5 Weekends, 5 Months… 5 Lessons

CCA LiveE | Tuesday December 23rd, 2008 | 0 Comments

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by Kate Ranson-Walsh:
For the past five months, 26 of us have attempted the slightly insane: tackling the curriculum of the new Design Strategy MBA at the California College of the Arts while maintaining our current jobs, not to mention our personal lives. The dMBA program is designed so that working professionals can participate, but it is by no means “part-time.” A orientation it was suggested to 8 budget at least 32 hours a week for schoolwork. We all wondered how we were going to make it work.
After five residency weekends, spanning five months, studying four subjects, all while working 50+ hours a week at my “day job”… I don’t think I have it all figured out, but I’ve learned some valuable lessons to remember for next semester.

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Direct Mail Catalogs: Who’s Been Naughty and Who’s Been Nice?

| Monday December 22nd, 2008 | 1 Comment

naughtynicestamp.jpgTo help you green your holiday shopping, ForestEthics has published their 3rd Annual Catalog Environmental Scorecard which ranks the eco-sympathies of some of the companies you might be shopping with this season. Topping the “Nice” list this year are companies like Timberland and Crate & Barrel who are recognized as leaders thanks to their environmental practices around direct mail catalogs. Take Crate & Barrel for instance – they just announced a new paper policy that calls for recycled content, sustainable sourcing, Endangered Forest protection and reduced paper use. Another winner is Macy’s who has decided to stop printing their Bloomingdale’s catalog and take all their orders online. Very merry, indeed.
Every year, the precious forests of Canada’s Boreal, the U.S. Southeast and Indonesia are shrinking as 100 million trees are cut down to create the 100 billion pieces of unwanted junk mail and catalogs that make up 60% of all the mail we get. The junk mail industry also contributes as much greenhouse gas emissions every year as almost 10 million cars.
Founded in 2000, ForestEthics is a nonprofit environmental organization whose mission is to protect Endangered Forests and wild places through initiatives like the Do Not Mail campaign aimed at the direct mail industry. They are preparing to go to committee hearings with San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors about a resolution calling for a statewide California Do Not Mail Registry. The registry would allow citizens the choice to stop receiving junk mail, and would be the first of its kind. If this is a cause you believe in, make sure to visit donotmail.org to sign the petition. And read on to find out which companies have been naughty and which ones nice this year.

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Electric Vehicle Retrofits; Rebuild the Battery Industry: Intel’s Andy Grove

| Monday December 22nd, 2008 | 1 Comment

Vitruvian%2520Man%2520small.jpg Former Intel CEO Andy Grove’s campaign to spur electric retrofits of US vehicles is gathering momentum. In tandem, Grove is advocating that the US rebuild its domestic battery industry.
Back in July, Grove authored an article in The American in which he argued retrofitting existing vehicles with plug-in electric engines should be a national priority. McKinsey & Co. several months ago commissioned Grove to further make his case for an upcoming January publication entitled, “What Matters.”
The article–based largely on Grove and Stanford Business School Prof. Robert Burgelman’s work with 2008 Bass Seminar students aimed at analyzing the “strategic inflection point” the US faces in terms of energy use and resources– was published last week.

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How Businesses Benefit From Mixed-Used Developments

Gina-Marie Cheeseman
| Monday December 22nd, 2008 | 0 Comments

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Last week Common Current published its top sustainablity stories of 2008. More than half of the stories had implications for businesses including the “highest gas and oil prices ever.” The high gas prices caused people to want to live near retail districts. According to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, people would rather have “walkable retail districts” than golf courses in their neighborhoods. The International Economic Development Council cites mixed-use developments (MUDs) as a real estate trend across the U.S.
In a tough economy where consumers are less likely to spend money, MUDs have advantages for businesses. A study by the University of Wisconsin-Extension cites several advantages of mixed-use development, including the expansion of “market opportunities,” and more “customer traffic” from occupants of the development. According to the Condo Hotel Center’s website, MUDs offer “enhanced viability” over individual developments, allow development to be accelerated, and offer the opportunity to “spread or reduce by having investment revenue flow through multiple revenue streams.

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Cleantech: The Recession-Proof Sector

Nick Hodge | Monday December 22nd, 2008 | 1 Comment

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Has the ongoing recession dampened your spirits?
It probably has, as it’s affected everything from stalwart automakers to commodity prices to home sales to unemployment. But despite a few delayed and canceled downstream projects (steel in the ground) due to limited credit, the cleantech sector has been largely unaffected when it comes to funding in the earlier rounds.
A recent survey by the National Venture Capital Association (NVCA) revealed that 400 venture capitalists expect investment at the venture level to wane in every sector but cleantech.
Sounds like we have a bull here.

