Business & Technology

Big-money investors urge global climate deal

In a letter timed to kick policymakers in the pants before an upcoming United Nations climate summit, more than 130 investors holding more than $6 trillion in assets urged world leaders to rassle up a binding agreement to reduce global greenhouse-gas emissions 50 to 80 percent by 2050. “The climate crisis is a multi-generational challenge that requires strong national and international policies immediately,” says Mindy Lubber of investment group Ceres. “World leaders must shun the excuse that it is too expensive to act to curb global warming. It is too expensive not to act.”

Meat Wagon: All the world's a CAFO

Don Tyson details plans to export the U.S. meat model to global south

In Meat Wagon, we round up the latest outrages from the meat and livestock industries. —– A handful of large companies [PDF] dominate the U.S. meat industry. The biggest of all (besides Cargill whose interests extend well beyond meat) is Tyson Foods, one of the two largest beef packers, the second-largest pork packer, and the second-largest chicken producer. Tyson has exerted tremendous influence over the recent U.S. food culture and economy. It innovated the “vertical-integration” strategy that now dominates meat production, wherein mega-packers breed, slaughter, and process farm animals — mostly leaving the risky job of raising them to farmers …

Florida scales down U.S. Sugar buyout in Everglades

Florida Gov. Charlie Crist (R) is set to announce Tuesday that his state is modifying a deal struck this summer to buy out a massive sugar company in the Everglades and turn the company’s land back into wetlands. The retooled deal will likely cost the state about $400 million less than the original plan and would not include purchase of some of the company’s expensive assets like a sugar-processing plant and railroad lines.

Feed a company, starve a country

Monsanto purchased a Brazilian sugarcane ethanol company for $290 million

At a time when many people were questioning causes of the recent food crisis, many more were investigating how our food systems can move forward to sustainably feed the increasing world population. Recently, the U.N. Task Force on Trade, Environment and Development released a report touting the noteworthy yields and economic benefits of organic agriculture in Africa. Even recognizing that organic production offers significant hope for increasing food security. Another report released earlier this year by the International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development noted that a “radical change” was needed for agriculture, and that agricultural biotechnology …

Mo' money, mo' problems

Pearlstein: ‘A Detroit bankruptcy beats a bailout’ — but what do you think?

I’m quite interested in hearing your thoughts on two questions: How much of your money, if any, should the government give to Detroit? What should we get in return ? That is, of course, beyond the $25 billion already promised the Big Three (Medium Two?) U.S. automakers to retool their factories (in theory) to make fuel-efficient cars. Worth noting at the start is that anyone, including the feds, could buy GM right now for about $2 billion, its current market capitalization, which is about one-third the market cap of the Dr. Pepper Snapple Group. My biggest concern with giving them …

New program will certify responsible e-waste recyclers

Monday saw the dawn of the e-Stewards Initiative, the first independently accredited certification program for responsible recycling of electronic waste. “By choosing an e-Steward recycler,” explains Sarah Westervelt of the program, “consumers and large businesses are assured that their old computers and TVs will be safely managed, and not simply tossed into a local landfill, processed unsafely by prison laborers, or exported to developing countries.” sources:

Keeping up with the Scotts

JCPenney joins the ranks of green retailers

Say what you will about it, JCPenney is a survivor. The 106-year-old retailer has 1,093 stores lurking around the country, from Media, Pa. to Tempe, Ariz. Having made it through the rash of department store consolidations that gobbled up brands like Marshall Fields, and having fared better than some of its mid-range competitors — Sears and Montgomery Ward come to mind — JCPenney has adopted a new businesses strategy to stay relevant. Not surprisingly, given current trends, it’s now going green. After launching an in-house eco-label, Simply Green, in March, and experimenting with green building techniques in a Denver store …

When in doubt, propagandize

The ethanol industry is in trouble because the market is rejecting its products, which turn out to have been wildly over-hyped. So it’s taking a cue from the coal industry and improving its product launching a massive advertising campaign. Fresh from my inbox: WASHINGTON — On Tuesday, November 11th, leading ethanol producers from around the country will announce the launch of a new organization at a press conference in Washington, D.C. The organization will be dedicated to promoting ethanol as America’s best renewable fuel that is reliable and affordable now. In addition, they will announce a new ad campaign focused …

NYC mayor proposes plastic-bag fee

Urging New Yorkers to bring their own sacks to Saks, Mayor Michael Bloomberg has proposed a 6-cent fee on plastic bags. One cent per bag would go to stores; the other nickel would go to the city, bringing in an estimated $16 million per year.