Articles from the BSC Library Business Sustainability Articles

  • NC FIRM TO BUILD TENNESSEE’S LARGEST SOLAR FARMS

    August 8, 2013

    Photo: R Walker/creative commons With Triad universities exploring cheaper concentrated solar for the Southeast and Camp Lejeune staging a major solar surge, there's plenty for clean energy advocates to cheer in North Carolina. They can also take heart that the NC solar industry is busy making waves well beyond the state's borders. The News & Observer reports that two new solar farms planned for McNairy County, near Selmer, TN will become the largest in the State if they get the go ahead. The installations will be built by Chapel Hill-based Strata Solar:  "According to a news release from the Tennessee Valley… Read More

  • FROM OLD WAREHOUSE TO HUB FOR GREEN GROWTH

    July 29, 2013

    The industrial landscape of East Durham is not the first place you’d think of when talking about farms and farmers. But the divide between agriculture and the urban environment has always been an imaginary one. Projects like Asheville's Urban Farm School and Durham's Mini-Farmery are already showing that serious amounts of food can be grown within city limits. And even for larger rural growers, access to urban markets, retail outlets and the transportation infrastructure which tends to coalesce around cities can be a huge boon in their efforts to stay competitive.  A new warehouse facility in a neglected industrial neighborhood in Durham… Read More

  • COULD COLD-HARDY MUSCADINE GRAPES BE THE DRIVER OF ECONOMIC GROWTH?

    July 24, 2013

    Ask most people and they'll tell you that muscadine grapes don't grow in the mountains of Western North Carolina. It's too cold. But grape grower and wine expert Chuck Blethen kept hearing from locals about a variety of native, wild muscadines that could survive the cold winters and thrive in the mountains. So he went out and found them - and he's now cultivating muscadine vines using biodynamic methods from the seeds he harvested in the wild.  This isn't just a horticultural endeavour, argues Blethen, these grapes could hold the key to economic revival in some of the struggling rural… Read More

  • HOW SUSTAINABILITY IS SPURRING TRIANGLE BUSINESSES

    July 11, 2013

     Sustainability and environmental responsibility is often talked about as a burden for the business environment.  But it's also an opportunity for innovation and differentiation in the market place.  An inspiring article in the News and Observer recently looked at how Triangle businesses are leading the way to sustainability, talking to business leaders, community representatives and sustainability experts about how the business culture has developed to embrace social and environmental responsibility.  Important takeaways from the piece include:  Clean tech companies have invested over $700bn in the region since 2009 Over 2,600 jobs created in the same period Cities across the region are… Read More

  • THE FARMERY: TRIANGLE START UP HOPES TO INTEGRATE AGRICULTURE AND RETAIL

    June 20, 2013

    Local food doesn't get more local than this.  Raleigh resident Ben Greene is working on The Farmery, an urban farming concept utilizing shipping containers and a greenhouse space to grow fresh, local produce including herbs, vegetables and gourmet mushrooms. The produce is grown aquaponically - meaning a hydroponic grow system is fed with water from aquaculture (fish farming) - which in turn filters out the nutrients from the water so it can be returned to the fish.  Theis is by no means the first urban vertical farm concept out there. What makes the Farmery a little different to most high… Read More

  • CHATHAM CO. BEEKEEPER USES HONEY TO BUILD COMMUNITY

    June 18, 2013

    Just Bee Apiary Hometown Honey Taste Off Fundraiser from Haley Dona on Vimeo. Honeybees have been in crisis for the last few years. And that's not a good thing for any of us. A mysterious affliction known as colony collapse disorder - characterized by mass die-offs and even disappearances of whole colonies - has been reported by beekeepers across the Globe. And because a large number of the crops we humans rely on for survival are pollinated by honeybees, any threat to bees is a very serious concern for modern agriculture as a whole. Communites Mobilize to Support Bees If… Read More

