Solar Stocks: Hot or Not?

Bill DiBenedetto | Tuesday June 23rd, 2009 | 0 Comments

solar stocks

As usual when it comes to the stock market the answer is maybe yes, maybe no. Playing in the solar arena depends on how risk-friendly you are.
Yes solar stocks are hot at the moment but are they a good long-term play or a bubble ripe for bursting? J. Peter Lynch, a financial analyst and contributor to RenewableEnergyWorld.com, advises caution.
“If you are getting involved in solar stocks you have to be a little a careful right now. Don’t buy a solar stock and put it away,” he says. Instead be ready to trade and be alert to the fluctuations in the market and the players.

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Waste Expo Part III: Trash-Talkin’ in Sin City

Mary Catherine O'Connor | Tuesday June 23rd, 2009 | 0 Comments

lasvegas.jpgI wasn’t sure what kind of reaction I’d get from Bob Coyle, vice president of public affairs for waste management company Republic Services of Southern Nevada, when I told him that, based on my experience, no one believes that waste is recycled in Las Vegas. Not the Las Vegas taxi driver I talked to as I was headed for the airport. Not my college buddy who lives in Vegas. Not even some of my fellow attendees at the Waste Expo conference at the Las Vegas Convention Center. As it turns out, that’s hardly news to Coyle.
“That’s one of my biggest challenges,” he says. “And the residential [recycling] system is antiquated, at best.”
Republic Services of Southern Nevada, which has an exclusive contract for waste collection and disposal in Las Vegas, collects trash twice a week from 515,000 residential customers in the area, and brings about 9500 tons of waste per day to the Apex Regional Landfill, located 25 miles north of Las Vegas. It also offers recycling services and operates a municipal material recovery facility (known as a MRF in waste circles) where recyclables are collected, sorted and bailed before being sold and shipped to converters in the US and aboard. But rather than being collected twice weekly, along with the trash, recyclables are only collected twice a month.

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Waste Collection Goes High Tech

Wes Muir | Tuesday June 23rd, 2009 | 0 Comments

By Wes Muir, Director, Communications, Waste Management
The days are longer, kids are out of school and beach season is in full swing: these are clear indicators that summer is upon us and everyone is flocking outdoors. While you’re out and about, packing a picnic lunch or walking around your favorite city, you’re probably also generating trash.
How many times have you wandered down the street or along the beach, wondering where you can pitch that ice cream wrapper? Or maybe when you’ve desperately sought a garbage can for that cup of coffee you drank while walking into work? Unfortunately, most times you’ve probably been unsuccessful in locating said receptacle. Worse yet, as this blogger describes as a pet peeve, you do find a bin, but it’s overflowing and you can’t properly dispose of your piece of trash.

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China Plans To Increase Geothermal Development

Gina-Marie Cheeseman
| Tuesday June 23rd, 2009 | 0 Comments

geothermal chinaChina is the largest emitter of greenhouse gas emissions in the world. Coal is used for 70 percent of China’s energy. However, the vice-chairman of China’s National Development and Reform Commission, Zhang Xiaoqiang, recently told the London newspaper, the Telegraph that China is serious about developing renewable energy. “We are now formulating a plan for development of renewable energy. We can be sure we will exceed the 15 per cent target. We will at least reach 18 per cent. Personally I think we could reach the target of having renewables provide 20 per cent of total energy consumption.”
Earlier this month the deputy head of the National Energy Administration, Liu Qi announced the preliminary draft for China’s energy stimulus plan was completed. No other details were given, but geothermal heating will surely be included in the stimulus plan, which will help China meet its goals of increasing its renewable energy use to ten percent by 2010 from 7.5 percent in 2005.

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Other Random Eco-Stats, David Suzuki Style

Scott Cooney | Tuesday June 23rd, 2009 | 0 Comments

Continuing a line of previous posts on terrific eco-stats coming from David Suzuki’s Green Guide (on energy, food, ecopsychology, and travel), here is a summary of eco-stats that don’t fit into any particular category, but may be of marketing use for green businesses.

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The Sustainability Lens

| Monday June 22nd, 2009 | 0 Comments

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Piersonbooklens.jpgBy Steve Pierson
“The most unrealistic person in the world is the cynic, not the dreamer. Hopefulness only makes sense when it doesn’t make sense to be hopeful. This is your century. Take it and run, as if your life depends on it.”
From Paul Hawken’s commencement address to the University of Portland Class of 2009

Let me begin by saying what a wonderful commencement address I think Mr. Hawken’s was, and thank Hunter Lovins for relaying it to the Presidio community. It reminds me of Mark Sower’s Presidio graduation address comment about how “we are faced with insurmountable opportunities.” Both hold the tension of that impossible task we must nevertheless do. The anchor is the impossible task, and the variable is our capacity to rise to it.

