Does Your Building Need a Sick Day?

| Tuesday October 13th, 2009 | 2 Comments

Drawing Courtesy of John Andrews

Drawing Courtesy of John Andrews

Green buildings use key resources like energy, water, materials and land more efficiently than buildings built simply to code. Elements like abundant natural light, non-toxic materials and better air quality contribute greatly to improved employee health, comfort and productivity. Research surrounding the relationship between employee productivity and green buildings is gathering momentum and for good cause. Most people spend 90 percent of their time indoors and often experience a concentration of indoor pollutants as much as 10 to 100 times higher than when outdoors, making it time we paid more attention to where we live and work.

Productivity is undoubtedly an important success factor for all organizations. Companies strive to improve productivity in order to stay profitable, but measuring it is a challenge. For example, how do you measure a person’s ability to add value to the firm or their contribution in the workplace? Measuring an employee’s quality of work, efficiency and output in a professional environment is not cut and dry.

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Blue Source, Goldman in “Largest Publicly Announced” Carbon Offset Deal

| Tuesday October 13th, 2009 | 0 Comments

carbon-offset-scale

Carbon offset developer Blue Source announced the completion of the “largest publicly announced U.S. offset deal” (his description, reportedly): a $12 million carbon transaction between Blue Source and Goldman Sachs Group. The deal reportedly met Climate Action Reserve (CAR) and Voluntary Carbon Standard quality standards. It also included credits from North Carolina’s Alligator River Forestry project – the first carbon credits to be listed by the CAR outside California.

According to a Reuters report, Blue Source generated the offsets – primarily by convincing North Carolina farmers not to cut down tree stands and by capturing and burning greenhouse gases given off by coal mines and landfills. Goldman then marketed the carbon credits for Blue Source. Then, U.S. investor and carbon commodity owner CE2 Carbon Capital bought the credits. While the companies would not reveal how many credits were sold or at what price they were sold, Blue Source did reveal that each offset type was represented equally (roughly) in the deal.

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Coming Up: Opportunity Green Los Angeles

| Monday October 12th, 2009 | 2 Comments

opp-green.jpgOne of the few complaints I’ve had this conference season is the relatively small number of conferences taking place outside the San Francisco Bay Area. Though it’s nice to be at the center of the action, it sometimes feels a little like the choir is preaching to itself. Karen Solomon, the mastermind behind Opportunity Green agrees, and has put together what will be arguably one of this year’s most exciting events – November 7-8 at UCLA in Los Angeles.

LA is the center of the world’s popular culture and a global trend setter in business, communications and entertainment. So, getting forward thinking business people together there to talk about making business greener on a larger scale not only makes sense, it’s critical. The attendee list is a who’s who of business large and small, those you might think of as having green at their soul and many you might identify as newcomers to the conversation. Most importantly, in it’s third year, the conference aims to make a larger splash than ever this year bringing new media attention to sustainable efforts by companies, entrepreneurs, and change agents of all stripes.

tour-de-OGTwo special things this year: First, 3p is proud to be able to offer you a 30% discount on admission by using the code “TripleP30“. Just REGISTER HERE. Second, yours truly will be helping to rally a group of about 30 green business leaders in cycling the California Coast from San Francisco to Los Angeles over 5 days leading up to the conference. The ride will be a high profile opportunity to network with some of the most devoted conference participants, get some great media coverage (right here on Triple Pundit) and have some fun while we’re at it. If you’re interested in the ride, you can register here or get in touch with me personally. More to come!

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London Battling Single-Use Water Bottles with New-Fangled Bubblers

Mary Catherine O'Connor | Monday October 12th, 2009 | 8 Comments

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

cat-sink-drinking-fountainIn some public spaces, it’s as hard to find a water fountain (or “bubbler” or “drinking fountain,” depending on your local lexicon) as it is to track down a pay-phone. But just as cell phones have made pay phones obsolete, the ubiquitous water bottle means water fountains don’t get much use anymore.

But there are signs that water fountains might be making a comeback—albeit in a slightly different form factor than that to which most of us are accustomed. After banning the sale of bottled water, the Australian tourist town of Bundanoon recently installed three water-bottle refilling stations, which crank out filtered water provided by Culligan.  And now London is getting its feet wet with a test of similar dispensers at a London bus station and museum, reports The Guardian.

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Creating Change: The Fostering Sustainable Behavior Workshop

| Monday October 12th, 2009 | 1 Comment

FosteringSustainableBehaviorBy Deborah Fleischer, Green Impact

We all know that a key to creating a greener future is to foster more sustainable behavior at work and in our lives.  Be it a green team working to increase recycling rates or reduce paper waste or a corporate sustainability officer working to reduce a carbon footprint, a key challenge is how to encourage changes in our decisions and actions. But we also know that change is not always easy to foster.

To date, most programs to achieve green changes have relied upon disseminating information. Research demonstrates, however, that simply providing information has little or no effect on what individuals or businesses do. But if not ads, brochures or booklets, then what?

Over the last two decades a new approach, community-based social marketing, has emerged as an effective alternative for promoting sustainable behavior.

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The Cost of McDonald’s Free Burger Giveaway

| Monday October 12th, 2009 | 4 Comments

McdoLogoCorp1[1]During the month of September, a McDonald’s promotion gave away free Angus beef burgers and paid the fares for public transportation users in six US cities– Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, and Washington DC.

