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

SXSW Eco Interview: Paul Dillinger, Levi Strauss & Co.

| Monday October 27th, 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.

levis_jiu_jitsu_sustainability_carePaul Dillinger is VP of Product Design and Innovation for Levi Strauss & Co.  We’ve talked to Paul on a number of occasions, so I was thrilled to chat again at this month’s SXSW Eco conference.

I asked him: How can creativity and design solve problems of sustainability?  

It might seem obvious that creativity is part of any problem-solving process, but it’s not always obvious how to create the conditions wherein creativity can thrive.  In the video below Paul offers some stories from his experiences at Levi Strauss as well as other anecdotes that might help…

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SXSW Eco 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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SXSW Eco: Walter Wang Talks About Adaptive Gas Taxes

| Saturday October 25th, 2014 | 4 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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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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SXSW Eco interview: Janice Person, Monsanto

| Thursday October 23rd, 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.

Monsanto_logoAlthough they are a company that is not without controversy in sustainability circles, Monsanto turned out in great numbers for this year’s SXSW Eco conference in Austin.

I had a chance to talk with Janice Person about why Monsanto came to SXSW Eco, what they’re learning from their trip, and how the company hopes to open up to deeper dialogue with the wide variety of stakeholders at the conference and beyond.

See what Janice had to say in the interview below:


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SXSWeco Interview: Andrea Learned on Twitter

| Wednesday October 22nd, 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.

twitter-bird

From the days of the Cluetrain Manifesto, social media experts have tried to emphasize that successful online communication means letting go of the committee-driven thought process that companies often cling to in their communications. Rather, letting go of the reigns and allowing a more free-form dialogue to emerge about their companies is a more effective strategy.

I had a talk with social media expert Andrea Learned about the use of Twitter as a tool for companies at SXSWeco this year.  She emphasized that companies who want to successfully use Twitter should let go of over-thinking the medium and let key individuals have the freedom to connect with folks on twitter in an honest and open way.  This practice is the best way to provoke open and productive dialogue.

Hear it from Andrea in the video below:

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Tom’s Of Maine: Growing Your Brand While Living Your Values

| Tuesday October 21st, 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.

TOM'S OF MAINE LOGO

I asked Tom how it’s possible to grow your business through your values.  He responded with three requirements:  Documenting your beliefs as a brand, creating a model for decision making, and creating some kind of symbol that demonstrates your values.  Secondly I asked Tom whether the company’s recent acquisition by Colgate posed a challenge to his values and how Tom’s is striving to maintain them as part of a larger organization.

All the details are in the video below…

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Chris Librie Talks about HP’s Living Progress

| Tuesday October 21st, 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.

HP LogoLiving Progress is HP’s vision of creating a better future for everyone through innovation and technology. Chris Librie, senior director of strategy and communications for HP, talked to me about the basics of Living Progress.  We talked about how technology can play a roll in solving the world’s problems – but in particular the fact that no single company can possibly have all the solutions.

The Living Progress exchange, which TriplePundit participated in via twitter, is designed to create a collaborative opportunity for companies large and small to discuss their own approaches to sustainability.

Chris shared this and more in the video below…

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SXSW Eco Interview: Jeff Cheney, Earth911

| Friday October 17th, 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.

earth-911-tv-229x150We’ve been fans of Earth911 since back in the day when they were merely a recycling services directory.  Now the site has grown into a major player in eco-friendly news and information and has just launched their first ever eco-marketplace, YouChange.

By encouraging consumers to “vote with their dollars,” the YouChange platform will offer thousands of vetted products that will not only make you feel better about where your money goes, but will also reward companies that are doing the right thing vis a vis the environment.

I had a chance to talk to the “president of earth” himself, Jeff Cheney, last week in Austin…

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SXSW Eco Interview: Angela Mason, Chicago Botanic Garden

| Thursday October 16th, 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.

cbg_logo_1Green jobs – any work in agriculture, research, service or fields that contribute substantially to environmental quality – have become an increasingly enticing opportunity. Beyond providing vital opportunities for personal growth and development, green jobs engage individuals in work that simultaneously can improve their lives and the communities in which they live.

The Windy City Harvest Apprenticeship is a great example of a program seeking to prepare people for green jobs.  It’s an offshoot of the Chicago Botanic Garden and annually enrolls 15 to 20 students in a nine-month classroom and hands-on certificate course in sustainable urban agriculture.

