Eco friendly insurance launched in SA

Eco friendly insurance has arrived in South Africa. ibuyeco, underwritten by Dial Direct, helps South Africans to offset the environmental impact of their vehicles and homes with an innovative green insurance offering. Developed in response to increasing local demand for environmentally friendly products and services, ibuyeco gives South Africans the tools to help combat global warming and climate change.

According to ibuyeco spokesperson Bradley Du Chenne, policyholders can off-set their personal CO2 footprint through support of an eco trust.

Green insurance has been gaining significant market traction internationally. Offering green car insurance, eco friendly home, buildings and portably possessions cover, ibuyeco has already established a strong footprint in the UK and Australia.

“Why should I buy eco insurance?”

Can’t afford to buy a green car? Why not use your existing insurance overheads to make a tangible difference? With an ibuyeco insurance policy, 2% of your monthly premiums are donated to an eco trust, and you get to choose the carbon offsetting initiative you wish to support.

In addition to the environmentally friendly aspect of the product, the ibuyeco insurance product also offers policyholders quality car, household and mobile items insurance cover. Offering an online sign-up process and efficient claims service, ibuyeco is certainly worth a look if you’re in the market to switch car insurance policies.

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Organic vegetables: Why LOCAL is lekker

The only rip-off that is bigger than “Our favourite Top-end Retailer’s” fresh produce is their pre-made sandwiches. Yet despite this, it’s the quality and convenient packaging that keeps you going back for more. (Or is it the laziness when it comes to packing your own lunch?)

Guilty as charged.

Yet consider this: Woolworths proudly tells you where many of their fresh produce is sourced from: Veggie type A from Kenya, Veggie Mix B from Zimbabwe, etc.

But nice and wholesome as these products may be – and whether they are organically produced or not – they cross borders from one country to the next before finally ending up on the shelves of your local store.

Fresh products don’t tend to stay fresh for long, hence you need to move them quickly from A t B if you want to sell them at a premium. This suggests air transport to South Africa, which in carbon terms is roughly on a par with what genuine mink coats are to animal rights.

From the airport, fresh products are generally delivered to retail outlets by refrigerated truck – all nicely packaged in plastic, cling-wrap, cardboard and cellophane. 

Between the cargo plane and the distribution network, that’s a LOT of carbon being emitted to bring you a bunch of fresh carrots you could’ve bought from a local grower.

Why you should support local organic producers

I am no carrot expert, but I am willing to bet my lunch for a week that an organic carrot grown in the Western Cape will taste as good, if not better, than a Zimbabwean one. And it will probably be more nutritious is as well.

In addition, local produce tends not to be so over-packaged, which means that you buying organic vegetables has double the effect in reducing your carbon footprint.

Brilliant – you CAN make a difference.

Although there may be exceptions to the rule, there’s a lot to be said for buying local grown fresh produce. Choosing to buy locally will help combat the climate crisis, and it’s hip to shop organic!

If you’re looking for a place to buy organic products,  be sure to visit Urban Sprout’s Ubergreen Organic Eco Directory for more information on organic products and the companies who grow them. Also check out The Vegan Diet for some cool veggie recipes and inspiration…

Consumer study shows broadband can save the planet

  A recent publication by the American Consumer Institute shows that Broadband Internet can reduce carbon emissions worldwide by up to 1 billion tons over the next 10 years.

But widespread adoption of the technology is key.

 The paper discusses the economic and environmental benefits of broadband Internet delivery against the backdrop of global warming and radical climate change. Current carbon dioxide emissions in the United states is currently at nearly 8 billion tons, and growing fast.  

Broadband is seriously good news 

The study finds that widespread adoption of broadband applications alone can reduce these carbon emissions by 1 billion tons over 10 years! To give you an idea of how freakin’ huge this is:

1 billion tons of carbon dioxide equates to roughly 11% of the United States’ annual oil imports, making broadband a lot of carbon bang for your broadband buck.

Everyone prefers it fast

E-mails, newsletters and mobile content have steadily been gaining ground against traditional newspapers and paper-based media, both in terms of convenience and production costs, making it a win-win for consumers AND producers.

