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Better for the environment, healthier for you – sustainable transportation

Think of bicycles as a rideable art that can just about save the world
-Grant Petersen
Start with small steps and make a wiser choice every morning. This way you keep healthy and contribute to protecting environment.
Before you start to think about your long-distance travelling habit, make sure your everyday travels are environmentally-friendly as well. There are various of choices we can make daily to develop more sustainable habits. Cycling to work in the morning or taking a walk to the grocery store in the evening are the easiest contributions available for everyone.

Benefits of walking…
Walking is the option available for mostly anyone – it keeps us healthy, happy and saves as a great deal of money. According to the studies carried out all around the world, there are thousands of benefits we gain for walking at least half an hour per day. I have listed some of the most common ones:

According to Ramblers and Macmillan Cancer Support report being physically active

  • can add 3-5 years to one’s life
  • prevent 37,000 deaths every year, just by taking a walk
  • Reduce risk of getting serious diseases (heart disease, Alzheimer’s, stroke etc) by 20-50%
  • increases ‘good’ cholesterol
  • Lowers the risk of getting depression by a 30% reduce their risk of having dementia

Furthermore, according to a study carried out in the University of Stanford while walking and afterwards, the creativity of person heightens approximately by 60 percent compared to sitting.

Capture d’écran 2016-07-21 à 16.15.33Cycling…
If the distance is too long to walk but not enough to take a car, choose cycling. Scottish cycling activists have listed 8 interesting and conclusive reasons, why cycling is good for the environment and also your own health! The level of pollution inside a car is invariably higher than that of the ambient air. A motorist breathes in approximately twice as much carbon monoxide as a cyclist, and approximately 50% more nitrogen oxides. According to European cyclists’ federation cycling has a positive effect on emotional health.

It improves levels of well-being, self-confidence and tolerance to stress while reducing tiredness, difficulties with sleep and a range of medical symptoms. Cycling also cuts down on pollutive emissions released to the atmosphere and maintenance costs are way lower compared to owning a car.  Beside that you will feel better, you can also enjoy your surroundings without being stuck in the traffic, saving time and money! Moreover, according to the study carried out in Netherlands prove that you can also save yourself more months on this planet as biking may increase life expectancy.

And commuting Capture d’écran 2016-07-21 à 16.15.49
According to the definition, commuting is periodically recurring travel between one’s place of residence and place of work, or study, and in doing so exceed the boundary of their res
idential comm
unity. It sometimes refers to any regular or often repeated traveling between locations, even when not work-related.
Although if are a commuter at longer distance and cycling to work is not an option, there are s
till various options to behave greener. You can take a public transportation or try carpooling. Ask your colleagues if you can share a ride to work – it is more environmental-friendly, reduces traffic jams and is also a great way to get to know your colleagues better! 

Capture d’écran 2016-07-21 à 16.16.00

Other alternatives
Nowadays, one can find lot of alternatives to biking and walking such as electric skateboards and
all-electric vehicles, wh
ich has been proven to be a great success in the past years. All-electric cars are more energy-efficient than usual gasoline-powered vehicles, not emitting any pollutants when in use. Big car manufacturers such as Audi, BMW and of course Tesla are producing more and more electric cars, which are not only environmentally friendly but also stylish and practical.

And who knows, maybe in the future drones will be used for transportation of good and maybe even people. This area is developing really fast and there is already a drone developed who can transport a person for a short distance, and it is designed to be a 100% with green technology, and is powered by electricity only. Read more about it from here.
In addition to promote and support sustainable companies, GreenAdvisor also wants to promote healthier lifestyle and show the small steps we can all take, to be healthier on our own and  to contribute to more sustainable society. Furthermore, on GreenAdvisor you can rate the companies which implement sustainable transportation in their operations, promote healthy lifestyle and support employee’s being active!

Budapest – do people think it is a green city?

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“Every time I am travelling to Budapest, I feel like coming home. It is safe and welcoming.”

