Trader Joe’s to Adopt Sustainable Seafood Policy After Greenpeace Campaign

| Wednesday March 31st, 2010 | 3 Comments

Supermarket chain Trader Joe’s has announced that by the end of 2012, all seafood it sells will be from sustainable sources.

The move follows a months’ long campaign by Greenpeace to lobby the popular retailer to change its seafood sourcing practices. The campaign included a pirate-themed website, “Traitor Joe’s,” which now praises the retailer for “turning over a new barnacle.”

Despite its reputation as an ethical company, fueled no doubt by its folksy marketing and simplified, vegetarian-friendly selection, Trader Joe’s last year placed 17th out of 20 national supermarkets in a ranking of sustainable seafood policies.

In addition to switching to sustainable seafood, Trader Joe’s has also promised to:

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Former Sprint, Radio Shack CEOs Get Serious About Recycling

Leon Kaye | Wednesday March 31st, 2010 | 0 Comments

Cell phones keep getting smaller and smaller while boasting more and more features.  Most of those phones, PDAs, and smartphones, however, are eventually tossed out, and the results are disturbing.  In the US, consumers purchase about 140 million new cell phones a year, replacing them on average about every 18 months.  Americans are actually global leaders in cell phone recycling at 10%, compared to the global rate of 1%.  That still means 90% of unwanted phones, however, are sent to the landfill, where they leech toxins while wasting precious rare metals that are becoming more difficult to find.  But what some dismiss as trash can be lucrative treasure to others, so keep your eye on two CEOs who are launching a new cell phone recycling venture.
Ron LeMay, formerly of Sprint, and David Edmonson, a past CEO of Radio Shack, unveiled eRecyclingCorps at the CTIA Wireless Conference in Las Vegas last week.  Based in Dallas, the new firm will work with cellular phone dealers in creating incentive programs to encourage customers to trade in their old phone when purchasing a new one.  Working with wireless service providers, eRecyclingCorps will either recycle the phones or resell them in emerging markets.

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Carbon Trading Complexity Putting Strains on Market Reputation

| Wednesday March 31st, 2010 | 2 Comments

A series of criminal investigations and auditor suspensions in carbon trading markets threaten to give the process of trading pollution credits the same bad reputation as “collateral debt obligations” and other arcane financial instruments that helped trigger the Great Recession.

The problems also highlight a lack of personnel qualified to do the complex work of auditing carbon trading schemes effectively. A similar lack of understanding of various financial instruments is generally agreed to have contributed to the ’08 meltdown.

Who understands this stuff?

German carbon auditor TUEV SUED and Korea Energy Management Corporation (KEMCO) were both suspended last week (KEMCO’s was a partial suspension) by the Executive Board of the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), the main overseeing body for carbon credit trading activity.

The Executive Board’s decisions specifically mentioned a lack of adequate training for personnel responsible for auditing carbon credit schemes.

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Can Apple’s iPad and Interactive Magazines Save The Landfills?

3p Contributor | Wednesday March 31st, 2010 | 4 Comments

By D. Salmons

Magazines are being printed in volumes every day, and the sheer bulk in waste is staggering. Time magazine prints more than four million copies a year, all in a slick glossy format that has not always been recyclable. But now, a technological gadget could provide a means for curbing the amount of glossy magazines that are produced–and therefore the number that end up in landfills.

Apple is bringing the iPad to the world on April 3rd, and as usual for Apple, it is being delivered with a lot of hoopla and plenty of pre-orders. However, this device is different from past debuts in that its strengths may not be the device itself, but rather the deals and the support surrounding it. To be more precise, Apple has been working with major publishers to bring their wares to the device.

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Industry Veteran Opines at Wall Street Green Trading Summit

3p Contributor | Wednesday March 31st, 2010 | 0 Comments

Peter Fusaro knows environmental finance markets. As the Chairman of Global Change Associates, Fusaro is an energetic and tenacious green markets cheerleader with over 34 years of government policy and industry experience. When he took the stage at his 9th annual Wall Street Green Trading Summit last week in New York City, audience members perked up and paid attention.

“It’s the Green Economy, stupid,” said Fusaro.

From carbon markets to green energy loans and Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) programs, more than 225 professionals gathered at this conference to learn about a variety of innovative financing mechanisms. “This conference has always been the practitioners’ conference,” said Fusaro. “This is about people doing things: innovative things, risky things, pushing the envelope and moving forward.”

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CO2 Recycling Offers Alternative to Carbon Capture and Sequestration

3p Contributor | Tuesday March 30th, 2010 | 4 Comments

By Byron Elton, CEO, Carbon Sciences, Inc.

While the current administration has undoubtedly taken an aggressive stance toward advancing conversation on curbing greenhouse gas emissions, many of options being considered to address this issue are on a slow timeline. This has prompted the private industry to tackle this complex, but potentially lucrative problem to reduce emissions with an industry of new mitigation technologies.

Convention says that carbon dioxide (CO2) will be captured and sequestered underground using a technology called Carbon Capture and Sequestration, or CSS. But the questions sequestration raises are just as numerous as the number of companies emerging to potentially provide this service: Whose land will it be buried in? Is it safe? Is it cost-efficient? And, when will the technology be available? Many experts say not for decades.

In response to these challenges, an alternative measure is gaining in popularity that works within the industrial waste stream of places like coal-fired plants to convert CO2 to fuel. This emerging sector is appropriately named Carbon Capture and Recycling (CCR), or CO2 recycling, and it’s quickly advancing to become a viable alternative to burying CO2 emissions underground.

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Psychological Study Finds Green Consumers Ethically Challenged

| Tuesday March 30th, 2010 | 2 Comments

Typical Green Consumer?

A series of psychological experiments carried out by researchers at the University of Toronto suggest that consumers of green products may feel less obligated to act as altruistically in the rest of their lives.

The study, conducted by Nina Mazar and Chen-Bo Zhong and published in the Journal of Psychological Science, asked one group of subjects to evaluate a website selling green products and another to actually buy products on the website. The study found that those who had merely been exposed to the green website acted more altruistically in a series of tests immediately afterwards.

But those who actually purchased products on the website were less likely to share money in the same exercises, and more likely to steal money when given the opportunity.

The study suggests people who have spent money on things they perceive to benefit society as a whole may feel they have “done their good deed for the day” and thus are more likely to choose less altruistically when presented with other ethical quandaries. The full study is available here (PDF).

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Green Choice Campaign 2010: Rate & Review Green Charities

Jace Shoemaker-Galloway | Tuesday March 30th, 2010 | 2 Comments

If you have had experience with environmental non-profit organizations, why not share your story with the world? Whether your experience was fabulous, mediocre or somewhere in between, the GreatNonprofits Green Choice Campaign 2010 is asking for your input.  Now is your chance to review that green non-profit and share your experience.   Your review may help others make informed decisions prior to donating or volunteering with particular charitable organizations.  Over 800 reviews were submitted on more than 100 organizations during the 2009 Green Choice Campaign.

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The Branding Case for Offset-Inclusive Carbon Management

3p Contributor | Tuesday March 30th, 2010 | 5 Comments

By Neil Braun, CEO, The CarbonNeutral Company

As US companies transition to a low carbon economy, carbon management represents a new and fundamental challenge for business. How companies respond to this challenge has become a strategic issue that can build or destroy brands and reputations.

If companies take on this challenge, carbon management presents an opportunity to deliver immediate business value. Even with a lack of clear international agreements and definitive US federal regulations, the business drivers for taking action on emissions reduction are only strengthening. What may initially appear to be a costly headache can become the cornerstone of CSR plans and a way to win customer loyalty.

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100% Renewable Energy “Achievable” for Europe by 2050: Study

| Tuesday March 30th, 2010 | 2 Comments

A new study by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) argues that Europe and North Africa can achieve complete independence from fossil fuels by 2050, and that all the technologies necessary for such a transformation are already in place.

The Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis and the European Climate Forum all contributed to the report, which was released Friday.

The report’s Executive Summary, which was made available online (PDF), provides a detailed road map of how such a monumental transformation could occur. Central to achieving the goal of decarbonization of Europe’s power supply is the creation of a continent-wide smart electrical grid.

Similar goals have been outlined for the US, where the relatively balkanized and out-moded electric grid is one hurdle to the expansion of renewable energy here.

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Kaiser Permanente Powering 15 California Facilities with Solar Power

Leon Kaye | Tuesday March 30th, 2010 | 5 Comments

Whatever your take is on the health care reform package that Congress recently passed, the fact remains that the health care industry will only grow over the next several years.  With as many as 30 million more customers enrolling in health insurance plans, the need for health care practitioners and facilities like hospitals will only increase.  And with more health care facilities, there will be heightened demand for energy.  With that in mind, Oakland, Calif.-based Kaiser Permanente, which has 8.6 million customers in 9 states, today announced that it is addressing its surging need for energy by installing 15 megawatts of solar power, spreading the project across 15 facilities across California by the summer of 2011.

Kaiser’s power purchase agreement (PPA) with Recurrent Energy involves installing solar panels on hospitals, medical offices, and other facilities.  According to Kaiser, the Recurrent deal is the first step in reaching its goal of having 25% of its energy requirements generated from renewable sources by 2020.  Kathy Gerwig, a Kaiser Vice President and its Environment Stewardship Officer, expects the company to pay the same rates as if they were buying the same amount of electricity from local grids–or even less.

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Report: Environmental Cost of Corporations in the Trillions

RP Siegel | Tuesday March 30th, 2010 | 0 Comments

A recent UN study by the British consulting firm Trucost, as reported in the Guardian, assessed the environmental impact that the three thousand top global corporations inflict. The study clocked this impact at a cost of $2.2 trillion dollars–a sum greater than the national budgets of all but seven countries in the world and approximately one-third of the total profits of the companies included in the study for the year 2008.

The study was commissioned by Principles for Responsible Investment, an investor initiative in partnership with UNEP Finance Initiative and the UN Global Compact.

The full report is scheduled to be published this summer. Some preliminary findings just released show the cost impact of the ten biggest sectors as follows (in $US billions):

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HP and Best Buy on Best, Worst Company Lists at the Same Time

| Monday March 29th, 2010 | 7 Comments

They were the worst of companies, they were the best of companies.

Hewlett Packard and Best Buy have managed to get themselves on at least two “top companies” lists at the same time. The problem is, the lists rate diametrically opposed qualities.

Both companies were “good” enough in 2009 to get on the Ethisphere’s World’s Most Ethical Companies list. And yet both were also “bad” enough to make it into the Consumerist’s 2010 Worst Company in America tournament.

HP was also number one on Corporate Responsibility Magazine’s (CR) 100 Best Corporate Citizens List, an even more widely watched industry measure.

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Geoengineering Conference Contemplates Worst Case Scenario

| Monday March 29th, 2010 | 4 Comments

Hope for the best, prepare for the worst. When it comes to global warming, some scientists are taking those words to heart.

The Asilomar International Conference on Climate Intervention Technologies held last week brought together some 175 scientists from around the world to discuss research into geoengineering, the deliberate manipulation of the environment to slow or stop global warming.

The conference, held in Monterey, Calif., was convened not to discuss specific methods of geoengineering but rather how scientists and governments should proceed with research and experiments.

The stakes are high, because any experiment that alters the climate could have unintended consequences. As Dr. Michael MacCracken, chair of the Scientific Organizing Committee pointed out, global warming itself is a form of (unintentional) geoengineering.

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China Blistering Past US in Green Investment

Leon Kaye | Monday March 29th, 2010 | 2 Comments

The Pew Charitable Trusts released a study showing that for the first time, China is leading the United States in green technology investment.  Considering that China is four times the size of US, the study may not be surprising, but the pace at which Chinese investment has increased is certainly shocking.  Five years ago, the Chinese had only invested about US $2.5 billion in green and clean technologies.  But in 2009, that figure had soared to US $34.6 billion, almost twice that of the United States, which lagged at US $18.6.

The Pew study found that countries with strong and clear national policies, mandated clean energy quotas, prioritized loans for renewable energy projects and a carbon market, were leaders in the green technology revolution.  Hence Germany, Brazil, Spain, the UK, and China have the largest clean energy industries when measured as a percentage of their economies.  Countries without such a policy framework are falling behind:  Japan, Australia, and the United States fall into this group.  So when using renewable energies’ percentage of a national economy, China comes in third. And the United States?  A laggardly eleventh.

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