Reconnect Program Expands into Houston

| Wednesday March 26th, 2008 | 6 Comments

Reconnect opens in HoustonReconnect is a partnership between Dell Computer and Goodwill Industries offering consumers in participating cities a computer recycling and reuse program. Goodwills in California, Michigan, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Texas have programs in place in many cities and regions.

The Grand Opening today of the Houston Computer Works store was the occasion to announce expansion of Reconnect into metropolitan Houston.

Computer Works will offer low cost software and hardware and house the “de-manufacturing” process for the recycling program, keeping an estimated 1.5 million pounds of computer hardware out of area landfill.

San Francisco has numerous recycling programs including Reconnect, so I am always disheartened when I see a battered printer or some other piece of hardware abandoned on the street.

Consumer education and awareness of the environmental hazards lurking inside our electronics is another key component to recycling success that Reconnect hopes to achieve throughout its growing network.

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Sustainability Below the Surface: Sustainable Brands Conference This June in Beautiful Monterey

| Wednesday March 26th, 2008 | 1 Comment

Sustainabiltiy Below the Surface this June in MontereyThe Sustainable Brands Conference is coming to Monterey California this June 2nd to the 5th at the Hyatt Regency.

Innovators, entrepreneurs, and leaders of businesses large and small are slated for attendance at this unique conference billed as the “only conference focused on sustainability as a key driver for brand prosperity and success in the 21st century.”

A very short list of some of the speakers at the conference include:

  • JoAnna Abrams, Principal, MindClick
  • Phil Berry, President, Sustainable Product Works, LLC
  • Benjamin Allen, Senior Research Analyst, Parnassus Investments
  • Steve Bishop, Global Lead, Design for Sustainability, IDEO
  • Erin Carlson, Director of Yahoo! for Good, Yahoo! Inc.
  • Scot Case, Vice President, TerraChoice Environmental Marketing, Inc.
  • Jeffrey Hollender, President and Corporate Responsibility Officer, Seventh Generation Inc. 

Sessions for the conference include:

  • Marketing Green 101
  • Designing Your Sustainable Brand Position & Voice: A Workshop in the Creative Process
  • Measuring Your Social Footprint
  • Culture as Brand
  • Strategies and Tools for Measuring Your Carbon Foot Print
  • On the Path to Carbon Neutrality — First Reduce Your Impact
  • Insight From the Blogosphere – Current Analysis on Green Consumer Conversation
  • Capital Flow & Sustainable Brands: How Investors are Driving New Opportunity for Sustainable Brands

… and there’s a lot more.

“…engage to create solutions for integrating brand, environmental and social purpose in the beautiful and stimulating backdrop of Monterey, California”.

 

 

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Eco Tuesday: A Discussion with Jonah Sachs of Free Range Studios

| Tuesday March 25th, 2008 | 2 Comments

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TriplePundit has partnered with EcoTuesday, the monthly sustainable business networking event to provide an online dialog following each EcoTuesday event. The idea is that conversations that started at the event can be continued online, and connections that were made can be rekindled.
On Tuesday, March 25, EcoTuesday took place at Le Colonial Restaurant in San Francisco, with Jonah Sachs, CEO of Free Range Studios as the expert speaker.
A few choice clips:

(apologies for poor lighting)
Jonah’s pioneering communications work has helped hundreds of progressive organizations break through the media din with strategic, inspiring messages. He’s the creative force behind the web presences of such pre-eminent organizations as the ACLU, Heifer International and Environmental Defense.
If you were at the event, what did you think? Please use the comments here to continue the conversation. If you were not at the event, please feel free to jump in. As always, if you are interested in bringing EcoTuesday to your community, check out the contact form here.

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Music Wood: A Song for Sustainable Forestry

| Tuesday March 25th, 2008 | 0 Comments

Music Wood - guitars don't grow on trees ya' know...“Somebody has to do something, it’s just incredibly pathetic that it has to be us”
-Jerry Garcia, The Grateful Dead

Jerry is no longer with us, of course, but he would be happy to hear about Music Wood, a partnership between Greenpece and musical instrument makers Martin, Gibson, Fender, Taylor, and Yamaha. The goal of the campaign is to promote the availability of instruments made from wood harvested within the sustainable forestry standards set forth by the Forestry Stewardship Council.

Spruce, Rosewood, Ebony, Mahogany, and Maple are among the “tonewoods” used to produce the musical tone musicians seek in their instruments, principally from old-growth forests, often harvested unsustainably.

Music Wood will initially focus on Alaskan Sitka Spruce, used for sound boards in guitars and pianos, harvested by Sealaska. Using Sealaska’s own numbers, the old-growth forests in Alaska will be gone in fifteen years if harvesting continues at current levels.

Sealaska has agreed to a preliminary audit with plans for a full FSC-certified assessment this summer. If Sealaska implements the recommendations of the assessment, they can apply for accreditation from FSC, helping to insure a sustainable harvest well into the future.

Guitars, mandolins, pianos, and violins make up but a small fraction of the old-growth harvest, but the market is a high profile one that can help lead the way and inspire sustainable forestry. 

With the forests goes the music.

Rock on.

 

 

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New Kyoto Protocol CDM Chair Sets Priorities

| Tuesday March 25th, 2008 | 0 Comments

Expanding and streamlining the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change’s (UNFCCC) Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) will be 2008’s focal points for the CDM Executive Board, according to Rajesh Kumar Sethi, who as its newly appointed chairperson is the man in charge of managing the world’s largest market-based mechanism for verifying and financing carbon dioxide emissions reduction projects.
“The CDM is operating in close to 50 countries, and is approaching its thousandth registered project with 128 million CERs already issued. Everyone involved can take some pride in those stats, but until the potential of the mechanism is realized in the lesser developed countries, especially in Africa, we cannot rest,” Sethi said in a media release.

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Mail Back: USPS to recycle e-waste free of charge

| Tuesday March 25th, 2008 | 2 Comments

This is a guest post was written by Bobby Grace, a student in Professor Simran Sethi’s Media and the Environment course at the University of Kansas originally published this to the course blog on March 18, 2008.

I don’t skateboard.
I’ve tried, but I never really got the hang of it. The last (and final) time I tried, I fell and cracked the screen of my phone. The proper way to describe the phone would be unusable, but I like to say it was totally thrashed.
The USPS knows there are people out there like me, people with electronics that are no longer usable. Knowing the toxicity of electronics, the USPS has set up a novel program to recycle electronics called Mail Back.
Instructions:
1. Go to the post office.
2. Pick up a pre-paid envelope.
3. Insert totally thrashed cell phone along with dreams of becoming a professional skateboarder.
4. Seal envelope and send it off.
Yes, people, it’s that easy with the Mail Back program. Your postage is care of Clover Technology Group, the company that won the USPS’s love and manages the electronic waste. Your PDAs, iPods, ink cartridges, digicams, and other small electronics are refurbished, reused, recycled, and never sent to the landfill. This program is a first for the USPS and as such it is only available in 10 areas across the country including Washington DC, Chicago, LA, and San Diego. If well received, the program will go national this fall.
via: Planet Green, USPS Press Release
Bobby Grace
(Photo: Max Knight, flickr)

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AskPablo: The great diaper debate

| Monday March 24th, 2008 | 0 Comments

The great diaper debate of disposable vs. cloth now has a new dimension thanks to gDiapers, flushable nappies that are cradle-to-cradle certified. But is it really environmentally sound to flush each diaper? The gDiapers Web site says it’s OK to throw them away since they biodegrade within 60 days, but it also points out that poop in landfills is generally a bad idea because of all those nasty bacteria, and that “the best way we currently have for treating human waste is in our existing sewage facilities.” What say you?

You are not the first to ask about disposable diapers and, lucky for you, my editor wants me to work on this smelly subject this week. And what topic could be more fitting after my last article on the environmental impact of bringing an additional child into the world. Honestly, I don’t know much about diapers — and those who wear them — but hopefully we can learn something together this week and find an environmentally friendly solution to this mess.
Continue reading at: http://www.salon.com/mwt/feature/2008/03/24/ask_pablo_diapers/index.html

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Nike makes a green sneaker?

| Monday March 24th, 2008 | 7 Comments

In a sign that eco friendly shoes are moving out of the hemp, vegan, crunchy cliches and into the broader world is the newly released Nike Trash Talk shoe. Nike themselves have had a sustainably made shoe line called Considered, that, while a great effort, stayed firmly in the brown shoe, casual segment, not touching the performance end of their product lines, the majority of what they produce.
It now appears that they’ve begun branching out, with the trail athletics oriented Humara and Takos shoes, that incorporate recycled shoe rubber, and their trail jacket, that uses recycled polyester.
The Trash Talk, however, marks a coming out of sorts, as this has been created in partnership with Steve Nash of the Phoenix Suns, and they made it a point to let it be known he was wearing them at the All Star game in February.
So, is there substance behind their green claims, or is it hyped greenwash?

