An App for Sustainable Travel and Doing Good: Ecoalsur

Leon Kaye | Wednesday October 8th, 2014 | 0 Comments
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Ecoalsur offers ideas on sustainable travel along the Uruguay coast . . .

Travel has certainly become easier the past twenty years thanks to discount airlines and the web, but the effects are not always positive. Increased carbon emissions, more environmental degradation and the world’s cultural homogenization are amongst the results cited by those concerned about cheap and easy travel. But one emerging travel publisher is leveraging the latest technology with increased interest in responsible travel, and in turn aims to bring water to those who need it most: Ecoalsur.

Based in a coworking office in Montevideo, Uruguay, Ecoalsur is a group of travel writers, adventurers and techies who seek to inspire travelers to see the world in a more environmentally and socially responsible way. For now the ground Ecoalsur covers is Latin America, though the firm’s network of writers has started to write about Africa and more regions across the world are on the horizon. In addition to highlighting responsible travel opportunities from the Uruguayan coast to Patagonia to Chiapas, this social enterprise focuses on another task: bringing clean and safe water to South America’s Gran Chaco.

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The Clever Marketing Strategy of NRG

Gina-Marie Cheeseman
| Wednesday October 8th, 2014 | 0 Comments

NRG Stadium LED Lights on FieldNRG is a company with a clever name and marketing strategy. The company provides sustainable energy choices, including solar power, for consumers. It is also a company that has sustainable energy solutions installed at six stadiums that are home to professional teams. Those energy solutions provide a way for the company to let attendees of the games held at the stadiums know that solar energy and alternative technologies, such as LED lights, are choices. Information about solar and those other technologies is available at the six different stadiums.

The LED lights and electric vehicle charging stations installed at the six stadiums, plus solar power, serves as “real life examples of alternative energy solutions,” as Elizabeth Killinger, president of NRG Retail and Reliant, said to me.  The company installs them in “hopes of educating the people who’ve visited those stadiums that solar is something they can consider for their homes and businesses, as well as some of the other alternative technologies whether that’s electric vehicle (EV) charging or the LED lights.” In other words, the company can spread the word about sustainable energy solutions while putting their name in the minds of potential consumers. It’s a brilliant strategy.

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Seen and Heard at SXSW Eco: Day 1

Mary Mazzoni
| Tuesday October 7th, 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.Day 1 of the SXSW Eco conference has come and gone, and attendees are busy chatting about their favorite takeaways, memorable moments and lessons learned.

On Day 1, social impact startups went on display, exhibitioners hosted hundreds at their booths, and panelists discussed everything from sustainable agriculture and creating climate wealth to solving global problems through creative design. But what attendees seem to enjoy the most is the community at SXSW Eco — where a group of like-minded individuals across multiple sectors can collaborate.

We took a walk around the Austin Convention Center and asked folks to share their thoughts.

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3p and HP Hosted #LivingProgress Twitter Chat LIVE from SXSW Eco

Marissa Rosen
| Tuesday October 7th, 2014 | 0 Comments

no2r4rqltrax5gl8qxzl_400x400On October 7th, TriplePundit and HP hosted a live Twitter Chat from #SXSWeco, at the hashtag #livingprogress.  

During this year’s SXSWEco conference, Nick Aster, Founder and Publisher of Triple Pundit, and Chris Librie, Senior Director of Strategy and Communications at HP Corporate Affairs, came together at the HP Living Progress Exchange to bring the dialogue to you via Twitter!

The conversation covered some of the big challenges facing us today, including a rapidly growing population, effects of climate change, economic instability and global health crises.

Since challenges present opportunities for forward-thinking individuals and companies, HP is using the Living Progress framework for thinking about how it does business to create a better future for everyone through its actions and innovations. Through HP Living Progress, HP brings together people and technology to solve the world’s toughest challenges.

TriplePundit led the dialogue while HP provided facts and highlights of its past, present, and future work in sustainability. Topics covered in the discussion on HP’s Living Progress plan included the goals and successes of its supply chain, operations, collaborations, and more.

A few breakthroughs in HP’s innovations include:

  • HP has developed a liquid-cooled supercomputer which can help companies eliminate up to 3,800 tons of CO2 waste from data centers per year.
  • HP has a goal to reduce the emissions intensity of our product portfolio, 40% by 2020 compared to 2010.
  • HP is the only global IT company to set carbon reduction goals for all 3 parts of its value chain – across operations, supply chain and its product portfolio.
  • One Living Progress example is HP’s Africa take-back & recycling program that creates jobs and a healthier environment.
  • HP’s eHealth Center initiative provides quality care in rural underserved areas.

