Greenwala.com: A Conscious Collective

| Wednesday June 17th, 2009 | 5 Comments

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Philanthropy and green tend to go hand in hand because they’re both rooted in consciousness — for the planet and for the people who inhabit it. And as I attempt to highlight in this series, it’s not only perfectly acceptable for profit to be part of that equation, but it actually helps sustain those conscious activities in the long-term by making a difference that extends far beyond just dollar donations. To help crystallize my ongoing quest to define for-profit philanthropy and carve out a scalable blueprint for repeating it across verticals, I connected with Rajeev Kapur, founder of Greenwala.com, a social network dedicated to promoting a green lifestyle and the collective good.
A highly targeted community of environmentally-minded members, Rajeev is able to tap into motivated users to extend the reach for the non-profits he supports, facilitating an ongoing network of awareness and change for important social issues and causes. Plus, it serves as a comprehensive resource on all things green from eco-products to renewable energy to volunteering and activism. Each user represents an opportunity to make a difference, and Rajeev has many initiatives in place to make that an everyday occurrence.

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Is Mainstream Media the Right Tool for Philanthropy?

| Wednesday June 17th, 2009 | 0 Comments


There’s a show out there called, “I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here!” Some of you may have heard of it, many others perhaps not. It’s a reality TV show on NBC that features B-list celebrities, like Lou Diamond Phillips, two Baldwin brothers, and America’s favorite power couple from MTV’s The Hills.
It’s a spinoff of a British/Australian reality TV show that has a very similar tenor to Big Brother. Yet, this one has one very big difference. The celebrities are competing for charities.
Photo Source: NBC

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Clever Financing Gets California Back On Track

Bill DiBenedetto | Wednesday June 17th, 2009 | 0 Comments

cal-flag.jpgCalifornia: where the sun always shines except when it doesn’t, it’s implementing a tax-credit bond program specifically designed to fund renewable energy projects.
Another in the long line of the cumbersomely named “alphabet soup programs” that the state seems to love, CREBs, or clean renewable energy bonds, was jump-started by State Treasurer Bill Lockyer this week with the sale of $20 million of these bonds to install solar panels in 70 California Department of Transportation facilities.
California’s Alternative Energy and Advanced Transportation Financing Authority (yep that’s CAEATFA) sold the tax-credit bonds last week on behalf of Caltrans. They’ll have a 1.45 percent interest rate over the 15-year term of the bonds.

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Green Innovators Unconference Coming to Boston, Bay Area and Austin

| Wednesday June 17th, 2009 | 0 Comments

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Environmental Defense Fund and Ashoka are organizing three upcoming Green Innovators Unconferences in Boston, Silicon Valley and Austin. The goal of these gatherings is to connect participants with other innovators to share experiences and ideas, explore new trends and opportunities and brainstorm out-of-the-box solutions to the challenges we’re all facing.
Unlike traditional conferences, there are no formal panels or speeches. They use an participatory, “open space” format. All participants will have an opportunity to share, discuss, network, collaborate and learn throughout the day. For those of you familiar with other meeting facilitation models, think Future Search meets World Cafe with a dash of Open Space thrown in.

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Living Machine System Cleans Wastewater, Removes Strain on “Sewage Grid”

| Tuesday June 16th, 2009 | 1 Comment

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Photo Source: Wired.com
Jim Fouts, the mayor of Warren, Michigan, a suburb just outside of Detroit, says that our aging water infrastructure is a “a ticking time bomb that’s ready to go off.” A report by the EPA cites that repairing and renovating public water systems will require $334.8 billion over two decades. And as lawmakers debate over banking reform or universal health care, it appears that our nation’s pressing water issues will not be addressed from a policy level.
Enter the Living Machine. Worrell Water Technologies’ Living Machine system works with existing building and municipal water infrastructures to clean wastewater for reuse. It utilizes planned wetlands, often times trees in the lobby of a building, using soil, bacteria, and “specially engineered films of beneficial microorganisms” to kill pathogens in the water.

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Corporations Can See the Good in Fresh Green Produce

| Tuesday June 16th, 2009 | 0 Comments

Will Allen is a man to know. The recipient of one of last year’s MacArthur “genius grants”, the former NBA player has become one of the world’s foremost experts in urban agriculture, running the unassuming “Growing Power” organization on Milwaukee’s far north side. Will and Growing Power have perfected methods of urban farming that produce impressive quantities of fresh produce (including farmed fish) that winds up on the plates of folks who otherwise don’t have access to quality, healthy food.
The organization also runs a successful CSA program, supplies some of the finer restaurants in Milwaukee and Chicago, offers workshops for interested parties, and employs and educates inner city youths with little opportunity to learn about healthy eating and the idea of “food justice”.
Now, major corporations are starting to notice, and that’s a good thing.

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Closing the Loop: UPS’s E-Waste Disposal Supply Chain

| Tuesday June 16th, 2009 | 3 Comments

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The ever-growing amount of e-waste generated by our increasingly computer-driven, network-connected societies poses significant economic and product design challenges, as well as environmental and health problems, in countries the world over.
The US Environmental Protection Agency reported that electronics, or e-waste, is among the fastest growing components of municipal solid waste streams, accounting for around 2% of them at present. Some 157 million computer products and 126 million cell phones were discarded in the US in 2007, according to the EPA.
Since 2000, air freight and logistics industry giant UPS has been tackling the issue by closing the “production-consumption-disposal” loop and building an e-waste disposal supply chain. More than 25 million pounds of e-waste have been processed since the program’s start, with the annual average falling between 2 million and 3 million pounds, Robert Gamer, UPS’s e-waste coordinator, told Triple Pundit.
*Photo courtesy UPS

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Seeing Right from Wrong Shouldn’t Take a Revolution

| Tuesday June 16th, 2009 | 0 Comments

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Most Ethics classes would have you believe that an ethical dilemma is a choice between two seemingly right things – like stealing bread to feed your family and obeying the law.
In fact, most ethical business dilemmas have a clear right or wrong: should we manufacture using child labor? Should we use toxic dyes that pollute 3rd world rivers? Yet, business leaders make the wrong choice every day in order to keep prices low and increase shareholder returns. When these people go home, they’ll encourage their children to say please and thank you and follow the golden rule– they wouldn’t think to model their bad ethical choices at home, but in the office it becomes “just business.” When a business leader has different set of ethical standards at home than he does in the office, there is obviously something rotten in the state of Denmark. Yet that’s the current paradigm for the sustainable business movement.

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Twelve Big Businesses Urge Legislators to Enact Carbon Cap and Trade

| Tuesday June 16th, 2009 | 6 Comments

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What do Nike, Symantec, eBay, Aspen Skiing Company, Clif Bar & Company, Seventh Generation, Levi Strauss and Co., and Starbucks have in common? They are all members of BICEP (Business for Innovative Climate and Energy Policy) and signatories of a recent full page ad in the Wall Street Journal showing business support for U.S. action on climate change and clean energy legislation this year.
Dear President Obama and Members of Congress
The ad, addressed to Obama and members of Congress, stresses, “We need you to swiftly enact comprehensive legislation that will cut carbon pollution and create an economy-wide cap and trade program.” While not named in the ad, they are referring to the current cap-and-trade plan sponsored by Reps. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) and Edward Markey (D-Mass.).
It argues that such legislation will drive investment into cost-saving, energy saving technologies, create the next wave of jobs in the new energy economy, catalyze investment in clean-energy technologies and increase business productivity.

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Ecopsychology Statistics, David Suzuki Style

Scott Cooney | Tuesday June 16th, 2009 | 1 Comment

Continuing a line of previous posts on terrific eco-stats coming from David Suzuki’s Green Guide (on energy, food, and travel), here is a summary of eco-stats related to the ecopsychology (mental health results of living a green lifestyle) that can be used by any green business in the wellness industry.
First of all, what is ecopsychology? According to Ecopsychology.org:

At its core, ecopsychology suggests that there is a synergistic relation between planetary and personal well being; that the needs of the one are relevant to the other.

And while I don’t have a psychology degree, I can say with virtual certainty that it is just really good for your mental health to go outside, breathe deeply of crisp, fresh air, walk around in the woods and listen to the birds, go for a swim in a warm ocean or a cold mountain lake, enjoy a beautiful sunset from Corona Heights Park in San Francisco, or simply go and read a book in a city park.
Just thinking about it, you’re already noticing your heart rate and blood pressure dropping, and your breath deepening, aren’t you?
Oooooommmmm……
So here’s your eco-stats, courtesy of David Suzuki:

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How Much Does Corruption Affect Business?

Gina-Marie Cheeseman
| Tuesday June 16th, 2009 | 0 Comments

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“Bribery has become a $1 trillion industry,” according to the World Bank. A 2007 survey of business executives found that 43 percent of respondents believed they lost business because a competitor paid a bribe. FSG Social Impact Advisors estimates that corruption costs $2.6 trillion globally.
Almost 80 percent of the respondents in a recently released survey conducted in November 2007 by PricewaterhouseCoopers International said their company has some form of program in place to prevent and detect corruption. However, only 22 percent are very confident that it identifies and mitigates the risk of corruption.

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Green Tweets: Who to Follow on Twitter

| Tuesday June 16th, 2009 | 0 Comments

Mashable.com just posted their list of the top green tweeters. Personally, I still don’t spend much time on Twitter. I found it a great tool at Sustainable Brands, where 700 people could have a side conversation during speakers without getting asked to be quiet.
Who are the microbloggers we should be listening to?

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FTC Ensures Truthfulness of Environmental Marketing Claims

| Monday June 15th, 2009 | 1 Comment

fresh-bath.jpg“Best tasting.” “Preferred by doctors.” “Will change your life forever.”
When it comes to advertising, brands are obviously not allowed to say anything they feel like. And yet when it comes to environmental claims, many still seem to think that they can.
Sadly, they often get away with it. Look at 7-Up with their “100% Natural Flavor” or Campbell’s Soup with their “100% recyclABLE packaging.” I’m sorry, but last time I checked, high fructose corn syrup wasn’t exactly “natural.” And wow, Campbell, your all-metal can is recyclable? That’s not exactly an environmental claim, and putting it on cans is a blatant attempt to fool the customer into thinking it’s recyclED.
Luckily, however, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is cracking down on some of these semi-true claims with their Guides for the Use of Environmental Marketing Claims.

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Architectural Collective Rethinking Social Design

| Monday June 15th, 2009 | 0 Comments

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The Free Design Clinic is an ad hoc group of architects and creative professionals providing pro bono services to non profits, small businesses, and communities in the Bay Area. The Clinic is an extension of a course run by the UC Berekely Extension program entitled “Architecture as Activism.”
According to the site, the six week-long clinic is a “chance for the Architectural profession to walk-the-walk and actively engage with its community.”
Non-profits, shelters, SROs, and small business owners can come on a drop-in basis and receive free sustainable design consultation from the instructor and the 15 professionals involved in the clinic. Though the course has already started and the enrollment is full, it looks like they are still looking for more clients to work with.
If you are a small business, start-up, or non-profit in the Bay Area, check out the Free Design Clinic’s website for more info.

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Executive Sponsorship: Why It Matters and What It Takes

| Monday June 15th, 2009 | 0 Comments


Why should sustainability change agents care about executive sponsorship? Because as sustainable business matures, those of us working in sustainability will find that after eco-efficiency, the next great step will come by leveraging sustainability on a strategic level to truly transform our businesses. Just like the Internet before it, sustainability will grow beyond its roots to become much broader, mission-driven, and transformative. And at that point, sustainability change agents won’t just be dealing with light bulbs or solar panels, but driving true strategic change. In numerous benchmarking studies on the critical success factors to implementing successful strategic change, active and visible executive sponsorship heads the list.
With sustainability, the need for strong executive sponsorship is enormous. In any large organization, some people at every level of the organization will be unconvinced that sustainability is affordable, or view such efforts as simply “greenwashing.” A well-placed, articulate and influential sponsor has the unique ability to both motivate and compel these people to support your efforts, especially as you transition from the operational to strategic realm. The executive sponsor leading the effort needs to be a passionate advocate, believing that sustainability is an imperative – an imperative based on a powerful business case. The sooner you can find a strong executive sponsor, the better positioned you will be for taking sustainability to a strategic level.

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