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Archive for the 'Corporate Responsibility' Category

NEWS WATCH! RETAILERS LOVE AFFAIR WITH SOLAR POWER BLOSSOMS

Posted in Alternative Energy, Clean Energy, Cool Products, Corporate Responsibility, Eco -Chic on August 12th, 2008

WAL-MART STORES, KOHL’S, SAFEWAY AND WHOLE FOODS MARKET AMONG CHAINS RACING TO JUMP ON THE SOLAR BANDWAGON

a-wind-turbine.jpgSolar power is coming to the nation’s retail sector in a big way with Kohl’s stores announcing plans to add solar panels to 85 stores in addition to the 43 that already have them. Macy’s, similarly, plans to install the energy harvesting devices atop 40 more stores this year for a total of 58 stores where at least part of the energy used comes from the sun.

Also wading into the renewable energy fray is supermarket chain, Safeway, where plans call for installing panels atop 23 stores. These retailers are not alone in moving to solar energy. Other chains, including Whole Foods Market, BJ’s Wholesale Club, REI and Wal-Mart, are planning solar projects of their own.

While analysts, according to the New York Times, are not sure how much power the rooftop projects could ultimately produce, the initial estimate is that the solar panels will generate between 10 and 40 percent of the power a store needs, a significant reduction in energy demand in many communities where big box retailers use a disproportionate amount of the available energy.

Not surprisingly, most of the solar conversions to date are centered in California, New Jersey and Connecticut, states where generous incentives are offered for renewable energy projects.

For this phenomena to mainstream nationwide two things must happen. First, the federal government must reauthorize the renewable energy tax credit currently bogged down in the Congressional deadlock over offshore oil drilling and slated to expire at the end of this year. Second, the individual states need to come up with their own incentive plans the way California, New Jersey and Connecticut have.

Whether or not this will come to pass at anytime soon is unknown. What is known is that far too many states still have a vested interest in, and love affair with, coal, even though, we all know that it is among the dirtiest and most toxic of all the energy sources available.

But this is not a battle that can be won with logic. Nor is it one that can be won today. In the interim, the environmental movement should relish it’s victories – - and the move by the major retail players to embrace solar, for whatever their reasons – - is a major victory.

And while the temptation is there to force the issue of incentive plans on a state by state basis, it is not the best use of the green movements time or limited financial resources. Better to leave this battle to the Wal-Marts and Macy’s of the world, as they are better suited to the challenge.

Just know, that when these retailers see the savings that renewable energy will eventually bring to their bottom line, they will lead the fight for local incentives in a manner that the environmental movement could only dream of.

In the meantime, let’s just hope that this mainstream acceptance of solar will one day soon broaden to include wind power as well. There are currently on the market, numerous low profile wind turbines (such as the one featured in the image above) manufactured with city dwellers in mind that offer the benefits of this clean renewable energy source without the drawback of those ugly fifty feet tall spinning propeller turbines.

Perhaps by combining both sources of renewable energy, the day will come when these retail giants will be entirely off the grid, which would eliminate much of the CO2 currently discharged into our atmosphere.

One can only hope.

- – Denis

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CONSUMER ALERT! MORE BAD BEEF

Posted in Corporate Carelessness, Corporate Polluters, Corporate Responsibility, Eco Thugs, Health Watch, Public Service Announcement, Toxic Food, Toxin Alert! on August 9th, 2008

FOR THE SECOND TIME IN AS MANY MONTHS BEEF FROM NEBRASKA BEEF LTD MAY BE CONTAMINATED WITH E. COLI

burgers.jpgNebraska Beef Ltd. announced Friday night that it is recalling 1.2 million pounds of fresh ground beef because the product may be contaminated with E. coli. This is the second time in as many months that the company has had to recall product. Last months recall is blamed for at least 49 cases of E. coli.

Stores affected by this latest recall include Whole Foods Markets in Connecticut, Rhode Island, Maine, Massachusetts, Florida, New Jersey, New York, Kentucky, Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Washington D. C., Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Wisconsin and Canada.

To date, Whole Foods reports that seven people in Massachusetts and two people in Pennsylvania have become ill after eating the affected meat. The company is requesting that customers who purchased ground beef from June 2 though Aug. 6 to return it to the store with the packaging or receipt for a refund.

