First Nations, biorefineries and beetle-kill

| Sunday November 9th, 2008 | 1 Comment

kib-raven.bmp Looking to follow through on its plans to develop biomass-driven biofuels plants in North America Raven Biofuels Nov. 7 announced that it is partnering with British Columbia’s Kamloops Indian Band (KIB), a local First Nations government, one of the largest of the 17 groups into which the Secwepemc, aka Shuswap, nation was divided when the Colony of British Columbia established an Indian reserve system in the 1860s.
Raven and KIB have signed a memorandum of understanding to aimed at developing and building a proposed ethanol biorefinery and cogeneration plant, according to a media release.
If it pans out, the agreement between KIB and Raven seems like a “win-win” situation. It would move second-generation, biomass-driven biofuels production into commercialization, bring clean transportation fuels, business and job creation to a First Nations territory, produce local fuel, power and heat, generate revenues from sales elsewhere, and address the fire hazards and other problems associated with beetle kill, which has decimated large areas of forest across western North America.

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Tax exemption attracts automakers to Denmark

| Friday November 7th, 2008 | 1 Comment

smart.car.r34.500.jpg Denmark’s institution of a tax exemption on electric vehicles at least until 2012 is attracting a growing list of auto manufacturers to the Scandinavian country’s market.
Germany’s Daimler Chrysler is the latest auto maker to get in line as its Mercedes unit is working to roll out plug-in electric versions of the Smart car by the end of 2009. Daimler’s been working with German utility RWE on a pilot project in Berlin that entails road testing 100 electric Smart cars and building a network of 500 charging stations. It’s also working on a similar project in London with Smart Fortwo, where electric cars are being used by corporate groups and municipal authorities.
Better Place is working with the Renault-Nissan Alliance and DONG Energy to bring electric vehicles, infrastructure and distribution to Denmark. France’s Aixam, Sweden’s Saab and Volvo, China’s BYD and California-based Tesla Motors are also working on entering the Danish market.
Better Place CEO and founder Shai Agassi told the UK’s The Register that the tax break could bring the typical price for an electric car in Denmark down to as low as $20,000 from about $60,000.
Having started out with a project to build half a million charging stations in Israel, Better Place also announced a nationwide smart car-battery recharging network project in Australia.

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1,400 Megawatts of Wind Energy Generation Installed in 3rd Quarter – Heading for Another Record Year

| Friday November 7th, 2008 | 1 Comment

Wind energy in US looks to another record yearDespite the continued economic slide and bad news for some wind farm projects due to the “credit crunch”, the American Wind Energy Association reports that another 1,389 megawatts of wind energy was installed in the 3rd quarter, bringing the total capacity in completed wind projects to date for the year to 4,204 MW.

With more wind projects still underway and scheduled for completion this year, the estimated 2008 total for wind energy development stands at 7,500 MW – enough to power about 2.2 million homes – and is well on the way of becoming the fourth record year in row. Last year’s record was 5,249 megawatts.

Increased manufacturing base

In the report released last week, the AWEA also pointed to a growing domestic manufacturing base for wind projects in the United States. In 2008 eight new wind turbine component plants opened and nine facilities were expanded, adding 9000 new jobs. In addition, 19 new wind component plants have been announced.

The share of domestic production of component parts has risen from 30% in 2005 to 50% today.

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Weekly Green Business Wrap-Up

| Friday November 7th, 2008 | 0 Comments

barak-60.gifWill Obama Bring Boom Times to the Sustainability Industry?
The good news, I think, is that those taking a strong position on sustainability and clean technology stood to prosper regardless of who won last Tuesday. The better news, as many of us expected, is that an Obama white house should accelerate things even more, bringing us a “tremendous ramp-up in energy efficiency” and much more…
Enough About the F’ing Light Bulbs
Refreshing candor from the President elect: EcoGeek reports Obama understands very clearly that it’s nice to plant a few trees, but anything meaningful has to come on a vastly larger scale. But will this sentiment come to, ahem, light?
gb60.jpgHow do you Introduce Efficiency in the Workplace? Show Employees the Bill
It’s one thing to ask for cuts in spending, impose rules, and turn down the master thermostat – but what if simply *showing* the bill to employees made a difference? It does.
city69.jpgEntrepreneurs Who Are Changing the Game
In this quick excerpt from Joel Makower’s new book, Strategies for the Green Economy, he suggests renewed optimism for the can-do spirit of today’s green entrepreneurs – leaving Ben & Jerry’s in the dust.
comp60.jpgAre the Same Guys that Skunked the Stock Market Going to be any Better at Carbon Trading?
Before we run away with optimism, take a quick reality check from TreeHugger’s John Laumer who suggests – “The very people that caused the banking system melt down – promoting and utilizing unregulated systems – are salivating at getting their little trading fingers into the carbon cap and trade business. And that’s a problem.” Is he right?

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Starbucks will Provide More than Coffee: 13 Goals to Do Business More Responsibly

Gina-Marie Cheeseman
| Friday November 7th, 2008 | 4 Comments

Starbucks.gifLet’s just get this out of the way in the beginning: I am not a fan of Starbucks. Years ago my favorite coffee shop, locally owned, was put out of business when Starbucks moved in to its block. However, I believe in giving credit to companies that practice the triple bottom line.
On Monday Starbucks announced its thirteen new goals, as part of Starbucks Shared Planet. The company plans to meet all of the goals by 2015. The goals include ethical sourcing, environmental stewardship, and community involvement.

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ForestEthics Speaks Out on Junk Mail

| Thursday November 6th, 2008 | 1 Comment

SupermanStamp_small.gifLast week I reported on comments made by Pitney Bowes executive chairman, Mike Critelli, in a recent NY Times interview. Mr. Critelli believes the environmental impact of unsolicited mail is greatly exaggerated by well-funded, but misinformed activist groups. To provide an opposing viewpoint, I asked Will Craven, the Media Officer and spokeperson for ForestEthics’ Do Not Mail campaign to respond to Critelli’s comments.
Triple Pundit: Mike Critelli believes junk mail is not an environmental issue. How would you respond to that?
ForestEthics: When people think about the causes of climate change, they primarily think of cars. However, deforestation accounts for 20% of all carbon emissions–more than all planes, trains, and yes, automobiles combined. When a forest is logged, hundreds of years’ worth of carbon absorption is released straight into the atmosphere. If this isn’t an environmental issue, I don’t know what is.

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Opportunity Green Conference at UCLA this Weekend

3p Contributor | Thursday November 6th, 2008 | 0 Comments

In the post-election haze the stock markets reacted with a degree of trepidation and uncertainty. The economy was certainly on people’s minds at the polls this week and the demand for a change of guard reflected the concern of the nation. Somewhere in the conversation of how best to boost and stimulate a recovery, we need to ask: “how does green and sustainable business fit into the equation?”
Primed to facilitate this discussion is the upcoming Opportunity Green conference this weekend in Los Angeles, hosted by UCLA Anderson School of Management. In two days, this conference promises serve up a smorgasbord of speakers, presentations and workshops. The topics will cover some of the ongoing sustainability in business conversations such as transparency, strategic modeling, branding, design and leadership. Additionally, some very timely issues will be addressed like the impact the recession will have on the green economy, clean tech, current trends and how to get funding in this current climate.
As I ready myself for a jam-packed weekend, I expect much of the usual schmoozing, rubbing of elbows, networking and exchange of ideas and business cards will occur. But, importantly, while the world of sustainability tends to look at business through a lens that is part of the larger picture and long-term impact, now is the time to look at surviving the short-term economic turmoil. Can we still keep green and socially responsible business practices as a priority when economic survival is in such peril? The conference promises to be exciting, informative and energizing.
There is still time to register for the event. If you can’t join us, check back in the next week or two for recaps and debriefs on the event.
Conference Details:
Opportunity Green
When: Saturday, November 8 and Sunday, November 9
Runs all day both days. Check schedule for special events and seminar details.
Where: UCLA Covel Commons, 330 De Neve Dr., Los Angeles, CA
— Stephanie Chenard
Stephanie Chenard is a Business and Education Consultant. She obtained an
MBA in Sustainable Management from the Presidio School of Management and now
specializes in finding sustainable business solutions for businesses and
educating business managers and professionals in a variety of areas focused
on green business.

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Sustainable investment funds: Keys to Economic Recovery?

| Wednesday November 5th, 2008 | 0 Comments

sustainableinvesting-earthscan.jpg More than $5 trillion has been invested in what the authors of new Earthscan book dub “sustainable investing strategies,” capital that could jumpstart and put economies on the path to recovery.
According to authors Cary Krosinsky and Nick Robins, sustainable investing funds make up as much as one-quarter of public equities, as well as corporate and government bonds, encompass aspects of the “sustainability agenda.” “This money, focused on the long-term opportunities arising from environmental and social imperatives, could help finance a resurgent and more resilient global economy,” according to an Earthscan promo for their book, entitled, “Sustainable Investing”.
Krosinsky’s research shows that in addition to its focus on long-term performance and sustainability, investments in sustainability also produce better-than-average returns. Sustainable investment funds outperformed mainstream indices between December 2002 and December 2007, according to Krosinsky’s latest research, returning an average 18.7% per year, better than the MSCI World Index, S&P 500 and the FTSE 100.
The authors note that the Winslow Green Growth Fund outperformed Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, recording 200% growth compared to the Buffett holding company’s 100% during this period.
It should be noted that these figures need to be updated now that the latest, money fed asset bubble has deflated, or is at least in the process of deflating. As a result, Winslow’s Green Growth Fund has lost 57.84% over the past year, and produced annualized returns of -15.61% and -5.94% over the past three and five years, respectively. Berkshire Hathaway’s A shares are down nearly 12% the past year. but up nearly 51% over five.
Also, I’d be interested to find out how Krosinsky and Robin define “sustainable investment funds.” Guess I’ll have to buy the book.

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An Open Letter to President Elect Barack Obama on the Fiscal Stimulus Package

3p Contributor | Wednesday November 5th, 2008 | 6 Comments

ap_yes_we_can399.jpgFirst of all, congratulations on your resounding win! Many of us campaigned tirelessly for you, and we opened our doors and our hearts to join you in celebration last night. This is a great victory we will savor for years to come!
Americans have heard a great deal about hope and change during this election season. Together, those two words evoke a compelling vision for the future of our nation. Once the election is over, the questions for our policy makers (at all levels) will be how to move the nation towards this positive future, especially in the face of an economically challenged present.
One major obstacle that you will face is the snowballing foreclosure rate. Today, three of every hundred homes with mortgages are in foreclosure. Waves of layoffs and business closures follow close on the heels of these foreclosures. Public confidence that they elected the right team to effect a positive future may soon fade, replaced with a grim downturn on Main Street: the main artery through our American towns.

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Ecofeedback: How To Know How Green You Are, Can Be, And How To Do It

| Wednesday November 5th, 2008 | 0 Comments

Community%20Pulse%20ecofeedback.jpgIn these days when presidential candidates talk about biofuels, carrying a reusable shopping bag has moved beyond the crunchy to the mainstream, and CFL light bulbs are doing brisk business at Walmart, you’d think we as a society were making progress, in terms of energy use and resource consumption.
But how do we know? How do you, on an individual level, know how much your efforts are making a difference, or if you’re doing enough? Without a point of reference, or if you like, ecofeedback, it’s not clear. And for many I suspect that’s why there is less happening then could/should. As Community Pulse, a newly rolled out site puts it, “How can we know where we’re going if we don’t know where we are?”

How do they plan to address this?

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Jetline Enters the Nonwoven bag market

| Wednesday November 5th, 2008 | 0 Comments

jetline33.pngThis is a guest post by John Simonetta owner of Proforma Green an eco-friendly promotional items consultancy. John’s blogs are designed to keep us up to date on the “greening” of his industry.
Jetline (Jetlinepromo.com) has entered the Nonwoven bag market with a 80 GSM Nonwoven Polypropylene tote. Their large tote runs $1.49 at EQP with one color imprint with their standard tote running at $1.28.
Jetline has been a good producer in the past so I am curious to see how these bags work out for them.
A reminder, nonwoven bags are made from structures bonded together by entangling fiber mechanically. They are flat and porous sheets that are made directly from separate (often recycled) fibers. They are not made by weaving or knitting and do not require converting the fibers to yarn. Some nonwoven products are made from recycled material and some are biodegradable.
Jetline’s items are advertised as recycled but not biodegradable. The company said in an email that they deliberately went with duration of use as opposed to biodegradability with these items. Still they do have a very large selection of colors to choose from.

