Local Bikes to Help Post-Tsunami Sri Lanka

After getting hit by the tsunami last December, Sri Lanka needed a way to both provide relief and rebuild their economy. World Bicycle Relief, a non-profit that provides access to independence and livelihood through the power of bicycles, is working with World Vision Sri-Lanka and the Lumala Bicycle Company (based in Sri Lanka) to provide … Continued

Happiest Fireworks on Earth

Hope everyone enjoyed the long weekend! Fireworks are an integral part of Independence Day celebrations in the US, plus both Victoria Day and Canada Day celebrations north of the 49th parallel. For the Walt Disney Company, fireworks are an almost-daily occurrence, so it’s not surprising that we might see pyrotechnical innovations from them. Just over … Continued

Middlebury College Receives Climate Champion Award

At Vermont’s Middlebury College, there are courses and projects that address solutions to global warming. There are annual campus greenhouse gas emissions inventories, and there’s a working group appointed to reducing said emissions. Rather than stop at its own campus, the college collaborates with organizations in the region (including other businesses, communities, and other colleges) … Continued

San Francisco to Ban Sweatshop Purchases?

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 … Continued

Turn $37m into $500m: Invest in Women

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 … Continued

Gas Tax in Canada to Fund Sustainable Infrastructure

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 … Continued

Collecting Methane from Wastewater Fattens Bottom Line

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 … Continued

High Fliers Have Offset Options

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 … Continued

Whole Grain Pasta with your Prescription

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, … Continued

Are Your Employees Onboard?

No matter how sustainable a company’s goals, it takes an aware and empowered workforce to achieve them. A good manager finds ways to effectively communicate the company’s strategy to all employees, and gives them the tools they need to make decisions accordingly. In a recent study, McKinsey consultants rank hundreds of manufacturing companies’ management styles. … Continued

Sweet on Fair Trade

If you only think of coffee when you think of Fair Trade, you’re missing out! American businesses are taking advantage of the growth of the fair trade industry by sourcing tea, cocoa, tropical fruit, rice, and now sugar from farmers that get paid fair prices, live and work in decent conditions, have access to capital, … Continued

Support for Local Coffee Shops

Their 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 … Continued

Passing Values with the Baton

Suppose 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 … Continued

Philanthropic Foundations Investing in For-Profits?

The Google Foundation is considering backing for-profit ventures that have a positive social impact, adding to the list of those who believe that doing good is a good investment. Ben Cohen, formerly of Ben & Jerry’s, does the same thing with his Barred Rock venture capital fund, as does the conspicuously reticent Omidyar Network; read … Continued

J.P. Morgan to Limit Loans that Harm the Environment

Sometimes it takes a little civil disobedience to convince companies do the right thing. Through a series of protests and demonstrations, the Rainforest Action Network has convinced J.P. Morgan Chase & Co.—the third largest bank in the U.S.—to develop a new policy limiting lending and underwriting for environmentally-damaging industrial projects. I reckon other banks should … Continued