It’s High Time to Overhaul Water Pricing

| Monday October 13th, 2014 | 6 Comments

General_Collection_deadzoneRecent water-related catastrophes in places like Toledo, Ohio, Los Angeles and West Virginia highlight an increasingly pressing need for the U.S. to make significant new investments in water resource infrastructure and management. They also cast light on outdated market structures and pricing mechanisms that result in counterproductive, even perverse, use and management of precious water resources.

In a recent article published by online environmental magazine Ensia, long-time water resource specialist, author and journalist Cynthia Barnett delves into the at-times murky world of the political economy of water in the U.S. “We’re subsidizing our most wasteful water use – while neglecting essentials like keeping our water plants and pipes in good repair,” she writes.

How best to restructure water markets so as to make genuinely sustainable use of water resources is a controversial and hotly debated topic among economists, government leaders and agencies, as well as end users. More broadly, it raises the economic issue of how public goods – water, air, knowledge and national security, for example – are priced by markets and allocated among end users. In her article for Ensia, Barnett quotes Amsterdam-based water economist David Zetland, “You can get to sustainability, but you can’t get there without putting a price on water.”

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

podium[Your News Here]

Impossible Foods Building the Next Bloody, But Meatless, Burger

Leon Kaye | Monday October 13th, 2014 | 6 Comments
Impossible Foods, Patrick Brown, fake meat, vegan, meat alternatives, Leon Kaye, carbon emissions, meat production

Impossible Foods wants to build a better burger

If plant-based protein becomes the norm — and meat production becomes only a minor, not major, contributor to the world’s problems coming from carbon emissions and pollution — then much of the credit should go to Stanford University researcher Patrick Brown. The professor of biochemistry, who has spent much of his career on genetic research, has taken on a new quest: finding alternatives to animal farming. And one of his ideas is a plant-based hamburger that oozes out blood like the real thing.

His brainchild is Impossible Foods, a Redwood City, California startup that has scored $75 million in venture capital funding, according to the Wall Street Journal. The company is developing fake cheeses and meats, including his beef substitute that uses plant-based molecules to recreate a more environmentally friendly, and humane, alternative to steak and hamburger. In his quest to change how we eat, and put a dent in the global meat industry, he is focusing on the environmental argument while trying to develop a product that has the taste and texture of the real thing — eschewing the emotional and ethical arguments typical of the anti-meat crowd.

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

7 Strategies for Achieving LEED Certification

Sarah Lozanova | Monday October 13th, 2014 | 0 Comments

ariaWant to learn more about integrating LEED into a sustainability report? We’re bringing our GRI certified sustainability reporting course to Las Vegas and including a special section on LEED. This course is hosted by ARIA- MGM Resorts International and will be complemented with information on LEED requirements, Energy Efficiency, and a tour of the Aria’s efficiency measures! For more info or to sign up, click here.


Leadership in Energy and Efficient Design (LEED), the certification standard set by the U.S. Green Building Council, is transforming how many buildings are constructed, remodeled, maintained and operated. The program utilizes numerous categories: sustainable site, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, indoor environmental quality, and materials and resources. Is the building close to public transportation? Does it use locally-sourced building materials? These are all important questions when seeking LEED certification.

Achieving LEED certification is a powerful tool for for companies undertaking Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) sustainability reporting, which measures an organization’s economic, social and environmental impacts and communicates them to a diverse group of stakeholders. GRI reports identify ways to improve in these three areas, and the built environment significantly impacts all three. So, pursuing LEED certification can be an avenue for achieving goals established from GRI reporting.

Indoor environmental quality, for example, impacts employee well being by providing high indoor air quality and ample natural daylighting.  This can boost the bottom line by improving productivity, reducing absenteeism and lowering operating costs. If higher indoor air quality is achieved through the use of nontoxic finishes and less electricity is used to light the facility, then this also reduces the environmental impact of the facility.

With these things in mind, use these seven strategies if you want to achieve LEED certification and meet your GRI goals. 

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

New Clorox App Allows Consumers to See More Ingredients Inside

Leon Kaye | Monday October 13th, 2014 | 0 Comments
Clorox, ingredients inside, transparency, cleaning products, sodium lauryl sulfate, Leon Kaye, fragrances, ingredients inside app, ingredients disclosure

Just a partial list of fragrances in Clorox products.

