Introduction to Clean Technology Investing – A Must Read Presentation

| Saturday December 6th, 2008 | 2 Comments

What is Cleantech? This is the question Lightspeed Ventures Partners’ Andrew Chung set out to explain to government officials in a recent presentation. Every aspiring clean tech venture capitalist and green entrepreneur ought to take 10 minutes to review this clean technology presentation. By highlighting eight sectors of green and clean technology, Andrew creates a viable framework and provides in depth data to understand the rapidly evolving clean tech industry. These sectors are Solar, Wind, Fuels, Other Generation, Storage, Energy Efficiency, Water/Air, and other. Have a look at the presentation right here, be sure to click “full screen” to read it:

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Indianapolis Opens First Sustainable Post-911 Greenfield Airport

Thomas Schueneman | Friday December 5th, 2008 | 0 Comments

A major metropolitan airport may not be the first thing that comes to mind when considering the concept, but what better place to address the principles of sustainability than the very hub of petrochemical, carbon-belching human endeavor? Applying these principles to such a facility is one of the best ways to further bring the whole idea of sustainability into the mainstream.

“An airport is a giant, living laboratory for these ideas,” Ripley Rasmus told me this week when I spoke with him about the November 11th opening of the new Indianapolis International Airport (IND), including new runways and ramps, parking facilities, and the Colonel H. Weir Cook Terminal. Rasmus is the director of design for the St. Louis-based international design and architectural firm HOK, and the lead designer for the $1.1 billion project.

The new airport is part of a 30-year master plan for Indianapolis. Replacing the worn out, 1950′s era airport was a key element in revitalizing the metro area and hopefully attracting more tourism and convention business, as well as (hopefully) luring airlines to use the new facility for more direct flights to and international flights from Indianapolis. Accordingly, when the idea for a new airport was first discussed in the 70′s, sustainability and energy efficiency wasn’t on the playlist.

By 2001, Rasmus and his team aggressively pushed for sustainability when bidding their designs to city officials. HOK won the day and Indianapolis now boasts, as Rasmus terms it, the first “sustainable, post-911, greenfield airport” in the United States.

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UN International Volunteer Day: Corporate Giving in Troubled Times

| Friday December 5th, 2008 | 0 Comments

unintlvolunteerday.gif The United Nations has designated today, Dec. 5, International Volunteer Day, and while financial turmoil and recession news is dampening holiday spirits and people’s aspirations, there are corporate leaders out there who recognize that in times like these civic minded actions and giving back to the communities that empower and support them is more critical than ever.
In celebration of the industry leading pioneer’s 40th anniversary, Intel CEO Paul Otellini earlier this year pledged that employees would give back to their communities by volunteering 1 million hours of their time and effort. Looking to spur them on and compound that, he pledged that Intel would expand its volunteer matching grant program, which matches volunteer hours at local schools and non-profit organizations with Intel Foundation cash grants.
Today, Intel announced that its employees met the 1-million volunteer hour goal and that the company will donate nearly $8 million to its communities. Moreover, the Intel Foundation said it will maintain its charitable funding at a historically high level in 2009, including a recently announced $120 million commitment to encourage more youth to participate in math and science.

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Weekly Green Business Wrap-Up

| Friday December 5th, 2008 | 0 Comments

Wal-Mart: Bullying for the Greater Good? GreenBiz has some great analysis on whether conglomerates can be a net positive for the environmental movement. If I give Wal-Mart my lunch money, do I get some watershed restoration in return? Read on to find out!
dove.jpg Slightly Duller Packaging Means Millions Saved, Happier Rivers and Fishies Unilever’s plan to reduce the number of colors used in printing packaging for a few of their products will save the company millions of dollars every year. One more example of sustainably initiatives being good for the bottom line.
2007-chevrolet-volt-concept-frontjpg.jpg Will the Volt Save Chevy from Meltdown? Is it too little too late for Chevy’s pipe dream electric car? Should we just shift our attention to Better Place who topped last week’s announcement of a San Francisco electric car network with one in Hawaii.
superman-tie.jpgHow to Create Change in a Conservative Culture If you are crazy enough to stick your neck out in this economy, goodonya! Green Biz gives you the tips to do it right and not get fired.

Goliaths Get on Board with Climate Thanks to the hard work of the Climate Group , some big financial firms are making big commitments on climate. Climate Group, can you work your magic on the big three next?
Finally, proof that just like on TV, pundits are right even when we are wrong. The people loved our prediction that solar stocks would skyrocket after Obama’s election , and they loved yesterday’s story that they in fact tanked even more. It’s all about attitude, right?

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Solar Stocks Very Low Despite Obama Victory

Sarah Lozanova | Thursday December 4th, 2008 | 4 Comments

solar-house-small.jpgSolar stocks must be sky high at the moment, right? Wrong. If you look at the values of most stocks around election day, they did increase. This peak was short lived however for most solar companies and it was followed by a huge decline.
Just how steep are we talking?
Akeena Solar
(NASDAQ:AKNS) is a large US-based solar installer for residential and commercial systems in California, New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut. Their stock was valued at nearly $17 per share at the beginning of the year and is now below $2.

