Funding the Future: Innovative Ways Cities Are Paying for Infrastructure

Alexis Petru
| Thursday June 5th, 2014 | 1 Comment

Ed note: This article is part of a short series on financing smart city infrastructure, sponsored by Siemens. Please join us for a live Google Hangout with SiemensPwC and Berwin Leighton Paisner on June 12 at 10 a.m. PT/1 p.m. ET, where we’ll talk about this issue live! 

New York City’s subway expansion to Hudson Yards was paid for by a tax incremental financing model which establishes a tax collected only within the Hudson Yards redevelopment zone.

New York City’s subway expansion to Hudson Yards was paid for by a tax incremental financing model which establishes a tax collected only within the Hudson Yards redevelopment zone.

“Tomorrow’s climate needs will require [cities] to build infrastructure that can withstand new conditions and support greater numbers of people,” said former World Bank President Robert Zoellick.

Indeed, cities across the globe need to construct new transit systems, roads and utilities – or modernize their aging infrastructure – to adapt to the changing climate, reduce carbon emissions and support growing populations. But an important question remains: How will cities pay for such projects?

A new report, “Investor Ready Cities,” compiled by engineering company Siemens, professional services network PwC and law firm Berwin Leighton Paisner, aims to help cities think about new ways to fund their infrastructure projects – by taking a fresh look at traditional funding models like taxes and user fees and by attracting private investors.

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3p Interview from #SB14sd: PwC on Resilience and Total Impact Measurement

Mary Mazzoni
| Thursday June 5th, 2014 | 0 Comments

pwcResilience to climate change and resource constraints was a trending topic at the 2014 Sustainable Brands conference in San Diego. In one of the many discussions on the issue, PwC and author, speaker and environmental strategy consultant Andrew Winston led a panel on ‘building good growth’ in a brand.

Part of the conversation centered around using breakthrough techniques like natural capital management and total impact measurement to build resilience and strengthen brand value. I sat down with panelists Clinton Moloney and Amy Longsworth of PwC after the discussion to find out more.

Triple Pundit: Your chat focused on creating measurable sustainable value for brands. For folks who weren’t able to attend, can you speak to how you define ‘measurable’ and ‘sustainable’ value?

Clinton Moloney: It’s a great question, and what you have to look at is what measures or what value you are talking about and to whom. We spend a lot of time with investors and shareholders, and they’re looking for two things: They’re looking for how can you improve my financial performance in the next quarter, as you might imagine. But we just completed a study where we found that one-third of investors with more than $100 billion under management are saying that they need more on sustainability to be able to make high quality, long term investment decisions.

If you look at what companies are reporting today, they’re doing many many things, and the question is: How do you narrow that in on some of those things that are going to be much more material? So, we spend time helping make that link between sustainability performance and business performance, and we’re hearing pretty loud and clear from investors that there’s a real need for that.

Fund managers can’t play casino capital like the short-term traders do on Wall Street. They’re really looking to place assets over the longer term. They’re the investors for whom sustainability really matters.

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C2C Reveals the Benefits of ‘Remaking the Way We Make Things’

| Thursday June 5th, 2014 | 0 Comments

C2CLogo Throughout the course of history waste, environmental degradation and pollution have grown alongside human population and economic activity. Economies and people’s livelihoods have become dependent on producing and consuming myriad products made up of chemical compounds unknown in nature or to them — and indigestible to the Earth’s natural processes of recycling and reuse.

To produce these products, we destroy ecosystems and wildlife – even other people at times – and pollute the air, water and land. When we’re finished with them, we discard them to be carted off, dumped, buried or incinerated. A small, but significant and growing amount, we recycle or reuse.

Some might say, “That’s nature, and we’re just a part of it.” Others are using the gifts nature has endowed us with to find better ways of designing and making things — ways that are not only socially, ecologically and economically sustainable, but can actually leave a net positive footprint on societies and our planet.

In the 2002 book, “Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things,” architect William McDonough and chemist Dr. Michael Braungart introduced the concept of cradle-to-cradle product design.

Taking up and expanding on the concept and its principles, the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute today released a study exploring the business, environmental and social impacts on 10 pioneering companies participating in a pilot implementation of its Cradle to Cradle Certified Products Program.

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A Triple Play on Climate Change: China, India, U.S. Take Action

| Thursday June 5th, 2014 | 1 Comment

coalpowerplant This past Monday, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy unveiled the Obama administration’s highly anticipated proposal to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from existing U.S. power plants, the president’s strongest action yet to halt the rise in carbon and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that are prompting a shift in global climate. A day later, Reuters reported that a senior government adviser said that China will impose a cap on CO2 emissions in 2016.

Alone, one of these developments would add substantial impetus to global climate change mitigation efforts and prospects of achieving a global climate change accord. Taken together, it doubles them, at the least.

