Climate Change: You Don’t Have to Believe It, But You Still Need to Plan For It

| Friday April 25th, 2008 | 3 Comments

Climate Change: What's Your Business Strategy?On the one hand climate change portends nothing less than the cataclysmic end of civilization as we know it. On the other it is simply the most insidious hoax foisted upon mankind in the history of humanity.

Whatever.

If you’re a CEO or business leader it really doesn’t matter what you believe about the science of global warming, because in the business world climate change is coming and if you aren’t prepared for it your business will suffer.

This is the focus of “Climate Change: What’s Your Business Strategy? a new book due out on May 1st from Harvard Business Publishing.

The book, at only 97 pages, leaves off the science of climate change and gets right down to business.

Authors and MBA professors Andrew Hoffman and John Woody contend that an effective business strategy doesn’t necessarily require any particular point of view regarding the science of global warming. What is required is an understanding of the changes and opportunities that come with a changing business environment.

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

podium[Your News Here]

Challenges of Green Residential Development: Resistance to Change (Local Government)

| Friday April 25th, 2008 | 3 Comments

Green_Ribbon_final.jpg
City governments are a partner with developers in building communities within city borders. Just as with any other partner in business, the parties must have a common goal, and be able to communicate effectively to achieve success. In many places, communication on green development remains poor and education on both sides of the fence is not uniform.
For example, a developer might propose to use a new wall system to construct his buildings that the city engineers are not familiar with. Therefore the city must be educated accordingly and the developer will be informed by the city that this new material may require new ordinances, building codes, or inspection guidelines – a quagmire that might make the developer feel it’s too much trouble to bother with.

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

Green Electronics Made Not So Easy: How Companies Are Marketing EPEAT

| Thursday April 24th, 2008 | 0 Comments

epeat1.pngEPEAT, the Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool, is like LEED certification for electronics; it monitors the environmental impact of electronics much like LEED monitors buildings. Products are ranked either bronze, silver, or gold, depending on how many of the 51 criteria they meet. Criteria include recycling programs for products, the labeling of plastic parts for recycling, the elimination of “environmentally sensitive” material, ENERGY STAR®, RoHS, and WEEE compliance, among others. Companies are taking a serious look at the certification now that at least 95% of federal agency electronic purchases must be EPEAT-registered.
Naturally, the EPEAT website has a list of all certified products on their site, but now Softchoice, a major IT provider, is including the EPEAT ranking within the technical specifications of all available products. Softchoice is making an important step here; increasing the visibility of EPEAT as well as explaining its importance.
Computer manufacturers are doing a great job of implementing the EPEAT standards. HP, Dell, Toshiba, and Lenovo all have EPEAT gold certified products. But much like the Eco TV, marketing does not seem geared toward these environmental efforts.

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

Plunging Home Values? Then You’ve Driven Too Far – A Case for Smart Development

| Wednesday April 23rd, 2008 | 5 Comments

Driving less is key to sustained home valuesNot so long ago the thinking was “drive ‘till you qualify”  – but it’s a brave new world, with a barrel of oil costing $118.10 (as of this writing) and gallon of gas reaching up for the $4.00 per gallon threshold, that thinking just doesn’t work like it used to. Home owners and developers are having second thoughts about that nice little three-bedroom split-level gleaming in the distant suburban sun – or put another way, that house miles from anywhere you need to be (other than home) that’s worth less than you paid for it.

A recent report on National Public Radio’s Morning Edition talks of tumbling home prices in a “slowed” economy (just don’t call it a recession), and to a phenomenon in the housing market that is best summed up in three words:

  1. Location
  2. Location
  3. Location

There’s a new metric in town when it comes to buying a home, and it’s one we’re already familiar with: miles per gallon.

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

Organizations’ Environmental Activities Impact Employees

| Wednesday April 23rd, 2008 | 1 Comment

raphael-Plato-Aristotle_yoest.jpg
A study by the Kenexa Research Institute indicates that organizations environmental initiatives significantly influence employee motivation and their opinions of senior management. Fifty-four percent of employees surveyed in a cross-culture study that spanned 13 countries looked favorably on their organizations’ “green” initiatives. More Indian workers (63%) looked favorably on their organization’s environmental initiatives than their counterparts in Russia (42%) and Japan (40%), where the two least favorable ratings were recorded.
The research results indicate that an organization’s record of environmental responsibility can significantly and positively influence employees’ opinions of management and the company they work for, their overall job satisfaction, intentions to stay with the company and recommend it to others as a good place to work, according to Kenexa.
“Those organizations committed to the environment demonstrate this by routinely recycling, conserving energy and working with vendors who share similar values. This sets them apart from their competition by creating a positive employment brand, and establishes an emotional tie between the employee and organization,” Anne Herman, a Kenexa research consultant stated in a media release.

