Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Imperative - Transforming Careers and Teams by Activating Purpose

Along the discussion of employee satisfaction and happiness from Week 9, there is a Seattle-based startup called Imperative that is using an online assessment and platform to better understand employees' drivers of purpose. According to the organization, Imperative's living assessment and learning platform empowers people and teams to uncover and activate purpose to address their most critical needs and building a workforce where everyone is fulfilled.

If you are interested in learning more, visit 

Imperative will be coming to campus for to host a workshop on purpose in the workplace at IMPACT WEEK, hosted by Net Impact and Impact@Anderson.

The workshop is Friday, April 13, 2018 from 11:00am - 1:00pm. To sign up for this event and learn more about IMPACT WEEK, click here!

UCLA Fleet Sustainability Plan

UCLA Fleet is responsible for the acquisition, management and disposal of university-owned vehicles. University of California President Janet Napolitano announced the Carbon Neutrality Initiative (CNI) in 2013, which commits all UC fleets to emit net zero greenhouse gases by 2025. In support of this, UCLA Fleet is preparing Carbon Neutral Fleet Plans that detail its approach to reaching net-zero carbon emissions from fleet vehicles by 2025. However, despite its best efforts, UCLA Fleet does not project it will be able to meet this goal under its current plan due a variety of internal and external factors affecting its capacity to purchase the most energy-efficient models available and prioritize vehicle replacements based on carbon emissions.  Thus, being able to reduce emissions to as close to zero as possible is a high concern.  
Through our one-on-one interviews with various stakeholders inside UCLA, we gained insight into UCLA Fleet’s most significant barriers to achieving carbon neutrality, and identified opportunities for improvement.  These limiting factors are both internal (e.g., financial, operational, cultural) and external (e.g., vehicle availability). 
Internal barriers include: (1) operational needs, (2) individual department and employee comfort with exsiting vehicle options, and (3) financial capacity, given the generally higher upfront cost of more energy-efficient models and cost of charging/fueling infrastructure for EVs, CNG, etc.  These barriers were exacerbated by the the fact that many UCLA departments are fully costed, which makes budgeting difficult and incentivizes departments to replace vehicles less often than is optimal from a fleet science perspective.  Excessively delaying and failing to budget for timely new vehicle purchases results in funds being spent on excessive maintenance and emergency replacement costs that could be invested in capital expenditures on newer, more fuel-efficient vehicle types.
The greatest external limitation faced by Fleet Services are EV purchase options in the manufacturer marketplace, especially for higher carbon-emitting vehicle types, such as trucks and vans.  In particular, full-size vans acocunt for 24% of UCLA’s Fleet but generate 89% of its emissions.  There is one EV full-size van option on the market, but it is too tall to meet the clearance requiremetns of UCLA’s parking garages.  As a result, UCLA anticipated not being able to replace these vans util 2029. 
Thus, our recommendations are as follows:
  1. Electrify medium duty vans as soon as financially possible by working with a local OEM who indicated willingness to tailor its medium-duty electric vehicle (MDEV) product to UCLA’s specific operatinal needs. This could reduce tailpipe emissions by 89% per year - 10 years earlier than anticipated.  Doing so could reduce UCLA’s tailpipe emissions by 20,000 metric tons over this decade.
  2. Revitalize UCLA Fleet’s approach to working with specific departments by (a) aligning budgeting incentives, (b) implementing change management techniques, and (c) utilizing the quality and money dimensions of the “green bundle strategy[1]” to encourage departmental adoption of EVs, streamline the budgeting process, promote a sustainable culture across campus, and minimize excess maintenance and emergency vehicle replacement costs. 
  3. Reevaluate the feasibility of using solar panels to charge EVs to reduce indirect emissions from electricity generation, now that prices of solar panels have declined substantially since UCLA’s last inquiry and evaluation.

[1] Delmas, Magali, Colgan, David. (2018). The Green Bundle. Stanford University Press.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Responsible Shopping: How HOVE incorporates data into everyday goods

Our team of five public health students worked with Cindy Lin, CEO and co-founder of HOVE Social Good Intelligence, Inc. (HOVE). HOVE is a subscription-box service that provides products from companies that give back to the greater community. Our project aimed to help Cindy identify measurable, consumer-level impacts of three everyday household items: conventional versus compostable trash bags, Fair Trade versus direct trade coffee, and traditional versus sustainably sourced, non-synthetic chemical haircare.

First, compostable (biodegradable) and compostable hybrid alternatives have been proposed replacements to traditional trash bags, but little is known about their environmental impacts. To compare the environmental impacts between conventional and biodegradable plastic trash bags, we conducted a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) modeled after one conducted by a university in Thailand to determine different inputs and outputs of each production process. The LCA’s system boundaries are cradle-to-grave, including production, transport, use, and disposal of the products. These products are then separated and identified by different waste management techniques: landfilling, incineration, and composting.  After accounting for assumptions (i.e., volume and size of trash bags and waste management techniques), we found that environmental impacts of both bags have pros and cons, depending on the waste management scenario. Because results do not favor one product over the other, HOVE should be transparent regarding the conditions under which compostable bags are superior.

