Imagine you’re in a shop and not certain whether the product you’re about to buy deserves the green credentials the packaging indicates it has. You get out your iPhone and key in the name of the product. The next moment you’re presented with all the scientific information about the ingredients, manufacturing processes and much much more. In the next few weeks, that’s going to be reality if all goes to plan with new startup company Goodguide.
Having only just been launched, Goodguide combats greenwashing by sending product information directly to consumers on the spot. The company is still in beta but its promise is wildly alluring. Because rather than having to go back and forth to your computer to research certain products, Goodguide simply delivers you product information as and when you need it.
Goodguide, which emerged from Berkeley’s Sustainability Information Lab, says it provides real, verified scientific data about health, social and environmental products. The information in Goodguide’s database is vast. It was compiled during the last ten years by scientists who researched the ins and outs of the supply chain, accessing 200 public and private data sources. The result is an as yet basic metrics model assigning datapoints for what classifies as green.
Will green jobs create new momentum for the US economy? That’s a question that’s gained some traction since the mortgage crisis started claiming victims.
The new administration may be the most important player in creating essentially an entirely new jobs segment and they¬¥re advised to dish out some hefty investments by the authors of a recent report entitled Green Recovery: A Program to Create Good Jobs and Start Building a Low-Carbon Economy.
The authors, researchers at the University of Massachusetts, believe that before a green jobs market will be able to take off in earnest, investments totaling $100 billion will have to be made. The report, which was picked up by our colleagues at GreenBiz, suggests this is direly needed money, not a luxury buffer.
More and more people are interested in offsetting their website’s carbon footprint and various businesses are brokering eco projects to match this offsetting. But is the web greening business substantially more than a clever moneymaking scheme?
Surfing the net burns real electricity and your PC or laptop monitor creates harmful emissions every second that it’s running. So greening your online presence is definitely a valid item to put down on your offsets list.
What’s more, the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), which is considered the world’s most stringent paper certification agency, is looking into producing certificates for businesses involved in matching your carbon offset needs with environmental goals. To think that a vast portion of all business these days is conducted via online websites which all run on heavily laden servers which in turn depend on other servers, the scope for greening our online lives is vast.
Cutting down on the use of paper is easy enough, but in spite of all your efforts you’ll never become 100% paperless. That’s where tree free paper comes in. Recently launched on the market by GPA, a Chicago paper company, Ultra Green paper is 100% tree free. And of equal importance; the paper is produced without any water. What more can you ask for? This paper is going to be a massive selling point for business leaders vying for deals. Not to speak of green design/advertising.
Fancy installing solar panels on your roof? Check out what it’s going to cost you first. A new calculator called RoofRay uses Google Earth to give you an idea what solar panels can do for your house.
I have tried out the Roofray calculator and think that if carbon footprint calculators were an eye opener, Roofray’s solar energy calculations are the next best thing. Triple Pundit covered Roofray last week already, but I won’t withhold you a review of the actual calculator. So here goes; the device tells you in seconds what the expected cost savings versus the initial investment costs are going to be. All you need to do is to key in your address like you do in Google Earth, and superimpose some would be panels on your actual house’s roof. The calculator is very easy to use and will even allow you to input the approximate angle of your roof’s slant. This way, the calculator will adjust for the amount of sun your panels are likely to catch.
The world’s finally come full circle for members of a new gym in Portland which is converting the pedal power of its bikes into real energy.
The gym, opening September 1, takes human powered energy from its fitness bikes and stores it in a battery which runs some of its other equipment. The 2,800 square foot gym, called the Green Microgym is owned by Adam Boesel, a former grade teacher. He was interviewed by the Seattle Times and told them its the first human-powered gym in the US.
So you’re involved in green marketing or in greening up your company¬¥s marketing efforts. Online advice is all at hand. But where to go if you want to meet like minded buddies face to face? Check out this top five green business marketing events.
1) Net Impact. Net Impact is an organization of over 10,000 business experts, aiming to make a positive impact on society through business. The organization¬¥s events calendar offers a wide choice of events ranging from corporate social responsibility, international development, nonprofit management, business ethics, social entrepreneurship, socially responsible investing and environmental sustainability.
2) Idealist.org. This platform connects organizations with people. It’s where you find what’s going on in thousands of environment organizations. Plenty of events and networking opportunities for seasoned professionals. Great for locating opportunities or supporters for everything that leads toward a world where all people can lead free and dignified lives. Sponsored by Google, Monster, Visa, Aladdin, the organization was originally created by Action Without Borders, the New York city non profit.
3) Ethical Junction. UK based organization that brings together ethical businesses and ethical consumers. Pulse, its news forum, is the source of up to date information on events as well as opinions and comment. Organizes regular meetings in locations all over the UK.
4) Eco Tuesday. News sustainable business leaders networking forum. Focuses on network opportunities for sustainable business leaders. EcoTuesday meetings feature innovative speakers who discuss current issues. Held on the last Tuesday of every month and if there’s no Eco Tuesday in your town, you can become an ambassador to set one up.
5) Green Drinks. The group¬¥s organizers say GreenDrinks is an organic, self organizing network of monthly meetings. That¬¥s likely true. Monthly GreenDrinks venues now total over 320 bars around the globe. If there¬¥s no GreenDrinks in your home town just contact the organizers for tips on how you can set one up. Anyone can come, there¬¥s no agenda but plenty of networking potential.