How about tripling them, or more? Two weeks ago, India’s new Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced his intention to see that every Indian home gets at least some electricity from clean, renewable solar power by 2019.

Yes, India’s new PM, President Obama and China Premier Li Keqiang and supporters have many hurdles to overcome and battles to fight for these initiatives to be realized. But to witness all three prominent national leaders take strong, definitive steps to mitigate climate change, well, it’s a historic milestone, to say the least.

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Procter & Gamble Doubles Down on Sustainability

RP Siegel | Thursday June 5th, 2014 | 1 Comment

P&G GreenThere are some big changes afoot at consumer products giant Procter & Gamble (P&G), though with little in the way of comments from the company, it’s anybody’s guess what’s behind it.

Here are the facts. The company announced that it is consolidating facilities, and cutting some 3,000 office jobs over the next two years. A company spokesman said that the move to close one office in Geneva, “was enabled by leveraging more flexible office designs, increased use of digital technology and improving our environmental sustainability.”

Sustainability is a big topic at the company, especially after the Dow Jones Sustainability Index dropped P&G from its Top 100 list of most sustainable companies in North America. This must have come as quite a blow after the company had been on the list for 14 consecutive years and named as the leader of Nondurable Household Products sector for seven years straight. The company now considers environmental impact a top priority, “as important as a new product launch or a business acquisition.”

The company was named as a hero in last year’s Canadian Corporate Knights report. Among the accomplishments cited by the report was the fact that 25 percent of its 192 plants were certified zero waste. The company is committed to finding the value throughout its supply chain that might have once been considered waste. “Only in a landfill does that waste have no value,” said Len Sauers, vice president for global sustainability. “Our goal was to find some value in all that waste, which has been a good investment for the company. Plus, not paying to have the stuff landfilled.” Some examples include paper sludge being converted into roofing tiles and waste from a feminine care pad plant converted into fuel for a local cement plant. All told, the company has saved $1 billion in landfill costs since 2007.

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ISO 14001 Certification Shown to Provide Competitive Edge, Report Finds

3p Contributor | Thursday June 5th, 2014 | 0 Comments
Winning Trophy

A new survey links ISO 14001 certification to new business.

By Robert Fenn

Certification to the ISO 14001 environmental management standard has been shown to help organizations win business, according to the evidence shown in the British Assessment Bureau’s 2013 Client Satisfaction Survey.

The British Assessment Bureau, a U.K.-based certification body, commissioned their survey early in 2014, which was carried out independently by Lake Market Research. Respondents with ISO 14001 certification were asked for their motivations behind implementing the standard, followed by what they had achieved having successfully gained certification.

A large proportion of respondents said the standard’s ability to help them win new business was a major motivation in deciding to implement the standard, with 50 percent saying it was to help them with tenders or obtain new business. In addition to this, 39 percent of respondents said that the standard would help them meet customer or industry requirements, and a further 12 percent chose ISO 14001 as a way of raising their profile.

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Interview: Brett Hauser, President of Greenlots and Founder of Open Charge Alliance

| Thursday June 5th, 2014 | 0 Comments

fortune-green-2014TriplePundit reported live from the Fortune Brainstorm Green 2014 conference in Laguna Niguel, CA. Follow along on this page for ongoing video interviews with sustainability thought leaders, corporate change agents and entrepreneurs who are leading the way to a more sustainable future.

Despite many options and generous subsidies, only 52,835 of the 14.5 million cars sold in the U.S. in 2012 were EVs or plug-in hybrids.  The good news is that the numbers are quickly growing.  I sat down with Brett Hauser, President of Greenlots and Founder of Open Charge Alliance  to answer the question “what will it take to put 1 million EVs on the road by 2017?”

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Greenpeace Reviews Major Food Retailers for Sustainable Seafood Purchasing

RP Siegel | Wednesday June 4th, 2014 | 1 Comment

Greenpeace seafoodWhile the dedicated startups that spearhead the sustainable seafood movement through things like community supported fisheries (CSFs) and green aquaculture are exciting, these fish will take a while to hit your local grocery store.

That is why today’s story about the work Greenpeace has been doing in rating the sustainability practices of major food retailers might have the greatest impact of all, at least in the near term.

Greenpeace just issued the eighth edition of its report entitled Carting Away the Oceans. The wide-ranging report covers everything from human-rights abuses in the industry, to GMO salmon, to protecting America’s fish basket in the Bering Sea, where roughly one-half of all seafood landed in the U.S. comes from.

But the main focus of the report is the ratings, which evaluate 26 major American grocery store chains — including everyone from Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s to Kroger, Safeway, Target and Walmart.

