Until last month, American hybrid car manufacturers could rest assured that, if nothing else, the nation’s market for the vehicles at least exceeded Japan’s. Data shows that in 2006, Japan sold just one hybrid for every 4.3 sold in the U.S. But now, Japan has surpassed the U.S. in demand for the hybrids, with approximately 8 percent of new vehicles sold in June being hybrid (versus the U.S.’s approximate 2.6 percent). Analysts suggest that Japan’s astronomical gas prices (a whopping $4.50 a gallon), enticing tax incentives, and new products are to blame.Click to continue reading »
TriplePundit: Reporting on the Triple Bottom Line & Sustainable Business News
Australia Raises Conservationists’ Eyebrows with Plans for Renewable Energy-Powered Water Treatment Plant
Australia is attempting a remarkable feat: the creation of a seawater desalination plant powered completely by energy bought from renewable energy suppliers (i.e. wind, solar, and geothermal). Given the continent’s water shortage and the global push for clean energy, the plant will, in some ways, be quite an accomplishment. Yet, given the “un-greenness” of traditional desal facilities (which guzzle energy and water and harm nearby wildlife), it could also be something akin to putting lipstick on a pig. Skeptics wonder: will the plant live up to people’s expectations?Click to continue reading »
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If several U.S. senators have their way, alternative fuel may not be as alternative for long. Three senators are pushing a bill that would increase the use of natural gas in motor vehicles, thereby decreasing the nation’s dependence on oil. U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) and Senators Robert B. Menendez (D-NJ) and Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah) introduced the legislation.
Even before State-based laws designed to govern the proper handling of used electronics began emerging across the US, many large corporations had made arrangements with collectors, through which they were able to recycle large numbers of obsolete equipment. But few easy, cost-efficient options exist for small and medium-sized businesses that want to recycle their smaller quantities of electronics. In fact, most small business owners are likely stockpiling computers and peripherals in garages or basements as we speak, waiting for word of the next e-waste collection event in their communities.
But a new e-waste recycling option has emerged for small and medium business located in Northern California. Give Something Back, a seller of office supplies, has launched an e-waste take-back program for its customers. Give Something Back is certified by Bay Area Green Business Program as well as B Corporation and donates a portion of its profits to charity. It also operates its business without retail stores, using thirty distribution centers around the country to ship orders to businesses. Click to continue reading »
The results of a recent corporate responsibility study – the Corporate Citizenship Study (CCS) – have experts befuddled. The CCS asked consumers to rank several corporations’ level of corporate social responsibility, or CSR (a corporation’s transparency in its practice and reporting of environmental, financial, and other policies). The results of the CSS were unexpected: consumers ranked several corporations (including Microsoft and General Mills) over other companies (including Pepsi, Coca Cola, Apple, and McDonald’s) deemed more socially responsible by the CRO 100 (a CSR policing agency that annually ranks corporations in its “Best Corporate Citizens” list).Click to continue reading »
By Wes Muir, Director, Communications, Waste Management
Chew on this: nearly every breakfast table in the country holds a carton of orange juice or milk each morning. While we’re well aware that these beverages help us maintain a healthy and balanced diet, it’s easily overlooked that the milk and juice cartons we use can also help maintain a healthy and balanced environment. These cartons are largely made of paper that consumers can recycle, and giving these products a second life reduces the strain they put on the environment if they are merely put to waste.
Until very recently, milk and juice carton recycling received little attention, with only certain municipalities offering carton recycling services. Even information about recycling the more than 510,000,000 milk cartons used in the U.S. (a 2006 statistic from the National Recycling Coalition) was fairly unavailable. The EPA has general statistics about paper recycling, including the paperboard that makes up typical cartons. However, as one eco-conscious blogger noted in June 2008:
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That got me thinking. How many milk cartons does my household go through over a short period of time, say a week? More importantly, why are milk cartons not recycled? They are made of paper aren’t they? Even more puzzling is the fact that on the side of some of the cartons I buy, it says “please recycle”. I want to, but my town will not take them. So I decided to do some research on how to recycle a milk carton, and why my town won’t do it. I thought the information would be readily available. I was wrong.
