Curbing Climate Change, One Potato Chip at a Time: PepsiCo’s Carbon Footprinting Techniques

| Friday October 9th, 2009 | 2 Comments

walkers-crisps-pepsico-chips

Since 2007, PepsiCo has been “doing the world a flavour” in calculating the carbon footprint of its Walkers Crisps, potato chips sold in the UK which carry the Carbon Reduction Label. PepsiCo recently revealed its footprint-calculating methodology, the implications of which could be significant for the mass food production sector and the development of sustainable industry.

According to an environmentalleader.com report, PepsiCo measures the Walkers Crisps’ carbon footprint at each stage of the supply chain, from the growing of raw materials to the shelving of the product and, lastly, the disposal of the Crisps’ packaging. The footprint measuring process entails mapping the supply chain, evaluating the energy consumed (and carbon produced as a result) at each stage, and adding up the carbon for a per-unit emissions calculation.

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Woolworth Descendant Selling Eco-Products Online

Gina-Marie Cheeseman
| Friday October 9th, 2009 | 0 Comments

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Priscilla Woolworth, great-granddaughter of F. W. Woolworth, who started the iconic five-and-dime store Woolworth in 1878, launched an eponymous online general store for eco-friendly products in January. Time Magazine recently been named her a “New Green Pioneer” in its Green Design 100 list. Her goal with priscillawoolworth.com is to “provide the best selection of eco-friendly products on the market” an the online store offers everything from eco-friendly cleaning products such as Bon Ami to bio-degradable trash bags.

Woolworth spent five years learning about retail before starting her venture. She said her online store is not about relaunching the old Woolworth brand which made her last name famous. She wants her site “to be part of the movement of change – to encourage people to buy non-toxic [cleaning] products that becomes the norm, [to] encourage an industry [to make] products using recycled materials [and] to find clever ways to reuse trash that’s non-toxic.”

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Saudi Arabia to Seek Financial Aid if World Reduces Oil Dependence

| Friday October 9th, 2009 | 27 Comments


Mohammad S. Al Sabban - Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia may join the list of countries seeking financial aid over the UN climate deal. According to a Forbes.com report, during the UN’s recent greenhouse gas talks in Bangkok, Saudi Arabia campaigned quietly for financial compensation should a climate deal substantially reduce the world’s use of fossil fuels. The country appears to be motivated not by a need for assistance adapting to the impact of global warming but rather by a desire for compensation for decreased oil profits. Will the Saudis’ stipulation impact the development of an international climate treaty?

The Saudis’ campaign comes despite a recent International Energy Agency (IEA) report, which demonstrated that oil-rich nations would likely still profit with emissions regulations (sufficient for curbing climate change) in place. (According to the report, OPEC revenues would increase by $23 trillion between 2008 and 2030. This would be a fourfold increase in OPEC revenues’ growth rate between 1985 and 2007.)

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Obama Declares October National Energy Awareness Month

| Friday October 9th, 2009 | 0 Comments

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President Obama declared October “National Energy Awareness Month” Wednesday, in a statement published on the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) website. Obama underscored the role of energy efficiency and clean energy in the well-being of the nation’s economy and the environment. He also called on the American people to focus on making clean energy choices – the only call to action in the statement. Will creating an energy awareness month have any real effect on sustainable development?

Investing in clean energy, including research and technology development, would have a number of benefits, Obama’s statement said. For example, in addition to protecting the environment, it would increase global competitiveness, decrease oil use, improve national security, and support communities. Clean energy expansion would also demonstrate “American leadership and vision while also making clean energy the profitable kind of energy.” Accordingly, “National Energy Awareness Month” will be a time to recognize these benefits and distinguish contributors to the clean energy movement.

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Jeffrey Sachs: US Policy-Making Is a Bipartisan Failure, Failing to Even Acknowledge Environmental Challenges

| Thursday October 8th, 2009 | 2 Comments

Jeffrey SachsJeffrey Sachs, the influential economist at Columbia University shared a sobering perspective as part of an impressive lineup of speakers at Tuesday’s World Business Forum. In his speech, he pulled a fire alarm on the optimism on leadership in business and opportunities abroad with his perspectives on the bipartisan failure of US policy making and the world’s near-certain risk of ecological bankruptcy.

The saddening part is that the message may have fallen on deaf ears, with Wall Street Journal running what was only a side comment from Sachs, and little of the message making it out of Radio City Music Hall unscathed. This was due, perhaps in part, to the audience’s composition and the slightly morbid tone of his presentation. Sometimes bad news is just bad news.

