Market Reality Bites Biofuel Companies

Bill DiBenedetto | Friday April 3rd, 2009 | 1 Comment


The sour economy, low oil prices, the collapse of the commodity market and flight from food-based biofuel sourcing merged into in a deadly mix.
Not that long ago ethanol and related first generation biofuels were the next big thing in alternative energy. Now this segment is in danger of becoming the next big bust.
In recent days Nova Biosource Fuels, a Houston-based refiner and marketer of ASTM quality biodiesel, filed to restructure under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. And BioFuel Energy, a Denver ethanol producer, is on the verge of a bankruptcy filing of its own.

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Happy April. Enjoy 3p’s Take on the Annual Prank

| Thursday April 2nd, 2009 | 0 Comments

REDIRECTING….

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BetterHumanRace.com: Surf the Web, Change the World

| Thursday April 2nd, 2009 | 1 Comment

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In my recent cause marketing interview with Social Actions, I highlighted the importance of making doing good as easy as possible for consumers. In an age where time is at a premium, most people can’t expend resources researching charities or dedicate a significant amount of hours volunteering or getting actively involved with causes. But that doesn’t mitigate that the desire for change still exists, so companies who offer turnkey solutions for making a difference that don’t disrupt busy schedules or require extra effort will be able to reach and motivate today’s conscious consumer.
This was the impetus behind BetterHumanRace.com, a search aggregator that leverages routine online behaviors toward doing good. By performing your search at BetterHumanRace.com, instead of Google, or using their interface to purchase Amazon products, 100% of the profit generated goes toward a variety of causes, which are voted on by users. So, users can make contributions to worthy charitable organizations simply by doing things they would normally do online. And as more people use the BetterHumanRace.com interface to complete common online tasks, that change really adds up — figuratively and literally.
Founded by husband and wife team, Ross and Lori Shanken, BetterHumanRace.com was built with the intent to give consumers a way to personally affect change without any added effort, and by building this model, Ross quickly realized that he could generate exponentially more money for causes, and hence, create greater change, through a business than he could ever donate on his own. Tapping into the collective search and buying power of consumers, BetterHumanRace.com becomes a hub for change, making charitable giving an everyday experience.

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Dell vs. Apple vs. HP vs…. Who’s Really the Greenest?

| Thursday April 2nd, 2009 | 2 Comments

green-computer.jpgAs more companies are making a case for profits with more sustainable product offerings, who is rising to the forefront? And should we be applauding those going beyond compliance, while at the same time be concerned with their motives?

Have you heard?

In a heavily circulated press release last fall, research done by TDG showed that consumers considered Apple to be the most environmentally friendly consumer technology brand, while a study released last year by the Geneva based firm Covalence, which covers the ethical reputation of companies, lists HP and Dell number one and three respectively in the “best ethical quote score” category, whereas Apple doesn’t even fall in the top ten.

Around the same time Apple announced the release of their “greenest” laptops ever, and unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve seen how their latest ad campaign has centered around these assertions ever since.

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Clean Dishes…by any means necessary!

Jeff Siegel | Thursday April 2nd, 2009 | 5 Comments

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In an effort to reduce water pollution, the state of Washington initiated a ban on dishwasher detergents containing phosphates. Spokane County was the first to implement the ban last year.
Now while Washington isn’t the only state to implement such a ban (Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Michigan, Vermont, Minnesota, Illinois, Massachusetts, and New York have either banned or are in the process of banning dishwasher detergents containing phosphates), Spokane, for some suspect reason, has drawn the attention of critics who are claiming that residents are actually driving out of the state to get dishwasher detergents that do contain phosphates.
Really?!!!

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Coke Looking to Lead on Sustainability

| Thursday April 2nd, 2009 | 1 Comment

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Big business, I’m talking about industry behemoths, the likes of Walmart, Chevron and Clorox, have made recent moves in the direction of sustainability. Many instantly write off any action by these companies as greenwashing. It’s easy to do with Walmart’s ban on unionized labor, Chevron’s dubious Nigerian dealings and Clorox’s toxic ingredients.
However, Walmart is now the largest supplier of Organic Milk, Chevron is spending millions asking consumers to drive less and Clorox recently launched a green cleaning product. Is it possible there has been a fundamental shift in the priorities of big business? Or has Hell just had it’s first frost?
The Coca-Cola Company seems to believe sustainability is a matter of sound business strategy in the next millennium. Which is why in August of 2008, The Coca-Cola Retailing Research Council (CCRRC) brought the worlds leading environmental experts together with the worlds 150 largest retailers – the purpose, “Responding to the Growing Concern for the Environment.”

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Carbon Negative Development in Tennessee Aims to Reduce Earth’s Temperature 1 Degree

| Thursday April 2nd, 2009 | 0 Comments

Mantria Corporation is a “diversified by necessity” $79 million company which focuses on green community development, socially responsible investing, distressed real estate fund management, mortgage banking, renewable energy and biorefinery management, music and entertainment, and philanthropy. Headquartered in Philadelphia with 63 employees, Mantria describes itself as the world’s first “life brand.” I spoke with CEO Troy Wragg, who founded the company in 2005, to get the scoop on all that’s going on with Mantria. I learned that amidst a whole host of interrelated programs, the concept of carbon negative development sits at Mantria’s core.
It sounds like you do a lot of different things. Tell me, what is Mantria Corporation?
Mantria was founded in 2005, when my partner and I put together $5,000 in student loan money and bought property in Tennessee and started developing. When the economy turned and real estate options became more limited, we were forced to diversity by necessity, and created a number of entities to branch us into other industries: mortgages, investor relations, investments, ultimately renewable energy.
Within biorefinery, we have started a joint venture with Carbon Diversion Inc (CDI) biorefinery to turn waste into bioproducts like biochar (biomass charcoal material used for soil amendment in industrials) and biofuels.
We are developing Mantria Place in Tennessee, the largest master planned community which consists of up to 6200 acres, on top of the Cumberland Plateau. We are developing 4500 home sites, which will be ready in 2011. This will be a sustainability themed community, which will also include an eco-village which will house carbon fields.

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Purpose vs Profit : Stakeholder Management

| Thursday April 2nd, 2009 | 0 Comments

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The concepts behind stakeholder management seem to be so obvious, yet have been largely ignored for a long time by corporations that are now beginning to see the error of their ways. Taking into account all those that can impact your business as well as those your business impacts would seem to be common sense, if not for a 40-plus-year push from Milton Friedman followers which decided that economic success can only come from focusing on increasing shareholder value above all else.
The theory was that, if reaching out to communities, dealing with the media, developing stronger employee relations, and engaging competitors, special interest groups and NGOs would help increase shareholder value, then and only then would it be pursued by the company. Otherwise, if a direct line to profit could not be shown, these relationships were insignificant to the overall directive of increasing profits.

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Triple Pundit Acquires News Corporation

| Wednesday April 1st, 2009 | 3 Comments

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In a surprise but carefully planned move, Triple Pundit LLC has acquired News Corporation in a deal backed personally by Warren Buffett. News Corporation, one of the world’s largest media conglomerates, is comprised of Fox News, 20th Century Fox, MySpace, and the recently acquired Wall Street Journal.
According to 3p Founder, Nick Aster, who met the Oracle of Omaha during his most recent backpacking trip through Argentina, “3p got into the business to change everything in business and media. Yet, we hadn’t the slightest idea that we’d be doing it this literally.”
Sources within News Corporation state that the hostile takeover battle was effectively won when Triple Pundit writers and followers stormed the Avenue of the Americas New York Headquarters with Super Soakers, far outmatching the McCain-Palin 2008 stress balls possessed by News Corporation staffers. Triple Pundit engaged in a fierce bidding war for News Corp with the Onion, backed by actor Robin Williams, but Warren Buffett’s financial position and negotiation tactics (Buffett himself carefully planned the Super Soaker-armed takeover) proved insurmountable.
Triple Pundit plans to make drastic changes, detailed below, to the media empire built by Rupert Murdoch, the major shareholder and Chairman of News Corporation. Murdoch did not make himself available for comment, but is rumored to be planning a face-saving comeback on next season’s Dancing with the Stars.

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US Senator Inhofe Blames UFOs for Shrinking Ice Caps

| Wednesday April 1st, 2009 | 2 Comments

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L_Ron_Hubbard.jpgTriple Pundit News Brief Washington DC – Senator James Inhofe (R) of Oklahoma, a long time global warming skeptic, seems to have taken his polemic in a new direction. In 2003, Inhofe shot to the front of the line among global warming naysayers with his now infamous speech on the Senate floor when he claimed: “The threat of catastrophic global warming is the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people.”
But in his speech on the Senate floor today, April 1, Inhofe surprised many of his fellow Senators by claiming the disappearance of the polar ice caps could possibly be attributed to “ice pirates from another solar system.” Inhofe offered no further explanation of his comment during the speech. But in a press conference following the Senate session, he promised to provide “credible evidence” from “reputable scientific sources” that space ships are stealing our ice caps for reasons “not understood at this time.” He also emphasized that his claims are consistent with his belief that climate change cannot be blamed on human activity.

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Famous Greenies Flocking to LEED-Certified Idaho Hotel

Richard Levangie | Wednesday April 1st, 2009 | 0 Comments

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The good folks in Bugtussle, Idaho have a green accomplishment that is turning a few heads in trendy California – a certified LEED Double Platinum, carbon-negative luxury hotel that has become a home away from home for many celebrity greenies, including Richard Branson, Al Gore, Neil Young, and Gavin Newsom.
It’s an inspiring story. About one year ago, the flea-bitten Palace Motel was a 42-room roadside inn that catered to truck drivers swinging down from Alberta, and to locals looking for a quick howdy-do in the broom-closet sized rooms.

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Starbucks Ditches All Non-Recyclables

| Wednesday April 1st, 2009 | 4 Comments

Two years ago today…

No%20More%20Starbucks%20Cups.jpgGives Every Customer Free, Refillable Travel Mug (Will Now Charge $1.25 Per Disposable Cup)
In a nationwide effort to green their retail locations, Starbucks announced today that it would be doing away with all of its non-recyclable cups, and giving customers free, refillable travel mugs. Starbucks goes through roughly 2.3 billion cups per year and has taken heat from several environmental groups since the plastic coating keeps them from being recycled with other paper products, contributing to massive amounts of landfill waste. They’ve also been scrutinized over the fact that the cardboard sleeve for hot beverages touts “Help Us Help the Planet,” which ironically, is only 10% recyclable. But none of that matters now that Starbucks has made a clean sweep of all their stores, replacing the plastic-coated cups with green refillable mugs, proudly showcasing the Starbucks logo.

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Monsanto Denounces GMO Crops, Launches Permaculture Design Service

| Wednesday April 1st, 2009 | 3 Comments

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I’ve got to hand it to Monsanto. After years of alienating food-conscious consumers with genetically-engineered crops, destructive farming practices, and toxic waste, the agricultural company has performed a complete 180. As of today, Monsanto is ditching GMO crops completely. The company is also launching a permaculture design service to help its GMO-reliant farmers transition to organic practices.

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American Airlines Launches Zero Emissions Zeppelin Service

| Wednesday April 1st, 2009 | 26 Comments

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Starting next month, American Airlines will replace jet service on the transatlantic sector with solar powered LZ-2 airships – at zero emissions. The new 100% photovoltaic powered vessels will transport up to 500 people in the lap of luxury, featuring private suites, bars and restaurants, spectacular lounges, and an 18-hole frisbee golf course.

Twenty five years of cooperation between Boeing and the Poof Slinky company reduced even the manufacturing process of the LZ-2 to a zero emissions, zero waste process based on recycled material gathered in the North Pacific Gyre and re-purposed to aircraft specifications.

On a maiden test flight between New York and Helsinki last week, American Airlines CEO Gerard J. Arpey shared champagne with company spokesman Robert Plant remarking:

American Airlines is proud to usher in a new age of travel where humanity can once again relax – free from leg cramps, nonexistent overhead bins, and inedible snak paks.

To which Plant replied, “I believe I’ve lost my frisbee.”

To save additional resources, passengers may disembark over any landmass by ejecting in parachute bound pods.

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Obama Administration Taps Former President Bush as Lead Negotiator for Climate Talks in Copenhagen

| Wednesday April 1st, 2009 | 2 Comments

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Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Carol M. Browner announced on April 1st that former president George W. Bush will lead the U.S. negotiating team this December at the UN COP15 climate talks in Copenhagen

Some journalists fainted upon hearing the announcement, one reporter was rushed to the hospital, suffering what hospital officials termed “acute disbelief shock syndrome,” and others could only gasp an astonished what the…?”

The venerable and unflappable Helen Thomas, who has served in the White House press corps since the Kennedy administration, was the only reporter with the mitts to ask Browner how the Obama administration had come to such a decision:
“Did someone drink the kool-aid?” asked Thomas. “Isn’t it a bit… counterintuitive to choose someone that has championed… well, I’m not quite sure what Bush has championed exactly… but what gives? Aren’t we concerned about climate change anymore?”

“Now more than ever,” replied Browner, “And that is exactly why the choice of Bush as lead negotiator in Copenhagen makes perfect sense.”

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