The Hub Comes to San Francisco

| Tuesday April 6th, 2010 | 0 Comments

Good news for 3p partner, The Hub: the San Francisco branch is almost ready for occupancy. The coworking space that targets social entrepreneurs, freelancers, and other independent professionals who want their work to have a positive impact, is scheduled to open this May in the SOMA neighborhood.

Coworking has been all the rage in the last few years, since it provides those who work from home the best of both worlds: the freedom to set your own schedule and choose your own projects and a community for professional collaboration and a sense of shared mission.

However, the Hub’s social mission sets it apart from the rest with its radical collaboration habitat, which turns each individual freelancer into a member of a network of like-minded individuals dedicated specifically to social enterprise. The Hub is truly a hub, a source for the best networks, events, and initiatives in social entrepreneurship like Investors’ CircleSocial Capital Markets (SOCAP)Rubicon NationalMercy CorpsExponent Partners, and Adaptive Edge. The Hub is the perfect example of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts. Simply by providing a space for great things to happen, they do.

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Environmental News Site Funded by Natural Gas Co. Beating Out the Competition

| Tuesday April 6th, 2010 | 0 Comments

It’s a brave new world for news media. Clean Skies Network, a video news website bankrolled by the American Clean Skies Foundation, which is in turn bankrolled by Chesapeake Energy, the country’s largest natural gas producer, has been quietly putting out well-produced, timely stories on clean energy and climate policy.

Clean Skies is still ranked far below major green news sites, like Greenbiz.com, the Environmental Leader, and of course Triple Pundit. But the site has won praise from the New York Times, and a recent visit shows why.

Clean Skies’ flagship product, “The Energy Report,” a video news round-up with professional production values, covers the gamut of breaking energy and environmental news with timely reporting of topics often missed by other environmental outlets.

A recent Report included a piece about the Virginia AG suing to stop new fuel efficiency rules, a juicy story not on most other mainstream sites, as well as coverage of the Cape Wind Project, an update on Obama’s drilling plans and other news.

Given the current state of the news media — total chaos — is it possible that the cleanskies.com model is the future? Or at least one version of it? If Fox News can wear its politics on its sleeve and still be called a news organization, why can’t Clean Skies be one too, provided it’s honest about who cuts the paychecks?

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MIT Enterprise Forum: Creating Value Through Sustainability

| Tuesday April 6th, 2010 | 0 Comments

Here is an option for what to do with your employees the week of Earth Day: host a live viewing of Creating Value Through Sustainability,” an educational forum and worldwide Webcast on the triple bottom line, presented by the MIT Enterprise Forum in collaboration with the GREENGUARD Environmental Institute on April 20.

The forum features a lineup of high-profile speakers (unfortunately no women in the mix–what’s up with that?), including:

  • Matt Kistler, Senior Vice President, Sustainability, Walmart;
  • Eric Hespenheide, Global Leader, Climate Change and Sustainability, Audit and Enterprise Risk Services, Deloitte & Touche LLP;
  • Paul Murray, Director of Environmental Safety and Sustainability, Herman Miller, Inc.; and
  • James Modak, Chief Financial Officer, Suniva, Inc.

Topics to be addressed include how to successfully implement sustainability strategy into everyday business decisions; how to create financial value while meeting societal and environmental needs; how to determine key sustainability drivers that impact business; and how to increase business success through an effective sustainability strategy.

The satellite broadcast and worldwide Webcast are available at no charge. Click here for more details on registering.

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Virginia AG to Challenge New Fuel Efficiency Standards in Court

| Tuesday April 6th, 2010 | 0 Comments

Virginia’s Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli intends to challenge, in federal court, new vehicle fuel efficiency standards released this week by the Obama administration and the EPA.

In February, Cuccinelli sued the EPA over its decision last year to regulate greenhouse gases in general, arguing it was based on climate data that was “unreliable, unverifiable and doctored.” New filings from his office will appeal that lawsuit in light of the inclusion of greenhouse gas regulation in the efficiency standards, which spokesman Brian Gottstein said amounts to a “tacit denial” of the earlier suit.

Under the new rules, known as CAFE standards, the average fuel efficiency of vehicles sold in the US will rise to about 35 mpg by 2016, the equivalent of no more than 250 grams of carbon dioxide per mile. The new standards represent the first time the EPA has regulated the greenhouse gas emissions of vehicles.

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Nitrous Oxide’s Global Warming Impact No Laughing Matter

| Tuesday April 6th, 2010 | 9 Comments

Thawing permafrost in the Northern Hemisphere releases “large amounts” of greenhouse gas nitrous oxide, according to a new study from the journal Nature Geoscience.

The study found that under certain conditions thawed permafrost can release as much nitrous oxide as tropical forests, one of the main sources of the gas.

Nitrous oxide, also known as “laughing gas,” is ranked third behind carbon dioxide and methane in contributing to global warming, and is regulated under the Kyoto Protocols. According to the EPA, the gas is 310 times more effective in trapping heat than carbon dioxide. Sixty percent of the nitrous in the atmosphere is produced naturally.

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Are Method Home Products “Green?” Should I Care?

