eBay Foundation’s Plan to Get Indonesian Businesses Online

Jan Lee
Jan Lee | Tuesday January 20th, 2015 | 0 Comments

eBayInc_Foundation_rgb[2]Indonesian entrepreneurs face many challenges in commerce these days. According to the World Bank Group, the country is No. 114 on a list of 189 economies ranked for their ease of doing business in the global marketplace. While that standing has improved in recent years, some of the hardest challenges that business owners face still include issues like resolving insolvency and getting credit.

They also face significant challenges in trading across borders. Some of those challenges are due to regulatory and financial issues like getting export documentation handled and the cost of exporting goods to other countries. This is illustrated in the numbers: The U.S., for example, ranks 24th (out of 189) in the ease of trading across borders; Indonesia is 62nd.

The difficulties that businesses face in everyday commerce are often magnified by their lack of access to things we take for granted in the West, like having a website.

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Largest Seawater Desalination Plant to Open Next Year

Bill DiBenedetto | Monday January 19th, 2015 | 241 Comments
The proposed site of the

The proposed site of the Carlsbad Desalination Project in San Diego county.

The San Diego area will soon be the home of the largest seawater desalination plant in the Western Hemisphere. But with a steep $1 billion price tag, the question is whether the Carlsbad Desalination Project will be worth it from a financial and environmental perspective.

Drought-plagued farmers probably think so, because after three years of drought they can’t irrigate: California’s reservoirs are filled with more mud than water. When operational in 2016, the plant will provide up to 50 million gallons of water daily to San Diego county’s 3 million residents. Still, that’s only 7 percent of the region’s water needs.

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Video: The World’s First Accelerator Dedicated to Lifting Girls Out of Poverty

3p Contributor | Monday January 19th, 2015 | 0 Comments

Editor’s Note: This post originally appeared on Unreasonable.is.

14521144199_184ca0fc1d_zBy Daniel Epstein

The Girl Effect Accelerator represents the first program of its kind: an international accelerator dedicated exclusively to scaling up ventures that are positioned to benefit millions of girls in poverty.

Today, less than 2 cents of every international development dollar goes to girls — the very people who we believe could do most to end poverty. If we don’t put girls at the center of development, the world misses out on a tremendous opportunity for change. So, this past year our team at Unreasonable Group was privileged to partner with the Nike Foundation (co-founders of the Girl Effect) to launch this program in an effort to make girls visible to the entrepreneurial, business and investment worlds.

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Stuffed Animal Tours: Compassionate Tourism of the Future?

Jan Lee
Jan Lee | Monday January 19th, 2015 | 3 Comments

Japan_stuffed_animal_tours_YasuhikoItoTravel tours are big business in Japan, especially this year, given the country’s recessionary struggles. Domestic tour sales were more than double those of international tours in 2014 for three of Japan’s top  travel wholesalers (JTB KNT-CT Holdings Nippon Travel Agency) , proving that destinations like Mt. Fugi, Osaka and Kyoto still command plenty of interest at home.

And anyone who has vacationed in Japan, and taken an organized tour of one of the country’s thousands of shrines and temples, knows that Japan’s many travel destinations are best appreciated up close. They are also often highly understated when it comes to walking and stamina.

Visiting the ancient Mt. Osore at the northern tip of the country or taking part in Yamagata’s snow lantern festival northwest of Tokyo can be difficult for elderly or mobility challenged travelers, who may not be able to make the three- to eight-hour trip by car or bullet train, let alone manage the walking tour that follows.

So, one medical supply company with a big heart and an unusual amount of imagination came up with an answer: stuffed animal tours.

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30 CSR Pros to Follow in 2015

Mary Mazzoni
| Friday January 16th, 2015 | 5 Comments

8476983849_eeba1942cb_zWith 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.

Twitter is one of our favorite spots to catch up on the latest and greatest in sustainability. If you resolved to be more informed and more connected in 2015, we’re here to help. Check out these 30 corporate social responsibility (CSR) pros (listed in no particular order) to follow this year, and give that newsfeed a boost. 

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2016 Chevy Volt: The EV is Growing Up

Leon Kaye | Friday January 16th, 2015 | 4 Comments
Chevy Volt, 2016 Volt, Chevrolet, GM, General Motors, North American International Automobile Show, Detroit, Leon Kaye, rare earth metals, EVs, plug-in hybrids, Voltec propulsion system

The newest Volt could find yet even more new customers.

One of the first items on General Motors’ agenda during the 2015 North American International Car Show (NAIAS) was to reveal the 2016 Chevy Volt.

The Chevrolet exhibit at Cobo Hall in Detroit was packed, with the floor teeming with everyone from the leading news organizations to bloggers with their selfie sticks in hand. The cobalt blue Volt that emerged on stage did not disappoint, as CEO Mary Barra and North American President Alan Batey touted the 2016 model’s new features while at least 50 enthusiastic Volt owners cheered from their front row seats.

In previous years, rollouts of electric vehicles (EVs) and plug-in hybrids such as the Volt emphasized range and car battery features, which were well received by EV enthusiasts but met by a collective shrug and disinterest by most consumers. But that is slowly changing as EVs continue to improve their range as well as overall performance, and as such the 2016 Volt met expectations. The newest Volt is sleeker, yet still sports a hearty, muscular design. It is in many ways more efficient than earlier models, which of course will interest EV fans and inspire debate. But many of the new features and improvements were what one would expect to hear in a conventional gasoline-powered car — which in the end boosts the Volt’s performance and will score more interest from consumers.

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Timberland Agroforestry Project Breaks Cycle of Poverty in Haiti

| Friday January 16th, 2015 | 2 Comments

Editor’s Note: This is the second post in a two-part series on how sustainable agroforestry is helping to break the cycle of poverty and environmental degradation in Haiti. In case you missed it, you can read the first part here

home-slideshow-1 1 An innovative, five-year community agroforesty development project developed and carried out by Timberland, the Smallholder Farmers Alliance (SFA) and Haitian farmers has proven successful. So successful, in fact, that Timberland is considering replicating it in other countries where farmers produce cotton and rubber – the raw materials the company uses to manufacture clothing, footwear and, more recently, tires.

Partnering with experienced local NGOs who know ‘the lay of the land,’ leading proponents of corporate social and environmental sustainability such as Timberland are helping turn the tide and break the cycle of poverty and environmental resource degradation in Haiti. Through the SFA’s community agroforestry development model, Timberland is helping boost agricultural productivity, small farmers’ incomes, community well-being, and ecosystems health and sustainability. What’s more, it is encouraging NGOs and local communities to come up with sustainable, market-based development solutions.

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Whose Health is It, Anyway? Learning About Behavior Change Through CSR

3p Contributor | Friday January 16th, 2015 | 0 Comments
Residents learn how to solve the mystery of food labels at a Team Up 4 Health class in Middlesboro, Kentucky.

Residents learn how to solve the mystery of food labels at a Team Up 4 Health class in Middlesboro, Kentucky.

By Graham Shelby

If you look at the numbers, Kentucky is a place where people smoke more, weigh more and die sooner than almost anywhere in America.  The New York Times Magazine recently concluded that eastern Kentucky in particular, “just might be the hardest place to live in the United States.”

My family is from eastern Kentucky, and I recently visited with some of my colleagues from Humana in Louisville. We went there because those of us who’ve spent our lives in Kentucky know that numbers never tell the whole story, particularly when it comes to people’s health.

To understand what’s really happening, you have to talk to people living actual lives in places like Pineville, Middlesboro and Mt. Vernon, people like the man we’ll call Floyd.

A 65-year old Air Force veteran, Floyd met us at a coffee shop in downtown Corbin. He’s part of a small group of people who offered to talk to us about their experience in the Team Up 4 Health program, which our company sponsors.

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Visions of 2030

RP Siegel | Friday January 16th, 2015 | 1 Comment

Rochester VisionNext week I will be attending Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week in the United Arab Emirates as the winner of the Masdar Blogging Competition. My winning essay described a vision of my city, Rochester, New York, in the year 2030. The conference, which will include the World Future Energy Summit, also hosts numerous talks, displays and presentations featuring sustainable options for the future.

In preparation, I read this post on GreenBiz in which the author interviewed a number of leading thinkers in various fields about their thoughts on what 2030 might bring.

Not surprisingly, each focused on his or her own corner of the world.

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The Smart Home Nudges Manufacturers Toward Sustainability

3p Contributor | Friday January 16th, 2015 | 3 Comments

1-Sustainable_Smart_HomeBy Jennifer Tuohy

From lock manufacturers to heating and air conditioning companies, the smart home space is disrupting legacy industries. Big names in consumer products with decades of experience behind them have been caught off-guard by Kickstarter-powered startups and Silicon Valley CEOs.

The Nest Learning Thermostat, which debuted in 2011, was the first product to show what a nimble young company with high-tech brainpower behind it (in this case, two of Apple’s bright minds) could do to a space that many thought was set in stone. It took a little under five years, but the legacy companies are catching up — Honeywell launched its Nest alternative, the Lyric, late last year.

Is it too little, too late? Not at all. Don’t discount benefit of the decades of experience that legacy companies like Honeywell bring to the table. Bear in mind, Honeywell actually had a round thermostat first, in 1953.

