Articles tagged "Better than yesterday"

Peas Be With You

You may not think of books and compost as the most obvious friends, but when it comes to Lulu and CompostNow, we have a lot more in common than you’d first guess. Our organizations are passionate about sustainability, building community, and always looking for reasons to play in the dirt!

Earlier this year, Lulu partnered with CompostNow to provide composting bins in our Morrisville, NC office. Thanks to that effort, we have diverted approximately 267 lbs of food scraps since Feb. 2017.

Lulu’s scraps will produce 67 lbs of rich compost, and avoid releasing 35 lbs of methane at the landfill.1 That’s enough to offset 1,517 miles driven by a car, or like parking it for 5.2 weeks.2 Even better, the compost can grow 27 tomato plants, yielding 135 delicious tomatoes.

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Earlier this week, we teamed up to meet in the Alliance Medical Ministry’s community garden- an organization that provides healthcare services to uninsured Wake County residents, one of the recipients of compost from CompostNow. We were pretty excited to close the loop and see what good our veggie scraps were up to.

Some may remember Lulu’s volunteer day with Alliance Medical Ministry last July- a productive day described as “roasty toasty”. https://betterthanyesterday.lulu.com/2016/07/19/blog-post-title-2/

Once our group arrived, Alliance’s Garden & Wellness Program Coordinator, Jesse Crouch, lead us through the garden.

We toured each bed and were encouraged along the way to eat various flowers and leaves. “Try it! It’s good!” Jesse exclaimed with an extended hand full of tiny flowers. “These are collard green flowers. That’s an arugula that’s gone to seed. You can still eat it. Those pink flowers are… something you can eat, but I can’t remember what it’s called.” Some of us were a little skeptical, but most gladly put freshly-picked greenery in our mouths.

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Jesse also taught us how to carefully transplant delicate, baby plants. We first mixed up a garden bed with compost and dirt. Then, we made a little well in the dirt to help water run towards the plant. Next, we opened a small hole for the plant, covered it with dirt, and whispered sweet nothings to ensure plant happiness.

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Here’s a QA Engineer, Andrea, in the zone as she pulls weeds from the onion and garlic beds

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Below is a tiny okra plant transplanted by one of our QA Engineers, Matt. It can’t be confirmed, but I’m pretty sure he later gave the okra the tiniest high-five and whispered “You got this!”

 

The Alliance garden also has two new beehives! We weren’t able to get up close and personal, but we did watch from a distance as the tiny bees fluttered to and fro with pollen covered bodies.

To help out the bee friends, we pulled bunches of weeds from their pollinator flower garden. You’re welcome, bees.

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To learn more about Alliance Medical Ministry, check out: http://www.alliancemedicalministry.org/

They’re hosting a Farm to Table fundraiser dinner that is sure to be amazing. You may get to eat the veggies we tended to on our volunteer garden day!

CompostNow services the Morrisville, NC Lulu office. We toss our food scraps and they pick them up every Friday to begin the decomposing process and make that beautiful, dark compost. Easy peasy.

Residents of the Triangle and surrounding area can learn more about CompostNow and get a free two-week trial: https://compostnow.org/offer/lulu/

Lulu has a Can-Do Attitude 

Join Team Lulu on a tour of the Sonoco Reclamation Center to celebrate Earth Month and expand our knowledge of the waste stream!

On a crisp, Carolina blue Thursday, we embarked on a journey alongside our LaCroix cans, yogurt cups, and other recyclables. Our eco-excitement electrified the air. Or, it may have been the rumblings of trucks and giant machinery sorting paper from cardboard, glass, plastics, and metals.

Recycling Truck

For some of us, the thought of recycling and environmentalism may conjure images of crunchy folks in Birkenstocks asking if you have a minute for the environment as you nervously pick up your pace and avoid all eye contact.

However, there’s another aspect of recycling that many people don’t consider – JOBS!

The Sonoco Reclamation Center in Raleigh, NC processes around 350 tons per day in two 10-hour shifts, with 4 hours for cleaning. At the time of our tour, the Sonoco team was processing items at a rate of 11.9 tons per hour.

A recent article from The News & Observer pointed to statistics showing that recycling plastic bottles employs around 1,700 people in the Carolinas. Likewise, if each household recycled just two additional plastic bottles a week, we could create 300 brand-spankin’ new jobs.

Currently, 3 billion bottles, or about a third of all plastic bottles, are thrown away in North and South Carolina. We’re tossing out jobs left and right!

According to the Carolinas Plastics Recycling Council, we currently only produce 25% of the recycled plastic from bottles need to make new products. The other 75% is purchased from other states in the US and abroad. The more Carolinians recycle, the more we can cut costs, create jobs, and keep it local, y’all.

