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.
- Sustainable Brands® Announces 2014 Innovation Open Semi-finalists
- OF THE SEA, a new film about seafood & sustainability launches on Kickstarter
- Global Reporting Initiative celebrates new era for non-financial information disclosure in the EU
- More Renewable Energy Needed to Avoid Catastrophic Climate Change
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.
City Weekend (Beijing) reports that there is a slowly growing movement to grow and sell organic and otherwise healthier produce in the Chinese Capital (article here). In fact the ministry of health has laid down what looks like a fairly comprehensive set of guidelines for farmers and labling requirements for food on the shelves.
Outside observers may be sceptical about the role of organic farming in a country where the number one priority has to be to ensure that everyone has enough to eat. But with the touted obvious incentive of “huge profits to be made,” according to a recent China Food Industry news bulletin, increasing numbers of small-time farmers will be trying to make it big.
An excellent new online news resource for non profit directors and social entrepreneurs – the Social Enterprise Reporter – recently launched. If you’re interested in that area, you can subscribe to their newsletter or get more on their website. Either way, the site offers some great original articles.
Fast Company published a report a while ago about an “innovation scorecard” they developed with the Monitor Group to commend companies on high levels of innovation. The report highlights four companies with reading more about: A company that accelerates decomposition of wastes, better fuel cells, and more powerful solar cells.
Surprisingly, academic campuses are not as much at the forefront of “greenness” as one might expect. But, according to the Washington Post, that’s quickly changing. Berea college in Kentucky now boasts an “ecological village” for student housing, and the likes of Yale and Harvard are quickly reducing their ecological footprints as well. The innovation is not just led by student activists, but by looking at the bottom-line costs of resource consumption as well.
In conjunction with the discussions of climate change at the G8 meetings, socially responsible investment (SRI) research firm KLD Research & Analytics announced their launch of the KLD Global Climate 100(GC100) Index in collaboration with the Global Energy Network Institute (GENI), a research nonprofit whose mission is “to accelerate the attainment of optimal, ecologically sustainable energy solutions in the shortest possible time for the peace, health, and prosperity of all.”
The GC100 is a benchmark of companies deemed to be proactively addressing climate change. Read full story along with evaluation criteria in CSRwire.
It’s a blog-a-thon! Starting this Monday, July 11th at 10am, Jeff Strassburg at Sustainablog will be blogging around the clock to support the Earthways Home in St. Louis. The home is a remodeled St. Louis classic that serves as a demonstration for various green building technologies and techniques. It’s a project of the Missouri Botanical Garden and is in need of some support.
As a former St. Louis resident, I can say the Botanical Garden is truly world-class and their various educational projects are most definitley worth supporting. So head on over to Sustainablog and throw a little change in the hat!
After getting hit by the tsunami last December, Sri Lanka needed a way to both provide relief and rebuild their economy. World Bicycle Relief, a non-profit that provides access to independence and livelihood through the power of bicycles, is working with World Vision Sri-Lanka and the Lumala Bicycle Company (based in Sri Lanka) to provide over 24,000 bicycles to tsunami survivors.
Known as Project Tsunami, the program is unique in its commitment to source bikes locally, which will “ensure correct specification and that recipients are familiar with bikes. It also provides access to spare parts, eliminates supply chain, shipping costs, duties, logistics, and assists the local economy.” There will be bikes for both adults and children, plus bike maintenance training for forty people. (Via BikeBiz.com)
Many companies have basic employee incentive programs, but not too many have incentives like Timberland, Hyperion Software, and Topics Entertainment who are giving employees cash money to switch from large cars and SUVs to more eco-friendly hybrids.
Read this amazing story in the Seattle Times.
What do you get when you combine the legendary country singer Willie Nelson and biofuel? “BioWillie”, the newfangled fuel of Texas truckers. Biodiesel, which is derived from vegetable oil, animal fats, and sometimes in used form from the frying pans of restaurants, recently enjoyed a new federal subsidy which has reduced its price. This created the perfect time for a group of Texas investors, including Willie Nelson, to start soliciting what they claim to be the nation’s first branded biodiesel blend–”BioWillie“.
Brian Talley, a 44 year-old truck driver who was filling up on some BioWillie in Fort Worth on his way to Oklahoma to pick up a load of tires, had this to say to The Wall Street Journal:
Everybody wants to keep the environment clean. But people who advocate a shift away from fossil fuel would prefer we lived in caves, walked everywhere we went and ate grass. I’m sorry. I like to eat meat. I like cars. I like modern things. There’s ways of fixing these problems without going to extremes.
Brian, meet BioWillie.
The G8, which stands for the “Group of Eight,” will meet this week in Gleneagles, Scotland. Together, these eight industrialized nations comprise 60% of the world’s GDP. At the top of their agenda for this meeting is global climate change. The Economist reports that 24 of the world’s biggest companies petitioned the G8 to develop a worldwide system of greenhouse gas emissions limits, with tradable permits for businesses. These permits would limit the amount of CO2 each company could emit.
The only such mandatory system currently in place was started this year by the EU. Under this system, companies are given a certain allowance for carbon dioxide emissions. By improving their emissions standards, companies who fall under their designated emissions allowance can sell their excess “carbon permits” to companies who have exceeded their limits. Currently, the U.S. has a similar program called the Chicago Climate Exchange, but membership is optional and not government enforced.
Presently the US opposes mandatory emissions standards. US support for such measures is seen as vital, largely because America is the world’s largest polluter. With China poised to overtake the US as the greatest greenhouse gas producer by 2025 and India right behind (see SF Chronicle), a unified accord could serve as a vital precedent for such rapidly developing nations. US backing of such policies in slowing the heating of the planet appears to be vital.
With oil prices surging 4% Friday to get back near $60 a barrel, Venezuelan oil earns ten times more on the international market than it does domestically. Such lopsided price ratios have inspired PDVSA, Venezuela’s state oil company, to boost fuel exports by 100,000 barrels per month. PVSA aims to do this not by increasing their overall production levels, but rather through renewable energy projects within Venezuela, whereby the nation’s lowered oil consumption will allow for a higher volume of exports.
This is an interesting case, as it involves the insatiable appetite of the global market for oil creating an economic climate within Venezuela in which it is advantageous to become less petrol dependant. In becoming less petroleum dependant, Venezuela has a greater amount of oil remaining to export, as well as cleaner air inside its borders. At present, Venezuela is the fourth leading exporter of crude oil worldwide.