Burn, Baby, Burn: Biomass Capacity Continues to Grow

| Thursday September 3rd, 2009 | 2 Comments

CampFire-main_FullA Wisconsin utility has partnered with a paper manufacturer to build the state’s first large-scale biomass plant. We Energies plans to build the 50 Mw, $250 million plant next to Domtar Corporation’s Rothschild, WI paper mill.

The Department of Energy recently released $21 million in funds for various biomass projects nationwide, contributing to a steady, if not exactly overwhelming stream of biomass plants announced or proposed nationwide. The Wisconsin project would be one of the largest biomass plants in the country if and when it is completed. The largest in the US is the New Hope Powerplant in South Bay, Florida, which produces 140 Mw of electricity from burning sugarcane.

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Berkeley Bowl West, Solar Power, and a Huge Rebate Check

| Thursday September 3rd, 2009 | 0 Comments


This Friday (September 4th) will be a big day for Berkeley Bowl West, a green supermarket located in West Berkeley. In fact, Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates, PG&E reps, and Sun Light & Power President Gary Gerber will join the supermarket’s owners in celebration. What’s the big deal? Berkeley Bowl West is receiving a $167,029 solar energy rebate check from PG&E following the construction of its new solar-powered building. (The public is invited to attend the rebate-receiving ceremony, which will take place at noon on Friday at 920 Heinz Street in Berkeley.) In addition to rewarding sustainable building and business practices, the rebate highlights the Bay Area’s commitment to green development and the role of small businesses in supporting that commitment.

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“Once Upon a Job” – Nightly Business Report Series Explores Unemployment in the Current Economy

| Thursday September 3rd, 2009 | 0 Comments


Oh, the good old days, when jobs were plentiful, stable, well-paying, and benefit-providing. The fact that those days are over is the lament of a new Nightly Business Report (NBR) series, “Once Upon a Job”. Through a series of interviews, the slice-of-life three-part series explores the current economy from the point-of-view of the jobless. One could conclude from the interviews that unemployment is more than just an economic issue; it also reflects the substance of a society, the availability of resources, and the creativity of the individual, among other things.

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Unilever Cool on Warm Ice Cream?

Bill DiBenedetto | Thursday September 3rd, 2009 | 0 Comments

melting-ice-creamIt seems Unilever is not so hot about warm ice cream after all.

Or perhaps it is but is not ready to talk about it, or loathe to give anything away at the moment.

Despite a host of news reports and some coy quotes from a company spokesperson to the contrary, the world’s largest ice cream maker says it is not currently developing room temperature, or ambient, ice cream that would result in a low carbon storage, handling and shipping footprint.

Foodnavigator.com reported the Unilever denial – from another spokesperson perhaps –  that its scientists, along with Cambridge University researchers are involved in a program to develop ambient ice cream.

The Unilever spokesperson told FoodNavigator.com following recent reports in The Times of London and this space that ambient ice cream is “something we are aware of, but we have no plans to develop this kind of product.”

Usually where there’s smoke there’s fire or in this case warmth. While the quote seems definitive, it’s also typical corporate-speak that’s perhaps more targeted to its competitors than its consumers.

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Failure and Opportunity For the Green Movement

Gregory Wendt, CFP | Thursday September 3rd, 2009 | 0 Comments


earth-232Last night I had drinks with a very successful NY Investment Banker who is a vegan, a philosopher, and has a rather liberal point of view. Ironically, he is an analyst and expert in the field of the fossil fuel industry. We discussed much about our common concerns, interests, etc. And our interest in meeting with and learning from every viewpoint, and world view. He shared with me that some of his clients actually believe that the world is less than 5,000 years old, even though such clients deal in a commodities (oil and gas) which they understand must take more than 5,000 years to create.

We agreed that it would be easy to write such people off, yet there are many many mindsets on the planet which are very, very different worldviews.

Surprisingly – it appears that the environmental movement has not entirely gotten that over the last few decades.

After thinking about this for the last day, I told a friend over dinner tonight that I believe that the environmental movement has failed to effectively “pierce the veil” of the worldview of mainstream culture. Earlier he and I met with a long time, very successful activist whose organizations materials explained that the group had reached over 2 million people over the years. Granted – that is a very successful effort. Yet considering we have 6 Billion people on the planet, his group has just scratched the surface.

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A World-Changing Marketing Agency? Commuter Challenge Is Just One Way Imc² Is Leading A Movement.

