace the digital, I have all the gadgets, and the computers. And I like to file my things electronically so I don’t have a messy desk.

But if you look at sustainability with the advent of FSC-certified papers – Forest Stewardship Council certified – the sustainability of paper has come a long way. Just last week I saw an article, I believe online, that said that carbon emissions in the United States are going down while carbon emissions in China are going up.

Anne Michelsen:

Right.

John Fields:

And most of your digital products are, where are they produced? China.

Anne Michelsen:

This is true.

John Fields:

Several years ago I went to a conference where they went paperless. By the way, I have a blog with a terrarium in it that has a biodegradable cup that you can watch online biodegrading. So, when I went to this specific conference, I put an old Blackberry in there and a piece of paper with a note and the date on it and it said, “Tell me which one of these will biodegrade first.” So, I now look at paper as sustainable. It’s biodegradable, it’s renewable. It is compostable and it’s recyclable. All of the above. You look at the electronic device you use for your phone, it comes from nothing that’s renewable. They’re starting to do better on some recycling now, but it’s not biodegradable. And it becomes outdated so fast that you’re literally changing them year to year.

I’d like to say, too, if you take a book and a DVD, put them in a time capsule, and in a hundred years, open that time capsule. And just try and find a DVD player (to play that DVD)…

The first LOHAS Forum I went to, I was challenged. I made the statement, “We use vegetable oil.” And I remember the one person that I said that to said, “Well, what’s the mean?” And at that point, I realized I have to be able to back up what I’m saying. I have to know what I’m talking about for people to understand what I’m saying. So, I created the blog to kind of chronicle what I’ve been doing and what I’ve been learning on it.

Anne Michelsen:

And that’s an excellent take away point for anybody that’s marketing green products is that it’s so important to document anything, any statement that you make. The FTC has regulations that, you know, if you make a green claim about a product, you have to have scientific documentation. People who are interested in green products are very, very up on it and they will catch you if, like you experienced, if you don’t have that. So, excellent idea to post that on a blog.

John Fields:

That’s very interesting because just yesterday I was contacted by the QA auditor for for Frontier Natural Products here at their location in Iowa. For most of their products, we use New Leaf papers. And New Leaf has an eco audit that they use that tells us how many resources were saved by using that paper, their QA person wanted us to verify that the eco audit statement was accurate, and she wanted to see documentation on how we came up with that. That we used the paper we said we were going to use and the number of sheets. We’ve got a complete procedure in place for that.

We also are FSC certified. I push FSC paper wherever I can.

Anne Michelsen:

Okay.

John Fields:

I feel FSC is probably more important than recycled paper, in fact.

Anne Michelsen:

I was going to ask you about that. The difference between using recycled paper and FSC paper. And why would you go with the virgin FSC paper rather than recycled?

John Fields:

FSC just means that the paper that you’re buying comes from pulp that comes from a forest that was properly managed. And there’s quite a bit that goes into what that properly managed forest is. They’re not doing any clear cutting and things like that. So, I can say if I sell you a postcard and say, “This is on FSC paper,” I could show you the chain of custody all the way back to the forest it came from. Where that paper came from. Everybody has to sign off on it and document that they handled this paper. We have a whole set of procedures we have to follow. FSC auditors come in once a year and they audit us. And it’s a real audit, we have to verify everything we do for them. We do sell paper that’s not FSC certified, I’m not saying that it doesn’t come from a properly managed forest, but it’s just that it doesn’t have the chain of custody on it. But everybody I talk to, new customers, old customers, if I can switch them over to FSC certified paper, I do.

End of excerpt. Listen to my interview with John Fields in its entirety here.

(You can see the terrarium mentioned in the interview for yourself on John’s blog, along with the adventures of its resident, Bart the Biodegrader. – A.M. 🙂 )

The takeaway points:

Every marketing message carries an environmental impact. The important thing is to be as responsible as possible with the media you choose to use.

Consider John’s observations:

    • Most electronic products are made overseas and have to be shipped long distances to reach US consumers, consuming large amounts of fossil fuel.
    • Electronics have a short life span and need to be replaced frequently, resulting in resource consumption and landfill waste.
    • Electronics often contain environmentally toxic components. Yes, so does ink. But a large percentage of electronics are “recycled” overseas with little to no concern for the environment, under conditions which expose workers – often children – to notoriously hazardous conditions.
    • I might add that storage of digital information consumes huge amounts of energy. (See graph, courtesy of Alliance Trust Investments.)

data center electricity use graph

While using even FSC certified paper is not without its environmental implications,  domestically produced paper made with eco-certified wood is renewable, biodegradable, and relatively local.

