China’s Coal Boom is Waning With Ambitious Reductions Targets

Sarah Lozanova | Tuesday April 22nd, 2014 | 0 Comments

coal consumptionChina is the world’s largest energy consumer and leading carbon dioxide emitter. Last year, coal accounted for a staggering 65 percent of its energy consumption, and China accounts for half of global coal consumption, according to a new Greenpeace report. Its coal use and emissions grew by an average of 9 percent from 2000 to 2010, but this trend has taken a dramatic twist in the last few years, as China takes on new coal reduction targets. If achieved, these targets can help curb global carbon emissions and fuel renewable energy development.

New coal control measures

In China, 12 of 34 provinces that account for 44 percent of all coal use are implementing coal-control measures — including a 50 percent reduction target for Beijing by 2017 over 2012 levels, according to the Greenpeace report entitled,  “The End of China’s Coal Boom.” This is an ambitious goal because 11 of the 12 provinces have experienced a rapid increase in coal use until very recently. If realized, the coal-control measures will result in a 350 million ton reduction in coal consumption by 2017.

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Why Corporate Philanthropy Is a Key to Employee Engagement

3p Contributor | Tuesday April 22nd, 2014 | 0 Comments

By Adam Weinger

Employee EngagementWe’ll get right to it: Studies have shown that companies with engaged employees outperform those without by more than 200 percent. Two hundred percent!

Forbes recently published an article that said engaged employees are better producers, more committed to the organization, and are in their career with long-term ambitions. The article went on to cite an employee engagement study: “Level of engagement was more important in achieving good performance than good performance was in creating better engagement.”

Put simply, employees who are engaged in their work do better work.

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U.S. Wind Energy Could Double, But It’s Deja-vu All Over Again in Congress

| Monday April 21st, 2014 | 2 Comments

US Annual Wind Power Capacity Additions - 5 year avg - 2009-2013Last year got off to a shaky start for the U.S. wind energy industry, but new project construction and installed generation capacity took off following belated Congressional extension of the federal renewable energy production tax credit (PTC). By year’s end a record number of wind energy projects were under construction, and new wind energy generation records had been set across the country.

By the end of 2013, 46,100 wind turbines on 905 utility-scale wind farms with rated generation capacity of 61,110 megawatts (MW) were online, producing more than 4 percent of U.S. electricity generation, according to the American Wind Energy Association’s (AWEA), “U.S. Wind Industry Annual Market Report 2013.”

Wind energy investment has been growing at a 19.5 percent annual rate over the past five years, with an average $15 billion per year invested in new projects. With costs dropping 43 percent between 2008 and 2012, wind energy is now providing clean, renewable electricity to the equivalent of 15.5 million U.S. homes across 39 states and Puerto Rico, and the U.S. economy and society is benefiting in numerous other ways.

Momentum is still very much dependent on the federal wind energy PTC, however. As Congress once again debates whether or not to extend the PTC, wind energy industry companies, their employees and suppliers can only watch, wait and make contingency plans.

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Boston Doctors Fight Obesity with Prescribe-a-Bike Program

Sherrell Dorsey
| Monday April 21st, 2014 | 0 Comments

Bike share, bike share program, bike share program prescription, obesity, hubway, boston bike share program, center for disease control, boston medical center, transportation, eco transportation, sustainable transportation, economic development, boston subsidized bike share program, fruit and vegetable prescription, obesity and disease, poverty and obesity, African americans obesity, Hispanics obesity, obesity in America A bike ride a day might in fact keep the doctor away. In a new move to help reduce obesity in low-income neighborhoods, doctors in Boston are writing bike share prescriptions as an alternative to traditional medication. The city’s bike share program, Hubway, runs at an $85 annual membership. Now, with doctor’s orders, lower-income riders can peddle their way to better health for only five bucks.