GreenAdvisor team has decided to continue our offline project. But this time, to show that our rating mechanism will be suitable for each kind of organizations, we run a sustainability perception measurement on the city of Budapest! We would like to collect public opinion about what citizens and tourists appreciate in the city, and what should be changed.
Budapest is the capital of Hungary and it is the main hub of economic, financial, political and cultural activities in Hungary. Our goal was to measure its sustainability by finding out inhabitants and tourists’ perception of Budapest city, regarding its environmentally and socially friendly nature and its contribution to build a sustainable society by running green initiatives.
Total number of people in survey was 213, out of which 109 provided their perception review about Budapest. The results varied a lot since people have different opinion about Budapest, although it was clear from the survey that more than half (61%) of respondents rated the city as green, some respondents rated it as average or that Budapest was not really green in their opinion, 12.8% and 19.3% respectively. Only meager amount of people said that they cannot respond to our questions in a way to determine the sustainability of Budapest.

Regarding the products and service in Budapest, organic shops and green NGOs are the most mentioned. That is to say, these kind of services are well-known in Budapest. For example we interviewed a vegan who said : “I am a vegan and I really like this city because I can find what I want to eat”. Fubudapestrthermore, many interviewees said Budapest is green in its place, offering good public transportation system, bike routes coverage, a lot of green areas and parks can be found throughout the city. Moreover, the atmosphere of Budapest is really well perceived. Keywords like positive, friendly, enjoyable are very often quoted. Overall, many adjectives are mentioned to describe the general atmosphere of Budapest and there are very positive. This clearly indicates that tourists and inhabitants of Budapest are very satisfied with this city in terms of the place and the atmosphere.

On the other hand, the inhabitants are concerned about the activities of the government related to sustainability matters. They say “The city is not green but people are ready to make it better with green initiatives”, “Sustainability initiatives come from inhabitant and companies, not from the government. They are doing nothing towards sustainability” .

Nevertheless, GreenAdvisor team is happy and proud that our headquarters are situated in this beautiful city that is considered green by the wisdom of the crowd. Together we can publicly voice our suggestions for Budapest city municipality and see how it continuously improves thanks to us!

Let’s welcome a new intern – Hanh Lai!

Hanh

Few weeks ago we had to say goodbye to our New Caledonian girl Marion Chambas and welcome to our team a Vietnamese girl Hanh Lai. A young and cheerful Bachelor’s student of International Business in Joensuu, Finland. Although Hanh is from Vietnam, she has been studying in Finland for 2 years. After 2 years staying in this continent, she has visited 10 countries. Most of the time she prefers to travel alone, finding it fascinating to explore the world by herself and get lost in a totally new place.

hanh2After all, her favourite place in the world is Southeast Asia where one can find hundreds of amazing beaches. Hanh was born in Nam Dinh, a coastal city in Vietnam. She loves enjoying sunshine, waves, sand and the smell of salt. Although Santorini or Italian beaches are fabulous, she feels more comfortable in my country. “Besides, to be honest, I’ve never found any place with better food than Asian countries,” she adds proudly.

Unlike Theophane, who thinks that we were born with sustainability, Hanh found her way to these matters a decade ago, when the documentary film “An Inconvenient Truth”, which recorded Al Gore’s campaign to educate about global warming, was released. It was the first time she had been aware of climate change. hanh3She seems to be really worried about her fatherland, as Vietnam is among the 5 most vulnerable countries under the influence of climate change. She becomes thoughtful and sad while talking about this, and is really keen to do something to change it. She believes “everything must start from the smallest to the bigger one, that each of us should be an “environmentalist”, no matter how our government is dealing with those particular issues.

When asking about what is sustainability for her, she states that sustainability is not only about environment or green but also about the social and economic. In the contemporary world, everything changes so fast. Apple introduces their new products twice or three times a year and breaking news stay in the front page only for a few hours. We have to start thinking of long lasting value of our life. Sustainability is something like that, something that we should consider for our next generation. Climate change does not push Venice into the sea today, but a century after, it will.
About GreenAdvisor Hanh is optimistic : “Since it benefits from the wisdom of crowds”, I hope that together we speak the same voice about being greener. I will definitely share it with my friends, because I understand that one more review is one more motivation for company to consider its ethical practices.”

hanh4In terms of future, Hanh does not seem to be worried about having a long term plan as she is not good at being consistent to a goal. Not finding it important to keep herself in a strict zone, she simply just loves the idea of living somewhere for a while and then moving to the next destination. Travelling keeps us to be young, wild and free, isn’t it? What she knows for sure, is that staying in the office with air condition, wearing suits and heels for her whole life, is not for her. As a passionate traveller, she is currently practising minimalism. “After moving 4 times just in 1 year, I realised how inconvenient is to possess so many items, that you don’t actually need. I think it is true that less is more.”

