3p Contributor: Nick Aster

Nick Aster is a new media architect and the founder of TriplePundit.com

TriplePundit.com has since grown to become one of the web's leading sources of news and ideas on how business can be used to make the world a better place.

Prior to TriplePundit Nick worked for Mother Jones magazine, successfully re-launching the magazine's online presence. He was instrumental in the creation of TreeHugger.com, managing the technical side of the publication for 3 years as well as an active consultant for individuals and companies entering the world of micro-publishing. He earned his stripes working for Gawker Media and Moreover Technologies in the early days of blogging.

Nick holds an MBA in sustainable management from the Presidio School of Management and graduated with a BA in History from Washington University in St. Louis.

Recent Articles

SOCAP 2014: Tweet Jam on Financial Inclusion #3pChat

| Tuesday August 26th, 2014 | 0 Comments

3p-tweet-jamSocial Capital Markets 2014 is around the corner and what better  way to kick it off that a tweet jam on key conference topics, starting with the concept of financial inclusion.

“What is Success in Financial Inclusion?

On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate your financial health? Though overly simplified, this question is key to financial inclusion. For organizations working to include underserved communities in modern financial systems, how can they go beyond the number of users engaging with their product or service to understand real impact on financial health and economic stability? Hear how these experts are building systems that include and serve everyone.

Join us live on twitter at 2pm pacific time on Thursday, August 28th as we get down into the details as well as cover other topics relevant to #SOCAP14.

Please RSVP here or just send the following tweet:

“Join me and @triplepundit to discuss financial inclusion in advance of #socap14 8/28 2PM PT #3pChat http://bit.ly/1onbVkj”

Our panelists:

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Linq Edges Vegas (Slightly) Closer to Sustainability

| Monday August 18th, 2014 | 4 Comments
A stroll on the Las Vegas Linq is downright pleasant.

A stroll on the Las Vegas Linq is downright pleasant.

Whether by foot or by car, if you’ve ever tried to navigate the Las Vegas strip you’ve likely found it difficult at best.  The wide swath of gridlocked roadway surrounded by dangerously narrow sidewalks and confusing pathways is enough to challenge even sober pedestrians.  The fact that most casinos’ entrances are designed grandly for cars only makes matters worse when the vast majority of people are trying to walk, or at least stumble, to the next casino.  It’s apparent that there has never been much thought put into ways of connecting casinos nor much thought put into the idea that people might want to walk in Las Vegas in a vaguely pleasant environment.  Pedestrian bridges have helped but seem to be slapped together as afterthoughts.

Good urban planning that prioritizes a safe and pleasant pedestrian environment is a key tenet of sustainability, and could do wonders for the Las Vegas strip.  There’s a long way to go, but Caesar’s new Linq development is a step in the right direction.

Video below!

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Downtown Las Vegas: A Surprising Hub of Sustainable Thinking

| Thursday August 14th, 2014 | 0 Comments
Solar trees outside Las Vegas City Hall

Solar trees outside Las Vegas City Hall

I recently had a chance to visit downtown Las Vegas, a place many tourists don’t even know exists. Although it’s been somewhat neglected for years, the area is enjoying a well-deserved renaissance.  New residential buildings are slowly cropping up, bike lanes are going in, and even a public gathering space made from old shipping containers has appeared.  All of this is beginning to create a walkable, diverse and sustainable center for a city that for decades hasn’t really had one.

The major forces pushing this “new” Las Vegas are a forward-thinking city government, coupled with a $350 million investment from Zappos’ CEO Tony Hsheih, through what’s known as the Downtown Project.  The project has invested in dozens of startup businesses, sowing the seeds to catalyze a new downtown community.

I had a chance to stop by city hall to talk to the city’s Chief Sustainability Officer Tom Perrigo, as well as visit with SHIFT, one of the many startups funded by the Downtown Project.  In the video below, you can learn more…

Video after the jump:

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Bell Aquaculture’s Feedmill Opening: A Who’s Who in Land Based Aquaculture

| Thursday July 31st, 2014 | 0 Comments

One of the most interesting companies we’ve gotten to know since launching our sustainable seafood series is Bell Aquaculture.  This Indiana startup is producing not only trout, salmon and perch on a highly productive plot of land in rural Indiana, but also producing two types of fertilizer from waste products as well as fish food to sell to other farms.  It’s this fantastic story of vertical integration that we told in our 5 part video series we ran earlier this summer (click here to watch all 5 parts).

A month ago, I had the pleasure of re-visiting Bell on the opening day of their new feedmill operation. A feedmill, for those who aren’t schooled in the nuances of farming is a machine that grinds grain and other ingredients to produce animal food.  In the case of Bell, it means producing a wide variety of food, primarily soybean based, for fish.  It’s also highly customizable for any given fish depending on the age, species and other factors.

