The TBL Lifestyle

| Saturday May 17th, 2008 | 0 Comments

I have to believe that somewhere between living off-the-grid in a cabin in Vermont a la Henry David and hopping in a private jet between palaces in Manhattan and Monaco is something approaching a middle, sustainable ground for the American lifestyle. As a culture, we seem to suffer at times from what I would call a kind of Consumption Bi-Polar Disorder. We either want next to nothing or everything all the time.
The Voluntary Simplicity movement is a case of the former.
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Today’s Wall Street the latter.
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But neither, I would argue, is an exemplary path. Three hundred million people can’t live like Thoreau; that’s why we created cities and suburbs, to say nothing of electric grids – efficiency has its virtues. Likewise, the billionaires of the Blackstone Group and capitalist icons like Donald Trump are not the kind of role models that lend themselves to scaling. Imagine tens of millions of Mar-a-Lago’s spread across the landscape. Doesn’t work.
If nothing else, the TBL credo is about balance, about finding the sweet spot between too much and too little. Something like the ideal of The American Middle Class. But as we’ve seen in recent decades, it’s getting harder to maintain the middle; the pull of the poles, the Haves and Have-Nots, seems to be getting stronger.
But it shouldn’t be rocket science, achieving the balance. Livable wages, affordable health care and housing, quality public education, clean air and water. Pretty basic stuff. TBL stuff. You shouldn’t have to live in a tent or the Taj Mahal to feel like you’ve got it.
A pioneer in social entrepreneurship and sustainability, William Shutkin is the inaugural Chair in Sustainable Development at the Leeds School of Business at the University of Colorado Boulder. He also serves as the Interim Executive Director of the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies, a Partner of the Innovation Network for Communities and a Research Affiliate at MIT. In his spare time, he enjoys hanging out with his wife and two kids tele-skiing, flyfishing and gazing at trees.

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Companies Show Improvement in Climate Footprint – With a Long Road Still Ahead

| Friday May 16th, 2008 | 0 Comments

Climate Counts releases their second annual scorecardClimateCounts.org, a non-profit organization funded by Stonyfield Farm, has a mission to “bring consumers and companies together in the fight against global climate change”. The principal tool used to achieve that is the Climate Counts Company Scorecard rating the “climate commitment” of 60 major corporations across 9 industry sectors. In collaboration with Clean Air-Cool Planet, ClimateCounts released their first annual scorecard last year.

ClimateCounts determines if a company is stuck, starting, or striding toward climate responsibilityThe scorecard, based on 22 criteria (pdf), showed if a company was “stuck”, “starting”, or “striding” toward climate responsibility.

Last week ClimateCounts released their second annual scorecard showing that, overall, businesses have improved since one year ago. The average company score rose 22%, or a 39 out of 100 (0 = really [really] bad; 100 = phenomenal (to which no company comes close).

Some companies are a bit cool to the whole idea behind ClimateCounts. Amazon, who managed to pull their score from a zero all the way up to a blistering high of five, shrugs off the rating, citing “significant progress” in reducing their carbon footprint. (five being infinitely better than zero).

Companies like Google, who has pledged to become carbon neutral, showed a bit more enthusiasm for the project, and rightly so, rising 38 points from last year to 55.

A breakdown by ranking shows Nike at the top with an 82 and Wendy’s International in a dead heat for last place with Jones Apparel Group, Darden Restaurants, and Burger King, all scoring zero.

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Survey Invitation from the National Environmental Education Foundation

| Friday May 16th, 2008 | 0 Comments

National Environmental Education FoundationSomething I thought I would pass along to readers of TriplePundit:

Joel Makower of GreenWorldMedia  just sent notification of a research initiative from The National Environmental Education Foundation with an invitation to participate in a survey prepared “…to gauge more broadly how leading companies approach internal employee education and engagement.”

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Unless You Are Clean Tech, VCs Likely Not Investing

| Friday May 16th, 2008 | 5 Comments

clean-tech44.jpgKleiner Perkins, the monolith of venture capital, released a 1.2B dollar green fund, and yet, what is the likely result? Clean tech companies getting big, fat, juicy checks. Mind you, one of these clean tech ideas will revolutionize the way energy is produced and therefore help to transform our society, but isn’t there more to “green” than energy generation and storage? The question on my mind is whether VCs are genuinely good for the sustainability movement, outside of the clean tech arena. The answer: probably not. If you’re a clean tech company, possibly. If you have a truly altruistic company that shouldn’t have a 3 year horizon on an investment, emphatic no.
So, given that, where do you go for money if you’re a green company looking for success without VCs? The answer: nowhere. Angels likely won’t “get” your company and finding one that does is often like the proverbial needle in a haystack; most VCs won’t care and you likely don’t have the dough yourself. The result: get a job and leave the green stuff to the big boys.
But, wait, the big boys aren’t getting it done either. When was the last time you were genuinely affected by a newly funded, market-penetrating green company (especially an online play)? Do we simply give up on the sustainability movement like Adam Werbach poignantly alluded to in his seminal “Is Environmentalism Dead?”