Such news elicited an emotional cocktail of optimism and skepticism.  With Nike, Apple, and PG&E recently forfeiting their membership to the US Chamber of Commerce citing differing views on climate change, this seemed as if another major corporate player was starting to acknowledge the business imperative of sustainability. At first glance, the program almost seemed to be rewarding public transportation users for their climate conscious choice.

But don’t get too excited.  It appears that this marketing campaign has more to do with ‘giving Americans a break’ during these economic hard times than sustainability. The president of the Greater Atlanta McDonald’s Operators Association explains, “The McDonald’s owner/operators enjoyed giving back to the community this summer with free McCafé coffees and paying peoples’ toll booth fees, and now we want to give downtown commuters some economic relief and a free sample of our new premium Angus burgers.”

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Obama’s Nobel Prize – What Effect Could it Have on the Copenhagen Conference?

| Monday October 12th, 2009 | 2 Comments

obama-nobel-prize

Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize score could have numerous implications – including potential benefits for the UN Climate Conference in Copenhagen (scheduled for December 7th through 18th). According to a Reuters report, some analysts believe the award could push Obama to attend the Conference, in part because officials will hand over the prize in nearby Oslo on December 10th. Will Obama respond as such, and would his doing so impact the Conference’s success?

Despite the Obama administration’s sluggishness in passing climate legislation in time for the Copenhagen conference, the administration has, at least in intention, improved on the previous administration’s climate actions. Former President George W. Bush dropped efforts to get the Senate to ratify the Kyoto Protocol for 2020 (which all other industrialized nations adopted), while Obama is encouraging the US to assume a bigger role in a new global climate treaty. It’s this attitude that (at least in part) likely qualified him for the Prize and makes his attending the UN Conference a pressure point for many world leaders.

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Streamlining the Smart Grid – the Key to Helping States Meet Renewable Energy Goals?

| Monday October 12th, 2009 | 0 Comments

north-america-from-space

A recent USA Today report on (many) states’ failure to meet their renewable energy goals highlights a number of issues, one of which being the value of setting standards for a national clean energy infrastructure (“smart grid”). Without such standards, the likelihood of energy inefficiency is greater and the risk of investing in green technology higher, and people are more likely to hold off on greening their operations. The implementation of a “Smart Grid interoperability” plan, which Commerce Secretary Gary Locke introduced September 24th, could make the difference.

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Best Buy’s Environmental Efforts

Gina-Marie Cheeseman
| Monday October 12th, 2009 | 2 Comments

250px-Bestbuystore

Best Buy Co. Inc, the world’s largest electronics store chain, has several programs that allow its customers to recycle appliances and electronics. In February, the company introduced a recycling program at 1,000 of its stores which accepts most televisions and monitors up to 32 inches, laptops, VCRs, DVD players, cell phones, keyboards, and remotes. Best Buy stores also contain recycling kiosks which accept ink cartridges, rechargeable batteries, cell phones, CDs, DVDs, PDAs/smart phones, and gift cards.

Best Buy will pick up an appliance or television from a customer’s home after a new product is bought and delivered by Best Buy. For $100 Best Buy will pick up appliances or televisions from customers who have not made a purchase. The company, in addition, has a trade-in program where customers can bring in electronics for a gift card.

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October 15th. Blog Action Day. Join the Climate Change Discussion!

| Monday October 12th, 2009 | 1 Comment

Blog Action Day

This Thursday, October 15th, marks the third annual Blog Action Day.  The yearly event unites bloggers from around the world to discuss a single issue of global importance. In anticipation of the upcoming international climate negotiations in Copenhagen, this year’s discussion will focus on the very global topic of climate change.

Over 5000 blogs are expected to generate over 20,000 unique blog posts on the day, according to estimates by Robin Beck, Organizing Director at Change.org, this year’s sponsor of Blog Action Day. We recently spoke to Robin Beck about the event and the unique contribution bloggers can bring to this effort.

Triple Pundit: Obviously this is a very pressing issue, but what unique value do bloggers offer?

Robin Beck: Bloggers bring a conversation that they are running day in and day out. They have built up a community of people who are interested in conversing with each other, so the purpose of the day is to put the climate change conversation in front of that audience. And the real value is seeing the conversation start to take hold in places where it hasn’t before.

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How an Organic Farming Apprenticeship Differs from the World of the Migrant Worker

3p Contributor | Monday October 12th, 2009 | 1 Comment

This is the this is the third post in a series on the business of sustainable agriculture by the folks at Bon Appétit Management, a company that provides café and catering services to corporations, colleges and universities. To read the earlier posts, click here.

By Dayna Burtness

Since 2005, I’ve spent most of my waking hours either working on farms, managing one, assistant managing a farmers market, or researching the food system at an agricultural think tank. Now I work for a food service company focused on sustainability, and a big part of my job will be visiting farms in our supply chain to assess their labor practices. Despite all the progress we’ve made in sustainable food over the past few years, farm labor is relatively untouched and has far to go. In the dialogue about these issues, it seems like we’re talking about two different worlds, both centered on the people who harvest our food albeit on different scales.

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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

preidio-buzz-bar.gif

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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