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

NEX Clean Energy Share Index Falls in Q1

| Wednesday April 23rd, 2008 | 1 Comment

nex3m.png
Volatility has increased and share prices of clean energy stocks fell during Q1 2007 as heavy bank losses, weakening economies and ongoing rises in basic commodities took their toll on what’s been a rapid and large-scale flow of capital into the sector, according to an April 1 New Energy Finance media release.
The 17.9% drop in the WilderHill New Energy Global Innovation Index of clean energy shares (NEX) for 2008′s first three months was larger than that for broad stock market indices. NASDAQ fell 14.1% while the S&P500 was 9.9% lower for the quarter. The NEX rose 57.9% faster last year, outperforming other indices on the upside as well.
The Power Storage sector was a bright spot in the gloom and looking out over the longer term governments’ need to meet established renewable fuels, clean energy and greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets underpins and provides strong support for clean energy companies and shares, however, according to the media release.

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

In the News: Europe Turns to Coal; ThinkCity Recyclable Plug-In Coming to US

| Wednesday April 23rd, 2008 | 1 Comment

gerpowrplant.jpg
The International Herald Tribune in its April 23 edition reports on two contrasting developments that are likely to have significant ramifications when it comes to efforts to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions and facilitate a transition to low carbon societies while at the same time meeting forecasted growth in energy demand in Europe and the US.
A front page article by Elizabeth Rosenthal, reporting from Civitavecchia, reports on Italian electric utility Enel’s plans to convert one of the country’s largest power plants from oil to coal, one instance of a broader shift to coal by electricity producers across the EU, and the alarm these plans have raised among environmental scientists.
A mid-page 13 article by Reuters’ Anupreeta Das, meanwhile, reports on plans being hatched by two of leading US VCs and Norwegian electric carmaker ThinkGlobal to put as many as 50,000 recyclable, emissions free plug-in electric vehicles a year on US roads.

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

Renewable Energy Credits 101

| Wednesday April 23rd, 2008 | 6 Comments

rewnew99.jpgSome of you might have heard of Renewable Energy Credits (RECs), an alternative to carbon offsets. Many companies are starting to buy them to offset their electricity usage, or just to support the production of clean renewable energy sources.
The question is, what are Renewable Energy Credits exactly? How do they work? What are you really owning when you put your name on the dotted line?
First things first: when renewable energy companies create power, they sell it to the nearest utility and it goes out on the grid and gets mixed with all the electricity produced by natural gas, coal, and hydro. There is no telling who actually gets to use the clean energy produced by the small renewable company– it just goes to the next person in range who happens to turn on their lights or run their dishwasher. But, there are a lot of people out there who want to support the production of renewable energy sources, and who would pay a premium to use renewable energy in their homes if such a thing were possible. So, renewable energy providers, like solar or wind power generators, sell Renewable Energy Credits in addition to selling the power they create. RECs are basically the right to claim whatever renewable energy was created. Random McMansion owner A who happened to plug in their Glade PlugIn at the right time does not get to claim the power even if it was actually clean. You, the REC owner get to, even if the energy that powers your LEED certified home is actually regular dirty power.
Now for some fun analogies:

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

Pedal Powered Telephones? Si se puede!

| Wednesday April 23rd, 2008 | 3 Comments

mobilephone.jpg
Here in the US, we’re used to the near ubiquitous access to cell phones, with the possibility of thousands, if not unlimited minutes. But what if every phone in the US was prepaid? Such is the case in Nicaragua. There, people use their phones mainly to receive phone calls, or as address books to make calls at one of the numerous, more affordable “call shops” in the country. Brian Forde looked around, saw the prevalence of three wheeled bikes, carrying cargo, people, ice cream, and had an idea: create a pedal powered mobile version of the call shop, able to go wherever the people are.
Rather then creating a slickly engineered, and therefore difficult to repair device, they make them from what’s common in the area: a car battery + an old computer battery backup UPS to convert the battery power to 110 volts. Llamadas Pedaleadas, or Pedaled Phone Calls provides the energetic entrepreneur the opportunity to literally go where the market is, be it a festival, a busy intersection, the big game. For those who have trouble getting around, the phone could come to them, as well. The station charges batteries as the vendor drives around.
See them in action below

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

Do You Have a Sustainable Mindset?

| Tuesday April 22nd, 2008 | 0 Comments

duquesne.jpgDuquesne University’s Sustainable MBA program is regarded as among the top ten in the world. A recent post on their website sums up seven mindset qualities that are critical for leadership in sustainable business. They’re worth checking out:
1. The Sustainability Mindset – You question rhetoric and use data to guide decisions, take risks and predict implications across organizational, social, political and economic landscapes.
2. The Authentic Mindset – You admit what you don’t know, fiercely insist on disclosure and have the resilience to deal with setbacks.
3. The Collective Mindset – You can build the collective capacity of teams and organizations. You negotiate effectively to implement change, and mobilize others through clear communications and strong advocacy.
4. The Global Impact Mindset – You understand the influences and impacts of the global economy. You also anticipate how new developments in natural and social sciences will intersect with sustainability.
5. The Analytical Mindset – You can apply business theories and relevant data to solve complex business problems.
6. The Holistic Mindset – You use a big-picture view of organizations to frame and critically analyze ill-defined problems and map out the cause/effect relationships of social systems.
7. The Creative Mindset – You can synthesize seemingly independent pieces of information, adapt and deal with new problems.
More at duq.edu