In 1965 Gordon Moore, co-founder of Intel, wrote a paper on a phenomenon he noticed in the transistor industry: the number of transistors that could fit on an integrated circuit, or microchip, doubled about every two years, leading to exponential growth in speed and power. This rule of thumb, now known as Moore’s Law, has been remarkably resilient in the decades since.
In a recent article for Greentech Media, Michael Kanellos explores the possibility that increased efficiencies in manufacturing, combined with a growing flood of research, both private and public, could generate a version of Moore’s Law for photovoltaics (solar cells).
Many legal experts are working diligently to put the Bush administration’s smog regulations, well, up in smoke. A federal appeals court (a three-judge panel of DC’s Court of Appeals) determined Friday to overturn a Bush administration rule controlling smog-forming industrial emissions. The panel ruled that the rule was inconsistent with the Clean Air Act, which defines the EPA’s responsibilities for defending and advancing the nation’s ozone layer and air quality. Click to continue reading »
By Deborah Fleischer, Green Impact
Energy efficiency is one of those low hanging fruits that is ripe to be picked. For Kendall-Jackson Winery, reducing expenses from lighting just made good business sense. It might not seem very sexy, but they expect to see the benefits of their new energy-efficient lighting solution for years to come.
According to the press release, “The California winery aims to save more than $100,000 annually in energy and maintenance costs as a result of an energy efficiency program that features innovative new lighting from GE Consumer & Industrial.”
Unfortunately, the press release does not detail what their upfront investment was nor what the pay back period will be. Click to continue reading »
Starting a green business, one that is environmentally-friendly, socially responsible, and economically sustainable, is one of the most gratifying experiences a person may have in their lives. Many people dream of the day when they can become their own boss and live their dream doing something they love, something that’s good for the planet, and something that will sustain them economically. Many more people dream of the day that they can live in paradise, where tropical birds sing every morning in your backyard, avocados and mangoes grow (literally) on trees, and they watch brilliant sunsets over the beach every night. Sofiah Thom dreamt of combining these dreams, and set up shop in Costa Rica to do just that.
Thom settled into Dominical, Costa Rica, two years ago and began work on her dream green business, a yoga studio and health retreat founded on the principles of bamboo. After a quick search on BetterWorldBooks.com, I found that the title “Principles of Bamboo” has not yet been written. If it sounds a strange topic for a book, you haven’t yet heard Thom’s metaphor for bamboo in her business.
Finch Paper LLC formed a forest management company last month called Finch Forest Management. The foresters will provide consulting forestry services to clients, and have Society of American Foresters’ Certified Forester credentials. They assist landowners who want to achieve third-party certification.
Finch foresters will prepare long-term management plans for its clients, which will include responsible timber harvesting, and identifying opportunities for forest owners to lease their lands for activities that will not negatively impact the forest. The foresters will help owners earn management certifications from the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and the Sustainable Forestry Initiative.
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Singtex Industrial Co., a Taiwanese fabric producer, has embraced the sustainable fabric craze, but with a caffeinated twist: recycled coffee grounds. The company’s S. Cafe material uses fibers from grounds to purportedly produce a fabric that is quick-drying, controls odors, and protects wearers from harmful UV rays.
While Congress debates the value of cap-and-trade for carbon emissions, fishermen around the US and the globe have already implemented various cap-and-trade schemes to prevent depletion of fish stocks.
This summer, the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration established a task force to accelerate development of cap and trade policies (which NOAA calls “catch share”) in US fisheries.
Soon, a Google search for “green travel guides” may produce an unexpected result: AAA. Although it’s among the nation’s leading travel coordinators, the company may not be the first to come to mind when one thinks of sustainability. In upcoming TourBook editions, however, AAA will include “eco friendly” in its list of offerings, designating properties that promote environmental and energy conservation as “green” with an “eco” icon. To think I only associated AAA with my car breaking down…. Click to continue reading »
More than just General Motors’ finances have emerged from decline this week. The company’s heavy-hitting product promoter, Bob Lutz, re-joined the workforce after retiring just a few months ago. Lutz was the “father” – the driving promotional force – of the GM Chevy Volt, GM’s first extended-range electric vehicle, by which the company hopes to compete with rivals with hybrid models. (The Chevy Volt is scheduled for release in 2010.) Lutz has the product development and promotion skills necessary, some suggest, to sell vehicles to skittish and cash-strapped consumers.Click to continue reading »