Behind the innovative model is the Boston Medical Center that partnered with Hubway to launch the program that will offer both low-cost rides and free helmets for qualifying participants. Surrounding medical centers are also looking at adopting the model in which a doctor would write a letter prescribing the program to interested participants.

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Annual 3p Readership Survey Results

Marissa Rosen
| Monday April 21st, 2014 | 0 Comments

correspondentWe would like to take a moment to thank those of you who participated in our annual readership survey. Overall, we received a plethora of positive comments and thoughtful insights on what is both enjoyed and desired for the future.

Our insight into our audience demographics shows that our readers are a very diverse group; we are serving a range of thought leaders on sustainability topics across the public and private sectors. It’s nearly a split between corporate executives, NGOs, and MBA and other students!

Feedback also shows us that you’d like to continue to see practical tips and opportunities to engage in education around sustainable business.

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Is Environmental Entrepreneurship the Key to Solving Climate Change?

3p Contributor | Monday April 21st, 2014 | 4 Comments
Photo courtesy of Oxfam International

Photo courtesy of Oxfam International

By David Levine

The United Nations recently issued a report that is finally putting the issue of climate change, and its impending effects, in the news. According to the body’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, if the current trajectory of increasing greenhouse gas emissions isn’t changed soon, the effects of global warming will “spiral out of control.”

The “spiral” will bring about more natural disasters, tighten global food supply and threaten the existence of millions upon millions of people, with a disproportionately high impact on the impoverished and indigenous populations. Furthermore, our flying, swimming, crawling and vegetative relatives will be unable to adapt and face even greater devastation.

There is a reason the climate report knocked Malaysian Airlines flight 370 off the headlines for one brief moment. As organisms, we are highly attuned to danger. We evolved by avoiding being eaten first, and then eating when we had leisure. So this should be a big wake-up call.

While fear is a good initial motivator, we need more than the threat of ecological and cultural collapse to begin the process of change and adaptation. We also need something to move toward. We need a vision and a rallying cry. We need a harmonizing framework that turns opposing forces into complementary pairs.

The key is environmental entrepreneurship, and we have some role models right in front of us. The old form of environmentalism was telling people what not to do. If you cut down trees, pollute streams or throw your trash out the car window, you’re being bad. The new form of environmental entrepreneurship is to give the consumer something so compelling; they adopt it without feeling like it’s a sacrifice.

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Sustainability and Employee Engagement: Don’t Forget the Fun

3p Contributor | Monday April 21st, 2014 | 1 Comment

Sony Pictures Green OfficeBy Ben Egan

Sustainability is a concept that is supported by 97 percent of top executives, according to a U.N./Accenture CEO study. CEOs like the cost savings that result from sustainability programs because they are immediately measurable. However, there are bottom line benefits that which are more subtle but no less profound.

Chief among these is the impact on employee engagement. In his book “Talent, Transformation and the Triple Bottom Line,” Andrew Savitz lays out how companies with sustainability engagement programs see an increase in employee engagement.

If this is the case, where are all the sustainability programs?

The truth is that it can be difficult to get employees to engage with them. Described below are three successful programs that draw on basic human psychology to achieve their goals.

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Bacardi Makes Energy Efficiency Upgrades to Its Rum Facility in Puerto Rico

Gina-Marie Cheeseman
| Monday April 21st, 2014 | 0 Comments

BacardiBacardi Ltd. is a world famous maker of rum, but the company is becoming known for something else: its sustainability measures. After highlighting significant reductions in water and energy use in its 2013 corporate social responsibility (CSR) report, Bacardi recently announced new energy efficiency measures.

These measures include installing solar skylights, which increase natural light, and ceiling insulation, which helps control temperatures in the company’s warehouses where rum sits inside white oak barrels to process. The company is located in Puerto Rico, a “small Caribbean island with limited resources,” as Julio Torruella, project director for Bacardi in Puerto Rico, said in a statement. Because of the company’s location it continues to look for ways it can get the best use out of the natural resources of the island. Installing skylights is one way that Bacardi can maximize its use of sunlight, the company said.

