Coca-Cola Co. and PepsiCo are reportedly readying their manufacturing units to replace artificial sweeteners in their beverages with an all natural sweetener called Stevia. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is expected to give thumbs up this week to Stevia, a natural plant extract which has been in use for hundreds of years already in Latin America.
Cokes enriched with Stevia, also known as sweet leaf or sugar leaf, will have all the sweetness of sugar but none of the calories or carbohydrates, and a zero glycemic index. The plant, which already has holy grail status in the industry, will likely be adopted in many fizzy drinks and other beverages if it gets approved.
The Asia-Pacific market for green IT services will expand at a compound annual growth rate of 68.5% between 2008 and 2011, from around $251 million in 2007 to some $2 billion, according to a recently released study by Springboard Research. According to the study, which excludes Japan, Australia presents itself as the largest, and key, market for green IT services during this period though India and China are forecast to grow at faster rates but from a smaller base. According to Springboard’s “Asia Pacific Green IT Services Market – The Budding Greens,” consulting services capabilities are a key aspect in the market – expected to grow to $546 million– though infrastructure services make up some 58%, the largest single component, of the market. “The key finding from our study is that consulting capability is an essential market entry point for vendors,” said Phil Hassey, Springboard vice president of services. “Green IT Services vividly highlights the need for service providers to have end to end capabilities, and to not rely upon a narrow set of capabilities if they are to capture market opportunities.” Virtualization, data center management, recycling and enterprise-wide green IT strategies are the four key areas organizations are examining when it comes to greening IT. While the green IT services market in the Asia-Pacific region is still “embryonic,” according to Springboard, HP-EDS and IBM have had success implementing end-to-end solutions. Other active participants include Sun, Dell, VMWare and Microsoft. The key challenges that lie ahead involve vendors, customers, and governments being able to come together to craft practical, effective solutions and regulations. Vendors in particular “should ensure that their Green IT solutions are more than ‘window dressing’ of existing solutions – for a premium. Green IT adoption will not go into the mainstream until the vendors showcase clear cost savings and a transformational outcome to the enterprise users,” Hassey said. For a broader and deeper look into what’s going on in Green IT, including how and why it will make it through the recession, check out Greener Computing’s current offerings.
In his inauguration speech, President-Elect Obama said we need an economy that addresses the “new energy to harness and new jobs to be created.” But what are some of the opportunities to watch for? Check out his plan below, and then let’s discuss some of the areas that should see increased opportunity.
In anticipation of an Obama victory, investors scooped up insanely cheap renewable energy stocks on the day before and the day of the election. The solar sector saw some of the most impressive gains, with stocks like Evergreen Solar (NASDAQ:ESLR) climbing 44 percent, and Solarfun Power Holdings (NASDAQ:SOLF) picking up 49 percent. In wind, California wind farm developer Western Wind Energy Corporation (TSX-V:WND) tacked on 53 percent, and many are now expecting Vestas Wind Systems (CPH:VWS) – the world’s largest turbine manufacturer – to gain added momentum if the President-elect follows through with campaign promises of long-term support for wind. Of course, it will be interesting to see how the rest of the year unfolds, as those that were on the fence with renewables may rush to get a piece of this action now, and those that had been loading up on cheap shares may be willing to cash out in the short-term for quick gains. Regardless, it should be understood that the potential of the renewable energy market does not rely upon an Obama administration alone. Certainly our next President’s energy agenda will support the renewable energy industry a lot more than the Bush administration did over the past eight years. But the reality is, without the continued threat of fossil fuel depletion and global warming, renewables could not take center stage the way they will over the next four years.
With dwindling fossil fuel supplies, coal has been viewed as the energy source of last resort. This outlook is changing as estimated global coal supplies seem to have been severely inflated. Is coal’s future in doubt? Many experts are saying yes. Professor David Rutledge of CalTech believes that world coal reserves are grossly overstated and could be substantially exhausted this century. This is in stark contrast to earlier forecasts. Here’s why:
I was lucky enough to see Al Gore at the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco this week. Lucky because after all he is the Goreacle, but if you could invite anyone to your post-election victory party, wouldn’t Al be at the top of your list? This year’s “Web Meets World” theme brought together Internet-industry leaders to explore “how might the Web be used to address the world’s most pressing limits.” The Goreacle concluded the summit as the last speaker on the last day, but enthusiasm was still high as he was greeted with loud applause and a standing ovation by the digerati in attendance.
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.
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.
Despite 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.
Let’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.
Last 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.
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.
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.
First 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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