Symantec Pledges to Engage 1M Students in STEM by 2020

Lauren Zanolli
| Monday October 27th, 2014 | 0 Comments

SYM_Vert_RGB-72dpiSymantec last week released its seventh annual Corporate Responsibility Report, shortly after the software and information management firm announced it would be split into two separate publicly-traded businesses. The report, entitled Transforming to Protect the Future, continues the company’s reputation for a proactive CR approach and includes updated performance goals for the next five years.

The California-based company has been an early adopter of responsible business standards and was a signatory to the 2006 U.N. Global Compact, a set of international principles to protect human rights and ethical working conditions, decrease environmental impact and protect against corruption. The company also joined the U.N. Global Compact LEAD Initiative, a platform for corporate sustainability leadership launched in 2011, as one of just five U.S. companies.

Symantec has grown to dominate the security and data management industries, reaching $6.7 billion in revenue in FY 2014 (ending March 30, 2014), and recently announced the company would be separated into two distinct entities — a data security and information management business. The company has not yet indicated how this change will affect its CR strategy, but its latest CR report added several new performance goals on workplace diversity, education and supply chain impact over the next five years.

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Climate Change: Ready for a New Era of Extreme Weather?

Bill DiBenedetto | Monday October 27th, 2014 | 60 Comments

NWFpicfromreportA large part of the response to climate change amounts to holding actions to mitigate the impact of fossil fuel emissions and to better prepare for unprecedented storms, hurricanes and floods.

Is enough being done on the latter point — preparedness for extreme weather? The answer is no, according to a 76-page report released this month by the National Wildlife Federation, Allied World Assurance Company Holdings and Earth Economics. In fact, the organizations say, there’s a major “preparedness deficit.”

The study, Natural Defenses from Hurricanes and Floods: Protecting America’s Communities and Ecosystems in an Era of Extreme Weather, examines the growing risks from potentially-catastrophic natural hazards; the policy solutions that can safeguard people, property and wildlife habitats; and local case studies that can point the way forward.

“Our preparedness deficit is the result of years of inaction and under-investment at the federal, state and local levels,” says Collin O’Mara, NWF president and CEO. “It’s time for our elected officials to reinvest in our natural defenses and this report offers a blueprint for bipartisan, market-based solutions.”

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SunShot Helps Bay Area Startups Drive Down Solar Costs

| Monday October 27th, 2014 | 13 Comments

sunshotgreenEnergy0413_slideFollowing through on the mitigation aspects of President Barack Obama’s Climate Action Plan, the Department of Energy on Oct. 22 announced the latest round of SunShot Initiative award winners. Reducing fossil fuel use is the most effective means of reducing the greenhouse gas emissions that are fueling climate change. By investing in innovative solar and renewable energy research and development, DOE is promoting further reductions in the cost of solar energy — making it an economically more attractive, emissions-free alternative to fossil fuels.

In this latest round of SunShot R&D funding, DOE awarded a total of $53 million to help young, small U.S. companies carry out 40 innovative solar energy projects that could help realize the SunShot Challenge goal of driving the total installed cost of solar energy down to 6 cents per kilowatt-hour by 2020. Thanks to SunShot, the U.S. is 60 percent of the way there, with the average price of utility-scale solar-generated electricity having dropped from about 21 cents to 11 cents per kWh.

Among the latest crop of SunShot R&D award winners are Cogenra Solar, Mosaic and Stem — promising young U.S. companies at the forefront of innovation in upstream and downstream solar photovoltaic (PV) energy and intelligent energy storage technology. All three, as it turns out, are based in the San Francisco Bay area.

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How Hospitals Are Stepping Up to the Challenge of Climate Change

3p Contributor | Monday October 27th, 2014 | 0 Comments

Gerwig_GreeningHealthCare_9780199385836_COV_r1By Kathy Gerwig

Health care organizations are in the business of supporting human health. Yet the irony is that health care organizations, and the hospitals they operate, are no small players in contributing to climate change. Hospitals account for 8 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. They spend $5.3 billion on energy every year, and use twice as much energy per square foot as traditional office space. They generate more than 2 million tons of waste per year. And they are among the top 10 water users in their communities, with some facilities using up to 700,000 gallons of water per hospital bed per year.

It’s a considerable environmental footprint. And as the consequences of climate change are becoming all the more real, posing the “biggest global health threat in the 21st century,” it is only natural that health care organizations should take a leading role in addressing this challenge.

And they are.

A growing number of health care business and clinical leaders are turning away from ideological disputes and tired political battles over climate change and are simply stepping up to the challenge. They are embracing environmental stewardship as part of their commitment to improving health. They are mounting a response to the health impacts of climate change that are predicted and are already being felt. And they are looking hard at the environmental impact of their hospitals and operations in order to address their role in driving climate change and do something about it.

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The Most Common CV and Resume Mistakes, Part 2: Ignore the Market

3p Contributor | Monday October 27th, 2014 | 2 Comments

By Shannon Houde

resume-cv-writing-adviceSo, you’ve found a posting for your dream job. It looks amazing, you love the company already, it’s in your city, and you think you can do it well. What next?

If your answer is to draft an email to the HR department and attach a CV that tells all about who you are and what you’ve done, then you’d better keep reading. Because a winning CV is not a flabby, generic description of a candidate; it’s a ripped marketing tool that does the heavy lifting for hiring managers and makes it easy for them to see why they should call you for an interview. It makes them want to know you!

In the battle for dream roles, smart jobseekers know that ignoring the market in this way is a serious CV fail. I’m a sustainability career coach, talent advisor and former HR manager, and I often find myself sat at seminar discussions, high-level meetings and coffee tables with the very people whose attention you’re trying to attract. Which is how I know that taking a strategic, targeted approach to job applications is the best way to land an interview.

In last month’s post — The Most Common CV and Resume Mistakes, Part 1: It’s All About Me!  — I explained why your CV should be all about the market: appealing to the market, meeting the market’s needs, using the market’s language, communicating what the market wants to hear. In this month’s post, I’m going to help you take a deep, analytical dive into the job description to figure out what the market really wants and tailor your CV to nail it.

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Big Endowments Are Divesting: Are You?

Dale Wannen
Dale Wannen | Monday October 27th, 2014 | 1 Comment

3277809462_f98a9ac7f6_zThe divestment train has left the station. It’s hard to pass a headline that doesn’t include the words ‘divestment’ and ‘foundation’ in the same sentence these days. And rightfully so: As technology and innovation in renewables start to take hold, the good old boys at the coal mining and fossil fuel companies are starting to lose investors. Recent campaigns include:

  • Stanford University, an $18.7 billion portfolio, got out of all coal mining investments.
  • The city of Oakland unanimously approved a measure divesting city funds from all investments in any company whose business is extraction, production, refining, burning or distribution of any fossil fuels.
  • Rockefeller Brothers Fund, heir to the oil tycoon John D. Rockefeller, announced the divestment of fossil fuels in the fund.

The list goes on and on. Somewhat piggybacked nearly 40 years later on the anti-apartheid campaigns of the early ’80s, this divestment campaign started a few years back at universities and colleges and has now spread to over 300 college campuses across the country through organizations such as Responsible Endowments Coalition. But it seems as if this divestment movement is taking hold not only with the universities, but also with a number of different institutions, including small and large family foundations and local municipalities. This eventually will trickle down to individual households who have various IRAs, 401(k)s and brokerage accounts. Several steps to help create a personal fossil-fuel free portfolio include:

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Solar Prices Still Falling Fast, Study Finds

Gina-Marie Cheeseman
| Monday October 27th, 2014 | 14 Comments

solarSolar prices continue to drop, according to the findings of a joint report by National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL). Distributed solar photovoltaic (PV) system prices decreased by 12 to 19 percent nationwide in 2013. Prices in 2014 are expected to drop by another 3 to 12 percent — and this trend is expected to continue through 2016.

PV system prices of residential and commercial systems dropped by 6 to 7 percent per year from 1998 to 2013 — and by 12 to 15 percent from 2012 to 2013. Market analysts expect system prices to continue to drop. The Department of Energy SunShot Initiative aims to reduce PV system prices by 75 percent from 2010 to 2020.

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SXSW Eco Interview: Paul Dillinger, Levi Strauss & Co.

| Monday October 27th, 2014 | 0 Comments

This post is part of Triple Pundit’s ongoing coverage of the SXSW Eco conference. For the rest, please visit our SXSW Eco page here.

levis_jiu_jitsu_sustainability_carePaul Dillinger is VP of Product Design and Innovation for Levi Strauss & Co.  We’ve talked to Paul on a number of occasions, so I was thrilled to chat again at this month’s SXSW Eco conference.

