3p Weekend: Top 10 Sustainable U.S. Breweries

Mary Mazzoni
| Friday September 26th, 2014 | 1 Comment

Love sustainable beer? Join Triple Pundit as we take our ‘Stories & Beer’ series on the road! It all starts in Philadelphia on Sept. 30, where we’ll discuss the B Corp movement and “measuring positive impact.” Then, it’s on to New York City on Oct. 2 for a chat about sustainable fashion and water conservation. We’ll wrap things up with a happy hour event at SXSW Eco in Austin on Oct. 7. Hope to see you there! 

Among its many sustainability initiatives, New Belgium Brewing is a known supporter of cycling as a way to reduce carbon emissions. It provides bike-to-work incentives for employees and hosts the ever-popular Tour de Fat cycling event each year.

Among its many sustainability initiatives, New Belgium Brewing is a big supporter of cycling. It provides bike-to-work incentives for employees and hosts the ever-popular Tour de Fat cycling event each year.

With 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.

It’s Friday afternoon, and you’re bound to be feeling a little thirsty. To help you choose a sustainable sip for tonight’s happy hour, this week we’re rounding up 10 of the most sustainable breweries in the U.S. So, grab a cold one, and rest easy knowing it had little to no impact on our planet.

1. New Belgium Brewing

New Belgium is widely regarded as one of the most sustainable breweries in the nation. Taking a holistic approach to sustainability, the Fort Collins, Colorado-based brewery uses science-based metrics to track environmental performance.

New Belgium is currently diverting 99.9 percent of its waste from landfills and has reduced water use per barrel of beer to 3.5:1 (averages range from 6:1 to 10:1). The company is also a partner in the Brewers for Clean Water campaign and has donated close to half a million dollars to restore local waterways. The brewery also takes a “high-involvement” approach when it comes to its community, hosting events and give-back initiatives to help support the people that love its beer. The fact that it’s 100 percent employee-owned doesn’t hurt either.

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SolarCity to Build PV ‘Gigafactory’ in Buffalo

| Friday September 26th, 2014 | 4 Comments

solar-city-truck-505 (1) Perhaps no two companies have made a bigger splash — or more clearly demonstrated the potential of clean technology to revitalize manufacturing, create jobs and spur “green” growth of the U.S. economy — than Elon Musk’s Tesla Motors and SolarCity.

Hot on the heels of Tesla announcing it will build its lithium-ion battery ‘Gigafactory’ in Nevada, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced a groundbreaking ceremony for an equally massive SolarCity facility in Buffalo. The manufacturing plant will devote 1.2 million square feet to produce solar photovoltaic (PV) cells, the governor announced Sept. 23.

“Gov. Cuomo shares our view that the United States can return to its place atop the world in advanced technology manufacturing,” SolarCity CEO Lyndon Rive was quoted in a press release. “Thanks to the governor’s leadership, we will be able to quintuple the output capacity and economic impact of Silevo’s original commitment. I couldn’t be more excited to partner with the state to make Western New York a global capital for clean energy development.”

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What the Environmental Movement Can Learn From Marriage Equality

3p Contributor | Friday September 26th, 2014 | 2 Comments
Marriage equality supporters brave the cold to attend a rally at the at the U.S. Supreme Court on March 26, 2013.

Marriage equality supporters brave the cold to attend a rally at the at the U.S. Supreme Court on March 26, 2013.

By Jessalyn Kiesa

As global leaders join forces at the United Nations Climate Summit this week and grassroots organizers celebrate the success of last weekend’s climate march — the largest in history, with over 300,000 participants — there’s a sense that the environmental movement and its advocates face a new set of opportunities. With the next big round of international climate talks scheduled for December 2015, the moment to change public opinion and drive global legislative change is now.

But how do we get and keep supporters engaged? The answer might come from one of the defining social justice movements of our time. Given its success and continued momentum, we can learn a lot from the movement for marriage equality.

