Friday, December 3, 2010

Wikileaks:painful but necessary

Wilikeaks is a painful, but necessary step forward. Eventually, the walls must come down. It's a natural process in human evolution, for us as individuals and societies to grow more able to face and deal with our own reality, not lash out when it's revealed to others against our will.

The most harm, we are told, has been to our relations with harsh undemocratic regimes. With their trust in our confidentiality diminished, they will be less likely to share with us things that they know make them look bad, and that they shouldn't be doing in the first place, such as being deceitfully cozy with their non-democratic allies.

In the short run, revealing such truths may work against our foreign interests. In the long run, it's a big step forward for human evolution.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The World View on IT Greening the Enterprise

How does the rest of the world view Green IT?

I want to draw your attention to a wonderfully concise (just 3 pages) summary of ICT's current and potential contributions to sustainability. ICT, by the way, is what the rest of the world calls IT. It more accurately represents Information and Communications Technologies, or ICT, as one package.

Trudy Heller, CEO of Executive Education for the Environment, offers an encouraging view of worldwide efforts to both make IT greener, and use IT to make everything else more environmentally sustainable. Dr. Heller wrote the Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) chapter for the recently released Berkshire Encyclopedia of Sustainability.

Although the article is not available online, I'm hopeful Trudy will either make the content available in some other venue, or work with me to summarize it here. Stay tuned.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Forrester: A CEO who's clueless on Green IT may not get IT either

Forrester Research's Doug Washburn asks, Does your CEO care about Green IT?

Survey results suggest that more than half of CEOs surveyed globally rate sustainability as "very important" to their firms' futures, and that green-driven firms have been 16% more profitable over the past 3 years.

Here's Washburn's kick in the butt: "While your CEO might care about green, they may not necessarily care about IT."

Wow! That's a big leap. It's based on Forrester's finding that only 16% of firms globally even mention green IT in their annual reports. So, they see Greening as a high priority, but don't see IT as a key path to achieving it.

This spells a big "uh-oh" for CIOs. Green IT is a big visibility-maker and money-saver. You're not doing it just for IT's sake, you're doing it to demonstrate what you can do-- for other parts of your firm, as well as for current customers and those you don't have yet.

Seize the day, and read the article, at
And to find the path Doug laid out for Green IT 2.0 a year and a half ago, visit (BTW, to get more than an excerpt costs $499. It is Forrester, after all.)

Share your Green IT secrets, and don't stop there

Heather Clancy, in her Greener Pastures column, encourages IT folks to share their best stuff for the Uptime Institute's 2011 Green Enterprise Awards.

While it's called a Green Enterprise award, alas it is still just Green IT 1.0: Making IT Greener. Remember, that's just the appetizer. The main course is Green IT 2.0: IT Making Everything Else Greener.

Of course, IT should make itself Greener. Besides the environmental benefits, all those cost savings make it a total no-brainer. It's also rather self-absorbed and self-limiting to stop there.

The far greater impact comes when IT brings its tools, data, and systems thinking to the immense task of making whole enterprises, even whole industries, regions, and international systems, Greener. And, it greatly increases the CIO's strategic value to one's own enterprise.

Why stop at your own doorstep, when there's a world to benefit?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Precious metals used in LEED certifications

Are the platinum, gold, and silver in the LEED certifications conflict-free and sustainably mined?

Hmm? ;)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Triple Bottom Line conference hosted by Drexel and the World Trade Center of Greater Philadelphia

By David Calloway, Green IT Digest © 2010

What do Boeing, Campbell’s Soup and Dow Chemical (formerly Rohm and Haas) have in common? That is, besides being large companies and longstanding, major forces in this regon’s economy?

All three are internationally recognized leaders in sustainability. Yes, really. And no, I'm not kidding. Representatives of these firms and others shared some success stories at a recent conference co-sponsored by Drexel University’s Lebow College of Business and the World Trade Center of Greater Philadelphia (WTCGP). The program also featured speakers from sustainability guarantors B Lab and the City’s Office of Sustainability.

