EU Presses Obama on Curbing Climate Change and Capping Bank Bonuses

| Monday September 21st, 2009 | 2 Comments

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The upcoming UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen in December, and the G20 Summit this week, are on the front burner for the European Union, which issued a plea Thursday pressing Obama on some of the matters the conferences will cover. Specifically, the EU asked Obama to increase emissions standards in the upcoming climate change pact, and to limit bankers’ pay, the Enquirer-Herald reports.

The EU countries agreed on the plea at a preparatory meeting for the G20 Summit, which is scheduled for September 24th and 25th. All 27 EU nations are reportedly unified against bonuses for bank executives, as the countries believe such bonuses prompted banks to take huge risks and, in turn, caused the recession. While the EU did not reveal the exact value of the cap on bonuses it is seeking, it did reveal a desire for G-20 nations to impose sanctions on banks that pay excessive bonuses to execs.

In the meeting, Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt also reportedly said that the U.S. needs to do more “to reach the levels [they] have in Europe.” The EU is urging other developed countries to pledge to cut emissions by 20 percent by 2020, thereby matching the EU’s pledge. It is particularly important that the U.S. comply, since the U.S. and China are the world’s top two polluters. Failure to adopt an adequate climate bill could threaten the homes, food supplies, and lives of billions of people.

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For Florida’s Tomato Pickers, 45 Cents Means a Backache

3p Contributor | Monday September 21st, 2009 | 2 Comments

This is the this is the second 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 first post, click here.

By: Maisie Greenawalt, Bon Appetit Management

What does slavery look like in the United States in the year 2009? After visiting Immokalee, Florida, I know.

As we drove down a highway surrounded by swamps and passed signs warning people of panthers, I looked out the window trying to find evidence of the atrocious working conditions of tomato pickers about which I had read. We sped by orange groves and tract housing but no tomatoes.

Entering Immokalee, I saw a modern-day ghost town – dusty streets full of potholes, boarded up businesses, and rundown trailers. Had I been there at 4:30 a.m., it would have been a different scene. Each morning thousands of workers gather in the parking lot of an abandoned store to load onto buses that take them upwards of an hour away to the tomato fields. Calling Immokalee a city is really a misnomer. It’s a labor camp and, as a federal prosecutor called it, “ground zero for modern-day slavery.”

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Kohl’s Awarded Green Power Partner of the Year

Gina-Marie Cheeseman
| Monday September 21st, 2009 | 0 Comments

kohls-greenThe Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Green Power Partnership (GPP) awards 17 organizations annually out of the 1,000 who take part in its voluntary renewable energy purchasing program. Three organizations were awarded Green Power Partner of the Year, including Kohl’s Department Stores who ranked number one of the three. Kohl’s ranks number one on the GPP list for the retail sector, third among Fortune 500 companies, and third overall.

This year is the third consecutive year Kohl’s received a GPP award. In 2007, Kohl’s received an award for its green power purchase, and in 2008 for its on-site renewable energy generation. Kohl’s joined the GPP in 2006.

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Coming Up: West Coast Green

| Monday September 21st, 2009 | 0 Comments

There are a handful of conferences every year that 3p gets involved with. One of the longest running and most worthwhile, especially for folks in the green building sector is West Coast Green – to be held from October 1-3 in San Francisco’s Ft. Mason.

Bigger and better seems to be a running theme this year at the events we frequent – always a good sign in the context of spreading sustainability far and wide. Look for two tracks at this years West Coast Green that will expand the agenda outside of the building sector – Business & the New Economy as well as Social Innovation with speakers and panelists ranging from Mayor Gavin Newsom, Ray Anderson and yours truly.

As always – 3p readers can get a healthy discount as follows:
1) FREE Tradeshow Floor Passes
2) 20% off the full conference pass

We’ll be giving the event lots of coverage, so if you’re not local, don’t forget to follow us on twitter and check back for updates right here.

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Maya Lin Memorializes Lost Species, Asking: What Is Missing?

Mary Catherine O'Connor | Friday September 18th, 2009 | 0 Comments

MayaLinRenowned artists Maya Lin has memorialized the Civil Rights movement and lost landscapes. Her most recognized memorial is erected in Washington DC and honors the lives lost in the Vietnam war. Now, Lin has embarked on a multi-site, multi-media memorial that honors the species we’ve lost—but also examines the reasons we’ve lost them and what can be done to avoid losing many, many more.

