The Aesthetics of Trust: What It Takes to Break Through the Clutter

3p Contributor | Thursday September 24th, 2009 | 0 Comments

By Mitch Baranowski, co-founder of BBMG. This article originally appeared on Itshowwelive.com

trustmarks_box You would think, with some 400+ trustmarks vying for consumer attention, that most would dedicate a modicum of time and attention to the actual design of the trustmark. You know, so it stands out from the crowd. So it projects trustworthy attributes. So it’s scalable, legible and all those other things prized by designers.

But that hardly seems the case. No points for originality here. With but a few exceptions, the sea of trustmarks is a mess, a pea soup of poorly conceived (and poorly explained) seals and certifications.

Why is that?

Tough to hazard a guess, really, but experience says it’s probably due to (a) not having the expertise at hand, (b) not having the budget at hand or (c) not making it enough of a priority, the certification team arriving somewhat exhausted to the finish line after spending months putting the standards in question together, with little time and patience for the iterative process that great design requires.

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

Building an Organizational Culture of Sustainability: Employee Engagement

| Thursday September 24th, 2009 | 8 Comments

These days, we hear more and more that a company’s stance on social and environmental issues plays a significant role in choice of employer. A recent survey found that over 50% of American workers report being inclined to work for “green” companies.  Women and Generation Y in particular want their company’s mission to go beyond profitability, encompassing benefits to the wider community, on social, environmental and economic dimensions (with men and Boomers not that far behind). They are eager to work with companies in which they feel they can make a difference.

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

Is China Really Beating the US in Cleantech?

| Thursday September 24th, 2009 | 2 Comments

Grist recently served up a rant post by Terry Tamminen, titled “China’s Rear View Mirror: China is leaving the U.S. in the dust as it surges ahead on clean energy.”

Tamminen, former secretary of the California Environmental Protection Agency and now an investment banker, recites a now common plaint that China is rapidly eclipsing the US in clean technology, the technology of the future. Tamminen cites huge domestic demand in China, and aggressive government policies pushing the greening of power. From the post:

Even as China overtakes the U.S. in the dubious category of “world’s leading greenhouse gas producer,” it is also well ahead of the U.S. in developing the technologies and policies to solve the problem—and selling those solutions to us at massive profits which could have been ours.

But with all due respect to Mr. Tamminen, he’s getting ahead of himself.

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

Florida’s Progress Energy Seeks Tax Increase – Could Save Energy; Worth the Money?

| Thursday September 24th, 2009 | 0 Comments

tax

According to a report by the St. Petersburg Times, Florida utility Progress Energy is seeking to increase the base utility tax rate by about 30 percent. It says increasing the tax could save energy and boost local governments’ tax collections next year (for governments that charge utility and franchise taxes). Would taking this measure have enough benefit for the state’s sustainable growth to be worth taxpayers’ money?

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

Recession Cuts Emissions: Good News or Bad News?

| Thursday September 24th, 2009 | 1 Comment

stop-making-excuses

The recession has caused a 2.6 percent drop in carbon dioxide emissions – the biggest drop in 40 years, Environmental Leader reports. Although this sounds like great news for the environment, some analysts worry about what effect it could have on nations’ motivation to further curb emissions. Are these figures good news or bad news?

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

Walmart Aims To Use Only Renewable Energy

Gina-Marie Cheeseman
| Thursday September 24th, 2009 | 0 Comments

180px-Walmart_NMK3

The mother of all big box retailers, Walmart, made it on the EPA’s National Top 50 Green Power Purchasers list. With a long-term goal of having 100 percent of its power supplied by renewable energy, Walmart is installing solar panels on 10 to 20 stores and distribution centers in California by 2011. In April, the company finished installing solar panels on 18 Walmart and Sam’s Club stores in California and Hawaii. Each solar project will create enough energy to power the equivalent of 2,600 homes.

Walmart does not own its solar projects, but has a 10-year power purchase agreement (PPA) to pay for the energy it uses. BP Solar produces, installs, owns and maintains the solar power systems. Larry Sherwood of the Interstate Renewable Energy Council said PPAs make up most of the large commercial solar energy market.

