Each week, Evelyn Lopez and the Earth911.com team talk sustainability news, interview sustainability leaders, and answer your questions about how to recycle and buy responsibly. You have more power to improve the world than you know! Listen in to get started saving the planet!
Earth911 Podcast: Flying Embers' Caspar Poyck on brewing sustainable hard kombucha
Caspar Poyck, cofounder and senior director of plant operations at hard kombucha brewer Flying Embers shares how the company works to reduce its environmental footprint, including capturing the CO2 generated by its fermentation processes to add fizz to it fruit-flavored kombucha beverages. After the founders lived through the 2017 Thomas Fires in Ojai, Calif., they renamed the company Flying Embers to commemorate the victims of the tragedy and heroism of first responders who helped save the historic building where they started. The fire burned 440 square miles and was the largest wildfire in California history at the time. After confronting the blazing consequences of climate change, Flying Embers has embraced sustainability as a core tenet of its mission. Caspar and his team have worked to reduce the use of plastic in packaging, encourage recycling, and transform what used to be waste into valuable components of its products.
For example, Flying Embers used to purchase industrially-made CO2 to carbonate its kombucha, even though the fermentation process generated CO2 they discarded as waste. They captured the fermentation CO2 to use in their drinks, and found it improved the flavor and experience of the beverage. The machine-made CO2 had added a metallic flavor while the natural CO2 provided a rich undertone along with finer bubbles in the kombucha. Thinking in green terms leads to surprising innovations. Caspar also shares his work to replace plastic six-pack rings and introduce recycled and compostable paper packages. If your small firm thinks operating more sustainably is a costly luxury available only to large companies, Flying Embers' experience will challenge that thinking.
The company now supports first responders in climate disaster areas and contributes Learn more about Flying Embers, its wide range of hard kombucha flavored with fruit and spices, along with hard seltzers and beer with home delivery available in nine states at https://www.flyingembers.com/.
Earth911 Podcast: Climeworks' Daniel Eggers On Cleaning Up The Atmosphere
Earth911 talks with Daniel Eggers, Chief Commercial Officer at Climeworks, a Zurich, Switzerland-based carbon capture company. Climeworks launched one of the first commercial CO2 projects in the world, the geothermal-powered Orca project in Hellisheidi, Iceland, and has 13 other locations under development. Daniel explains the power and geological requirements for storing CO2 in the ground, where it forms carbonate minerals — when turned to rock, the CO2 stays in the ground virtually forever. The Hellisheidi plant will sequester 4,000 tons of CO2 annually — and you can support the project by subscribing to monthly sequestration services that range from $8 to $55 a month.
We also dig into the future of carbon capture, when CO2 will provide the raw materials for fuels and advanced materials, among other things. Daniel shares a vision of a circular economy for carbon that mines the air to keep global CO2 levels falling toward pre-industrial levels over the next 50 to 100 years. In the long run, carbon capture technology could provide a global air conditioning system of sorts that keeps CO2 levels below 300 ppm, our species' environmental sweet spot. He suggests that reforestation and other natural solutions are essential, and that technology can be useful as a tool to manage CO2 emissions that remain.
Learn more about Climeworks and its personal carbon sequestration subscriptions at https://climeworks.com.
Earth911 Podcast: EPAM Continuum's Buck Sleeper On The Rise Of Consumer Influence
Earth911 talks with Buck Sleeper, director of innovation consulting at EPAM Continnum, a company that specializes in developing products and services. EPAM's recent NXT 2021 Trends Report points out several important trends that can help pivot the economy toward greater sustainability, including new hybrid of global and local economic activity fueled by digital communities and a new generation of national and global government regulations that emphasize adaptation to climate change. The firm works with companies in healthcare, financial services, consumer goods including food packaging, makeup, and consumer technology, and other industries, as well as on projects to reduce poverty and improve sanitation and access to water around the world.
The survey also found that 79% of consumers feel that low- or zero-waste packaging is a priority when making a purchase. In fact, 20% of respondents said they’d be willing to eat the packaging that their food comes in while another 20% want to be able to repurpose packaging for other uses. Sleeper says EPAM clients are shifting their priorities toward achieving sustainability and, because customers can n0w express their preferences through smartphones and the internet, they are now helping shape the products they'll buy.
Take a few minutes to hear what EPAM Continuum learned and how you can use your growing influence to shape a sustainable economy.
Earth911 Podcast: Ask The FTC To Stop Chevron's Persistent Greenwashing
Earth911 talks with Professor Daniel Lin, associate professor of operations management at the University of San Diego School of Business. He is advising several non-profits — Earthworks, Global Witness, and Greenpeace USA — that have filed a first-of-its kind complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) against an energy company. They argue that Chevron makes deceptive, greenwashing advertising claims that “overstate investments in renewable energy and [the company’s] commitment to reducing fossil fuel production.” Lin explains why the FTC has not enforced its Green Guides recommendations against greenwashing first set out during the 1990s, and why it is time to make those guidelines into enforceable regulations.
Chevron spends about $100 million a year advertising itself as "the human energy company" for a "future of energy [that is] lower carbon," but invests only $26 mullion annually to develop those technologies -- out of its $13 billion capital investments. That's just 0.02% of its annual investments to develop low-carbon alternatives to its current fossil fuels-based business. Lin shares his assessment of Chevron's spending and how its is trapped by its old business model as the price of gasoline declines in the face of renewable alternatives and the rise of electric vehicles. We also discuss how consumers can get involved -- write the White House and the FTC -- as well as the potential downside of carbon capture technology.
To add your support for the complaint, visit Earthworks, Global Witness or Greenpeace USA and contribute to support keeping pressure on the FTC and Chevron.
Earth911 Podcast: ecobee's Sarah Colvin on saving home energy with smart tech
Smart home technology can help save energy, which translates directly into reduced CO2 emissions, especially in the many parts of the country where electricity is generated from fossil fuels. Earth911 talks with Sarah Colvin, senior director of energy partnerships at ecobee, a maker of home monitoring and management devices, including thermostats, cameras and sensors. She explains how smart thermostats can manage energy by reducing the heat when no one is home or factoring in the impact of humidity on indoor temperatures to use less power. Do these devices add to or reduce energy use? Colvin shares how U.S. regulations require manufacturers to include the added power their devices use when calculating savings; ecobee reports its products reduce energy consumption by 23% on average.
Home heating and cooling accounts for the most energy use in homes and commercial buildings. Smart technology, sometimes referred to as the Internet of Things (IoT), uses a combination of sensors and smart thermostats, is a useful option for optimizing the indoor environment. Thermostats, unlike phones, are long-term purchases that can be upgraded with new software to add additional capabilities over time. For example ecobee recently updated its software to squeeze an additional 5% of efficiency out of customers energy use, so it is not necessary to upgrade whenever a new feature is introduced. Smart home devices are often available with generous local utility rebates because they help utilities manage the electric grid more efficiently, and ecobee will help you find local rebate options.
Earth911 Podcast: David Radlo On Building a Sustainable Business
Earth911 talks with author and business advisor David Radlo, an early and successful advocate for sustainable practices about building a sustainable business and connecting with customers who share your company's environmental values. He built premium organic egg brands at Born Free, Farmer’s Best, and Egg-Land’s Best and has lectured at Tufts University and New York University’s Stern School of Business. His new book, Principles of Cartel Disruption, explores how to break down the barriers to new forms of business. It’s a skill we need to master to break petrochemicals’ hold on the economy.
David shares his experience and provides ideas about how customers can lead the reinvention of the economy. His ideas are also useful for marketing people thinking about building a long, trusting relationship with customers. His Sustainable Leadership and Disruptive Growth podcast is a great resource for business leaders.
You can learn more about him and his new book at www.davidradlo.com.
Some useful information
An interesting podcast with some useful information.
Pains me to say this...
But it’s so bad. I want it to be good so much but it’s painfully boring. I can hear the hosts breathing into the mics the whole time. It is like a real-life version of the Delicious Dish sketch with Molly Shannon and Ana Gasteyer. This could be such a great, interesting podcast but you’re going to want to get some fresher hosts or producers.
Can’t be Taken Seriously
I just listened to the most recent episode (July 31, 2018) discussing ‘sustainability’. How can anyone take this podcast seriously? The host discusses ‘packaging’ of meats and fish. If she were remotely serious about sustainability, she would discuss not eating them. They discuss packaging of Amazon deliveries, where the host says: ‘these occur daily’. Anyone serious about sustainability is serious about reduction of consumption, not just how much packaging is used. These people aren’t. I’ve unsubscribed, and removed the website from my favorites.