Wal-Mart Live Webcast: Sustainability Milestone Meeting

| Thursday July 16th, 2009 | 2 Comments

wal mart webcast
Wal-Mart will host a Sustainability Milestone Meeting this morning (July 16th) 9:00 – 11:00 a.m. (CDT) in Bentonville, Ark. Follow the conversation on how Wal-Mart is working to launch a new project that will develop a sustainability index for their products. The meeting will be webcast live, and available for streaming following the meeting. You can also follow the meeting on Twitter via @Walmartmeeting.
As reported yesterday by Sarah Harper, the proposed index is controversial. There are many unanswered questions. Who will define what green is? How will the information gathered be shared?

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Wal-Mart – the Leader of Sustainability Indexing?

| Wednesday July 15th, 2009 | 4 Comments

wal-mart-logo.jpgWal-Mart is planning quite a “first”: it will implement a new “sustainability index,” by which it will report the environmental impact of each and every piece of merchandise available for sale. Many of the corporation’s 60,000 suppliers are up in arms, as compliance will likely require them to dig deep into their supply chains. But many proponents of sustainability are also skeptical. Will the index be yet another incomplete measurement of so-called sustainability that ultimately leads consumers astray, or worse?

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Renewables Climb, Slowly but Surely, As Coal Retreats

| Wednesday July 15th, 2009 | 2 Comments

Renewable Energy StatisticsNon-hydroelectric renewable energy from wind, solar and biomass provided 3.7% of America’s energy needs this year through April, up from 3.1% for the same period last year, according to the Electric Power Monthly, a newsletter released by the Energy Information Administration (EIA).
That figure surpasses a goal of generating 3% of the nation’s energy from renewables by 2013 in a version of the Waxman-Markey climate bill now in the Senate. The House passed a version of the bill on June 26 that calls for a 6% minimum by 2012, although there are loopholes in the legislation.

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Does Everybody Have a Waste Problem?

Tom Szaky | Wednesday July 15th, 2009 | 0 Comments

subaru
Subaru, a company that you may assume creates significant waste, recycles 97% of its manufacturing waste and reuses the rest to generate electricity. (Photo: Eric Castro on Flickr)
I make products out of what would otherwise be garbage. That’s all we at TerraCycle do. So of course garbage is an issue that’s front of mind for us. But what about your company? What about any company? Does every company have a waste problem? Or turned around, a waste opportunity? Is there any company that doesn’t have a waste problem?

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Exxon to Invest in Algae-Based Fuel

| Wednesday July 15th, 2009 | 0 Comments

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Maybe fuel giants aren’t exempt from global sustainability efforts after all: Exxon Mobil Corp, the largest Western oil major, has agreed to invest $600 million or more in biofuel made from algae. The corporation confirmed Tuesday that it will invest in research and development of the fuel through an alliance with a private gene-based research company, Synthetic Genomics Inc.

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What Is an Anti-Fashion Clothing Line?

Gina-Marie Cheeseman
| Wednesday July 15th, 2009 | 0 Comments

Stark Collection

Philippe Starck, the French designer best known for his interior and product designs, will launch a cashmere line called S+arck With Ballantyne. It is ironic that Starck is launching a clothing line because in January he told British newspaper, The Guardian, “Let’s hope fashion in design will disappear. There is a lack of respect when the media says, ‘You must be dressed in pink,’ and some poor girl dresses in pink, and six months later, when it says, ‘You must dress in green,’ she’s a monster in her pink dress. We can’t accept this kind of manipulation.”
Starck told French newspaper Le Figaro before the line debuted in Florence, “Although the work of [its] creators is fantastic, I will never be idiotic enough to do fashion. The public will take maybe three years to understand the concept. It’s not fashion. We won’t be very big in the newspapers. The clothes are non-photogenic. But intelligent people will know to discover us.”

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T. Boone Pickens to Sell Off 667 Wind Turbines

Sarah Lozanova | Wednesday July 15th, 2009 | 11 Comments

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As part of the first phase to build a 4,000 MW wind farm in the Texas panhandle, Pickens ordered 667 turbines from GE. These turbines are to be ready in 2010 and 2011, but the wind farm was called off due to funding and transmission problems. Now that’s a boondoggle.
The economy and the wind energy market were very different just over a year ago when this order was placed. The wind industry was booming and a massive 8,900 MW of wind energy capacity was installed in 2008 in North America – this represents 40% of all total new capacity. Steel prices were sky high and demand greatly exceeded turbine supply. Prices soared and it was difficult to buy small quantities of turbines.

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Desertec: Make it Big

| Wednesday July 15th, 2009 | 0 Comments


The solar power industry has a couple of well-worn factoids it loves to whip out to impress people. One is that the planet receives more energy from the sun in an hour than humanity uses in a year. Another is that 100 square miles (or thereabouts) of solar plants in Arizona could power the entire United States.
Well, here’s a new one: 90,000 square kilometers in the Sahara. That’s how much land it would take, covered in solar thermal power stations, to power all of human civilization, according to Desertec, a partnership of European companies, governments and NGOs which was officially launched on Monday. Desertec aims to build a network of solar plants spread throughout North Africa and the Middle East that would provide a significant percentage (15% or more) of the electricity needs of all three regions.

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Does Evian’s New Campaign Go Too Far?

| Wednesday July 15th, 2009 | 2 Comments

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I’ll admit it, I’m already pretty biased against all bottled water companies. Anyone that takes a product that flows freely in most cities, puts in a plastic bottle, ships it thousands of miles and sells it for money is crossing quite a few environmental lines. But calling anything about that process “natural” is even more offensive. This is what Evian touts in its latest campaign.
This water is untouched by man until it reaches your lips,” boasts the website, billboard and ads.

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Mid-East Water Projects Down But Not Out

Bill DiBenedetto | Wednesday July 15th, 2009 | 0 Comments

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For this year at least, the global recession is staunching the flow of money and equipment for vital water and wastewater treatment facilities in the Middle East’s Gulf Cooperation Council countries, says a Frost & Sullivan report.
That market was experiencing rapid growth as recently as last year, sparked by huge in the infrastructure, real estate, petrochemicals, oil and gas sectors. The research firm says the slowdown in Mid-East water and wastewater treatment projects is likely a pause in the action.

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Unrenewable Renewable Energy? Iceland May Reach Geothermal Limits

| Wednesday July 15th, 2009 | 1 Comment

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If geothermal energy is renewable, it must also be available in endless supply – right?
Many Icelanders, whose nation is fueled almost entirely by hydropower or hot spring-harnessed (geothermal) energy, are beginning to question this line of thinking. Iceland is attempting to diversify its economy away from fishing, which it will replace with a (much disputed and power-intensive) aluminum industry. Icelanders are debating, among the other issues, whether or not there will be enough geothermal energy to make the transition.

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SustainAbility and GlobeScan: The Sustainability Survey

| Wednesday July 15th, 2009 | 0 Comments

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By Deborah Fleischer of Green Impact

GlobeScan and SustainAbility just announced the initial results of their inaugural expert opinion tracking study, the Sustainability Survey.
Replacing the Survey of Sustainability Experts that GlobeScan has produced for years, the new survey draws on a much larger and more robust panel of experts – over 1,600 experts responded to an on-line questionnaire, representing various sectors in more than 90 countries across the globe. Respondents included thought leaders from government, non-governmental organizations, consultancies, academia and the private sector.

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Japan and the U.S. Duke it Out in a Different Type of Hybrid Vehicle Race

| Wednesday July 15th, 2009 | 0 Comments

Prius.jpgUntil last month, American hybrid car manufacturers could rest assured that, if nothing else, the nation’s market for the vehicles at least exceeded Japan’s. Data shows that in 2006, Japan sold just one hybrid for every 4.3 sold in the U.S. But now, Japan has surpassed the U.S. in demand for the hybrids, with approximately 8 percent of new vehicles sold in June being hybrid (versus the U.S.’s approximate 2.6 percent). Analysts suggest that Japan’s astronomical gas prices (a whopping $4.50 a gallon), enticing tax incentives, and new products are to blame.

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Australia Raises Conservationists’ Eyebrows with Plans for Renewable Energy-Powered Water Treatment Plant

| Wednesday July 15th, 2009 | 1 Comment

factory.jpgAustralia is attempting a remarkable feat: the creation of a seawater desalination plant powered completely by energy bought from renewable energy suppliers (i.e. wind, solar, and geothermal). Given the continent’s water shortage and the global push for clean energy, the plant will, in some ways, be quite an accomplishment. Yet, given the “un-greenness” of traditional desal facilities (which guzzle energy and water and harm nearby wildlife), it could also be something akin to putting lipstick on a pig. Skeptics wonder: will the plant live up to people’s expectations?

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Senators Introduce Alternative Fuel Legislation

| Wednesday July 15th, 2009 | 0 Comments

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If several U.S. senators have their way, alternative fuel may not be as alternative for long. Three senators are pushing a bill that would increase the use of natural gas in motor vehicles, thereby decreasing the nation’s dependence on oil. U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) and Senators Robert B. Menendez (D-NJ) and Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah) introduced the legislation.

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