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Pres. Bush Address at WIREC 2008

| Saturday March 22nd, 2008 | 1 Comment

It’s amazing how at certain key turning points decisions and policies that will strongly influence and determine the future course for entire nations of individuals hang on a razor’s edge…and fall one way or another based largely on meetings and get-togethers carried out out of the public eye.
One of the first things Pres. Bush and his administration focused on upon taking control of the executive branch of government was to push for a National Energy Policy…Unsurprisingly, it focused heavily on ramping up domestic petroleum and gas exploration and development. The almost clandestine way the Bush-Cheney team carried out the policy formulation process came to light, leading to claims of abuse of power, and once again highlighting the potential conflicts of interest inherent in policy making given their well-known personal histories and vested oil and gas industry interests.
Those policies have changed dramatically…Here’s a video — courtesy of davidanyc2 and YouTube — to Pres. Bush’s address at the recently concluded WIREC 2008 (Washington International Renewable Energy Conference) where more than 8600 delegates from more than 150 international delegations made more than 100 pledges of action to promote and increase renewable energy development and use.

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What Walmart and Kermit Have in Common: It’s Not Easy Being Green

| Friday March 21st, 2008 | 1 Comment

A liquid cooler atop the new Wal-Mart Supercenter in Las Vegas. Photo courtesy of the Associated PressAnd if you were to ask Lee Scott, Walmart’s CEO, he’d say Walmart isn’t green at all – which doesn’t seem too much of a stretch.

Walmart has been vilified for destroying America’s “Main Street”, exploiting workers all over the world (including here in the U.S.), and helping fuel a consumerist environmental mess on a scale not even possible by smaller, lesser retailers. They have one of the largest commercial truck fleets on the planet and consume more electricity than any other private user. Walmart is the big (really big) elephant in the room we call “retail commerce” and the footprint they leave throughout the world is a large one – to put it mildly.

We love to hate Walmart.

But even if Walmart isn’t green, they’re pretty good at making money and maximizing profit. And with efficiency comes lower operating costs, more profit, and more money.

Efficiency is the name of the game with their latest generation “Supercenter”  in Las Vegas that utilizes new cooling technology expected to reduce overall energy use by 45%. Since 2005, Walmart has reportedly put in place a program aimed at increasing overall energy efficiency throughout the chain, reducing packing waste, and adding more sustainable products to their shelves.

If that isn’t green, it is more efficient. You don’t always have to be green to do the right thing.

 

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Can the Green Corporation Credibility Gap Be Bridged?

| Friday March 21st, 2008 | 3 Comments

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When ex-Sierra Club president Adam Werbach and then the Environmental Defense Fund signed on to WalMart’s payroll, it raised more than the eyebrows of environmentalists, to put it mildly. Scathing criticism and cynical commentary inevitably followed. But in an environment where “being green” is increasingly good business, corporations are increasingly seeking to enlist the aid of – and gain endorsements from – environmental organizations.
Businesses’ efforts to “go green” carry more weight and are more credible when they are endorsed by third-party environmental groups, particularly those whose efforts have an impact on their local communities, according to 75% of respondents to an “Eco-concerns” survey recently released by Peppercom’s GreenPepper division and conducted by San Francisco’s Media-Screen.
“Nearly two-thirds of the 100-plus company executives surveyed launched eco-friendly initiatives within the past year, but much of what has been showcased is viewed among consumers as greenwashing,” said Ann Barlow, president of Peppercom’s West Coast office and head of GreenPepper. “That’s why it’s important for companies to seek opportunities for guidance from and collaboration with NGOs at all levels, particularly those that are locally or regionally based. They can help companies focus on the most important investments and changes to make.”

