Day: April 26, 2013

How full product transparency can embed sustainability at the core of your business

Read the full story at GreenBiz.

Full product transparency (FPT) is having and providing a complete picture of the total environmental impact of a product throughout its life. The magic of embracing full product transparency is that it provides a consistent focus for everyone involved in every part of the business — from product designers and innovators to marketing, sales and procurement staff. Here’s how it work.

John Wiley, Elsevier to sponsor APEC prize for ocean research

APEC member economies have announced that they will honour a young scientist in 2013 whose collaborative work in the region has made an outstanding contribution to sustainable ocean development. Publishers John Wiley & Sons, Inc. and Elsevier are sponsors for the APEC Science Prize for Innovation, Research and Education (ASPIRE Prize).

‘Sustainable Ocean Development’, the theme of this year’s ASPIRE Prize, is seen to reflect members’ focus on boosting cooperation that can help to generate innovative, environmentally and economically sustainable management solutions for the region’s oceans and waterways. It targets young scientists from APEC economies who specialise in fields such as oceanography and marine sciences, aquaculture and fisheries science, hydrology, hydrography and costal geography. The merit of their collaborative accomplishments must be evidenced by scholarly publication.

Each APEC member economy may nominate one individual under 40 years of age for the 2013 ASPIRE Prize which is sponsored by Wiley and Elsevier, and carries $25,000 in prize money. The submission deadline is May, 3 2013.

New street light design eliminates light pollution

Read the full story at Smart Planet.

There aren’t many stars beaming down at you at night in metro areas because of light pollution – the name for misdirected artificial light. A team of scientists has outlined a new LED street lamp design that could help reclaim the luminosity of the heavens.

A pollution solution devised by a team of Japanese and Mexican researchers was published yesterday in the journal Optics Express. The design is multi-fold. It outfits street lamps with a cluster of LEDs and specialized lenses that are mounted inside of a reflective box covered with a microlens sheet that resembles the shape of insects’ eyes, according to information found in the study’s abstract.

Getting Climate Smart A Water Preparedness Guide for State Action

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With raging wildfires, widespread drought, historic floods, freak snowstorms and heat waves wreaking havoc in recent years, the climate change debate increasingly has become a deliberation over how to best reduce carbon pollution and deal with the climate impacts already here and those that are coming.

As climate change continues to alter historical temperature and precipitation patterns, it is critical that states develop comprehensive plans to address its challenges. Many states have conducted some level of planning to reduce the carbon pollution that contributes to climate change, yet others resist responsibly dealing with climate vulnerabilities. Shockingly, only 10 states have thus far developed comprehensive climate change preparedness plans. As those forced from their homes by extreme weather can attest, the time to prepare for climate change has come.

NRDC’s Getting Climate Smart: A Water Preparedness Guide for State Action is a guide to assist water managers and state governments as they ready themselves for wide-ranging changes for their communities and ecosystems. Getting Climate Smart mixes practical guidance, planning tools, case studies and a holistic toolbox of strategies covering everything from agriculture, to energy, to public health and infrastructure. By following these steps, states can better prepare for future climate variability and better position themselves to tackle the inevitable challenges of a changing climate.

You Be The Planner: Figure Out How To Grow A City Responsibly

Read the full story at FastCo.Exist.

From participatory budgets to civic engagement games, cities are coming up with all kinds of new ways to bring citizens into the planning process. And here’s another nice idea: a “housing simulator” from Auckland.

3 simple green marketing strategies

Read the full story at iMedia Connection.

The success of your business may depend on your marketing prowess. For a small business or a new upstart, a marketing strategy may be restricted to your budget. For those who are conscientious of the environment, there are strategies that can be cost effective without increasing your company’s carbon footprint. These are strategies that incorporates digital media in order to draw attention to the company without spending money at a printing press for flyers, brochures, or pamphlets that may do more for the negative impact on the environment than benefit your business.

Bowdoin Green Athletes hope to expand campus sustainability

Read the full story from Bowdoin College.

Coming into its first full year as a club at the College, Bowdoin Green Athletes (BGA) looks to continue its campaign to ingrain sustainability into the athletic culture at Bowdoin, through a team-by-team strategy and a “Rerun Shoes” initiative.

The Trouble with Biofuels: Costs and Consequences of Expanding Biofuel Use in the United Kingdom

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Biofuel use in the United Kingdom is set to increase significantly despite continued sustainability concerns

  • In the current financial year (2013/14) UK biofuel use will increase to 5 per cent of transport volumes, the highest level ever.
  • An earlier government-commissioned review of UK biofuel policy recommended that biofuel use not surpass this level unless major sustainability issues are addressed. However, EU targets for 2020 would see this exceeded several times over.

Current biofuel standards do not ensure biofuel use is sustainable

  • Agricultural biofuel use increases the level and volatility of food prices, with detrimental impacts on the food security of low-income food-importing countries.
  • Agricultural biofuel use also indirectly drives expansion of agriculture into areas of high carbon stock such as rainforest or peatland, resulting in indirect land-use change, the emissions from which may outweigh any greenhouse gas savings the biofuels are able to offer.
  • Biodiesel from waste products such as used cooking oil or tallow offer the most favourable sustainability characteristics; however, the risk of indirect emissions increases at higher levels of use and may already be material.
  • Neither indirect land-use change nor food security is addressed in UK sustainability criteria. In the absence of such safeguards, increasing biofuel consumption could have significant environmental and social consequences outside the United Kingdom. It is unclear whether such safeguards will be agreed at the EU level.

Biofuels are not a cost-effective means to reduce emissions from road transport

  • The current generation of biofuels provides an expensive means of reducing emissions from road transport. Carbon abatement costs, excluding emissions from indirect land-use change, are broadly in the range of $165–$1,100 per tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e). This compares unfavourably with an appraisal price of around $87 per tonne.
  • Accounting for emissions from indirect land-use change increases abatement costs for agricultural biofuels to between $330 and $8,500 per tonne of CO2e depending on the feedstock used. Biodiesel from vegetable oils is found to be worse for the climate than fossil diesel.
  • The 5 per cent biofuel target is likely to cost UK motorists in the region of $700 million (£460 million) in the current financial year (2013/14).
  • If the UK is to meet its EU obligations, the annual cost to UK motorists is likely to rise to around $2 billion (£1.3 billion) a year by 2020.


Video: Win, win and win: a new model for corporations and communities

Watch the video at GreenBiz.

South Bronx educator Stephen Ritz tells how his students at the Green Bronx Machine are transforming their own local food systems, and elevating themselves from poverty into the mainstream economy in doing so.

Residential Energy Use Disclosure: A Review of Existing Policies

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Several jurisdictions in the United States have recently adopted residential energy use disclosure policies.  Residential energy use disclosure is a promising policy option for a number of reasons, including (1) how it might motivate people to address valuation of energy-efficient homes in the home sale process; (2) how it can encourage energy efficiency upgrades for sellers aiming to make their home stand out in the market and/or for new buyers; and (3) how it can generate information needed for better valuation of energy efficiency improvements in a home for appraisals and mortgage underwriting.

This report is structured as a review of the four main types of energy use disclosure being implemented in the U.S.: asset ratings; utility bills; energy efficiency features; and benchmarking.  This is followed by an examination of energy disclosure/rating methods that are not mandatory but provide interesting insight into issues surrounding labeling programs.  Efforts to disclose energy use and energy efficiency characteristics abroad are also explored in this report, and a number of studies on the effectiveness of longstanding residential energy performance rating programs are highlighted.