My desk is at the front of my house, right by a street-facing window, so I keep an unintentional vigil on my San Francisco street. Wednesday is garbage day on my block and at around four o’clock this afternoon, I noticed something unusual: the compost collection truck, coming through a few hours later than normal. But then I remembered that today is the first day in which composting–not just yard waste, but also food–in San Francisco is mandatory. These drivers are extra busy.Click to continue reading »
TriplePundit: Reporting on the Triple Bottom Line & Sustainable Business News
At a press briefing this morning, the Business Roundtable, an association of CEOs from leading U.S. companies, discussed key points from their just-released report entitled Unfinished Business: The Missing Elements of a Sustainable Energy and Climate Policy (pdf).
Building on the organization’s previous reports, More Diverse, More Domestic, More Efficient (pdf) and The Balancing Act (pdf), John Castellani, Business Roundtable president, and Mike Morris, Business Roundtable’s chairman of the Sustainable Growth Initiative and president and CEO of American Electric Power Company, laid out a broad framework they feel Congress needs to address to pave the way toward a sustainable new energy economy.Click to continue reading »
First Solar, the Chosen One of thin film solar panel manufacturers, has achieved a first for any pure-play renewable energy company: inclusion on the venerable Standard & Poor’s Index of 500 commonly traded stocks.
Tempe, Arizona-based First Solar was added to the S&P 500 after the market closed October 15. The company will be part of the S&P 500 GICS (Global Industry Classification Standard) Electrical Components & Equipment Sub-Industry of the Industrials sector.
The addition of First Solar, which had $1.2 billion in sales last year, is a milestone not only for the company, but for renewable energy in general. Although non-hydroelectric renewables, including solar, wind and biomass, make up a minute fraction of overall energy generation worldwide, that percentage is expected to grow rapidly in the coming decades.Click to continue reading »
Ever considered going on a weeklong carbon cleanse? On October 18th, in partnership with the Huffington Post, the No Impact Project launched No Impact Week, a seven-day guided experiment in sustainable living. Each day focuses on a different topic: Consumption, Trash, Transportation, Food, Energy, Water, and Giving Back. The goal is to help the average consumer, not just “tree-hugging, bicycle-riding, canvas-bag-toting, eco-warriors,” explore the benefits and reflect on the challenges of reducing his or her environmental impact.
Biking from my house to downtown Oakland, I bore witness to the purged flotsam of the recent downpour. Floating in gyres at the perimeter of Lake Merritt was a stinking, oily, sludge soup of polystyrene instant noodle cups, to-go boxes, and countless coffee cups. As I reflected on the first four themes of No Impact Week–consumption, trash, transportation, and food–I realized that they were all swirling together in that rotating constellation of trash, inseparable from one another and indistinguishable from the mess.Click to continue reading »
Bike to work, bike to the workout, and now bike to work it. The world’s oldest profession, once considered recession-resistant, is going green–in Germany at least, and largely out of economic necessity.
The country’s flaccid sex-for-hire industry could follow the example of one flagging bordello in Berlin, the Maison d’Envie (House of Desire) which is offering discounts to customers who pedal their bicycles to the door.Click to continue reading »
Later this week I’ll be writing from BizTechDay, which is billed as the most powerful entrepreneur and small business conference. Two days long, the schedule is jam-packed with successful entrepreneurial speakers. I’ve recently joined a start-up, Viv, and naturally have loads of questions about launching and building a business that I hope will be answered.
With so many start-ups failing, I’m excited to learn from leaders of some who’ve succeeded. The conference is broken into 3 tracks: fundraising, social media, and marketing/selling, all of which pertain to your start-up or small business.
While this conference doesn’t bear an explicit sustainability focus, I would argue that entrepreneurs with a leaning towards doing good need to learn these lessons more than the rest, to enable maximum uptake and maximum impact. There are very few businesses with killer value propositions that also solve environmental and/or social problems. Those that do are among my favorite businesses of all time (e.g. RecycleBank, TerraCycle, Shorebank etc).Click to continue reading »
Since it was founded in 1912, the US Chamber of Commerce has stood for a bunch of white-haired men in seersucker suits smiling benignly as they lead American commerce into the future. But in the last month, this patriotic institution — as American as Mom, apple pie, and campaign contributions — has found itself increasingly under attack.
The latest salvos have sought to knock the pillars out of this pillar of civil society, and while it is too late to know what lasting effect they will have, it seems likely that many people’s view of the Chamber of Commerce will never be quite the same.Click to continue reading »
The US Postal Service has been called a laggard for failing to capitalize on the changing ways in which we communicate—it failed to jump on electronic mail when it became obvious it would forever change mail service, for example. But when it comes to reducing its carbon footprint, the agency is rather proactive, at least among federal agencies.
Since last year, the USPS has launched a number of initiatives aimed at auditing and lowering its energy consumption, ranging from a pilot program to track energy use at its facilities, to incentive programs designed to encourage employees to conserve energy and planting a green roof at a mail processing facility.
And last week, the USPS released findings from its energy audit, disclosing an inventory of its greenhouse gas emissions.Click to continue reading »
The Environmental Protection Agency is serious: It really is taking on Big Coal in a big way.
Following up on word last month that it would delay action on 79 mountaintop coal mining projects (EPA Takes on the Coal Industry), the agency on Friday moved to halt the Clean Water Act permit for the nation’s largest proposed mountaintop removal coal mining site, the Spruce No. 1 Mine in Logan County, West Virginia.Click to continue reading »
“This is the fall when humanity will make some very critical decisions; both in Copenhagen and in the House and Senate,” said Dr. Eban Goodstein, the moderator of the Bard Center for Environmental Policy’s bi-weekly National Climate Seminar.
Two weeks ago, Bill McKibben was the featured speaker. The environmentalist, journalist and author began his talk by discussing the organization he founded, 350.org, to mobilize a climate change movement.
The name of the organization comes from the target set by NASA scientist, James Hansen for the level of atmospheric carbon, 350 parts per million (PPM) needed to sustain life as we know it. Currently, carbon is at 387 ppm.
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“One part of any political strategy has to be building enough of a movement to give us enough of a political counter pressure to counter the vested interests,” McKibben said. The movement he helped create is now global. He issued a call for help to listeners of the seminar, proclaiming that “We will only get started [reducing carbon] if we make enough noise”
Microlending has been hailed as the panacea of poverty. They theory is simple: lend the poor a small amount of money so they can start/grow their business, charge tiny interest rates (microcredit), then once business starts booming, the borrowers can easily pay the loan. Woosh! Just like that, poverty disappears. Or does it?
The Boston Globe recently had a story on microlending and two new research papers soon-to-be published by economists affiliated with MIT’s Jameel Poverty Action lab reveal that microcredit really doesn’t do all that much to provide a path out of poverty. Is microlending a patchwork solution that just temporarily solves the ills of the poor? Could it be that while microcredit can be an effective medicine against poverty, that it may just be treating the symptoms and not the disease?
Gasp!Click to continue reading »
DHL’s much-ballyhooed GoGreen climate change program has finally reached North America. A year after the launch of the huge German package express delivery and logistics company’s initiative, it’s now available in Canada.
DHL Express Canada launched the GoGreen service this week. It’s described by the company as a “carbon-neutral” shipping option that “enables Canadian businesses of all sizes to ship their goods internationally without leaving an environmental footprint.”Click to continue reading »