Dutch Supermarket Chain Offering Biodegradable Packaging

| Friday September 23rd, 2005 | 4 Comments

ahein.jpgDutch supermarket chain Albert Heijn has announced that all organic produce will be wrapped in biodegradable packaging not derived from petroleum. It might not be as significant as Safeway or Wal-Mart, but the change still represents a fairly major commitment from a fairly major chain.
Personally, I still wonder why people insist on a large disposable bag or any kind for everything they get in the produce section, and it’s unlikely that people’s behavior will change much unless government policies like bag-taxes come into effect. But that’s just my two cents.

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Niman Ranch, Other Free Range Meat Suppliers Get McDonald’s Contract

| Friday September 23rd, 2005 | 0 Comments

niman.jpgAs an unabashed meat-eater, I have always loved Niman ranch products and am willing to pay a little extra to have them. It’s not just that they taste a lot better, there is extra satisfaction in knowing that my meat came from free range livestock, raised naturally without a pharmacopia of steroids and god-knows what.
It seems I’m not the only one. Niman, and other free-range meat producers are now selling a majority of some meats to McDonald’s Chipolte Grill brand, as well as major specialty retailers like Whole Foods. (See Chicago Tribune Article – requires registration). With major contracts like these, it’s no wonder that organic and otherwise natural meat will continue to grow in popularity despite the slight added costs to consumers. But will quality and accountability suffer?

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PhatGnat’s DK Interviewed by PSFK Podcast

| Thursday September 22nd, 2005 | 0 Comments

dk.jpgThat’s a lot of letters, but if you’re looking for some good listening this weekend (or now), check out the PSFK interview with PhatGnat founder DK.
PhatGnat is a marketing consultancy based around bridging the gaps between the commercial sector, government, and youth. They were recently showcased on the 3P Presidio marketing blog. Founder DK has worked on some very interesting community building projects, mostly with youth. PSFK is a collective blog on trends. Together, they make for a fascinating discussion on brands and social responsibility, as well as some insights on blogging.

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Triple Pundit Wants You

| Thursday September 22nd, 2005 | 0 Comments

Do you have any interest in writing about buisiness and sustainability? Are you an MBA student looking for an outlet? I’m looking for some help keeping Triple Pundit going, and improving the quality and quanitiy of posts (especially editorially). As a full time student who somehow works on the side, it’s been really difficult to keep this site fully loaded, and even harder to move it to a new level. So! Please send an email to “tips at triplepundit” if you have any interest in becomming a contributor – either regular or occasional. I would love to have you on board.

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Buisiness Week Goes Solar in Latest Issue

| Wednesday September 21st, 2005 | 3 Comments

biz_week_solar.jpgActually, the latest issue of business week is about a lot more than solar energy. It’s about alternative energy in general, and about how the cost for many forms of alternative energy will soon be cheaper than that of fossil fuels. From efficiency to personal power generation, it’s a great expose that goes to the heart of what better energy production and use means to you and your business. Check out the series of articles here.

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Thursday is World Car Free Day

| Wednesday September 21st, 2005 | 0 Comments

carfree.jpgThursday is World Car Free Day. There’s no question that the automobile has had a bigger impact on how we build our cities than anything else has. It’s also probably one of the largest players in provking greater consumption of resources, and quite literally, land. Even a petrol-free car culture still has immensely greater impact on the environment than one where walking & biking are still available as an option.
That said, the car is most definitely here to stay. But slowly, especially in Europe, car-free areas, often in central business districts, are cropping up and thriving where once smokey traffic actually hindered commerce. In the future, a transportation network that is not totally exclusive to the automobile will be required if we want to preserve any semblance of quality of life, as well as to conduct business. Car Free Day is a somewhat radical idea, but check out some of the local events, it may provoke some thought.

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Solar Power Mandated for High Rises in India

| Tuesday September 20th, 2005 | 1 Comment

solar_india.jpgSolar power is set to become mandatory for multistory buildings in the West Bengal region of India. It’s the first time I’ve seen government mandate such a requirement, and based on what’s in this Calcutta Telegaph article it sound’s like it’s a pretty good idea. Plan backers say that installing solar power will not increase the per-unit price of the housing in question, and it will reduce preasure on India’s power grid, while creating employment at the same time. There is no mention on exactly what percentage of household needs will actually be met by the mandated instalation.

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Fade, Transform, or Integrate – BSR Report on Future of CSR

| Tuesday September 20th, 2005 | 0 Comments

respons.jpgAlan White from BSR has put out a very interesting read on the future of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) entitled Fade, Transform or Integrate: The Future of CSR. The scnerios that are explored in the article are threefold: Is CSR just a fad that will fade away? Is it something that will be strategically integrated into operations? Is it destined to be truly transformative? [read the article] DK at Phatgnat adds that it is the smaller brands who will likely find embracing CSR to be a positive business experience, while larger companies, suffering from their own inertia will find it more difficult.
There are some great comments on Phatgnat worth reading, which cut straight to the point – “being decent” is not a complex issue, and burying it in corporate-speak mumbo jumbo only muddles the argument.

