Thursday, January 13, 2011

from greenelectronics

Today we learned that Kim Joo hyun, a 26-year-old man who worked in the Samsung electronics LCD factory in Chun-ahn city in Korea, jumped from the roof of the dormitory and killed himself in the early morning of January 1, 2011. He suffered from skin disease due to chemicals and depression because of severe job stress. This shocking news is even more disturbing since it follows a rash of similar suicides by young workers at the Foxconn factory in China and inspires us to increase our determination to bring justice for the Samsung workers and families.

In memory of Kim Joo hyun, we ask that you join the Samsung Accountability Campaign. The Samsung Accountability Campaign is calling on Samsung to accept responsibility for occupational deaths and to Provide Safe and Decent Working Conditions

Over the past two decades, Samsung has become one of the most dominant electronics companies in the world, and is now a global leader in semiconductors, flat panel displays, mobile phones, and television production. Sadly, this rapid rise to global dominance has come with serious consequences for the workers who produce the products – recent reports indicate that about 100 workers – mostly young women - have been stricken with cancer – mostly blood cancers - and at least 30 of them have died – making this the one of the largest known electronics cancer clusters in the world. (See for more information).

Samsung has denied all responsibility for these illnesses and the Korean government has declined to declare the cancers “work related” and refuses to disclose results of its investigation of Samsung. In response, a strong support movement led by the victims and their families has emerged in Korea and around the world and is seeking justice for those who have suffered from occupational illness.

Over the past months, hundreds of key activists and leaders from around the world have endorsed a petition addressing Samsung over occupational heath and safety issues. The petition contains a list of precise demands to Samsung. Read the entire petition text and the list of endorsements here.

Monday, January 10, 2011

the new world of the eco-ad


CBS 'EcoAd' Pays 10% to Local E-causes

The Eye Network's New Pitch: Buy a Spot, Save the Planet

By Brian Steinberg

Published: January 10, 2011

NEW YORK ( -- Going green is nice, but getting caught "greenwashing" -- doing environmental promotions that are all talk and no action -- isn't. CBS Corp. is hoping some of its advertisers will take this under advisement and put their money where their mouths are when they talk about acting in the best interest of the planet.

The company, best known for its TV network and programs such as "CSI" and "NCIS," is unveiling a new form of advertising it calls an "EcoAd." Marketers who commit to this sort of promotion can purchase ad packages across CBS's various holdings -- national and local TV, radio, outdoor, online and more -- with the understanding that approximately 10% of the money committed to the sponsorship will be used to fund environmental-improvement efforts at the local level.

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To signal that a marketer's ads are part of the program, CBS will air ads that are part of its "EcoAd" effort with a green-leaf logo for TV, interactive and outdoor advertising and an audio identifier on radio.
At present, the advertisers who have signed up -- clients include General Motors' Chevrolet, SunPower, O Organics, Boston Scientific, Pacific Coast Termite, Port of Los Angeles and International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers -- have purchased advertising that will be seen at the local level, not on CBS's broadcast-TV network. But the media company has hopes of capturing national advertising and will this week launch a promotion on CBS and its other media properties touting the "EcoAd." With actor Laurence Fishburne narrating, viewers will be told to "Look for the Leaf" as a signal that the ad is doing something more than just hyping the latest beverages, cars and gadgets.

"Anyone can sell media and sprinkle a few dollars on environmental improvements and call it 'green media,'" said Paul Polizzotto, president and founder of EcoMedia, which CBS acquired in May of last year after working with the company for about two years. The unit maintains contact with local municipalities and searches for environmental projects that require more funding to be put into practice, he said. Advertiser dollars become the catalyst that sparks a local government to take an underfunded project off the shelf and push it toward completion.

Mr. Polizzotto said his company looks for projects that will increase the EcoMedia contribution ten-fold; a contribution of $100,000, for instance, would be added to a project that would, in total, be worth $1 million when all the money is put together. Advertisers can then tell consumers their advertising is part of a project to build new facilities for local residents, to maintain energy efficiency and even to create local jobs.

