Alt-Energy Stocks Starting to Soar

| Monday September 19th, 2005 | 0 Comments

altenergy.jpgMajor pblications from the NY Times to the Wall Street Journal to the Salt Lake Tribune were a flutter last week about the bullish outlook for alternative energy stocks. Some solar manufacturers in particular have seen their stock double in less than a year. It’s all happening for obvious reasons, but hopefully also signals the enduring strength of renewables and will result in more investment in them for the future. (via Grist)

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Green Marketing – Joel Makower’s Excellent Wrap Up

| Monday September 19th, 2005 | 0 Comments

gmarketing.jpgIn looking for a topic on Green Marketing this week, I came upon Joel Makower’s excellent wrap up and critique of the entire concept on WorldChanging.
Makower talks about the disconect between polls and reality, mentioning the ‘Green Gauge Report’ as being particularily over-optimistic. That report suggests that 48% of consumers are making purchasing decisions based on some concern for the environment and in response to marketers decisions to label things as “organic” or “environmentally friendly”.
Makower suggests that a ratio known as the “30:3 ratio” may be more accurate. That number was coined by Wendy Gordon who suggests that 30% of consumers say they are concerned about the ethical and environmental impact of the purchases they make, but a mere 3% actually “walk-the-walk”. So what’s the problem?

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PhatGnat Youth Marketing Survey

| Saturday September 17th, 2005 | 1 Comment

pg_logo.jpgA very useful form of marketing research is survey taking. Surveys are undertaken by companies themselves – perhaps via a mail-in form that comes with a product – as well as by marketing agencies, telemarketers, non-profit organizations, and a myriad of other groups who are interested in figuring out why people make the purchasing decisions they do, so that they can better meet customer needs.
With regards to sustainability, a survey can be used to find out information about people’s perceptions and demands about sustainable concepts, and related issues. It can also be an effective educational tool, asking people questions about things they might not have previously considered. More so, it’s one way for companies to show that they want to communicate with the markets they serve – this serves to demonstrate that customer input is desirable and that customer opinion is valued – and that, by extension, a real relationship between company and customer can be formed.
As an example – there is a survey currently running on PhatGnat, a consultancy based around bridging the gaps between the commercial sector, government, and youth.

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Using Digital Textbooks to Reduce Waste

| Friday September 16th, 2005 | 3 Comments

zinio.gifI recently bought an electronic copy of my marketing textbook from SafariX. Despite the obvious environmental benefits, I was skeptical about using it. But after giving it a try, i have to say, it works pretty well (aside from the annoying heat my laptop gives off).
While electronic press will never fully replace paper books – unless we invent truly paper thin electronic media – the area is clearly a growing field. In addition to SafariX, another company to watch is SF based Zinio. They offer “exact replicas” of the printed versions at half the price, with the added benefits of search functionality, digital note-taking, and embedded multimedia.”
There are some major drawbacks to electronic textbooks of course. One is the fact that I already spend so much time staring at this laptop that another few hours makes me feel as though my eyeballs are melting. Also, the only real way to prevent people from copying the book and passing it around is to make it available online-only in such a format that is impossible to download. This means that if you like to study away from an internet connection (on an airplane for example), you can’t. Still, there is a legitimate argument to be made that the process is indeed “greener” and companies in the field are sure to thrive.

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“Green” Accounting Getting Attention from World Bank

| Friday September 16th, 2005 | 0 Comments

accoutning.jpgI was happy to see this article on WBCSD proclaiming that the World Bank is now “urging” green accounting. The article opens by asking “Who is rich and who is poor”, and suggesting (with good reason) that GNP is hardly a real measurement of “richness” and that many new measurements need to be put into place, especially those that take into consideration the problems caused by distribution of wealth, natural resource depletion, and population growth. The risk if this advice is neglected: Knowing the cost of everything and the value of nothing.

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Medium and Message

| Thursday September 15th, 2005 | 1 Comment

turle_egg-thumb.jpg There are (at least) two ways of approaching the subject of sustainable marketing. On the one hand we can look at marketing as a set of tools that have no inherent ethical, moral or sustainable implications.
From this view the tools take on the qualities of their object, but have no moral impact themselves. Thus two nearly identical marketing plans – one for hamburgers from cows pastured on a clear-cut rainforest, and another for local, organic milk – could have vastly different evaluations in relation to sustainability.
Another way to approach the subject would be to examine the impact of the marketing methods themselves and ask if some are inherently unsustainable and should be avoided. From this perspective the medium itself has an effect on the message, and an unsustainable marketing program could offset the impact of a sustainable product or message.

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MPG Stick – Show off Your Vehicle’s Mileage

| Thursday September 15th, 2005 | 1 Comment

60mpg.jpgHere’s a nice little piece of entrepreneurship: Capitalize on people’s desire to be proud of the investment they’ve made in a fuel-efficient vehicle. MPGStick sells little stickers (recycled?) that you can apply to your vehicle boasting of 30+, 40+, or 60+ miles-per-gallon efficiency. Pointless vanity? In the sense that it might instill envy in others, one ought to walk lightly, but in the sense that it makes efficiency something to be proud of, I think this is great.

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Honda to Debut New Civic Hybrid in San Francisco

| Thursday September 15th, 2005 | 0 Comments

honda_logo.jpgNot to be outdone by rival Toyota, Honda has made significant progress in bringing hybird vehicles successfully to market. The new Honda Civic hybrid will soon debut with an expected 50mpg rating. If past success can even modestly be repeated, it is sure to be a major seller, while improving air quality for all. (Honda press release)

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Toyota Working to Drop Price of Prius

| Wednesday September 14th, 2005 | 0 Comments

prius2.jpgTaking advantage of the unprecented demand for their vehicles, along with the resulting economy of scale, Toyota has announced a goal to cut the price premium for hybrid automobiles in half. That means that going hybrid will no longer require such a premium over a regular car. Can Toyota pull it off? Most likely they will, according to this USA today article. (via Grist)

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Million Solar Roofs Initiative Dies in California

| Wednesday September 14th, 2005 | 0 Comments

solar.jpgDespite the well documented potential benefits, California’s answer to the Million Solar Roofs initiative appears to have died amidst partisan squabling. It might not be the end of the program as the Governor intends to reintroduce it in November. The problem, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune, was over zealous union provisions inserted into the bill. (via Grist)

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Does a Green Building Really Cost More Upfront?

| Tuesday September 13th, 2005 | 0 Comments

sm-new-bldg.jpgThe Urban Ecology Center in Milwaukee is one of the “greenest” buildings in the region, but has no LEED rating because certification costs were deemed too high given the non-profit’s budget. This is completely understandable for that situation, but should other added costs, such as construction and planning hinder the motivation to “go green”?
Gil Friend has a great collumn on GreenBiz this week detailing ways that up-front costs are disappearing. The ratings proceess is still costly, but aside from that – there is “essentially no correlation between greenness and cost”.

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So, How Does Geothermal Work Anyway?

| Monday September 12th, 2005 | 32 Comments

geotherm.gifGeothermal energy is potentially one of the cleanest forms out there, and in certain locations, the cheapest. There is a great explanation of how it all works on Calenergy’s Website here. Like any power plant (except photovoltaics), it all comes down to spinning a turbine, but in this case, with steam produced by the natural heat of the earth. But it’s a little more complicated than that… have a look at the series of Quicktime Videos for more!
(Via Curt Rosengren)

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Shell Offering Businesses Cash to Tackle Climate Change

| Friday September 9th, 2005 | 2 Comments

shelllogo.jpgRoyal Dutch Shell is offering UK businesses cash to cut their climate changing emissions. The program is called “Shell Springboard” and its offering from £20,000 to £40,000 for business plans that in some way address the reduction of greenhouse gasses and succeed as viable businesses. Its an unsually proactive program because even the cynic in me can’t see an obvious Shell profit motive here, aside from the PR benefit. Shell is literally handing out cash to a few companies that happen to demonstrate excellent work toward greenhouse gas reduction. Can anyone see more?

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The Latest From British TV: No Waste Like Home

| Friday September 9th, 2005 | 4 Comments

bbctrash.jpgIf British imports like “Who Wants to be a Millionaire” and “Pop/American Idol” can be a success, then why not a show about reducing family household waste? Sound’s far fetched, but the BBC is producing a successful show based specifically around the concept of taking an otherwise sloppy and wasteful household and teaching them how to reduce their ecological footprint. It’s as much about economics as it is about taking a proactice environmental stance, but either way, if it proves entertaining and popular, it can’t help but have a positive impact on the promotion of ecologically inspired efficiency. (BBC link) (Via Alt-e)

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Interview With Grahm Hill on eco.psfk

| Thursday September 8th, 2005 | 2 Comments

grahamhill100.jpgMost saavy internet users with a knack for sustainability are familiar with the blog treehugger.com. That popularity is testament to a very good, very well excecuted idea: to push sustainability mainstream via an entertaining and thought provoking piece of media – and in the process, build a successful small business. How’s Graham do it? The secret is bridging the gap between “The Granola Factor” and “The Convenience Factor”. Read a great interview with graham on eco.psfk for more!

http://eco.psfk.com/2005/08/graham_hill_of_.html

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