Archive for the ‘Business’ Category

Tompkins Point Clothing Is First Fair-Trade Certified Clothing Designer in USA

Probably better than another Ralph Lauren Polo


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I was disappointed by the Hawaiian business community’s simplistic reaction to the recent passage of the barrel tax. Pacific Business News in particular lamented that this tax will be bad for Hawaii’s businesses. If the status quo was maintained, it would in fact raise the cost of everything in Hawaii. However, this is a tax that is designed to encourage people to change their behavior by using less oil and factoring in the true cost of the energy they consume.

We already import all of our oil in Hawaii and the true cost of burning up that oil is not factored into the cost of the goods and services in our economy. The $7 billion we send out of state every year is only the extraction and transportation value of the oil we consume. There is no accounting in the cost of oil for the environmental damage it causes. Climate change and the recent gulf spill (leakage?) are two major examples of how profits are privatized while the costs are spread to general public (also known as the tragedy of the commons). On top of this, most of the money spent on oil is sent to governments that do not support democracy and good governance.

So we know oil is BAD.

Knowing this, how do we get people to stop using it? If we want to change behavior we need to start factoring in the true cost of the oil we import. The Hawaii barrel tax hardly makes a dent, but it’s a good start. It’s the equivalent of about a $2.50/ton price on carbon. There are countries in Europe that have over a $100/ton price on carbon and enjoy a higher standard of living than us. How is this possible if it’s “bad for business?” It’s because the people in countries with a high carbon tax have changed their behavior and tapered the unnecessary burning of fossil fuels to support their highly consumptive lifestyles. They discovered methods to use more renewable energy, take public transit, and walk or bike more often. The structure of their society has begun to change.

Although this piece of legislation is not perfect (and they never are), it’s a step in the right direction. Lawmakers could have made the tax more progressive and revenue neutral by giving off-setting tax rebates to the lowest income tax brackets. We could have also created a schedule over the next 10 years to step up to a very high price on carbon. This market signal would give business enough time to invent solutions and would be extremely good for businesses and the economy, not bad.

If we really want to get off of our fossil fuel addiction, stop climate change, and grow our economy, it’s time to start taxing carbon at progressively higher rates. As has proven to be the case in other countries, we can find a way to live with less oil and have a cleaner, safer, and more prosperous state because of it.

Brian Bell

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This is a really interesting article about how environmental groups are using business tactics to save forests.

Preserving Forests and Business: Scientific American

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I just watched an awesome video of a speech Hunter Lovins gave to google about how companies that pursue sustainability actually end up more profitable for a variety of reasons. Here’s the abstract I lifted from the youtube description:


This presentation is drawn from Hunter’s recent lead chapter in the U.S. Presidential Climate Action Project’s report to the President-elect. It describes the business case for moving aggressively to solve such challenges as global warming, peak oil, the vulnerability of our energy infrastructure and others. Hunter discusses how climate protection, energy efficiency, renewable energy and other sustainable approaches will give us a stronger economy, and a higher quality of life. Hunter discusses how to unleash the new energy economy as the antidote to life in a carbon constrained world. The global climate crisis threatens many aspects of life on earth, including access to water. Energy is a relatively easy challenge to solve. But providing access to water, both at home and in water-short regions around the globe will not be trivial. Fortunately, in water, as in energy, there are solutions that cost less, work better and can deliver a higher quality of life. Hunter will describe how communities and companies are implementing these and many other strategies to cut their costs and drive their innovation.”

I strongly recommend checking this out:

“We need ways of living lightly on the earth that are delightful.” This way people will continue to do so.

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Make sure to check out the link to the article in Harvard Review: http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/blogs/greeninc/harvardstudy.pdf

I really appreciate the 5 step framework the authors give us. It’s important to have this bottom-up approach to solving our environmental problems and it’s important that businesses see this as another way to make money and “do well by doing well.”

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