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green and sustainable business

Posts Tagged ‘corporations

Nature’s Fortune: Start Investing in Nature

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natures-fortune-215x143We know that it’s wise to take care of Mother Nature, and not just because it’s not nice to do otherwise. From a business standpoint it’s even wiser to invest in nature.

In his new book, Nature’s Fortune, Mark R. Tercek, president and CEO of The Nature Conservancy, makes a strong and impassioned case that business and environmental interests must align for everyone’s long-term benefit. And that includes the planet. New win-win alignments may be closer to reality than many might realize. Read the rest of this entry »

UCS-Heartland scrap has Pfizer in the middle

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Continuing with my recent theme on health and climate change, Pfizer, the “world’s largest research-based pharmaceutical company,” also maintains that “as a science-based health care company [it] has long recognized the risks posed by global climate change such as more severe weather events and potential adverse impacts on human health.”

So why does Pfizer, manufacturer of Viagra and Zoloft among other modern drugs, support the ultra-conservative Heartland Institute—the think tank famous for its infamous billboard campaign comparing people who agree with what scientists say about climate change to the Unabomber? This is the same outfit that The Economist says is “‘the world’s most prominent think tank promoting skepticism about man-made climate change.” Read the rest of this entry »

Written by William DiBenedetto

July 16, 2012 at 2:05 am

Significant emissions reductions lacking across supply chains

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Companies have yet to post significant emissions reductions across their supply chains despite the opportunities those actions would mean for cost savings, according to the Carbon Disclosure Project and Accenture.

That disheartening conclusion from an environmental sustainability perspective was revealed in A New Era: Supplier Management in the Low-Carbon Economy, the CDP’s fourth annual global survey of the preparedness of company supply chains for climate change impacts. Read the rest of this entry »

OWS: A sustainable progressive movement?

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I believe it is. Police can break up the various “Occupy” camps across the country, but they can’t break the movement. As disorganized, disparate and disheveled as some would like to believe Occupy Wall Street and its regional allies are, the barn door is open and the horse is romping freely in the field.

This could well be the early stages of a new progressive movement, according to Jeffrey D. Sachs, director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University. The Occupy gatherings “are most likely the start of a new era in America,” he wrote in a recent New York Times article.

“Historians have noted that American politics moves in long swings,” he continued. “We are at the end of the 30-year Reagan era, a period that has culminated in soaring income for the top 1 percent and crushing unemployment or income stagnation for much of the rest. The overarching challenge of the coming years is to restore prosperity and power for the 99 percent.”

The roots of today’s crises of vast income and wealth inequality, corporate dominance and feckless, inept elected leaders lie with the direction that Reagan took the nation – making government the problem, slashing taxes for the rich along with outlays on public services and infrastructure investment, and sweeping deregulation.

“Reagan’s was a fateful misdiagnosis,” Sachs says. “He completely overlooked the real issue — the rise of global competition in the information age — and fought a bogeyman, the government. Decades on, America pays the price of that misdiagnosis, with a nation singularly unprepared to face the global economic, energy and environmental challenges of our time.”

And yet Washington “still channels Reaganomics… Both parties have joined in crippling the government in response to the demands of their wealthy campaign contributors, who above all else insist on keeping low tax rates on capital gains, top incomes, estates and corporate profits. Corporate taxes as a share of national income are at the lowest levels in recent history. Rich households take home the greatest share of income since the Great Depression.”

The American people are waking up and the OWS movement wants to challenge and change the channel of inequality.

“Following our recent financial calamity, a third progressive era is likely to be in the making,” Sachs writes. “This one should aim for three things. The first is a revival of crucial public services, especially education, training, public investment and environmental protection. The second is the end of a climate of impunity that encouraged nearly every Wall Street firm to commit financial fraud. The third is to re-establish the supremacy of people votes over dollar votes in Washington.”

Sachs says the people in Zuccotti Park and more than 1,000 cities have put the nation on a path to renewal.

While it’s hard to think in absolute terms about something so new, something without central leadership or a written platform, the need to reverse obvious flaws has touched a chord.

Perhaps, as Sachs says, a new generation of leaders who are not on the corporate take is just getting started. Perhaps it is history in the making and the dawn of a new progressive era. Perhaps it needs to be the crowd-sourcing movement it is and not a party or corporation or organization that’s easily corrupted and dominated by the wealthiest few. Perhaps the pendulum—as pendulums do—is swinging back.

Yeah, that’s a lot of perhaps – but one thing is certain – the OWS idea. A tent can be taken down and people can be dispersed with pepper spray. Not an idea.

Written by William DiBenedetto

December 13, 2011 at 2:00 am

Chevron, Ecuador and the forever lawsuit

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Back in May I wrote about Chevron’s stubborn refusal to settle an $18 billion lawsuit over oil pollution in Ecuador.

