Archives for sustainable businesses

Talk of the Towns 2/13/15

Host: Ron Beard, University of Maine Cooperative Extension
Studio Engineer: Amy Browne

Issue: Community concerns and opportunities

Program Topic: The Abundance Cycle—A new lens for developing sustainable businesses

Key Discussion Points:

Jay Friedlander:
• A college economics text book from the 1970s was called “Scarcity Challenged”… we have scarce resources and our various economic systems are designed to allocate those resources based on various values or beliefs. How does your concept of “abundance” connect with classic economics?
• How does “abundance” relate to the concept that we could be doing “business” differently, sustainably, with benefit to the business owners, employees, communities and the natural systems on which we all rely?
• How did you come to understand “abundance” as a guiding principle in sustainable business development… reference your work with O’Naturals.
• What drew you to College of the Atlantic and how have you introduced both sustainable business and “abundance” to undergraduates?

Steve Schafer:
• How did you and Kate Schafer create Black Dinah Chocolatiers in the tiny community of Isle au Haut and how were and how some of the abundance cycle concepts that you applied?
• What factors went into your decision to expand, locating production and shipping to the Portland area…, and what does it mean for the future of the company.
• Looking back, are there any lessons you would like to share with other existing and potential small business people in our audience.

Lisa Bjerke:
• John Gardiner, founder of Common Cause, said: “This is the time of breathtaking opportunities disguised as unsolvable problems.” Based on your recent Watson Fellowship, traveling to Germany, India, China and Japan to explore how people viewed “waste”… are there any “breathtaking opportunities” buried under that pile of trash?
• What resources or leads can you share with listeners who are interested in solving our solid waste problems—consumers, local town officials, business owners?

Jay Friedlander, Sharpe-McNally Chair of Green and Socially Responsible
Steve Schafer, Black Dinah Chocolatiers
Lisa Bjerke, graduate student, College of the Atlantic
Business, College of the Atlantic

Businesses Resources: :
Exampels of companies (in Germany)
Zero Waste Solution by Paul Conett, at