  • MAKING SOCIAL MEDIA PARTNERSHIPS PAY OFF

    December 18, 2012

    v\:* {behavior:url(#default#VML);} o\:* {behavior:url(#default#VML);} w\:* {behavior:url(#default#VML);} .shape {behavior:url(#default#VML);} Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman","serif";} Guest Post By Leah Quintal When social media is done well, it can engage audiences, grow a supportive community, promote branding, and may even make money. Most organizations, however, fail to use social media effectively. Let's be honest - many businesses use social media to sell stuff. In doing so they often end up treating Facebook like a storefront window. But… Read More

  • BUSINESS LEADERS SUPPORT SUSTAINABILITY IN NORTH CAROLINA

    November 25, 2012

    In a statement released Nov. 27, 2012, more than 100 North Carolina businesses have expressed support for sustainability efforts as good for business and NC's economy. Signatories include large corporations like Duke Energy, SAS, and Ingersoll Rand, as well as well-respected local firms like Harrington Bank, Eastern Carolina Organics, and Quaintance-Weaver Restaurants & Hotels.  The statement and complete list of signatories are published below. Statement of Support As leaders of businesses big and small in North Carolina, we support the principles of sustainability in our businesses and in North Carolina’s communities. Access to high-quality education, healthy living, outdoor recreation, green… Read More

  • TAMASHII: BRINGING SUSHI AND ‘SOUL’ TO THE NC COAST

    November 5, 2012

    By Leslie Lammers Wilmington, NC’s Tamashii restaurant is among a growing number of sushi restaurants across the country to offer a sustainable seafood menu. Tamashii, which means ‘soul’ in Japanese, is striving to teach locals the merits of making sustainable seafood choices, says co-owner, chef, and self-proclaimed “sushi snob” Mark Scharaga. “As a chef, there is some education you have to do. People don’t know what sustainable means. They don’t realize there is a lot that is labeled incorrectly or not managed properly and a lot of misinformation out there.” Scharaga had his own sustainability ‘ah-ha’ moment after working under… Read More

  • FIVE ESSENTIAL SUSTAINABILITY RESOURCES FOR NC MANUFACTURERS

    October 18, 2012

    By Anna Mangum In consulting with manufacturers across the state, I’m often asked by small and medium-sized manufacturers for advice about where to find sustainability guidance and technical assistance.  North Carolina has some terrific free and low-cost resources to help manufacturers achieve better performance, improve efficiency, and adopt more sustainable business practices. The following five resources are, in my experience, excellent starting points.  I have heard from manufacturers who have taken advantage of these programs that they have provided true value.  These resources help NC manufacturers uncover opportunities for improvement and create an action list of real steps they can… Read More

  • FINANCING THE FOOD SYSTEM: HOW SLOW MONEY GROWS LOCAL FOOD

    October 8, 2012

    Cows at Lilly Den Farm. An affordable Slow Money Loan helped farner Tucker Worthington purchase a used skidsteer, instead of renting one. Photo: Bett Wilson Foley   By Sami Grover “When you run a small business for years, it’s like you see a snapshot of what is going on with the wider economy.”  That’s how Carol Peppe Hewitt describes her entry point into Slow Money. She had been running a successful artisan pottery business with her husband Mark for decades, and observed how hard it was for small businesses to access affordable credit. This was particularly true within the local… Read More

  • SUSTAINABLE CRAFT BREWERY EARNS RECOGNITION IN EASTERN NC

    September 24, 2012

    By Lesley Lammers Asheville, NC may be known as “Beer City USA” but across the state, in tiny Kinston, Mother Earth Brewing is making its mark on the craft beer industry—and on eastern North Carolina.  In an area of the state hard hit by losses in other sectors, Mother Earth Brewing is growing rapidly.  Sales doubled in the past year, and the company is expanding its product line with the construction of a new craft distillery.  And, it’s doing it all with deep-seated conviction that what’s good for business can also be good for the environment. Stephen Hill and his… Read More