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Supply Chain Companies Dread Potential Impact Of Emissions Legislation

| Friday May 16th, 2008 | 1 Comment

suppl.jpgA recent annual survey into the carbon reduction efforts by suppliers has revealed that business leaders dread the potential impact of emissions legislation on their activities. The survey, carried out by the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), a transatlantic not for profit organization, covered responses of 144 supply companies to multinational corporations. Only 26% of the suppliers have actual plans in place to achieve greenhouse gas reductions. But more than double that number (58%) was tracking their emissions. Around 33% of all the surveyed suppliers has a dedicated board member in place dealing with climate change issues.

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Europeans Redesign Even Their Smallest Cars To Meet 2012 Emission Targets

| Friday May 16th, 2008 | 0 Comments

timberlake.jpgThe European car industry is going to be heavily impacted by regulations on pollution limitations and tensions are rising between German manufacturers on one side and the French and Italian car industry on the other. Reason? German cars are much heavier than those made by the French and the Italians and the Germans fear that they will be penalized by new pollution regulations.
New cars by 2012 can only emit 120 grams of CO2 per kilometer at max. Most European cars average 160 grams per kilometer at the moment. The new rules are expected to transform the look and feel of all European cars. Even the smallest and most energy efficient cars are required to undergo design changes so the sector as a whole can reach the new goals.

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Green Micro-breweries

Gina-Marie Cheeseman
| Friday May 16th, 2008 | 2 Comments

New_Belgium_Fat_tire.jpgThree micro-breweries manufacture ‚Äògreen’ beers. No, the beers are not the color green, but the micro-breweries power their plants with renewable energy.
New Belgium of Ft. Collins, Colorado became the first U.S. brewery to power its plant with wind turbines in 1998. New Belgium didn’t stop with using renewable energy. The brewery recycles, uses the methane produced by process water treatment to power 15 percent of its electricity and heat. New Belgium provided Solix, a company developing the capability to produce bio-diesel from algae, with several acres on its property, carbon dioxide from fermentation, and warm water from its process water treatment plant.

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Shell Discusses Global Energy Scenarios in First Live Web Chat

| Thursday May 15th, 2008 | 1 Comment

Shell_logo.svg.jpgRoyal Dutch Shell’s Global Business Environment executive Jeremy Bentham and team addressed and fielded questions from the press regarding the company’s “Energy Scenarios to 2050″ research and analysis during the first of a planned series of live Shell Dialogues web chats earlier today, May 15.
3 Hard Truths
Broadly speaking, “Three Hard Truths” underlie and are driving developments in the global energy industry, according to Shell’s analysis. Emerging nations have been increasingly participating in globalization for the past ten years and more and will continue to do so, creating a significant “discontinuity” on the demand side of the global energy production and distribution system, Bentham noted during the web chat – one that conventional energy suppliers, as well as governments and international agencies, have failed to adjust and adapt to in timely fashion, much less foresee, he might have added.

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Natural Gas vs. Electric Hybrid: Which is Cleaner?

Shannon Arvizu | Thursday May 15th, 2008 | 5 Comments

ngv.jpg While at the Alternative Fuels and Vehicles Conference in Las Vegas yesterday, I gleaned insightful information regarding natural gas vehicles (NGVs). According to the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, the Honda Civic GX (which is currently the only NGV passenger model being produced today) ranks higher than the Toyota Prius in their Greenest Vehicles of 2008. While the GX has a lower mpg rating than the the Prius, the GX releases less GHG emissions than the Prius – thereby making it the “greener” of the two. Thus, even though the GX uses more gallons of natural gas than the Prius uses in petroleum, natural gas burns cleaner. Natural gas is also cheaper than petroleum and widely available (there are 1,500 NGV fueling stations in the U.S.) While natural gas use is increasing for buses and medium- and heavy-duty trucks, it is surprising that there are not more passenger NGVs available in the U.S. A Honda representative I spoke with mentioned that there is increasing consumer demand for NGVs, especially now in light of higher petrol prices.
Natural gas may not be a renewable resource, but it is considered an important component for the transition away from petroleum sources. Since the technology is available now and releases less emissions than any other vehicle on the market, NGVs are an attractive option for fleets and consumers alike.

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Stick of Gum, Anyone?

| Thursday May 15th, 2008 | 11 Comments

portada2.jpgLast month, at the Natural and Organic Products Festival in London, Chicza Organic Chewing Gum received the award for best new organic food product. Sharing the honor with no more than 20 other organic products out of thousands exhibitors at the festival, the recognition is large for the community of farmers in Mexico’s rainforest that is beginning to introduce their gum to European markets.
The company is a fusion of rural cooperatives from the states of Quintana Roo and Campeche, close to the borders of Belize and Guatemala. Called “Consorcio Chiclero” (translated: Gum Consortium), it integrates 53 communities and organizations with over 2,163 members, and started with the philosophy that to live amongst the nature of the land, one must work to conserve it. The consortium works within 800,000 hectares of Chicozapote trees in the part of the rainforest that was originally developed by Mayan civilizations, and much of the production practices of the Chizca gum follow Mayan traditions.

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3P SoundBite: Andrew Smith of ATDynamics

| Thursday May 15th, 2008 | 0 Comments

trailer-tail.jpg3P SoundBite emerged from our desire to show that entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs in sustainability come from all different walks of life…they could be people you know, or they could even be you! Every Thursday, we bring you a new profile and a new perspective.
Over 80% of all communities in the United States rely on the trucking industry to deliver fuel, medicine and other consumer goods. Consultant-turned-trucking entrepreneur Andrew Smith talks about how his company, ATDynamics, is pushing the envelope on sustainability in an diesel-fuel powered industry.
Who: Before Andrew Smith started his own busines he went straight from Middlebury College, a small liberal arts college to management consulting. Even so, he always had a natural inclination towards vehicle sustainability.

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Convention Date Confirmed – WSF 2009 Amazonia

| Thursday May 15th, 2008 | 0 Comments

The World Social Forum takes place annually to provide a meeting ground for civil society organisations, networks and individuals to explore the progression of social movements across the globe. Those attending the function become equipped with the latest knowledge on social development, struggles and innovation in the field.
The WSF hopes to facilitate networking among organisations, both local and international, that are working in a sustainable manner towards quality of life improvements for the world’s poor.
The date for the 2009 World Social Forum has been confirmed by the International Council. It will happen from January 27th 2009 until February 1st 2009 in Belem, Para, Brazil. Persons and organisations are invited to register for the event to

“come together to pursue their thinking, to debate ideas democratically, for formulate proposals, share their experiences freely and network for effective action.”

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Could Rising Food Prices In Poor Countries Trigger Change Among Western Economists?

| Thursday May 15th, 2008 | 5 Comments

shopsemplty.jpgThe ongoing food crises in 36 countries around the globe are a cause of worry for major institutions such as the World Bank because the problems signal profound problems of disbalance in the world economy. The main reasons behind the high food prices in poor countries are the high oil price and market liberalization shocks. Biofuel crops are hardly a factor. Climate change is something that has played a role for as long as everyone can remember and it’s only being recognized now.
In recent months, the world has witnessed various food riots in poor countries around the globe and the general conclusion bankers in their dossy offices have drawn are that some countries apparently really don’t have much of a buffer zone left – hence the upset.

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Triple Pundit Takes Tesla for a Spin

Shannon Arvizu | Wednesday May 14th, 2008 | 1 Comment


The first zero-emission luxury sports car is one step closer to hitting the streets. Tesla opened its first dealership this month in Santa Monica, California. Triple Pundit, along with Sebastian Blanco (Senior Editor for AutoblogGreen.com), visited the dealership last Friday to take one of their million-dollar prototypes for a spin. While much has been written lately about Tesla’s transmission issues and the firing of one of their founders, the electrifying mood at their new dealership may be an indication that Tesla is on track again.

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Voluntary GHG Program in Brazil

| Wednesday May 14th, 2008 | 0 Comments

brazil-flag.jpgThe World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) yesterday announced the implementation of a GHG program in Brazil. The ‘Brazil GHG Protocol Program’ enables companies to monitor and better manage GHG emissions on a voluntary basis. It is a commendable commitment to improving environmental standards in the cooperate world; however this progressive focus towards environmental accountability should be viewed in tandem with the economic motivations of corporations.
At present, Brazil has one of the highest GHG emission rates in the world, but no official obligation to reduce these rates. The `Brazil Greenhouse Gas Protocol Program` promotes a voluntary commitment to international best practices in GHG abatement strategies.
The Protocol was created by the WBCSD and the World Research Institute for governments and businesses alike. In Brazil, the Environment Ministry, the Brazilian Council for Sustainable Development and Fundacao Getùlio Vargas partnered the aforementioned institutions to realize the formulation of the Brazil GHG Protocol Program. The WBCSD reported that there are twelve founding members of the Brazil GHG Protocol Program, including: Anglo American, Banco Do Brasil, Bradesco, CNEC, Copel, Natura, Nova Petroquímica, O Boticário, Petrobras, Sadia, Votorantim, and Wal-Mart Brasil.

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