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green shoots

Hold the Protest: Will Funny Greenpeace Ads Drive Amazon to #ClickClean?

Posted by Sheila Shayon on August 19, 2014 11:39 AM

Greenpeace’s latest campaign, #ClickClean, targets major tech players like Amazon and Twitter to source more of their energy from renewables such as solar, wind and hydro power.

Featuring musician/comedian Reggie Watts, Greenpeace launched ClickClean following its April report that showed which of the Internet’s biggest players are using dirty or clean energy. The activist group began addressing the cloud issue in 2012, challenging Apple, Microsoft and Amazon to power their data centers with renewable energy. Apple has since complied and is powering its iCloud with 100-percent renewable energy. Google, Facebook, Salesforce, Rackspace and Box also are taking actions to increase their green cred.

"We set out to develop a campaign that had humor at its core and that people would rally behind and share," said Mary Hanifin, executive producer from The VIA Agency that worked with Greenpeace, according to Fast Company. "Positive persuasion by numbers, you could say. Reggie’s unique brand of comedy, devoted following and ability to convey complex themes through humor made him a perfect fit."Continue reading...

trademark wars

BP Hopes to Prevail in Green Trademark Claim in Australia

Posted by Jerome McDonnell on July 3, 2014 12:56 PM

After more than 20 years of trying, BP has failed to convince the Australian government that its signature shade of green should be granted a trademark registration.

IP Australia, which administers that country’s intellectual property rights system, ruled on June 17 that it found no convincing evidence to support the petroleum giant’s efforts to protect the color shade Pantone 348C—despite the fact that the color has been central to the BP brand since the 1930s. While the company has the right (until July 17) to appeal, this decision is yet another setback for BP, which has successfully secured trademark registrations for the single color in markets including the UK, France, Iran and nearby New Zealand.

Australian retailer Woolworths, whose apple logo also utilizes the color green, had previously opposed BP’s attempts to register the color, and while some media reports have positioned this development as a huge victory for Woolworths, this latest update focuses on less the a war between two corporations but on whether the color, as BP seeks to protect it, actually functions as a trademark and warrants protection.Continue reading...

tech innovation

Apple Seeks FDA's Advice On Journey to More Powerful Personal Tech

Posted by Sheila Shayon on February 3, 2014 03:26 PM

At a critical juncture for Apple, the house that Jobs built is now turning to health and fitness as the antidote to slipping iPhone sales and public criticism that the brand has lost its defining innovation and design mojo.

The company is reportedly working on a sensor-laden iWatch that works in tandem with a “Healthbook” app to monitor and store personal data on steps taken, calories burned, blood pressure, hydration levels and other blood-related metrics like glucose levels, following the growing popularity of health-monitoring devices like Nike's FuelBand, FitBit and dozens of others than debuted at this year's CES

Apple executives Jeff Williams, SVP operations, Bud Tribble, VP software technology, and Michael O’Reilly, a recent hire and former chief medical officer for Masimo, creator of non-invasive technology that measures blood oxygen, met in December with Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Margaret Hamburg about “mobile medical applications," according to the New York Times.

Mark A. McAndrew, a partner with Taft Stettinius & Hollister said the out of the ordinary meetings signaled that, “They are either trying to get the lay of the land for regulatory pathways with medical devices and apps and this was an initial meeting, or Apple has been trying to push something through the FDA for a while and they’ve had hangups.”Continue reading...

let's make a deal

Google's Connected Home Ambitions Take Flight with Nest Acquisition

Posted by Sheila Shayon on January 14, 2014 12:57 PM

On the heels of CES 2014, Google has effectively tapped into arguably one of the biggest trends in consumer tech—the smart home—by buying Nest Labs for $3.2 billion in cash, its second-largest acquisition to date. 

The company founded by former Apple executives Matt Rogers and Tony Fadell, who is credited as a key player in the invention of the iPod, is known for creating smart thermostats and smoke detectors. Nest told Forbes that it has sold about 1 million of its thermostats, placing them in nearly 1 percent of US households. 

And that's where excitement turns to concern, as consumers fear that Google may use Nest's technology to monitor them. Google has already addressed the concerns, saying its existing privacy policy "clearly limits the use of customer information to providing and improving Nest’s products and services," but that hasn't quieted the critics much. 