Lin debuted the exhibit, called What Is Missing?, at the California Academy of Sciences this week, and also presented a lecture during the LEED-rated museum’s weekly Nightlife event. The focal point of the exhibit, four years in the making, is a massive steel-and-(reclaimed) redwood outdoor “listening cone” meant to mimic a megaphone. Viewers peer into the cone and experience a looping 20-minute video and audio presentation that documents the underlying causes of species loss and serves as a clarion call for viewers to help protect biodiversity and prevent the habitat loss that is a root cause of species extinction.

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How to Turn a Mountain Dew into a Graduation Robe

| Friday September 18th, 2009 | 4 Comments

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Greenweaver recycled plastic bottle graduation robe This is a story about a 120 year old start up. Or re-start up, as it were. Oak Hall Cap & Gown is a US based company doing what, for the most part, has been moved overseas: Making what we use in our graduations. Often by hand.

They’re one of those rare companies that eschews laying off people in seasonal lulls, treats people as family, and has a dedicated workforce as a result. They’ve made many of the gowns for honorary degree ceremonies, and were infamously seen twice in the swearing in of Barack Obama.

They were in search of a way to make their product more current, and apparently on a visit to one of the 1,600 colleges and universities they serve, EVP Joseph D’Angelo was looking at a biodegradable spork while at lunch, and thought, “If a spork can be environmentally friendly, why not a graduation gown?”

After getting “terrible” results trying bamboo, they went with recycled PET (plastic bottle) based fabric that mimics polyester cloth. After thoroughly testing it, Greenweaver robes were created, and will be ready for the December 2009 graduation season.  Graduations can be a source of a tremendous amount of waste, but here are some greener graduation suggestions we shared earlier. With GreenWeaver, each uses the equivalent of 23 bottles.

While only one part of graduation, these robes could serve a larger purpose then just their one time use there:

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Live Earth Shows If You Love the Climate, It’ll Love You Back

| Friday September 18th, 2009 | 0 Comments

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lovetheclimateThere’s a lot of doom and gloom out there when it comes to the climate change issue, ranging from mild concern to full scale panic, but Live Earth decided to take a different approach with their “Love, the Climate” initiative. From September 15th through September 25th, you can give the environment a voice by sharing creative messages that will be used to help communicate the importance of passing the Climate Bill to senators, and motivate them to take action in a compelling, optimistic way.

As someone who’s developed a series of exercises that anthropomorphize brand traits to help devise resonant marketing strategies, a program like this is right up my alley. Personification is a powerful tool for driving key messages home in a memorable way. And what could be more fun than cooking up fun stories and vignettes for what the environment might say, like Shira Lazar’s sunflower love scene below?

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From Classroom to Concept: MBA Grads Navigate the Green Economy

| Friday September 18th, 2009 | 1 Comment

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powerzoaThe silver lining of this economic crisis is the hope that a new, green economy will emerge. A revitalized mindset focused on open source, social innovation, clean tech and green jobs marked by shifts towards cleaner transportation, energy independence and a renewed focus on sustainability and energy efficiency. Sandra Kwak, like many Americans and businesses, is banking on this notion. Near the end of her Sustainable MBA program at the Presidio Graduate School in San Francisco, Sandra struggled with the decision of whether or not to take a job or the proverbial “plunge” and start her own business. For now, she is committed to making her dreams of forming a socially responsible business a reality. She pulls inspiration from her studies at Presidio. There, Sandra got more than an education, she found her calling.

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Offset Your Flight’s Carbon Footprint Before You Even Take Off

| Friday September 18th, 2009 | 0 Comments

San Francisco International Airport unveils new carbon offset kiosks

SFOHow much good can selling carbon offsets at airport kiosks have on a region’s economy and environment? The Bay Area is about to find out. According to a report by inhabitat.com, San Francisco’s International Airport (SFO) and 3Degrees (a local carbon firm) initiated the Climate Passport program on Thursday, the first program of its kind. The program will allow passengers to purchase carbon offsets right at the gate, thereby mitigating the environmental impact of their flights. Whether the program will appeal to a wide range of passengers, and whether it will significantly impact the region’s economy and environment, have yet to be determined.

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Getting Schooled: Chegg.com Offers Cheap, Green Textbook Rentals

| Friday September 18th, 2009 | 16 Comments

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b3022789c8_chegg09062009Thousands of excited students headed off to college this fall and as any college student (and parent) knows, in addition to tuition there are many other associated costs of college. Entertainment expenses, parking permits, computers and new clothes all put a strain on the finances. Then, there is the nightmare that is finding and purchasing textbooks. You get your class schedule and hunt for your textbooks amid the chaos, stand in line for hours and nearly keel over when you get your total! There goes your hard earned beer money. College textbooks typically cost more than $100 a piece and students spend an average of $700 to $1,100 a year, representing one of the biggest expenses after tuition and room and board.

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Puma’s Green Paw Print

Bill DiBenedetto | Friday September 18th, 2009 | 0 Comments

pumahqPuma, the German “sportlifestyle” company, is an old hand at a relatively new corporate exercise, the sustainability report.

The footwear, apparel and accessories designer published its fifth sustainability report last week. The 121-page opus covering the 2007/2008 reporting period was released exclusively online “for environmental reasons.”

In the latest sustainability report Puma sets a goal to reduce energy and water consumption and “waste creation” 25 percent by 2010 based on its results during its 2005/2006 reporting period.

While it’s done five sustainability reports, Puma issued its first one in 2001, virtually the dark ages for the term “corporate social responsibility.” So it’s really in its tenth year of CSR reporting. That experience shows in its organization and related CSR programs.

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Africa Rural Connect – Using Good Ideas to Improve Sub-Saharan Farmers’ Quality of Life

| Friday September 18th, 2009 | 0 Comments

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How can sustainability improve the lives of farmers in sub-Saharan Africa? Through the simple realization of good ideas and global collaboration – the founding principles of startup Africa Rural Connect (ARC). ARC seeks to change lives by engaging “anyone who cares about Africa” (including past and present Peace Corps Volunteers, the African Diaspora, development practitioners, technology innovators, and scholars), as well as requesting – and realizing – their ideas for positive change. In addition to demonstrating grassroots organization at its best, ARC also demonstrates the roles of technology, individuals, and businesses worldwide in promoting sustainable development in Africa.

According to an East Coast Blogging report, ARC was launched by several local firms in the DC area, plus the National Peace Corp Association. Their basic plan was to drive discussions of development challenges and solutions facing sub-Saharan Africa, aggregate participants’ knowledge, and turn participants’ ideas into action.

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Tucson Electric to Purchase Solar Power from Arizona Firms

| Friday September 18th, 2009 | 0 Comments

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According to a recent Reuters report, Tucson Electric Power announced Wednesday that it will purchase power from two Arizona-based solar energy systems. The move is expected to benefit many of Tucson Electric’s 400,000 customers in Arizona by providing solar power for more than 6,000 homes. It will also prevent production of an estimated 64,000 tons of CO2.

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Business Not As Usual: 12% Of Ocean Shipping Armada Stands Down, & More

John Laumer | Thursday September 17th, 2009 | 1 Comment

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  1. Up to 12% of the world’s cargo ships are standing down, absent cargo or crews. Will there be a commensurate reduction in shipping-related CO2  emissions? Will 2009 be  the baseline year against which shipping companies could be required to accomplish reductions? For details, see Ghost Fleet Moored Off Singapore: 12% Of Ocean Shipping Armada Stands Down Business significance for #1 is :U2/C3.
  2. Do you work in a supply chain for the personal care products? Niche offerings from the green side are poised to threaten the market shares of multinational brands. An online distributor, Become Clean, is moving to be the Amazon of healthy and safe versions. For details, see Become Clean Offers 20% Off Natural Personal Care Products Business significance for #2 is :U1/C5.
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Marketing and the True Individual

| Thursday September 17th, 2009 | 0 Comments

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cowboyBy Matthew Madden
In neo-classical economics, the paradox of thrift describes an economic scenario in which the more people save their own money, the worse off the overall economic situation becomes. As a result, the paradox of thrift states that what may be good for the individual may not be good for society. The consumption paradox describes a situation in which an individual enjoys an increased quality of life from a material standpoint, yet is less satisfied and content with that life. The consumption paradox is specifically focused on both the “take-make-waste” model we’ve embraced as well as the role marketing, advertising and sales campaigns play in increasing the throughput of this model.

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