There is growing evidence that many American businesses are attempting to become more environmentally responsible. Some of those businesses are represented on the board of directors of the US Chamber of Commerce. This suggests that the Chamber should eventually move toward supporting…
One hundred years ago, no one spent time thinking about where their food came from. That’s because they all knew. There were no mystery ingredients, meals didn’t by and large travel great distances before getting to the table, and farm animals weren’t injected with growth hormones. Today, you only need to stroll down the inside aisle of any grocery store, pick a package at random, and try to decipher the ingredients listed on the back to see that it’s not that simple anymore.
That unknown is what has driven much of Michael Pollan’s research over the years, including his famous and bestselling 2006 book, The Omnivore’s Dilemma. Bothered by the fact that he really didn’t know the origins of his food…
Dolphin Blue, Inc., is just one small business among millions of small businesses, but it is unique. It is the only online supplier of 100% environmentally responsible office supplies. Supplies that are not environmentally responsible are simply not available from Dolphin Blue.
Dolphin Blue is unique in another way. It has challenged the national US Chamber of Commerce to…
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An early trailblazer in the concept of reducing, reusing, and recycling, Carver was born into slavery, likely in the early to mid-1860s.
To continue reading this article, please visit http://www.dolphinblue.com/pg-Heroes-of-Sustainability-George-Washington-Carver.html
I recently returned from a Western Caribbean cruise, where I spent one week on a ship weighing 130,000 tons and measuring 1,004 feet in length. I was among 4,500 other human beings, all being fed food requiring refrigeration, powered by petroleum. Each cabin, of which there were approximately 200 on most decks, had furniture, cabinetry, and various other materials including wood, plastics, and metal. Despite having a TV hanging on the wall of most cabins, the uppermost deck had a 40-foot by 20-foot big screen TV. Why? Because cruise lines use such enticements to get people to leave home, so they can experience ALL the comforts of home.
Upon returning from my cruise, I participated in a euronews forum asking, “What would it take to really speed up the transition to a carbon neutral, sustainable planet?” First and foremost…
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The whole concept sounds like our grade school experiments with avocado seeds and toothpicks and a glass of water . . . or a bit of slow-sleight of hand. What is seed paper? It’s just what it says – paper embedded with seeds. Put it in the ground and with luck and good weather you’ll have a small garden of annuals or wildflowers.
To continue reading this article, please visit http://www.dolphinblue.com/pg-Just-Plant-a-Piece-of-Paper-and-Watch-it-Grow.html
Recently, the staff at Dolphin Blue began questioning the buying practices of our government, and evaluating their overall impact on sustainability. As more corporations continue to manufacture their goods in foreign countries, many tax-supported agencies have jumped on the “low-cost” bandwagon, creating a governmental bidding system with little regard to sustainability. To answer some of our questions, we consulted with our in-house expert, Dolphin Blue Founder & President, Thomas Kemper.
How does corporate outsourcing hinder the environmental health and welfare of our economy?
When we support the manufacturing of low-cost goods originating from distant places (i.e. China, Malaysia, Vietnam, India), the costs we ultimately incur are numerous, and detrimental to our natural world, local economies, and to the long-term health of our economy. Every time a tax-supported entity procures an item provided by giant conglomerates, we continue to chip away at the sustainability of our planet (incurring a heavy carbon footprint), our communities (by eroding the local, regional and federal tax base), and our economies (local, state, and national). Have you ever wondered why our roads, bridges, highways, school systems, county and state hospitals and park systems are in such disrepair, while the tax-supported jurisdictions responsible for their upkeep and maintenance are screaming that they are broke? How much longer can we continue to provide Tax Increment Financing (TIF) and favorable treatment to our largest corporations, so they can continue providing inexpensive foreign goods to the very tax-supported agencies that are responsible for maintaining the infrastructure and systems that are paid for, by us, the tax payers? As we, the payer of the taxes, continue to see unemployment rise, factories close due to unfavorable treatment, and the degradation of our natural resources’ health (clean air, fresh water, soil quality, forest and food stocks), while our very own taxpayer dollars continue buying cheap, resource-depleting foreign goods, creating a huge burden on the sustainability of our planet.
Corporate outsourcing clearly damages our nation’s infrastructure, but how do low-cost supplies produced in foreign countries harm our environment?
