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

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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

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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

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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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October 15th. Blog Action Day. Join the Climate Change Discussion!

| Monday October 12th, 2009 | 1 Comment

Blog Action Day

This Thursday, October 15th, marks the third annual Blog Action Day.  The yearly event unites bloggers from around the world to discuss a single issue of global importance. In anticipation of the upcoming international climate negotiations in Copenhagen, this year’s discussion will focus on the very global topic of climate change.

Over 5000 blogs are expected to generate over 20,000 unique blog posts on the day, according to estimates by Robin Beck, Organizing Director at Change.org, this year’s sponsor of Blog Action Day. We recently spoke to Robin Beck about the event and the unique contribution bloggers can bring to this effort.

Triple Pundit: Obviously this is a very pressing issue, but what unique value do bloggers offer?

Robin Beck: Bloggers bring a conversation that they are running day in and day out. They have built up a community of people who are interested in conversing with each other, so the purpose of the day is to put the climate change conversation in front of that audience. And the real value is seeing the conversation start to take hold in places where it hasn’t before.

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How an Organic Farming Apprenticeship Differs from the World of the Migrant Worker

3p Contributor | Monday October 12th, 2009 | 1 Comment

This is the this is the third post in a series on the business of sustainable agriculture by the folks at Bon Appétit Management, a company that provides café and catering services to corporations, colleges and universities. To read the earlier posts, click here.

By Dayna Burtness

Since 2005, I’ve spent most of my waking hours either working on farms, managing one, assistant managing a farmers market, or researching the food system at an agricultural think tank. Now I work for a food service company focused on sustainability, and a big part of my job will be visiting farms in our supply chain to assess their labor practices. Despite all the progress we’ve made in sustainable food over the past few years, farm labor is relatively untouched and has far to go. In the dialogue about these issues, it seems like we’re talking about two different worlds, both centered on the people who harvest our food albeit on different scales.

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New BLM Office Opens to Fast-Track Renewable Energy Proposals

Mary Catherine O'Connor | Friday October 9th, 2009 | 0 Comments

ken-salazarSecretary of the Interior Ken Salazar visited Palm Springs, Calif., today to mark the official opening of a new Renewable Energy Coordination Office at the Bureau of Land Management Field Office there. In mid-January, the Department of the Interior directed the BLM to open these offices, or RECOs, in order to help expedite processing of the increased number of applications for renewable energy projects and associated transmission facilities on lands management by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).

The first RECO office opened in Nevada this summer. The offices are part of a larger effort to fast-track the development of renewable energy systems across public lands.

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Business Not As Usual: e-Readers Threaten Paper, Printer Markets, And More

John Laumer | Friday October 9th, 2009 | 0 Comments
  1. With e-Book designs improving and choices expanding, commodity pricing may arrive within a few years, threatening existing markets for books, magazines, printers, ink cartridges, and fine paper. Even printers and publishers need to pay attention. Get a status snapshot on this technology with Barnes & Noble Says Yes, Microsoft Says No to New e-Readers Business significance: U1/C5 (See rating explanation below)
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Bangkok Talks Conclude with Mixed Metaphors, Unfinished Business

| Friday October 9th, 2009 | 0 Comments

UNFCCC Executive Secretary Yvo de BoerIn a statement released at the conclusion of the two-week session of climate talks in Bangkok, UNFCCC Executive Secretary Yvo de Boer talked of more clarity on the “bricks and mortar” of the agreed outcome in Copenhagen, but that “long-held differences” persist on coming to terms on mid-term targets and finance.

“A will has emerged in Bangkok to build the architecture to rapidly implement climate action,” said de Boer at a press briefing, “but significant differences remain. In December, citizens everywhere in the world have a right to know exactly what their governments will do to prevent dangerous climate change. What we must do now is step back from self interest and let common interest prevail.”

Using another metaphor, Jake Schmidt, International Policy Director for the Natural Resources Defense Council, spoke of the five principal negotiating elements of a Copenhagen agreement as the main parts of a well-tuned car – and how the “car” is leaving Bangkok with some “dents and rattles.”

What do these metaphors really mean as (to add my own metaphor) the clock ticks down on the road to Copenhagen?