In Texas, Chevrolet is purchasing a sponsorship in the Dallas area that will have the usual coterie of local advertising, but also let area residents know that Chevy's ad dollars are helping to bring solar-powered, energy-efficient lighting and improved bathrooms to a nine-diamond baseball facility in Arlington, Texas.

The carmaker, which has been on an aggressive ad stint as of late, sees extra value in the PR and goodwill generated by informing consumers of Chevy's donations to local environment projects.

"For me to just go and use advertising dollars to talk more about our carbon-reduction initiative -- it helps, but it doesn't hit home with as many people as I would like it to," said Mark Harland, regional marketing manager for Chevrolet's south central region, which includes Dallas, New Orleans and St. Louis. "If I go into your backyard, where your son or daughter is playing baseball," he added, "that makes a direct impact in a community." The effort offers "a little more context to people in that community and there's a lasting effect. It's not just a 30-second commercial."

CBS appears to be riding a wave of interest by advertisers in linking their sales messages to noble causes. Who hasn't been buffeted by a wave of commercials that tie the product being sold to efforts to help improve the world or a consumer's well-being? From Pepsi's "Refresh" project to Coca-Cola's efforts to link Diet Coke with heart health, marketing initiatives these days hope to appear more relevant by weaving themselves more intricately into the stuff that motivates individual customers.

Other media outlets have tackled this notion. NBC Universal has in recent years begun selling advertising attached to content dedicated to health or the environment. The company's "Green is Universal" efforts have attracted such marketers as Subaru, Home Depot and Procter & Gamble.

The environmental push isn't completely altruistic. For CBS, cultivating such ad revenue can help the company broaden its base. The majority of CBS's ad revenue comes from its broadcast network, but helping to develop local environmental projects can help lure ad dollars to CBS operations that gain their traction at the local level.

Consumer Electronics Show

Greenpeace interview

the green commercial?


When It Comes to Commercials, Target, Others Keep It Green

How Much Waste Do Your Shoots Generate?

By Natalie Zmuda and Andrew Hampp

Published: January 10, 2011

NEW YORK ( -- On a late-December morning in Pasadena, Calif., Target was shooting what seemed to be a typical 15-second spot. A little girl was huddled at a kitchen table on an artificially bright and sunny day, awaiting further instruction from veteran commercial director Phil Morrison, while outside raged one of the rainiest days in recent history for Southern California. But far from typical was that in the 12 hours it would take to nail the shot of the girl eating Oreos and shoot two other 15-second spots, hundreds of pounds of commercial-production waste was gathered to be recycled or composted.

That's due to a partnership between Target, which says it has incorporated environmental sustainability into its business strategy for more than three decades, and EcoSet Consulting. The 2-year-old North Hollywood, Calif.-based firm focuses on greening commercial, TV and film sets and is now working with Target on 90% of the retailer's commercials. Wieden & Kennedy is Target's agency.

Hundreds of pounds of waste were recycled and reused to "green" this Target shoot.
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Since spring 2009, Target and EcoSet claim to have diverted 100,016 pounds from landfills, which is 85% of all waste generated by Target's broadcast shoots in Los Angeles. Some 35,400 plastic water bottles have been replaced by reusable bottles and reusable materials have been donated to more than 85 nonprofits and community organizations. Costumes have been donated to families in need and a swing set removed from a location for aesthetic reasons was donated to a children's center, for example. Even a 600-pound foam watering can find a second life as an art installation at a flower show.

Similarly, 280 pounds, or 88% of waste from a one-day Honda CR-V shoot last summer was diverted, according to data provided by EcoSet and Honda agency Rubin Postaer Associates, or RPA. At that shoot, walkie-talkies were charged using a solar-powered charging station and discarded gels, duvetyne and cinefoil (black materials used to absorb light on shoots) were donated to students at the American Film Institute.

'Natural progression'
Andrew Winston, a sustainability consultant and author of two books on green business, said he hasn't heard of a company like EcoSet before, but he approved.

"It's an industry that hasn't been leading in sustainability. But it's an industry waking up to the real impact it has," Mr. Winston said of commercial, film and TV production. "It's a natural progression, with media companies and advertisers thinking not just about their own operations and the products they sell but advertising and the media outlets they use."