As I discussed in my last article for Triple Pundit, this type of disruption drives development by forcing the big companies back to the drawing board to hopefully come up with even better products — ones that will save consumers even more money, use even less energy and lead us toward greater sustainability. Nowhere is this more relevant right now than in the smart home space.

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Benefit Corporation Laws — California vs. Delaware. It’s All In the Details

3p Contributor | Friday January 16th, 2015 | 0 Comments

Editor’s Note: This is the second post in a two-part series that highlights notable differences in benefit corporation law in two influential states, Delaware and California. In case you missed it, you can read the first post here

6881485010_da66a9b933_zBy Jonathan Storper

Benefit corporation law has been enacted in 19 states, and 10 other states have introduced the legislation.

Delaware is of particular significance because it is the recognized leader in corporate law, and over half of all public companies are domiciled there. California is the largest state and has provided the country with the benefit corporation model legislation.

In the first installment of this series, we explored the three distinct attributes of a benefit corporation and how these differ in the two states. Now, let’s get down to the details*. 

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Is Wendy’s Dropping Soda From Its Kid’s Menu?

Gina-Marie Cheeseman
| Friday January 16th, 2015 | 0 Comments

Wendy'sOne more fast food chain may be dropping soda from its kid’s menus. Although Wendy’s has yet to confirm it, the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) reports that the fast food chain is removing soda as the default option in its kid’s meals. The move is praised by CSPI, MomsRising.org and the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR).

McDonald’s made a similar announcement in 2013, and its policy goes into effect this year. Subway, Chipotle, Arby’s and Panera Bread don’t include soda in their kid’s meals either. The ICCR filed a shareholder resolution last year with Wendy’s, but withdrew it when the company agreed to consider removing sodas from the kid’s menu.

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Will the Chevrolet Bolt EV Push Electric Vehicles to the Mainstream?

Leon Kaye | Thursday January 15th, 2015 | 5 Comments
Chevrolet Bolt, Chevy Volt, EVs, electric vehicles, Mary Barra, NAIAS, Detroit, North American International Auto Show, Leon Kaye, concept cars, range anxiety, gm, general motors

The Chevrolet Bolt was unveiled Monday at the 2015 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

Concept cars at automobile shows generally offer the following: great opps for selfies, dreams over driving a vehicle that will never exist and, of course, the occasional eye roll. But this week at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit, one concept car dazzled because of its design and its potential to transform the automobile industry: General Motors’ (GM) Chevrolet Bolt EV, which could hit the market as soon as 2017.

The Bolt is a huge step closer toward the holy grail of electric vehicles (EVs): affordability and sustainability — the latter of which in this case is defined by range, the current bugaboo of most EVs. Sure, we love Tesla for its phenomenal design and range of 265 miles between charges. Unfortunately, the sticker price, which ranges between $70,000 and $90,000, is out of range of most of our budgets. GM’s Chevy Spark EV could be a car for the rest of us, with a price of about $20,000 after federal rebates. But with a range of about 82 miles, it fails to snag interest from most consumers due to that massive hurdle: “range anxiety.”

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The Countries Likely to Best Survive Climate Change

3p Contributor | Thursday January 15th, 2015 | 336 Comments

3605107785_5f1f291f91_zBy Jon Whiting

Climate change is here, and it will affect every country as it worsens. But the harsh reality is that its effects won’t be felt equally.

The map below highlights that while climate change is caused primarily by rich, technologically advanced nations, its impact will hit the poorest nations hardest. Most European and North American countries are relatively better prepared and less vulnerable to the effects of climate change, while many countries in Africa, Asia and the Middle East exhibit a dangerous combination of high vulnerability and low preparation.

The map, by the Eco Experts, visualizes data from the University of Notre Dame’s Global Adaption Index. The index, published annually since 1995, analyzes 192 countries on 45 internal and external indicators of climate change exposure.

The index is built on two variables: ‘vulnerability’ and ‘readiness,’ for which a country gets a separate mark for each. These scores tally up to produce an overall total indicating how the nation would fare.

The findings highlight the need for richer countries to do more to support poorer nations, helping them prepare for the severe impacts of climate change.

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Chinese Court Clears the Way For Environmentalists to Bring Suit

RP Siegel | Thursday January 15th, 2015 | 1 Comment

shanghai smogThe news from China seems to be improving. First, the Asian nation agreed to target peak carbon emissions and produce 20 percent of its electricity from renewables by 2030. Now China is beginning to take action on pollution, a problem that has become quite severe.

The Chinese Supreme People’s Court just announced that it will reduce the court fees required for environmental groups to bring lawsuits against polluters. The ruling applies specifically to “social organizations involved in public interest litigation” targeting environmental concerns.

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