Change – Using a Carrot Not a Stick

Jennifer Elder, The Sustainable CFO | Tuesday November 10th, 2009 | 0 Comments

escalator-pianoCan fun make people exercise more? Can fun make people recycle more? Can fun improve safety? Won’t it be fun to find out? Now through December 15 TheFunTheory.com is sponsoring a contest to prove the concept that fun is the best way to change peoples’ behavior for the better. The site is looking for submissions of ideas and inventions that support the theory that people will change behavior for themselves or the environment–if making the change is fun.

The concept of positive reinforcement has been proven many times over. Pavlov proved it with his dogs, and every parent knows that children respond better to rewards than punishment. So why not apply the concept to environmental and social initiatives?

To inspire more people to take the stairs rather than the escalator at the Odenplan Subway Station in Stockholm, Volkswagon converted a set of stairs into piano keys. The novel concept increased stair use by 66%.

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Net Impact Conference 2009 – Getting the Most Out Attending a Conference

Jennifer Elder, The Sustainable CFO | Tuesday November 10th, 2009 | 0 Comments

ni-09-logoThe 2009 Net Impact conference at Cornell is just around the corner. So many choices – 120+ sessions, keynotes, expo center, cocktail receptions, and networking opportunities. The choices can overwhelming. Two days can seem like a lot of time, but it will fly by and you don’t want to be left wondering what happened. So what can you do to maximize your enjoyment, learning, and career impact? Follow the 3P’s – Plan, Prepare, and Polish!

For those of you planning to addend NI09, please get in touch with us! We’d love to meet you. If not, the 3P’s of conference planning still apply to other events you might have in the works:

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Business Not As Usual: Astroturfing Follows Congressional Lead, And More

John Laumer | Monday November 9th, 2009 | 1 Comment

  1. US corporate-funded astroturfing continues, like a game of whack-a-mole.  Expose one of these vampire moles to the light and another one pops up in a different sector. A uniquely American enterprise, the common thread which seems to tie all astroturfing together is Congress.  Threaten Federal legislation and up comes a bloody gopher.  Have a look at Americans Against Food Taxes?: Who’s Really Fighting Preventative Medicine? for a recent example. Business significance: U5/C3
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3p’s Data Center Week: Creating a Context for Green IT

| Monday November 9th, 2009 | 0 Comments

green-data-centers-bannergreen data centerFor many of us, the data center is something we all know exists; and as we have been reading more and more, it is something that needs “greening” to improve large corporations’ environmental footprints.

Yet, aside from the select few that work and think about data centers on a day-to-day basis, the majority of the public, business leaders, and even sustainability experts couldn’t explain how data centers work, let alone what it takes to make them more efficient and environmentally friendly.

Over the course of the week, 3p will be showcasing the perspectives of experts and thought leaders in the data center industry, as well trend analysis, in an attempt to create a context for how they fit within the larger economic and environmental bottom lines.

Stay tuned.

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Enterprise Sustainability and Greening Data Centers

3p Contributor | Monday November 9th, 2009 | 0 Comments

green-data-centers-banner

By Dr. Zen Kishimoto, Principal Analyst, Alta Terra Research Network

Some years ago, energy was cheap. Few people in corporations paid attention to how much energy was consumed company wide, much less in data centers. More recently, however, several factors have changed this scene completely. These factors included much higher demands for computing and storage due to the rapid increase in online processing in both business and consumer sectors and, consequently, denser server concentration to maximize the use of space in data centers.

According to a 2007 EPA report, power consumption by U.S. data centers doubled between 2001 and 2006. In 2006, data centers used 1.5 percent of all the power consumed in the United Sates. Without any remedy, consumption will double again by 2011. As a testimony to this study, many operators have recently begun feeling pain at several points in their data centers, which are experiencing power shortages, high costs, and extensive needs for cooling.

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Data Centers as Information Factories

3p Contributor | Monday November 9th, 2009 | 0 Comments

green-data-centers-bannerBy Dave Ohara, Data Center Consultant and Publisher of GreenM3.com

Information Factory

Photo Courtesy of Google

I have been writing on the Green Data Center topic for more than two years. After more than 1,000 blog posts, one of the things that I have found is the name “data center” doesn’t mean what most people who don’t work on them think they are. In the past, there was one corporate building that was the place where data was housed for the corporation. But now, that no longer is the case.

A data center is a facility used to house computer systems and associated components, such as telecommunications and storage systems. New technologies and practices were designed to handle the scale and the operational requirements that came with the dot com boom. The standard for Fortune 500 companies now is to have multiple data centers around the world to provide information availability, disaster recovery, and reliability. What does it mean to have multiple centers of data? If you green the data center, what is actually getting greened? And how?