Leon Kaye | Tuesday April 6th, 2010 | 5 Comments

Start typing “method” into Google, and one of its saved searches that will appear as you type is: “are method products really green.” Plenty of newswire services and blogs discuss whether or not method (I’m respecting its brand: the “m” is not capitalized), which sells about $100 million in house cleaning products annually, is actually selling eco-friendly cleaners. One article has pointed out that method does not make any claims to be green. Others discuss that the company did not bother with gaining the Green Seal label on its packaging.

I have done some research, and yes, it’s true: method makes almost no claims to be “green.”

Which is precisely the reason I buy many of its home products.

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Factory Farm Debate Gets Smelly in Missouri

3p Contributor | Tuesday April 6th, 2010 | 2 Comments

By Lesley Lammers, the Green Chamber of Commerce

Oral argument will be heard this month in Kansas City’s Western District Court of Appeals over a case that could potentially impact factory farm regulations in Missouri and other Farm Belt states. The case, Missouri Department of Natural Resources v. Missouri Parks Association, started back in 2007 when residents of Arrow Rock, Missouri, filed a lawsuit to stop a CAFO (concentrated animal feeding operation) of 4,800 hogs from being built within two miles of the city. Arrow Rock is a designated historic site and residents argued that the farm’s smell would turn away tourism dollars, their main source of revenue. The farm also raised concern about potential air, soil and water pollution, for which CAFOs have a reputation. The original ruling by Cole County Circuit Judge Pat Joyce prohibits any CAFOs within two miles of state parks and historic sites.

In 2009, Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster, appealed the court decision with the support of the Missouri Farm Bureau. This Kansas City Star editorial contends that the appeal was a bad decision, as it could have a negative effect on Missouri counties’ local control over where CAFOs can be located. As quoted in the Wall Street Journal, Koster defended the appeal by stating that Missouri needs a “unified regulatory structure so that we don’t have 500 different zoning units over agriculture.” Anti-CAFO advocates believe Koster and industrial agriculture lobbying groups’ fear is that this suit could apply to other CAFO cases in Missouri – CAFOs that might stand to be shut down or prevented from being built in the first place.

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Getting Ready for Microfinance USA 2010

| Tuesday April 6th, 2010 | 0 Comments

There are a few conferences every year that we get really excited about here at 3p. Microfinance USA, coming up in May, is one we’ve had our eye on for a while.

Why? Entrepreneurship plays an incredibly important role in building a more sustainable future. This fact is especially magnified in parts of the world and the country that are economically underdeveloped: Entrepreneurship provides income, jobs, stability, and a path to education and a life beyond subsistence for millions of people. The question of how folks get access to capital is as important as what they choose to innovate with it. But without these social and economic advances, we can forget addressing any major environmental issues.

Microfinance and Social/Eco Entrepreneurship is one of the areas of focus that we’re looking to get much more involved with. If fact, we’ll be putting a special focus on Social Entrepreneurship during May (stand by for details). Rebecca Busse will be at the Microfinance USA conference to bring you the highlights in May, but don’t hesitate to get in touch with us in advance if you’re interested in any particular angle of coverage, or if you’d like to contribute a guest post on a related topic.

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Sustainability Communications: Four Tips for Bringing Your Written Materials to Life

| Monday April 5th, 2010 | 8 Comments

Do you want your written communications to inspire new actions?

Over the weekend, I was reading a few of the books in my pile on organizational change and motivation and I started thinking about how these concepts could be integrated into my current sustainability writing projects.

How can we create CSR reports, corporate sustainability web sites and annual reports that cause a change and inspire new actions? I recently heard at a green conference that the CSR report is dead. Consider the following four guidelines to bring your written materials to life: tell stories, paint a detailed vision, but make a specific request, engage people’s emotions and use non-controlling language.

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“J. Peterman” Hawking Hog Sewage Power Plant

| Monday April 5th, 2010 | 3 Comments

John O’Hurley, the actor best known for his portrayal of catalog magnate J. Peterman on Seinfeld, talked with Triple Pundit recently about a new cleantech company he’s backing, Energy Inc., which sells power plants that can convert bio-waste into electricity and heat.

The company, which O’Hurley started two years ago with business partner Kim Kirkendall, recently won a contract to build a pyrolytic gasification plant at the High Ridge Farm in North Carolina. The plant will turn manure from thousands of hogs into clean electricity to run the farm and hot air to keep the pigs cozy.

An actor looking for stories to tell

O’Hurley, also known as the host of Family Feud and a winning contestant on Dancing with the Stars, looks for companies “with an interesting story to tell,” a quality that dovetails with his own strengths coming from show-business. “I like to work in my area of expertise: the ability to communicate a story, and access to the media,” he said.

He brushed off concerns about his fame as a comedian undermining the seriousness of his business ventures. He said he’s taken his lumps from the likes of Forbes after becoming a major investor in the then-struggling J. Peterman catalog company – the inspiration for the character he played on Seinfeld.

“I’m not concerned about the comedian connection,” he said. “I’m moving in to the manure business – I’m sure there are plenty of TV critics who think that’s right where I belong.”
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Aviation Sector Lags on Sustainability, But Biofuels Present Opportunity

3p Contributor | Monday April 5th, 2010 | 0 Comments

This post originally appeared on Biomass Intel

 

By Mackinnon Lawrence

Maddock Douglas, a business consultancy based in Chicago, found in its MapChange 2010 (to be updated this summer) that the Airline sector lags behind other industries in its sustainability efforts.

MapChange 2010, which profiles the sustainability of companies, shows that since many airline brands received fair perceived scores and low actual scores (see grid below), they qualify to be included in the Lucky Quadrant—meaning these brands currently enjoy “undeserved credit” for a green image without the initiatives to back it up.

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Why Your Local Weatherman Doesn’t Believe in Climate Change

RP Siegel | Monday April 5th, 2010 | 4 Comments

The question of climate has become quite an important one in these times, much talked about–though not always agreed upon. The need for prompt action requires a strong consensus, but where are people getting their information?

Some read the scientific literature, others listen to talk radio and quite a few form their opinions based on comments made by their local TV weathermen. A combined study published by Yale and George Mason Universities found that 66% of respondents trusted their local weathermen on this subject, more than other media sources and more than public figures like Al Gore or Sarah Palin.

So it might be cause for concern to discover that, according to a recent survey of meteorologists, who seem to have such a direct line to the public on this issue,  only one-third of them believe that there is a scientific consensus on climate change and 79% of them said that they felt coverage of the subject should reflect a balance of viewpoints. This is despite the fact that 96% of climatologists agree the global temperature is rising and that human activity is a significant contributing factor.
It is also despite the fact that the American Meteorological Society, the primary credentialing body for weather forecasters has affirmed the conclusions of the UN IPCC report. They state clearly on their website, noting some uncertainties, that “… there is adequate evidence from observations and interpretations of climate simulations to conclude that the atmosphere, ocean, and land surface are warming; that humans have significantly contributed to this change; and that further climate change will continue to have important impacts on human societies, on economies, on ecosystems, and on wildlife through the 21st century and beyond.” The Society now includes climate-change workshops for weathercasters in its conferences.
So why then are so many weather forecasters “going rogue” when it comes to this issue?

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How Will New CAFE Standards Change the Cars We Drive?

| Monday April 5th, 2010 | 4 Comments

How will new fuel efficiency requirements that went into effect last week change the look, feel — and price — of your next car? Experts say expect prices to rise, and smaller, lighter, technologically advanced vehicles to grow in number.

First, an overview

New Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards published last week require most automakers to raise the average fuel efficiency of the vehicles they sell to 34.1 miles to the gallon by the 2016 model year rising to 35 mpg when efficiency gains in air conditioning are included. Currently, the CAFE for cars stands at 27.5 mpg, and 23.1 for light trucks.

The standards are expect to reduce CO2 emissions by about 30 percent between 2012 and 2016, and save the country $240 billion from fuel savings, pollution reduction and reduced imports. Automakers have accepted the new standards because they are firm, ending a period of uncertainty; and nation-wide, so manufacturers do not have to contend with a patchwork of different state requirements.

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Don’t Get Bamboozled: How to Respond to the FTC’s Recent Crackdown on Greenwashing

3p Contributor | Monday April 5th, 2010 | 5 Comments

By: Michael Wolfe, Director, Environmental Certification Services Scientific Certification Systems

Since the Federal Trade Commission sent warning letters to 78 companies advising them to stop illegally labeling and advertising rayon products as “bamboo,” manufacturers and retailers have been wondering if this signals a widespread greenwash crackdown.

The risk is clear—the textile market, for example, has enough green claims to make an eco-conscious consumer’s head spin. Labels claim that products are recyclable, biodegradable, eco-friendly and more. The FTC has focused on the textile industry because there is great consumer demand for environmentally-preferable fabrics–and there’s also plenty of confusion in the marketplace. The FTC has even created a guide called “Avoid Bamboo-zling Your Customers” to help manufacturers avoid making false claims and a corresponding “Have you been bamboozled?”consumer alert.

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Is Microsoft Going to Walk the Talk?

3p Contributor | Monday April 5th, 2010 | 0 Comments

By Michael Muyot, President CRD Analytics.com

Microsoft was removed from the NASDAQ Global Sustainability Index (QCRD) on October 31, 2009 due to a failure to disclose at least two out of five quantitative environmental metrics that adhere to the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) G3 guidelines. Two other NASDAQ listed companies were removed (Cisco and Oracle) for similarly inadequate disclosure. Microsoft’s removal appears to conflict with the company’s stated mission, marketing and new product lines which focus heavily on improving other large corporations’ environmental footprints through technological improvements, better energy management and overall reductions in energy usage and GHG emissions. So shouldn’t Microsoft be leading the pack in stellar reporting and disclosure themselves to set the right example?

Microsoft has two separate websites concerning sustainability (in the broader ESG sense of the word). The Corporate Citizenship site is mainly concerned with community efforts and charities. The Environmental Sustainability website serves two functions: to promote Microsoft’s “green” products and to highlight the company’s environmental initiatives.

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