To identify social impacts between fair trade and direct trade coffee, we conducted a literature review and interviewed five local coffee shops regarding their priorities for selling fair trade versus direct trade coffee. These priorities were then used to identify impacts that HOVE should communicate to its customers. We recommend that HOVE partner solely with direct trade coffee companies and communicate the following measurable impacts to the consumer: the purchase (1) supports an X year contract with the farmers, (2) provides a stable future for X farmers & laborers, and their families, (3) helped to purchase X acres of land that will preserve old growth forests and contribute to sustainable farming, (4) supports X sustainable farming practice goal for the producer.

Finally, our lifelong exposure to hair care products illustrates the importance of choosing products that can maximize social impact and minimize negative health and environmental impact. We evaluated brands with natural-ingredient versus conventional hair care products by conducting performance analysis. We first assessed brands’ social impact by identifying the presence of social good programs and assessing their eco-labels. Results show that sustainable brands put 2.5 times more effort on social impact than their conventional counterpart. However, HOVE should further verify the company’s claimed social projects when conducting a social impact analysis on hair care products. The other strategy is to assess the company’s health-related chemical data on the products by generating health scores. Health scores show that purchasing the healthier alternative can result in at least 5 times lower the risk of exposure to harmful chemicals. Providing health scores to consumers can effectively quantify health impacts of hair care products.

UCLA Dining Sustainability

UCLA Dining Sustainability Proposal
By: Alison Partie, Anndrea Nelson, Lan Yang, Mason Gamble

Each day, a person who eats a vegan diet saves 1,100 gallons of water, 45 pounds of grain, 30 square feet of forested land, 20 pounds of CO2 equivalent, and one animal’s life.

The livestock industry accounts for more global greenhouse (GHG) emissions than any other; yet, plant-based food diets are a largely ignored solution to climate change and sustainability. The negative externalities of the livestock industry are widespread and manifest across health, environmental, and economic sectors. This is mostly due to the affordability of low quality meat products. The affordability of animal products stems from the unethical economical shortcuts mass meat providers implement in their “care” of livestock and animals. However, market prices do not reflect the true costs that are imposed by means of their production. Animal-derived food production and consumption damages our health, economy, environment, and ethics. David Robinson Simon, author of Meatonomics, has the calculated the external cost for every dollar sold of meat, fish, eggs, or dairy, to be $1.70.

The award-winning UCLA Dining Services are nationally recognized for their quality and innovation and have implemented many initiatives to cater to a variety of health and diet needs while considering food sourcing and waste management. Our team’s goal is to enhance the plant-based food initiatives at UCLA Dining Services, which will help to reduce their environmental impact, increase economic efficiency, and initiate a sustainable food program that educates the student population on sustainable food choices.

To accomplish this, we suggest displaying additional information to the menu. Specifically, we suggest adding the water requirement of the menu item, as well as the emissions required to produce each menu item. With this increased transparency, students will easily be able to compare the environmental costs of different menu items and make a choice that aligns with their values. Secondly, we suggest implementing one day once a week that serves every meal completely free of meat products (including eggs and dairy). This will significantly reduce UCLA Dining’s (and therefore the University’s) carbon and water footprint, thereby pushing them closer to achieving the UC-wide goal of sourcing 20% of food sustainably by 2020.

Group 2: UCLA Anderson Sustainability Strategy


As an institution, UCLA is a leader in sustainability with 25+ research centers dedicated to advancing technology and training in the subject. UCLA Sustainability is a hub for such research and its eleven initiatives dedicated to progress in sustainability goals: Education and Research, Biodiversity, Buildings & Landscaping, Climate & Energy, Community Engagement, Food Systems, Health & Recreation, Purchasing, Transportation, Water, and Zero Waste. 

Sustainability Stakeholders
While the parent institution is making strides toward progress in sustainability awareness, research, and action, UCLA Anderson has not made this a priority in some time. With the ground broken on the new Marion Anderson Hall, which is teetering between LEED-Gold and -Platinum certification, UCLA Anderson stakeholders are interested in making sustainability at the business school a priority and increasing its alignment with UCLA Sustainability. 

The team from the Business & The Environment course reached out to UCLA Anderson key stakeholder Jami Jesek, Associate Dean/COO, and her colleague Howard Titzel, Director of Building Services. Jesek and her team reactivated a UCLA Anderson Sustainability Task Force over the course of the last few months, engaging other key players to move the sustainability strategy forward. Jesek requested recommendations for “low-hanging fruit” that would require fewer resources and provide higher impact. She suggested the team work with a group of first-year students dedicated to the Anderson sustainability initiative, led by Chloe Kim (‘19). 

Project Scope

The purpose of this report is to provide the UCLA Anderson Sustainability Strategy for the student-led Sustainability Task Force to initiate recommendations that are “easy-to-win” in a timeline of the next calendar year. Given the dedication observed by UCLA Anderson administration, current students, and support by faculty and UCLA Chief Sustainability Officer Nurit Katz, these recommendations can be implemented in the timeline identified. Each recommendation, targeting Transportation, Purchasing, and Zero Waste, will delve into how UCLA Sustainability is currently addressing the issue, how UCLA Anderson is or is not addressing the issue, and the team recommendations. The report will also provide a plan for implementation.


While recommendations can cover many of UCLA Sustainability’s eleven initiatives, the team identified three initiatives with opportunities for the student task force to implement in the upcoming 2018-2019 academic year:

UCLA Anderson Sustainability Strategy Recommendations

Imperative - Transforming Careers and Teams by Activating Purpose

Along the discussion of employee satisfaction and happiness from Week 9, there is a Seattle-based startup called Imperative that is using a...