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EDITORS: Measuring the state of green business


Today GreenBiz.com – a website devoted to tracking and fostering green business – released its inaugural State of Green Business 2008 report. The 64-page document, which is free online, attempts to measure the progress American businesses are making toward environmental sustainability. No easy question to tackle. Summing up the state of the industry during a telecom press conference this morning, executive director of GreenBiz Joel Makower says, "It's just getting started."

GreenBiz evaluates the industry on 20 measures of environmental performance with a ‘sink’, ‘swim’, or ‘tread’ water grade. Check out their GreenBiz index for a full review, but here are some of the highlights:

Swimming:

  • More companies are jumping on board with the Carbon Disclosure Project, making public their internal audits of greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Clean tech investments are on the rise.
  • Energy efficiency has improved when measured as a ratio of energy use verses GDP.
  • LEED certified office buildings are sprouting up like weeds.
  • Paper use is down and recycling of the stuff is up, through perhaps not surprisingly as businesses move their affairs online.
  • The amount of toxics released by business verses our GDP has also dropped.

Sinking:

  • Carbon intensity, meaning our greenhouse gas emissions per unit of GDP, isn’t being reduced quickly enough. While the ratio lowered slightly this year, it was but a drop in the bucket when faced with what must be achieved to avoid the serious effects of climate change.
  • E-waste, shorthand for electronic waste such as computers and electronics, is piling up with nowhere or way to be recycled.

GreenBiz concedes the data underpinning their conclusions is at times incomplete to non-existant. For the most part their calculations are on a macro scale looking at consumption divided by GDP as opposed to survey responses from individual companies.


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Americans Now Leaving Permanent Eco-Living Legacies after Death
ATLANTA – January 30, 2008 – Plot space is running out across America. Families are moving, couples are divorcing and no one visits their local cemetery to check on their final resting place. What are the burial options for the next generation? Cremation is growing dramatically in the United States, and by 2010, the procedure may be included in 40 percent of funerals, according to the Cremation Association of North America. Given these cremation statistics, alternative burial trends are on the rise, including eco-friendly or “green burial,” urging many Americans to think about leaving a permanent eco-living legacy. For families and individuals that choose alternative burial, a new memorial option is gaining popularity – reef burial.
Over the past seven years, Atlanta-based Company Eternal Reefs has offered underwater burial at sea in an artificial reef called a “Memorial Reef.” Eternal Reefs is the only company in the United States to combine an individual’s cremated remains with eco-friendly cast concrete to form a designed reef called a reef ball. Weighing anywhere from 400 – 4,000 pounds, each Memorial Reef placed on the ocean floor creates a new marine habitat for fish and other forms of sea life, allowing a new ecosystem to develop. Memorial Reefs have also been a solution for the “shelf people” crisis across the country. An astonishing 45 percent of families that have chosen cremation still have their loved ones remains sitting on a shelf or in a closet. Thousands of individuals pass away unexpectedly and don’t leave a will, leaving the next generation to handle their remains. Eternal Reefs offers a final resting place for those individuals.
With every Memorial Reef, the executor of the estate receives two memorial certificates that identify the longitude and latitude of the memorials, which are marked with bronze plaques. Loved ones can participate in every step of the Memorial Reef process and gather for the reef casting, viewing and placement ceremonies. Throughout the year, families and friends often return to the memorial reef site to dive, fish or even visit by glass bottom boat.
“You’re seeing a change culturally. Rather than passing down an urn to future generations or taking up space in a cemetery, this memorial is a true living legacy, says Don Brawley, founder, Eternal Reefs Inc. “Our families find comfort in knowing their loved one has a final resting place and a meaningful environmental tribute to life.”
2008 Eternal Reefs locations include:
• Fort Myers, Florida – February 5, 2008
• Sarasota, Florida – February 8, 2008
• Miami, Florida – February 11, 2008
• Ocean City, New Jersey – May 16, 2008
• Ocean City, Maryland – May 19, 2008
• Sarasota, Florida – July 15, 2008
• Ft. Lauderdale, Florida – July 18, 2008
• Charleston, South Carolina – October 10, 2008
• Chesapeake Bay – October 13, 2008
For more information about Eternal Reefs visit: www.eternalreefs.com
About Eternal Reefs Inc.
Eternal Reefs, Inc is the first company in the United States to offer green burial at sea in an artificial reef ball to memorialize the cremated remains of a loved one. Headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia , the company incorporates cremated remains with environmentally safe concrete to form an artificial reef formation called a Memorial Reef. The artificial reefs are dedicated as permanent memorials while also bolstering natural coastal reef formations. Over 1,000 Memorial Reefs, have been placed off the coasts of Florida, South Carolina, Texas , New Jersey , Maryland, North Carolina and Virginia . For more information, visit: www.eternalreefs.com.
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