Articles from the BSC Library NC Sustainability Connection Articles

  • HOW BERTIE COUNTY TEENS BUILT A FARMERS MARKET PAVILION

    June 27, 2013

    IYBI Trailer 2 -- Hi Res from OCP Media on Vimeo. Focusing on providing instruction and instilling discipline, the mainstream model for education has, in many ways, remained unchanged since it was developed during (and for) the Industrial Revolution.  But how does this model translate now that we can access almost any piece of information through our computers and phones? And when success is measured more by your creative, problem solving skills than it is by your ability to follow orders. Most educational experts point to the need for more independent collaboration, more team building, more problem solving skills, and… 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

  • Asheville’s Urban Farm School to Foster Local Food Projects

    March 20, 2013

    Guest Post By Leah Quintal Imagine this: your company launches a corporate social responsibility program by planting an onsite garden for employees to maintain and harvest. Excess food is donated to area food banks and homeless shelters. School groups come tour your garden. You become a community darling due to your social and environmental impact. It's good for your business, it's good for your community, it's good for your employees, and it's sensational PR. Sounds well and good in theory, but is it achievable? Bringing Food Production Inside the City Limits This May, a new Urban Farm School in Asheville… Read More

  • 2013: THE YEAR AHEAD FOR SUSTAINABILITY

    January 14, 2013

    Photo credit: Alexandr G./Creative Commons In every corner of North Carolina, there are leaders, innovators, activists and business people stepping up to the challenge of sustainability. We reached out to some of the key influencers in the state to ask them what they see in store for the year ahead. Here's what they had to say.   CHRIS CARMODY - INSTITUTE FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT Executive Director What trends do you see for sustainability practices for NC's businesses or communities in 2013? Being green and sustainable is no longer only a cost-reduction tactic for small business – it’s also the price… Read More

  • CAMP LEJEUNE’S GROUNDBREAKING SOLAR SURGE

    December 30, 2012

    By Sami Grover There was a time when solar panels and renewable energy were considered somewhat fanciful solutions, more appropriate for the hippy communes of California than the military bases of Eastern North Carolina. But that reality is shifting, and the shift is only partially related to a desire to protect our ecosystems. "We made them a solid business proposition - that we could install these panels and sell them the energy at less than the cost of the electricity they were buying - and they chose to go for it. This is absolutely being driven by cost reductions as… 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

  • NEW ORGANIZATION TO ADDRESS SUSTAINABILITY AND ECONOMIC COMPETITIVENESS IN NC

    November 30, 2012

    More than 130 business executives, entrepreneurs, and community leaders gathered for a reception in Raleigh on Nov. 29 to celebrate the launch of the North Carolina Sustainability Center.  Clean energy investment fund Cherokee hosted the event at its ‘green’ headquarters in downtown Raleigh. NCSC board chair Maria Kingery and president Katie Kross spoke about the Center's work and goals for the coming year. "If we want North Carolina to continue to be seen as a national leader in the economy of tomorrow, we need to make our businesses and our communities more competitive through sustainability," Kross emphasized. "Business interests do… 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

  • HIGH-TECH GREEN SCHOOL A FITTING TRIBUTE TO MARGARET POLLARD

    November 19, 2012

    By Sami Grover “Without a vision, the people perish.” says Gary Phillips, quoting the Old Testament as he talks about a new middle school in Chatham County. "Schools are one of the central places where people in the community meet--more than churches, town halls or anything else. If you have a school that is performing with energy and with light, the children are going to take it back to their parents. Particularly as our society begins to secularize, schools are the shining light in the darkness.” It might seem odd to talk about a new school in such Biblical terms,… 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

  • CHRISTIANITY AND THE ENVIRONMENT: NC CHURCHES TAKE ACTION

    October 29, 2012

    Solar panels at 1st Congregational United Church of Christ, Asheville. By Sami Grover "The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden to till it and keep it." Genesis 2:15 Stewardship of the Earth – or creation care – is at the heart of the Bible’s Creation Story. Allison Reeves Jolley is Volunteer and Outreach Coordinator at North Carolina Interfaith Power and Light (NCIPL), an organization that brings believers of all faiths and denominations together to address the causes and consequences of global climate change. She argues that the prominent placement of environmental concepts at the beginning… Read More

