Skip to content Skip to site navigation

Business & Technology

Comments

We’re Not the Only Country With a Bushmeat Problem

E.U. fishing subsidies drive illegal bushmeat trade in West Africa Heavy European Union subsidies for fishing fleets off the coast of West Africa are driving the illegal bushmeat trade in the region, to devastating effect. As Euros eat more of their fish, there's less left for West Africans, who turn to bushmeat -- or the meat of wild animals, including gorillas and other primates -- for food. This, in turn, leads to all sorts of nastiness. "Recent collapses of mammal populations in some areas of West Africa have been linked to geographic patterns of poverty and malnourishment," write researchers in …

Comments

The Shipping News

Global warming may open Northwest Passage to shipping Global warming may melt arctic ice enough to make the legendary Northwest Passage a viable trade route, trimming almost 40 percent (roughly two weeks) off the current Asia-to-Europe route, which involves a large detour down through either the Suez or Panama canals. Some view this as a bright spot in the otherwise grim report released this week on the impact of global warming on the Arctic. Enviros aren't so sure. The route would inevitably involve large oil tankers navigating narrow channels filled with ice. "The question is not whether an accident is …

Comments

European. Small. How Can They Fail?

European automakers target the U.S. with itsy-bitsy cars European automakers hope to make inroads in U.S. markets with small, fuel-efficient cars, but they have quite a task ahead of them, despite gas prices that now exceed $2 per gallon. While a segment of the U.S. market is gaga for hybrids like the Toyota Prius, which gets about 44 miles per gallon, some small European cars like the Smart two-seater get nearly 70 mpg. Three problems: One, many U.S. drivers feel insecure in small cars, competing on freeways with gargantuan idiotmobiles like the Cadillac Escalade. Two, small cars have lower horsepower, …

Comments

Blood and Gore

Al Gore launches an investment firm focused on sustainability After the whole endorsing-Howard-Dean thing didn't work out, Al Gore is hoping his new venture is more successful: It's an investment firm called Generation Investment Management that will focus on socially and environmentally conscious companies. The firm's approach "is designed to serve people who want to integrate sustainable returns with traditional equity analysis," said the former VP with his typical fiery charisma. David Blood, formerly CEO of Goldman Sachs Asset Management, will serve as managing partner of the firm, while Gore will act as chair, shaping its overall strategy but not …

Comments

Exx the Foul

ExxonMobil's greenhouse-gas emissions continue to rise ExxonMobil, the world's biggest oil company, supported President Bush's decision to keep the U.S. from ratifying the Kyoto Protocol. In a wacky coincidence, the company's greenhouse-gas emissions have been increasing, last year rising 2 percent to almost 150 million tons -- more than twice the emissions of the entire country of Norway. Exxon is addressing the problem by ... oh, wait, they're not addressing the problem. While the company claims it is "taking steps" to reduce gases, it has set no actual targets, according to a spokesflack. By comparison, BP, the world's second largest …

Comments

Fat Accompli

Overweight passengers lead to higher airplane CO2 emissions Everybody knows the U.S. is in the grips of an obesity epidemic. And many folks know that airplanes are major sources of atmospheric carbon dioxide, which exacerbates global warming. But did you know that the former is contributing in a significant way to the latter? Neither did we -- until now. Americans' average weight rose by 10 pounds during the 1990s, and according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, that caused airlines to burn 350 million more gallons of fuel in 2000, costing them $275 million and producing an estimated …

Comments

Ray Anderson, sustainable biz pioneer, answers questions

What work do you do? I am founder and chair of Interface, Inc. How does it relate to the environment? I used to think that my job didn't have anything to do with the environment. Then I realized that my job, as well as everyone else's job, impacts the environment in some way. And now advocating for sustainability has become my No. 1 responsibility. What do you really do, on a day-to-day basis? Simply put, I tell my story. But in order to do that, I travel all over the world, making speeches to groups both large and small. Sometimes …

Comments

Love Hurts

Worries over ecotourism on the rise Ecotourism and its more profit-centric cousin nature tourism make up about 20 percent of international tourist travel. These two sectors are growing by 10 to 30 percent a year, and generate hundreds of billions of dollars -- money that often helps the ecosystems being toured, not to mention local economies. Still, some folks are raising red flags, saying that the flood of putatively fauna-friendly gawkers is doing damage to said fauna. Whale-watching boats strike whales; dolphin tours keep dolphins from getting enough rest; tundra vehicles put polar bears on alarm, preventing them from storing …

Comments

Mad Props, Yo

California approves measure to block citizen lawsuits against businesses By a significant margin, California voters on Tuesday approved Proposition 64, which curtails the right of private citizens and public-interest groups to bring legal action against companies under the state's Unfair Business Competition Law -- a move that could hamper efforts to protect the state's environment. The statute has been used by private groups to go after companies that pollute and violate the law in other ways. Now, citizens will have to show that they've been financially harmed by a business's action in order to file suit. Supporters of 64 say …

Comments

Thank Your Lucky Starbucks

Starbucks chief pushes for fair-trade, eco-friendly coffee Starbucks has served as a convenient target for the anti-globalization crowd, especially given that you can't throw a brick in some neighborhoods without breaking a Starbucks window. But CEO Orin Smith is fighting back against the company's bad reputation. He recently announced that, by 2007, Starbucks would attempt to procure 60 percent of its coffee from farmers following a strict set of environmental and labor rules under the Coffee and Farmer Equity (CAFE) Practices Program. Smith also announced that when he retires next March, he will head a $1 billion fundraising effort for …