Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Green Merchant Alliance - Sustainable & Responsible Business of the Week

Green Merchant Alliance (Aspen CO) is a Merchant Services Provider. So how did a credit card processing company make our Sustainable & Responsible Business of the Week?

Green Merchant Alliance supports clean renewable energy, public education, and conservation initiatives. When your business signs up with Green Merchant Alliance for credit card transaction processing, Green Merchant Alliance will use 15% of its profit towards the purchase of wind farm renewable energy certificates (REC). Each REC prevents the release of 1392 pounds of carbon dioxide. Companies are also free to purchase additional RECs in order to offset additional emissions.

The company's website features a carbon calculator, tips for reducing your carbon footprint, and daily tips directly from National Geographic's Green Guide. In addition, the website features educational information, such as "Global Warming 101" and "What is Renewable Energy?".

Sustainable & Responsible Business of the Week is a weekly behind-the-scenes look at what businesses are doing to be more sustainable and responsible in their operations.

Sustainable & Responsible Business of the Week: If they can do it, so can you!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Universities Worldwide Challenged to Power Down for the Planet to Reduce CO2 Emissions

PRESS RELEASE: February 13, 2009

Universities Worldwide Challenged to Power Down for the Planet to Reduce CO2 Emissions

(PORTLAND, Ore.)—Colleges and universities around the world will be challenged to make a dent in pollution by powering down campus computers in a new global challenge. Climate Savers Computing Initiative, in collaboration with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star program, is organizing the challenge and inviting higher education institutions to take part.

One winning university will be selected internationally based on the highest percentage of on-campus staff, student and faculty pledges toward use of computer power management tools. Six founding universities of the campaign include: Ohio State University, Pennsylvania State University, Purdue University, University of California at San Diego, University of Iowa and University of Michigan. The deadline to enter the competition is March 13, 2009.

“The Power Down for the Planet program is designed to educate and engage college students on a large scale about their computer power consumption and how that affects the environment,” said Pat Tiernan, executive director of Climate Savers Computing Initiative, an international nonprofit organization committed to reducing IT-related waste by half by 2010. “College students in the U.S. alone can collectively make a one million-ton reduction of carbon dioxide emissions by better managing their computers.”

Benefits for Participating Universities: Dollars and Sense

Universities benefit by seeing real savings through lower energy bills and by producing fewer harmful emissions that lead to climate change. A university with 70,000 networked computers can save about $3 million per year just by activating power management features on all of its computers. That’s the equivalent of removing 4,500 cars from the road for an entire year. Nationally, by enabling power saving features on desktop personal computers (PCs), college students could collectively contribute to annual savings of more than $150 million in energy costs.

Additional benefits for universities joining Power Down for the Planet challenge include fostering student involvement, demonstrating eco-leadership and fighting climate change.

What It Takes to Power Down

To participate, interested universities can visit . By participating in the Initiative, the university will automatically become a Climate Savers Computing Initiative member and pledge driver with the EPA’s Change the World, Start with ENERGY STAR campaign. Participating universities agree to make a commitment to use power management on university-owned PCs and agrees to incorporate energy efficiency criteria for future PC and server purchases. University interest and engagement can range from sustainability coordinators to the chief information officer to the president’s office. For more information or to discuss membership options, please contact

Countdown to Earth Day

March 13 is the deadline for schools to sign up to participate in the Power Down for the Planet challenge. The contest is twofold: A viral video component begins March 2 for students, and a university-wide pledge challenge begins March 23. Student video winners, as well as one university pledge drive winner, will be announced Earth Day — April 22.

Competing schools will be featured on the Climate Savers Computing’s Power Down for the Planet Web site at , where each university will have its own pledge page. Because schools vary by size, a winner is determined by the largest percentage of the campus community who has made a commitment. This head-to-head competition relies on students and faculty to rally and engage others on campus to make the pledge.

The video contest calls for students to create the best video that helps tell the Climate Savers Computing story about power management. The winning student videos will be judged based on a combination of content and relevance. Students will win prizes, and their stories will be part of a global video campaign designed to help expose students to ideas from around the world.
The Power Down for the Planet Web site also offers downloadable materials, online widgets and e-mail notifications to help promote the challenge.

About Climate Savers Computing

The Climate Savers Computing Initiative is a nonprofit group of eco-conscious consumers, businesses and conservation organizations dedicated to reducing the energy consumption of computers. Nearly 300 companies and organizations have joined the Initiative since its launch in June 2007, and thousands of individuals have pledged their support. The Initiative is led by Dell, Google, HP, Intel, Lenovo, Microsoft, and World Wildlife Fund. Sponsors include Acer, AMD, Delta Electronics, Fujitsu, Hitachi, Intuit, Lite-On, NEC, Sun and Supermicro.

For more information and to pledge your support, visit

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Starbucks - Sustainable & Responsible Business of the Week

Guest Post by Amila Barakovic

Starbucks Corporation (Seattle WA) is the leading roaster and retailer of specialty coffee in North America and has become a truly global brand. At Starbucks, the company is committed to environmentally, socially and economically responsible leadership in all aspects of the business. The company’s commitment to being a deeply responsible company that contributes positively to communities and the environment is one of the six guiding principles of the company’s mission statement.

The company’s vision is to serve high-quality ethically traded coffee and to promote responsible growing practices for a better future of farmers and a more stable climate. The company’s goal is to provide 100% ethically grown and traded coffee by 2015. Many years ago, Starbucks started working with Conservation International to encourage farmers to use sustainable farming practices. Starbucks also created “Shared Planet,” an online social network to advance the company's commitment to do business in ways that are good for the earth and good for each other.

Starbucks is focused on shrinking its environmental footprint through energy and water conservation, recycling and green construction. Seventy percent of its stores recycle, stores give away used coffee grounds for composting, stores are committed to using 25% less energy, water and other resources, and the company plans to double its green energy purchases. The company has switched to paper cups and has saved approximately 200,000 trees. One of the company’s goals is to develop cups that create no waste after they are used.

The Starbucks Foundation supports literacy, education and youth leadership in communities with stores and makes social investments in countries where the company purchases coffee, tea, and cocoa. Through the Foundation, the company sells Ethos Water to support the Ethos Water Fund which provides water, sanitation and hygiene education programs in emerging economies.

Sustainable & Responsible Business of the Week is a weekly behind-the-scenes look at what businesses are doing to be more sustainable and responsible in their operations.

Sustainable & Responsible Business of the Week: If they can do it, so can you!

Monday, February 2, 2009

National Teach-In on Global Warming Solutions - February 5, 2009

It's not too late to participate in this year's National Teach-In on Global Warming Solutions. On February 5, the National Teach-In will take place among primary, secondary, and higher education institutions, faith groups, civic organizations, and businesses. Each event is customized by local organizers and options include:

Visit the National Teach-In website to host your own event or to find an event in your area.

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