Rather than vilifying one or the other, as marketers it makes sense to do as John suggests and use both digital and print media as responsibly as possible. (Especially in light of his observation later in the interview that he’s seeing a lot of customers come back to print after trying to go paperless because they find integrating print into their promotions to be more effective.)

What is your experience? Do you use print media to promote your environmentally responsible business? Why or why not?


If you would like a full, annotated transcript, sign up for my newsletter – I include a link to the transcripts for this and other interviews in each issue.

 

Another Article on Soy Ink

Thanks to Triple Pundit for publishing my latest article on soy ink. If you read my interview with Gary Jones (or even if you didn’t), be sure to check this one out, too.

soy inksThanks to Triple Pundit for publishing my latest article on soy ink. If you read my interview with Gary Jones (or even if you didn’t), be sure to check this one out, too:

Soy Ink: Myth vs. Reality

I interviewed a couple more industry experts, both green printers  certified by the Sustainable Green Printing Partnership: Dee Bisel, owner of Minuteman Press in Overland Park, KS, and Mark Nelson, Web Press Advisor and Director of Manufacturing at the John Roberts Company, a commercial print shop in Minneapolis. They very kindly gave their perspectives about working with soy inks on a daily basis. (Both were quite enthusiastic for a variety of reasons.)

Printing Industry Expert Reveals Surprising Truths About Soy Ink

I recently had the pleasure of chatting with Gary Jones, Vice President EHS at the Printing Industries of America, about the environmental impact of printers’ inks. And what he had to say about soy ink was nothing less than eye-opening.

Soy beans for soy ink
One of the major misconceptions about soy ink is that it’s made entirely from soy.

I recently had the pleasure of chatting with Gary Jones, Vice President of Environment, Health and Safety Affairs at the Printing Industries of America, the largest graphic arts trade association in the U.S. As you can imagine, Gary is one of the most knowledgeable people on the face of the planet when it comes to the environmental impact of printers’ inks. And what he had to say about soy ink was nothing less than eye-opening.

Here’s an excerpt from our conversation:

Anne: There’s a popular conception that soy inks are generally better for the environment than petroleum-based inks. Is this true?

Gary: At the heart of the issue with soy inks is that they were not designed to be greener than conventional inks. They were designed to maximize the amount of soy oil that could be formulated into an ink.

The term “Soy inks” was coined by the American Soy Association. In order for an ink to use the orgnization’s Soy Seal logo, it only needs to contain the specified amount of soy oil or soy oil derivatives. No other specifications regarding the other components of the ink are identified.

For example, in order for a heatset web offset lithographic paste ink to be considered a “soy ink”, it must have 7% soy oil content. Why 7%? Because if soy oil were present in any greater concentration, the ink would not dry. Therefore, a heatset litho ink that contains 7% soy oil and 93% of other ingredients such as methyl ethyl death would be considered a “soy ink” and can carry the Soy Seal logo!

Anne: So, you can think you’re being green, but actually get a product with very little renewable content.

Gary: You have to understand that there are many different types of inks, formulated for different purposes. There’s a huge variation in the percentage of soy that can be successfully used in any given type of ink.

The most common and most noted use of soy oil is in offset lithographic inks – the kind used in commercial printing. So the term soy ink generally refers to these inks.

If you look at the way the American Soy Association has their Soy Seal set up, the amount of soy oil required in order to call an ink a “soy ink” varies by type of ink. It’s based on the total percent of the weight of the ink. For example, sheetfed offset lithographic inks must contain 30% soy oil, and inks for printing newspapers or news inks must contain 40% soy oil in order to qualify under the Soy Seal trademark program.

Anne: There’s a popular conception that “Soy ink does not contain hazardous substances.” Yet you say it can. What are some of the chemicals commonly found in soy ink?

Gary: The biggest misconception people have is that all of the components of soy ink are made from soy.

What else is in inks? The basic components ― besides the ink oil, which is considered the ink solvent ― are pigments to color the ink and make it opaque; resins and film formers (which bind the ink together into a film and to the substrate that will protect pigment from rubbing off ); and additives, such as waxes, slip agents, and in some inks, a catalyst to assist in drying.