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Toward a “Green Ocean Strategy”

| Friday October 9th, 2009 | 1 Comment

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iStock_000008899548XSmallBy Jacob Park
Managers must start to recognize environmental improvement as an economic and competitive opportunity…it is time to build on the underlying economic logic that links the environment, resource productivity, innovation, and competitiveness. – Michael Porter

What do SUVs, genetically modified organisms, and fast food all have in common? They’re all antithetical to sustainability…and they’re all described as exemplary “blue ocean” strategies.

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ecoATM Tries to Take the Waste Out of E-Waste

Mary Catherine O'Connor | Friday October 9th, 2009 | 0 Comments

ban-startup-fridayecoatmkioskWho would have guessed that a store called the Nebraska Furniture Mart would be at the leading edge of consumer electronics life-cycle management? But it is. The store is hosting the first ecoATM machine, the brainchild of a San Diego startup that has found a way to make recycling consumer electronics easier—as well as valuable.

Mark Bowles founded ecoATM. With a background that includes seven years at Motorola and five venture-backed start-ups, Bowles found inspiration for the ecoATM from the 30-year-old bottle and can redemption infrastructure. Just as consumers can earn a refund for bottles and cans in many states, the ecoATM provides consumers with value—either through a direct payback or through store coupons—in exchange for used electronics. Consumers can also opt to put the monetary value of the devices they drop off toward a charity that the retailer suggests. The first ecoATM—a self-serve kiosk that retailers can host for free—came online at the Nebraska Furniture Mart on September 21. More retailers in Texas, Washington, Vermont, and San Diego also plan to install ecoATMs this year.

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Costco Dives Into Product Sustainability

Bill DiBenedetto | Friday October 9th, 2009 | 3 Comments

costco-goes-solar_5965If you’ve ever shopped at one of Costco Wholesale Corporation’s massive retail warehouses, you already know that it’s pretty much a low-tech, do-it-yourself shopping experience.

Paper or plastic is a question unasked at the checkout line; the best one can do is to opt for a recycled cardboard box that might once have contained kumquats, underwear, olive oil or detergent.

So in that respect the Issaquah, Wash., retailer has  already been taking a somewhat sustainable approach since it started business in 1983. Plus, it saves on overhead by reusing the boxes.

In its first Corporate Sustainability Report, which covers the 2007-2008 period, senior executive vice president and chief operating officer Dick DiCerchio admits that Costco’s environmental reporting “is still evolving. We recognize the need to report more environmental metrics information in future reports.”

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Curbing Climate Change, One Potato Chip at a Time: PepsiCo’s Carbon Footprinting Techniques

| Friday October 9th, 2009 | 2 Comments

walkers-crisps-pepsico-chips

Since 2007, PepsiCo has been “doing the world a flavour” in calculating the carbon footprint of its Walkers Crisps, potato chips sold in the UK which carry the Carbon Reduction Label. PepsiCo recently revealed its footprint-calculating methodology, the implications of which could be significant for the mass food production sector and the development of sustainable industry.

According to an environmentalleader.com report, PepsiCo measures the Walkers Crisps’ carbon footprint at each stage of the supply chain, from the growing of raw materials to the shelving of the product and, lastly, the disposal of the Crisps’ packaging. The footprint measuring process entails mapping the supply chain, evaluating the energy consumed (and carbon produced as a result) at each stage, and adding up the carbon for a per-unit emissions calculation.

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Woolworth Descendant Selling Eco-Products Online

Gina-Marie Cheeseman
| Friday October 9th, 2009 | 0 Comments

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Priscilla Woolworth, great-granddaughter of F. W. Woolworth, who started the iconic five-and-dime store Woolworth in 1878, launched an eponymous online general store for eco-friendly products in January. Time Magazine recently been named her a “New Green Pioneer” in its Green Design 100 list. Her goal with priscillawoolworth.com is to “provide the best selection of eco-friendly products on the market” an the online store offers everything from eco-friendly cleaning products such as Bon Ami to bio-degradable trash bags.

Woolworth spent five years learning about retail before starting her venture. She said her online store is not about relaunching the old Woolworth brand which made her last name famous. She wants her site “to be part of the movement of change – to encourage people to buy non-toxic [cleaning] products that becomes the norm, [to] encourage an industry [to make] products using recycled materials [and] to find clever ways to reuse trash that’s non-toxic.”

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