Thursday, April 26, 2007

Super Bowl Goal - To Be Carbon Neutral

Back in 1994, the NFL tried to make the Super Bowl as "green" as possible by recycling. Apparently, it was not very successful. This past year they did a much better job and will try to do better each year and to be carbon neutral. This article details their efforts.

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Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Exxon Mobil NOT Investing in Alternative Energy

My first reaction to this article, from Fortune, about Exxon Mobil not investing in alternative energy was to think, as some critics mentioned in the article do, that CEO Rex Tillerson and Exxon Mobil has a short-term (or not long enough) view of their business and that it's a mistake. Tillerson won't be around long enough to be hurt by such a view.

Of course, I think it's extrememly important for a company the size Exxon Mobil to make the move to investing in alternative energy. Without companies like them on board, it makes it harder for the technologies to become more mainstream and more affordable. That being said, the way business is structured, can he be blamed for this thinking? In other words, in the short-term, he may be hurting Exxon Mobil's profits and isn't that against everything his job description calls for? Taking the longer term perspective, should he even be blamed for not investing in the research and development? I've said before in this blog, my thought about Exxon Mobil is that they'll sit back and earn their hefty profits without making any investments. When the time comes that a technology looks promising and profitable, Exxon Mobil will use their loads of cash and buy up a few companies. They don't have to "waste" their money now (of course, I believe if they threw their money into the R&D, something viable would come quicker), but can sit back, profit as they traditionally have, and invest when there is more return guaranteed on their investment.

It's easy for me to make Tillerson out as a bad guy. But as business rules as they are where there is no cost applied to companies who contribute to global warming or pollution, CEO's are really discouraged from making the responsible choice for the world and are encouraged to make the responsbile one for their company's shareholders.

Tillerson may not be a bad guy, but he certainly will never be a "profile in courage".

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Friday, April 20, 2007

Boeing's Recycling is Profitable

Boeing made over $60 million last year from its recycling program. This article also highlights a few other companies in the Seattle area that have environmentally-friendly initiatives or products. The other companies mentioned are Costco, Starbucks, Microsoft, and Nordstrom. Apparently, Microsoft is claiming that the "sleep" feature in its new Vista operating system is a big energy saver. Also, a data center being constructed by Microsoft is using green building techniques and hydropower.

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Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Home Depot to Introduce Environmental Labels

Eco Labelling has been in Europe for a number of years now. Home Depot is introducing a similar concept to their stores, the largest initiative in U.S. retailing. The initiative will begin with a label on approximately 3000 products and grow to 6000 products by 2009. The label will show which products help with energy conservation, clean water, and sustainable forestry.

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Saturday, April 14, 2007

Brooklyn Business Hires Ex-Convicts

Tomorrow's NY Times print edition will have an article about Michael Altman, Tumbador Chocolate's owner. One-third of Altman's total employees and most of the entry-level employees are ex-convicts. According to the article, "it's part of Altman's personal mission to be a good corporate citizen."

The article does not shy away from the fact that Altman has had some issues with some of the ex-convicts he did hire. It also shows that it has helped some of the others, especially considering the difficulties that ex-convicts have to face in obtaining work after their release from prison.

Altman hires the employees through Strive (Support and Training Result in Valuable Employees), a non-profit "that offers job counseling and placement services to ex-convicts, the homeless and victims of domestic violence."

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Thursday, April 12, 2007

Newsweek and Others Also Have Green-Type Issues

This week's issue of Newsweek features California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger on it's cover and the headline, "Save the Planet - Or Else". Newsweek doesn't call it a 'green' issue, rather "Leadership & the Environment". Though there's a lot more than business in this and other issues (like the Vanity Fair I mentioned in the last post), I feel it's worth mentioning these issues. I was interested to hear Donny Deutsch interviewed on CNBC the other day about these issues. The interviewer, whose name escapes me at the moment, never thought to ask about the issues the magazines bring forth. Instead, she only asked if having a "green" theme is good for the business of the magazine. Deutsch, by the way, said he thinks they probably do worse, but he was supportive of the issue of business' force for change.

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Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Vanity Fair's 2nd Annual "Green Issue" Released

There aren't many article's from the Vanity Fair "Green Issue" that are posted on their website - not yet, anyway. But there are a few and it's a good preview for anyone interested in potentially purchasing the issue.

The issue features Leonardo DiCaprio on the cover and articles about "Global Citizens" and another about who they refer to as "environmental sinners." Another article features the Tesla, an electric sports car.

DiCaprio has an environment-themed documentary titled The 11th Hour. The issue includes a transcript - this is accessible on the website.

There are a number of other "green" articles in this issue.

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Saturday, April 07, 2007

Peter Liu and New Resource Bank

Time Magazine has a small piece about Peter Liu and New Resource Bank, a commercial bank Liu started in November focused on green businesses. Loans from the bank are used for "environmentally conscious projects". You can read more about New Resource Bank, particularly from the time of its launch, from a number of sources, such as here and here.

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Thursday, April 05, 2007

Discovery Starting New Channel Dealing with Environmental Movement

Next year, Discovery will begin a 24-hour channel dedicated to the environmental movement. In addition, the company will be aim to have it's Silver Spring, Maryland headquarters carbon neutral. In addition, Discover will hold a PlanetGreen Innovation Conference.

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Monday, April 02, 2007

Human Impact + Profit

Fast Company has an article this month on the "human side of investing" with the HIP (Human Impact + Profit) Scorecard. It's a way to look at more than just the financial results (especially just the short-term results) of a company at the impact the company makes to society. There are a number of links supporting the article - one lists 21 companies "driving profit through impact".

Another link explains the HIP Scorecard in more depth and has another link to a window showing how the 21 companies compare to each other in terms of HIP revenue and HIP practices.

There are other links on this topic as well, including one link to a quiz for companies to roughly determine their HIP score.

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