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Overheard at Opportunity Green: LA Having “Serious Conversation” About Feed-in Tariff

| Monday November 9th, 2009 | 0 Comments

Los Angeles Deputy Mayor for Energy and the Environment Romel Pascual said during a panel discussion at Opportunity Green 2009 that Los Angeles has begun a “serious conversation” about a feed-in tariff for the city. Feed-in tariffs, or FiTs, provide cash rebates for renewable energy fed into the grid — above the normal cost of electricity.

FiTs are popular in Europe; German has had a program for several years. But there are few places in the US with an FiT, Gainsville County, Florida, being one. If LA, the country’s second largest city, with the largest municipal electric utility, created an FiT, it would have a profound effect on the small-scale solar power market.

Pascual echoed acting Director of Los Angeles Water and Power Director S. David Freeman, who also mentioned an LA FiT at an Opp Green keynote speech this morning. The idea has come up in public meetings held to discuss LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s ambitious environmental goals. Said Pascual, “it’s on the drawing board.”

Freeman also mentioned LA possibly building large scale solar plants in the Owens River Valley, which was first reported in Triple Pundit last summer.

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Solar Energy Investment Summit: The $100 Billion Conference

Bill Roth | Monday November 9th, 2009 | 9 Comments

solar-moneySolar panels now only account for approximately 40 percent of the cost of a solar power system. And most technology studies project the cost of panels to continue its drop as a percentage of plant cost with continued advancements in technology and manufacturing.

While this lower cost curve for solar technology is important, terms and availability of financing will determine solar’s future growth. From a financing perspective buying solar is “going long” on electricity. It is a 20-year “put” that locks in an amount and price of electricity. And this upfront 20-year financial put means the cost and terms of financing are as critical, or more so, to the economic viability of a solar installation as the cost of panels.

For this reason I am attending the  2nd Annual Solar Energy Investment & Finance Summit being held November 12-13 at the Hotel Nikko in San Francisco. It is a great opportunity to hear what the big money people like GE Energy Financial Services, Lazard Freres & Co and Morgan Stanley think the terms and conditions should be for financing a solar system.

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Book Review–Starting Green: An Ecopreneur’s Toolkit For Starting a Green Business From Business Plan to Profit by Glenn Croston

Scott Cooney | Monday November 9th, 2009 | 2 Comments

starting greenGlenn Croston’s latest book, Starting Green:  An Ecopreneur’s Toolkit for Starting a Green Business From Business Plan to Profits (Entrepreneur Press) is a useful resource for entrepreneurial types looking to enter the green economy.

Croston describes the green economy as entering Green 3.0:  the stage where business is beginning to make green its focus, bringing the other 95% of consumers (in addition to the 5% that do it because the environment is the #1 thing they’re concerned with) into the green world by making it easier for them to do so.  In Green 4.0, according to Croston, “Everything is green.”

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Top Five Reasons to Like Rickshaw Bagworks

| Monday November 9th, 2009 | 1 Comment

Picture 1Mark Dwight, former CEO of Timbuk2, has taken his vision of sustainability and experience in messenger bag industry and spun it into San Francisco’s newest bag company- Rickshaw Bagworks.  Rickshaw is a relatively new company, and operates out of a two year old factory situated in San Francisco’s Dogpatch neighborhood.  Rickshaw comes after a long line of San Francisco messenger bag companies- most notably Timbuk2 and Chrome.  Although not the first bag company in the city by the bay, Rickshaw is the first to embed sustainability into the culture of the company.

If you haven’t familiarized yourself with its offerings, here are five ways Rickshaw distinguishes themselves from the proverbial messenger bag pack:

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Cap-and-Trade: The Real Deal from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Shannon Arvizu | Monday November 9th, 2009 | 1 Comment

mp_main_wide_USChamberOfCommerce452The U.S. Chamber of Commerce may actually have a better idea than a cap-and-trade bill for cutting emissions. And, contrary to popular opinion, they do recognize climate change and the need for clean tech development.

This past week I interviewed Dan Letourneau, the Communications Director for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, as part of a clean car web radio show called the EVCast. What I learned was quite surprising, given the amount of negative attention the Chamber has been getting lately from environmental groups and the green media.

It appears that the main reason the Chamber opposes a cap-and-trade bill in Congress is because it believes that it will not do enough to help businesses incorporate clean tech into their operations. It has issued an official statement detailing its position and has created an affiliate Institute for 21st Century Energy to develop what they call a “common sense energy strategy.” Letourneau remarked that the Chamber has, in fact, proposed 88 different policy recommendations to Congress that reflect real-world approaches to helping businesses curb emissions.

So – what is the real deal here? Is this just a facade to cover up prior opposition to clean energy…or does the Chamber have a valid point? As I’ve written on TheCleanDeal, a climate treaty should work directly to implement clean technology in the market place. A “cap-and-trade” bill does not necessarily lead to mass market clean tech outcomes. In fact, under Europe’s carbon market system, it has often been cheaper to buy credits than invest in clean tech to reduce GHG emissions.