GreenAdvisor team is happy to see this studious and amiable girl as part of our team!

“Digital Trade Union”? – Yes, with GreenAdvisor!

Do you belong to a trade union or any business association? In the past, the trade union was known for its great purpose of helping employees around the world to gain the rights to work in good working conditions or have a good salary. However, nowadays its role has been changed dramatically, because of globalization, competition, and easy internet access.

The aims of a trade union are:

  • negotiating with employers to improve wages and working conditions for its memberstradeunion
  • playing as a third party between workers (its members) and the employer
  • enforcing the terms of collective bargaining by acting collectively
  • raising new demands on behalf of its members 

     
    Take a look at trade union’s performance, it is easy to notice that numbers of union vary widely across the EU countries. In most countries, union membership has been falling in recent years.
    The majority of European countries have several competing union confederations and are often divided on political grounds. The graph below shows the levels of membership in case of EU members.

    graph
    (source: http://www.worker-participation.eu)

    As we can see from the figure, the great variety of levels of union membership, ranging from 74% (Finland) to 10% in Estonia and Lithuania. However, we must keep in mind that union membership is not the only indicator of strengths. The average level of union membership across the whole of EU, weighted by the members employed in the different member states, is 23%. The union membership decreases constantly.

    With GreenAdvisor mobile app it will be possible for workers to easily share their opinions, suggestions or dissatisfaction with a few clicks. Employees can influence the decisions, and pressure the companies by leaving a review. Furthermore, job seekers or other companies looking for partners can find companies with the best CSR and green practices. So it can be said that the power of internet represents the unions.

    These are the main areas that you can review:

    4

  • Product/Service
  • Place
  • Activities
  • Atmosphere

 

 
If you miss bike racks at your working place or If you feel your employer makes you work extra hours- these are the cases you can mention on GreenAdvisor app. In addition, you can keep confidential by posting it as a “User 1234”.
Maybe the work atmosphere is unhealthy and stressful? You have to write about it and suggest how to change it for better.
And what about company’s products? Are they, for example, bio or plastic-free? If you think that they should modify the way how they produce it, just suggest it through our application.
Are the CSR policies always applied? And even if all is fine and neat, do you feel good at your job, do you enjoy it? Your opinion really matters.
What about community engagement? Does your company care enough about society? Write about it!
Does your company really cares about environmental issues, or maybe you want to suggest some changes? Share your ideas on GreenAdvisor application.

Good businesses will have the opportunity to increase their visibility. All companies will have to pay more attention to their actions in order to maintain their public reputation and essentially their customer base.

 

GreenAdvisor runs sustainability perception measurement of McDonald’s

As our followers should know already, we are a startup developing a mobile platform where people can stimulate companies to become better by reviewing them based on their sustainability and green practices.
2 months ago we carried out our first GreenAdvisor offline project where we conducted a study about dm, a drug store in the center of Budapest.

Now, as GCapturereenAdvisor is working hard to test and improve our rating mechanism, the next targeted organization was McDonald’s. We asked customers their perception on the sustainability of one of the fast food restaurants located in 1052 Budapest, Sütő utca 2. This study was conducted for one week June 13 – 19, 2016, where customers of McDonald’s were asked about their impression, opinion, and experience regarding McDonald’s in a form of a survey with regard to evaluating their perception about McDonald’s sustainability performance and attitude.

 We asked 244 people to answer the survey of whom 113 of them , 40% of interviewees said that McDonald’s is not a green business, which doubles the number of people who think McDonald’s is a green one. shtKnown as the largest chain of fast food in the world, it is widely considered as “unhealthy” food. A small number of vegetarians taking part in the survey confirmed their bad experiences with the restaurant. Besides, the “average” and “no opinion” answers are approximately one-third, which says that many clients of McDonald’s do not consider sustainability as a factor in their decision making or lack the information about McDonald’s sustainability activities.

