Weekly Green Business Wrap-Up

| Friday September 26th, 2008 | 0 Comments

gavel.jpg RGGI, the regional greenhouse gas initiative, Holds Its First Mandatory C02 Auction Experts say that the prices for the permits to emit carbon will stay low because too many were given away for free, but 12.5 million permits will be auctioned overall, which is still pretty cool. Europe says “Welcome to my world.”
chocolate.jpgChocolate Doesn’t Need Boxes, and Other Mysteries of “Greening the Supply Chain” Greenbiz has a great discussion of the new trend companies are taking to reduce waste and expense at the same time. They lose points for not even mentioning Ghirardelli in the title, given that the first paragraph is all about the chocolate giant. (The best you could do was “Thinking Outside the (Cardboard) Box”?) Just let the people know about the chocolate, really.
chest-with-gold-1-365x356.jpgJapan’s Landfills Chock Full of Gold, Silver, Platinum US landfills full of bento boxes. Kidding! All those precious metals are inside the electronics that are being discarded by the millions each year. I sense an investment opportunity…
earth-mak.jpgJoel Makower on Video: Developing Your Company’s Green StrategyJoel Makower of GreenBiz delivered a great session last week at the Corporate Eco Forum. See the video which asks “how do companies operate in a world in which energy water materials toxicity carbon intensity become barriers to growth?”
screw.jpgUS Companies Know Climate Change Will Screw Them, Don’t Care 81 percent of U.S. companies expect climate change to negatively affect their business, but they prefer to wait for regulation to spur them to action. I love the head in the sand approach to risk preparedness.
hairy%20armpit.jpg Natural Product Sales Skyrocket Despite Economic Downturn
Growth in the natural personal care industry is five times that of the regular personal care industry. Maybe it’s all those sweaty hippie bikers trying to find work now that unemployment rates are up.
Lastly, 3P covered a couple deep sustainable business questions this week: Sustainable Branding: is it all just greenwashing? and the million dollar question: Would you rather have an enviro employee or a competent one? (Yes, that is a gaggle of sustainable MBA students waving their hands frantically at the back of the classroom.)

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Cheap Wine Box Kingpin Flaunts Sustainable Tradeshow Booth

| Friday September 26th, 2008 | 3 Comments

You know Tetra Pak boxes– those cubes of cheap wine made of multiple layers of foil, and paper, right? Though they’re technically recyclable, it’s not exactly easy or economical do do it. But did you know Tetra Pak is committed to sustainability? They had a booth at the recent Natural Products Expo West 2008 trade show, and because they are “a natural products” company, they wanted to make a little video showcasing how green their booth was. That’s right. Not their products, just their tradeshow booth.

I love it when Lawrence the Tetra Pak employee calls it “renewability.”
*ed note - there is legitimate argument that since TetraPak boxes are so much lighter than wine bottles, they do in fact save a lot of carbon in the shipping process, which is not trivial. Still, I’d rather hear about that than the tradeshow booth.

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Why the “Eco Nightclub” Numbers Don’t Add Up

3p Contributor | Friday September 26th, 2008 | 0 Comments

crystal.jpgI love the novelty of the “Eco Dance Floor” – The idea is that some portion of a nightclub’s electricity might be generated by the kinetic motion of a crowd of people dancing. Indeed, this is possible, but can’t even come close to the amount of energy a club need to sustain itself for the evening.
Adam Vaughan of SmartPlanet.com has pulled together an excellent de-bunking of the claims made by Bar Surya, in London, the self proclaimed “world’d first eco nightclub”. His post is reproduced below. Not that we’re raining on anyone’s parade here – we just want the facts. If we’re going to make bold “eco-claims” it’s a recipe for public relations disaster to exaggerate the numbers – not just for the club at hand, but for others who might be most conservative in singing their praises. The original is here.
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When the “world’s first eco nightclub” opened in London this July, it attracted unqualified plaudits and celebs including Jade Jagger, Coldcut and shadow environment minister Greg Barker. But did Bar Surya deserve the praise? Is it really as green as it claims? To find out, I chatted to the team behind the club and looked at the numbers.
Claim 1: The dancefloor creates 60 per cent of the club’s electricity

The piezoelectric dancefloor at Bar Surya uses the pressure of dancing clubbers to generate electricity. The owners have variously claimed the floor provides between 50 and 60 per cent of the entire club’s electricity requirement (the 50 figure came from an email Bar Surya sent me, the 60 per cent from its website).
Bar Surya won’t say exactly how many kilowatt hours (kWh) the floor generates (kilowatt hours are the standard unit utility companies base electricity charges on). Let’s make an educated guess. Club Watt, a new eco club in the Netherlands, has a similar dancefloor and estimates each dancer generates between 5 and 10 watts.

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Zinio’s Read Green – The Trees Will Thank You

| Friday September 26th, 2008 | 0 Comments

The Read Green Initiative is a broad effort to raise awareness about the environmental impact of paper magazines. Participants get a 1-year *free* subscription to a variety of digital magazines. As the Read Green site tells us, the “trees will thank you”.
Obviously there is a self-serving aspect to this initiative. One of the primary organizers is Zinio, a digital magazine company. But there are many other companies including the Magazine Publishers of America which are co-sponsors, and that’s because paper magazines take a huge toll on our planet. There are 12 billion magazines published in the U.S. each year and only about 20% of those are recycled – resulting in millions of trees being cut down.

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Tom Szaky: Do Green Companies Need Green Employees?

Tom Szaky | Thursday September 25th, 2008 | 14 Comments

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One of the most challenging parts of building a lean and mean green company is finding the right balance of experience and passion. Especially in a young upstart company – like TerraCycle – where the status quo is often thrown out the window in favor of shaking up the typical “business as usual” model. But is it better (or even appropriate) to hire people who are committed to being green outside of work as well?

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Scientific Study Reveals Why Western Consumers Should Foot The Global Greenhouse Gas Bill

| Thursday September 25th, 2008 | 2 Comments

citysmog.jpgOfficial greenhouse gas data for the direct pollution caused by cities is highly exaggerated, according to a new study published in next month’s issue of the journal Environment and Urbanization. The article points out that while Western cities are not directly as polluting as they are believed to be, they house people responsible for the bulk of our planet’s environmental problems; the shop till you drop consumer.
Cities, which are blamed for creating 75 to 80 percent of the world’s emissions, only are responsible for around half that amount, according to the article. United Nations agencies, former US President Bill Clinton’s climate change initiative and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg have all stated that between 75 and 80 per cent of emissions come from cities.
Data from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) shows that only two-fifths of all greenhouse gases from human activities are generated within cities. Agriculture and deforestation account for around 30 percent, and the rest are mostly from heavy industry, wealthy households and coal, oil or gas fuelled power stations located in rural areas and in urban centres too small to be considered cities.

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Finding Value in Values: Social Capital 2008 Preview

3p Contributor | Thursday September 25th, 2008 | 0 Comments

This post is part of a series covering the Social Capital Markets 2008 Conference, which 3P is excited to be a part of.
Napoleon Wallace — Remember when doing “good” came at the cost of doing “well”? This longstanding rule of thumb has been a fundamental investment policy for decades, and consequently, it has created a paradigm of misalignment between social impact and investment capital. Unfortunately, there has been no market to marry this disparity. However, as more alpha-focused investors begin to realize that there are financial consequences to social misalignment, cracks in the previous paradigm have begun to show.
With these flaws now visible to the naked eye, the leakage of capital into socially-conscious investment vehicles is striking. In 2007, 1 in every 9 professionally-managed dollars (PDF Link) was invested with socially-responsible considerations, representing aggregate dollar growth of 324% since 1995.
This growth is striking, and it is also indicative of a growing investor sentiment: “there IS value in values”. This is not said to make any distinction between value systems, but instead to illustrate that the previous model of externality-unconscious investing is functionally obsolescent… to announce that all impacts (social, environmental and financial) are a fundamental component of even basic investment decision making.

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Galapagos Islands Get World’s First “Green” Airport

| Thursday September 25th, 2008 | 4 Comments

GalapagosAirport.jpg The Galapagos Islands are the Pacific island paradise where Darwin’s theory of evolution was born. It is a place filled with iguanas the size of small Fords, sandy beaches, and tropical flora. Now it will be famous for one more thing: the world’s first green airport.
The archipelago off the coast of Ecuador has recently contracted Argentine Corporación America to manage the redevelopment of the airport on the island of Baltra, an estimated US$ 20 million project to be completed in 2009. Several highlights of the new development are the utilization of wind and solar energy, passive heating and cooling systems, as well as concrete tarmacs as opposed to asphalt, which are claimed to have a greater carbon footprint during its production cycle. (Note: links appear in Spanish)

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Does ZAP Deserve its Bad Rap?

| Thursday September 25th, 2008 | 0 Comments

huddler_logo-80x80.gifIn March of 2008, WIRED magazine ran a scathing article about ZAP motor company. The article detailed numerous shady management moves and undelivered promises made by the company. For example, ZAP promised to become a dealer of Smart cars and Obvio gasoline/ethanol flex-fuel vehicles, but failed on both fronts. It’s certainly a fair criticism to say that ZAP has a history of making grandiose promises and failing to live up to them.
On the other hand, the company has a pretty impressive list of products currently available.

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Looking for Opportunities in a Down Market? Try the Green Building Market.

| Wednesday September 24th, 2008 | 1 Comment

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The financial markets may be in turmoil, but one market still holds promise for growth. You can learn more about it this weekend at West Coast Green, kicking off tomorrow at the San Jose Convention Center. Over a hundred exhibitors and speakers will be on hand, educating 14,000 attendees from architects to homeowners on green building products and services. If you are an entrepreneur, job-seeker, or investor who is looking for up and coming opportunities, this may be the place to look.

The commercial building market overall was valued at $352 billion in 2006, and the residential construction market was valued at $595 billion. The residential green building market alone is currently worth $12 to $20 billion, and is projected to double over the next five years, according to research published this year by McGraw-Hill Construction. In their most recent report, Global Green Building Trends, over half of survey respondents indicated that they would be building green on more than 60% of their projects over the next five years. This is an immense opportunity for green building product and service providers. Commercial and residential new construction, remodels, and retrofits will all need green lumber, water-efficient fixtures and landscaping, insulation, energy-efficient lighting, to name a few. For those new to the world of green building, Glenn Croston, the author of the book 75 Green Businesses, founder of the organization Starting Up Green, and a speaker at the conference this weekend, can provides tips, strategies, and consulting for green entrepreneurs.

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Greenpeace’s September Electronics Company Rankings Highlight Tackling Ewaste

| Wednesday September 24th, 2008 | 2 Comments

e-waste.jpgGreenpeace’s ranking of the greenest electronics manufacturers once again has put Nokia at the top. The ranking offers consumers a snapshot of what’s going on in electronics manufacturing and the changes that are made to improve environmental standards.
Nokia scored 7 points out of 10 and was awarded top spot due to materials used, recyclability of its goods and due its policy of actively encouraging its customers to recycle. Greenpeace reported Nokia’s improved take-back practice in India is especially exemplary of what improving your green credentials ought to be all about.

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How to Provide Clean, Reliable Renewable Rnergy in the Most Difficult Places

| Wednesday September 24th, 2008 | 1 Comment

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We are now in a time where renewable energy is becoming increasingly sophisticated, viable, and affordable. That is, if you’re in the developed world. What if you are on the Caribbean coastal region of Nicaragua, the poorest in the country, Nicaragua itself being the second poorest in the western hemisphere, where 80% go without electricity?
In a place of rough terrain, low population density, and lacking in income, it would seem an unlikely place to start a renewable energy company. And yet, blueEnergy have done just that. How? By designing hybrid solar/wind installations that are particularly suited to the region, building them locally, training and employing the local population in their manufacture and repair.
In doing this, they reduce costs, boost the local economy, and increase the likelihood that the equipment will last longer, as the capacity exists to maintain it. blueEnergy is a non profit, and gets funding to further minimize costs. That they use two renewable energy sources in tandem also increases the consistency of power availability.
In blueEnergy’s FAQ is a humbling statistic.

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Bon Appetit Managment Company; Eating Local in Cafeterias Across the Country

Tori Okner | Wednesday September 24th, 2008 | 0 Comments

farm%20fresh%20food.jpeg“America better prepare for some uncomfortable changes. Things might get really ugly.” – A Farmer, recently quoted in Esquire
No, this guy’s not talking about the recent economic crisis, but the cost of food. Yes, food. “The American food system today faces unprecedented challenges,” says Maisie Greenawalt, Vice President of Bon Appetit Management Company. “High oil prices threaten farmers’ already slim profit margins. Consumers’ grocery bills have skyrocketed. Food safety risks are increasing.”
Bon Appetit Management Company is an onsite custom restaurant, which means they provide food services for business and universities. But Ms. Greenawalt’s not apologizing for a hike in costs, she’s explaining the logic behind the company’s commitment to sustainable food service.

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A Sustainable Pesticide Company?

Gina-Marie Cheeseman
| Wednesday September 24th, 2008 | 3 Comments

dow-logo.jpgA few weeks ago the Dow Chemical Company released its 2007 Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Sustainability Report with UN Global Compact Communication on Progress. The report received an “A+” from the GRI, the first time in the five years Dow since reporting began.
The report states that the vision of the company is to be “the largest, most profitable, most respected chemical company in the world,” and its mission is to “constantly improve what is essential to human progress by mastering science and technology.”
The maker of Napalm and Agent Orange during the Vietnam War, Dow is the second largest chemical company in the world, whose primary industries are “chemicals, herbicides, pesticides, agricultural sciences and plastics,” according to Coop America.

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Cell Towers of Renewable Power

| Tuesday September 23rd, 2008 | 0 Comments

cellgreencom.jpgTwenty-five cell phone service providers have signed on to the GSM Association’s “Green Power for Mobile” program, which aims to convert 118,000 off-grid cell transmission towers from diesel to renewable power or fuel sources by 2012, reports Greenbiz in a Sept. 23 article.
Leading companies such as Digicel, which has put wind, solar and coconut oil power to use on cell towers in the South Pacific islands, Idea Cellular, which is using waste cooling oil-diesel fuel blends to power more than 350 base stations in India’s Andhra Pradesh state, and Safaricom, which uses small-scale wind and solar systems to supply 30 cell towers in Kenya with power, have been paving the way forward and the GSMA is now working with them to further advance the conversion process.

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