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Southwest to Fly with Forest Waste Biofuel

Bill DiBenedetto | Friday September 26th, 2014 | 1 Comment

Southwest Heart OneAs early as 2016, biofuel made from forest waste might propel passengers on some Southwest Airlines flights.

The airline’s recent agreement with Colorado’s Red Rock Biofuels will have a double benefit: The low-carbon renewable jet fuel — made using forest residues or remnants — will help reduce the risk of destructive wildfires in the Western United States.

The agreement with Red Rock covers the purchase of about 3 million gallons annually. It is expected that the renewable fuel will be incorporated as a blend with conventional jet fuel in Southwest airplanes originating from San Francisco airports starting in 2016.

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In Wake of New Protests, H&M and Others Commit to Living Wages in Cambodia

Michael Kourabas
| Friday September 26th, 2014 | 0 Comments

74486342_826562872a_oA group of eight international fashion retailers, including H&M, Inditex (the owner of Zara) and Britain’s Primark, announced last week that they would support fair living wages for Cambodian garment workers and were prepared to factor such wages into their pricing.  The official support came just days after the Cambodian government, for the second time this year, deployed armed troops in response to rallies by garment workers seeking higher minimum wages.

On Sept. 17, thousands of textile workers gathered in and around Cambodia’s capital, Phnom Penh, demanding a significant increase in the monthly minimum wage, from $100 to $177.  A previous demand for a wage hike to $160 had been rejected by employers, who earlier this year raised wages to $100 from around $80. Importantly, no incidents of violence against either police or protesters were reported, in contrast to the government’s response to a January 2014 protest, when Cambodian troops opened fire on striking workers — killing at least four and injuring many more.

The retailers’ commitment

H&M and the other retailers made their support for the garment workers known in a letter to the deputy prime minister and the chairman of the local Garment Manufacturers Association, written just one day after the latest protests.  The letter states that “[w]orkers in all production countries have a right to a fair living wage.”  As such, going forward the retailers’ “purchasing practices will enable the payment of a fair living wage and increased wages will be reflected in our prices.”  The retailers also wrote that they expect and will support “the installation of an annual industry collective bargaining process for wages that is fair and takes into account the [International Labor Organization’s] technical expertise.”

(The letter goes on to note, however, that the retailers anticipate that the higher cost of wages will be offset by remedying perceived inefficiencies in Cambodian factories.  The letter is also light on specifics and does not explicitly endorse the workers’ demand for $177/month or any other particular figure.)

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On the Heels of U.N. Summit, Nations Announce Partnerships to End Deforestation

Gina-Marie Cheeseman
| Friday September 26th, 2014 | 1 Comment

forestationHeads of government, business leaders and activists met in New York, this week for the one-day U.N. Climate Summit. One thing is for certain: If we are to reduce greenhouse gas emissions globally, we have to stop deforestation, which is the second leading contributor of carbon emissions after burning fossil fuels.

On the same day delegates gathered at the summit, Liberia and Norway announced a partnership to protect forests in the African country. Norway will support Liberia’s efforts with up to $150 million until 2020. Announced at a joint press conference, the partnership means Liberia will become the first African nation to stop deforestation in exchange for aid from a developed country. In the first years, Norway will devote up to $70 million to implement policy measures and the necessary institution building.

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Health is Everyone’s Business

3p Contributor | Friday September 26th, 2014 | 2 Comments
Humana CEO   Bruce D. Broussard, Nicole Newman of D.C. Promise Neighborhood, President Barack Obama and elementary students at an event commemorating this year’s National Day of Service and Remembrance in Washington, D.C.

Humana CEO Bruce D. Broussard (second from left), Nicole Newman of D.C. Promise Neighborhood, President Barack Obama and elementary students at an event commemorating this year’s National Day of Service and Remembrance in Washington, D.C.