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Ecoflation Threatens the Future of Economic Stability

| Thursday December 4th, 2008 | 1 Comment

Ecoflation_SoyField.jpg According to a recent study released by the World Resources Institute, in conjunction with ATKearny, the world has experienced a remarkable rise in the prices of vital commodities in recent years. Including energy and agricultural products, the average price of oil, for example, between 2006 and 2008 rose by 110%, wheat by 136%, and rice by 217%. The purpose to highlight these numbers is to call attention to the increasing scarcity of natural resources – as these drastic increases impact companies, household, and entire economies, it is becoming more and more imperative to find better, more efficient ways to manage them in the 21st century.
“Rattling Supply Chains” as the study is called, which can be found here on GreenBiz, terms the situation of rising prices coupled with increasing consumption and supply chain costs Ecoflation. Ecoflation describes a future in which policies and constraints on natural resources force firms to add to the cost of doing business the environmental costs previously borne by society.

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Bikes to Rwanda: Building Communities and a Better Cup of Coffee

| Thursday December 4th, 2008 | 0 Comments

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Bill Drayton, the founder of Ashoka and the one of the seminal thinkers behind the modern social enterprise movement, describes in a recent interview that moment of inspiration when a social entrepreneur sees the solution to a problem that has eluded all others. “The most powerful force in the world is a big pattern change idea, but only if it’s in the hands of a very good entrepreneur,” Drayton comments during the interview.
manbike_crpd1.jpgOne such entrepreneur is Duane Sorenson, the owner of Stumptown Coffee Roasters in Portland, OR. He experienced this moment of inspiration on a trip to Rwanda in 2006 where he was visiting the coffee cooperative Koakaka Koperative Ya Kawa Ya Karaba, or Karaba for short. More than a mile above sea level, Karaba grows bourbon-varietal coffee, a superior varietal, but a more delicate and difficult one to grow and process. Mr. Sorenson asked one of the farmers at Karaba what could Stumptown do to help him improve his coffees. “He said a bike would help him with transportation of ripe cherry to the mills, which would improve the coffee’s quality, since coffee needs to be milled within hours of picking.” Once a coffee cherry is harvested, the bean inside the cherry swiftly begins to degrade. Coffee cherries, especially delicate ones like the bourbon varietal, that sit in the sun can ferment and taint a batch of beans.
The trip provided Mr Sorenson and his colleagues at Stumptown the germ of an idea. After returning from Rwanda, they started a nonprofit group called Bikes to Rwanda (BTR). About their moment of inspiration, Clara Seasholtz, executive director of Bikes to Rwanda adds, “I have to say that it isn’t often that aid projects begin by asking the benefactors what they need, rather than a bunch of Westerners sitting around deciding what developing countries need, why not ask them?”

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Obama’s Environmental Agenda: Will it Help or Hurt the Manufacturing Sector?

Jeff Siegel | Thursday December 4th, 2008 | 0 Comments

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Well I guess it was just a matter of time before the opposition to a new, potentially progressive environmental policy began to spread across the media like roach trails on a dirty counter top.
It’s no secret that President-elect Obama is likely to push for a massive increase in renewable energy investment, and a drastic reduction in carbon dioxide emissions. Not surprisingly, the latter isn’t sitting well with the folks that are responsible for a big chunk of those emissions.

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Iameco Green Computers Have a Lesson or Two for Apple

| Wednesday December 3rd, 2008 | 3 Comments

With all the recent hullabaloo about the new greener Macbook, it’s easy to forget that there have been some green computers out on the market for some time, and that they address areas that Apple has not. While Apple is to be applauded for their efforts, there are other companies that take green computing further:
Iameco (said “I am eco”) is the product of Dublin based Micropro Computers. What makes them greener than your average beige box? As Paul Maher puts it, they are updateable, upgradeable, reusable, and recyclable. And in some cases, biodegradable. More on that in a moment.

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Water Issues, the Supreme Court, and How It Will Affect Your Portfolio

3p Contributor | Wednesday December 3rd, 2008 | 0 Comments

By Nick Hodge
water_01.jpgShould utilities be required to use the best available technology in order to minimize harm to the nation’s waterways?
Most people with half a brain would answer that question affirmatively. But apparently the upper reaches of our judicial system don’t fall into that category.
So today the U.S. Supreme Court will hear a case that a five-year-old could decide in seconds.
It centers around the impact utilities have on waterways near power plants that use billions of gallons of water each and every day–all of it sucked up from our rivers and lakes.
You see, power plants–coal-fired, natural gas, and nuclear–all use incredible amounts of water for cooling. The total comes to more than 214 BILLION gallons of water each day, or tens of trillions of gallons every year.
And here’s what makes the correct decision here patently obvious: the cooling process kills every living organism in the water–fish, larvae, eggs, microorganisms–all of it.
Now, this court case isn’t going to have any financial implications for us as investors; I’ll get to some water-related investment ideas in a few moments.
First, let me just outline the facts of this case so we can all have a good chuckle, and reminisce about the Bush decision of yore, which will shortly be no more.

