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When Gavin Newsom announced last week that the city’s new sustainable food policy calls for more urban land to be used to grow food, many residents wondered where the additional land would come from. According to Garden Fare, a new and growing business in the Bay Area, most residents don’t need to look any farther than their own front and backyards.
As more and more companies emerge with offerings of urban agriculture services, their emphasis is often largely placed on the conversion of abandoned lots and unused parking areas. What makes a company like Garden Fare unique is that they focus on converting existing ornamental lawns into edible gardens that provide ample amounts of healthy, local produce. In addition to providing easy access to healthy food, Garden Fare founder Patrick Rodysill also highlights the fact that residents see a greater return on their investments in lawn care when those lawns are being used to grow edible foods versus the more typical, non-edible plants.
TriplePundit: Reporting on the Triple Bottom Line & Sustainable Business News
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It’s changing the basics, the nuts-and-bolts of our lives, that can make the biggest difference. Adding color to the clothes we wear requires many times their weight in water – as much as 600 times as much water per ounce of fabric.
Colorep, Inc., a California sustainable technology company, has patented a process known as AirDye, which dyes fabric without the use of water. The technology is about 6 years old, and the company is gradually licensing it to manufacturers of everything from swimsuits to drapes.
Depending on the fabric, and type of dyeing, AirDye uses up to 95% less water, and up to 86% less energy, contributing 84% less to global warming, according to an independent assessment requested by the company.Click to continue reading »
A new green clothing company, Green 3, is attracting attention for more than just its comfy, eco-friendly apparel. Those in-the-know have taken notice because of the company’s founders: Jim and Sandy Martin, former corporate execs at Oshkosh B’Gosh and Kohl’s, respectively. By gosh….
The pair transitioned from executive positions at two of the nation’s largest corporate clothing giants to positions in the challenging world of startup business management. Why? In part, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports, because of Sandy’s interest in protecting the environment. Making organic products would allow her to remain true to her roots, so to speak: Sandy grew up on a farm and saw, firsthand, the effects of pesticide. She and Jim decided to pursue a business strategy of their own: to market stylish, high quality, organic apparel to small specialty retailers interested in new, unique items unavailable in larger chains.Click to continue reading »
When it comes to rainforest deforestation, it looks like Nike is adopting a new slogan: “Just Don’t Do It.” The company has recently adopted a policy that will require its leather suppliers to document that they did not source cattle raised in the Amazon rainforest (and its related ecosystem).
Although the company claims it already does not source from rainforests, it adopted the policy nonetheless in response to a Greenpeace report that called out several companies with supply chains linked to rainforest deforestation. By enforcing the new policy, Nike expects to ascertain its leather sources, thereby refuting, with greater sureness, future claims against the company.Click to continue reading »
It is said that “big things come in small packages.” Such is the case for an innovative startup launched by four suburban New Jersey Moms: the Back2Tap campaign. These moms-turned-green-activists began the program by educating school children on the benefits of using reusable water bottles. Since then, the campaign has grown; it now funds water-related initiatives in schools both locally and abroad and increases communities’ environmental awareness.
The Back2Tap campaign began in 2007 in Chatham, New Jersey, where the Back2Tap founders – mothers who are also professionals – noticed that plastic water bottle trash was becoming an eyesore at public parks and playgrounds. The moms took action: they established the Back2Tap program in order to educate their children, their kids’ classmates, and their communities about the wastefulness of using disposable water bottles. The moms also sold 1,500 reusable stainless steel water bottles to members of the school community. The campaign was successful: it raised $8,000 for local schools, and two of the schools used the funds to purchase point-of-use water coolers, thereby decreasing their plastic usage. Even in its beginning stages, the Back2Tap program helped to increase students’ and communities’ eco friendliness, encourage participants to use re-usable eating and drinking wear, and allow families to save money.
On the heels of the Back2Tap campaign’s success, the moms extended the campaign by launching a small business. The business coordinates numerous programs intended to spread the word and launch Back2Tap campaigns in schools and non-profits all over the nation. For example, Back2Tap organizes Green Fundraisers (which help schools, businesses, and other groups adopt point-of-use water supply methods), sells educational videos and resources through its website, sells custom-logoed water bottles, and helps businesses become more sustainable. This fall, Back2Tap will help kids enjoy a virtually waste-free lunch: the company will expand its product line to include reusable sandwich wraps and snack pouches. Back2Tap also donates a portion of its profits to provide clean drinking water for schools in Central Asia.
Back2Tap encourages those interested in increasing their communities’ environmentalism at a grass-roots level to participate in one of its programs.
In recent years, both business and individuals have gotten increasingly clear that it’s necessary to reduce our energy consumption, both for the emissions it produces and the increasingly limited sources of it. Or have they? For most people, aside from their monthly energy bill, there’s little connection to the rest of the world when it comes to energy use.
Carbon offsets, while potentially useful, remain for the most part an abstract thing, removed from people’s daily lives. My Emissions Exchange have come up with an idea that appeals both to people’s desire to do good with their need to get paid.
Many sustainable development projects have a fatal flaw: they are unrealistically expensive. Sure, a stationary bike that purifies water as it is pedaled is a great innovation, but how much does the bike cost to build and implement? These technologies are often really pricey, which prevents them from being effective. Environmental innovations should be affordable to the people who need it most. Which is why I’m so excited about the hybrid tuk tuk contest!