The event turned out to be a veritable who’s who in midwest aquaculture featuring Bell’s own experts, politicians, and representatives of industry associations.  All of them had some great insights to share and I captured as much as I could on video, with the help of Bell’s CEO Norman McCowan.  

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Stories & Beer: Clif Bar & Plum Organics

| Thursday July 24th, 2014 | 0 Comments

storiesandbeerlogoIt’s time for another Stories and Beer Fireside Chat on Thursday, July 24 at 6:30pm Pacific (9:30 Eastern) at the Impact HUB San Francisco – and online via web cam.

THIS EVENT IS SOLD OUT

But you can watch online right on this page. Just come back at 7pm Pacific time and hit play (video will appear below)

Knowing that we’re eating healthy, responsibly sourced food is a fundamental issue in the sustainability movement.  Many food product companies have made strides towards using more (or completely) organic ingredients, embracing a sustainable supply chain, building consumer trust, and being transparent about everything they do.

Come learn from two leading companies at July’s “Stories and Beer” about what they’re doing to further the movement: Clif Bar & Plum Organics.

TriplePundit’s Founder, Nick Aster, will be chatting with Plum Organics’ Ben Mand and Clif Bar’s Michelle Ferguson and leading a conversation with you!  This event is free to HUB members, otherwise $15, and you can also watch live online (details will be posted on the day of the event on TriplePundit’s front page.

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GM Twitter Chat Recap: Transforming Transportation – #GMCSR

| Wednesday July 16th, 2014 | 0 Comments

twitter-GMOn Wednesday, July 16th, TriplePundit and Aman Singh hosted a live Twitter Chat with General Motors at the hashtag #GMCSR. 

We were excited to take our popular Twitter Chats to the automotive sector for the first time! During this chat, we had a conversation on “transforming transportation” with General Motors’ director of sustainability, David Tulauskas (follow him here).

The conversation covered GM’s efforts described in its latest sustainability report.  From smaller and cleaner high-performing engines, to mass reduction and improved aerodynamics, we got into the details of how far GM has come in recent years.

Facing an automotive industry that is unsustainable in its current form, General Motors is restructuring its global vehicle portfolio, rethinking manufacturing and collaborating with unlikely partners to advance the industry.

Nick Aster, Founder and Publisher of TriplePundit, and Aman Singh, CSR expert, moderated the conversation with a thorough sampling of General Motor’s sustainability accomplishments – followed by an open Q&A!

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Harley Davidson’s LiveWire “Test Ride” Brings Electrics Closer to Mainstream

| Sunday June 29th, 2014 | 1 Comment

harley-davidson-museumMaking a pitstop in Milwaukee this weekend I was excited to see that Harley Davidson would be offering a peak at their new LiveWire electric motorcycle prototype at their iconic museum here.

As it turned out, demand was so high for test rides the best I could get was a look at the bike and chance to rev one held in a stationary position (see video below).  Nonetheless, it was more than enough to be impressed.

Harley’s new ride (more info on the company website here) is merely an experiment at the moment.  Although they’ve produced more than a dozen fully functional prototypes, the bike is currently just a test to see who’s interested in a mainstream electric motorcycle and to garner feedback on the model.  The test will also determine whether such people represent a new market for the company or if the grizzled, sonic-boom inducing core of Harley enthusiasts would ever go for a quiet, carbon free alternative.

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VIDEO: The Proof of Zero – Zero Waste to Landfill Certification

| Tuesday June 24th, 2014 | 0 Comments

google-hangout

TriplePundit readers have long heard of the concept of “zero waste,” but what does this term actually mean? It turns out there are a variety of ways the term “zero waste” is defined with the strictest being zero waste to landfill. On June 24th we hosted an online conversation with leaders in the field of zero waste.  We discussed why zero waste is such an important concept and got into the details of UL Environment’s validation process.

About our panelists:

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Chipotle’s Cultivate Festival Serves Public and Employees Alike

| Thursday June 19th, 2014 | 0 Comments

125px-Chipotle_Mexican_Grill_logo.svgChipotle has long been on the list of companies we’ve noted that pay attention to their customers about sustainability issues.  The company has also historically gone out of its way to educate consumers about sustainability in food, animal welfare, GMO issues and many other things.  See its famous scarecrow video for some inspiration.

The folks at Chipotle also know how to throw a good party, which was evident last week at the company’s free-to-the-public Cultivate Festival which rolled into Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. The event featured a bevy of top musical acts as well famous chefs performing cooking demonstrations. The most visible aspects of the festival were interactive exhibits scattered throughout the grounds inviting attendees to learn about issues from factory farming to making the perfect guacamole. Impressively, every exhibit had a line of at least 100 people waiting to check them out throughout the day. Granted, they were bribed with the promise of free tacos if they visited them all, but still….