Bipartisan political failure in the US

Sachs began with a quick overview of the essence of our current crisis, which is, he argued, financially based. “Beneath the rubble, lay complete lack of proper regulation in lending, which was the direct cause.” We broke down walls between investment and consumer banks, he explained, and created derivatives that could be sold to those who had no idea what they were really buying, and all of this occurred outside of regulation.

Then, as bailouts were handed out to Wall Street’s banks, the underlying and critical problem with our political system became clear as the financial sector spent $3.7 billion lobbying for its interests. Yesterday, Nobel prize-winning economist and World Business Forum speaker Paul Krugman, reiterated this, noting that we may have bailed out banks too fast, restoring them back into full control only so that they can lobby against any regulation that may be in the sector’s best interests.

Sachs described the current state of policy-making as something that happens behind closed doors and by parties focused on their own interests. Guess which sector is the second largest spender in lobbying? Healthcare.

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Best Practices of Actual Businesses Using Green Initiatives to Grow Revenues

3p Contributor | Thursday October 8th, 2009 | 7 Comments

Book-Cover-Final-Oct-1-resized-3 By Bill Roth

As the Green Business Coach for Entrepreneur.com the number one question I am asked is, “How do you make money going green?” Today’s business answer is that adopting sustainability practices is a high-results path for cutting costs. The “Green Team” is sustainability’s first killer app. And certifications like Energy Star and LEEDs are similar to how we used to talk about a PC’s RAM and processor times.

But for sustainability to grow into The Green Economic Revolution business needs to develop green-revenue killer apps that achieve the triple bottom line of job restoration, profitability and wellness (health for us and our environment). As recently as this spring at a major conference I heard speakers with inspiring clichés like “green is the new black” and the future of green is “cost less, mean more.” Here is the great news, my green-entrepreneur network has figured out the “secret sauce” for achieving these clichés.

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Water Wars – the Beverage Industry as a Canary or Future Innovation Leader?

| Thursday October 8th, 2009 | 2 Comments

As the world wrestles with the challenge of a low carbon future, the issue of water – or rather, the lack of it – has started to emerge as an even more fundamental constraint. Global water reserves are being put under strain not only by more frequent droughts (thanks to global warming), but also from annual global population growth of about 77 million people. Indeed, climate change experts at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography claim that nearly 1/6th of the world’s total population is already vulnerable to a lack of water brought about by environmental and demand changes. As the population continues to grow and the effects of climate change accrue, this number is likely to rise significantly.

Because nearly every industry requires water at some point in their value chain, this fundamental liquid is emerging as the strategic sustainability issue, potentially even more influential than carbon. The beverage industry is particularly vulnerable to changes in the water supply; water is used extensively throughout the beverage supply chain, from the growing of ingredients to the pumping and bottling of product. So, is the water intensive beverage industry fated to be a “canary in the coal mine” – early road kill in the coming water wars? Or does it have another role to play – as a leading developer of innovative water conservation techniques, perhaps? The stakes could not be higher for an industrial sector completely dependent on continued easy access to large quantities of fresh H2O.

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New Website Tracks Chamber of Commerce Climate Follies As Schism Grows

| Thursday October 8th, 2009 | 0 Comments

NRDCcampaignA new website created by the National Resources Defense Council urges companies to take a stand on the growing debate within the US Chamber of Commerce over the chamber’s stance on legislation addressing climate change.

The website is an extension of the work being done by Peter Altman, the environmental watchdog’s Climate Campaign director, whose has been following the story doggedly on his blog.

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You Want Electricity With That? The Electric Car Charging Problem

| Thursday October 8th, 2009 | 3 Comments

As electric and plug-in hybrid cars enter mass production in the next few years, the question of where and how these cars will recharge is on the minds of many an EV entrepreneur. The EV service start-up Better Place is just one of several seeking to roll out electric charging station networks across the country that would charge to charge, so to speak.

But given the low cost of electricity, a primary reason many are predicting a surge in popularity for EVs, business models predicated on selling electron fuel for the vehicles may fall prey to a scourge of contemporary capitalism — the spectre of free.

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UPS Offers Carbon Offset Program for Shippers

| Thursday October 8th, 2009 | 0 Comments

UPS continues as innovators in the small package delivery sector, announcing this week a new program offering its customers the option of offsetting the emissions generated by transporting their packages within the United States.

U.S. customers simply opt to pay a flat rate, covering the cost of calculation, program administration, and the cost of the actual offset. UPS will match offset purchases in 2009-2010, up to $1 million, thus doubling the effectiveness of the program.

The per-package cost for the carbon offset program is five cents for UPS Ground, and twenty cents for UPS Next Day Air, UPS 2nd Day Air, and UPS 3 Day Select services. The service is initially available to the approximately 1 million U.S. customers using UPS Internet Shipping with their UPS account number, with plans to roll the service out to other UPS customers next year.

