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The consumer demand for organic food has increased, according to a report released last month by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Sales of organic food more than quintupled, increasing from $3.6 billion in 1997 to $18.9 billion in 2007. In 2006 alone the U.S. organic industry grew 21 percent in sales. Over two-thirds of consumers buy organic products at least occasionally, and 28 percent of consumers buy organic weekly.
The USDA report states that the “fast-paced growth” of the demand for organic food “has led to input and product shortages in organic supply chains.” The report cited a 2004 survey that found 44 percent of organic handlers had a shortage of needed ingredients or products, and 13 percent were not able to meet the market demand for at least one organic product in 2004.
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Today in L’Aquila, Italy, the Group of 8 (G8) Summit failed to pass unanimously a climate bill which would have mandated halving of global CO2 emissions by 2050 as part of the Group’s larger economic-stabilization plan. The Group – consisting of the United States, Japan, Germany, France, Great Britain, Italy, Canada, and Russia – believed passage of the bill would likely have broken the deadlock over sharing of the burden of cutting greenhouse gasses. The bill’s passage also would have laid the groundwork for an expected future U.N. climate pact in Copenhagen in December. Click to continue reading »
The Senate began to drive a climate change bill Tuesday that could require changing climate legislation currently supported by the Obama administration. The debate centers on the challenges of crafting a bill that will allow the U.S. to participate in global climate change efforts without hampering international trade or other priorities. Click to continue reading »
One of the long standing grudge matches in climate talks has been between developed countries, like the US, who believe greenhouse gas emissions should be curbed in every country across the board, and developing countries, like China and India, who argue it’s unfair to make them drastically curb pollution as they grow, something rich countries never did.
A study published Monday (PDF) in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences suggests a work-around: capping the emissions of “high CO2-emitting individuals,” aka the global wealthy, aka the majority of the people reading this blog, wherever they live, Beijing or Buffalo, London or Lagos.
Founded in 1976, Genentech, a wholly owned member of the Roche Group since March 2009, is a biotech company with more than 11,000 employees. While generally viewed as a founder of the biotechnology industry, Genentech isn’t necessarily one of the first brand names that come to mind when people think of corporate sustainability. The pioneering firm is not an outdoor retailer or utility, so there’s no obvious connection to the environment through their product or their footprint. However, out of all the companies I’ve consulted with or worked for, Genentech is clearly among the farthest along in driving sustainability into their core DNA (forgive the pun). How did they get there, and what does a high-functioning green team at a large biotech company look like? Click to continue reading »
According to organizers, the goal is to use the power of “Social Influence” via Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, Blogs and other online media to raise money for their fund that benefits The Humane Society, LIVESTRONG, Oxfam America, and WWF. The campaign started June 1st and goes until August 28th, 2009.
It is the first project of what is being dubbed, “Social Media for Social Good,” a so-called umbrella for organizations and charities to capitalize on social media.
This week, the folks over at 12seconds.tv joined forces with Mashable to announce a contest, offering a free Kodak Zi6 pocket video camera to the winner of users who upload their own 12 second video talking about what they are going to do for social good. Click to continue reading »
Zipcar, the innovative car-sharing service, today announced its first Electric Vehicle Pod, which will come equipped with an all-electric Citroen c1 (pictured above) and a plug-in Toyota Prius.
“Our proprietary car sharing technology platform allows us to manage a variety of cutting-edge vehicles, serving hundreds of thousands of Zipsters who benefit from convenience, cost savings, and a commitment to reducing carbon emissions.” said Scott Griffith, chairman and CEO of Zipcar, in a press release this morning.Click to continue reading »
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I once had a conversation with a leading brand exec from a major cleaning-products company about “green” cleaning products and how they’re marketed. This person told me that the biggest problem wasn’t that the “green” products had any performance weaknesses at all. Rather, the problem was that the majority of their customers felt that if a product didn’t sound and smell like it was going to kill them, they didn’t believe it would get the job done. This person didn’t see this as a problem, just a demographic fact.
Hence, you get articles in Wired magazine like this one about Palmolive promising “Killer Bubbles” that shred every last life form from whatever they touch via an unpronounceable alphabet soup of nasty chemicals. It might not be ironic then, that most “greener” brands (Ecover, 7th Gen, Method, and even Clorox’s GreenWorks) work just as well as the more toxic variety but remain less than mainstream.
You also get hypocrisy in branding. Jeffrey Hollender brilliantly illustrated this problem a few months ago by catching Clorox in an ironic dichotomy – simultaneously touting the beneficial attributes of Green Works, while bragging about the heinous toxicity of Formula 409 at the same time.
So what is it people want? Do they really think that only nuclear-powered brands of death will clean their counter tops? Or is there a genuine change of heart going on that the larger brands are just slower to jump on?
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Obviously, one of the benefits of being socially and environmentally responsible today is the investment it makes in sustaining people and planet in the long term. No one represents this concept better than Seventh Generation, a company built upon the principle of preservation by considering the impact our everyday decisions will have on the next seven generations. In this spirit, Seventh Generation is the gateway for responsibility by equipping consumers with the details they need to make informed choices and eco-friendly products that help save natural resources, reduce pollution and keep toxic chemicals out of the environment.
While they develop and market a profitable branded line of non-toxic household products, their core focus is on education and shifting consumer mindset to one of giving back and living responsibly toward creating a healthier world. It is this conscious mindset that sets the tone for the company and drives all facets of their business practices and culture. And through an unwavering commitment to positive change, they have assembled a team fueled by passion, ideals and hope and pacakaged it as their gift for the children of tomorrow.
It’s time for SanDisk to rethink its packaging. Oh wait, it already has.
Really, SanDisk? Is that much really plastic really necessary? I don’t mean to pick on this company specifically. Many electronic companies need to come up with better solutions to packaging, and some are working on it. However, they need to come up with something just a little better than this sad display before boasting about it.
Thanks for the photos, Phil Villarreal.
Nationwide, K-12 schools spend over $6 billion per year on energy – that’s more than textbooks and computers combined. While government-sponsored solar incentives hope to reduce that bill (and provide a fun educational opportunity for students), not all incentives are created equally.
When I asked Richard Raeke, Director of Project Finance at Borrego Solar Systems, to share his secret solar financing formula, he admitted his work is not easy: “I have a 17-page financial model to analyze the viability of any solar project.” He quipped he could work full-time just following all of the government incentive programs.
How can an average school district possibly keep up with changing trends? We offer a glimpse at incentive programs in two states and a few resources to get you started… Click to continue reading »
During a press conference last week, Yahoo’s co-founder David Filo announced plans to build energy efficient data centers in New York. Standing by his side was New York Governor David Patterson and Senator Chuck Schumer. Filo also announced Yahoo would not be investing in carbon offsets anymore. According to a blog post by Filo, data centers represent the majority of Yahoo’s energy consumption.
Yahoo’s New York data centers will receive 90 percent of its power from hydroelectric power from Niagara Falls. The data center it plans to build “will have an annualized average power usage effectiveness (PUE) of 1.1 or better,” according to Filo. Yahoo plans to use only outside air to cool the servers.
We first highlighted the global architectural and design firm HOK with our post last December covering the opening late last year of the new “sustainable” Indianapolis airport (pictured above), for which HOK was principal designer.
Earlier this year we talked with Mary Ann Lazarus, HOK’s Sustainable Design Director, about the growing buzz over building efficiency and the course of sustainable design in a struggling economy.
In its latest issue published just today, Engineering News-Record magazine released a survey ranking HOK, for the second consecutive year, as the greenest design firm in the world.Click to continue reading »