The Great Barack Obama GM Compromise

| Tuesday November 29th, 2005 | 5 Comments

barak.jpgBarack Obama is one of those rare politicians who’s both intelligent and capable of speaking his mind without caving-in to every imaginable political distraction around him. His latest address – the problem of an ailing General Motors, laying off thousands while producing (mostly) sub-par vehicles with lousy emissions standards. GM’s long-standing, and quite valid complaint has been the costs of the very generous health and reitrement packages given to labor. So, says Barack, why not let the government take care of some of the health care costs for GM’s workers, and in return, get a promise from GM to invest the savings into better performing vehicles? Article Here. (via Grist)
For the latest 3P news on Obama’s ouster of GM CEO Rick Wagoner, click here

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Patagonia Gets Closer to Realising Cradle to Cradle Philosophy

| Tuesday November 29th, 2005 | 1 Comment

capeline.jpgPatagagonia continues to lead the way in sustainable innovation among clothing retailers – they will now even take your dirty underwear in for recycling. That’s right – Patagonia Capilene® garments are capable of being recycled into new garments of equal quality. Since most recycling proceses result in inferior raw materials, this is quite a feat. Despite the processing needed to recycle the garments, and the fact that the material is shipped to Japan, it has still been calculated to be vastly less energy intensive than creating new fiber from virgin materials. It also saves 71% in CO2 emissions. It’s all explained here. A more detailed life cycle analysis is available here in PDF form.

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Saving the Environment, One Quarterly Report at at Time

| Monday November 28th, 2005 | 2 Comments

nyt_logo_sm.gifFrom The New York Times, last week another great article about how companies are profiting by “going green”. The article details the efforts of a wide variety of companies from Wal Mart to Newman’s Own who are taking steps to make their operations more ecologically consiouse, and reaping financial gain at the same time.
The one flaw in the article – it’s title makes reference to the “Quartely Report”. But the article never mentions it. The problem is, savings on investments in green energy and other changes are typically not realized for at least a few years. Obsession with quarterly earnings reports on the part of management and stockholders is typically a hindrance to change. It’s also pointed out as a major cause of corruption and bad accounting of the Enron type. Still, it’s worth a read.

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Goldman Sachs Speaks out on Value of Ecosystem Services

| Monday November 28th, 2005 | 1 Comment

gslogpo.gifGoldman Sachs’ new environmental policy acknowledges the threat of global warming and other crises, but it goes a significant step further – recognizing the degradation of the planet’s “ecosystem services“. Such services are the provision of clean air and water, the control of pests, floods, drought, fertile soil, and processing of waste. They have been recognized by the UN as demonstrably in decline throughout the world. The company is seeking to utilize markets (presumably like carbon trading) to address the decline of various ecosystem services in areas where voluntary action alone has proven ineffective, as well as to reduce its own greenhouse gas emissions and promote various other activities.
The recognition of “ecosystem services” is of special value in that it starts a thought process that promotes the quantification of what the planet provides, free of charge, on a daily basis. In contrast, drawing from one of my favorite Hunter Lovins lectures in Natural Capitalism – you may recall the “biosphere II” project, an “artifical earth” designed to provide all the needs for 8 people for two years. It failed to do so despite over $200 Million in investment. If $200 Million can’t satisfy the needs of 8 people, then what’s the value of a system that does it daily for 6 Billion? It’s not funny math, and smart companies and leaders are starting to see it that way.

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Happy Thanksgiving

| Thursday November 24th, 2005 | 0 Comments

turkey.jpgHappy Thanksgiving everyone! To those of you outside the US, happy Thanksgiving anyway! Mr. Turkey here seems to have kidnapped the blog, and there won’t be any posting today or tommorow, check back on Monday! Looking forward to some great posts next week.

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CK Prahalad’s “The Next Practice” Advisory Firm

| Wednesday November 23rd, 2005 | 0 Comments

thenextprac.gifThe “Bottom of the Pyramid” concept refers to the vast market of people with minimal income individually, but massive market potential if taken as a collective. It’s also associated with sustainability in the sense that serving this market with affordable products can serve to better their lives without deepening their debts, as well as helping to launch better infrastructure, promoting leapfrog technology, and encouraging the growth of small business. CK Prahalad is something of a guru in management strategy and specializes in BOP markets. His advisory firm, The Next Practice, is taking the BOP strategy to the next level and is worth a look to better understand how companies are working with the BOP around the world.

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Musings of an Eco-Entrepreneur

| Tuesday November 22nd, 2005 | 0 Comments

shea_g.jpgSkye Creative’s Shea Gunther has just launched a pretty nifty new blog with a focus on entrepreneurship in an ecoconsious manner. The content is great, and his recent “blog-a-thon” is worth checking out as well.

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Smart Grids, Crude Awakenings, and the Future of Water

| Tuesday November 22nd, 2005 | 0 Comments

ibflogo.gifThat’s the focus at the Second Annual Clean-Tech Investor Summit Hosted by Clean Edge and IBF. The conference will be an interesting mix of major corporations, smaller entrepreneurs, and clean energy investment groups. The idea – show investors the incredible growth opportunities present in clearn energy technologies and help jump start the market. Feb 1-2, Rancho Mirage, CA.

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The Third Carnival of the Green is on Sustainablog

| Monday November 21st, 2005 | 0 Comments

cotg.gifIt’s blog carnival time again! This time the carnival of the green is hosted by sustainablog. Check it out!

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How Google Battles Power Consumption

| Monday November 21st, 2005 | 0 Comments

logo_smgoog.gifPeople often joke that laptops are actually lap heaters, and PCs personal spaceheaters. They may use little energy compared to other appliances, but all that heat adds up – especially if you have thousands of computers racked together.
Masters of data efficiency, Google, have a big challenge on their hand with energy consumption at their massive data center. Opps Manager Urs Hoelzle says over 4 years, power costs of a PC can add up to half the hardward cost. TGdaily has a great article with more details and some of the tricks Google pulls to cut power consumption.
(via Treehugger)

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Sustainable Energy Bike Tours in Oregon

| Monday November 21st, 2005 | 0 Comments

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Looking for something fun to do this summer? Why not go on a bike tour in Oregon? Why not make it more than a bike tour and visit permacultural farms, check out local economic programs, and meet a whole bunch of interesting folks along the way? Sustainable Energy in Motion offers one to two week tours from Portland Oregon which do all these things and more. Sound’s like a pretty cool group.

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Canada Proposes Sales Tax on Food to Fund Sustainability

| Friday November 18th, 2005 | 1 Comment

canada.jpgThe Canadian Goods and Services Tax (like a sales tax) does not currently apply to food. A proposal by the Agricultural Institute of Canada proposes that the GST be extended to groceries in order to fund sustainable practices and consequently keep small farms afloat. Is a tax the right way to go about this? The AIC says so, Canadians will decide.

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Treehugger Holiday Gift Guide

| Friday November 18th, 2005 | 0 Comments

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First of all, it’s waaaaay to early to be thinking about the holidays, but since Erin Oliver’s Treehugger post on holiday gifts came out today, I’m compelled to pass it on. Bookmark it to reference later in December.
This is a great big post with gift ideas in all price categories and types – including intangible ideas like green energy investments. If you’re looking for something not on the list, I also suggest Drive Neutral certificates for people’s cars.

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Freepledge Offers Support for Non Profits via Amazon

| Thursday November 17th, 2005 | 0 Comments

freepledge.jpgFreepledge is a new organization that seeks to leverage Amazon’s affiliate program for the benefit of non profits. The advantage to non profits is that instead of only displaying a simple “booklist” or links to a few select items on their webpage, they get a branded interface to the entire Amazon catalog. For example, see paarc.freepledge.com to benefit the Palo Alto Area Red Cross. Freepledge says that new features and website refinements are on the way in time for the holiday season.

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Humanising Big Box Retail… A Downtown Walmart?

| Thursday November 17th, 2005 | 0 Comments

walmartnew.jpgWal Mart, valid complaints aside, has made some pretty significant effort in the past year to “green” its practices. It’s still the 900lb gorilla everyone loves to hate, but I’ll admit it has gotten slightly better.
Anyway, here’s the latest – a “new urbanist” Wal Mart is now proposed for the battered Mississippi Gulf Coast town of Pass Christian, says USA today. The idea is that the Wal Mart will be located in an actual downtown, in such a way that citizens can walk to it and it’s not isolated among acres of surface parking lots.
Aside from the painfullly kitchy architecture, this actually seems like a great idea – one that might do at least a little to help one of Wal Mart’s most hated historical effects – the obliteration of small town centers in favor of automobile oriented strip malls.
Although a cartoon downtown full of chain stores isn’t exactly ideal, this development is worth watching as Wal Mart slowy starts to learn to think differently.

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