By Bruce Broussard

Americans spend in excess of $2.7 trillion dollars on health care each year. This is roughly one of every six dollars spent in the U.S. economy. It’s estimated that approximately 20 percent of this spending is inefficient and therefore wasteful.

We’ve heard a lot recently about the challenges we face and the importance of “fixing” health care in the U.S. We recognize that people face challenges as they navigate complex and changing health care systems, and we are committed to helping our members and patients achieve better health.

As the head of one of the country’s largest health insurers, I want to share some observations about what we at Humana believe are important components to overcoming these challenges.

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Companies Scramble to Meet Consumer Demand for Zero Deforestation

3p Contributor | Thursday September 25th, 2014 | 0 Comments

CIFOR: Cleared LandBy Adam Wiskind

The global uptake of ‘zero deforestation‘ claims is growing, with demand for deforestation-free products on the rise. The Consumer Goods Forum, representing 400 global brands such as L’Oreal, Proctor & Gamble and Unilever, has committed to help members “achieve zero net deforestation” in their supply chains by 2020. Retailers have also stepped up, such as Safeway, with its recent pledge to source palm oil only from sites where “no deforestation has occurred after Dec. 20, 2013.”

In fact, more than 50 percent of the palm oil traded globally is now covered by some “deforestation-free” commitment. Governments, too, are taking action, with more than 60 countries signing onto the World Wildlife Fund’s Zero Net Deforestation pledge in 2013.

These pledges are significant and represent an important driver of interest and attention. How these claims are translated on the ground will determine their actual impact in terms of protecting critical forest habitat around the globe.  The next step is verified action. This is where leveraging existing responsible forestry and palm oil certification schemes can help.

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Masdar Invests $858M in U.K. Offshore Wind

Mary Mazzoni
| Thursday September 25th, 2014 | 0 Comments
From Left to Right - Christian Rynning-Tønnesen, President and CEO of Statkraft; Dr. Sultan Ahmad Al Jaber, Chairman of Masdar; Ed Davey, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, United Kingdom; Helge Lund, CEO of Statoil

From Left to Right – Christian Rynning-Tønnesen, President and CEO of Statkraft; Dr. Sultan Ahmad Al Jaber, Chairman of Masdar; Ed Davey, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, United Kingdom; Helge Lund, CEO of Statoil

Yesterday Masdar announced its partnership with two Norwegian firms in the Dudgeon offshore wind farm, located off the Norfolk coast in Eastern England. Valued at £1.5 billion (around US$1.9 billion or AED 8.95 billion), the wind farm will provide enough energy to power 410,000 homes in the U.K.

Masdar, Abu Dhabi’s renewable energy company, acquired a 35 percent stake in the project from Statoil, a Harstad, Norway-based oil and gas company. Statoil remains as operator of the project with a 35 percent stake, with the remaining 30 percent owned by Statkraft — an international hydropower company and Europe’s largest generator of renewable energy.

“As the only OPEC nation supplying both traditional and renewable energy to international markets, the United Arab Emirates is committed to accelerating the use of wind energy as an effective means of balancing the global energy mix as we move toward a sustainable, low-carbon future,” Dr. Sultan Al Jaber, chairman of Masdar, said in a statement.

Al Jaber, along with Ed Davey, U.K. Secretary of State for Energy & Climate Change, Statoil CEO Helge Lund and Statkraft CEO Christian Rynning-Tonnesen, announced the investment on the sidelines of the United Nations’ Climate Change Summit in New York.

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Note to U.N. Climate Delegates: Don’t Forget Renewable Natural Gas

3p Contributor | Thursday September 25th, 2014 | 2 Comments
Energy Vision President Joanna D. Underwood (left) at the People's Climate March in New York City on Sunday.

Energy Vision President Joanna D. Underwood (left) at the People’s Climate March in New York City on Sunday.

By Joanna D. Underwood

Amid clamor for bolder action on climate change, there’s dispute over the U.S. strategy of boosting production and dependence on natural gas as a bridge to a low-carbon future.

2013 was a record year for global CO2 emissions, and included a 2.9 percent rise in U.S. CO2 emissions after several years of decline. Burning natural gas to generate power releases only half the CO2 of burning coal, and when it is used as a vehicle fuel, it’s 20 to 25 percent better in terms of overall greenhouse gas emissions than gasoline or diesel.

But it is, after all, still a fossil fuel. It consists mostly of methane, an unregulated heat-trapping gas 25 times more powerful than carbon dioxide. Methane leakage from well sites and pipelines has become a hot topic. U.S. environmental groups are demanding the EPA regulate it, and it’s an issue at the United Nations Climate Summit taking place in New York this week.

Renewable energy advocates point out that the money spent on natural gas development preempts renewables spending, and there’s a limit to how much methane leakage and emissions regulation can be controlled and how much natural gas emissions can be improved. It’s understandable why, for many, swapping natural gas for oil and mitigating carbon dioxide emissions with methane seems like incremental punting — not a robust solution to climate change.

But natural gas critics and boosters alike are missing something important: the advent of a fuel called renewable natural gas (RNG), which is chemically similar to fossil natural gas, but better. It is produced not by drilling or hydrofracking fossilized deposits, but by capturing biogases wherever organic wastes decompose: in landfills, wastewater treatment plants, etc. The stream of organic waste is massive, but until recently, we’ve largely ignored it as a source of energy and emissions savings.

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Seattle Assesses Fine to Homeowners for Wasting Food

Jan Lee
Jan Lee | Thursday September 25th, 2014 | 3 Comments

640px-Garbage_Truck_landfillThe push for increased sustainable methods can be seen everywhere these days — certainly when it comes to local efforts to pare down on what we toss in the landfill.

Massachusetts’ ongoing effort to increase composting throughout the state is one such example, which will require any company or facility that disposes of at least a ton of organic material a week to compost its food scraps and other compostable materials. The disposal ban takes effect on Oct. 1 and affects more than 1,500 businesses, hospitals, public offices and facilities. Connecticut and Vermont have similar bans for wasting food that exceeds a 2-ton limit on organic waste per week.

The city of Seattle has also embraced the composting idea with a bit more of a creative edge: In an effort to encourage residents to stop wasting food, the city council passed an ordinance this last Monday that allows households to be fined $1 each time that garbage collectors find more than 10 percent of organic waste in their garbage bins.

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MyMeter Provides Energy-Saving Tools to Homes and Businesses

RP Siegel | Thursday September 25th, 2014 | 0 Comments

mymeter-445x304 On a sunny summer day in Los Angles, a thousand air conditioners might easily turn on at the exact same moment. That would elicit a surge of electrical power to get all of those compressors running, driving up what is known as peak demand. Typically, a power plant must have enough capacity to meet that demand whenever it occurs. That requires the power plant to be much larger than what is needed most of the time, which makes it inherently less efficient. But if starting those thousand air conditioners could be spread out — using tiny delays, over a period of less than a minute — that would reduce peak demand, and the required plant capacity, considerably.

This is the idea behind demand management, an essential element of a smart grid architecture. Overall, a smart grid relies on a number of elements from the various domains. Generation includes the various sources and generating types, both variable and non-variable. Distribution includes storage, switches and transmission lines. Both of these domains have become smarter through the use of technology to control, measure and record the amount of power passing through them, as well as to protect the various elements from surges or overloads.

The customer domain is regulated primarily through the smart meter, which helps the user to optimize efficiency and manage demand. Software applications like MyMeter, from Accelerated Innovations LLC, help to “empower electric, gas, and water utilities and their customers to better manage end-use demand and consumption. It’s the engaging, intelligent connection that transforms meter data into insights for action.”

If knowledge is power, MyMeter provides power in that form, to both the customer and the utility, about the other kind of power being provided and consumed — allowing each to optimize their own interests.

