How’s this for timing: Just a few weeks in advance of a special Triple Pundit series on sustainable fisheries, last Friday the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued a strongly–and we mean strongly–worded announcement that it will use its authority under the Clean Water Act to to protect the sockeye salmon fishery in Bristol Bay, Alaska, which just happens to be the largest sockeye fishery in the entire world.
Triple Pundit took note of the EPA announcement earlier this week (here’s that article), and it’s worth revisiting the topic to make a point about the growing tension between renewable and non-renewable resources in an increasingly globalized economy.
A man and woman hold a banner at a pro-legalization rally in New York City’s Union Square in 2012.
It seems to be just a matter of time. Marijuana legalization is moving across the country. Today, 20 states already allow medical cannabis. On Wednesday, the Washington, D.C. City Council voted almost unanimously to decriminalize marijuana in small amounts, while Colorado and Washington state have legalized the stuff. It’s flowing into daily lives, and now we’re seeing the first network television commercial for medical marijuana–just playing right there on the TV like they’re selling Tylenol or Hot Pockets.
Airing on national networks in the state of New Jersey–networks like A&E, Fox, CNN, Comedy Central, Food Network and the History Channel–a company called Marijuana Doctors is making the case for buying the product from trusted clinical sources.
The television ad features a slick talking, back alley sushi-pusher selling tuna and sashimi from the inside of his leather jacket. The commercial ends saying, “You wouldn’t buy your sushi from this guy, so why would you buy your marijuana from him?” The message here, in form and choice of medium, seems to be right in line with MarijuanaDoctors.com’s mission of “legitimizing the process for the booking and selection of medical marijuana doctors.” Major network television is just about as normalizing and arguably legitimizing as it comes. And it’s telling that the networks agreed to air the ad. Sure, money talks. But so does viewer outrage. Apparently the networks didn’t think that would be an issue.
Panelists discuss climate risk and resilience strategies at the Climate Leadership Conference in San Diego on Feb. 25.
By Jamie Carson
The corporate sector is playing a significant role in helping cities build resilience.
There is reasonable concern for cities to be considering this risk, which includes climate stressors such as wildfire, flood and sea level rise, said AECOM Director of Sustainable Development Claire Bonham-Carter on Feb. 25 during the panel “Identifying Climate Risk and Building Resilience” at the Climate Leadership Conference.
According to a recent CDP poll of 110 cities around the world, 98 percent of cities are reporting risk from climate change.
“These cities are reporting this risk now, not in the future,” Bonham-Carter emphasized.
Cities and companies may try to ban bottled water, but this convenient form of hydration isn’t going anywhere soon. One company, Agana Rainwater, is taking a different approach to making bottled water more environmentally friendly: collecting, filtering and bottling rainwater that would otherwise go wasted.
We interviewed Marc Howell, Agana’s founder and CEO, to learn more about the Buda,Texas-based company and hear about its future plans.
Carbon capture and storage technologies designed to reduce emissions are getting a better reception in the U.S. than in Europe, according to Technology Centre Mongstad (TCM), a Norwegian firm that tests CCS technology.
A CNBC report based on interviews with TCM executives says the U.S is a “more welcoming place” for CCS technology, at least at the moment, because Europe is recovering from a debt crisis and recession.
Welcome to our series of interviews with leading female CSR practitioners where we are learning about what inspires these women and how they found their way to careers in sustainability. Read the rest of the series here.
TriplePundit: Briefly describe your role and responsibilities, and how many years you have been in the business.
Meghna Tare: I am the Director of Sustainability for University of Texas at Arlington. We have our own citizenry, nearly 35,000 students and more than 5,600 employees – as well as our own housing, businesses, transportation fleet and police force. Because the University’s main campus is in the heart of downtown Arlington, our growth is felt throughout the region. Since 2007, we have added 1.46 million square feet of building space to the campus.
