Inside Aquaculture: All About the Feed

Mary Mazzoni
| Friday May 30th, 2014 | 0 Comments

“We see one of the important components of our business as fish nutrition,” Norman McCowan, CEO of Bell Aquaculture, told us on a recent visit to the company’s fish farm in Redkey, Indiana.

Out of all animal proteins, fish has the most favorable feed conversion ratio (FCR). Sometimes called feed to weight ratio, this figure refers to the amount of feed (in kilograms) it takes an animal to convert to weight. Beef, for example, requires 7 kilograms of feed to gain 1 kilogram of weight, while fish can be closer to a one-to-one ratio.

However, when it comes to aquaculture, the topic of feed is a bit more controversial–especially when it comes to farming carnivorous species. In earlier, less sustainable aquaculture endeavors, carnivorous fish were often given feed containing high proportions of fish protein, often derived from wild caught fish–which, as one may guess, kind of defeats the purpose of using aquaculture to combat overfishing while meeting the world’s growing demand for fish.

But Bell, as we were happy to discover, is not one of those fish farms. The company devotes a good chunk of its time and resources to developing the most nutritious and sustainable feed possible. Taking things a step further, Bell acquired Integral Fish Foods out of Grand Junction, Colorado in 2013, allowing the company to directly control the feed it uses.

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Private Oversight of Keystone XL: For Scrutiny or For Budget?

Jan Lee
Jan Lee | Friday May 30th, 2014 | 1 Comment

Keystone_XL_pipe_ShannonRamosIf the Keystone XL pipeline goes ahead, TransCanada will have to step up its safety measures. That’s the word from the U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), which instituted two new regulations to address issues like bad welds and defective pipeline coating that were found in Keystone’s southern leg.

Keystone XL inspections: Faulty welds

Inspections by PHMSA revealed that there had been an inordinate number of welds that required repairs. This was revealed in two warning letters issued last year, which highlighted the need to increase safety measures. One of the letters, issued last September, noted a 72 percent repair rate for welds conducted over a one-week period. During another week, 205 of 425 welds had to be redone.

According to the letter, PHMSA alleges that TransCanada is hiring welders who don’t have the specialized experience for this work, and are consequently using the wrong welding techniques. Welders are apparently required to pass a test demonstrating their familiarity with pipeline construction work.

A November 2013 report also highlighted an exceptional number of times in which construction workers were required to dig up and repair defects in the pipes themselves. According to PHMSA records, workers were required to remove and repair piping 125 times that was at risk of bending or sagging, causing increased risk for spills.

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Congress Sends $12.3 Billion Water Infrastructure Bill to Obama’s Desk

Mike Hower
| Friday May 30th, 2014 | 0 Comments

Screen Shot 2014-05-28 at 10.10.37 PMThe future of our oceans, rivers, coastlines and other waterways is looking much brighter, thanks to the passing of a $12.3 billion water infrastructure projects bill by the Senate and U.S. House of Representatives.

The Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA) addresses management of U.S. waterways and coasts and includes billions of dollars in high-impact projects. Assuming President Barack Obama signs the bill into law, it will be the first federal water infrastructure authorization since 2007.

The bill is the product of several months of Senate-House negotiations, as the two chambers worked to resolve disagreements over which projects should receive congressional funding. When negotiations first commenced, the House had passed a partisan amendment offered by Congressman Bill Flores (R-TX) that would block the Army Corps of Engineers from implementing the National Ocean Policy, which promotes smart ocean planning and ocean protection. Conversely, the Senate included a provision offered by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), which would establish a National Endowment for the Oceans (NEO) to support conservation and restoration of ocean resources.

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Turning Garbage Into Jet Fuel: Sustainable Solution or Incineration in Disguise?

Alexis Petru
| Friday May 30th, 2014 | 7 Comments

British AirwaysCan garbage power your plane ride from New York to London? That’s the idea behind a new production plant that will transform waste from London’s homes and businesses into a jet fuel that costs about the same price as conventional petroleum-based fuel but burns cleaner and produces fewer carbon emissions.

Solena Fuels, a company that produces aviation and marine fuels made from solid waste, expects to break ground on its new GreenSky jet fuel facility next year on the site of a former oil refinery outside of London. British Airways has made a $550 million commitment to purchase all the fuel produced by the plant in the 11-year period after it opens in 2017–equating to about 50 tons of fuel per year.

