Live Webcast: Peter Williams, CTO of IBM Big Green Innovations

| Tuesday April 21st, 2009 | 0 Comments

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Mars Enters the World of Sustainability

Bill DiBenedetto | Tuesday April 21st, 2009 | 1 Comment

cocoa%20beans.jpg There are good signs that that corporate sustainability is moving beyond mere PR and blue-sky vibes. It might even be true, descending at last from somewhere past Mars to an Earth-based reality.
Speaking of Mars, the candy company of the same name claims it is the “first global chocolate company to commit to fundamentally changing the way sustainable cocoa farming practices are advanced by aiming to certify” that its entire cocoa supply is produced in a sustainable manner by 2020.

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The Next Leap Forward – Thanks Mr. Nixon

| Monday April 20th, 2009 | 0 Comments

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Thank you, Richard Nixon.
I’d like to begin this post by thanking Richard Nixon for creating the historic opportunity for the US to work with China on the two most critical global issues challenging our world today: Economy and the Environment. Although current US – China relations have opportunities for improvement, Nixon laid the groundwork for political collaboration with China through his 1972 visit to Beijing.
The opportunity that the US now has to work collaboratively with China to solve the economic and environmental crises may well be our greatest hope for change. The goal of this post is to highlight where we are today with regards to high level political cooperation between China and the US on the issue of a global climate change treaty. I will also add a few comments on the role of US consumers in Chinese GHG emissions.

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Join 3P at Greener by Design 2009!

| Monday April 20th, 2009 | 0 Comments

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I’m pleased to tell you that I’ll be representing 3P at this year’s Greener by Design conference, May 19th-20th in San Francisco. The conference is being put together by our friends at Greener World Media.
Greening the design process is an important challenge for the sustainability movement – and a critical piece of any business that makes anything material. Designers need to worry about dematerialization, the source of raw materials, incorporation of recycled and recyclable materials (at costs that will appeal to the big box crowd), where products will be manufactured, durability, and end of use deconstruction. Plus they have to design things that are needed and desirable, so customers will buy them. I don’t have the slightest idea how they do that, but I’m excited to find out.
To top it off, William McDonough of Cradle to Cradle fame, is the keynote. This conference is not to be missed!
Ready to register? 3P readers can get a generous $550 discount by registering here and using discount code triplepundit.
Leave a note in the comments if you’re planning to attend! I love the chance to connect with 3P readers in person.

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Africa’s First LEED Platinum Structure – Only $150K Short of Reality

| Monday April 20th, 2009 | 3 Comments

BI%20LEEDS%20Structure%20with%20Kids.jpgAs I was exploring possible summer internship positions, a professional colleague suggested that I meet with Mark Reiner, President of Birambye International (BI). I found Mark’s work to be so impressive that I wanted to share it with a wider audience. Mark is an extraordinary person who commits his time, energy and money in alignment with his values (truly a triple bottom line individual). Mark founded BI, a not-for-profit 501(c)(3), to help communities in need reach economic self-sufficiency without sacrificing culture or the environment. Mark’s vision is to create sustainable projects that can be maintained by locals after volunteers have left.
BI is currently planning the “Birambye Lodge” (“Birambye” is Kinyarwandan for “Sustainability”), to be built in the Western Province of Rwanda. Conceptual plans have been developed for the Lodge to be constructed on the shore of Lake Kivu, adjacent to the Children’s Village Kigarama (CVK) orphanage, one of BI’s partners. Revenue from the lodge’s business will support its operation and maintenance, with a portion also committed to funding education and sanitation for the orphans at CVK. Having this additional support will provide CVK important funding to supplement the donations on which it currently relies, while also offering vocational training for orphans – something that has not been done in the past. Furthermore, the lodge will be constructed using an approach that is expected to make it the first US Green Building Council’s LEED Platinum structure in Africa.

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Indexing Sustainability

Bill DiBenedetto | Monday April 20th, 2009 | 0 Comments

true-sustainability-index2.jpgIs sustainability becoming a serious concept in corporate boardrooms?
Some evidence that the answer might be yes came recently from the non-profit Center for Sustainable Innovation, which released a new model for measuring corporate sustainability performance.
It’s called the True Sustainability Index. CSI’s model comprises 15 indicators that sustainability managers can use to assess the full triple bottom line performance of their organizations. TSI says the model will be useful in their attempts to understand, rate and rank the sustainability performance of organizations as a basis for making investment decisions.

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Assessing and Benchmarking Your Current Operations

| Monday April 20th, 2009 | 0 Comments

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Assessing your current operations is critical to understand how to move forward with incorporating sustainability into your business. If you do not know where you are in terms of material use, energy use, water use, waste consumption, the receptivity of personnel in your organization to change and the receptivity of your customers to your products and services, it is difficult to set realistic sustainability goals and create metrics to track those goals.
Most importantly, setting your benchmarks early allows you to measure and track sustainability ROI. This weekend, I sat on a marketing panel at The Presidio School of Management with Dan Geiger, Jay Tompt and Jill Albeson. We were addressing the topic of certifications and marketing. As always, Dan raised a great point – the easiest way to convince people that sustainability is feasible is to show them financials. In order to create the strongest financial case for sustainability you must benchmark your organization’s performance before you implement your program.

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Webcasts Worth Watching for Earth Week

| Monday April 20th, 2009 | 0 Comments

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Happy Earth Week. BrightTalk, the webcast providers, have lined up a great week of business webcasts for what’s being called a “greenweek summit.” From their site:

Leaders from all sectors of the business world will converge this week to discuss the best ways to capitalize on the movement toward green and sustainable business practices. Find out how going green can increase profitability and make your business operations more efficient while hearing about the latest and greatest trends from some of the world’s most innovative thought leaders.

More than a dozen webcasts are scheduled, and we’re going to feature four of them right here on 3p starting tomorrow. Our selections:

Come back to 3p each day this week to access the webcasts in new posts for each of the four webcasts above.

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CA to Secretary Salazar: No Offshore Drilling, More Renewable Energy

| Monday April 20th, 2009 | 0 Comments

Last week, Secretary of the Interior, Ken Salazar, hosted the last of 4 public forums around the country to gather input on offshore drilling and offshore renewable energy development. Choosing to end in San Francisco means he is going back to Washington with a resounding “No” in his ears. “No” to offshore drilling and “Yes” to investing in renewable energy, and any other new green technology San Francisco start-ups can figure out.
All the California elected officials on the dais (Boxer, Lee, Speire, Napolitano, Woolsey, Lt Governor Garamendi) and Oregon governor Kulongoski made very clear, and sometimes even passionate, that CA needs and values its coastline the way it is, and the potential output of oil (estimated 1% of US daily consumption by 2030) comes no where near to justifying the risk posed to its economy and ecosystem.

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Adina for Life?

Tori Okner | Friday April 17th, 2009 | 6 Comments

adina-juices.jpg With a compelling back-story and big name players, Adina is a perfect test case for sustainable entrepreneurship 2.0. Co-founded by Greg Steltenpohl, founder of Odwalla, and Senegalese businesswoman Magatte Wade-Marchan in 2006, this young beverage company garners a lot of attention. It was surprising then, when it was hard to make heads or tails of the company.
Adina for Life. Are they a natural juice company promoting international recipes or focused on fair trade coffee? Or is it herbal elixirs? Adina is in the midst of redefining itself.
Wade-Marchan approached Steltenpohl with a pitch to market drinks based on international, indigenous recipes. She landed a dinner meeting with a man who took a company from his backyard to a $181 million dollar sale to Coca Cola, and his wife, Dominique Leveuf, who would become Director of Creative Services and a willing investor. With Wade-Marchan’s expertise in sourcing from Africa, Steltenphol’s commitment to sustainability, and Leveuf’s business background, many believed Adina was poised to upset the natural beverage industry.
Today, Wade-Marchan is no longer involved in the company. Steltenphol remains Chairman, and Leveuf a key investor. Steltenphol now works alongside several industry veterans, including Interim CEO John Bello, formerly of SoBe beverages (who also received a lofty price for the company he built, selling SoBe for $370 million to PepsiCo).
To understand Adina in its current state we spoke to Chief Marketing Officer Bruce Burke.

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B Corporation: A Way for “Good” Companies to Walk the Walk

Mary Catherine O'Connor | Friday April 17th, 2009 | 3 Comments

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A new report from TerraChoice Environmental Marketing finds that only 2 percent of products that profess some eco-cred on their labels are, in fact, green. This goes to prove something that most consumers already suspected: that just because a company calls itself green and clean, it’s not necessarily green and clean. The same is true, in a much broader sense, about all kinds of companies. What makes a company “good?” How can we define and designate a social enterprise – a triple bottom line company – such that it achieves legitimacy and legal protections as such an entity? Jay Coen Gilbert, Bart Houlahan, and Andrew Kassoy co-founded B Lab, say they’ve developed a way: The B Corporation certification.
This is the pledge that all B Corporations take:
“We envision a new sector of the economy which harnesses the power of private enterprise to create public benefit.
This sector is comprised of a new type of corporation the B Corporation
which is purpose-driven and creates benefit for all stakeholders, not just shareholders.
As members of this emerging sector and as entrepreneurs and investors in B Corporations,
We hold these truths to be self-evident:
– That we must be the change we seek in the world.
– That all business ought to be conducted as if people and place mattered.
– That, through their products, practices, and profits, businesses should aspire to do no harm and benefit all.
– To do so requires that we act with the understanding that we are each dependent upon another
and thus responsible for each other and future generations.”

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Recession Doesn’t Slow Water Problems, Investment

Nick Hodge | Friday April 17th, 2009 | 1 Comment

water dropWater problems are mounting. You see the evidence everyday.

Droughts in California. Disappearing aquifers in the Southeast. Tightened water restrictions in Perth.

The problem is elementary, yet most are too stubborn to comprehend it, or to deal with it.

We only have a certain amount of water but we constantly require more of it. Increasing population and the industrialization of the second and third world are the main culprits, but pollution and misuse of done their share of damage.

It’s all very Malthusian.

And the recession is making it worse. Delayed investment in water infrastructure due to tightened credit and lending means sever water problems could surface sooner than once thought.

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Obama’s bullish on high-speed rail

Jeff Siegel | Friday April 17th, 2009 | 4 Comments

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In an effort to relieve traffic congestion, save energy, and clean up the air, President Obama has called for the swift development of a high-speed passenger rail system.

The President said that this was not some fanciful, pie-in-the-sky vision of the future, and that the country could not afford not to invest in a major upgrade to rail travel. Certainly we couldn’t agree more. But thanks to decades of complacency, this, like many other desperately needed projects, will not be easy.

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Indonique Tea & Chai Restarts After Katrina Washout

| Friday April 17th, 2009 | 0 Comments

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Tea is the second most consumed drink in the world, second only to water. Through the ages, mythic powers have been attributed to regular tea consumption. Resiliency must be near the top of that list for New Orleans native George Constance. Hurricane Katrina washed out Constance’s Indonique Tea & Chai business, but undaunted, the socially-minded entrepreneur relocated north to rebuild his business in Connecticut.
Indonique sells over 95 different teas and accoutrements directly to consumers via their website, directly to retail shops, and now to wholesalers which is the fastest growing area of their business. Their specialty Chai was named “best around” in New Orleans’ Gambit Magazine, and Constance is hoping to achieve the same recognition as he restarts in Connecticut. He’s also retained the strong social mission at the core of his business. Indonique donates 10% of every sale to the communities where their tea is picked through their Program T42.

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Hold the Carbon: Reusable Bags for a Renewable World

| Friday April 17th, 2009 | 1 Comment

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Despite the fact that there are more conscious consumers than ever before, there are still a majority of retailers who do not offer reusable bags. Nor do they realize the significant environmental impact of their packaging. According to said Dianne Sherman, Director of the International Coastal Cleanup. “Trash travels. Even if we live thousands of miles inland, our actions have a profound effect on the ocean. A bag can blow from a picnic table, wash down a storm drain into a river and wind up harming or killing a sea turtles, birds or other marine life. Trash is one of the most pervasive — but solvable — pollution problems facing our oceans and waterways.”
Recognizing the need — and opportunities — for companies to fully embrace environmentally responsible packaging, Jason Haber and his brother launched Hold the Carbon, an innovative reusable goods company that debuted with the X Bag, a 100% PET bag that is portable, durable and stylish. Their goal is two-fold — a) help companies eliminate a cost center while positively impacting the environment (and their bottom line) and b) offer consumers an affordable and multi-purpose way to do their part in saving our planet (and still be fashionable doing it). Currently, their signature X Bag is only available for resale at select retail stores; although plans are in the works to open up online sales of the X Bag and future products as well. But the X Bag is only one of many initiatives that the Haber brothers are spearheading, and they have big plans to revolutionize the reusable market in ways that make change part of an everyday lifestyle, not just a point of sale decision.

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