It turns out that it wasn’t just the public who were getting a treat.  Every attraction and every food station at the festival was staffed by Chipotle employees — some from local stores, others hand-picked to be flown in for the event.  The idea was not only to provide employees with a fun day out and to ensure an educated public face for the company in terms of basic PR, but also to explain the company’s stance on the various issues presented by the event.

I had a chance to sneak backstage to talk to Chipotle’s communications director, Chris Arnold, to learn more about how the event was staffed and what folks were learning.  Video after the jump:

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Interview: Margaret Morey-Reuner, Timberland

| Tuesday June 17th, 2014 | 0 Comments

TriplePundit attended Sustainable Brands 2014 in San Diego this month. These videos are part of our coverage. Find the rest here.

Released in July 2012 by the Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC), the Higg Index is a sustainability measurement tool that allows apparel companies to measure the impacts of their products across the value chain.

Late last year, the SAC – a trade organization comprised of brands, retailers and manufacturers – announced an updated version of the index reflecting 18 months of development effort. In this interview, Nick Aster talks to Timberland’s Margaret Morey-Reuner about sustainability at Timberland and how the Higg Index is coming into use.

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Interview: Bethanie Maples Krogstad, Quid

| Monday June 16th, 2014 | 0 Comments

TriplePundit attended Sustainable Brands 2014 in San Diego this month. These videos are part of our coverage. Find the rest here.

At this year’s Sustainable Brands conference I was invited to moderate a panel on big data and how it can be leveraged for sustainability. It’s a wildly complicated subject, but companies like Quid are aiming to help us make sense of it all through clever visualization tools, advanced search engines, and other kinds of engagement. Prior to our panel, I caught up with Quid’s Bethanie Maples Krogstad to learn about exactly what Quid does, and why visualizing big data is relevant to sustainability — specifically the transportation industry.

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Interview: Carrie Majeske, Ford

| Sunday June 15th, 2014 | 0 Comments

TriplePundit attended Sustainable Brands 2014 in San Diego this month. These videos are part of our coverage. Find the rest here.

At this year’s Sustainable Brands conference I was invited to moderate a panel on big data and how it can be leveraged for sustainability. One of our panelists was Carrie Majeske, Associate Director of Global Sustainability Integration at Ford. I took some time before the panel to talk about how this conversation was relevant to Ford as well as the automotive sector in general.

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Interview: Eric Dominguez, Caesars Entertainment

| Saturday June 14th, 2014 | 0 Comments

TriplePundit attended Sustainable Brands 2014 in San Diego this month. These videos are part of our coverage. Find the rest here.

I once sensed irony in pairing the concept of sustainability with a Las Vegas based entertainment empire. But Caesars Entertainment has long been recognized as a leading sustainability reporter as well as a company with a progressive vision. There’s more going on as well. In this interview, Eric Dominguez talks about the big picture at Caesars – energy, water and waste as well as engaging their employees to care and take sustainability seriously.

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Financing Cities of the Future w/Siemens, PwC & Berwin Leighton Paisner

| Thursday June 12th, 2014 | 3 Comments

siemens-chat-logos

siemens-download-sm

Click to download report

 

There’s no shortage of ideas on how cities can transform their infrastructure, yet nearly all cities have limited access to funds and ways of financing such plans. Some even lack the most basic legal and institutional frameworks to facilitate access to finance from the capital markets. So what is the best way to enable the financing and delivery of the critical urban infrastructure needed for them to become cities of the future?

Join TriplePundit live on Google’s hangout platform to discuss “Investor Ready Cities”.

[Please register here]

You may also RSVP via our contact form here.

THE CHAT IS ARCHIVED BELOW – Just hit play!

Our panelists:

Julie Alexander, Director of Urban Development, Siemens
Mukhtiar Tanda, Partner, Urban Development, Berwin Leighton Paisner
David MacGray, Infrastructure Director, PwC

We will discuss:

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Interview: Jeremiah Owyang, Crowd Companies

| Thursday June 12th, 2014 | 2 Comments

TriplePundit attended Sustainable Brands 2014 in San Diego this month. These videos are part of our coverage. Find the rest here.

Jeremiah Owyang is one of the most interesting people I had a chance to meet at last week’s Sustainable Brands conference.  An analyst by trade, Jeremiah now runs a network called Crowd Companies who propose to “bring empowered people and resilient brands together to collaborate for Shared Value.”   Specifically, this shared value springs from  embracing the “collaborative economy” –  a meta term for business models built on shared ownership and access.  It’s a somewhat more inclusive description of most of what we talk about when we talk about the sharing economy.

In this quick interview, I asked Jeremiah to talk about the collaborative economy – why it’s important, why it’s both a threat and an opportunity for traditional companies, and what it has to do with sustainability.

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