We’re happy to see BusinessWeek Online reporting on the value of Green MBA programs in last weeks article It’s Getting Easier Being Green. The article reviews many “Top Notch” MBA programs around the world and concludes that “recruiters will increasingly look for students who are at least aware of these social and environmental issues.” It seems “students really want to align their personal values with their career goals and still make a profit.” …Their on to us!
Last week launched the fourth Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MA) report, Ecosystems and Human Well-being: Opportunities and Challenges for Business and Industry. The report highlights ways in which businesses depend on services provided by ecosystems, how those ecosystem services are changing, and the ramifications for business and industry.
MA’s findings show two-thirds of these services are being degraded presents real challenges as well as opportunities for business. For these key findings and to download the report, go to MA’s Web site.
Train travel is the most efficient form of motorized travel around (even Amtrak critics agree). Nonetheless, it remains poorly developed in the United States. Fortunately for environmentalists and smart-thinking business people alike, there is growing sentiment to make well designed intercity train travel as much of a priority here as it is in Europe. Have a look at this article from the Milwaukee Business Journal.
Personally, I don’t have a problem with cutting federal funding for certain long distance train services as they don’t serve a great transportation purpose. However, for distances of less than 500 miles trains can and do outperfom car and air travel any way you measure it. Investing heavily in new, fast and efficient intercity trains ought to be a national priority – both for business and for the environment.
Toronto based 0footprint has just launched a great new website aimed at helping people reduce their impact on the environment, and specifically, creating a common ground for people worldwide to engage in sustainable commerce.
Of particular interest to 3P readers is their great news section called “ZFP” which offers a wide range of articles about sustainability and the Zeropages, a burgeoning network of websites and companies to help and inspire.
Great news from Wells Fargo: The bank has announced a 10-point plan to incorporate environmental sustainability into its business, detailed here on GreenBiz. Among the highlights are $1 Billion in lending to “environmentally beneficial” businesses such as sustainable forestry, adoption of the Equator Principles, and advanced due-dilligence proceedures to make it all come together.
Amid the glowing reports on the potential for wind energy, there remain skeptics on several fronts (see AWEO for some counter-views). If we could somehow harness all the wind on the earth’s surface we’d have more energy than we’d know what to do with. The only thing holding back that utopian fantasy are transmission costs, infrastructure and land-use issues (do we really want to cover the planet with windmills?), not to mention the intermitant nature of wind.
Still, some degree of wind generation in the right places ought to be considered as a part of any sane energy policy. Grist’s Umbra has a good short piece on some of the ups and downs of wind energy that is ultimately optimistic. Check it out.
Hunter Lovins, co-author of the seminal book “Natural Capitalism” will deliver a talk entitled Progressive and Profitable Too: Building a Sustainable Shadow Economy:
working to make the concept of sustainable development and Natural Capitalism central operating principles of organizations around the globe by promoting resource efficiency, biomimicry and sustainable business practices.
You can wait for the podcast to come out, or participate via telephone on Monday. Details here.
One of the most interesting and important aspects to environmental economics is assessing the full cost of externalities that previously went uncounted. In the case of gasoline, for example, the added costs would be associated with the health effects of pollution, among other things, such as military spending. It’s not easy to come up with an exact number for the “real price” of a gallon of gas, though I’ve seen it estimated as high as $15. Here is a pretty good list of factors that one might have to consider to do the math. Check it out.
Recycle for US is a new, industry funded group that will pay cash for old cell phones. Phones that are still usable are sold to organizations and secondary markets (much in the spirit of Retro Box) and those that cannot be reused are recycled. Consumers ditch an amazing 10 million phones per year representing an incredible amount of waste, and an incredible business opportunity.
British supermarket chain Marks & Spencer, along with Shell Oil will invest $1 Million in fruit and flower growing enterprised in South Africa. The investors claim that 3,000 people will directly benefit as well as the local ecosystem. The idea is part of a philosophy that says that aid alone can’t alleviate Africa’s economic troubles, rather, private investment is a key part of the bargin to eradicate poverty on the continent. More on WBCSD.
Is it possible to maximize profits and find deep spiritual meaning in our work at the same time? A new book written by Peter and Monika Mitchell Ressler, a husband and wife from New York called Spiritual Capitalism: What the FDNY Taught Wall Street About Money, offers answers to that question with bold new voices from the dog-eat-world of Wall Street itself.
As Co-Chief Executive Officers of a premier Wall Street headhunting firm, they make the surprising claim that the new practice of “Capitalism with a Conscience” is taking the business world by storm. From the depths of the cutthroat world of Wall Street high finance comes these refreshing words of wisdom.
The ECOSA Institute in Prescott, AZ is one of the best places in the world to learn about green building and other principals of sustainable design. Their one-semester programs are geared toward architecture students and those considering a career in other design disciplines.
Although slightly outside the usual scope of a 3P posting, I wanted to mention them here because they’ve got extra space in their fall program this year and are looking for a few more people to fill it. I should also mention that I attended the program a couple years back, and it was fantastic – in fact, it’s the reason I chose to move forward with a career in sustainability. Please pass on this post if you know anyone for whom the program might be appropriate. More in Metropolis Magazine.
A company called Green Techno 21 has devised a product line called “Shell Walls” which gives homeowners a way to plaster their walls with a paste made mostly from waste eggshells. The substance has a pleasant, dare I say it, off-white eggshell coloration, and is fireproof and humidity resistant. It’s another example of someone thinking up innovative new ways to deal with waste and address other problems at the same time. More on Japan for Sustainability.