At this point, Target is EcoSet's most consistent client, though execs said they have gradually begun receiving more inquiries from agencies and production companies. At the request of Green Tea Films, EcoSet worked on a Walgreen's shoot, for example. In the coming year, Shannon Schaefer, EcoSet's founder and owner, expects more marketers will also seek out EcoSet's services, as they, like Target, align internal sustainability efforts with other areas of the business.

"It's a relatively new company and a new concept," said Ms. Schaefer, who began working full-time as NBC Universal's manager-sustainable production shortly after founding EcoSet. "The traction we've gotten is positive. People are very excited and want to take part but are still figuring out ... how to take the corporation's sustainability mandate or messaging and bring it into the advertising."

While many marketers have turned to carbon offsets to "green" commercial production in the past, EcoSet and others like it (operations with similar visions have begun cropping up in New York, New Orleans, Austin, New Mexico and abroad in markets like Australia and the U.K., said Ms. Schaefer) represent a more tangible approach.

In short, EcoSet is intent on making production itself more sustainable, rather than turning to carbon offsets as a singular solution to balancing wasteful production. (Worth noting, Nike announced it was abandoning the practice of purchasing carbon offsets last year.) It's an admirable goal, considering commercial production alone produces about 18 million pounds of waste per year, half of which is food-related. But EcoSet has its work cut out. Commercial sets are among the trickiest production environments around, when it comes to going green, said Kris Barberg, account manager-client liaison for EcoSet.

"Most shoots are only five, six days at the most and everything is so temporary, so fast-paced that it's challenging to do the right thing," Ms. Barberg said.

EcoSet's work begins before the shoot, with coordination between the catering company and location manager. It also reviews creative boards or scripts to determine what types of props will need to be donated. During a shoot the set is staffed with eco-monitors, who set up composting stations, distribute reusable water bottles and oversee waste and recycling stations.

And, because of the often-overwhelming and costly nature of gathering resources for a green shoot, EcoSet advises productions about the materials needed, from reusable water bottles to biodiesel generators to recycling and composting bins. EcoSet's waste hauler also takes food, bones, soiled paper and compostable dinnerware from the set to a commercial composting site north of Los Angeles.

'Save a tree, use a noodle'
Even on-set utensils are green. At the Target shoot, the silverware was made of corn starch and talc, while the coffee stirrers were wheat pasta noodles. "We call it the 'save a tree, use a noodle campaign,'" joked Ms. Barberg.

While the process is hands-on, Target says it's not intrusive or costly.

"It's been very easy [to implement]," said Shawn Gensch, VP-brand marketing at Target. "There's seamless integration and great communication [on set]."

Mr. Gensch added that there have not been incremental expenses. It's about choices, he said, such as choosing to have a biodiesel generator or choosing not to use plastic silverware. EcoSet also provides documentation from donations for tax purposes.

"[Commercial shoots] are an area that had not been addressed, so we wanted to give the proper attention to it," Mr. Gensch said. "We do believe this is something that can materially impact production on location."

Laura Commike Gitman, director-advisory services at Business for Social Responsibility, a global business network and consultancy focused on sustainability, echoed that sentiment. "The media industry is a large and growing industry and one of the U.S.'s largest exports," she said. "Finding environmental opportunities throughout the media sector is going to be an important way to have an impact."

Thursday, January 6, 2011

nice LA Times BLOG

CES: Consumer Electronics Assn. and Greenpeace say gadgets getting more green
January 6, 2011 | 8:01 am
Though much of the technology being showcased at CES is user-friendly, it’s got a ways to go before it’s truly eco-friendly. But companies are getting close, according to two studies released at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week.

The Consumer Electronics Assn. said that nearly 49 million products on the market are registered with the Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool.

Roughly 27,000 product models meet Energy Star energy-efficiency standards, according to the report, and more manufacturers are using renewable packaging material such as bio-based plastics instead of clamshell cases.

