Thoughts from July 2007

a darker shade of google


Here's something interesting our Sustainability Jess told us all about on Monday morning...

When your screen is white, be it an empty word page, or the Google page, your computer consumes 74 watts of energy, and when it's black it consumes only 59 watts. A guy Mark Ontkush wrote this article about the energy saving that would be achieved if Google had a black screen. Taking in account their huge number of page views, according to his calculations, 750 mega watts/hour per year would be saved.

In a response to this article Google created a black version of its search engine, called Blackle (or black google if you still love the google logo), with the exact same functions as the white version, but with lower energy consumption.

It's great that google are so open to ideas like this and went and implemented it off that back of Mark's idea. Why don't you go and change the bookmark in your browser for Google. I just have.

buy one, get one tree


So here’s something interesting. We’re doing something with Starbucks at the moment that means you’ll see little neck tags on our bottles in their stores. On each neck tag are instructions that tell you how to register online for a tree to be planted – we sort out the tree planting bit, so all you have to do is register.

Of course, there are plenty of good reasons to plant trees. They provide homes for woodpeckers. They protect you from hailstones. And some of them have good strong bark that you can make shoes from if you're trapped in the wilderness and you lose your boots (maybe). Check out some more smart facts about why we’re planting trees and have a look at the tree-o-meter - I think we just passed 1000 trees.

being proactive


Caroline wrote to us to tell us that she’s about to cycle from Land’s End to John O’Groats in aid of The Dandelion Trust and saving The Spitz. This is what she has to say about it:

The Dandelion Trust, is a registered charity that supports the arts, helps people in traumatic situations, and conserves green spaces and beautiful buildings. Their work ranges from providing holidays for sick children from Chernobyl to the preservation of woodland areas and historic buildings.

For the past 11 years, one of their projects has been The Spitz in London. It has been host to groundbreaking exhibitions in their gallery, given thousands of unsigned bands a platform and also provided a sociable and socially conscious restaurant for people to come to. The Spitz has recently been told by their landlords that they are to be evicted (due to development) and they now need to find somewhere else.

So, in response to what’s happening, I will be cycling literally to the ends of the UK and trying to help them find and finance a new venue. In the vein of The Dandelion Trust, I will be doing this 900 miles (+) route over about 15 days in an environmentally sound way, by bike, deviating from the usual routes to visit some of the other Trust projects along the way, to highlight the work they do.

Coincidentally, my boy ran the kitchen at The Spitz until earlier this year and I’ve visited some of the Dandelion Trust's historic buildings, so this is also a cause close to my heart.

If you want to help, please sign the petition to Save The Spitz or make a donation to enable the Dandelion Trust to relocate it.

Good luck Caroline and fingers crossed...

well behaved pineapples

We like to buy fruit from farms that make that extra effort to look after their workers and the environment. So we've been buying Rainforest Alliance certified bananas for a while now, and are keen to get our pineapples certified as well. However, at the moment there are no farms certified to the standard to provide them to us. Our Jess went to visit pineapple growers in Costa Rica recently, to learn more about pineapple farming, and to understand what actions were needed to get the farms certified.


After a bit of research and chatting to the farmers, it seems that the three main areas the farms are working on are conserving biodiversity, protecting the soil from erosion and worker safety. So we'll be working closely with the farms and auditors from the Rainforest Alliance over the next few months on these three main areas, and will hopefully get that certification. Oh yes.

Yolanda and Francisco (Rainforest Alliance auditors), and our Jess

A word about the pineapples we'll be buying...they're called Mayan Gold and are really juicy and sweet. The plants and the pineapples are very prickly on the outside, so you have to wear special clothes when picking them, to protect your skin. The pineapples are prone to sunburn if they're on the outside of the plant, which means that they don't look so pretty but they still taste great.