by Susanna Parker
Going through a slow economic recovery, some start-ups are finding it difficult to secure investors, with green industry entrepreneurs having a harder time than most. According to a recent Gazette.net article, Tom Matzzie, CEO of Ethical Electric, was able to land a green energy venture capital deal late last year — but he was the only one in Maryland to do so. Clean venture funding has fallen 28 percent over the last year, but there is hope; clean technology companies accounted for five of the top 10 deals of 2012.
It can be difficult to secure investors without ceding control; investors are trying to get the best deal they can, which may include increased involvement in company operations. The key to finding investors is having the right product, and knowing how to pitch it.
Bethesda Green’s Green Business Incubator is helping new companies become investor-ready, which includes finance and investment workshops as well as helping local investors become more familiar with the green mission. The next session of the Finance Workshop Series & Venture Forum, coming up on February 28, will address the different types of investments that can be utilized by early stage companies, and the financing structures related to each.
A Pledge to Stop Deforestation
Asia Pulp & Paper Group, one of the largest paper companies in the world, has pledged to stop its suppliers from from cutting down natural Indonesian forests. The move, geared toward the preservation of endangered species’ habitats, was created in conjunction with Greenpeace and the Forest Trust. The paper company had been pressured by environmental groups to change its practices, which included cutting down old growth forests to create farmed tree plantations. Their plan will work to retain carbon in two ways:
- The rainforests act as a carbon sink, removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and emitting oxygen
- The soil in Indonesian forests is peat-heavy, so by preserving the sanctity of the soil, less carbon will be released from the ground.
The plan went into effect February 1. To read the full article, and for pictures of Indonesian deforestation, please visit The Huffington Post.
Fracking Moratorium Bill Introduced in Maryland House of Delegates
Last Thursday, Maryland legislators unveiled a three-point plan to establish a moratorium on hydrofracking. This legislation came the same week that Baltimore City voted against fracking, and new federal studies highlighted the potential harms of hydrofracking. Delegate Heather Mizeur, lead sponsor of the bill, said that the legislation would “ensure the General Assembly’s role in reviewing the study results before any final drilling decisions are made.”
The co-lead sponsors of the bill are Baltimore County Senator Robert Zirkin and Montgomery County Senator Jamie Raskin. For the full story, along with details of the three-point plan, please read the Chesapeake Climate Action Network’s press release.
- The 8th Annual Spring 2013 Film Series, Wechsler Theater, 3rd Flood, Mary Graydon Center. American University, 4400 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC.
Hosted by Chris Palmer and presented by the American University’s Center for Environmental Filmmaking and Filmmakers for Conservation, this series of environmental films and discussions is offered free to the public with no reservations required.
February 12 @ 7 pm: Animal Planet’s Battleground: Rhino Wars
Battleground: Rhino Wars takes the viewer into the conflict between rhino poachers and a South African anti-poaching unit. The unit, which includes former members of U.S. special forces, finds itself fighting a bloody war as they struggle to put a stop to the cruel, illegal, and highly lucrative trade of rhino horns. Animal Planet’s Senior Director of Production & Executive Producer Erin Wanner will discuss the series, premiering March 7, and reveal the back story of the miniseries’ creation.
More details about the film series can be found here.
- The Next Generation of Transit: the Key to Montgomery County’s Green Future, Wednesday February 13, 6 – 8 pm, Silver Spring Civic Center
Join the Coalition for Smarter Growth, Smart Growth America CEO Geoff Anderson, and Montgomery County Council member Roger Berliner to discuss the future of Montgomery County public transit. Future transit infrastructure should preserve open space, cut our emissions, and reduce our air pollution – and we can take action to make that future a reality. For details and to RSVP please visit the Coalition for Smarter Growth.
- Forward on Climate Rally, Sunday Feb. 17, noon, The National Mall
Join fellow environmentalists on the National Mall to tell President Barack Obama that the time to act against climate change is now – starting with the prevention of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. For more details and to RSVP, visit the event page.
- Secrets of Scandinavian Sustainable City Planning, Wednesday, Feb. 20, 8 – 9:30 am @ Bethesda Green
Doo Consulting presents Chris Jakubiak on “Secrets of Scandinavian Sustainable City Planning,” summarizing his fact-finding tour of Malmo, Sweden and Copenhagen, Denmark from the perspective of a certified and accomplished City Planner. RSVP — limited seating – breakfast fare will be served.
- 2013 Green School Summit, March 2, 8:00 am – 5:30 pm, Mary Graydon Center, American University, 4400 Massachusetts Avenue, Washington DC.
Are you a building professional interested in green development? Or are you a K-12 teacher that wants their school to become more environmentally friendly? Join the U.S. Green Building Council for the 2013 Green School Summit, and learn best practices for sustainable schools, including administrative policies, technical advancements in green building, and how to include sustainability in your school’s curriculum.
Susanna Parker is a recent college graduate and volunteer with Bethesda Green. Her interest in sustainability leads her to look for green solutions in uncommon places.