CEO Corner

Meeting with our New Advisory Council

By Arthur Weissman, Ph.D, Green Seal President/CEO After several years in the planning, Green Seal’s Board of Directors finally established an Advisory Council this year. Beyond putting some well-known names on our roster, the Council is intended to broaden Green Seal’s reach to new audiences, especially consumers, and to connect us with thought-leaders in various areas of sustainability. My assistant, Kat, helped get the Council off and running, and her previous blog post offers greater detail about each of its members. I’d like to talk here about a recent experience I had with several of the Council members who live on the East Coast.

CEO Corner

Green Seal in the Sustainability Movement: Our relationship to other NGOs and government

By Arthur Weissman, Ph.D, Green Seal President/CEO Green Seal was one of the first U.S. non-profit organizations (“NGOs”) to make the greening of the economy the focus of its efforts. We have worked from the start on promoting more sustainable business practices by identifying greener products and services in many categories and helping to catalyze market demand for them. When I espoused this view of Green Seal years ago, the head of another environmental group, who happened to be on my Board, objected that his (advocacy) organization was also about greening the economy. No doubt he was correct. But there was a critical difference.

CEO Corner

Anecdotes: The Battle Over Third-Party Seals

By Arthur Weissman, Ph.D, Green Seal President/CEO No one today would question the legitimacy of credible third-party environmental certification programs. This was not always the case, not so long ago. When Green Seal and several European ecolabels were starting up two decades and more ago, some large U.S. consumer product companies became alarmed. They protested in many forums and used many arguments to discredit our programs. They said that setting national environmental standards for products was impossible and unscientific because environmental impacts of manufacturing and use vary geographically and are subjective to the purchaser.

CEO Corner

Anecdotes: The Uptake of GS-37

By Arthur Weissman, Ph.D, Green Seal President/CEO How did one of Green Seal’s standards become the de facto national standard for green cleaning products and even required by law in several states? The history is instructive, for Green Seal works in the world of voluntary, incentive programs that are generally beyond legal compliance.

CEO Corner

Our Role in the Sustainability Movement: Our Tools and Methods

By Arthur Weissman, Ph.D, Green Seal President/CEO In a previous blog in this series [reference: “Our role in the sustainability movement: the nature of our work”], I made a distinction between the goals of Green Seal’s work and how we try to achieve them. I even objected to our being considered merely as an ecolabeling or certification program, only because this is a tool or method we employ, not the purpose of our work.

CEO Corner

Telling anecdotes from GS history: the mechanic at USPS, and other morale stories

By Arthur Weissman, Ph.D, Green Seal President/CEO “Did we get the Green Seal? Did we get the Green Seal?” Covered with grease from head to toe, the mechanic came running to me from underneath the mail truck he was maintaining. I smiled appreciatively at his interest, but had to tell him that I was just gathering background information in my inspection of his facility. Back in the mid-1990s, when Green Seal branched out to work with Federal agencies and other institutions to help green their operations, we had the opportunity to work with the Southeast Region of the US Postal Service on developing a standard for fleet vehicle maintenance facilities. USPS ran the world’s largest fleet, and their sustainability person realized that they could show leadership by making significant environmental improvements in how they maintained the fleet. I went on several tours of USPS facilities in Florida and Georgia to…

CEO Corner

Green Seal – Not Simply a Certifier…

By Arthur Weissman, Ph.D, Green Seal President/CEO As long as I’ve been at Green Seal, I’ve found it difficult to give people a satisfactory cocktail-party response when they ask where I work and what I do. I can say, of course, that Green Seal is an environmental certification organization or ecolabeling program, and (when I get blank stares) that we identify green products and services through our seal of approval. But that doesn’t really explain what we try to do or why – just how we do it. And I don’t think it does justice to Green Seal’s actual mission and purpose. In truth, I think about Green Seal’s work in pretty grand terms. We’re really about helping to make the economy more sustainable in order to protect our world and everything living within it. To achieve this goal we focus on greening the outputs of the economy, its products…

CEO Corner

Transforming the Marketplace for Over 20 Years

By Arthur Weissman, Ph.D, Green Seal President/CEO I am delighted to welcome you to this inaugural Green Seal blog!  Green Seal is excited that social media allows us to reach our constituencies more effectively, including the consumer – who is responsible for 70% of the economy. As a child (and son of a doctor), I received a desk tray with a curious quote on it:  “Medicine is the only profession that labors incessantly to destroy the reason for its own existence.”  I found this juxtaposition of diligence and self-sacrifice both intriguing and admirable.  (I wish I could say this adage is what deterred me from becoming a doctor, but I was not so clever.) In many ways, the environmental field and all groups like Green Seal with environmental missions have a similar built-in sunset.  If we succeed, we don’t need to practice anymore.  If the economy and society truly become…