Latest Blogs

4 hours 3 min ago

(3BL Media/Justmeans) - I grew up in New Jersey in the 1950’s. I remember riding down the turnpike with my parents and getting hit with a godawful smell, as we passed Newark. What is that? I was told that it was the pig farms in Secaucus. This I continued to believe until much later in life when I learned that the pig farms were long gone by the time I was born. What I smelled was the refinery.

Originally built in 1909 on 1,300 acres of land purchased by John D. Rockefeller, the Bayway refinery has consistently ranked among the worst polluters in the nation. The nature of the site’s contamination is summarized in the summary from EPA.

“Spills, releases from sewer lines, leaking pipes from underground tanks, discharges to surface water and the disposal of contaminated waste in an on-site landfill have resulted in the contamination of the Exxon site with petroleum products. Two lagoon areas that had been used for the disposal of hazardous waste are also sources of soil and groundwater contamination at the site. The soil contamination caused by the sources listed above is consistent with the contamination sometimes found at other petroleum refineries, and includes metals and chemicals associated with petroleum such as the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) benzene and chlorobenzene. The groundwater that lies beneath the facility is also contaminated with benzene and chlorobenzene among other VOCs, and with arsenic.”

Among those spills was a cracked pipe in 1990 that discharged 567,000 gallons of fuel oil into Arthur Kill for which they paid an $11 million fine, after first lying about its actions. Altogether, there has accumulated some seven million gallons of oil, forming a layer no less than seven feet thick in the surrounding waters.

The state initiated a lawsuit against Exxon (who has subsequently sold the site to Conoco-Phillips but retains responsibility) in 2004, seeking $8.9 billion in damages. The matter finally went to trial last year. Exxon was found culpable, leaving only the question of how much the company would pay remaining.

17 hours 3 min ago

(3BL Media/Justmeans) – Sustainable business practices have emerged as a crucial factor in the creation of long-term shareholder value in a globally competitive environment. Sustainability-related trends are having a significant impact on the top and bottom lines of companies. According to McKinsey, the key reasons companies want to embrace sustainability are to increase efficiency and reduce costs, improve their corporate image and meet their own business goals.

1 day 21 hours ago

(3BL Media/Justmeans) - There has been speculation and concern among many factions, including the US security community, that the onset of climate change will usher in economic, political and social unrest, leading to additional conflicts around the world. In a report released last fall, the DoD referred to climate change as a “threat multiplier.”

Now, a new report just released in the proceedings of National Academy of Science claims that climate change was a key factor leading up to the current conflict in Syria.

The study points to a severe drought in the region during the period 2006-9. The drought led to crop failures that caused some 1.5 million people to migrate to the cities. It turned the country from a food exporter to a net importer, driving food prices up. These changes exacerbated problems in the already-stressed cities when pro-democracy demonstrations broke out, ultimately becoming violent and turning into an uprising against President Bashar al-Assad who had all but ignored the breakdown.  As rebel brigades formed to stand up to government forces, the conflict erupted into a full-scale civil war in which some 200,000 lives have already been lost.

2 days 3 hours ago

(3BL Media/Just Means) - Fairtrade is a concept that most conscientious consumers are aware of these days. It means that small-time producers are getting a better deal for their produce and making a better living. Currently, it reaches more than 1.5 million people in 74 developing countries.

2 days 7 hours ago

(3BL Media/Justmeans) – Data centers have emerged as one of the largest and fastest growing consumers of electricity in the U.S., according to the Natural Resources Defense Council. In 2013, data centers located in the U.S. consumed 91 billion KWH of electricity, which was enough to power all the households in New York City twice over. Over the next five years, the annual consumption of electricity by the U.S. data centers is estimated to reach 140 billion KWH.

2 days 12 hours ago

(3BL Media/Justmeans) – For conscious customers, the key barriers in acting on sustainability include knowing what sustainability really means, and determining which companies are doing better than others on this front. To overcome this hurdle, Walmart has launched a unique Sustainability Leaders shop. This online portal is designed to make it easier for customers to identify products made by companies that have scored as best in class in Walmart’s Sustainability Index.

5 days 21 hours ago

The Hershey Company recently announced that it is transitioning to simpler ingredients, and that this transition builds on  its commitment to responsible ingredient sourcing. The details are still a bit vague, but the company stated that it plans to introduce new snacking products in the U.S. in 2015 that have simple ingredients.

6 days 5 hours ago

(3BL Media/Just Means) – If you are passionate about forests, their beauty and the amazing environmental services they offer, here’s some news to raise a glass to. American Forests and Bacardi have joined forces to press ahead with reforestation initiatives in Idaho, which is good news for wildlife​, ecosystems​ and the climate.

6 days 5 hours ago

(3BL Media/Justmeans) – According to a 2012 Internet Society survey, 83 percent of people consider Internet access a basic human right. The Federal Communications Commission (F.C.C.) has now approved the net neutrality rules, which classify broadband Internet service as a utility. The objective behind this landmark move is to preserve the Internet’s role as a “core of free expression and democratic principles,” according to the commission chairman, Tom Wheeler.

6 days 5 hours ago

(3BL Media/Just Means) – Working in the social good segment requires passion, good will and sanguine dedication, but the impacts that social entrepreneurs can have on society can be more far reaching when they develop sound business skills. This is what Shana Dressler, founder of the Social Innovators Collective, found out the hard way when in 2009 she saw her project Global Giving Circle rise and fall in the same year.