Sustainability Article

Alper Kerman’s picture

By: Alper Kerman

Huh? What? At least that was my response the first time I heard the words "zero trust" when I started working at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence (NCCoE) in the fall of 2018. Mind you, I was also making a fresh start with an enormous jump to cybersecurity from a career track that had generally been in software engineering.

Sure, I did design and develop secure software solutions and even put together secure systems and platforms at times throughout my career, but zero trust seemed like a different ballgame to me. For one thing, it didn't have a fence.

What do I mean by that? Well, the traditional approach to cybersecurity relies on barriers—firewalls—that control traffic coming in and out of a network. Zero trust, on the other hand, is about assuming no barriers. It is usually mentioned in the same breath as "removing perimeters," "shrinking perimeters," "reducing perimeters," or "going perimeter-less." These are common references to the idea of "de-perimeterization," which was originally introduced by a group called the Jericho Forum back in 2005.

Victor Piedrafita’s picture

By: Victor Piedrafita

During the last decade, we’ve witnessed the emergence of sustainability issues among the most important business concerns in a firm’s supply chain. An increasing number of firms have reexamined their relations with suppliers and moved forward to build a more sustainable supply network, by not only monitoring their suppliers’ compliance, but also fostering their capabilities to properly address various environmental and social challenges.

FIBS, a Finnish organization that fosters sustainability, states as one of the key results of its Corporate Responsibility Survey 2017 Summary that sustainable and responsible supply chains have become strategic goals for Finnish companies. However, implementing this remains a challenging issue, as does the need for resources, systematic training, and learning from the best practices developed by others.

What is ‘sustainability?’

The most extended and accepted definition of sustainability was put forward in 1987 by the World Commission on Environment and Development. According to the commission, sustainability is ‘‘a development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.’’

John Keogh’s picture

By: John Keogh

Almost all businesses involved in the food supply chain have experienced effects ranging from a mild shock to severe disruptions during the Covid-19 pandemic, and further disruptions may be ahead this winter.

Yet not all organizations have learned critical lessons, and history shows us some companies are destined to remain unprepared for the next wave.

Many companies have taken decisive action to survive the pandemic and enhance their supply chain resilience. In doing so, they are protecting their interests and those of their business customers or consumers. We believe that successful firms are taking what’s known as a systems thinking approach to enhance food supply-chain resilience.

In the systems engineering world, systems represent the interconnected complexity of ecosystems that are connected both internally and externally.

For example, a food production business is connected to numerous ecosystems internally and to those of its suppliers, business partners, and customers.

K. C. Morris’s picture

By: K. C. Morris

The Covid pandemic has highlighted the role that manufacturing plays in our society. Manufacturing is important not only for improving our quality of life but also for the necessities of life, from food to toilet paper to transportation and safe and secure housing.  As our society has evolved, we have learned better ways to manufacture and are able to create an amazing variety of products. But providing these goods is not without side effects to the environment, and care is needed to manage the impacts of our production systems.

According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), sustainable manufacturing refers to the ability to manage manufacturing operations “in an environmentally and socially responsible manner.” Standards and programs of various kinds have formed around this idea, but many only scratch the surface of what could be accomplished if we had better measurement science to really evaluate the trade offs that manufacturers must make every day to be sustainable.

Celia Paulsen’s picture

By: Celia Paulsen

October happens to be (among other things) Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Dental Hygiene Month, National Bullying Prevention Month, and my personal favorite, National Pizza Month. Plus, it’s Halloween! But I digress. We’re here to talk about cybersecurity.

Every manufacturer should hold cybersecurity awareness training for all its staff at least once a year. Many people are spooked by the mere mention of the words “cybersecurity” and “training,” so October could be an appropriate time for it. Your training should, at a minimum, cover relevant company policies such as your IT security, information security, and physical security.

Over the years many of us have taken this type of training and learned to dread it: Training where someone gives the exact same cybersecurity speech they gave last year, and then hands out a paper for you to sign saying you were there. A real snooze fest. This kind of training does its job as far as meeting the bare minimum but has little impact on actually molding employee behavior.

Zach Winn’s picture

By: Zach Winn

Millions of cocoa farmers live in poverty across western Africa. Over the years, these farmers have been forced to contend with geopolitical instability, predatory loan practices, and a general lack of information that hampers their ability to maximize yields and sell crops at fair prices. Other problems, such as deforestation and child labor, also plague the cocoa industry.

For the last five years, however, cocoa supply chains in villages around the Ivory Coast, Cameroon, and Ghana have been transformed. A suite of digital solutions have improved profitability for more than 200,000 farmers, encouraged sustainable and ethical production practices, and made cocoa supply chains more traceable and efficient.

The progress was enabled by SourceTrace, a company that helps improve agricultural supply chains around the world. SourceTrace offers tools to help manage and sell crops, buy and track goods, and trace products back to the farms where they were made.

Guoli Chen’s picture

By: Guoli Chen

A novelty in the C-suite not so long ago, the chief sustainability officer (CSO) is fast becoming a fixture in companies of note as climate change and inequality increasingly dominate global attention.

During the past year alone Citigroup, General Motors, and International Paper have each appointed their first CSO. They join Diageo, P&G, Mastercard, and Tyson Foods on the growing list of firms that have added a CSO to their top management team in recent years. Yet these firms are hardly trailblazers. Between 2004 and 2014, the number of S&P 500 companies that have a CSO increased from 25 to 90.

Julio D'Arcy’s picture

By: Julio D'Arcy

In my synthetic chemistry lab, we have worked out how to convert the red pigment in common bricks into a plastic that conducts electricity, and this process enabled us to turn bricks into electricity storage devices. These brick supercapacitors could be connected to solar panels to store rechargeable energy. Supercapacitors store electric charge, in contrast to batteries, which store chemical energy.

Brick’s porous structure is ideal for storing energy because pores give bricks more surface area than solid materials have, and the greater the surface area, the more electricity a supercapacitor material can hold. Bricks are red because the clay they’re made from contains iron oxide, better known as rust, which is also important in our process.

We fill the pores in bricks with an acid vapor that dissolves the iron oxide and converts it to a reactive form of iron that makes our chemical syntheses possible. We then flow a different gas through the cavities to fill them with a sulfur-based material that reacts with iron. This chemical reaction leaves the pores coated with an electrically conductive plastic, PEDOT.

Katie Myers’s picture

By: Katie Myers

Freight trucks account for 23 percent of U.S. transportation. Transportation is the No. 1 source of greenhouse gas emissions in America. The country’s freight industry is in no position to ignore its impact on the environment and the greater good.

We can break down the trucking industry’s environmental impact further. Each market segment emits the following amount of carbon emissions every year:
• Truckload (TL): 836 million tons of emissions
• Partials: 722 million tons of emissions
• Less-than truckload (LTL): 342 million tons of emissions

Fortunately, at least one logistics provider is committed to reducing the industry’s carbon footprint. Flock Freight is transforming the $400 billion freight landscape by eliminating inefficiency and waste through green shipping practices.

Emerson Grey’s picture

By: Emerson Grey

It’s Sunday night, and you decide to make a quick run to the grocery store. You grab five bananas—one for each breakfast of the work week. Then, at home, you immediately throw two of the bananas into the trash.

Who would buy fresh food and throw 40 percent of it away? Americans do, on average, every day. This 40 percent represents the overall rate of food waste in the United States. That amount of waste is the same whether you throw the bananas away immediately upon returning from the supermarket or let them brown and attract fruit flies next to the toaster. And the problem isn’t just at the consumer level; farmers, grocers, restaurants, and other businesses where food waste is rampant are huge contributors as well.

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