I work collaboratively with faculty, staff, the student body and community members to address opportunities to promote sustainability in several areas including greening facility operations, promoting innovative research, supporting and encouraging student initiatives, implementing an environmentally and sustainability-focused curriculum, establishing community gardens and composting programs and sponsoring public service initiatives. I recommend policies and strategies to advance the university’s commitment to being leader in campus sustainability. I also work collaboratively and have established a working relationship with various stakeholders and agencies like EPA Region 6, North Central Texas Council of Governments (NCTCOG), North Texas Commission, local governments, DFW Airport, United States Business Council for Sustainable Development (USBCSD), Chamber of Commerce, Community College Districts and other nonprofits.
Profile pictures on social media platforms and dating apps are oh-so-easy to poke fun at: There’s the quirky girl with a cutesy fake moustache or the ex-frat boy chugging a pint of beer at his favorite bar.
But Brooklyn-based filmmaker Cody Clarke discovered a more unsettling trend in profile photos while flipping through the dating app Tinder that pulls pictures and information from users’ Facebook profiles: light-skinned women from developed countries posing with babies and children in developing countries.
“Obviously the original intent, is, ‘Hey, friends, look where I was,’” Clarke told Fast Company. “[But] if you see a lot of them in a row, it becomes a trend and becomes a disgusting thing. It’s like they’re standing around props.”
Every Wednesday at 4pm PST / 7pm EST (and every once in a while at other times) TriplePundit will take 30 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.
On March 5th, TriplePundit’s Founder Nick Aster spoke with Phil Bresee about solid waste management in the United States and in Philadelphia, the benefits of recycling, and where this industry is headed. Phil informed the audience about natural resource savings, the implicit reduction in GHG emissions, energy saved, and economic benefits for the City.
If you missed the conversation, you can watch it right here or on our YouTube channel.
“King Cotton,” as it came to be known in the American South, has an unsettled past.
The crop has played a critical role throughout history. As with all things intertwined with human endeavor, cotton bears witness to our triumph and tragedy, often playing a central role in each.
Enduring the threefold challenge of economic, social and environmental issues, cotton production is often implicated as unsustainable and subject to the allure and consequence of profit at all cost. Global cotton production comes increasingly from low-wage areas of the developing world like China, India, Africa, Bangladesh and Latin America.
Cotton accounts for 40 percent of global textile production, supporting the livelihoods of 300 million people or nearly 7 percent of all labor in the developing world. The scale of global cotton reflects how much we depend on it and how far removed most of us are from the effects of its production and consumption. The cotton industry reaches all the way from small-holder farmers living in poverty to the chic fashion salons of New York and Europe.
We spend alot of time differentiating between exempt organizations, social enterprises, hybrids, traditional for-profits and the like. When in reality, the number of similarities is staggering. Similarities in challenges. similarities in concerns. Similarities in exposure. And to me, the biggest similarity is that feeling of “What am I not thinking about?” that all founders inevitably encounter after start-up.
Not too long ago I wrote a post about the top five things nonprofits should think about before forming. But I want to take it a step further and highlight a few things that all founders should be thinking about shortly after creating an entity. Be it a church, association, social enterprise, hybrid or for-profit corporation.
What is wellness? Many people think that if you’re not suffering from a disease, then you’re well. However, there are many unseen factors to wellness that are critical to your employees’ creativity and productivity. If you envision a thriving company with healthy, happy employees, then it’s time to update your definition of wellness.
Expanding our definition of wellness
The traditional definition of wellness is typically based on a person’s physical state or a diagnosed mental or physical condition or malady. In a clinical sense, a lack of negative physical symptoms equals health.
Over the past two decades, we’ve learned that there is a direct link between mind, body and spirit that contributes to a broader scope of health. We now understand that wellness includes a person’s happiness and fulfillment. Whether your organization focuses explicitly on the triple bottom line or simple profitability, this type of wellness can be taken straight to the bank.
Last week, Tesla announced that it would build a new “Gigafactory” to produce lithium-ion batteries at a rate able to support the manufacture of 500,000 electric cars per year. By 2020, the plant will be capable of producing as many lithium-ion batteries as the entire world produced in 2013.
