Maryland’s Smith School Launches Center for Social Value Creation

| Friday September 25th, 2009 | 1 Comment

By Deepa Janakiraman

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Two hundred and fifty students, industry experts, entrepreneurs, professors and social value creators came together at Ronald Reagan Building in Washington today for the grand launch of Center for Social Value Creation (csvc) at Robert H. Smith School of Business.

Dean Anand introduced the center with a comment that “In the business school we have a responsibility to create responsible leaders”. Although he commented the school is a little behind in starting the center, he promptly recognized that the students and faculty are already creating social value by many means -Especially via involvement with Net Impact, Smith School Energy Club, CIBER, Green, sustainable and social corporate responsibility clubs and more.

Today’s forum on leadership for a better world will be covered by three current University of Maryland students here on 3p, check back for updates throughout the day.

Deepa Janakiraman is a MBA student at Robert H. Smith School and works at Booz Allen Hamilton as an associate. An avid traveler and photographer and writes travel blogs at www.deeparaman.com

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Zumbox Is Not Another BS “Paperless” Mail Option. Here’s Why.

| Friday September 25th, 2009 | 29 Comments

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Zumbox video captureI have to admit, when my friend Rob Reed of Max Gladwell first told me about Zumbox, the “Paperless Postal System,” I didn’t get it. How was it different then, say, Earth Class Mail and other digitized mail services? How many of the many companies I get mail from would actually participate?

So when I again heard from Rob about some big Zumbox news this week, I remained skeptical. Then I watched a brief video on their site, and it all made sense: For every physical mailing address in the US, they’d created a digital Zumbox as well. When you sign up, they send one physical piece of mail that you use to verify your address. Then here’s where the difference is:

Most non personal mail sent to you typically starts as a file on a computer somewhere.  It gets printed, put in an envelope,  then shipped via the postal service to your mailbox. With Zumbox, that file goes directly to your Zumbox account, bypassing printing, scanning, and mailing it. All those resources, energy, and time are saved.

But who’s using it? As of this week, the Mayors of San Francisco and Newark New Jersey are.

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Armageddon Energy: Taking the Pain Out of Home Solar Systems

| Friday September 25th, 2009 | 2 Comments

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armageddonsolar4By Deborah Fleischer, Green Impact

When you think of installing a solar system on your home, what is the first thought that comes to mind?  It will cost too much?  It will be complicated to install?  Or perhaps, you like the idea, but think solar panels are ugly?

A new start-up Armageddon Energy is working to remove these barriers and bring to market a “plug and play,” modular solar system that is visually appealing, smaller and cheaper than a standard home system and will possibly do for the home solar industry what Ikea did for home furnishings.

The business model?  Make it easy, accessible and affordable to sell small home solar system to the masses in a “big box” retail setting.

One of the most promising start-ups to watch

While the name, which alludes to the final battle between the forces of good and evil, has been a bit more controversial then CEO Mark Goldman expected, the company was named one of the five most promising start-ups to watch at the Clean Tech Open by Fast Company.

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At Columbia Sportswear, Reused Packaging Has Story to Tell

Mary Catherine O'Connor | Friday September 25th, 2009 | 3 Comments

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columbia_boxThe packaging industry is really charging forward with all sorts of innovative, recyclable materials these days, but one of the best and easiest ways to make packaging sustainable is to simply reuse it.  That’s what Columbia Sportswear is doing as part of its recently-launched ecommerce program.

Six weeks ago, the Portland, Ore.-based outdoor clothing company started taking online orders for the first time. When consumers are completing their online transaction at www.columbia.com, they can select to have their order shipped in a reused box. Once they receive the reused box, they’re also able to log onto the www.aboxlife.com website and find out where that particular box has been before arriving at their home. So far, the response to the program is strong, with 66 percent of shoppers electing reused packaging.

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Age of Stupid Inspires UK Campaign to Dramatically Cut Emissions

Richard Levangie | Friday September 25th, 2009 | 3 Comments
10:10 Campaign

10:10 Campaign

The Age of Stupid was more than just a disturbing film -— for many it was a serious call to action.

At a September launch in Great Britain, Age of Stupid Director Franny Armstrong unveiled the 10:10 Campaign to great fanfare at the Tate Museum, with thousands of individuals and businesses promising to cut their emissions by 10 percent by 2010 to make a real, measurable, and immediate difference in the fight against global warming. The Guardian — the world’s best newspaper for environmental and climate change coverage — signed on as a media sponsor, and many celebrities added their voices to the clamor.

