Mike Hower

Mike Hower is tagged in 830 stories. Page 1 of 42.
Uncovering Solar Power’s Hidden Environmental Costs
Uncovering Solar Power’s Hidden Environmental Costs

Cleantech / It’s been a good couple of years for the solar industry. In 2015, some 7.5 megawatts were added to the grid in the United States, according to the Solar Industries Association (SIA), which fueled 19 percent in the photovoltaic market over 2014. - 2 years ago

How Framing Sustainability as Strength Can Help Win Male Audiences
How Framing Sustainability as Strength Can Help Win Male Audiences

Marketing and Comms / Are traditional gender norms of “manliness” slowing the advancement of the sustainable economy? Turns out, they might, according to new research in the Journal of Consumer Research. But while prior research attributes this gender gap in sustainable consumption to personality differences between the sexes, the new study proposes that it may also stem partially from a prevalent association between "green" behavior and femininity, and a corresponding stereotype — held by both men and women — that sustainable consumers are more feminine. - 2 years ago

#BusinessCase: Business Leaders Back Updated California Climate Law
#BusinessCase: Business Leaders Back Updated California Climate Law

Leadership / The California State Assembly last week approved sweeping legislation that extends the state’s targets for reducing greenhouse gases from 2020 to 2030. Under SB 32, California would reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030. The new legislation builds off of the projected success of AB 32, the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, which calls for California to reduce greenhouse gases to 1990 levels by 2020 — a target the state is expected to reach. - 2 years ago

3 Low-Carbon Transportation Technologies Driving Development in the Global South
3 Low-Carbon Transportation Technologies Driving Development in the Global South

Cleantech / Transportation accounts for around one-seventh of global greenhouse gas emissions, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. And globally, greenhouse gas emissions are rising faster in transportation than in any other sector, with rapid motorization — more cars and trucks — being the principal cause. - 2 years ago

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Waste-Make-Retake: How Interface Is Setting Out to Change Industry with ‘Climate Take Back’
Waste-Make-Retake: How Interface Is Setting Out to Change Industry with ‘Climate Take Back’

Product, Service & Design Innovation / Carpet might not seem like a major player in the climate change fight, but the process of making it actually is quite impactful on the environment. Most carpets are synthetic — nylon, polyester, acrylic — all of which are petroleum-based products. Throw in other petroleum-based adhesives and materials used to back the synthetic fibers, chemical dyes to repel stains and fire, and a lack of reliable recycling methods, and you’ve got a recipe for some unsustainable practices. - 2 years ago

California's RPS Generating Thousands of Clean Energy Blue-Collar Jobs
California's RPS Generating Thousands of Clean Energy Blue-Collar Jobs

Cleantech / California’s aggressive climate policies — combined with the sheer size of its economy — have helped it create the most clean energy jobs of any state in the country, according to a new study by the UC Berkeley Labor Center. The report, The Link Between Good Jobs and a Low Carbon Future, says the Renewables Portfolio Standard (RPS) — California’s principal climate policy — has created 25,500 blue-collar job years — or around 53 million hours of blue-collar construction work. Many of these jobs have been created in regions of the state where they are most needed, with high unemployment and low income. - 2 years ago

PepsiCo Steps Up to Amp Up Recycling in the U.S.
PepsiCo Steps Up to Amp Up Recycling in the U.S.

Waste Not / More than half of the United States isn’t recycling, and PepsiCo is setting out to help change that with a brand new ad. Designed to motivate people to recycle, the ad depicts a series of humorous examples of people doing activities halfway — like dog-grooming, running a race and mowing the lawn — as a way to remind them to take the extra step to recycle. - 2 years ago

Furniture Store-Turned-Solar-Firm Invents Solar Wallpaper
Furniture Store-Turned-Solar-Firm Invents Solar Wallpaper

Cleantech / Sometimes innovation comes from unexpected places — a father-son duo in Chino Hills, California has transformed a family furniture business into Sunflare, a solar energy company that produced solar “wallpaper,” among other high-efficiency PV products. For more than a decade, Len Gao and his son, Philip Gao, used the furniture business to finance their research on flexible solar panels. After much trial and error, they developed solar panels that are so lightweight and flexible they can be installed on nearly any building surface with little more than double stick tape. - 2 years ago

Avery Dennison, Outerknown Partner to Make More Sustainable Care Tags
Avery Dennison, Outerknown Partner to Make More Sustainable Care Tags

Collaboration / When Stan Avery founded Avery Dennison in 1935, he set out to create a values-based business admired as much for its ethics and integrity as for its innovation. Eight decades later, the company still strives to adhere to its value-based mandate and is working to ensure that its employees and business partners know, understand and live up to its high ethical standards, according to Helen Sahi, senior director of Sustainability at Avery Dennison. “Key to our progress has been treating sustainability not as something we do, but how we do everything,” Sahi told Sustainable Brands. “We’ve integrated sustainability into our underlying business strategy, from our people to our products to the communities we serve.” - 2 years ago

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How Tesla's Stationary Energy Storage Is Makin' 'Bacon' for Jackson Family Wines
How Tesla's Stationary Energy Storage Is Makin' 'Bacon' for Jackson Family Wines

Cleantech / “Facility managers are at a premium these days and are overtaxed,” said Julien Gervreau, director of Sustainability at Jackson Family Wines (JFW) during a Thursday breakout session at SB'16 San Diego. That’s why the winery is benefiting from Tesla Energy’s stationary energy storage systems, which currently stores 4.2 MW of electricity. Partnering with Tesla has been helpful because the energy innovator understands how the winery is trying to be disruptive, Gervreau said. - 2 years ago

Less Talk, More Action: How Brands Are Effectively Communicating Around Purpose
Less Talk, More Action: How Brands Are Effectively Communicating Around Purpose

Product, Service & Design Innovation / “I think in an organization, when you’re trying to do something different, it’s important to take up that shared risk,” said Alex Thompson, VP of Communications & Public Affairs at REI, during the Thursday morning plenaries at SB'16 San Diego. - 2 years ago

Keurig, PepsiCo Discuss How Owning Up to Failure Can Lead to Long-Term Success
Keurig, PepsiCo Discuss How Owning Up to Failure Can Lead to Long-Term Success

Behavior Change / “Failure is temporary but change is real,” said Sophia Mendelsohn, head of Sustainability at JetBlue Airways, during the Wednesday evening plenary at SB'16 San Diego. While many Silicon Valley tech firms wear failure as badges of honor, many brands shy away from admitting their defeats. But this is beginning to change, as companies learn that confessing and even celebrating failure is is key to building sustainability strategies and purpose-driven innovation. “We need to communicate more about our failures,” said Monique Oxender, Chief Sustainability Officer at Keurig Green Mountain. However, this is easier said than done. - 2 years ago

How Microbes, Bio-Based Materials Can Help Industry Embrace Sustainability
How Microbes, Bio-Based Materials Can Help Industry Embrace Sustainability

Chemistry, Materials & Packaging / “We’re an emerging sector. We’re the cool kids. And that takes time,” said Kathryn Sheridan, CEO and founder of Sustainability Consult, during a Wednesday morning breakout session on the rise of bio-materials and bio-based products at Sustainable Brands 2016 San Diego. Bio-based alternatives to plastic and other fossil-based materials can be used for a variety of applications, including construction, manufacturing and apparel, among others. However, many have yet to reach scale, largely due to industry clinging to classic chemistry. “Bio-based materials work, it’s just a matter of economics,” Sheridan said. - 2 years ago

Lessons from Spirituality, Nature and Business on the Meaning of Purpose and How to Activate It
Lessons from Spirituality, Nature and Business on the Meaning of Purpose and How to Activate It

Behavior Change / The purpose of business is changing. While historically, business students have been taught that the purpose of business solely is to increase investors’ profits — known as the Friedman Doctrine — the most successful brands are searching for a deeper meaning. Defining and activating purpose in business was the key theme of Tuesday evening’s plenaries at Sustainable Brands 2016. While Millennials often receive credit for compelling companies to embrace higher ideals, this actually is something all generations of demanded, said Shannon Schuyler, Chief Purpose Officer at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). However, because Millennials are such a large demographic and constantly communicate via technology, their voices are being heard. - 2 years ago

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Sustainability Investing Evolving, But Much More Change Needed
Sustainability Investing Evolving, But Much More Change Needed

New Metrics / “I think we’re upright and we’re walking, but there’s no higher cortex functions yet,” said Gregory Unruh, sustainability editor at MIT Sloan Management Review, discussing where we stand in sustainable business evolution during a Tuesday breakout session at SB'16 San Diego. While awareness and valuation of sustainable practices continues to grow overall, investors are demanding more data, better data, and deepening engagement with their investment prospects. - 2 years ago

How Big Brands, Small Startups Have Partnered to Push the Circular Economy
How Big Brands, Small Startups Have Partnered to Push the Circular Economy

Waste Not / “It didn’t make sense to me — to make a bunch of products that use a lot of materials, and then throw it away,” Scott Hamlin, co-founder at Looptworks, said during a Tuesday breakout session on partnerships in the circular economy at Sustainable Brands '16 San Diego. What Hamlin saw was a broken apparel industry, which focused on the traditional take-make-waste model. That’s why the social entrepreneur decided to found a company that doesn’t use virgin materials at all — and Looptworks was born. “We are called Looptworks because we are working toward a closed-loop system,” he said. - 2 years ago

Wilhelms: Cultural Change Starts With Conversation
Wilhelms: Cultural Change Starts With Conversation

Organizational Change / “Our goal is to make the intangible tangible, which is what we have to do with culture,” said Pamela Wilhelms, founder of Wilhelms Consulting Group, during a Monday workshop at SB'16 San Diego. The workshop, “Understanding and Measuring Cultural and Systems-Change Dimensions within Companies,” focused on how forward-thinking companies can initiate cultural shifts toward sustainability — and how to measure success. As the world moves toward a more sustainable economy, leading brands will be those capable of identifying and measuring healthy cultural dynamics. But culture often is too subjective and intangible to measure. - 2 years ago

How the Power of Partnerships Is Helping Volvo Cut Energy Use Across North America
How the Power of Partnerships Is Helping Volvo Cut Energy Use Across North America

Collaboration / The motor vehicle industry in the United States spends about $3.6 billion on energy annually, according to the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. In the U.S., over 70 assembly plants currently produce 13 million cars and trucks each year. While energy expenditures are a relatively small cost factor in the total production process, energy-efficiency improvements are helping manufacturers gain an edge in an increasingly competitive environment. - 2 years ago

How Cisco Is Using Its Unique Capabilities to Drive Breakthroughs in Supply Chain Sustainability
How Cisco Is Using Its Unique Capabilities to Drive Breakthroughs in Supply Chain Sustainability

Cleantech / As the world’s largest designer, manufacturer and seller of networking equipment, Cisco Systems faces many supply chain sustainability issues, including energy, waste and climate change impacts, among others. To address these challenges, Cisco has worked to improve energy efficiency, implemented circular economic methods to turn waste into resources and recently announced a new goal to avoid one million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions from its supply chain operations by 2020. - 2 years ago

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Smart Partnerships, IoT, Certifications Helping Brands Meet Consumer Demand for Better Products
Smart Partnerships, IoT, Certifications Helping Brands Meet Consumer Demand for Better Products

Cleantech / Since the introduction of the first ecolabels and standards for organic products in the late 1980s and '90s, sustainability standards and certifications have proliferated across myriad industries. From food to manufactured goods, standards and certifications are helping consumers and businesses alike make better purchasing decisions to ensure they respect the triple bottom line. - 2 years ago

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