Products being procured with no understanding of our environment, affect our human health and global ecosystem in ways we are only beginning to understand. The use of chemicals, such as chlorine and chlorine-containing compounds, affect the human endocrine system, and compromises the immune system’s ability to do what it was biologically designed to do. The havoc being wreaked upon the health of our children is a cost seemingly hidden in our out-of-control healthcare system, which continues to grow as the fastest sector of our economy. I saw this issue arising back in 1994, and made a personal and business decision to provide papers that are processed chlorine free, as well as being derived from 100% post-consumer recycled fiber and made in the USA with Green-e certified renewable wind energy. Thus, it is incumbent upon all of us, as citizens of our local communities first and foremost, to get involved in the decisions being made by our tax-supported government representatives, and demand that they purchase only socially and environmentally responsible products.
Many governmental agencies purchase their supplies at a low-cost from large corporate conglomerates. How does this practice create an unfair advantage for small businesses of all types?
Many of the corporate giants (whose supplies produce an annual revenue of $15 BILLION and upward ), have the financial ability to provide a catalog with as many as 45,000-50,000 items, of which only 5-10% of those products are actually certified as “green”. Although Dolphin Blue has the capability to provide a catalog containing approximately 4,000 items, ALL made in the USA, and ALL made with post-consumer recycled materials, other small businesses are unable to offer such a catalog when a tax-supported entity (municipality, county, state, or federal government) requests pricing from the vendor community. Consequently, if a small business responds without providing a full catalog, that small supplier is deemed non-responsive to the government agencies’ Request for Quote (RFQ), giving the large giants a tremendous advantage in the marketplace.
When governmental agencies purchase products and services from corporate giants moving goods globally, with little regard to anything but profitability, the tax-supported entity is doomed and destined for failure. In my experience, very few government agencies leave the door fully open for those who qualify through the GSA contracting system, where buyers can select goods and services through a “best value” contracting criteria. While it is regrettable that some agencies such as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency have granted monopolistic exclusive contracts to some suppliers, a true environmentally conscious buyer will go shopping elsewhere, seeking the products and services truly aligned with the EPA’s stated, charted mission.
Is there a “Watch Dog” system in place to monitor and measure the environmental degradation, loss to society, or economic erosion of such “full service” catalog purchasing relationships?
Unfortunately, there is no program in place to monitor these relationships, and if governmental agencies continue to support the taxpayers who fund its existence, the tax-supported agencies will continue to thrive in the marketplace, while we continue seeing our planet’s health degrade.
Yes, but don’t some of the larger corporations offer “green” products?
Many “green” items being offered by the giants are not certified for the environmental attributes being claimed, and many of the so-called “green” products are not green at all. They are usually being shipped many thousands of miles to gain business at a very low invoice expense, which further degrades our planet’s sustainability by imparting a very heavy carbon footprint on the health of our planet. What might that cost be, to our society, our planet, and, to future generations? We’ve already keenly aware of those costs. We see them around us every day. The longer we bury our heads in the sand, the more devastating the costs.
Additionally, many of the purchasing contracts do not require the products to be made in the USA, thus sacrificing American jobs for a few nickels. While these large “full service” catalog transactions are rampant among many levels of our government, there are many buyers within these agencies that truly understand the meaning of sustainability (meeting the needs of our generation, without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs), and practice responsible procurement methods. For these buyers, I applaud and acknowledge your pioneering spirit. Thank you. You understand that we are all in this together, and without us working together to achieve a sustainable planet, we will only be continuing to paint ourselves into a very precarious corner. As citizens of our neighborhoods, local communities, country, and planet, we must be good stewards, and be responsible with all items, goods, and services we purchase. We owe it to our children.
Tom is founder and CEO of Dolphin Blue, an online retailer of environmentally sustainable green office supplies and green printing products.
This was sent to me by Susan Eirich of Earthfire Institute, with whom I recently went on Vision Quest.
It is amazing to me that Susan and Jean have shown that these powerful animals we so deeply fear, have become so intricately and intimately connected to human beings. It is for me, very emotionally stirring to see humans and “wild” animals playing in this manner. I cried with joy as I watched these stirring videos.
Please enjoy the videos and, by all means, share them with everyone you know.
Tom Kemper is the President and Founder of Dolphin Blue, Inc.
In anticipation to the upcoming wedding season, Thomas Kemper (CEO of Dolphin Blue, Inc.) answered an email from a writer about his wedding and how he made it green and environmentally friendly. Throughout the courtship of Thomas and Margaret, the couple made eco-friendly items a priority, with Margaret changing her outlook on the environment and sustainability, and utilizing it in her medical practice. It seemed only fitting to bring their ideals to their wedding once Tom proposed.
The wedding was a three-day celebration held on a ranch here in Texas. Guests enjoyed the outside weather, the basic but elegant wedding setting, and the sustainable and earth-friendly attributes combined with the traditional wedding aspects.
To green their wedding they used the following:
- Wedding invitations were printed on paper that is 100% post consumer recycled, FSC-certified, processed chlorine free and made carbon-neutral with Green-E certified renewable wind energy.
- Envelopes were made of paper with the same environmental attributes (All thank you cards sent after the wedding were also made of the same paper and envelopes).
- The food was locally-grown, organic, and came from small farmers.
- Wine and beer served were from a Llano, Texas (hill-country) winery and a Ft. Worth microbrewery.
- On the wedding day, the catered lunch was prepared and served by Kozy Kitchen, a local Dallas-based family restaurant that offers a gluten-free, locally-grown fare.
- All plastic plates, cups and utensils we used were made of 100% post consumer recycled plastic yogurt cups, collected by the manufacturer through a successful take-back recycling program, as well as all napkins and paper towels.
Overall, the weekend was a success and a great start to Thomas’ marriage to Margaret and, inevitably, their commitment to sustainability will continue to grow throughout their relationship and within both their businesses.
Have you been a guest at a green wedding or had your own? What is some advice we can give to others to help make their wedding a sustainable one?
Our CEO, Thomas Kemper, received an email questioning toner cartridges, quality and price. Here’s his response:
In reply to your concern about remanufactured toner cartridges, I understand fully well the reason you may perceive all remanufactured toner cartridges as being lesser quality than OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer), or, new, branded cartridges.
Among the numerous remanufacturers that provide remanufactured toner cartridges, there are a few who give the rest a bad name. On the other hand there are many that provide an excellent product, and offer competitive pricing, when comparing prices with the OEM product.
As a result the end-user has several options/choices:
Option 1: (sometimes the easiest decision to make because of trusted performance) choose the OEM product at a premium price, paying more and getting a great cartridge.
Option 2: (not always an easy decision because of “unknown” outcome) choose a high quality, premium remanufactured toner cartridge at a price that is 30%-40% less than an OEM cartridge (paying less than you would for an OEM unit and more than you would for the least expensive remanufactured option, and getting a great cartridge).
Option 3: choose the least expensive remanufactured cartridge because the end-user is attempting to gain maximum savings for their expenditure (pay less than any other option and get a cartridge that ends up costing you more in lost time and “headaches”).
Over and over I have seen the end-user make the first choice (Option 1) to “play it safe” – the easiest, yet, costly option. Often, the end-user makes the third choice (Option 3) in order to meet budget, ultimately getting “burned” because of poor product performance. After getting “burned”, they then go back to Option 1, choosing to “play it safe.” Did that once, won’t do it again!
As a provider of only premium remanufactured toner cartridges, we offer end-users the second choice (Option 2), and tend to hold relationships with our toner cartridge customers over long periods of time. Every toner cartridge Dolphin Blue provides is manufactured under ISO 9001 Manufacturing Quality Standards and carries a one-year warranty against all defects in materials and workmanship. If our toner cartridge causes a printer malfunction, we pay for the service to repair the printer. This is a No Lose proposition for the user!
If a toner cartridge is remanufactured to the standards of the OEM unit, it should, and will, perform as well as the OEM – That is why we are not the least expensive option. All Dolphin Blue’s toner cartridges are remanufactured to the standards the OEMs have established. You will not experience a loss of quality with any toner cartridge provided by Dolphin Blue. If an end-user is looking for maximum savings in the up-front cost of toner cartridges, then we are not where you should spend your money.
If, however, you are looking for maximum value and optimal performance, then we offer the best product available and the best investment for your dollar. You may want to purchase just one toner cartridge from us and evaluate the cartridge for yourself. Get your IT manager to put it through his or her rigorous evaluation process. I am confident you’ll find our quality every bit as good as any OEM cartridge you now use.