Always Say Thank You

Stephanie Crim and I went out on the University of Oregon campus with the goal to get 100 people to thank us. We did this by holding the door open for people during the lunch rush at the student union and dorm cafeteria. The results were astounding and reflected well on the manners of the students at Oregon. Enjoy the video and always remember to say thank you!


Agents of cultural change

The idea that communicators must understand about being transparent and relevant in their work concerning sustainability is that they need to become agents of cultural change. In our discussions with the guest speakers, they all touched on their own philosophy of how they go about becoming these agents. Tom Osdoba, managing director of the Center for Sustainable Business Practices at the University of Oregon, believes that the greatest sustainability challenges are not economical or technological, but institutional. His philosophy motivates communicators and companies to stop making excuses about inabilities to change and use your resources, internal creativity, and innovative thinking to make the necessary sustainable changes. The spirit of his offering challenges companies who are afraid of changing how their business performs. It encourages them to find the inspiration to make the necessary institutional changes to be more socially, economically, environmentally, and culturally more sustainable.

Kevin Tuerff of Enviromedia and co-developer of the greenwashing index, believes that it is the attitudes and behaviors through social marketing that need to be agents of change. He views it as a social movement and that everyone needs to embrace. Tuerff and Enviromedia actually practice this by conducting research and developing social media outside of their agencies communication business. They promote social sustainability by conducting and coordinating acts of kindness in their communities. Every year, they go to a vendor and buy the next allotted amount of meals for people who order. This practice has become popular and has inspired other people and business to coordinate their own ways becoming more socially and culturally sustainable. They also conduct a social research project to find out what the most common littered products. Then they use social media to communicate their research with the public. They focus on the most common litter and which companies are responsible for the trash, in an attempt to inspire change to more sustainable packaging. Kevin Tuerff’s message, business model, greenwashing index, and social experiments are heroic attempts to change the behaviors of people and inspire agents of cultural change.

Leading sustainability trends

The three leading sustainability trends that I found most effect the brand world are brand transparency, greenwashing, and the practice of giving the company to the employees.  In Adam Werbach’s book Strategy for Sustainability, he uses Nike as an example of a leader in transparency by doing more and talking less.  Werbach states, “It’s this internal transparency that is the key step, not the ‘transparency’ of public relations” (Werbach 108). Nike is in the business of performance not necessarily producing the greenest products (however Nike does try to improve products and buy materials that are more sustainable). Lorrie Vogal, who is responsible for sustainability initiatives at Nike, said, “We focus on transparency and doing the work rather than talking about the work” (Werbach 108). This trend of doing what you can to make the world a better place through sustainable business practices rather than strictly through sacrificing the quality of products is a leading idea in sustainability. Nike is using transparency to improve internally; not to quite the critics or to satisfy their public relation needs.

The trend of internal transparency leads my analysis to the companies that focus on satisfying public opinion rather than actually practicing sustainability. This trend is called greenwashingdm and it has companies all around the world terrified. Greenwashing is a leading sustainability trend because it calls out companies who are fabricating or being dishonest in their sustainability efforts and practices. This affects the brand world by holding them responsible for messages associated with a brand. With the trend of sustainability, customers who are devoted to supporting sustainable companies deserve to know who are making responsible claims. This trend has also supported the effort for a regulatory system for considering a company sustainable in their practices and messages.

The third trend that I found to be a leader among the brand world is employee engagement. This trend focuses on social sustainability and responsibility to increase the level of passion people have for the work they do. Adam Werbach believes that sustainability, “can give employees an opportunity to serve something larger than themselves” (Werbach 129). Sustainability provides employees an opportunity to voice new ways of thinking, explore creative ways of solving unsustainable problems, and the ability to become a leader and innovator in internal business practices. The factor that engages to the employees at the highest level is the company’s effort of showing they care about the lives and happiness of their employees. Werbach argues that employees who actually care about social, economic, environmental, and cultural sustainability, become more motivated, happy, and engaged in corporate goals.

Matthew Knight Arena

Matthew Knight Arena is a leader among stadiums and arenas for its technology in conservation and energy management. It is set to receive the Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) Gold award which is an internationally recognized green building certification. The new arena provides a bold and sustainable entrance to campus.

Bryan Flaherty and Rob Beard would like to explore and communicate the sustainable technology that went into the design of the new arena. We want to see where the materials came from and the reasons the builders selected certain materials. We will also look at some of the places where the building or construction could have been or become more environmentally friendly.

Our mission is to create a piece of work that serves as a model for sustainable building practices, and to show that the University of Oregon and Phil Knight value sustainability. We are hoping that we can interview the architect, building manager, and construction manger.

The audience for this peace is for the University of Oregon community, sustainability thought leaders, and to inspire construction of more environmental friendly arenas or buildings. We want to communicate this by creating a poster with our research and a strategic design.

This is a good fit for our body of work because we want to show that we value sustainability and the University of Oregon’s effort to be a leader among sustainable Universities. We are excited to create a piece of work that reflects well on ourselves and the University of Oregon.


Institutional Changes

In my Communicating Sustainability class we had the pleasure of bringing in Tom Osdoba, the Managing Director of the Center for Sustainable Business Practices at Lundquist College of Business at the University of Oregon. During his presentation he highlighted an easy way to show a CEO or CFO effects of sustainable business practices that really hit home for me so I decided to do some research. He started out by giving simple expenses for company.

$1 for utilities

$10 for building costs

$100 for employment costs

Say that the CFO thinks that switching to a more sustainable building is only satisfying the environmentalist and doesn’t have a direct benefit of the company. However, switching to a building that allows for more natural light and fresher air would reduce the cost of utilities but would sacrifice building costs in order to make these improvements.

