Hope you have an enjoyable long weekend and seeing as it’s labor day, do as little of it as possible. If there’s one thing you should do, however, it’s drop a few pennies into the Red Cross hat for those affected by Hurricane Katrina. Anything helps.
TriplePundit: Reporting on the Triple Bottom Line
With the amount of solar innovation happening around the world these days, I think we are getting very close to the tipping point of cost effectiveness and real mass production. Anyway, here’s another fantastic installation by Kyocera in San Diego.
The idea – take a surface parking lot and put solar panels all over it. In the process, you not only get solar energy, you give shade to people’s cars, improve the asthetics of the area, and potentially reduce the heat island effect of the lot.
Via Grist and Curt Rosengren.
AllAfrica’s Business Day cites three good reasons for a new emphasis on ethics and sustainability in business. One, a response to recent scandals. Two, increasing availability of opportunities made possible by the demand for sustainable development. Three, need for socio-economic change – particularily applicable in Africa – which can only be made through business. The article concludes that South Africa’s business schools are lagging in their response to the issues. Is yours?
This project is a part of the Managerial Marketing course at the Presidio School of Management in San Francisco.
Is the essence of marketing to sell a dream or to fulfill the dream of society? Is the dream of society the common good, or what the market wants, or what business wants? What role does marketing play in this tension? This blog will explore these questions and the idea that sustainability marketing is transformative and is about creating and communicating “the dream of the possible” – a vision of a sustainable society.
Going beyond the traditional MBA marketing curriculum, students at Presisdio engage in an exploration of the implications for sustainability and are challenged to critically analyze existing marketing systems. The objective is to ensure students gain the skill and ability to integrate sustainability into marketing strategy, planning and decisions. Most importantly, the objective is to gain the mindset of a marketer – the ability to inquire into the real needs, of the individual and society, and to serve them.
As testified to in one of yesterday’s postings, alternative energy investments can offer the best ROI yields on the market today . It is well worth exploring this Database of State Incentives for Renewable Energy website. Take a peek and see if this might be the time for you to go green…both environmentally as well as inside your pocketbook!
With gas prices at their current levels, any mileage improvement is likely to be a big seller. GM is taking notice of this and introducing a 6-speed automatic transmission as part of an advanced powertrain it is developing. The extra gear will let the engine run slower while the car is at high speed. Addtional developments are revealed on GM’s press page.
To me these are great examples of ecologically sound developments which are motivated purely by economics. In fact, environmental issues are not even mentioned in the release. What would happen if they were? Would you consider it greenwashing? Would it turn off a certain segment of buyers?
We mentioned Gerald Prolman’s Organic Flower company before. But there’s a great article in yesterday’s SFGate that brings more to light about this inspiring individual and his increasingly successful company. Prolman credits passion and tireless enthusiasm as the keys to his success, along with the satisfaction of singlehandedly converting thousands of acres of farmland to organic over the years.
Wanna go green and get rich at the same time? State and Federal Incentives make solar infrastructure among the most lucrative and risk free investments that can be made. Take the following example:
Here in my home town of Chicago, I am one of three owners living in a residential three flat building. Our monthly natural gas bill associated with hot water averages $170 per month. This totals in excess of $2000 annually. Keep in mind that, in less than a year, natural gas prices have more than doubled.
The total cost of purchasing and installing a system that would best address our building’s hot water needs is approximately $11000. In Illinois, our clean energy rebate program will pay half of the first $10K spent on solar water heat, solar space seat, and photovoltaics. After that, 25% of costs are reimbursed for the next $20K. Given these rebates, this system will cost our condo association an estimated $5750.
The Million Solar Roofs initiative is a DOE project to jump start the installation of solar technology in the United States. The state of California, led by an enthusiastic Governor Schwarzenegger, hopes to install 3,000 Megawatts of capacity as a part of the program. So, what’s it really worth in economic terms? According to Clean Edge News, the answer, after incentive costs, is a whopping $6 Billion savings to California. It breaks down as follows:
Energy Infrastructure Savings: $7,099
Economic Savings (Jobs & Tax): $1,507
Environmental Savings: $525
Incentive Costs: $(3,025)
Net Benefits to State: $6,107
The rest is explained here, on the LOHAS site.
Alternet has come out with a nifty piece commending 10 schools around the US as being particularily commendable for green practices. The criteria are especially interesting and are so thorough that I thought it would be worth it to quote them all right here and on the next page:
A. Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building standards:
1. Sustainable Siting — site selection, alternative transportation, stormwater management, urban redevelopment
2. Water Efficiency — water efficient landscaping, water use reduction, innovative waste water use
3. Energy & Atmosphere — CFC reductions, renewable energy, reduced energy consumption, green power, reducing ozone
4. Materials and Resources — building and resource reuse, local materials, recycled content, certified wood
5. Indoor Environmental Quality — indoor air quality, CO2, ventilation, low-volatile organic compound (VOC) materials, thermal comfort, daylighting
6. Innovation in Design
B. Healthy School Lunches: Does the school serve organic and/or locally-grown food for school lunches?
C. School-wide Green Initiatives: Does the school have a recycling program, carpool incentives, or any other initiatives that show that the school is taking action to be pro-environment?
Because of the succesful lawsuit brought against the Agriculture Department (part of the US government) from Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps and a consumer group, they are reversing their decision to yank the “USDA Organic” seal from lotions and lip balms and will now allow cosmetics to carry the round, green label.
David Bronner, the president of Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps sayd that the seal will eliminate false marketing claims and encourage a “truth in advertising thing — consumers can trust that it is indeed free of synthetics and does support organic farming and agriculture”
Read full story as reported at MSNBC.com.
“To invest in the environment is the best investment to overcome poverty. You cannot solve the water problems without the protection of our forests”. So says United Nations Environment Program head Kalus Toepfer, specifically referring to African nationas and their high rate of poverty. A conference will be held in Nairobi this October on the management of lakes throughout the world, with a mind toward their preservation as critical sources of ever scarcer fresh water.
For those of you unfamiliar with the term “greenwashing”, it refers to companies that talk about how great they are environmentally and socially, but behind the scenes may not really be doing much. Greenwashing companies use PR tactics to promote their sustainability and CSR excellence when the facts say otherwise.
Read The Green Life’s list of the top 10 worst US greenwashing companies. Some of the companies may surprise you!
Do you agree or disagree with their choices?
Arnold Creek Productions has a great video out that showcases 12 different companies and organizations that are pioneers in the field of sustainable business. It’s about two hours long, and focuses on exploring how to merge economic, social and environmental issues while maintaning a successful business. It’s not cheap, at $60, but having seen the trailer it looks well worth it. Have a look!
Josh Dorfman, of Vivavi, has a radio show on VoiceAmerica radio that’s definitely worth downloading or listening to live. It’s about “hip environmentalism”, helping the average consumer find “easy ways to go green”, and showcasing some cutting edge companies and groups of people. The show is broadcast every Monday afternoon, but you can listen any time by visiting the website here.