I spoke with report author James Mitchell, senior oceans campaigner with the Greenpeace Oceans program, about the significance of the report.

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San Francisco Program Provides a Roadmap for Eliminating Textile Waste

Mary Mazzoni
| Wednesday June 4th, 2014 | 2 Comments

ICO City San Francisco Launch Event Group jpgMore than 25 billion pounds of textiles are discarded in the U.S. annually, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which equates to about 70 pounds per person, per year. Only about 15 percent of these textiles are collected for reuse or recycling, meaning a staggering 21 billion pounds of clothing and footwear remain destined for the landfill.

Those numbers are pretty grim, especially when you consider what it takes to produce the average shoe or garment: Manufacturing one T-shirt can consume up to 7,900 gallons of water and create 3.6 kilograms of carbon emissions. At the same time, 95 percent–some even say 100 percent–of the materials that make up our favorite fashions are reusable or recyclable, Jennifer Gilbert, chief marketing officer for I:CO, told Triple Pundit, and the water and carbon footprint of manufacturing can be slashed by up to 95 percent by using recycled feedstocks.

I:CO, which stands for “I collect,” is a global, end‐to‐end solutions provider for apparel, footwear and other textiles reuse and recycling. Through its simple take‐back system and worldwide infrastructure, I:CO aims to keep used clothing and shoes in a continuous closed loop product cycle. The company began in Europe five years ago and came across the pond to the U.S. back in 2011. By partnering with top retail brands from around the world, including Levi Strauss & Co., H&M, Puma and the North Face, I:CO gives consumers the resources to recycle used textiles, as well as the education they need to make a behavior change.

The senselessness of tossing valuable materials into the landfill while expending staggering resources to create similar products from virgin feedstocks is more than enough justification for such a program. But Gilbert says an increase in textile recycling is as beneficial for people and profit as it is for the planet–reducing tipping fees, creating jobs and establishing closed loop manufacturing systems in cities around the world.

“It’s all about economic growth: creating jobs, increasing awareness and having this become a way of life,” she told Triple Pundit. “Our goal is to truly eliminate waste.”

To take things a step further, I:CO launched its first ever I:CO City initiative with the city of San Francisco earlier this year. The launch creates a public, private and nonprofit infrastructure to make it convenient and rewarding for residents and businesses to recycle textile related items. In alignment with San Francisco’s goal of zero waste by 2020, I:CO will serve as the lead textile collection and processing partner to divert waste from landfill and give it new life.

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IAQ: How Do You Stack Up When It Comes to Indoor Air Quality?

RP Siegel | Wednesday June 4th, 2014 | 0 Comments

Frustrated Man Putting Together Self Assembly FurnitureWhen most people think of sustainability, they think of things like renewable power, energy and water conservation, or recycling. But sustainability is all about recognizing the interconnectedness of things. That means taking care of the things that take care of the things that take care of us: like our air. And though we often think of the environment as what’s outdoors, there is also an environment indoors, and we need to take care of that, too.

Why should we care about indoor air quality (IAQ)?

Well, the first reason is our health. Consider the following facts: First of all, most people spend roughly 90 percent of their time indoors these days.

Secondly, indoor air pollution is two to five times higher than what is generally found outdoors. With help from the American Lung Association of Minnesota, here is a list of pollutants that can often be found lurking within our indoor air. These generally fall into several categories including:

  • Products of combustion (e.g. ash, soot, carbon monoxide, polycyclic aromatic compounds)
  • Biological agents such as molds, pet dander, and pollen
  • Volatile organic compounds
  • Metal dust such as mercury or lead
  • Radioactive particles such as radon, and
  • Asbestos
  • Cooking effluents including nanoparticles
  • Ozone

The Environmental Protection Agency lists poor indoor air quality as the fourth largest environmental threat to our country. Quite often the health impacts of poor indoor air show up as allergies and asthma. There are an estimated 40 million individuals in the United States who are affected by allergies, and the prevalence rate of pediatric asthma has increased by 72.3 percent. Asthma is now the sixth ranking chronic condition in our nation and the leading serious chronic illness of children in the U.S.

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The Urban Dynamic: Enhancing Cities via Public-Private Partnerships

Jan Lee
Jan Lee | Wednesday June 4th, 2014 | 0 Comments

Ed note: This article is part of a short  series on financing smart city infrastructure, sponsored by Siemens. please join us for a live Google Hangout with SiemensPwC and Berwin Leighton Paisner on June 12 at 10 a.m. PT/1 p.m. ET, where we’ll talk about this issue live! 

Urban_dynamics_Seattle_Wa_PatrickMcNallyCities are changing the way they do business. And with shrinking budgets and consequently smaller access to resources, it makes sense for burgeoning metropolitan governments to find new ways to upgrade technology, expand infrastructure, and provide new and better transportation options for their residents: the new urban dynamic.

