Weekly Green Business Wrap-Up

| Friday March 27th, 2009 | 1 Comment

Tide.jpgProctor and Gamble Doubles their 2015 Sustainability Goals With Bounce, Cheer, Zest and Luv(s), Procter and Gamble announced a commitment to double its per-unit reduction targets for greenhouse gas emissions, waste generation and water and energy consumption by 2012 from 10% reductions to 20%, as part of an effort to make its environmental goals more robust. Swiffer!
blog-landfill-new.jpgGross! National Trash? Joel Makower has a feature this week on the importance of developing a metric for measuring our national trash production… mm-hmm… Gross National Trash.
wood%20pallets.JPGThree Big Businesses Say Good-Bye to Wooden Pallets Tropicana,Gatorade, and Quaker have all committed to recyclable plastic pallets. While that doesn’t seem like a big deal from an environmental point of view, the plastic pallets are 30% lighter than wood, reducing the carbon impact of the shipment, and when they get banged up, they can be recycled directly into new pallets– no downcyling! Side business benefits of the switch include: fewer lost shipments (the plastic pallets are embedded with RFID tags to monitor shipments) and fewer refused shipments because there are fewer safety hazards like exposed nails and broken wood.
Verizon Jumps on Energy Management Bandwagon With it’s routers already in your home, Verizon has realized that they have a ready entry into the energy management business. They’ll soon be able to broadcast information about your energy usage as well as power your devices off remotely. Next, I would like them to fix it so my mother and I an have fewer one way conversations due to dropped calls.
think-electric-car.jpgToyota Starts Hybrid Price War With the economy in shambles and car buyers looking sheepishly at their bank accounts when considering a hybrid purchase, Toyota announced this week that it is developing a low-cost hybrid version of the Yaris, designed to directly compete with the Honda Insight.
Finally, here at 3P we had a busy week! We covered AT&T’s holistic approach to sustainability
, Exxon’s environmental improvements in the 20 years since the 1989 oil spill, a London utility company offering carbon bonuses to employees, and whether or not “sustainable golf course” is an oxymoron.
Until next week!

Permalink discuss Discuss This »

podium[Your News Here]

Overcoming the Coal Conundrum

Richard Levangie | Friday March 27th, 2009 | 0 Comments

forest-mar27.jpg

Researchers at North Carolina State University think we should head back to the future – that wood might be able to replace coal, as the world’s primary energy source, just as coal once replaced wood. The NC State researchers are part of a team that is using a process called torrefaction to turn woodchips into a new fuel that is greener, cleaner and more efficient than burning coal. And, as Triple Pundit readers know, coal is the dirtiest source of energy on the planet. NASA climate scientist James Hansen says that reducing the use of coal must be our number one priority if we’re to save the planet.
During torrefaction, woodchips go through a machine – an industrial-sized oven – that toasts the biomass to remove any moisture. The chips are physically and chemically altered in this low-oxygen environment to make them drier and easier to crush, so they retain 80% of wood’s energy content, but just one-third of the weight, making them an ideal feedstock for power utilities that traditionally burn coal.

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

Office Vampires: Millions of Office PCs Feed at Night

| Friday March 27th, 2009 | 0 Comments

Energy%20vampire.jpgVampire energy loss describes the considerable amount of energy sucked up by computers, home electronics and appliances that go into sleep or standby mode when you’re not using them. In the home, these Vampires represent between 5 and 8 percent of a single family home’s total electricity use per year, according to the Department of Energy.
The problem is multiplied many times over in offices in the US and around the world according to an international study released this week by 1E and the Alliance to Save Energy. The study found nearly half of US workers who use a PC at their job do not typically shut down at night. The 2009 PC Energy Report, which examines workplace PC power consumption in the US, UK and Germany, estimated that US organizations waste $2.8 billion a year to power 108 million unused machines. In 2009, the fossil fuels burned to power these unused PCs are expected to emit approximately 20 million tons of carbon dioxide, roughly the equivalent impact of 4 million cars.

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

You Can’t Create Social Good Without Taking Social Actions

| Friday March 27th, 2009 | 3 Comments

cause-marketing.gif

Social%20Actions_logo-tagline.jpg

One of the reasons cause branding campaigns work so well is because it allows consumers to make doing good part of their regular routine. Someone can buy a cup of coffee and feel a sense of purpose without having to do any extra leg work. This ease of giving is magnified by Social Actions, a website that has aggregated literally thousands of charitable organizations and programs to connect users with causes, groups, and volunteer activities. Through a sophisticated database, users can access a multitude of resources designed to link them with opportunities for taking action without having to labor over research to find the right charity or how to get involved. Harnessing the power of social media and open source technology, Founder, Peter Deitz has made taking social actions as simple and targeted as a Google search with results as far-reaching as your desire to change the world.

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

Did Apollo Alliance Influence the Stimulus?