The Triple Bottom Line represents the three beneficiaries of a sustainable enterprise: People, Planet, and Profit. Applying well-known and accepted metrics, it provides a way to measure an organization’s environmental impact along with its financial return. And, as we know in all areas of business, what we can measure, we can improve.

This program, subtitled Implementing Sustainable Business Practices, bridged several purposes for its sponsors. Drexel hosted the program on behalf of the MBA students visiting from the school’s graduate center in Sacramento, CA.

The WTCGP was promoting the region’s strengths in sustainability, while increasing exposure to international opportunities for both students and the region’s businesses. This seminar was part of WTCGP’s new “Job Creation through Export Development” program funded by the U.S. Economic Development Administration. The program is designed to advance the global competitiveness of the many Pennsylvania and New Jersey companies in leading industry sectors, such as renewable energy and environment. Find the WTCGP at

Drexel’s Sacramento business students, in Philadelphia to complete a course in Sustainable Business, learned about local Green buildings and businesses. They visited two Green buildings, the Comcast Center and Tasty Baking’s new Navy Yard bakery, which is moving toward zero-waste status.

“It was eye-opening for the students”, said Donna Ferrari, Drexel’s Director of Special Projects. “Many came with the impression that companies are just giving lip service to sustainability. But the conference speakers told how addressing sustainability issues head-on will help them survive.” Drexel's LeBow College of Business is at

The WTCGP used the forum to showcase Campbell’s, Boeing, and Dow. These firms are central to the region’s economy, working to create a triple bottom line, and fully engaged internationally. These three attributes, all visible and measurable, make them models that more companies in the region could emulate, with the help of the WTCGP, of course.

An ongoing partnership in international business allows Drexel students to combine their international residencies with the WTCGP’s trade missions through their “Export for Scholars” program. Students research off-shore markets, international partnerships, and overcoming cultural and other barriers. Observing international trade meetings gives them valuable hands-on experience.

The conference included a Green Expo where vendors presented a range of products and services to help businesses and consumers to be more effective in terms of the environment, and of their bottom lines.

The word of the day was metrics: If you don’t measure it, you won’t do it. Every presentation was dotted with dashboards, flooded with figures, and replete with reports about carbon reduced, good intentions realized, and strategies implemented. It’s clear that, at least in these companies, the drive toward sustainability is for real, and it’s working.

The speakers shared their firms’ strategies and experiences, as they’ve worked to improve the environmental performance of themselves, and their impact, and that of their partners, customers, and industries. The speakers and their talks are summarized in the following paragraphs.

- Katherine Gajewski, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability. After getting a late start, Philadelphia is working to advance the 5 E’s: Energy, Environment, Equity (as in equality, not capital, although that was mentioned, too), Economy, and Engagement. Despite ongoing financial challenges, Philadelphia and several other progressive cities across the nation are succeeding in areas where the federal and many state governments are being hamstrung by lobbyists and legislative paralysis. For more on the city’s progress, visit

- David P. Stangis, Vice President, Corporate Social Responsibility, Campbell Soup Company. If there’s any company in a position to influence the health and landfills of the world, it’s the ubiquitous Campbell Soup. A big company full of everyday products, Campbell’s program focuses on everyday actions that add up to fulfilling the big vision, a full-court commitment to Nourishment, naturally: Nourishing Employees, Consumers, Neighbors, and Planet. The program is described in detail at

- Katherine T. Hunt, Ph.D., Director, External Science and Technology, The Dow Chemical Company. After Dr. Hunt’s explained Dow’s purchase of Philadelphia’s Rohm and Haas, it makes more sense to me. Dow’s been a feedstock-driven business, and wants to be more market-driven. Research leader Rohm and Haas makes more money producing less stuff, which also makes sense environmentally. Dow wants to be more like that. So buying R&H is helping Dow become both more profitable, and more sustainable. That’s a real win-win outcome. Find the chemistry at