In 2009, the industry recycled 200 million pounds of electronics at 5,000 permanent collection sites around the country.

Separately, Greenpeace reviewed more than 40 products and declared the industry to be increasingly attuned to green business practices. Companies are cutting back on hazardous chemicals in phones, televisions and computers, the environmental group said.

Glass used for screens no longer contains arsenic, and the use of mercury is declining as more companies turn to LED displays.

But efforts to green the entire product life cycle are still few and far between, according to Greenpeace. Companies rarely track the amount of energy they use in manufacturing and distribution.

Short warranties cause many gadgets to be thrown out within three years, and marketing eco-friendly offerings to consumers isn’t a priority, the survey found.

Participants included Dell, Motorola, Panasonic, Research in Motion, Samsung and Toshiba. Apple and Philips bowed out, but Greenpeace looked at some of their products anyway –- and concluded that they would have performed well against competitors.

Read the report here: Download Greenpeace Product Survey 2011

But some said the electronics industry should start its greening campaign with CES itself. Virtual-event producer ON24 concluded that if the Las Vegas show were to go entirely digital, it could avoid 179,000 tons of carbon emissions and 1.4 million pounds of waste.

The roughly 125,000 attendees would save 136 million miles spent flying to and from the show. Digital documents could take the place of 2 million sheets of paper.

Last year, show organizers said they recycled 68% of the waste generated by CES attendees -– a total of 372 tons of cardboard, paper, metal, wood, carpet padding and plastic.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Independent publishers ask--how green are e-books?

Is E-Reading Really Greener?

Raz Godelnik
August, 2010

Is E-Reading Really Greener?

by Raz Godelnik

The emergence of e-book readers, starting with the release of Amazon’s Kindle in November 2007 and through the launch of Apple’s iPad in April 2010, is changing the book industry. No doubt about that. But is it also making reading more sustainable? Is it really greener to abandon the good old print-on-paper book for a cool gadget that holds hundreds of books without causing back strain?

With publishers’ and readers’ awareness of environmental issues growing and the market share of e-books, while still very small, growing very fast, the question arises for a growing number of publishers, authors, booksellers, and readers.

Intuitively it seems like a no-brainer—with e-book readers, no paper is required; no trees are cut down; no books need to be shipped and stored. Can it get any better than that?

Well, I wish it was that simple, but it isn’t. Just like physical books, e-books that are read on the Kindle, iPad, Nook, or any other device have their ecological footprint. The question is: which option, print or digital, has a smaller footprint?

To find that out, we need to use a life cycle analysis (LCA), which evaluates the ecological impact of any product, at every stage of its existence—in this case, from cutting down trees for paper to the day when the iPad and the Kindle will end their lives.

Toxic Waste Issues

Any analysis of e-readers must take a couple of significant factors into consideration:

Materials. Consumer electronics are notorious for containing a variety of toxic materials. Some companies are more transparent than others and make it relatively clear that their e-reader devices are free of toxic materials like PVC (Sony and Apple) and BFRs and mercury (Apple). But as Casey Harrell, an international campaign coordinator for Greenpeace, which monitors the environmental impact of consumer electronics, told the New York Times, e-readers remain something of an unknown variable.

“In terms of the Kindle or other similar e-book gadgets, I don’t know what chemicals are in or out,” Harrell said. “Companies will want to brag about their eco-credentials,” he points out, so if you don’t see any mention, the chemicals have probably not been eliminated.

Recycling. Electronic waste is becoming a growing environmental problem, and even though companies like Apple and Amazon have recycling programs in place, there’s a good chance e-readers will contribute to the electronic waste stream.

According to the EPA, Americans generated about 3 million tons of electronic waste in 2007. Out of all that waste, only 13.6 percent was recycled. The rest ended up in landfills or incinerators, even though, as the Electronic TakeBack Coalition explains, the hazardous chemicals in them can leach out of landfills into groundwater and streams.

And even the 13 percent that is supposedly recycled is not necessarily safe. According to the Electronic TakeBack Coalition, most recycling firms take the low road, exporting instead of recycling. From 50 to 80 percent of e-waste that is collected for recycling is shipped overseas for dismantling under unsafe conditions, harming people’s health, land, air, and water in developing countries in Asia and Africa.

