Tag Archives: green business

Lurpak Go Home

Annoying advert

These days I cannot cycle across London without giant advertizing  boards getting up in my grill, hawking Lurpak butter. The posters shamelessly try to link a mass butter product with the complex and rich well-being benefits of cooking. Be happy, buy Lurpak and cook.

The one problem with this cheery narrative is that Lurpak butter  is shipped across a sea to get here releasing unnecessary and dangerous green house gasses into our unbalanced atmosphere. Why are we creating this risk when we have great local butter, produced skillfully within these lands? The only butter I will buy is local butter. So Lurpak get your big, dangerous, stupid adverts out of my face and stick to selling your Danish butter to the Danes.

Another annoying advert

This is just getting boring

UFO sightings in Rio

Mark en route to Rio

I haven’t been to Rio, but I have heard great things about it. When a good friend headed over there 18 months ago I expected to learn a lot more. Instead, my buddy disappeared off the radar. Was he lost in the jungle? Madly in love? Trying to stop an enormous damn from being built in the ‘lungs of the world’? No, he has been communicating with alien intelligences.

I met ‘Marky’ while studying Environmental Technology at Imperial College in London. He made his mark as a laid back guy with big ideas. Despite being on the business module he had strong political ideals and a sensitive nose for the bullshit that sometimes wafted through the corridors. He was in the small minority of people on the course who insisted they didn’t want to ‘sell their souls’ and go and work for an ‘environmental’ consultancy so he surprised us all by working diligently for 4 years for a large ethical fund. 18 months ago he had enough and cut loose. He was last seen heading to Mexico riding a sweet Surly Long Haul Trucker.

There has not been much news since although there have been rumours he had reinvented himself as a conceptual artist and had started a chapter of Critical Mass in Rio… until now. It appears that Mark has been working together with his co-conspirator Thais Medeiros and a group of extra-terrestrials. They are excited by the role of alien intervention in our technological evolution. Now the question on everyone’s lips is “what will their next intervention be?!”

Fellow abductees discussing their experiences

Mark Philipp e Thais Medeiros http://www.educacao-espacial.com

Mark after communicating with the Aliens

A recent Critical Mass in Rio

The Artists post contact

How Deep is your Love (part 2) update from Kenya

I Don't Love You Credit: Jhows' photostream: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jhows/with/3619406017/

Many thanks to Francesca and her team at The Green Belt Movement for sending in this update from Kenya in time for Valentine’s Day. Original article here. Please remember whatever you buy for V day has an impact on our world. If love is your main gift check yourself before you buy.

Red roses have become the quintessential symbol of love. This Valentine’s Day, boyfriends, husbands and lovers alike will flock to their local flower store to buy a dozen red roses – supposedly an embodiment of their love, passion and commitment.

Thousands of miles away, people in Kenya face a different reality on the 14th of February. It’s not one of e-cards and chocolates but an effect of globalization – a side effect of so called ‘free-market’ capitalism that many are not aware of.

One in three roses sold this Valentine’s Day in the UK will be from Kenya. Despite the 4,600 miles travel, Kenyan flowers are often the cheapest; a dozen Kenyan red roses are as little as £2.99 or £4.99. Yet these prices do not reflect the social and environmental costs.

Nearly 75% of Kenya’s horticultural exports are a product of the cut flower industry around Lake Naivasha.  It is economically important for Kenya being the second largest export after tourism. Lake Navaisha was once a quiet community best known in the UK for being the home of naturalist and wildlife preservationist Joy Adamson who wrote Born Free about Elsa the lioness; for being one of the 10 best sites for bird watching in the world; and for its abundant plant and animal life – hippos, giraffes and zebras to name a few.

Today giant green houses occupy the banks of the lake, which has wrecked its aesthetic value as well as changed the local culture. While Maasai cattle may still be found roaming the area, private property rights and division of their traditional range lands have dramatically decreased the spaces that they can graze and access to the lake for water has become a source of conflict.

Western style consumerism arrives in Kenya

A new culture has been brought to the region that revolves around global capitalism and international trade. Lake Navaisha’s flower industry began in the 1980s and grew rapidly in the 1990s as European companies flew in to exploit the desirable growing conditions and year round temperate temperatures and seemingly abundant water supplies. The hundreds of thousands of pounds of flowers grown annually are picked in the morning and arrive in British shops by the evening.

The economic boom of the horticultural market has led to a dramatic increase in the local population. In 1969, 27,000 people lived in the surrounding areas and today that number has jumped to nearly 300,000. A direct result of Lake Naivasha’s industry is overcrowding of both people and businesses creating social and environmental instability.

Water levels in Lake Naivasha have fallen as a result of the flower industries that directly pump water from the lake to the green houses. The lake is currently being drained faster than it can be replenished. Erastus Mureithi, the chairman of the Kenya Flowers Council, says that small-scale flower farmers are likely to be banned from withdrawing water from the lake. Without the involvement of the major (non kenyan) flower companies, this move appears to be more of a public relations stunt than a solution to the environmental problems of Lake Navaisha.

What future for the children of Kenya?

Furthermore, the once clear waters of Lake Navaisha are now mucky and brown as a result of the rapid clearing of trees for agricultural production. This problem is not unique to Naivasha. Rapid removal of indigenous tree species around the country and particularly in water catchment areas has led to major siltation problems and has dried up rivers and threatened lakes.

Operating with these unsustainable methods will certainly result in the disappearance of Lake Naivasha and the further decline in the traditional livelihoods of the surrounding communities – a travesty that can be stopped.

In order to curb environmental degradation, organizations, such as the Green Belt Movement, are working at local, national and international levels. The Green Belt Movement has planted over 40 million trees in Kenya and works with communities who live in the uplands above Lake Naivasha to protect the watershed to empowers communities with the skills to think and act sustainably. However the issues surrounding the lake its self and access remain complex and sensitive.

Its founder, Nobel Peace Laureate Professor Wangari Maathai, said in her keynote speech at the launch of the United Nations’ International Year of Forest on February 2nd that “It is not that we do not know. None of us can claim ignorance. We know what to do. Much information is out there.”

 

Wangari Maathai

Let’s not claim ignorance this Valentine’s Day. Instead of playing a part in promoting the side effects of capitalism, think sustainably. Lets do as Wangari would do and plant a tree–a symbol of your love that will last for a very long time. As Wangari always likes to say:

“I cannot live without the green trees and nor can you”

A Green Belt Movement Nursery in Nairobi

Baby Trees in the GBM Nursery

 

Turbo Charge Your Love This Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is the culturally appointed moment when we affirm our love and appreciation for our partner. En mass we get amorous and consummate our passion. Naturally capitalism feasts on this kind of mass behaviour. In today’s world Valentine’s Day comes with a price tag and the costs are not just financial.

Many of the things marketed to us come with unpleasant impacts that we may not be aware of. By causing harm elsewhere these gifts dent our karma and unbeknownst to us muffle our mojo. Buying imported Kenyan roses, any kind of disposable tat or, god help us all, a diamond, actually reduces the total amount of love in the world. Is this what you want!? If it isn’t… avoid the dodge and go with the natural, free and sexy alternatives listed below.

Valentine’s Gifts that harm

  1. Roses: Roses bought in UK supermarkets at this time of year are almost exclusively from Lake Naivasha. It is drying out like the Aral Sea, the hippos are gone and the people are denied access to the lake. Full story here.
  2. Disposable tat: your partner may giggle when you first give them the plastic: heart, teddy bear, balloon… whatever… but it ends up in the Earth poisoning nature. Buying less stuff is the only real way to consume sustainably.
  3. Diamonds: there is no such thing as an ‘ethical’ new diamond… even if De Beers says there is. They probably have human blood on them. If they don’t they have almost definitely been torn from the guts of the Earth from one of the biggest holes ever dug . Not nice.

