Hohm: Microsoft Enters Home Energy Management

| Friday July 10th, 2009 | 0 Comments

hohm.jpgThe field of competitors within the emerging field of energy management software now includes Microsoft. Earlier this week Microsoft launched Hohm, a home energy management application that delivers appliance specific energy consumption data to users through a web interface. The intention behind Hohm is to enable consumers to gauge their electricity usage and determine strategies for reducing consumption.

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Bottled Water: If You Must, New Report Scores Best Brands

| Friday July 10th, 2009 | 0 Comments

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


Photo: Telegraph.co.uk
Bottled water was in the headlines several times this week, including a piece in the New York Times.
Not only is bottled water a poor environmental choice, but according to two new reports, one from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) and the other from the Environmental Working Group (EWG ), filtered tap water may actually be a safer and healthier choice.
Unlike providers of tap water, who must provide detailed information about the source and treatment of their water, the bottled water industry is less regulated, therefore bottled water labels can be misleading or lacking in information.

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UPS Pledges 20% Emissions Reductions from Air Operations by 2020

| Friday July 10th, 2009 | 0 Comments

In its 2008 Corporate Sustainability Report released earlier this week, UPS announced plans to cut emissions from its aircraft operations 20% by 2020. UPS Airlines is the ninth largest airline in the world, and account for 53% of its total emissions.

In 2008, UPS became the first shipping company to join the Environmental Protection Agency’s Climate Leadership Program. Partner companies in the program commit to reducing their environmental footprint by first conducting a comprehensive carbon inventory, setting aggressive emissions reduction goals and then annually reporting their progress back to the EPA.

UPS is also a charter member of the EPA’s SmartWay program, winning the SmartWay Environmental Excellence Award in 2008 for energy conservation and reducing emissions.

So UPS takes their environmental and social corporate responsibility seriously (as we’ve noted on several occasions at TriplePundit here, here, and here for a start), but how do they plan to reduce the emissions from their air operations by 20% in barely more than a decade? That was my first question upon hearing the news, because if the ninth largest airline can do it, why can’t others follow suit?

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San Francisco to Enter Great Electric Vehicle Race

| Friday July 10th, 2009 | 0 Comments

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In a kick-off speech for the Great Electric Vehicle Race Wednesday, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom invited the City (and Bay Area) to join in the electric vehicle (EV) challenge – the creation of the world’s first city-wide EV infrastructure. In Newsom’s words, winning the challenge could make the Area the “epicenter of EV technology.”

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San Francisco Mayor Announces Regional Food Policy

| Friday July 10th, 2009 | 0 Comments

gavin newsom garden

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom issued a comprehensive food policy for the City Wednesday – the first ever of its kind – and a sweeping plan for improving food accessible in the region. The plan, which seeks to ensure that area residents are able to obtain nutritious food, is expected to increase support of local farms, thereby impacting all of Northern California.

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The Surfboard Cradle-to-Grave Project

3p Contributor | Friday July 10th, 2009 | 3 Comments

Surfboard Cradle to Grave ProjectBy Tobias C. Schultz
As the surf community has been made aware of its own environmental footprint, the interest in creating a surfboard from “green” materials has grown exponentially. But without a life cycle assessment of the baseline materials used in surfboard manufacture, it is impossible to make informed decisions to reduce the footprint of the sport.
What part of the board contributes the most to its environmental footprint? Which parts of the manufacturing process will be the easiest, and cheapest, to improve? These are the questions the surf community needs to answer before real improvements can be made; these are the questions the Surfboard Cradle-to-Grave (SCG) Project was started to resolve.

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Nau Seeks Athletes, Artists and Activists for a Grant for Change

Mary Catherine O'Connor | Thursday July 9th, 2009 | 0 Comments

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Need a little dose of inspiration? Check out the nominees for Grant for Change, a $10,000 year-long grant campaign that triple-bottom-line clothier Nau has just launched. The company says it plans to award a grant each year, with a new focus each time. But the overall goal is to support people who are creating what Nau calls “lasting, positive change in their communities.”
The focus for recipients of this year’s grant is on athletes, artists and activists. The nomination process is open to individuals or groups whose work can be categorized thusly, and so far there are some great nominees.
Take, for example, Wendy Tremayne and her Swap-O-Rama-Rama events. What started as clothing swaps at her friends’ homes has evolved into public events, where people bring a bag of clothes they no longer want, along with a $10 donation, and then they find items the desire in the hundreds of pounds of others’ cast-aways. After that, they can visit one of many sewing stations throughout the swapping grounds and, with the help of trained seamstresses, modify the clothing to their liking. Clothing gets recycled and swappers walk out with funky, customized, one-of-a-kind get-ups.

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LA to End Use of Coal Power by 2020. Somehow.

| Thursday July 9th, 2009 | 1 Comment

LA’s wounded-but-still-standing mayor, Antonio Villaraigosa, perhaps in an attempt to pump some air into what could be a limp second term, has vowed in his inaugural address that LA “will be a coal-free city in 2020.”
According to a press release on the Mayor’s website, the city aims to replace the 40 percent of electricity currently coming from coal-fired plants with renewable energy or energy from cleaner sources, like natural gas.
Lacking from the speech or accompanying press release, is how.

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How Sustainable Is My Plumber? … And Why You Should Care

| Thursday July 9th, 2009 | 0 Comments

plumber_5-small.gifYou’re probably already familiar with the ongoing debates over greenwashing, and the various sustainability standards that enable companies to credibly avoid this label. We discussed these issues in the recent post “How green is my product?” But what about services? Do they matter, and do we need to care? After all, isn’t sustainability just concerned with tangible products that use up or destroy the planet’s resources?

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PwC: Climate Change is Big Business (and it Explains Porsche’s Bid for VW…)

| Thursday July 9th, 2009 | 3 Comments

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Here is a killer wake-up call: The global carbon market may be worth over $2.0 trillion by 2020. (That’s almost larger than the entire UK economy.) Almost half of that wealth will reside in the US, meaning carbon could account for a staggering 7% of US GDP by 2020.
In short, climate change is big business. And PwC got the memo. When I spoke with Scott Gehsmann, a Partner with PwC’s Transaction Services, he stated the firm’s position on climate change succinctly: “Doing nothing right now is not an acceptable response.”
In the last two months, Gehsmann has seen a flurry of demand for carbon & climate change risk management, including in the deal making arena. That’s where Porsche and VW appear in the storyline…

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The Wind Energy Industry will survive without T. Boone Pickens

Jeff Siegel | Thursday July 9th, 2009 | 2 Comments

pickenswind.jpgI was pretty bummed out this morning after hearing that T. Boone Pickens would be cancelling his 4 GW wind farm project. Not so much because that beautiful 4 GW wind farm won’t be built in Sweetwater, TX – but because this little piece of news is likely to serve as an excellent opportunity for renewable energy naysayers to leave a fresh trail of misinformation about the wind energy industry.
It’s already plastered all over message boards and blogs.
Here are a few comments that I found on one particularly hostile message board. . .

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Greening the Fast Food Industry?

| Thursday July 9th, 2009 | 7 Comments

green mcdonalds

The world is becoming a greener place. I see hybrids on the road more than any other car. Fortune 500 companies are totally rethinking their corporate operations in an attempt to be more sustainable. The movement is spreading! It’s exciting, undeniably. But with the increased awareness come calculated marketing crusades, questionable motives and high-profile smear campaigns. We all know the dangers of green-washing, but I’m starting to notice an even more manipulative hidden agenda: sustainability “advances” that totally ignore or exclude the human dimension and instead make showy moves in the environmental field. Allow me to explain.

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Trader Joes: How Not to Approach Sustainability

Chris Kaiser | Thursday July 9th, 2009 | 25 Comments

Traitor_Joes_greenpeace.jpgGreenpeace has never been known for being a prude when it comes to environmental activism. The only thing worse than being a Japanese whaling fleet in the sites of The Esperanza is being a company targeted by Greenpeace for un-sustainable practices. Greenpeace doesn’t just casually mention those companies who they feel are dropping the ball; they call them out, mock them, and attempt to shame them into action. And this is exactly the fate that has been brought upon the national grocer Trader Joe’s. Or as Greenpeace would say, “Traitor Joe’s“.

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Mountaintop Coal Removal = Bad Math!

Gregory Wendt, CFP | Thursday July 9th, 2009 | 0 Comments

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It is has been widely recognized by thinking people around the nation that Mountain Top Removal mining for dirty coal is bad.
Scott Badenoch, CEO and Co-Founder of Creative Citizen recently wrote in his article for MNN:

“Mr. President, it is your duty as a citizen of this planet to put an immediate and irrevocable moratorium on Mountaintop Removal today. Go to Appalachia and see for yourself. There is no time to waste; there is no compromise. Human lives and nature’s mountains are at stake.”

It’s mysterious that our own Obama administration continues to look the other way. Then again, perhaps it is creating JOBS and making MONEY for the coal industry.
Hmmm… money, jobs. Hot commodities in this beleaguered economy, right?
Well how much money?

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The Ripple Effect: Seeding Innovation in Securing and Transporting Clean Water

Mary Catherine O'Connor | Wednesday July 8th, 2009 | 0 Comments

socap09

ripple effectIn so many parts of the world, attaining and transporting clean water for drinking and cooking takes a tremendous amount of time, energy and effort. In fact, an estimated 1.2 billion people worldwide lack easy access to clean water. And even those who can get to a source of clean water, oftentimes end up with contaminated water by the time they transport it home in various types of vessels.
It obviously just shouldn’t be that way… so global design consultancy IDEO decided to join forces with the Acumen Fund, a non-profit global venture fund that invests in entrepreneurs to solve the problems of global poverty, in order to find suitable solutions for clean water portability in the developing world. The effort is called The Ripple Effect. (The project will be one many innovative projects discussed on the second day of the Social Capital MarketsSOCAP09 conference in September.)
So far, the collaborative has completed the first half of the project in India. The second half, focusing on East Africa, is now underway. Funding for the project came through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
“The approach is to work with local organizations that are already providing community water–some of these groups are businesses, some are NGOs. Our goal is to innovate in the sector as a whole by improving access [to clean water and transport] through collaborative design,” explains Sally Madsen, an IDEO designer working on the project.

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