Scaling Back En Route to Copenhagen

| Wednesday October 14th, 2009 | 1 Comment

road-to-copenhagen

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About 53 days until COP15, and the word compromise is surfacing more and more in discussions around reaching an agreement in December. There is also worry that the U.S. will not have passed any sort of significant climate bill by then, thus hampering their ability to make any real CO2 emissions pledge.

In a joint report written by the Center for American Progress and the United Nations Foundation,  a more manageable set of expectations is recommended to make important strides for talks to move forward – and this includes shelving the idea that developed nations will commit to binding emission target reductions.

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How A Sustainability “Change Agent” Workshop Works

| Wednesday October 14th, 2009 | 2 Comments

change-agent-300x225By Deborah Fleischer, Green Impact

Ever since I studied adaptive leadership with Ronald Heifetz at Harvard, I have been interested in the intersection between organizational change, systems theory and sustainability issues.  Many sustainability professionals seem to lack an understanding of what it takes to create enduring, lasting change within an organization or system. As illustrated with the recent departure of Van Jones from the White House, a change agent needs a strategic understanding of how to navigate the dangers of leading change without getting scapegoated or sidelined.

I recently learned that Sustainable Silicon Valley (SSV) is offering a two-day Sustainability Change Agent Training with Alan AtKisson, November 16th and 17th. I’m excited that I will have the chance to attend (I will be attending to cover the event for Triple Pundit).

I realize many of us have “workshop-itis” these days after attending a few too many workshops and conferences.  But I feel this topic has not been well covered at past green trainings. And Sustainable Silicon Valley is offering Triple Pundit readers a discount of $100 off the registration fee (applies only to SSV partner and non-partner rates). Go to the registration page and use the code “triplepundit” when registering.

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New Study Says U.S. Leads World in Geothermal Energy Production

Gina-Marie Cheeseman
| Wednesday October 14th, 2009 | 2 Comments

180px-Krafla_Geothermal_Station

The U.S. leads the world in online geothermal energy capacity and is one of the main countries that will increase its capacity, according to a report by the U.S. Geothermal Energy Association. California and Nevada are the leading states in developing geothermal energy, and make up almost 97 percent of currently active geothermal power capacity. Their nearest competitor is Utah, and they outpace it 65-fold.

The combined confirmed and unconfirmed capacity under development in Nevada could end up being 3,373.4 megawatts (MW), or 7.5 times its current capacity. California has up to 2,435.8 MW in development. Geothermal continues to be concentrated in California, and in 2005, California’s geothermal capacity exceeded that of every country.

As of last month, geothermal power was being generated in eight states: Alaska, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming. Other states are soon to be added, including Oregon, Colorado, Florida, Louisiana, and Mississippi.

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Important Readers Poll: On Sponsorship and Guest Authoring

| Tuesday October 13th, 2009 | 2 Comments

poll-imageReaders: As you know, we’re in the wild West of new media, where the definition of journalism is blurry; where barriers to entry are delightfully low; and where ways to make a living are fleeting. We love what we (with your help) have created at 3P and want to keep it growing in the most transparent and useful fashion for everyone in our community.

We want to ask your opinions on a couple things concerning the future of this site: sponsorship and guest authorship. Read on to answer our 2 quick poll questions:

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Open Data Isn’t Just a Good Idea, It’s Factual

Steve Puma | Tuesday October 13th, 2009 | 0 Comments

Above: “U.S. Hikes”, a live data table by Factual.com: Click & Scroll to view & edit data.

“Decisions. They are made every day. Some are made on the fly such as when a low fuel alert prompts me to stop at the nearest gas station. Some are more considered, involving detailed research and analysis, perhaps on the Internet or consulting with friends or experts. And others are made for us, by our friends and family, or our government. An important question is: are we all, given the data available to us today, making good, well-informed decisions? One thing is nearly certain, if your data isn’t accurate and accessible, a good decision isn’t likely to follow.” – Factual, Inc. CEO Gil Elbaz

As anyone who has ever tried to write a business plan knows, good, reliable data is hard to come by, and can be very expensive. Los Angeles-based startup Factual.com aims to change all that by creating a free “open data platform”.. The company believes that allowing the crowd to create, edit, discuss, share, substantiate or disagree with the data data will bring true accountability and openness to data.

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Bottle Rocket: SIGG Faces Class Action Suit

Bill DiBenedetto | Tuesday October 13th, 2009 | 12 Comments

siggBottlesIt turns out that even trace amounts of BPA, or bisphenol A, can create a public relations – and public trust – nightmare for a product marketed as an eco-friendly and reusable alternative to single-use plastic water bottles. This is especially true when the manufacturer is caught in a lie about it.

Just ask SIGG Switzerland and its U.S. subsidiary, the maker of hip, colorful reusable water bottles. It has what could turn into a damaging and costly lawsuit on its hands as a result of what was at the very least is a gross misrepresentation and marketing blunder.

BPA is a manufactured chemical compound that is commonly used in the production of plastics and epoxy resins. It mimics the estrogen hormone and is considered a possible health risk. When concerns about BPA and SIGG products were raised several years ago CEO Steve Wasik said testing showed “no presence of lead, phthalates, Bysphenol A (BPA), Bysphenol B (BPB) or any other chemicals which scientists have deemed as potentially harmful” in SIGG aluminum bottles.

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Does Your Building Need a Sick Day?

| Tuesday October 13th, 2009 | 2 Comments

Drawing Courtesy of John Andrews

Drawing Courtesy of John Andrews

Green buildings use key resources like energy, water, materials and land more efficiently than buildings built simply to code. Elements like abundant natural light, non-toxic materials and better air quality contribute greatly to improved employee health, comfort and productivity. Research surrounding the relationship between employee productivity and green buildings is gathering momentum and for good cause. Most people spend 90 percent of their time indoors and often experience a concentration of indoor pollutants as much as 10 to 100 times higher than when outdoors, making it time we paid more attention to where we live and work.

Productivity is undoubtedly an important success factor for all organizations. Companies strive to improve productivity in order to stay profitable, but measuring it is a challenge. For example, how do you measure a person’s ability to add value to the firm or their contribution in the workplace? Measuring an employee’s quality of work, efficiency and output in a professional environment is not cut and dry.

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Blue Source, Goldman in “Largest Publicly Announced” Carbon Offset Deal

| Tuesday October 13th, 2009 | 0 Comments

carbon-offset-scale

Carbon offset developer Blue Source announced the completion of the “largest publicly announced U.S. offset deal” (his description, reportedly): a $12 million carbon transaction between Blue Source and Goldman Sachs Group. The deal reportedly met Climate Action Reserve (CAR) and Voluntary Carbon Standard quality standards. It also included credits from North Carolina’s Alligator River Forestry project – the first carbon credits to be listed by the CAR outside California.

According to a Reuters report, Blue Source generated the offsets – primarily by convincing North Carolina farmers not to cut down tree stands and by capturing and burning greenhouse gases given off by coal mines and landfills. Goldman then marketed the carbon credits for Blue Source. Then, U.S. investor and carbon commodity owner CE2 Carbon Capital bought the credits. While the companies would not reveal how many credits were sold or at what price they were sold, Blue Source did reveal that each offset type was represented equally (roughly) in the deal.

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Coming Up: Opportunity Green Los Angeles

| Monday October 12th, 2009 | 2 Comments

opp-green.jpgOne of the few complaints I’ve had this conference season is the relatively small number of conferences taking place outside the San Francisco Bay Area. Though it’s nice to be at the center of the action, it sometimes feels a little like the choir is preaching to itself. Karen Solomon, the mastermind behind Opportunity Green agrees, and has put together what will be arguably one of this year’s most exciting events – November 7-8 at UCLA in Los Angeles.

LA is the center of the world’s popular culture and a global trend setter in business, communications and entertainment. So, getting forward thinking business people together there to talk about making business greener on a larger scale not only makes sense, it’s critical. The attendee list is a who’s who of business large and small, those you might think of as having green at their soul and many you might identify as newcomers to the conversation. Most importantly, in it’s third year, the conference aims to make a larger splash than ever this year bringing new media attention to sustainable efforts by companies, entrepreneurs, and change agents of all stripes.

tour-de-OGTwo special things this year: First, 3p is proud to be able to offer you a 30% discount on admission by using the code “TripleP30“. Just REGISTER HERE. Second, yours truly will be helping to rally a group of about 30 green business leaders in cycling the California Coast from San Francisco to Los Angeles over 5 days leading up to the conference. The ride will be a high profile opportunity to network with some of the most devoted conference participants, get some great media coverage (right here on Triple Pundit) and have some fun while we’re at it. If you’re interested in the ride, you can register here or get in touch with me personally. More to come!

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London Battling Single-Use Water Bottles with New-Fangled Bubblers

Mary Catherine O'Connor | Monday October 12th, 2009 | 8 Comments

More articles on the controversy surrounding bottled water can be found here!

cat-sink-drinking-fountainIn some public spaces, it’s as hard to find a water fountain (or “bubbler” or “drinking fountain,” depending on your local lexicon) as it is to track down a pay-phone. But just as cell phones have made pay phones obsolete, the ubiquitous water bottle means water fountains don’t get much use anymore.

But there are signs that water fountains might be making a comeback—albeit in a slightly different form factor than that to which most of us are accustomed. After banning the sale of bottled water, the Australian tourist town of Bundanoon recently installed three water-bottle refilling stations, which crank out filtered water provided by Culligan.  And now London is getting its feet wet with a test of similar dispensers at a London bus station and museum, reports The Guardian.

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Creating Change: The Fostering Sustainable Behavior Workshop

| Monday October 12th, 2009 | 1 Comment

FosteringSustainableBehaviorBy Deborah Fleischer, Green Impact

We all know that a key to creating a greener future is to foster more sustainable behavior at work and in our lives.  Be it a green team working to increase recycling rates or reduce paper waste or a corporate sustainability officer working to reduce a carbon footprint, a key challenge is how to encourage changes in our decisions and actions. But we also know that change is not always easy to foster.

To date, most programs to achieve green changes have relied upon disseminating information. Research demonstrates, however, that simply providing information has little or no effect on what individuals or businesses do. But if not ads, brochures or booklets, then what?

Over the last two decades a new approach, community-based social marketing, has emerged as an effective alternative for promoting sustainable behavior.

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The Cost of McDonald’s Free Burger Giveaway

| Monday October 12th, 2009 | 4 Comments

McdoLogoCorp1[1]During the month of September, a McDonald’s promotion gave away free Angus beef burgers and paid the fares for public transportation users in six US cities– Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, and Washington DC.

Such news elicited an emotional cocktail of optimism and skepticism.  With Nike, Apple, and PG&E recently forfeiting their membership to the US Chamber of Commerce citing differing views on climate change, this seemed as if another major corporate player was starting to acknowledge the business imperative of sustainability. At first glance, the program almost seemed to be rewarding public transportation users for their climate conscious choice.

But don’t get too excited.  It appears that this marketing campaign has more to do with ‘giving Americans a break’ during these economic hard times than sustainability. The president of the Greater Atlanta McDonald’s Operators Association explains, “The McDonald’s owner/operators enjoyed giving back to the community this summer with free McCafé coffees and paying peoples’ toll booth fees, and now we want to give downtown commuters some economic relief and a free sample of our new premium Angus burgers.”

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Obama’s Nobel Prize – What Effect Could it Have on the Copenhagen Conference?

| Monday October 12th, 2009 | 2 Comments

obama-nobel-prize

Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize score could have numerous implications – including potential benefits for the UN Climate Conference in Copenhagen (scheduled for December 7th through 18th). According to a Reuters report, some analysts believe the award could push Obama to attend the Conference, in part because officials will hand over the prize in nearby Oslo on December 10th. Will Obama respond as such, and would his doing so impact the Conference’s success?

Despite the Obama administration’s sluggishness in passing climate legislation in time for the Copenhagen conference, the administration has, at least in intention, improved on the previous administration’s climate actions. Former President George W. Bush dropped efforts to get the Senate to ratify the Kyoto Protocol for 2020 (which all other industrialized nations adopted), while Obama is encouraging the US to assume a bigger role in a new global climate treaty. It’s this attitude that (at least in part) likely qualified him for the Prize and makes his attending the UN Conference a pressure point for many world leaders.

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Streamlining the Smart Grid – the Key to Helping States Meet Renewable Energy Goals?

| Monday October 12th, 2009 | 0 Comments

north-america-from-space

A recent USA Today report on (many) states’ failure to meet their renewable energy goals highlights a number of issues, one of which being the value of setting standards for a national clean energy infrastructure (“smart grid”). Without such standards, the likelihood of energy inefficiency is greater and the risk of investing in green technology higher, and people are more likely to hold off on greening their operations. The implementation of a “Smart Grid interoperability” plan, which Commerce Secretary Gary Locke introduced September 24th, could make the difference.

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Best Buy’s Environmental Efforts

Gina-Marie Cheeseman
| Monday October 12th, 2009 | 2 Comments

250px-Bestbuystore

Best Buy Co. Inc, the world’s largest electronics store chain, has several programs that allow its customers to recycle appliances and electronics. In February, the company introduced a recycling program at 1,000 of its stores which accepts most televisions and monitors up to 32 inches, laptops, VCRs, DVD players, cell phones, keyboards, and remotes. Best Buy stores also contain recycling kiosks which accept ink cartridges, rechargeable batteries, cell phones, CDs, DVDs, PDAs/smart phones, and gift cards.

Best Buy will pick up an appliance or television from a customer’s home after a new product is bought and delivered by Best Buy. For $100 Best Buy will pick up appliances or televisions from customers who have not made a purchase. The company, in addition, has a trade-in program where customers can bring in electronics for a gift card.

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