domingo, agosto 03, 2008

Sustainability 4

Back in 2006, Nike generated copious amounts of street cred with techies when it partnered with Apple and released its Nike + iPod Sport Kit, which allowS gadget-loving runners to synch their iPods via a special sensor placed inside their Nike shoes.
Now, the US athletic shoe manufacturer seems determined to win over green-minded customers, too. In January, Nike introduced the Air Jordan XX3, which uses eco-friendly materials. Then in February Nike went a step further with Trash Talk. From the sole to the shoelaces, this shoe is produced not only from ‘environmentally preferred’ materials but also recycled waste, with much of the latter coming from Nike’s own production facilities—scraps that would otherwise have been discarded.
Trash Talk is the brainchild of Nike celebrity endorser Steve Nash.The All-Star guard for the NBA’s Phoenix Suns is a committed green-living advocate. And a retail price of USD 100 aptly illustrates how a company can turn garbage to gold. That’s a lesson which should be well taken by beleaguered manufacturers in the US and other developed nations. As these manufacturers look for ways to compete with lower-cost producers in Asia, they might find the secret to reinventing themselves is stacked up in the trash bins of their own factories. Yet another way for brands to rack up those greenie points ;-)
Spotted by: Bjarke Svendsen

Sustainability 3

Vacant, run-down buildings are usually viewed as a community liability, with quick demolition seen as the only solution. A more eco-minded approach, however, is deconstruction, which allows for the salvage of the building's still-usable pieces. Buffalo ReUse is a New York-based non-profit organization that specializes in just that, providing deconstruction services, community education, jobs and a store for salvaged parts.
Established in 2006, Buffalo ReUse is a fully licensed and insured contractor with a full-time crew that can completely remove residential structures, barns and garages. Through deconstruction—in which buildings are carefully taken apart rather than demolished in one blow—building materials including lumber, fixtures and architectural detail can be saved. These are then sold through Buffalo ReUse's ReSource store, which just opened last week as a local source for building materials and household items, DIY ideas, green education and community outreach. Proceeds from the sale of those items then get put back into the community, as Buffalo ReUse collaborates with block clubs and community associations to develop new neighbourhood assets. The organization offers myriad volunteer opportunities for such projects as community tree-planting, mural painting or other forms of neighbourhood revitalization, as well as paid work for local people. Ultimately, it hopes to use deconstruction as a springboard for job training and leadership development, providing men and women between 18 and 24 years old with a way to build related skills, interests and even small businesses.
Buffalo ReUse was recently selected by The Financial Times and the Urban Land Institute as one of 20 finalists for the 2008 FT ULI Sustainable Cities Award based on nominations received from around the world. New York State assemblyman Sam Hoyt, one of those who nominated the group, explains: “Buffalo ReUse should serve as a model for other communities to reduce waste dumped in our landfills, to employ young adults from our inner city, and to work with community members to make neighbourhoods greener."
The lesson for eco and social entrepreneurs around the world: look no further than the abandoned buildings around you for a wealth of opportunity!

Sustainability 2

Mobile coffee carts have been around for a while, including those from Dutch MobiCcino, which we covered back in 2006. But whereas most such carts are motorised, UK-based Bikecaffe has come up with a pedal-powered and eco-friendly alternative.
Using heavy-duty cargo tricycles, Bikecaffe travels emission-free as it serves up a range of coffee blends from roasters Segafredo Zanetti and Integrity Fair Trade. The company's trikes use a gas-powered machine for brewing and can produce up to 500 cups per day—served in recyclable containers—along with chai, biscotti and other edibles. Best of all, Bikecaffe trikes can access pedestrian areas that their motorised competitors can't, making them ideal providers for pedestrian malls, historic venues, outdoor events, concerts and parties.
Just launched in March, Bikecaffe is recruiting franchisees to run carts across the UK and Europe; one to bring to your neck of the coffee-drinking woods? (Related: Cargo bikes for greener business deliveries.)
Website: www.bikecaffe.comContact:
Spotted by: S.W.


When it comes to entertaining and special occasions, eco-minded consumers can be torn by two apparently conflicting desires: the need to be green and the easy clean-up made possible by disposable dishes. Thanks to a new innovation from VerTerra, however, that conflict can finally be put to rest.
New York-based VerTerra offers a collection of single-use dinnerware including plates, bowls and platters made from pressed fallen leaves. Originally inspired by a technique used in rural India, VerTerra's dishes are 100 percent renewable and made entirely from compostable plant matter and water, with none of the chemicals, waxes or dyes found in disposable paper and plastic options. VerTerra products are made in South Asia, where it ensures that employees have fair wages, safe working conditions and access to healthcare. After collecting the fallen leaves, the company applies steam, heat and pressure to transform them into products that are durable and versatile, and can be used in the microwave, oven or fridge. They biodegrade naturally in two months. Sold in packs of 10 or 12, VerTerra's dishes are priced at roughly USD 1 per dish.
Not only does VerTerra's innovation solve a real consumer problem and protect the environment, it's also a beautiful example of an
eco-iconic solution that helps consumers spotlight their "greenness" for all the world to see. As we've said before, when it comes to green, subtlety is not a virtue—make it bold, make it different, make it obvious!
Spotted by: Claudia Allwood