- Hardik Savalia, Associate, B Lab. For a publicly-held corporation to officially pursue the Triple Bottom Line—People, Planet, Profit—is currently illegal, except in Maryland or Vermont.
That’s right. The fiduciary responsibility of a firm to maximize profit is the only leg of this three-legged stool that has any legal standing in the other 48 states. B Lab, based in Berwyn, PA, is working to change that, by creating a new kind of legal entity: the B Corporation. B stands for Benefit, because it benefits not just shareholders, but stakeholders—the whole environment in which the corporation operates. Today, B Lab certifies mostly small, privately-held firms. As the B Corp takes hold in a growing number of states, investor demand will drive ever larger enterprises to seek and earn B Corp status. Learn all about it at

- Edward (Ned) Ferguson, Director of Environment and Energy, Boeing. Did you know the GPS you use to reach your destination is not officially available to a commercial pilot? GPS-based air space modernization will reduce fuel consumed in flights up to 30%. It will also make flying faster, safer, and more reliable, as well as save flight controllers a lot of grey hairs. While today’s jets are 70% more fuel-efficient (and 30% quieter) than the original 707, airplane makers still have a long way to go to reduce aviation’s impact on global warming, and to save the airlines from continuing financial losses. To address both, Boeing is committing 75% of their R&D budget to improving the environmental performance of their jets. In addition to making planes that use less fuel, Boeing is working to grow fuels that create less carbon. Grow fuels? Yes, they’re creating bio-fuels using non-food sources to reduce the petroleum in their fuel, and thus the carbon in their exhaust. These fuels will come on-line in two to three years, and be used until more effective, algae-based fuels become available in six to eight years. These will make huge reductions in both carbon, and fuel cost. Reducing the amount of fuel consumed, and largely eliminating petroleum as a fuel, will make the airlines more environmentally and financially sustainable. Find more at

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

If you're not from the US, would you recognize an "apple core"?

Do only Americans throw away this much of an apple?
In the rest of the world, I'm told, there's no such thing as an "apple core". What's left after eating an apple is, maybe a handful of seeds and a stem, or maybe not. That's what's left after I eat an apple. For what we pay for organic apples, I figure, why waste any of it?

If you eat only 3/4 of a daily apple, do you keep away only 3 out of 4 doctors?

What do you think? Maybe you can enlighten me on this?

Image courtesy I take it Marion County, Oregon, grows a lot of apples. I'm sure they'd want them put to good use.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Hunch confirmed-- CIOs tossing Green IT aside

A few weeks ago I started sharing my impression that Green IT has fallen off the rader of most IT leaders. The Green-savvy CIO of a suburban Philadelphia pharma research firm then told me his offer to present to a regional IT conference was turned down, because "The whole Green IT track was canceled due to lack of interest."

Today, I read in Information Week's 2010 survey that Green IT is "dead in terms of priorities--or at least on life support."

"How else to explain the paltry 5% who cite a 'more eco-friendly environment' as a top 2010 innovation effort," IW continues. "...Companies talk a great 'sustainability' game. It's just that IT teams tend to come at green IT through the cost-cutting door."

Cost-cutting is great, of course. It's a key part of keeping a company in business and thriving. But doing only that, while losing sight of the sustainability advantages of virtualization, consolidation, moving to the Cloud, and the like, means throwing away important benefits.

Top leaders at many firms know sustainability is of growing importance to their firms' survival, as well as to the planet.Many individual employees know it, too. When IT leaders lose sight of sustainability, they risk cutting themselves out of the loop. It's like the 1980s all over again, when IT, then called MIS, let itself become just another service silo inside the out-of-touch enterprise.

By contrast, CIO magazine Executive Editor Elana Varon points out that "CIOs can contribute to developing eco-friendly products." This is green for a business purpose, and it can happen only in an environment that has fully embraced sustainability as a core business purpose.

Here are a few excerpts from that article. You can find the details for yourself at CIO Magazine.
  • At Whirlpool (WHR), CIO Kevin Summers is helping with an initiative to build smarter appliances...All of those appliances on a smart grid are like PCs on a network.”
  • David Kepler, CIO and chief sustainability officer with Dow Chemical (DOW), says customers want more sustainable—and sustainably produced—materials. So IT provides tools for managing energy and greenhouse gas emissions in manufacturing plants, as well as for thinking through how buildings that use the company’s solar roofing shingles connect to the local electric utility.
This multi-year recession and its massive layoffs have left the remaining IT staffs overworked and exhausted. Many feel much more committed to environmental causes than to their own employers, who they are likely to abandon at the first opportunity. Firms can say what they want in their well-funded Green PR campaigns. ITers will hear only the ringing silence of their own managers on the subject.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Micro-contracts: a boon to environmental protection, or the end of civilization as we know it?