Buying cleaning products has long been a murky process. Few laws requiring companies to disclose the chemicals are on the books — so of course, most companies do not list what they put into those bottles. But for some public health advocates, required ingredients disclosure has been their rallying cry. Now more companies are responding in kind. For example, Clorox recently announced an expansion of its “Ingredients Inside” program and an updated release of its smartphone app that aims to educate customers about the company’s portfolio of cleaning products, from bleach to room fresheners. Fragrances, those pesky additives where it is almost impossible to sort out how they are formulated, are the latest addition.

And indeed, that is quite a laundry list of fragrances Clorox uses in all of its products. But that list is it — no other additional information about these ingredients was released. Consumers who want more information are directed to a Wikipedia page, or the International Fragrance Association. One can also download a list in PDF format if they want to learn the industry names of the fragrances. So, are these updated apps and disclosures actually helpful to consumers, or is this just marketing in the guise of transparency?

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

We Can Absolutely Stop the Spread of Ebola

3p Contributor | Monday October 13th, 2014 | 1 Comment
A UNICEF social mobilizer teaches children about proper hand-washing in an effort to curb the sprad of Ebola in Conakry, the capital of Guinea.

A UNICEF social mobilizer teaches children about proper hand-washing in an effort to curb the sprad of Ebola in Conakry, the capital of Guinea.

By Robin Kim

While Thomas Duncan was dying from Ebola in Dallas, Texas, two brothers, Ali, 6, and Satique, 9, were recovering. They are leaving their treatment center in Sierra Leone to return home to their dad.

Tales of survival are rare moments of triumph in an epidemic whose power to terrify is having deadly consequences on economies and societies. Yet these bright spots also deserve to be known because they can lead to more bright spots, greater impact — and hope transformed into truth.

Other bright spots include UNICEF, which is using its global presence, knowledge, relationships and infrastructure to identify, develop and propagate the best ways to contain and treat Ebola. Its door-to-door prevention campaign will reach every household with life-saving information and protection kits.

These bright moments include that of Dr. Paul Farmer: His organization, Partners in Health, provides community-based care for millions in the developing world, and his efforts to curb Ebola in Liberia are yielding success. “There is no need for the majority of people with Ebola to die if they’re diagnosed quickly and receive effective and prompt supportive care,” he told an audience in San Francisco last week. “The best way to stop Ebola is to wipe it out at the source, where the epidemic is currently out of control.”

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

SXSWeco Interview: Adam Mott, The North Face

| Monday October 13th, 2014 | 0 Comments

This post is part of Triple Pundit’s ongoing coverage of the SXSW Eco conference. For the rest, please visit our SXSW Eco page here.


Adam Mott is Director of Sustainability for The North Face.  Last week at SXSW Eco, I had a chance to talk to him about what’s new at the company, and how they are taking sustainability deeper into the design of the company’s products.  In particular, The North Face’s well known Denali Jacket has undergone an evolution that’s greatly increasing the use of recycled material, and radically decreasing the use of water in the production process.

In the video below, Adam talks about the Denali as well as other developments at The North Face.

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

Experts Discuss Tackling Big Problems Through Design at SXSW Eco

Alex Vietti
| Saturday October 11th, 2014 | 0 Comments

This post is part of Triple Pundit’s ongoing coverage of the SXSW Eco conference. For the rest, please visit our SXSW Eco page here.

Triple Pundit was one of hundreds of organizations to attend the annual SXSW Eco conference in Austin last week. This post is part of our ongoing coverage.

Triple Pundit was one of hundreds of organizations to attend the annual SXSW Eco conference in Austin last week. This post is part of our ongoing coverage.

On the first day of SXSW Eco, design experts discussed examples of how creative design makes sustainability easy, cost-effective and beautiful. Moderated by Vince Digneo, sustainability strategist for Adobe Systems, panelists from Frog Design, Building Robotics and Levi Strauss & Co. showcased their innovative approaches to solving problems while making their products, services and consumer experiences better.

Denise Gershbein explained Frog Design’s position: They help their customers with global production design that is long-term and systems focused. She explains that cradle-to-cradle and visionary thinking is at the root of their design consultations, and these are the most important attributes that lead the non-linear design process towards solving complex sustainability problems.