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

Obama Talks To GM Workers

Gina-Marie Cheeseman
| Thursday September 24th, 2009 | 0 Comments

140px-Obama08acceptance

In February GM announced it would lay off 800 workers at its Lordstown assembly plant complex in Warren, Ohio. Last December GM cut the third shift at the plant, eliminating 900 jobs. The summer of 2008 over 4,000 people worked on three shifts at the plant. President Obama spoke to the plant’s workers on Tuesday.

Obama told the workers, “This plant is about to shift into higher gear. 150 of your coworkers came back to work yesterday. More than 1,000 will be coming back to work in less than three weeks as production of the Cobalt ramps up. And next year, this plant will begin production of the Chevy Cruze, a new car that will get more than 40 miles per gallon.”

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

Coming Up: 9th Annual Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) Conference

| Thursday September 24th, 2009 | 0 Comments

LCA-conferenceNext week the 9th annual Life Cycle Analysis Conference will be held in Boston, MA. This year’s conference promises to be the biggest and best one yet. The conference will be packed with incredibly bright industrial ecologists from all over the world. These are the people working on the cutting edge of science to simplify the process of understanding the true impacts our business and consumer decisions have on our planet.

Last year’s LCA conference was a fantastic experience. It completely altered my perception of what I thought was sustainable and revealed interesting hidden impacts of products when you consider them from a life cycle perspective. The results showed that while packaging materials are important, it was far more important to focus on what was INSIDE the packaging. The focus should be reducing impact in that area where possible. (I hear WalMart may be building a new scorecard thanks to this one.)

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

Age of Stupid: Environmentalism Is Alive and Well

| Wednesday September 23rd, 2009 | 8 Comments
Director and Producer Franny and Lizzie arrive by boat to the NY premier. Seriously.

Director and Producer Franny and Lizzie arrive by boat at the NY premier of their documentary, the Age of Stupid.

Editor’s Note: This post was published on the Huffington Post earlier today.

On Monday night, I participated in the world’s largest movie premier, for a documentary. The film, called the Age of Stupid has been hailed as the future of film, and criticized by 3p’s own Nick Aster for its depressing take on the state of our planet’s climate. I believe, however, that the film was revolutionary for slightly different reasons. Age of Stupid reveals that environmentalism is alive, well, and going mainstream. Even more, the film shows that our current consumer lifestyles are fundamentally incompatible with the reality of our climate situation. Either we convince our governments to intervene and take control, or prepare for the worst, as we waste time celebrating recycling our plastic water bottles.

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

Latisse: The Hilarity of FDA Approved Prescription Eyelash Treatment

Mary Catherine O'Connor | Wednesday September 23rd, 2009 | 12 Comments
Above, the beautiful Brooke Sheilds. Below, the beautiful Brooke Shields (with longer eyelashes).

Above, the beautiful Brooke Sheilds. Below, the beautiful Brooke Shields (with longer eyelashes).

Aging is such a cruel process. Bones become brittle. Memory fades. Energy wanes. Arteries clog. And yes, our once-lush eyelashes fade away to practically nothing. Thank God for calcium supplements, statins and bimatoprost ophthalmic solution.

Oh, that last one is new to you? Spokeswoman Brooke Shields would love to tell you all about this wonder drug, also known as LATISSE® (and she does, in the online diary she keeps on the Latisse website).  It has made her lashes fuller, darker and longer. And you can enjoy the same results by seeking a prescription from your doctor to buy Latisse, which the FDA approved for use in treating “inadequate” eyelashes in December. (We’re thinking–or rather, hoping–you might have trouble getting insurance to cover this pre-existing condition…)

And if you have glaucoma, you’ll be killing two birds with one stone. Turns out Latisse is actually a re-branded version of Lumigan, the anti-glaucoma drug made by Allergan, which sells both products (as well as other aesthetic product offerings included Botox and breast implants).  And, as with Lumigan, using Latisse presents some possible side effects, including irritated or dry eyes, red eyelids and darkening of the skin around the eyes. As well as much more menacing ones.