A new report put out by three organizations – engineering and electronics corporation Siemens, law firm Berwin Leighton Paisner, and professional services network PwC (also known as PricewaterhouseCoopers) – suggests that for cities to meet the demands of increasing populations and demand on land, water and resources, sustainable infrastructure is critical. And to accomplish that goal, innovative approaches that not only satisfy the needs of city residents but also inspire investors to take an interest in contributing to the urban dynamic are quickly becoming a requirement in today’s marketplace.

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Unilever Brewing ‘Future-Proof’ Tea Crops Through Genomic Selection in Kenya

Lauren Zanolli
| Wednesday June 4th, 2014 | 0 Comments

tea plantationUnilever is taking agricultural risk into its own hands under a new partnership with a genetics research firm for a pilot project on one of its plantations in Kenya. The Anglo-Dutch company announced last week that it will begin a research and development project to create more resilient, so-called “future-proof,” tea crops using a natural breeding method known as genomic selection.

The project will pair Unilever with Nature Source Genetics, a New York-based genomics company that will sequence and analyze tea crop genomes. “The first objective of the project is to use new sequencing methods to monitor and capture, in a core collection, most of the tea diversity that exists today in natural varieties of Camellia sinensis,” Clive Gristwood, senior vice president of Unilever’s R&D Refreshment division, told TriplePundit.com via email — referring to the Latin name of the species used for black tea.

“Capturing the broadest possible tea genetic diversity is important in order to make sure that we don’t lose key genes that might help improve resistance to climate change or new tea pests in the future,” explained Gristwood.

Unilever is the world’s leading tea manufacturer and buys on average around 12 percent of global supply, which it markets worldwide under the Lipton, PG Tips and Brooke Bond brand names. The company grows about 10 percent of its annual supply from its own plantations in Tanzania and Kenya, including the Lipton tea plantation in Kericho where the genomic tea project will begin.

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Is it Time to Stop Calling Uber a Disruptive Innovation?

Raz Godelnik
| Wednesday June 4th, 2014 | 0 Comments

UberIf I ask you to describe Uber – the ride-sharing service — in one word, what would it be? Probably words like app, better, convenience, surge pricing, luxury, service, sharing, fun, cashless and future would come up.

My guess however is that the most popular word would be ‘disruptive.’ Why? Just look at the headlines of articles focusing on Uber: “Invasion of the Taxi Snatchers: Uber Leads an Industry’s Disruption,” “Airbnb, Coursera, and Uber: The Rise of the Disruption Economy,” “Disruptions: Ride-Sharing Upstarts Challenge Taxi Industry,” are just some of the many examples you can find online with the combination Uber + disruption.

But what does it actually mean? In most cases describing Uber as disruptive or a disruptive innovation refers to the notion that the company brought a fundamental change, not just small-scale modifications, to  the taxi market — reinventing in a way the whole taxi experience.

Now, while obviously Uber seems to meet the definition of disruptive innovation as most people understand this concept, it would be interesting to see if Uber actually meets the criteria for disruptive innovation defined by the person who actually coined and popularized the term – Prof. Clayton M. Christensen.

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Interview: Tom Gebhardt, President of Panasonic Automotive Systems Company

| Wednesday June 4th, 2014 | 0 Comments

fortune-green-2014TriplePundit reported live from the Fortune Brainstorm Green 2014 conference in Laguna Niguel, CA. Follow along on this page for ongoing video interviews with sustainability thought leaders, corporate change agents and entrepreneurs who are leading the way to a more sustainable future.

Panasonic’s Automotive Systems Company is  a leading integrated supplier to the automotive industry for North America.  In particular, the company is working on advanced, internet enabled technology that will create “connected cars” — covering everything from advanced navigation, locating parking spots, and audio entertainment.  I had a chance to talk to Tom Gebhardt, the company’s president, about this technology and to explore what it has to do with sustainability.

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Recap: HP Live Twitter Chat from #SB14sd

| Wednesday June 4th, 2014 | 0 Comments

How does a company that has been practicing responsible citizenship for 75 years drive even more impact for people, the economy and the environment? By making its citizenship efforts and business strategy fully and inextricably intertwined.

HP calls it Living Progress— Today, HP , CSRwire and TriplePundit explored how best to address some of these challenges with other leading companies and thought leaders gathered in the HP Living Progress Exchange at Sustainable Brands 14, in San Diego, California.

Aman Singh, CSRwire’s Editorial Director and Nick Aster, Founder and Publisher of TriplePundit,  conversed with Chris Librie, Senior Director, Strategy and Communications, HP Corporate Affairs, live from the HP Living Progress Exchange at Sustainable Brands.

Full stats from today’s chat are available in PDF format here.

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