Day: October 20, 2014

EPA Finds Neonicotinoid Seed Treatments of Little or No Benefit to U.S. Soybean Production

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released an analysis of the benefits of neonicotinoid seed treatments for insect control in soybeans. Neonicotinoid pesticides are a class of insecticides widely used on U.S. crops that EPA is reviewing with particular emphasis for their impact on pollinators. The analysis concluded that there is little or no increase in soybean yields using most neonicotinoid seed treatments when compared to using no pest control at all. A Federal Register notice inviting the public to comment on the analysis will publish in the near future.

“We have made the review of neonicotinoid pesticides a high priority,” said Jim Jones, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. “In our analysis of the economic benefits of this use we concluded that, on a national scale, U.S. soybean farmers see little or no benefit from neonicotinoid seed treatments.”

During the review of the neonicotinoids, EPA found that many scientific publications claim that treating soybean seeds has little value. Part of our assessment examined the effectiveness of these seed treatments for pest control and estimated the impacts on crop yields and quality, as well as financial losses and gains. The law requires EPA to consider the benefits of using pesticides as well as the risks.

The analysis concluded that:

  • There is no increase in soybean yield using most neonicotinoid seed treatments when compared to using no pest control at all.
  • Alternative insecticides applied as sprays are available and effective.
  • All major alternatives are comparable in cost.
  • Neonicotinoid seed treatment could provide an insurance benefit against sporadic and unpredictable insect pests, but this potential benefit is not likely to be large or widespread throughout the United States.

This analysis is an important part of the science EPA will use to move forward with the assessment of the risks and benefits under registration review for the neonicotinoid pesticides. Registration review — the periodic re-evaluation of pesticides to determine if they continue to meet the safety standard — can result in EPA discontinuing certain uses, placing limits on the pesticide registration, and requiring other label changes.

Sign up for pesticide program updates to be notified by email when the EPA opens the docket and invites comment on its analysis of the benefits of neonicotinoid seed treatments on soybeans.

How green energy crowdfunding is ‘coming of age’

Read the full story in GreenBiz.

Triodos Renewables’ $7.95 million crowdfunded share issue is a sign that peer-to-peer lending for green energy products is “coming of age,” claims the company behind the initiative.

The renewables investment arm of Triodos Bank recently launched the offer to fund an expansion of its 11-project, 53MW portfolio, with investors able to pledge as little as $80 — the lowest minimum investment for a Triodos Renewables share issue.

The company, which has 5,000 shareholders, said it wants to ensure investing in renewable energy is “an option for everyone” and has teamed up with crowd financing platform Trillion Fund to promote and distribute the offer, timed to coincide with Good Money Week.

Drucker Nonprofit Innovation Awards spotlight social ventures

Read the full story in GreenBiz.

Innovation starts with being curious. Calling all the curious!

In its 23rd year, the prestigious Drucker Nonprofit Innovation Awards had 687 applications and 10 finalists, naming one winner last week: HopeLab, a nonprofit that develops games to improve human health and well being.

The finalists have helped to make society more sustainable by addressing pressing human health, education, environmental, and social challenges, such as the availability of safe water.

Interface’s Net-Works program brings fish net recycling to Africa

Read the full story in GreenBiz.

Last month, the Net-Works team had the honor of being in the heart of New York City during Climate Week, participating in the Clinton Global Initiative.

For the past two years, the Net-Works team, made up of changemakers within Interface and the Zoological Society of London, has been dedicated to designing and proving an inclusive business model. This model enables impoverished fishing communities in the Philippines to collect damaging, discarded fishing nets from the ocean and shores. The nets are sold to our yarn supplier, which recycles the nets into nylon yarn that we use in our carpets.

Net-Works in the Philippines has been a success because of the time and dedication committed by our partnership. Making the decision to participate in the Clinton Global Initiative was difficult for us because the time and resources needed to properly make our “commitment to action” and attend the event were time and resources not going directly to the work on the ground.

Webcast: How Green Product Claims Affect Purchase Intent and Brand Perception

November 8, 2014 1-2 pm CST
Register at http://info.greenbiz.com/11-18-2014ULWebcast.html?src=calendar

Great sustainable product stories, told well, can generate enormous benefits. That’s why leading global brands have made sustainable products and processes — and the effective communication of their efforts — a high priority.

But telling a sustainability story is rife with risks. Making unsubstantiated claims can damage your brand’s reputation and strain customer loyalty. On the other hand, communicating your sustainability efforts in a credible and compelling way can influence consumer purchase intent and brand perception.

How do you tell your product story effectively? That’s what UL Environment set out to uncover with a study, conducted by Shelton Group, that polled more than 1,000 consumers and conducted more than 40,000 head-to-head green product claim comparisons.

In this hour-long webcast, you’ll hear the key findings from that study and hear a discussion about how to leverage this information to enhance your company’s sustainability story to drive greater brand value.

Among the things you’ll learn:

  • What consumers want to know related to green product claims
  • The impact of green product claims on purchase intent
  • How consumers view claims that are vague or misleading

 

The Last Climate Frontier: Leveraging the Arctic Council to make Progress on Black Carbon and Methane

Download the document.

Impacts from climate change are threatening the Arctic environment and way of life. Warming in the Arctic is happening twice as fast as at lower latitudes. Sea ice is retreating and vast frozen areas are melting, leading to a variety of adverse effects for ecosystems and communities. Sea level rise, melting permafrost, and the decline in snow cover create feedbacks that can accelerate these adverse impacts. The implications of a melting Arctic are not limited to the region, but affect communities worldwide. The Arctic is now “ground-zero” in the struggle against climate change and failure to protect it adequately could doom other climate mitigation efforts.

Of particular importance, in-Arctic and near-Arctic emissions of short-lived climate forcing pollutants i.e., black carbon and methane have a disproportionate impact on increasing Arctic temperatures and melting. Arctic sources of black carbon have been estimated to have a 10-100 times greater impact on Arctic warming than black carbon from mid-latitude sources. Black carbon deposits darken snow and ice, accelerating melting. Methane is a potent greenhouse gas, with over eighty times the warming impact of carbon dioxide over the nearterm. Methane emissions from oil & gas development in the Arctic are projected to rise as development increases over the next few years. So, actions to reduce these emissions will provide a disproportionate benefit to the region. Importantly, most of the sources of these pollutants are within the jurisdiction of the nations that make up the Arctic Council.

The Arctic Council is the international body charged with fostering cooperation among Arctic nations and indigenous peoples. Made up of the littoral Arctic states (Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden, and the United States), the Council is able to address regional issues of shared interest that extend beyond the borders of individual nations. Because of its mission, geographic focus, and membership, the Council is uniquely positioned to address regional emissions of short-lived climate pollutants. Protecting the Arctic is an important part of the Council’s mission, but the direct threat that climate change poses to the region presents the opportunity for this intergovernmental body to take a lead role in addressing the threat.

As the United States prepares to take over the chairmanship of the Council in 2015, we congratulate the Obama Administration for making climate change a central theme of its tenure and encourage the Administration to identify the links between global warming and all other critical Arctic issues. Moreover, in this report, we identify four specific ways that, under U.S. leadership, the Arctic Council can seize the opportunity to curb emissions of black carbon and methane and help buy the Arctic environment precious time as global measures to check greenhouse gas emissions are developed and implemented.

For decades, Arctic nations have cooperated on a variety of issues, primarily related to environmental protection, through the Arctic Council. In addition to the United States, China and India are now official observers, meaning that the world’s largest emitter nations are now engaged with the Arctic Council process. The Arctic Council has already made some progress on the issue of black carbon and methane emissions and there exists a strong foundation for expanding efforts to reduce emissions. In recent years, the Council has established the administrative capacity, organization, and reporting systems necessary for joint work on these pollutants. Previous consultation between the member states, scientific experts, permanent participants, and non-governmental organizations has produced studies and assessments that lay the groundwork for action. Now, it is time for the Council to move forward with the steps necessary to achieve reductions in these key pollutants.

The Rise of Reusable and Sustainable Packaging

Read the full story in American Manufacturing News.

Under constant pressure from government, the mass media and consumers, the packaging industry is exploring more sustainable alternatives.

EPA Sees Wide Risks in Paint Strippers

Read the full story at Paint Square.

Methylene chloride, widely used in paint stripping products, poses a health threat to hundreds of thousands of workers, consumers and project bystanders, U.S. authorities have determined.

The findings of the final risk assessment by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency could move the agency a step closer to regulating the chemical, also known as Dichloromethane (DCM).

SBA’s Online Portal Now Accepting 2015 National Small Business Week Awards Nominations

The U.S. Small Business Administration is proud to announce today that SBA’s online portal is ready to accept nominations for its 2015 National Small Business Week Awards, including the annual Small Business Person of the Year award.  SBA has been following the mantra – Smart, Bold and Accessible in the way the agency conducts business.

This is now the third year SBA has been using the online portal submission process, a great and smart improvement from years past. The dedicated web portal provides all the guidelines and has made it much easier to submit and track submissions of nominees for National Small Business Week.

Since 1963, National Small Business Week has recognized the outstanding achievements of America’s small businesses for their contributions to their local communities, and to our nation’s economy. For over 50 years, SBA will continue its tradition in honoring the nation’s 28 million small businesses.

SBA Awards given in celebration of National Small Business Week include the following awards:

  • National Small Business Person of the Year (chosen from among state award winners from each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Guam)
  • Phoenix Awards (recognizing outstanding accomplishments during disaster recovery)
  • Small Business Prime Contractor of the Year
  • Small Business Subcontractor of the Year
  • The Dwight D. Eisenhower Award for Excellence (recognizes large prime contractors who have used small businesses as suppliers and contractors)
  • SBA 8(a) Graduate of the Year (for recent graduates of the SBA’s 8(a) Business Development Program)
    Exporter of the Year
  • Small Business Development Center (SBDC)Excellence and Innovation Award (nominations of SBA-funded SBDC Service Centers)
  • Women’s Business Center (WBCs) of Excellence Award (nominations of SBA-funded WBCs)
  • Veterans Business Outreach Center Excellence in Service Award (nominations of SBA-funded Veterans Business Outreach Centers)
  • Small Business Investment Company of the Year

All nominations must be submitted online, postmarked or hand delivered to the SBA no later than 3 p.m. EST, Monday, Jan. 5, 2015. In addition to the portal, nominations can also be sent directly to an SBA District Office – for contact information and other District Office information visit online at http://www.sba.gov/tools/local-assistance/districtoffices.

Iowa Waste Reduction Center published results of compressed air leak management pilot project

How much money and energy is wasted through air leaks?

Funded by a state energy grant from the Iowa Economic Development Authority, that is the question the Iowa Waste Reduction Center (IWRC) aimed to answer through this 2014 pilot project. Equipped with ultrasonic detection equipment, IWRC environmental specialists conducted 25 audits at small businesses – auto body and manufacturing facilities – throughout Iowa.

IWRC specialists identified and tagged compressed air leaks throughout each facility, documented energy loss and cost savings associated with the leaks and provided corrective action recommendations.

Available documents include an overview and results of the pilot project; a checklist of tips and most common air leak sources; and full results from all 25 businesses.

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