Presidio School of Management Open House Wednesday

| Monday December 5th, 2005 | 0 Comments

presmba.gifIf you are in the San Francisco Bay Area, and are considering entering an MBA program, please join Presidio faculty, staff, graduates, and students for an MBA Open House on Wednesday, December 7, from 6-8pm.
There will be a half-hour faculty panel presentation moderated by Paul Sheldon, featuring Dr. Alexander Laszlo, Presidio Provost Dr. Ron Nahser, Natural Capitalism co-author Hunter Lovins, and other distinguished Presidio faculty. It’s a great way to spend a Wednesday evening. See you there!

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Ecosystem Services Valuation in Canada

| Monday December 5th, 2005 | 0 Comments

moneytree.jpgJames Cascio at Worldchanging points us to an article in the CBC about the valuation of Canada’s boreal forest – the vast forest that covers almost 60% of the country. The bottom line – all the timber in Canada, plus hydropower, plus mining under the forest is worth substantially less than the value of the services the forest provides if left intact – C$37.8 billion vs C$93.2 billion.
This kind of economic reasoning is still difficult for some people to get their heads around, but because it uses hard, economic language and is based in real scientific study, it’s a fantastic way to begin explaining it to people who otherwise view environmental preservation as not related to the economy. The best quote from the article comes from professor David Shindler of the University of Alberta:

The concept is rather like being given a Mercedes Benz, told to go drive it, and we do – but we never service it or maintain it or anything,” he said. “That’s sort of what we’re doing with the boreal forest.

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BP Makes Another Massive Renewables Investment

| Friday December 2nd, 2005 | 4 Comments

bp.jpgFurther cementing themeselves as “Beyond Petroleum”, BP announced an $8 Billion investment package in renewable energy (from WBCSD). The investment doubles the company’s efforts in the areas of Wind, Solar, Hydrogen and other non-fossil fuel based energy sources.
It’s important to rememeber though, that BP will very much remain primarily an oil and gas company for a long time. The “beyond petroleum” campaign is mostly a highly funded marketing campaign, and a philosophy for the distant future. Still, the steps BP have taken go way beyond those of most other extractive industries and are most definitely worth applauding with both praise and patronage.

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An Interesting Exchange with Some Anti-Green Humor

| Thursday December 1st, 2005 | 6 Comments

fountainhead.jpgWe had an interesting submission to the carnival of the green last week from a blog called “The Radical Libertarian” entitled greenies and their beliefs. It’s a humorous punch at some of the more radically left-of-center folks who rally under the banner of “greenness”. Although amusing, these complaints expose a woefully outdated way of looking at “environmentalism” that is held by those who choose to see extremists as representative of the entire movement, and possibly mask their own concern for wellbeing with an aloof front. That said, the post is dead-on in exposing some real crack-pots who rear their heads (such as ELF and ALF) from time to time, and do indeed paint a terrible picture of “environmentalism” to the mainstream.
As a result, there are a lot of people who have been rubbed the wrong way by the idea of “environmentalism”. To them it means an intrusive form of extremism – at best an annoying inconvenience that hinders their ability to do business and live their lives, and at worst, an evil force, literally “anti-human” as the self-proclaimed followers of Ayn Rand say.

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The Songhua Disaster: Is this What it Takes to Learn?

| Thursday December 1st, 2005 | 0 Comments

songhua.jpgIronically, disasters such as the massive benezene spill on the Songhua river in China may be the sort of things that China needs to get into shape in terms of environmental policy and protection. The disaster, in classic fashion, was initially covered up, then met with panic, then finally attended to, albeit slowly and late (Time Magazine). International protest, as well as the muffled, but louder than usually permitted, complaints from the thirsty residnets of Harbin, appears to have pushed the Chinese government toward an ever so slightly more public acknowledgement that their country is teetering on the brink of epic scale ecological calamity.
Amazingly, citizen outcry in the streets and in the press has been surprisingly critical of the government response (Business week) . The question is, how many more disasters of this type will it take to see real change?

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EcoHome Improvement Store – A New Business Launches

| Wednesday November 30th, 2005 | 3 Comments

ecohome.jpgLooking for some Entrepreneurial Inspiration? EcoHome Improvement, the first store of its kind in the East Bay (Oakland & Berkeley, CA), will offer ecological and healthy home paints, flooring and kitchen remodeling materials. The store is being launched by recent Presidio grad Taja di Leonardi. “The store is already receiving a significant amount of calls daily from people looking for many of the ecological and sustainable products we carry,” says Taja. It’s a great idea, in a hot housing market, with demand for household sustainability on the rise.
Are you an MBA student, or entrepreneur with a great new business with an ecological focus? Drop us a line at and we can add you to our showcase.

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Rainforest Nations Profit Using Carbon Trading in Exchange for Preservation

| Wednesday November 30th, 2005 | 0 Comments

frograin.jpgInspired by the Kyoto Agreement, developing nations with large stocks of rainforest are preparing to offer preservation of forests in exchange for the sale of their carbon emissions rights to developed economies, the Independent Reports. This was one of the basic expectations behind the accord – that developing nations would have a financial incentive to keep forests intact. And why not? It’s in everyone’s best interest that large tracts of forest remain preserved, not only for asthetic reasons, but as carbon sinks, oxygen sources, and for the myriad other ecosystem services they provide. It’s also, arguably, the developed world’s obligation, having leveled the majority of their own forests long ago.
Even more interesting, a London firm, Carbon Capital, has raised over $100 Million to re-plant decimated forests in developing nations – according to strict guidelines and with an eye toward earning carbon credits that can then be sold on the open market. It’s a perfect example of the entrepreneurial spirit that the Kyoto accord by no means diminishes. (via Grist)

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The Great Barack Obama GM Compromise

| Tuesday November 29th, 2005 | 5 Comments

barak.jpgBarack Obama is one of those rare politicians who’s both intelligent and capable of speaking his mind without caving-in to every imaginable political distraction around him. His latest address – the problem of an ailing General Motors, laying off thousands while producing (mostly) sub-par vehicles with lousy emissions standards. GM’s long-standing, and quite valid complaint has been the costs of the very generous health and reitrement packages given to labor. So, says Barack, why not let the government take care of some of the health care costs for GM’s workers, and in return, get a promise from GM to invest the savings into better performing vehicles? Article Here. (via Grist)
For the latest 3P news on Obama’s ouster of GM CEO Rick Wagoner, click here

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Patagonia Gets Closer to Realising Cradle to Cradle Philosophy

| Tuesday November 29th, 2005 | 1 Comment

capeline.jpgPatagagonia continues to lead the way in sustainable innovation among clothing retailers – they will now even take your dirty underwear in for recycling. That’s right – Patagonia Capilene® garments are capable of being recycled into new garments of equal quality. Since most recycling proceses result in inferior raw materials, this is quite a feat. Despite the processing needed to recycle the garments, and the fact that the material is shipped to Japan, it has still been calculated to be vastly less energy intensive than creating new fiber from virgin materials. It also saves 71% in CO2 emissions. It’s all explained here. A more detailed life cycle analysis is available here in PDF form.

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Saving the Environment, One Quarterly Report at at Time

| Monday November 28th, 2005 | 2 Comments

nyt_logo_sm.gifFrom The New York Times, last week another great article about how companies are profiting by “going green”. The article details the efforts of a wide variety of companies from Wal Mart to Newman’s Own who are taking steps to make their operations more ecologically consiouse, and reaping financial gain at the same time.
The one flaw in the article – it’s title makes reference to the “Quartely Report”. But the article never mentions it. The problem is, savings on investments in green energy and other changes are typically not realized for at least a few years. Obsession with quarterly earnings reports on the part of management and stockholders is typically a hindrance to change. It’s also pointed out as a major cause of corruption and bad accounting of the Enron type. Still, it’s worth a read.

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Goldman Sachs Speaks out on Value of Ecosystem Services

| Monday November 28th, 2005 | 1 Comment

gslogpo.gifGoldman Sachs’ new environmental policy acknowledges the threat of global warming and other crises, but it goes a significant step further – recognizing the degradation of the planet’s “ecosystem services“. Such services are the provision of clean air and water, the control of pests, floods, drought, fertile soil, and processing of waste. They have been recognized by the UN as demonstrably in decline throughout the world. The company is seeking to utilize markets (presumably like carbon trading) to address the decline of various ecosystem services in areas where voluntary action alone has proven ineffective, as well as to reduce its own greenhouse gas emissions and promote various other activities.
The recognition of “ecosystem services” is of special value in that it starts a thought process that promotes the quantification of what the planet provides, free of charge, on a daily basis. In contrast, drawing from one of my favorite Hunter Lovins lectures in Natural Capitalism – you may recall the “biosphere II” project, an “artifical earth” designed to provide all the needs for 8 people for two years. It failed to do so despite over $200 Million in investment. If $200 Million can’t satisfy the needs of 8 people, then what’s the value of a system that does it daily for 6 Billion? It’s not funny math, and smart companies and leaders are starting to see it that way.

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Happy Thanksgiving

| Thursday November 24th, 2005 | 0 Comments

turkey.jpgHappy Thanksgiving everyone! To those of you outside the US, happy Thanksgiving anyway! Mr. Turkey here seems to have kidnapped the blog, and there won’t be any posting today or tommorow, check back on Monday! Looking forward to some great posts next week.

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CK Prahalad’s “The Next Practice” Advisory Firm

| Wednesday November 23rd, 2005 | 0 Comments

thenextprac.gifThe “Bottom of the Pyramid” concept refers to the vast market of people with minimal income individually, but massive market potential if taken as a collective. It’s also associated with sustainability in the sense that serving this market with affordable products can serve to better their lives without deepening their debts, as well as helping to launch better infrastructure, promoting leapfrog technology, and encouraging the growth of small business. CK Prahalad is something of a guru in management strategy and specializes in BOP markets. His advisory firm, The Next Practice, is taking the BOP strategy to the next level and is worth a look to better understand how companies are working with the BOP around the world.

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Musings of an Eco-Entrepreneur

| Tuesday November 22nd, 2005 | 0 Comments

shea_g.jpgSkye Creative’s Shea Gunther has just launched a pretty nifty new blog with a focus on entrepreneurship in an ecoconsious manner. The content is great, and his recent “blog-a-thon” is worth checking out as well.

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Smart Grids, Crude Awakenings, and the Future of Water

| Tuesday November 22nd, 2005 | 0 Comments

ibflogo.gifThat’s the focus at the Second Annual Clean-Tech Investor Summit Hosted by Clean Edge and IBF. The conference will be an interesting mix of major corporations, smaller entrepreneurs, and clean energy investment groups. The idea – show investors the incredible growth opportunities present in clearn energy technologies and help jump start the market. Feb 1-2, Rancho Mirage, CA.

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