Blogging Contest: Fancy a Trip to Masdar City in Abu Dhabi?

| Tuesday December 9th, 2014 | 1 Comment
Masdar City's First Wind Tower

Masdar City’s First Wind Tower

As you may recall TriplePundit has developed a strong relationship with the folks at Masdar in the United Arab Emirates and we’ve covered developments in the UAE and the gulf region with great interest over the last three years.   Now’s your chance to travel to Abu Dhabi to see what’s happening yourself.

Masdar has launched its third annual Engage Blogging Contest, which offers an excellent chance to visit Abu Dhabi, and of course, Masdar City, during Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week. The winner will have an all-expenses paid trip to Abu Dhabi the week of January 19, 2015, and will be Masdar’s guest blogger during this important event that brings about 35,000 professionals from all over the world annually.

Here’s how to enter:

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BIG NEWS: TriplePundit is Being Redesigned… Can you Help?

| Monday December 8th, 2014 | 0 Comments

indie-twistIt’s hard to believe that it’s been 10 years since TriplePundit was founded. Since then we’ve built the site into one of the most well-read online publications about sustainability in business.  That’s a big deal. We’re reaching 350,000 people a month with the message that business can be a positive force in solving the world’s sustainability challenges.

In all that time, we’ve built a phenomenal following and a phenomenal online resource.  But with all our growth comes the inevitable need to spice up our online presence so we can keep the momentum going for all of you!

In return, this is one of those rare times we’re asking you, the readers to help out! 

In a nutshell, we’ve launched a crowd-funding campaign to cover some of the costs associated with our re-launch. It’s a modest $10,000 goal, but it’s just what we need to bridge the gap for a re-launch some time in February and a great 10-year celebration.

With your help, we’ll be able to bring you better navigation, more resources, better readability, more in-depth coverage of new issues and more. To make it worth your while, we’ve got a host of perks and incentives designed to make your 2015 more sustainable and more productive. There are even perks designed for companies.  If you’ve gotten value out of reading 3p over the years, now’s your chance to make a small investment in the future…

[CLICK HERE TO CONTRIBUTE]

 

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Connecting Your Business: From Smart Grid to ‘Grid of Things’

| Monday December 8th, 2014 | 3 Comments

PG&E smart grid or grid of thingsYou hear a lot of talk about the smart grid these days, and now here comes the California utility PG&E with a new twist of its own: the Grid of Things. As PG&E sees it, smart grid technology is only a partial step toward the grid of the future. The true grid of the future will ditch the utility’s role as the power supplier to passive customers. Instead, each electricity customer can interact with the utility and its grid, by strategically deploying rooftop solar arrays, electric vehicles and other major electrical appliances.

The Grid of Things has enormous implications for business. In addition to providing unique new opportunities for bottom-line savings and energy security, the kind of interaction that PG&E envisions can also provide companies with new opportunities for customer service and brand enhancement.

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3 Reasons Why Oil Prices Have Collapsed

Bill Roth | Monday December 8th, 2014 | 3 Comments

27126794_91cf0f720d_zThe oil industry has done a great job of self-promoting their increased production capacity as the reason for the collapse in oil and gasoline prices. Let’s get the facts right: The world has been, and continues to be, awash with oil supply. The world has been producing 90+ million barrels of oil per day for several years.

The reason oil cost $100 per barrel and gas prices sat above $4 per gallon was because of soaring global oil demand that was sucking up the world’s oil production. What has changed in terms of collapsing gasoline prices is that the global demand for oil is falling. The three factors driving oil prices down are:

  1. Americans are driving more fuel-efficient vehicles
  2. The millennial generation is living a digital rather than fossil fuel-based lifestyle
  3. China’s economic growth slow-down has cut oil demand

It is this combination of reasons tied to reduced oil demand — not increased oil supply — that has collapsed oil prices and reduced your pump-price pain.

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Town Kitchen Launches Indiegogo Campaign to Empower Youth

Jan Lee
Jan Lee | Monday December 8th, 2014 | 1 Comment

Town_Kitchen_RevStanEconomists and educators have been working to resolve Oakland, Calif.’s endemic poverty problems for years. Almost a third of Oakland’s children live in households in which one or both parents are unemployed, and finding jobs for the city’s youngest employable sector is all the more challenging. But as one young woman demonstrated this year, it isn’t an insurmountable task. It just takes a little creative thinking.