I had a chance to talk with the program’s director, Angela Mason, in Austin last week:

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SXSW Eco Interview: Jessica Kowal, Boeing

| Wednesday October 15th, 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.

250px-Boeing-Logo.svgAviation may account for only 2 percent of global carbon emissions, but it’s quickly expanding and is likely to account for 3 percent by 2030. I had a chance to talk with Boeing‘s Jessica Kowal last week to learn about the ways that airlines and aircraft manufacturers plan to reduce this potential impact.  Essentially, there are three ways:

  • More efficient planes
  • More efficient routing and planning
  • Better fuels, especially biofuels

Watch our conversation below…

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SXSW Eco Interview: Alejandro Rios, Masdar Institute

| Tuesday October 14th, 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.

masdar-institute-logoWe’ve been following Masdar Institute for some time on 3p, which meant I was particularly pleased to talk to Dr. Alejandro Rios last week at SXSW Eco.  Specifically, we talked about a new project called ISEAS, which stands for “Integrated Seawater, Energy and Aquaculture System.”  The concept is every bit as interesting as the acronym suggests.  Take the challenges of feeding people, producing clean energy and dealing with scarce fresh water, and engineer a solution for all three.  It may be a tall order, but the ISEAS project proposes to do exactly that.

In a nutshell, Masdar Institute is attempting to use halophytes (plants that grow in seawater) to produce biofuels while at the same time filtering the pollutants associated with growing fish or shrimp in aquaculture ponds. The benefits are potentially huge:

  • The process uses only salt water, which is plentiful — even in Abu Dhabi — thus eliminating any debate about whether it wastes water.
  • The halophytes will also eliminate waste from the aquaculture — a major problem in traditional shrimp farming operations.
  • Useful biofuel will be produces when plants are harvested — possibly even jet fuel.
  • The whole thing is a carbon sink with a negative carbon footprint.

Granted, it’s all just an experiment at this point, but in the video below, Dr. Rios explains the basics…

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SXSWeco Interview: Adam Mott, The North Face

| Monday October 13th, 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.

The_North_Face_Graham_Smith

Adam Mott is Director of Sustainability for The North Face.  Last week at SXSW Eco, I had a chance to talk to him about what’s new at the company, and how they are taking sustainability deeper into the design of the company’s products.  In particular, The North Face’s well known Denali Jacket has undergone an evolution that’s greatly increasing the use of recycled material, and radically decreasing the use of water in the production process.

In the video below, Adam talks about the Denali as well as other developments at The North Face.

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VIDEO: “Creating Resilient Cities” with Siemens and Arup

| Wednesday October 1st, 2014 | 1 Comment

creating resilient cities graphic-1

 

WATCH A RECAP OF TODAY’S CONVERSATION BELOW

The world is rapidly urbanizing and the majority of the global population will experience the effects of climate change in urban cities. Yet while cities are vulnerable, they are also uniquely positioned to lead the efforts of mitigating and adopting to climate change. How do we ensure that our cities will remain attractive places for people and businesses against a backdrop of increasing climate risk? Join TriplePundit’s Founder, Nick Aster, live on Google’s hangout platform to discuss how cities may be able to mitigate the effects of climate change.

Our featured panelists are:

  • Michael Stevns, Project Manager of the Toolkit for Resilient Cities, Siemens
  • Stephen Cook, Associate Director, Energy and Climate Change Consulting, Arup

The conversation will cover how to future-proof our cities; resilience in the fields of technology, finance, and risk management; and global best practices for creating resilient cities.

Let us know you’re coming! RSVP HERE.

 

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SOCAP14 Interview: Plum Organics & Campbell’s Soup

| Tuesday September 30th, 2014 | 0 Comments

This video is part of our ongoing coverage of SOCAP14.  To see the rest please visit our SOCAP 14 page here.

plum-campbellsPlum Organics is a certified B Corp and benefit corporation that makes nutritious, organic baby food.  About a year ago, Plum was acquired by Campbell’s Soup Co., joining a long list of sustainably-minded companies who have been acquired by larger, publicly-traded corporations.

The level of transparency and commitment to sustainability that being structured as a benefit corporation entails is difficult to translate to a publicly-traded company — regardless of that company’s own commitments.  But according to Plum and Campbell’s, the acquisition is going well and will ultimately enhance the sustainability of both companies.

I sat down with Plum’s co-founder, Neil Grimmer and Campbell’s VP of CSR and Sustainability, Dave Stangis at SOCAP14 a few weeks back to discuss…

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