Corporate Green: Perception or Reality?

| Monday October 8th, 2007 | 0 Comments

foundry.jpgSome interesting newspaper articles about “Greenwash” have appeared in the Cape Town press in recent weeks, including one in October’s “Street Trade, Not Aid” motivated The Big Issue, which is sold on the streets by formerly unemployed and often homeless hawkers.
Cape Town columnist Quentin Wray in his October 5 Business Watch column questions the Green ethics and broader credibility of companies such as transnational steel giant ArcelorMittal. Wray writes that while boasting on its South African website of having achieved ISO14001 certification in recognition of its “world-class environmental systems,” it is also the only corporation in the country facing a criminal investigation for “repeatedly ignoring instructions from authorities to stop dumping hazardous waste on an un-permitted site” at one of its plants.

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

podium[Your News Here]

AskPablo: How many trees does my office Kill?

| Monday October 8th, 2007 | 17 Comments

trees.jpgThis week I was asked by Craig how many trees his office kills each year. In order to give him an answer I had him collect some basic information, like how many reams of paper they use each week. His office uses around 60 reams per week, an average of 100 sheets per person and 30,000 sheets in total (a ream holds 500 sheets). Over a year the office would use 3000 reams, or 1,500,000 sheets! But how many trees gave their lives to make it possible for old people to print every e-mail they get? Well, let’s find out…

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

Green Buildings are a Start, but How do we Get There?

| Thursday October 4th, 2007 | 0 Comments

transport.jpegHere’s a really great article on BuildingGreen.com about the environmental externalities involved with transportation. That in an of itself isn’t anything super new, but the reason it’s worth re-visiting is this: When we talk about “building green”, one of the most important “green features” we often over look is quite simply whether or not the people who use that building can get there in a “green” way.
The idea is that constructing your factory or corporate headquarters in a traditional manner with few architecturally “green” considerations might be a “greener” choice than building a high-level LEED certified building which is sited in a manner that forces their occupants to use cars. Simply by choosing an urban setting in a walkable or transit friendly neighborhood, a builder has automatically chosen a very environmentally (and socially) sound building practice regardless of what the building is actually made of.
If you are remodeling or reusing an existing building, then you’ve done even better.

Permalink discuss Discuss This »

Et tu Thomas?

| Wednesday October 3rd, 2007 | 6 Comments

trans-am.jpgA response to Thomas Friedman
I wonder sometimes why people seem shocked that automakers don’t want higher fleet standards.
Mr. Friedman should do a little more study in economics, because even if the world is flat, there are still demand curves.
Americans themselves don’t want higher fleet standards for mileage unless they can still accelerate like Burt Reynolds in a black Trans Am with a golden eagle on the hood. So, automakers don’t want higher fleet standards, because their fleet will sit on the American Car lots for longer than it does already.
High mileage, room for seven and rapid acceleration are conflicting realities.
CAFÉ standards are a backwards attempt at solving an efficiency problem that could only come out of American politics.
We can’t legislate higher mileage for a fleet of hundreds of millions of cars. We tried before, and that gave birth to the 8500+ lb SUV, because it isn’t technically a car, and thus doesn’t fall under the CAFE standards. (It still accelerates like a Black 1981 Trans AM when you put the pedal to the metal though.)
If Cafe standards start to include “cars” up to 10,000 lbs, guess how much the new Hummer H5 and the 2009 Toyota Sequoia will weigh?

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

ECO Metroguide Sets a Standard for Green Publishing

| Tuesday October 2nd, 2007 | 0 Comments


It’s that time of year when we all start seeing the 2008 calendars, and other dated material so, of course, our eyes caught a green glimpse of the 2008 EcoMetro Guide. The East Bay guide follows the recent trend of not only supporting local community shops, restaurants and vendors but doing the very American thing of saving money by clipping coupons.
We’re always told not to judge a book by its cover, or what the cover is made of, and in this case the EMG pushed the limits and possibly the sanity of their local printer by using 40% post consumer paper (read page 8 of the guide for a full printing overview) as well as soy ink printing done by INX International.

In addition to the myriad coupons for local restaurants (all of which apparently passed some sustainable survey) as well as grocery items, the guide includes creative Green tidbits, lists and warnings. We’re not really sure why they included national grocery coupons items especially when they promote the “Green is Local” mantra but some people need their Ecos laundry products or organic Kettle chips. We know that these are minor Green quips but this guide still makes for a good “read” for any sustainable Oaklander.

Permalink discuss Discuss This »

AskPablo: Helicopter Emissions

| Monday October 1st, 2007 | 5 Comments

helicopter.jpgThis week I was asked by George about helicopter emissions. Recently Astrum Helicopters announced that they will be offering helicopter adventures and direct helicopter transfers to Chaa Creek, an award-winning eco-resort in Belize. To my reader it seemed contradictory to the mission of a Green Globe benchmarked resort to use helicopter transportation due to the potentially harmful effects of greenhouse gas emissions and noise pollution. But how bad is it really? Read on to find out…

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

West Coast Green Review (Guest Post)

| Friday September 28th, 2007 | 1 Comment

18a3.jpgIt’s not like Organic Architect Eric Corey Freed needs more publicity but we feel obligated to dole out some props. As one of the West Coast Green noted speakers his “An extremely unusual look at Green building” certainly caused a stir during day one. We knew that we were in for a Freed special when he started his talk with his recent quote, “Guilt is no way to sell environmentalism.” We agree. As he says it’s time to do something, and that doesn’t mean buying carbon credits.
His speech, divided into convenient bite sized pieces, brought up unusual and startling images of how we waste materials and what we can do to improve things. He pulled up facts like Americans spill about 17,000 million gallons of gasoline while filing those nasty lawnmowers which cause five percent of CO2 emissions. Why do we have lawns anyway? Why don’t people plant native species in their front and back yards?

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

Green Shield Certified Pest Control Launches

| Wednesday September 26th, 2007 | 1 Comment

greenshield.jpgI’m always puzzled by the lengths that people go to rid their homes of pests. They douse their homes with unspeakable chemicals at the sight of a single ant despite the fact that, in most cases, there are non-toxic and far cheaper solutions. Tell that to my landlord who requires spraying my place every two weeks despite nary a sign of a bug in months. Lest I digress… a new certification for pest control has launched. It’s called Green Shield and it’s endorsed by the NRDC and others.
The basic idea is that it trains and certifies pest control professionals to seek a more holistic and thoughtful method for ridding a home of pests – largely by eliminating the source of a problem, rather than dousing the home in toxicity.
This all reminds me of a brilliant speech by famed mycologist Paul Stamets at last year’s Bioneers conference. Paul has a patent on a fungi-based pest control system that is supposed to be more effective than any chemicals and is basically free. You can watch the portion of his speech below where he expressed his fear of the reaction of the pesticide industry. The good news, however, is that with certifications like Green Shield, professionals and small business people can still thrive economically simply by changing the way they practice their trade – it’ll still be a lucrative business even if buying, selling, and deploying chemical warfare ceases to be a part of it.

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

Businesses “Come to Grips” with Carbon Management: Interview with Kyle Tanger

| Tuesday September 25th, 2007 | 0 Comments

ComingToGrips.gif Sustainability consulting firm Natural Logic has announced they will present a four-part webinar series titled, Coming to Grips with Carbon: How to Measure and Reduce Your Footprint.
The online events will be held on October 18 and 25th, and November 1st and 8th. The series will provide business leaders with practical guidance from leading practitioners on the key issues related to carbon management, including: measuring carbon footprint, reducing emissions, and making sense of emerging opportunities for carbon trading and offsets. Advance registration is required. [Disclaimer: I am helping to produce the series for Natural Logic].

Kyle Tanger, president of Clear Carbon Consulting will present at the October 25th session. I talked with Kyle about his fast-growing consulting practice (he is working with WalMart and other large companies) and asked him what he believes is driving businesses to embrace carbon reduction. “Companies inevitably find projects that have very attractive pay-back periods in financial terms,” Kyle said. “I can’t think of one client that hasn’t recognized that.” More inside…

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

Sun Launches OpenEco.org

| Tuesday September 25th, 2007 | 0 Comments

Sun Microsystems has launched an impressive new website called Openeco.org. In their own words, the site “is a new global on-line community that provides free, easy-to-use tools to help participants assess, track, and compare business energy performance, share proven best practices to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and encourage sustainable innovation.”
At first glance, I’m skeptical of yet another social networking oriented site, but this seems to be the first well funded site that is aimed at companies and professionals, rather than the general public. There’s also not a whole lot there just yet. But, with the backing of Natural Logic and CERES, there’s bound to emerge some useful activity.
There’s even a You Tube video, featuring Gil Friend (after the jump)…

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

Walmart Greens Supply Chain

Sheila Samuelson | Monday September 24th, 2007 | 3 Comments

green_wmt.jpgOn the heels of unveiling “Great Value” brand CFLs last week, Walmart announced today that the company is working with suppliers to gauge and reduce the energy consumed in buying, manufacturing and distributing the products they sell, beginning with a focus on seven products (DVDs, toothpaste, soap, milk, beer, vacuum cleaners and soda).
Through energy reduction policies like this, retailers with supply networks on the scale of Walmart’s, can send a ripple of efficiency standards and product innovation through multiple industries, and squeeze inefficiency out of operations. Walmart, which will encourage the rest of its suppliers to respond to their new program, is working closely with suppliers and organizations like the Carbon Disclosure Program.
Articulating that this initiative is both a sound business decision for Walmart’s supply chain and the environment, the firm’s Chief Merchandising Officer said, “This is an opportunity to spur innovation and efficiency throughout our supply chain that will not only help protect the environment but save people money at the same time.”
Original article from One Shade Greener.

Permalink discuss Discuss This »

AskPablo: The Northwest Passage

| Monday September 24th, 2007 | 4 Comments

NW%20Passage.jpgThis week a reader asks about how much the now open Northwest Passage will save in shipping emissions. This year, for the first time in recorded history, the Northwest Passage has become fully ice-free. This means that this Northern sea route around the Americas is now fully navigable, and will become increasingly so over the next few years. The Northwest Passage is expected to be a feasible alternative to the Panama Canal in 10 to 20 years, maybe sooner. But how much fuel and GHG emissions will it actually save to send container ships and supertankers into the arctic? Read on to find out…

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

Greenbiz Sustainable MBA Column: Sustainability in the Workplace by Pablo Paster

| Friday September 21st, 2007 | 1 Comment

Pablo2.jpgWhile the business world is abuzz with talk of green and sustainable business practices, it’s important to remember that workplace sustainability goes far beyond switching out light bulbs and turning down the thermostat. Sustainability has both internal and external drivers and spans environmental and social dimensions. Below are a few key points to take into consideration:

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

Park(ing) day is Friday in your Community

| Thursday September 20th, 2007 | 0 Comments

As long as you’re feeding the meter, who says you have to place a car in a parking space? That’s the genius behind Park(ing). A stunt done two years ago by a San Francisco art group known as Rebar. The group took a normal downtown parking place and transformed it into a mini park complete with sod, benches and flowers.
The event has really caught on and is happening literally all over the world tomorrow. Take a look at the list here and check it out in your neck of the woods. Remember – you may be a hard working business person, but taking some time out of your day to appreciate the whimsy and brilliance of this activity. Check out the list here.

Permalink discuss Discuss This »

San Francisco’s Green Building Center Opens (Guest Post)

| Thursday September 20th, 2007 | 4 Comments

greenhomecenter.gifIt could be considered the country’s (or at least San Francisco’s) first Green mini mall or mini Green department store. Over on Polk Street, near a lot of mass transit and foot traffic, the recently opened Green Home Center had eco-sexuals checking out not only the
shops but the interior as well.
Talk about making use of density, the small retail space combines several sustainably minded companies in one space. The Green concept shops offer Green minded consumers kitchen and bath cabinets with low or no formadlyldle and FSC wood (Brand Kitchens & Designs), Green bedding and furniture (Eco-terric), reclaimed wood doors (Liberty Valley Doors) and as they say much, much more.

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »