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

Interview: Melissa O’Mara, Schneider Electric on Smart Cities

| Tuesday October 8th, 2013 | 0 Comments

banner-sxsweco-2013

schneider-electric ”Smart Cities” has been a running theme here in Austin at the SXSWeco conference for 2013. It makes sense given the tradition of celebrating technology that SXSW is well known for.  What makes the issue especially prescient in the context of sustainability is not only the sheer number of people who will be moving to cities this century, but the sheer number of problems cities have – from traffic logistics to managing energy, resources and pollution to far more heady problems like crime and education.

At first glance it seems there’s no end to the complexity of our growing urban challenges, but this also presents tremendous opportunities. Many high tech companies have engaged on a quest to begin providing solutions – Schneider Electric among them.

I had a chance to talk with Schneider’s “Chief Catalyst” of Smart Cities, Melissa O’Mara yesterday about exactly what the opportunities are and how they’re important for Schneider.

Take a look at our short video below…

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How SAP Helped Bring Efficiency to São Paulo’s Electric Utility

| Saturday October 5th, 2013 | 1 Comment
AES-Electropaulo-bill

AES Electropaulo Bill

Customer billing seems like a banal subject, especially in the seemingly mundane world of utilities.  But once you learn how complex it can be you gain a newfound respect for the people tasked with its management.  You also quickly realize how ripe for improvement it can be.  On my recent trip to São Paulo, I spent some time at the headquarters of AES Electropaulo, the principal electric utility for more than 16 million people. There I learned a bit about the many challenges the company faces, not the least of which is simply getting people accurate bills and collecting payments.

Until recently, the process by which a customer received her monthly bill involved a home visit by a utility employee who collected data from her meter then brought that data physically back to the company. As much as three days later, the employee would return to the customer to deliver a bill which could then be paid.

Working with SAP’s software, AES Electopaulo developed a more advanced hand-held billing device which, regardless of having an internet connection or not, is capable of printing out a utility bill on the spot – to deliver to the customer in one visit. Once connected, the device can upload billing data to the company. On the customer’s end the printed bill also contains a great deal more data than in older bills, tracking power usage over time and making it easier for a customer to tell whether they’re saving energy or not.   Everything takes less than a minute.

What about smart meters?

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America’s Cup Sustainability Efforts Shine

| Wednesday October 2nd, 2013 | 0 Comments
Downtime at the cup, fans lounge and watch race highlights.  Image: Nick Aster

Downtime at the cup, fans lounge and watch race highlights… and maybe learn a thing or two about sustainability.   Image: Nick Aster

The America’s Cup wrapped up last week in San Francisco with a wild come-from-behind victory by Oracle’s Team USA – ensuring that the cup will remain here for another three years. As crowds gathered to witness the neck-and-neck battle between high tech sailing teams, Cup organizers took care to make their sustainability efforts both obvious and subtle. The idea, of course, was to not only showcase to the city that the Cup maintained a responsible event, but to take the opportunity to inspire and educate thousands of people who might have other things on their mind.

This was the spirit we discovered more than a year ago when I wrote about the Cup’s initial sustainability plan. It’ll be some time before all the calculations are done, but the Cup intends to produce another GRI-compliant sustainability report in the future. In the meantime, from a spectator’s view, by far the biggest impact the Cup seems to have had was through education and inspiring behavior change among spectators.

Let’s start with transportation…

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Fireside Chat: Joe Madden of EOS Climate

| Tuesday September 24th, 2013 | 3 Comments

Coming up at 7pm PST tonight!  If you can’t join us in person, come back to this page and we’ll have a live video feed for you to watch.  Please feel free to leave comments here if you have questions in advance.

It’s time again for another live “fireside chat” with an interesting sustainability thought leader.   This week, I’ll be chatting with EOS Climate’s co-founder Joe Madden.  As always, this chat will be about an hour long and begin with a brief interview.  We’ll then open it up to audience members who want to talk about applying market-based principles to dealing with the problem of refrigerants and climate change.

If you are in the Bay Area, please register here to attend in person.  If not, just bookmark this page and we’ll have a live streaming video of the whole event ready for you to be virtually present.

In the meantime, if you’d like to get the conversation rolling early, please leave comments or questions and I’ll make an effort to incorporate them into my interview and the ensuing discussion.

