Evergreen Solar (ESLR) has just been added to both the Russel 2000 and Russel 3000 indexes. The listing is a great sign of the viability and future of the solar industry, as well as a sign of alternative energy’s increasing role in our economy.
San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom and Supervisor Tom Ammiano announced yesterday a proposed ordinance that would prevent the city from buying products created using child labor or slave labor. Applying to domestic or foreign-made goods, and only to clothing the first year, the measure would also ban the purchase of products made in ways that violate local or international labor laws.
Though San Francisco would by no means be a first mover in this regard–several other states, cities, counties and school districts have passed similar measures–not everyone sees the ban as a good move. If passed (it is expected to), how will the ordinance be enforced? Is the apparel industry being treated fairly? Surprise: they don’t think so. Read more at SFGate.com.
Over the past three years, the US Small Business Administration has spent $37 million to fund Women’s Business Centers, resulting in $500 million of associated economic activity. Many of the centers’ clients are women of color, or women with low household incomes; though many of the women who come to the centers for entrepreneurship training and business consulting services have little education, 60% of them are now managing businesses.
These facts come from studies conducted by the Center for Women’s Leadership at Babson College; learn more at their website or check out the article at bizjournals.com.
The Canadian cities of Toronto and Ontario, both in the province of Ontario, will receive federal gas tax monies to fund environmentally sustainable projects such as public transit. This is the first time that federal funds, to be doled out over the next five years, will be used for such municipal projects.
The actual amounts for public transit flowing to each city are based on ridership, which is a good thing for Toronto; over half of Ontario’s transit trips occur there. (Via the Globe and Mail, thanks to .)
UPDATE: Oops, I meant the city of Ottawa; as Anonymous pointed out, there is no City of Ontario.
Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin are investing in a new enterprise called Nanosolar, which specializes in thin-film photovoltaics. They’re not as efficient as regular crystaline cells, but they are less expensive and with deep pocketed investors are bound to get better. Alternative energy may be trendy, but Sergey and Larry are not known for unwise investments. (more on CNet)
Why pay to dump nutrient-rich wastewater when you can use it to boost the bottom line? By converting the methane in their wastewater to energy, the New Belgium Brewery in Colorado produces up to 60% of the electricity it needs to brew such beers as the popular Fat Tire Ale.
Not only does this technique reduce energy costs, the brewery avoids the steep water treatment fees that would otherwise be assessed by the city of Fort Collins. Shall we drink to that? Via the The Register Guard.
The UK airline industry expects that the number of air flights will increase enough in the next 25 years that greenhouse gas emissions will double… and that’s accounting for aircraft that will emit half of what they do today. This is rather significant, given that high elevation emissions may contribute up to three times as much to global warming as ground level emissions.
Want to fly without greenhouse guilt? Many individuals (and their employers) support this idea, and savvy entrepreneurs are happy to help. For a fee, groups such as Future Forests and AtmosFair will plant trees to offset your carbon emissions. (Via the TimesOnline)
According to Silicon Valley venture capital companies, the “Clean Tech” revolution is upon us. Clean Tech refers to companies opertaing in solar energy, water purification systems and alternative automotive fuels. Investor interest in clean-energy tech firms has jumped in the past year to over $520 million, fueled in part by escalating global demand for electricity and the rising price of oil.
“The reason we’re allocating dollars to this sector is we think we can deliver attractive returns,” said Ira Ehrenpreis, a venture capitalist at Technology Partners in Palo Alto, CA who also serves as co-chairman of the advisory board of the Cleantech Venture Network.
Read full story in the New York Times
Fannie Mae has launched an Energy Efficient Mortgage (EEM) program, which enables borrowers to qualify for larger loans than they would for non energy efficient homes. While this program promotes the design, construction and purchase of energy efficient dwellings, the incentive for Fannie Mae to offer such incentives is motivated by a pure bottom line rationale. The reasoning is simple: Borrowers buying energy efficient homes “can afford to spend more on their housing expenses because they will likely spend less on their energy costs.” Energy futures are as uncertain at present as they have been at any time in recent memory, so it will come as no surprise if such programs continue to proliferate. Just as increasing premium costs reflect insurance companies’ recognition of “global weirding” (a term coined by Hunter and Amory Lovins) energy efficient mortgage incentives signify the understanding of potentially highly volatile energy futures on the part of a multi billion dollar industry. Read more on Fannie Mae’s website.
In some rural parts of South Africa, water gathering is a time-consuming and costly chore. Wells are not common due to the high cost of digging and the relatively high amount of effort it takes to get a small amount of water out.
A new invention has made things a lot easier: The pump is attached to a children’s “roundabout” (merry-go-round) and crowds of happy kids do all the pumping while an elevated tank fills with water. This method pulls a great deal more water out of the ground for the local people.
The pump is paid for by advertising that is placed on the sides of the elevated water tank. Although forcing ads on people may be somewhat controversial, two of the four sides are reserved for health messages. See the official website for more details. (Also – London Times) Thanks DK!
Kaiser Permanente has teamed up with a natural-foods grocer to open the Food Farm’acy in Oakland, CA. Designed to promote healthier shopping habits, the food market is open to the public. It only stocks products that meet physician-in-chief Tom McDonald’s strict criteria for the “best and healthiest” food, including whole grain pasta, organic canned beans, and frozen buffalo.
The HMO also promotes healthy eating amongst its clients and employees by hosting farmers markets at fifteen of its facilities in California and Oregon, with plans for more. Hm… an apple a day keeps the health insurance companies in the black? (Via SFGate.com)
The conversion of surplus sugarcane to ethanol in Brazil seems to be paying off for the country (See Washington Post). Brazil is now the world’s largest producer of ethanol and is exporting the fuel to the United States. Furthermore, an amazing 30% of Brazillian vehicles are already running on it, at price about half that of gasoline.
On Monday, July 11th, Jeff Strassburg at Sustainablog will be blogging for 24 hours straight to support the Earthways Home in St. Louis. The home demonstrates various green building technologies and techniques and is a project of the Missouri Botanical Garden.
It’s definitely a project worth supporting, so please visit this post on sustainablog and make a pledge if you can!
I’ve been using a great, free site called CorporateRegister.com for awhile and wanted to share it with all the 3p-ers. Their website provides access to all current CSR/Sustainablity reports, and an archive of all reports published since 1990. It’s the world’s most comprehensive directory of corporate non-financial (environment/social/sustainability/CSR) reports. You can also sign up to receive free “alerts” when new CSR/Sustainability reports are publically available (See www.reportAlert.info). Happy Searching!
Triple Pundit editor Nick Aster is off to Kaktovik Alaska today as part of the Treasure America team – looking for a win-win solution to the ANWR oil drilling debate. Although is is easy to prove that drilling in ANWR will have a negligable, if not negative, economic benefit for the average American, it will be much more difficult to come up with alternatives for the people who are actually living in ANWR – that’s the challenge we’re up against. It’s going to be a wild trip, and if I have a chance to post anything while I’m there I certainly will. The rest of the 3P crew will be taking care of the site while I’m gone. Thanks guys!