Wednesday, September 12, 2012

People Talk, Channels Blur, Stories Create Ripples.

There are many ways to make a change towards a sustainable economy. Consumers can start buying sensibly; producers can conduct process improvements to save energy and recycle materials for their productions; but the deal makers, the middlemen, are often in the best position to be the game changers. The interchange of transactions has control at both end of the transactions—distributors can translate market demands to the production side and reinvest momentum in the sustainability transformation on production back into the consumption stream in the form of market advertising.

Nexus: a node where change is transformed 

into reality to all of its extensions.

Goodwill for goodwill is the exchange and as far as consumption goes, I’d rather support this than just buying into the whole “more is better” thing. 

When it comes to being such facilitator of sustainable changes, there is one company worth mentioning. The Kroger Co., based in my hometown Cincinnati, is boasting some pretty impressive progress in zero waste production and energy savings.  

"In 2011, the world’s largest grocer [Kroger] saved enough energy to power every single home – more than 175,000 of them – in the city of Columbus for a year. Kroger also has 19 manufacturing plants that operate without sending any waste to landfills. And, the company has just begun converting unsold organic food into renewable energy that powers its Ralphs/Food 4 Less facilities."

These impressive results stemmed from a company-wide sustainability effort led by vice president Lynn Marmer. According to Mamer, Kroger composts a considerable amount of their food manufacturing by-products. Doing so, they were able to divert 90 percent of their waste from landfills to their production cycles. This earned them a Zero Waste designation from the EPA. Currently, Kroger is looking for way to apply recycle and reuse methods to their retail sector. Marmer also boasted a 32 percent energy consumption reduction in its operations since 2000. Kroger was able to achieve this by changing to LED lighting fixtures, using low “e” windows, installing solar-powered faucets, high-efficiency water heaters, and variable exhaust fans. Kroger also employed various heat recovery systems that recapture the heat from their refrigeration systems.
Over all, Ms. Marmer claimed Kroger saved over $100 million in their energy reduction initiatives in 2008 alone. So it appears sustainable thinking does produce results for the bottom line. Shush now you naysayers. 

Ms. Marmer also echoed consumer demands on locally produced products, sustainable seafood, and organic and natural foods:     
"Kroger is a leader in selling natural and organic foods. Some greener products that used to be more niche are now mainstream. For example, Kroger brand organic staples like salads, fresh milk and cage-free eggs."
Lynn Marmer, vice president of Kroger. 

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