Posts tagged ‘economy’

The Top 30 Green Newsletters

Carolyn ThumbnailPenned by Carolyn

In the “green” space, credibility is crucial, and things are changing rapidly as investment   washes in and out of the sector, companies make big eco-commitments, or they slink away from their environmental goals. A great way to stay up to date is to sign yourself up for a few newsletters in the space you’re interested in moving into. Being well-read is also a networking tool — you can know who’s growing, who’s been bought out, who’s making  headlines. Use these developments as opportunities to reach out to the companies or people involved and start a meaningful dialogue.

Here are our 30 favorite green newsletters – our criteria included quality of news/writing, relevance, up-to-date information, and lack of spammy-ness.

General Green News:
GreenBiz & the other Greener World Media newsletters
Mother Nature Network
SustainLane
Treehugger
Climate Change Business Journal
Green Options
Environmental Leader
Grist

Clean Tech/Renewable Energy:
CleanEdge “Clean Watch”
Rocky Mountain Institute
Renewable Energy Weekly
GreenTech Media
CleanTechies

Activism/Policy:
Sierra Club RAW
Sierra Club Insider
350.org
We Campaign
Green for All
WWF

Green Business/CSR:
Ceres
Seventh Generation
Green America (formerly Co-op America)
Terrapass
CSR Wire
Reuters Carbon

Jobs:
Bright Green Talent
Green Job List
CleanLoop CleanTech
Green Career Central

Feel Good:
Daily Ray of Hope (Sierra Club)

We’re always open to feedback – if you have other suggestions or thoughts, please share them!

July 20, 2009 at 4:30 pm 3 comments

Your Daily Thread – Tracy Hepler

Tracy HelperWe had a chat with Tracy Hepler this week, an entrepreneur trying to green LA:

Q1 What are you up to at the moment?

Right now I’m constantly working on growing my baby, yourdailythread.com which is an online community space for green, sustainable and local living in Los Angeles. Our goal is to bring green down to the local level. There are wonderful national and global sites out there right now such as treehugger.com or grist.org, but they usually don’t focus on neighborhood issues. We try to focus on things that you can do in your own back yard, from community gardens to local green events—we sift through all green marketing and green washing to bring our readers the crème de la crème of local green issues.

I have also recently co-founded LYFE (Leading Young Future Entrepreneurs) with Hillary Newman (the Ecowarriorr) and Rachel Hurn-Maloney of Vie Eco Fashion Boutique in Los Angeles. LYFE brings together young entrepreneurs who care about the environment and want to network both professional and socially.

I also do freelance writing/blogging for a few other green/cause oriented sites including the Huffington Post Green, Causecast.org and I’m working on a few more side projects including bringing green to the Latino mainstream.

Q2 Why do you do what you do?

After graduating college, I thought I really wanted to work in the entertainment industry as a writer. I soon realized once in the industry that my calling was to use my skills towards work that would help make the world a better place. As cheesy as that might sound, it is true. I feel that climate change and the environment is possibly the most pressing issue of our time and I want to do everything in my power to bring change and inspire everyone to do everything they can to conquer this problem.

Q3 What keeps you awake at night?

Haha, this is funny because I’m currently on vacation and I can’t be away Your Daily Thread for more than a few hours—that is my baby, if you will, and I am so inspired to see it succeed all the way through.

Q4 You mentioned that you’re doing a summer special with YDT – what tips do you have?

Well I missed the 4th, but our tips are applicable for the rest of summer. If I could suggest one big thing it would be to avoid using disposables. For one hour of picnicking or bbqing your plastic plates and forks will sit in the landfill for hundreds of years. I don’t care how tasty you burgers are—it’s not worth it. Bring your own plates from home or if you need to use a form of disposable, use compostable ones from companies like Earth Shell. They’re made in the USA from old potatoes and other scrapes and can be thrown into the compost bin. If you don’t compost and must throw them away, they won’t take nearly as long to biodegrade. You can view the rest of our green summer bbq tips here.

Q5 If you were a g(r)enie, what would you wish for?

I get three wishes I assume!

1) I’d wish for green to be a major priority across, political, social and all other spectrums. I’m happy with the amount of progress we’ve made in the last few years, but I think we’ve got a lot more to do and a stronger sense of urgency is needed.

2) That every household and business in America used a recycling and composting bin so that we would throw less into our landfills.

3) That we’d return to eating healthy real food. I have been a big fan of Michael Pollan for a while and recently saw Food INC—it’s shocking how much of what we eat really isn’t food. I’d wish for a return to more seasonal organic food that everyone could afford.

July 13, 2009 at 10:24 pm Leave a comment

Update: Waxman-Markey, Stimulus Dollars, and Green Jobs Training

Carolyn ThumbnailPenned by Carolyn

Watching this one minute video review of the energy bill in the House, one word resonates again and again: jobs. The potential for job creation in moving towards a clean energy future has become a rallying cry for proponents of the Waxman-Markey Bill — because who can argue with job creation when unemployment has officially hit 9.5% nationally?

In the past couple weeks, the Labor Department announced $500 million in grants for green jobs training programs. States and cities have also started to distribute stimulus dollars for training programs. If you’re interested in who’s getting funding and how, sign up for updates from Green for All — they’ve been giving a number of conference calls to keep folks in the loop and share information nationally about training programs. Most of the money that’s being doled out focuses on helping blue-collar workers transition into the green economy — providing “pathways out of poverty” as the nation undergoes energy retrofits, solar system installation, and more.

But some concerns remain. Yesterday, the New York Times brought into question the effectiveness of retraining programs in giving trainees a leg up in the job search. As the Times wrote, “a little-noticed study the Labor Department released several months ago found that the benefits of the biggest federal job training program were ‘small or nonexistent’ for laid-off workers. It showed little difference in earnings and the chances of being rehired between laid-off people who had been retrained and those who had not.”

Hopefully, the green jobs training programs will avoid the pitfalls that have led to the concerns raised by the NYT article, and will lend a hand to folks from all backgrounds and work histories — we hear from a lot of people who are looking to transfer technical skill sets and haven’t yet found a clear pathway in helping them do so. We have to believe that, with all the energy and enthusiasm focused on the green sector right now, there couldn’t be a better moment for these programs to succeed in training the next generation of environmental leaders.

To that end, we’ll continue to provide advice and resources to our jobseekers (keep an eye out for Bright Green Seminars starting in the next couple months), and we’ll support our partner Solar Richmond as they seek stimulus funding to support their amazing solar installation training program.

Stay tuned… more exciting developments are surely on the way.

July 6, 2009 at 6:49 pm 1 comment

Strange Bedfellows?: Chevron vs. Sierra Club

Dave O'Reilly and Carl PopePenned by Carolyn

Last night, Christina and I attended a debate between Carl Pope (Executive Director of the Sierra Club) and Dave O’Reilly (CEO of Chevron). Given scheduling and, I imagine, some dragging of feet from both parties, it took the Commonwealth Club and the Wall Street Journal a full year to get this event organized.

On the bus home, a couple thoughts on the event stayed with me.

First, in the interest of full disclosure, I should mention that I worked with the media team in Sierra Club National Headquarters for a couple semesters while I was in school. One of the first things I learned about pitching a story was, of course, that it has to have a hook. One of the most compelling of these hooks is a “strange bedfellows” story, where two groups that wouldn’t traditionally be lumped together that share a common cause or campaign (such as Sierra Club’s “Blue Green Alliance” with the United Steel Workers or their work with hunters and anglers to preserve wildlife habitat).

Last night’s event had some shade of that type of hook – which is probably why it seemed like half of San Francisco was in attendance. This is not to say in any means that Sierra Club and Chevron are in cahoots – in fact, Sierra Club has long made the oil giant a target of campaigns around environmental justice and destruction. However, at one point in the conversation, Dave O’Reilly (consciously or not) conceded that he believed the coal lobby in Washington was too strong for natural gas to have a real chance of being implemented on a large scale. Carl Pope jumped on the opportunity to invite O’Reilly to join him in DC to take a stand against the coal lobby – and the two men shook on it. I’d guess Sierra Club will try to hold O’Reilly to this promise — which he may not be able to wiggle out of, given that the event was swarming with local and national media and will be broadcast on NPR.

Beyond this potential lobbying duo becoming “strange bedfellows,” I think it symbolizes a larger movement towards cooperation between the large non-profits and environmental lobbies and the companies they’ve long been harshly criticizing. At Sierra Club, this move follows last year’s launch of the “GreenWorks” line with Clorox — another case of unprecedented cooperation and dialogue between big industry and the Club.

For us at Bright Green Talent, this is hugely energizing. We too believe that there’s no longer any way to tackle the world’s environmental problems without everyone’s cooperation – this is, for example, why we’ve chosen to work with Wal-Mart to help them grow their sustainability team. Many of the giant green non-profits – Conservation International, EDF, NRDC – are pursuing similar private-public partnerships.

But don’t worry – we’re not letting Chevron off the hook just for shaking hands with the opposition. Pope also called for Chevron and the other large oil companies to set aside 10% of their profits for 10 years to create a fund that would clean up all the communities and ecosystems that have been devastated by oil development over the past century. And we side with Pope and the Sierra Club as they call for ambitious and significant decreases in carbon emissions (80% reduction from 1990 levels by 2050), rather than allowing industry to hide behind claims that those goals “just aren’t realistic.” We still need people and organizations to stand up for communities who don’t have a voice — such as the protestors who stood up last night to bring awareness to Chevron’s hand in environmental contamination in Ecuador.

Most significantly, where there used to be a thick wall over which each party hurled insults and accusations, there is now a live and potentially constructive, dialogue. Strange bedfellows or not, it’s time to act together and move towards a prosperous low-carbon future.

Want to see it for yourself?

Watch for the event to be rebroadcast on NPR; here’s a video from San Francisco local news. Sierra Club has posted some thoughts and will add video highlights.

Reuters also picked up the story, with a great exchange:

Pope criticised U.S. energy regulation for not forcing utilities to buy more low-carbon electricity. “Well, if you can get the government to move faster, then good luck,” O’Reilly said.
Pope replied, to applause: “It would help if you would get out of the way.”

Photo from Sierra Club

June 11, 2009 at 5:19 pm 1 comment

Smart Grid 101: Definitions and Opportunities

Carolyn ThumbnailPenned by Carolyn

Smart Grid is one of those terms being thrown around the media and the green business sector – and for good reason, as it’s one of the most promising areas for growth even in this economy. In terms of being able to talk the talk in the green sphere, this is a concept you should be able to discuss with some level of intelligence and awareness.

Though there’s no singular definition attached to smart grid, it’s basically the concept of combining a power delivery system with a digital technology/metering system that allows utilities and consumers to adjust their electricity use with an end goal of increasing the efficiency of power usage nationally and globally.

Get familiar with some of the issues around implementing smart grid technologies, and why there’s so much buzz and hope for this growing green sector. Here are some resources to kick off your investigation:
  • The Department of Energy published a 48-page e-book called “Smart Grid: An Introduction,” which explores in layman’s terms the nature, challenges, opportunities and necessity of Smart Grid implementation in the U.S. and beyond. There’s a great glossary of terms in the back.
  • The Demand Response and Smart Grid Coalition has information on the companies in the sector. Its member list (copied below) will give you a sense of some of the big players in the field.
  • This map of 101 Cleantech Startups shows several Smart Grid companies.
  • Smart Grid News gives information on companies in the sector, deals and transactions and trends in the industry.
  • Wikipedia has some basic background and interesting links.

And now, dive in to these companies and see where you might be interested in fitting in. Our usual thoughts on networking apply – run a search through LinkedIn to see who you know there; join some groups that the company’s employees are a member of to get exposed to the industry dialogue; read through the company bios; and check out job openings.

Aclara
Ambient
Amplex
CalAmp
Comverge
Conservation Services Group
Corporate Systems Engineering
CPower
Direct Energy
Echelon
Eka Systems
eMeter
Energy Capital Partners
Energy Curtailment Specialists
EnergySolve
EnerNOC
Enfora
Enspiria Solutions
General Electric
Google
Honeywell
IBM
Ice Energy
Itron
KMC Controls
Landis + Gyr
Lutron Electronics
Oracle
PCN Technology
Sensus
Silver Spring Networks
SmartSynch
Steffes
Tendril
Trilliant Networks
Ziphany

June 2, 2009 at 12:59 am Leave a comment

Proof in the Pudding: Environmental Initiatives and the Bottom Line

tom_green_face_biggerPenned by Tom

It’s always good to look at the bottom-line when assessing the environmental movement. There are a plethora of interesting success stories which demonstrate to executives the importance and benefits of going green, even if you’re a climate-change denier. Here are a few examples from Sustainable Business Consulting:

  • A Global cleaning products company maximized natural lighting, installed occupancy sensors and enabled employees to control heating and cooling at their work stations. The ROI: Saved nearly $100,000 a year.
  • A Fortune 500 global technology company gave employees the option to telecommute from home. The ROI: Saved $67.8 million in real estate costs in just one year and reduced 29,000 tons of CO2 emissions, and increased worker productivity by 34 percent.
  • A 41-story, Class A+ office building with 1,000,000 square feet of office space located in the US reduced unnecessary after-hours and weekend lighting and initiated a high efficiency lighting retrofit. The ROI: Saved $386,000 in annual operating expenses.
  • A Global cleaning products company restored native and drought tolerant plants, such as prairie grass and wild flowers, to the site. ROI: Saved $2,000 per acre in annual maintenance costs.
  • A Global forest products company encouraged employees to commute using vanpools, carpools, walking or biking. ROI: Reduced total vehicle miles driven by 1.2 million and reduced emissions by 66,884 pounds of CO2 in one year.
  • A US-based independent federal agency developed an advanced preventative maintenance inspection process for its delivery fleet. The ROI: Saved $3 million and 330,000 quarts of oil to date.
  • A Cancer research center utilized off-hour lighting, fan shutoffs, occupancy sensors, high-efficiency chillers, L.E.D. exit signs, heat recovery from washers and efficient lighting. The ROI: Saved $317,000 annually, which is enough electricity to power 1,200 homes annually.
  • A Medical center sent used toner cartridges to a recycling company that refurbishes and refills them. The ROI: Saved $20,000 annually.
  • A Healthcare company recycled more than 6,000 tons of paper, plastic, glass and aluminum waste. The ROI: Saved more than $300,000 in disposal costs, diverted more than 18,000 cubic yards form landfills.
  • A Major US-based retailer changed the specifications for individual item packaging and reduced the quantity of excess pins clips, bags, paperboard inserts, tape and tissue paper in its items. The ROI: Saved an estimated $4.5 million in labor costs and eliminated approximately 1.5 million pounds of waste.

May 15, 2009 at 6:51 pm Leave a comment

Green Businesses’ Dirty Little Secret: Implied Ethics

dsc_1294-1Penned by Nick

The question of ethics for environmental employers is a landmine issue that few people explore. In Wendy Jedlicka’s recent article, she suggests that getting a job at a firm with “eco-ethics” is both difficult and desirable. Though true, this misses the more pressing questions about how ethics apply to environmental organizations.

Finding employment with any employer right now — green or otherwise — is difficult. However, this insight doesn’t cut to the core of the question of ethics. Ethics aren’t constrained to “eco” companies alone. As business schools teach the world over, ethics are universal — both in business and in life.

What’s interesting in the domain of environmental companies is that these companies rely on their “ethical business models” to attract employees more than do traditional “brown” employers. The dirty little secret is that employers — from solar companies to sustainability consultancies and the like — rely on jobseekers’ assumption that they are ethical more than other firms because of their “eco” business models.

Having worked with employers worldwide to find and secure the top green talent, its become clear that not everyone embraces the same level of business ethics. Indeed, many businesses fail to highlight their ethics at all when we ask them what separates them from other employers.

Ethics in the environmental business are — at present — largely taken for granted. Yes, most employees at these firms believe they have a more ethical occupation, but the business practices themselves often don’t exude ethics. Quite to the contrary, many of these businesses fail to push their ethical practices as far as their products or services.

At a time when the very value of long-standing business models has been called into question (read: investment banking, insurance, etc), it strikes me that more employers should be focusing on their ethics.

More importantly, both employees and jobseekers of green companies should be challenging these firms to “walk the walk” and create a truly triple bottom line enterprise that embraces sound ethical practices, sound environmental practices and sound business practices.

Jedlicka’s article is right to raise the question about ethics, but readers should examine a company’s purpose/service to determine who’s ethical and who’s not.

Use the interview itself as a place to ask questions about how an employer’s environmental practices translate into more ethical business practices. Questions like these leave little room for maneuvering, but if a jobseeker’s goal is to find an ethical employer, those that are truly ethical will jump at the chance to respond to such a question. If they don’t, you may have found a case where an organization doesn’t truly “walk the walk.”

Continually pushing employers to keep ethics at the center of their businesses — green or otherwise — is the best way to ensure that your values align with your employers’.

[Originally published on GreenBiz.com]

April 17, 2009 at 5:26 pm Leave a comment

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