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Developing a Cleantech Business Strategy: An Online Seminar

| Wednesday November 5th, 2008 | 0 Comments

acec44.jpg

The terms “cleantech” and “sustainability” cover a wide range of technologies, processes, services, and market segments. Opportunities to leverage and deploy new ‘clean’ technologies are substantial–in terms of new client acquisition, and in obtaining higher-margin lines of business.
Triple Pundit contributor Scott Boutwell will be presenting an online seminar for the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) this Thursday November 6th (10:30 PST) on “Developing a Cleantech Strategy”. The anticipated audience is executives from global and mid sized AECO (Architectural, Engineering, Construction, & Operations) and environmental services companies.
The AECO industry is well positioned to assist governmental & industrial clients in achieving sustainability, because of their domain knowledge and industry expertise in the relevant markets of water, environmental management, civil works, transportation, buildings, and resource management. This presentation will provide executives with a better understanding of the specific market segments in sustainability; the emerging trends in technology development and investment, along with examples of what AECO
firms are currently doing in the cleantech space, for purposes of benchmarking.
Whether you can make it or not, next week Scott will provide some key ‘takeaways’ and strategy points that engineering & environmental services firms may adopt easily into their overall growth strategy. Please stay tuned!
(note: there is a $200 registration fee)

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ClimatePULSE: Vote, Cap, and Trade

| Tuesday November 4th, 2008 | 0 Comments

env%20elec.jpg The big news of the day is, of course, the U.S. presidential election. This week ClimatePULSE will take a look at a topic where the parties found some common ground during the campaign – a cap-and-trade system. While each party has made its own adjustments, both Obama and McCain seem poised to implement a cap-and-trade system once the new administration is settled. The Democrats favour a 100% auction, in which all emitters will purchase credits, while the Republicans plan to issue credits for free market trade with the possibility of moving towards 100% auction in the future. Both plan to stimulate the growth of clean technologies, but the actual operation may vary significantly between the two approaches.

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Follow the Green Brick Road to Recovery?

3p Contributor | Tuesday November 4th, 2008 | 1 Comment

yellow%20brick.jpgBack on September 9, John Podesta’s Center for American Progress released a study called Green Recovery, which promised two million new jobs from a $100 billion investment over two years. That day was also my birthday, so my attention was elsewhere. But nearly two months later in the wake of the financial meltdown, taking a second look at the report seems worthwhile, since now more than ever, a road to recovery for the United States and the world could very well be paved with green bricks. Conversely, it could also be a story of “low carbon prosperity” that sounds good, but ends up dead on arrival. The landscape has changed greatly since September 9. To use one last Wizard of Oz allusion – we are no longer in Kansas. Credit has dried up, global stock markets are in chaos, unemployment is spiking and consumer confidence is at record lows.
As a result, does this now put the basic assumptions in the Podesta report in question? ($50 billion in tax credits, or half of the proposed $100 billion, for example, would seem a non-starter today). More importantly, even if the assumptions are unchanged, will the perceived cost of carbon policy at a time of economic instability suck the political will out of Capitol Hill, a place over the last three decades renowned for monumental cowardice in the face of monumental challenge. The stakes couldn’t be higher, especially on the eve of an Obama presidency and Podesta heading the transition team. It would be great for the Center to produce an update to their report, taking these new factors into account. But until that happens, some prominent voices in October continued to build a case for this notion of a Green Recovery as a message/vision worth rallying around.

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Carbon Retirement: An Option to “Traditional” Carbon Offsets

| Monday November 3rd, 2008 | 3 Comments

Carbon RetirementCarbon offsets have gained wide recognition in the past few years as a means of mitigating ones carbon footprint. With that recognition has come, on the one hand, acceptance, and on the other, suspicion. It seems that in any case, the simple idea of voluntary carbon offsets has become complex in their type and execution. In many instances verifying that your good intentions have actually produced results is nearly impossible. (Fellow TriplePundit contributer Jen Boynton has written several great articles on the subject of carbon offsets – start with Carbon Offsets: Why No Two Are Created Equal)

Carbon Retirement, a small start-up based in London, England and launched last July, seeks to address what most consider the shortcomings (more here and here) of “traditional” carbon offset schemes.

These shortcomings include accountability, additionality (meaning that the money you pay actually achieves something that wouldn’t have happened anyway), double counting, the accuracy of measurement, and the permanence of the offset.

Carbon Retirement avoids these shortcomings by purchasing carbon allowances out of the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme.

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