Recycling machine

That said, not all items are accepted by recycling centers. It’s important to keep in mind that plastic grocery bags should not be added to commingled recycling. Facilities like Sonoco are unable to process plastic bags, and when they find them among recycling, the bags end up in a landfill. Instead, consumers should bring back plastic grocery bags to grocers who can properly recycle the bags .

You can find a recycle location near you: http://www.abagslife.com/find-a-recycle-center/

Can’t remember which bin to toss your bottles, food scraps, and other trash? Lulu’s got your back! Download these free recycling and composting infographics.

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Check with your municipality to learn the specifics of what can and cannot be recycled.

Together, we can all be like Jake the trash truck and become recycling heroes.

http://www.lulu.com/shop/yvonne-osborne-and-scott-osborne/jake-the-happy-trash-truck/paperback/product-22765637.html

Go get ‘em, you recycling superstar!

Lulu Team Recycling

Read more here: http://www.newsobserver.com/news/business/article143301594.html#storylink=cpy

Your bottle means jobs: https://yourbottlemeansjobs.com/pledge/


About the Author

Sheridan is Lulu’s Coordinator of Sustainability and Outreach. She is also an author advocate, a friend to all cats everywhere, a clog aficionado, and an art maker.

Do people really care where their stuff comes from?

Members of the Lulu team recently attended the 12th annual Sustainable Business and Social Impact Conference (SBSI) sponsored by Duke University.  Lulu COO, Kathy Hensgen participated in a panel discussion titled “Responsible Consumption and Production – Do People Really Care Where Their Stuff Comes From?”

Katie Kross, the Managing Director of Duke University’s Center for Energy, Development, and the Global Environment (EDGE), led the conversation with representatives from Walmart, Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute, Burt’s Bees, and Lulu. Each participant provided a unique perspective on their social and environmental impacts.

As part of the discussion, Hensgen explained that Lulu’s path to sustainability began in 2002 following Bob Young’s experience publishing traditionally. When all was said and done, he did all the work, got paid the least, and ended up with a garage full of books his contract required him to purchase as stock. In response, Young launched Lulu, a DIY print-on-demand publisher. The print-on-demand model removes the burden of maintaining a book inventory allowing authors and institutions to print only the books they need at any given time. He later learned that nearly 40% of all traditionally published print books do not sell and are eventually returned for pulping and recycling.  So not only did his print-on-demand model benefit authors, it also benefited the environment by preserving our natural resources.

Contributing to Lulu’s sustainability initiative, our global print partners are contractually obligated to manufacture books with a 0.5% defect rate or lower. This not only ensures high quality books, but also reduces waste by eliminating rework and reprints. Lulu books are printed on paper that is Forest Stewardship Council certified meaning suppliers must follow good harvesting practices.

Panel participants. Kathy Hensgen is seated on the far right.

 

Following the completion of our B Corp certification, Lulu remains committed to a path of continuous improvement with a strong focus on the environment. In addition to our sustainable business practices, Lulu recently relocated to an energy-efficient building, uses eco-friendly office products, has implemented robust recycling programs (including composting). We are now also purchasing renewable energy credits and working with our supply chain to improve their environmental impact.

We think people do actually care where their products come from. Sustainability is not always easy, but we believe that even small steps and improvements make a big impact over time. In all we do, our goal is to be better than yesterday, everyday.

2016 B Corp Champions Retreat: Working Towards an Inclusive Economy

2016 B Corp Champions Retreat

2016 B Corp Champions Retreat

By: SheridanH@Lulu

Earlier this year, when we learned the 2016 B Corp Champions Retreat was scheduled to take place just down the road in Durham, North Carolina, the Lulu team went into overdrive, feverishly working to earn the 80 points required for certification. We were determined to attend the event and this past Summer we received our certification. Unfortunately for us, the planning committee decided to relocate the retreat in protest of North Carolina’s discriminatory law HB2.

So, instead of a 20 minute drive to Durham, we packed our bags for Philadelphia. Kathy Hensgen, Lulu SVP of Operations, and I flew to Philly to represent Team Lulu and the state of North Carolina as we know it – a community that may be imperfect, but is full of innovation, love, and determined to heal the hurt of HB2 and grow towards a more accepting society.

We made it. Sheridan and Kathy on retreat.

We made it. Sheridan and Kathy on retreat.

 

Because of HB2, I was worried Lulu would be treated like the embarrassing cousin nobody wants to sit next to at Thanksgiving. Instead, we were greeted with open arms and words of encouragement from other B Corps – exemplifying this year’s theme “Towards an Inclusive Economy.”

Here are some lessons we learned during the Retreat:

Business Can be Compassionate

We are not robots. Lulu is a business run by humans to help other humans create and share their content. We can use the humanity of our business to influence communities using a platform that reaches thousands of people each day.

Lulu may not directly cure diseases or end world hunger, but we can amplify the voices of our authors who take on these difficult issues. Whether it’s talking about issues of social justice or raising awareness about problems faced by our stakeholders, businesses should take a stance.

Teamwork Makes the Dream Work

So far, Lulu has scored 80 out of 200 points on the B Corp Impact Assessment.  That means there are at least 120 points of improvement remaining to tackle. We learned from other B Corporations the best way to guarantee continuous improvement is to create an internal team that holds members accountable.

This is not only a better way to get stuff done, but it also encourages employee engagement. Who doesn’t get fired up about their work when they know they are making the world a little better day by day?

Teamwork - How do we achiever our goals?

Teamwork – How do we achieve our goals?

Inclu$ivty & Diver$ity

We’d all like to say our work environments are inclusive and accepting.

However, if the workforce isn’t diverse, the business may be falling short of proactively reaching out to diverse candidates and using hiring practices like removing names from resumes and posting on a variety of job search engines.

If we wish to better serve our communities, businesses should seek diversity by recruiting employee from groups who are chronically under-employed such as domestic abuse survivors, veterans, returning citizens, and anyone who has been out of the workforce for a substantial period of time. The more perspectives available, the greater the chance we’ll have to resolve business questions and effectively serve our customers.

The best solutions come when everyone contributes.

The best solutions come when everyone contributes.

Telling the B Corp Story

At Lulu we haven’t been shy about our B Corp certification, but we haven’t climbed to the rooftop and shouted for the world to hear.

Authors and readers, we need your help. You are some of our most important stakeholders. The books you create and read with Lulu and our sustainable print-on-demand technology are crucial to our B Corp certification.  Choosing Lulu means that you are an advocate for environmental and social change. You believe in the power of for-profit businesses to do good.

So spread the word that you are part of this great B Corp family! You hang out with the likes of Lulu, Etsy, Dr. Bronner’s, Ben & Jerry’s, Patagonia, and many more. In fact, you probably have some awesome B Corps in your area.

We encourage you to reach out to those businesses and show that you’re in it to win it. The more momentum the B Corp movement gets, the faster we will achieve an inclusive economy.

 

Learn More About Our B Corp Journey

Lulu: Good for Authors, Good for the World

B Corp Update: Sooooo Close!

B Better Than Yesterday: Lulu Achieves B Corporation Certification

 

Better for Authors. Better for the World.

Better for Authors. Better for the World.

B Better Than Yesterday: Lulu Achieves B Corporation Certification

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Lulu is proud to announce we recently received certification as a B Corporation, making Lulu the first online publishing company to achieve B Corp status. This prestigious designation is awarded to companies that harness the power of business by observing higher standards of performance, transparency and accountability to solve social and environmental problems.

Lulu pioneered the sharing economy when it introduced free online publishing to the world. “Lulu’s original intent was to remove barriers to publishing so that all authors could tell their story and profit from their knowledge. Little did we know, the print-on-demand business model we developed would eventually save millions and millions of trees from being turned into books no one wanted,” said Lulu founder, Bob Young.

Young refers to recently released statistics stating that approximately 40% of all books printed by traditional publishers will not be sold. Instead they will be returned by retailers and pulped. This means that hundreds of millions of books are being printed, shipped, shelved, returned and pulped each year. About 13% of the paper in every book you buy is composed of recycled paper generated by this pulping process. The remainder comes from our forests.

Lulu’s business model prevents this horrendous waste of natural resources through use of print-on-demand technology. Books ordered from the Lulu bookstore are printed when they are purchased, using certified sustainable paper products and are shipped directly from the printer to the buyer – further reducing Lulu’s, as well as our authors’ and their readers’ carbon footprint.Lulu Loves Trees header

“We always knew that Lulu was environmentally friendly, but as we worked through the B Corp certification process, we learned of the additional impact we can make each day through fair business practices and community involvement,” said Nigel Lee, Lulu CEO.

To encourage greater community involvement, all Lulu employees are granted three paid volunteer days per year to help others in their communities. Employees can participate in Lulu sponsored group activities or share their skills with organizations close to their hearts.

“Lulu is committed to improving our B-Corp scores,” Lee continues. “By trying a little harder each day to achieve this goal, we will make the world better today than it was yesterday. We do that one story, one tree, one classroom, one community, and one paid volunteer day at a time. It’s part of our story. What’s yours?”

View Lulu’s Impact Report

 

About B Corp

Certified B Corporations meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance; legally expand their corporate responsibilities to include consideration of stakeholder interests; and build collective voice through the power of the unifying B Corporation brand. Today, there is a growing community of more than 1,600 Certified B Corps from 42 countries and over 120 industries working together toward one unifying goal: to redefine success in business.

About B Lab

B Lab is a nonprofit organization serving a global movement of people using business as a force for good. Its vision is that one day all companies compete not only to be the best in the world, but the Best for the World® and as a result society will enjoy a more shared and durable prosperity. Learn more bout B Lab.

 

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