Bacardi has already reduced energy use by 25 percent since it began tracking its global impacts on the environment in 2006. In addition, the company has reduced greenhouse gas emissions from rum production by 48 percent. One way Bacardi reduces energy use of non-renewable sources and reduces GHG emissions is through the use of renewable energy. Bacardi’s distillery in Catano, Puerto Rico is partly powered by two wind turbines that generate a combined total of 500 kilowatts (kW).

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Pennsylvania Shale Gas Report Finds Little to Complain About

Bill DiBenedetto | Monday April 21st, 2014 | 0 Comments

DCNR_report pic (326x400)Pennsylvania’s Department of Conservation and Natural Resources this month released its first report that describes efforts to “track, detect and report” on the impacts of gas development on the state’s forest lands.

The 265-page “Shale-Gas Monitoring Report” is just that: a comprehensive and carefully worded document about the results of the monitoring that the state has conducted since 2011, while avoiding the use of the term hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” almost entirely. It’s “shale-gas development,” not fracking here, and there’s a raft of “key findings and points,” but no conclusions.

“People may have different perspectives on how monitoring is defined, but they want to know that staff is on the ground observing and managing gas development activity that is occurring in our state forests,” explained Ellen Ferretti, secretary of DCNR.

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Tell Us About Your Favorite B Corp for a Chance to Win $100 at Indigenous

Mary Mazzoni
| Friday April 18th, 2014 | 0 Comments

B-the-Change-StampWith a busy week behind you and the weekend within reach, there’s no shame in taking things a bit easy on Friday afternoon. With this in mind, every Friday TriplePundit will give you a fun, easy read on a topic you care about. So, take a break from those endless email threads, and spend five minutes catching up on the latest trends in sustainability and business.

According to the nonprofit B Lab, “B Corp certification is to sustainable business what Fair Trade certification is to coffee or USDA Organic certification is to milk.”

We at Triple Pundit received our B Corporation status last month — joining more than 950 other forward-thinking companies across all industries that are are well known for their positive impacts on both people and planet.

Now, we want to hear from you. What’s your favorite B Corp? Tell us about it on social media for a chance to win a $100 gift card to Indigenous.

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Is Pop-Up Retail the Solution for Sustainable Fashion?

| Friday April 18th, 2014 | 0 Comments

pop up shop“I would buy more sustainable clothing, but…” Sound familiar? Even in the middle of the green bubble that is San Francisco, we at TriplePundit hear this phrase all too often, usually followed by a series of hurdles including accessibility, price, information and lack of variety in clothing styles.

Over the past two months, TriplePundit’s sustainable fashion media channel has uncovered emerging solutions to each of these obstacles. While we’re encouraged to see that large mainstream brands are at last moving in a more responsible direction, it has been the smaller pioneers who have conceived of the products and models that are revolutionizing the industry.

Companies like NAU, Threads4Thought and Patagonia offer diverse product lines appealing to a variety of consumer preferences. Websites such as Modavanti and apps like Orange Harp enable people to make responsible purchasing decisions at the tap of a button or touch screen. Brands like OSMIUM and Appalatch have cracked the nut toward selling clothing made in the USA at reasonable prices. Indigenous’ Fair Trace tool tells the story behind each of its products by connecting the consumer to individual artisans with the simple scan of a QR code.

Unfortunately, most consumers are not yet familiar with these breakthroughs, and so, continue to shop as they always have. At the same time, more consumers every year report  that they are willing to shop more responsibly (and even pay a bit more), if given the opportunity. In a world where most closets are filled with the likes of mainstream “fast fashion,” there is a cavernous gap between these reports and actual behavior. This begs the question: What do consumers mean by “opportunity”?

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General Mills Issues Its 2014 Global Responsibility Report

RP Siegel | Friday April 18th, 2014 | 0 Comments

General Mills logoGeneral Mills just issued its 2014 Global Responsibility Report. I received an advanced review copy and spoke with Chief Sustainability Officer Jerry Lynch to get his perspective. The 121-page report is organized into five major sections: Health, Environment, Sourcing, Workplace and Community. These are consistent with the company’s mission of “Nourishing Lives- making lives healthier, easier and richer – for 147 years.”

Triple Pundit: One statement in the introduction really impressed me. “Our business depends on the availability of natural resources and the strength of the communities where we operate.” This neatly sums up the reason why companies should care about and invest in corporate social responsibility and sustainability. It’s the awareness that companies do not exist in a vacuum, and that in fact all of their inputs (raw materials) and outputs (sales) are in constant interaction with ecosystems that are subject to continuous change and are sensitive to factors that they themselves can have a significant impact upon.

Jerry Lynch: Thank you.We take the output of Mother Nature, then add value to it for our consumers. So if the front end of that business model breaks down, we’re in a world of hurt. The focus of our work is to conserve and protect our natural resources and the communities that our business depends on. So it’s really a hard-nose business imperative behind this.

3p: What do you see as your major challenges in achieving this?

JL: We’re looking at increasing demand for food as population grows and more people are moving into the middle class. This is happening at a time when Mother Nature is facing major challenges.

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Should Citibank Bail Out Citi Bike?

Lauren Zanolli
| Friday April 18th, 2014 | 1 Comment

Citi bike Citi Bike is hitting some bumps in the road as NYC Bike Share, the operating company, struggles to meet revenue targets and deal with ongoing operational snags, according to recent news reports. As the popular New York City bike-share program — which, unlike most programs, does not use public money — approaches its first anniversary, NYC Bikeshare is seeking to raise $20 million through investors and sponsors to smooth out problem areas and eventually expand. But, despite the program’s popularity, new sponsors have reportedly been hesitant to jump on board, concerned that heavy branding from Citibank, the namesake corporate sponsor, on bikes and kiosks would drown out any real marketing opportunity.

So, should Citibank, which — lest we forget — received $476 billion in bailout funds in the wake of the financial crisis, bail out the fledgling bike-share program in a good-faith CSR gesture? Or should NYC Bike Share shoulder the blame for poor management and revenue planning?

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EPA Data Shows U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions Slightly Decreased in 2012

Gina-Marie Cheeseman
| Friday April 18th, 2014 | 0 Comments

coalplantClimate change is making the news for a number of reasons, including Showtime’s new series called “Years of Living Dangerously.” The rise in greenhouse gas emissions is responsible for climate change, and the majority of scientists agree that most of the increase is caused by human activity.

That said, there is a bit of good news when it comes to U.S. GHG emissions. The Los Angeles Times reports that greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. decreased by 3.4 percent from 2011 to 2012. The report is based on the EPA’s recently released inventory, which cites “multiple factors” for the decrease in emissions — including reduced emissions from electricity generation, fuel efficiency in vehicles, a decrease in the price of natural gas and reductions in miles traveled. Greenhouse gases in 2012, according to the inventory, were 10 percent below 2005 levels. Since 1990, U.S. emissions have increased at an average annual rate of 0.2 percent.

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‘Netflix for Legos’ Is More Than Mere Child’s ‘Pley’ in the Sharing Economy

Alexis Petru
| Friday April 18th, 2014 | 0 Comments

PleyToddlers and preschoolers exchanging toys through the sharing economy – no, it’s not a scene from Portlandia’s recent sketch spoofing collaborative consumption, but the idea behind a startup that rents out Lego sets to kids and other fans of the iconic plastic bricks.

Billed as a “Netflix for Legos,” Pley ships its members a new-to-them Lego set, lets them play with it as long they like and sends customers another set once the previous toys are returned. The company offers a 15-day free trial and has three subscription plans that include all shipping costs: $15 per month to rent out small Lego sets, $25 a month for medium-sized sets and $39 a month for the largest sets.

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