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Ode to Innovate the Government

CCA LiveE | Sunday December 21st, 2008 | 0 Comments

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by Rowan Edwards
Coming into the dMBA program at CCA was always an exciting proposition. Innovation. Sustainability. Design. Business. And all for the greater good. This is why I came to this program or it came to me. I also came for the unknown. In the program I would be getting some better understanding of the corporate world, the strategy within it, better skills in organizational architecture, decision making and control, and the underlying economic ramifications inherent in them. The unknown quantity to this next wave MBA curriculum was not just new methods of integration of Design Strategy into the old corporate paradigm, but understanding and integrating meaning into it. Though I typically would consider myself fairly self aware, the course “Live Exchange” (the communication component to the program) would prove to be the course that not only would challenge me to be more efficient in my communication technique, but offer meaning and encourage a more compassionate and reflective means to that end.

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The True Cost of a Home: How Green Trends Might Save the Housing Market

| Saturday December 20th, 2008 | 0 Comments

green-home.jpgThere’s a paradigm shift going on in the US real estate sector. Yet will home owners justify paying extra for green building if the economic situation continues to deteriorate?
The US homeowner population has been silently suffering for years now. Numbers from the Center for Housing Policy show that between 1996 and 2006, homeowners have been spending an increasing portion of their income on housing (the current crisis notwithstanding). A household would typically spend 21.5 percent of its total income on housing in 1996 and this had risen to 26.2 percent in 2006. Nearly a sixth of homeowners were far worse off, spending more than 50 percent of their disposable income on their homes in 2006. Another harrowing fact: housing expenses went up 64.9 percent over the ten year period, while homeowner incomes increased by only 36.3 percent.
It makes you wonder how sustainable the sustainable building wave will prove to be. “In order to avoid repeating the dire situation so many home owners are in today, it is critical that our thinking evolve around home costs,” said Michelle Kaufmann, founder and chairman of Michelle Kaufmann Designs, an architecture firm specializing in sustainable designs. Kaufmann’s recently published white paper “Redefining Cost: A Beacon of Hope Shines through Housing Market Gloom” (PDF link). The study hones in on the current troubles in the US housing industry outlining why it is imperative to consider cost structures in a changed perspective.

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(Near) Carbon Neutral Communities

| Saturday December 20th, 2008 | 1 Comment

Europeans are far ahead of North Americans when it comes to adopting green living standards by large groups and local communities. The Danish Island of Samso is a brilliant example of how a community can adopt a self sufficient lifestyle within a relatively short space of time. North America is beginning to catch up with Europe. The case of a brand new Alberta community living on solar energy shows a unique approach to a sustainable lifestyle.

The Danish island is located in central Denmark, and home to 4,000 people who have spent the last ten years collaborating intensively to achieve self sufficiency and carbon neutrality. Samso’s energy needs are generated by wind turbines, eleven of which are placed in green fields and ten in the surrounding coastal waters of the North Sea. Visitors to the island will agree that if any place deserves carbon neutrality it’s Samso. It’s a romantic place which in 1214 was given by King Valdemar the Victorious to his new queen once they got married. There are plenty of goats grazing in the fields underneath those wind turbines and a photovoltaic panel array at a solar heating plant. Most farmers rear organic pigs below the unsynchronized rotating blades of the wind turbines.
The houses in which the inhabitants live are 70% heated with natural resources such as rye, wheat and straw. The roofs are paneled neatly with solar panels. There are cars and thirty percent of the houses are dependent on oil for their heating yet all the carbon emissions are more than offset. What’s the most amazing is that it all has been achieved in under ten years’ time.

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Alliance Between U.S. Government Lab and Battery Makers for Development and Production of Lithium-Ion Batteries in New “Green” Cars

| Friday December 19th, 2008 | 2 Comments

Whether or not you support the federal government lending the beleaguered U.S. auto industry $13.4 dollars in emergency funding (with more to come in February), most probably agree that whatever they do with that money, it can’t be business as usual for the Big Three

A new alliance was announced yesterday between 14 battery makers and the Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory to promote the development and manufacture of advanced lithium ion battery technology. Called the National Alliance for Advanced Transportation Battery Cell Manufacture, the hope of the alliance is that U.S. car companies will use the batteries in next-generation hybrid and plug-in electric cars.

Lithium-ion battery development is now dominated by foreign countries in Europe and Asia. Even GM, gasping for breath as it is, has announced it may use foreign-produced batteries for its Chevy Volt, it’s much publicized plug-in hybrid theoretically due out in 2010 (GM announced this week that it will be delaying construction of a manufacturing plant for the car, claiming it will have no impact on the car’s expected release).

It would appear that such an alliance to promote both U.S. battery development and green cars couldn’t have come at a more opportune time – unless it had come many years ago.

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Weekly Green Business Wrap-Up

| Friday December 19th, 2008 | 1 Comment

Greetings from the tropical hinterlands! I’m updating you on all the best green business this week from Honolulu, where I’m visiting my family for the holidays. I’m a bit late with my wrap up, but I, personally, feel that my proximity to the international date line is totally reasonable justification. I might actually be early. I’ll leave you puzzling over that one while we get right to it!
mcdonalds-small.jpgGolden Arches Turn Green McDonalds talks up their new green franchises, efficiency standards, and employee education programs. Does it make you want to eat there? Give me a grass fed quarter pounder and we’ll talk, Ronald.

