Seamus Mullen Trumpets the Secret Power of Good Food

Tori Okner | Tuesday November 18th, 2014 | 0 Comments

Screen Shot 2014-11-17 at 4.44.21 PMBy Tori Okner

One of the most compelling sessions of the James Beard Foundation Annual Food Conference was a dialogue between doctors and chefs, entitled “Allies for Health.” The session featured Seamus Mullen, the chef/owner of Tertulia, author of “Hero Food” and a 2014 JBF Award Chef Semi-Finalist.

As moderator Kim Kessler observed, “Health messages are regularly delivered from chefs, without saying so, in the form of a meal.” At the conference, chef Seamus Mullen frankly discussed the reason he “blames food for all the good stuff” in his life and how making health the framework for his diet has impacted his growing business.

Mullen spoke openly about his antagonistic relationship with food, prolonged illness and the diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis that precipitated his commitment to healthful eating. With a family history in food, and a childhood spent on a small farm in Vermont, Mullen was only introduced to institutional food when he went to boarding school (where he suffered from salmonella). Today he is the chef/owner of three restaurants in New York City and London, and he’ll open a fourth later this year. He recently published a cookbook, “Hero Food,” and regularly speaks on the healing power of food.

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

‘Both Sides of the Meter’ at Colorado Climate Summit

Hannah Miller | Tuesday November 18th, 2014 | 3 Comments
Clean energy expert Leslie Glustrom sounds the alarm: utlities need more pushing. Photo by Lee Buchsbaum

Clean energy expert Leslie Glustrom sounds the alarm at the Colorado Climate Summit.

Colorado is a hotspot for energy innovation: The city of Fort Collins is pushing the envelope with a net-zero energy central district. The Rocky Mountain Institute has been generating schemes for energy efficiency and clean energy for 30 years. And the city of Boulder has more solar panels than some states.

All of these were featured programs at the first-ever Colorado Climate Summit, held on the campus of the University of Colorado last weekend in the middle of – you guessed it – the unusual weather event of an early blizzard. But the mood wasn’t self-congratulatory — it was urgent. Hopeful, but urgent. Efficiency and solar panels on roofs aren’t enough, warned one clean energy expert.

“We have to look at both sides of the meter,” said Leslie Glustrom, pointing at a chart of Boulder’s carbon emissions that, despite tremendous work and city effort to reduce carbon emissions, showed marginal gains. Glustrom pointed out that Boulder is still dependent on a coal plant. “If you took that offline it would be like taking 150,000 homes off the grid,” she said.

“Utilities are standing in the way of the clean energy transition,” warned Glustrom, because the inertia is too strong — they must be pressed via local government into transitioning to renewables. Boulder itself is taking matters into its own hands, and since voter approval in 2011 has been developing its own publicly-owned utility.

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

Palm Oil Industry Threatens Indonesian Biodiversity

Gina-Marie Cheeseman
| Tuesday November 18th, 2014 | 5 Comments

palm oil plantationThe Leuser Ecosystem in Indonesia is one of the most biodiverse ecosystems. The 6.5 million acres of tropical lowland rainforests stores vast amounts of carbon in its peatlands and forests. It is under threat despite being protected by Indonesian law.

One of those threats is the palm oil industry, as a recent Rainforest Action Network (RAN) report details. Conflict palm oil in particular is a threat. Conflict palm oil refers to palm oil produced through destruction of rainforests and peatlands and the violation of human rights, which includes the use of forced labor and child labor. Conflict palm oil can’t be traced back to its origin, and is increasing inside the Leuser Ecosystem.

Three companies are cited in the report as the biggest buyers of palm oil in the Aceh region of Indonesia where the Leuser Ecosystem is located. They are Musim Mas Group, Wilmar International and Golden Agri-Resources. As the report states, they “have a crucial role to play in securing the protection of the Leuser Ecosystem.”

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

Obama Announces $3 Billion Pledge to U.N. Climate Fund

RP Siegel | Monday November 17th, 2014 | 2 Comments

244116020_8911782f3c_zRight on the heels of his historic climate agreement with China, President Barack Obama announced a pledge of $3 billion to the United Nations’ thus far underfunded Green Climate Fund. The fund was formally established in 2010 at the U.N. Climate Change conference in Cancun. The purpose of the fund was to redistribute resources between the developed world and the developing world in order to assist developing countries in their effort to adapt to and mitigate the impacts of climate change.

