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December 20, 2011
by Melissa Gagnon
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The Gift of Green

During the holiday season, we often get so caught up in the hustle and bustle that we forget how important it is to be green even in the busiest of times.  After thinking about green holiday packaging, it occurred to me that, quite frankly, I didn’t know of many green options.  Sure, the old trick of wrapping your gift with Sunday’s comic strips is cute, but I was on the search for something new, something different.  Here are 6 great ideas that I found to make your holidays merry, bright, and green!

  1.  Use eco-friendly wrapping paper.  The gift pictured above uses paper from a company called Of the Earth that crafts this paper from the lokta bush.  This means no trees were harmed in the paper-making process.  Also, this paper is plantable, so bury it in the ground when you’re through and save space in the landfills.
  2. Seal your gifts with greener tape.  Try Scotch Magic Greener Tape made from 65% plant and recycled material.
  3. Send a plantable card.  These cards from Botanical Paperworks are festive and eco-friendly!  Enjoy the card, plant it, and watch wildflowers bloom!
  4. Need to send a gift in the mail?  Use these biodegradable packing peanuts made from corn and potato starches!  When your recipients opens their giftw, they simply dissolve these pollution-free peanuts in water for easy cleanup.
  5.  Bringing wine to dinner?  Nix the paper bag for a reusable wine tote.  They come in a variety of different styles (some hold up to six bottles!) and colors to add a little extra jazz to your holiday offering.
  6. Sending guests home with doggie bags?  Use these compostable containers!  They are durable and even microwavable!

Do you have any other suggestions for being green around the holidays?

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December 15, 2011
by Julie Baker
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IFRS Loopholes

An article today in the Guardian, a UK-based publication, discussed a think tank report that came out yesterday written by the Adam Smith Institute. The report stated that there are loopholes in the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) that allow banks to falsely inflate their profits and increase employee bonuses. Specifically, there are rules under IFRS that allow banks to call their expectations of future income current profits. This rule encourages banks to make risky investments with the potential for a high pay-off.

Another issue, according to this article, is the way that assets are valued. Banks are allowed to value their assets at market value; however, if assets had to be sold quickly in a forced sale to keep the company afloat, the bank likely wouldn’t get market value for those assets. This rule also helps to falsely inflate a company’s worth.                                                                     

Given this report, it’s a very good thing that the SEC is carefully looking at IFRS and examining th

ese loopholes before adopting the standards in the United States.    

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By: Present Value

Additional Reading:

AICPA Survey Shows that U.S. Accountants Have Some Knowledge of IFRS

Debate Continues About Whether or Not the U.S. Should Adopt IFRS

SEC Releases Staff Paper on a Possible Incorporation of IFRS into U.S. GAAP


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December 15, 2011
by Julie Baker
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The Power of Paper

According to Industry Week and The Economic Times, Sony is testing a new technology that turns paper into power. At an environmental products fair  in Tokyo today, the electronics company invited children to put paper into a mixture of water and enzymes, shake it up and wait for a few minutes to see the liquid become a source of electricity, powering a small fan.

“This is the same mechanism with which termites eat wood to get energy,” said Chisato Kitsukawa, a public relations manager at Sony.

The demonstration was part of Sony\’s drive to develop a sugar-based “bio battery” that turns glucose into power.

Shredded paper or pieces of corrugated board were used at the fair to provide cellulose, a long chain of glucose sugar found in the walls of green plants. Enzymes are used to break the chain and the resulting sugar is then processed by another group of enzymes in a process that provides hydrogen ions and electrons. The electrons travel through an outer circuit to generate electricity, while the hydrogen ions combine with oxygen from the air to create water.

“Bio batteries are environmentally friendly and have great potential” as they use no metals or harmful chemicals, Kitsukawa said.

But, due to its low power output, the technology is a long way from commercial viability. Kitsukawa says it\’s currently sufficient to run digital music players but not powerful enough to replace commonly used batteries.

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December 14, 2011
by Julie Baker
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The Politics of Manufacturing

During the Reuters Manufacturing and Transportation Summit in New York yesterday, National Association of Manufac

turers (NAM) president Jay Timmons told members that their goals are going to have to wait until after the U.S. Presidential election next November.

“I\’m not confident that there will be substantive work done on the policy front in Washington over the next 12 months,” Timmons said in his remarks on Tuesday.

When he took over as NAM chief earlier in the year, Timmons identified an agenda for accelerating economic growth and job creation that includes attracting foreign investment, improving access to global markets, educational reform, removing what he refers to as “overzealous regulatory” obstacles., and making the Research and Development tax credit permanent to urge innovation.

Timmons went on to say that the campaign season would require the candidates to publicly state their positions on policy that affects the manufacturing sector.

NAM represents 11,000 U.S. manufacturers with some 12 million workers.

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