It often happens that when I see something new, the ideas and possible applications start popping. While it can be very distracting at times, at other times it can be useful.

I discovered a company named EchoSign that, via the Web, captures, tracks, validates and assures signatures on contracts. What could you do with a micro-contract environment that's as easy to manage as an e-commerce storefront?

First, I would demand quick, real-time monitoring, validation and assurance of sustainability measures that entities have undertaken, particularly natural resource extraction firms. Then I would extend it from there, into other kinds of complicated projects.

Here are a few reasons, off the top of my head, that this capability could become ubiquitous:
1. business functions are virtualizing, flattening, and accelerating, driving an explosion in partner relationships.

2. That, plus increasing regulatory and transparency pressures, is driving an explosion in contractual relationships.

3. I foresee (if it isn't happening already) the ongoing data explosion driving the evolution of a new legal entity, a sort of digital sub-contract, in which line items and other more granular components of contracts require sign-offs, validation, tracking, and the like. Note that the only reason we don't have these already, is that nobody has wanted to be responsible for managing them. It's a classic case of advancing technology creating a new job for itself, and thus its justification: we do it because we can.

4. Similar to 3: Iterative methodologies such as Agile and Scrum are permeating the development of all kinds of business processes, not just IT/ICT projects. It might be nice to have a micro-tracking tool that also, incidentally, represents a legal commitment.

5. As in 4, environmental initiatives, especially among partner entities and governments, could really benefit from a ready-made, easy to use tracking and validation platform that can manage myriad deliverables, dates, and other such project performance details. While such tools do exist, they're usually buried deep within expensive, complicated and proprietary enterprise systems. Putting this into a Web-based, as-needed, just-in-time service radically changes what we can manage.

On the other hand, these may all be terrible ideas, and we'll just enable a level of paralyzing micro-management and mega-litigation like we've never seen. I hope that's not the case.

(c) 2010 David Calloway

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Lose Up To 4500 lb FAST!

Now, I have to admit-- I'd be a hypochrite to wear this on a T-Shirt myself.

While volunteering for BikePhilly 2010, I envisioned this image for the many people I've met who have given up their cars, upgraded their bikes, rent a PhillyCarShare or ZipCar when they need to, and get younger looking every year.

Join the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia at

Friday, September 10, 2010

Free Report and Assessment Tool: Evaluating, Assessing, and Reducing the Carbon Impact of ICT

Evaluating, Assessing, and Reducing the Carbon Impact of ICT is a free report offered by the Global e-Sustainability Initiative (GeSI).
GeSI’s ICT (or IT, as it’s called only in the US) Enablement Methodology “provides immediate guidance on the process of identifying and quantifying the CO2 effects of implementing an ICT solution.” It comes with an Assessment Worksheet.

Three things I want to gain from this: 1. Determine the value this report can bring IT, or ICT, units in this region; 2. Find clues to why people promoting "Green IT" solutions still seem to be separate from the overall corporate sustainability community; and 3. Identify what I can do to change that.

ICT, by the way, is what the rest of the planet calls IT. It stands for Information and Communication Technology. This term far better describes what most of us do as ITers. As IT moves increasingly to the Cloud and the Internet, which are themselves becoming indistinguishable, Communication becomes even more central to all we do.

The Global e-Sustainability Initiative, based in Brussels, “brings together leading ICT companies – including telecommunications service providers and manufacturers as well as industry associations – and non-governmental organisations committed to achieving sustainability objectives through innovative technology.”

Many familiar names are members of this organization: Microsoft, Verizon, HP, Deutche Telecom (parent of T-Mobile), Cisco, and more.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The ROI of green IT | Green IT - InfoWorld

The ROI of green IT Green IT - InfoWorld: "The ROI of green IT"

Things that make IT greener, also make it more efficient, more effective, more agile, and friendlier to the business side. In fact, Green IT makes so much sense, it's almost a no-brainer. And that's a problem.

