Let’s Change the Way We Talk About Energy

3p Contributor | Friday October 24th, 2014 | 2 Comments

energyBy Aaron Hay, Senior Sustainability Advisor at Forum for the Future

Although Big Energy Saving Week is in full swing, you could be forgiven for missing the positive energy that this worthwhile and ambitious undertaking should represent. Over at The Guardian, a recent article highlighted that household spending on gas and electricity is up 137 percent since 2003-04 even though people are using 17 percent less energy. Elsewhere, The Independent weighed in just this Monday, with more discouraging news:  a growing energy divide faced by lower-income households across the European Union.

Recent research we at Forum for the Future conducted with Behaviour Change and YouGov across the UK in October 2014 revealed a bleak state: 66 percent of people say there is nothing at all, or not very much they can do to reduce household energy bills, and at least two in five say their energy bills frustrate them. A clear lack of awareness on where people should go for help was uncovered.

It doesn’t have to be this way, households should be able to take control of their energy bills. Individuals and families can take steps to enjoy comfortable, healthy homes without the anxiety of ever-rising costs. That message isn’t cutting through the complex, negative and (no pun intended) heated rhetoric surrounding energy costs in the UK – which households hear almost daily.

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

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…

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

BP Op-Ed: Gulf Impacts Not So Bad!

| Thursday October 23rd, 2014 | 0 Comments
Workers continue clean-up efforts as part of the Deepwater Horizon Response in Grand Isle, La., June 5, 2010

Workers continue clean-up efforts as part of the Deepwater Horizon Response in Grand Isle, La., June 5, 2010

BP is in hot water for an “op/ed” it published on Politico from senior vice president of U.S. communications and external affairs, Geoff Morrell.

Unsurprisingly, his position is that the long term impacts of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill weren’t so bad, and the company’s $27B dollars in cleanup were sufficient to offset any long term impacts.

The LA Times does a great job outlining all the impacts Morrell missed:

The answer, if you study the findings of experts, is that the spill has had massive impacts. These include immediate effects on sea fowl, marine mammals, and coral; and long-term effects on dolphins, sea turtles, fish and wildlife populations, and the gulf food web. Moreover, many effects are still imponderable at this time, because no one has studied an oil spill of this magnitude in a unique ecosystem such as the gulf. Assessing the damage may take decades, covering generations of animals.

As for why Politico would publish such a thing? Internet sleuths are blaming that on the fact that BP has been a frequent advertiser on Politico’s Playbook, a daily briefing on DC’s big stories of the day.

The op-ed was not marked as sponsored content, but one wonders if it was published thanks to a health dose of quid pro quo.

Not one to shrink down from a good old fashioned brouhaha, BP has responded to the kerfuffle by issuing a statement. Here it is in its entirety:

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

The 2014 Elections and the Road for Sustainable Business

American Sustainable Business Council
| Thursday October 23rd, 2014 | 0 Comments

american flagBy Zach Bernstein

Every year, the American Sustainable Business Council (ASBC) holds a summit to discuss and plan strategies for creating a greener, fairer economy that works for everyone. This year’s will be held after the midterm elections, at the White House and other locations in DC, and space is still available for those who would like to join the discussion.

A lot will depend on how sustainability-minded candidates do in November. Policies that support sustainable businesses can move the economy in a sustainable direction. And those policies depend on policy makers who understand the importance of sustainability – economically and socially as well as environmentally.

Unfortunately while many campaign ads tout a candidate’s economic bona fides, often the reality and the rhetoric don’t match up.

That’s why the ASBC Action Fund decided to take a look at a few races across the country to see how the solutions match up with the rhetoric. Some are big time races; others are less-well-known. Some are federal elections, and others are more local. All of them, however, will mean a lot for the future of our economy. They will determine who takes the reins at all the different levels of our government, and thus imply which policy paths we can take to move the economy forward.