In my view, the most interesting component of the panel was Paul Dillinger’s deep dive into the sustainability-driven design tactics he leads at Levi Strauss. He began with the recognition that the fashion industry has a notoriously bad reputation for being highly wasteful and unsustainable, from the mostly unrecyclable materials through the environment-intense chemicals. This is a result of an industry that is primarily concerned with trend relevancy and valuing consumer needs over the bigger picture of eco-consciousness. There is a trend in ‘eco-fashion’ labels, but he notes that the design and marketing approaches they utilize often only address one issue of a very large and complex system, like focusing solely on the use of organic cotton.

He attributed this shortcoming in the fashion industry to the consideration of environmental constraints as barriers to creativity and freedom of design. But in fact, Dillinger, the company’s head of global production innovation, said he uses these as springboards for innovation and sustainability. He feels that the process of unlocking environmental and social qualities that can be built into pieces of clothing is actually more creatively rewarding, and he has seen firsthand how these attributes can create more business and consumer benefits.

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

8 Companies Working to Eliminate Hunger

Mary Mazzoni
| Friday October 10th, 2014 | 0 Comments

a-mission-of-bread-and-hope-lgWith 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.

Thursday, Oct. 16, is World Food Day — an annual day of action against hunger. Commemorating the creation of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations on Oct. 16, 1945 in Quebec, Canada, WFD asks people to come together in their commitment to eradicate hunger in their lifetimes.

An estimated 805 million people, one in nine worldwide, live with chronic hunger — a startling statistic that underscores the importance of action on the issue. While spreading awareness on World Food Day is great, it takes year-round action to secure real change. With that in mind, this week we’re tipping our hats to eight companies that are working to eliminate hunger worldwide.

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

Dell, Google Technology Inspires Oakland Middle Schoolers

| Friday October 10th, 2014 | 2 Comments
7th grader Jose Morga explains how his used a Dell Chromebook to design their experiment to test the composting ability of worms in space.

Seventh grader Jose Morga explains how his team used a Dell Chromebook to design their winning experiment to test the composting ability of worms in space.

“Sometimes they just need to bang on something really hard,” principal Claire Fisher explains to me when discussing middle schoolers at Urban Promise Academy and the need to maintain the drums in their music program. The middle school keeps energetic students banging away through a variety of grants, fundraisers, and general elbow grease from a pack of community members who are committed to improving Oakland’s Fruitvale district.

Fruitvale’s BART station gained national notoriety as the location of the fatal police shooting of unarmed passenger Oscar Grant. Urban Promise Academy (UPA, pronounced oo-pah) is a small middle school with a student body that is 87 percent latino or hispanic. Fifty-six percent of the students are English Language Learners, and 90 percent of students qualify for free and reduced lunch. In short, it’s a group of students who didn’t start out with a lot of advantages. But UPA is not interested in focusing on the past, it is interested in getting these students to “college, career and beyond.”

Part of that preparation means making sure that they have an opportunity to engage with the technology that they’ll need in the future. There are many sections of Oakland where upwards of 50 percent of the residents don’t have computers or internet access at home, so the pressure is on schools to introduce the students to the technology that will help them be successful in life.

UPA has partnered with Dell to put Chromebooks in the classroom.

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

What is All the ‘Collectively’ Fuss About?

Leon Kaye | Friday October 10th, 2014 | 4 Comments
Collectively, sustainability, climate change, Vice Media, Leon Kaye, sustainability writers, Jonathon Porritt

Collectively is joining the sustainability conversation, and some are not happy about it.

This week, launched. Described in a press release as a “super brand coalition” platform to “raise awareness and inspire millennials to adopt a more sustainable way of living,” I first thought it was a joke. I rolled my eyes as the email also included a pallid quote from Barack Obama and forwarded it onto the editors here at Triple Pundit with a snicker (which is why, PR people, get to the point right away).

Yes, the “super brand coalition” threw me off, as I envisioned a posse of luxury brands going into the Middle Eastern desert to root out terrorism. But when I scrolled down that same email yesterday, it turns out this is partnership between Forum of the Future and some of the world’s biggest and iconic companies: Marks & Spencer, Unilever, Google, Nike, BT and others are sponsoring this new site while VIRTUE, a division of edgy VICE Media, is curating the site.

And according to sustainability writers out there, that background poses a huge problem for Collectively, and the knives are out. “A slew of major corporations,” and “backed by corporate sponsors,” are among the complaints being lobbed at this new site—as if somehow corporate involvement is a bad thing. The “feel good” stories on Collectively are mocked, and the site is even chided for not covering other stories such as the Aral Sea’s disappearance (shame on us at Triple Pundit, as admittedly we barely covered the disappearance of the world’s fourth largest freshwater lake).