    Lesotho mine in South Africa (world's biggest)

Valentine’s gifts that turbo charge your love

We cannot ‘ethically shop’ ourselves out of the collapsing biosphere. We must buy less stuff. But don’t sweat! Research shows this makes us happier. Maximize your mojo with these cunning manoeuvres:

  1. Massage: the benefits of massage are manifold and on Valentines day the chances of a ‘happy ending’ are high! If you are not the massaging type get down to Wahanda to get you and your partner a bargain massage.
  2. Local Food: tastes better, fun to cook, better for you. Can’t be arsed to cook? Use this website to find a local restaurant serving local food… lovely!
  3. Home made: cards, poems, pictures. Being creative boosts your well-being whilst showing you do actually give a shit.
  4. Vintage: if you need to buy a ‘thing’ make sure you are reusing. Vintage diamonds and more can be bought at the enchanting Grays Antique Market in London.
  5. Plant a ‘love tree’ together. If your partner won’t plant a ‘love tree’ with you… this probably means they are planning to dump you or that they are shagging your mate. Buy a native tree, grab your lover, find a good spot and get planting. Feels good right? that’s Gaia blowing you a kiss.

The Love Tree by Isdelth: http://isdelth.deviantart.com

The 45 Metre Underground Club

Sexy Paris street art

The mile high club is for irresponsible yuppies. The cool kids are getting down and dirty 45m below sea level. A secret and fruity underground society has been spicing up European travel with sexy visits to the water closet while hurtling under the channel tunnel. Is our fast track to the world’s most romantic city fast becoming a giant Tunnel of Love?

The era of mass short haul air travel is coming to an end. Even if it were not for climate change the level of security has now made moving through airports almost as bad as a visit to Dubai. You have to give it a wide berth! Anyway, for us in the UK there really is no need to fly apart from the occasional long haul (if it is highly important).

Le Gare du Nord

The Channel Tunnel has opened up the whole of Europe to the  British low carbon traveller. Within a day you can reach the slopes of the Alps, the beaches of the Mediterranean and all the other sweet things continental Europe has to offer. For the more adventurous a ferry from Marseille opens up North Africa.

People assume that flying will be quicker but actually the door-to-do time can be similar for trips to the Alps and the Med but the time is far better spent on a train. Reading a book, with the world rushing by outside the window is pure bliss. There is far more leg room and opportunities to stretch. The air is clean and at boarding there is far less standing around like a dejected farm animal awaiting castration.

A hot couple at the Notre Dame

Now that the UK’s young, aspirational intelligensia are making use of the Eurostar for romantic breaks to Paris (or further afield) it was only a matter of time before a select new club would form. You’ve done it in a plane, you’ve done it in the back of a church, you’ve done it at your Gran’s… now it’s time to do it hurtling at 200mph through the channel tunnel 45 metres below sea level.

EcoHustler is diligent about staying ahead of the curve and maintaining thorough research so that all information on this site is cutting edge and absolutely verifiable. We had to know if this mysterious club existed; what membership really entailed and any other grizzly details that could be uncovered.  Return tickets to the not-so-gay Paris were purchased. A couple of nights booked in a sweet little hotel in Montmartre overlooking the red light district. Then I simply had to call on my trusty side kick, the beautiful and daring Ms A. Minx to come along for the ride.

Rocking Parisian musicians

It wasn’t until the yawning cavern of the Channel Tunnel approached that I began to explain the true nature of the mission to Ms A. Minx. She was stunned to learn of the 45 m underground club and shared my desire to find out more. I proposed an undercover research mission. Did she consent? Your damn right she did! The EcoHustler is now a member of both the mile high club and the 45 m underground club and I can tell you which one I am more proud of joining.

Free to use bikes

Occasionally life can get monotonous and we need thrills, spills and vacations. As Eurostar and this fruity little club are clearly revealing you can now get what your heart desires for a minimum carbon footprint. So the next time you need a romantic break head to Paris and join the 45 m undergrouns club. Any members are welcome to post word of their adventures below.

Here are some useful low carbon travel options:

The man in seat 61

How to travel by train or ship: Maybe you don’t like flying, or are concerned about air travel’s contribution to global warming.  Or perhaps you just prefer real  travel by train or ship, where the journey is part of the adventure…  Either way, The Man in Seat Sixty-One will tell you how to travel overland comfortably & affordably where you might think that air was now the only option.

