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    Mongabay, a leading resource for news and perspectives on environmental and conservation issues related to the tropics, has launched Tropical Conservation Science - a new, open access academic e-journal. It will cover a wide variety of scientific and social studies on tropical ecosystems, their biodiversity and the threats posed to them. Tropical Conservation Science - March 8, 2008.

    At the 148th Meeting of the OPEC Conference, the oil exporting cartel decided to leave its production level unchanged, sending crude prices spiralling to new records (above $104). OPEC "observed that the market is well-supplied, with current commercial oil stocks standing above their five-year average. The Conference further noted, with concern, that the current price environment does not reflect market fundamentals, as crude oil prices are being strongly influenced by the weakness in the US dollar, rising inflation and significant flow of funds into the commodities market." OPEC - March 5, 2008.

    Kyushu University (Japan) is establishing what it says will be the world’s first graduate program in hydrogen energy technologies. The new master’s program for hydrogen engineering is to be offered at the university’s new Ito campus in Fukuoka Prefecture. Lectures will cover such topics as hydrogen energy and developing the fuel cells needed to convert hydrogen into heat or electricity. Of all the renewable pathways to produce hydrogen, bio-hydrogen based on the gasification of biomass is by far both the most efficient, cost-effective and cleanest. Fuel Cell Works - March 3, 2008.

    An entrepreneur in Ivory Coast has developed a project to establish a network of Miscanthus giganteus farms aimed at producing biomass for use in power generation. In a first phase, the goal is to grow the crop on 200 hectares, after which expansion will start. The project is in an advanced stage, but the entrepreneur still seeks partners and investors. The plantation is to be located in an agro-ecological zone qualified as highly suitable for the grass species. Contact us - March 3, 2008.

    A 7.1MW biomass power plant to be built on the Haiwaiian island of Kaua‘i has received approval from the local Planning Commission. The plant, owned and operated by Green Energy Hawaii, will use albizia trees, a hardy species that grows in poor soil on rainfall alone. The renewable power plant will meet 10 percent of the island's energy needs. Kauai World - February 27, 2008.

    Tasmania's first specialty biodiesel plant has been approved, to start operating as early as July. The Macquarie Oil Company will spend half a million dollars on a specially designed facility in Cressy, in Tasmania's Northern Midlands. The plant will produce more than five million litres of fuel each year for the transport and marine industries. A unique blend of feed stock, including poppy seed, is expected to make it more viable than most operations. ABC Rural - February 25, 2008.

    The 16th European Biomass Conference & Exhibition - From Research to Industry and Markets - will be held from 2nd to 6th June 2008, at the Convention and Exhibition Centre of FeriaValencia, Spain. Early bird fee registration ends 18th April 2008. European Biomass Conference & Exhibition - February 22, 2008.

    'Obesity Facts' – a new multidisciplinary journal for research and therapy published by Karger – was launched today as the official journal of the European Association for the Study of Obesity. The journal publishes articles covering all aspects of obesity, in particular epidemiology, etiology and pathogenesis, treatment, and the prevention of adiposity. As obesity is related to many disease processes, the journal is also dedicated to all topics pertaining to comorbidity and covers psychological and sociocultural aspects as well as influences of nutrition and exercise on body weight. Obesity is one of the world's most pressing health issues, expected to affect 700 million people by 2015. AlphaGalileo - February 21, 2008.

    A bioethanol plant with a capacity of 150 thousand tons per annum is to be constructed in Kuybishev, in the Novosibirsk region. Construction is to begin in 2009 with investments into the project estimated at €200 million. A 'wet' method of production will be used to make, in addition to bioethanol, gluten, fodder yeast and carbon dioxide for industrial use. The complex was developed by the Solev consulting company. FIS: Siberia - February 19, 2008.

    Sarnia-Lambton lands a $15million federal grant for biofuel innovation at the Western Ontario Research and Development Park. The funds come on top of a $10 million provincial grant. The "Bioindustrial Innovation Centre" project competed successfully against 110 other proposals for new research money. London Free Press - February 18, 2008.

    An organisation that has established a large Pongamia pinnata plantation on barren land owned by small & marginal farmers in Andhra Pradesh, India is looking for a biogas and CHP consultant to help research the use of de-oiled cake for the production of biogas. The organisation plans to set up a biogas plant of 20,000 cubic meter capacity and wants to use it for power generation. Contact us - February 15, 2008.

    The Andersons, Inc. and Marathon Oil Corporation today jointly announced ethanol production has begun at their 110-million gallon ethanol plant located in Greenville, Ohio. Along with the 110 million gallons of ethanol, the plant annually will produce 350,000 tons of distillers dried grains, an animal feed ingredient. Marathon Oil - February 14, 2008.

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Sunday, April 06, 2008

Nielsen ranks Biopact in top-3 sustainability blogs

Nielsen Online, a service of The Nielsen Company, recently released findings from its “Sustainability through the Eyes and Megaphones of the Blogosphere” report, which examined consumer attitudes about personal and corporate responsibility towards the environment. It ranks Biopact as the third most important blog about sustainability, behind Treehugger.com and WorldChanging.com.

According to the report, protecting the environment has become increasingly important to consumers, with online buzz around sustainability growing 50 percent in 2007. While early in the year discussion was dominated by the topic of global warming, bloggers progressively addressed a wider variety of green-related issues, with a particular emphasis on personal action such as recycling, avoiding excess packaging, and carpooling.

Even so, global warming remained the No. 1 topic among sustainability bloggers in 2007, followed by renewable energy/alternative fuels; resource conservation; recycle/reuse; carbon emissions; pollution; organics; toxins; packaging/plastic; and transportation (hybrids, carpooling).

Note: Topics are ranked by number of messages among sustainability bloggers from 1/1/07 to 12/31/07, with the Buzz trend reflecting change from 1/1/07 to 12/31/07.

“As in many sectors, consumers are becoming increasingly vocal online about the issue of sustainability,” said Jessica Hogue, research director, Nielsen Online. “Blogger attention to related issues like pollution, toxins and sustainable agriculture reveal an important intersection between personal health and environmental wellness.”

Top Sustainability Blogs
So if you're a marketer eager to start listening to this conversation online about sustainability, where should you begin? Start with the most popular sustainability blogs online.

Nielsen ranked Discovery Channel's TreeHugger.com No. 1 with 4,612 messages related specifically to sustainability in 2007. Worldchanging and Biopact took the No. 2 and 3 spots, with 738 and 722 sustainability messages, respectively (of course, quantity is no metric for quality, but hey, for once, we don't care!). Note that Biopact is (was) entirely a volunteer effort and does not (did not) receive any financial or other type of support from anyone:
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Greenwashing: A Failed Corporate Strategy
The report also notes that not only are consumers looking for practical steps they can take to reduce personal environmental impact, they are also holding corporations accountable for action and results. Bloggers are quick to condemn “greenwashing” – when they suspect companies misrepresent their environmental impact with aggressive PR campaigns – as spurious attempts to be “green.” Consumers expect consistency in action and authentic and transparent messaging.

Nielsen Online analysis showed that similar environmental initiatives can provoke different consumer responses depending on a company’s reputation and history. For example, in the retail sector, while Wal-Mart and Target both introduced reusable shopping bags, some consumers voiced skepticism towards Wal-Mart because of its association with environmental, labor, and health care issues. Although in general consumers were supportive of Wal-Mart’s reusable bags, some were still dubious of the retailer’s intent.

“When it comes to the environment, consumers are insisting on both transparency and consistency from the corporations they patronize,” said Hogue. “Consumer support depends on action as well as perceived sincerity and commitment.”

Nielsen Buzzmetrics: Online Consumers Call for Greater Transparency in Strategies for Environmental Sustainability, According to Nielsen Online - March 31, 2008.

AdAge: Do People Care About Your 'Green' Message? Yes - March 31, 2008.

Environmental Leader: Sustainability Buzz Up 50% In 2007 - April 1, 2008.

MarketinVox: Environmental Action, Sustainability Hot Blogosphere Topics - April 2, 2008.


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