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A Small Organic Tea Company With Big Environmental Plans: Ocean of Tea Pours Sustainability By the Cup Full

| Wednesday December 3rd, 2008 | 3 Comments

There’s been a lot of chatter about green and sustainable business lately with enterprise and high profile corporations adding eco-friendly activities to their portfolio in an attempt to demonstrate their focus on the environment. But with bureaucracy and corporate red tape, those efforts typically become ancillary to the company’s overall strategic imperatives, leaving a bulk of the responsibility to rest squarely on the shoulders of conscious entrepreneurs committed to doing their part in sustaining our planet.
For Terry Godier, Co-Founding Partner at Ocean of Tea, a high quality purveyor of eco-friendly tea, this is not only a responsibility that he happily accepts, but one that he bears proudly as he engineers his start up to save the world.

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Will the Indigenous, Local Communities Figure into Climate Change-Forestry Talks in Poznan?

| Tuesday December 2nd, 2008 | 1 Comment

cop14_logo_166x214.jpg Reducing Emissions through Deforestation and Forest DegradationРa.k.a. REDDРis a focal point of this week´s UNFCC COP 14 global climate change negotiations in Poznan.
A fundamental question arises given the make-up of the government delegations who will be the ultimate decision makers as to what, if any form, a new global compact on climate change will eventually take: is any political body and process– even one as broad-based as the UNFCCC’s Conference of Parties to the Kyoto Protocol-, open, inclusive and motivated enough to recognize and represent the interests of the indigenous forest peoples around the world? Traditionally run over by the wheels of “progress” and those motivated primarily by the narrow interests of maximizing profits and minimizing costs, will these people ever be included, and viewed as equals, in high-level political and commercial negotiations?
Forestry researchers and policy wonks have been putting forth various and numerous methods to inform and guide the UNFCC as it seeks to develop the means and mechanisms to reduce deforestation and forest degradation. None address the most fundamental issue, however, asserts ForestAction Nepal and the Nepal Federation of Community Forest Users.
The critical issue, according to these organizations, is not “how to implement” REDD, but “who is it that we are rewarding through REDD and carbon financing?”

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ClimatePULSE: A Load of Bull or a Cash Cow?

| Tuesday December 2nd, 2008 | 0 Comments

farm.jpg As much as we might like to think that everyone would voluntarily reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, regulations are the only way to ensure that GHG emissions are reduced at the rate needed to mitigate catastrophic climate change. Regardless of the notice given, any such legislation will come as a shock to those companies most affected. This is indeed the case currently for many in the agricultural industry, as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has recently announced a proposal to regulate GHGs under the Clean Air Act. This week, ClimatePULSE will take a look at this potential piece of GHG legislation and the importance of turning these regulatory risks into opportunities.

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Alternative Energy – The Importance of Community Projects

| Tuesday December 2nd, 2008 | 2 Comments

alt-energy.jpegAlternative energy schemes are going to be making important inroads around the globe. But the social implications of this should not be underestimated. A recent study by the Energy Savings Trust in the UK outlines how the scenario is likely to unfold in Britain.
The study, entitled Power in Numbers, underscores the vast untapped potential of schemes that are organized at local and community level. “Today energy generated by communities could produce about 13% of all household needs. With the right policies in place this potential could rise to 54%,” according to the report.

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San Francisco’s Temple Nightclub One of Three “Sustainable” Clubs in the World

Thomas Schueneman | Monday December 1st, 2008 | 1 Comment

When Temple Nightclub and Zen Compound founder Paul Hemming first conceived of his idea for a nightclub and cultural venue in San Francisco, he immediately sought to create an established that would pursue the triple bottom line and his idea of the world as “one living organism and one family”.

Born of a Mormon father and Buddhist mother, Hemming was from an early age familiar with the concept of "East meets West" and combines this sensibility to his efforts in creating a nightclub built around the idea of sustainability.

I recently had an opportunity to talk with Mike Zuckerman, Temple Nightclub and Zen Compound’s director of sustainability since 2006. While I would expect some club owners will take exception, Mike counts Temple as one of three sustainable nightclubs in the world, the other two being Club4Climate in London (which apparently had a bit of a controversy this summer with Friends of the Earth) and the appropriately named Watt in Rotterdam. Watt bills itself as the “first” sustainable nightclub, opening just earlier this year, and E Magazine mentions other clubs around the U.S. as “eco-friendly, but Zuckerman says that Temple (which Hemming reincarnated from the old DV8 and Caribbean Zone clubs) isn’t really trying to compete for eco-marketing rights. He’s more interested in building awareness and community, both locally, regionally, and globally.

As the old saying goes: think globally, act locally.

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