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Nominate Your Favorite Nonprofit to Win $10,000 from Tom’s of Maine

Mary Mazzoni
| Thursday September 25th, 2014 | 0 Comments
Through the Tom's of Maine

Through the Tom’s of Maine 50 States for Good program, anyone can nominate their favorite nonprofit to receive $10,000 in project funding through Sept. 30. Participants can also show their support online to renovate a distressed park in Detroit.

Now in its sixth year, the Tom’s of Maine 50 States for Good program rewards grassroots nonprofits with a total of $500,000 in project funding. But the natural personal care brand doesn’t pluck these groups out of thin air — it allows the public to weigh in on how funding is dispersed through a simple online nomination.

Nominations are open to anyone 18 years of age or older – including nonprofit representatives and supporters. Any qualifying 501(c)3 nonprofit in good standing with an operating budget under $2 million is eligible for nomination.

After the nomination period ends on Sept. 30, an independent panel of judges will pick the winners. This year, for the first time, the program will feature 51 winners across the country, one from each state and the District of Columbia — bringing this year’s project funding total to $510,000.

In addition to nominating a nonprofit, participants can also show their support and make an immediate impact on revitalizing a distressed park in Detroit with just a few clicks. Also new for 2014, Tom’s is asking consumers to be “Virtual Volunteers” and use their collective social media power to bring much-needed park equipment to Knudsen Park along Detroit’s historic 8 Mile Boulevard.

Participants can visit 50StatesforGood.com and use the social sharing buttons to show their support for park needs ranging from swing sets to picnic tables. Renovations will be made possible by consumer support online and a $25,000 donation from Tom’s to the nonprofit Eight Mile Boulevard Association, the company said.

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How to Tell Your Company’s Sustainability Story

3p Contributor | Thursday September 25th, 2014 | 0 Comments

4181767596_0d0f971143_zBy Nicole Skibola

Building a narrative around a social enterprise is tricky. You need to appeal to the bottom line, convey social/environmental impact, resonate with a variety of different stakeholders, and every team member needs to feel personal passion when they tell the story or make a pitch.

At Centurion Consulting, we began working with a technology-driven sustainable agriculture enterprise in its startup phase last month. (That’s all I can say until they launch officially, but our work with them is a mix of sustainability, economic development, technology, and business model and product design). Going in, we had read a lengthy business plan. We had a sense of what our clients were trying to accomplish, but there were many moving parts and we knew the product was complex. We also gathered that the client team didn’t have a crystal clear understanding of what the product was.

In the old world of business plans, this would be a problem. We, however, saw it as an opportunity to bring the team together to craft a shared narrative. We knew that the only way we could help them to accelerate both their product development and prepare them for telling a cohesive story was through the Running Lean world of product experimentation and validation.

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Hershey Expands Ivory Coast Cocoa Farmer Program

Gina-Marie Cheeseman
| Thursday September 25th, 2014 | 0 Comments

HersheyEarlier this month, Hershey announced the expansion of its cocoa farmer training and community initiatives in the Ivory Coast. The company will partner with Cargill to expand the initiative, called ‘Learn to Grow Ivory Coast,’ to include seven farmer cooperatives and investments in education and teacher housing. Through the initiatives, 10,000 cocoa farmers will be trained in agricultural and social practices that are certified with the UTZ Certified standard. The farmers will receive higher premiums for the cocoa as a result.

The Learn to Grow Ivory Coast program will accelerate Hershey’s purchase of sustainably-sourced cocoa. Hershey has committed to sourcing 100 percent certified cocoa for all of its products globally by 2020. It is committed to sourcing cocoa certified through UTZ, Fairtrade USA and Rainforest Alliance, three of the most recognized cocoa certification programs.

In 2013, Hershey sourced 18 percent of its cocoa from certified sources. By 2016, the company hopes to increase that percentage to between 40 and 50 percent.

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