Business & Technology

Natural corn killers

Ethanol industry craters; investors take a bath; world probably fails to learn lesson

VeraSun, one of nation’s largest ethanol producers, mulls bankruptcy. Ethanex Energy files. Alternative Energy Sources shuts down. E3 Biofuels files. A trend? Seems so: It was an American dream that has failed to become a reality. For much of the last decade, enthusiasts from President George W. Bush down have touted corn-based ethanol as something approaching a superfuel, a home-grown alternative to foreign oil that would help cut smog and bring hope to struggling farmers. It has not worked out that way. Instead, the ethanol industry has undergone a great boom and bust in which a Financial Times analysis has …

Starbucks will double its purchase of fair-trade coffee

Starbucks will buy 40 million pounds of fair-trade-certified coffee next year, doubling the hill of beans it bought this year and becoming the largest purchaser of fair-trade coffee in the world. The caffeine giant, though struggling financially and recognizing the price premium of sustainable bean-buying, has a goal of selling only “responsibly grown and ethically traded” coffee by 2015.

A modest proposal for Exxon Mobil

The oil companies should bail out the automakers

Cross-posted at the NDN blog —– As the U.S. auto companies frantically search for ways to stave off bankruptcy, an interesting bit of news surfaced yesterday: Exxon Mobil’s profit in the last quarter was the highest of any company ever in history: $14.83 billion. The company is on track to make $50 billion or so this year. To put this in perspective, GM is currently seeking about $10 billion from the government to enable it to merge with Chrysler, which GM says is vital to its survival. What used to be the world’s largest automaker is selling almost 1 million …

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