In fact, McDonald’s tries to make green initiatives and social engagement as recycling, fair trade, and youth employment, although people do not pay much attention to these factors. Most of the people who think McDonald’s is a green business know what are the green activities this organization takes, thanks to their marketing activities that promote a greener image of the company.

In conclusion, most of the people believe that most of the restaurants have good access as they are located in central places and have affordable prices. Nevertheless, they do not think McDonald’s is a green business, offering unhealthy food with everybody-is-in-rush atmosphere.

Our main goal currently is to popularize our platform and grow our audience so that soon people everywherwhre could provide their perception about businesses’ actions towards sustainability and motivate them to change to a more environmentally and socially friendly manner. We hope that GreenAdvisor will be soon able to make a real change as other user-feedback companies like TripAdvisor and Wikipedia have proven to be successful.

Furthermore, we would like to find new partners and organizations for collaboration with whom we share same views and goals. Whether you are an individual, NGO or a big corporate business, contact us and join GreenAdvisor to create more sustainable future together!

 

The challenges of supply chain in globalised world

Do you ever wonder where the t-shirt you are wearing has been made or where the vegetables you buy every day in supermarkets have been cultivated? The answer to this question starts with the definition of the “supply chain”. Supply chain means, gfykenerally speaking, all the processes and steps that it takes to produce a product from its creation till its consumption by customers.

Nowadays, due to the process of globalisation, more and more businesses decide to outsource their supply chain and produce in countries where the workforce price is more affordable for world economic competition. As an example, if you check the label of your t-shirt, it will probably say “made in China” or “made in Vietnam” or if you buy vegetables, on its label it will probably say that they are from a country that is different from the origin of the supermarket where you are buying them.

But let’s be more precise – the Zara brand which belongs to INDITEX multinational company will be used as an example. According to international European trade union “industriALL”, one normal t-shirt made in Bangladesh  costs less than 10 cents to be produced. This t-shirt will be subsequently sold in any Zara store in the world for 20 euros. Why is there such a massive markup in the final price of the product? Why are workers in these countries receiving no more than 50 euros/month if they are generating so much profit for the company?

This is not an exceptional case. Let’s take another example, do you know how much it costs to produce one Nestlé or Mars chocolate bar and the conditions under which they are produced? chocolate-child-slavery-ivory-coastTo manufacture any chocolate bar, companies  needs to get cocoa seeds and the biggest cocoa plantations are located in Africa, specifically in Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana. According to State Coordinator of Fair Trade in 2014 more than 1.8 million children were working on cocoa cultivations in these countries and furthermore the number of children working in the cocoa industry increased by 51% between 2009 and 2014, according to a June 2015 report from Tulane University.

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The relationship between multinational companies and poor working conditions or unsustainable practices is clear and not just limited to a number of isolated cases. So next time you are going to buy a product made or produced in countries where poor labour conditions exist, think twice before doing it. If you care, try to do your research, engage with the employees of these companies and maybe even try to travel to the production facilities.

It is in our hands to contribute towards a sustainable planet and change this “unfair” supply chain that does not produce significant benefit to anyone apart from top managers of multinational companies. Promoting fair trade and sustainable businesses start with us and changing our way of consuming and starting to care about these topics. Support local and ecological commerce, refuse to buy goods from multinational brand companies and promote any environmental or fair trade initiative that contributes towards the sustainability of the world.

Soon everybody will be able to rate those kinds of business with GreenAdvisor mobile-app!

Sustainable development, fair working conditions and environmentally friendly practices are interrelated and interconnected topics that  we  should promote in order to make a real change to the planet!

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3 exclusive inventions using renewable energy resources

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“We can create a more sustainable, cleaner and safer world by making wiser energy choices.”
Robert Alan Silverstein

We have all heard about wind and solar energy used for generating electricity, also nuclear and geothermal power used for heating systems. But throughout the world there are various of interesting items developed, which work only on renewable energy resources. GreenAdvisor will help you locate all these businesses who either produce them or use them in their businesses.

What vodka and solar-power have in common?

5k7o5Three years ago, there was no connection between them, but in April 2013 a Solar-powered Vodka Distillery was opened in Maui, Hawaii. The farm is situated on 80-acres land and is highly committed to social and environmentally conscious business practices. It is one of the kind the whole world using only solar panels to power the operations of the distillery and facility. All the production of the main ingredient in vodka, the sugar cane, is organically grown on the local rich soils without using hazardous pesticides. The water for the production comes from deep ocean minerals from a depth of 3,000 feet as well. The bottles are made with recycled glass. In all the facilities natural lighting is used, all the shipping materials are recycled and natural cleaning products used. So not only the production itself, but the whole business seems to be fully sustainable!

Cut down on your energy consumption with one easy step!6ijtdgn
Tired of constantly adjusting the temperature in your house? One time it is too hot, then it is too cold… All you have to do is obtain new state-of-the-art Nest Learning Thermostat.
It is a thermostat that will learn from your habits and then program itself according to your needs and lifestyle! Furthermore, it will show you how much you use energy so you can make decisions how to reduce your consumption. Read more and how to get yourself one from
here.

Floating solar-powered balloons for refugee camps

dfxjdtSustainability is not only about environmental concerns, but also keeping it balanced with economic and social perspectives. French startup called Zephyr Solar is committed to sustainable development. They are developing a solar-powered balloons for producing energy in refugee camps, severe problem in contemporary society, which are often located far from usual energy providers. Product is in development phase now, hopefully presented to the world in 2017, becoming available for those in need.

GreenAdvisor is looking to interview innovative startups which strive for sustainability. These cool inventions can definitely help us towards thinking more green and reduce the use of non-renewable energies as well as our carbon footprint, contributing to more sustainable future.

Reasons to Go Shopping in Organic Food Shops or Sustainable Markets

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Thinking about going shopping to bio or sustainable markets  instead of conventional
ones? Here are some tips to advise new buyers who want to join this new trend of consuming healthier and at the same time, helping the planet’s sustainability. Nowadays, due to the “information era”, people are more aware of the necessity of buying food that has been produced via organic or natural methods, in addition, it tastes nicer and feels healthier.


Support the companies which avoid the use of synthetic products in vegetables and fruits such as pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers. In the case of animals, it is preferential that they be raised according to welfare standards, avoiding the use of growth hormones, antibiotics and having access to outdoors grounds.

When buying “biological or eco food”, we are automatically contributing to the preservation of the environment. Organic farming is the best way to protect the fauna, as preventing the greenhouse effect, generating  lower aerosols’ contamination and not creating pollutants because in the cultivation process that takes maximum advantage of renewable resources.

But if you are thinking that your food budget is going to increase too much you can also find some ways of consuming responsible and affordable :

  • Try to focus on buying the products you are more aware or you prefer most and do not change the whole “shopping list”, also pay attention to sales, discounts and coupons.
  • Look for online deals or skip middleman and go directly to the farmers who grow it.
  • Finally you can choose to grow your own food, no matter if you have a big yard or a little balcony. Another interesting option is community gardens in the city. You can also find further information about urban farming from our previous article.

To conclude, by supporting bio markets and organic shops, we contribute to the improvement of local economies. As an example, the Professor Stephan Goetz carried out a research about the impact of selling local food at regional levels. The result of the analysis of balances, taxes and consumption show that sustainable economy is really profitable.

You would soon be able to find these kind of markets thanks to our GreenAdvisor mobile-app, which supports sustainable businesses. And let us also support small local producers who live near to us and thus contribute to the development of local economy.

 

How To Work In a Digital Way Using Less Paper

Blogpost cover (recycling)
Every day, all around the world, companies and public organisations are joining the process of digitizing documents as an essential step to optimize their management and administration processes. We can achieve a lot of economic and organisational savings by following this process.


Paperless offices
“Paperless offices” are those in which the documents traditionally stored and archived on paper become digitized, so that not only management, storage, and retrieval are improved, but it also provides an easy way to create a digital backup of files. With the rapid development of technology, it has become easier to implement this approach in all kind of organizations.

A significant benefit of digitizing documents is creating a more sustainable office. We are contributing towards the sustainability of the planet as we are not facilitating deforestation which is one of the most harmful acts we can inflict to the earth. Read more about deforestation and the role of paper products.

Paper-Free as an Office
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To become a “Paperless office” we have to follow these steps:

  • Organise and choose documents to be scanned
  • Mass digitization of documents
  • Install software for document management (ideas)
  • Store documents in the software installed
  • Entry of new documents to the document management system

 

Go Paper-Free Personally

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Some actions that we can implement in our daily life in order to save paper:

  • By paying bills online through the companies websites
  • By taking notes use laptops, tablets or any other electronic format
  • By digitizing your signature, so you are able to sign a document via your computer
  • By keeping your documents and relevant information easily organised on your computer

Furthermore, there are many services available and some of them are even free. You can check out some of the best ones from this comparison. Besides having your files coordinated, you can access them at any time from different devices!

Best Practices

Working in our office is always with electronic devices and all of them are interconnected through the internet, using Google drive free service. This way, any device can check the work of the others immediately without any need for printing documents.
On the other hand, some challenges that we are facing : when internet connection does not work, our progress can be interrupted for a while. You can read more about Thomson Reuters report on best practices in this field.

In any way, turning your office into a paperless office is always a smart idea for many reasons like saving time, saving money and being more productive but especially and most important, contribute to a more sustainable and environmentally friendly world.

In our office, GreenAdvisor team made those resolutions already and we want to promote the companies which run sustainable activities, for example, a “paper-free office”. Is it important for your company? Soon you will be able to rate your company at GreenAdvisor mobile app based on its sustainable activities. Let’s make our companies more sustainable by encouraging them to act responsibly!” GreenAdvisor – coming soon.

New Intern : Théophane Berenger

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Let us introduce our new intern : Théophane Bérenger. Theophane is 20-year old French guy who has lived all his life in Paris. Although he is young, he has had an interesting life and he has clear view about what he wants in life. He has strong mindset towards sustainability and contributing to creating a better world.

2Although being quite young, Théophane has experienced a lot already. In order to understand the world better, he decided to travel each summer to a different country. His first time abroad brought him to London, United Kingdom, where he worked for a charity shop during 2 months. After working hard, everybody needs some time off, so he made the Interrail trip with his friend and fell in love with Budapest. That is how he started looking for internship in Budapest, one of the most beautiful capitals in Europe. After narrowing his choices down to 3 organizations, he decided that Greenwill was the best opportunity for him to promote environmental awareness and be part of GreenAdvisor. Asking about what is sustainability for him, he simply says: “Our generation was born with sustainability”. All of his friends share his values and are worried about the future of our planet.


Studying on his second year in business school, he is involved in lots of fields such as communication, marketing, economics, sales and more. Théophane is convinced that, to the key to make a sustainable business is to develop it with respect towards others and the earth. He says that “respect” is a keyword to sustainability. With this in mind, he wants to create his own startup one day linked with sustainability and do his best to lead it with respect in all matters related to society, environment and economy. Furthermore, he is concerned about third world problems related to lack of water, food and believes we should all be more respectful in those matters.
About GreenAdvisor Theophane believes it is an essential tool, because most businesses are hiding bad items and lying to their customers. He will recommend it to all his friends, they should not be blind. “GreenAdvisor is just the truth about companies!”

 

3Moreover, Theophane has always had big love for music. When he was as young as 15, he joined an event-planning company with his friends, playing drums. Owning a small company has made him realize that his desire was  to work in small organization, in a cozy environment with his friends, where it is easier to share the same values and implement changes whether small or big.


That is not all ! Ambitious guy as he is, he has pursued his love for music and is, back in France, working part-time as a DJ. When asking about his favourite genre or artist, he says there is no answer for this question. Perhaps he likes techno the most, but is also very keen on other styles of music.
Our GreenAdvisor team is looking forward to work together with this versatile and aspiring young man and we truly believe he will bring great value to our project!