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The Heineken Experience: Marketing that Leaves a Bad Taste in my Mouth

| Monday June 22nd, 2009 | 4 Comments

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Let’s face it – we all go on brewery tours for the free beers. Heineken understands this, and has pretty much done away with all of the real brewing aspects of the show, while giving customers a strong dose of the Heineken experience: an extended opportunity to view Heineken ads, drink shots of beer offered from a Heineken star shaped bar, listen to hip-hop in a darkly lit room (chandelier of bottles of course) with ads blaring on all 4 walls and even make a music video with men in lederhosen as background singers. The most exciting part of all, though, was the “Brew U” experience, wherein we did not have a tour guide, nor did we see the actual brewing or bottling of beer. Instead we stood on a platform and got heated up and tossed around like malt.

But, perhaps, I’m just a crotchety idealist. This might be the most brilliant marketing strategy of all time. Customers who already have at least a passing interest in your product willingly pay 15 euros to be subjected to a 2-hour, full-sensory experience of it, with beer! When we ended the tour, I asked around to some of the other people who had participated, and they had a great time. People were loving it! They didn’t feel ripped off at all. And they weren’t all just 18 year olds stoked to be free of the drinking age restrictions in their home countries. They didn’t even realize that they had paid for pure advertising, but then, isn’t that the most effective kind?

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TerraCycle and Yak-Pak Join the Billboard Bag Bandwagon

| Monday June 22nd, 2009 | 0 Comments

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Bags, backpacks and accessories made out of used billboards, tarps, and other inspired detritus are a classic example of “upcycling.” That is, re-using something that’s met the end of its “first life” as something at least as durable and long-lasting in its “second life.” Not only that, but entrepreneurs have managed to do well taking advantage of practically free raw materials while earning a little “eco street cred” on the side.
One of the pioneers in the trend has been Freitag. The Swiss bag manufacturer has been making stylish and durable goods out of European “Truck Tarpaulins” since 1993 to great acclaim – building an 80+ person company and winning design awards left and right.
With Truck Tarpaulins uncommon in the US, discarded billboards have also become a hugely popular raw material for bags, as evidenced by the dozens of start ups who’ve made use of them. But a big challenge remains on the supply chain side – it takes a lot of effort and connections to establish a reliable source of, say, billboard material in order to run a predictable operation.
That’s where the networking genius of TerraCycle can play a role – in this case, helping Yak-Pak.

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Starbucks Drops the Spin for a Candid Q&A

| Monday June 22nd, 2009 | 7 Comments

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Update: Starbucks offers a 10-cent discount in all of their stores in the U.S. and Canada to customers who bring in their own reusable mugs for their beverages. Customers staying in a store can also request that their beverages be served in a ceramic Starbucks mug. More information about their “Mug Pledge” is available on their Shared Planet website.
Starbucks. A name synonymous with coffee and other frothy caffeinated delights. Or, if you read my Cause Marketing series, it’s a name I often liken to greenwashing, and have on more than one occasion questioned their authenticity when it comes to environmental consciousness — especially as it relates to the glaring fact that their cups are not recyclable in a majority of states in which they have stores. But I’m not alone. A quick google search with the terms “Starbucks cups not recyclable” will return a host of results and commentary around this issue as consumers struggle to understand why a company who claims a deep commitment to the environment would neglect such a critical element. And we’re left speculating if their CSR practices are only marketing deep.

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New 1% Rule Proposed for Reporting On Energy-Savings

| Monday June 22nd, 2009 | 2 Comments

We have certifications for organic claims, guides for green marketing, why not impose a new rule of thumb for news articles about energy-saving products or projects?
David MacKay of The Guardian proposes a rule that a device or project can only be reported in the public arena if it leads to energy savings of at least 1%. He complains that currently, valuable newspaper space is being wasted by the latest “green” inventions, “creating a delusion of happy progress while distracting people from serious change.”