I asked him: How can creativity and design solve problems of sustainability?  

It might seem obvious that creativity is part of any problem-solving process, but it’s not always obvious how to create the conditions wherein creativity can thrive.  In the video below Paul offers some stories from his experiences at Levi Strauss as well as other anecdotes that might help…

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SXSW Eco Interview: Ian Hughes, Goose Island Brewery

| Saturday October 25th, 2014 | 0 Comments

This post is part of Triple Pundit’s ongoing coverage of the SXSW Eco conference. For the rest, please visit our SXSW Eco page here.

gooseisland1Goose Island is one of my favorite Chicago beers and like many quality beers has a solid sustainability story to share.  At this year’s SXSWeco conference, Goose Island’s Assistant Brewing Manager, Ian Hughes and I had a good talk about the efforts the company is making to be more sustainable.  Perhaps of equal importance, we also talked about how consumers can be better educated about the efforts of breweries like Goose Island.

Ian and I both agreed that the story of sustainability in brewing should be more widely known – so drink to that next time you sit down for a pint.

More in the video below….

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SXSW Eco: Walter Wang Talks About Adaptive Gas Taxes

| Saturday October 25th, 2014 | 4 Comments

This post is part of Triple Pundit’s ongoing coverage of the SXSW Eco conference. For the rest, please visit our SXSW Eco page here.

gas-taxNo one like paying taxes, although most readers of this site would agree that reasonably high gas taxes can help drive consumers in a more sustainable direction.  That said, there are inherent inefficiencies with our current system which isn’t even keeping up with inflation.

Walter Wang has an idea called an adaptive tax system which is based on a fluid tax rate that adjusts with the frequency and quantity of one’s gas fill-ups instead of just how many gallons they use.

Walter explains it all in the video below…

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3M, Cisco Systems, Kimberly-Clark Offer Employees Home Solar Financing

| Friday October 24th, 2014 | 0 Comments

Solar financing Cisco 3M Kimberly-Clark Geostellar

The tubes started buzzing earlier this week with news that leading corporations 3M, Cisco Systems, and Kimberly-Clark Corporation have partnered with the World Wildlife Foundation  and the National Geographic Society to offer their employees something that we’re going to call “instant” solar financing on their home solar systems. The idea is to take advantage of bulk-order group purchasing power to slash costs, and to vet one standout solar company to manage the financing and pre-qualify reliable contractors to provide the installations.

Giving employees a great deal on home solar installations is just part of the perk. The other part is relieving individual solar purchasers from all the time, hassle, and guesswork involved in choosing a reliable solar financing and installation company.

The solar company selected by the partnership is  Geostellar, which has received Energy Department funding to develop a low cost, streamlined solar purchasing process that enables it to offer one of the best solar deals, if not the best, available today.

But wait, there’s more — lots more. The excitement was touched off by a story in The New York Times on October 22, but the new solar financing partnership is just one small piece of a huge bundle of solar initiatives announced by the Obama Administration back on October 18. Somehow that slipped under our radar, so before we dig deeper into the solar financing perk let’s take a look at the whole package.

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Baker Hughes Fights Breast Cancer With Pink Fracking Drill Bits

Eric Justian
| Friday October 24th, 2014 | 2 Comments

Screen Shot 2014-10-23 at 3.47.52 PMPaint it pink. Why not? The pink-ification of just about everything to raise breast cancer awareness may have run up against its limits with pink oil drill bits.

In a world with pink AR-15s, pink trash bins, pink soup cans, and pink everything else now Baker Hughes, a leader in hydraulic fracturing equipment, is painting pink 1000 drill bits used in fracking. The reason? To raise breast cancer awareness among the hard working mostly-men in oil fields.

Baker Hughes’s commitment doesn’t stop at pink though, though. It extends to green, and we don’t mean environmental. For the second year in the row the company is donating $100,000 to Susan G. Komen, the best-funded breast cancer organization in the U.S. In exchange, Baker Hughes gets to use the specific shade of pink Susan G. Komen has trademarked. Generally, that’s a hard thing to call “Bad.” Obviously they shouldn’t forego donations if they help people. But there’s definitely a bit of irony involved considering the carcinogenic nature of fracking chemicals.

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Appliance Manufacturers Show How to Let Disruption Drive Development

3p Contributor | Friday October 24th, 2014 | 0 Comments
This old fridge might be cute, but it's an energy hog.

This old fridge might be cute, but it’s an energy hog.

By Jennifer Tuohy

Traditionally, incumbent industries are the last to catch on to truly game-changing innovations. Reasons for this are varied, but broadly, a reluctance to risk changing a tried-and-true business model comes into play. Witness the crumbling of the newspaper industry under the onslaught of the internet, how film manufacturers lost sight of the big picture in the digital photography revolution, and the decimation hotel and taxi services are facing with the advent of crowd-sourcing services.

Arguably the biggest mistake each of these industries made was to view the oncoming disruptive force as a battle and not as opportunity. Whether any of these incumbents could have been saved by a more rapid pivot is a discussion for the history books (or history e-books, as the case may be). But the biggest takeaway from the floundering of the aforementioned industries is that incumbents can no longer rely on consumer loyalty — the consumer will get what he or she needs, regardless of the delivery method.

This fate could well have befallen the home appliance industry with the advent of global warming. The push for energy efficiency, which began in the 70s and blossomed in the 90s with the introduction of the Energy Star program, was truly a pivot point for that industry. Left to their own devices, many of the industry’s incumbents may well have collapsed by ignoring consumer desires for reduced energy costs and enhanced efforts to protect the planet (and their wallets). However, thanks to a sizable financial push from government, courtesy of the Energy Star program, appliance manufacturers not only survived the seismic shift, they have thrived from it.

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Report: Insurance Companies Still Unprepared for Climate Change Risks

Leon Kaye | Friday October 24th, 2014 | 1 Comment
Insurance companies, insurers, Ceres, Allianz, Zurich Insurance Group, Catlin Group, climate change, enterprise risk management, climate risk, Leon Kaye

The Berlin office of Allianz, a leading example of insurers taking climate change seriously

For an industry that is built upon gauging and managing risks, one would think the insurance industry would be more prepared to deal with climate change’s potential effects. But the most recent annual report by Ceres shows an overall lack of preparedness in confronting climate-related risks and addressing potential opportunities. Similar to last year’s report, Ceres found some leadership amongst 300-plus U.S. insurance companies it surveyed, but still finds a lack of innovation and long term planning.

The survey found that nine insurers, or three percent of the companies that responded to the survey, earned what Ceres described as a “leading” rating. Property and casualty insurers tend to have a greater understanding about how climate change could potentially affect their business; life and health insurers lag behind. And only about 10 percent of the surveyed insurance companies have publicly disclosed risk management statements that include climate change as a significant long term risk to their businesses. The larger companies pay more attention to climate change than smaller insurers, though exceptions, such as the Catlin Group, exist.

So who are some of the leaders?

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CODA Automotive Back From Bankruptcy With Energy Storage Solution

RP Siegel | Friday October 24th, 2014 | 0 Comments

CODA-Core-40kWh-Tower1Energy storage has become an exciting area, both as a new business and as an enabler for the continued rapid growth of renewable energy generation. While it’s true that Amory Lovins has claimed that it is possible for renewables to continue to grow without a massive investment in storage, he acknowledges that it would be helpful. This was the path chosen by the California’s Public Utility Commission when they decided last year to issue a set of goals intended to jumpstart the storage market. This led two of Elon Musk’s enterprises, SolarCity and Tesla to join forces to produce commercial energy storage systems, using refrigerator-sized batteries produced by Tesla Motors. Sales will be driven by the ability to reduce demand charges, via the operating software called DemandLogic. The program will be piloted in California, Connecticut and Massachusetts, markets with particularly high demand charges.

Another player has now entered the market, one that also has some history in the EV market.

CODA Energy was formerly known as CODA Automotive. The company, which had spent four years trying to enter the EV market, filed for bankruptcy last spring after selling approximately 100 cars. Now they are back trying to leverage their battery technology in the energy storage market. The product is a 40 kWh commercial-industrial storage system called CORE. Do they have a compelling value proposition? I spoke with John Bryan vice president, sales and marketing at Coda Energy to find out.

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