While each of us as individuals learns to cut our energy consumption, entire enterprises are also looking at the ways they conduct business with an eye toward making their products and processes greener.
Like organic foods (once a small selection for the few who considered them a must-have but now a growing presence in grocery aisles), eco-friendly manufactured goods are gaining a dedicated consumer following. Awareness of the Earth's environmental peril is prompting people to increasingly spend their dollars on brands that put sustainability values into action.
Sustainable businesses strive to meet what's called the "triple bottom line: people, planet, profit" ratified by the United Nations in 2007.
- "People" refers to "human capital" and pertains to fair and beneficial business practices toward labour and the community in which a corporation conducts its business.
- "Planet" refers to "natural capital" and a company's endeavors to do no harm and curtail environmental impact.
- "Profit" refers to "economic benefit" but goes beyond traditional financial gain to include social and environmental impacts.
Adam J. Sulkowski, Assistant Professor of Business Law and Corporate Responsibility, Charlton College of Business, www.faculty.umassd.edu/adam.sulkowski/ has authored the following papers on corporate social responsibility:
- Adam J. Sulkowski, S.P. Parashar and Lu Wei. Corporate Responsibility Reporting in China, India, Japan, and the West: One Mantra Does Not Fit All. New England Law Review, Volume 42, Number 4, Summer 2008.
- Adam J. Sulkowski. 2008. Ultra Vires Statutes: Alive, Kicking, and a Means of Circumventing the Scalia Standing Gauntlet in Environmental Litigation. Sulkowski "Ultra Vires Statutes" Abstract
Eco-friendly and Renewable Endeavors
Current Research: Sustainable Materials & Fabrics
Textile science is showing great promise in developing new materials and fabrics for the environmental marketplace. As consumers from around the world increasingly seek out such eco-friendly textiles, researchers are are investigating how to revolutionize both their products and the full lifecycle of manufacturing those products.
Contact for Bio-inspired Materials: Dr. Nima Rahbar, Assistant Prof., Civil and Environmental Engineering, www.umassd.edu/engineering/cen/people/faculty/rahbar.cfm
Contact for Natural Dyes and Animal Fibers: Chancellor Professor Kenneth D. Langley, M.S. Materials and Textiles Department, www.umassd.edu/engineering/mtx/people/faculty/langley.cfm
Current Research: Recycling Scrap Tires
Christos G. Papakonstantinou and William Edberg are conducting ongoing research into utilizing recycled tires in concrete mixtures. The U.S. produces over 270 million waste tires each year. The EPA estimates that two to three billion scrap tires are in landfills and stockpiles around the country, and that that each person generates one waste tire per year. Scrap tires represent a huge disposal problem and at the same time a vast resource opportunity. Research is showing that rubber from scrap tires may be useful in asphalt mixtures, and UMass Dartmouth is further studying whether use of such rubber is possible for structural concrete.
Published Research Paper: Utilization of Recycled Rubber in Concrete Mixtures, Christos G. Papakonstantinou and William Edberg, UMass Dartmouth Engineering Department, Civil and Environmental Engineering www.umassd.edu/engineering/cen/research/rubber.cfm
Current Research: Green Chemistry
Green chemistry, also known as sustainable chemistry, is the design of chemical products and processes that reduce or eliminate use or generation of hazardous substances. Green chemistry applies across the life cycle, including the design, manufacture, and use of a chemical product.
One area of green chemistry under investigation by UMass Dartmouth researchers involves the promise of green dyes to replace toxic synthetic and petroleum-based dyes. Each year, the textile industry produces and uses approximately 1.3 million tons of dyes, pigments, and dye precursors, valued at around $23 billion. Almost all dyes are produced synthetically. However, using and producing synthetic dyes involves toxic compounds, petroleum, and hazardous wastes. Bioengineered natural dyes eliminate these drawbacks, plus the residual biomass could be utilized for energy generation. UMass Dartmouth has been conducting research on dyes from the American Cranberry (Vaccinium macrocarpon) and the fungal species Curvularia lunata and Curvularia pallescens.
Published Research Paper: Green Dyes for the Textile Industry, Sukalyan Sengupta, Civil & Environmental Engineering/UMass Dartmouth, www.umass.edu/tei/neti/neti_pdf/Technical abstracts.pdf
Alternative solvents are the subject of research for UMass researchers in Chemistry and Biochemistry who seek to synthesize CF2-containing cyclic, bicyclic or heterocyclic systems. Such systems would facilitate the building of libraries aimed at designing enzyme-activated irreversible inhibitors and other biologically active species. If a vinyl CF2 group were to become an intrinsic component of a substituted allene, diene or dienyne, the resulting compounds would be ideally suited for the construction of carbocycles. The UMass Dartmouth research group has already discovered an environmentally benign synthesis of a r.t. stable fluoroallenylsilane indium (Wang, Z.; Hammond, G. B. J. Org. Chem. 2000, 65, 6547-6552.).
Published Research Paper: A Ring Fluorination Toolbox Using Fluoro-organometallic Building Blocks, Gerald Hammond, Chemistry & Biochemistry/UMass Dartmouth, www.umass.edu/tei/neti/neti_pdf/Technical abstracts.pdf