San Francisco Law: Airbnb Wins, Vacation Rentals Lose

Jan Lee
Jan Lee | Tuesday October 14th, 2014 | 1 Comment

San_Francisco_residence_Airbnb_DOhmerAirbnb has finally gotten a break. After years of increasing scrutiny by cities like New York — which has contended that the sharing economy business has, in some cases, been operating illegally within the metropolitan area — Airbnb can finally chalk one up on its side.

The coup may not help its legal woes in New York, but it’s bound to make San Francisco home-sharing advocates a bit happier. On Oct. 7, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted to legalize home rentals of 30 days or less for the city’s permanent residents.

Residents were previously restricted from renting out their homes for periods of less than 30 days, according to a law that the city said protected housing rates and helped to regulate property rentals. The new law allows residents who live in the city for a minimum of nine months of the year to rent out rooms or residences for short stays for up to 90 days of business per year.

Sharing economy advocates fought hard for the change, arguing that the rentals helped cash-strapped homeowners make their mortgages. As of next February, residents who register with the city, agree to pay hotel tax on their rentals and carry a minimum of $500,000 liability insurance can now legally rent out their digs.

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Living Progress: A Holistic Approach to Creating a Better Future

Alex Vietti
| Tuesday October 14th, 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.

Chris Librie, senior director of strategy and communications for HP, speaks to a crowd at the HP Living Progress Exchange at SXSW Eco 2014.

Chris Librie, senior director of strategy and communications for HP, speaks to a crowd at the HP Living Progress Exchange at SXSW Eco 2014.

Living Progress is HP’s vision of creating a better future for everyone through innovation and technology. Chris Librie, senior director of strategy and communications for HP, shared some of the strategies and projects the company is involved in around the world on the last day of the SXSW Eco conference.

First, Librie dove into the immense realities of HP’s scope and impacts: It is virtually impossible to go a day without interacting with some kind of HP technology, whether it is by a credit transaction or social media activity. Today, more data is created in 12 hours than was created in all of human history up to 2003, and HP’s Public Cloud uses more energy than all of Japan. If lined up side-by-side, the 8 to 10 million additional servers needed to store this data over the next 3 years will require the space of Manhattan.

These realities not only drive the necessity to think holistically, but also demonstrate the high degree of responsibility that HP has to lead us all in a more sustainable direction. Recognizing these impacts has motivated the company to consider the triple bottom line, Librie continued, because its team knows business-as-usual is not sustainable. 

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How Brands Are Using Your Selfie for Marketing

Leon Kaye | Tuesday October 14th, 2014 | 0 Comments
Ditto, selfie, marketing, privacy, Instagram, social media, Twitter, selfies, Leon Kaye, Facebook

Dear Tostitos-sorry, I didn’t buy these but they’ve been in my kitchen for months and will soon be composted

I only got 10 likes in the last five minutes
Do you think I should take it down?
Let me take another selfie. . .

–“#Selfie,” by the Chainsmokers

Most of us who live on social media know that companies such as Instagram allow you to use their services on the condition that they can use your services, royalty-free, without any notification.

That was one reason why I avoided using Instagram at first, although almost 6,500 photos later, I got over those privacy concerns pretty quickly. Not that anyone would want to use photos of my dog, my dome smooshed into a bike helmet, or me doing a yoga backbend in front of the Taj Mahal. Maybe. But I also do not pose for selfies brandishing my middle finger, with my tongue wagging out, or passed out buried in a pile of empty Corona bottles (I only drink local or organic brews). Triple Pundit doesn’t need the embarrassment, nor do any of my business clients. But for those of you that love to post pics of your shopping expeditions or favorite junk foods, be aware: Your selfie could very well be dissected and analyzed by the digital marketing startup Ditto.

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How to Become a B Corp in Six Weeks or Less

Ryan Honeyman | Tuesday October 14th, 2014 | 0 Comments

This is the tenth in a weekly series of excerpts from the new book The B Corp Handbook: How to Use Business as a Force for Good (Berrett-Koehler Publishers, October 13, 2014). Click here to read the rest of the series.

B Corp Certification Six Week ChartBy Ryan Honeyman

Welcome to a six-week, turbocharged Quick Start Guide to becoming a Certified B Corporation.

The size and complexity of your company will affect how quickly you can move through the steps to B Corp certification. For example, smaller companies — especially service companies or companies without outside investors — should be able to move through the Quick Start Guide in less than six weeks. Larger companies with a sizable number of employees and/or departments will probably need the full six weeks or more.

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Unilever and WRI Partner to Stall Global Deforestation

Leon Kaye | Tuesday October 14th, 2014 | 0 Comments
WRI, World Resources Institute, forests, global forests, Unilever, Leon Kaye, deforestation, supply chain, Global Forest Watch, transparency

Learn how indigenous lands protect against forest loss in Brazil

One of the more welcome trends in recent years is the increase in partnerships between NGOs and businesses to work on sustainability challenges. The nonprofit has the expertise and capacity to work on issues from water to land rights; companies in turn have the funds, technology or brand recognition that can help raise awareness and scale these programs. One of the latest high-profile partnerships is between Unilever and the World Resources Institute (WRI), which have worked together to further a much needed agenda: increase transparency in agricultural supply chains to stall the pace of deforestation.