A tuk tuk is basically a motorized rickshaw. It has three wheels, a seat up front for the driver, and a bench seat in the back for up to three passengers (and occasionally animals and/or the daily shopping). There are three million tuk tuks in India alone, but they are common all over Southern Asia and parts of Africa and Latin America. They are especially popular in areas where traffic congestion is an issue. The tuk tuks are also an environmental nightmare. They spew smoke. The drivers are often from lower socioeconomic classes, and therefore need to run their rickshaws on the cheapest, dirtiest fuel. Sometimes they even run on kerosene.Click to continue reading »
By Deborah Fleischer, Green Impact According to Andrew Winston’s new book Green Recovery, the average data center uses as much energy as 25,000 households, and he reports, “There is a persistent and believable rumor that Google is the largest single energy user in the state of California.
Google acknowledges that data centers make up a big portion of their footprint. As part of their efforts to shrink the footprint of their new data center in Belgium, they are relying entirely on free air cooling.
Rather than using internal air-conditioning for cooling the hardware, Google is depending on the seasonal low temperatures in Belgium to provide free cooling at its new facility.
Chillers, which are used to refrigerate water, are widely used in data center cooling systems, but require a large amount of electricity to operate. With the growing focus on power costs, many data centers are reducing their reliance on chillers to improve the energy efficiency of their facilities and save money.
Free cooling is the use of fresh air from outside a data center to support the cooling systems. This approach allows data centers to use outside air when the temperature is cool, while falling back on chillers on warmer days.
With every great greenwashing campaign comes an equally fascinating anti-greenwashing campaign.
I have to credit the person who came up with the label “clean coal” because (while as of yet it’s a complete oxymoron) it says it all in the name, right? It’s coal, BUT it’s clean. As the Coen brothers explain in their fake ad, “Clean coal harnesses the awesome power of the word ‘Clean'”
America’s energy companies and watchdog organizations alike are having a field day with this one. Americans are seeing everything from “Factuality” to “Reality” grace their TV and computer screens.Click to continue reading »
Why U.S. Consumers Perceive Walmart to Be the Most and Least Socially Responsible Company in the Nation
By Raphael Bemporad and Mitch Baranowski
In our agency’s recently published 2009 BBMG Conscious Consumer Report, we asked 2,000 U.S. consumers to name the most and least socially and environmentally responsible company in the nation. It was an open-ended question, meant to get at baseline brand awareness on this front. Curiously, one company topped both lists: Walmart.
Why?Click to continue reading »
Last month, Geoffrey Barneby wrote about FairRidge’s Sustainability Management Maturity Model (SM3), a tool to help businesses assess their readiness to address sustainability challenges and opportunities. Five management components were reviewed — Strategy, Organization, Process, Measurement, and People – which all relate to an inside-out perspective of the business.
As we’ve continued to evolve the model, another dimension has emerged for evaluating sustainability infrastructure: the outside-in perspective. This refers to the level of competitive differentiation and advantage that’s desired by the leadership team. On the scale of laggard to leader, how is your business perceived in the minds of customers, and is it where you want to be? This market-facing, aspirational consideration can drive both the internal infrastructure required for a market leadership position, as well as external initiatives to improve marketing, customer experience and ultimately competitive differentiation.
It’s appears to be a big time for green shopping surveys. Earlier this week we shared the results of a Cohn & Wolfe Green Brands survey that showed that the recession has not squashed consumers’ desire for green products. Another survey, this one conducted by Miller Zell, a retail consulting firm, dispels the notion that only well-heeled shoppers are willing to pay premiums for green products.
Miller Zell conducted an online survey of 999 consumers, with a portion of the questions devoted to their attitudes around products that are marketed as being green, or eco-friendly. Respondents were asked whether they would pay a premium for a green product, and then, if so, how much of a premium they’d pony up. Consumers fell into three income categories – high, middle and low – and while more low-income respondents said they were unwilling to pay any premium for green good than respondents in the other income categories, those low-income respondent who would pay a 10-cent premium outnumbered the middle and high income respondents who would pay that amount.
When it comes to the consumer-manufacturer sustainability dance, it takes two to tango: manufacturers must make green products, and consumers must use them sustainably. Unilever, multi-national corporate owner of numerous food, beverage, and cleaning products, has taken the lead in its dance with consumers: the company is seeking to make consumer habits, as well as more of its products, more eco-friendly.Click to continue reading »
A new Small Business Award program, orchestrated through Cool California.org (a partnership seeking to provide all Californians with the tools necessary to prevent climate change in their state), is supporting the underdog. It will reward small businesses demonstrating “climate leadership” through the implementation and promotion of climate-friendly practices.Click to continue reading »
There is a saying that, in Texas, it’s “so windy we’re using a log chain instead of a wind sock.” The adage is true: according to the [Texas] State Energy Conservation Office, the state has been the number-one wind producer in the nation for the past two years. While this isn’t the best weather for maintaining that perfectly coiffed up-do, it holds great potential for rural residents seeking to trim their electricity bills. Thanks to federal tax credits instated to promote small windmill installation, ranchers and other rural Texans who set up the wind-harnessing technology for home, business, or personal use may be able to save a pretty penny.Click to continue reading »