About Energy Consumption and Unknowns

Three other issues are important as well.

First, a lot of necessary information on e-readers is missing.

When it comes to physical books we have all the information we need, but the situation with e-readers is getting more complicated, as most of the required information is not available. If you try to find out about the environmental impacts of Amazon’s Kindle or B&N’s Nook, good luck with that. Except for Apple, none of the companies that sell e-readers makes environmental data available.

When Joe Hutsko of the New York Times tried to learn more about the Kindle, he reported, “Phone calls and e-mail messages to Amazon inquiring about the materials in the popular Kindle device have thus far gone unanswered.”

Second, even as e-readers are becoming more energy-efficient (for example, Amazon’s Kindle and B&N’s Nook use E Ink technology, which is significantly more power-efficient than an LCD screen), this is not the full story. E-readers are also part of a wave of mobile devices that increasingly depend on the Internet and data centers to deliver hosted services and digital content, and hence will contribute to a rapid growth in energy consumption and carbon emissions associated with so-called cloud computing over the coming years.

Third, as we’ll see, even the LCA, thorough as it can get, leaves some territories unexplored, including social implications. Could we say e-books are greener if, for example, we find out they’re performing better on the life cycle assessment, but at the same time we learn that they’re manufactured in sweatshops where working conditions are deplorable?

Life Cycle Consequences

But LCA is still the best tool we’ve got, so let’s see what we can learn from it, using information provided by Apple on its iPad. (There was one attempt to do LCA for the Kindle, but I found it not valid due to lack of information.)

Recently Daniel Goleman and Gregory Norris presented their life cycle assessment comparing Apple’s iPad to physical books in a New York Times op-ed piece.

Using the available information and looking at the iPad only as an e-reader—putting aside all the other functions it has—their conclusion regarding the breakeven point was, “When it comes to global warming, though, it’s 100 books.” In other words, you need to replace a purchase of at least 100 physical books with 100 books on your iPad to make it a greener option from a carbon footprint standpoint.

I think the breakeven point is lower. When I compared the carbon footprint of the iPad Wi-Fi + 3G Model provided by Apple (130 kg CO2) with the carbon footprint of an average physical book (7.46 kg CO2, as provided by Cleantech report), I found a breakeven point of 17.4 books, meaning that in terms of carbon footprint, the iPad becomes a more environmental friendly alternative option for book reading once its user reads the 18th book on it.

But as Goleman and Norris show, the carbon footprint is just one part of the comparison. With respect to fossil fuels, water use, and mineral consumption, one e-reader has as much impact as 40–50 print-on-paper books. And with respect to human health consequences, they claim the figure is somewhere between 50 and 100 books.

The implications of the breakeven point depend on two elements—how many years a consumer will use an e-reader before switching to a newer one, and how many books the consumer reads. For a bookworm who plans to keep using an e-reader for couple of years, it may actually become a greener option. But someone who (like most Americans) reads only six to seven books a year and switches to a newer e-reader version within three to four years may not be going green.

We also have to remember that physical books can improve their ecological footprint, and they are slowly doing that. We see increasing use of recycled and FSC-certified paper, as well as greater adoption of sustainable practices in the industry. Although there’s still much to be done, progress in the last couple of years has been impressive, and it seems likely to continue as publishers identify going green not only as beneficial to the environment, but also as beneficial to business.

We are, of course, only on the first part of a long journey, and I believe e-readers will get more eco-friendly in time. The future of the book industry will probably include “greener” versions of both physical and electronic books. And, with more pressure from consumers, companies may not only start revealing all the information about their e-readers, but actually compete on which one has the greenest e-reader to offer.

Raz Godelnik is the co-founder and CEO of Eco-Libris. Founded in 2007, Eco-Libris is a green company working with publishers, authors, bookstores, and book lovers worldwide to green up the book industry by promoting the adoption of green practices, balancing out books by planting trees, and supporting green books. For more information, go to

IBPA, the Independent Book Publishers Association