A recent USA Today report on (many) states’ failure to meet their renewable energy goals highlights a number of issues, one of which being the value of setting standards for a national clean energy infrastructure (“smart grid”). Without such standards, the likelihood of energy inefficiency is greater and the risk of investing in green technology higher, and people are more likely to hold off on greening their operations. The implementation of a “Smart Grid interoperability” plan, which Commerce Secretary Gary Locke introduced September 24th, could make the difference.Click to continue reading »
Best Buy Co. Inc, the world’s largest electronics store chain, has several programs that allow its customers to recycle appliances and electronics. In February, the company introduced a recycling program at 1,000 of its stores which accepts most televisions and monitors up to 32 inches, laptops, VCRs, DVD players, cell phones, keyboards, and remotes. Best Buy stores also contain recycling kiosks which accept ink cartridges, rechargeable batteries, cell phones, CDs, DVDs, PDAs/smart phones, and gift cards.
Best Buy will pick up an appliance or television from a customer’s home after a new product is bought and delivered by Best Buy. For $100 Best Buy will pick up appliances or televisions from customers who have not made a purchase. The company, in addition, has a trade-in program where customers can bring in electronics for a gift card.Click to continue reading »
This Thursday, October 15th, marks the third annual Blog Action Day. The yearly event unites bloggers from around the world to discuss a single issue of global importance. In anticipation of the upcoming international climate negotiations in Copenhagen, this year’s discussion will focus on the very global topic of climate change.
Over 5000 blogs are expected to generate over 20,000 unique blog posts on the day, according to estimates by Robin Beck, Organizing Director at Change.org, this year’s sponsor of Blog Action Day. We recently spoke to Robin Beck about the event and the unique contribution bloggers can bring to this effort.
Triple Pundit: Obviously this is a very pressing issue, but what unique value do bloggers offer?
Robin Beck: Bloggers bring a conversation that they are running day in and day out. They have built up a community of people who are interested in conversing with each other, so the purpose of the day is to put the climate change conversation in front of that audience. And the real value is seeing the conversation start to take hold in places where it hasn’t before.Click to continue reading »
This is the this is the third post in a series on the business of sustainable agriculture by the folks at Bon Appétit Management, a company that provides café and catering services to corporations, colleges and universities. To read the earlier posts, click here.
By Dayna Burtness
Since 2005, I’ve spent most of my waking hours either working on farms, managing one, assistant managing a farmers market, or researching the food system at an agricultural think tank. Now I work for a food service company focused on sustainability, and a big part of my job will be visiting farms in our supply chain to assess their labor practices. Despite all the progress we’ve made in sustainable food over the past few years, farm labor is relatively untouched and has far to go. In the dialogue about these issues, it seems like we’re talking about two different worlds, both centered on the people who harvest our food albeit on different scales.Click to continue reading »
Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar visited Palm Springs, Calif., today to mark the official opening of a new Renewable Energy Coordination Office at the Bureau of Land Management Field Office there. In mid-January, the Department of the Interior directed the BLM to open these offices, or RECOs, in order to help expedite processing of the increased number of applications for renewable energy projects and associated transmission facilities on lands management by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).
The first RECO office opened in Nevada this summer. The offices are part of a larger effort to fast-track the development of renewable energy systems across public lands.Click to continue reading »
- With e-Book designs improving and choices expanding, commodity pricing may arrive within a few years, threatening existing markets for books, magazines, printers, ink cartridges, and fine paper. Even printers and publishers need to pay attention. Get a status snapshot on this technology with Barnes & Noble Says Yes, Microsoft Says No to New e-Readers Business significance: U1/C5 (See rating explanation below)
In a statement released at the conclusion of the two-week session of climate talks in Bangkok, UNFCCC Executive Secretary Yvo de Boer talked of more clarity on the “bricks and mortar” of the agreed outcome in Copenhagen, but that “long-held differences” persist on coming to terms on mid-term targets and finance.
“A will has emerged in Bangkok to build the architecture to rapidly implement climate action,” said de Boer at a press briefing, “but significant differences remain. In December, citizens everywhere in the world have a right to know exactly what their governments will do to prevent dangerous climate change. What we must do now is step back from self interest and let common interest prevail.”
Using another metaphor, Jake Schmidt, International Policy Director for the Natural Resources Defense Council, spoke of the five principal negotiating elements of a Copenhagen agreement as the main parts of a well-tuned car – and how the “car” is leaving Bangkok with some “dents and rattles.”
What do these metaphors really mean as (to add my own metaphor) the clock ticks down on the road to Copenhagen?Click to continue reading »
By Jacob Park
Managers must start to recognize environmental improvement as an economic and competitive opportunity…it is time to build on the underlying economic logic that links the environment, resource productivity, innovation, and competitiveness. – Michael Porter
What do SUVs, genetically modified organisms, and fast food all have in common? They’re all antithetical to sustainability…and they’re all described as exemplary “blue ocean” strategies.Click to continue reading »
Who would have guessed that a store called the Nebraska Furniture Mart would be at the leading edge of consumer electronics life-cycle management? But it is. The store is hosting the first ecoATM machine, the brainchild of a San Diego startup that has found a way to make recycling consumer electronics easier—as well as valuable.
Mark Bowles founded ecoATM. With a background that includes seven years at Motorola and five venture-backed start-ups, Bowles found inspiration for the ecoATM from the 30-year-old bottle and can redemption infrastructure. Just as consumers can earn a refund for bottles and cans in many states, the ecoATM provides consumers with value—either through a direct payback or through store coupons—in exchange for used electronics. Consumers can also opt to put the monetary value of the devices they drop off toward a charity that the retailer suggests. The first ecoATM—a self-serve kiosk that retailers can host for free—came online at the Nebraska Furniture Mart on September 21. More retailers in Texas, Washington, Vermont, and San Diego also plan to install ecoATMs this year.Click to continue reading »
If you’ve ever shopped at one of Costco Wholesale Corporation’s massive retail warehouses, you already know that it’s pretty much a low-tech, do-it-yourself shopping experience.
Paper or plastic is a question unasked at the checkout line; the best one can do is to opt for a recycled cardboard box that might once have contained kumquats, underwear, olive oil or detergent.
So in that respect the Issaquah, Wash., retailer has already been taking a somewhat sustainable approach since it started business in 1983. Plus, it saves on overhead by reusing the boxes.
In its first Corporate Sustainability Report, which covers the 2007-2008 period, senior executive vice president and chief operating officer Dick DiCerchio admits that Costco’s environmental reporting “is still evolving. We recognize the need to report more environmental metrics information in future reports.”Click to continue reading »
Since 2007, PepsiCo has been “doing the world a flavour” in calculating the carbon footprint of its Walkers Crisps, potato chips sold in the UK which carry the Carbon Reduction Label. PepsiCo recently revealed its footprint-calculating methodology, the implications of which could be significant for the mass food production sector and the development of sustainable industry.
According to an environmentalleader.com report, PepsiCo measures the Walkers Crisps’ carbon footprint at each stage of the supply chain, from the growing of raw materials to the shelving of the product and, lastly, the disposal of the Crisps’ packaging. The footprint measuring process entails mapping the supply chain, evaluating the energy consumed (and carbon produced as a result) at each stage, and adding up the carbon for a per-unit emissions calculation.Click to continue reading »
Priscilla Woolworth, great-granddaughter of F. W. Woolworth, who started the iconic five-and-dime store Woolworth in 1878, launched an eponymous online general store for eco-friendly products in January. Time Magazine recently been named her a “New Green Pioneer” in its Green Design 100 list. Her goal with priscillawoolworth.com is to “provide the best selection of eco-friendly products on the market” an the online store offers everything from eco-friendly cleaning products such as Bon Ami to bio-degradable trash bags.
Woolworth spent five years learning about retail before starting her venture. She said her online store is not about relaunching the old Woolworth brand which made her last name famous. She wants her site “to be part of the movement of change – to encourage people to buy non-toxic [cleaning] products that becomes the norm, [to] encourage an industry [to make] products using recycled materials [and] to find clever ways to reuse trash that’s non-toxic.”Click to continue reading »
Saudi Arabia may join the list of countries seeking financial aid over the UN climate deal. According to a Forbes.com report, during the UN’s recent greenhouse gas talks in Bangkok, Saudi Arabia campaigned quietly for financial compensation should a climate deal substantially reduce the world’s use of fossil fuels. The country appears to be motivated not by a need for assistance adapting to the impact of global warming but rather by a desire for compensation for decreased oil profits. Will the Saudis’ stipulation impact the development of an international climate treaty?
The Saudis’ campaign comes despite a recent International Energy Agency (IEA) report, which demonstrated that oil-rich nations would likely still profit with emissions regulations (sufficient for curbing climate change) in place. (According to the report, OPEC revenues would increase by $23 trillion between 2008 and 2030. This would be a fourfold increase in OPEC revenues’ growth rate between 1985 and 2007.)Click to continue reading »
President Obama declared October “National Energy Awareness Month” Wednesday, in a statement published on the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) website. Obama underscored the role of energy efficiency and clean energy in the well-being of the nation’s economy and the environment. He also called on the American people to focus on making clean energy choices – the only call to action in the statement. Will creating an energy awareness month have any real effect on sustainable development?
Investing in clean energy, including research and technology development, would have a number of benefits, Obama’s statement said. For example, in addition to protecting the environment, it would increase global competitiveness, decrease oil use, improve national security, and support communities. Clean energy expansion would also demonstrate “American leadership and vision while also making clean energy the profitable kind of energy.” Accordingly, “National Energy Awareness Month” will be a time to recognize these benefits and distinguish contributors to the clean energy movement.Click to continue reading »
Jeffrey Sachs: US Policy-Making Is a Bipartisan Failure, Failing to Even Acknowledge Environmental Challenges
Jeffrey Sachs, the influential economist at Columbia University shared a sobering perspective as part of an impressive lineup of speakers at Tuesday’s World Business Forum. In his speech, he pulled a fire alarm on the optimism on leadership in business and opportunities abroad with his perspectives on the bipartisan failure of US policy making and the world’s near-certain risk of ecological bankruptcy.
The saddening part is that the message may have fallen on deaf ears, with Wall Street Journal running what was only a side comment from Sachs, and little of the message making it out of Radio City Music Hall unscathed. This was due, perhaps in part, to the audience’s composition and the slightly morbid tone of his presentation. Sometimes bad news is just bad news.
Bipartisan political failure in the US
Sachs began with a quick overview of the essence of our current crisis, which is, he argued, financially based. “Beneath the rubble, lay complete lack of proper regulation in lending, which was the direct cause.” We broke down walls between investment and consumer banks, he explained, and created derivatives that could be sold to those who had no idea what they were really buying, and all of this occurred outside of regulation.
Then, as bailouts were handed out to Wall Street’s banks, the underlying and critical problem with our political system became clear as the financial sector spent $3.7 billion lobbying for its interests. Yesterday, Nobel prize-winning economist and World Business Forum speaker Paul Krugman, reiterated this, noting that we may have bailed out banks too fast, restoring them back into full control only so that they can lobby against any regulation that may be in the sector’s best interests.
Sachs described the current state of policy-making as something that happens behind closed doors and by parties focused on their own interests. Guess which sector is the second largest spender in lobbying? Healthcare.Click to continue reading »