Sabrina Mutukisna, founder of Town Kitchen, came up with a project that pairs the snacking needs of East Bay’s business sector and the drive and ingenuity of Oakland youth. The company employs low-income youth from West Oakland to prepare, box and deliver upscale lunches for businesses in the East Bay area. The company’s concept is tailored to fit the needs of the small-to-medium business that wants good, versatile options to choose from for their boardroom meetings or casual office get-togethers.

According to Mutukisna, a lot of thought went into how to satisfy as many palates as possible with the company’s daily offerings. Lunches these days aren’t a one-type-fits-all concept. For a business like Town Kitchen, versatility and variety are musts, especially in a world in which consumers’ dietary limitations and preferences often shape the menu. To that end, she developed a weekly menu of four options that rotate periodically and can be creatively built upon as they go along.

“Right now we definitely make sure we have a vegetarian option,” Mutukisna said, and that is usually gluten free, “and one has a fish option, and then one is chicken or (other) meat.” She said vegan demand is high at the moment, but the menus are structured to reflect the feedback the company receives from its customers.

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Mondelez Moves to Third-Party Sustainability Evaluation

Bill DiBenedetto | Monday December 8th, 2014 | 0 Comments

myhoweuropean_jough_dempseyMondelez International, the multinational snack foods giant, has developed an outcome-based sustainability framework that will use an external party to measure the impact of its $200 million Coffee Made Happy program.

Mondelez, the world’s second largest coffee company, says the arrangement with the independent third-party organization, the Committee on Sustainability Assessment (COSA), will “provide unprecedented transparency on large scale” along the coffee supply chain.

Mondelez coffee brands include Jacobs, Carte Noire, Kenco and Tassimo. COSA will evaluate the “real impact experienced by farmers on the ground” of the Coffee Made Happy program. Program objectives aim to measure how Coffee Made Happy is achieving its objectives to improve farmers’ business and agricultural skills, increase farm yields, and “engage young people and women in coffee farming so as to empower 1 million coffee entrepreneurs by 2020.”

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FSC Certification Beats Zero Deforestation, Says Top Paper Company

| Monday December 8th, 2014 | 0 Comments
IMG_1008

Domtar supplier forest. The top paper company recently issued a paper promoting FSC certification. 

Natural Forest degradation and destruction is a global problem. According to The World Resources Institute (WRI), 30 percent of global forest cover has been cleared and a further 20 percent degraded. That which remains has been fragmented, leaving only about 15 percent of the world’s forests intact. WWF points out that we are losing forests at the rate of 36 football fields per minute.

Consequently, the focus of deforestation zeros-in on where the loss is most rapid: tropical forests, where clear-cutting indiscriminately for agriculture is particularly acute. Agriculture is responsible for around 70 percent of global deforestation involving activities such as palm oil production or cattle pasture. This has prompted the call for zero deforestation in parts of the world where deforestation is most critical, or zero net deforestation (ZND) which WWF explains, “leaves room for change in the configuration of the land-use mosaic, provided the net quantity, quality and carbon density of forests is maintained.”

However, ZND might be described as a low bar to attain in terms of sustainable forest management — and while it’s a practical step in areas of rapid deforestation, Dave Bubser, senior manager of Rainforest Alliance U.S., says it’s like “placing tourniquets” in parts of the world where clear-cutting is happening on a wide scale. ZND is primarily a quantitative measure, but it’s less effective as a qualitative one.

Some actually argue that ZND is potentially harmful to natural forests, but it’s certainly not the end game. And while there are calls for companies and even countries to pledge for ZND, such a call is just an entry point for a higher bar to be reached — that of certification. Paper company Domtar recently issued a paper on the subject to this effect, promoting their commitment to Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification.

