EU Leaders Called Out For Lackluster Climate Change Package

Gina-Marie Cheeseman
| Wednesday October 29th, 2014 | 4 Comments

coalplantEuropean leaders agreed to reduce greenhouse gases by 40 percent by 2030. Two targets of 27 percent were also agreed on: one for the market share of renewable energy and another for energy efficiency improvement. The renewable energy target is binding on all EU member countries, but the energy efficiency target is optional.

“This 2030 package is very good news for our fight against climate change,” said President of the European Commission Jose Barroso in a statement. “No player in the world is as ambitious as the EU.”

Environmentalists are not very happy with the EU’s targets. “It is clear that all of the targets could have been – and should have been – more ambitious,” said Jennifer Morgan, director of climate and energy programs at the World Resources Institute. Morgan cites recent analysis that shows the EU can reduce carbon emissions by 49 percent by cutting natural gas imports in half and investing in renewable energy and energy efficiency.

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How to Create an Action Plan for B Corp Certification

3p Contributor | Tuesday October 28th, 2014 | 3 Comments

This is the twelfth in a weekly series of excerpts from the new book “The B Corp Handbook: How to Use Business as a Force for Good (Berrett-Koehler Publishers, October 13, 2014). Click here to read the rest of the series.

feature_impact-report_patagoniaBy Ryan Honeyman

Welcome to week three of the six-week, turbocharged Quick Start Guide to becoming a Certified B Corporation.

Week one focused on getting a baseline assessment of your social and environmental performance, and week two focused on motivating your team towards B Corp certification.

Week Three: Create an action plan

Time estimate: One to three hours

OBJECTIVE: After you have identified your core project team, work with them to set a target B Impact Score and create an action plan with short-, medium- and long-term goals. For example, if you started out with a score of 53, see whether you can implement enough practices to earn an additional 10 points by the end of this six-week Quick Start Guide.

END RESULT: An action plan with specific people assigned to take the lead on each question, a target B Impact Score, and a rough timeline for completion.

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Cloud Service Promises Unparalleled PV Performance Tracking

| Tuesday October 28th, 2014 | 0 Comments

Locus VI mapIntense competition has driven the costs of manufacturing solar photovoltaic (PV) cells and modules down sharply in just a few short years. That’s led downstream solar industry participants to focus on reducing solar’s ‘soft’ and balance-of-system costs. Some innovative solar energy sector participants see great promise in eking out and amassing small gains in efficiency — gains that can that collectively make a big difference to commercial and utility-scale PV system operators, as well as consumers.

Locus Energy, the developer of an enterprise-class, cloud-based software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform that’s said to provide operators unprecedented data collection, analytics and reporting capabilities, is offering just such a solution. On Oct. 22, Locus announced that Swinerton Renewable Energy will make use of its SolarNOC and PVIQ analytics suite to optimize the management of its portfolio of solar PV assets.

Leveraging public and proprietary data sets gleaned from satellites and on-site sensors, Locus is able to provide its users actionable data on the performance of PV systems at a much greater level of geographic resolution and analytic detail than has ever been possible — remotely or on-site. That, in turn, enables the company to identify and account for the factors that lead to divergences in forecast and actual performance of solar PV systems — whether distributed, commercial or of utility-scale — and take action to remedy them, Adrian De Luca, Locus Energy’s vice president of sales and marketing, explained to 3p in an interview.

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Adobe Corporate Responsibility Zeros in on Social Impact

Leon Kaye | Tuesday October 28th, 2014 | 1 Comment
Adobe, Silicon Valley, social impact, corporate responsibility, Adobe Voices, digital media, Michelle Crozier Yates, Leon Kaye, skills training

Adobe is focusing more on youth programs.

Adobe recently released its most recent corporate responsibility report, which is chock full of data on where the $4.1 billion Silicon Valley software giant made headway on environmental, diversity and governance issues. The recent overall focus for Adobe, however, is on how the company believes it can make an impact on society, especially youth. Other companies in the information technology space, including SAP and Microsoft, have made massive commitments in money, resources and employees to youth employment and empowerment programs.

Adobe, however, takes a slightly different approach. To learn a more about how Adobe’s corporate responsibility stands out within an industry where a lot of progress has been made, I spoke with Michelle Crozier Yates, Adobe’s director of corporate responsibility.

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Disruptive Sustainability: How to Be a Transformational Leader

3p Conferences
| Tuesday October 28th, 2014 | 1 Comment

By Deborah Fleischer

Sharp3The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) conference got off with a bang on Sunday, with pre-conference workshops and a keynote by Annie Leonard, of the Story of Stuff acclaim, who is now Executive Director of Greenpeace (more on Annie’s comments tomorrow). More than 2,000 sustainability professionals and higher education leaders have gathered in Portland around the AASHE mission to “inspire and catalyze higher education to lead the global sustainability transformation.”

I joined over 30 sustainability leaders for Disruptive Sustainability, an inspiring pre-conference workshop led by Leith Sharpdirector of executive education for sustainability leadership at Harvard University’s Center for Health and the Global Environment. A key theme that ran through Sharp’s and Leonard’s comments: We need to go beyond slowing down and ‘doing less bad’ to real transformation.  And the key to getting there, according to these two women leaders, is to adopt a new, more engaging and more collaborative leadership style. Both share a hopeful, positive vision for the future.  “A better world is possible and inevitable,” said Leonard. Both stress that change is hard. And both offered concrete tips and tools, targeted to higher education but also applicable to business.

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More Brands Join Responsible Down Standard

Leon Kaye | Tuesday October 28th, 2014 | 0 Comments
Allied Feather & Down, responsible down standard, fashion, animal rights, Leon Kaye, Textile Exchange, down, animal welfare, supply chain

RDS certified down is making headway.

More companies are changing their tone towards animal rights as organizations from the Humane Society to PETA are highlighting what is going in the products you eat and fashion you wear. The Responsible Down Standard (RDS), which has raised awareness about what is happening to geese as their down is harvested for winter apparel and bedding, is one of the more recent initiatives underway. Allied Feather & Down is currently the largest RDS-certified supplier on the market, and this year it has made several industry moves. The latest is its announcement that 10 brands are now sourcing the company’s down, including The North Face and Eddie Bauer.

Why is this important? Previous responsible sourcing efforts were opaque and did little to assuage animal rights activists who questioned the “responsible down” that companies were sourcing for everything from jackets to comforters. The new RDS guidelines, which The North Face was instrumental in drafting, are a more open process. The collection of down is not exactly the most humane process — abuses from force feeding to overcrowding were a constant complaint. With much of the world’s down supply coming from Eastern Asia and China, a global standard that could apply to factory audits anywhere and allow for seamless supply chain traceability were both needed.

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The North Face and Dept. of Interior Partner to Protect Public Lands

Gina-Marie Cheeseman
| Tuesday October 28th, 2014 | 0 Comments

Golden Gate National Recreation AreaPublic lands like Golden Gate National Recreation Area in California and Everglades National Park in Florida are national treasures that need to be protected. The outdoor company The North Face and the Department of the Interior recently announced a joint partnership to protect and preserve public lands. The joint partnership supports the 21st Century Conservation Science Corps (21CSC) which began in 2010 as part of the Obama administration’s America’s Great Outdoors program. The North Face also announced it is donating $250,000 to the 21CSC.

The company also launched a new commercial campaign, featuring footage of The North Face global athlete team members skiing, running, climbing and hiking. The commercial launched on YouTube on Oct. 27 and will hit national television during NBC Sunday Night Football on Nov. 9 . It will run through the end of December on other channels, including ESPN, USA Network and Comedy Central. The commercial will also be featured on digital and social channels such as Hulu and Facebook beginning Nov. 10.

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Green Communities are Empowered Communities: Reflections from SXSW Eco

3p Contributor | Tuesday October 28th, 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.

Atmosphere at the 2014 SXSW Eco Conference. Photo by Rebecca Hedges Lyon.By Angela Mason

During the first week of October, nearly 3,000 people gathered in Austin, Texas for SXSW Eco. This three-day event brings together representatives from science, industry, education, NGOs, policy and business to “explore, engage and co-create solutions for a sustainable world.” I was proud to participate, alongside Oscar Medina of the Western Institute for Leadership Development, in a green jobs panel moderated by community activism professor, researcher and advocate Raquel Pinderhughes.

During our panel, Green Job Creation: Path to Community Empowerment, we explored a variety of complex topics, drawing out the connections between the diverse programs the three of us oversee and how it all ties back to the opportunities provided by employers in green job sectors.

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The Corporate World Invests in Ebola Fight

Gina-Marie Cheeseman
| Tuesday October 28th, 2014 | 0 Comments

Ebola workerThe Ebola virus is one of the deadliest to hit West Africa. The number of Ebola cases in West Africa totaled 9,936 with 4,877 deaths as of Oct. 20. The average death rate is 50 percent, but in past outbreaks the death rate has ranged from 50 to 90 percent. Clearly, West Africa needs help fighting Ebola, and corporate donors are pledging money to help with that fight. Recently, JPMorgan Chase & Co. announced up to $600,000 in donations from its foundation and employees.

Grants of $300,000 from the JPMorgan Chase Foundation will support the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the International Rescue Committee in their work to help control the Ebola outbreak. The foundation is also launching an employee giving campaign that will match employee donations dollar-for-dollar. The foundation will double donations made by employees by up to $150,000 for a total of $300,000.

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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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