U.K. Standards Group Calls Out Peabody Energy for Misleading ‘Clean Coal’ Claim

Bill DiBenedetto | Tuesday August 26th, 2014 | 0 Comments

coal-fired power plant_emilian robert vicolNo matter how one mines or washes it, there’s no such thing as clean coal, despite what politicians and the coal industry say. So, it’s refreshing to see the U.K.’s Advertising Standards Authority bar Peabody Energy from making that misleading claim in its “Advanced Energy for Life” ad campaign.

The ASA ruled, in a case brought by the World Wildlife Fund, that Peabody Energy should not use the term “clean coal” to imply that coal is emission-free or “the solution for better, longer and healthier lives.” The ad says “energy poverty” is the “world’s No. 1 human and environmental crisis,” and Peabody Energy “is working to build awareness and support to end energy poverty, increase access to low-cost electricity and improve emissions using today’s advanced clean coal technologies.”

ASA said, “The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told Peabody Energy, Inc. to ensure that future ads did not state or imply that their technologies were emission-free or similar unless they could demonstrate that this was the case.”

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What’s the Difference Between Certified B Corps and Benefit Corps?

Ryan Honeyman | Tuesday August 26th, 2014 | 13 Comments

This is the third in a weekly series of excerpts from the upcoming book “The B Corp Handbook: How to Use Business as a Force for Good.” (Click here to read the rest of the series.)

B Corp Logo - Next 20 YearsBy Ryan Honeyman

It took me 12 months of research, over 100 interviews and writing a 240-page book, but I finally figured out the difference between Certified B Corps and benefit corps.

If you are confused about the difference between the two — or didn’t even know there was a difference — don’t worry. This is one of the most commonly confused aspects of the B Corp movement.

Certified B Corporations and benefit corporations share much in common but have a few important differences. For a direct comparison, see the chart at the bottom of this article.

Q: What are Certified B Corporations?

Certified B Corporations (also referred to as ‘B Corps’ or ‘B Corporations’) are companies that have been certified by the nonprofit B Lab to have met rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency. B Corp certification is similar to LEED certification for green buildings, Fair Trade certification for coffee or USDA Organic certification for milk.

A key difference, however, is that B Corp certification evaluates an entire company (e.g., worker engagement, community involvement, environmental footprint and governance structure) rather than looking at just one aspect of a company (e.g., a building or product).

This big-picture evaluation is important because it helps distinguish between good companies and just good marketing.

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Big ‘Beyond Coal’ Victory for Indianapolis Grassroots Coalition

| Tuesday August 26th, 2014 | 0 Comments

PowerIndyForward_Social Share_Graphic_1 Persistence and grassroots political activism finally won out in Indianapolis recently: On August 15, Indianapolis Power & Light (IPL) announced it will stop burning coal at its 1,094-megawatt Harding Street power plant – the only coal-fired power plant remaining within the limits of a major Midwestern city – and switch to natural gas-fired electricity generation by 2016.

The announcement marked a big victory for “small ‘d’ democracy,” one Indianapolis City-County Council member remarked. It was also a win for Power Indy Forward, the broad-based coalition of environmental and public interest groups that came together to persuade IPL and government officials to phase out the use of coal in electricity generation. The coalition is also lobbying for environmental and social remediation efforts, energy efficiency programs and goals, and much more in the way of clean energy generation capacity.

“More than 55 organizations comprising the Power Indy Forward Coalition have been working hard for this day, and we thank IPL for making the decision to stop burning coal at the Harding Street plant. The community fought for clean air and a plan to protect the health of our families by phasing out coal in Marion County,” Jodi Perras, senior campaign representative for Sierra Club Indiana Beyond Coal, wrote in an August 15 op-ed in the Indianapolis Star.

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Verizon Ups Its Green Energy Commitment by Another $40 Million

Jan Lee
Jan Lee | Tuesday August 26th, 2014 | 0 Comments

Verizon_Sun_Power_solar_pgegreenenergyThe race is on: Yesterday Verizon Communications announced that it was committing another $40 million to its green energy program, paving the way for the company to expand its solar power market in five key states.

The investment will provide funding for an additional 10.2 megawatts at eight sites in California, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Jersey and New York, effectively raising the amount of green energy it will deploy to more than 25 MW once the new installations are completed.