But is the criticism fair, with Collectively not even up and running for a week?

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

New Handbook: 100 Percent Renewable Energy Both Practicable and Affordable

| Friday October 10th, 2014 | 11 Comments

WFCE3PolicyCvrAdvances in renewable energy technology, in concert with new triple bottom line-based approaches to government and business, are key enablers of a transition from polluting fossil fuels to locally-appropriate mixes of distributed, renewable energy systems. The renewable energy transition will not only benefit ecosystems and the environment; well designed and executed policies, regulations, public-private partnerships and inclusive, collaborative business models can address societies’ most pressing social and economic challenges as well.

Powering societies wholly on renewable energy technologies widely available today is not only possible, it’s affordable, according to a policy handbook produced by the World Future Council and E3 Analytics.

Appropriately titled, How to Achieve 100 Percent Renewable Energy, the WFC-E3 policy handbook uses eight case studies organized according to four themes – cities and communities; regions and states; national governments; and island governments – to illustrate how innovative policies are promoting and paving the way to “fully fossil- and nuclear-free” societies.

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

SC Johnson Rolls Out Bottom-of-the-Pyramid Marketing Strategy in Ghana

Leon Kaye | Friday October 10th, 2014 | 0 Comments
SC Johnson, social enterprise, malaria, bottom of the pyramid, Ghana, leon kaye, WOW, Yiko Kribo, world health organization

The WOW bundle SC Johnson sells in Ghana

While international marketing executives scratch their heads over how to expand business in a world saturated with products (are Africa, India and Latin America the last frontiers for global business?), more companies may want to focus on socioeconomic, not geographic, markets to find new opportunities. After all, the “bottom of the pyramid,” as in the world’s lower-income wage earners, are as much as 70 percent of the world’s population. Some businesses understand this and sell products accordingly—for example consumer packaged goods companies that sell cleaning products in sachets instead of massive boxes. Now SC Johnson, the Wisconsin-based cleaning products company, is joining this small but growing crowd in Ghana, and contributing to local efforts to reduce the risks of contracting malaria.

The program, nicknamed WOW, launched in 2012, though SC Johnson has researched and tested this business concept for almost a decade. A pilot program in Bobikuma, Ghana, about 55 miles (90 kilometers) west of the capital of Accra, kicked off earlier this year. With support from Cornell University and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, this membership-based club allows families to pool their money together to buy cleaning and pest-control products and reduce the transmission of malaria. Besides allowing families to share resources, the communal nature of selling these products allows for sharing tips about keeping homes clean and safe from malaria-carrying mosquitos. Now the program has expanded.

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

The Quick & Dirty: Snake Oil Sellers

Henk Campher
| Friday October 10th, 2014 | 2 Comments

3231184805_794c027e52_zShayna Samuels and Glenn Turner of Ripple Strategies wrote a great piece on the reasons why a social mission should be at the heart of your marketing. I’ve been lucky enough to work with the mother of cause and brand marketing, Carol Cone, since I landed in the U.S. many years ago – hi mom! And I am surrounded by people chipping away at companies to convince them to bring a social mission to their business and to bring it to life in creative ways. The missing social mission … Having a social mission as a central part of who you are as a business has been at the front of what we’ve been trying to tell companies over here in the sustainability/CSR/purpose/shared value/citizenship/whatevergetsyougoing space.

The one essential thing so many companies miss completely when it comes to a social mission is that it isn’t a choice but a given. You either have a social mission as part of your company identity or you are selling snake oil. Your choice.

Let’s go back to the beginning of almost every company that exists today: You can find a clear social mission at the heart of why they started as a business. I’m not going to spend any time on the easy ones like TOMS or Tesla — they are still young and new enough to remember, and their business model is still fresh enough as a reaction to a social need. But the same goes for those large companies that have been around for ages. Take a company like Tesco that was founded with a simple social purpose of getting affordable surplus groceries to the poorest communities as close to their homes as possible. AT&T can trace its roots back to the Bell Co., which wanted to help connect people — sounds like Facebook today. BASF can trace its roots back to bringing light to the previously dark town of Mannheim. Cargill helped farmers store their grain in more effective ways through grain flat houses. Bank of America was founded to help new immigrants as most existing banks in America refused to provide them with basic services. And so the list goes on and on — social mission at the heart of where most companies started.