Missed the chat or want to learn more? Here’s the Storify summary:

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Targeted Marketing and Online Privacy

RP Siegel | Tuesday October 7th, 2014 | 0 Comments
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Without targeted marketing, are you looking at a blank screen?

Have you noticed that lately, the moment a notion or product pops into your head, you suddenly start seeing ads related to it in the margins of your web browser? Okay, you probably weren’t just thinking about it, maybe you did a web search or mentioned it in an email, but it is still eerie.

Companies now have the ability to look at your browsing history and other online activities and mine that data for clues about you and your purchasing habits. In turn, they use their intel to serve you targeted ads. Facebook is notorious for serving ads about pregnancy and baby equipment to the newly married, for example.

Some people appreciate these directed ads, figuring that if they are going to see advertising, they might as well get ads for relevant products. Others are annoyed and find it mildly creepy, while a third group are outraged at what they feel is an invasion of their privacy. In fact, 73 percent of consumers surveyed said that they object to being tracked online. It is often said that if you get a something for free (à la Google or Facebook), you aren’t the customer, you’re the product. The question is — for those companies in the business of selling data, what are the CSR implications of doing so?

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Designed Right, Carbon Taxes Do Not Kill Jobs

Bill DiBenedetto | Tuesday October 7th, 2014 | 1 Comment

our kids are worth it_Louisa BilleterThe standard argument from opponents in the continuing debate over carbon taxes is the grudging admission that while they might reduce carbon emissions, the taxes ultimately fail because they kill jobs.

A recent Bloomberg editorial goes a long way to dispelling the latter part of that argument. Where they are implemented, carbon taxes—also known as environmental tax reforms (ETR)—succeed in reducing greenhouse-gas emissions. “The next question is whether that success is bought at the expense of jobs and incomes,” Bloomberg says. “The answer is no. As long as the tax is well-designed, it can cut emissions at little or no economic cost. And that is a conservative assessment: In practice, a carbon tax has been shown to provide an economic boost. The reason is that the revenue raised by a carbon tax can be used to cut other, more damaging, taxes.”

That’s because, generally speaking, taxes make economies less efficient. But there are degrees of damage, as the editorial explains: “Taxing ‘bads,’ such as pollution, actually improves the allocation of resources, whereas taxing ‘goods,’ such as labor, reduces the economy’s capacity to produce. In principle, therefore, using the revenue from a carbon tax to cut other taxes can yield a double benefit: reducing pollution and expanding the economy.”

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California Governor Vetoes Antibiotic Resistance Bill, Critics Cheer

Jan Lee
Jan Lee | Tuesday October 7th, 2014 | 0 Comments

Feeding bunks at a dairy in California.Responding to pressure from environmental groups, last week California Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed a controversial bill that was designed, on the surface, to regulate antibiotic use in livestock.

In a short statement released Sept. 29, Brown stated that the bill did little more than “codify a Federal Drug Administration standard [Guidance 213, or GFI 213] that phases out antibiotic use for growth promotion.” Reinforcing the standard was necessary, said Brown, “because most major animal producers have already pledged to go beyond [it].”

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Are B Corps Relevant Outside of the U.S.?

Ryan Honeyman | Tuesday October 7th, 2014 | 0 Comments

This is the ninth in a weekly series of excerpts from the upcoming 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.

B CorporationsBy Ryan Honeyman

The B Corp movement has amplified the voice of a global community of entrepreneurs, investors, and consumers behind the power of a unifying brand that stands for a better way to do business.

Since B Lab (the nonprofit behind the B Corporation) was founded in 2007, the B Corp movement has become increasingly attractive and exciting to entrepreneurs outside of the United States.

For example, more than 1,100 Certified B Corps from 120 industries and 35 countries (including Afghanistan, Australia, Brazil, Germany, Kenya, and Mongolia) can now speak with one voice when they invite their millions of friends, family, and colleagues to join them in using business as a force for good.

This platform enables the B Corp community to build a collective voice that transcends international boundaries, helps galvanize more people, and creates a positive effect on society and the environment that is more powerful than any individual company.

