GreenBiz.com's Top 10 Most Popular Stories of 2008

GreenBiz.com's Top 10 Most Popular Stories of 2008

In a year when the economy was all the business world could talk about, our readers dug in deep to stories about creating change, overhauling the ways business gets done, and yes, how going green can save big money.

On a daily basis, we covered news about innovations, commitments and the thousands of small achievements that lead to big impacts from companies around the world. As the economic picture became more and more dire, our readers still flocked to stories about how any company can save money and improve the planet through little changes in daily operations.

Below, we are pleased to present the 10 most-read stories of the year on GreenBiz.com; don't miss also the top stories from each of our sister sites: ClimateBiz.com, GreenerBuildings.com, GreenerComputing.com and GreenerDesign.com.

One note before we begin: In July, notorious newsman Matt Drudge linked from his website to our coverage of a new law requiring cars in California to display a "global warming score". The resulting onslaught of new readers put this story far out in front in terms of overall traffic. But while the comments in that story are an intriguing look at how a certain segment of the population perceives some green issues, we ruled that story out of the running in order to level the playing field.

Without further ado: the Top 10 stories from 2008 as chosen by you, our loyal readers.

10. How to Create Change in a Conservative Culture
By Anna Clark

No one said change was easy, especially transforming a conservative company or organization into a green one. To tackle this quandary, contributor Anna Clark introduced us to Dan Northcut, the director of environmental studies at a private school in Texas who was able to build broad support for renewable energy, LEED construction on two new buildings and a single-stream recycling program during the last two years.

A few of Dan’s traits included personal commitment, collaboration, the ability to draw support from all levels of the organization while his educating his audience -- all characteristics, Anna says, that can serve as a road map for aspiring change agents to follow when leading a company down a greener path.

9. Toxins Present in One-Third of Toys
By GreenerDesign Staff

Many people blame China when lead or mercury ends up in children’s toys, but a recent test project also turned up toxic substances in toys made in the U.S. and other countries. The grand total was sobering: Roughly one-third of the 1,500 toys tested by the Ecology Center contained contaminants that include cadmium, mercury, lead and other chemicals. Kid’s jewelry fared the worst, with 15 percent having lead levels about the federal recall limit of 600 parts per million.

8. Meet The Game-Changing Green Entrepreneurs
By Joel Makower

Today’s green entrepreneurs are driving innovations in business strategy, taking the cue from the hard lessons learned during the dot-com boom-and-bust, while also illustrating the can-do spirit of the era. In this excerpt from his new book, “Strategies for the Green Economy,” GreenBiz.com Executive Editor Joel Makower explores the new green frontier and some of its most exciting new players, such as mkDesigns, an architectural firm founded by Michelle Kaufman that creates affordable prefabricated green housing, or Shai Agassi, the 40-year-old Silicon Valley veteran working to bring a smart electric recharge grid to entire countries, such as Israel and Portugal.

7. The Four Simple Steps to Pitch-Perfect Green Marketing
By Joel Makower

In another exclusive excerpt of his book, Joel looks at four easy steps that can help companies develop and communicate the right green strategy. For guidance, Joel tapped Andrew Shapiro, CEO of the consultancy GreenOrder, who counts General Electric, Office Depot and Pfizer among its clients. Shapiro explains his company’s approach to mitigating green marketing risks based on four basic tenets: Credibility, Relevance, Effective messaging and Differentiation.

6. Aveda Launches Nationwide Bottle Cap Recycling Program
By GreenerDesign Staff

Aveda launched a nationwide recycling program earlier this year that focuses on the plastic bottle caps from its hair care and beauty products. The hard bottle tops will get collected at its stores, beauty salons and schools before being sent to the company’s recycler, where they will be broken down and re-molded into new caps and containers. Aveda also reached out to its customers to promote the campaign by offering free samples to those who brought in 25 or more caps.

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5. USPS Saves $5 Million Annually With Transportation Consolidation
By GreenBiz Staff

The U.S. Postal Service made headlines when it announced it saved a whopping $10 million in two years by deploying a transportation optimization system that helps consolidate trips. Its Highway Corridor Analytics Program (HCAP), developed with IBM, analyzes operations, loads and routes to determine the best way to deliver mail while saving gas and money.

4. The Balanced Scorecard and Corporate Social Responsibility: Aligning Values for Profit
By David Crawford and Todd Scaletta

First published in October of 2005, this article is the graybeard among the bunch. In it, the authors offer up an overview of the benefits for corporate reporting, something that we've seen is steadily on the rise: in our annual State of Green Business report, we find a steady rise among U.S.-based FT500 or S&P 500 companies that are filing corporate CSR reports.

3. Top 8 Ways to Go Green on the Cheap
By Sarah Fister Gale

If there was a story perfectly attuned to these times, this story from our contributing writer Sarah Fister Gale is it. In a time when corporate budgets for all kinds of projects are on the chopping block, Sarah looks at the ways that companies can make a big impact with little up-front payment. The best part of these kinds of projects is that they often serve to whet the appetite: when your business sees easy improvements to the bottom line by going green, bigger, more ambitious projects are sure to follow. (Appropriately enough, Sarah also covered these types of projects, in a story that ranked #12 on the most-popular list, Taking Green Initiatives to the Next Level.)

2. California Adopts Green Building Code for All New Construction
By Leslie Guevarra

As California goes, so goes the nation, and when the Golden State passed a new, soon-to-be-mandatory green building code, readers checked in to see not just what would happen to buildings in the country's most populous state, but also how that would presumably begin to affect the rest of the country's plans for green buildings.

1. The New Green Focus for Future MBAs
By Padma Nagappan

Far and away our most popular story this year (Drudge-related traffic notwithstanding), this article explored the ways business schools are responding to and shaping demand for sustainability education.

Padma's piece showed how students are clamoring to bring sustainability into MBA programs that are not green from the get-go, and the article highlighted the ways that business schools are helping to shape the future of business by bringing green ideas to new realms of study. On top of that, what better retreat from a bad economy than to go back to school for a couple years and come out when times are better?

For all the economic turmoil we're enduring on a day-to-day basis, the stories we're covering every day on GreenBiz.com and our sister sites show that interest in corporate responsibility and sustainability is not waning. In fact, as more and more business leaders see the many benefits of going green -- not the least of which is of course the substantial cost savings from improved efficiency -- we expect to see steadily bigger and better stories come from the halls of the corporate world.

Finally, a hearty thanks to all of our readers for making 2008 a successful year, and here's looking ahead to a greener 2009.

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