And then so many lost their way.

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

The Growing Challenge of Water Procurement

3p Contributor | Friday October 10th, 2014 | 0 Comments

8359980055_2af1ef6424_zBy Graham Russell

Most sustainability professionals would agree that, in the long run, making adequate supplies of fresh water readily available to the world’s entire population is probably the most difficult resource-related challenge we face, especially in light of the weather uncertainties posed by global climate change. There is an essentially fixed amount of fresh water in the world, and for all practical purposes there are no substitutes for its role in keeping humans and animals alive — not to mention growing the increasing amounts of food required for a growing global population.

Water is a strategically important issue for both developed and emerging countries. It is estimated that 780 million people around the world lack access to clean water for drinking, cooking and bathing. This results in millions of deaths a year from waterborne diseases, almost all in developing nations, and billions of dollars in healthcare costs.

In the developed world, the challenge is how to make clean water available in adequate quantities in the right place at the right time, a problem that has become known as the water/energy nexus: that intricate relationship between these two critical resources in which each needs the other in enormous quantities. It is estimated that nearly half of the water consumed in the U.S. is dedicated to cooling systems in thermoelectric power plants that produce electricity. In California nearly 20 percent of the state’s electricity consumption goes toward water-related uses (purification, storage, transportation). In China, the South/North Diversion Project to bring water from southern rivers to the drier, more industrialized northern regions – a matter of national strategic economic interest – has resulted in one of the world’s largest engineering projects that is likely to cost over $100 billion when completed.

Superimposed on these global and national water challenges is the fact that nearly 70 percent of the world’s population will live in cities by 2050, compared with about 54 percent in 2014. Ensuring adequate supplies of water for both their residents and their industries therefore becomes a strategic competitive advantage issue for city managements. They will have to step up their water stewardship programs in the form of better forward planning to secure adequate supplies, improved maintenance of distribution systems to prevent leakage and main breaks, and pricing and incentive systems to encourage conservation and more efficient usage.

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

Creating Constructive Futures in Business and Beyond

3p Contributor | Friday October 10th, 2014 | 0 Comments

Bath Water Lily By Giles Hutchins

Business strategist, Peter Senge, notes that our world today is shaped not by individuals alone but by networks of businesses and institutions, and that these organizations are grounded in an old logic which needs to radically shift for the times we now live in.

New horizons are created through new ways of thinking, perceiving and attending to ourselves, each other and wider life. It is up to the individuals within these organizations to co-create a new logic. This shift in logic is what Senge says is the biggest challenge facing organizational management and leadership today.  Without this radical shift in thinking we will be unable to transform successfully towards a sustainable future; in other words, we will utterly fail in our evolution.

The logic of yesterday is of top-down, hierarchic, command-and-control, risk-adverse, competition-oriented, short-termed maximization, control-based thinking best suited to the Industrial Age. It is a mechanistic worldview based on reductionist logic that fragments reality into abstract definitions, silos and objects to be quantified, measured, controlled and then maximized, while largely overlooking the interrelated, fluid, connective, collaborative, participatory nature of nature.

In drawing inspiration from nature, we may step beyond our narrowed-down view of life and recognize the intrinsic patterns and reciprocal relations in our midst. These patterns can often seem confusing or complex for our reductionist minds, yet for our intuitive logic they are quite natural to cohere with – we are, after all, part of nature. Such patterns and flows are, by their nature, regenerative and sustainable.  In applying this inherent logic of life, we no longer need to superficially bolt-on sustainability initiatives to unsustainable modus operandi. In going with the flow of nature, we redesign for resilience, ensuring sustainability – in all sense of the word – is ingrained in how we operate and innovate.

For Senge, creative orientation is what facilitates our shift beyond yesterday’s flawed logic. Creative orientation helps us address our many practical problems as opportunities for transformation, rather than risks to be mitigated or problems to be worked around. Real life challenges are what afford us the opportunities to transform to more resilient ways of operating. Through humility, openness and playfulness, creative orientation brings a radically different mindset beyond the hyper-competitive, quantized linearity of old. It is a ‘learning-through-doing’ approach to prototyping by collaborating amongst diverse stakeholders. Here, future outcomes are beyond pre-definition: It is the co-learning journey rather than the pre-defined destination that brings transformative value to the organization and wider ecosystem of partners involved; real benefits beyond ‘doing less bad.’

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »