Beetcoin: A New Way to Invest in Local Agriculture

3p Contributor | Wednesday October 29th, 2014 | 0 Comments

Editor’s Note: This article originally appeared in “The Millennials Perspective” issue of Green Money JournalClick here to view more posts in this series.

TaschPhoto1 By Woody Tasch

For the past five years, Slow Money has been working along the boundaries of angel investing, impact investing and philanthropy to catalyze the flow of capital to small, organic food enterprises that are rebuilding local food systems. As the preceding sentence implies, this work takes a number of different shapes, including local networks, investment clubs, pitchfests and, very recently, our Beetcoin campaign. The campaign combines online donations with event-driven, interest-free loans to create what we hope will become a long-term, scalable funding resource deployed alongside local Slow Money investing activities.

As of mid 2014, more than $38 million has flowed into small food enterprises in the U.S., Canada, France and Switzerland, via 21 local networks and 13 investment clubs. Our first Beetcoin campaign began Oct. 1 and will end Nov. 12, at Slow Money 2014 Gathering in Louisville, Kentucky, where 21 entrepreneurs will present on stage and the top two vote-getters will share Beetcoin proceeds. (More details here.)

The overall context for Slow Money, and the introduction of Beetcoin, are described below, which is excerpted from Commons nth: Common Sense For A Post Wall Street World,” a pamphlet available free from Slow Money.

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Volkswagen Launches New Auto Apprenticeship Program

Jan Lee
Jan Lee | Wednesday October 29th, 2014 | 0 Comments

ApprenticeAcademy_VWVolkswagen’s Chattanooga, Tennessee plant is well known for its accomplishments in environmental sustainability. It claims the record as the world’s first Platinum LEED certified automotive facility, and its 9.5 million watt solar array, cool building strategies and water catchment systems have garnered environmental awards and global recognition. Just as importantly, the plant’s design has proven to industry leaders that sustainable approaches can have a place in high-energy-usage industrial settings.

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James Beard Foundation Examines Food and Health

Tori Okner | Wednesday October 29th, 2014 | 1 Comment

JBF Conference LogoHealth & Food: Is Better Food the Prescription for a Healthier America? – a two-day conference hosted by the James Beard Foundation (JBF), showcased the good food movement’s effect on the culinary world. JBF, a revered culinary arts institution, brought some of the biggest names in food advocacy before an audience of advocates, entrepreneurs, civil society leaders, industry reps, producers and, yes, chefs.

JBF put together an all-star line up to stimulate dialogue on the health impacts of the modern American diet. Ezekiel Emanuel, former senior health policy advisor on health care for the White House, gave the keynote. His speech was followed later by Laurie David, executive producer of “Fed Up,” and Marion Nestle, food politics author and professor at New York University. On day two, the crowd heard from Sam Kass, President Barack Obama’s senior policy advisor for nutrition policy, and author Michael Pollan. Yet, it was the lesser-known voices that stole the show.

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Annie Leonard: Reconnecting to Your Role as a Changemaker

| Wednesday October 29th, 2014 | 0 Comments

musclesIn the wake of the success of the Story of Stuff, Annie Leonard, now executive director of Greenpeace, had the opportunity to travel to dozens of colleges and universities.  In her keynote talk at the opening ceremony of the AASHE 2014 conference in Portland on Sunday, she shared that while in college she thought of the journey to sustainability as a sprint.  Today, she has matured into thinking about it as a relay race, where we might not be around to see the results we are working toward.

According to Leonard, change is slow and hard.  Below are several tips from Leonard on how to reconnect with your role as a changemaker and recommendations on leverage points that can make a real difference, including commit to 100 percent renewable energy, divest from fossil fuels, leverage purchasing and encourage student engagement, as well as some great advice on how to stay positive on the path to sustainability (don’t miss the last quote at the bottom of the post). While targeted toward higher education professionals, many of these tips apply to any company or institution.

