Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Keiretsu Presenters: Eco-Friendly Winners and a Loser



Of the 12 companies that presented at the SF Expo in April, the ones that appear to have positive environmental impacts (as far as I can see) are (in order of appearance):

1. Enroute Systems
This company makes shipping more efficient for mid size companies which is not only cost saving but energy saving as well.

2. EarthClassMail
This company, featured in the reality TV series Startup Junkies (or watch it on Hulu), digitizes mail for a fee and has unique software that national postal organizations are finding helpful. Obviously, this is a green-friendly company.

3. Cyclos
Cyclos is commercializing software to make semiconductor clocks more efficient, thereby saving energy.

4. Signalink Technologies
Signalink enables electrical wiring to become part of a smart building network and reduces energy consumption.

5. Powermand
Powermand seems like it will have a positive impact by reducing energy consumption in large buildings.

The Loser



Note: Unfortunately, the most ecologically unfriendly company is the one that won the SF Expo's award. Nest Collective produces baby food (through Plum Organics) that is absolutely terrible for the environment. Although the company's Plum Organics web site makes much ado about its sustainable packaging for its children's food products, the web site features no mention of the baby food containers that are virtually indestructible - composed of heavy duty plastics that will never go away. Unfortunately, I don't have a picture and there is none (for obvious reasons) on the company's web site. The only picture you will find is of the box that the baby food plastic containers come in.

In addition, the first two items I picked up from Revolution Foods, Nest's other company, were a disappointment. Despite all the talk (and branding) about nutrition, both were products where the number one ingredient is cane juice - or sugar water, for those of us who don't write food labels. It's a very sad state of affairs that Nest is just one more company trying to co-opt Alice Waters' very worthy Delicious Revolution with a campaign around "moms are the revolution" that tries to sell these very worthy moms and kids sugar water packaged as food in lots of packaging. Not very sustainable!

I've puzzled a bit over why the angels voted this company best of expo. Was it the fact that this was the only female CEO? Did they fall for the pitch that the company's foods were nutritious without reading the labels? Was it because the company uses only stock to acquire other companies? Or was it because the Nest booth hands out free samples? It's hard to tell just why, especially because branding can be so deceiving.

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