$1 –> $.70 utilities

$10 –> $1.10 building costs

Now comes the interesting part. William Fisk and Arthur Rosenfeld conducted a study researching the Potential Nationwide Improvements in Productivity and Health from Better Indoor Environments at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in 1998. They calculated that improving the air in an indoor work environment can decrease potential respiratory illness by a range of 9% to 20%.This reduces the cost of health care, number of sick days employees need, unhealthy employees at work, and the overall psychological health of the employees on a day to day basis.  Let’s assume that the decrease in illness has a 3% increase in productivity.

$100 –> $103 increase in productivity

Lighting also has a large effect of the employee’s ability to work because of the reliance of vision in the work place. In Fisk and Rosenfeld’s study they found a 6% increase in postal workings sorting mail performance by upgrading their lighting to a more sustainably option saving them energy. In schools they found that day lighting or a window area increased performance in math and reading were 16% to 26%. This shows a great productivity increase due to better and more sustainable lighting. Let’s assume that better lighting has a 5% increase in productivity.

$103 –> $108.15 increase in productivity

Therefore spending $100 on employee wages will increase their productivity after sustainability improvements to $108.15 worth of productivity. That is an 8.15% improvement in employee productivity. Resulting in:

$.70 –> Utilities

$1.10 –> Building costs

$100 –>employees cost with $108.15 worth of production

“The greatest sustainability challenges are not technological or economics, they are institutional.” –Tom Osdoba

William Fisk and Arthur Rosenfeld, Potential Nationwide Improvements in Productivity and Health From Better Indoor Environments, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, May 1998.

Making the World a Better Place, One Loaf of Bread at a Time

CEO’s have a lot of reasons for switching to sustainable practices, but there is not many that are more inspirational than Dave Dahl’s from Dave’s Killer Bread. Dave’s story is a powerful story about humility and family. Dave spent 15 years in jail for a variety of charges including: armed robbery, assault, delivery of a controlled substance, and possession of a firearm. After Dave was released for the final time, he knew that this time was different. “I was a four time loser before I realized I was in the wrong game,” Dave Dahl. With the kindness and forgiveness of his brother and Dave’s humility and hope, in 2005 he went back to the family business of bread making and before long opened Dave’s Killer Bread.

Video Courtesy of and

Dave’s Killer Bread incorporated the values of their humble owner and practiced sustainability from the beginning. Their mission was to bake the highest quality wholegrain and organic bread without compromise, to contribute positively to our community, and to create a respectful and enjoyable place for our employees to work. They focused on three aspects of sustainability that they wanted to practice within the company. They are social initiatives, organic ingredients, and environmental initiatives.

The community and social initiatives mission was to make the community as a whole, stronger and reach out to those less fortunate than themselves. They donate over 75,000 loaves of Dave’s Killer Bread a year to a number of different local food charities. Several times a year they have a “charity week” where half the proceeds from the store go to charities like Meals On Wheels, Project Pooch, and Work Source. They donate countless gift baskets to silent auctions to support schools, community events, and charities. Dave often tells his inspirational story to schools, service groups, and Rotary and Lions Clubs. However, I think the most powerful impact that Dave has made in the community is his effort to help out current and ex-convicts. Dave regularly visits inmates in Oregon and Washington to give them hope and inspiration for when they are released. He also has created a successful program for hiring ex-cons and encourages other companies to do the same because of Dave’s belief in redemption. Dave’s Killer Bread believes that supporting and embracing the opportunities to make the world a better place is just good business.

“Just say no to bread on drugs”-Dave’s Killer Bread slogan

Along with the community Dave’s Killer Bread values organic ingredients. The ingredients that they use at no time come into contact with chemicals, genetically modified organisms or anything that was processed using ionizing radiation or contains food additives. They believe that organic ingredients are not only better for the environment but are more nutritious and better tasting. They are transparent by giving an online glossary of all the ingredients they use in the bread and growing procedures for each ingredient. All of Dave’s breads are certified organic by Quality Assurance International.

Finally, the most recognizable form of sustainability the environmental incentives. Below is the company philosophy about protecting the planet as well as a list of their sustainable practices directly from their website. As you can see on their list they don’t only do these things but also encourage others to follow by providing links to sustainability information.

“At Dave’s Killer Bread, we believe that sustainable practices are not just good for the planet, they are good for business as well. We know that our operation isn’t perfect, but we do what we can to reduce our impact on the planet. We’re always looking for new ways to improve our systems; here are the ones we have found so far:” –

  • We buy 100% wind power. This means that an equivalent amount of energy that we use at our bakery is added to the electrical grid from 100% wind sources. Supporting renewable energy allows us to eliminate about 1,100,000 lbs of CO2 emissions every year in the NW. If you’re not already a green power customer at home, take a look at to find out what you can do to help.
  • We buy most of our ingredients in recyclable paper bags, and we make sure to recyle them.
  • We use a biodegradable plastic bread bag. More info about these on this page.
  • We use a bicycle delivery service for some of our deliveries. They’re called B-Line. Check them out; what they do is pretty awesome!
  • We use recycled paper for our brochures and in our copier and printer, and we try to eliminate the need to print things whenever possible.
  • We sell “factory imperfect” bread at The Healthy Bread Store instead of throwing it away. Surplus “imperfect” bread is donated to local food banks and other charities. The rest of our food waste goes to local livestock ranchers to feed to their animals.
  • We pay our employees living wages (how sustainable is trying to live on minimum wage?) and we provide medical insurance and retirement contributions. And we treat our employees with respect.

Dave’s Killer Bread is a poster boy for sustainable business practices. They have proven that companies can be socially and environmentally sustainable while still producing a great product. Dave’s killer Bread is considered by many, as well as Willamette Week, as the best bread in Portland.