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

The Top 10 Solar States: You May Be Surprised

Leon Kaye | Thursday October 23rd, 2014 | 3 Comments
Solar Power Rocks, top 10 solar states, solar, solar energy, solar power, Leon Kaye, clean energy, new York, Solar Power Rocks, renewable portfolio standard

The top 10 solar states has a few surprises

The clean energy sector has been on an economic roller coaster the past several years, but despite entrenched interests, questions about efficiency and costs, renewables are on the upswing in the U.S.

That includes solar power, which is experiencing a surge in installations large and small—witness SolarCity’s success in recent years. Of course, the regulatory environment has a lot to do with how solar is spread.

So to that end, the writers at Solar Power Rocks, a clearinghouse of solar information from rebates to technology, recently ranked the U.S. states and the District of Columbia. The top 10 solar states may just surprise you—unless you live there and you have seen what is going on in your local community.

In order to gauge the winners and laggers on the solar power front, Dan Hahn and Dave Llorens, the brains behind Solar Power Rocks (SPR), looked at a bevy of factors, including each states renewable portfolio standard (RPS), the cost of electricity, rebates and credits related to solar, tax exemptions and regulations related to grid connectivity.

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

SAP Twitter Chat on Millennials & Social Entrepreneurship: #SAPsocent

Marissa Rosen
| Thursday October 23rd, 2014 | 1 Comment

SAP-LogoOn Thursday, October 23rd at 9am PDT / Noon EST, TriplePundit and SAP led a Twitter Chat on millennials and social entrepreneurship at #SAPsocent. 

This facilitated discussion examined how millennial entrepreneurs are transforming their industries and communities with new social enterprises. We spoke with experts and millennial entrepreneurs themselves about how the younger generation approaches bringing meaning to their daily work and building sustainable businesses from the ground up – and SAP shared its approach to supporting these young leaders. Bill McDermott, CEO of SAP, even stopped in to give his two cents!

Our guest speakers comprised a diverse, global panel of entrepreneurs and practitioners. The four agreed that the millennial generation is a different breed, and that the traditional workplace is changing as a result of technology and their desires to make an impact in the world.

  • Tiago Dalvi, Founder and CEO of Solidarium, which markets products made by impoverished artisans to retailers such as WalMart:
    • @dalvitiago: We’re focused in building businesses with cause. It’s possible to make money and change the world at the same time.
  • Jacob Rosenbloom, Co-Founder and CEO of Emprego Ligado, a mobile-based job-matching platform focused on the massive “blue-collar” workforce in Brazil:
    • @JacobRosenbloom: ‘Just a job’ challenge is not big enough. #Millennials want to get paid to change the world. 
  • Adam Smiley Poswolsky, Author of The Quarter Life Breakthrough, a career guide for twenty- (and thirty) somethings to get unstuck, pursue work that matters and change the world:
    • @whatsupsmiley: #Millennials are innovative and fearless. Whether entrepreneurs or intrapreneurs, they want do the impossible. 
  • Nicolette van Exel, Director of CSR at SAP – responsible for social enterprise development, including the Emerging Entrepreneurship Initiative:
    • @nvanexel: #Millennial generation is connected, everywhere, all the time. Technology must #RunSimple, experience must be seamless 

For the Storify summary and additional information — keep reading.

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

Interview: Todd Taylor on Darden’s ‘Restaurants of the Future’

Mary Mazzoni
| Thursday October 23rd, 2014 | 0 Comments

olive garden It’s no secret that restaurants run on slim profit margins, and restaurants with tight budgets and minimal resources often put sustainability on the back burner. This often comes at a high cost to the environment – including unnecessary energy and water use, as well as exorbitant amounts of waste sent to local landfills.

Responding to these issues, Darden Restaurants, the Fortune 500 restaurant giant known for brands like Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse and Bahama Breeze, has made a commitment to reduce the physical footprint and amount of resources used at its more than 1,500 restaurants across the country.

The restaurant chain has already begun constructing new restaurants using the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards. Whether a location is LEED certified or not, Darden’s commitment is carried through to its restaurant design elements, which include LED lighting, low-flow sinks, water efficient landscaping, energy management systems and more. Darden also recently launched restaurant Sustainability Teams — self-selected, passionate employees tasked with keeping the company steadfast in its conservation goals.

Darden has set out to utilize innovative technology in all corners of its restaurants, appropriately dubbed ‘restaurants of the future.’ Keeping an eye on the latest technology and the needs of its seven distinct restaurant chains — which also include Seasons 52, the Capital Grille, Eddie V’s and Yard House — Darden now utilizes sustainable technologies that were not available even a decade ago, such as water-efficient pasta cookers, recyclable carpet, automatic light dimmers and organic recycling processes, the company said.

I sat down with Todd Taylor, vice president of design for Darden Restaurants, to find out what these ‘restaurants of the future’ look like — and how the company hopes to expand the concept moving forward.

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

Clear Product Standards Needed to Reduce Consumer Confusion

3p Contributor | Thursday October 23rd, 2014 | 0 Comments
21st century enterprise is accelerating toward a new era of social good and climate justice.  Companies destined to survive in the long term welcome the opportunity to open their books to the idea of transparency.

21st century enterprise is accelerating toward a new era of social good and climate justice. Companies destined to survive in the long term welcome the opportunity to open their books to the idea of transparency.

By Jim Weglewski, Andersen Corporation

It is likely we have all, at one point or another, attempted to make a responsible decision with the best information available, only to find out later the product wasn’t quite what we believed it to be.  How do we inform and empower consumers to make the purchasing decision that truly reflects their values?

From box labels to acronyms, to hype from well-intentioned consumer groups, consumers can grow confused when trying to research and compare products. The available information can present incomplete or conflicting messages. Certifications portend to offer some direction, but most tend to be narrow in scope.  “Single attribute” certifications can play much like single-issue voters, maximizing one desirable attribute while obscuring the full, and far less desirable, implications of a product or service.

Environmental impact is a complex notion with many facets, and is something I like to refer to as kaleidoscopic. The view changes dramatically with small changes in perspective.  A clear set of standards is needed to simplify comparison across a balanced set of measures.  Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) do just this, while creating a common language that facilitates education and appreciation of the ever-widening impact of human activities.

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

Intelligent Readers and the Climate Crisis

Bill DiBenedetto | Thursday October 23rd, 2014 | 352 Comments

climateperil_berger_coverJust in time for Halloween comes one of the scariest and thought-provoking reads ever, and it’s not about zombies, vampires, Ebola or ISIS—it’s about climate change.

John Berger, author of Climate Peril: The Intelligent Reader’s Guide to Understanding the Climate Crisis takes the reader on a tour of all of the dangers facing the planet if nothing—or not enough—is done to address the impacts of climate change. This is a stark, necessary, heartbreaking and in the end, cautionary and hopeful book.

In succinct and accessible language, this short but powerful book pulls no punches: Climate change is the most critical threat to the planet today, and also the most complicated global issue. And, “like any critical threat it requires an emergency response.”

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

What Emerging Economies Can Learn from Rwanda

| Thursday October 23rd, 2014 | 0 Comments

Editor’s Note: This is part three in an ongoing series on Rwanda’s rise. Follow the series here.


Rwanda’s emerging reputation as a “rising star of Sub-Saharan Africa” is embodied by its extraordinary economic growth trajectory. One cannot deny the government’s instrumental role in crafting a public policy designed to cater to entrepreneurial growth. Rwanda continues its climb in the World Bank’s Doing Business 2014 Report, up to 32nd from 54th in 2013 (it now takes less than 3 days to start a business).

While government support cannot be understated, it can hardly begin to explain Rwanda’s burgeoning private sector. Having worked closely alongside many of Rwanda’s most talented entrepreneurs, I’d like to highlight several other factors that I believe have helped fuel Rwanda’s economic progress. While economic environments vary drastically across the world, the following are all characteristics which can be replicated to some degree by any developing country or community.

