Business & Technology

Electric-car infrastructure coming to California’s Bay Area

California’s Bay Area will enjoy an electric-car infrastructure by 2012, startup Better Place announced Thursday. The mayors of San Francisco, Oakland, and San Jose signed on for the plan, which will cover the region with charging and battery-exchange stations at an estimated cost of $1 billion.

Flexing progressive muscles

New business coalition calls for climate leg. with 100 percent auctions and focus on efficiency

Remember US-CAP, the business association calling for carbon legislation in the U.S.? Except the call is rather vague, and several US-CAP members lobbied to weaken policy proposals? And the whole thing smelled vaguely of concern trolling? Now a new business coalition has come on the scene: Business for Innovative Climate and Energy Policy (BICEP), which thus far includes Levi Strauss & Co., Nike, Starbucks, Sun Microsystems, and The Timberland Company. They are calling for tough climate legislation based on the following eight principles: • Set greenhouse gas reduction targets to at least 25 percent below 1990 levels by 2020 and …

USDA close to approving relatively weak organic standards for fish

The U.S. Department of Agriculture this week inched closer to approving organic rules for fish for the first time that would let “organic” fish eat up to 25 percent of their diet from non-organic sources, a move which has irked organic advocates worried about sullying otherwise relatively strict standards for organic meat products.

Brita announces recycling program for used water filters

Brita, maker of popular water-purifying pitchers, will launch a recycling program for used water filters beginning in January. The company’s announcement comes after months of pressure from citizen activists. Consumers will be able to drop used filters off at selected Whole Foods stores or mail them in; the plastic parts will be turned into recycled toothbrushes and razors, and the activated carbon “will be regenerated for alternative use or converted into energy,” according to the company.

Toy manufacturers push back against lead-safety rule

Toys marketed to the 12-under-set must either meet new lead standards or be off shelves by Feb. 10 — but many toy manufacturers and retailers don’t wanna comply. Citing the economic downturn, they’re pressuring the government to relax the requirement.

Exxon: Not the only profitable energy biz last quarter

ExxonMobil keeps making profits — another record one this last quarter — in the midst of meltdown everywhere else. But we here in New England had energy profits of our own: Coop Power, the regional renewable energy coop, had its first profitable quarter since it launched a couple years ago due largely to the number of solar hot water panels it’s been buying/installing on members’ roofs this year, community barn-raising style. And Coop Power members have been busy putting up panels on each others’ houses nearly every weekend this fall, so here’s looking forward to another profitable (and renewable) quarter …