The Gigafactory, Tesla says, will support 6,500 jobs directly, and according to a post on the company’s blog, the company expects that volume manufacturing of its mass-market vehicle will drive down the cost-per-kWh of its batteries by 30 percent in the first year.
The mass-market vehicle, yet to be released, will be designated the Model E. According to a report in TechCrunch, it will be 20 percent smaller than the current Model S, with a target range of 200 miles. While that’s fewer than the maximum range of the Model S, it’s ahead of any other pure EV currently on the market. Cheaper batteries may be crucial in cutting costs sufficiently to allow the company to produce the more affordable car, but the new factory also plays into more diverse plans for the company.
Barbie recently started the latest of 150+ careers: Entrepreneur Barbie. It’s a timely topic because female entrepreneurship has been growing exponentially in the past several years, but Mattel sticks to their formula Barbie and misses a great opportunity to branch out and really inspire young girls.
With Entrepreneur Barbie, Mattel had a chance to show more than one image of a female business owner–but stayed with generic Barbie. Mattel reported that Barbie sales have been steadily falling in recent years (Barbie revenue was down 40 percent in the U.S. in 2012), and this would have been a way to show that Barbie was adapting to a new reality, one where girls see more realistic role models. Many women who start their own businesses are older, experienced businesswomen, or moms with a unique idea, or both, along with a dozen other iterations besides a shiny, plastic businesswoman. The description of the doll gives no specifics about Barbie’s business, except that she has all the latest toys (her business must be well-funded).
Coffee is on the minds of many these days–coffee grounds, that is. And no wonder. Pondering the meaning of life over that cup of java naturally leads to pondering the values of sustainability and eco-claims for businesses (it does for me at least), and what’s a more sustainable, multipurpose ingredient than the dregs from our favorite brew?
After all, gardeners have been using coffee grounds to benefit their plants for eons. Housekeepers use them to clean their pots and tone up furniture scratches, and cooks use them to scour off the stain and smell of their favorite foods (and you thought that was all there was in the pot after you finished your morning brew).
But all of those uses won’t absorb the left over grounds found in say, London, England, where its plethora of coffeehouses produce more than 200,000 tons of filtered coffee grounds per year.
And that’s why both researchers and private companies have been so intent upon finding ways to use those grounds in mass production.
It is no secret that education is the surest route to a better life, but for tens of thousands of low-income students in developing nations, high costs mean that access to it continues to be the stuff of fantasy. Student loans are notoriously hard to come by outside of the U.S. and Europe, largely due to the fact that banks have no track record of repayments that can be used to assess risk, and students generally don’t have collateral or a credit history to prove that they can pay back loans.
The answer to this classic “chicken-or-the-egg” problem could lay with crowdfunding, which not only presents an opportunity to get tuition loans to students who need them, but also to build a “track record of repayment” that will encourage financial institutions to offer more loans to students.
San Diego: Apr 24 – Apr 27 Social Venture Network Spring Conference SVN conferences convene and connect influential, innovative business leaders, impact investors and cultural entrepreneurs to create an experience where attendees can share the ideas and resources they need to succeed and grow. Register here.
New York: May 13 – May 14 Shared Value Leadership Summit For business leaders and problem solvers who see exciting market opportunities at the intersection of business goals and societal challenges, the Shared Value Initiative is the leading community shaping research, partnerships, and practices. Register here.
Southern California: May 19 – May 21 Fortune Brainstorm Green As the premier conference on business, sustainability, and green investing, Brainstorm GREEN delivers fresh thinking, actionable solutions, and unparalleled opportunities to build top-level relationships. Register here.
London: May 20 – May 22 2014 Global Sustainability Standards Conference Listen to progressive companies and governments and leaders from Fairtrade, Forest Stewardship Council, Marine Stewardship Council, Rainforest Alliance, and other influential certifications discuss what brings the whole standards movement together: Trust. Register here.
San Diego: Jun 2 – Jun 5 Sustainable Brands 2014 Discover what happens when brand strategists & designers connect with sustainability teams to drive innovation. 20% discount with code NW3pSB14sd. Register here.
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