SXSWeco Interview: Ian Hughes, Goose Island Brewery

| Saturday October 25th, 2014 | 0 Comments

This post is part of Triple Pundit’s ongoing coverage of the SXSW Eco conference. For the rest, please visit our SXSW Eco page here.

gooseisland1Goose Island is one of my favorite Chicago beers and like many quality beers has a solid sustainability story to share.  At this year’s SXSWeco conference, Goose Island’s Assistant Brewing Manager, Ian Hughes and I had a good talk about the efforts the company is making to be more sustainable.  Perhaps of equal importance, we also talked about how consumers can be better educated about the efforts of breweries like Goose Island.

Ian and I both agreed that the story of sustainability in brewing should be more widely known – so drink to that next time you sit down for a pint.

More in the video below….

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SXSWeco: Walter Wang Talks About Adaptive Gas Taxes

| Saturday October 25th, 2014 | 0 Comments

This post is part of Triple Pundit’s ongoing coverage of the SXSW Eco conference. For the rest, please visit our SXSW Eco page here.

gas-taxNo one like paying taxes, although most readers of this site would agree that reasonably high gas taxes can help drive consumers in a more sustainable direction.  That said, there are inherent inefficiencies with our current system which isn’t even keeping up with inflation.

Walter Wang has an idea called an adaptive tax system which is based on a fluid tax rate that adjusts with the frequency and quantity of one’s gas fill-ups instead of just how many gallons they use.

Walter explains it all in the video below…

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3M, Cisco Systems, Kimberly-Clark Offer Employees Home Solar Financing

| Friday October 24th, 2014 | 0 Comments

Solar financing Cisco 3M Kimberly-Clark Geostellar

The tubes started buzzing earlier this week with news that leading corporations 3M, Cisco Systems, and Kimberly-Clark Corporation have partnered with the World Wildlife Foundation  and the National Geographic Society to offer their employees something that we’re going to call “instant” solar financing on their home solar systems. The idea is to take advantage of bulk-order group purchasing power to slash costs, and to vet one standout solar company to manage the financing and pre-qualify reliable contractors to provide the installations.

Giving employees a great deal on home solar installations is just part of the perk. The other part is relieving individual solar purchasers from all the time, hassle, and guesswork involved in choosing a reliable solar financing and installation company.

The solar company selected by the partnership is  Geostellar, which has received Energy Department funding to develop a low cost, streamlined solar purchasing process that enables it to offer one of the best solar deals, if not the best, available today.

But wait, there’s more — lots more. The excitement was touched off by a story in The New York Times on October 22, but the new solar financing partnership is just one small piece of a huge bundle of solar initiatives announced by the Obama Administration back on October 18. Somehow that slipped under our radar, so before we dig deeper into the solar financing perk let’s take a look at the whole package.

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Baker Hughes Fights Breast Cancer With Pink Fracking Drill Bits

Eric Justian
| Friday October 24th, 2014 | 1 Comment

Screen Shot 2014-10-23 at 3.47.52 PMPaint it pink. Why not? The pink-ification of just about everything to raise breast cancer awareness may have run up against its limits with pink oil drill bits.

In a world with pink AR-15s, pink trash bins, pink soup cans, and pink everything else now Baker Hughes, a leader in hydraulic fracturing equipment, is painting pink 1000 drill bits used in fracking. The reason? To raise breast cancer awareness among the hard working mostly-men in oil fields.

Baker Hughes’s commitment doesn’t stop at pink though, though. It extends to green, and we don’t mean environmental. For the second year in the row the company is donating $100,000 to Susan G. Komen, the best-funded breast cancer organization in the U.S. In exchange, Baker Hughes gets to use the specific shade of pink Susan G. Komen has trademarked. Generally, that’s a hard thing to call “Bad.” Obviously they shouldn’t forego donations if they help people. But there’s definitely a bit of irony involved considering the carcinogenic nature of fracking chemicals.

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Appliance Manufacturers Show How to Let Disruption Drive Development

3p Contributor | Friday October 24th, 2014 | 0 Comments
This old fridge might be cute, but it's an energy hog.

This old fridge might be cute, but it’s an energy hog.

By Jennifer Tuohy

Traditionally, incumbent industries are the last to catch on to truly game-changing innovations. Reasons for this are varied, but broadly, a reluctance to risk changing a tried-and-true business model comes into play. Witness the crumbling of the newspaper industry under the onslaught of the internet, how film manufacturers lost sight of the big picture in the digital photography revolution, and the decimation hotel and taxi services are facing with the advent of crowd-sourcing services.

Arguably the biggest mistake each of these industries made was to view the oncoming disruptive force as a battle and not as opportunity. Whether any of these incumbents could have been saved by a more rapid pivot is a discussion for the history books (or history e-books, as the case may be). But the biggest takeaway from the floundering of the aforementioned industries is that incumbents can no longer rely on consumer loyalty — the consumer will get what he or she needs, regardless of the delivery method.

This fate could well have befallen the home appliance industry with the advent of global warming. The push for energy efficiency, which began in the 70s and blossomed in the 90s with the introduction of the Energy Star program, was truly a pivot point for that industry. Left to their own devices, many of the industry’s incumbents may well have collapsed by ignoring consumer desires for reduced energy costs and enhanced efforts to protect the planet (and their wallets). However, thanks to a sizable financial push from government, courtesy of the Energy Star program, appliance manufacturers not only survived the seismic shift, they have thrived from it.

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Report: Insurance Companies Still Unprepared for Climate Change Risks

Leon Kaye | Friday October 24th, 2014 | 0 Comments
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The Berlin office of Allianz, a leading example of insurers taking climate change seriously

For an industry that is built upon gauging and managing risks, one would think the insurance industry would be more prepared to deal with climate change’s potential effects. But the most recent annual report by Ceres shows an overall lack of preparedness in confronting climate-related risks and addressing potential opportunities. Similar to last year’s report, Ceres found some leadership amongst 300-plus U.S. insurance companies it surveyed, but still finds a lack of innovation and long term planning.

The survey found that nine insurers, or three percent of the companies that responded to the survey, earned what Ceres described as a “leading” rating. Property and casualty insurers tend to have a greater understanding about how climate change could potentially affect their business; life and health insurers lag behind. And only about 10 percent of the surveyed insurance companies have publicly disclosed risk management statements that include climate change as a significant long term risk to their businesses. The larger companies pay more attention to climate change than smaller insurers, though exceptions, such as the Catlin Group, exist.

So who are some of the leaders?

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CODA Automotive Back From Bankruptcy With Energy Storage Solution

RP Siegel | Friday October 24th, 2014 | 0 Comments

CODA-Core-40kWh-Tower1Energy storage has become an exciting area, both as a new business and as an enabler for the continued rapid growth of renewable energy generation. While it’s true that Amory Lovins has claimed that it is possible for renewables to continue to grow without a massive investment in storage, he acknowledges that it would be helpful. This was the path chosen by the California’s Public Utility Commission when they decided last year to issue a set of goals intended to jumpstart the storage market. This led two of Elon Musk’s enterprises, SolarCity and Tesla to join forces to produce commercial energy storage systems, using refrigerator-sized batteries produced by Tesla Motors. Sales will be driven by the ability to reduce demand charges, via the operating software called DemandLogic. The program will be piloted in California, Connecticut and Massachusetts, markets with particularly high demand charges.

Another player has now entered the market, one that also has some history in the EV market.

CODA Energy was formerly known as CODA Automotive. The company, which had spent four years trying to enter the EV market, filed for bankruptcy last spring after selling approximately 100 cars. Now they are back trying to leverage their battery technology in the energy storage market. The product is a 40 kWh commercial-industrial storage system called CORE. Do they have a compelling value proposition? I spoke with John Bryan vice president, sales and marketing at Coda Energy to find out.

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Five Data Tools Used to Improve Water and Food Security

3p Contributor | Friday October 24th, 2014 | 0 Comments
Robert T. Fraley of Monsanto Co. delivers his address on agriculture's role in mitigating global challenges. Water for Food conference. WFF conference in Bellevue WA. October 21, 2014. Photo by Craig Chandler / University Communication — at 2014 Water for Food Conference.

Robert T. Fraley of Monsanto Co. delivers his address on agriculture’s role in mitigating global challenges. Water for Food conference. WFF conference in Bellevue WA. October 21, 2014. Photo by Craig Chandler / University Communication — at 2014 Water for Food Conference.

By Molly Nance

As the world population soars toward 9 billion people, the demand for food is expected to more than double. Lack of water is a critical constraint to increasing food production, particularly as climate change makes water even scarcer.

Big Data is helping to meet that challenge. Experts from around the world gathered in Seattle this week at the Water for Food Global Conference to discuss ways to harness this data revolution in agriculture. Hosted by the Robert B. Daugherty Water for Food Institute at the University of Nebraska in association with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the conference focused on mobilizing Big Data to improve global water and food security.

Our speakers discussed five data tools for promoting water and food security:

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Incorporating ‘Green’ Into Your Business Practices

3p Contributor | Friday October 24th, 2014 | 0 Comments

By Jona JoneIncorporating Green In Your Business And Business Practices-1

Why are more and more companies going green? Most businesses have this response: It is simply the right thing to do.

Corporate Social Responsibility has evolved through the years. Much more than doing charity work, most companies are now implementing green measures because they just have to — it improves corporate image, shows they care, and it is what customers demand. A survey by Grant Thornton, a consultancy firm composed of 2,500 companies, found a nobler reason — companies believe that it is their responsibility to do so. Among the eco-work that companies are doing are: improve energy efficiency (65 percent), making products and services more sustainable (39 percent), and calculate their carbon footprint (31 percent). Another development is the increase in companies reporting on sustainability.

The reasons for going green are not a one-way thing. Companies are not adapting sustainability practices just because they are concerned about the environment but because it benefits them too, and in a great way.

So what’s in it for these big firms? How does a company start incorporating sustainability measures?

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Let’s Change the Way We Talk About Energy

3p Contributor | Friday October 24th, 2014 | 2 Comments

energyBy Aaron Hay, Senior Sustainability Advisor at Forum for the Future

Although Big Energy Saving Week is in full swing, you could be forgiven for missing the positive energy that this worthwhile and ambitious undertaking should represent. Over at The Guardian, a recent article highlighted that household spending on gas and electricity is up 137 percent since 2003-04 even though people are using 17 percent less energy. Elsewhere, The Independent weighed in just this Monday, with more discouraging news:  a growing energy divide faced by lower-income households across the European Union.

Recent research we at Forum for the Future conducted with Behaviour Change and YouGov across the UK in October 2014 revealed a bleak state: 66 percent of people say there is nothing at all, or not very much they can do to reduce household energy bills, and at least two in five say their energy bills frustrate them. A clear lack of awareness on where people should go for help was uncovered.

It doesn’t have to be this way, households should be able to take control of their energy bills. Individuals and families can take steps to enjoy comfortable, healthy homes without the anxiety of ever-rising costs. That message isn’t cutting through the complex, negative and (no pun intended) heated rhetoric surrounding energy costs in the UK – which households hear almost daily.

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SXSW Eco Interview: Sara Batterby on Women in Venture Capital

| Friday October 24th, 2014 | 0 Comments

This post is part of Triple Pundit’s ongoing coverage of the SXSW Eco conference. For the rest, please visit our SXSW Eco page here

elemeno-logoSara Batterby is a partner at Elemeno Ventures, an angel investing firm based in Silicon Valley. I had the opportunity to talk to Sara at SXSW Eco this month about why so few startups, especially in tech, are headed by women – as well as why this problem is relevant to a greater conversation about sustainability.

Learn more in the video below…

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BP Op-Ed: Gulf Impacts Not So Bad!

| Thursday October 23rd, 2014 | 0 Comments
Workers continue clean-up efforts as part of the Deepwater Horizon Response in Grand Isle, La., June 5, 2010

Workers continue clean-up efforts as part of the Deepwater Horizon Response in Grand Isle, La., June 5, 2010

BP is in hot water for an “op/ed” it published on Politico from senior vice president of U.S. communications and external affairs, Geoff Morrell.

Unsurprisingly, his position is that the long term impacts of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill weren’t so bad, and the company’s $27B dollars in cleanup were sufficient to offset any long term impacts.

The LA Times does a great job outlining all the impacts Morrell missed:

The answer, if you study the findings of experts, is that the spill has had massive impacts. These include immediate effects on sea fowl, marine mammals, and coral; and long-term effects on dolphins, sea turtles, fish and wildlife populations, and the gulf food web. Moreover, many effects are still imponderable at this time, because no one has studied an oil spill of this magnitude in a unique ecosystem such as the gulf. Assessing the damage may take decades, covering generations of animals.

As for why Politico would publish such a thing? Internet sleuths are blaming that on the fact that BP has been a frequent advertiser on Politico’s Playbook, a daily briefing on DC’s big stories of the day.

The op-ed was not marked as sponsored content, but one wonders if it was published thanks to a health dose of quid pro quo.

Not one to shrink down from a good old fashioned brouhaha, BP has responded to the kerfuffle by issuing a statement. Here it is in its entirety:

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The 2014 Elections and the Road for Sustainable Business

American Sustainable Business Council
| Thursday October 23rd, 2014 | 0 Comments

american flagBy Zach Bernstein

Every year, the American Sustainable Business Council (ASBC) holds a summit to discuss and plan strategies for creating a greener, fairer economy that works for everyone. This year’s will be held after the midterm elections, at the White House and other locations in DC, and space is still available for those who would like to join the discussion.

A lot will depend on how sustainability-minded candidates do in November. Policies that support sustainable businesses can move the economy in a sustainable direction. And those policies depend on policy makers who understand the importance of sustainability – economically and socially as well as environmentally.

Unfortunately while many campaign ads tout a candidate’s economic bona fides, often the reality and the rhetoric don’t match up.

That’s why the ASBC Action Fund decided to take a look at a few races across the country to see how the solutions match up with the rhetoric. Some are big time races; others are less-well-known. Some are federal elections, and others are more local. All of them, however, will mean a lot for the future of our economy. They will determine who takes the reins at all the different levels of our government, and thus imply which policy paths we can take to move the economy forward.

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The Top 10 Solar States: You May Be Surprised

Leon Kaye | Thursday October 23rd, 2014 | 2 Comments
Solar Power Rocks, top 10 solar states, solar, solar energy, solar power, Leon Kaye, clean energy, new York, Solar Power Rocks, renewable portfolio standard

The top 10 solar states has a few surprises

The clean energy sector has been on an economic roller coaster the past several years, but despite entrenched interests, questions about efficiency and costs, renewables are on the upswing in the U.S.

That includes solar power, which is experiencing a surge in installations large and small—witness SolarCity’s success in recent years. Of course, the regulatory environment has a lot to do with how solar is spread.

So to that end, the writers at Solar Power Rocks, a clearinghouse of solar information from rebates to technology, recently ranked the U.S. states and the District of Columbia. The top 10 solar states may just surprise you—unless you live there and you have seen what is going on in your local community.

In order to gauge the winners and laggers on the solar power front, Dan Hahn and Dave Llorens, the brains behind Solar Power Rocks (SPR), looked at a bevy of factors, including each states renewable portfolio standard (RPS), the cost of electricity, rebates and credits related to solar, tax exemptions and regulations related to grid connectivity.

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SAP Twitter Chat on Millennials & Social Entrepreneurship: #SAPsocent

Marissa Rosen
| Thursday October 23rd, 2014 | 1 Comment

SAP-LogoOn Thursday, October 23rd at 9am PDT / Noon EST, TriplePundit and SAP led a Twitter Chat on millennials and social entrepreneurship at #SAPsocent. 

This facilitated discussion examined how millennial entrepreneurs are transforming their industries and communities with new social enterprises. We spoke with experts and millennial entrepreneurs themselves about how the younger generation approaches bringing meaning to their daily work and building sustainable businesses from the ground up – and SAP shared its approach to supporting these young leaders.

Our four expert panelists agreed that the millennial generation is a different breed, and that the traditional workplace is changing as a result of technology and their desires to make an impact in the world. A few highlighted quotes:

  • Tiago Dalvi: “We’re focused in building businesses with cause. It’s possible to make money and change the world at the same time. #SAPsocent”
  • Smiley: “#Millennials are innovative and fearless. Whether entrepreneurs or intrapreneurs, they want do the impossible. #SAPsocent”
  • Nico Van Exel: “#Millennial generation is connected, everywhere, all the time. Technology must #RunSimple, experience must be seamless #SAPsocent”
  • Jacob Rosenbloom: “‘Just a job’ challenge is not big enough. #Millennials want to get paid to change the world. #SAPsocent”

Bill McDermott, CEO of SAP, even stopped in to give his two cents!

For the Storify summary and additional information — keep reading.

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