WRI has long included deforestation within its body of work, which makes it a natural fit to partner with a company such as Unilever, which uses palm oil in many of its products. And the growing demand for palm oil over the past decade is one of the major factors behind global deforestation. Despite growing awareness about deforestation’s catastrophic effects, the felling of trees, mostly to create farms and pastureland, continues. In fact, University of Maryland study suggests the rate of forests lost between 2010 and 2012 was the equivalent about 50 soccer fields every minute of every day — over a span of 12 years. Last month’s Climate Summit in New York resulted in a pledge to restore 350 million hectares of forest worldwide by 2030, a massive undertaking considering that landmass is about the size of India. So, can the Unilever-WRI alliance help?

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SXSW Eco Interview: Alejandro Rios, Masdar Institute

| Tuesday October 14th, 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.

masdar-institute-logoWe’ve been following Masdar Institute for some time on 3p, which meant I was particularly pleased to talk to Dr. Alejandro Rios last week at SXSW Eco.  Specifically, we talked about a new project called ISEAS, which stands for “Integrated Seawater, Energy and Aquaculture System.”  The concept is every bit as interesting as the acronym suggests.  Take the challenges of feeding people, producing clean energy and dealing with scarce fresh water, and engineer a solution for all three.  It may be a tall order, but the ISEAS project proposes to do exactly that.

In a nutshell, Masdar Institute is attempting to use halophytes (plants that grow in seawater) to produce biofuels while at the same time filtering the pollutants associated with growing fish or shrimp in aquaculture ponds. The benefits are potentially huge:

  • The process uses only salt water, which is plentiful — even in Abu Dhabi — thus eliminating any debate about whether it wastes water.
  • The halophytes will also eliminate waste from the aquaculture — a major problem in traditional shrimp farming operations.
  • Useful biofuel will be produces when plants are harvested — possibly even jet fuel.
  • The whole thing is a carbon sink with a negative carbon footprint.

Granted, it’s all just an experiment at this point, but in the video below, Dr. Rios explains the basics…

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Lego to End Partnership with Shell

Gina-Marie Cheeseman
| Tuesday October 14th, 2014 | 0 Comments

Greenpeace LEGO campaignLego recently announced that it will not renew its contract with Shell when it ends in 2016. “We want to clarify that as things currently stand we will not renew the co-promotion contract with Shell when the present contract ends,” the company said in a statement released last week. The announcement comes after a three-month-long campaign by the environmental group, Greenpeace. The group set its sights on Lego, demanding that the toy company drop its partnership with Shell.

The company made it clear that it did not like the campaign by Greenpeace. Instead of a campaign targeting the company, Greenpeace should have had “direct conversation with Shell,” Jørgen Vig Knudstorp, president and CEO of the Lego Group, said in a statement by the company. Knudstorp added that Lego does not “want to be part of Greenpeace’s campaign, and we will not comment any further on the campaign.”

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The Carbon for Water Program’s Impact in Rural Kenyan Homes

RP Siegel | Monday October 13th, 2014 | 0 Comments

Editor’s Note: Triple Pundit’s RP Siegel visited Kenya to learn more about the LifeStraw Follow the Liters campaign. This is the second post from his trip. In case you missed it, you can read the first post here.

IMG_20141010_104431Last week, I described a school visit, in which the team introduced a number of LifeStraw Community Filters — provided by the Follow the Liters Campaign that just kicked off this week. The program will provide clean water to 125,000 school children in western Kenya.

On Friday, I made a number of home visits with Steve Otieno, Vestergaard‘s country director for climate & water in Kenya. Steve manages the Follow the Liters campaign here. He also managed the Carbon for Water program, which, funded by carbon credits that were administered by Climate Care, provided nearly 900,000 LifeStraw family filters back in 2011. The company maintains a staff in the area, who, assisted by a large volunteer force, makes regular home visits to ensure that the families are using the filters properly and are having no issues with them.

The company had hoped that after the pilot was completed, the program would continue to expand across Kenya. But the carbon market, which drives the program, has not kept pace. Now they are looking into other funding sources including local governments.

At the opening ceremony on Monday, Steve said, “We have been a family, but now we are a community.” Over these past few days I have come to see the meaning behind these words.

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After the Climate Summit: The U.N.’s Way Forward

Mary Mazzoni
| Monday October 13th, 2014 | 2 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.

If you’re anything like me, it was tough to step away from the computer during Climate Week NYC. Like so many others, I scrolled tirelessly through Twitter during the People’s Climate March, which drew more than 400,000 supporters from all over the world in a hopeful foreshadowing of things to come. Then it was quickly on to live feeds of the United Nations Climate Summit, a historic gathering that promised to pave the way to a more sustainable future.

But last week as I strolled through the Austin Convention Center at the 2014 SXSW Eco conference, I overheard murmurings that the march and summit had disappeared from news feeds as quickly as they arrived — that the media had all but forgotten the momentum supporters worked so hard to build.

Of course, just because a subject vanishes from the 24-hour news cycle doesn’t mean it loses its footing at the forefront of the public agenda. For activists, supporters and, yes, even world leaders, the U.N. Climate Summit is still very much a hot topic. As a group of sustainability professionals, nonprofit leaders and reporters filed into a U.N. panel discussion at SXSW Eco, it was clear the summit still mattered a great deal to us. We all had one question on our minds: What happens next?

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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.”

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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.

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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.

GRI

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. 

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New Clorox App Allows Consumers to See More Ingredients Inside

Leon Kaye | Monday October 13th, 2014 | 0 Comments
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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?

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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.”

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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.

The_North_Face_Graham_Smith

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.

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