Blogs by InnovatorsBox®

8 Creative & Sustainable Innovators You Should Follow For Earth Day (PART 1)

What kind of values do you think your buyers care about?

We are seeing more and more of “Buy Woman-Owned, Buy Black-Owned, Buy Local, Buy Carbon Neutral…” etc. around us. Trust, Care, Transparency, Environmental Impact, Safety, and Diversity/Inclusivity are just a few values that consumers are increasingly demanding from companies and entrepreneurs. 

Buying behavior is changing for the better, and thank goodness for that.

Whether you’re looking to start or advance your sustainable journey, check out these innovators who were successful in integrating social and environmental initiatives into their company’s DNA.

1. ECO INNOVATION IN HOSPITALITY

Denise Naguib, Vice President, Sustainability & Supplier Diversity at Marriott International

Corporations have the size and scale to make a global impact and are increasingly held accountable for using their power as a force for good. Today’s travelers, restaurant patrons, hotel bookers and shoppers care about sustainability. Denise has helped lead Marriot into becoming a sustainable leader in the hospitality industry: from their community service, to investment in diverse talent, resource efficiency, and ensuring ethics along their supply chain. 

How? By getting vulnerable and actively listening to their stakeholders. 

“We opened the door for our associates to articulate their challenges. What are they seeing that’s not working? We are opening ourselves up to accepting criticisms and figuring out how to solve those problems.”

Hear more from Denise herself about how she tackles sustainability through a corporate lens, as well as what individuals can do on Episode 3 of Dear Workplace.

"We are opening ourselves up to accepting criticisms and figuring out how to solve those problems."

2. ECO INNOVATION THROUGH COMMUNITY-BUILDING

Jeff Kirschner, Founder & CEO of Litterati

How do you get 15,000+ people to agree that it’s fun to pick up litter? Jeff Kirschner did so with his app, Litterati, which allows users to record where, when, and what litter was discarded. This community-lead effort not only leads to cleaner communities, but creates a data-base where organizations can better understand and solve problems with waste in their communities. For example, Litterati cigarette data lead to a tobacco tax in San Francisco!

It doesn’t matter if you’re a student or a scientist, whether you live in Honulu or Hanoi, this is a community for everyone … started because of two little kids in the Northern California woods. And today it’s spread across the world. How are we getting there? One piece at a time.

Find out more about how Litterarti changed the narrative around litter and is making community-lead change by watching his Ted Talk here.

"It doesn’t matter if you’re a student or a scientist, whether you live in Honulu or Hanoi, this is a community for everyone

3. ECO INNOVATION IN A NONPROFIT

Lumbie Mlambo, CEO/Founder at JB Dondolo, Inc.

Lumbie identified the overlap between the lack of clean water, poverty, and gender equality. She founded JB Dondolo, Inc., a non-profit which helps underserved and impoverished communities who struggle with the lack of clean water by removing the barriers of access in the United States and Zimbabwe. The organization is named after her late father, JB Dondolo, an orphan, farmer, and humanitarian advocate. They received the UN Global Leadership Award in the category of Clean Water and Sanitation (Sustainable Development Goal 6).

“What sets us apart as a nonprofit is our scientific approach. We work with science institutions who collect water samples, test in the labs, and recommend the best solution to the problem. That way JB Dondolo doesn’t have to second-guess any solution to the problem.”

Hear more about Lumbie’s inspiring ethos and story here.

"Lead with scientific approach and don't second-guess any solution to the problem"

4. ECO INNOVATION AT THE C-SUITE LEVEL

Susan Jin Davis, (first ever) Chief Sustainability Officer, Comcast NBCUniversal

Lights! Camera! Environmental Action! Susan leads the sustainable initiatives of one of the world’s leading entertainment and media companies, NBC Universal. NBC’s initiatives go beyond reducing waste and energy efficiency. Susan helps lead the company through actions that invest in people and communities.

In 2011, Susan negotiated a historic Memorandum that created ground-breaking commitments in the areas of programming, supplier and employment diversity and community investment. Susan was also integral in the launch of a high-speed Internet adoption program for low-income Americans in the country. 

“Especially for women and people of color — be your own advocate. Speak your truth and be your CEO of your career. Be the one who takes control over your destiny. Don’t be afraid to self promote because that’s how you get opportunities.”

Watch Susan’s 3 Minute Interview about her journey to the C-Suite.

"Be the one who takes control over your destiny. Don’t be afraid to self promote because that’s how you get opportunities."

In part 2 of this blog, we feature eco innovators in four more spaces:

-> 5. ECO INNOVATION THROUGH REMOTE TEAMS

-> 6. ECO INNOVATION IN EDUCATION

-> 7. ECO INNOVATION IN TECHNOLOGY

-> 8. ECO INNOVATION IN ENERGY & WOMEN-EMPOWERMENT
 

About the Author

Picture of Monica H. Kang

Monica H. Kang

Monica H. Kang, Founder, and CEO of InnovatorsBox® and Author of Rethink Creativity is transforming today’s workforce through the power of creativity. She helps companies rethink culture, leadership, and team development by making creativity practical and relatable regardless of industry or job title. She has worked with clients worldwide including Fortune 500 companies, higher education, government, and nonprofits. Monica’s work has been recognized by The White House, Ashoka Changemakers, National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC), and Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC). Prior to InnovatorsBox®, Monica was a nuclear nonproliferation policy expert. She holds an M.A. from SAIS Johns Hopkins University in Strategic Studies and International Economics and a B.A. from Boston University.

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