  • ‘LIVABLE COMMUNITIES SUMMIT’ HIGHLIGHTS PIEDMONT TRIAD PLANNING EFFORT

    October 25, 2012

    By Katie Kross On Thursday, Oct. 25, nearly 200 stakeholders gathered at the Old Salem Visitors Center in Winston-Salem to discuss trends in demographics, housing, jobs, and transportation in the 12-county Piedmont Triad area and encourage a regional approach to planning for the future.  The event was part of the Piedmont Triad Sustainable Communities Planning Project—newly branded as “Piedmont Together”—made possible with a $1.6 million grant in 2010 from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.  The goal of the three-year project is to develop scenarios and recommendations, with input from Triad residents, that will meet the infrastructure and… 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

  • NC COMPANIES EXHIBIT AT GREEN EXPO IN MEXICO

    October 16, 2012

    By Tiffanie Taylor Green business is a global phenomenon, and on Sept. 25-27, 2012, six North Carolina companies had the opportunity to travel to Mexico City for a prestigious international green business event.  Dankoff Pumps, Waste to Green, Nviroclean, Holocene, Environmental Solution Inc., and Progress Solar Solutions took part in one of Mexico’s largest trade shows, The Green Expo 2012, thanks to State Trade Export Promotion (STEP) funds awarded from the NC Department of Commerce’s International Trade Division (ITD). Each of the six NC companies exhibited environmental products or service offerings—ranging from renewable energy technologies to electronic waste recycling services.… 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

  • ASHEVILLE GREEN OPPORTUNITIES: CREATING GOOD GREEN JOBS IN WNC

    October 2, 2012

    By Lesley Lammers If Van Jones is the father of the “Green Collar Economy,” then Dan LeRoy and DeWayne Barton are certainly close relatives. After attending a national conference called "Good Jobs, Green Jobs" in 2008, LeRoy and Barton were inspired to start Asheville Green Opportunities (GO) to help train unemployed young men and women for careers in emerging clean economy industries—what they saw as an opportunity to help communities on multiple fronts at the same time. “Creating jobs is a vehicle to social change,” says LeRoy.  Barton and LeRoy recruited eight participants for that first program in 2008 and… Read More

  • SURRY COUNTY ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT PARTNERSHIP HOSTS SUSTAINABILITY PANEL

    September 27, 2012

    On Weds., Sept. 26, the Surry County Economic Development Partnership hosted a panel discussion in Mount Airy, NC for local executives on "Sustainability for Business & Industry."  About 50 local business and community leaders were in attendance for the event at Cross Creek Country Club, which focused on how sustainability measures can yield cost savings and innovation opportunities, while also minimizing environmental impacts. Katie Kross, president of the North Carolina Sustainability Center, moderated the discussion with panelists Dave Petri, sustainability director for Nester Hosiery, Anna Mangum, director of NC's E3 program for manufacturers, and Terry Albrecht, director of Waste Reduction… 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

  • NCSC PRESIDENT JOINS LEADERSHIP NORTH CAROLINA

    September 7, 2012

    NC Sustainability Center president Katie Kross has been selected to join the 2012-13 class of Leadership North Carolina, the state’s premier leadership engagement program. She will join fifty-three other civic and community leaders from across the state in Class XX.  The Leadership North Carolina Program cultivates a network of individuals with diverse backgrounds and experiences who share a deep commitment to the state and seeks to "inform, develop, and engage committed leaders by broadening their understanding of and involvement in issues and opportunities facing North Carolina." There are more than 900 graduates of the program, many of whom are serving… Read More

  • SIEMENS CEO CITES SUSTAINABILITY AMONG FACTORS IN SITE SELECTION

    September 7, 2012

    By Katie Kross Eric Spiegel, President and CEO of Siemens Corporation, has a message for mayors: sustainability factors can influence a company’s decision of where to locate its next manufacturing facility. “As a global company that makes these investment decisions every day, we look very hard at how sustainable the cities are when we’re locating new plants,” he said while speaking on a panel at Davidson College in Davidson, NC on Tuesday, Sept. 5.  The panel also included Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx, Vincent Davis, Director of Duke Energy’s Smart Energy Now program, and Davidson professor Graham Bullock. Bloomberg Businessweek's Sustainability… 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

  • NC EARNS SUSTAINABILITY MARKS

    August 7, 2012

    North Carolina was ranked #4 among Top Sustainable States by Site Selection, a publication of the Industrial Asset Management Council, that is read by real estate and economic development professionals.  NC ranked just below well-known “green” industry leaders of California, Oregon, and Vermont, and ahead of Washington, New York, and Illinois. The rankings take into account a wide range of criteria that include both facility-level factors (for instance, LEED-certified buildings, energy efficiency programs) and green industry development efforts (industry projects in biofuels, electric vehicles, and other cleantech industries). Read More

  • SUSTAINABILITY HELPED ATTRACT BREWERIES TO ASHEVILLE

    July 19, 2012

    by Katie Kross Local sustainability factors were important criteria in the decisions of both Sierra Nevada and New Belgium Brewing to locate their new East Coast operations in western NC, according to the magazine Site Selection, which features the breweries in “Hops City: Beer culture comes to a head in the Asheville region” in its July 2012 issue. The article describes the extensive selection process used by Sierra Nevada, which chose to build its $108-million brewery in Mills River, NC. Site consultant Don Schjeldahl of Austin Consulting led Sierra Nevada’s location search and is quoted in the article. SIERRA NEVADA'S… 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

  • NCSC PRESIDENT RECOGNIZED AMONG “FORTY UNDER 40”

    May 16, 2012

    NC Sustainability Center president Katie Kross (second from the left) was named one of the Triangle Business Journal's 2012 "Forty under 40" leaders in May.  The award recognizes young professionals under the age of 40 who have made significant contributions to their organizations and to the local community. Ms. Kross joined award-winners from a wide range of organizations, including Bayer Crop Science, PricewaterhouseCoopers, The John R. McAdams Co. Inc., and the NC General Assembly. Award recipients were recognized at a luncheon May 17 at Prestonwood Country Club in Cary. Read More

  • WHY SUSTAINABILITY IS GOOD FOR NORTH CAROLINA’S ECONOMY

    May 7, 2012

    by Katie Kross In its simplest definition, sustainability—balancing the three pillars of economic, social, and environmental interests—is a hard-not-to-love concept. Who among us doesn’t want a good stable job, a strong and safe community, a comfortable quality of life, and clean air and water for ourselves and generations to come? Of course, it’s never quite that simple. In practice, sustainability can be a maddeningly complex amalgam of issues, actors, and agendas. Everything from local food to landfill gas gets thrown in the sustainability bucket at times. Communities, government leaders, policy makers, and businesses all have various takes on what sustainability… Read More

  • RAY FAMILY FARMS HONORED FOR SUSTAINABILITY LEADERSHIP

    April 19, 2012

    by Katie Kross On April 13, Chad and Jodi Ray, owners of Ray Family Farms in Bunn, NC, traveled to the White House to be honored as “Champions of Change”.  The Rays were recognized along with six other leaders from the sustainable business and nonprofit community from around the country—from IBM to the Outdoor Industry Association. The White House award recognizes “ordinary people across the country who are doing extraordinary things.” Ray Family Farms is a 170-acre farm that sells beef, pork, poultry and vegetables directly to local customers. Besides championing organic and animal welfare practices in their farming, the… 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

  • BRUNSWICK COMMUNITY COLLEGE EARNS BRONZE SUSTAINABILITY RATING

    March 20, 2012

    Brunswick Community College (BCC) in southeastern North Carolina is among the recent NC institutions to participate in the STARS sustainability rating system created by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE). BCC earned a Bronze rating for its efforts to incorporate sustainability into its curriculum and operations. “We have found STARS to be a valuable tool to provide the college a baseline for future sustainability improvements and planning,” said BCC president Susanne Adams. At BCC’s 2nd Annual Southeastern NC Sustainability Symposium, hosted last week by the college’s Green Information & Training Center, Dr. Adams emphasized that… Read More

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