Seventh-Generation-logo.jpg Seventh Generation Unrolls Label Reading Guide, Makes Scrubbing Bubbles Less AppealingSeventh Generation unrolled a guide to make it easier to wade through all those pictures of happy bubbles doing your work for you to let you see the toxics within.
chaingang.jpg Out with the Chain Gangs, in with the Green Jobs Colorado aims to have prisoners making biodiesel. Read on to find out if they are using the fry oil from the cafeteria or those prisoners have to grow the switch grass too.

Dell Says Green Packaging will Save 8 MillionIn these dark climate times it’s nice to know that the rally cry of the sustainably business mavericks and mavens still holds water: going green can save you money!

wind-farm.jpg Rock, Paper, Scissors: Wind Trumps All Wind comes out on top in a recent study of environmentally friendliness of different renewable energy technologies. The technologies and fuel sources were ranked against 11 different criteria but big weightings were given to just two – greenhouse emissions over the full life cycle of their production and the levels of local air pollution.
Here at 3P we were busy talking about all those executives at big oil companies work on renewables.
Data centers were also a hot topic. We worried about them running out of energy And fantasized about them heating our swimming pools
And since my mom is so sweet to read Triple Pundit, and she lives in such a nice place, here is her favorite post of the week.
Aloha,
Jen

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Why We Need the Oil and Gas Industry

| Friday December 19th, 2008 | 0 Comments

gusher.jpgEvery large global corporation currently has a choice. They can try to survive by moving around pennies, or they can use this economy as a wake-up call. One response is a strategy that moves investment away from low-value commodities towards a strategic role in solving problems.
The Oil and Gas Industry, and how they respond to climate change, is an excellent case. From a societal and environmental perspective, we need ‘Big Resources’ to step up – moving from being largely the problem, to being a big part of the solution. The company that is the first to see business opportunity, rather than focusing on climate as a risk and a marketing problem – will reap the rewards.

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New Documentary Fuel Presents Road to Energy Independence

| Friday December 19th, 2008 | 2 Comments

fuel-movie.jpgAl Gore told us The Inconvenient Truth about global warming. But many of us asked, “What can I do about it?” The documentary film FUEL, winner of the 2008 Sundance Film Festival Audience Award, provides more than doom and gloom; it provides sustainable business solutions. This film has the potential to do more to promote clean technology and renewable energy than all of the venture capital money in Silicon Valley combined.

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Coal Reserves May Not be as Abundant as Previously Thought

| Thursday December 18th, 2008 | 0 Comments

A new model for calculating global goal reserves created by Dave Rutledge, chair of Caltech’s engineering and applied science division, shows that previous estimates may overstate, by hundreds of billions of tons, the amount of economically recoverable coal left in the ground.

Rutledge estimates that the total amount humans will extract, including all past mining, is only 662 billion tons. Far less that the previous best guess from the World Energy Council of 850 billion tons still available for mining

Rutledge presented his findings in San Francisco this week at the annual meeting of the American Geological Union.

Basing his new model on historical examples of fossil fuel exhaustion, Rutledge notes the consistency with which governments fail to accurately estimate their own fossil fuel reserves. “The record of geological estimates made by governments for their fossil fuel estimates is really horrible. And the estimates tend to be quite high. They over-predict future coal production.”

As examples Rutledge noted the precipitous decline in British coal reserves after its 1913 peak, and the U.S. peak oil production of 1970, “controversially predicted” by M. King Hubbert in 1956 (and who was one of the first to warn of the unsustainability of fossil fuels starting in the ’40’s).

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Will Obama’s New Energy Policy Recharge the Renewables Sector?

Jeff Siegel | Thursday December 18th, 2008 | 1 Comment

solar.jpgI’ve been receiving a lot of questions lately about how the Obama administration’s energy policies will affect the renewable energy sector. After all, the President-elect has been very vocal about insisting on the need to develop new, cleaner forms of energy, stating in very clear terms that the future of our economy and national security is inextricably linked to the challenge of energy.
So it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that such an agenda will only lend further support to the long-term potential of many renewable energy stocks. Even the mainstream media is jumping all over renewable energy stories, telling folks the same stuff we’ve been screaming from the rooftops for years.

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How Obama Can Help Businesses

Gina-Marie Cheeseman
| Thursday December 18th, 2008 | 0 Comments

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We are not living in an “entrepreneurial-friendly” climate. The economy is in the proverbial toilet. Health care costs continue to increase. However, on January 20 President-elect Barack Obama will take office, and if he fulfills his campaign promises for businesses and health care, aspiring entrepreneurs will have a chance to fulfill their dreams.
What are those campaign promises? Let’s start with statements Obama made this week during a press conference. “The pursuit of a new energy economy requires a sustained, all-hands-on-deck effort because the foundation of our energy independence is right here, in America – in the power of wind and solar; in new crops and new technologies; in the innovation of our scientists and entrepreneurs, and the dedication and skill of our workforce.”

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