CSR Report Review: Salesforce.com and Cloud Computing Sustainability

Leon Kaye | Wednesday August 27th, 2014 | 0 Comments
Salesforce com, cloud computing, operational efficiency, carbon footprint, renewable energy credits, green building, LEED, Leon Kaye, sustainability, sustainability report

SalesForce.com released its most recent sustainability report

There will always be debate about whether having more and more of our data on the cloud is really more sustainable in the long run, but one company making a difference in this space is Salesforce.com. On the business side, it is easy to argue this San Francisco-based company has had a beneficial impact on customer relationship management (CRM) systems. In recent years the US$4 billion company has become a major force in the cloud-computing sector, and is frequently touted for both being a truly innovative company as well as for its sustainability agenda. But the company is making a difference in communities and on corporate responsibility issues as well.

To that end, Salesforce.com recently released its latest sustainability report. A lot of what the report discusses is framed over how the company has evolved since its founding 15 years ago, and it can offer its peer companies, in Silicon Valley and beyond, ideas on how to become a more responsible and efficient operation.

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Italian Scientists Turn Food Waste Into Bioplastics

Gina-Marie Cheeseman
| Wednesday August 27th, 2014 | 0 Comments

food waste Food waste causes a range of environmental problems when left to rot in a landfill. A staggering amount, 1.3 billion tons of food, is wasted globally every year, according to the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP). The carbon footprint of all that wasted food is estimated at 3.3 billion tons of carbon equivalent.

Wasted food also means wasted water. The amount of water used to produce food that is wasted is equivalent to the annual flow of Russia’s Volga River or three times the volume of Lake Geneva. That is not good at any time — but becomes particularly poignant during a time when the entire state of California is in its third year of drought. There is also an economic cost to food waste — $750 billion a year.

On to another problem: Conventional plastic is made from petroleum, a fossil fuel, and contributes to climate change. Bioplastics are made from plant material and are an alternative to conventional plastic. However, the multiple steps needed to produce bioplastics mean more energy is needed. And the crops used to produce them, like corn, are probably better suited for human consumption.

As a solution, a group of scientists at the Italian Institute of Technology (IIT) in Genova, Italy, are working on ways to create bioplastic from food waste. Their results were published earlier this summer in American Chemical Society’s (ACS) journal Macromolecules.

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Stop Washing Valuable Energy Down the Drain

| Wednesday August 27th, 2014 | 1 Comment

ecodrain horizontal heat exchangerEver wondered which renewable energy source has the quickest payback? Hint: It may be coming from your shower. Or toilet.

But first, a question: Did you take a shower today?

If so, you engaged in an activity that tosses 80 to 90 percent of the energy used to heat the water down the drain. Water heating is among the most energy intensive activities in most homes, and near the top most expensive as well.

For most people, it doesn’t even occur to them that there might be something to do about wasted energy from their morning shower, aside from reducing the amount of water used via a low-flow shower head. Other options available have typically meant fairly complex installations in limited locations — too many barriers for all but the most motivated people.

Montreal, Canada-based Ecodrain has created a simple solution to the problem: Reuse the heat of the drain water, transferring it back to the water heater, with no mingling of clean and gray water.  Up to 45 percent of the heat is recovered. Water flow is optimized for maximum heat distribution, yet the system has no moving parts, so maintenance is greatly simplified. More than 4,700 iterations in the making, the system — also called Ecodrain — is designed to maximize utility while minimizing installation effort and eliminating clogs.

This quick, cheeky explainer video makes the case for heat exchangers entertainingly.

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Kellogg Sets Bold Sustainability Goals for 2020

Gina-Marie Cheeseman
| Wednesday August 27th, 2014 | 0 Comments

Special KFans of Frosted Flakes and Eggo, two Kellogg Co. brands, who are also champions of sustainability have something to cheer about: Kellogg announced new social and environmental commitments earlier this month.

Among other things, the company committed to responsibly source its top 10 ingredients and materials by 2020. The 10 ingredients include corn, wheat, rice, oats, potatoes, sugar (beets and cane), cocoa, palm oil, fruits and honey. A combination of certification and documented continuous improvement will be used. In addition, Kellogg will validate compliance across all of its direct suppliers by 2015.