IF YOU CAN’T MAKE IT, DON’T WORRY!  We’ll be broadcasting the chat live on our Google Plus channel.  Just bookmark this post and we’ll have a you-tube style interface you can click on when the chat begins, or to watch later.

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Friday Anecdote: How SAP Labs’ Sustainability Culture Made Buses More Efficient

| Friday September 20th, 2013 | 2 Comments

time2goOne of the “hard to prove” principals we write about here at TriplePundit is the idea that if a company’s culture can simply be made aware of sustainability then inspiration will follow.  New ideas around sustainability will start to evolve, and some will take root to not only reduce a company’s negative externalities, but bring forth new and profitable business ideas.

SAP Labs is the research and development arm of SAP with about a dozen global locations.  I had a chance to talk to SAP Labs’ Latin America director Stefan Wagner this week in São Paulo about some of the innovation taking place at his organization, and sustainability was very much at the core of what he had to talk about.

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A Conversation with Climate Cycle’s Joey Feinstein

| Wednesday September 18th, 2013 | 0 Comments

Every Wednesday at 4pm Pacific (and every once in a while at other times) TriplePundit founder Nick Aster will takes 45 minutes or so to chat with an interesting leader in the sustainable business movement.  This week Nick is on the road, so 3p Editor in Chief Jen Boynton will be filling in! These chats are broadcast on our Google+ channel and embedded via YouTube right here on 3p.

joey-feinsteinPlease join us this Wednesday at 4pm Pacific as Jen Boynton (and hopefully I) chat with Joey Feinstein, a long-time friend, MBA colleague, and founder of Climate Cycle, a non-profit organization, which was founded in 2008 out of a concern that today’s youth lacked the tools necessary to respond to global warming or benefit from the emerging green economy. Today, Climate Cycle leads the charge in catalyzing environmental education in the classroom and in our communities by developing young leaders in sustainability.

Joey’s been working closely with Chicago schools and the Chicago business community and will be here to share some of his stories and successes with us.

The only thing you need to do is pop over to this page at 4pm PST and click “play”.  No need to log into anything.  However, if you want to ask questions, we’ll be taking Q&A via Twitter from the audience – just tweet to @triplepundit and we’ll incorporate your questions.   If you miss the conversation you’ll still be able to watch it later on YouTube.

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Live Chat with Ben Pawsey and the SB Innovation Open Team

| Wednesday September 11th, 2013 | 0 Comments

SB-LondonEvery Wednesday at 4pm Pacific (and every once in a while at other times) TriplePundit founder Nick Aster will takes 45 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 we’ll be talking to Ben Pawsey and the crew at Sustainable Brands about their exciting conference this fall in London.   More specifically, we’ll be discussing this year’s innovation open which will likely be one of the highlights of the event.  The open is  a friendly competition between startups who, given the right support and exposure, can contribute to a flourishing future economically, socially and environmentally.

If you’re ready to apply for the open, the application window is now open.  Just click here to enter.

The video will play below at 4pm:

 

The only thing you need to do is pop over to this page at 4pm PST and click “play” (the video will be visible at that time).  No need to log into anything.  However, if you want to ask questions, we’ll be taking Q&A via twitter from the audience – just tweet to @triplepundit and we’ll incorporate your questions.   If you miss the conversation you’ll still be able to watch it later on YouTube.

Use this link to add a reminder to your calendar:

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Conversation with Presidio Graduate School’s William Shutkin

| Wednesday September 4th, 2013 | 2 Comments

Every Wednesday at 4pm Pacific (and every once in a while at other times) TriplePundit founder Nick Aster will takes 45 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.

Presidio Graduate School President William Shutkin

Presidio Graduate School President William Shutkin

Today (Wednesday, the 4th) we hosted a live Google hangout with William Shutkin, President of Presidio Graduate School.

William has been a long time friend of TriplePundit – in fact, he was one of our first guest authors. He is now President and CEO of the Presidio Graduate School, where he is also the Richard M. Gray Fellow in Sustainability Practice. Before Presidio, he was a professor at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law, where he also served as Executive Director of the Rocky Mountain Land Use Institute.

Today, I chatted about higher education and the state of jobs in sustainable business. We’ll also talked a little about what’s new at Presidio and answered your questions about anything related.

