Live Today: Justin Bakule; Exec. Director, Shared Value Initiative

Marissa Rosen
| Wednesday April 16th, 2014 | 1 Comment

Justin Bakule

Every Wednesday, TriplePundit takes 30 minutes or so to chat with an interesting leader in the sustainable business movement. These chats are broadcast on our Google+ channel and embedded via YouTube right here on 3p.

Today at 4pm PST (7pm EST), join TriplePundit’s Founder, Nick Aster, for a chat with Justin Bakule, Executive Director of the Shared Value Initiative.

Justin is responsible for the overall strategic direction and management of the Initiative, and works closely with major corporate, civil society, government and academic stakeholders in order to track and influence the development and capture of shared value research, the shared value idea in practice, and the growing global community of practitioners.

WATCH THE LIVE INTERVIEW BELOW ON WED., APRIL 16TH AT 4:00PM PST (7:00PM EST)

Chime in to the conversation on Twitter with #3pChat!

If you miss the conversation, you can watch it later right here or on our YouTube channel.

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Seafood Traceability Makes for Better Products and a Healthy Bottom Line

Alexis Petru
| Wednesday April 16th, 2014 | 0 Comments

Fish in crateThe environmental benefits of seafood traceability are obvious: By tracking a fish through the entire supply chain – from capture to plate – you can ensure the fish wasn’t caught using illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing practices. But many companies, like Norpac Fisheries Export, are discovering that traceability is also good for their bottom lines.

When Norpac set up an electronic tracking system in 2002 to monitor the fish it captures and sells, the company wasn’t trying to certify its seafood as sustainable, Norpac’s Managing Director Thomas Kraft says; the goal aim was to develop a tool to better manage the flow of the company’s product. It was only after the system had been in operation for a few years that Kraft realized it could help the company follow fish through the supply chain — essentially creating a reliable audit trail for its product — and guarantee its seafood was not captured using IUU fishing methods.

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Look Twice, Buy Once: Sustainability Through Consumer Restraint

3p Contributor | Wednesday April 16th, 2014 | 1 Comment

6169863809_5857ba79e0_zBy Mark Paigen

There are many angles to sustainability in the fashion/apparel world.

  • Fair trade companies seek to create good living conditions for underserved populations by providing first-world markets for developing world labor.
  • Use of organic fabrics and materials lessens the impact of industrialized agriculture with its heavy dependence on petrochemical fertilizers.
  • Recycled polyester from beverage containers is perhaps the most eco-friendly fiber, yielding a smaller environmental footprint than organic cotton.
  • Domestic manufacturing minimizes trans-oceanic transportation costs and seeks to bolster local economies more than global ones, creating a sense of community along the way.
  • Lifecycle analysis provides impact transparency of a product from cradle to grave, a much more comprehensive picture than the discrete burden of the manufacturing process.

Each of these initiatives has value, merit and positive outcomes. All of these efforts need further energy and attention as our collective footprint becomes heavier. All should be championed, celebrated and expanded.

There is however, a more fundamental issue to be addressed. I am reminded of my early days backpacking when the lure of innovative new products inspired more than a few to carry “a hundred pounds of lightweight backpacking gear.” Overconsumption of organic/recycled, fair-trade clothing is still overconsumption.

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Global Renewable Energy Investment Drops, But Installed Capacity Rises

| Wednesday April 16th, 2014 | 0 Comments

offshorewindFSUNEPRenewable energy investment fell year-over-year in 2013, down 14 percent, but the drop belies some heartening news for market participants and clean energy supporters. In short: Renewable energy’s share of overall power generation continues to grow, and more renewable energy generation capacity is being brought online at much lower cost, solar energy generation capacity in particular.

According to the latest global renewable energy annual report from the Frankfurt School-United Nations Environment Programme Collaborating Centre (FS-UNEP) and Bloomberg New Energy Finance, global renewable energy investment totaled $214 billion in 2013, a second consecutive year of decline and 23 percent below a 2011 peak. Even so, renewable energy accounted for 43.6 percent of new power capacity, while renewable energy’s share of worldwide electricity generation rose to 8.5 percent from 7.8 percent in 2012.

There were several other reasons for optimism regarding the outlook for renewable energy, according to FS-UNEP-BNEF’s, “Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment 2014.” For one thing, some 1.2 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions were avoided as a result of renewable power generation last year. But that’s not all.

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Fuzzy Math on Pennsylvania Fracking Jobs

| Wednesday April 16th, 2014 | 0 Comments
Fracking wastewater impoundment surrounded by wind turbines in Bradford County, Pa.

Fracking wastewater impoundment surrounded by wind turbines in Bradford County, Pa.

Incumbent Republican Gov. Tom Corbett of Pennsylvania has been campaigning for re-election on a platform that touts the 200,000 jobs created through his support for natural gas fracking, but the Pennsylvania fracking boom is not all that it’s cracked up to be. A provocative article newly published in The National Journal casts some serious doubts upon Corbett’s representation of the number of jobs created by fracking, an unconventional method of extracting natural gas from shale formations.

The National Journal makes a good case that the fracking industry accounts for less than 1 percent of current Pennsylvania job creation, which gets us to thinking that the number of jobs actually created by the Pennsylvania fracking industry is offset by the jobs at risk in the state’s rich and varied historical tourism, recreation and agricultural sectors — all of which are threatened by fracking operations.

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The Quick & Dirty: A CEO. A Leader. Sometimes We Need a Bit of Both.

Henk Campher
| Wednesday April 16th, 2014 | 0 Comments

5161094177_7b6a708567_zBy Henk Campher

I participated in another great Twitter chat with Aman Singh from CSRWire and Nick Aster from Triple Pundit hosting Aron Cramer from BSR, Nigel Topping from CDP and Peter Graf from SAP.

One of the many interesting side discussions I had was with Christine Bader, John Friedman and a few others about how CEOs say they want to lead when it comes to sustainability but most of them are completely absent in the debate. There are leaders — like Elon Musk from Tesla, Sir Richard Branson from Virgin, Craig Jelinek from Costco and Blake Mycoskie from TOMS — who have taken up very vocal and thoughtful leadership roles. But in most cases, CEOs say they want to lead but go completely missing when it comes to substance. They give us the usual “it is in our DNA” nonsense and jargon and lack substance to back it up. Sometimes they even give us the “our employees are our greatest asset” baloney.

When we are lucky these empty words will give us lots of hot air for a little while, but many CEOs aren’t willing to take up true leadership. To lead is to suffer the consequences of leading; to sometimes have to take people (consumers, investors, employees, etc.) to places they do not want to go. That is what leadership requires — brave and bold like a Star Trek captain who will “boldly go where no man has gone before.” Unfortunately most business leaders are just plain missing in action and hiding behind the soft and cozy walls of “investment community.” That isn’t leadership. That is the yes-men mentality that has taken hold amongst too many leaders.

Novel idea: To be a thought leader you need a thought — and you need to lead. A bit of both please.

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Shell Joins Pledge For Drastic Cuts In Greenhouse Gases, But…

| Wednesday April 16th, 2014 | 0 Comments

Shell signs TTC but it could be an empty promiseLast week, the Royal Dutch Shell company got a lot of nice publicity for signing the  Trillion Tonne Communiqué (TTC), a climate action project of the Prince of Wales’ Corporate Leaders Group. However, when we took a quick look at the group’s FAQ page and put that together with a news item from our friends over at TheHill.com, two things jumped out at us: coal and carbon capture.

When you put coal and carbon capture together with TTC, the most you can say about Shell is that the energy company is using the declaration more as publicity leverage for its existing oil and gas operations, rather than a meaningful step toward transitioning its business model into renewable sources. So, let’s take a closer look at TTC and the answers to those frequently asked questions (FAQs).

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Transmission for Renewables: Cheaper and Greener Than Natural Gas Pipelines

| Tuesday April 15th, 2014 | 0 Comments

3ÒÀReducing carbon emissions, boosting energy and water resource efficiency, creating green jobs and boosting local economies, and reducing waste and the potential for conflicts – numerous studies, and actual results – have shown the substantial triple bottom line benefits of bringing renewable energy systems and power transmission infrastructure online.

When it comes to energy, the U.S. has thrived on fossil fuels, however. Expanding to become the largest, most profitable multinational businesses in history, U.S. oil and gas companies have conveyed dependence on, as well as the costs and benefits of, these fossil fuels globally. Along the way, securing steady, affordable supplies of oil and natural gas became the central pillar of U.S. national security, as well as energy, policy.

Our ongoing dependence on, and affinity for, oil and natural gas shows through clearly in numerous instances, one of the most controversial of which is the proposed construction of Keystone XL, as well as numerous other natural gas pipelines. According to recent industry-unaffiliated studies, however, investing in renewable energy transmission infrastructure would not only be better from environmental and social perspectives, but it would also be a lot cheaper and give the U.S. a much bigger bang for its energy buck.

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Boeing: Something Electric in Space

Bill DiBenedetto | Tuesday April 15th, 2014 | 0 Comments

ABS F1All-electric satellite propulsion is becoming a big deal, and Boeing says it is “on track” to deliver the world’s first all-electric xenon-ion propulsion satellites in late 2014 or early 2015 after meeting key production milestones on its initial 702SP (small platform) satellites.

Boeing announced that it has completed static qualification testing, verification and assembly of the primary structures for 702SP inaugural customers ABS and Eutelsat, meaning the satellites are well on their way to launch. The initial contract for the satellite was signed in 2012 between Boeing and Satmex. Eutelsat acquired Satmex in January 2014.

The four 702SP communications satellites will launch in pairs, and once in orbit, they will be entirely powered and propelled by electricity, rather than relying on rockets.

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Can Glad Start a National Conversation on Waste?

Alexis Petru
| Tuesday April 15th, 2014 | 0 Comments
The Radchenko-Halabi family of New York City pose with one week’s worth of their household’s trash, as part of Glad’s Waste in Focus project. Recyclables are on the left-hand side of the photo, and items destined for the landfill are on the right.

The Radchenko-Halabi family of New York City pose with one week’s worth of their household’s trash, as part of Glad’s Waste in Focus project. Recyclables are on the left-hand side of the photo, and items destined for the landfill are on the right.

How much waste do you throw away every day? That’s the question the Glad Products Co. hopes people will ask themselves after viewing its new “Waste in Focus“ photo series that peeked inside the trash, recycling and compost bins of eight families in four cities across the United States for one week.

Glad commissioned photojournalist Peter Menzel and writer Faith D’Aluisio to meet with, collect data from and photograph eight families who live in San Francisco, Atlanta, Phoenix and New York City. The participating families – each with four members – were asked to save a week’s worth of their household garbage and recycling, but were told not to change their daily behavior just for the study.

After a week, the husband-and-wife writing and photography team, who agreed to carry out the project on the condition of total independence from Glad, sorted, weighed, cleaned and recorded the waste. Then they took a portrait of each family with its discards; recycled and composted items were placed on the left side of the photo, and trash headed to landfill was positioned on the right. Each photo in the series is presented with the family’s back story, as well as data about the waste the family produced: the amount of trash, recyclables and compostables by weight and percentage of the total waste generated.

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EPA Port Grants Help Spur Clean Diesel, Sustainable Technologies

Bill DiBenedetto | Tuesday April 15th, 2014 | 0 Comments

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA new Environmental Protection Agency initiative will recognize U.S. ports that act to improve their environmental performance.

It’s a good idea because port areas generate some of the worst diesel emission problems in the nation, whether it’s from the cargo ships that dock at terminals without powering down their engines, the terminal equipment that services the ships, or the hundreds of trucks moving to and from terminals to load and unload the cargo.

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Electricity Prices Fall In Europe As German Renewable Energy Output Increases

Gina-Marie Cheeseman
| Tuesday April 15th, 2014 | 0 Comments

wind powerFor the fifth consecutive month, electricity prices in countries neighboring Germany have decreased, recently released Platts data reveals, due in large part to increased solar and wind generation in Germany.

The Platts Continental Power Index (CONT), described as a “demand-weighted base load average of day-ahead contracts assessed in Germany, Switzerland, France, Belgium and the Netherlands,” dropped steadily in early 2014. The index decreased to €35.06 (or about $48.50) per megawatt hour in March, an 18 percent drop from February. Overall, the index is down by more than 39 percent since peaking at €50.50/MWh in November of last year.

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SolarCoin: Cryptocurrency with Value for People and Planet

3p Contributor | Tuesday April 15th, 2014 | 0 Comments

Editor’s Note: This is the second post in a series on electricity-backed currency. In case you missed it, you can read the first post here

By Sam Bliss
SolarCoin is a digital currency intended to reward producers of solar electricity. Image: SolarCoin.org
SolarCoin is a decentralized digital currency that we can trade person-to-person over the Internet, without PayPal or Visa playing middleman and charging fees. Each SolarCoin represents 1 megawatt-hour (MWh) of solar electricity generation.

In my first blog post about SolarCoin, I described the two “proofs of work” that back the currency: a cryptographic proof of work that secures the online currency and verifies transactions, and a proof of solar power production. That introductory piece also explains how one can claim or trade for SolarCoins, but leaves unanswered the question of why one would want to do that.

So, is SolarCoin valuable? What can we buy with it?

Money value

All currencies, including U.S. dollars and Euros, are valuable as long as a network of merchants, people and other organizations deem them valuable. But unlike the currencies with which we are required to pay our taxes, digital currencies must provide value as a complement to national currencies.

For SolarCoins to succeed as a means of exchange, we need to begin treating them like money. They must be in people’s hands — or digital wallets — and they must be used for purchases and exchanges.

This is how Bitcoin gained value.

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Go Green or Go Home: Why Being Eco-Friendly is Good for Delivery

3p Contributor | Tuesday April 15th, 2014 | 0 Comments

1680773717_1074b44e62_zBy Phil Dumontet

People often assume that making eco-friendly choices means spending more money. But more often than not, going green will actually save you money. Even mega corporations like Walmart are increasing profits by adopting environmentally friendly practices.

It turns out that what’s good for the earth is also good for your business and its employees, especially if you offer delivery services. Additionally, you can save on expenses by offering environmentally friendly options.

Green means speed

The most environmentally friendly modes of transportation are also the cheapest. Using scooters, bikes and Smart cars can save you loads on gas while also increasing the number of deliveries you can manage in a day.

At Dashed, about 25 percent of our restaurant deliveries are done via bicycles and scooters, with another 50 percent done by Smart cars. That means 75 percent of our deliveries are maximizing speed and minimizing environmental impact, which has given us an advantage over our competitors.

When employees make deliveries on bikes or scooters, they can find faster routes easier than in a conventional car. Alleys and smaller side roads become valid routes, and the problem of parking is completely removed. Smart cars can also fit into tighter parking spots than larger vehicles.

When you factor in better routes and fewer parking worries, that equates to faster delivery times — the most important competitive advantage you can have. Fast deliveries maximize profit and keep your customers happy.

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Rio Tinto Pulls Out Of Pebble Mine, Gifts Shares to Nonprofits

| Monday April 14th, 2014 | 0 Comments

copperDealing another major setback to Northern Dynasty Minerals’ plans to develop the world’s largest known undeveloped copper ore deposit, multinational mining giant Rio Tinto, the project’s sole remaining major mining company backer, announced it is divesting its 19.1 percent equity stake in the junior Canadian mining company.

Rio Tinto is taking an extraordinary step in the way of divestment: Rather than trying to find a buyer for its Northern Dynasty shares, management announced it is gifting them to two local nonprofit organizations, dividing them equally between the Alaska Community Foundation and the Bristol Bay Native Corp. Education Foundation.

Situated on state land in southwest Alaska at the headwaters of the Bristol Bay watershed, Northern Dynasty aims to build North America’s largest open-pit copper mine at the Pebble Mine site. The Bristol Bay area is also home to one of the world’s richest remaining wild salmon habitat and Alaska’s richest fisheries, however.

IHS Global Insight projects the extraction and processing of copper, gold and molybdenum ore from the Pebble Mine site will create 15,000 jobs and provide a more than $2.5-billion boost to U.S. GDP over at least a 20-year period. Set on the scales against the project is the the value of the Bristol Bay fishery and watershed, which opponents contend would be threatened and significantly degraded, if not destroyed, were the Pebble Mine project to be developed — taking local communities and ways of life along with it.

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