Kellogg will work with its global palm oil suppliers to source “fully traceable” palm oil, as stated on its website, from certified sources that are “environmentally appropriate, socially beneficial and economically viable.” It will require its suppliers to comply with Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) principles and criteria by Dec. 31, 2015. The majority of palm oil comes from Indonesia and Malaysia, and palm oil plantations are causing massive rainforest destruction in both countries.

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TODAY: Twitter Chat with Heineken on Local Sourcing: Join #BaBF

Marissa Rosen
| Wednesday August 27th, 2014 | 0 Comments

twitter-heinekenWe had such a great Twitter chat with Heineken a few months ago, that we brought the experts together again for Round 2!

Today on Twitter, we learned about what “local sourcing” means to Heineken by hosting a Twitter Chat at the hashtag: #BaBF.

A cornerstone of the Heineken sustainability strategy, Brewing a Better Future (#BaBF), is focused on growing the percentage of locally-sourced ingredients in its raw material supplies. The company wants to operate in a way that improves the quality of life for local individuals and communities; helps drive inclusive growth particularly in economies in Africa; and helps the environment and ensures a consistent supply of raw materials.

CSR Expert Aman Singh and TriplePundit led an hour-long conversation with Heineken’s sustainability leadership team, including:

  • Michael Dickstein (MD) – Director, Global Sustainable Development
  • Paul Stanger (PS) – Local Sourcing Director, Africa & Middle East Region
  • Edwin Zuidema (EZ) – Global Category Director, Raw Materials

Here’s the Storify summary of the conversation:

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Behind the Scenes: A Look at the Creation of Symantec’s Signature CSR Program

3p Contributor | Tuesday August 26th, 2014 | 0 Comments
Symantec partner YearUp provides urban young adults with the skills, experience, and support to get professional jobs.

Symantec partner YearUp provides urban young adults with the skills, experience and support to get professional jobs.

By Cecily Joseph

At Symantec we’ve been undergoing a transformation in all areas of the company, and this includes our approach to philanthropy.

Given the need for a larger pipeline of skilled workers in the technology sector, we have historically invested the majority of our philanthropic dollars in broad efforts that support science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education. And while we have built strong partnerships with organizations and are collectively making a difference, we saw potential for even greater impact.

We embarked on a journey to find ways that we could make more meaningful social impact. We ended up developing a shared value signature initiative for Symantec. That is, an initiative that not only goes beyond grant-making to leverage our business assets, but that also contributes to our business bottom line and creates societal benefit.

We began by working with both internal and external stakeholders to define what that shared value program would look like. We created an internal steering committee made up of executives from across the company representing technology, educational services, talent acquisition, marketing, government affairs and regional sales groups.  The signature program strategy was guided by key findings from data and research which showed that cybercrime is the most prevalent online threat with over $388 billion in global costs and that there is a shortage of cybersecurity professional who are needed to protect nations, businesses and individuals with global demand expected to grow to 4.9 million jobs by 2017. In the U.S. alone, there are 300,000 cybersecurity jobs that cannot be filled due to lack of trained professionals. Of this, an estimated 20 percent can be filled by people without college degrees.

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Renewables Generate 100 Percent of New U.S. Energy Capacity in July

Leon Kaye | Tuesday August 26th, 2014 | 0 Comments
Renewables, renewable energy, solar, wind power, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, FERC, Leon Kaye. US energy capacity, Office of Energy Projects

Solar panels at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

We hear a lot from the optimists about how renewable energy is experiencing skyrocketing growth and should displace fossil fuels in no time. Then there are the naysayers who insist solar, wind and other forms of clean energy will never provide the power America needs. The truth is somewhere in between. One fact cannot be disputed however: All new energy capacity generated last month in the U.S. was 100 percent due to renewables.

According to the latest report issued by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) Office of Energy Projects, 405 megawatts of new installed capacity was added to America’s grid: 379 MW from wind, 21 MW from solar and 5 MW from hydropower.

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U.K. Standards Group Calls Out Peabody Energy for Misleading ‘Clean Coal’ Claim

Bill DiBenedetto | Tuesday August 26th, 2014 | 0 Comments

coal-fired power plant_emilian robert vicolNo matter how one mines or washes it, there’s no such thing as clean coal, despite what politicians and the coal industry say. So, it’s refreshing to see the U.K.’s Advertising Standards Authority bar Peabody Energy from making that misleading claim in its “Advanced Energy for Life” ad campaign.

The ASA ruled, in a case brought by the World Wildlife Fund, that Peabody Energy should not use the term “clean coal” to imply that coal is emission-free or “the solution for better, longer and healthier lives.” The ad says “energy poverty” is the “world’s No. 1 human and environmental crisis,” and Peabody Energy “is working to build awareness and support to end energy poverty, increase access to low-cost electricity and improve emissions using today’s advanced clean coal technologies.”

ASA said, “The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told Peabody Energy, Inc. to ensure that future ads did not state or imply that their technologies were emission-free or similar unless they could demonstrate that this was the case.”

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What’s the Difference Between Certified B Corps and Benefit Corps?

Ryan Honeyman | Tuesday August 26th, 2014 | 13 Comments

This is the third in a weekly series of excerpts from the upcoming book “The B Corp Handbook: How to Use Business as a Force for Good.” (Click here to read the rest of the series.)

B Corp Logo - Next 20 YearsBy Ryan Honeyman

It took me 12 months of research, over 100 interviews and writing a 240-page book, but I finally figured out the difference between Certified B Corps and benefit corps.

If you are confused about the difference between the two — or didn’t even know there was a difference — don’t worry. This is one of the most commonly confused aspects of the B Corp movement.

Certified B Corporations and benefit corporations share much in common but have a few important differences. For a direct comparison, see the chart at the bottom of this article.

Q: What are Certified B Corporations?

Certified B Corporations (also referred to as ‘B Corps’ or ‘B Corporations’) are companies that have been certified by the nonprofit B Lab to have met rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency. B Corp certification is similar to LEED certification for green buildings, Fair Trade certification for coffee or USDA Organic certification for milk.

A key difference, however, is that B Corp certification evaluates an entire company (e.g., worker engagement, community involvement, environmental footprint and governance structure) rather than looking at just one aspect of a company (e.g., a building or product).

This big-picture evaluation is important because it helps distinguish between good companies and just good marketing.

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Big ‘Beyond Coal’ Victory for Indianapolis Grassroots Coalition

| Tuesday August 26th, 2014 | 0 Comments

PowerIndyForward_Social Share_Graphic_1 Persistence and grassroots political activism finally won out in Indianapolis recently: On August 15, Indianapolis Power & Light (IPL) announced it will stop burning coal at its 1,094-megawatt Harding Street power plant – the only coal-fired power plant remaining within the limits of a major Midwestern city – and switch to natural gas-fired electricity generation by 2016.

The announcement marked a big victory for “small ‘d’ democracy,” one Indianapolis City-County Council member remarked. It was also a win for Power Indy Forward, the broad-based coalition of environmental and public interest groups that came together to persuade IPL and government officials to phase out the use of coal in electricity generation. The coalition is also lobbying for environmental and social remediation efforts, energy efficiency programs and goals, and much more in the way of clean energy generation capacity.

“More than 55 organizations comprising the Power Indy Forward Coalition have been working hard for this day, and we thank IPL for making the decision to stop burning coal at the Harding Street plant. The community fought for clean air and a plan to protect the health of our families by phasing out coal in Marion County,” Jodi Perras, senior campaign representative for Sierra Club Indiana Beyond Coal, wrote in an August 15 op-ed in the Indianapolis Star.

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Verizon Ups Its Green Energy Commitment by Another $40 Million

Jan Lee
Jan Lee | Tuesday August 26th, 2014 | 0 Comments

Verizon_Sun_Power_solar_pgegreenenergyThe race is on: Yesterday Verizon Communications announced that it was committing another $40 million to its green energy program, paving the way for the company to expand its solar power market in five key states.

The investment will provide funding for an additional 10.2 megawatts at eight sites in California, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Jersey and New York, effectively raising the amount of green energy it will deploy to more than 25 MW once the new installations are completed.

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Sustainability Drives Healthy Results at Longfellow Sports Clubs

| Tuesday August 26th, 2014 | 0 Comments

Club Image The Longfellow Clubs (LFC) is a cluster of five multi-purpose health and recreation facilities located in Sudbury, Wayland and Natick, Massachusetts. LFC is the fourth-largest health and recreation club in New England with 125 full-time and 300 part-time employees. This mid-sized, highly successful company has actively implemented sustainability-based business practices across all of its facilities, significantly enhancing its financial performance and developing a reputation as the greenest health club in America.

Laury Hammel, co-founder and CEO, says he has been committed to environmental issues since his childhood. “I participated in the first Earth Day in 1970. I think my childhood really crystallized and catalyzed my sustainability efforts.”

Hammel founded LFC in 1972 as a tennis instruction business. Rapid growth drove him and business partner Myke Farricker to find larger facilities. They purchased an existing facility in 1980. Since that initial acquisition, they have been acquiring, upgrading and enhancing athletic facilities across the greater Boston area to better meet community and customer demands for health and fitness programs. Facilities improvements include water conservation, energy efficiency and earth-friendly facilities that encapsulate a holistic approach to health for people and planet.

One of LFC’s missions as a locally-owned and independent business is a commitment to the health and wellbeing of the communities in which it operations. Other LFC missions are to provide extraordinary fitness, recreational and educational programs for people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities.

The result of implementing environmentally-friendly business practices is that LFC has prospered for over 33 years, successfully established a positive reputation with the communities in which it operates, a strong competitive position and fiscal resiliency in its market.

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Top Energy-Efficient Apps and Devices for Everyday Use

3p Contributor | Tuesday August 26th, 2014 | 0 Comments

nest_cooling-low-resBy Jessica Oaks

Saving energy is on most people’s minds these days, whether it’s at home, at the office or with the multitude of devices and appliances they use.

Luckily, that smartphone or tablet can help you develop some great conservation habits by giving you access to useful apps that make living a greener lifestyle easier. Considering a device or appliance that is energy efficient isn’t a bad idea either.

To save you some time searching through online reviews, check out these top energy-saving devices, appliances and apps you can use every day.

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SOCAP 2014: Tweet Jam on Financial Inclusion #3pChat

| Tuesday August 26th, 2014 | 0 Comments

3p-tweet-jamSocial Capital Markets 2014 is around the corner and what better  way to kick it off that a tweet jam on key conference topics, starting with the concept of financial inclusion.

“What is Success in Financial Inclusion?

On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate your financial health? Though overly simplified, this question is key to financial inclusion. For organizations working to include underserved communities in modern financial systems, how can they go beyond the number of users engaging with their product or service to understand real impact on financial health and economic stability? Hear how these experts are building systems that include and serve everyone.

Join us live on twitter at 2pm pacific time on Thursday, August 28th as we get down into the details as well as cover other topics relevant to #SOCAP14.

Please RSVP here or just send the following tweet:

“Join me and @triplepundit to discuss financial inclusion in advance of #socap14 8/28 2PM PT #3pChat http://bit.ly/1onbVkj”

Our panelists:

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Report: Tech Advances, Policy Changes Drive U.S. Solar Boom

| Monday August 25th, 2014 | 0 Comments

PV-array-with-grass_NRELSupportive market-driven policy mechanisms and government R&D funding have been seminal in the creation of what’s turned into a booming U.S. solar energy sector. Whether it’s at the utility-, commercial- or residential-scale, using photovoltaics (PV) to produce renewable energy from sunlight is now financially viable wherever you live the U.S., according to a new study from the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS).

Past and present performance is no guarantee of future success, however. The looming 2016 expiration of a key federal tax incentive – the solar investment tax credit – along with sharp cutbacks in leading European solar energy markets, international trade disputes and the imposition of punitive tariffs, have prompted U.S. solar industry participants to reassess their business plans. And while rapid growth and industry downsizing have brought PV cell and module supply and demand into balance – leading some PV manufacturers to even add capacity – profit margins, and the margin for error, are generally razor-thin.

In Solar Power on the Rise: The Technologies and Policies behind a Booming Energy Sector, UCS’ Climate and Energy Program senior analysts John Rogers and Laura Wisland highlight the social, environmental and economic benefits of solar power: “The major drivers of the rapid adoption of solar power,” whether it be solar PV or concentrating solar power (CSP) technology. They then move on on to summarize “key steps to sustain the strong growth of solar power in the United States and its contribution to a more resilient electricity system in the decades ahead.”

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