Just click play below…

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Levi Strauss & Amour Vert Chat with 3p Publisher Nick Aster on Sustainable Apparel

| Thursday August 22nd, 2013 | 2 Comments

Thanks for joining us for our  latest “Stories & Beer Fireside Chat“.  We chattedwith Jason McBriarty from Levi Strauss & Co. alongside Christoph Frehsee, the CEO of Amour Vert.

As always, this chat has been saved as a youtube video for you to enjoy and pass around:


Background on our guests:

Jason McBriarty

Director, Community Affairs, Levi Strauss & Co.
Director, Finance and Operations, Levi Strauss Foundation

As the director of community affairs for Levi Strauss & Co., Jason McBriarty leads a global team that creates a positive impact in communities around the world where the company does business. Through community engagement, employee volunteerism and strategic partnerships, the community affairs team positions the company as a leader in CSR and builds value for its brands.

In addition to his responsibilities to Levi Strauss & Co., Jason is also the director of finance and operations for the Levi Strauss Foundation where he oversees all aspects of the foundation’s operations, communication and $65 million investment portfolio.

Jason holds an MBA from Boston University’s Graduate School of Management. He also serves on several boards, including the Net Impact Corporate Advisory Council and is a frequent speaker on the topics of corporate philanthropy and CSR.

Christoph Frehsee

CEO and co-founder of Amour Vert

Christoph is a serial entrepreneur from Germany. In 2010 he joined forces with French designer and engineer Linda Balti to form Amour Vert. Amour Vert seeks to influence a standard of fashion that is both beautiful and sustainable. This is novel in an industry where the beauty of fashion is marred by the environmental impact of its production.

Prior to Amour Vert Christoph founded the company MineWolf Systems with the goal to provide safe, reliable, fast and cost effective solutions for clearing landmines in 2004. In four years MineWolf Systems became a reputable brand and the leading provider for mechanical land mine clearance solutions worldwide.

In 2008 he took the opportunity to exit the company and make a dream come true: moving to Paris, travelling the world and coming to Stanford to complete a joint degree of MBA/MSc in Environment and Resources. Christoph also holds a Diplom-Kaufmann Degree from WHU-Otto Beisheim School of Management in Germany.

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Video Chat with Nancy Mancilla of ISOS Group on Sustainability Reporting

| Wednesday August 21st, 2013 | 2 Comments
nancy-mancilla

Join us to learn about sustainability reporting with expert Nancy Mancilla of ISOS Group

Every Wednesday at 4pm Pacific (and every once in a while at other times) TriplePundit founder Nick Aster will takes 45 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 I’ll be starting with Nancy Mancilla of ISOS Group about sustainability reporting.   Nancy is in charge of business development at ISOS, GRI trainings coordination and integration of sustainability concepts into value-added practices for businesses, communities and governments.

In other words, she knows a lot about sustainability reporting and we’re going to cover both a basic intro to the concept and talk about where reporting is going.

The only thing you need to do is pop over to this page at 4pm PST and click “play”.  No need to log into anything.  However, if you want to ask questions, we’ll be taking Q&A via twitter from the audience – just tweet to @triplepundit and we’ll incorporate your questions.   If you miss the conversation you’ll still be able to watch it later on YouTube.

Please join us live, and pop it a reminder on your calendar:

Take a look at the current schedule and please let us know if you or someone you know would be interested in joining us for a future date. 

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Interview: Debra McLaughlin, Symantec

| Friday August 16th, 2013 | 0 Comments

SYM_Horiz_RGBExcitement is building for our end-of summer GRI certified training courses, one of which is being generously hosted by Symantec in Mountain View, CA  September 4th and 5th.  We’re always pleased to be able to get to know companies who are using CSR Reporting as a tool to advance sustainability, and as we’ve covered in the past, Symantec has been doing a noteworthy job.

This week, I had a chance to talk to Debra McLaughlin, Symantec’s Program Manager, Stakeholder Engagement, Global Corporate Responsibility about the progress that the company has made on issues of sustainability, and specifically, how CSR reporting has become a valuable part of the company’s sustainability strategy.

Interview after the jump…

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Online Video Chat with Lonesome George’s Rodrigo Espinosa

| Wednesday August 14th, 2013 | 0 Comments
Our first Google chat participant will be Rodrigo Espinosa, Co-Founder of Lonesome George & Co

Our first Google chat participant will be Rodrigo Espinosa, COO of Lonesome George & Co

Happy Wednesday!