  • DIRTBALL FASHION MAKES A (MADE-IN-AMERICA) STAND

    September 9, 2012

    By Lesley Lammers What do skate parks, Widespread Panic and 700,000 recycled water bottles have in common? These strange bedfellows are pieces of the story behind Dirtball Fashion, the Hickory, NC-based apparel company started by professional race car driver Joe Fox.  “I was burned out on where I was with my career and decided to make a change.”  Fox's transition from race car driver to sustainability-minded business owner may seem odd at first glance, but it makes sense when you sit down to chat with Fox and witness his passion for creating American jobs, supporting local industry in his home… Read More

  • NC MANUFACTURERS SAVE MONEY, REDUCE FOOTPRINT WITH HELP FROM E3

    August 28, 2012

    by Katie Kross “Our lean and green manufacturing review produced enough opportunities for them to work on for two years. Three days of time [doing the assessment] yield two years’ worth of opportunities.” Anna Mangum, director of the E3 North Carolina Initiative at NC State University, can cite dozens of examples like this. In just two years’ time, the E3 program—which stands for Economy, Energy, and the Environment—has helped more than 33 NC manufacturers identify process efficiency improvements, waste reduction strategies, and lean manufacturing tactics. These efforts often have the triple benefit of saving money, creating jobs, and reducing impact… Read More

  • IN RANDOLPH COUNTY, TEXTILE COMPANY RISES TO MEET WALMART SUSTAINABILITY GOALS

    August 10, 2012

    by Lesley Lammers Sustainability may be a new term, but it’s not a new idea. Not, at least, for Acme-McCrary, a 100 year-old textile manufacturer in Asheboro, which was in the sustainability game long before ‘sustainability’ was ever a buzzword. But you won’t find them bragging about their green initiatives with fanfare or showy marketing. CJ Plummer, Director of Process, Sustainability and Environmental Engineering, explains that sustainability is simply integrated into the business model. “We look at not only sustainability of the environment, but the sustainability of Acme so that we are here another 100 years, hopefully.” MEETING WALMART'S GOALS… Read More

  • SUSTAINABILITY? BUSINESS GETS IT

    July 6, 2012

    An energy-saving "green roof" is just one of the sustainabilty features at SAS's headquarters in Cary, NC by Katie Kross This opinion article first appeared in The News & Observer, Friday, July 6, 2012   ~ "The most formidable challenge we face is global climate change.” That statement comes not from an academic, political pundit or environmental advocacy organization, but from America’s largest bank: Bank of America, headquartered in Charlotte. In recent weeks, as North Carolina legislators were battling over the use of the word “sustainable” in the government-funded NC Sustainable Local Food Advisory Council, Bank of America was announcing… Read More

  • GROWING GREEN: NC BUSINESS INCUBATORS NURTURE SUSTAINABLE STARTUPS

    June 4, 2012

    by Katie Kross North Carolina has long offered a wealth of opportunities and business support services for entrepreneurs, but lately, a new breed of business incubators is gaining attention. Across the state, socially- and environmentally-minded entrepreneurs are finding startup support tailored to their unique niches. From business incubators to accelerators and co-working spaces, these groups offer programming specifically for social entrepreneurs and sustainable startups. BLUE RIDGE FOOD VENTURES, CANDLER, NC Blue Ridge Food Venture’s 11,000-square-foot “kitchen incubator” and natural products manufacturing facility in western NC offers a space for bakers, farmers, and restaurateurs to produce specialty food products ranging from… Read More

  • WALMART SHARES SUSTAINABILITY RESOURCES WITH NC SUPPLIERS

    April 2, 2012

    by Katie Kross By its own estimates, Walmart spends more than $5 billion for merchandise and services with over 1,500 suppliers in the state of North Carolina each year.  As Walmart continues to ask more and more from its suppliers’ sustainability efforts — it intends to start rating suppliers’ sustainability practices by 2013 and incorporating those ratings into buying decisions — North Carolina companies that take a proactive approach to sustainability may see opportunities with Walmart buyers. Walmart’s Director of Sustainability, Miranda Ballentine visited NC State on Mar. 28 to discuss its sustainability goals with Walmart suppliers and product manufacturers.… Read More

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