Chevron is on trial in Ecuador for widespread contamination of Amazonian land and water resources in the 1970s by Texaco, which Chevron purchased in 2001. Plaintiffs suing Chevron are challenging the adequacy of a $40 million remediation effort that Texaco completed in 1998. A court-appointed expert in the Ecuadorian litigation has recommended that Chevron be held liable for up to $27.3 billion in damages. In February, an Ecuadoran judge fined the San Ramon oil major $9.5 billion over oil-field contamination in a portion of the Amazon rain forest where Texaco used to drill, working as a partner with the government-run Petroecuador. The fine could increase to $18 billion. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by William DiBenedetto

October 13, 2011 at 2:15 am

OECD’s toolkit for manufacturer sustainability

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It’s a very good thing when a manufacturer decides to operate in a sustainable and socially responsible manner, but knowing what to do next to implement an effective, sustainable operation is the real challenge.

That’s why the OECD’s “Sustainable Manufacturing Toolkit” is a useful place to start for businesses that are serious about implementing sustainability measures. It provides some answers to the age-old question: What do we do now?

The mission of the 34-member Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development is to “promote policies that will improve the economic and social well-being of people around the world.” The organization provides a forum in which governments can work together to share experiences and seek solutions to common problems. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by William DiBenedetto

September 28, 2011 at 2:00 am

Collaborative Consumption: Another Buzzword?

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Once upon a time collaboration was not all that radical a concept, in the business world and even in Congress.

Lately collaboration has become a buzzword, something that businesses and their PR departments are quick to pay lip service to; maybe they even aspire to collaborate with their partners; maybe they really believe they are collaborative. (Shall we take Congress and the notion of bipartisanship and collaboration out of this discussion entirely? Let’s do.)

Talking the collaborative talk is one thing; true collaboration these days is the exception.

Trewin Restorick, chief executive of the UK environmental advisory body Global Action Plan, added the idea of “collaborative consumption” to the mix in a thoughtful Trewin’s Blog post. His blog post begins:

“One of the fundamental challenges constantly facing the environmental movement is the disconnection between the scale of the problem and the solutions proposed. Are we really surprised at public apathy when on the one hand we talk about climate change as the biggest challenge facing humanity whilst on the other we recommend unplugging mobile phone chargers? Clearly more fundamental change is required if we are to get anywhere near an 80 per cent cut in carbon emissions by 2050.” Read the rest of this entry »

Written by William DiBenedetto

August 23, 2011 at 2:00 am

An eco-chic Sprout you can wear or compost

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For all you watch fanatics – you know who you are, you compulsively watch the watch shows on ShopNBC until all hours and even more compulsively buy them at the risk of solvency, credit score, marriage and good nutrition – there’s one more to add to the collection: A green watch that’s almost entirely biodegradable.

Meet Sprout Watches, an eco-friendly timepiece constructed from at least 86 percent sustainable materials. Each watch is made with naturally biodegradable materials: corn resin case and caseback, bezel, reflector ring, movement holder and buckle closure, certified organic cotton strap, natural bamboo dial, a mineral crystal and a mercury-free battery.

Even better, the packaging is made from at least 80 percent post-consumer materials and is 100 percent recyclable.

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Written by William DiBenedetto

April 28, 2010 at 10:21 am

ExxonMobil flush with bucks, gushes with confidence

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Ever since the then Exxon Co. devastated the Prince William Sound environment in Alaska and the livelihoods of thousands workers in that area following the Exxon Valdez oil spill 21 years ago, I have to admit the company leaves me cold. And that’s a polite way of putting it.

Each year at about this time I take a moment to consider developments surrounding the worst oil spill in U.S. history.

The tanker Exxon Valdez ran aground on Bligh Reef in Alaska’s Prince William Sound on March 24, 1989, spilling about 11 million gallons of crude oil. The spill spread oil on more than 1,200 miles of coastline, closed fisheries and killed thousands of marine mammals and hundreds of thousands of sea birds.

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Written by William DiBenedetto

March 29, 2010 at 9:42 am

SC Johnson beats GHG reduction target

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s_c_johnsonSC Johnson, the maker of a variety of household products including Windex, Glade, Drano and Scrubbing Bubbles, says in its latest sustainability report that it has reduced greenhouse gas emissions 27 percent at its worldwide factories over the last eight years.

The GHG reduction in the Racine, WI, company’s U.S. operations since 2005 is 17 percent. Those reductions “have been met three years ahead of the company’s internal 2011 target,” it says in its 2009 Public Report, titled Responsibility=Resilience.

Those reductions are the equivalent of taking about 11,100 U.S. cars off the road for one year, the report says. The 2009 Public Report is SC Johnson’s 18th year of reporting on sustainability objectives.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by William DiBenedetto

November 9, 2009 at 6:18 pm

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