Please join us at 4pm pacific today for a chat between TriplePundit.com founder Nick Aster and Lonesome George’s COO, Rodrigo Espinosa. We’ll be chatting about the history and mission of Lonesome George as well as other sustainability topics.

Lonesome George & Co, named for a ‘last of his kind’ Galapagos tortoise is a social enterprise organization that combines branded apparel and experiential education to ignite a mind shift towards global interdependence. In their words, they  ”outfit agents of change”.

We’ll find out what this all means today…   Don’t worry if you miss the live conversation, the video below will play any time with an archived version.

If you have a question you’d like addressed, please send a tweet to @triplepundit with your question, along with the hashtag #3pChat

You DO NOT need to log into anything to watch this chat, just come to this page and click the video “play” button below.

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Announcing Weekly Google Chats – Starting TONIGHT!

| Monday August 12th, 2013 | 0 Comments
Our first Google chat participant will be Rodrigo Espinosa, Co-Founder of Lonesome George & Co

Our first Google chat participant will be Rodrigo Espinosa, COO of Lonesome George & Co

Following the success of our monthly “stories and beer” conversation series, we felt it was time to take the conversation where a wider audience can access them – Google hangouts.

Every Wednesday at 4pm Pacific (and every once in a while at other times) TriplePundit founder Nick Aster will take 45 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.

That means the only thing you need to do is pop over to our front page at the right time and click “play”.  No need to log into anything.  However, if you want to ask questions, we’ll be taking Q&A via twitter from the audience – just tweet to @triplepundit and we’ll incorporate your questions.   If you miss the conversation you’ll still be able to watch it later on YouTube.

This Wednesday at 4pm we’ll be starting things off with Rodrigo Espinosa who is COO of Lonesome George & Co and also a professor of Marketing at the Presidio Graduate School. We’ll be chatting about the mission of Lonesome George and other topics TBA!

Please join us live, and pop it on your calendar:

Take a look at the current schedule and please let us know if you or someone you know would be interested in joining us. We’re open to doing more than one at a time.

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Understanding that Your Company is a Media Company

| Thursday August 8th, 2013 | 0 Comments

social-mediaAt 3p, we’ve long held that all companies would be wise to start thinking of themselves as media companies. I originally learned this concept from Tom Foremski of SiliconValleyWatcher who has been talking about it for years. He means it quite literally, regardless of what kind of widget your company actual sells.

Why? Well, to quote Tom from some years back:

“I realized that every company is now a media company. It doesn’t matter if it makes network gear or diapers, every company needs to publish to its various communities, its customers, its staff, its neighbors. It needs to know how to produce compelling content, great video, podcasts, etc. And now with this emerging two-way Internet it also needs to learn how to listen, how to get involved in online discussions, how to behave on Facebook or Twitter. Every company needs to master the media technologies of RSS, blogging, and more.”

We love to extend this concept to corporate social responsibility and sustainability because authentic engagement with stakeholders is the cornerstone of any remotely functional CSR program. It’s also the cornerstone of communication in general, customer service, public relations, and pretty much every other public-facing aspect of a company.

Yesterday’s BlogWell conference, put on by SocialMedia.org in Santa Clara, strove to emphasize all of the above. While not explicitly about sustainability, the lessons and case studies at the event are nonetheless applicable. Specifically, we heard from folks at Coca-Cola, Xerox and Whole Foods who had worthy things to share…

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Mars, Incorporated Follow Up On Last Week’s Twitter Chat

| Tuesday July 30th, 2013 | 0 Comments

mars-twitterLast Wednesday we enjoyed an hour-long chat with Barry Parkin, the new Chief Sustainability Officer for Mars, Incorporated

.  You can check out a Storify synopsis of the chat here.

There were a lot of questions we didn’t have time to get to, so Barry was kind enough to respond to quite a few more and sent his responses to us.  Take a look below.  We hope to have another chance to keep the conversation going with Mars, and many other companies and organizations.  If you’re interested in participating in a chat.  Please get in touch!

Thanks again to everyone for joining!  For more on Mars, check out the 2012 Principles in Action Summary on Mars.com.

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