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

Masdar To Develop 50 MW Wind Farm in Oman

Gina-Marie Cheeseman
| Thursday October 23rd, 2014 | 1 Comment

MasdarThe Sultanate of Oman will have a 50 megawatt (MW) wind project online in early 2017. Masdar, Abu Dhabi’s renewable energy company, signed a joint development agreement with the Rural Areas Electricity Company (RAECO) to build the first large-scale wind farm in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). The wind farm will be built in the country’s Dhofar Governorate. It is estimated that it will produce enough electricity to power 16,000 homes. It will represent seven percent of total installed power generation capacity in the Dhofar region or about 50 percent of Dhofar’s winter energy use. Consisting of up to 25 wind turbines, the wind farm will have a daily production estimated to be 1,200 megawatt hours (MWh). Construction will start in the last quarter of 2015, and Masdar will fund the $125 million project.

The Middle East region is “rapidly adopting renewable energy as a viable solution to meet growing electricity demands and to address long-term resource security,” said H.E Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, UAE minister of state and chairman of Masdar. Al Jaber sees the Oman wind project as being a “prime example of how clean energy can deliver reliable power supplies and improve energy security, while also supporting a transition to a low-carbon future.”

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

Ikea Considers Price On Carbon

Gina-Marie Cheeseman
| Thursday October 23rd, 2014 | 74 Comments

IkeaThe Ikea Group may be putting a price on carbon emissions, Reuters reports. “There was a lot of discussion about carbon pricing and putting an internal price on carbon,” Chief Executive Peter Agnefjall said at the Reuters Global Climate Change Summit. “That’s definitely something we bring home and that we will analyze in the coming months.”

The company is making great strides to become more sustainable. It has committed to investing €1.5 billion until 2015 in renewable energy, mainly wind and solar power. The goal is for the company to become energy neutral by producing as much renewable energy as it consumes in its operations. By 2015, Ikea aims to produce at least 70 percent of its energy consumption from renewable sources.

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

Emerging Technologies Seek to Reduce Environmental Impact

3p Contributor | Thursday October 23rd, 2014 | 0 Comments

renewable energyBy Jessica Oaks

Look around. So much of the technology you see would have been considered part of the sci-fi realm just 20 years ago. Thousands of books or hundreds of movies can fit on a computer that slips easily into a jacket pocket. Humanity can manipulate the genome, leading to amazing advances in medicine and industry. Technology has improved our lives in innumerable ways. But is it doing the same for the planet? The most truthful answer is probably a thoroughly divided “yes and no.”

The negatives of our tech-fueled world are complex. For instance, phones and tablets are making information more accessible, careers more mobile and people more connected than ever before but more than 400,000 mobile devices are trashed every day – sometimes for no sin more egregious than being the wrong color. Recycling programs exist but according to the EPA only 10 percent of phones are recycled. The rest end up as over 65,000 tons of e-waste.

It would be easy, therefore, to look into a future awash with technology and see bleakness. But on the other side of the equation there are emerging technologies that are not only less impactful but may also have a positive net effect on the earth.

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

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:

Permalink discuss Discuss This »

What Makes a Quality Carbon Offset

Jan Lee
Jan Lee | Wednesday October 22nd, 2014 | 0 Comments

wind turbines in India

When critics want to show that carbon offset programs don’t work, they’ll often point at Coldplay’s first carbon offset investment. In 2002, the British rock band announced that to offset the environmental impact of their second successful album, a Rush of Blood to the Head, they planned to plant several thousand mango trees in southern India. The announcement was well received: Not only did Coldplay contribute, but fans logged in online to support to the investment. The planting of 10,000 trees was viewed as a worthy investment to balance the many units of carbon produced by the band’s increasingly successful, and carbon-dependant lifestyle.

Four years later, it was revealed that forty percent of the trees had died, allegedly from lack of water. The trees that were to provide carbon sequestration for all those hours of electricity usage, plane rides, performances and retakes were billed as a failed investment.

What critics often don’t relate is the second part to the story: Some years later, Coldplay returned to that initial vision and invested in a forest on the outskirts of an abandoned mine with other investors to transform a World War II armament site into an ecological preserve.

Both Coldplay and Carbon Neutral Company, the carbon offset provider they had contracted through, went on to invest in and manage numerous other offset programs. But, both learned a critical lesson from that initial, embarrassing failure: the necessity of due diligence and the value of adhering to every one of the principles of carbon offsetting.

What makes carbon offsetting work?

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »