After March, 347 Institutional Investors Call for ‘Meaningful’ Carbon Pricing

| Monday September 22nd, 2014 | 0 Comments

IIGCCrptcvrA coalition of nearly 350 global institutional investors are calling on world leaders to institute “stable, reliable and economically meaningful carbon pricing.” They elaborate by calling for carbon pricing “that helps redirect investment commensurate with the scale of climate change challenge, as well as develop plans to phase out subsidies for fossil fuels.”

The Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change (IIGCC) includes some of the world’s largest and most prominent institutional investors, including Australian CFSGAM, BlackRock, Calpers, Cathay Financial Holdings, Deutsche, PensionDanmark and South African GEPF. Collectively, the 347 institutional investors manage over $24 trillion in assets.

IIGCC’s call for meaningful carbon pricing and the elimination of fossil fuel subsidies comes as world leaders meet for the U.N. Climate Summit this week to hammer out details of a global climate treaty and successor to the Kyoto Protocol.

Making sure their presence is felt and their voices heard, over 300,000 people [ed. note: the crowd count has been raised to 400k] took part in the People’s Climate March in Manhattan on Sunday. Organized by a group of environmental, social justice and public interest organizations, the march kicked off Climate Week NYC. A week-long series of events and demonstrations, Climate Week NYC organizers are likewise calling on government leaders to institute strong climate change action plans that are seen as a means of realizing other key U.N. goals, including alleviating poverty and growing socioeconomic inequality.

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University of California Commits $1 Billion to Climate Research

Jan Lee
Jan Lee | Monday September 22nd, 2014 | 1 Comment

University_California_climate_change_CharlieNguyenYesterday’s People’s Climate March was predicted to be a game-changer for climate policies across the globe. While nearly 400,000 attended to make their wishes known, unfortunately there can sometimes be a big divide between public demands and institutional action. One public entity in California is already making plans to dramatically increase its support for improved climate initiatives.

The University of California has announced that it will commit $1 billion to climate change research initiatives. And with a $91 billion portfolio behind it and some of the top researchers in climate technology on its payroll, the state university system is in a unique position to lend weight to this endeavor.

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The High and the Low: Climate Change Resiliency in NYC

| Monday September 22nd, 2014 | 1 Comment

Editor’s Note: This article is part of a short series on creating resilient cities, sponsored by Siemens. Please join us for a live Google Hangout with Siemens and Arup on October 1, where we’ll talk about this issue live! RSVP here.

NYC climate resiliencyAs a coastal city with an inland water supply, New York City faces a unique set of challenges for climate change resiliency in a future marked by frequent, destructive coastal storms and rising sea levels.

In terms of clean water supply, New York has one advantage thanks to resiliency planning that dates back to the early 19th century. At that time, urban sprawl, commerce and industry quickly overwhelmed Manhattan’s patchwork of privately-owned wells after the Revolutionary War.

Rather than continuing to dig wells within the city, planners developed a system of reservoirs far inland at higher elevations, some as far as 125 miles away, relying almost exclusively on gravity-powered aqueducts and water tunnels. The incorporation of Queens, the Bronx, Brooklyn and Staten Island into New York City was impelled partly by Manhattan’s lock on reliable, expandable inland water resources, as groundwater in those boroughs proved inadequate to sustain population growth. Only one group of public wells continued to serve part of Queens until 2007, when they, too, were finally put out of service.

The city’s wastewater resiliency, however, is a different story.

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Money Talks: The Big Switch to Sustainable Palm Oil

| Monday September 22nd, 2014 | 0 Comments

sustainable palm oil Green CenturyWhen your pooled assets add up to more than $600 billion, people tend to pay attention when you write them a letter about sustainable palm oil. That seems to be the case in Friday’s announcement by five major palm oil producers, which pledged to self-impose an immediate moratorium on clearing high carbon stock forests.

The announcement came a week after four of the companies received a letter from a group of investors spearheaded by Green Century Capital Management, with collective assets topping the aforementioned $600 billion. In addition to calling for the moratorium, the Green Century letter urged the producers to adopt more sustainable palm oil practices, in accordance with a growing number of industry stakeholders.

Unfortunately, that’s where things could get sticky.

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Study: Cats, Cell Towers are More Deadly to Birds Than Wind Turbines

Alexis Petru
| Monday September 22nd, 2014 | 3 Comments

wind turbinesWind energy has famously pitted environmentalists against each other – renewable energy and climate action advocates vs. wildlife conservationists concerned about wind turbines injuring or killing birds. But a new study, funded by the American Wind Wildlife Institute (AWWI), reveals that bird fatalities resulting from collisions with wind turbines are extremely low; in fact, cell towers and cats kill a far greater number of birds than wind turbines do, the peer-reviewed report found.

Wind turbines are responsible for an estimated 214,000 to 368,000 bird deaths each year, according to A Comprehensive Analysis of Small-passerine Fatalities from Collision with Wind Turbines at Wind Energy Facilities. This is a small fraction of bird fatalities compared with the 6.8 million annual deaths caused by collisions with cell and radio towers and the 1.4 to 3.7 billion fatalities from cats, say the report’s authors, environmental consulting firm West, Douglas Johnson from the U.S. Geological Survey and Joelle Gehring of the Federal Communications Commission.

The report, which focuses on passerines (small birds such as songbirds), is the most comprehensive study of the impacts of wind turbines on small bird populations, said Taber Allison, AWWI director of research and evaluation, in a statement.

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Symantec Twitter Chat Recap: “Bridging the Workforce and Diversity Gaps”

Marissa Rosen
| Monday September 22nd, 2014 | 0 Comments

What could companies do better when it comes to diversity in the workplace, and how can we address the skills gap happening across certain industries like tech?

On Thursday, September 18th, TriplePundit addressed these issues as we hosted “Bridging the Workforce and Diversity Gaps” on Twitter at #diversity.8750275571_5fda61700d_z

We engaged corporate responsibility thought leaders in conversation around affirmative action, gender gaps, transnational human rights issues, and much more.

Symantec panelists included: 

  • Cecily Joseph, VP of Corporate Responsibility & Chief Diversity Officer at Symantec Corporation.
  • Marian Merritt, Director of Cyber Education and Online Safety Programs for Symantec Corporation.

Guests participants included: 

  • Meghan Ennes, Community Coordinator at the Shared Value Initiative.
  • Susan McPherson, passionate cause marketer, angel investor, and corporate responsibility expert.

twitter-symantecDuring the course of this hour-long chat, we reached over a million Twitter accounts and generated millions of Twitter impressions across the social media site! Just a few of your distinguished participants included Seth Leitman, David Connor, John Friedman, Milinda Martin, and Henk Campher.

Below is the Storify summary of the conversation on #diversity as it took place. For more information on Symantec’s CSR program, feel free to reach out to Cecily Joseph or Marian Merritt via Twitter.

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Bacardi Partners with World Wildlife Fund on Sugarcane Farm

Gina-Marie Cheeseman
| Monday September 22nd, 2014 | 0 Comments

fiji sugarcane harvestingWorld famous rum maker Bacardi and the World Wildlife Fund are aiming to advance sugarcane standards in Fiji with a model sugarcane farm program.

The purpose of the initiative is to protect Fiji’s Great Sea Reef and tropical farmland. The Great Sea Reef is one of the largest reef systems in the world, supplying up to 80 percent of the domestic fish market.

The changes in farming that are part of the initiative include terracing and carefully distancing rows of sugarcane, which help control nutrient and seed runoff into the waterways that lead to the reef. WWF developed the model farms in Fiji.

The initiative helps protects both Fiji’s environment and its economy. Back in 2007, Bacardi started getting involved in sugarcane initiatives. “We saw sugarcane was in one of the important sectors for environmental, economic and social factors…sugarcane is important for rum development,” Dave Howson, global sustainability director for Bacardi, told me.

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8 Ways Community Engagement Strategies Can Drive Business Returns

3p Contributor | Monday September 22nd, 2014 | 2 Comments

By Phil Preston

LOOK sign

Community engagement strategies are becoming more sophisticated and increasingly being used to drive financial returns. Knowing where to start can be tricky, so I’ve outlined eight entry points that you can use to kickstart your strategy process:

1. Purpose: Re-examine your mission and express it in terms of societal benefit

An Australian insurer expresses its purpose as “to help people manage risk and recover from the hardship of unexpected loss,” which is a powerful way of thinking and more meaningful than “to be the outstanding competitor in our chosen markets…” Clarity of purpose provides a platform for new opportunities and builds resilience into the business model.

2. Positioning: Integrate your unique assets and strengths into your strategies

A local property developer includes social assets, such as schools, in its new residential releases. It has developed insight and understands how customers value these features. Learning how to identify and develop your assets, such as intellectual property, is the key.

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People’s Climate March: Being a Part of Something Big

3p Contributor | Sunday September 21st, 2014 | 0 Comments

Editor’s Note: A version of this post was originally published on the EcoPlum blog.

10565046_1454513064799672_5914704337046021387_nBy Gia Machlin

I was born in the ’60s and often think about how crazy that decade was. President John F. Kennedy was killed when my mom was pregnant with me; our good family friend Andrew Goodman was killed in Mississippi right around my birth; Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert Kennedy were both killed when I was 4. It must have seemed like the world was falling apart.

Yet the world changed in significant ways that decade, and many people gained rights and freedoms that allowed them to achieve what they only dreamed of at that time. Today, my family, colleagues and coworkers will be part of something HUGE – something so big that it is reminiscent of the groundswell that was the Civil Rights movement: the People’s Climate March here in New York City.

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SOCAP 14 Interview: Marissa Feinberg, Impact HUB NYC

| Saturday September 20th, 2014 | 0 Comments

This video is part of our ongoing coverage of SOCAP14.  To see the rest please visit our SOCAP 14 page here.

Marissa Feinberg is co-founder of Impact HUB New York, a co-working space founded on a social enterprise mission.  She also talks about how the HUB is structured and how HUB New York will interact with others in the network.

Marissa and her team will also be hosting us on October 2 for Stories & Beer with a focus on the intersection of water and the fashion industry.  RSVP here if you want to come by!

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3p Weekend: 7 Things You Need to Know About the People’s Climate March

Mary Mazzoni
| Friday September 19th, 2014 | 2 Comments

10516849_1457572994493679_8105942018734494795_nWith a busy week behind you and the weekend within reach, there’s no shame in taking things a bit easy on Friday afternoon. With this in mind, every Friday TriplePundit will give you a fun, easy read on a topic you care about. So, take a break from those endless email threads, and spend five minutes catching up on the latest trends in sustainability and business.

On Sunday, more than 100,000 people and 1,400 businesses, schools and other organizations will take to the streets of New York City for the People’s Climate March. It’s being billed as “the largest climate march in history.”

You’ve probably seen some details about the march buzzing around your favorite newsfeed, but in case there are any unanswered questions, we’re here to help. To get you in the sign-waving mood, here are five things you need to know about the People’s Climate March before it kicks off on Sunday.

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White House, USDA Give Clean Energy Sector $68 Million Boost

| Friday September 19th, 2014 | 4 Comments

USDARnwEnCvrFollowing through on President Barack Obama’s plans to combat climate change and boost energy productivity, the U.S. Department of Agriculture on Sept. 18 announced it is providing $68 million in funding for 540 renewable energy and energy efficiency projects around the nation.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the funding while visiting North Carolina to highlight USDA’s investments in rural renewable energy projects. He emphasized the economic, as well as social and environmental, benefits government support and stimulus is having in the young but fast-growing renewable energy and energy efficiency sectors.

“These loan guarantees and grants will have far-reaching impacts nationwide, particularly in the rural communities where these projects are located,” Vilsack said. “Investing in renewable energy and energy efficiency will continue the unprecedented increase in home-grown energy sources and American energy independence we’ve seen in recent years. This is creating jobs, providing new economic opportunities and leading the way to a more secure energy future.”

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Can the Great Barrier Reef Be Saved?

Michael Kourabas
| Friday September 19th, 2014 | 1 Comment
According to a 2012 report by the Australian Institute of Marine Science, the reef has lost over half of its coral in the past quarter-century.

According to a 2012 report by the Australian Institute of Marine Science, the reef has lost over half of its coral in the past quarter-century.

In 1981, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) designated Australia’s Great Barrier Reef a World Heritage Site.  Just 25 years later, however, UNESCO warned that climate change and other anthropogenic causes were threatening the reef’’s existence.  In fact, according to a 2012 report by the Australian Institute of Marine Science, the reef has lost over half of its coral in the past quarter-century.

Earlier this year, UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee noted that conservation efforts at the reef were making some progress, but that significant dangers still remained.  The committee encouraged the Australian government to submit an updated progress report by early 2015, which the committee would consider when determining whether or not the reef deserves placement on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

Earlier this week, the Australian and Queensland governments released a draft of the Reef 2050 Long-Term Sustainability Report, which they hope will allay UNESCO’s concerns.  Critics, however, think bolder action is required.

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Celebrities Line Up for Global Climate Change March

Jan Lee
Jan Lee | Friday September 19th, 2014 | 7 Comments

peoples_climate_marchSome of the world’s top politicians will meet in New York City this week to discuss global temperatures. If they want any proof that climate change is impacting the globe, they only have to look at the map.

The People’s Climate March, which was organized for Sunday, Sept. 21, to coincide with a U.N. climate meeting in New York City this week, is now set to take place in more than a hundred locations across the globe. Host cities range from San Francisco to Alausa Lagos, Nigeria. Even smaller events, designed to reinforce the global nature of concern, have sprung up in cities on every continent.

But, as is often the case, the largest attractor to this cause may be the names that are lending their weight to the march. More than 50 celebrities, from Prince Albert II of Monaco to actors like Willem Dafoe, Susan Sarandon and Brad Pitt, are stepping up to support the effort — which has garnered the endorsements of more than 1,000 environmental, labor and civil rights organizations.

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Does the G8 Report Miss the Real Heart of Impact Investing?

3p Contributor | Friday September 19th, 2014 | 0 Comments

3863027368_2a0d37f56c_zBy Marta Maretich

We were all waiting for it. Now, at last, it’s here.

The Social Impact Investment Taskforce report hit the media on Sept. 15, provoking a small flood of news stories and reaction pieces from governments, development agencies and third-sector bodies.

At 51 pages (not including the eight individual country reports), The Invisible Heart of Markets is a hefty document in more ways than one. It was authored by group of heavyweights including government ministers and the heads of impact organizations from around the world, led by prominent social finance advocate Sir Ronald Cohen. Its editor, Matthew Bishop, is a respected author and writer for the Economist. Even Pope Francis apparently lends his support to the project with a bullish opening quote.

Everything about the report signals its significance not only to the social investing sector but also to the worlds of finance, philanthropy and public policy, all of which will be touched by its far-reaching recommendations. It gathers together what has been until now a scattered picture of the many strands and branches and offshoots of impact, and brings a practical focus on where we all need to go from here. Accordingly, commentators from various parts of the sector are beginning to weigh in on the report’s ramifications in areas like development, the role of government, the future of philanthropy and even crowdfunding.

All this makes the taskforce report a success. Its ambition, its scope, its polish — not to mention the evident political clout that lies behind it — are further signs that impact has arrived. It is a milestone in the evolution of our sector and its effect will be significant and lasting. Sector watchers (myself included) will be mining its rich content for months to come, as well as tracking the progress toward the goals it dares to lay out.

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