The city of Oakland recently passed a resolution to become a “zero waste” city by the year 2020. It’s a pretty ambitious idea that’s going to take a lot of sweat and planning. Check out this MP3 audio file to hear all about it. Thanks to eWaste Insights for the link!
TriplePundit: Reporting on the Triple Bottom Line
Entreplist points us to an interesting challenge called the BiD Challenge 2006. The €150,000 start-up-money prize will be awarded to whoever best develops a plan that reduces poverty while creating an income positive business.
THe BiD have a deadline of March 20th, but only require a 3-page plan. More on the site.
We’ve reported earlier about Japan’s zany “warm biz” program that encourages businesses to lower the thermostat in winter and get people to wear warmer clothes. There’s also a slightly more comfortable program called “Cool Biz” which turns down the air conditioning a little bit in the summer while allowing employees to remove cumbersome jackets and ties – moving towards casual business is a rare move in Japan. Well, it turns out the program has saved as much as 460,000 tons of CO2 last summer alone. Article here. No word on the fate of overheated officeworkers.
One of the cooler ‘freebies’ that Stanford Business School passed out at the Net Impact conference last November was a “Primer” on climate change. The problem was the print was so tiny you could hardly read it. I has happy to discover the other day that there’s a downloadable PDF version which not only saves paper, but can be enlarged. Have a look at it here! The key takeaway:
Climate change may prove to be the most important business issue of the 21st century.
Managers who wish to be responsible to shareholders and the broader community must be prepared to face the challenges and opportunities presented by our shifting climate. Trillions of dollars, millions of lives, thousands of species – infinite solutions
“Domestic Tradable Quotas” are a new idea being pondered in Europe to bring the general public into the emissions reduction and trading game. Imaging having a personal allowance of X tons of carbon. Then every time you buy something, that item’s carbon footprint is deducted from your account. If you end up with a negative account at the end of the year, you’ll have to pay a fee. If it’s positive, you can cash it in, like a sort of “Carbon Reward Card”. The collective allowance would be capped, and reduced annually, thus lowering climate impact. It might be quite expensive to implement. Would it work? Check this BBC article for more!
Ethanol may not be the perfect solution to our environmental and oil-based woes, but it’s probably better than what we’ve got now. Either way, Ethanol is taking off, and people are eager to cash in on this new cash crop. In South Africa a firm called Ethanol Africa is investing a whopping $1 Billion on new ethnaol plants across the country to take advantage of higher fuel standards in Europe and elsewhere (See Reuters). The project is backed primarily by corn growers.
Treehugger is soon to become the sibling of Triple Pundit (or some other analogous role pending a multi-million dollar merger), and therefore I get the good word early on certain exciting projects. Namely – Treehugger TV! The new “station” has launched and will be featuring short videos about businesses, organizations, or inspired folks that will entertain and inspire you! Check it out, it’s really cool. You can also subscribe via iTunes.
If you are in the San Francisco Bay Area, and are considering entering an MBA program, please join Presidio faculty, staff, graduates, and students for an MBA Open House on Wednesday, March 15, from 6-8pm.
There will be a half-hour faculty panel presentation moderated by Paul Sheldon, featuring Presidio Provost Dr. Ron Nahser, Natural Capitalism co-author Hunter Lovins, and other distinguished Presidio faculty. It’s a great way to spend a Wednesday evening. See you there!
Open House Location:
Presidio School of Management Main Office
Bldg. 36 on Lincoln Blvd @ Graham Street [MAP HERE]
in the Presidio of San Francisco
Note: The sign outside the building reads “Presidio World College”
You must RSVP to: info-at-presidiomba.org
One of my favorite topics is the developing world’s energy needs. If developing nations take the same path toward energy production that we’ve chosen, the whole planet is likely doomed. So, finding a fair solution that makes everyone happy is one of our most pertinent challenges. According to this WBCSD piece, it’s quite possible to meet the developing world’s needs without increasing carbon emissions, but that article doesn’t talk a lot about how to go about doing it. In my opinion, it’s most definitely in the best interest of weatlhy nations to make investments in renewable energy infrasctucture everywhere, not just at home. That’s one way to get going.
The TED Conference recently happened in Monterey, CA – it’s one of the most amazing (not that I’ve been) conferences of the year. You can read all about it here. But this post is about the bags. A super cool conference needs super cool bags, and who better to provide them than Timbuk2.
Anyway, the bag they gave away at the conference is designed to embrace the first stages of the “cradle to cradle” philosophy of William McDonough – produced with sustainable materials, and totally recycleable at the end of its life into useful material. It’s only a start – “totally sustainable” is wishful thinking at this point – but according to their literature, phase II of the project will bring it one step closer.
Download a lengthy PDF about the bag here.
What happens when climate change policy intersects with the war on terror? Here is a sampling of what we’ve been saying to the world.
‘The Kyoto Convention is fundamentally flawed because developing nations don’t have to do their part’.
‘Developing nations can’t be trusted to enrich uranium to produce their own carbon free energy. They might use it to produce weapons of mass destruction’.
‘It’s OK for India to use nuclear technology to produce electricity because that will free up oil to meet transportation demand in the US’ (hint that something is amiss: oil is little used to generate electricity; natural gas is).
‘China can’t buy a US oil company but they can buy all the oil and gas they want from Iran, so that it [China] can make the goodies we want’.
‘American industries can sell nuclear generating station equipment to China and India: a good thing for balance of trade and because nuclear energy is carbon-free’.
Is your head spinning yet?
In Gil Friend’s recent newsletter he alluded to 2005 as being the tipping point for sustainability. In 35 years of tracking the “sustainability trajectory”, Gil says last year may have been the “year of critical mass”. Among his observations:
- Major, and vocal, steps toward eco-efficiency by manufacturers such as GE and Boeing
- Major investments by financial institutions in renewable energy and efforts to combat climate change
- The highly significant developments at retailers such as Wal Mart and Starbucks
- And the reality check that the 2005 hurricane season thrust upon us.
It’s not all glowing, guaranteed optimism from here on out of course. Pop over to Gil’s site to read the rest!
Catallaxis was recently brought to my attention as a new blog on “integral economics” by Daniel O’Connor. The site looks at the idea of markets, and the polarized way that various camps of people tend to view them. By looking at markets, and other economic issues, in a more integral manner, the site suggests a more open minded approach to addressing the problems and disagreements that plague economics. It’s well worth putting on your reading list!
The story behind the name is especially interesting.
Given the intensifying impacts of an unstable climate, it is obvious to many financial leaders that the ultimate viability of the global economy depends on government intervention to promote the necessary changes in the world’s energy infrastructures. If government fails to intervene, insurance losses and defaulted business loans are the ultimate outcome, leading to a very damaging shrinkage of markets for goods and services, especially in developing countries.
That quote pretty much sums it up. But more importantly the article emphasizes that companies making efforts ahead of any expected government intervention stand to be in a far better position than those who lag behind.
The “Cradle to Cradle” concept pioneered by William McDonogh has been more of an ideal theory than anything that has yet been put into practice. That’s quickly changing. A brand of diapers called gDiapers has been awarded the first ever “Cradle to Cradle” certification for a consumer packaged product.
Disposable diapers are one of the most problematic trash items we’ve got, accounting a surprisingly huge amount of any given landfill. These new diapers, which are still disposable by means of flushing down the toilet, are apparantly quickly biodegradable in a way that does not introduce any harmful chemicals into the water system. You can read more about it on their website. But, with the support of McDonough, who is one of the strictest evaluators for this sort of thing, I’m taking their word for it.