Green Business

Hey chemical company! Quit hiding your polluted past

Hey chemical company! Quit hiding your polluted past Just as the tobacco industry denied the science exposing the dangers of smoking, a high-profile chemical company is turning a blind eye to scientific breakthroughs regarding the dangers of dioxins.

Dow Chemical, which began operations in 1897, is accused of using land and rivers as dumping grounds. Now science has shown that dioxins, which form when chlorine-based products are manufactured, have contaminated the watershed around the company’s 1,900-acre plant in Midland, Michigan.

In fact, a group of homeowners living along contaminated waterways are attempting to form a class-action lawsuit against the company. If they prevail, more than 2,000 plaintiffs from the Midland, Saginaw and Bay City areas could be facing off with the $58 billion-a-year corporation.

Green exchange. Stock Market risk equals future cash

Green exchange. Stock Market risk equals future cashThe majority of stockholders are not seeing a return on their investments. In fact, the stock market is sending many companies and investors into a tailspin by setting record lows at the Exchange. So how is the current state of the economy and the Stock Market affecting green companies?

The current recession has not been good to the future of green companies. With margins down, companies are having a hard time finding room in their budgets for green research and development as well as alternative energy products. According to a US News Report, SunPower and SunTech, solar energy companies, have announced job cuts while VeraSun has filed for bankruptcy. The news is not surprising considering that a majority of US companies are in the same position.

Additionally, big time investors and the government are pulling back on investments that led the charge for an alternative energy boom during the past few years.

Are consumers and businesses “green” behind the ears?

Are consumers and businesses “green” behind the ears? Green efforts are taking place in homes, businesses, and communities across the globe. Green has several meanings depending on the context it is used in. When searching the Internet, accusations can be found pointing to green being an overused marketing term. Stories also suggesting evidence is available supporting green products are not as effective at cleaning as consumers are lead to believe. Lastly, some wonder if there is a “green-washing” of consumers occurring. Whatever the case might be, marketing efforts involving green terminology are primarily designed to pull customers in and land a sale, just like any other sales pitch.

Heads Up! The small business carbon tracker is a copout

Heads Up! The small business carbon tracker is a copoutHeads Up! The small business carbon tracker is a copoutYet another company is trying to enter the market with a green scheme. It is really no surprise; companies are coming up with products and tool kits to help other companies eradicate poor environmental decisions from the past centuries. All sorts of solutions, or so they call them, are getting attention and sweeping through the business-to-business market. Commonly, however, green strategists focus on big corporate companies. They bring renewable, sustainable options that offer a bandage to an even larger environmental wound. Now, trends are shifting towards small businesses, and companies are cashing in on the temporary band-aid.

According to the last US Census, America has over four million small businesses. Not to mention, Obama’s administration is looking to continue to grow small businesses by offering tax breaks and incentives. The market is primed for a small business green revolution, right?

Not for a cheap solution.

Fruit for thought: reducing the carbon footprint of wine one step at a time

Fruit for thought; Reducing the carbon footprint of wine one step at a time. Though a glass of wine may have health benefits according to reports from various doctors and writers, getting the wine to your glass leaves a lasting carbon footprint on the earth – several, actually. This is because of the distance between the producing vineyards on the West Coast of America and the majority of thirsty consumers living east of the Mississippi. According to Tyler Colman, who teaches classes on wine at New York University and the University of Chicago, trucks transporting wine release greenhouse gasses more harmful than the fertilizers and the fermentation processes used when producing wine.

Bad economy could kick recycling programs to the curb

Bad economy could kick recycling programs to the curb As politicians look to the green movement to jumpstart the economy, many recycling programs are gasping for breath.

The value of recyclable commodities has gone down the drain as a result of the current international downturn.

The trashy market has forced recycling yards to either sell their scraps for pennies on the dollar or stockpile the materials until prices rise. Some cities have actually been forced to pay to get rid of what used to bring in a profit.

“It’s challenging for everybody,” said Kerrin O’Brien, director of the Michigan Recycling Coalition. “This could put some small recycling upstarts to rest, but we certainly hope that is not the case.”

While few have folded so far, the current strain on recycling programs could force some cities to cut recycling budgets, according to Ed Skernolis, director of the National Recycling Coalition in Washington, D.C.

Best in show green companies need to save dazed and confused consumers

Best in show green companies need to save dazed and confused consumers Companies throughout the world use unfair leveraging techniques to gain publicity in the global market with green marketing schemes. It has only gotten easier for companies to buy labels, PR releases, and non-profits to bolster their label. In fact, Tainted Green has already uncovered a variety of companies and non-profits that have unjustly organized campaigns by using misleading information. Perhaps, however, with the right company, a positive campaign is possible by developing a relationship that provides enough information for consumers to make intelligent decisions about companies upholding a strong green standard.

Currently, there is no shortage of consumers who are buying green products with the idea that they are bettering the world. Whether it is for nutrition, social justice, or just an internal conviction, consumers are still buying green products—even with the current conditions of the economy.

Ugly jatropha plant may produce green jet fuel of the future

Ugly jatropha plant may produce green jet fuel of the future Solutions to problems often come from inconspicuous places, and the jatropha plant seems to be one such occasion. It isn’t a pretty plant, and its innards contain toxic chemicals. So maybe it’s no surprise that after processing, the jatropha plant yields a highly effective jet fuel.

That’s big news to an industry hypnotized by the rise and fall of prices in kerosene and crude oil. Airlines are like many other businesses right now trying to find a way to go green, ostensibly in a sustainable way. Manufacturing jet oil from the jatropha plant on any sort of large scale isn’t that easy though.

Under natural circumstances it takes 2-3 years for a new plant to produce its first fruit, and each bloom occurs sequentially instead of all at once. That makes harvesting by machine nearly impossible. But now that humans have taken an interest, the jatropha may take on some new characteristics.

Organic certifiers snubbing small farms

Organic certifiers snubbing small farmsCertified Organic labels are sometimes just a way to make shoppers feel good about a purchase.

But truly purchasing food with the goal of decreasing your carbon footprint is much more complicated than simply scanning the grocery aisle for USDA symbols.

How many such labels do you see at a local farmers market, for example? While farmers markets often have criteria to make sure farmers aren’t reselling produce, they rarely use USDA certification.

Small operations often avoid certification because of the time and money it takes. And according to the National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service, the costs are only going to rise.

But that doesn’t mean a certified organic banana from Costa Rica is better for the environment than an uncertified apple off a local farm.

Super bowl stadium forgets that fans don’t care about the environment

Super bowl stadium forgets that fans don’t care about the environment As people piled into the stadium for the biggest event in sports, stadium officials tried to gear up for a push towards green. How? Prior to the event at Raymond James Stadium, one of the most spectacular stadiums in all of professional sports, stadium operators tried to cut costs in lighting and cooling while at the same time recycling all of their left over waste. The intent was good and the fact that they were able to power the stadium and its events with renewable energy was impressive, but once the game started, efforts seized.

The lure of the event is so impressive that it is hard to take one’s eyes off everything that is happening. In the span of a few hours, fans see multiple performances by major recording artists, F-16 fighter jets fly overhead, fireworks go off, and much more. The fact is, no matter what stadium operators do, fans are consumed by the game and not their social conscience to recycle.