Business Lines Up in Support of Amtrak

| Tuesday July 19th, 2005 | 4 Comments

Train travel is the most efficient form of motorized travel around (even Amtrak critics agree). Nonetheless, it remains poorly developed in the United States. Fortunately for environmentalists and smart-thinking business people alike, there is growing sentiment to make well designed intercity train travel as much of a priority here as it is in Europe. Have a look at this article from the Milwaukee Business Journal.
Personally, I don’t have a problem with cutting federal funding for certain long distance train services as they don’t serve a great transportation purpose. However, for distances of less than 500 miles trains can and do outperfom car and air travel any way you measure it. Investing heavily in new, fast and efficient intercity trains ought to be a national priority – both for business and for the environment.

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0footprint Launches – A Common Ground for Sustainable Commerce

| Tuesday July 19th, 2005 | 0 Comments

0foot.gifToronto based 0footprint has just launched a great new website aimed at helping people reduce their impact on the environment, and specifically, creating a common ground for people worldwide to engage in sustainable commerce.
Of particular interest to 3P readers is their great news section called “ZFP” which offers a wide range of articles about sustainability and the Zeropages, a burgeoning network of websites and companies to help and inspire.

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Wells Fargo Adopts 10 Point Sustainability Plan

| Monday July 18th, 2005 | 0 Comments

stage.jpgGreat news from Wells Fargo: The bank has announced a 10-point plan to incorporate environmental sustainability into its business, detailed here on GreenBiz. Among the highlights are $1 Billion in lending to “environmentally beneficial” businesses such as sustainable forestry, adoption of the Equator Principles, and advanced due-dilligence proceedures to make it all come together.

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Working Out the Numbers for Wind Energy

| Monday July 18th, 2005 | 0 Comments

wind44.jpgAmid the glowing reports on the potential for wind energy, there remain skeptics on several fronts (see AWEO for some counter-views). If we could somehow harness all the wind on the earth’s surface we’d have more energy than we’d know what to do with. The only thing holding back that utopian fantasy are transmission costs, infrastructure and land-use issues (do we really want to cover the planet with windmills?), not to mention the intermitant nature of wind.
Still, some degree of wind generation in the right places ought to be considered as a part of any sane energy policy. Grist’s Umbra has a good short piece on some of the ups and downs of wind energy that is ultimately optimistic. Check it out.

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Slingflings – Australia’s First Climate Neutral Business

| Monday July 18th, 2005 | 0 Comments

slingfing.gifSlingfing uses solar powered machines and hand-labor to take discarded vintage fabrics and turn them into some pretty funky wares (official website here). Additionally, the company is working with Climate Friendly, to make production a completely carbon-neutral affair.

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Office Depot Recycled Paper Sales up 373%

| Monday July 18th, 2005 | 0 Comments

officedepot.jpgAs reported on GreenBiz, 65% of Office Depot’s paper sales are coming from recycled content, a more than 3-fold increase since 2003. More importantly, the post-consumer content in paper sold is up over 125%. More details on GreenBiz.

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Hunter Lovins to Appear on Backbone Campaign Podcast

| Friday July 15th, 2005 | 0 Comments

hunterlovins100.jpgHunter Lovins, co-author of the seminal book “Natural Capitalism” will deliver a talk entitled Progressive and Profitable Too: Building a Sustainable Shadow Economy:

working to make the concept of sustainable development and Natural Capitalism central operating principles of organizations around the globe by promoting resource efficiency, biomimicry and sustainable business practices.

You can wait for the podcast to come out, or participate via telephone on Monday. Details here.

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What’s the Real Cost of Fossil Fuels?

| Friday July 15th, 2005 | 1 Comment

20dollar.jpgOne of the most interesting and important aspects to environmental economics is assessing the full cost of externalities that previously went uncounted. In the case of gasoline, for example, the added costs would be associated with the health effects of pollution, among other things, such as military spending. It’s not easy to come up with an exact number for the “real price” of a gallon of gas, though I’ve seen it estimated as high as $15. Here is a pretty good list of factors that one might have to consider to do the math. Check it out.