The Paris Metro: stylish

Eurostar: Join the 45 m Underground Club!

Lift Share: Find someone travelling your way so you can share your journey – saving money, cutting your carbon footprint and having fun!

Join a Car Club e.g: Street Car or City Car Club or  Whizzgo or Zip Car

For brands, green = transparent

St Petersburg

Climate change awareness has crossed a tipping point. This discussion has shifted from ‘is it going to happen?’ to ‘what will the impacts be and how can we best respond?’ Enlightened business leaders understand that reducing their environmental impacts shouldn’t be an additional cost, tacked on to their operations but an integral part of their business strategy. The reasons are manifold; reducing emissions improves business efficiency; builds brand loyalty (consumer and investor) and motivates employees. All of which increase the bottom line. Putting money into environmental performance is no longer a cost; it is an investment.

Green Dollar?As consumer, investor and legislatory pressure build the return on investment of reducing impacts increases. This is an opportunity few companies can afford to miss. For a company to position itself as green it must be able to back up claims with evidence. Just reducing emissions by 20% isn’t good enough anymore; that’s standard practice in a warming world. Consumers want to have confidence that brands have a bullet proof sustainable and ethical approach.

Transforming a company so that it is socially and environmentally acceptable requires vision, strong leadership, innovation and good management. For companies without these skills ‘green washing’ can be a seductive option. Green washing describes the act of misleading consumers regarding the environmental practices of a company or the environmental benefits of a product or service. It is easily detectable when it is clear that a company has spent more money on eco communications then eco implementation. Familiar examples are chemical homecare products with ‘natural’ branding or oil companies whose advertising focuses on renewable energy whilst their underlying business model remains the same (or worse).

Green washing is not a successful strategy for companies to pursue. Firstly, it puts off making changes that will be necessary at some point. This delay gives competitors a head start in innovation and effective differentiation as an environmental choice. Secondly, it risks damaging consumer and investor faith in the brand should the disparity between green claims and performance become known. Once broken, trust is hard to rebuild and people are already cynical; four in five people believe that many companies pretend to be ethical just to sell more products.  Any claims must be genuine and provable. Ethical dialema

It is a sounder strategy for a company to invest in environmental performance rather then exaggerated green claims. Today, consumers, employees and stakeholders are increasingly engaged in ongoing, 2-way relationships with brands. For example, the evolution of the internet has meant that popular brand websites listen as well as talk. Indeed for many leading brands user driven content makes up an increasing component of their sites. For example the interactive sections of these websites of Howies, Timberland and lush. The more ethical a company the more comfortable it will be entering into a dialogue with its customers.

Web 1.0 saw the development of content. For brands this was a new communication channel with which to talk to consumers. Web 2.0 saw the development of web platform’s on which users can participate, upload exchange, share and generate content. For brands this was an opportunity to open a dialogue.  Web 3.0 sees the devolution of content management shift further towards users. Increasingly all consumers will continuously rate content meaning that the internet is shaped by what people value. Successful brands will increasingly be co created by consumers.

Business on a networked planet is different. It is becoming harder for companies to operate behind closed doors and with people providing real-time feedback on performance a misstep can be costly. One just needs to Google a brand name to find out what has been posted about the brand by satisfied or unsatisfied consumers. With access to more information then ever at the click of a mouse a company dumping toxic waste in Africa (e.g. Trafigura) or destroying pristine rainforest in Indonesia (e.g. Fonterra) or attempting to “ethnically cleanse two of the world’s last remaining uncontacted tribes” in the Amazon  (e.g. Perenco) can be globally shamed in minutes. Transparency has become the golden rule for successful operations. Deforestation

For businesses to create value without eroding natural systems the best approach is to embark upon an honest journey to sustainability with consumers and investors on board. Transparency, interdependency and interconnectedness are defining characteristics of both the evolving internet and the coming ecological age. So shitty companies run by blood-sucking scumbags who want to slice up what’s left of the biosphere and sell it at the highest price beware… your days are numbered. Dr. Evil