Pension Funds to Invest in Clean Energy Projects

| Thursday May 5th, 2005 | 1 Comment

prosperity.jpgThe National Apollo Alliance of Washington State has proposed using state pension funds to creatively finance energy efficient upgrades to major buildings as well as to fund renewable energy projects.
A recent $3.5 million smart energy and efficiency upgrade of a Seattle skyscraper by Washington Real Estate Holdings, which manages the state’s pension funds, lowered average annual energy consumption by 40 percent, saved nearly 7 million kilowatt hours of energy per year, and had a 16.5% ROI with only a 6 year payback. This is what SMART, PROFITABLE, and SUSTAINABLE BUSINESS is all about!
These projects create jobs, lower our need for imported oil, and make life better for all. It seems like a no brainer to me…read entire story in Sustainable Industries Journal Northwest.

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Support for Local Coffee Shops

| Thursday May 5th, 2005 | 7 Comments

delocator.gifTheir stock was recently dumped by Pax World Funds, and there’s no denying the impact that Starbucks’ 6,000+ stores have on the viability of locally-owned coffee shops. Finishing School empowers coffee addicts to avoid Starbucks with the Delocator, a searchable database of independent cafés. Enter a zip code to find local coffee houses; Starbucks stores in the region are displayed alongside.
Your favorite java joint isn’t listed? Go ahead and add it! The participatory site encourages users to contribute to the growing database of Starbucks alternatives. (Via Ethical Marketplace anchor Simran Sethi)

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Lessons in Emissions Trading from Down Under

| Thursday May 5th, 2005 | 0 Comments

australia.jpgBefore widespread carbon emissions trading, Australia’s Hunter River Valley was already succesfully trading another type of emissions: Salinity.
The valley is home to some of the country’s most productive agriculture as well as some major mining operations which have the unpleasant side effect of releasing lots of salty runoff which harms agriculture. By permitting a maximum level of runoff, and dividing it into “discharge credits”, a market was born. More on Ecosystem Marketplace.

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Top Five Energy Priorities for Companies

| Thursday May 5th, 2005 | 0 Comments

energy_priorities.jpgFrom the Energy Priorities Website, the top 5 things that a company can do to be more sustinable are as follows. Incidentally, most of these involve immediate or short term financial payback on top of the satisfaction of “doing the right thing”.
1) Energy efficiency 2) Backup power 3) Green energy 4) Peak load management 5) Clean transportation
Details on the site.

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The Business of Urban Farming

| Wednesday May 4th, 2005 | 0 Comments

coop.jpgIt’s not news that consumers are interested in fresh, healthy food. But a new spate of companies are making easier and more fun for people to be able to have that need met. As reported on Springwise, there are easy ways to move beyond a simple vegetble garden and raise your own chickens, and even make wine and cheese (the cheese comes from a “leased” cow. Additionally, there are companies specializing in the home delivery of fresh organic produce for those not inclined to grow it themselves. Exciting stuff, exciting opportunities. (via Sustainablog)

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Marketing Global Warming?

| Wednesday May 4th, 2005 | 11 Comments

globalwarming.jpgIf global warming, the greenhouse effect, or climate change or anything else you want to call it is really as bad as people say it is, why does the general public persist in doing virtually nothing about it? It’s a pressing question that plagues anyone who thinks of themselves as having a high level of awareness about such things.
Legendary business guru Tom Peters’ weblog has an interesting discussion going on that starts by suggesting the issue is “poorly marketed”, and has a “weak brand”.
If you’ve read George Lakoff’s Don’t Think of an Elephant then you’ve got some idea of where this is headed….

Click to continue reading »

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Ford: Admitting Past Mypoia for the Better?

| Wednesday May 4th, 2005 | 0 Comments

olf_ford.jpgAs reported by “Clean Edge”, Ford may be taking a more formidable approach to hybrid technology than ever before. Mary Ann Wright, Ford’s first director of sustainable mobility technologies, admits: “I’m not going to hide behind the line that [the large SUV] ‘is what our customers want.’ We have to balance that with our environmental responsibility as a company. Climate change is here, we aren’t denying it, and we’ve got to take action.” It’s not just a shift in climate that is motivating Ford. Strong sales with Ford’s Escape hybrid have shown the bottom line viability of alternative automotive technology. Read more…

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Could Rusty Iron Help Detoxify the World?

| Wednesday May 4th, 2005 | 0 Comments

rusty.jpgAccording to Fresh Innovators, oxides that form on rusting iron make excellent agents to detoxify various types of chemical spills. Until recently, producing them was itself a hazardous process. But, by using nanoparticle sized pieces of iron, Dr Andrew Feitz says a vastly cheaper, and potentially more effective method is around the corner. More information is available at the University of New South Wales.

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Passing Values with the Baton

| Tuesday May 3rd, 2005 | 0 Comments

Baton.jpgSuppose you start a sustainable company, grow it into a great success, and then decide to move on to the next venture, retire, or pay back your investors. If you leave, take the company public, or sell it, will your carefully-instilled values survive the transition?
Joel Makower reports on two early-stage funds that would make the transition a little easier to stomach. One is an offshoot of Porfolio 21, a sustainable business mutual fund out of Oregon. The other, dubbed Circle B by fund incubator Investors’ Circle Foundation, will support B corporations, a proposed class of business entity which would exist for the benefit of ALL stakeholders. Read Joel Makower’s full report at WorldChanging.

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HSBC to Switch to 30% Wind Power

| Tuesday May 3rd, 2005 | 0 Comments

hsbc.gifThe US operations of HSBC commited in December to the principal of eventually being carbon-neutral. GreenBiz reports the bank will now purchase almost 45,000 MWh of wind-energy credits. The purchase will cover 30% of HSBC’s energy requirements and is among the single largest wind energy purchases so far made in North America.

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PV Panels Potency Increasing

| Tuesday May 3rd, 2005 | 2 Comments

solon.jpgA $300 million agreement has been reached between a semi-conductor corporation and SOLON AG, Germany’s largest photvoltaic module manufacturer. The product being supplied by SOLON AG is for their new “SOLON-Mover,” a system designed for deployment in multi-megawatt power plants. The system’s panels rotate and tilt automatically during the day, so that they directly face the sun at all times. This unique design, which allowins for increased power generation of up to 50%, makes these units viable for large power stations. Typically, solar technology is used to power individual units as opposed to centralized power stations.

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WA State Enacts First US “Green Building” Mandate

| Monday May 2nd, 2005 | 0 Comments

washstate.jpgWashington state became the first state in the nation to enact a “Green Building” law requiring all new state buildings (K-12 schools, universities and other public buildings) bigger than 5,000 square feet meet or exceed the US Green Building Council’s LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Silver certification which takes into account a building’s materials, lighting, heating and cooling systems, water efficiency, landscaping, emissions’ reductions and other innovative building elements.
Other U.S. cities, including Chicago and Austin, Texas, have pioneered similar legislation. Read the story in Sustainable Industries Journal

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Learn How CSR Benefits Companies in India

| Monday May 2nd, 2005 | 0 Comments

india_flag.jpgTake a look at this amazing and practical look at how CSR is being intertwined into businesses in India. US companies can learn from India how to use CSR to build a positive brand image among their employees, the community, and shareholders.
The benefits of CSR include building a positive image and encouraging social involvement of employees, which in turn develops a sense of loyalty to the company. CSR activities help bond employees as a team, and with the organisation, which in turn helps create a dedicated workforce that is proud of its employer. Read the entire article from Express Online, India’s IT Business Weekly

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Japan’s Sustainable Edo Period

| Monday May 2nd, 2005 | 0 Comments

edo_wave.jpgGlorifying days gone by is not without its caveats. After all, most societies were more sustainable many years ago simply by virture of their size and lack of massive industry. Nonetheless, the Edo period in Japan (1603-1867) has come to be known as an era of particularly eco-efficient living, largely out of necessity caused by living on a closed island society. Japan for Sustainability has a website with a translation of Eisuke Ishikawa’s book The Edo Period had an Ecological Society. Pick a chapter and have a read!

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European Companies Face Challenges of Emissions Trading

| Monday May 2nd, 2005 | 0 Comments

stack2.jpgIf there’s any silver lining to the current US resistance to emissions trading programs, it’s that we can let the Europeans work out the kinks. Putting a market price on emissions liabilities that can also be used as assets if they’re not released makes for some very new accounting challenges, as reported in the Financial Times.

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