Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed people can change the world; indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. – Margaret Mead
I’ve used this quote in my email signature for years, but being at the BALLE conference in Denver last week was the first time I think I’ve fully appreciated the impact of that statement. The people I met there are passionate about creating change from the bottom up, and there were some truly inspiring stories that demonstrated the success this approach can have. Friday night’s keynote speakers are great examples of this. The first speaker of the evening was Lisa Daniels of Windustry, a non-profit organization in Minnesota that promotes local ownership of commercial-scale wind energy projects. This is not a new concept – Denmark has been doing this for years. In the U.S., however, most wind projects are developed by large companies or utilities, which means that most of the profits leave the communities in which they are build to line the pockets of big business. Windustry is working to reverse the ownership model and make locally-owned projects more prominent.
By Lisa Bingham Over the three days of the recent BALLE conference, I was exposed to many inspiring people and a lot of new ideas. One of my favorite ideas comes from June Holley, former president and CEO of the Appalachian Center for Economic Networks (ACEnet) and now a Network Weaver. Ms. Holley was one of the keynote speakers on Thursday evening, and told a wonderfully inspiring story about the kitchen incubator she helped get started. As interesting as it was to hear about the success stories that spun out of that incubator, two ideas that really caught my attention were of being rhizomatic and a network weaver. For those of you who aren’t gardeners or who don’t remember your middle school biology class, a rhizome is a type of root that sends out shoots and roots from a central nub. Think of ginger – it starts out small with a stocky core and then develops buds and branches. In relation to microbusinesses and entrepreneurship, it comes down to the same thing. Someone or some group starts with a core business idea, such as the kitchen incubator that Ms. Holley spoke about. This endeavor then branches out to include other enterprises that may be peripheral to the core idea but help to support the core idea. An example of this is a business that distributes the products made in the kitchen, or a promotional services that assists with branding and marketing. This is what is meant by being rhizomatic. Add the networks each individual brings, and these business can be expanded even further.
Today, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), announced a recall of Tesla Roadsters, citing defects in the body design. Apparently, bolts on the rear hub have the potential to be under-torqued and can come loose, which could possibly cause the driver to lose control of the vehicle. Tesla is recalling 345 of its roadsters that were manufactured between March 2008 and April 22, 2009. According to a Tesla press release, this is a significant number of the roadsters sold to date. As Tesla vies to redefine the auto industry with its breakthrough roadsters (and now sedans) that look a whole lot more like Porsches than something out of The Jetsons, how will this news affect the car company? More importantly, will this prove to be a larger setback for electric and other alternative energy-driven cars?
Symantec Study Shows Green IT is Now Considered an Essential Practice Green IT budgets are rising and most IT executives say they willing to pay more up-front for energy efficient solutions, according to a research study sponsored by Symantec Corporation. The 2009 Worldwide Green IT Report was released yesterday as a follow up to the Green Data Center report released in late 2007. According to survey data, senior-level IT executives report significant interest in green IT strategies and solutions, attributed to both cost reduction and environmental responsibility. According to Symantec, the data points to an important shift from implementing green technologies primarily for cost reduction purposes, to a more balanced awareness of also improving the organization’s environmental standing.
Starbucks has taken a lot of flack in the past few years for its non-recyclable cups, lack of recycling bins, and shoddy water use policies. In the past, Starbucks has covered up environmental embarrassments with vague promises to build more energy-efficient stores and cut carbon emissions. Now the coffee company is making a legitimate attempt to do right by the environment with a plan to make sure that all single-use cups are recyclable by 2012. But Starbucks isn’t stopping there; the company is using systems thinking to ensure that the entire life cycle of the cup –from factory to recycling bin–is sustainable.
As most readers know, Sustainable Brands 2009 is just around the corner and if you haven’t registered yet, now is the time to do so with a generous 20% discount by using the code “trprsp09″ right here. If you’re not able to make it to the entire conference, an excellent one day alternative on Monday, June 1st. Admission to the unconference, which also includes access to the ongoing trade expo for all three days, is only $99. However, Sustainable Life Media has generously given us a handful of free unconference passes for people who can commit to leading an interesting conversation during the day. An unconference is a set of casual (powerpoint-free) conversations which are moderated by anyone with a good idea. That’s where you come in. Here’s how it works. Sign on to our unconference wiki here. (the sign-up instructions are in the right-hand sidebar). Have a look at the proposals which people have submitted. Then, simply edit the wiki page to add your proposal. Be careful not to over-write someone else’s proposal. Once you’re done, send us a message via Twitter with #3p #sb09 in it mentioning your unconference topic. We’ll follow up with you and get a free unconference pass to you while they last. If you’re feeling shy, then you can still qualify for a pass, just let us know via Twitter that you’re interested and we’ll put you in the running.
