Millennials and the Social Entrepreneurship Revolution

3p Contributor | Tuesday February 10th, 2015 | 7 Comments

11939709486_1aa2691980_zBy Solène Pignet

We have all heard about millennials, also known as Generation Y (Gen Y), or a generation that struggles to fit in the job market (because of the crises which give less job opportunities and, most importantly, because of the value gap with the existing corporate culture).

In this article, I want to share with you why I think Gen Yers are made to become social entrepreneurs.

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Solar Rapidly Expands in Hawaii

Gina-Marie Cheeseman
| Tuesday February 10th, 2015 | 0 Comments

solarSolar power is really growing in Hawaii, as a recent report from the Energy Information Administration (EIA) shows. Over the last five years, solar power has grown exponentially, particularly in Oahu where most of the state’s population lives: About 12 percent of Oahu residents have rooftop solar, compared to the U.S. average of 0.50 percent.

As larger and more efficient solar photovoltaic (PV) systems are installed, the average capacity of residential net-metered PV systems has been increasing all over Hawaii.

Hawaii is unique when it comes to energy fuels in that it imports all that the state needs, and a large share of the state’s power comes from oil-fired generators. Hawaii’s electricity prices are the highest in the U.S. and that makes wind and solar power “economically attractive alternatives,” as the EIA report states.

But there are problems: Delays are slowing residential solar PV additions.

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Burlington, Vermont Now Runs on 100 Percent Renewable Energy

Leon Kaye | Monday February 9th, 2015 | 15 Comments
Burlington, Vermont, Burlington Electric, Wind Power, hydropower, biogas, renewable energy, clean energy, renewables, solar, Leon Kaye

This biomass power station in Burlington provides about a third of the city’s energy needs.

Burlington, Vermont, has been making waves for becoming the first city in the U.S. to be powered 100 percent by renewables. (Some may say Greenburg, Kansas was the first, but we are talking about a town of 800 people versus 42,000 in Burlington.) Reliant on coal a generation ago, Vermont’s largest city has slowly revamped its energy portfolio, culminating in the purchase of a hydropower plant late last year.

This milestone may not be surprising considering Vermont’s progressive politics and buy-in from residents who overall supported the plan of the local utility, Burlington Electric. But the fact that Burlington has been able to do this without raising rates since 2009 — while saving the city about $20 million over the next 20 years — creates a case study for communities that are interested in investing in renewables but skittish about making such an aggressive move.

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Florida’s Expanding Sinkholes Won’t Deter Fracking

Jan Lee
Jan Lee | Monday February 9th, 2015 | 3 Comments

Florida_sinkhole_JohnSQuarterman_ABCYears ago, I had a part-time job working in the back office of a Florida engineering firm that handled foundation restoration claims. Its commercial success was not only evidence of Tampa’s burgeoning population, but also the growing number of sinkholes that were beginning to appear across West Florida’s “Sinkhole Alley” at the center of the state.

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Unilever, P&G Join Closed Loop Fund to Boost Municipal Recycling

Leon Kaye | Monday February 9th, 2015 | 0 Comments
Unilever, Procter and Gamble, recycling, recycling programs, Close Loop Funds, waste diversion, Leon Kaye, extended producer liability

Recycling can be a revenue generator — but many cities are slow to invest in such programs.

Recycling has become a multi-billion dollar industry in the United States, with some estimates suggesting it could even be worth as much as $80 billion this year. Nevertheless, many communities in the U.S. still do not offer recycling with their municipal waste collection. Even though cities such as Los Angeles have seen a net financial benefit — gaining revenues from selling off recyclable materials instead of paying to send them to landfill — cities are losing money from not launching recycling programs.

Of course, as with the launch of any business or initiative, seed money is needed. And despite the improving economy, many municipalities cannot or will not invest in the launch of the program. Recently Unilever and Procter & Gamble joined a program that seeks to address the growing challenges of waste diversion.

Both consumer packaged goods companies are now aligned with the Closed Loop Fund, a multi-stakeholder program that seeks to invest up to $100 million in recycling programs.

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Personal Beliefs, Vaccinations and Climate Change

Bill Roth | Monday February 9th, 2015 | 7 Comments

3483848619_6910d53720_zAmerica confronts a potential measles epidemic because up to 47 percent of the U.S. population doubts the statistical evidence that vaccination is safe and effective. We confront a similar situation with climate change. Statistical scientific analysis documents that global warming is real and manmade. While our Senate did vote in agreement that climate change is not a hoax, a majority of senators rejected the statistics on climate change to vote that global warming is not manmade.