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Special Report Announcement – Presidio School of Management Marketing Blog

| Monday September 19th, 2005 | 0 Comments

PWC_logo.gifIs 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?
My fellow students at The Presidio School of Management will explore these questions in a periodic weblog inspired by current events and readings in newspapers and other media. About 13 students are participating and there should be one or two posts a week for the next few months. Please have a look and as always, comment away!
Without further ado – click here to access the project.

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Alt-Energy Stocks Starting to Soar

| Monday September 19th, 2005 | 0 Comments

altenergy.jpgMajor pblications from the NY Times to the Wall Street Journal to the Salt Lake Tribune were a flutter last week about the bullish outlook for alternative energy stocks. Some solar manufacturers in particular have seen their stock double in less than a year. It’s all happening for obvious reasons, but hopefully also signals the enduring strength of renewables and will result in more investment in them for the future. (via Grist)

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Green Marketing – Joel Makower’s Excellent Wrap Up

| Monday September 19th, 2005 | 0 Comments

gmarketing.jpgIn looking for a topic on Green Marketing this week, I came upon Joel Makower’s excellent wrap up and critique of the entire concept on WorldChanging.
Makower talks about the disconect between polls and reality, mentioning the ‘Green Gauge Report’ as being particularily over-optimistic. That report suggests that 48% of consumers are making purchasing decisions based on some concern for the environment and in response to marketers decisions to label things as “organic” or “environmentally friendly”.
Makower suggests that a ratio known as the “30:3 ratio” may be more accurate. That number was coined by Wendy Gordon who suggests that 30% of consumers say they are concerned about the ethical and environmental impact of the purchases they make, but a mere 3% actually “walk-the-walk”. So what’s the problem?

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PhatGnat Youth Marketing Survey

| Saturday September 17th, 2005 | 1 Comment

pg_logo.jpgA very useful form of marketing research is survey taking. Surveys are undertaken by companies themselves – perhaps via a mail-in form that comes with a product – as well as by marketing agencies, telemarketers, non-profit organizations, and a myriad of other groups who are interested in figuring out why people make the purchasing decisions they do, so that they can better meet customer needs.
With regards to sustainability, a survey can be used to find out information about people’s perceptions and demands about sustainable concepts, and related issues. It can also be an effective educational tool, asking people questions about things they might not have previously considered. More so, it’s one way for companies to show that they want to communicate with the markets they serve – this serves to demonstrate that customer input is desirable and that customer opinion is valued – and that, by extension, a real relationship between company and customer can be formed.
As an example – there is a survey currently running on PhatGnat, a consultancy based around bridging the gaps between the commercial sector, government, and youth.

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Using Digital Textbooks to Reduce Waste

| Friday September 16th, 2005 | 3 Comments

zinio.gifI recently bought an electronic copy of my marketing textbook from SafariX. Despite the obvious environmental benefits, I was skeptical about using it. But after giving it a try, i have to say, it works pretty well (aside from the annoying heat my laptop gives off).
While electronic press will never fully replace paper books – unless we invent truly paper thin electronic media – the area is clearly a growing field. In addition to SafariX, another company to watch is SF based Zinio. They offer “exact replicas” of the printed versions at half the price, with the added benefits of search functionality, digital note-taking, and embedded multimedia.”
There are some major drawbacks to electronic textbooks of course. One is the fact that I already spend so much time staring at this laptop that another few hours makes me feel as though my eyeballs are melting. Also, the only real way to prevent people from copying the book and passing it around is to make it available online-only in such a format that is impossible to download. This means that if you like to study away from an internet connection (on an airplane for example), you can’t. Still, there is a legitimate argument to be made that the process is indeed “greener” and companies in the field are sure to thrive.

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“Green” Accounting Getting Attention from World Bank

| Friday September 16th, 2005 | 0 Comments

accoutning.jpgI was happy to see this article on WBCSD proclaiming that the World Bank is now “urging” green accounting. The article opens by asking “Who is rich and who is poor”, and suggesting (with good reason) that GNP is hardly a real measurement of “richness” and that many new measurements need to be put into place, especially those that take into consideration the problems caused by distribution of wealth, natural resource depletion, and population growth. The risk if this advice is neglected: Knowing the cost of everything and the value of nothing.

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Medium and Message

| Thursday September 15th, 2005 | 1 Comment

turle_egg-thumb.jpg There are (at least) two ways of approaching the subject of sustainable marketing. On the one hand we can look at marketing as a set of tools that have no inherent ethical, moral or sustainable implications.
From this view the tools take on the qualities of their object, but have no moral impact themselves. Thus two nearly identical marketing plans – one for hamburgers from cows pastured on a clear-cut rainforest, and another for local, organic milk – could have vastly different evaluations in relation to sustainability.
Another way to approach the subject would be to examine the impact of the marketing methods themselves and ask if some are inherently unsustainable and should be avoided. From this perspective the medium itself has an effect on the message, and an unsustainable marketing program could offset the impact of a sustainable product or message.

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