It’s clear that the president is doubling down on climate change, which shouldn’t be a surprise, since he has repeatedly highlighted his intention in his second term to take action by any means available. Recently, that has meant primarily by executive order, which, given the upcoming Republican control of Congress, will likely remain the only available avenue left to act on this crucial issue.

I don’t believe the timing of the announcement is random. I think Obama is taking aggressive action right now, in the wake of the election, to signal Republicans in Congress that:

  1. They are becoming increasingly isolated on the issue as even the Chinese are making major commitments, and
  2.  he has no intention of letting up on this issue, which he intends to make part of his legacy.
Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

Is the Green Economic Revolution Too Late?

Bill Roth | Monday November 17th, 2014 | 1 Comment

6881485010_da66a9b933_zIn 2007 I first posted my research forecasting a multi-trillion dollar green economic revolution. By 2014, this projection has been realized with a global economy delivering price-competitive sustainable solutions like rooftop solar, LED lighting and organic food. So, why are we not celebrating?

The sobering reality is that this economic success appears to be too little and too late in terms of the latest scientific findings. The scientific community projects that the pace of man-made greenhouse gas emissions, now defined as a carbon surge, is pushing the world into irreversible human and economic damage. If our world and economy now stand on the cusp of irreversible climate change damage, then the question of the 21st century is whether there still remains a path toward a sustainable solution.

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

Nathan Mackenzie Brown: Profile of an Impact Investor

| Monday November 17th, 2014 | 1 Comment

Nathan Brown: Profile of an Impact Investor

Part of the problem or part of the solution?

“I think a lot of people blame the ‘top 1 percent’ for causing ‘big evil corporations’ to act in socially and environmentally unethical ways,” says Nathan MacKenzie Brown, a 34-year-old entrepreneur and impact investor — and one not prone to mince his words.

Brown doesn’t deny the consequences stemming from the concentration of wealth in the U.S. But the fact is that the spread of stock ownership has changed dramatically in the past 30 or 40 years. More Americans than ever before, 47 percent, own at least some stock.

“It certainly isn’t fair to blame the horrible behavior of corporations on the top 1 percent alone,” Brown says. “I think it is time for every one of us who puts money into an investment account for retirement to realize we are either part of the solution, or we are part of the problem.”

The task then, for those of us wishing to be part of the solution, is to reconcile our economic interests with our social values.

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

Aligning the Head, Heart and Wallet: How Millennials and Women Drive Impact Investment

3p Contributor | Monday November 17th, 2014 | 0 Comments

money-tree-growing-startupBy Shilpi Chhotray

We all know the phrase “money makes the world go around.” What many involved in grassroots sustainability and social responsibility may not know is how impact investors are moving the needle on several key global issues, such as corporate transparency, sustainable agriculture, women’s empowerment and arguably our greatest challenge — addressing a rapidly changing climate. Furthermore, these investors are focusing on pressing national issues like LGBT rights, affordable housing and millennial involvement in corporate decision-making.

For instance, investors from top wealth management firms like Timothy Smith, director of environmental, social and governance engagement at Walden Asset Management, are advocating for greater investment around climate policy at the state level.

As an active member of the environmental community, my perception of the financial industry has historically equated to visions of Wall Street: Ivy-league educated white men in dark suits with flashy Rolex watches, playing their obligatory role to generate profit, no matter what the global repercussions entail.  My recent attendance at the Conference on Sustainable, Responsible, Impact Investing (SRI) in Colorado Springs, however, made me rethink this stereotype and piqued my interest in solutions-based investing for positive community change.

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

Philadelphia More Than Doubles Recycling Rate

Alexis Petru
| Monday November 17th, 2014 | 1 Comment

PhiladelphiaJust in time for last week’s America Recycles Day, the city of Philadelphia announced an impressive achievement in waste reduction: The City of Brotherly Love has increased the amount of materials it recycles by 155 percent over the past six years.