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EU Leaders Called Out For Lackluster Climate Change Package

Gina-Marie Cheeseman
| Wednesday October 29th, 2014 | 4 Comments

coalplantEuropean leaders agreed to reduce greenhouse gases by 40 percent by 2030. Two targets of 27 percent were also agreed on: one for the market share of renewable energy and another for energy efficiency improvement. The renewable energy target is binding on all EU member countries, but the energy efficiency target is optional.

“This 2030 package is very good news for our fight against climate change,” said President of the European Commission Jose Barroso in a statement. “No player in the world is as ambitious as the EU.”

Environmentalists are not very happy with the EU’s targets. “It is clear that all of the targets could have been – and should have been – more ambitious,” said Jennifer Morgan, director of climate and energy programs at the World Resources Institute. Morgan cites recent analysis that shows the EU can reduce carbon emissions by 49 percent by cutting natural gas imports in half and investing in renewable energy and energy efficiency.

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How to Create an Action Plan for B Corp Certification

3p Contributor | Tuesday October 28th, 2014 | 3 Comments

This is the twelfth in a weekly series of excerpts from the new book “The B Corp Handbook: How to Use Business as a Force for Good (Berrett-Koehler Publishers, October 13, 2014). Click here to read the rest of the series.

feature_impact-report_patagoniaBy Ryan Honeyman

Welcome to week three of the six-week, turbocharged Quick Start Guide to becoming a Certified B Corporation.

Week one focused on getting a baseline assessment of your social and environmental performance, and week two focused on motivating your team towards B Corp certification.

Week Three: Create an action plan

Time estimate: One to three hours

OBJECTIVE: After you have identified your core project team, work with them to set a target B Impact Score and create an action plan with short-, medium- and long-term goals. For example, if you started out with a score of 53, see whether you can implement enough practices to earn an additional 10 points by the end of this six-week Quick Start Guide.

END RESULT: An action plan with specific people assigned to take the lead on each question, a target B Impact Score, and a rough timeline for completion.

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Cloud Service Promises Unparalleled PV Performance Tracking

| Tuesday October 28th, 2014 | 0 Comments

Locus VI mapIntense competition has driven the costs of manufacturing solar photovoltaic (PV) cells and modules down sharply in just a few short years. That’s led downstream solar industry participants to focus on reducing solar’s ‘soft’ and balance-of-system costs. Some innovative solar energy sector participants see great promise in eking out and amassing small gains in efficiency — gains that can that collectively make a big difference to commercial and utility-scale PV system operators, as well as consumers.

Locus Energy, the developer of an enterprise-class, cloud-based software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform that’s said to provide operators unprecedented data collection, analytics and reporting capabilities, is offering just such a solution. On Oct. 22, Locus announced that Swinerton Renewable Energy will make use of its SolarNOC and PVIQ analytics suite to optimize the management of its portfolio of solar PV assets.

Leveraging public and proprietary data sets gleaned from satellites and on-site sensors, Locus is able to provide its users actionable data on the performance of PV systems at a much greater level of geographic resolution and analytic detail than has ever been possible — remotely or on-site. That, in turn, enables the company to identify and account for the factors that lead to divergences in forecast and actual performance of solar PV systems — whether distributed, commercial or of utility-scale — and take action to remedy them, Adrian De Luca, Locus Energy’s vice president of sales and marketing, explained to 3p in an interview.

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Adobe Corporate Responsibility Zeros in on Social Impact

Leon Kaye | Tuesday October 28th, 2014 | 1 Comment
Adobe, Silicon Valley, social impact, corporate responsibility, Adobe Voices, digital media, Michelle Crozier Yates, Leon Kaye, skills training

Adobe is focusing more on youth programs.

Adobe recently released its most recent corporate responsibility report, which is chock full of data on where the $4.1 billion Silicon Valley software giant made headway on environmental, diversity and governance issues. The recent overall focus for Adobe, however, is on how the company believes it can make an impact on society, especially youth. Other companies in the information technology space, including SAP and Microsoft, have made massive commitments in money, resources and employees to youth employment and empowerment programs.

Adobe, however, takes a slightly different approach. To learn a more about how Adobe’s corporate responsibility stands out within an industry where a lot of progress has been made, I spoke with Michelle Crozier Yates, Adobe’s director of corporate responsibility.

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Disruptive Sustainability: How to Be a Transformational Leader

3p Conferences
| Tuesday October 28th, 2014 | 1 Comment

By Deborah Fleischer

Sharp3The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) conference got off with a bang on Sunday, with pre-conference workshops and a keynote by Annie Leonard, of the Story of Stuff acclaim, who is now Executive Director of Greenpeace (more on Annie’s comments tomorrow). More than 2,000 sustainability professionals and higher education leaders have gathered in Portland around the AASHE mission to “inspire and catalyze higher education to lead the global sustainability transformation.”

I joined over 30 sustainability leaders for Disruptive Sustainability, an inspiring pre-conference workshop led by Leith Sharpdirector of executive education for sustainability leadership at Harvard University’s Center for Health and the Global Environment. A key theme that ran through Sharp’s and Leonard’s comments: We need to go beyond slowing down and ‘doing less bad’ to real transformation.  And the key to getting there, according to these two women leaders, is to adopt a new, more engaging and more collaborative leadership style. Both share a hopeful, positive vision for the future.  “A better world is possible and inevitable,” said Leonard. Both stress that change is hard. And both offered concrete tips and tools, targeted to higher education but also applicable to business.

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More Brands Join Responsible Down Standard

Leon Kaye | Tuesday October 28th, 2014 | 0 Comments
Allied Feather & Down, responsible down standard, fashion, animal rights, Leon Kaye, Textile Exchange, down, animal welfare, supply chain

RDS certified down is making headway.

More companies are changing their tone towards animal rights as organizations from the Humane Society to PETA are highlighting what is going in the products you eat and fashion you wear. The Responsible Down Standard (RDS), which has raised awareness about what is happening to geese as their down is harvested for winter apparel and bedding, is one of the more recent initiatives underway. Allied Feather & Down is currently the largest RDS-certified supplier on the market, and this year it has made several industry moves. The latest is its announcement that 10 brands are now sourcing the company’s down, including The North Face and Eddie Bauer.

Why is this important? Previous responsible sourcing efforts were opaque and did little to assuage animal rights activists who questioned the “responsible down” that companies were sourcing for everything from jackets to comforters. The new RDS guidelines, which The North Face was instrumental in drafting, are a more open process. The collection of down is not exactly the most humane process — abuses from force feeding to overcrowding were a constant complaint. With much of the world’s down supply coming from Eastern Asia and China, a global standard that could apply to factory audits anywhere and allow for seamless supply chain traceability were both needed.

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The North Face and Dept. of Interior Partner to Protect Public Lands

Gina-Marie Cheeseman
| Tuesday October 28th, 2014 | 0 Comments

Golden Gate National Recreation AreaPublic lands like Golden Gate National Recreation Area in California and Everglades National Park in Florida are national treasures that need to be protected. The outdoor company The North Face and the Department of the Interior recently announced a joint partnership to protect and preserve public lands. The joint partnership supports the 21st Century Conservation Science Corps (21CSC) which began in 2010 as part of the Obama administration’s America’s Great Outdoors program. The North Face also announced it is donating $250,000 to the 21CSC.

The company also launched a new commercial campaign, featuring footage of The North Face global athlete team members skiing, running, climbing and hiking. The commercial launched on YouTube on Oct. 27 and will hit national television during NBC Sunday Night Football on Nov. 9 . It will run through the end of December on other channels, including ESPN, USA Network and Comedy Central. The commercial will also be featured on digital and social channels such as Hulu and Facebook beginning Nov. 10.

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Green Communities are Empowered Communities: Reflections from SXSW Eco

3p Contributor | Tuesday October 28th, 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.

