Earth Day Roundup: Trees, Tips, Reports and More

Earth Day Roundup: Trees, Tips, Reports and More

Although it's too soon to say if the Earth itself was the big winner in Earth Day 2008, given the glacial pace of progress we're seeing on many environmental fronts, but trees certainly got a big boost from the day.

As Jonathan Bardelline reported yesterday, Earth Day is increasingly marked by a diverse array of environmental initiatives from companies of all stripes, and targeted at any imaginable audience, from Yahoo's Freecycling promotion to luxury Lexus-branded hotel stays.

Perhaps in part due to the proximity of Arbor Day in the U.S. (Friday, April 25), and perhaps because the tree is a simple and universal symbol of natural beauty, several companies announced tree-planting endeavors. Canon USA launched a partnership with the American Park Network to plant a new tree for every ten of its Generation Green Products buyers register. Cisco, now the parent company of teleconferencing company WebEx, pledged to plant 100 trees for each free trial of its Meeting Center service. Xerox, which announced a host of Earth Day plans, set employees to work planting trees in Canada and New York yesterday. And NTRGlobal, a remote tech-support company, launched Techs4Trees.com and partnered with two reforestation NGOs to support tree planting with each new customer NTRGlobal signs up.

At least two companies used Earth Day as the launch date for their CSER reports. DTE Energy, a Detroit-based utility company, released its first CSR report yesterday, which focused on recent environmental successes in alternative energy sources and waste reduction as well as the company's upcoming environmental goals to continue reductions in CO2, sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions.

Supermarket chain Safeway unveiled two reports yesterday, it's annual CSR report and its summary report of environmental initiatives in 2007. Among the company's accomplishments were a recycling program that took in more than a million pounds of waste last year, and the expansion of its Greenhouse Gas Reduction Initiative, under which it joined the California Climate Action Registry, plans to add solar arrays to 23 stores (two of which were unveiled yesterday as well), and has begun converting its fleet to biodiesel.

And in a slightly different kind of reporting, Disney announced that it would launch an nature-film production company that would capitalize on the success of green-themed documentaries in recent years.

In addition to greening their own operations, many organizations used Earth Day as a way to promote tips for green living and working. Xerox gave us seven tips for a greener office; cleaning products company Betco would celebrate Earth Week by emailing green tips to subscribers, and Cathy A. Rusinko, a professor at Philadelphia University's business school, provided the top 10 tips for making sustainability stick in the workplace -- an appropriate topic given that enthusiasm for environmental activities may peak on Earth Day, but only a long-term effort will make a noticeable impact on the planet.