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Why Making the Workplace a Playroom is Worth It

3p Contributor | Monday December 8th, 2014 | 0 Comments

5599515721_4cca7fa855_zBy Andy Beresford

Play has been a crucial part of our evolution as human beings, and studies show that individuals deprived of play as children become depressed, dysfunctional and even sociopathic as adults. But play is not something that loses its power to educate and stimulate as we grow up. It’s been proven that play enhances our sense of well-being and continues to support our development throughout life.

Companies that have used this information to their benefit and invested in creating a sense of fun and playfulness at work have seen productivity, employee retention and workplace satisfaction improve dramatically.

From neon slides, climbing walls and foosball to work outings and volleyball tournaments, companies like Google, Skype and LinkedIn have all embraced the notion that all work and no play makes for a dull and less productive average employee. Here are five reasons to follow their lead. 

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Smart Cities and the New Industrial Revolution

3p Contributor | Friday December 5th, 2014 | 0 Comments

By Esmeralda Swartz, chief marketing officer, MetraTech

City

By 2050, 66 percent of the world’s population will live in urban areas, compared to just 30 percent in 1950, according to a UN World Urbanization Prospects report. The re-urbanization movement puts stress on the infrastructure that supports cities and citizens. To mitigate the impact of this added stress, cities need to get smarter. Luckily, advances with smart technologies will transform society, just as advances during the Industrial Revolution of the 18th and 19th centuries did.

Over the course of the next decade, advancements from the Internet of Things could generate upwards of $3 trillion in smart technology opportunities for cities worldwide. These opportunities exist in all aspects of a city, from underground sewer, water, electricity and transportation systems, to streets, parks, bridges, billboards and cell towers. Integrating data-collecting sensors, hubs, cameras and other services across these layers creates a smart city—one that can anticipate, mitigate and prevent city problems thanks to connected data. While a smart city may sound like science fiction, it will soon become a reality, as modest smart projects grow at scale and connect with other smart projects. We are beginning to see such instances around the world today in places such as New York, Spain and Brazil.

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December Guide to Buying Used Clothing

Alexis Petru
| Friday December 5th, 2014 | 0 Comments

GoodwillWant to save 700 gallons of water for under $10? The next time you buy a new shirt, make sure it’s secondhand. That’s right: According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, it takes 700-2,000 gallons of water to grow enough cotton to make your average cotton T-shirt. And growing cotton is just one small part of the tremendous overall environmental and social impact that the garment industry has on our planet.

But buying used clothing is a great way to opt out of the not-so-green fashion industry – and it’s often more affordable than purchasing environmentally and socially responsible new clothes, which can be quite pricey. Whether you’ve decided to start thrifting because of environmental or financial concerns or you just love the thrill of the hunt (or a combination of all these reasons), TriplePundit is here to help you get started, with our guide to buying secondhand.

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Carnival Corporation Reduced Its Carbon Emissions By 20 Percent

Gina-Marie Cheeseman
| Friday December 5th, 2014 | 0 Comments

carnival cruise lineCarnival Corporation, the world’s largest cruise company with nine brands, reduced carbon dioxide emissions by 20 percent from shipboard operations, a year ahead of its target. Its recently released 2013 Sustainability Report revealed that one way it reduced greenhouse gas emissions is through an exhaust cleaning technology called ECO-EGC. The system removes pollutants from exhaust gases. The company is installing the systems on over 70 percent of its fleet, and investing up to $400 million to design, build and install the systems on its ships.

Reducing fuel is important to Carnival, as the report shows. The company released the result of its Fleet Fuel Conservation Program which showed that by the end of this year it will have saved over one billion gallons of fuel and reduced carbon emissions from its fleet by 12 billion kilograms over the last seven years. The program has also improved its fleet’s overall fuel efficiency by 24 percent since 2007 and saved about $2.5 billion in fuel costs, the company’s largest expense.

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Marks and Spencer: Over 60% of All Products Sold are “Sustainable”

Leon Kaye | Friday December 5th, 2014 | 2 Comments
Marks and Spencer, Plan A, Shwopping, supply chain, ethical clothing, organic, fair trade, Leon Kaye, United Kingdom

Marks and Spencer claims 63 percent of its products sold are sustainable

Marks and Spencer (M&S) has long been one of the world’s more sustainable and socially responsible retailers, dating back to its 2007 launch of its Plan A. The 100-point plan helped transform the company’s supply chain and operations. The plan was extended in 2010 with even more goals added with 2015 and then 2020 guidelines. Now six months after what the United Kingdom-based company launched what it calls Plan A 2020, the company has reported on its most recent progress.

