At Juniata College, my undergrad alma mater, I was originally attracted to the school by a catchy slogan: “Think. Evolve. Act.” After all, that is exactly what I wanted to do in college, right?
Of course, this process isn’t restricted to academia. It has a rightful place in business, too. That’s why I was pleasantly surprised by the Northwest Earth Institute’s (NWEI) new version of its “Sustainable Systems at Work” curriculum. (Well, I was impressed by the “3p exclusive teaser copy” I read…) More below.
While “One Million Acts of Green” are admirable, it makes more sense to inventory impacts and make reductions where they matter most. (Can I leave my AC running while I go to the store as long as I take a reusable bag?)
Consumers are less likely to respond if corporate sustainability efforts don’t tell a coherent story. AT&T’s latest Citizenship & Sustainability Report reads like a “how to” manual for creating business value through an effective sustainability strategy.
AT&T has clearly taken a look at their core business operations, identified high-impact areas, and committed to making reductions where they mattered most.
When I interviewed Beth Shiroishi, AT&T’s Assistant VP for Citizenship & Corporate Responsibility, I was amazed by both the length of her title and her breadth of knowledge about the company.
Last week, I presented at a Sustainability Summit for the Food Marketing Institute, an industry trade group representing 3/4 all the food sold in the United States.
Joel Makower, founder of GreenBiz.com, delivered the keynote address with a bold call to action: We have just 5,000 days to prevent irreversible global catastrophe. (Actually, since his first article about the topic, we are down to 4,844 days.)
After the conference, I am optimistically concerned. I am concerned that we have big environmental and social challenges to confront. And I am optimistic we can do it.
Photo Credit: Metropolis Magazine and Envision
LEED-Certified “green buildings” consume less energy, require fewer resources to build, and generate less waste than conventional buildings. Oh, and they have higher market value. And did I mention their occupants are happier, healthier, and sometimes even smarter?
That’s not some hippie propaganda. Those are all findings from well-documented studies including a (lengthy) one from the GSA—the “landlord” of most non-DoD government property.
According to Ashley Katz, Manager of Communications for the USGBC, “green buildings save 30-50% of energy, 35% of CO2 emissions, 40% of water and 70% of solid waste.”
So where is the controversy?
Photo Source: treehugger.com
Cleantech investments have (mostly) rebounded according to a new joint study by Cleantech Group and Deloitte.
After two quarters of decline, 2Q09 cleantech VC investment hit $1.2 billion. The transportation sector was the clear winner—funding for biofuels, advanced batteries, and electric vehicles reached a new quarterly record of $607 million.
Meanwhile, investors cast a shadow over solar. It’s paltry $114 million is an order of magnitude less than the $1.2 billion it received at this point last year. What happened? An answer after the jump….
Photo Credit: Vi Photography
I have heard the future. And it sounds… quiet. As a new transplant to DC, I started accepting road noise and grimy air as inevitabilities of city life. On Tuesday, Bryan Hansel, CEO of Smith Electric Vehicles, showed me an alternative. (Thank you, Bryan.)
On Tuesday, at the footsteps of the US Capitol, six companies accepted keys to their brand-new Smith Newton vehicles, the world’s largest all-electric truck.
Photo Source: Children’s Safe Drinking Water Program
P&G manages brands. A lot of them. In fact, you probably used one of their products before leaving for work (or whatever it is you do) today. Over 300 brands – from Duracell, Tide, Pampers, Charmin, Crest, to even Pringles – fall under the P&G banner. Now the company is successfully branding one more product: philanthropy.
Globally, more than 4,000 children die every day from diarrheal disease – more than HIV/AIDS and malaria combined – simply because they lack access to clean, healthy water. P&G wants to change that fact.
Here is a killer wake-up call: The global carbon market may be worth over $2.0 trillion by 2020. (That’s almost larger than the entire UK economy.) Almost half of that wealth will reside in the US, meaning carbon could account for a staggering 7% of US GDP by 2020.
In short, climate change is big business. And PwC got the memo. When I spoke with Scott Gehsmann, a Partner with PwC’s Transaction Services, he stated the firm’s position on climate change succinctly: “Doing nothing right now is not an acceptable response.”
In the last two months, Gehsmann has seen a flurry of demand for carbon & climate change risk management, including in the deal making arena. That’s where Porsche and VW appear in the storyline…
Nationwide, K-12 schools spend over $6 billion per year on energy – that’s more than textbooks and computers combined. While government-sponsored solar incentives hope to reduce that bill (and provide a fun educational opportunity for students), not all incentives are created equally.
When I asked Richard Raeke, Director of Project Finance at Borrego Solar Systems, to share his secret solar financing formula, he admitted his work is not easy: “I have a 17-page financial model to analyze the viability of any solar project.” He quipped he could work full-time just following all of the government incentive programs.
How can an average school district possibly keep up with changing trends? We offer a glimpse at incentive programs in two states and a few resources to get you started…
Skyline Solar hopes to achieve grid parity within the next 18 months. According to research by Clean Edge, solar power and conventional electricity sources will reach a “crossover” point by 2015. In other words, electricity from the sun will be cheaper than electricity from fossil fuels.
Today’s peak solar price of 15-32 cents/kWh is expected to decline to 8-12 cents/kWh by the year 2015.* (The current national average is 9.8 cents/kWh. Check your state here.) Achieving this “grid parity” – a price at which renewable and conventional sources are comparable – has been a primary goal of solar since its inception.