Gina-Marie Cheeseman
| Friday March 27th, 2009 | 3 Comments

recovery-doc.gifLabor and environmental groups used to be on opposite sides. However, those days are long gone, according to a recent report, High Road or Low Road: Job Quality in the New Green Economy. The report mentions the 2004 creation of an alliance of labor, environmental groups, business, and social justice leaders called Apollo Alliance. The same year Apollo Alliance was formed it released a report that called for a ten-year investment in a “clean energy, good jobs” economy.
In December, the Apollo Alliance released its recommendations for an economic recovery act, calling it the Apollo Economic Recovery Act (AERA). The Alliance released the Act in response to Obama’s call a week before for a “big stimulus package.”

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

In Search of the Eco-Friendly Golf Course

| Friday March 27th, 2009 | 8 Comments

_THP0222.jpg
Here’s a fun experiment: go to your favorite deep-green environmentalist friend and say the phrase “sustainable golf course.” You’re likely to be subjected to at least half an hour of explanations about why golf is inherently unsustainable. Or maybe you’re the deep-greenie questioning the existence of the mythic green golf course–you’ve probably heard references in passing to such a creature, but you don’t really believe it exists. After catching wind of a golf course in Panama that is pushing its sustainability as a main selling point, I decided that it was worth finding.

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

SF Mayor Pushes to Increase Energy and Green Jobs Program by $4 Million

Mary Catherine O'Connor | Thursday March 26th, 2009 | 0 Comments

sfe-greenlogo.gifSan Francisco’s family-owned Lombardi Sports has been selling sporting gear for more than 50 years, inspiring the city’s active citizens to get outside. But with the help of the SF Energy Watch program, the company recently turned its attentions to an inside activity: improving the energy efficiency of its 50,000 square-foot Polk St. store. In the process, Lombardi’s lowered its monthly energy bill by $3000.
SF Mayor Gavin Newsom found the Lombardi store a fitting place to announce plans to expand the energy efficiency program today. He introduced a resolution at the Board of Supervisors this week to increase funding for the SF Environment Department program by $3.7 million. This would bring the total invested in the program to nearly $18 million. The money for SF Energy Watch comes from a percentage of Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) ratepayer bills.

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

Top 7 Reasons Why This Recession Is a Great Time to Start a Green Business

Scott Cooney | Thursday March 26th, 2009 | 7 Comments

newgreenbusinessShiraGolding.jpgWhile counterintuitive, a recession is actually a terrific time to start a business. Sure, credit is tight, and venture capital is definitely hard to come by, so startup ideas requiring large amounts of up-front capital are perhaps best left to the drawing board for the moment. But for many entrepreneurs with a dream, startup capital requirements are small, and other elements of the economic outlook are very favorable.

As far as timing, for most businesses, it simply takes time for their product, service, or brand to become recognized, trusted, and sought after. Estimates vary widely, but it is simply a truth that average customers have to see your product or company several times before they make a purchase. This makes a recession a great time to get your name out there while most other companies are cutting back and the competition for people’s attention is less. Your company will be in good shape when the economy rebounds.
So while recessions can be a good time, and historically have been a good time for businesses to get their start, this particular recession is a great time to start a green business. Here’s why:

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

National Grid Is Offering Carbon Bonuses to Execs

Richard Levangie | Thursday March 26th, 2009 | 0 Comments

national_grid.jpg

In the wake of the AIG scandal, it’s refreshing to see that some companies are tying company bonuses to significant achievements for both the corporation and society. National Grid- a London – based utility company – has has become the latest and biggest UK firm to link the company’s success in reducing its carbon footprint to executive remuneration packages. The company will also implement carbon budgets across its entire operations starting next month, and incorporate the cost of compliance within those budgets.
If you can’t measure it, you can’t cut it, so National Grid has been conducting a detailed greenhouse gas emissions inventory over the last 12 months to provide senior management with the tools to track each division’s carbon footprint, and take the steps necessary to improve the overall environmental performance. Although the remuneration committee still hasn’t decided what weight to give carbon reductions in compensation packages, a National Grid spokeswoman expects that it will become an increasingly important metric.

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

What Does “Green Cell Phone” Really Mean?

| Thursday March 26th, 2009 | 0 Comments

Gr-Cell-Phone-pic.png
If I offered you a “green” cell phone for sale, what would you expect? Would you expect it to be made with recyclable or biodegradable thermoplastics? Would you expect it to come with a minimum of toxic heavy metals, or low-strength radio waves? What about the programs on it – would you expect the phone to tell you how to live a “greener” lifestyle?
Or would you think I was just schlocking another flip phone painted some ugly green color?

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

Lifecrete: Genuine Eco-Masonry for Your Home and Office

| Thursday March 26th, 2009 | 2 Comments

lifeblock.png Gone are the days that we have to use toxic ingredients to build our homes and work-spaces. Lifecrete offers a new alternative for construction materials, one that ticks the boxes on the sustainability front for both a product and business model. But what does Lifecrete offer to make this choice attractive for builders and consumers?
In today’s building industry, going ¬®green¬® is paramount. In 2007, the National Association of Home Builders reported that 90% of builders incorporated green elements into their projects, reflecting a trend that we all want to live — or at least strive to live — more sustainable lives. But much of the green elements incorporated into construction are secondary aspects, such as solar panels, water management systems, or energy-saving white goods, and little has been done regarding the actual building shell.
As well, many green construction products are damaging to the environment, using the tag ¨energy efficient¨ to grab consumer attention but utilizing such elements as toxic plastic sealers, chemical conditioners, Styrofoam, and traditional concrete, which is a major contributor to greenhouse gas. LifeCrete changes this trend, bringing to the market an affordable choice in masonry, the LifeBlock, that is a genuinely green product.

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

A Vital Piece Missing in the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act

Scott Cooney | Wednesday March 25th, 2009 | 2 Comments

van_stairs.jpgAlso known as the stimulus package, the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA), along with Van Jones‘ appointment as Green Jobs Czar, will help American workers get back to work with job training and incentives for green initiatives. The subject has been well covered in the blogosphere and with good reason. Interest in the green economy is at an all time high, while employment is at…well, it’s not good.
But there’s a piece of the equation that’s missing. What happens when all of those people get trained, weatherize 60 million homes and offices, and the green work starts to dry up? We’d be missing a tremendous opportunity if we didn’t take this process one step further: help these people become independent by providing them the tools they need to start their own business and be successful in the green economy.
Right now, the Small Business Administration (SBA) has no programs designed to help small business owners go green. No advisory councils, no tax incentive worksheets specifically for eco-friendly initiatives, and no loan specialists who focus on the green market. I started a petition to Karen Mills, Administrator of the SBA. I’d encourage everyone not to just sign it, but to take this message further.
Without green businesses to continue the momentum of the current interest in green, the ARRA risks being just a stimulus bill. Barack Obama and the Democrats would be wise not to let that happen, as that is likely to be the greatest criticism of the bill after the dust settles.
No agency has more potential for being a catalyst for a green overhaul on our economy than the SBA, as half a million Americans start businesses every year in the U.S. However, after a thorough search of the SBA site, I could find nothing related to helping businesses go green, so I started calling the agency, getting passed from person to person until I was passed to something called the ‘advocacy’ group. I began by asking one of the advisors how he felt the SBA might work with Van Jones to help create the green transition. After a few moments, there was a pregnant pause in the air, so I stopped, not knowing what I had said wrong.
“Who is Van Jones?” he asked.
So what would a greener SBA look like? Glad you asked…

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

Exxon: You’ve Come a Long Way, Baby!

Jeff Siegel | Wednesday March 25th, 2009 | 6 Comments

exxon valdez
Yesterday marked the 20th anniversary of the nation’s worst oil spill. It was on March 24, 1989 when the Exxon Valdez dumped 11 million gallons of crude into the fishing waters of Prince William Sound. It was a tragic day, indeed.
I know, I know. It’s not popular these days to “bring everyone down” with reminders of those pesky oil spills. With energy security a major issue, and years of mocking those who think it’s a good idea to consider the loss of natural capital associated with the production and burning of fossil fuels, we’ve almost become immune to oil spills – writing them off as simply “the cost of doing business.”
So let’s examine that cost, shall we?

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

U.S. Climate Action Partnership: A Carbon Fox in the Cap-and-Trade Henhouse

Nick Hodge | Wednesday March 25th, 2009 | 0 Comments

U.S. Climate Action PartnershipTaken at face value, the U.S. Climate Action Partnership (USCAP) seems like an organization with a selfless goal.

On its website, the entity describes itself as "a group of businesses and leading environmental organizations that have come together to call on the federal government to quickly enact strong national legislation to require significant reductions of greenhouse gas emissions."

I’ll stop short of calling it sinister, but there is certainly more going on here than meets the eye.

Here’s the nitty-gritty on the USCAP, including details on the policy they’re trying to stay ahead of.

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

US Solar Market Had Record Growth in 2008 Despite Economy

Sarah Lozanova | Wednesday March 25th, 2009 | 6 Comments

solar%20panels.jpg
The last year has been filled with news of plummeting property values, widespread unemployment, and bankruptcies. However, judging from stock values of solar companies over the last year, you would never know that the industry experienced record growth last year for both photovoltaics (PV) and solar water heating according to a report recently released by the Solar Energy Industries Association.
Despite the credit crisis, 2008 will be remembered in the solar industry as a year where federal incentives were enhanced and extended for eight years. This ends the boom and bust cycles that have plagued the industry for decades.

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »