BBMG: Helping Socially Conscious Companies

Gina-Marie Cheeseman
| Tuesday June 17th, 2008 | 0 Comments

bbmg_logo.gifIn 2007 BBMG, a marketing and branding company that helps socially conscious companies, conducted research on conscious consumers. Founded by Raphael Bemporad and Mitch Baranowski, the company’s researcher first looked at the purchasing decisions of 24 consumers in three cities: Lawrence, KS; Long Island, NY; and Livermore, CA.
Researchers observed the behaviors, values, and experiences of the consumers in order to learn why American consumers are becoming more socially aware. The findings were compiled into the BBMG Conscious Consumer Report.

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Trailer Tails – Commercially Available Device to Make Trucks 6-12% More Efficient

| Monday June 16th, 2008 | 8 Comments

trailer-tail.gifWith no end in sight for high fuel prices, the pressure is on for the world’s truckers to take steps to cut back on fuel use or price themselves out of business. This task means changing driving styles as well as implementing aerodynamic changes to their vehicles. The latter technique is estimated to have the potential to save 2.4 Billion gallons of fuel annually. Do the math on that, line up the entrepreneurs and there’s a ginormous business opportunity at your feet.
Enter ATDyamics, who have invented a device called a “Trailer Tail” which is an aerodynamic attachment to the rear of a truck which results in 5-6% greater fuel efficiency. Match the Trailer Tail with side-skirt panels and you’ll get an additional 4-7%, tests show.
Of course such ideas come with unexpected challenges – The biggest – how do you close open the doors when there’s a tail on the truck?

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Are Carbon Offsets Immoral?

| Monday June 16th, 2008 | 5 Comments

CC_logo_small.jpgIn my previous role as Executive Director of LiveNeutral I regularly received emails from friends and colleagues sharing the website or videos developed by the “CheatNeutral” (http://cheatneutral.com/). They asked if I though it somehow damaged or diminished the objective of LiveNeutral which in part promotes the use of carbon offsets as a tool to help prevent catastrophic climate change. This pertains as much to the work of ClimateCHECK as it does to LiveNeutral and is an important concept to consider for those of us in or interested in the carbon markets industry.

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IEA Lays Out Roadmap for Sustained Economic Growth Based on Clean, Affordable Energy Technology

| Monday June 16th, 2008 | 0 Comments

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Global CO2 emissions could be reduced 50% by 2050 without sacrificing economic development and growth by focusing on the development and promoting the adoption of 17 key advanced energy technologies. So asserts the International Energy Agency – one of, if not the most authoritative sources of information and research on world energy supply-demand, technology and market conditions – in its latest bi-ennial report, “IEA Energy Technology Perspectives 2008.”
Responding to the G-8’s call for guidance on how to achieve “a clean, clever and competitive energy future,” the International Energy Agency released “IEA Energy Technology Perspectives 2008″ June 6 in Tokyo in which it lays out three possible alternative courses – a business-as-usual case, a set of ACT scenarios, and a set of BLUE scenarios – projecting the path of global CO2 emissions and energy supply and demand out to 2050.
“The world faces the daunting combination of surging energy demand, rising greenhouse gas emissions and tightening resources. A global energy technology revolution is both necessary and achievable; but it will be a tough challenge”, Nobuo Tanaka, IEA’s executive director said upon announcing the report’s release in Tokyo.

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ACNielsen Reports Organic Sales on the Rise Despite Economy

| Sunday June 15th, 2008 | 0 Comments

nielson.pngAccording to an ACNielsen and Natural Marketing Institute study (PDF), green consumers are willing to pay more for organic, natural or environmentally-friendly products compared to “non-green” consumers. The section of consumers termed “lifestyles of health and sustainability” or “LOHAS” spend the most on consumer packaged goods such as cereal, jelly, pasta, produce, soup and ready-to-serve prepared food despite the state of the economy.
“LOHAS” products represent a $209 billion industry, a number that is suspected to rise to $400 billion by 2010. Small brands are able to succeed in the face of such demand. According to Brandweek, Ian’s Natural Food’s is growing 45% annually while Nature’s Path Foods grew 30% in the first half of this year and plans to launch 15 new products. ACNielsen and NMI point out that there are still more categories (sports drinks, baking mixes, and syrups among them) that represent “opportunities for CPG manufacturers and retailers seeking to capture LOHAS consumers wallet.”

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Renewable Energy: 3 Reasons Storage is Crucial

Sarah Lozanova | Saturday June 14th, 2008 | 0 Comments

ausra%20tube%20small.jpgThe ability to store energy will be crucial for renewable energy sources to flourish and become a major source of energy. As the industry matures, affordable storage will increasing become an important obstacle to overcome.
This is why:
Cost Effective
Not all watts are created equal. During peak demand on the electric grid, electric companies will pay more for electricity. The opposite is true during times of low demand. Solar energy tends to correspond with these price fluctuations by generating large amounts of electricity during times of peak demand.
This is because air conditioning loads are largely responsible for increased electric demand. People tend to crank up the a.c. when the sun it out. Wind energy and other renewable energy sources however don’t necessarily correspond as closely.

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The Death of the SUV and the Wisconsin City Dealing With the Repercussions

| Friday June 13th, 2008 | 6 Comments
GM SUV

Photo Courtesy of Autoblog.com

Opened in 1919, the GM auto plant in Janesville, WI is the company’s oldest in the country. It has survived both the Great Depression and WWII. The place is an institution. And, according to GM CEO Rick Wagoner, that institution is going to close by 2010.

This is but one of four SUV-producing auto plants that will feel the pinch of corporate belt-tightening, as production costs soar and public opinion of larger, gas guzzling cars diminishes. Along with Ford and other automotive manufacturers, GM intends to focus production on smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicles as we witness the “structural” rather than a “cyclical” change in the auto industry, according to Wagoner.

The GM CEO even said that the company will take the Hummer under “strategic review,” hinting at possibly selling off the once immensely-popular line. For all intents and purposes, this symbolizes a win in the war against the fuel-inefficient, impractical SUV that has haunted environmentalists for years.

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SunEthanol-Harvard Team Up on ‚ÄòQ’ Microbe-Ethanol Production

| Friday June 13th, 2008 | 0 Comments

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Researchers at Harvard University Medical School working with SunEthanol will try to develop new, genetically modified strains of the ‚ÄòQ’ microbe, an anaerobic bacterium found in soil that holds out the promise of accelerating the commercialization of second-generation biofuels made from woody biomass and the remnants of food crops, such as switchgrass, corn stover, wheat straw, sugar cane bagasse and wood pulp, as well as other organic material, such as recycled newspapers and wood chips.
SunEthanol has developed a more efficient Complete Cellulose Conversion industrial process that harnesses the ‚ÄòQ’ microbe’s ability to very efficiently break down sugars found in plant material and convert them into ethanol, thereby significantly reducing the costs of producing a commercial fuel from biomass.
By employing microbes, in theory, as much as 96% of energy in plant sugars can be converted to ethanol. Actual yields are slightly lower but still the most efficient yet found, according to Dartmouth College professor of engineering and biology Lee Lynd.
*Photos courtesy: Sun Ethanol

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UK Government Offers Cash For Biomass For Heat And Energy Generation

| Friday June 13th, 2008 | 2 Comments

scotwillow.jpgUK farmers and businesses producing biomass that can be used for fuel and electricity creation can apply for government grants of up to GBP200,000. By paying farmers for various types of wood, grass, straw and dead forest wood, the UK government hopes to raise electricity derived from biomass supply to 6% by 2020, up from 3.5% now. Demand for renewable heat is expected to increase to 6% by 2020, up from 0.6% currently.

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Brazil’s Banco Real Named Financial Times Sustainable Bank of the Year

| Thursday June 12th, 2008 | 1 Comment

ft-ppp.jpgEdging out 129 institutions across 54 countries, Brazil’s Banco Real was chosen as this year’s Sustainable Bank of the Year by London’s Financial Times and the International Finance Corporation (IFC). Awards were given out to financial institutions operating with triple bottom line principles, incorporating social and environmental aims into their investment portfolios and business practices.
“When we initiated this process of inserting sustainability into our business,” according to a statement by the bank, “our aim was to build a new bank for a new society, and reinforce the role of banks generally as agents for economic and social development.” A subsidiary of Spain’s Banco Santander, Real has a product portfolio offering carbon credit solutions as well as fosters local development through microcredit initiatives.

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Clearing Forests Of Dead Wood Prevents Massive CO2 Emissions

| Thursday June 12th, 2008 | 14 Comments

woodb.jpgIt’s a known fact that trees are only temporarily carbon sequesters and that by the time they start to rot, all the nasty material gets transmitted back into the atmosphere again. So why not prevent this? Thus far we’ve been held back from doing so because intervening into the natural cycle somehow doesn’t feel right. But if we only tidied up one sixth of all the tree wastage lying around on the forest floors, we’d be nearing the carbon levels emitted by burning fossil fuels.

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Emissions Cap-and-Share: Peak Oil, Global Warming, and Economic Depression

| Thursday June 12th, 2008 | 5 Comments

feasta-gaspump.gif Growing energy demand and peaking fossil fuel production may lead to worldwide economic depression and disastrous climate warming as oil and fossil fuel production peaks and energy demand continues to increase, cautions Feasta, the Foundation for Economics of Sustainability.
Seeing parallels between economic developments today and the disastrous effects of petrodollar recycling seen in the 1970s – stagflation, a massive debt crisis and a 20-year-long slump in oil prices – the trillion or so dollars a year over and above anticipated revenues being funneled to oil exporters and the governments of oil exporting nations taking place today not only is the largest and fastest transfer of wealth yet seen in economic history, it is driving dislocations in savings, investment, economic growth and capital allocation that threaten the prevailing global economic system, Feasta argues.
Turning the economic concept of scarcity rent on its head in its May 2008 paper, “Cap and Share: A fair way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” Feasta proposes addressing both issues through the establishment of a politically practical, market-based Cap-and-Share system that would cap and then rapidly reduce greenhouse gas emissions by giving every adult in countries that adopted it the means of generating income from rising oil and fossil fuel prices.
As stated in the executive summary, “The paper argues that C&S needs to be adopted urgently not just for climate reasons but because the scarcity rent being captured by fossil fuel producers is concentrating global wealth in a way that threatens to collapse the world economy. The payment of scarcity rent is already causing severe hardship for millions of poorer people around the world.”

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How to reduce waste at shopping malls

| Wednesday June 11th, 2008 | 6 Comments

Recycled%20banner%20shopping%20bags.jpgWalking through some trendy shopping district, with seasonal banners/flags above, do you ever wonder where they go after they’ve been switched out? In most cases, they get disposed of, adding to the waste stream. While it could be argued that these districts could find other creative, less resource intensive ways to promote themselves, one area, Commercial Drive in Vancouver, has taken another path:
They take previously used banners and make them into attractive shopping bags, 10 colors in all, in two sizes. This is brilliant for multiple reasons: It takes the current burgeoning popularity of eco friendly shopping bags, and gives people the option to get a visually unique choice. And it’s a conversation piece that will likely result in additional person to person promotion of the shopping district it came from, and the store that they purchased it at.
Aware that re-purposed billboards have long been around doing this same trick, the Commercial Drive district bag initiative also donates proceeds from these bags to the creation of new green spaces in the area.
What sort of impact does this have?

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Whither Fuel Prices and National Energy Policy?

| Wednesday June 11th, 2008 | 5 Comments

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Republicans are unwilling to slap a 25% windfall profits tax and rescind $17 billion in tax breaks over the next 10 years for Big Oil that were earmarked to provide incentives to develop alternative energy, arguing that such measures would only add to gasoline prices at the pump and increase U.S. reliance on foreign oil.
In blocking a Democrat-led bill voted on in the Senate yesterday, they also blocked renewal of the renewable energy production tax credit for solar, wind and other alternative energy sources.
The bill would have also given Congress greater powers to take action against excessive oil market speculation, increasingly viewed as a big factor in the oil price rise as Saudi Arabia makes the case that recent price rises are unwarranted in light of supply-demand conditions. It would also have made energy price gouging a federal crime and would have opened up the possibility of anti-trust actions against OPEC members, accoridng to an AP report.

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Canadians Launch Federally Regulated Carbon Trading Exchange

| Wednesday June 11th, 2008 | 0 Comments

montreal.gifCanada’s derivatives exchange in Montreal has begun trading the country’s first carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) contracts. The newly established Montreal Climate Exchange (MCeX) developed the product together with the Chicago Climate Exchange in the US. The CO2e units can be traded by industrial companies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The listing of the MCeX futures contract is a ‚Äòfirst’ and it makes Montr√©al the first regulated environmental market in Canada.

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