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

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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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Saudi Arabia to Seek Financial Aid if World Reduces Oil Dependence

| Friday October 9th, 2009 | 27 Comments


Mohammad S. Al Sabban - Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia may join the list of countries seeking financial aid over the UN climate deal. According to a Forbes.com report, during the UN’s recent greenhouse gas talks in Bangkok, Saudi Arabia campaigned quietly for financial compensation should a climate deal substantially reduce the world’s use of fossil fuels. The country appears to be motivated not by a need for assistance adapting to the impact of global warming but rather by a desire for compensation for decreased oil profits. Will the Saudis’ stipulation impact the development of an international climate treaty?

The Saudis’ campaign comes despite a recent International Energy Agency (IEA) report, which demonstrated that oil-rich nations would likely still profit with emissions regulations (sufficient for curbing climate change) in place. (According to the report, OPEC revenues would increase by $23 trillion between 2008 and 2030. This would be a fourfold increase in OPEC revenues’ growth rate between 1985 and 2007.)

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Obama Declares October National Energy Awareness Month

| Friday October 9th, 2009 | 0 Comments

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President Obama declared October “National Energy Awareness Month” Wednesday, in a statement published on the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) website. Obama underscored the role of energy efficiency and clean energy in the well-being of the nation’s economy and the environment. He also called on the American people to focus on making clean energy choices – the only call to action in the statement. Will creating an energy awareness month have any real effect on sustainable development?

Investing in clean energy, including research and technology development, would have a number of benefits, Obama’s statement said. For example, in addition to protecting the environment, it would increase global competitiveness, decrease oil use, improve national security, and support communities. Clean energy expansion would also demonstrate “American leadership and vision while also making clean energy the profitable kind of energy.” Accordingly, “National Energy Awareness Month” will be a time to recognize these benefits and distinguish contributors to the clean energy movement.

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Jeffrey Sachs: US Policy-Making Is a Bipartisan Failure, Failing to Even Acknowledge Environmental Challenges

| Thursday October 8th, 2009 | 2 Comments

Jeffrey SachsJeffrey Sachs, the influential economist at Columbia University shared a sobering perspective as part of an impressive lineup of speakers at Tuesday’s World Business Forum. In his speech, he pulled a fire alarm on the optimism on leadership in business and opportunities abroad with his perspectives on the bipartisan failure of US policy making and the world’s near-certain risk of ecological bankruptcy.

The saddening part is that the message may have fallen on deaf ears, with Wall Street Journal running what was only a side comment from Sachs, and little of the message making it out of Radio City Music Hall unscathed. This was due, perhaps in part, to the audience’s composition and the slightly morbid tone of his presentation. Sometimes bad news is just bad news.

Bipartisan political failure in the US

Sachs began with a quick overview of the essence of our current crisis, which is, he argued, financially based. “Beneath the rubble, lay complete lack of proper regulation in lending, which was the direct cause.” We broke down walls between investment and consumer banks, he explained, and created derivatives that could be sold to those who had no idea what they were really buying, and all of this occurred outside of regulation.

Then, as bailouts were handed out to Wall Street’s banks, the underlying and critical problem with our political system became clear as the financial sector spent $3.7 billion lobbying for its interests. Yesterday, Nobel prize-winning economist and World Business Forum speaker Paul Krugman, reiterated this, noting that we may have bailed out banks too fast, restoring them back into full control only so that they can lobby against any regulation that may be in the sector’s best interests.

Sachs described the current state of policy-making as something that happens behind closed doors and by parties focused on their own interests. Guess which sector is the second largest spender in lobbying? Healthcare.

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Best Practices of Actual Businesses Using Green Initiatives to Grow Revenues

3p Contributor | Thursday October 8th, 2009 | 7 Comments

Book-Cover-Final-Oct-1-resized-3 By Bill Roth

As the Green Business Coach for Entrepreneur.com the number one question I am asked is, “How do you make money going green?” Today’s business answer is that adopting sustainability practices is a high-results path for cutting costs. The “Green Team” is sustainability’s first killer app. And certifications like Energy Star and LEEDs are similar to how we used to talk about a PC’s RAM and processor times.

But for sustainability to grow into The Green Economic Revolution business needs to develop green-revenue killer apps that achieve the triple bottom line of job restoration, profitability and wellness (health for us and our environment). As recently as this spring at a major conference I heard speakers with inspiring clichés like “green is the new black” and the future of green is “cost less, mean more.” Here is the great news, my green-entrepreneur network has figured out the “secret sauce” for achieving these clichés.

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Water Wars – the Beverage Industry as a Canary or Future Innovation Leader?

| Thursday October 8th, 2009 | 2 Comments

As the world wrestles with the challenge of a low carbon future, the issue of water – or rather, the lack of it – has started to emerge as an even more fundamental constraint. Global water reserves are being put under strain not only by more frequent droughts (thanks to global warming), but also from annual global population growth of about 77 million people. Indeed, climate change experts at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography claim that nearly 1/6th of the world’s total population is already vulnerable to a lack of water brought about by environmental and demand changes. As the population continues to grow and the effects of climate change accrue, this number is likely to rise significantly.

Because nearly every industry requires water at some point in their value chain, this fundamental liquid is emerging as the strategic sustainability issue, potentially even more influential than carbon. The beverage industry is particularly vulnerable to changes in the water supply; water is used extensively throughout the beverage supply chain, from the growing of ingredients to the pumping and bottling of product. So, is the water intensive beverage industry fated to be a “canary in the coal mine” – early road kill in the coming water wars? Or does it have another role to play – as a leading developer of innovative water conservation techniques, perhaps? The stakes could not be higher for an industrial sector completely dependent on continued easy access to large quantities of fresh H2O.

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New Website Tracks Chamber of Commerce Climate Follies As Schism Grows

| Thursday October 8th, 2009 | 0 Comments

NRDCcampaignA new website created by the National Resources Defense Council urges companies to take a stand on the growing debate within the US Chamber of Commerce over the chamber’s stance on legislation addressing climate change.

The website is an extension of the work being done by Peter Altman, the environmental watchdog’s Climate Campaign director, whose has been following the story doggedly on his blog.

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You Want Electricity With That? The Electric Car Charging Problem

| Thursday October 8th, 2009 | 3 Comments

As electric and plug-in hybrid cars enter mass production in the next few years, the question of where and how these cars will recharge is on the minds of many an EV entrepreneur. The EV service start-up Better Place is just one of several seeking to roll out electric charging station networks across the country that would charge to charge, so to speak.

But given the low cost of electricity, a primary reason many are predicting a surge in popularity for EVs, business models predicated on selling electron fuel for the vehicles may fall prey to a scourge of contemporary capitalism — the spectre of free.

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