IT Leaders Set Major Efficiency Goals with Green Touch

Mary Catherine O'Connor | Monday January 11th, 2010 | 0 Comments

Bell Labs, Alcatel-Lucent’s research arm, is spearheading a major research consortium, called Green Touch, which includes academic and government-funded research labs, telecommunications service providers and chip makers. The organizations are putting their efforts toward creating technologies needed to make communications networks 1,000 times more energy efficient than they are today. The effort was announced today at a press conference in London.

Ben Verwaayen, CEO of Alcatel-Lucent, said that despite the energy-savings innovations made to date, the total carbon footprint from information and communication technology (ICT) networks is still growing. “And if we don’t do something radical, it will go up even further,” he said.

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Clean Tech Projects Awarded $2.3 Billion

Gina-Marie Cheeseman
| Monday January 11th, 2010 | 4 Comments

President Obama announced the award of $2.3 billion in tax credits, called the Advanced Energy Manufacturing Tax Credits (AEMTC), for clean energy manufacturing projects on Friday, January 8. The funds are part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). A total of 183 projects in 43 states will receive tax credits.

The AEMTC, according to a White House press release, are worth up to 30 percent of each project, and “will leverage private capital for a total investment of nearly $7.7 billion in high-tech manufacturing.” The companies selected say they will create more than 17,000 jobs. Approximately 30 percent of the projects will be completed in 2010.

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Review: 12 Tips for Ethical Marketing to the New Consumer

| Monday January 11th, 2010 | 5 Comments

Chris Arnold’s new book Ethical Marketing and the New Consumer discusses how marketing must change to reach today’s consumers.  If you are interested in any aspect of ethical marketing – Arnold covers product development and design, messaging, positioning and more – this is a recommended read.

Eco-ethical marketing requires creativity and an openness to experimentation and learning from failure. While Arnold admits, “This book is no rule book,” here are 12 key tips from the book:

  1. People beats planet. Between people and planet, consumers are more likely to pay more for perceived human benefits, such as Fair Trade or proceeds benefiting charity, than environmental benefits, such as organic or low carbon footprint.  Community-based values are particularly compelling.
  2. Values are a must. “Consumers are looking for the ethos behind the brand…consumers want to know that a company isn’t just driven by money,” Arnold states.  Gone are the days when profit as sole motivator could fly.
  3. Heartstrings win over logic. Consumers respond to emotional angles more than rational ones.  Luckily, ethical and environmental aspects can be highly emotive, so make sure to position them that way.
  4. Honesty is king. Make an honest gesture about where you are – even if you’re still working to become green – people will appreciate your honesty.  For God’s sake, don’t greenwash.
  5. Get creative with your packaging. Make your product’s packaging a selling point, or design a second life into the packaging so that consumers can continue to use the package for another purpose once they get it home.  (While you’re at it, design a second life for your product.)
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Getting Started in CSR Social Media: Examples from Intel & Timberland

| Monday January 11th, 2010 | 7 Comments

If one of your resolutions for the new year is to better utilize social media to tell your company’s sustainability stories, take a look at how Intel and Timberland are tapping the potential of the Web 2.0  In a recent webinar hosted by the National Association of Environmental Managers, these web-savvy CSR managers described how they’re integrating blogs, Twitter, and other social media into their overall sustainability communications strategies.  And, they offered advice for social media beginners.


Intel’s CSR reporting has come a long way since 1994 when it published its first Environment, Health and Safety Report.  For starters, it now publishes a full corporate responsibility report prepared according to the  GRI reporting guidelines.

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The Working + Going to Graduate School + Being a Mother Manifesto

CCA LiveE | Sunday January 10th, 2010 | 0 Comments

Dear (Corporate) World:

We need to talk. We’re just not connecting. You haven’t changed over the years, but I have. I think we want the same things. But we’re not doing a very good job of listening to one another. I feel like we have different ideas regarding time and what it means to be a productive, engaged, happy employee. You seem to want all of me. All of the time. Enough for me is not enough for you!

Were on the same side, you and me! You want productivity, creative ideas. You want to get things done and make some money. Me too! I want to do these things for you. Make you happy. But not at the expense of myself. What I need is some flexibility. Your emphasis on “butts in seats” as a measure of work being done and productivity is draconian. The world has changed, but your management practices are still based on work and working styles from the 1930’s. It’s time to live in the present.

Freedom + efficiency = happy, engaged employee. Allow me to have control over my time. I’ll get more done, I promise. You see? Do you want my time? Or do you want my work? These are not necessarily the same things. I suspect what you want is the service that I provide, and haven’t considered that hours in the office is only one way to measure and define work. Lets look at the results-only work environment. Have you heard of it? It works like this; people are paid for a chunk of work, rather than a chunk of time. This idea creates a workforce that is energized, focused, disciplined, and happy. Plus, it’s good for your bottom line.

Leisure time is not wasted time. Let me repeat that. Leisure time is not wasted time. It’s valuable. Important. Necessary. People who take time out for themselves to unplug are happier, more engaged workers who do a better job for YOU. John de Graaf co-founder and executive director of Take Back Your Time found: “It’s actually a common finding in epidemiology that health goes up during economic downturns,” he said. “It very much has to do with people having more time. Working hours are down.” See?! I need to take vacations for YOU!

We need to be able to trust one another. This hasn’t been easy for us. In part because there’s the whole “mom” thing. There I said it. It’s out in the open. You have a bias. Because I’m a mother you see me as something of a burden. “Oh, god, she’s going to have to take her kid to the doctor. She has to take some time off for parent teacher conference, what happens when the kid gets sick? And worse…. she’s going to want to talk about them.” Yes. I will do those things. So what? Seriously, so what? That’s life. It’s messy and it’s unpredictable, and children and mothers and fathers have to function within the world of work. You see, with more control over my time, (see above) with the idea of flexibility, trust, and results built into the mindset of the workplace, this becomes a non issue, doesn’t it?

School: I’m doing this for our relationship. Continuing my education is my gift to you! ;) Being involved in the dMBA program has already improved our relationship and helped our communication. We were never able to speak this openly before. Sure I may be becoming more demanding, but I think you secretly like it.

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Improvisation as a Communications Skill-Set: Redefining Fun

CCA LiveE | Friday January 8th, 2010 | 0 Comments

I often think about our everyday life being improv. When the pressure is on though it’s easy to get off track.

Communication is not only important, but without it, human life would be non-existent. Honestly, I had no idea what to expect when I discovered I would be taking a communications course called “Live Exchange” (LiveE) in the MBA Design Strategy Program at The California College of the Arts. Having taken the course, I can compose a list of valuable things LiveE has taught me about communication.

While I have taken away a lot from this course and could have an endless list, one of the most important and fun things I learned is how effective communication entails verbal and non-verbal skill-sets. Did I ever think that improv would be a non-verbal communications skill-set or even a skill at all to help me overcome my fear of public speaking?

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Green Jobs: Wind Power Provides Dream Job for Climbers

Jace Shoemaker-Galloway | Friday January 8th, 2010 | 10 Comments

Wind turbine rope access technicianWith a “high” unemployment rate, many people are scrambling to find a job.  Whether you or someone you know is hunting for work or simply considering a different career path, turbine maintenance is not only challenging, it is guaranteed to have you reaching for the stars.

Combining climbing and caving techniques with green technology, specialized rope access technicians, also called rope specialists, utilize their techniques to inspect, clean and repair wind turbines, reports the New York Times. According to rope-based service provider Ropeworks, “Rope access technicians descend, ascend and traverse ropes for access and work while suspended by a harness or a work seat.  For years, these fearless workers scaled the likes of oil rigs, skyscrapers, bridges and mountain cliffs.  But today, rope access technicians are keeping our green technology in good working order.

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Why Energy Efficiency Is Worth the Investment

| Friday January 8th, 2010 | 10 Comments

Investing in energy efficiency is a critical piece of the climate change puzzle. Given that the built environment accounts for 39 percent of total energy use in the US, real estate investment represents one of the most effective ways to implement energy efficiency strategies. A recent report from Ceres and Mercer, reviewed in Environmental Leader, outlines the business case that investing in energy efficiency enhances value in real estate portfolios. The report draws on key industry and academic research on building efficiency’s economic impacts and outlines steps and best practices for leveraging efficiency in real estate investments, including pertinent case studies about TIAA-CREF and CalPERS.

Furthermore, the results of the report indicate that companies who fail to factor energy efficiency into their real estate investment decisions might be assuming significant risk in the future and could be overlooking substantial opportunities to enhance returns.

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Not All Coal Is the Same; Research Uncovers Extra Deadly Chinese Vein

Mary Catherine O'Connor | Friday January 8th, 2010 | 3 Comments

Forget, for a moment, the debate over “clean coal” and “dirty coal,” and consider the rock’s impact on human health. reported on Thursday that coal being mined in China is linked to an unusually high lung cancer mortality rate among women and nonsmokers in the rural Chinese county of Xuan Wei in Yunnan Province.

Alexis Madrigal reports that in a paper published in December in Environmental Science and Technology, Chinese, British and American researchers have ferreted out a link between the silica in the coal and the massive event that nearly wiped out life at the Permian-Triassic boundary.

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Recycle Match: The eBay of Recycling?

| Friday January 8th, 2010 | 4 Comments


Waste. Every company creates it, in some form or another. For some materials, the path to recycling is clear – paper, plastics, and industry specific waste that has a known reuse within your sector or a related one.

But what about the less obvious materials, the ones for which you have no feasible reuse, and therefore pay disposal fess, month after month? Is that the end of story, a “necessary evil” you must resign yourself to?

Not if Recycle Match can help it.

Much like eBay has created a global market on the consumer items that previously sat in people’s homes or were thrown away, Recycle Match seeks to match up those who generate either one-time or regular streams of hard-to-recycle materials, with those seeking that material for their own use.

The source company gets revenue from that which they previously paid to have taken away, and the recipient finds a resource they need, likely at a lower cost, and definitely with less of an impact on the environment.

What does Recycle Match get out of it?

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Sustainable Systems at Work: New Offering from Northwest Earth Institute

| Friday January 8th, 2010 | 0 Comments

By Deborah Fleischer, Green Impact

On the most mundane level, green teams focus on practical issues, such as eliminating bottled water or improving recycling at the office. On the more ambitious front, they can educate individuals to be agents of change and raise awareness of strategic sustainability issues, inspiring innovative, greener solutions.

Sustainable Systems at Work is a new discussion course available to companies looking for a way to engage employees in an organization’s sustainability initiatives and inspire them to take action.

Developed by the The Northwest Earth Institute (NWEI), the program has been piloted by leading companies as Starbucks and Intel–to date more than 100,000 people have completed the curriculum.

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State of Green Business Forum 2010 in San Francisco and Chicago

Sarah Lozanova | Friday January 8th, 2010 | 2 Comments

Chicago San Francisco

When: February 4, 2010 in San Francisco
February 9, 2010 in Chicago
Organized by:

Despite a sickly economy, green business is alive and well. That is the sentiment behind the State of Green Business Forum that will convene in San Francisco and Chicago to bring together industry experts to explore dynamic topics, such as carbon management after Copenhagen, green marketing in the transparency age, and the use of IT to solve the world’s problems.

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Book Review: The BIG BGT Guide to Getting a Green Job

Frank Marquardt | Friday January 8th, 2010 | 3 Comments

Bright Green Talent’s foray into e-book publishing is a useful—and free—compendium of tips and tricks for getting a green job, from experts in green job placement.

Written with a bias toward the recent college graduate, the straight-talking BGT Guide to Getting a Green Job opens with a no-nonsense overview of the challenges of getting a green job: everybody wants one. Fortunately, those graduating, or recently graduated, have some advantages: youth is at a premium in the green sector, you have few commitments tying you down and you probably know something about sustainability if only by osmosis, because it’s a hot topic at universities.

Bright Green Talent should know something about the green job search: It’s a search firm that offers green career coaching services and a host of resources for finding a green job.

It shouldn’t surprise readers, then, that there’s a self-promotional interlude in the book, directing readers to send them their resume, sign up for career coaching, follow the blog, and use a recruiter. The Bright Green Talent blog, in particular, provides relevant, inside information about the green market, and gets a big endorsement from this reviewer.

But not all of this make sense, especially for an entry-level job seeker.

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EPA Backtracks on Mountaintop Coal Mining

Bill DiBenedetto | Thursday January 7th, 2010 | 2 Comments

Just when you thought it might be safe to go hiking in West Virginia’s mountains or along its streams, the EPA apparently has caved to the interests of Big Coal by signing off on one Clean Water Act permit for a mountaintop coal mining project in that state and preparing the way for the eventual approval of a second permit.

The agency this week told the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that it supports issuing a Clean Water Act permit for Patriot Coal’s Hobet 45 mine in Lincoln County.  EPA’s press release said it made this decision “after extensive discussions between EPA and the company resulted in additional significant protections against environmental impacts.”

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Who Are The Top Ten “Sustainable” CEOs?

Bill Roth | Thursday January 7th, 2010 | 56 Comments

A Harvard Business Review article just listed 50 ‘best performing’ CEOs. Not surprisingly the authors based their evaluation on shareholder value creation. This group of execs are truly superstars having created on average almost a 1000% increase in shareholder value.

Steve Jobs was number one in this study’s list. Without a doubt, history will remember Jobs as a business genius based on his marketing acumen and his ability to create stockholder value. But I have also admired his performance at Apple based on his ability to move us from a carbon-centric music world, where our music was delivered at stores by trucks in the form of records and CDs in packaging of paper and plastic. The emergence of iPhone apps that can monitor and manage energy consumption offers a glimpse into the link between “smart” electronics and sustainability.

So this begs the question: what would a list of top ten CEOs be like if we judged them based upon their positive contribution toward both a sustainable economy and environment? And what should the selection criteria be for this envisioned top ten sustainable CEOs?

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