Permalink discuss Discuss This »

Greenest Building on the Planet?

| Tuesday April 22nd, 2008 | 0 Comments

green_042208_125.jpgFittingly named for Aldo Leopold, the Leopold center near Baraboo, WI, has been awarded 61 of 69 LEED points – more than any building so far – making it, apparently, the “greenest” building currently in existence. Although the architects of certain ancient structures might beg to differ, in the our era it’s popular and often helpful to use this kind of ranking to see where things are stacking up and to encourage more to do the same. So be it.
It goes without saying that the center is carbon neutral, incredibly efficient, embracing of daylight while using and recycling rainwater for most functions. More importantly, perhaps, is the buildings function as an educational center for other inspired folks. No data is public that I could find about costs and ROI, but it’s certainly something worth checking out for businesses ans individuals alike.
(image and more from jsonline.com)

Permalink discuss Discuss This »

Smart Glass Jewelry: Recycled Line

| Tuesday April 22nd, 2008 | 1 Comment

smart-glass.gifSmart Glass Jewelry has launched a “recycled line.” In this case, “Recycled” as in glass accessories form sources as broad as wine bottles to Perrier, Coca-Cola, beer and many other bottles. Although recycled glass can involve the use of massive blast furnaces and other energy intensive mega-machinery, Kathleen Plate’s recycled line of glass jewelry is created from a delicate method that is low-impact all around.
Kathleen has created a unique, simple and popular style for her recycled line for women’s jewelry. In fact, her jewelry is hand-crafted, providing a personal and one-of-a-kind product worth its sentimental weight to many a consumer. Given the fact that in 2005, production of glass was responsible for 4.2 million tons of CO2 emissions, this is the simplest of examples of businesses profiting form resourceful green solutions.

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

AskPablo: Keep the beater?

| Monday April 21st, 2008 | 0 Comments

Is it environmentally better to keep my 1986 Mercedes-Benz W126 or buy a new hybrid?
This is a question I have gotten a lot, and one that I have wondered about myself. You see a modern-day tie-dye aficionado puttering along the highway in his VW van with black smoke spewing out the back, and you have to wonder if we wouldn’t all be better off if he traded it in for a Prius. The consensus among some environmentalists — perhaps ones who drive late-’60s Mustangs — seems to be that driving your old car creates significantly less pollution than the manufacture of a new car. I wish it were that easy.
The Argonne National Lab, a U.S. Department of Energy research center, has analyzed the material intensity and energy consumption of manufacturing vehicles and vehicle fuels. Their work is packaged in GREET models (for greenhouse gases, regulated emissions and energy use in transportation). According to the models, the average conventional internal combustion engine vehicle is made up of 61.7 percent steel, 11.1 percent iron, 6.9 percent aluminum, 1.9 percent copper/brass, 2.9 percent glass, and around 13.6 percent plastic/rubber. This information helps determine the energy required to produce a vehicle.
Continue reading at: http://www.salon.com/mwt/feature/2008/04/21/ask_pablo_cars/index.html

Permalink discuss Discuss This »

Clorox Rings the Green Bell – With Sierra Club

| Monday April 21st, 2008 | 2 Comments


Hot on the heels of their acquisition of Burt’s Bees, among the more respected “green” brands out there, Clorox has now partnered with the Sierra Club to launch a new line of products called “Green Works” which the Sierra Club will validate as “natural”. Both organizations joined together this morning at the New York Stock Exchange to ring the opening bell as part of Earth Week celebrations.
There’s a lot to digest here. Can Clorox succeed in launching a new green brand alongside leaders like Seventh Generation and Method? Will the Sierra Club’s endorsement come with a critical eye to make sure the GreenWorks products are as good as Clorox claims? Or will this all go down like a cup of bleach? As usual, I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt until proven wrong. What do you think?

Permalink discuss Discuss This »

Solar Leases Makes Cents

Sarah Lozanova | Monday April 21st, 2008 | 4 Comments

solar%20panels%20house.jpgIn California, a combination of state incentives, a federal tax credit, and a new solar leasing program could create the perfect storm for the state’s solar industry. SolarCity is changing the landscape of the residential solar market in California and the Phoenix metropolitan area by offering solar leases, which significantly reduces the upfront cost of going solar.
“Customers have called for alternatives to solar purchasing, and our innovations in financing will allow them to get the benefits of renewable energy quickly, easily and affordably,” said David Arfin, Vice President of Customer Financing at SolarCity.

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »