Oh, the good old days, when jobs were plentiful, stable, well-paying, and benefit-providing. The fact that those days are over is the lament of a new Nightly Business Report (NBR) series, “Once Upon a Job”. Through a series of interviews, the slice-of-life three-part series explores the current economy from the point-of-view of the jobless. One could conclude from the interviews that unemployment is more than just an economic issue; it also reflects the substance of a society, the availability of resources, and the creativity of the individual, among other things.Click to continue reading »
It seems Unilever is not so hot about warm ice cream after all.
Or perhaps it is but is not ready to talk about it, or loathe to give anything away at the moment.
Despite a host of news reports and some coy quotes from a company spokesperson to the contrary, the world’s largest ice cream maker says it is not currently developing room temperature, or ambient, ice cream that would result in a low carbon storage, handling and shipping footprint.
Foodnavigator.com reported the Unilever denial – from another spokesperson perhaps – that its scientists, along with Cambridge University researchers are involved in a program to develop ambient ice cream.
The Unilever spokesperson told FoodNavigator.com following recent reports in The Times of London and this space that ambient ice cream is “something we are aware of, but we have no plans to develop this kind of product.”
Usually where there’s smoke there’s fire or in this case warmth. While the quote seems definitive, it’s also typical corporate-speak that’s perhaps more targeted to its competitors than its consumers.
Last night I had drinks with a very successful NY Investment Banker who is a vegan, a philosopher, and has a rather liberal point of view. Ironically, he is an analyst and expert in the field of the fossil fuel industry. We discussed much about our common concerns, interests, etc. And our interest in meeting with and learning from every viewpoint, and world view. He shared with me that some of his clients actually believe that the world is less than 5,000 years old, even though such clients deal in a commodities (oil and gas) which they understand must take more than 5,000 years to create.
We agreed that it would be easy to write such people off, yet there are many many mindsets on the planet which are very, very different worldviews.
Surprisingly – it appears that the environmental movement has not entirely gotten that over the last few decades.
After thinking about this for the last day, I told a friend over dinner tonight that I believe that the environmental movement has failed to effectively “pierce the veil” of the worldview of mainstream culture. Earlier he and I met with a long time, very successful activist whose organizations materials explained that the group had reached over 2 million people over the years. Granted – that is a very successful effort. Yet considering we have 6 Billion people on the planet, his group has just scratched the surface.Click to continue reading »
More articles on the controversy surrounding bottled water can be found here!
A bottle full of BPA-laden tears. That’s what I’ve cried for you, Sigg. You have let me down. To think, you were my proud symbol of healthy environmentalism. You represented anti-plastic bottled water as I filled and refilled you every day at the tap. Now I am filled and refilled with shame for you and your company’s non-transparent ways.
I’m not so mad that your lining did in fact contain the reproductive health problem-causing BPA (the main reason consumers like me made an effort to avoid plastic in the first place), it’s that you lied. Perhaps the BPA in your lining does not leach into the liquid contained by your bottles, but your web of lies has leached into the consumer’s conscious. Good luck talking your way out of this one.
The European Union has proved that it means business when it comes to banishing climate-damaging chemicals in cars. On Tuesday, the EU refused to grant a delay, requested by auto makers, on a recent ban on certain vehicle air conditioner chemicals, Reuters reports.
In 2006, the EU decided that, starting in 2011, it would ban the use of fluorinated chemicals that significantly warm the climate when released into the atmosphere. The move highlights the emerging green refrigerant market, and that market’s struggle to overcome the existing not-so-green one.Click to continue reading »
Let’s all start counting down with TckTckTck in preparation for what promises to be a seminal event in achieving, at some point sooner rather than later in our lifetimes, a binding global agreement on climate change.
Maybe it’s too soon or already too late; maybe there are too many naysayers and “yes, buts” poised for action out there; maybe there are too many well-heeled political and corporate self-interests hard at work to expect anything really meaningful to come from the United Nations Climate Change Conference that starts Dec. 7 in Copenhagen.
But this is one confab that can’t be allowed to come and go without a major effort to stem the climate change tide. It might be a last-ditch effort. The forces on the side of getting real and getting something real done have banded together under the TckTckTck banner.
TckTckTck officials kicked-off its 100 days countdown to Copenhagen campaign last weekend.Click to continue reading »
The Truth About Green Business, a new book by Gil Friend, founder and CEO of Natural Logic hit bookstores this month just as the nation grapples with a down economy and the prospect of cost cuts that are threatening many green initiatives at the nation’s largest companies. The timing couldn’t be better. In the book, Friend systematically dispels the myth that green costs more.
Friend spoke last week at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco to promote the book. Friend has a fascinating history, including working with Coca-Cola, Hewlett Packard, Levi-Strauss, Williams-Sonoma and others on their sustainability initiatives. He spent some time with Buckminster Fuller’s organization as a youth, coming up with creative ways to solve some of society’s most challenging problems. That exercise taught him that reverse engineering is often easier than traditional approaches when it comes to large social change. “Sort of makes the impossibilities disappear,” says Friend.Click to continue reading »
The Dogwood Alliance and ForestEthics just released Green Grades 2009—a report card on paper practices of the office supply sector. Environmentally responsible purchasing of paper is easy, and large purchasers are making greener purchasing decisions, helping to build markets for recycled post-consumer paper while at the same time protecting the world’s forests, endangered wildlife, water quality and indigenous communities.
Easy as One, Two, Three
The report outlines three easy steps to green your paper purchasing:
- Minimize use of paper.
- Avoid paper from Endangered Forests and other controversial sources.
- Choose paper with a high percentage of post-consumer recycled content and with Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification for the remaining content.
Click to continue reading »
Better Place, the ambitious electric vehicle infrastructure start-up, has won funding from the Japanese government to outfit electric powered taxis with “swappable” battery technology. Better Place will partner with Nihon Kotsu, Tokyo’s largest taxi company, and Tokyo R&D Co., an automotive engineering company, to retrofit pre-existing electric vehicles with swappable batteries and build a site to swap out the cars’ batteries.
The deal is the first commercial application of Better Place’s battery swapping technology after the success of a demonstration project in Yokohama. The taxi project is slated to begin in January 2010.Click to continue reading »
If you have a business that wants to go green, one your first questions is probably, “How exactly do I go green?” You are not alone. Many businesses, especially small businesses, do not have the time or resources to find green product manufacturers, set up relationships, and inspect the manufacturers’ eco-friendly policies. So whether you want to purchase a portable solar panel to provide power to your business or reduce your business waste, you may seem adrift at sea.
Government To The Rescue?
This is where the City of London (England that is) has come to the rescue of London businesses. Mayor Boris Johnson, using 3 million pounds from the London Development Agency, has created a green procurement service called Green Procurement Code. This unique service is web based and allows businesses to search for products that have been screened for being eco-friendly.Click to continue reading »
When the University of Chicago undertook an assessment of the global warming caused by our diets, they found exactly what many vegetarian activists have been telling us about for many years, and that is that being vegetarian is the new Prius. Eating local, they found, was a mere 4 percent of the carbon footprint in our food, whereas the growth and production accounted for 83% of the total. The United Nations confirmed this in a report last month: “The livestock sector emerges as one of the top two or three most significant contributors to the most serious environmental problems, at every scale from local to global.” Much of this has to do with the fact that methane gas (a, ahem, by-product of animal agriculture) has 18-24 times the capacity for warming the planet than an equivalent amount of carbon dioxide, upon which much of our legislative efforts have focused.
But not all meat, and not all production methods are created equal. Rob Ludlow, co-author of Raising Chickens for Dummies, owns the website BackyardChickens.com. The site has been featured in some pretty high-profile places: the New York Times, Economist Magazine, and now, for Pete’s Sake, TRIPLE PUNDIT! Full disclosure, Rob is a friend of mine who lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. Regardless, the concept of localizing food is a terrific step toward lowering your carbon footprint. Localizing it to your backyard is the ultimate in local. And of course, chicken raised humanely and the eggs that they produce have a far lower carbon footprint than beef and pork.Click to continue reading »
The EPA today sent a draft ruling to the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) that would likely limit greenhouse gas emissions regulations only to large industrial sources, thus shielding small business from any forthcoming limits on emissions.
With the expected formal release of an endangerment finding (pdf) from the EPA declaring CO2 a pollutant, the current rule under the Clean Air Act would require that industrial sources emitting more than 250 tons or more a year of a regulated pollutant install the “best available control technologies” to limit emissions.
Today’s submission to the OMB could limit “strict permitting requirement to industrial sources of more than 25,000 ton a year of carbon dioxide equivalent,” says a report just released by GreenWire.com (subscription).
“Putting this rule in place deflates a lot of the political rhetoric about regulating CO2,” said David Bookbinder of the Sierra Club.
For more on the story, see Daniel Kessler’s report on Treehugger.