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New FTC Guidelines Require Bloggers to Disclose Conflicts of Interest

| Thursday October 8th, 2009 | 2 Comments

Full disclosure: I am a blogger, blogging about new rules requiring full disclosure from bloggers.

The FTC published final guidelines Monday that dictate, among other things, that “bloggers or other word-of-mouth marketers” must state when payments, free products or “other material connections” have been exchanged between them and the companies whose products they review or otherwise promote on their sites.

The FTC announcement states that “while decisions will be reached on a case-by-case basis, the post of a blogger who receives cash or in-kind payment to review a product is considered an endorsement.”

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What’s Wrong With the Dairy Industry?

Gina-Marie Cheeseman
| Thursday October 8th, 2009 | 0 Comments

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While dairy farmers faced the worst crisis since the Great Depression, Dean Foods Co. reported a 31 percent profit increase for the quarter that ended June 30, and earned $64.1 million on sales of $2.7 billion that quarter. Dean Foods is the largest milk processor and distributor in the U.S., which a 2001 merger with Suiza Foods helped it become. Dairy Farmers of America, a dairy cooperative, controls about 30 percent of milk supply and sells milk to Dean Foods.

Farmers receive about $1 from every gallon of milk sold, and the rest covers processing and handling costs and profits to the processors and store owners profits. “No matter what you do, even if you give 110% every day on your farm from sun up to sun down, at the end of that day you will not have earned enough to pay your bills. It doesn’t get any more demoralizing than that,” said Joel Greeno, a Wisconsin farmer.

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Hope Floats in New Orleans with the FLOAT House

| Thursday October 8th, 2009 | 1 Comment

6a00d8341c67ce53ef0120a61f574c970c-500wiIn honor of World Habitat Day, designated as October 5, 2009, we wanted to help remind the world of its collective responsibility for the future of the human habitat. World Habitat Day this year is celebrated under the theme Planning Our Urban Future to raise awareness of the need to improve urban settlements to deal with new major challenges of the 21st century. One of the most powerful forces is climate change. Warming events are triggering harsh natural disasters, like Hurricane Katrina, which rendered large sections of New Orleans unrecognizable and claimed almost 2,000 lives. With nearly 200 million people worldwide living in high-risk coastal flooding zones and over 36 million people facing the threat of flooding in the U.S. alone, the future of coastal habitats needs to be revisited.

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Does Nuclear Energy Have the Power to Save the Climate Bill?

| Thursday October 8th, 2009 | 3 Comments

nuclear-plants-happyIs nuclear energy the solution to our environmental woes – and can it save the climate bill? Apparently, the answer depends on who you ask. Some promote the benefits of nuclear power (for example, its lack of carbon emissions), while others argue its drawbacks (for example, the issue of storage, and whether nuclear is the most efficient use of clean energy funds). Meanwhile, some believe nuclear power could salvage the energy bill; the Senate is already considering including nuclear in new climate legislation. A peek into the blogosphere reveals the multifaceted nature of the nuclear power issue.

A treehugger.com article discusses the (perceived) benefits and downsides of investing in nuclear power versus investing in energy efficiency, in the opinions of RMI chairman Amory Lovins, University of Chicago’s Robert Rosner, and PG&E’s Peter Darbee. The benefits? Nuclear is a relatively cheap electricity source, and, Rosner emphasizes, it already accounts for 50 percent the U.S.’s energy sourcing (versus less than 2 percent for wind and solar combined). The drawbacks? There are more efficient ways to conserve power (for example, wind energy or co-generation), Lovins says, and buying new nuclear power results in more carbon release than implementing efficiency measures. Moreover, nuclear power will likely develop too slowly to have a timely impact.

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John Mackey, “Whole Foolishness”, and a Microcosm of the Green Movement

| Thursday October 8th, 2009 | 1 Comment

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When it comes to healthcare, the adage “opinions are like behinds: everyone has one” is an understatement. Whole Foods CEO John Mackey is no exception. His two cents on the matter have garnered a lot of attention recently: first, through his op-ed published in the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), and, second, through a subsequent damage-control-type interview (also with the WSJ). What can we glean from the situation as it pertains to sustainable business?

Mackey’s op-ed, entitled “The Whole Foods Alternative to ObamaCare”, delineates smaller-government, decreased-national-deficit solutions to the nation’s healthcare woes. It lists eight reforms that would, it says, lower everyone’s healthcare costs. These solutions include equalizing tax laws for employer-provided and individually-owned insurance, allowing intra-state competition among insurance companies, mandating cost transparency to consumers, reforming Medicare, and promoting charitable donations for lower-income individuals.

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