Atmosphere at the 2014 SXSW Eco Conference. Photo by Rebecca Hedges Lyon.By Angela Mason

During the first week of October, nearly 3,000 people gathered in Austin, Texas for SXSW Eco. This three-day event brings together representatives from science, industry, education, NGOs, policy and business to “explore, engage and co-create solutions for a sustainable world.” I was proud to participate, alongside Oscar Medina of the Western Institute for Leadership Development, in a green jobs panel moderated by community activism professor, researcher and advocate Raquel Pinderhughes.

During our panel, Green Job Creation: Path to Community Empowerment, we explored a variety of complex topics, drawing out the connections between the diverse programs the three of us oversee and how it all ties back to the opportunities provided by employers in green job sectors.

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The Corporate World Invests in Ebola Fight

Gina-Marie Cheeseman
| Tuesday October 28th, 2014 | 0 Comments

Ebola workerThe Ebola virus is one of the deadliest to hit West Africa. The number of Ebola cases in West Africa totaled 9,936 with 4,877 deaths as of Oct. 20. The average death rate is 50 percent, but in past outbreaks the death rate has ranged from 50 to 90 percent. Clearly, West Africa needs help fighting Ebola, and corporate donors are pledging money to help with that fight. Recently, JPMorgan Chase & Co. announced up to $600,000 in donations from its foundation and employees.

Grants of $300,000 from the JPMorgan Chase Foundation will support the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the International Rescue Committee in their work to help control the Ebola outbreak. The foundation is also launching an employee giving campaign that will match employee donations dollar-for-dollar. The foundation will double donations made by employees by up to $150,000 for a total of $300,000.

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Symantec Pledges to Engage 1M Students in STEM by 2020

Lauren Zanolli
| Monday October 27th, 2014 | 0 Comments

SYM_Vert_RGB-72dpiSymantec last week released its seventh annual Corporate Responsibility Report, shortly after the software and information management firm announced it would be split into two separate publicly-traded businesses. The report, entitled Transforming to Protect the Future, continues the company’s reputation for a proactive CR approach and includes updated performance goals for the next five years.

The California-based company has been an early adopter of responsible business standards and was a signatory to the 2006 U.N. Global Compact, a set of international principles to protect human rights and ethical working conditions, decrease environmental impact and protect against corruption. The company also joined the U.N. Global Compact LEAD Initiative, a platform for corporate sustainability leadership launched in 2011, as one of just five U.S. companies.

Symantec has grown to dominate the security and data management industries, reaching $6.7 billion in revenue in FY 2014 (ending March 30, 2014), and recently announced the company would be separated into two distinct entities — a data security and information management business. The company has not yet indicated how this change will affect its CR strategy, but its latest CR report added several new performance goals on workplace diversity, education and supply chain impact over the next five years.

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Climate Change: Ready for a New Era of Extreme Weather?

Bill DiBenedetto | Monday October 27th, 2014 | 60 Comments

NWFpicfromreportA large part of the response to climate change amounts to holding actions to mitigate the impact of fossil fuel emissions and to better prepare for unprecedented storms, hurricanes and floods.

Is enough being done on the latter point — preparedness for extreme weather? The answer is no, according to a 76-page report released this month by the National Wildlife Federation, Allied World Assurance Company Holdings and Earth Economics. In fact, the organizations say, there’s a major “preparedness deficit.”

The study, Natural Defenses from Hurricanes and Floods: Protecting America’s Communities and Ecosystems in an Era of Extreme Weather, examines the growing risks from potentially-catastrophic natural hazards; the policy solutions that can safeguard people, property and wildlife habitats; and local case studies that can point the way forward.

“Our preparedness deficit is the result of years of inaction and under-investment at the federal, state and local levels,” says Collin O’Mara, NWF president and CEO. “It’s time for our elected officials to reinvest in our natural defenses and this report offers a blueprint for bipartisan, market-based solutions.”

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