Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Going Green in a recession

With the economic crisis, the green movement has been slowing down due to tightening cash flows. But Andrew Winston said in his Leading Green blog that “delaying action on sustainability plans may be the absolute wrong thing to do for your business. The economic recession won't stem the tide of the Green Wave." One of the main points of going green is to be more efficient and effective with resources, which can reduce costs.
Here are four of Andrew's going green strategies in an uncertain economy:
1. Cut waste - Waste reductions can free up cash while generating environmental benefits. Wal-Mart is calling on suppliers to reduce packaging by 5 percent in the next five years and estimates that this could save $3 billion in transportation costs through 2013. Wal-Mart suppliers are also expected to save $8 billion from reduced material and transportation costs. Verizon recently moved more than 3 million customers to paperless billing and saved $8 million in paper and administrative costs. It also saved another $2.7 million by moving its payroll, training, and HR systems online.
2. Invest in efficiency - The McKinsey Global Institute recently published a report that says economic uncertainty can drive more investment in energy efficiency because efficiency costs less than meeting demand through new supplies.
3. Design highly efficient products and processes - More efficient systems require less money than traditional systems, and that’s always a good thing during a financial crisis.
4. Spend time rather than money - During a downturn, companies may have more time to plan and think ideas through, as well as including participants all along the value chain. This way, companies can avoid difficulties and do-overs that cause costs to escalate.

Monday, November 24, 2008

London Releases Sustainable Development Strategy for 2012 Olympics

London 2012’s Olympic Committee is planning a wind turbine in the Olympic Park to provide renewable energy for the 2012 Games. The turbine will provide enough power for the equivalent of 1,200 homes over an average year and will remain in place to provide energy for the local community after the Games, serving as a ‘green beacon’. It will work alongside other planned renewable energy resources including solar panels and a combined cooling and heating plant.

The Olympic Committee has also published (online only – no paper) a sustainable development guide (PDF) for suppliers and licensees to follow to ensure they are environmentally sound and non-toxic, socially responsible and ethically produced with regards to animal testing and prevailing wages, as energy-efficent in the manufacturing and supply process as possible and maximizing recycled content while reducing packaging where possible.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Volkswagon wins Green Car of the Year

Volkswagen’s 2009 Jetta TDI became the first-ever clean diesel to win Green Car of the Year, besting two hybrids, a gasoline microcar, and a clean diesel sports sedan.

Selecting the 2009 Green Car of the Year® was a jury including four Green Car Journal editors, automotive icon Carroll Shelby, auto expert and ‘Tonight Show’ host Jay Leno, Sierra Club executive director Carl Pope, Natural Resources Defense Council president Frances Beinecke, and Ocean Futures Society president Jean-Michel Cousteau.

With 41 mpg and greatly reduced greenhouse gas emissions, the clean diesel Jetta TDI pulls numbers typically achieved by only the most efficient gasoline-electric hybrids. Matching this efficiency is affordability, with a $21,990 price tag.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

$75,000 Prize Offered for Carbon-Busting Innovations

Have you got a great idea to tackle climate change? Forum for the Future has just launched a global hunt for the best innovations to create a low-carbon economy with a $75,000 prize to help bring the best idea to market. In an effort to overcome the barriers that can prevent great ideas delivering their full potential (like lack of funding and visibility to potential investors), FTF has teamed up with the Financial Times and Hewlett Packard to create this Climate Change Challenge. Targeting small organizations and individuals, Forum for the Future is looking for ideas that are below the radar and can be taken to scale quickly. The ideas can be anything from technical advances in reducing emissions to social innovations helping people become more resilient to climate change. The winner will receive a $75,000 prize, sponsored by HP, to develop their idea.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Is NASCAR going green?

No, but the pace car is. At the NASCAR season finale Ford 400 event at Homestead-Miami Speedway November 16, a Ford Fusion Hybrid will pace the field. The 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid features the debut of Ford's next-generation hybrid system, and will be in NASCAR-inspired camouflage for the race. The car won't be officially unveiled until the Los Angeles International Auto Show November 19th.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Doug Pelmear's 100mpge Mustang!

Doug Pelmear drove his 1987 Ford Mustang to the 2008 SEMA Show in Las Vegas. The 4,000 mile trip from Toledo, OH is only expected to cost Pelmear $200 in gas in a car that gets 110 miles per gallon.

Pelmear and Rocket Ventures created this vehicle to enter into the Progressive Automotive X PRIZE competition, with prizes of ten million dollars awarded to teams that win in production-capable vehicles that exceed 100 MPGe. The competition is designed to inspire a new generation of viable, super fuel-efficient vehicles that offer more consumer choices. Pelmear's Mustang has a HP2g™ engine that runs on E85, which is a green, alcohol-based fuel, significantly reducing green house gas emissions.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Solar may be coming your way!

Congress extended the federal tax incentives for solar energy for another eight years, hoping to stimulate growth in the industry. With the current economic crises' and Americans looking to reduce their energy bills, the increase in interest in solar photovoltaic (PV) technology is expected to drop the price of the PV panels (by far the biggest expense) by 10 percent to 25 percent in the next year. In addition, companies from around the globe are testing technology that allows utility-scale solar thermal power plants to store the heat of the sun in molten salts so they can release it in a controlled manner for electricity production. United Technologies is teaming with US Renewables Group to commercialize a solar-power plant that will use this molten salt system for steam turbine power generation.
The company says plants using this method will be able to generate as much as 500 megawatts of peak power or run continuously at 50 megawatts. One megawatt is enough power to supply about 1,000 U.S. households.

Green Marketing

Monday, November 3, 2008

Spending lots of green on green ads equals more green

The Consumers, Brands and Climate Change 2008 report (PDF), confirms that those companies who invested heavily in ad campaigns about their involvement in reducing their carbon footprint, reaped financial returns. The research explores trends in consumer attitudes and buying behaviors to brands on climate change. For seven years, British Petroleum invested heavily in its “Beyond Petroleum” campaign. BP said that from 2000-2007, its brand awareness went from 4 percent to 67 percent and sales grew from $192 billion in 2004 to $266 billion by 2006.

Around 44% of people said they would definitely consider buying products or services from one retailer after reading its favorably green corporate stance. A favorable news story about that in the media pushed up the number of people who would consider buying products by 6 percentage points.

When presented with a clear choice, consumers tend to be more motivated by practical solutions that enable them to cut their individual carbon footprints (such as renewable energy, energy efficient light bulbs, “green” bank accounts, fuel efficient cars, appliances with automatic switch-off) over corporate statements and labels such as “carbon-neutral.”

Two-thirds of U.S. consumers (65 per cent) were unable to name a brand leading on the climate change issue, confirming that there is significant opportunity for brand leadership and connection with consumers on climate change. In addition, the research showed people look to mainstream brands–not niche green specialists–for climate solutions.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Contessa manufactures green cuisine

Making "green cuisine", the Contessa Manufacturing Plant in California is the world's first and largest environmentally responsible, LEED-certified frozen-food manufacturing plant.

"Until now, the USGBC has never LEED-certified a frozen-food manufacturing facility," said John Z. Blazevich, president and chief executive of Contessa. "As a leader in our industry, we didn't wait for environmental standards to be established. Instead, we collaborated with LEED and decided to raise the bar for the entire industry and to do the right thing for the long-term sustainability of our environment."

Company officials say they use advanced design and technology to reduce Contessa's environmental impact, such as a water preheating system that saves energy by redirecting the heat used in refrigeration coils to the plant's boilers. In addition, a variable frequency drive adjusts the amount of power supplied to motors at specific times or under specific conditions to minimize energy use and an innovative loading dock prevents the loss of refrigerated air, reducing temperature fluctuation and energy use.

The new $35 million plant is expected to produce up to 150 million pounds of food products per year and at the same time reduce its energy use and emissions of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide by 65 percent, according a company statement.

In addition to energy savings, Contessa is committed to 'going green' by incorporating recycling in their operations and procedures, using aquaculture and probiotics in their shrimp procurement and contributing to the awareness of turtle-safe fishing practices.

"I am thrilled to be celebrating the commitment of these companies to reducing their carbon footprints,” said Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. "They are examples that going green is not only good for the environment but also for business.

Going Green animation