The city collected a record amount of recyclables – 128,000 tons – through its residential curbside recycling program, as well as from city buildings and public spaces during the latest fiscal year, according to the city’s recycling office and mayor’s office of sustainability. That means Philly kept 21 percent of its residential discards from ending up in the dump in the 2014 fiscal year – a 4.6 percent increase over last year’s diversion numbers.

Philadelphia’s recycling efforts had additional environmental benefits beyond the ones most commonly associated with recycling, such as keeping materials out of the landfill and saving resources by reprocessing goods already in the system. The city’s recycling program also cuts its carbon footprint by nearly 1.5 million tons of carbon dioxide each year, the city said in a statement.

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

The Economics of Sustainable Coffee Production

3p Contributor | Monday November 17th, 2014 | 0 Comments

_MG_9384By Seda Kojoyan

Sustainability matters. And if you happen to be in the coffee business, it matters especially. In 2012, this market saw 40 percent of global production coming from sources that were certified or verified for sustainability. The latest State of Sustainability Initiatives Review confirms that “the landscape of sustainable coffee has been one of rapid transformation from a niche market to a fully recognized strategic business management tool,” according to the International Institute for Sustainable Development.

Yet many challenges along the way make the road to achieving sustainability a difficult one for businesses. They include increased production costs, a perceived conflict between environmental needs and the bottom line, and weak governance and infrastructure in producer countries.

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

Reverse Supply Chain Management ‘Closes the Loop’ on Waste

| Monday November 17th, 2014 | 0 Comments

take_back_recycling Some of the world’s largest multinational businesses have recognized the advantages ‘closing the loop’ on their supply chains can provide. From energy and water conservation to materials reuse and recycling, they’re achieving significant gains in operating efficiency and productivity as they move toward becoming ‘zero-waste‘ and ‘zero emissions’ businesses.

Mimicking natural ecosystems, commercial and industrial ecosystems are emerging — in which an increasing percentage of products, their components, and raw or intermediate materials are being reused or recycled. The ultimate goal — cradle-to-cradle product lifecycles in which all materials used to produce, package and distribute products to consumers are recaptured, reused or recycled — is edging closer to reality.

At the leading edge of this movement is a small group of companies operating in what has come to be known as reverse supply chain management. Aiming to close the loop on the supply chain, they’re advancing green economy initiatives by offering original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) across a growing range of industries an integrated ‘one-stop shop’ for re-manufacturing, as well as reusing and recycling products, their constituent parts and raw materials.

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

Five Years Later: Has There Been Sustainable Change in the Financial Services Sector?

Mary Mazzoni
| Saturday November 15th, 2014 | 1 Comment
Thought leaders assemble to discuss the future of the financial services industry at BSR '14.

Thought leaders assemble to discuss the future of the financial services industry at BSR ’14.

The 2014 BSR conference in New York City last week attracted thought leaders from all industries, who gathered to commiserate on timely topics like climate change, sustainability reporting and the circular economy. Of course, a substantial portion of attendees represented BSR member companies — a list that includes more than 250 multinationals that have pledged to “improve their sustainability performance.”

It may come as a surprise to you, but 15 percent of BSR members are part of the financial services industry. Less of a shock: This figure has grown significantly since the financial crisis of 2007-2008 (and continues to climb), as banks and investment firms struggle to rebuild from within and regain consumer trust.

As John Hodges, director of financial services for BSR, put it while moderating a panel discussion at the conference: The financial crisis marked “the only time in [BSR’s] 20-year history that an entire industry was going through a corporate responsibility crisis at the same time.”

After the dust settled, governments, advocacy groups and other stakeholders began to focus intensely on creating a more responsible financial services industry. But how much has really changed in the past five years? Do these companies interact differently with their clients on sustainability issues? Are they really modifying their core business practices in the interest of corporate social responsibility (CSR), or is this just another marketing game? These are only a few of the questions asked last Thursday in New York.

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

3p Weekend: How 7 Companies Are Celebrating America Recycles Day

Mary Mazzoni
| Friday November 14th, 2014 | 0 Comments
Elementary students in Charlotte, North Carolina gear up for a recycling event sponsored by Repreve.

Elementary students in Charlotte, North Carolina gear up for a recycling event sponsored by Repreve.

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.

Tomorrow, Nov. 15, is America Recycles Day — a national celebration promoting recycling organized by Keep America Beautiful. Eco-minded folks in communities across the country will mark the holiday by purging their homes of recyclable items and disposing of them responsibly. Top companies also plan to commemorate ARD by hosting recycling drives, spearheading education campaigns and offering friendly reminders of the importance of recycling.

1. Unifi

You may not know Unifi by name, but the Greensboro, North Carolina-based company is behind the Repreve recycled fiber brand, which appears in everything from clothes to car seats.

For America Recycles Day this year, Repreve is linking up with Marvel Universe LIVE! to raise awareness about the importance of recycling. The national initiative spearheaded by the two companies encourages children to take responsibility for recycling at home and in their everyday lives, teaching them that they can become ‘superheroes for the environment.’

Repreve and Marvel kicked off the multi-city initiative in Charlotte, North Carolina this week, teaming up with Charlotte–Mecklenburg Schools, the Boys and Girls Club of the greater Charlotte area and Mecklenburg County Solid Waste Division to host a city-wide recycling contest for youth.

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

Kansas Wind to Power Yahoo’s Great Plains Operations

| Friday November 14th, 2014 | 0 Comments

Yahoo HQYahoo on Oct. 16 announced that it signed a 15-year partnership with OwnEnergy to develop a Kansas wind farm. Able to generate more than 100,000 megawatt-hours (MWh) of electricity, the wind farm will feed into the Southwest Power Pool and offset much of Yahoo’s energy usage in the Great Plains region, according to joint press releases.

The Kansas wind farm is the latest demonstration of Yahoo’s commitment to local community development, as well as reducing its carbon and environmental footprints. “Although we are a global company, we are deeply invested in the communities in which we live and work,” Chris Page, Yahoo’s global director of energy and sustainability strategy, and Brett Illers, project manager of  sustainability and energy efficiency programs, wrote in a Yahoo Blog post.

“We are proud to support this type of community-centric energy project through direct engagements from mid-sized local wind farms.”

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

Responsibility in the Fashion World Post Rana Plaza

3p Contributor | Friday November 14th, 2014 | 0 Comments

2697297072_2189c83eda_zBy Elizabeth Dove and Liza Horowitz

The tremors of a crumbling building that killed 1,129 garment makers and maimed hundreds more in Bangladesh last year have been felt throughout the world. Every industry that relies on a supply chain with factories far from HQ is thinking about how to avoid such an impact on lives and reputation. This is true for no industry more so than the fashion world, which was stained in the tragedy and is under the spotlight in unflattering ways.

Members of the fashion industry from around the globe came together Nov. 3-4 in Toronto to reflect on what has changed, examine best practices and create visions of the future during the inaugural World Ethical Apparel Roundtable (#WEAR2014) put on by the dynamic Fashion Takes Action.

For each advancement post-Rana Plaza, opportunities for going further were identified.

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

Toyota’s Social Innovation Umbrella

Mary Mazzoni
| Friday November 14th, 2014 | 0 Comments
Latondra Newton just took on a new role and has been asked to unite – for the first time – Toyota’s North American social innovation activities. We sat down with Newton at Net Impact '14 to find out what that means.

Latondra Newton just took on a new role and has been asked to unite – for the first time – Toyota’s North American social innovation activities. We sat down with Newton at Net Impact ’14 to find out what that means.

The 2014 Net Impact conference gathered like-minded people from all walks of life: Students, C-suite executives and members of the media sat side-by-side in panel discussions addressing some of the world’s most pressing challenges, and folks from across industries mixed and mingled to inspire solutions to those challenges and more.

During the hustle and bustle of the conference, I had the chance to sit down with Latondra Newton of Toyota North America. She just took on a new role and has been asked to unite – for the first time – Toyota’s North American social innovation activities, including philanthropy, community relations, and diversity and inclusion. She is also charged with overseeing the Toyota Mobility Foundation, which was created earlier this year to address mobility challenges around the world.

If it sounds like a tough job, that’s because it is, but Newton has met the challenge head on. During our chat, we touched on what social innovation means to Toyota and some of the company’s far-reaching community relations programs — some of which were even news to me. For example, did you know Toyota’s manufacturing processes helped streamline food delivery after Hurricane Sandy? I surely didn’t.

Read on for that story and more.

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »