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Actions Speak Louder Than Words

January 12, 2011 – Have you heard about WaterLess Jeans? If not, you will be. Levi’s is introducing jeans that use 28% less water in their manufacture. They’ve achieved this by reducing the number of washing machine cycles new jeans are subjected to; incorporating ozone processing into the garment washing; and removing the water from stone washing. The new jeans go on sale this month, and the spring lineup promises to save 4,227,000 gallons of water. More and more vendor factories will be bringing the process online, with a major decrease in water usage the goal for Fall 2011.
Of even greater importance is Levi’s interest in reducing the need for irrigation, and the use of pesticides, in the growing of cotton. Twenty-five percent of all pesticide use is directed at growing cotton. Reducing pesticide use is critical to bringing the occurrence of cancer in this country under control.
What else can businesses do to reduce environmental harm? One environmental watchdog that works closely with businesses to help them reduce or eliminate energy waste is The Environmental Defense Fund (EDF). Climate Corps , a select group of MBA students specially trained by EDF, sent its members to work with 47 large companies in 2010, in an effort to eliminate or mitigate damage to the environment. The results have to be described as impressive: the students identified $350 million in potential net operational cost savings. The potential reductions in energy use of 678 million kilowatt hours per year could prevent the release of 400,000 metric tons of greenhouse gases into the environment, equivalent to taking more than 67,000 SUVs off the roads.
One example of the invaluable work performed by these future business leaders took place in Jackson, Tennessee, at a Procter & Gamble facility. Julia Li, who attends the Foster School of Business at the University of Washington, identified savings of 17,500 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions per year. Ms. Li is also a LEED accredited professional with a Master’s degree in Architecture. She made her findings at a Pringles plant known for its very high energy consumption.
Julia worked closely with the plant’s construction and facilities technical engineer manager. Her recommendations included coating the factory’s roof with a high reflectivity product, lighting retrofits, and “vending misers.” Future opportunities for reducing expenditures and emissions were identified as a result of her research into biomass boilers and variable frequency drives. Implementing all of these measures would allow the Jackson plant to save 18 million kWh of electricity! As if that weren’t enough, Li’s research also uncovered a state-administered incentive program that will pay $100 per kilowatt saved during peak demand periods, to be used for future sustainability projects.
Just imagine what could be accomplished if our government actually took the lead in reducing environmental damage! No one elected business executives to their positions; they answer to their boards of directors. Without a unified voice to speak for our country on this most important of all subjects, it looks to the rest of the world as if we were doing nothing. The government of a democracy is that unified voice. Trouble is, they’ve been shouted down by an ignorant minority. Right now, that minority purports to speak for all of us. It’s hardly as if this has never happened before. Would someone P L E A S E call the Pentagon to testify before Congress and explain why THEY are preparing for global warming?

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