Net Impact | Thursday September 3rd, 2009 | 6 Comments

The 2009 Net Impact Challenge drew to a close a few weeks ago and winners have yet to be announced. You’ll hear about them soon here on Triple Pundit. The annual challenge recognizes and rewards outstanding Net Impact members who lead employee or student-driven projects with tangible positive social and/or environmental impacts on their campus, in their workplace, or in their community.

We’ve invited challenge participants to share their story with Triple Pundit readers. This is the first in the series – from brand engagement agency imc2 who successfully implemented a “Commuter Challenge” to encourage positive changes in the way employees commute.

Please read on for their story…

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SoCap09 Day 1: Attendance Tops 1,000

| Wednesday September 2nd, 2009 | 0 Comments

logo61709Judging by the attendance this year at the Social Capital Markets 09 conference in San Francisco, there is no doubt the buzz around social enterprise and social investing is gaining momentum. The conference began yesterday with attendance well exceeding last year’s turnout of 650.  Over 1,000 participants from 32 countries have registered this year, representing a mix non-profits and for-profits, investors and entrepreneurs, all with a variety of interests, backgrounds and social missions. The conference runs through Thursday and includes over 150 speakers, 40 panel sessions, and a full “unconference” day on Thursday, where participants set the agenda.

SoCap convener Kevin Jones began the conference by welcoming all in attendance and introducing the keynote speaker, Sonal Shah, Director of the White House Office of Social Innovation.  “First it’s notable that we now have an Office of Social Innovation,” commented Ms. Shah, assuring the audience that the government now recognizes the importance of the social sector in addressing our most pressing social problems. She went on to describe her Office’s goal of creating a context in which socially innovative entrepreneurs can succeed.

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Surprise! Sigg Bottles Did Contain BPA After All.

| Wednesday September 2nd, 2009 | 11 Comments

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

sigghonest2A bottle full of BPA-laden tears. That’s what I’ve cried for you, Sigg. You have let me down. To think, you were my proud symbol of healthy environmentalism. You represented anti-plastic bottled water as I filled and refilled you every day at the tap. Now I am filled and refilled with shame for you and your company’s non-transparent ways.

I’m not so mad that your lining did in fact contain the reproductive health problem-causing BPA (the main reason consumers like me made an effort to avoid plastic in the first place), it’s that you lied. Perhaps the BPA in your lining does not leach into the liquid contained by your bottles, but your web of lies has leached into the consumer’s conscious. Good luck talking your way out of this one.

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EU: Ban on Harmful AC Chemicals in Autos Starts Now

| Wednesday September 2nd, 2009 | 0 Comments

The European Union has proved that it means business when it comes to banishing climate-damaging chemicals in cars. On Tuesday, the EU refused to grant a delay, requested by auto makers, on a recent ban on certain vehicle air conditioner chemicals, Reuters reports.

In 2006, the EU decided that, starting in 2011, it would ban the use of fluorinated chemicals that significantly warm the climate when released into the atmosphere. The move highlights the emerging green refrigerant market, and that market’s struggle to overcome the existing not-so-green one.

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TckTckTck: Big Deal Around Hopes for a Big Climate Deal

Bill DiBenedetto | Wednesday September 2nd, 2009 | 1 Comment

OxfamEastAsia_Bangkok2Let’s all start counting down with TckTckTck in preparation for what promises to be a seminal event in achieving, at some point sooner rather than later in our lifetimes, a binding global agreement on climate change.

Maybe it’s too soon or already too late; maybe there are too many naysayers and “yes, buts” poised for action out there; maybe there are too many well-heeled political and corporate self-interests hard at work to expect anything really meaningful to come from the United Nations Climate Change Conference that starts Dec. 7 in Copenhagen.

But this is one confab that can’t be allowed to come and go without a major effort to stem the climate change tide. It might be a last-ditch effort. The forces on the side of getting real and getting something real done have banded together under the TckTckTck banner.

TckTckTck officials kicked-off its 100 days countdown to Copenhagen campaign last weekend.

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Are You Smarter Than a Chicken? And Other Green Business Wisdom From Gil Friend

Scott Cooney | Wednesday September 2nd, 2009 | 1 Comment

GFriend2_000The Truth About Green Business, a new book by Gil Friend, founder and CEO of Natural Logic hit bookstores this month just as the nation grapples with a down economy and the prospect of cost cuts that are threatening many green initiatives at the nation’s largest companies.  The timing couldn’t be better.  In the book, Friend systematically dispels the myth that green costs more.