Some of the updates are relatively ho-hum, not to be surprising as M&S has a habit of enumerating everything. LED lighting is being installed at the company’s epic food halls. The company trained 7,000 of what it describes as “emerging leaders.” More of the company’s clothing can be traced to the Better Cotton Initiative. What really attracts attention, however, is the fact 63 percent of the retailer’s products sold have had a “sustainable” attribute. The competition will be hard pressed to come close to that figure.

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PwC: Greater Collaboration Needed to Achieve Zero Net Deforestation

| Friday December 5th, 2014 | 0 Comments

about_REDD+Reducing deforestation and land degradation are key elements of realizing the goals of U.N. climate change and biodiversity conservation treaties. Pledging to cut the loss of forests worldwide in half by 2020 and to zero by 2030, 130 governments, businesses, civil society and indigenous peoples’ organizations endorsed the “New York Declaration on Forests” during the U.N. Climate Summit 2014 this past September.

Reducing and ultimately ending deforestation and land degradation is inextricably linked with government and private property owners’ decisions on land use and development, as well as the broad social and environmental responsibilities of property ownership. Despite decades of multilateral effort, the necessary top-down and grass roots communications networks, coordinated resource allocation, and funding have yet to coalesce and gain traction at a scope and scale necessary to achieve these goals.

The lack of cross-sectoral and inter-organizational coordination is apparent even within the small community of leading global deforestation organizations, PwC highlights in “Ending deforestation: REDD+ CGF = 0 Deforestation.” “Whilst there are individual examples of the CGF (Consumer Goods Forum) and REDD+ (Reducing Deforestation and Degradation) community working together, there has not yet been systematic collaboration on a large scale. This is despite the fact that 100 percent of CGF and REDD+ organizations recently surveyed by PwC and Code REDD thought that the two communities should be working closer than they are now.”

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Video: Net Impact Student Mariana Negrao Talks Diversity at NI14

| Friday December 5th, 2014 | 1 Comment

net impactAs part of our Talking Diversity video series, we asked thought leaders from all backgrounds to make the business case for diversity. Attracting bright young talent was one of the top reasons cited, so getting the student perspective seemed like a natural fit.

At the 2014 Net Impact conference, Mariana Negrao, an MBA candidate in Colorado State University’s Global Social and Sustainable Enterprise program and VP of Communications for the CSU Net Impact Chapter, shared what diversity means to her:

“To me, diversity is being able to bring different sources of inspiration to the debate,” Negrao said. “I think it’s important because, especially with sustainability, it requires a lot of innovation. And you can’t really have innovative ideas if you’re not getting [them] from the overlapping of different areas of knowledge.”

In this one-minute clip, Negrao, a native of Brazil, goes on to make the business case for diversity and describe how a diverse workforce can drive innovation.

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The Most Common CV and Resume Mistakes Part 3: Bomb the Profile

3p Contributor | Friday December 5th, 2014 | 0 Comments

By Shannon Houde

5263540555_536834a259_zPersonal profiles are the bane of a HR manager’s life. How can so many words communicate so little? A hiring exec has about 30 seconds to extract the key facts from your CV, and if the time runs out and they’re still looking, you can expect to land up in the reject pile. So why oh why, dear job seeker, do you insist on making it so hard for them to see why you’re perfect for the role?

At the same time, personal profiles are the bane of a jobseeker’s life. Describing yourself and your achievements is about as fun as listening to a toddler sing the Lego Movie song over and over on a long car journey (indeed, many people would rather do that than sit down and write 75 words on their employability). But do it we must, and so we do, reluctantly, and frequently ineffectively. Too verbose and flowery, too full of ‘I’ statements, too vague or too long… As a sustainability careers consultant and former HR exec, I’ve seen them all. And luckily for you, dear reader, I have a foolproof, pain free solution to making them awesome.

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