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

Nissan Tackles the Silent Electric Car Problem

| Wednesday September 23rd, 2009 | 4 Comments

One thing can be said for gas guzzlers — you always hear them coming. Generally speaking, the lower the mpg, the higher the decibels. Which is why electric cars, with a mpg approaching infinity, have a problem: their motors make so little noise you might not hear one coming, and step out in front of it.

Nissan, which plans to sell its all-electric car the Leaf next year in the States, has been experimenting with a “sound system” that creates a noise to warn pedestrians of an approaching car. The system would turn on when the car is started and shut itself off when the car reached 12 miles an hour, at which point the Leaf’s tires make enough noise to be audible.

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

eBay Announces First Greenhouse Gas Reduction Target: 15 Percent by 2012

| Wednesday September 23rd, 2009 | 0 Comments

ebay-logo

eBay Inc. recently achieved a first among internet companies: it was the first such company to disclose greenhouse gas figures in 2009 to the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), an S&P 500 Report-affiliated ranking of corporations’ sustainability efforts. (The disclosure was also the first of its kind eBay has made.) What does the move suggest about eBay’s evolution as a company, and its potential impact on the world of green internet commerce?

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

Better Place, Renault: Let a 100,000 Electric Cars Bloom

| Wednesday September 23rd, 2009 | 1 Comment

shai-agassiBetter Place, the ambitious San Francisco electric vehicle service company, has teamed up with French car company Renault to bring 100,000 electric cars, and the network to charge them, to the streets of Israel and Denmark by 2016.

Better Place will build a network of electric charging stations, including high-voltage quick charge terminals and its patented battery-swapping hubs. Renault, in turn, will install Better Place electric vehicle support software AutOS in the Fluence ZE, an electric car it plans to introduce in the two postage-stamp sized countries, and 18 others, in 2011.

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

Obama’s UN Climate Summit has Some Sustainability Proponents Worried

| Wednesday September 23rd, 2009 | 0 Comments

UN-planet-picture

Several world leaders met in New York Tuesday for a UN climate summit in New York. While many of the leaders indicated that they would continue to work together on an international climate pact, others expressed visions for climate change that have some analysts concerned. One of these was President Obama.

According to a Washington Post report, Obama emphasized steps the U.S. has already taken to reduce its carbon footprint, including investing in clean energy, setting new fuel economy standards, and *cough* (Obama’s) pressing the House for passage of a cap-and-trade emissions regulation system.

Chinese President Hu Jintao, too, promised to make trimming carbon emissions a national priority by implementing a number of domestic measures.

While these measures would be better than nothing, some would argue that Obama’s and Jintao’s speeches signaled a divergence from the ideal climate solution: a pact in which nations would cut greenhouse gas emissions, in compliance with an international legal treaty. Now, it appears some nations are taking a team-of-one approach, with which some in attendance expressed concern. For example, Japan’s Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama stipulated that Japan would trim emissions on the condition that other industrial powers make CO2-trimming commitments. French President Nicolas Sarkozy called on industrial leaders to strike a deal by the UN Climate Change Conference in December. And UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon urged governments to look beyond their own national interests and make uncomfortable compromises to guarantee a climate deal by the end of 2009.

What do you think – should we be concerned about some nations’ apparent movement toward an individualistic approach to global climate change?

Permalink discuss Discuss This »

Global Burning? How the Words We Choose Affect the Perception of Crises

Richard Levangie | Wednesday September 23rd, 2009 | 1 Comment

blended-temp-anomalies

Would we be doing more to save the planet from global warming if we had better phrasing? Jonathan Watts asks that question at The Guardian when he notes that the only time that governments have been able to overcome their pettiness was when scientists warned about an unexpected “hole in the ozone layer.”

It seemed to have a profound and galvanizing effect, and the level of intergovernmental cooperation that ensued was unprecedented.

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »