The top green business stories for the week:
SAP Moves Further Into Sustainability Arena, Acquires Green IT Leader Clear Standards. Triple Pundit’s own Andrew Burger reported that the software giant had announced a deal to acquire Clear Standards in a move that brings serious financial muscle into the emissions reporting IT industry. Of its announced intention to acquire Clear Standards, SAP Co-CEO Leo Apotheker said, “It is essential that organizations gain actionable insight into their carbon emissions, water consumption, energy use and other environmental factors so they can lower their environmental impact.”
Chicago First to Ban Baby Bottles with Suspected Toxin BPA Plastics. Bisphenol-A, or BPA, is a suspected culprit in heart disease and diabetes in adults, as well as cancer and accelerated puberty and other developmental risks for children. The chemical is used, among other things, to harden plastics, and is a common ingredient in baby bottles and sippy cups (as well as the popular Nalgene bottles, so switch to more eco-friendly Sigg or Klean Kanteen). Chicago passed the measure unanimously, citing the Federal government’s inaction on the chemical. During the Bush Administration, the FDA had ruled that BPA was safe at the levels in which it was found to leech into food and beverages, but a recent scientific panel condemned that research for flawed methods and ignoring important independent findings elsewhere. Chicago’s decision may force bottle makers and plastics manufacturers to decide whether to continue to use the product, as other cities and states are likely to follow suit. (From our Friends at the Environmental News Network).
General Electric to Open Battery Plant in NY. The announcement came Tuesday as GE continues to leverage itself to become a leader in the power storage sector. The plant should create 350 new manufacturing jobs, and will produce 10 million cells each year if the plant runs at full capacity. The company is seeking funding from the Federal government’s stimulus funds for clean energy, and may promise a brighter future for electric cars and plug-in hybrids. (From our friends at GreenBiz.com)
TriplePundit: Reporting on the Triple Bottom Line & Sustainable Business News
The top green business stories for the week:
- Motoring Advice: Saving Money and the Environment When Buying a Car
- Press release: #RBS is back – Embed sustainable innovation into your business model
- Wellness Travel: Meeting Consumer Demand & Serving Public Good
- New Sustain:Green MasterCard Brings Carbon Reduction Rewards and Sustainability to Everyday Purchases
Many believe that business will be the primary driver of change as our society moves toward more sustainable practices and lifestyles. A recent Havas Media survey confirms this assertion: 70% of consumers surveyed say they look to business rather than government to lead the way on issues related to the environment and social justice.
The Women’s Network for a Sustainable Future (WNSF) believes women in business will play a significant and unique role in this transformation. The New York-based non profit provides a forum for business and professional women to meet, reflect and act on the convergent issues of corporate social responsibility and sustainable development. WNSF will hold its first West Coast Summit on Thursday, May 21, 2009 at Intel Headquarters in Santa Clara, CA. Triple Pundit recently had a chance to speak with their Executive Director, Ann Goodman.
As someone who spends a good amount of time on Twitter, I’ve had the great fortune of connecting with some truly amazing people, many of whom continue to educate me on cause marketing — sometimes without even realizing it. One such person is Cyan Banister, founder of Zivity, an online portfolio site for models, artists and musicians to share their body of work with fans, who basically backed into cause marketing at the request of her users, a few of whom wanted to donate the proceeds of their collections to various causes.
A socially minded entrepreneur, though she wouldn’t necessarily call herself a philanthropist, Cyan was already a champion for social change with a few causes that she supported personally. But she hadn’t considered building a cause platform into Zivity until she realized that her customers wanted it, and that the focus of the site in generating exposure for her models, artists and musicians could also serve as a prime vehicle for creating awareness around important causes and social issues that her users support.
Unlike most brands that arbitrarily select a high profile charity on which they hinge transactions, Zivity and its sister site, TopFans, hinge causes to real people (their users), creating a meaningful connection where sales is the byproduct, not the driver. The result is an authentic cause relationship between the company, its users and fans, all of whom become mutually invested in making a difference through various spotlighted charities. And through this organically generated effort, Zivity has achieved the critical balancing act between marketing the brand and the cause simultaneously while the charities take center stage. Click to continue reading »
Click to continue reading »
Ten years ago, Alter Eco Fair Trade opened a small store in Paris that sold fair trade furniture, handcrafts, and some food products. Three years later, the company launched fair trade food products in mass retail, including the French store chain, Monoprix, which has 267 stores. By 2003, Alter Eco Fair Trade was France’s number one fair trade brand. In 2004, the company opened an office in San Francisco to prepare for a product launch in North America. A year later, Alter Eco launched products in North America.
Alter Eco Americas is the first company to “offer a complete range of fair trade food products through mass retail in the U.S.” The company’s products are now in specialty food stores, grocery stores, and Whole Foods. The products sold in the U.S. are coffee, tea, rice, quinoa, and sugar.
Net Impact’s new report Making Your Impact at Work: A Practical Guide to Changing the World From Inside Any Company offers fresh ideas for greening your job without finding a new one.
And it reinforces a commonplace among career counselors: Volunteering and taking the initiative to do what you’re passionate about is one of the smartest ways to gain new skills and advance your career.
The free report – and accompanying case studies and discussion, available to Net Impact members – shows how intrapreneurs in different functions and divergent industries have created positive change and, sometimes, new jobs as sustainability leaders.
The guide’s advice, which draws on the experience of change agents at companies that include eBay, McDonald’s, Accenture, Timberland, Ingersoll Rand, and Google, is straightforward and, once you read it, relatively intuitive. If you’re angling to get involved in the green economy and on automatic at work, consider taking the suggestions to heart to reenergize yourself by aligning your values with your work and creating a project to green your office or organization.
The Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE) will launch their annual conference a week from today in Denver, CO – (May 21). Now in its 7th year, the BALLE conference is considered one of the most valuable, most respected conferences on sustainable business around. If you’re a regular reader of Triple Pundit, you’re probably already well aware of what a great opportunity it is and may be more interested in hearing about how you can get one of two free tickets that 3p is giving away. Here’s how to do it:
FIRST: Follow us on twitter – @triplepundit
SECOND: Tweet a one liner describing what interests you most about BALLE including #3P #BALLE in the tweet between now and Monday the 18th.
That’s all! On Monday, the 18th we’ll randomly pick two winners and let you know how to register. If you are unable to make it to Denver, you can give your prize to someone local. Don’t forget to include #3P and #BALLE or we might not notice your submission.
When Disney announced the release of Mickey Mouse-branded eggs a couple months back, Treehugger’s Lloyd Alter wrote:
“Sometimes I think that the world is becoming more sane, that people are beginning to understand where food comes from, and that marketing to children is becoming a little less respectable. Then I see Disney branded eggs and wonder what is going on here.”
Though he likely meant more than less respectable, the idea of Disney-branded eggs seemed utterly preposterous to Alter.
Unfortunately, it looks like the idea wasn’t so preposterous to others. When Popeye emerged in the 1920s, Big Money reported a couple weeks back, sales of spinach rose by over 30%. These days, Disney is hoping that Mickey Mouse can do that for eggs. And Zac Efron for avocados.
This isn’t the first attempt by Disney, who is the world’s largest licensor, to brand produce. They first announced the Disney Garden, a partnerhsip between Imagination Farms and the Kroger Grocery Chain. With an initial offering of 100 products that included Disney branded fruits, veggies, yogurt, and milk among other things, sales of the Disney Garden product line grew 70% in 2008.
Part one in a series of reports looking at Germany’s energy and climate policies, and how they might serve as a model for the U.S. and internationally
I spent last week in Germany as a guest of the German Foreign Ministry. Part of an international group of 12 other writers, television broadcasters, journalists, and bloggers, invited to participate in a “thematic trip” entitled Climate Protection – International Cooperation on Climate and Energy.
In subsequent posts, I will review what I saw and learned as we explored the public policy and industrial innovation that puts Germany at the head of international efforts to adapt to a low carbon society based on efficiency and renewable energy.
Organized and implemented by the Ecologic Institute, a not-for-profit environmental research think tank, our agenda was “dense” (as the Germans characterized it) providing for us a thorough overview of the agencies, policies, and industries working to achieve the ambitious goals of the country. Here’s a brief look:
- Foreign Ministry – Discussion of energy diplomacy and international climate policy
- Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, and Nuclear Safety – A look at international engagement in a post-Kyoto climate agreement beyond 2012; creating a global carbon market
- German Emissions Trading Authority – an overview of German emissions trading
- Clearing Agency for the Renewable Energy Sources Act – how feed-in tariffs are administered and disputes resolved
- A breakfast meeting with Hans Josef Fell, member of the German Parliament (The Greens)
- Federal Environment Agency – ecological design and efficiency in the built environment
- Q. Cells (the largest global manufacturer of mono and multi-crystalline solar cells) – an overview of the business and tour of the production line
- Schwarze Pumpe – the first coal (lignate) fired plant capturing its own carbon using the Oxyfuel process
- The Secretariat for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change – A look at the challenges and issues for the upcoming talks in Copenhagen this December
- Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development – the relationship between the developed and developing world in addressing energy and climate issues
I first connected with Scott Henderson on Twitter, where we became instant friends, united in championing cause marketing and trading insights around sustainable business. Since then, he has been a continual source of knowledge as someone who is perpetually plugged into the philanthropy market, quickly identifying and evaluating a company’s true commitment to the causes they support. A consciousness watchdog of sorts, intent on keeping cause marketers honest about their initiatives, Scott is not afraid to call out the culprits who employ it as a flavor-of-the-month tactic. Fundraising expert and cause innovator, Scott parlays his vast experience from gift officer of a $770+ million dollar compaign at the University of Nebraska Foundation to his current role as Director of Cause Marketing with Media Sauce in helping nonprofits and corporations use online media to pull off their next big thing. He also recently organized the Pledge to End Hunger campaign, where he successfully used social media to raise $28,000 for Share Our Strength. If it’s cause-related, philanthropy focused or sharp, results-driven strategy, chances are you’ll come across Scott Henderson. Or, if you’re being inauthentic in your cause marketing efforts, chances are, he’ll sniff you out. Click to continue reading »
Oil and coal companies — the most vocal opponents of US cap-and-trade climate legislation — have spent more than $76 million over the last four months on public relations and mass advertising trying to to defeat the climate bill now before the House Energy and Commerce Committee. When you combine that incredible sum with money spent by gas producers and heavy industries, it’s safe to claim that many of America’s leading companies have spent hundreds of millions of dollars in 2009 to discredit climate change legislation and, by extension, the science of global warming. One environmentalist suggested that the final tally will be in excess of $1 billion.
Which isn’t to suggest that cap-and-trade legislation supporters haven’t opened their pockets, too: it’s just that their bank accounts aren’t nearly so deep. The Campaign Media Analysis Group suggests that cap-and-trade proponents have spent $28.6 million to convince us that a low-carbon economy is vitally important to the US, and the planet.
Following the lead of an organization called the East Bay Green Tours, the city of Richmond, CA, long considered a crime-ridden afterthought of the more well-heeled East Bay cities of Oakland and Berkeley, is making strides to help a small but fluorishing green business community take off. Tomorrow, I will attend their first green tour (on hydrogen bus) and “Green is Gold Expo,” put on by the Richmond Chamber of Commerce.
None of this is particularly new for the East Bay, long considered a hub of sustainable enterprise, but it is new for Richmond. In fact, if you google “Richmond California,” you’ll understand why this event, and the effort that brought it here, is terrific news.
What it could mean for the city is good, green jobs as advocated by Van Jones, cleaner communities, less crime, and a much better tax base that should help provide better public services. And after speaking with several Richmond-ites, I was pleasantly surprised to find out that they were not surprised at all. The level of sustainability IQ in Richmond far surpassed my San Francisco-elitist green snobbery preconception. (And I am happily eating a nice fat slice of humble pie). But it leads to the inevitable question: if Richmond is turning into such a hub of green business, who isn’t? And if they’re not, is it just because no one has organized a green tour to help mobilize the community and bring awareness to the issue?
Vauban took the Subaru out of the suburbs. And the BMW and the Mercedes and every other car. OK: maybe not each and every car, but most of them. That’s because this small suburb near Freiburg, Germany (close to the French and Swiss borders) decided to restrict automobiles on all but just main street and a few byways in and around town. Residents can own a car, but they must park it at the edge of town and pay a staggering $40,000 for a spot, according to the New York Times.
Vauban isn’t brand new. It was completed in 2006. But if it thrives, it will become the poster child for the so-called smart planning movement, which is really just about planning new living communities that look a lot like old living communities. Stores, services and schools are close to homes. Homes are close to each other. Public transportation makes everything accessible and those who have cars don’t need them unless they’re leaving town.
Karl Burkart, tech blogger for MNN.com has decided to make his own “humble attempt” as he puts it to, cover, “REAL current news (not tips and tricks) — about climate policy, conservation, new technologies, green business trends,” on his site, Greendig.
Not that he thinks what’s out there isn’t valid, but that it tends to skew to the lifestyle end of the spectrum. Definitely filling a need, but not meeting one he saw, for quick overviews of life and planet changing news.
It’s simple: In a five or so minute segment, he talks about the 5 top stories as he sees them, coming in from the blogs he reads, trends on Twitter, etc. It quickly gives context to and information about topics you may have had on the periphery of your awareness, or may not have even been aware of yet. In a world where there’s millions of voices on the web calling for your attention, Karl filters it down to the essential news of the day.
Let’s watch Karl himself explain why he’s doing this and what it will look like:
And, he intends this to be more than his single viewpoint of what’s news.
As a result of a recessionary economy and layoffs at some firms earlier this year, plenty of people will be vying for those jobs. Here are some things you can do to get a leg up: Click to continue reading »
by Andre Angelantoni (For an in-person discussion of this topic, please RSVP here for May 21 meetup in San Francisco)
For a casual, scientifically-inclined observer, climate change used to be easy: the link between CO2 and climate change had been established, CO2 emissions were increasing year after year and unchecked growth was likely to see a world at least 2 degrees hotter than now — and possibly much more.
However, there is increasing evidence that some of the assumptions of fossil fuel availability used by the current set of atmospheric CO2 concentration projections are too high — in some cases much too high.
For instance, in 2004 Germany lowered its hard coal reserves from 23 billion tons to 0.183 billion tons — a 99 percent reduction. The UK and Botswana underwent similar reductions of 99 percent.
It looks like the US is due for a future reduction, too, though not on the scale of these three examples. In 2007 the National Academy of Science studied domestic coal reserves and urged a thorough reassessment because, in their view, “only a small fraction of previously estimated [coal] reserves are economically recoverable.” Subsequent studies put the peak of world and U.S. coal production between 2030 and 2040. Click to continue reading »