Corporate Marketers Be Aware: Scan the Environment with Care!

| Monday October 10th, 2005 | 1 Comment

hcane.jpgCould hurricane Katrina be a classic case of “Blowback” to the Bush Administration’s refusal to sign the Kyoto Protocol? From a marketing standpoint it is, and we see the President’s advisors and PR people working overtime to re-brand and market him as the strong leader amid disaster. The results of this effort we will have to wait and see.
Corporate America though appears to not want to wait and see in regards to climate change. And it’s doing so for good reasons.

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The $100 Laptop – the Ultimate Green Technology?

| Monday October 10th, 2005 | 0 Comments

100dollarlaptop.jpgCreating more computers may not be a “green” undertaking, but enabling the world’s poor to have access to modern technology certainly is. MIT has been working for some time on the holy grail of leapfrog technology – the “$100 Laptop” – a laptop computer that can be charged by turning a crank and that can be bought in bulk by governments for less than $100 a piece. The laptops can then be distributed to children by the thousands. It seems that dream is now a reality, and 5 to 15 million test units may be available by the end of the year.

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IBM’s CO2 Cuts net $115 Million in Savings

| Monday October 10th, 2005 | 0 Comments

ibm.jpgOnce again, proof that cutting emissions can result in tremendous cost savings: IBM has cut CO2 emissions by 1 Million tons, and in the process realized a cost savings of $115 Million since 1998. That’s not trivial any way you look at it. The project was a part of the World Wildlife Fund’s “Climate Savers” program.

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Treasure America ANWR Video is Out – Have a Look!

| Friday October 7th, 2005 | 5 Comments

TAP_video.jpg3P followed the adventures of the Treasure America team this summer as we visited the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in search of economic arguments against opening the refuge to oil development. The project successfully showed that tourism and other locally born industry could be a more viable long term economic strategy than oil exploration. The second part of the project was to produce a video for the rest of America demonstrating that drilling in the refuge will do next to nothing for our economy, and ironically, NOT drilling is a better economic stimulator.

I’m happy to say the video is finally done, and it’s available for you right here. It’s a limited-quality version. If you are interested in helping to distribute a DVD-quality version please email me! Read on to launch the 12 minute video. Hope you enjoy it!


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Linking profits to CSR may not be a good idea

| Friday October 7th, 2005 | 1 Comment

csr_stanford.jpgKen Chung for 3p: In an unusual twist, some are beginning to believe that the alignment of financial and social performance are not necessarily good. Deborah Doane, a respected activist in the U.K. writing in a recent issue of the Stanford Social Innovation Review, explains that many companies are hiding behind a CSR facade when in fact there is no underlying improvement in social conditions.
Doane believes that the voluntary corporate social responsibility (CSR) equals profits approach is at best a temporary measure. When profits are at risk, companies will drop CSR efforts. Instead, she recommends that companies’ social behavior be regulated and the role of the corporation be re-considered.
There may be some merit to regulation. Research suggests, however, that corporations deliver more innovation where they are allowed to excel and gain a competitive advantage. Regulations create an atmosphere of “equality” and pushes innovation away. What we really want is for companies to create more innovative solutions to social problems.
A PDF of the full article is downloadable here. This article was contributed by Ken Chung at InformedStrategy.com.

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Starbucks CSR Challenge

| Thursday October 6th, 2005 | 3 Comments

staubucks_challenge.gifTwo green bloggers – City Hippy in London and Green LA Girl in Los Angeles have teamed up to put Starbucks’ CSR policies to the test.
The plan: Visit Starbucks shops around the globe and ask “can I get a fair-trade cup of coffee”. The idea is to see how many of Starbucks employees have been properly educated about the issue, as well as to see what’s really available. People are encouraged to report their findings. The results will be interesting, and if not entirely positive, it will be interesting to see if enough people get on the bandwagon to elicit a response from the company.
So go ahead and try it! Report your findings to Cityhippy or Green LA Girl, or post them right here.

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Car Sharing on the Move: ZipCar in SF, Big Investment in Flex Car

| Thursday October 6th, 2005 | 1 Comment

sfcarshare.gifThere is talk that car sharing may be approaching its “Tipping Point“. Sustainable Industries Journal reports on two major investments made recently in FlexCar and ZipCar that enphasize the level of interest in this nascent industry.
Here in San Francisco, City Car Share continues to grow, and you can’t go 10 minutes without seeing one of their trademark green bugs pass by. ZipCar is undergoing a major west coast expanstion and in San Francsico will create the first major market where two car-sharing programs will be compeating head to head.
There seems to be a perfect storm brewing – high gas prices and ownership costs, combined with more urban living, and a general ecological consiousness. Will it be enough to see large numbers of people ditch their cars for a shared vehicle? Time will tell, but for now, car sharing companies seem to be poised very well.

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Gross National Happiness vs. GDP

| Wednesday October 5th, 2005 | 0 Comments

money_happiness.gifEveryone knows that a certain amount of money can bring happiness. But we also know that life is more complex than that, and many factors that cannot be quantified in economic terms play a role in ensuring a satisfying livlihood. Free time, good health, an intact environment, and other factors are important too. So why do we insist on using Gross Domestic Product – essentially the sum of all money spent in an economy – as our primary indicator of progress?
The New York Times reports on the efforts of the nation of Bhutan which despite having one of the world’s lowest GDPs has made great leaps in terms of life expectancy, stability, and environment. The Bhutanese are attempting to quantify their progress as a country using not only GDP, but also “Gross National Happiness” as a measurement.
Another effort to provide a fuller picture of the state of society is the “Genuine Progress Indicator” (GPI) which has gathered some support of economists and “considers the value of housework, caring for children and the elderly, volunteerism”. It also counts spending due to crime as a negative number.

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An Open Letter to Citibank (UK)

| Wednesday October 5th, 2005 | 4 Comments

citibank.gifDear Citibank UK -
I don’t know how far this message will get, but I really would love it if I had the option of NOT receiving paper statements every month. I am happy to consult my statements online, and I’m sure that a lot of your customers would. As it stands, I get a large envelope every month with pricey international postage informing me of my massive account balance of £16.26 – it goes straight into the bin.
I imagine you would save hundreds of thousands of £££ per anum on paper costs and postage if you gave people the option of ending paper mailings. The environment would also win big. Why don’t you offer this?
Many thanks!
Nick Aster
www.triplepundit.com
ED NOTE: Oct. 6 I actually got a reply from Citibank! They were kind enough to say that this was going to their “senior management”, but also mentioned the following:

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Endangered Species Act Overhaul

| Wednesday October 5th, 2005 | 1 Comment

eagle.jpgKim Fox for 3p: Representative Richard Pombo’s (R-Calif) startling Threatened and Endangered Species Recovery Act bill passed the House last week on Capital Hill. The bill would overhaul the 1973 Endangered Species Act, which is credited for protecting 1,268 U.S species of plants and animals and 466 critically sensitive habitats. The new proposed law would eliminate the critical habitat designations and remove pesticide controls near threatened species.
Also, the Department of the Interior Secretary (a political appointee) is granted authority to designate the scientific data methods that drive the government’s decisions under the law. The biggest debate in the House was over the proposed plan to pay farmers and developers for economic losses from the US Fish and Wildlife rulings that would limit development plans due to the presence of a threatened species, potentially costing the government billions of dollars.

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Get On Board the Bike Bonanza

| Tuesday October 4th, 2005 | 4 Comments

bmx.jpgAs reported on Treehugger and many other sources, bicycle sales in the US have overtaken sales of cars. High fuel prices have a lot to do with it and apparantly the boom approaches that which took place during the 1970s oil embargo. To me, this is actually evidence that higher fuel prices might strengthen some parts of our economy – people won’t give up their cars alltogether, they’ll just buy a bike for that extra convenience.
The more people discover the benefits of occasional or full time bike commuting and recreational use, the more they will demand better bike infrastruture – paths, rights-of-way, parking etc. They’ll also discover better health and energy and tell their friends. In other words, they’ll create a huge business opportunity! What better way to help people, environment and profits alike than getting into bicycle related business? This has my gears turning…

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Presidio’s Jørgen Vos on Future Marketplaces

| Tuesday October 4th, 2005 | 0 Comments

jorgen.jpgPresidio School of Management’s Jørgen Vos is the featured columnist on GreenBiz’s Sustainable MBA Column this week. In the article, Jørgen talks about the opportunities and risks that are faced by business people eager to promote a greener marketplace. Of the major opporunities he mentions, targeting the “non-consumer” stands out as most important – the idea is to operate under the radar with a product offering that is “good enough” for those who are not otherwise commited to a given market in order to become established. (Full article here).

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DriveNeutral Launches – Neutralize your Car’s Carbon Footprint

| Monday October 3rd, 2005 | 1 Comment

drive_neutral.gifFor about the cost of a tank of gas, drivers can now do their part to fight global warming. DriveNeutral is a program run by a group of Presidio School of Management students in conjunction with the Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX).
Drivers can purchase one of three tiers of decals certifying they have neutralized the impact of their vehicles’ greenhouse gas emissions for an entire year. The program is similar to Wharton’s Terrapass, but instead of investing in green energy projects, the non-profit DriveNeutral program purchases Carbon Financial Instruments—or “credits”—through the CCX. The credits will then be “retired” on the exchange – simultaneously reducing emissions and driving up the price of credits which will encourage more companies to engage in emissions reduction programs. Give it a try!

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Ford Discontinues Excursion

| Monday October 3rd, 2005 | 2 Comments

ford_excursion.jpgCiting lagging sales of large SUVs, Ford has killed the massive Excursion product line. The last 19-foot Excursion rolled off the line in Kentucky on Friday. It’s an obvious sign of the times, when lower incomes, combined with high gas prices reduce the demand for massive trucks – but hopefully there’s a little bit of eco-vision mixed in with the decision. Story via Treehugger.

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Proctor & Gamble Realize Million Dollar Savings from Efficiency

| Monday October 3rd, 2005 | 0 Comments

pg.jpgAs reported in GreenBiz, a variety of nationwide energy-efficiency plans at Proctor and Gamble plants will save the company at least one million dollars. Efficiency is often the first step in reaching a more ecologically sound operation – and it’s also the first step in realizing the cynergy that exists between environmental consiousness and making a profit. That latter connection is easy to see since using less energy to get the same job done is obviously good for any bottom line you measure.

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