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Sustainability Drives Healthy Results at Longfellow Sports Clubs

Sustainability4SMEs
| Tuesday August 26th, 2014 | 0 Comments

Club Image The Longfellow Clubs (LFC) is a cluster of five multi-purpose health and recreation facilities located in Sudbury, Wayland and Natick, Massachusetts. LFC is the fourth-largest health and recreation club in New England with 125 full-time and 300 part-time employees. This mid-sized, highly successful company has actively implemented sustainability-based business practices across all of its facilities, significantly enhancing its financial performance and developing a reputation as the greenest health club in America.

Laury Hammel, co-founder and CEO, says he has been committed to environmental issues since his childhood. “I participated in the first Earth Day in 1970. I think my childhood really crystallized and catalyzed my sustainability efforts.”

Hammel founded LFC in 1972 as a tennis instruction business. Rapid growth drove him and business partner Myke Farricker to find larger facilities. They purchased an existing facility in 1980. Since that initial acquisition, they have been acquiring, upgrading and enhancing athletic facilities across the greater Boston area to better meet community and customer demands for health and fitness programs. Facilities improvements include water conservation, energy efficiency and earth-friendly facilities that encapsulate a holistic approach to health for people and planet.

One of LFC’s missions as a locally-owned and independent business is a commitment to the health and wellbeing of the communities in which it operations. Other LFC missions are to provide extraordinary fitness, recreational and educational programs for people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities.

The result of implementing environmentally-friendly business practices is that LFC has prospered for over 33 years, successfully established a positive reputation with the communities in which it operates, a strong competitive position and fiscal resiliency in its market.

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Top Energy-Efficient Apps and Devices for Everyday Use

3p Contributor | Tuesday August 26th, 2014 | 0 Comments

nest_cooling-low-resBy Jessica Oaks

Saving energy is on most people’s minds these days, whether it’s at home, at the office or with the multitude of devices and appliances they use.

Luckily, that smartphone or tablet can help you develop some great conservation habits by giving you access to useful apps that make living a greener lifestyle easier. Considering a device or appliance that is energy efficient isn’t a bad idea either.

To save you some time searching through online reviews, check out these top energy-saving devices, appliances and apps you can use every day.

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SOCAP 2014: Tweet Jam on Financial Inclusion #3pChat

| Tuesday August 26th, 2014 | 0 Comments

3p-tweet-jamSocial Capital Markets 2014 is around the corner and what better  way to kick it off that a tweet jam on key conference topics, starting with the concept of financial inclusion.

“What is Success in Financial Inclusion?

On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate your financial health? Though overly simplified, this question is key to financial inclusion. For organizations working to include underserved communities in modern financial systems, how can they go beyond the number of users engaging with their product or service to understand real impact on financial health and economic stability? Hear how these experts are building systems that include and serve everyone.

Join us live on twitter at 2pm pacific time on Thursday, August 28th as we get down into the details as well as cover other topics relevant to #SOCAP14.

Please RSVP here or just send the following tweet:

“Join me and @triplepundit to discuss financial inclusion in advance of #socap14 8/28 2PM PT #3pChat http://bit.ly/1onbVkj”

Our panelists:

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Report: Tech Advances, Policy Changes Drive U.S. Solar Boom

| Monday August 25th, 2014 | 0 Comments

PV-array-with-grass_NRELSupportive market-driven policy mechanisms and government R&D funding have been seminal in the creation of what’s turned into a booming U.S. solar energy sector. Whether it’s at the utility-, commercial- or residential-scale, using photovoltaics (PV) to produce renewable energy from sunlight is now financially viable wherever you live the U.S., according to a new study from the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS).

Past and present performance is no guarantee of future success, however. The looming 2016 expiration of a key federal tax incentive – the solar investment tax credit – along with sharp cutbacks in leading European solar energy markets, international trade disputes and the imposition of punitive tariffs, have prompted U.S. solar industry participants to reassess their business plans. And while rapid growth and industry downsizing have brought PV cell and module supply and demand into balance – leading some PV manufacturers to even add capacity – profit margins, and the margin for error, are generally razor-thin.