If deliveries completely replaced shopping in “distant stores” there might be a 80 to 90 percent reduction in carbon emissions, according to George Monbiot in his 2007 book, Heat. Monbiot acknowledged that will not happen. However, delivery only grocery stores have a lower overhead because you do not need displays, cash registers, and “fancy packaging.” Monbiot calls delivery only stores the “warehouse model,” and believes that it “allows far more companies to play.” Online grocery store, SPUD (Small Potatoes Urban Delivery) would agree. SPUD describes itself as “an organic grocery delivery company.” It delivers 100 percent organic fruits and vegetables. Fifty percent of its grocery products are organic, and do not contain additives, preservatives, or artificial ingredients. Any animal products come from suppliers who do not use hormones or antibiotics. The delivery is free for most orders, and the company claims its prices are “competitive.” Most of their produce is brought in and delivered within 24 hours.
By Lisa Bingham When I first found out about BALLE’s conference in Denver, I jumped at the opportunity to attend. A conference on sustainability in Denver, my home town? Sure! Sign me up! Then I started wondering, just what is BALLE? And what are these living economies they are supporting? BALLE, I soon found out, is the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies, a national networking organization that provides opportunities for people involved in the business community to connect at a local level. It brings together small business owners, economic developers, government officials, and other interested members of an area, providing an opportunity to share ideas, give support, and work together to make their community a better place. There are chapters all across the United States and Canada, and they are all working to support their local economies in a more sustainable way.
A while ago I posted about Tony Hsieh’s inspiring keynote address at last March’s South by Southwest Interactive Conference in Austin, TX. I had hoped to have the video up then, but it wasn’t available until more recently. If there’s one thing worth spending 15 minutes on today, it’s watching Tony’s talk – whether you’re a manager, an entrepreneur or just someone who thinks companies can be run better. Here it is in two parts, the second after the jump. Enjoy and let us know what you think!
Though the economic news continues to be shaky, innovation hasn’t disappeared. In fact, at events like the New Venture Exchange, it’s being celebrated. As we reported earlier, this is a chance for consumer oriented green start ups to get seen by some of the most influential people in the green business realm, at the Sustainable Brands conference. Among other things, one will get an iPhone application created for them by green mobile app developer, 3rdWhale Media, complete with a strategic analysis on how to extend their brand on a mobile platform, together a value of $30,000. 3rdWhale, creator of the first location based green business finder, and Greenpeace’s first mobile app, has decided to open up the decision making process to the public, creating a Facebook forum for you to learn about the contenders and vote for which one you think deserves the app, all votes to be submitted by June 1st.
As we here at Triple Pundit are all about exposing new start ups to the world, here’s a quick summary of all 9 contenders:
When Obama first came out in support of electric cars, the opposition quickly attacked these vehicles as nothing more than “glorified golf carts.” They loved it. They used it as an opportunity to scare the public into believing that the only electric cars available were Neighborhood Electric Vehicles (NEVs). These electric vehicles, also known as “Low Speed Vehicles” are basically 4-wheeled vehicles with a top speed of more than 20 mph, but not more than 25 mph. Now we know the truth. We know that at this very moment, there are electric vehicles and plug-in electric vehicles in development and on the road that are not glorified golf carts, but rather highly efficient vehicles that really represent the future of personal transportation.
There’s a lot going on with David de Rothschild, and not all of it is TV glitz, eco-PR and his highly-publicized bid to become the world’s leading “adventure ecologist.” Yes, he is one of those Rothschilds–a handsome, 30-year-old heir to the famed European banking fortune. He’s the guiding light behind the Adventure Ecology eco-community and also the star/host of the Sundance Channel’s aptly named Eco-Trip show, which features a mostly bemused, angry or surprised de Rothschild confronting various ecological topics and absurdities on a weekly basis. One of his recent shows spotlighted the obscene amount of land devastation that goes into the mining and making of a simple gold ring. But the thing that is getting him the most publicity is his Plastiki Expedition. Click to continue reading »
By Kevin Whilden Imagine Surfboards has developed new surfboard manufacturing techniques to build more “ecologically friendly” surfboards at reasonable cost and with superior performance on the waves. The boards are made from recycled polystyrene cores (e.g. used coffee cups), “glassed” with bamboo cloth, and have bamboo fins. Imagine has started winning major awards for its innovative designs and sales are skyrocketing. It appears that ecological surfboards have that “cool factor” which can wield significant influence on the market place, and the surfboard company’s suppliers are improving their environmental performance as a direct result of Imagine’s green approach. Surfing is one sport that desperately needs to make being “green” more “cool.” It is immensely popular, with USA sales alone estimated at $7.5B in 2006. However, sustainable branding and ecologically friendly products are notably absent from the surfing industry, which is surprising considering that pollution and sea level rise directly harm the very waves upon which the industry thrives. It seems like a no-brainer for the industry to rapidly move to a more pro-actively environmental stance, but risk-averse major surfboard manufacturers are still promoting 1960′s board construction technology that is highly toxic to workers and the environment — because that is what sells best. It seems that the bigger the profits, the bigger the resistance to change. We have heard that one before.
The start of Sustainability 2.0 picks up where Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth leaves off: Climate change and sustainability are realities, not just the obsessions or paranoia of a few scientists or activitsts. Sustainability is, rather, the urging to live within our means, to take a much more common sensical approach to the way we live our lives and interact with the world around us. It is the common sense that “impels us to turn off the lights when we leave home and to not leave the tap running while we brush our teeth.” Sustainability 2.0 is a 205-page compendium of the sustainability movement. It is the recent effort by Ernesto van Peborgh and El Viaje de Odiseo (Odyssey’s Journey), a sustainabilty and new media consultancy group based in Buenos Aires, Argentina. It starts with establishing the framework laid down at the Rio Earth Summit in 1992, through the nascency of the current iteration of the sustainability movement in the 1990s, to the current trends and issues we face today, including the intersection of sustainability and “participative” media. Sustainability 2.0 is a very linear, logical look at the trends of the past generation and how they affect the challenges we face as a society. It summarizes the theories of major green influencers, such as Malcolm Gladwell, John Elkington, Ray Anderson, Paul Hawken, Yvon Chouinard, Anita Roddick, and the minds behind the The Cluetrain Manifesto, as well as includes lesser-known anecdotes such as a case study of a mine in Argentine Patagonia.
The following is a short post from Opportunity Fund Founder and CEO, Eric Weaver. Opportunity Fund is producing the now sold out Microfinance California, on May 28th at Stanford. If you are finding out about it for the first time now, don’t kick yourself too hard, you can still catch the webcast tomorrow. -Ryan and rest of the 3p Team As the federal government shells out hundreds of billions of dollars of taxpayer money to prop up failing financial institution, with no end in sight, there’s one sector that is not only in the bloom of health, but is offering hope and help to many around the world. Many people know of microfinance as a successful strategy for overseas development, but don’t realize that microfinance has been helping low income people in the US for the last ten years. Now, in the wreckage of the recession, the country is looking for fresh strategies for fighting poverty and patching income loss. Microfinance is about to become one of the significant solutions on the table. This month my organization, Opportunity Fund, is co-sponsoring California’s first ever microfinance summit. The sold-out conference takes place on Thursday, May 28 at Stanford University. Participants — both those who want to lend a helping hand through investing in new entrepreneurs, and those who have their own great ideas for starting small businesses – - will learn about the power and potential of microfinance. The conference webcast will be available live at 9:00 am PST, when Premal Shah, Founder of Kiva.org will join John Stumpf, Wells Fargo’s CEO for the opening keynote: microfinancecalifornia.org/webcast/.
San Diego: Apr 24 – Apr 27 Social Venture Network Spring Conference SVN conferences convene and connect influential, innovative business leaders, impact investors and cultural entrepreneurs to create an experience where attendees can share the ideas and resources they need to succeed and grow. Register here.
New York: May 13 – May 14 Shared Value Leadership Summit For business leaders and problem solvers who see exciting market opportunities at the intersection of business goals and societal challenges, the Shared Value Initiative is the leading community shaping research, partnerships, and practices. Register here.
Southern California: May 19 – May 21 Fortune Brainstorm Green As the premier conference on business, sustainability, and green investing, Brainstorm GREEN delivers fresh thinking, actionable solutions, and unparalleled opportunities to build top-level relationships. Register here.
London: May 20 – May 22 2014 Global Sustainability Standards Conference Listen to progressive companies and governments and leaders from Fairtrade, Forest Stewardship Council, Marine Stewardship Council, Rainforest Alliance, and other influential certifications discuss what brings the whole standards movement together: Trust. Register here.
San Diego: Jun 2 – Jun 5 Sustainable Brands 2014 Discover what happens when brand strategists & designers connect with sustainability teams to drive innovation. 20% discount with code NW3pSB14sd. Register here.
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