The city of London generates approximately 18 million tons of trash per year, according to Fast Company, and once the jet fuel facility is open for business, will send about a half a million tons of garbage originally destined for the landfill to GreenSky. Solena will turn this trash into 120,000 tons of jet fuel, first using its patented high-temperature plasma gasification technology to convert the waste into a synthetic gas; then the company will utilize various third-party technologies to transform the gas into a liquid fuel. The resulting synthetic fuel works like those produced from coal and natural gas that airlines already use and, unlike biofuels such as ethanol, can be used thousands of feet up in the air, Fast Company reported. Solena’s product is considered a “drop-in” fuel, meaning airlines can use it without modifying their plane engines or fueling infrastructure.

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Family-Owned Hotel in Santa Monica Shoots for LEED Platinum Certification

| Friday May 30th, 2014 | 0 Comments

shorehotelII Hotels and tourism businesses worldwide have been keen to capitalize on travelers’ growing “eco-consciousness.” Besides the potential boost in revenue from “green” marketing, ecologically sensitive and energy efficient design, building and operations can yield substantial savings; it can also reduce the vulnerability and risk exposure of hotel and tourism businesses to fluctuations in the prices of energy, water and environmental degradation.

Aiming to earn Platinum-level LEED certification from the U.S. Green Building Council, the family-run Shore Hotel in Santa Monica, Calif. is installing cutting-edge energy storage and power management technology developed by Green Charge Networks.

Explaining the rationale that led to the decision, CEO Steve Farzam stated: “Shore Hotel is committed to modeling how sustainability and luxury can work together to create an incredible experience for our guests. Energy storage is a natural complement to the many measures we’ve taken to reduce our carbon footprint and achieve Gold LEED certifications.”

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Interview: Sara Greenstein, President of UL’s Supply Chain & Sustainability Team

| Friday May 30th, 2014 | 0 Comments

fortune-green-2014TriplePundit reported live from the Fortune Brainstorm Green 2014 conference in Laguna Niguel, CA. Follow along on this page for ongoing video interviews with sustainability thought leaders, corporate change agents and entrepreneurs who are leading the way to a more sustainable future.

Sara Greenstein is President of UL’s Supply Chain & Sustainability Team, a responsibility which covers a great deal of complexity. I had a chance to talk briefly with Sara at Fortune Brainstorm Green last week, and she covered the basics on what it means to build a more sustainable supply chain as well as insight into UL Environment’s work with Dell to offer the computer industry’s first ever closed loop recycling.

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How a ‘BYOD’ Policy Can Save Companies Money

3p Contributor | Friday May 30th, 2014 | 1 Comment

BYODBy Jessica Oaks

The bring your own device trend (BYOD) has gained much popularity throughout the last few years, and it’s no surprise why. The movement has many benefits, such as increased innovation and productivity, ease of collaboration, and anytime access for employees who are clocking in at all hours of the day and night. But for many companies what makes BYOD so appealing is simply the bottom line. It’s a potential money saver, even with the added cost of mobile device management (MDM) to keep things running smoothly. And as expenses go, that doesn’t have to be a particularly big one.

BlackBerry’s BES10, for instance, is one of the most affordable MDM solutions out there. Allowing employees to work on their own devices is now feasible–even for smaller companies–from a security and administration standpoint. This accessibility may be why research and advisory firm Gartner has predicted that at least half of white collar employees in the United States will be using their own devices for work by 2017.

As for how BYOD can save a company money, it’s about more than just the devices IT no longer has to buy (or the ones they do buy that end up wasted). There are several ways BYOD is already making doing business less expensive.

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Interview Today: Scott Nichols; Director, Verlasso Salmon

Marissa Rosen
| Thursday May 29th, 2014 | 2 Comments

unnamed-4Every week, we 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 Thursday, May 29 at 10 a.m. PT / 1 p.m. ET, TriplePundit’s Founder, Nick Aster, spoke with Scott Nichols, Director of Verlasso: Sustainable Premium Farmed Salmon.

Verlasso is the first and only ocean-raised farmed Atlantic salmon to receive the “Good Alternative” buy ranking from the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch program. Verlasso offers premium salmon raised in harmony with the natural environment, and is leading the way to a new environmental stewardship.

Scott and Nick discussed a range of sustainable seafood topics including:

  • Are our oceans “tapped out”? It has been reported that more than 85% of our wild fish are harvested at or above their sustainable limits.  What does the future hold?
  • The world’s population is growing. How will we continue to serve everyone? 
  • Verlasso believes that when food is raised really well, it tastes great. How exactly should fish be raised? 

If you have remaining questions, please tweet us @triplepundit and use the hashtag #3pChat.

If you missed the conversation, you can watch it right here or on our YouTube channel.

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Bell Aquaculture: Sustaining Tradition with A Sustainable Fishery

| Thursday May 29th, 2014 | 0 Comments

sustainable fish farmingWhen the topic turns to feeding the global population boom, the main theme is how to grow more food within limited resources. However, a recent conversation with the president and CEO of Bell Aquaculture, Norman McCowan, reminded us that food is at the heart of community and ethnic traditions. Feeding the world is more than a matter of producing more calories and nutrients while consuming less resources, it is also a matter of sustaining identity.

With that in mind, when you take a close look at Bell Aquaculture’s operations you can see that sustainable seafood is more than simply a matter of food supply.

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Wireless Innovation Project Competition Awards Change-Makers in the Mobile Space

Mary Mazzoni
| Thursday May 29th, 2014 | 0 Comments
June, director of the Vodafone Americas Foundation, and Bruce S. Kahn, founder of --the first place winner of this year's Wireless Innovation Project Competition.

June Sugiyama, director of the Vodafone Americas Foundation, and Bruce S. Kahn, member of the Scientific Advisory Board at MobileOCT–the first place winner of this year’s Wireless Innovation Project Competition.

It’s been said that there’s an app for everything these days, so why should the world’s most pressing challenges be any different?

That’s the message behind the Vodafone Americas Foundation’s Wireless Innovation Project Competition (WIP). Developed by June Sugiyama, director of the foundation, WIP has provided funding for a range of wireless technology innovations–awarding more than $2 million to universities, nonprofits and NGOs since its inception in 2009.

Applicants can win from a total prize fund of $600,000 for innovative mobile solutions that have potential to solve critical global issues. The technology developed by past WIP winners is poised to impact poverty, health, environment, disaster relief and technology access around the world.

This year’s eight finalists, who were recognized at a reception in Redwood City, Calif. on April 1, presented mobile-based solutions to a range of critical issues–from addressing deforestation and improving communication during natural disasters to diagnosing illnesses quickly and non-invasively.

Vodafone Americas Foundation announced the winners today during the Social Innovation Summit 2014, being held at the United Nations Plaza, and it’s tough not to get excited about their ideas.

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Demographic Tumult is Creating a Sustainable Economy

Bill Roth | Thursday May 29th, 2014 | 0 Comments

6235421713_a6a6d948e5_zA demographic tumult is pushing America toward a sustainable economy. This demographic tumult is the nexus of an aging boomer generation, the emergence of the millennial generation as America’s economic powerhouse and the growing role of women. Each of these demographic groups has their own sustainability definition and focus. But with $10 trillion of combined annual buying power, these three demographic groups are collectively reshaping the American economy around sustainable best practices.

Demographic tumult

Who we are as a nation is undergoing tumultuous change. The boomer generation is downsizing past its previous role as the core of America’s economy. For example, because this generation overwhelmingly failed to save during their peak earning years, they must remain employed in often lower level job categories to maintain income levels beyond their limited social security payments. To make the most of their diminished earning potential, they are downsizing their homes, cars and expenditures.

The millennial generation is on the cusp of picking up the role once assumed by the boomer generation as one of the dominant economic forces in the world. In 2017, they will replace the boomer generation in terms of U.S. annual buying power. But unlike the boomer generation this generation is delaying the start of their families. In 1970 approximately 40 percent of American families were married couples with school-age children. Today that number is under 20 percent.

Women continue to grow in economic power. They influence 80 percent of household budgets. They have an estimated $8 trillion of annual buying power. Women are the majority in attendance and graduation from college. But women continue to confront economic and societal pressures. Approximately 40 percent of child births are to unmarried women. More than a quarter of working women who are unmarried with children have incomes below the poverty level. Women still make less money than men for comparable jobs. They continue to be underrepresented in upper management and in the boardroom.

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Businesses as Educators, Change-Makers and Ocean Advocates

3p Contributor | Thursday May 29th, 2014 | 0 Comments

big-fin-reef-squidBy Shawn Cronin

It’s widely known the role businesses play in influencing and responding to consumer demand, but a growing number of businesses—large and small—are recognizing their own power to not only shape supply and demand, but also to change social norms.

Responding to consumer demand

When businesses make a change, whether through the introduction of new products or modifying their public messaging, it is often in reaction to customer demand. Demand may take the form of repeated consumer inquiries around a topic such as organic food or fair trade, or from reviewing and responding to sales trends.

Every time a person spends money, they are casting a vote–a vote for what they care most about at that moment: cost, personal health, social impact, environmental impact, etc. Consumer choices typically express their interest and values. Some customers go beyond using their purchasing power alone, telling their chef, retailer or supplier the importance of a particular product.

Consumer demands for sustainable options

Consumer demand has been a powerful change agent in the case of land-based sources of protein, successfully influencing farming practices and turning phrases like “cage-free,” “free-range” and “grass-fed” into household words. These same conscious consumers are also at the forefront of the sustainable seafood movement. An ever-increasing number of consumers are voicing their desire for sustainable seafood options. By inquiring how or where a seafood item was caught or farmed, or asking if it is sustainable, customers let businesses know where their priorities–and dollars–are headed. Get enough people asking the same questions and expressing the same values, and any savvy business will want to respond to that concern. For some businesses, such a response may already align with corporate core values, while other businesses will see an opportunity—or potential risk—and look to meet that demand.

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SolarCity, Groupon Join to Launch Home Solar Promotional Campaign

| Thursday May 29th, 2014 | 0 Comments

spotlight_header-grouponPioneering third-party solar leasing, as well as solar lease asset securitization, Elon Musk’s SolarCity has been burning up the financial, solar and clean energy industry news networks for a while now.

Keen to add momentum to its rapidly expanding business, SolarCity today announced a partnership with another pioneering and fast-growing start-up, this one in the field of online advertising and promotions. Now the largest solar power provider in the U.S., SolarCity, and Groupon  have launched “the first online offer of its kind for solar power systems.”

SolarCity-Groupon “deal of the day”

According to a joint press release, the two Nasdaq-listed companies will work together to offer deals on home solar photovoltaic (PV) power systems on Groupon’s online marketplace. An initial, signature Groupon “deal of the day” carrot to entice online marketplace participants is already out there. “For a limited time, customers can benefit from additional savings with a deal from Groupon by paying $1 for $400 off” a residential solar power system leased and installed by SolarCity, according to the joint press release.

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Crowdsourcing and CSP Energy Storage Headline DOE Push to Achieve SunShot Goals

| Thursday May 29th, 2014 | 0 Comments

Ali ZaidiLast week was a busy and eventful one for the solar energy industry as market participants from across the U.S., and around the world, gathered in Anaheim, Calif. for the Department of Energy’s (DOE) SunShot Grand Challenge Summit 2014. Among the highlights of the four-day summit: The DOE announced funding for six new concentrating solar power-thermochemical energy storage (TCES) R&D projects and launched SunShot Catalyst, a $1 million crowdsourcing contest that the Energy Department believes can accelerate the pace of solar energy innovation and cost reductions.

The SunShot Grand Challenge Summit 2014′s event calendar was chock full of Obama administration and industry heavyweights and thought leaders, including ARPA-E‘s Dr. Cheryl Martin, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s (NREL) Dan Arvizu, and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy’s Cristin Dorgelo.

Commenting on President Barack Obama’s SunShot Initiative, the White House Domestic Policy Council’s Ali Zaidi stated, “If moonshot was a race away from our planet, SunShot, in a way, is a race to save our planet.”

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Regenerative Organic Farming Can Sequester Vast Amounts of Carbon

Gina-Marie Cheeseman
| Thursday May 29th, 2014 | 4 Comments

cover crop no till organicsWe are at a proverbial crossroads when it comes to climate change and avoiding its worst impacts. Total annual global greenhouse gas emissions need to drop to a net of 41 gigatons of carbon dioxide equivalent (GtCO2e) in order to have a chance of limiting warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. Total annual global emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG) in 2012 were 52 GtCO2e.

Although the situation may seem dire, there is something that can help sequester vast amounts of carbon dioxide emissions, and it is called regenerative organic agriculture for soil-carbon sequestration. More than 100 percent of current annual carbon emissions could be sequestered by switching to regenerative organic agriculture, according to a new report from the organic farming nonprofit Rodale Institute.

Regenerative organic agriculture is a term coined by Robert Rodale, son of American organic pioneer and Rodale Institute founder J.I. Rodale. It is an organic farming system that does not use synthetic pesticides, which can do damage to the soil, or nitrogen fertilizer, which causes nitrous oxide, a GHG 300 times more potent than carbon dioxide. Nitrous oxide accounts for about 40 percent of all GHG emissions globally. Regenerative organic agriculture uses conservation tillage, cover crops, residue mulching, composting and crop rotation and can “easily” keep annual emissions within the desirable range of 41 to 47 GtCO2e by 2020, according to the report.

The most common agricultural practices today are doing the opposite of sequestering emissions: GHG emissions from the agriculture sector accounted for 9 percent of total GHG emissions, according to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates. GHG emissions from agriculture have increased by 19 percent since 1990.

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