For more information, consumers can call 512-542-0878.

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NEWS WATCH! WHOLE FOODS MARKET REFOCUSES – - STRESSES VALUE

Posted in Cool Products, Corporate Responsibility, Eco -Chic, Ethical Business, Healthy Food, News Brief, Sustainable Food on August 3rd, 2008

COMPANY MAKING “A STRONG EFFORT” TO CHALLENGE ITS COMPETITORS ON PRICE

wholefoodsa1.jpegThe sketchy economy, high cost of fuel and skittish job market are taking their toll on Whole Foods Markets, as once loyal customers look elsewhere in search of deep discounts on necessary food and household items.

To combat the losses, the extent of which are unclear, Whole Foods has announced a line of lower-priced generic products, a staple of traditional supermarkets, together with deep discounts on many existing items. The goal here is to make the chain synonymous with value, a tough task after years of being known for upscale gourmet items.

Only time will tell how this works out. Hopefully company management finds a way to serve both masters effectively without destroying what it is that makes the Whole Foods experience special.

Read On

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NEWS WATCH! GREEN CAR UPDATE

Posted in Alternative Energy, Alternative Fuel Vehicles, Clean Energy, Corporate Responsibility, Global Warming, Renewable Energy, Sustainable Living on July 1st, 2008

GLOBAL AUTO INDUSTRY RUSHES TO MARKET ALTERNATIVE FUEL VEHICLES

vwtwindriveunderhood.jpgAfter years of stalling hoping to wait out the Environmental fringe’s calls for cleaner, less-toxic automobiles, the global auto industry – well, most of it, anyway – appears to have gotten the message that the public is serious in its desire for greener vehicles.

The result of the automakers newfound environmental evangelism is that rarely a week goes by without one announcement or another from a former proud polluter – oops, I mean conscientious, environmentally responsible auto manufacturer – about their latest green product either in development or about to be released to an impatiently waiting world.

These new products take many forms from tiny two passenger run-abouts all the way through larger 8 passenger SUV’s. Variety is the name of the game where power sources are involved as well with some of the new vehicles being designed to run on biodiesel, while others derive their power from electricity or from hydrogen fuel cell technology. Then there are the hybrids with gasoline electric, diesel/electric and hydrogen/electric the most popular.

Here at Libsearthwatch.com, we have made it a priority to keep you up to date on the latest products headed to your driveway in the months and years to come. Prior to now, this was an easy task to accomplish as the product announcements were few and far between. I am happy to say that this is no longer the case. Information announcing new products now floods our in-box on a consistent basis. To attempt to accommodate this wealth of new info, we are debuting the GREEN CAR UPDATE as a regular feature of the site. Hope you enjoy it.

-Denis

BATTERY COMPANIES READY TO ROLL OUT KITS TO CONVERT HYBRDS INTO PLUG-IN ELECTRIC CARS

For those hybrid owners longing to take the next step and make their cars totally electric comes the news that several battery manufacturers are preparing to roll out conversion kits that in some instances will make it possible for their hybrid to get upwards of 100 miles on a gallon of gas.

Read more about this great new development

Speaking of Plug-In Hybrids…

VW TO ROLL OUT PLUG-IN HYBRID NEXT YEAR

Veritable German auto maker, VW, has announced that it too will have a plug-in hybrid rolling off the assembly lines sometime in 2010. Helping VW fund this new entry is
the German government, which has agreed to kick in 15 million euros. The new VW will have an estimated all-electric range of 31 miles. Power supplies include an 82-hp electric motor and a 2.0L turbodiesel producing 122 hp.

Read more about this exciting new advancement

Let’s not forget fuel cell cars…

HONDA ROLLS OUT ZERO EMISSION CAR

hondafcxx-large.jpgAlways a leader in alternative technology, Honda motors has announced that it has shipped the first of their new zero-emission, hydrogen fuel cell cars which should be showing up at out local dealers in the not too distant future.

The FCX Clarity, which runs on hydrogen and electricity, emits only water and none of the noxious fumes believed to induce global warming. It is also two times more energy efficient than a gas-electric hybrid and three times that of a standard gasoline-powered car, the company says.

Read more about this exciting new advancement

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HEALTH WATCH! ASTHMA AND OTHER BREATHING DISORDERS PLAGUE KATRINA SURVIVORS

Posted in Administrative Arrogance, Corporate Polluters, Corporate Responsibility, Eco Thugs, Government Shenanigans, Health Watch, News Brief, Toxic Living, Toxin Alert! on May 27th, 2008

FORMALDEHYDE FUMES IN LEVELS UP TO FIVE TIMES ABOVE THAT WHICH IS CONSIDERED SAFE FOR HUMAN CONSUMPTION, DETECTED IN MANY OF THE 143,000 FEMA TRAILERS SENT TO THE GULF COAST
fematrailer.jpgAs if the trauma, indignity and economic hard times that the residents of New Orleans have suffered since Hurricane Katrina was not sufficient aggravation for one lifetime, many area residents are now being diagnosed with cases of asthma and other breathing disorders, at numbers and levels higher than what is considered normal for the area.

According to an AP wire story published earlier today, formaldehyde fumes, many times at levels up to five times above what is considered safe for humans to breathe, have, as early as 2006, been found to be present in many of the 143,000 trailers sent to the Gulf Coast following Hurricane Katrina. But for some reason, this news is only now being shared with those affected.

This is particularly upsetting because it is just the latest example of what can happen to innocent people when the government to whom they turn for aid in emergencies such as this – and who is supposed to be looking our for their well-being – doesn’t care enough to inspect the trailers before declaring them safe for habitation

But then, much of the devastation present in New Orleans and the surrounding areas could have been avoided if only the Bush administration had heeded the warnings of the Army Corps of Engineers and fortified New Orleans’s levees when the need first became apparent.

But then, this is the Bush administration we are talking about and the money that should have been used to protect the citizens of New Orleans apparently was needed elsewhere, perhaps to finance tax breaks for the wealthy or maybe it was to continue Mr. Bush’s ridiculous little war.

But this is just my opinion, What do you think? Please share in the comments section.

-LIB

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RECYCLING OLD TECHNO TRASH

Posted in Conscious Actions, Corporate Responsibility, Eco Warriors, News Brief, Sustainable Business on March 24th, 2008

NEW BUYBACK PROGRAMS AIM TO TURN USED ELECTRONIC TRASH TO CASH

computer.pngEver wonder where that mountain of old, outdated electronic trash eventually winds up? Or are you the sort of person that once they have decided to give something the boot could care less what eventually happens to it?

Well, regardless of where you come down on this issue, a new way of dealing with the problem of outdated technology is about to make its presence felt. Yes my friends, by
the time that you read this plans will be in place for the major electronic retailers to take your old outdated junk in trade for store credit towards a new purchase.

The program is the brainchild of NEW Customer Service Co., the people who provide many of the extended warranty plans and protection programs for retailers such as Best Buy and Wal-Mart.

Joining Customer Service Co. in this exciting new business model is another company, TechForward.

The latter company plans to offer a guaranteed buyback program similar to the optional extended warranty services offered by many consumer electronic retail stores.

According to a story published today by Reuters, both companies will evaluate the condition of the devices returned, wipe clean the hard drives and either resell the refurbished devices online or harvest the components and sell them as salvage parts.

While no one will get rich on these transactions, it
will be good to know that these products will be properly disposed of and not just dumped into some landfill somewhere in the far east.

-LIB

READ MORE…

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GUITAR MAKERS MARTIN, GIBSON, FENDER, TAYLOR AND YAMAHA PARTNER WITH GREENPEACE TO PRESERVE THEIR SUPPLY OF OLD-GROWTH WOOD

Posted in Conscious Actions, Corporate Responsibility, Eco -Chic, Sustainable Business on March 24th, 2008

SITKA SPRUCE, A KEY MATERIAL IN GUITAR AND PIANO SOUNDBOARDS IS THE FIRST TO RECEIVE THE COLLECTIVE’S SCRUTINY

martinguitar.jpgSome of the most sought-after woods used in guitar construction come from trees that can take hundreds of years to develop their acoustic characteristics. To protect their supplies of this wood, a collective comprised of leading guitar makers Martin, Gibson, Fender, Taylor, Yamaha and others have partnered with Greenpeace on its Music Wood campaign.

The goal of this new alliance is to protect the planet’s supply of old-growth wood from clear-cutting, the dreadful industry practice where all trees within a designated area are removed with absolutely no regard for the trees age or specific value.

The first such wood to receive the collective’s scrutiny is Sitka spruce, a key material in guitar and piano soundboards. The wood’s main supplier, Sealaska, has already agreed to a preliminary audit of its logging practices. A full assessment by third parties accredited by the Forest Stewardship Council is set to take place in summer 2008, and if Alaska-based Sealaska decides to implement their recommended reforms and apply for full FSC certification, it will be on the road to more selective logging and consideration of surrounding habitats before it cuts.

While there have been many advancements in recent years in constructing guitars from composite substances, for many of us old time guitar fanatics, there is nothing like a wooden guitar.

Let’s hope that we will continue to have that option.

-LIB

READ MORE…

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VIRGIN TO FLY A 747 FROM LONDON TO AMSTERDAM USING A KEROSENE BIOFUEL MIX.

Posted in Alternative Energy, Alternative Fuel Vehicles, Corporate Responsibility, Global Warming, News Brief on January 23rd, 2008

EVEN THOUGH BIOFUELS AREN’T CARBON-FREE, THE PLANE’S FOOTPRINT SHOULD STILL BE SIGNIFICANTLY REDUCED.

virgin7472.jpgVirgin is the first commercial airline to experiment with biofuels. But other smaller outfits have made significant progress, too. Green Flight International flew a L-29 Russian military aircraft on 100% biofuel at altitudes up to 17,000 feet in October last year. The company is now planning a round-the-world trip in a Lear Jet powered entirely (and solely) by biofuel.

READ MORE….

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BEEF INDUSTRY SUFFERS NEAR RECORD NUMBER OF RECALLS IN 2007 FOR E. COLI CONTAMINATION

Posted in Corporate Carelessness, Corporate Greed, Corporate Responsibility, Health Watch, News Brief, Toxic Food on December 10th, 2007

INDUSTRY BLAMES EVERYTHING FROM THE CYCLICAL NATURE OF PATHOGENS TO CHANGES IN CATTLE-FEEDING PRACTICES CAUSED BY THE POPULARITY OF ETHANOL

topps-meat.jpgIn a time of the year traditionally dominated by lists tallying the best of this or the worst of that, perhaps the most disturbing is the one memorializing the near record number of recalls of chop meat suspected of being infected with the E.coli pathogen.

For those of us keeping score, to date, and this is with at least three weeks to go in 2007, there have been twenty major chop meat recalls. This is just one short of the record of 21 recalls established in 2000 and repeated in 2002. But what makes this number particularly distressing is that it represents a more than doubling over 2006’s numbers and a tripling of those reported in 2005.

Now I love the reasons the meat industry is giving for the recalls, everything from the cyclical nature of pathogens to changes in cattle-feeding practices caused by the popularity of ethanol.

While it is likely that each of these may have played at least some part in the increase, what the report fails to address is the impact on these numbers of the near decimation by the Bush administration of the ranks of federal food inspectors. In the past these men and women regularly inspected the offending plants and forced the meat industry to adhere to certain minimum health standards. Now, corporations are expected to self-police. Clearly the numbers make the case for their inability to do so.

- LIB

MORE….

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GOOGLE MOVES INTO RENEWABLE ENERGY BUSINESS

Posted in Alternative Energy, Clean Energy, Corporate Responsibility, Eco -Chic, News Brief, Renewable Energy, Sustainable Business on November 28th, 2007

PLANS TO POUR HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS INTO A QUEST TO LOWER THE COST OF PRODUCING ELECTRICITY FROM RENEWABLE ENERGY SOURCES SUCH AS WIND AND THE SUN.

windturbin1.jpgIf Google realizes its goal, the cost of solar power should fall by 25 to 50 percent, co-founder Larry Page said in an interview.

The Mountain View-based company initially hopes to harvest cleaner-burning electricity to meet its own needs and sell power to other users or license the technology that emerges from its initiative, dubbed “Renewable Energy Cheaper Than Coal.”

“If we achieve these goals, we are going to be in the (electricity) business in a very big way,” Page said. “We should be able to make a lot of money from this.”

More…

Source: The Associated Press

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