This raises a paradoxical behavioral economics question: Why would moms and politicians ignore statistical evidence when the consequences can include death, epidemics and irreversible climate change?

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SVN ‘Best Advice’ Series: Manage Your Mood

3p Contributor | Monday February 9th, 2015 | 1 Comment

Join Social Venture Network for the 2015 SVN Spring Conference, April 16-19, in San Diego. The event is open to active members, affiliates, family members and first-time prospective members. Click here to register.

As a lead-up to the conference, SVN is sharing best business practices from its members in a series of short video clips. Follow the series here.

Rinku Sen best adviceBy Social Venture Network

SVN members have launched some of the most innovative organizations in the mission-driven business community. They’ve experienced success, failure, setbacks and breakthroughs … and are very candid about the lessons they learned the hard way.

In this video, SVN member Rinku Sen, president and executive director of Race Forward, shares how a leader’s mood affects the entire organization, and how properly managing your mood can dramatically improve organizational culture.

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Introduction to the Galapagos: A Triple Bottom Line Perspective

| Monday February 9th, 2015 | 1 Comment
Tortoise inspection, highlands of Isla Santa Cruz.

Tortoise inspection, highlands of Isla Santa Cruz.

I’ve just returned from a trip to the Galapagos Islands that prompts my rare use of cliché superlatives like “amazing” and “once in a lifetime.” It was both of those things and plenty more. Naturally, looking at the Galapagos from a triple bottom line point of view made the whole experience even more complex and interesting. Over the next week or two, we’ll get into some of the details and stories. For starters, I thought a little background and introduction would make sense.

As our readers probably know, the Galapagos Islands are the sparsely populated volcanic archipelago 600 miles west of the Ecuadorian mainland made famous by Charles Darwin’s visit in the early 1800s. Rife with endemic species of wildlife, 97 percent of the islands are a tightly restricted national park.  On the rest of the land are about 30,000 islanders making their living mostly through tourism and fishing.

At present, a limited number of tourists per year are granted the privilege of touring the islands on boats operated by one of several dozen tour companies that have been granted a license to do so.  These tour operators follow a strict set of approved itineraries and make scheduled stops at designated landings where naturalists guide visitors on short hikes. It’s a system that, by and large, has proven quite effective at minimizing environmental impact, but questions remain about maintaining a viable economy for islanders as well as exactly how much tourism should be allowed to grow (if at all).

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Funding Opportunities for Local Community Nonprofits

3p Contributor | Monday February 9th, 2015 | 0 Comments
The local library serves as a community center for senior citizens in Hudson, New York.

The local library serves as a community center for senior citizens in Hudson, New York.

By Leah B. Thibault

When we think of what distinguishes a town from its neighbor, we often speak of the businesses: the local coffee shop or deli; the funky boutique or bookstore; all important to the identity and economic well-being of a community.

But there is a second, equally vital, but more often overlooked group of service providers and nonprofits that tend to their communities’ physical, mental and emotional well-being.

These service providers are the daycares that make it possible for parents to work outside the home, or the hospitals that tend to all who need care regardless of their insurance coverage, or the art facilities and libraries that provide educational opportunities and cultural enrichment.

These service providers, many of them nonprofits, are often dependent on donations or grant funding, which can be unpredictable or restricted to very specific uses, making large-scale capital projects, like renovation or construction, difficult. It is notable, then, that over 1,200 community facilities were able to access flexible, affordable capital through the federal New Markets Tax Credit Program between 2003 and 2012, according to a national study by the New Markets Tax Credit Coalition.

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Rooftop Solar? This Texas Town Says ‘Not in My Backyard’

Gina-Marie Cheeseman
| Monday February 9th, 2015 | 2 Comments

NIMBYNIMBY (not in my backyard) is alive and well in a Fort Worth, Texas suburb — and this time with a solar twist.

Back in December, the North Richland Hills town council passed an ordinance requiring homeowners whose roofs face the street to get permission to install rooftop solar power systems. The ordinance also states that solar panels can’t extend “beyond roof edges.” The town council’s reason for the ordinance, according to its website, is to “balance benefits to [the] homeowner with any potential impacts to the surrounding property owners.” That means some homeowners in North Richland Hills face an obstacle to installing rooftop solar, along with a special use permit fee that the Dallas Morning News reports could cost up to $600.