In Solar Power on the Rise: The Technologies and Policies behind a Booming Energy Sector, UCS’ Climate and Energy Program senior analysts John Rogers and Laura Wisland highlight the social, environmental and economic benefits of solar power: “The major drivers of the rapid adoption of solar power,” whether it be solar PV or concentrating solar power (CSP) technology. They then move on on to summarize “key steps to sustain the strong growth of solar power in the United States and its contribution to a more resilient electricity system in the decades ahead.”

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OfficeMax, TerraCycle Launch K-Cup Recycling in Canada

Leon Kaye | Monday August 25th, 2014 | 0 Comments
Coffee pods, K-Cups, OfficeMax, OfficeMax Grand & Toy, Office Depot, k-cup recycling, recycling, Leon Kaye, waste diversion, TerraCycle, coffee

OfficeMax K-Cup Recycling Boxes are coming soon to southern Ontario

The single-serving, single-use coffee pod (or K-Cup) is one of the most wasteful consumer innovations to come up since bottled water. If you bother to scoop out each coffee pod, and your local municipality accepts the plastic/foil/maybe paper contraption in their recycling waste stream, they are not so hideous when it comes to final disposal. And true, more companies are rolling out biodegradable or compostable pods, but the reality is that most of this waste ends up in landfill. OfficeMax and TerraCycle, however, have launched a K-Cup recycling program in Canada.

Last week OfficeMax Grand & Toy, a division of Office Depot, announced the first K-Cup recycling program north of the border. As with both coffee companies and retailers, the K-Cup has become a lucrative business; so it behooves them to do something to increase the waste diversion of these pesky coffee pods. The success of this recycling program will rely on a pilot that has launched recently in southern Ontario.

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For Waste Management, Coal Ash Disposal + Food Waste Recycling = Jobs, Jobs, Jobs

| Monday August 25th, 2014 | 0 Comments

food waste recyclingNew coal ash disposal regulations are slowly winding their way through the approval process, but leading U.S. waste company Waste Management (WM) is not letting any grass grow under its feet. WM is already betting the ranch that new regulations for coal ash disposal will result in a major opportunity to grow its business and create new jobs.

As a corollary to seeking new coal ash disposal opportunities, WM is also transitioning into a new, more efficient business model for its municipal waste disposal operations, particularly in the area of food waste recycling. Because of the sheer size of the company, this dual move into coal ash disposal and food waste recycling demonstrates a job-creating potential that will counterbalance the “job-killing” criticism routinely leveled at new EPA regulations.

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The Case for Public Relations

| Monday August 25th, 2014 | 0 Comments

pr-certs-titleThe wires have been buzzing for weeks over public relations (PR) superpower Edelman’s refusal to rule out working with climate deniers. This news spread like a Yosemite wildfire.

Now, journalists love to hate publicists so the schadenfreude was predictable. The Edelman tale was made even more delicious with a bungled and complicated response which included a leaked email and an unscripted call from the company president to one of the first reporters to pick up on Edelman’s unsavory client roster (ALEC, API).

But is Edelman’s shakedown fair?

PR gets a bad rap from journalists because it’s perceived as a game where getting a client name into a story matters more than its newsworthiness.  That means that over-zealous PR reps can sometimes come on too strong in ever-present pursuit of a mention. When it comes to stories about sustainable companies and products, that might mean a PR team promoting companies and their initiatives as sustainable when they don’t really have the chops to back it up. Reams have been written about this as well: Earth Day is a favorite time for taking stock of the numerous pitches that end up in our email boxes. At best the products being offered are useful; at worst Earth Day is used as a cheap opportunity to pimp more product.

However, public relations pros have an important role in our collective efforts to improve many companies’ sustainability efforts.

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Food Runners Keeps the Unfortunate Fed in San Francisco

Leon Kaye | Monday August 25th, 2014 | 0 Comments
Food Runners, Mary Sisley, San Francisco, Silicon Valley, food waste, bicycling, food donations, Leon Kaye, tech companies

Food Runners allows businesses to donate food to charities in San Francisco.

Two things that define today’s San Francisco — bicycling and tech companies — are helping a 27-year-old nonprofit keep some of the city’s less fortunate from going hungry. Mary Risley, founder of a local cooking school, founded Food Runners in 1987 to pick up uneaten food from local businesses in order to distribute it to charities feeding the hungry. In turn those struggling with the city’s rising rents can get by while less food waste ends up in landfill.

Risley’s organization has become busier the past year, in part because of the tech companies in the city’s SOMA neighborhood with their cafeterias cooking more food than their employees can eat. Economics and the surging cost of living also play a role: As a recent San Francisco Chronicle article noted, the amount of food donations Food Runners has picked up has spiked 50 percent in the past year. But not only Silicon Valley-type companies are donating to the nonprofit.

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Millennials on a Mission with Nexus

3p Contributor | Monday August 25th, 2014 | 0 Comments

Editor’s Note: This article originally appeared in “The Millennials Perspective” issue of Green Money JournalClick here to view more posts in this series.

Brian Weinberg__PicBy Brian Weinberg

Aron Ping D’Souza, a young philanthropist and Australian native, first attended a Nexus Summit in London in 2012. There, he was exposed to Sir Ronald Cohen’s work on impact investing and social impact bonds. The idea that for-profit investing could be a vehicle for social impact was new and powerful to him. It ignited his imagination on how he could bring these new relationships and extraordinary ideas back to his home country in the name of good.

A little more than a year later, he launched Good Super, Australia’s first social impact retirement fund at the first Nexus Summit in Australia, which he chaired. Good Super is aiming to reach US$1 billion in assets by the end of 2014, supporting countless companies taking on major issues, ranging from clean energy to extreme poverty.

The leadership of the Alana Institute, of Sao Paulo, Brazil, Marcos Nisti and Ana Lucia Villela (a member of the prominent Itau banking family) attended the inaugural Nexus Global Youth Summit in 2011. There, in a flash of inspiration, they conceived a new business strategy to help tackle hunger issues globally. They started Satisfeito, a network of Brazilian restaurants that provide customers the option for a two-thirds portion of a given meal, at the same price, in order to contribute to Satisfeito. The money the restaurants save by serving the Satisfeito portion is then transferred to organizations that combat child hunger. Together, this program has sparked a funding mechanism that has provided over 44,000 meals for people in need.

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Dr. Pepper Snapple Group is Serious About Reducing Waste

Gina-Marie Cheeseman
| Monday August 25th, 2014 | 0 Comments

Dr_PepperDr. Pepper Snapple Group has surpassed several of its environmental targets, as its latest corporate social responsibility (CSR) report reveals.  The company that has over 50 beverage brands is really serious about reducing waste. DPS set a goal of recycling 60 million pounds of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic by 2015, but last year recycled 60.7 million pounds.

The company also achieved its goal of an 80 percent recycling rate by 2015 — four years early in 2011. DPS set a new goal of a 90 percent recycling rate of its solid manufacturing waste. It is well on its way to meeting the new goal: In 2013, it recycled over 85 percent of its manufacturing solid waste, a 3 percent increase from 2012. Some of its sites achieved double-digit increases in their recycling rates in 2013. One of those sites is its Miami plant which achieved a recycle rate of 83 percent, up from 61 percent a year earlier.

Through partnerships, DPS is also able to promote recycling: It works with the American Beverage Association to help develop an industry approach to reducing waste. It began partnering with Keep America Beautiful in 2013 to support recycling efforts in communities across the country. Through its partnership, the company donated $300,000 to put recycling bins in public parks, which gives consumers more access to local recycling systems. DPS renewed the partnership for 2014.

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Solar System Will Power New Dropbox Office

Gina-Marie Cheeseman
| Monday August 25th, 2014 | 0 Comments

UGE solar systemDropbox provides a handy and free service that allows you to share documents, videos and photos with people. Founded in 2007, the site has over 300 million users globally. Its new San Francisco office, which is LEED Platinum certified, will feature a solar energy system designed by UGE, a global distributed renewable energy company. The 25.2 kilowatt (kW) photovoltaic system will supply enough energy to offset the electricity used in the six-story building designed by William McDonough Partners. The PV system will feature 84 300-watt solar panels.

“On-site renewable energy will power a sustainable future for Dropbox — a visible step forward for an innovative company located in the heart of the tech capital of the world,” Scott Van Pelt, director of engineering at UGE, said in a statement. “UGE’s software tools have played a crucial role in designing efficient solar and wind systems based on site-specific resources, so it’s both exciting and fitting that one of our energy solutions will top the headquarters of a leader in cloud technology.”

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