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Recycle for US Attacks Mobile Phone Disposal Issues

| Thursday July 14th, 2005 | 0 Comments

cellphone.jpgRecycle for US is a new, industry funded group that will pay cash for old cell phones. Phones that are still usable are sold to organizations and secondary markets (much in the spirit of Retro Box) and those that cannot be reused are recycled. Consumers ditch an amazing 10 million phones per year representing an incredible amount of waste, and an incredible business opportunity.

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Shell, Marks & Spencer to Invest in African Flowers

| Thursday July 14th, 2005 | 0 Comments

afric.jpgBritish supermarket chain Marks & Spencer, along with Shell Oil will invest $1 Million in fruit and flower growing enterprised in South Africa. The investors claim that 3,000 people will directly benefit as well as the local ecosystem. The idea is part of a philosophy that says that aid alone can’t alleviate Africa’s economic troubles, rather, private investment is a key part of the bargin to eradicate poverty on the continent. More on WBCSD.

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Can Profitability & Spiritual Meaning Be Connected?

| Wednesday July 13th, 2005 | 1 Comment

spiritcap.jpgIs it possible to maximize profits and find deep spiritual meaning in our work at the same time? A new book written by Peter and Monika Mitchell Ressler, a husband and wife from New York called Spiritual Capitalism: What the FDNY Taught Wall Street About Money, offers answers to that question with bold new voices from the dog-eat-world of Wall Street itself.
As Co-Chief Executive Officers of a premier Wall Street headhunting firm, they make the surprising claim that the new practice of “Capitalism with a Conscience” is taking the business world by storm. From the depths of the cutthroat world of Wall Street high finance comes these refreshing words of wisdom.

Click to continue reading »

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ECOSA Institute Looks to Fill New Semester

| Wednesday July 13th, 2005 | 0 Comments

ecosa.jpgThe ECOSA Institute in Prescott, AZ is one of the best places in the world to learn about green building and other principals of sustainable design. Their one-semester programs are geared toward architecture students and those considering a career in other design disciplines.
Although slightly outside the usual scope of a 3P posting, I wanted to mention them here because they’ve got extra space in their fall program this year and are looking for a few more people to fill it. I should also mention that I attended the program a couple years back, and it was fantastic – in fact, it’s the reason I chose to move forward with a career in sustainability. Please pass on this post if you know anyone for whom the program might be appropriate. More in Metropolis Magazine.

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Japanese Firm Building Homes from Eggshells

| Wednesday July 13th, 2005 | 0 Comments

eggshells.jpgA company called Green Techno 21 has devised a product line called “Shell Walls” which gives homeowners a way to plaster their walls with a paste made mostly from waste eggshells. The substance has a pleasant, dare I say it, off-white eggshell coloration, and is fireproof and humidity resistant. It’s another example of someone thinking up innovative new ways to deal with waste and address other problems at the same time. More on Japan for Sustainability.

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China Slowly Going Green on the Dinner Table

| Tuesday July 12th, 2005 | 0 Comments

china.jpgCity Weekend (Beijing) reports that there is a slowly growing movement to grow and sell organic and otherwise healthier produce in the Chinese Capital (article here). In fact the ministry of health has laid down what looks like a fairly comprehensive set of guidelines for farmers and labling requirements for food on the shelves.

Outside observers may be sceptical about the role of organic farming in a country where the number one priority has to be to ensure that everyone has enough to eat. But with the touted obvious incentive of “huge profits to be made,” according to a recent China Food Industry news bulletin, increasing numbers of small-time farmers will be trying to make it big.

(thx Charles)

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Social Enterprise Reporter Launches

| Tuesday July 12th, 2005 | 0 Comments

sere.gifAn excellent new online news resource for non profit directors and social entrepreneurs – the Social Enterprise Reporter – recently launched. If you’re interested in that area, you can subscribe to their newsletter or get more on their website. Either way, the site offers some great original articles.

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