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Stockholm and IBM Drive Intelligent Transport

Bill DiBenedetto | Friday September 25th, 2009 | 0 Comments

stockholm-betalstation_liljeholmenIntelligent transport seems more like an oxymoron than a green transportation initiative, especially in the U.S., but with impetus from IBM there are positive results to report on two fronts: city congestion and pollution.

The controversial debate about using taxes and fees to control wasteful driving habits while helping the environment could enter a new phase with the example of the Stockholm Congestion Charging System, which was created by Big Blue and launched in Sweden’s capital more than two years ago.

The system has significantly improved access to the city by cutting waiting times on access roads by one-half. City traffic is down 18 percent and CO2 emissions in the city were cut between 14 and 18 percent. These are the results of a study on the system by the Stockholm City Traffic authorities, IBM says.

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Omni Enviro Claims Magentization Decreases Irrigation Use

Gina-Marie Cheeseman
| Friday September 25th, 2009 | 4 Comments

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Irrigation systems treated with magnets to make water use more efficient sounds rather like science fiction. However, an Australian company, Omni Enviro LLC created a system which uses magnetization to decrease water use on farmland. They claim this occurs through a device called the Agricultural H20 Energizer that is installed at an irrigation source. The device ranges from two to 30 inches in diameter, and can be fitted to various irrigation systems – essentially a big magnet wrapped around an irrigation pipe.

The company claims that its “magnetic resonators create their own broadband electromagnetic field in the water,” which allows the “water’s structural-information to change.”

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Principal Power Is Ready For Deep Water Wind Farms

Gina-Marie Cheeseman
| Friday September 25th, 2009 | 0 Comments

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Deep waters are the best place for offshore wind-farms, but it is very expensive to build a foundation to support wind turbines in waters deeper than 70 feet. Enter the start-up company, Principal Power. The company developed a floating foundation, the Wind Float, which allows offshore wind turbines in deep waters. The WindFloat, according to the company’s website, “dampen(s) wave and turbine induced motion.”

The company’s president, Jon Bonanno said, “The most prolific minds in the renewable energy business are talking about taking land-based wind and dragging that power out to the coast, which really doesn’t make much sense. It makes much more sense to generate that power from deepwater sources and transmit it to the coast.”

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Policy Solutions for Managing E-Waste

Wes Muir | Friday September 25th, 2009 | 1 Comment

As electronic devices like cell phones, computer monitors and television sets become increasingly available – thus becoming one of the fastest growing components of the global waste stream – government and business leaders must find solutions for best managing these e-waste materials. This week, leading experts in the fields of electronics manufacturing, recycling and waste management from across the country met in Orlando, Florida for the annual E-Scrap Conference to discuss the major legislative and policy issues surrounding e-waste.

Most electronic items contain substances that are necessary for their proper operation, including lead, mercury, cadmium and brominated flame-retardants. As a result, disposal of such electronics must be carefully managed. Some manufacturers are already taking responsibility for the end-of-life maintenance of their products, and have developed e-waste recycling programs for businesses and consumers to safely manage and dispose of their electronic waste right here in the U.S. While the support of manufacturers certainly helps drive proper e-waste disposal, leading recyclers who handle this waste on a daily basis, and have a responsibility to maintain environmental standards, also have a large influence on policies surrounding this issue. Unfortunately, according to Government Accountability Office (GAO) some recyclers aren’t playing by the rules.

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Senate Blocks Proposal to Keep Bush-Era Offshore Drilling Policy

| Friday September 25th, 2009 | 0 Comments

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The issue of whether or not to drill for oil and gas along the Atlantic and Pacific coasts has come to a head again, this time in a Senate’s vote Wednesday against keeping the Bush-era offshore drilling policy in place. Could it be that, by shooting down this policy, Senators opened the door for a new, greener Obama-era offshore drilling policy?

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Results from the 2009 Net Impact Challenge: MBAs and Professionals Take Action

Net Impact | Friday September 25th, 2009 | 1 Comment

net-impact-logo-120MBAs and professionals stepped up to the network-wide Net Impact Challenge this year, highlighting impact projects ranging from corporate sustainable commuting programs to university composting initiatives.

As the third annual competition, Net Impact’s Executive Director Liz Maw said, “This year’s teams have raised the bar to a new level. The entries we received highlight the incredible work Net Impact members are doing in their offices, campuses, and communities. We are proud to support them through our network.”

For Net Impact’s nearly 250 student and professional chapters around the world, the annual Net Impact Challenge is a chance to receive recognition for their efforts to make a more sustainable world using the power of business. “Our chapter really wanted to find a way to put the ‘Magnify Your Impact’ motto into action,” said Matthew Holtry, a Net Impact Challenge project leader from the Penn State Smeal College of Business who developed a campus supplier sustainability scorecard. “For us, the project was a win-win-win. We got to add sustainable value to our campus while expanding the MBA curriculum and getting more exposure for our Net Impact chapter on campus.”

So here’s what all the hype is about:

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A123 Systems’ IPO: Will Clean Tech Pave the Way for the Next Stock Market Bubble?

| Friday September 25th, 2009 | 1 Comment

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A123-017 A promising start-up that’s posted nothing but ever larger losses since inception, but with a high-tech “blue chip” pedigree and a promising product decides it’s time to go public. On the first day of secondary market trading its shares soar 50%. Sound familiar? In what may turn out to be the latest variation on an economic theme that has brought about some of the greatest stock market booms, busts and scandals in financial history, the shares of lithium-ion battery manufacturer A123 Systems did just that yesterday.

Founded in 2001 on the back of pioneering advances in nanoscale materials development at MIT, A123 is riding the still building wave of investor enthusiasm for lithium-ion battery manufacture. The technology of choice for storing power in electric vehicles, and with potential markets in both small-scale distributed and larger scale utility power storage as well, A123 has leveraged this R&D to land well over half a billion dollars of capital in the form of alternative vehicle technology grants from the federal government, Michigan state grants and refundable renewable energy tax credits, private equity investments from the likes of GE, and deals to supply lithium ion batteries to Chrysler and Shanghai Motors.

A123’s IPO may be the type of spark that helps reignite and propel the clean tech/renewable energy and broader financial markets to new heights and the US economy to a “low-carbon” future? Or could it be a sign that the US economy is embarking on yet another spectacular, liquidity and credit-driven cycle of boom and bust?

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REALLY, MEG? Suspending Climate-Change Legislation AB32 is Backwards Thinking

| Thursday September 24th, 2009 | 3 Comments

Editor’s note: The following was published earlier on CleanTechnica by San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom in response to Meg Whitman’s Op-Ed suggesting that California Governor Schwarzenegger put “a moratorium on most AB32-related rules. And if he does not, [she] will issue that order on [her] first day as governor.” CleanTechnica is doing its best to rally a debate between the two candidates vying for Schwarzenegger’s job in 2010.

AB32Meg Whitman penned an op-ed last week stating she’d suspend California’s landmark climate-change legislation, AB32, on her first day if elected governor. This is backwards thinking, and I disagree.

Experts estimate that the four largest clean-energy industries (solar, wind, biofuels, and fuel-cell) will have combined annual revenues of $255 billion by the middle of the next decade. The question isn’t whether the world will move towards cleaner living – the question is how soon this trend will take hold.

There is no better, more fertile place in the United States for green technology and green-collar jobs to take shape than California.

California’s challenge is competitiveness, grasping as much of the share of these markets as possible by being the industry leader in greenhouse gas abatement technology. To date, we’ve done a great job – California captured $6.6 billion in green capital between 2006-2008. And all these start-ups need workers; so green jobs have the potential to be for California what the defense industry was in 1980s.

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Fashionistas, Ad Execs and Environmentalists Descend on NYC

| Thursday September 24th, 2009 | 0 Comments

This time in September marks a convergence of three big New York City events: Fashion Week, Advertising Week and Climate Week NYC.

Three of today’s most influential industries that both support each other and battle each other for public attention. On one hand, consumerism is the opposite of sustainability. Though at the same time, phenomena such as eco-fashion and green advertising are bringing climate change more and more into the public eye.

Climate Week NYC is an event organized by such organizations as The Climate Group, the UN, Tck Tck Tck Campaign, and more. Fashion Week, however, was sponsored by… Mercedes Benz. I guess “eco” wasn’t really the theme this year. Advertising Week, however, has a different focus than years past.

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The Aesthetics of Trust: What It Takes to Break Through the Clutter

3p Contributor | Thursday September 24th, 2009 | 0 Comments

By Mitch Baranowski, co-founder of BBMG. This article originally appeared on Itshowwelive.com

trustmarks_box You would think, with some 400+ trustmarks vying for consumer attention, that most would dedicate a modicum of time and attention to the actual design of the trustmark. You know, so it stands out from the crowd. So it projects trustworthy attributes. So it’s scalable, legible and all those other things prized by designers.

But that hardly seems the case. No points for originality here. With but a few exceptions, the sea of trustmarks is a mess, a pea soup of poorly conceived (and poorly explained) seals and certifications.

Why is that?

Tough to hazard a guess, really, but experience says it’s probably due to (a) not having the expertise at hand, (b) not having the budget at hand or (c) not making it enough of a priority, the certification team arriving somewhat exhausted to the finish line after spending months putting the standards in question together, with little time and patience for the iterative process that great design requires.

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