Offset inks are a paste ink, a very thick, viscous ink. They dry by absorption and oxidation. Once the ink is applied to the paper, the non-drying oil quickly drains into the surface as the ink sets. Then other components of the ink ― resins and film formers ― dry and form a film to protect the pigment. Heatset web offset lithographic inks (ed. note – used on coated paper such as magazines and newspaper inserts) dry by evaporation, so they can’t contain so much soy oil or they’d never dry.

In terms of the pigments, there are many choices, but the more common one for black is carbon black which is organic. Yellow is diarylide yellow which is also organic. Red pigments are barium based and blue is copper phthalocyanine. The catalyst can be cobalt or manganese based. Linseed oil and other renewable ingredients are often used as part of the varnish, which is the clear porting of the ink that contains the resins, solvents, film formers and additives.

Anne: What about Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC’s)?

Gary: Soy inks do have a lower VOC (volatile organic compound) content and since soy is used to replace the mineral oil, we’re increasing the renewable content of the ink.

But it’s important to realize that VOC content and VOC emissions are two different things. The EPA has a specific test method, Method 24, that is required to be used to determine VOC content. A sample of ink is heated at 110 centigrade for one hour and the amount of weight lost is considered the VOC content, after being adjusted for water and exempt compounds. Using that method, there’s less VOC in soy ink.

However, vegetable oils, including soy oils, will auto-oxidize, which means they absorb oxygen from the air and that oxygen cross links at certain points in the vegetable oil to cause it to dry. When the vegetable oils cross link, they can actually gain weight and in this process of oxidation they produce and emit VOCs in the form of alcohols, ketones and aldehydes. So in reality, even though the actual measured VOC content may be lower, it’s not uncommon to see a higher veggie oil content resulting in more VOC’s actually being emitted.

Anne: Is it true that soy inks are better for paper recycling?

Gary: That’s a case of “Don’t believe everything you read online.”

Soy inks are harder to recycle than their conventional counterparts. It’s all over the Internet that soy inks are “easier to recycle,” because of a preliminary bench top test performed in a major university laboratory. Soy released more organics, so they assumed it’s easier to recycle. But they did not take the aging of the ink or actual recycling processes into account.

Several additional studies have shown that aged soy ink is much harder to remove than conventional. A large contributor is the oxidation and cross linking that occurs in the drying process. While soy oils are not the best drying oil, they do and can crosslink.

In short, the research wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t complete. It wasn’t a full evaluation, but people ran with it.

Anne: Would you say that soy inks are more environmentally friendly?

Gary: That’s a loaded question with no easy answer. While soy oil is renewable, one of the important questions is – where is the soy oil coming from?

While some is produced domestically, much is sourced from many other parts of the world, including razed rain forest areas that have been converted to agricultural plantations. Plus, the distance that the oil is shipped adds to the environmental burden. If it is shipped literally halfway across the world, the impact will be much greater. I have not seen any life cycle assessments to indicate that soy inks are preferable.

Anne: Are you aware of any inks that are produced 100% domestically, in the U.S.?

Gary: Most ink that printers use is formulated here in the US. The best mineral ink oil is domestic, made from Pennsylvania crude. But like anything else, it’s a worldwide commodity. Where does the gas that goes into your tank come from? There are two main suppliers of (fossil-based) ink oil and like many other products, they’re going to buy where they get the best price. Same with soy oil.

Anne: Are there “greener” inks out there? What would you recommend as an environmentally friendlier choice in inks?

Gary: So what you really want to know is, ‘What do I do now that you’ve ruined my entire concept of soy ink?’

From a sustainability perspective, you want to use inks with the highest percent of renewable resource possible, sourced from a sustainable operation. However, you have to be aware of the ecological price you pay for that renewable resource. That’s the challenge and you may have a trade off because if you have an ecosystem that you destroy in order to create a monoculture – what’ s better? That or a nonrenewable resouce? In many instances, the answer is not always clear.

The thing that we have to be careful of is to reserve making value judgments. Everyone wants to know, what’s better – this or that. And I don’t know if we’re in a position to say what’s better. It’s hard to make comparisons unless there have been life cycle assessments performed, and they are using the same scope and assumptions. You don’t normally run across that. And of course people see things the way they want to see them though their own lenses and filters.

My advice is: use the inks with the highest renewable resource content and understand the sources of the ingredients. From a global sustainability aspect, the more (renewable content) that’s incorporated the better because that way you’re at least moving in the right direction.

What do you think about soy ink? Do you agree that it’s best to choose it when possible? Does it matter? Why or why not?

 

photo credit: Stuck in Customs via photopin cc

Making the Shift to Selling Sustainability

We must be disruptive. We’re talking about waking people up to automatic behaviors.” – Susan Shelton

It’s about time. Marketers of sustainable products and companies concerned about promoting sustainability are finally catching on that it’s going to take more than logical explanations to make people change. If we’re going to succeed in getting consumers to switch to greener choices, we’re going to have to make a switch of our own – from selling sustainable products and services to selling sustainability itself.

The difference is profound. Without a gut-level understanding of sustainable systems, consumers are unlikely to be swayed by claims that a product is “green” or better for the earth. “Eco-friendly” may be a tie-breaker, but it’s not going to get swarms of people to buy – at least as long as their conventionally-developed worldview remains unshaken and intact.

At some point in their lives, however, some people undergo a shift in sensibilites. Their entire understanding of what it means to live and consume on this planet changes such as to make it almost painful to choose non-sustainable options. They’ve “bought” sustainability.

Selling sustainability demands more than just presenting people with “reasons why.” It requires them to make a fundamental shift, which is never easy. It’s a tricky thing, because you really need to push people out of their comfort zone – but not so far as to make them shut down and shut you out.

If you haven’t seen it yet, I highly recommend watching Susan Shelton’s recent presentation at the 2012 Sustainable Brands conference. She describes how her company, The Shelton Group, teamed with several leading manufacturers of water-saving devices to create a public service campaign aimed at reducing water usage amongst consumers. The results were both entertaining and successful. Check it out!

Sign up at top left for more green marketing tips and insights.

Turn Your Disposal Problems into Goodwill and Publicity With Eco Apprentice

EcoApprentice logo
EcoApprentice is a cool new app that lets innovative thinkers help companies solve their sustainability challenges.

Ever stand around scratching your head, wondering what on earth to do with (fill in the blank with your own biggest disposal problem)? Nearly every business has such a problem: those odd byproducts of existence that pile up in our offices, warehouses and yards. Like used sandpaper, worn out bike tubes, or leftover bits of soap.

Most companies simply throw them away. But conventional waste disposal can be costly, and it’s certainly not sustainable. A better option is to figure out some way to put the items to use.

The question is, how? If you have a problem like this, you’ve probably already spent a lot of time racking your brain for a solution. In the mean time, the stuff just keeps piling up.

Fortunately, there’s a new application which may be able to help. It’s called EcoApprentice, it’s very easy to use, and (for the time being at least) it’s free. (Founder Richard Halpern says, “My expectation is it will always be free for schools, non-profits, and small businesses.” Cool.) You just sign up as a member (there’s no charge for this) and post your problem as an EcoChallenge.

It’s also a good idea to offer a prize for the winning solution. This doesn’t have to be anything huge. Most businesses offer something that’s easy for them to give. For example, Truce Designs, LLC is offering one of their tote bags as a prize for whomever can help them sustainably dispose of their scrap fabric and foam. Balch hotel owner Sandra Irwin offered a night’s stay and breakfast, or a huge batch of chocolate chip cookies to the winner of her challenge to figure out what to do with little bits of leftover soap. And (attention students!) waste-reduction company TerraCycle is offering an internship to whomever can come up with ways to effectively recycle used sandpaper.

Once you’ve posted your challenge on EcoApprentice, all you have to do is sit back and wait for the solutions to roll in. The time this takes can vary according to the difficulty of the problem. When someone suggests a solution you like, you declare them the winner!

Of course, there are winners all round. You win by finally getting rid of that gnarly problem (and perhaps a whole pile of accumulated waste.) Depending on the solution involved, your community or another business may win by making profitable use of your unwanted stuff. And the planet enjoys a lightened load and the spreading of eco-awareness.

Speaking of awareness, extend your winnings by using your EcoApprentice.com experience to generate publicity for your business. Journalists are always looking for newsworthy items, and innovative waste-reduction solutions certainly count – especially if they benefit the community, too. Be sure to send out a press release (contact me if you’d like assistance), and let your current customers know, too, that your company has just turned a shade deeper green.