But Nest, a company started by and filled with ex-Apple employees, doesn't seem to be worried. Continue reading...

green shoots

Walgreens Hits Net-Zero at New, Sustainable Store in Chicago

Posted by Sheila Shayon on November 22, 2013 12:43 PM

Walgreens opened the first net zero energy retail store in Evanston, Ill., yesterday, harnessing power from two wind turbines, nearly 850 solar panels and a geothermal system burrowed 550 feet into the ground. The store will produce energy equal to or greater than it consumes from the power grid—the definition of net zero.

"Currently, we have facilities that utilize wind turbines, solar installations and geothermal technologies,” said Mark Wagner, Walgreens president of operations and community management. “This is the first time we are bringing all three of these technologies and many more together in one place. Our purpose as a company is to help people get, stay and live well, and that includes making our planet more livable by conserving resources and reducing pollution."

Engineering estimates put this store’s energy usage at 200,000 kilowatt hours per year, while generating 220,000 kilowatt hours per year, versus the average Chicago Walgreens store’s energy footprint of 425,000 kilowatt-hours.Continue reading...


Walmart Tops Brands Adopting Solar Energy Across America

Posted by Sheila Shayon on October 28, 2013 04:13 PM

Brands are—forgive the pun—warming to solar power. Retail brands, in particular, according to the latest report from the U.S. Solar Energy Industries Association, which names Walmart, Costco, Kohl's, Apple and IKEA as its top five "solar champions" in the U.S., as ranked by installed capacity.

Their respective retail footprints are using stores' huge rooftop spaces to expand into solar. Walmart, as the biggest U.S. retailer, leads the pack in the race for commercial solar power, "converting more sun into energy than 38 U.S. states," as Bloomberg puts it. The retail giant has partnered with SolarCity to install solar power at 60 stores in California, part of a company-wide goal to equip 130 stores, or 75% of its stores in the state, with the renewable form of energy.

Apple, which recently hired former EPA head Lisa Jackson as its first VP of environment initiatives to spur its goal of 100 percent renewable energy, is building utility-scale solar projects next to its data centers in partnership with SunPower. The sustainability moves advance the companies' environmental, and financial, goals—naturally.Continue reading...

corporate citizenship

Nestle Pledges Zero-Waste in Europe by 2020

Posted by Sheila Shayon on October 18, 2013 07:17 PM

The world’s largest food company, Nestlé, pledges to achieve zero waste in all of its 150 European factories by 2020—meaning that no factory waste will go to landfill or be incinerated without energy being recovered from the process.

The company had already met its zero waste goal in 39 of its 468 factories worldwide by the end of 2012, including in all of its plants in the UK and Switzerland, putting it on top of Oxfam’s Behind the Brands sustainability scorecard in February, and also receiving the NGO’s ‘most improved’ honor last month, along with Unilever. 

"The decision to achieve zero waste illustrates Nestlé's commitment to environmentally sustainable business practices," said Laurent Freixe, Nestlé EVP and Zone Director for Europe. "By relentlessly eliminating all sources of waste, or by recycling or recovering energy from unavoidable residues, I am convinced we can achieve the same for all our European operations."Continue reading...


Paris Runners Help Power the Future of Sustainable Energy

Posted by Mark J. Miller on April 8, 2013 08:02 PM

Athletes expend a whole lot of energy all over the world. In a world that is desperate for ways to find new sources of sustainable energy, it seems like a no-brainer to try and capture some of that expenditure of energy and use it for good, such as the more than 350 UK gyms that are built to generate their own energy for lighting or the bike energy that helped power the laptops of Occupy Wall Street.

The Paris Marathon has now gotten into the act. More than 40,000 runners made their way through the City of Lights Sunday and every last one of them bounced across an 82-foot stretch of flexible tiles made of recycled truck tires on the Champs-Élysées that used high technology to store the energy generated by all that foot power into a few batteries. The tile maker, Pavegen Systems Ltd., says that “each footstep generates as much as 8 watts of kinetic energy, which is fed back to batteries that can charge display screens and electronic signs along the route,” according to RenewEconomy.com.Continue reading...

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