B Corp certification helps raise awareness around what is being done well in Afghanistan. It sets an example that an Afghan company can achieve international standards for ethical operations and transparency. It also benefits other Afghan companies by opening up more mentoring opportunities and demonstrating the path to apply for B Corp certification. –Luisa Walmsley, CSR Program Manager, Roshan (Afghanistan)

Whether you are a sole proprietor, a national brand, or global business with billions in sales, and whether your focus is on strengthening local communities, reducing global poverty, or addressing climate change, being part of a larger movement can help build collective voice, accelerate the adoption of standards, drive capital, pass supportive public policies, and inspire consumers to change their behavior.

B Lab  has partnered with several organizations to help drive the movement globally.

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Solar PV Catching On Fast in Latin America, Caribbean

| Tuesday October 7th, 2014 | 0 Comments

emerging_pv_markets_report_latin_america_and_caribbean Countries across the Latin America and Caribbean (LAC) region are making increasing use of renewable energy resources to spur sustainable development. Use of solar photovoltaic (PV) technology, for instance, “is poised to play a substantial role in fulfilling the need for increased power generation capacity” throughout the LAC region, according to an NPD Solarbuzz market research report released September 29.

A gigawatt (GW) of PV projects are under construction across the LAC region at present. That’s just the tip of the iceberg, however, according to NPD Solarbuzz’s “Emerging PV Markets Report: Latin America and the Caribbean.”

The PV project pipeline across the LAC region now exceeds 22 GWs across all phases of development, NPD Solarbuzz highlights in its report. Some 9 GWs of PV capacity will be installed over the next five years, with 5 GWs already approved and primed to move ahead into the construction phase.

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GreenChar Increases Access to Clean Cookstoves in Kenya

Leon Kaye | Tuesday October 7th, 2014 | 0 Comments
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Tom Osborne and GreenChar team shows how organic charcoal briquettes are made and distributed.

Approximately 84 percent of all households in Kenya use solid fuels for cooking. This rate spikes to 95 percent for Kenyans who live in rural households. So as they have for generations, most families in Kenya use cookstoves three times a day to prepare their meals. But the results are negative all around: deforestation, increased carbon emissions and a massive threat to public health. The Alliance for Clean Cookstoves estimates over 36 million Kenyans are affected by household air pollution (HAP); over 15,000 deaths in Kenya annually are directly related to HAP. One social enterprise, GreenChar, is trying to reverse that trend.

GreenChar is trying to take a different approach from other cookstove initiatives that have launched, and failed, in Kenya, Africa, and in other developing regions such as India. As an article in Nature earlier this year outlined, the fact that one-third of the world’s population uses solid fuel to cook food takes a toll on our environment, on families and on their communities. But despite the best intentions, scores of cookstove projects have failed, for a bevy of economic and cultural reasons. An 18-year-old social entreprenuer who recently graduated from high school, however, hopes to buck this discouraging trend.

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Remembering Rwanda by Celebrating Its Success

| Tuesday October 7th, 2014 | 2 Comments

kwibuka20Do you need another reminder of what happened 20 years ago in that little hilly nation at the heart of Africa? Every major media outlet already reported this news earlier this year. You read, watched, you remembered. Then you moved on. Just like Rwanda, right? But Rwanda is still remembering. Yes, to grieve the tragedy of those 100 days, but it is more than that.

“Kwibuka” is the Kinyarwanda term for the annual commemoration of the 1994 genocide. For more than four months, the signs hung from nearly every major building on every block of every town in the country. The Flame of Remembrance, the symbol of Kwibuka, traveled to each district across the country. Kwibuka is about remembering the 1994 genocide so that it never happens again. Yet today, it is just as much about celebrating one of the world’s greatest success stories.

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P&G, DuPont Partner on Cellulosic Ethanol Production for Tide Detergent

Leon Kaye | Tuesday October 7th, 2014 | 1 Comment
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Stover truck hauling future Tide detergent

With all the fuss over corn ethanol, cellulosic ethanol and other potential replacements for gasoline the past several years, it is easy to forget that ethanol is an important component in detergents. An effective, if not the most environmentally friendly surfactant, ethanol helps keep those fabrics clean. For years, corn-based ethanol was an important ingredient in Procter & Gamble’s Tide detergent product line. But that is changing as P&G, in a joint announcement with DuPont, have announced a shift towards cellulosic ethanol that has been 10 years in the making.

This is an interesting development for those of us who have observed the ethanol industry the past several years. In part, the debate over fuel vs. food has kept us captivated, and then of course there have been the endless media advisories from startup companies promising a massive ethanol breakthrough “in six months!” Scores of six months’ later, the reach and scale of P&G and DuPont’s partnership could help cellulosic ethanol become more important in our country’s energy, and chemical, portfolios.