After receiving a petition from citizens, on Jan. 26 the town council agreed to “revisit” the ordinance on solar panels. The council will survey residents to decide what changes citizens want to the ordinance, and any amendments to it will go through a public hearing process. The special use permit fee will be waived while the ordinance is being reviewed.

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3p Weekend: 11 Sustainable U.S. Wineries

Mary Mazzoni
| Friday February 6th, 2015 | 3 Comments

WineWith a busy week behind you and the weekend within reach, there’s no shame in taking things a bit easy on Friday afternoon. With this in mind, every Friday TriplePundit will give you a fun, easy read on a topic you care about. So, take a break from those endless email threads, and spend five minutes catching up on the latest trends in sustainability and business.

A few months back, we ran a roundup of the top 10 sustainable U.S. breweries. As the list made its rounds on social media, a few of you asked us to give a nod to the wine-lovers out there. You asked, we answered. Break out those glasses, and toast the weekend with a sip from one of these 11 sustainable U.S. wineries.

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Ecotourism in Ecuador: Eating Chocolate Like a Locavore

Sarah Lozanova | Friday February 6th, 2015 | 0 Comments
Cacao bean grinder

Ecuadorian chocolatiers use cacao bean grinders like this one to turn locally-sourced beans into tasty treats.

When I think seriously about becoming a locavore, I cringe at the thought of giving up coffee, avocados and especially chocolate. Seventy percent of the world’s cacao beans are cultivated in Africa, according to Francisco Meza of El Quetzal de Mindo, a chocolatier in the cloud forest of Ecuador.

Now, a couple of chocolate makers are operating out of Mindo, making a handmade product with locally-sourced beans. They use Ecuadorian Cacao Nacional, a cacao bean that is grown on small family farms in Puerto Quito, 40 miles from Mindo.

These chocolatiers are helping to turn Mindo into a chocolate heaven, where visitors can take tours and get schooled in the chocolate-making process.

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“Frozen” Sequel? Let Kids Educate Disney About Climate Change

Jan Lee
Jan Lee | Friday February 6th, 2015 | 2 Comments

Frozen_Climate_Change_Movie_Obama

Maybe it’s just the approach that’s missing.

Just recently, the Obama administration reached out to Walt Disney Co. with a simple request — or so it probably seemed to Rear Adm. Robert Papp, the administration’s special representative for the Arctic and former commander of the U.S. Coast Guard.

As Papp recounted at an Arctic Frontiers Conference in Tromsø, Norway this January, his mission was to ask the 92-year-old company if the Obama administration could use Disney’s new blockbuster, “Frozen,” to teach kids about climate change.

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Domtar Brings Transparency to the Pulp and Paper Industry

Leon Kaye | Friday February 6th, 2015 | 0 Comments
Domtar, pulp and paper, transparency, commercial forestry, Leon Kaye, The Paper Trail, supply chain, responsible sourcing

The Paper Trail can educate you on the social and economic impacts of your paper order

Companies are talking more and more about transparency, but sourcing a product from raw material to the warehouse or store shelf is not always the easiest task. Buyers of office supplies who are interested in the social and environmental impacts of their paper purchases, however, may want to consider checking out The Paper Trail, a Web-based interactive tool that tracks the products coming out of the paper manufacturer Domtar’s 13 mills in North America.

The Paper Trail first launched in 2011, but Domtar recently added social and economic data to the site. Now users can glean more information on how the company operates across it supply chain, from greenhouse gas emissions and renewable energy consumption to local community involvement and charitable donations.

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SVN ‘Best Advice’ Series: Never Stop Learning From Your Customers

3p Contributor | Friday February 6th, 2015 | 0 Comments

Join Social Venture Network for the 2015 SVN Spring Conference, April 16-19, in San Diego. The event is open to active members, affiliates, family members and first-time prospective members. Click here to register.

As a lead-up to the conference, SVN is sharing best business practices from its members in a series of short video clips. Follow the series here.

Mark Tilsen Best AdviceBy Social Venture Network

SVN members have launched some of the most innovative organizations in the mission-driven business community. They’ve experienced success, failure, setbacks, and breakthroughs … and are very candid about the lessons they learned the hard way.

In this video, SVN member Mark Tilsen, president of Tanka Bar and co-founder of Native American Natural Foods, shares how listening to his customers helped him grow his business.

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