Friday, October 30, 2009

100% Renewable Energy by 2030?

A new study out of Stanford and UC says that we can power all the world's energy needs through wind, water and solar power - and that it could be done by 2030, for less than it would cost to use fossil fuel and nuclear energy sources.

How? Fossil fuel energy sources are typically inefficient - for example, in a fossil fuel burning car, up to 80% of the energy is lost as heat. The energy savings from converting to those greener energy sources, by itself, could cut the world's energy demands to two-thirds what they are today. This could eliminate the need for 13,000 coal plants worldwide, and save enough money to justify the switchover.

Of course, this plan would still require massive changes to the world's energy infrastructure: 3.8 million large wind turbines, 89,000 300-megawatt solar plants, 490,000 tidal turbines, 1.7 billion rooftop photovoltaic systems, and 900 hydroelectric plants, plus the countless new transmission lines needed to distribute so much more electricity. Only about 2% of this renewable energy infrastructure exists today.

But the researchers conclude that the biggest obstacle to these changes is actually the competing non-renewable energy industry, which currently dominates political lobbying.

[Stanford University via FastCompany]

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Just How Green is Wal-mart?

Wal-Mart now sees energy and fuel efficiency as significant bottom-line drivers: so carbon emissions equal potentially wasted profits. Wal-Mart has realized that it's far easier to cut wasteful operating expenses than to grow top line sales.


Tuesday, October 13, 2009

So just how big is Walmart?

For the fiscal year ended Jan. 31, 2009, Walmart's worldwide sales topped $401 billion.

That's close to $46 million each and every hour of every day.

That's more than the gross domestic product of Taiwan, Greece and Denmark, and double that of Romania.

Walmart discloses its operating margin at 5.8 per cent, which totals a profit of $44,250 every minute.

Walmart's U.S. sales tops Home Depot, Kroger, Target, Sears, Costco and K-Mart combined.

If Walmart continues to grow at its current rate, revenues will be $3 trillion by 2020, as much as economies of France and Britain combined, and it will employ 8.2 million people.

Walmart is already the biggest private employer in the U.S.

Walmart develops more real estate, consumes more energy than any other American company.

How's this for diversity? Walmart sells more dog food, disposable diapers, guns, toothpaste, CDs and diamonds than any other retailer.

It's estimated that one-third of American shoppers visit Walmart once a week.

In a little over a decade, the retailer went from selling no groceries to being America's No. 1 grocer.

Industry estimates suggest that 70 per cent of merchandise has left the store before Walmart has paid its suppliers for it.

I am fascinated with the website - here is some more info on Walmart:

Amazing how a company can shape technology, like the introduction of bar codes or the lowering of the cost on a 4 pack of light bulbs nationally. It has been an astounding story with Wal-Mart over the past few decades, as huge manufacturers like GE bow to a retailer. Its a case now where the tail wags the dog. Is Wal-Mart getting TOO BIG?

Here is a great movie (a few years old but still fascinating) if you can find a download copy or it is on TV every now and then.

Here is a great PBS documentary also; watch it online.

Oh, and for us capitalists: Here's the stock performance since Wal-Mart went public in 1970, issuing a paltry 300,000 shares.

In 1971 if you invested just $5,000 dollars in Wal-Mart stock, you would have over $10,000,000 (yeah, ten million) in your jeans today. I guess not everyone hates Wal-Mart!


Monday, October 5, 2009

Costless Express Acquires Frogfile

COSTLESS EXPRESS Announces the Acquisition of FROGFILE Office Essentials; Creating Canada’s Most Environmentally Friendly Office Supply Company.

Dear Costless Express Customers,

Now more than ever "It's Easy Being GREEN!"™

I am pleased to announce some very exciting news - As of October 5th, 2009 Costless Express has acquired FROGFILE Office Essentials, creating Canada's most environmentally friendly office supply company.

This business combination allows us to increase our market position, add new environmental and sustainable products and leverage our existing infrastructure. We have high praise for the Frogfile management team and are pleased that they have agreed to join us during the transition period.

“Frogfile and Costless Express share the same philosophy when it comes to the environment and providing customers with innovative and sustainable solutions that add value to their business goals,” said Gil Yaron, Founder and CEO of Frogfile Office Essentials. “Costless Express has the breath and depth of warehousing and distribution, as well as the promotional programs, purchasing power, and financial clout necessary to empower our sales people to better meet customer requirements in a positive growing capacity.

This acquisition accelerates Costless Express’s growth, enhances our competitive position and extends our industry leading line of products and services. In particular Frogfile’s strength in environmentally friendly office products and knowledge will continue to broaden Costless Express’s presence in this important growth category and key vertical markets.

What does this mean for Costless Express customers?

“We’re More Than Just Office Supplies”™

It allows our customers to outsource their total office procurement needs. Customers can look forward to an expanded environmentally friendly selection of products at even lower prices. Costless Express will expand the total item selection to offer over 30,000 business products and associated services to help our customers run their operations more smoothly, focus on their core business and drive down hard and soft procurement costs. In addition, Costless Express will now be able to offer guidance to customers who wish more information on creating an environmentally sustainable company and how to take the steps to get there themselves.

We are excited at Costless Express to add over one thousand new Frogfile customers. As an existing Costless Express customer I can assure you our service levels will be at the best ever due to the addition of several new outside sales staff (a first for Costless Express). I hope you get a chance to meet one of our Senior Account Managers soon as they'll have many exciting new programs and products to offer.

Over the past three years Costless Express has focused on being the most environmentally friendly office supply company in Canada. During that time we’ve had many successes such as becoming Canada’s First Carbon Neutral Office Supply Company, eliminating cardboard boxes for plastic delivery totes, paperless invoicing, "Save-a-stamp" payment, fleet optimization investments and many more. On October 5th I feel we have something very special to be proud of at Costless Express - the addition of Frogfile to our corporate family.

About Frogfile Office Essentials

“It’s Easy Being Green” ™

Frogfile Office Essentials was born of a simple idea in 2004: Anyone can make a difference through his or her work. Frogfile believes that the ordinary "nuts and bolts" of the nine to five world -- paper, pencils, and pens -- are, in fact, part of the solution. Teaching environmental stewardship to office workers and offering environmentally friendly products will have lasting effects for the planet and customers.

Frogfile sources and distributes thousands of pro-planet office alternatives for a wide range of companies. Whether a customer is a growing non-profit or an established Fortune 100 firm, Frogfile takes the guesswork out of responsible procurement. Frogfile saves customers time and money by pre-selecting only the most sustainable solutions available and educating customers on practicing environmental sustainability inside and outside the office.

Gil Yaron, Frogfile's founder and CEO, brings to Costless Express over four years of triple digit sales growth, more than a decade of experience in product sourcing, environmental standards, and best practices. With every order, Yaron has proven that smarter office selections needn't come with premiums of cost, quality, or convenience.’s website, phone and fax will remain operational during a 60-day transition period in which all Frogfile customer account information will be transferred to Costless Express.

Calvin Johnson