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Kenyan Campaign Delivers Clean Water to Thousands in Need

RP Siegel | Monday October 6th, 2014 | 0 Comments

IMG_20141006_094450~2I am in Kenya this week following the activities of Vestergaard, a rather remarkable mission-driven company that first came to my attention when they invited me to Africa — at their expense — to tour their operation. They operate at the intersection of water, climate change, and public health.

Vestergaard’s LifeStraw water filters are popular with backpackers and hikers and are therefore their most well-known product in the U.S. and Europe. However, Vestergaard also distributes LifeStraw products abroad and makes treated bed nets for malaria prevention. Most of the company’s emphasis, and their passion, lies in serving the developing world. In fact, their mission explicitly states that everything they do must have a measurable impact on health and development outcomes in developing countries.

Next up for the company is the “Follow the Liters” program, which launches this week. When an individual buys a LifeStraw product in the U.S. or Europe, a portion of those funds are committed to be used to obtain clean drinking water for children in Africa. Indeed, the commitment explicitly states that for each purchase, one school child will receive clean water for a year. Starting today, that commitment is being fulfilled.

Due to successful product sales, 125,000 children in 300 schools will receive clean water, courtesy of LifeStraw Community filters that will be installed over a ten day period, throughout Western Kenya. Each filter can treat anywhere between 70-100,000 liters of water. That works out to over 3 million liters of water purified per year. Over the course of this week, I will be visiting schools and watching the installation and training sessions and bringing you more details about this remarkable company and the changes it is bringing to this region. But for now, here’s a little history on the company’s approach to doing well by doing good. 

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DOE: 54-GWs of Untapped Offshore Wind Power

| Monday October 6th, 2014 | 1 Comment

At least 54-gigawatts (GW) of U.S. offshore wind energy generation capacity could be deployed by 2030, according to a new study funded by the Department of Energy (DOE). The “National Offshore Wind Energy Grid Interconnection Study” (NOWEGIS) focused on helping DOE achieve two goals: reducing the cost of offshore wind energy and shortening the time required to deploy offshore wind generation capacity.

NOWEGISBuildOut

Researchers from ABB, the National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL), Duke Energy, AWS Truepower and the University of Pittsburgh’s Swanson School of Engineering joined to produce NOWEGIS. The research team used NREL’s Regional Energy Deployment System (ReDS) model for electricity generation and transmission to survey suitable offshore wind energy asset locations, calculated timelines for deployment of 54 GWs of clean, renewable electricity generation.

Study results indicate that 5 GW of offshore wind power could be online within a decade “using existing collection and interconnection technologies…[B]oth alternating current and direct current methods show promise in transporting offshore electricity to the land power grid,” DOE explains in a news release.

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Making Sustainability Part of Your Company’s Culture

3p Contributor | Monday October 6th, 2014 | 1 Comment
Measuring emissions output is the first step to reducing carbon footprint -- whether it's for a small company or a large corporation.

Measuring emissions output is the first step to reducing carbon footprint — whether it’s for a small company or a large corporation.

By Nancy Bsales, Terrapass

The world of carbon offsets, sustainability, emissions and calculations, and environmental responsibilities can be overwhelming for any size business, but it doesn’t have to be. At TerraPass we have worked with hundreds of businesses large and small (and everywhere in between) with teams that have felt overwhelmed at one point or another. But we are here to assure you that thinking about your carbon footprint and reducing emissions isn’t as complicated as you might think.

For many large corporations, the plan is in place, knowledge is available and the road to sustainable growth is paved. But for more than 20 million small businesses — defined as less than 500 employees according to Forbes — the road can be filled with forks and potholes, and the GPS reading isn’t always clear. This is where TerraPass can help. We don’t just sell carbon offsets. We also work to educate, calculate and offset emissions, build employee or customer engagement programs, or just to be a sounding board for ideas and understanding that starts the journey for your business in a new climate.

Many small to medium businesses start off the conversation with, “Why should we do this?” And that is quickly followed up with one word: “How?” These are simple question in theory, and they are best answered with an analogy.

So, why should you pay attention to climate change and be environmentally responsible? Imagine you learned you have high cholesterol from you doctor and that this high cholesterol, if left unchecked, could lead to a fatal heart attack. Wouldn’t you try to lower your cholesterol? Wouldn’t you want to know and do all that you could to slow or stop the process? 

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