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Hewlett Packard Continues to Raise the Green Bar

| Monday June 22nd, 2009 | 2 Comments

HP Expands its Eco Solutions Portfolio: Aims to Save 1B kWh by 2011
hpweb_1-2_topnav_hp_logo.gifAccording to a recent report from the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), consumer electronics and computers account for a whopping 15% of your household energy consumption. Considering that the average U.S. household now owns over 27 consumer electronics devices, and growing, it’s expected that over the next 3-5 years this percentage will increase to over 20% which is the same energy consumption used for heating or lighting our homes.
The good news is many consumer electronics companies are now competing to see who can be the greenest by driving energy efficiency initiatives throughout their product portfolios. Even though this competition can seem more about marketing at times, it also helps to demonstrate that big companies can have a big impact just by making continual, incremental improvements to their products and operations. Take for example HP’s recent announcement about the several additions to its HP Eco Solutions program, including new products, services and operations, as well as company-wide environmental goals. HP has set a new goal to save 1 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity by 2011 through a variety of product design strategies. As for impact, this is enough energy to power 90,000 homes for an entire year.

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Socap09 Lays out the Roadmap to a Social Capital Marketplace

| Monday June 22nd, 2009 | 0 Comments

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Social capital lies “at the intersection of money and meaning” according to Kevin Jones and Gary Bolles, founders of the Social Capital Markets Conference (Socap). Socap08 was about mapping the landscape of the social capital marketplace (also the topic of my first ever TriplePundit post). Two hundred attendees were expected, 600 came.
“Last year we wanted to validate the asset class – prove that social capital is real, large and resilient. Social capital was hurt less than other sectors. It didn’t participate in the bubble and it didn’t cause the bust and has since out performed the traditional capital market. This is partly because so many more risks are factored in, in terms of externalities,” Kevin Jones said.
Socap09 (coming up Sept 1-3, 2009) outlines the roadmap to a new economy, focusing on three themes:
1. The new administration and its focus on social innovation and social enterprise
2. An increasing acceptance of social venture funds and impact investing
3. The impact of disruptive technology
“This market is evolving. Pieces of infrastructure are starting to get filled in. Two years ago it was about discovery and finding our way. Now there is a roadmap. It doesn’t mean it’s a smooth highway. It’s extremely tough,” Jones explained.

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Ethonomics Explained

| Monday June 22nd, 2009 | 7 Comments

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By Rebecca Greenberg
It can be said, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that our world is changing.
Our planet is warming, our population is growing, our water supply is under preassure, and our financial systems have suffered. We have a new president in office; a man who passionately describes a new, green economy. The traditional ways of conducting business are changing. Even the largest investment banks and motor companies are beginning to realize that the “status quo” of doing business, i.e. profit for profit’s sake, must be revolutionized.

Our economy must adapt to be faster, “greener” and more innovative. So what do we have when we combine traditional economics with environmental stewardship and social ethics? Ethonomics, of course.
Ethonomics has several definitions. The term was originally coined to describe the academic process of mapping value systems. Earlier this year, however, Fast Company magazine assigned a new meaning to the term Ethonomics: ethical economics.

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Mission One Makes Strong Showing at World’s First Carbon-Free Grand Prix

| Friday June 19th, 2009 | 1 Comment

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We first introduced readers to Mission Motors last February. A San Francisco-based startup that began in a Mission District garage, Mission Motors debuted the all-electric, high performance motorcycle, dubbed the Mission One only months ago at the TED conference in San Diego.

Mission Motors is the vision and brainchild of co-founder and CEO Forrest North, a Stanford-educated engineer who cut his teeth on the school’s Solar Car Team and later went on to work at Tesla Motors. While at Tesla, North dreamed of using the concepts of high-end sustainable design he learned at Stanford and Tesla to build a high-performance, sustainably designed and built, all-electric motorcycle to help prove his conviction that “sustainable” didn’t necessarily mean sacrificing high-end performance

Last week on the Isle of Man, North and his team, including professional motorcycle racer Tom Montano, pushed the dream a little bit further after a strong showing at TTXGP, the worlds first carbon-free Grand Prix.

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Recession Bugging You? Get Launched!

| Friday June 19th, 2009 | 2 Comments

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high-dive-rockwell.jpgWhat do Google, Ocean Spray and Walt Disney have in common? All were launched during recessions. Since the beginning of this recession, most headlines have been riddled with gloom, but tough economic times lend themselves to advantages many business leaders overlook.
Last summer, as we were still headed into the worst quarters of this recession, I co-founded SoupCycle, a company that makes organic soups and delivers them by bicycle. Whimsical and a bit ridiculous? Sure – but the idea is odd enough to attract customers during a recession, and despite a sluggish economy SoupCycle has already made more than 3,000 bicycle soup deliveries. If you’re up for the challenge, now may be the right time to turn your sustainable business idea into a reality. Here are nine pointers to successfully launch your sustainable business during the recession:

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