Joel Makower

ULE 880: A New Year’s Report

Today marks another significant milestone in the development of ULE 880 – Sustainability for Manufacturing Organizations, the company-level standard we’ve been developing in partnership with UL Environment. Indeed, a great deal has been going on behind the scenes the past few months, so it’s time for an update.

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The 10 Most Hopeful Green Business Stories of 2010

There's a lot to be said for viewing the year just passed through the rear-view window.

Toyota's hybrids hit the wall, so to speak, in terms of being seen as a paragon of safety. BP spouted all too vividly the perils of the petro-based economy. The bigger peril, climate change (or global warming, or whatever it's called) became, somehow, a non-issue, politically speaking. Indeed, the political climate in the United States turned against pretty much all things environmental. Meanwhile, toxic substances and gender-bending chemicals found their way into everything from mattresses to baby bottles. I could go on.

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The State of the States on Clean Energy

As America enters the next chapter of its political history, with a newly minted Congress and a hobbled presidency, national leadership on climate and energy issues continues to remain a pipe dream. One side wants to accelerate business as usual: more oil drilling, “clean” coal and nuclear plants, letting “the market” determine which technologies win or lose.

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Can General Motors Save the Planet?

Today is a watershed day for General Motors — and I’m not talking just about the historic and record-breaking initial public offering marking the company's return to the stock market, and away from majority ownership by the taxpayers.

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Is TerraChoice Greenwashing?

I’ve been holding back on laying into the third and latest Sins of Greenwashing report — in part because I’m feeling too much like a broken record — but I’ve got to weigh in.

The report, if you’re not familiar with it, is published by TerraChoice, a Canadian-based environmental marketing agency. (Earlier this year, it was acquired by UL Environment, a division of Underwriters Laboratories. GreenBiz is engaged in a partnership with UL Environment that is wholly unrelated to TerraChoice.)

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Newsweek's Green Rankings: What They Mean ... and Don't

Today, Newsweek releases its 2010 Green Rankings, its second annual effort to rate and rank the largest companies in the U.S. and the world. Dell and HP switched places for #1 and #2, and after that, who really cares?

The other 498 companies, that’s who.

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Lifting the Lid on Stonyfield's New Plant-Based Packaging

Today, Stonyfield Farm, the organic yogurt company, is unveiling a new packaging solution: A yogurt cup made from corn.

It's not the first revolution in yogurt cups, or the first packaging innovation made from corn. But Stonyfield's journey to today is a case study in sustainability, innovation, persistence, and systems thinking that I think is worth sharing.

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Behind Procter & Gamble's Sustainability Vision

Procter & Gamble's announcement today of a new "sustainability vision" is a noteworthy moment — not just for the world's largest consumer packaged goods company, but for the world of sustainable business.

It represents another yardstick of how major corporate players view their place on the sustainability landscape: being "socially responsible," of course, but also seizing the global business opportunities that can inure to companies taking leadership roles in environmental and social well-being.

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The Dairy Industry and the 2 Percent Solution

What's the carbon footprint of a glass of milk? It's more than a mere trivia question. Calculating, managing, and reducing the emissions of everyday products is a growing quest for companies across the business spectrum. But most products are multi-company affairs. So, it's one thing for a company to do this. It's altogether another thing to address climate change across an entire industry.

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Innovation, Sustainable Consumption, and 'The Mesh'

I've just glimpsed a world in which the elusive notion of "sustainable consumption" is both possible and profitable. It's a world where products are built to last, shared among both friends and strangers, made more affordable to all, support local communities, and are recycled back into more useful stuff. Best of all, it's a world that's already here, and is growing and thriving.

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