The Greening of the Hotel Industry

Gina-Marie Cheeseman
| Monday June 30th, 2008 | 1 Comment

fairmont%20hotel.jpgGoing ‚Äògreen’ is more than a mere fad in the hotel industry. The San Francisco based Kimpton Hotels and Restaurants began implementing environmental initiatives in 1985. Twenty years later Kimpton created EarthCare, which has over 40 eco-friendly practices, including energy and water conservation. In 2006 Kimpton earned the National GeoTourism Award given by National Geographic Traveler and the Travel Industry Association of America. The state of California acknowledged Kimpton’s efforts.
“Supporting a sustainable world has long been a core, guiding principle behind our business practices,” said Niki Leondakis, chief operating officer of Kimpton. “As environmental awareness is increasingly spreading throughout the country, this award acknowledges the many ways that organizations have the power to impact change for the future of our planet.”

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Eskimos Sue 23 Energy Companies For Global Warming Related Damages

| Saturday June 28th, 2008 | 6 Comments

The first major global warming court case has yet to take place, but various attempts at landmark cases that will make litigation history have been made in the last year or so. Now a new case featuring a community of Alaskan Eskimos could move into the spotlight. Not least because the lawyers involved are the same as those that broke the tobacco industry ten years ago.

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G8 Commissioned Study Reveals That Tough Climate Targets Can Be Achieved

| Saturday June 28th, 2008 | 1 Comment

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Low carbon societies can become a reality because technically and economically it is possible to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, say scientists from nine countries who researched the issue on behalf of the G8. They say that reducing global carbon emissions by half by 2050 is feasible if clever models are applied and outlined details of three extensive models in a peer reviewed article in Climate Policy.

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Please Take the Triple Pundit User Survey

| Friday June 27th, 2008 | 0 Comments

survey.jpgHappy Friday everyone. At long last, we’ve conjured up a user survey for Triple Pundit readers and it’s really important that we get some good data over the course of the next week or so. The purpose of the survey is two-fold – 1) To find out more about you, and 2) to find out more about what you want to read about. Please feel free to leave any additional comments about 3P in general at the end of this post. This survey will take ONLY 5 MINUTES (honest!).


CLICK HERE TO TAKE THE SURVEY

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California Unveils Plan for Cutting Carbon

| Friday June 27th, 2008 | 0 Comments

smoker88.jpegThe California Air Resource Board (CARB) on Thursday unveiled its proposal for how to drastically cut greenhouse gas emissions by 2020.
The much-anticipated plan (PDF) is the latest step toward implementing California’s landmark “Global Warming Solutions Act” (also know by its legislative number, AB 32), passed in 2006. The bill includes mandates to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 30 percent below 1990 levels by 2030 – or 427 million metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) equivalents; a subsequent executive order extended that mandate to a whopping 80 percent by 2050.
As Alexis Madrigal reports at WIRED Science, “The scoping plan shows that California needs to cut 169 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent from the 2020 business-as-usual scenario. That’s more than twice Massachusetts’ total CO2 emissions from 1990.”

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What If Your Lawn Had Brains?

Shannon Arvizu | Friday June 27th, 2008 | 0 Comments

sat.jpg Water shortage is an an increasingly important issue in cities across the nation. More than half of all urban water is used on landscapes, much of which is wasted on overwatering. Municipalities are implementing new regulations to curb usage and increase prices. So, where does that leave business owners and homeowners who would still like to keep their properties pretty with fresh foliage?
WeatherTRAK offers an advanced smart irrigation system for commercial and home use. It automatically knows when to water and how much to water based on up-to-date weather information tracked by satellite, plant type, and soil gradient. The system saves water and eliminates property damage from overwatering. It also delivers real-time information about your system via the Internet. It’s like having your own personal meteorologist and landscape manager handle your lawn. The system averages a 2-year payback period and is already in use on several multinational company campuses.

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Paul Polak on Poverty Alleviation

| Friday June 27th, 2008 | 0 Comments

Paul Polak, founder of International Development Enterprises (IDE), has released an enriching addition to the poverty debate. ‘Out of Poverty’ clearly elucidates some of the great myths of traditional development approaches and, best of all, will have you thinking optimistically about solutions.
Polak’s work provides an innovative and well grounded approach to addressing poverty; a revolutionary style that recognises the competencies and enthusiasm of the poor as subjects in the development process.

It is “a wise and engaging new book” (The Economist) that offers “optimism not just for those fighting poverty and those fighting to get out of it, but for any company interested in a basically untapped 1 billion-person market” (BusinessWeek).

For Polak, small farmer prosperity represents a great opportunity to end rural poverty and because of this, development initiatives should maintain a focus on rural development through investment within these communities. In doing so we must move away from the ‘business as usual’ approach and reject 3 great myths surrounding poverty alleviation, which are that:
1. We can donate people out of poverty;
2. We can end poverty through national economic growth; and
3. Multinationals as they are now will end poverty.
He elaborates on the significance of these myths within the book and also provides an outline in his latest IDE presentation, which can be seen on this youtube video:

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Whole Foods Unveils New Outdoor Ad Campaign

| Friday June 27th, 2008 | 0 Comments

bc8a1.jpgLast night, as is the case most days, I was quickly skimming through the barrage of MediaPost newsletters I get in my inbox. Sandwiched in the newly-launched ad campaign section, between a promotion by Jolt Energy to hand out free cola to residents in Alaska that will have no darkness for the next week and a promotion by Hanes showing Charlie Sheen in his undies, something caught my attention: Whole Foods has recently launched an outdoor campaign in the tri-state area positioning itself as the grocery store that meets the everyday needs of people.
Created by boutique New York ad agency The Watsons, the ads range from touting being healthy to poking fun at some of the things the chain is being notorious for in a seeming attempt to compete with more traditional grocery store chains. Splattered on subway entrances and billboards, one ad reads: “A 50 person line has about a 4 minute wait. About as long as you wait for other cashiers to wrap up a personal call.”

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Interview with Mitch Baranowski of BBMG

Gina-Marie Cheeseman
| Friday June 27th, 2008 | 0 Comments

bbmg_logo.gifToday I interviewed, via the telephone, co-founder of BBMG Mitch Baranowski. He began by telling me that BBMG is “a hub for socially conscious companies that practice the triple bottom line.” The rest of the interview focused on BBMG’s Conscious Consumer Report.
Q. In the introduction of the report it mentions “the rise of the conscious consumer.” What caused that to occur?
A. It’s a combination of things. We are becoming increasingly conscious as consumers. We can’t do anything about issues like foreign policy, but we can purchase with a purpose. We can choose to do our part to make the world a better place.
We’ve seen the emergence of the social entrepreneur. Whole Foods is a good example. Companies are becoming socially responsible, and non-profits are becoming more entrepreneurial…what we call the for benefits sector.

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Where’s My Wind? Outdated Grid Transmission in the U.S.

Shannon Arvizu | Thursday June 26th, 2008 | 0 Comments

grid.jpeg Wind energy is facing yet another obstacle in the U.S. This time it’s about transmission issues. How do we connect various renewable energy projects to our nation’s grid? Currently, the U.S. transmission grid needs serious upgrading to handle the additional input of energy. In the meantime, wind turbines slated for installation have been collecting dust instead. Last week, the U.S. Senate held their first hearing on renewable energy and transmission. Don Furman (President-elect of the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) and Chair of AWEA’s Transmission Committee) gave testimony at the hearing and proposed the following considerations to mobilize our leaders into action.

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Dell first to offer 80 PLUS Gold power supply, the highest in energy efficiency

| Thursday June 26th, 2008 | 0 Comments

80plus_logo.gifDell wants to be the “greenest” tech company out there. With commitment to industry standards like EPEAT and ENERGY STAR in addition to their recycling initiatives and WEEE compliance, you might say they are well on their way.
This week brings an industry first for the company: an 80PLUS Gold power supply for servers. 80PLUS Gold is the highest rating for power supply energy efficiency. The standard requires 92 percent minimum efficiency for the power supply unit at 50 percent of rated output. What exactly does that mean? Not all of the electricity that a computer uses goes to power the computer; some is released as excess heat. To be 92 percent efficient means 92 percent of the energy that goes into the computer is actually used by the computer. More efficient power supplies cut down on the wasted excess heat.

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Waste Recycling Targets set in EU

| Thursday June 26th, 2008 | 1 Comment

recycling.jpgAgreement has been reached in Strasbourg by Euro-MPs to set new waste recycling targets, with tough penalties for non-compliance. By 2020 50% of household rubbish and 70% of construction and demolition waste must be recycled – with mechanisms to penalize governments through court action when the targets are not enforced. The new standard is, for some, a clear statement of the ongoing progressive, environmental mindedness emerging from the European centre. For others it is a compromise; it is too weak a solution that will not change the fundamentals of consumerism and problems surrounding waste management that persist with modern lifestyles.
The Waste Framework Directive increases recycling levels, requires the preparation of national programmes for waste management, international partnerships and more stringent measures for waste incineration. The author of the waste report, conservative MEP Caroline Jackson suggested that:

“this is the best deal available. Anyone who thinks that we could get anything better would be deceiving themselves.”

Furthermore, the conception of waste as an opportunity emerges within the agreement:

“This deal marks a shift in thinking about waste from an unwanted burden to a valued resource and helps to make Europe a recycling society, said European Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas.”

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Sustainable City: Tijuana, Mexico

| Thursday June 26th, 2008 | 9 Comments

For many, the very mention of Tijuana conjures up images of debauchery, drunken 18-year olds, and Montezuma’s Revenge. What it might not conjure is a vision of sustainability. Especially when it’s in terms of tract housing developments. Yet Urbi, one of Mexico’s premiere housing developers, is attempting to create just that.
Working in concert with Conavi, Mexico’s equivalent of the National Department of Housing, Urbi’s Valle Las Palmas that was announced last year is planned as a satellite city with aspirations of being a completely self-sufficient community. “It’s practically a doctoral thesis,” said Evangelina Hirata, General Sub-director of Conavi, referring to the scale of the project, one that will create an independent, “ordered and sustainable” municipality for 1,000,000 inhabitants, complete with energy-independence, industry, and services. Though the developers intended to fill 10,000 homes as early as last October, the satellite city project isn’t envisioned to reach full completion until 2030.

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Icerocks: Hermetically packaged ice cubes. This must be a joke.

| Wednesday June 25th, 2008 | 2 Comments

As many consumers continue to question the impact of their bottled water guilty pleasures, somehow a company called the Water Bank of America is producing packaged water, “made from spring water drawn from the Vend√©e Region of France in the Massif Central.” Check out their website, complete with pictures of b-list celebrities and Ferraris, an unfinished foundation page, and soothing music.
The company’s latest news page hasn’t been updated for a year. Perhaps if this post finds its way to Digg, the website will be taken offline permanently, spending any last pennies left in the company’s bank account. And a shame that would be, as they’d never have the chance to reveal what on Earth they could have possibly meant by their catch phrase “think blue, be green,” and how it possibly relates to plastic wrapped water cubes.

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James Hansen: Oil Company CEOs Are Criminals Against Humanity

Shannon Arvizu | Wednesday June 25th, 2008 | 4 Comments

hansen.jpg James Hansen released an alarming statement this week on the twentieth anniversary of his first testimony to Congress on global warming. In it, the renowned climate scientist says that the conclusions of the global scientific consensus “have a certainty exceeding 99 percent.”
The thrust of the statement consists of an urgent call for renewable energy mobilization. He argues that, “A path yielding energy independence and a healthier environment is, barely, still possible.” To help us along this path, Hansen calls for several immediate steps – including charging CEOs of fossil energy companies with high crimes against humanity.

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