It also has the benefit of reducing the demand for paper, saving trees conserving energy and polluting less water during the production process!  

e-Commerce rocks!

Broadband has had a pronounced and very positive effect on the way people shop – both in terms of the need to commute, and that less floor space is required to trade. E-commerce operators such as Kalahari.net and Loot.co.za, for example, don’t have to offset as big a carbon footprint as the traditional bricks-and-mortar retailer does.

Similarly, telecommunications, video conferencing, web-ex type screen-sharing and other broadband applications are reducing the need for business travel, effectively making the modern workplace particularly “carbon sui”. 

Some quick stats from ACI report…

 In the next 10 years:

  • B-2-B and B-2-C e-commerce is predicted to reduce carbon emissions by more than 200 tons in the US

  • Telecommuting could cut driving – and hence emissions – by nearly 250 million tons

  • Teleconferencing could reduce greenhouse emissions by nearly 200 million tons, if 10% of airline travel could be replaced by using this technology

And here’s the feel-good for all you online content publishers:

Over the next 10 years, shifting newspaper subscriptions from paper to online alone will curb carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions by more than million tons!

Long live the web! 

The key, however, is “widespread broadband adoption”. As commercial demand for broadband rises, the technology could be leveraged even more effectively.  

What SA Climate Crisis wants YOU to do

The climate crisis is everybody’s baby. To hit the 1 billion ton reduction in carbon emissions mark, widespread buy-in will be needed. You’re in the right line of business to make a difference! Here’s how:  

If your company is not already an avid broadband consumer, I want you to walk up to management and inform them that a serious broadband line – perhaps even two – is critical for the sustainability of the planet and, by implication, for their business. Tell them that a 1-to-1 contention ratio is not a luxury – it’s a necessity.

Get up and go demand broadband from The Man; it is your carbon duty!

GO DO IT NOW – VIVA BROADBAND VIVA!! 

I can haz Carbon Neutral Music???

A challenge to the Larks, Real Estate Agents, Josie Fields and Love Jones’ of this world.

Rock and roll, in the traditional anti-establishment sense, is dead.

Example: U2’s Bono, with his contrived advocacy sainthood vibe, has spawned a generation of mushy emo rockers that ride crowd vibes and promote things like “Third World Aid”.

Some would argue that rock is far too self-indulgent to change the world fundamentally.

I would say I am inclined to agree.

Music lovers want intelligence AND soul
Beth Orton, an electrofunk/alt-folk heroine with lyrics that hijack your mind and a voice that arrests your senses, is the inspiration behind this post. You’ll recognise her voice from down-tempo collaborations with the Chemical Brothers and William Orbit, the man for all things swish-like.

This woman is the shizniz grandmaster.

Carbon NEUTRAL – not merely “carbon conscious”
All her recent albums have been carbon neutral, which means that a tree is planted in the crummier side of downtown Mexico for every certain number of individual records  produced.

By doing this, she offsets the carbon emissions created when her CDs are pressed and album sleaves and marketing material is printed.

And she’s not advertising this fact.

Support carbon-neutral artists
If you aren’t one of the mentioned musos or their managers, you can still make a difference – simply spend your hard-earned bucks to support carbon-neutral musicians and carbon-conscious events  and music festivals such as Rocking The Daisiesand instead use that wonderful MP3 format to –

Nevermind, I didn’t say that – but do put your moolah where your maws are.

Ayeeght?!

Our No-Smut, Green-Topics-Only Pledge to You
When this blog was started, a conscious editorial decision was made rather not to post at all than to simply rant and rave aimlessly.

 I have been giving a lot of though to how the above-average citizen – yes, that’s YOU – can make a meaningful contribution to decreasing mankind’s collective carbon footprint, and will continue seeking innovative ways of fighting climatic change.

I am taking this issue seriously; if you are too, I’d encourage you to keep reading.

Watch this space.

Suggestions for a low-carbon festive season

As major contributors to global warming, air travel and driving are obvious carbon culprits – yet if you’re reading this blog post, chances are that driving (if nothing else) is virtually a given during the coming holidays.

 Here are some pointers for keeping your carbon footprint as small as possible during the silly season:

Take fewer vehicles on holiday
Splitting petrol between 4 people, rather than 2, costs (wait for it) 50% less, and also brings the group’s fossil fuel consumption down by half! It’s also more sociable, but be sure to pick your company wisely.

Go on a cycling holiday
Companies such as Wylde Ride (wylderide.co.za) can hook you up with a full-on local cycling holiday – so pick a trip that suits your fitness levels, pack the sun tan lotion and get ready for some time in the saddle – it makes for a superb break from the rat race, but you need to book fairly early.

Don’t cruise, RIDE.
Instead of just zipping around the coast or country in your rented Tazz/TT, why not do some of your explorations on a bicycle? You’ll see a lot more, and you’ll certainly emit less carbon dioxide. If nothing else, you’ll be working off the festive kilojoules and look like a Virgin Active GangStar.

Cycle to work (loser!)
If you are one of those poor sods (yours truly included) who’ll be working the skeleton shifts over the festive season, why not cash in on the deserted roads to cycle to work? Think about it: if you klank when you get there, no one will be around to notice, and it’s good green karma. It’ll also be the highlight of an otherwise lethally boring day.

Switch off your geyser, GEEZER
One of the biggest fossil fuel burners this holiday will undoubtedly be all those geysers holidaymakers have not switched off. If every household that goes on holiday switches their geysers off, Eskom is halfway off the hook. No seriously, do switch it off – but switch it back on the second you walk in the door. There’s nothing more neg than ending a good holiday with a forced icy cold shower.

If you have any potent tips for carbon-neutral holiday-making, feel free to share them in the comments!

Carbon neutrality: the next step in corporate accountability

Carbon footprint, you say?

The good folks at Wikipedia define a carbon footprint as the total amount of Co2 and other so-called greenhouse gasses emitted during the full life cycle of a product or service – or as a direct result of delivering these.

The deal with carbon footprints

Each person has a carbon footprint, an environmental impact on global warming as a whole, based on the fact that we drive cars running on fossil fuels, we produce waste that emits carbon dioxide during the disposal period, and we go through reams of paper that reduce the number of trees.

Heavy industries and primary producers obviously have a heavier footprint than service sector businesses and individual consumers, yet they nonetheless contribute to these industries’ carbon footprint by consuming their products.

Essentially, the carbon issue is everybody’s baby.

But what if my organisation is predominantly service-focused?

Realistically, primary production industries stand to make the greatest contribution through the optimisation of energy efficiencies and the reduction of emissions, yet it is also up to corporate and individual consumers to utilise products and services in a carbon-conscious way.

In Europe, carbon neutrality is fast becoming as big an advocacy and compliance issue as ethical labour outsourcing had been in the Nineties. Even in South Africa, corporate sustainability reporting already forms an integral component of shareholder communications.

And, as it turns out, there’s some serious money to be made from the global carbon market.

Getting on the green bus

UK retailer Marks & Spencer, for example, has unveiled a £200m, five-year plan to become carbon neutral by 2012. Given the fact that carbon neutrality is very likely to become a mandatory regulatory requirement in future, this early adoption has earned M&S incredibly positive publicity, and positioned them as a future-oriented, environmentally conscious and progressive retailer.

That’s setting the bar pretty damn high.

Reduction vs. offsetting

In brief, the distinction is the following:

You can reduce your own carbon footprint by being more energy-efficient. Think lift club to work, green cars, less plastic shopping bags and low-energy appliances.

Carbon offsetting involves activities that counter carbon emissions. It’s the process of neutralising your carbon impact by making up for it elsewhere.

For the sake of brevity, it involves this:

A shovel, a seedling, a hole in the ground and you.

That’s it!

Planting a tree is not only ridiculously good eco-Karma, but a great work-out too.  If you have a patch of soil to your name, populate it with trees – and if you don’t, go plant one somewhere where it won’t get you arrested.

And if it could – well, then don’t get caught.

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