Businesses “Come to Grips” with Carbon Management: Interview with Kyle Tanger

| Tuesday September 25th, 2007 | 0 Comments

ComingToGrips.gif Sustainability consulting firm Natural Logic has announced they will present a four-part webinar series titled, Coming to Grips with Carbon: How to Measure and Reduce Your Footprint.
The online events will be held on October 18 and 25th, and November 1st and 8th. The series will provide business leaders with practical guidance from leading practitioners on the key issues related to carbon management, including: measuring carbon footprint, reducing emissions, and making sense of emerging opportunities for carbon trading and offsets. Advance registration is required. [Disclaimer: I am helping to produce the series for Natural Logic].

Kyle Tanger, president of Clear Carbon Consulting will present at the October 25th session. I talked with Kyle about his fast-growing consulting practice (he is working with WalMart and other large companies) and asked him what he believes is driving businesses to embrace carbon reduction. “Companies inevitably find projects that have very attractive pay-back periods in financial terms,” Kyle said. “I can’t think of one client that hasn’t recognized that.” More inside…

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Sun Launches OpenEco.org

| Tuesday September 25th, 2007 | 0 Comments

Sun Microsystems has launched an impressive new website called Openeco.org. In their own words, the site “is a new global on-line community that provides free, easy-to-use tools to help participants assess, track, and compare business energy performance, share proven best practices to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and encourage sustainable innovation.”
At first glance, I’m skeptical of yet another social networking oriented site, but this seems to be the first well funded site that is aimed at companies and professionals, rather than the general public. There’s also not a whole lot there just yet. But, with the backing of Natural Logic and CERES, there’s bound to emerge some useful activity.
There’s even a You Tube video, featuring Gil Friend (after the jump)…

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Walmart Greens Supply Chain

Sheila Samuelson | Monday September 24th, 2007 | 3 Comments

green_wmt.jpgOn the heels of unveiling “Great Value” brand CFLs last week, Walmart announced today that the company is working with suppliers to gauge and reduce the energy consumed in buying, manufacturing and distributing the products they sell, beginning with a focus on seven products (DVDs, toothpaste, soap, milk, beer, vacuum cleaners and soda).
Through energy reduction policies like this, retailers with supply networks on the scale of Walmart’s, can send a ripple of efficiency standards and product innovation through multiple industries, and squeeze inefficiency out of operations. Walmart, which will encourage the rest of its suppliers to respond to their new program, is working closely with suppliers and organizations like the Carbon Disclosure Program.
Articulating that this initiative is both a sound business decision for Walmart’s supply chain and the environment, the firm’s Chief Merchandising Officer said, “This is an opportunity to spur innovation and efficiency throughout our supply chain that will not only help protect the environment but save people money at the same time.”
Original article from One Shade Greener.

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AskPablo: The Northwest Passage

| Monday September 24th, 2007 | 4 Comments

NW%20Passage.jpgThis week a reader asks about how much the now open Northwest Passage will save in shipping emissions. This year, for the first time in recorded history, the Northwest Passage has become fully ice-free. This means that this Northern sea route around the Americas is now fully navigable, and will become increasingly so over the next few years. The Northwest Passage is expected to be a feasible alternative to the Panama Canal in 10 to 20 years, maybe sooner. But how much fuel and GHG emissions will it actually save to send container ships and supertankers into the arctic? Read on to find out…

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Greenbiz Sustainable MBA Column: Sustainability in the Workplace by Pablo Paster

| Friday September 21st, 2007 | 1 Comment

Pablo2.jpgWhile the business world is abuzz with talk of green and sustainable business practices, it’s important to remember that workplace sustainability goes far beyond switching out light bulbs and turning down the thermostat. Sustainability has both internal and external drivers and spans environmental and social dimensions. Below are a few key points to take into consideration:

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Park(ing) day is Friday in your Community

| Thursday September 20th, 2007 | 0 Comments

As long as you’re feeding the meter, who says you have to place a car in a parking space? That’s the genius behind Park(ing). A stunt done two years ago by a San Francisco art group known as Rebar. The group took a normal downtown parking place and transformed it into a mini park complete with sod, benches and flowers.
The event has really caught on and is happening literally all over the world tomorrow. Take a look at the list here and check it out in your neck of the woods. Remember – you may be a hard working business person, but taking some time out of your day to appreciate the whimsy and brilliance of this activity. Check out the list here.

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San Francisco’s Green Building Center Opens (Guest Post)

| Thursday September 20th, 2007 | 4 Comments

greenhomecenter.gifIt could be considered the country’s (or at least San Francisco’s) first Green mini mall or mini Green department store. Over on Polk Street, near a lot of mass transit and foot traffic, the recently opened Green Home Center had eco-sexuals checking out not only the
shops but the interior as well.
Talk about making use of density, the small retail space combines several sustainably minded companies in one space. The Green concept shops offer Green minded consumers kitchen and bath cabinets with low or no formadlyldle and FSC wood (Brand Kitchens & Designs), Green bedding and furniture (Eco-terric), reclaimed wood doors (Liberty Valley Doors) and as they say much, much more.

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San Francisco Waldorf School Green Report

| Monday September 17th, 2007 | 1 Comment

b1briddge.jpgDave Alsop, Head of Administration for the San Francisco Waldorf High School, watched along with excited parents, students, and faculty as the green ribbon was cut today welcoming the students to the first and only San Francisco LEED Gold Certified High School. Alsop explained, “We wanted the new high school to represent our values both visibly and outwardly”; and they succeeded.
The building was once a Pacific Bell call center hermetically sealed with gray walls and sparse, dark glazed windows, giving it a sinister persona. It’s hard to imagine people worked there long hours staring out at concrete walls, instead of gazing at the surrounding eucalyptus grove and greenery. The site was originally slated for condos, but the Waldorf School was able to swoop in there just in time and secure the spot.

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AskPablo: Iceberg Water

| Monday September 17th, 2007 | 1 Comment

greenland.jpgAfter seeing images of the melting Greenland Icecap on television this weekend my mother asked me if it would be economical to collect that water and deliver it to drought stricken regions. After my posting on bottled water (AskPablo: Exotic Bottled Water) many of you know that I am generally not a fan of shipping drinking water over great distances. But could this be a more environmentally friendly solution than desalination (AskPablo: Desalination and the Water-Energy Relationship)? Read on to find out…

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The Media on Oil Refinery Expansion

| Friday September 14th, 2007 | 3 Comments

refinery.jpegNot long ago, BP met a public relations disaster by making a request to increase its dumping of particulate matter into Lake Michigan by expanding its massive refinery on the south side of Chicago (lake calumet, technically). Despite the fact that the refinery’s added discharge would be somewhat trivial compared to the grand total of mysterious substances that Chicagoland’s industry and sewers dump into the lake annually, the request was quashed by an outraged public. Trivial or not, expanding oil refineries probably sets a bad precedent these days with great lakes cleanup high on the national priority list and fuel efficiency being far more important than increased production. The Chicago area press did a good job exposing the issue and leading the outcry against the added discharges.
Now, here’s an interesting piece of press. The JSOnline reports that Murphy Oil wants to make an even bigger refinery expansion in Superior, Wisconsin to process Alberta Oil (among the filthiest fuel options ever discovered). It’s unknown whether the expansion would result in added discharge to Lake Superior, but the company is taking the somewhat odd step of doing “everything it can to keep a similar controversy from exploding on the shores of Lake Superior”
The reason it’s odd is that I can’t tell from the article if Murphy oil wants to avoid discharges all together, or if they are simply trying to avoid having anyone find out. Read the article and you tell me. Economic opportunities are important, but increasing our dependency on oil, and worsening the state of the lakes, especially the relatively pristine Lake Superior seems like a bad policy to me. Whether they like it or not, the press is out now.

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ConocoPhillips $10 Million Deal to to Offset Expansion

| Wednesday September 12th, 2007 | 3 Comments

conocophillips.jpegIn the news today, ConocoPhillips is reporting that they will spend $10 Million to offset the carbon emissions of a proposed refinery expansion in the Bay Area. I have mixed feelings about this, but basically think it’s a good thing. On the one hand it lends a big boost to the legitimacy of carbon offsets, most of the money will be tied to indirect and difficult to audit projects such as wetlands restoration and tree planting. It also would seem to give people the idea that dumping a bunch of money on such projects suddenly makes it “ok” to burn a lot more oil. But unfortunately, that seems like what we’re destined to do for a while whether we offset or not.
What do you think?

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Net Impact Releases 2007 Business as UNusual Guide

| Tuesday September 11th, 2007 | 0 Comments

netimpact.jpgThe Second Annual Net Impact Business as UNusual Guide has just been published. The guide details leading MBA programs, including student responses to surveys, curriculum information, inside perspectives on faculty and alumni networking, as well as broad data aggregated from all the schools in the study. It’s a great resource to check out, especially if you’re looking into getting an MBA.
Take a look at the whole thing on PDF here.

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Sun’s Project BlackBox Using Shipping Containers as Server Rooms

| Monday September 10th, 2007 | 0 Comments

sunbox.jpgI love shipping container architecture, but the following innovation by Sun Microsystems takes it to a new place. “Project Blackbox” offers clients portable data centers inside of standard shipping containers. Not only is this easy and safe to deploy and transport, but it apparently takes a lot less energy to cool, and as a semi-permanent structure is obviously a lot less resource intensive in its construction. No word on whether these are used or new containers, however.

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AskPablo: Coal-Fired Power Plants

| Monday September 10th, 2007 | 13 Comments

This week I am going to examine the world of coal-fired power plants. Coal is an energy-dense substance found deep underground. Like oil and natural gas it is made from prehistoric organisms and biomass under intense heat and pressure. The living precursors to these fuels sequestered CO2 from the atmosphere, as plants do today, and have locked it away for millions of years, making the atmosphere conducive to life as we know it. In extracting and combusting these fuels we are returning that CO2 into the atmosphere. Is one fuel just as bad as the others or is coal just evil? Let’s look at some numbers and find out.

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Billions for Great Lakes Cleanup Actually Makes Money

| Wednesday September 5th, 2007 | 1 Comment

greatlakes.jpgThe Great Lakes are a mess. Invasive species such as the dreaded Zebra mussel have turned the lakes’ ecology upside down. Sewerage overflows have pumped billions of gallons of filth in to the lakes. Industrial pollution, channel dredging, and all sorts of other culprits have all added to the lakes’ misery.
The charge to clean it all up? $26 Billion.
But, as this article so simply states, it’s not a cost at all but an economic investment that not only repairs much of the damage done, but pays for itself at least two-fold in direct economic benefits to the region.
This is a great example of more holistic thinking when it comes to both economy and environment (and recreational culture for that matter) and it’s the kind of thinking that can cut through political differences because it’s just plain common sense.
UPDATE – Check out the PDF with the full report.

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