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End of the Line or Buying Opportunity: Alt Energy Stocks and LSE’s AIM

| Thursday March 20th, 2008 | 1 Comment

As is true for stock exchanges around the world, one of the oldest, the London Stock Exchange, has undergone a transformation in recent decades. The advent of digital trading and information systems technology has spurred fundamental changes in the way the LSE and counterparts in major financial centers around the world do business, prompting them to move from floor to electronic trading, opening them up to a much greater degree to international capital flows and re-organizing the structure of the brokerage and investment banking industry.
And like other exchanges – though perhaps more successfully – the LSE has built a subsidiary exchange that provides a conduit for entreprenuerial, less well-established start-ups to tap into individual, fund and institutional investors’ capital.
The LSE’s Alternative Investment Market, or AIM, – akin to Nasdaq – has pursued that strategy with great success. But while Nasdaq built its name and achieved great success by capitalizing on the information technology and Internet boom, the AIM has become a hotbed of activity when it comes to raising capital and trading the shares of mineral and energy resource companies.
The rising prominence, and market prices, of oil, gas, gold, silver and the range of key base and industrial metals and minerals has been the key factor driving this trend. Similarly, efforts to mitigate climate change have led to strong investor interest in companies developing alternative energy sources and technology. Biofuel, solar and wind power start-ups from the U.K., the U.S. and other countries around the world have fulfilled their capital needs by listing on the AIM.

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Green Spaces in Green Places: Is Building Green Going From Niche to Mainstream?

| Wednesday March 19th, 2008 | 1 Comment

Green building practices move toward the mainstreamThere hasn’t been a lot of good news in the general economy lately; from a complete collapse of sub-prime mortgage loans, to slumping property values, whip-sawing stock markets, $110+ barrels of oil and colossal brokerage houses that suddenly run out of cash – it isn’t pretty.

At first blush, it might appear that this is no time for green builders to forecast increased orders through 2008. But that’s exactly what Rob Moody is doing. Owner of The EcoBuilders based in Asheville, North Carolina, Moody started the business in 2003 and states in a recent Newsweek article that he expects orders to double this year, after doing the same last year.

Contrast this to “builders have run scared and orders have dried up” in answer to the question “how’s business?” of a friend last weekend who supplies builders with high-end kitchen cabinetry and fixtures.

In fact, builders laid off a quarter of its workers last year, and new homes sales for this year are estimated at just 632,000 homes, the lowest since 1992.

Does any of this mean that a relatively small niche has any chance of impacting the mainstream?

Maybe so.

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Merrill Lynch Partners with CDP to Boost Carbon Accounting, Disclosure

| Wednesday March 19th, 2008 | 1 Comment

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When it comes to business, finance and economics you know that something has arrived when the big investment banks and brokerages get behind it. That’s been the case with carbon emissions credit trading for a couple or so years now, and now it’s happening in the case of carbon dioxide and greenhouse gas emissions accounting and auditing.
The Carbon Disclosure Project and Merrill Lynch & Co. on March 17 announced a global, three-year partnership that aims to further develop and expand the CDP organization and its efforts to develop international standards for corporate carbon dioxide and greenhouse gas emissions accounting, disclosure and auditing.
A collaboration on the part of 385 institutional investors with some US$57 trillion of assets under management, CDP is the world’s largest investor collaboration on climate change. Each year it sends out climate change and carbon emissions surveys and disclosure requests to over 3,000 companies globally on behalf of investors.

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EcoTuesday Networking Event, March 25, in YOUR City

| Tuesday March 18th, 2008 | 0 Comments

EcoTuesday_Logo_Mar2008.jpegEcoTuesday is a forum for sustainable business leaders to come together to network, collaborate, and engage with one another in a structured environment. Here’s how it works: Participants arrive and settle in, taking a few minutes to get a beverage and see old friends and meet new ones. We start the evening with a speaker from one of the many areas of sustainability, who will share news, tips, and information about their area of expertise. The topic is different each month. After the speaker is complete, participants have the opportunity to ask questions to gain more information. After that, everyone in the room gets into a circle and shares their name, their affiliation, and one thing they’re passionate about regarding sustainability. It’s is a great way for you to learn about everyone in the room, and for everyone in the room to learn about you!
After that, we have time to meet all of the people we learned about in the introduction circle.
EcoTuesday attracts a diverse group of sustainable business leaders involved in a wide variety of interests and fields. EcoTuesday is held on the 4th Tuesday of each month – and we’re growing! Look for an EcoTuesday event in your city!
You must RSVP in order to attend (see RSVP links below):
a) San Francisco
b) Los Angeles
c) Seattle
d) Atlanta
e) Minneapolis
If your city is not listed, get in touch with EcoTuesday about becoming an ambassador today. Don’t forget to mention you heard about it on Triple Pundit.

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