Thanks to Triple Pundit’s Sponsors

| Friday September 25th, 2009 | 0 Comments

We’re lucky to have some really great sponsors here at 3p. In the case of the many organizations and companies we work with, we’d choose to support regardless of the nature of our relationship. By sponsoring, these organizations invest in our ability to continue to publish great content and continue to build the 3p movement.

EDF LogoThe Environmental Defense Fund Innovation Exchange is continuing to evolve into an invaluable resource for businesses. You’d swear that there was a catch, since you rarely expect great resources like the Innovation Exchange without someone trying to sell you something, right? But the EDF partners with businesses, doesn’t take a dime in return, then open-sources the IP for all to share. You’ll also notice that the content on the Innovation Exchange is Creative Commons licensed, so share it all you want, as long as you share the credit with them. Check out the EDF Innovation Exchange Blog and their Twitter for more. Thanks EDF!

Give Something Back Business Products

Give Something Back Business Products is an 18 year old business products company that is a veteran in the world of businesses created to make things better. Founders Mike Hannigan and Sean Marx literally copied the Newman’s Own model… sell products we all need and use frequently, like office chairs and recycled copier paper, and invest more than half of their profits back into the community (they’re a Bay Area company, so many of their clients request that they donate to Bay Area organizations like the San Francisco Food Bank). And the kicker is that their prices are competitive with the rest. They’re a founding B Corporation and their client list includes most of the companies you likely know and love. Thanks Give Something Back!

Thanks for being part of our community in support of business done better. If your business could benefit from becoming a more visible part of the 3p community, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us.

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Business Not As Usual: Apple Polishing; Footprint Verification, & More

John Laumer | Friday September 25th, 2009 | 0 Comments

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  1. Apple has responded to years of NGO pressure tactics by posting life cycle inventory (LCI) study findings on its website. Such studies generally offer low business value and generate little consumer interest outside a small audience of the most eco-savvy. (Anyone seen peer reviewed, published evidence that  life cycle inventory contributes to a business bottom line?) This is mostly about corporate image backup. See Apple Adds More Environmental Impact Information to Website for a full discussion. This particular apple seems unlikely to roll far from its tree; though others may elect to cultivate a green image in more effective, ways.  I’m rating business significance fairly low – a scale explained at the bottom of this post – as U1/C3
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What Makes a Business “Social”?

| Friday September 25th, 2009 | 0 Comments

social-businessBy: Scott Shuffield

“Service to society, guided by well-articulated values, is not just ‘nice to do’ but an integral part of the business models for companies.” – from SuperCorp: How Vanguard Companies Create Innovation, Profits, Growth, and Social Good by Rosabeth Moss Kanter

Years ago, Sam Palmisano, CEO of IBM, told the board of directors that he wanted to invite all 400,000 IBM employees to a WebChat allowing them to discuss IBM’s values and take account of the employees’ opinions. A prominent member of the board stood up and asked, “Isn’t this socialism?” Some people might expect that reaction and even argue that such a venture isn’t acceptable, not Rosabeth Moss Kanter.

As Kanter argued during a forum held by Center for Social Value Creation (a part of the Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland), a sense of purpose beyond monetary compensation motivates people and will even increase a company’s profit. When IBM’s Palmisano asked employees to contribute to the direction of the company, it allowed them to put a stake in the business and allowed their emotions to get involved. Kanter suggested that the culture Palmisano created at IBM helped it fare better than most during the recent global financial meltdown.

But just asking employees for their input won’t suffice to inspire innovation. After asking for their input, IBM made sure to actually do the good things their employees recommended. For example, when a new plan for using idle computer power to create a supercomputer came from IBM’s research and development, the first thing IBM did was make it public (a.k.a. free!). Creating WorldCommunityGrid.org, IBM invested in a program that allows people like researchers to access a supercomputer to do advanced calculations that would take years on a single computer. It’s a really cool concept and I encourage you to check out the site.

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Maryland’s Smith School Launches Center for Social Value Creation

| Friday September 25th, 2009 | 1 Comment

By Deepa Janakiraman

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Two hundred and fifty students, industry experts, entrepreneurs, professors and social value creators came together at Ronald Reagan Building in Washington today for the grand launch of Center for Social Value Creation (csvc) at Robert H. Smith School of Business.

Dean Anand introduced the center with a comment that “In the business school we have a responsibility to create responsible leaders”. Although he commented the school is a little behind in starting the center, he promptly recognized that the students and faculty are already creating social value by many means -Especially via involvement with Net Impact, Smith School Energy Club, CIBER, Green, sustainable and social corporate responsibility clubs and more.

Today’s forum on leadership for a better world will be covered by three current University of Maryland students here on 3p, check back for updates throughout the day.

Deepa Janakiraman is a MBA student at Robert H. Smith School and works at Booz Allen Hamilton as an associate. An avid traveler and photographer and writes travel blogs at www.deeparaman.com

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Zumbox Is Not Another BS “Paperless” Mail Option. Here’s Why.

| Friday September 25th, 2009 | 29 Comments

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Zumbox video captureI have to admit, when my friend Rob Reed of Max Gladwell first told me about Zumbox, the “Paperless Postal System,” I didn’t get it. How was it different then, say, Earth Class Mail and other digitized mail services? How many of the many companies I get mail from would actually participate?

So when I again heard from Rob about some big Zumbox news this week, I remained skeptical. Then I watched a brief video on their site, and it all made sense: For every physical mailing address in the US, they’d created a digital Zumbox as well. When you sign up, they send one physical piece of mail that you use to verify your address. Then here’s where the difference is:

Most non personal mail sent to you typically starts as a file on a computer somewhere.  It gets printed, put in an envelope,  then shipped via the postal service to your mailbox. With Zumbox, that file goes directly to your Zumbox account, bypassing printing, scanning, and mailing it. All those resources, energy, and time are saved.

But who’s using it? As of this week, the Mayors of San Francisco and Newark New Jersey are.

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Armageddon Energy: Taking the Pain Out of Home Solar Systems

| Friday September 25th, 2009 | 2 Comments

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armageddonsolar4By Deborah Fleischer, Green Impact

When you think of installing a solar system on your home, what is the first thought that comes to mind?  It will cost too much?  It will be complicated to install?  Or perhaps, you like the idea, but think solar panels are ugly?

A new start-up Armageddon Energy is working to remove these barriers and bring to market a “plug and play,” modular solar system that is visually appealing, smaller and cheaper than a standard home system and will possibly do for the home solar industry what Ikea did for home furnishings.

The business model?  Make it easy, accessible and affordable to sell small home solar system to the masses in a “big box” retail setting.

One of the most promising start-ups to watch

While the name, which alludes to the final battle between the forces of good and evil, has been a bit more controversial then CEO Mark Goldman expected, the company was named one of the five most promising start-ups to watch at the Clean Tech Open by Fast Company.

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At Columbia Sportswear, Reused Packaging Has Story to Tell

Mary Catherine O'Connor | Friday September 25th, 2009 | 3 Comments

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columbia_boxThe packaging industry is really charging forward with all sorts of innovative, recyclable materials these days, but one of the best and easiest ways to make packaging sustainable is to simply reuse it.  That’s what Columbia Sportswear is doing as part of its recently-launched ecommerce program.

Six weeks ago, the Portland, Ore.-based outdoor clothing company started taking online orders for the first time. When consumers are completing their online transaction at www.columbia.com, they can select to have their order shipped in a reused box. Once they receive the reused box, they’re also able to log onto the www.aboxlife.com website and find out where that particular box has been before arriving at their home. So far, the response to the program is strong, with 66 percent of shoppers electing reused packaging.

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Age of Stupid Inspires UK Campaign to Dramatically Cut Emissions

Richard Levangie | Friday September 25th, 2009 | 3 Comments
10:10 Campaign

10:10 Campaign

The Age of Stupid was more than just a disturbing film -— for many it was a serious call to action.

At a September launch in Great Britain, Age of Stupid Director Franny Armstrong unveiled the 10:10 Campaign to great fanfare at the Tate Museum, with thousands of individuals and businesses promising to cut their emissions by 10 percent by 2010 to make a real, measurable, and immediate difference in the fight against global warming. The Guardian — the world’s best newspaper for environmental and climate change coverage — signed on as a media sponsor, and many celebrities added their voices to the clamor.

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Stockholm and IBM Drive Intelligent Transport

Bill DiBenedetto | Friday September 25th, 2009 | 0 Comments

stockholm-betalstation_liljeholmenIntelligent transport seems more like an oxymoron than a green transportation initiative, especially in the U.S., but with impetus from IBM there are positive results to report on two fronts: city congestion and pollution.

The controversial debate about using taxes and fees to control wasteful driving habits while helping the environment could enter a new phase with the example of the Stockholm Congestion Charging System, which was created by Big Blue and launched in Sweden’s capital more than two years ago.

The system has significantly improved access to the city by cutting waiting times on access roads by one-half. City traffic is down 18 percent and CO2 emissions in the city were cut between 14 and 18 percent. These are the results of a study on the system by the Stockholm City Traffic authorities, IBM says.

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Omni Enviro Claims Magentization Decreases Irrigation Use

Gina-Marie Cheeseman
| Friday September 25th, 2009 | 4 Comments

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Irrigation systems treated with magnets to make water use more efficient sounds rather like science fiction. However, an Australian company, Omni Enviro LLC created a system which uses magnetization to decrease water use on farmland. They claim this occurs through a device called the Agricultural H20 Energizer that is installed at an irrigation source. The device ranges from two to 30 inches in diameter, and can be fitted to various irrigation systems – essentially a big magnet wrapped around an irrigation pipe.

The company claims that its “magnetic resonators create their own broadband electromagnetic field in the water,” which allows the “water’s structural-information to change.”

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Principal Power Is Ready For Deep Water Wind Farms

Gina-Marie Cheeseman
| Friday September 25th, 2009 | 0 Comments

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PrinciplePowerWindFloatSeascape

Deep waters are the best place for offshore wind-farms, but it is very expensive to build a foundation to support wind turbines in waters deeper than 70 feet. Enter the start-up company, Principal Power. The company developed a floating foundation, the Wind Float, which allows offshore wind turbines in deep waters. The WindFloat, according to the company’s website, “dampen(s) wave and turbine induced motion.”

The company’s president, Jon Bonanno said, “The most prolific minds in the renewable energy business are talking about taking land-based wind and dragging that power out to the coast, which really doesn’t make much sense. It makes much more sense to generate that power from deepwater sources and transmit it to the coast.”

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Policy Solutions for Managing E-Waste

Wes Muir | Friday September 25th, 2009 | 1 Comment

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As electronic devices like cell phones, computer monitors and television sets become increasingly available – thus becoming one of the fastest growing components of the global waste stream – government and business leaders must find solutions for best managing these e-waste materials. This week, leading experts in the fields of electronics manufacturing, recycling and waste management from across the country met in Orlando, Florida for the annual E-Scrap Conference to discuss the major legislative and policy issues surrounding e-waste.

Most electronic items contain substances that are necessary for their proper operation, including lead, mercury, cadmium and brominated flame-retardants. As a result, disposal of such electronics must be carefully managed. Some manufacturers are already taking responsibility for the end-of-life maintenance of their products, and have developed e-waste recycling programs for businesses and consumers to safely manage and dispose of their electronic waste right here in the U.S. While the support of manufacturers certainly helps drive proper e-waste disposal, leading recyclers who handle this waste on a daily basis, and have a responsibility to maintain environmental standards, also have a large influence on policies surrounding this issue. Unfortunately, according to Government Accountability Office (GAO) some recyclers aren’t playing by the rules.

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Senate Blocks Proposal to Keep Bush-Era Offshore Drilling Policy

| Friday September 25th, 2009 | 0 Comments

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The issue of whether or not to drill for oil and gas along the Atlantic and Pacific coasts has come to a head again, this time in a Senate’s vote Wednesday against keeping the Bush-era offshore drilling policy in place. Could it be that, by shooting down this policy, Senators opened the door for a new, greener Obama-era offshore drilling policy?

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Results from the 2009 Net Impact Challenge: MBAs and Professionals Take Action

Net Impact | Friday September 25th, 2009 | 1 Comment

net-impact-logo-120MBAs and professionals stepped up to the network-wide Net Impact Challenge this year, highlighting impact projects ranging from corporate sustainable commuting programs to university composting initiatives.

As the third annual competition, Net Impact’s Executive Director Liz Maw said, “This year’s teams have raised the bar to a new level. The entries we received highlight the incredible work Net Impact members are doing in their offices, campuses, and communities. We are proud to support them through our network.”

For Net Impact’s nearly 250 student and professional chapters around the world, the annual Net Impact Challenge is a chance to receive recognition for their efforts to make a more sustainable world using the power of business. “Our chapter really wanted to find a way to put the ‘Magnify Your Impact’ motto into action,” said Matthew Holtry, a Net Impact Challenge project leader from the Penn State Smeal College of Business who developed a campus supplier sustainability scorecard. “For us, the project was a win-win-win. We got to add sustainable value to our campus while expanding the MBA curriculum and getting more exposure for our Net Impact chapter on campus.”

So here’s what all the hype is about:

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A123 Systems’ IPO: Will Clean Tech Pave the Way for the Next Stock Market Bubble?

| Friday September 25th, 2009 | 1 Comment

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A123-017 A promising start-up that’s posted nothing but ever larger losses since inception, but with a high-tech “blue chip” pedigree and a promising product decides it’s time to go public. On the first day of secondary market trading its shares soar 50%. Sound familiar? In what may turn out to be the latest variation on an economic theme that has brought about some of the greatest stock market booms, busts and scandals in financial history, the shares of lithium-ion battery manufacturer A123 Systems did just that yesterday.

Founded in 2001 on the back of pioneering advances in nanoscale materials development at MIT, A123 is riding the still building wave of investor enthusiasm for lithium-ion battery manufacture. The technology of choice for storing power in electric vehicles, and with potential markets in both small-scale distributed and larger scale utility power storage as well, A123 has leveraged this R&D to land well over half a billion dollars of capital in the form of alternative vehicle technology grants from the federal government, Michigan state grants and refundable renewable energy tax credits, private equity investments from the likes of GE, and deals to supply lithium ion batteries to Chrysler and Shanghai Motors.

A123′s IPO may be the type of spark that helps reignite and propel the clean tech/renewable energy and broader financial markets to new heights and the US economy to a “low-carbon” future? Or could it be a sign that the US economy is embarking on yet another spectacular, liquidity and credit-driven cycle of boom and bust?

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