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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The Urban Alliance for Sustainability: A United Front for Change

| Wednesday May 14th, 2008 | 0 Comments

integrate and Inspire the Sustainability MovementThe main mission of the Urban Alliance for Sustainability is inherent in its very name.

“Our goal is to integrate and inspire the sustainability movement” added Melissa Plotkin, volunteer coordinator of the Urban Alliance for Sustainability (UAS).

Melissa and I met on a sunny Tuesday morning last week over a jolt of coffee to discuss the growing organization, it’s mission, the challenges UAS faces, and their work building community and helping unite the oft-times far-flung sustainability movement in the Bay Area.  

In practical terms the goal of UAS is to connect individuals, businesses, and non-profit groups as a means of sharing resources, fostering collaboration, and reducing overlapping efforts. A kind of “efficiency of purpose”.

Instead of a single-issue advocacy group, the UAS is an umbrella organization designed to educate and enable a more “united front” amongst businesses, individuals, and advocacy groups interested creating a sustainable society.

That’s a pretty tall order and Melissa attests to the difficulty at times in explaining the UAS mission to folks accustomed to one-cause sound bites  -the elevator speech doesn’t always come quite as easily.

Nonetheless, Melissa had it well in hand with “integrate and inspire”.

The job of UAS is to bring to bear the resources of the entire environmental and sustainability movement… from educating people interested in lightening their eco-footprint, to promoting greener building design or encouraging greater innovation and use of renewable energy. Whatever it may be, there are unseen and mutually beneficial relationships that UAS can bring to light and help cultivate.”

But how? 

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IdleAire: Reducing Trucker’s Environmental Impact

| Wednesday May 14th, 2008 | 20 Comments

bbbf.jpgIf you’ve ever been on a road trip, you’ve probably seen this sight at a rest stop: one, or many big rig trucks, just…idling. Not going anywhere. What is this, like a computer on “sleep,” ready to go? No. The answer may surprise you. At least in the US, truck drivers are required to rest 10 hours for every 11 driven. A reasonable thing, but this often necessitates them sleeping in their cabins. And that requires power for the heating or cooling, and other comforts of “home” on the road. Power that comes from a running truck.
But that has consequences. On the environment, on the driver, and on the vehicle. Multiply that by the number of truckers on the road at any given time, and the potential impact is enormous. And it doesn’t have to be that way. IdleAire has created a device that alleviates the need for idling, while retaining all that truckers are accustomed to having while at rest. And it doesn’t require retrofitting the vehicle, beyond a $10 window adapter, a price point apparently unique for the industry.

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Rational Regulation: Oxymoron?

| Wednesday May 14th, 2008 | 0 Comments

descartes.jpg
Following up on the theme developed in their recently released book, “Retaking Rationality: How Cost-Benefit Analysis Can Better Protect the Environment and Our Health,” authors Richard L. Revesz – dean of New York University’s School of Law – and Michael A. Livermore will launch an Institute for the Study of Regulation at NYU’s law school this summer.
Cost-benefit analyses, the primary means used for decision support and decision making in government regulatory processes, have been overwhelmingly dominated by anti-regulatory rhetoric and vested interests for too long. Environmentalists, rather than fighting to restore balance and more rigorous rationality to the process left the field and concentrated their efforts on trying to persuade lawmakers to remove cost-benefit analysis from the procedural regulatory toolkit, according to Revesz.
That’s not going to happen, he contends. With a new administration coming into office next year, environmentalists need to embrace cost-benefit analysis and use it to better argue and support their positions.
Revesz describes the motivation and aim of the Institute in a May 8 guest essay on the Grist Mill.
“This time, instead of fighting — futilely — to end cost-benefit analysis, environmentalists should fight to mend it. For the past three years, my co-author Michael Livermore and I have studied how cost-benefit analysis has been used, and abused, in environmental law.
“These abuses are not inherent in cost-benefit analysis, but have arisen because the debate over how cost-benefit analysis has been dominated by industry trade associations and antiregulatory scholars. The only way to transform cost-benefit analysis into a more neutral tool is to take up the debate, to show where cost-benefit analysis has been twisted to justify and antiregulatory agenda.”

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