Can Technology End Overfishing?

Alexis Petru
| Wednesday April 2nd, 2014 | 3 Comments

Fishermen at Norpac Fisheries Export tag their catch using the company’s barcode tracking system.

Back in 2002, Thomas Kraft, managing director of Norpac Fisheries Export, came up with the idea to electronically track each fish the company captures and sells. Soon after Norpac’s electronic monitoring system was up and running two years later, Kraft realized that the technology was not only an effective management tool, but it could also help the company trace fish through the supply chain and guarantee its products were not caught using illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing practices.

In fact, the nonprofit Future of Fish identifies tracing fish through the supply chain as one of the best ways to curb overfishing – one of the greatest threats to our oceans, where 85 percent of global fish stocks are fully or over-exploited, according to the organization. And now companies like Norpac are turning to technology to make fish traceability more efficient and accurate.

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Record Number of Non-U.S. Firms Make ‘World’s Most Ethical’ List

Mike Hower
| Wednesday April 2nd, 2014 | 0 Comments

dsdsA record number of companies based outside the U.S., including H&M, Marks & Spencer, L’OREAL and 35 others from 21 countries and five continents, have made Ethisphere’s 2014 World’s Most Ethical Companies list released late last month.

The list honors a total of 144 organizations representing 41 industries such as automotive, apparel, consumer products and electronics, among others.

Other companies named to the list include GE, Microsoft, eBay, Mattel, Visa, Pepsi, International Paper, Johnson Controls, 3M, Marriott, Safeway and UPS. Notably, Starbucks and Gap, Inc. made the list for the eighth consecutive year.

Ethisphere says the “The World’s Most Ethical Company” designation recognizes companies that go beyond making statements about doing business ethically and translate those words into action. These companies not only promote ethical business standards and practices internally, but also embed the theory of “conscious capitalism” into everything they do, every employee they hire and every partner they bring into their network to ensure they deliver long-term value to key stakeholders including customers, suppliers, regulators and investors.

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Meet Me at the Corner of ‘And’ and ‘Why’

3p Contributor | Wednesday April 2nd, 2014 | 0 Comments

7318389106_0ffd2210a9_oBy Joe Lawless

Recently the University of Washington Milgard School of Business Center for Leadership and Social Responsibility convened a summit for thought leaders in corporate social responsibility (CSR) and sustainability leadership to discuss the role of “and” and “why” in CSR and how these two important concepts intersect. The conversations were invigorating, varied and challenged organizations to create positive change. The themes that emerged from the day were two simple but profound, short words; one a conjunction and the other an adverb.

The conjunction “AND” emerged strongly in all of the talks. Joe Whinney of Theo Chocolate spoke of a new kind of company focused on profits and making a difference in cocoa growing regions of the world by paying fair wages to farmers. Peggy Willett from Getty Images spoke about protecting intellectual rights and creating a new system (announced that day) that allows individual non-commercial users to embed Getty images without risk of stealing photographers’ rights. Jackie Drumheller of Alaska Airlines talked in detail about how the airline is working hard to make its fleet the most fuel efficient fleet it can, minimizing costs for the company and helping the environment.

The tired old argument that business can either make a profit or be socially responsible and sustainable just doesn’t resonate within the context of a multi-stakeholder view of enterprise. In the words of former REI CEO and current Secretary of the Interior, Sally Jewell: “Companies that fail to do this are really putting their overall businesses at risk, because it is not going to be too long from now that doing ‘less bad’ isn’t going to be good enough in the minds of our customers, employees and regulators. They expect us to do ‘more good’ with our business.”

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Creating New, Sustainable Jobs? Rural Communities Are Eating It Up

3p Contributor | Wednesday April 2nd, 2014 | 0 Comments

dairyBy Leah B. Thibault

For a time in 2011, an enormous, 327.58-gallon smoothie, flavored with maple syrup and apples from local Vermont farms and mixed with about 200 gallons of Greek-style yogurt from Ehrmann Commonwealth Dairy in Brattleboro, Vt. held the Guinness World Record for Largest Yogurt Smoothie. It’s still a point of pride for the farming community.

Ehrmann Commonwealth Dairy holds another important distinction – it is cornerstone to a fast-growth, job-creating and sustainable food enterprise.

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The Stories in Your Closet: What Do Your Clothes Say About You?

3p Contributor | Tuesday April 1st, 2014 | 0 Comments

redressBy Mor Aframian, co-founder of Redress

During my first semester in undergrad, a friend introduced me to the concept of thrifting for the very first time — and it was love at first sight. I walked into a store filled with vintage garments that lived unknown, unimaginable lives in the closets and social circles of women I’ve never met, but knew I’d get along with based on their fashion sense. Aisle upon aisle showered me with the opportunity to shop for vintage pieces and spoke to the old soul within me.

Have you ever thought about the stories the garments in your closet have to tell? Or the stories they will tell long after you’ve let them go? Which moments of your time together will stand out?

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How Mindfulness Inspires 360-Degree Social Responsibility

3p Contributor | Tuesday April 1st, 2014 | 3 Comments

6903711925_88ee295a0c_zBy Michael Kourabas

“One way to read the injunction for Right Conduct, an essential part of the Eightfold Path, is to see it as calling us—as citizens—to translate the dharma into specific acts of social responsibility.” – Buddhist author and professor, Charles Johnson, writing in the Tricycle magazine.

Mindfulness

Mindfulness has been in the news a lot lately, in part due to its infiltration of the board room, and the list of high-level executives and thought leaders who practice mindfulness exercises such as meditation is long. To those of us who meditate, this is not really a surprise (in light of meditation’s myriad benefits), and though the co-opting of an ancient Buddhist practice for profit is slightly disturbing, as the renowned Mindfulness master, Thich Nhat Hahn, recently put it: With mindfulness, the means and the ends are one in the same.

But what is mindfulness?  Technically, it is the nonjudgmental observation of the present moment, no matter what that moment may entail, and it is arguably the paramount Buddhist instruction. The essence of mindfulness, though, is simply “paying attention,” the natural byproduct of which is heightened compassion and consideration of the impact of one’s actions on others.  Some real-world examples of mindful behavior might include: pausing to think before habitually reacting; choosing to recycle, rather than to litter; or choosing to eat humanely raised chicken, rather than broiler chicken from a factory farm. Put another way, mindful behavior is behavior that is socially responsible.

Mindfulness, corporations and “360-Degree Social Responsibility”

From a corporate standpoint, then, mindfulness could manifest either externally or internally. Corporate policies that are externally mindful (or “externally socially responsible”) would be those that concern how the corporation interacts with the outside world.  The type of conduct typically associated with classic corporate social responsibility (CSR) endeavors, in other words. Does the corporation minimize its impact on the environment?  Does it incorporate human rights into its day-to-day operations? Does it do diligence on its supply chain?

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Campaign Underway to Send U.S. Power Soccer Team to the White House

3p Contributor | Tuesday April 1st, 2014 | 0 Comments

2014-03-11-1960767_642288452473916_1755001941_oBy Eric Smith, Senda Athletics

In 2011, the United States Power Wheelchair Soccer team won its second consecutive World Cup title, making them the only U.S. soccer team in history to win back-to-back World Cups. Despite this momentous achievement, the team has not yet been invited to the White House to be honored by President Barack Obama. I truly believe that it is time for the White House to take the initiative in celebrating the dedication and achievements of athletes of all abilities representing the U.S.A.

This April, the U.S. Men’s National Soccer Team will visit the White House on their way to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. The goal of this campaign is to seek an invitation for the U.S. Power Soccer Team to join the U.S. Men’s National Team in their visit. This is a unique opportunity for President Obama to honor both teams’ achievements together, on the world stage. Thus far, the change.org campaign to make this happen has reached nearly 1,000 supporters, and word is being spread through all of the major social media channels. 

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Tech Networks of Boston Puts Sustainability at the Core of Business

Sustainability4SMEs
| Tuesday April 1st, 2014 | 0 Comments

1419115048_b32dbda02f_zTech Networks of Boston (TNB), is a 47-person professional information services company. It delivers help desk, remote monitoring and maintenance, staff augmentation, onsite support, training and project IT services to nonprofits and businesses in the greater Boston area. TNB, founded in 1994, has incorporated the principles of sustainable business from its inception. The company has steadily expanded its sustainability initiatives enabling the firm to broaden the range of services it provides.

Susan Labandibar, founder, president and chief mission officer of Tech Networks Boston, converted her environmental activist career into an earth-steward, job creation role with the launch of TNB. At its inception, TNB saved computers from heading to the landfill by refurbishing them and giving them a second life. The company evolved to bringing energy efficient computers and servers to the market. The company’s Earth-PC and Earth-servers used 25 percent less energy than well-known commercial computing devices. At the time, energy efficient computing devices was a groundbreaking, novel idea that has since taken hold of the entire computer industry.

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‘Negawatts’ Yield Juicy Returns, Possibility of Net Zero Emissions for California

| Monday March 31st, 2014 | 0 Comments

greenstationsavings Spurred by a state government mandate and surprisingly attractive rates of return, interest in intelligent energy storage systems looks to be surging in California. Aiming to scale installations of its GreenStation demand management-smart battery storage system, Green Charge Networks (GCN) reports that California municipalities, including the cities of Lancaster and Redwood City, are joining national retail chains and industrial businesses in signing GCN Power Efficiency Agreements (PEAs) and deploying the solution.

California is at the leading, some would say bleeding, edge of developing a new energy infrastructure centered on a diversified mix of clean, renewable and distributed energy resources. Boosting energy efficiency figures to play a big role in reducing energy use and carbon and greenhouse gas emissions.

Turning traditional energy economics on its head, companies such as GCN are taking advantage of technological innovation, government incentives and existing utility rate structures and finding ways of boosting energy efficiency by paying people and businesses to use less energy – so-called “negawatt” pricing – hence reducing carbon and greenhouse gas emissions.

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Partnership Between GE and Quirky Presents a ‘Truly Brilliant’ Air Conditioner

| Monday March 31st, 2014 | 1 Comment

GE-Quirky-Aros Summer seems so far away, especially if you live in freezing New York like I do, but we’ll get there eventually, and when we do it’s always better be prepared with an air conditioner on your side.

The good news is that, as of this summer, you can have not just a regular AC, but one that “gets smarter over time, learning from users’ schedules, habits, location, weather information and past usage.” Welcome to the age of Aros!

Presented earlier this month, Aros, which is described as a “truly brilliant air conditioner” (I guess “smart” didn’t feel right in this case), is the result of an ongoing collaboration between General Electric and Quirky. What makes Aros interesting is not just the fact that it is the first “brilliant” AC and how it advances the vision of Internet of Things, but also what it means in terms of the relationships between the new collaborative, open economy and the more traditional one.

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Lean In: 3p Readers Weigh In On Themes from Sheryl Sandberg’s Book

| Monday March 31st, 2014 | 0 Comments

41TknOCIZWLAfter a year, we asked you, our readers, how themes in Sheryl Sandberg’s “Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead” have affected you and what you thought about them. Here are your responses, and thanks for being part of the conversation.

The first part of the book talks a lot about how women should get by in a man’s world. “Should women play by the rules others created?…I understand the paradox of advising women to to change the world by adhering to biased rules and expectations.” Do women still have to get by in a man’s world, or are things changing? If so, how? If not, why not?

A woman (and a man) should always understand the rules and recognize that it really is a man’s world. Both genders, especially women, should challenge the expectations, rules and standards we all live by – even if they are small things – they will add up. - Jessica Robinson

It all rolls back to education. If we give girls encouragement, incentives and reasons to want to take the math, science, management and leadership courses, they will use this knowledge to assume leadership positions. - Sarah 

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Desalination is Now a Billion Dollar Industry, Report Shows

| Monday March 31st, 2014 | 0 Comments
UvasDrought

Lake Uvas in California

Despite some early March rain in California, and a few storm systems moving in this week, the late season moisture will sadly fall far short of that which is needed to pull the state out of its four-year drought. Attention has consequently turned towards how California will ensure reliable water supplies in years ahead, should precipitation levels remain below average.

One source that will grow in importance is desalination, and it could end up being a pretty big business. Environmental Leader reported earlier this month that the components alone for desalination activity will constitute a $5 billion industry by 2015, and while this spend would not be confined to California, the report, conducted by the McIlvaine Co., describes the state as being at the epicenter of global desalination activity.

According to SFGate, the San Francisco Chronicle’s online news outlet, 17 desalination plants are in the planning stages in the state of California, and of these, the largest one in Carlsbad, near San Diego, is two years away from completion. When the plant is switched on, it will be the biggest desalination facility in the Western Hemisphere, taking water from the Pacific Ocean and turning it into around 50 million gallons of potable water daily — serving 110,000 customers in San Diego County.

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EPA Power Plant Rules Could Cut Carbon Pollution More Than Expected

Mike Hower
| Monday March 31st, 2014 | 0 Comments

PowerPlantThe U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s impending carbon rules for existing power plants could achieve even greater reductions than previously thought — and at less cost, according to a new analysis by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).

The rules are expected by many to be modeled after those promulgated by NRDC in December 2012, which would have EPA set carbon limits for each state based on its current fuel mix, and states and power companies would get maximum flexibility to meet the targets in the most cost-effective way, using steps such as improved energy efficiency — not just actions that can be taken at individual power plants.

NRDC’s new analysis shows that 470 to 700 million tons of carbon pollution can be eliminated per year in 2020 compared to 2012 levels, equivalent to the emissions from 95 to 130 million cars. By comparison, NRDC’s 2012 analysis put those numbers at 270 million tons.

At the same time, the plan would yield $28 billion to $63 billion in medical and environmental benefits that far outweigh the costs of putting first-ever limits on carbon pollution, NRDC says. More than 17,000 asthma attacks and more than 1,000 emergency room visits could be prevented each year, while also preventing thousands of premature deaths by 2020.

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Renewable Electricity Mandate Faces Close Defeat in Kansas

Jan Lee
Jan Lee | Monday March 31st, 2014 | 1 Comment

Smoky_Hills_Wind_Farm_Kansas_Drenaline A Kansas state bill calling for the repeal of renewable electricity requirements for utility companies passed the state Senate on Tuesday, only to be roundly defeated in the House the following day, 44-77.

SB 433, which gained the support of a variety of conservative organizations including the Kansas Chamber of Commerce, American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and Americans for Prosperity, would have yanked state requirements for utility companies to acquire a minimum of 20 percent of their energy from renewable sources by 2020. Renewable electricity standards, or RES (also known as Renewable Portfolio Standards, RPS), in Kansas mandate utility providers to gradually target a minimum threshold of renewable energy sources in their portfolios and set a deadline for fulfillment.

Supporters of SB 433 argued Wednesday that the RES was raising consumers’ utility bills. Rep. Marc Rhodes (R) argued before the House that continuing to support the RES would lead to “40 percent increases to the electrical rates to your constituents.” His statement was met by a chorus of disbelief.

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Six-Month Payback for Defense Contractor’s SEP-ISO 50001 Energy Efficiency Upgrade

| Monday March 31st, 2014 | 0 Comments

GDScranton Reducing energy use by increasing energy efficiency is viewed as one of the most effective, least costly and simplest ways of boosting businesses’ bottom lines, as well as reducing greenhouse gas emissions to address the global threat of rapid climate change. International organizations, such as the Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM)-International Partnership for Energy Efficiency Cooperation (IPEEC) partnership and the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), in concert with the U.S. federal government’s Superior Energy Performance (SEP) program, are helping business in the U.S. and around the world do just that.

The first U.S. defense contractor to earn the Department of Energy Advanced Manufacturing Office’s SEP Gold Certified Partner certification (sustainable energy savings of 10 to 15 percent) and comply with ISO 50001 energy efficiency standards, General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems (GD-OTS), improved energy performance at its ammunition plant in Scranton, Pa. by 11.9 percent by implementing an energy management system.

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