Many people believe that high food prices are a result of the biofuel industry’s demand for food crops like corn. This is not the case. Food prices have risen by 4.5% in the US this year, mainly due to one reason; the high oil price. Global food prices have risen over 40% and again the main reason is the high oil price. Ethanol has got preciously little to do with this.
For myth-busting information about how food, ethanol and oil interrelate, you should check out an organization called FoodPriceTruth.org. Originally created to inform the American public about a smear campaign against ethanol by the food industry, the organization has publishes an interesting collection of facts and figures giving you a quick overview of the major issues in an instant.
Most of the biofuels on sale in Britain do not conform to environmental standards according to a study by the Renewable Fuels Agency which has shocked experts. The agency found that only 19% of all biofuel on sale in Britain actually is environmentally friendly. The remainder fails to meet quality standards drawn up by the UK government.
In America, such reports are published almost weekly. Everybody knows that some biofuels are of dubious quality. The worst types are the biodiesel blenders (B20 biodiesels). These apparently contain anywhere between 10 to 74% of actual biodiesel content.
Greenbiz writer Dana Sanchez reported this week about the risks associated with claiming “green-ness” at national political conventions, a claim made by both Democrats and Republicans.
The first blunders have already been measured out in the media. The tone has been biting but issues raised have up to now been relatively harmless. For instance, initially the Democrat Convention drew only a lackluster response from delegates to their carbon offsetting challenge. But the negative press worked out positively in the end because the number of delegates participating in the challenge appear to have been rather impressive. Just over half of all the attendees offset their carbon footprint 100% or more and all the attendees reportedly were participating to some degree. They purchased renewable energy from a portfolio of U.S. projects run by NativeEnergy ofsetting costs for flights at $24 for 2,500 miles (to the convention and back). The $24 also included staying for five nights in a Denver hotel.
Food crops for the use of biofuels are massively controversial but the so-called second generation biofuel crops have massive side effects as well. These more recent crops are non food, but experts are warning that many of them are ‚Äòinvasive species’. In other words, they’re weeds which have huge potential to escape the biofuel farms where they’re grown and overrun natural land and other areas.
The problem has the attention of UN scientists. At a recent meeting in Bonn, Germany, specialists from the Global Invasive Species Program, as well as scientists from the Nature Conservancy and the International Union for Conservation of Nature published a scientific paper about invasive species warning about their effects.
Byogy Renewables Inc., a Texas company, has licensed the production of what it says is the Holy Grail of biofuel and will open a plant in the near future to create 95-octane gasoline from biomass.
The company expects the biomass gasoline market to be 2.5 billion by 2022. The first such gasoline will be available by 2010, Byogy says. The company worked with academics from Texas A&M University System and the Texas Engineering Experiment Station (TEES) to create the technology. Its plant will have raw garbage going in one end and 95-octane gasoline coming out the other.
“The advanced process is possibly the only integrated system that converts biomass directly to gasoline”, according to Byogy. “Most other emerging processes convert the biomass into alcohol and then blend it with gasoline. The system is relatively inexpensive and focuses on using biomass waste streams and non-food energy crops rather than food products such as corn”, the company said.
Pacific Organizations Urge Australia And New Zealand To Attune Immigration Policies To Global Warming Related Causes
The Australian and New Zealand governments have been inundated with requests from over 100 organizations urging it to relax its immigration policies so that people from small islands in the Pacific that are under threat from global warming stand a better chance to emigrate.
The organizations, which are from across the Pacific Islands region wrote an open letter addressed to Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark requesting them to increase permanent immigration numbers. They also called for more extensive resettlement services.
Manitoba Hydro, the Canadian gas and electricity company, has started a large scale project to get its customers to use biomass to fuel both heat and power systems. The company targets 250 of its agricultural and industrial customers with the Bioenergy Optimization Program. All of these customers have access to readily available, low cost sources of biomass and the capability to operate biomass to energy conversion systems.
The program provides incentives for participants to undertake feasibility studies and for the capital cost of the required equipment, up to a maximum of $1.250.000.
Technologies employed to produce useful energy from biomass include direct combustion – such as burning waste wood in a boiler to produce steam for powering a generator/heat exchanger at a forestry mill – and anaerobic digestion, which converts manure in a digester to produce biogas (methane) for fueling an internal combustion engine driven generator/heat exchanger. Mostly used in hog farming, anaerobic digestion can replace natural gas and other non-renewable heating fuels to power space and water heating or other industrial processes.
Manitoba Hydro expects to achieve annual load reduction savings of up to 10 megawatts and 78 gigawatt-hours of electricity and 3.8 million cubic metres of natural gas, and 65,580 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions by 2017/18.
The first casualties of global warming, when its effects really set in, will be the elderly. What are governments doing to prevent the worst impact? Little is known about any strategies or contingency plans in place. That is because the plans are only in the research stage.
In the UK, the first study assessing the impact of global warming on the elderly nationwide revealed that government measures are definitely needed to better protect older people from the future effects of climate change.
The report¬¥s authors said there is an urgent need to exploit synergies between climate change policies and policies aimed at older people. “Older people must be part of the solution: we need to make it easier for them to conserve energy, use public transport and maintain crucial social networks that will help them better cope with the effects of a changing climate,” said the lead researcher, Dr Gary Haq, a university of York academic.