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Let’s Talk Trash: Knowaste Turns Dirty Diapers into Green ($)

Jace Shoemaker-Galloway | Monday November 9th, 2009 | 0 Comments

baby-in-diapersDid you know the average baby goes through 5,000 to 6,000 dirty diapers by the time he or she is potty trained?   That accounts for nearly one ton of waste per child.   Although disposable diapers are convenient, they also create a burden on our landfills.  Disposable diapers can take up to 500 years to decompose. And untreated human waste poses another environmental concern – the potential to contaminate groundwater resources.

So imagine being able to divert thousands of tons of dirty diapers from landfills on an annual basis.  That is exactly what Knowaste will soon be doing.  Beginning in May 2010, Knowaste Ltd., will open a new recycling facility in the United Kingdom.

It is estimated about 8 million disposable diapers are used on a daily basis in the United Kingdom.  Now that’s a lot of dirty diapers!  Disposable diapers consist of three parts: wood pulp, gel polymers and mixed plastic.  According to the company website, 98 percent of the disposable diaper or incontinence pad can be removed from the waste stream using their patented technology.

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Hotels: What’s Keeping You From Going Green?

3p Contributor | Monday November 9th, 2009 | 2 Comments

hotels-vegasBy Jeff Slye, Chief Evolution Officer Business Evolution Consulting

I have two questions I’d like to pose to the hospitality industry, particularly to the hotels, hotel management companies, and investors that do not have a sustainability or green platform for their property or properties:

1) What data or additional information do you need to hear or read to illustrate to you and your stakeholders that investing in ‘green’ is critical to your revenue stream and attracting and retaining customers?

2) If there is consistent information from 3rd party survey data, direct customer feedback, and comments from your competitors that tells you that your customers and prospects are actively searching out and spending money with green hotels, would you make the investment to go ‘green?’

The above two questions are the primary ones hotel company decision-makers should be asking themselves in this economic climate, regardless of the other business benefits that come from ‘green’ programs such as operational efficiencies, cost savings, employee values connection, marketing, and improved public relations. This article will help answer these questions and will use hard data and real case studies to demonstrate the growing influence by today’s green-oriented travelers (which include corporate, individual, and group business). In my work assisting companies in developing their green and sustainability strategies we have seen first hand that there is real money currently being lost or gained in this space and it is directly connected to a hotel’s environmental commitment…or lack thereof.

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Hopenhagen: the Ultimate Cause Marketing Campaign

| Sunday November 8th, 2009 | 6 Comments

cope-hope-flagpole-english-low-resIf you follow environmental issues, chances are you’ve come across the beautiful, inspiring Hopenhagen campaign. The purpose of the campaign is to draw attention to the upcoming United Nations climate change conference COP15, which you can read more about here. Many folks who care deeply about climate change are watching closely with their fingers crossed, hoping that strong commitments will come out of the conference.

For those of us on the ground who care about the outcome of the talks but aren’t involved in politics, there isn’t much to do but watch and worry. And that’s where Hopenhagen comes in. The brain-child of Ogilvy Earth, an international sustainability marketing company, Hopenhagen is the branding of a movement. The purpose of the campaign is to give activists something to do besides watch and worry: we can hope. The power of “hope,” as we learned with the viral “Yes We Can” video during the Obama campaign, is that hope has a way to inspire and motivate people to action in a way that fear never can.

Hopenhagen is not only a play on the city where the talks will take place, but a subtle jibe at the choices we have in the climate crisis. We can cope with climate change by changing our behavior, moving inland and finding alternate habitats for the polar bears, or we can hope that the crisis will move us toward a more sustainable way of living sustainably, with the resources we have available on this planet. There’s a lot of opportunity for innovation there.

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Homemade Harvey: “This Package Is Landfill Friendly”

| Saturday November 7th, 2009 | 4 Comments

Opportunity Green’s been brimming with great speakers and quality products to talk about. But occasionally there’s a lemon. I was puzzled to see what looked like flattened toothpaste tubes in a bucket of ice on the patio today. They turned out to be a crushed fruit product called “Homemade Harvey” – an all organic fruit paste that squeezes out of a pouch.

Now, there’s nothing un-green about selling fresh crushed fruit. In fact, the product is probably good for you if you can stomach the aesthetic of squirting goo into your mouth. But Harvey’s stated claim of “100% Crushed Fruit, 0% Bad Stuff” overlooks a rather obvious element of the big picture: Non-recyclable, heavy and probably unnecessary packaging. What really cracks me up is the claim on the bottom of the pouch, and I quote, “This Package is Landfill Friendly“. Uh huh. And so is the chair I’m sitting in. At least we can’t accuse them of greenwashing….

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