Friend spoke last week at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco to promote the book.  Friend has a fascinating history, including working with Coca-Cola, Hewlett Packard, Levi-Strauss, Williams-Sonoma and others on their sustainability initiatives.  He spent some time with Buckminster Fuller’s organization as a youth, coming up with creative ways to solve some of society’s most challenging problems.  That exercise taught him that reverse engineering is often easier than traditional approaches when it comes to large social change.  “Sort of makes the impossibilities disappear,” says Friend.

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Green Grades 2009: FedEx Office and Office Depot Score High on Paper

| Wednesday September 2nd, 2009 | 0 Comments


The Dogwood Alliance and ForestEthics just released Green Grades 2009—a report card on paper practices of the office supply sector. Environmentally responsible purchasing of paper is easy, and large purchasers are making greener purchasing decisions, helping to build markets for recycled post-consumer paper while at the same time protecting the world’s forests, endangered wildlife, water quality and indigenous communities.

Easy as One, Two, Three

The report outlines three easy steps to green your paper purchasing:

  1. Minimize use of paper.
  2. Avoid paper from Endangered Forests and other controversial sources.
  3. Choose paper with a high percentage of post-consumer recycled content and with Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification for the remaining content.

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Better Place Battery Swapping Moving On Up to Tokyo

| Wednesday September 2nd, 2009 | 0 Comments

Better Place
, the ambitious electric vehicle infrastructure start-up, has won funding from the Japanese government to outfit electric powered taxis with “swappable” battery technology. Better Place will partner with Nihon Kotsu, Tokyo’s largest taxi company, and Tokyo R&D Co., an automotive engineering company, to retrofit pre-existing electric vehicles with swappable batteries and build a site to swap out the cars’ batteries.

The deal is the first commercial application of Better Place’s battery swapping technology after the success of a demonstration project in Yokohama. The taxi project is slated to begin in January 2010.

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London Leads the Way With Green Business Website

Andy Greene | Wednesday September 2nd, 2009 | 0 Comments

If you have a business that wants to go green, one your first questions is probably, “How exactly do I go green?” You are not alone. Many businesses, especially small businesses, do not have the time or resources to find green product manufacturers, set up relationships, and inspect the manufacturers’ eco-friendly policies. So whether you want to purchase a portable solar panel to provide power to your business or reduce your business waste, you may seem adrift at sea.

Government To The Rescue?

This is where the City of London (England that is) has come to the rescue of London businesses. Mayor Boris Johnson, using 3 million pounds from the London Development Agency, has created a green procurement service called Green Procurement Code. This unique service is web based and allows businesses to search for products that have been screened for being eco-friendly.

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Socap09: Takeaways and Key Questions on Social Enterprise From Day 1

| Tuesday September 1st, 2009 | 3 Comments

Socap09The opening day of Socap09 brought many rich discussions, which left me with a few nuggets of advice and even more unresolved questions.

A few tidbits of wisdom from panelists and presenters:

1. The sustainability revolution is not on par with the dot com bubble, but rather on par with the industrial revolution. This will be great retrofit of our lives… Everything we’ve ever created was created wrong. We need those all those crazy ideas. ~ Steve Newcomb, Virgance, The Future of Social Innovation on the Web

2. If your idea isn’t twice as good as the next guy’s, contemplate joining another venture you really respect. ~ Premal Shah, Kiva.org, The Future of Social Innovation on the Web

3. Don’t give up on your venture.
Change.org has been four years in the making. ~Ben Rattray, Change.org, The Future of Social Innovation on the Web

4. Impact measurement is critical, but difficult
– resist the temptation to track everything that can be measured. Focus on a few key impact metrics. ~Sara Olsen and Brett Galimidi, SVT Group, Impact Management Workshop

5. Invest in what works.
~Sonal Shah, White House Office of Social Innovation, Keynote

Today’s panels surfaced many fundamental questions that need to be addressed as we work to align financial, social, and environmental incentives.

1. What is government’s role in the social capital marketplace? How can every day citizens push forward the work of the government and more particularly the Office of Social Innovation?

2. Do we want to engage traditional investment firms in the social capital space or not? Steve Newcomb pointed out the absence of tier 1 venture capital firms at Socap, and proclaimed that we’ll have succeeded once we see those firms attending and investing in the space. A colleague of mine proclaimed exactly the opposite – we will have failed if traditional venture capital firms are investing in the space and expecting a 10x return, as we ought to be reinventing the meaning of investment.

3. Is it better to work together and come to consensus or work heads down and push forward your own idea or venture? Should we be running fast and alone or together and not so fast?

4. Are we producing too many entrepreneurs or do we need to generate as many entrepreneurs with good ideas (which may fail or succeed) as possible?

What’s your take?

Look for more from me tomorrow on Day 2 of Socap.

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