It is my hunch that IT organizations that launch "Green IT" initiatives outside the overall Corporate Sustainability tent risk costing their organizations in a variety of ways. I'll talk about these in my next post.

If you have any experience that either confirms or contradicts this assertion, please talk about it here, or email me at greenitdigest at comcast dot net.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Social m-Learning can enable eco-alignment

e-learning and m-learning (mobile learning) can be pivotal forces in making the workforce as a whole more eco-savvy, both in attitude and in practice. m-Learning is especially promising, because it supports just-in-time, on-the-job learning, while a job task is being performed.

In a social media context, m-learning allows active mentoring and guidance at far lower cost than has ever been possible. Now, the many corporate leaders who are committed to improving their environmental performance can do more than just preach and hope. They can provide the tools for all their employees to walk the talk in reality.

BTW, I could really use some suggestions for Labels for posts like this. Mostly, I just make up my metadata, but that's lousy SEO practice. Any suggestions?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Green Promoters: Lose the Lawn!

Unless you're in the Great Plains and it's two feet high, a lawn is UNSUSTAINABLE.

I'm not saying to go out and tear yours up. I'm certainly not going to tear mine up, my wife wouldn't allow it.

But, I am saying, stop using grass and lawn imagery when you're promoting your Green products and services. It's going to backfire, and you'll wish you'd used some more accurate icon of sustainability. What would that be? Oh, I don't know. Use your imagination, and let me know if you think of something.

Monday, July 26, 2010

My favorite part of gathering requirements

What do I like best about gathering and documenting requirements?
It's this: When I finish analyzing a process, I share with the participants where I see them, as part of the big picture. Often, they are surprised and impressed with how important they are. The resulting confidence leaves people more optimistic and open to embracing new roles and challenges.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Project Management in {your specialty goes here}

I hope you never have to recover a crashed hard drive. But in doing so, it's amazing what one finds. I turned up gems that could have become articles, books, businesses or even entire industries, had I just stuck with them. This is one idea that could have become an article.

In 2006, Project Management expert Cheryl Strait published "It's All in the Technique" in Information Management Journal. Reading the article, I quickly recognized the universality of her advice. It's so universal, in fact, that I copied it into Word, and wherever the phrase "records management" or the acronym "RIM" appeared, I replaced it with {your specialty goes here}.

I read through the result, and it mostly worked. Try it for yourself. Find the article at, and wherever you see the phrase "records management" or the acronym "RIM", mentally plug in your industry or specialty.

BTW, according to LinkedIn, Cheryl is now a Principal at Ernst & Young, near Detroit, MI, USA.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Mobile Learning is key to creating a Green Workforce

M-Learning-- mobile learning-- is key to creating a Green Workforce, because it puts in people's hands the info they need to do the right thing- where decisions are made, and actions taken.

Most firms express a committment to the environment at a high level, but the behavior I see at a day-to-day level is still as oblivious as ever. I want to create a framework and a curriculum to enhance all on-the-job interactions with the environment. The content would start out general and story-driven, gradually scaling out to role- and task-specific instructional materials, across a range of trades and professions. It's a huge task, and as the recent oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico proved, it's past time we got started on it.

Please forward this to ones who would be motivated and able to make a business in this domain.

Monday, May 24, 2010

The Kaizen Culture: Don't Manage Waste, Eliminate It

Kaizen is the Japanese term for constantly working to eliminating waste in all ways, at all levels. It's quite popular in manufacturing and other pursuits, and is helping to increase the competitiveness of our industries.

But in our everyday lives-- now, that's a different, sadder story. Today is large trash day here in Swarthmore. On just a few nearby streets, I saw enough nice, usable furniture out on the curb to furnish an apartment.

Our current approach, at its best, is called cradle-to-grave management. But that's a misnomer, since there is no actual "grave" where so much waste can be buried. As in our industries, we must seek to eliminate waste, by not producing it in the first place. This is called cradle-to-cradle resource management, or zero-output waste management.

The way we're "managing" our waste now, we're destined to drown in it, sooner or later.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Is "Complex Learning Theory" about learning complex things, or a complex theory about learning?

Complex Learning Theory:
Is that a theory about learning complex things,
or a complex theory about learning
It's all too chaotic for me.

(c) 2001 David Calloway, KnowledgeSound

I'm repeating this old article, because it's still relevant. It began as a note to my research advisor: "In case you were wondering why my 'Chapter 2-- Learning Theory' is taking so long to write…"

Whenever I look for something on the Web, I end up chasing after something else. So, to keep myself on course, I lean into the wind, furrow my brow, and doggedly recite, "North -- North -- North -- Noth -- Noth -- Nouth -- Nouth -- South -- South..."

In my Masters research paper I investigated ways the Web could be made a simpler, more organized learning tool. And this is a research paper, so I need theories, right? I didn't find "Simplicity theory," but I did find "Complexity Theory." Hmm- Maybe that has something useful to say about this!

I went to my friendly search engine, Google, and typed in "complexity theory learning". Of course, Google returned about 5300 links, most of them patently irrelevant. The first one was dead-on: "Complexity Theory Learning." Great! But the content was a bit too-- well, complex. So, I clicked "More Like This".

Yes, this is perfect! Not only do I find Chaos & Complexity Theory in Education, but it's at nearby UDel (! Now thoroughly mesmerized, I ignore the cautionary, and not highlighted, "Chaos &…" part, and surge onward.

Well, not quite perfect. It's got a good overview paragraph, and lots more links, but nothing specifically about learning. Here's "An annotated list of websites of interest to those pursuing complexity theory " ( Well, I am interested, and... am I pursuing complexity theory? Uh-- I think so.

Okay, now I'm in the annotated list. Hey, there's Complexity on Science Friday NPR (! Well, I like Science Friday, but it’s stupid to have to sit at my computer just to listen to the radio. So, I pass that up, and continue reading...

Hmm. Here's a category called "Education and Complexity Theories". That sounds on-target, but it has only three choices. I'm not looking for Math, and Connectionism sounds too touchy-feely for serious academic work. Social Systems sounds kind of like a party, so I go to: Clemson Research Institute for the Study of Complex Social Systems (CRISCSO) (

All right! And it’s got pictures! But where's the social part? What's this "generated by equations" stuff? Finally, I see For beginners. A-hah! Let's see where that goes: Chaos and Complexity Theory for Beginners. Perfect! (There’s that word again. Remember the last time I said that?)

Hmm. What's this? "PoincarĂ© Map of the Logistic Equation with a Spreadsheet"? I don’t know, that sounds kinda heavy, but with my defenses too numbed to smell a trap, I proceed to:

Having Fun With a Chaotic Equation:
Using a Spreadsheet Program to
Plot the Logistic Equation

Fun, Plot Logistical Equation, Chaotic, Spreadsheet… What are those words doing together?

It’s a plot, all right! This can’t be happening! I laugh, I cry, I stare into the glare of the oncoming headlights. My ears ring, my head spins, and I grab the arms of my chair. Noooo! I’m falling into the black hole of Web obfuscation! And it's got a code! Lemme outta here, that stuff's highly contageous! (Cue sound effect of door slamming, as normal breathing slowly resumes.)

Whoa, that was a close call. Whatever the title, beginners are clearly NOT welcome here, I can see that. Maybe academics should leave popularizing to marketers and other professionals.

Hastily I escape back to UDel, realizing that my only hope is Complexity on Science Friday NPR ( Maybe at least I can download it to my PDA and listen to it on a trip. Having to sit still at my PC for an hour and be lectured at by Ira Flato is not an ideal condition for learning.

What's this? "Requested file not found. The link you followed may be outdated or inaccurate." Groan. Help! After I click the "More Info" button, the mass of trouble-shooting instructions fade to a muddy blur.

Does anybody remember why I'm doing this? I don't. This is all just too complex. Or, as Fagin put it in Oliver, "I think I'd better think it out again!"

I still don't know how Complexity Theory applies to Learning. My brain is numb. I don't have any more time to look.

Learning Theories has just gotten too Complex for me.