Here are a few reasons I am attending The Cleantech Open on November 17, 2009 at San Francisco’s Nob Hill Masonic Center:
Bill Weihl, Google Green Energy Czar, is the event’s key note speaker.
There will be 120 of the latest clean technologies displayed in the exhibition hall.
You can imagine how many venture capitalists will be attending looking for their next “Google” opportunity. This is a great opportunity to meet money!
As an economist I am not a big fan of taxpayer “stimulus” funds given to technology companies selected by well-meaning and educated government officials. It has been our entrepreneurs and venture capitalists that have been America’s secret weapon in selecting the technologies we now cannot live without. In recognition that any one of the above reasons justifies going to the Cleantech Open the reason I am going is to talk with the entrepreneurs pioneering the clean technologies we need to restore jobs, our economy and the environment. The Cleantech Open will be an unbelievable opportunity to measure the entrepreneurial pulse of The Green Economic Revolution that will forever change what we buy and who we buy it from.
It has been three years since the release of AlGore‘s Oscar-winning documentary “An Inconvenient Truth”. Yesterday, Katie Couric sat down for an exclusive interview the former Vice President in advance of the release of his new book, Our Choice.
In the interview, Mr. Gore talks about the potential impacts of climate change, the need for sustained action, the importance of reducing dependence on foreign oil, and the benefits that can be realized in the process. He also addresses questions about his most vocal climate change critics.
The following are highlights from the interview, or you can watch the full show on the CBS News website.
Clip 1:We’ve Got To Act
AlGorespeaks about the key to solving the climate crisis is having a strong grassroots consensus, and how many people are beginning to stand up.
Many Xerox products are returned for recycling and remanufacturing. Photo courtesy of Xerox Corporation.
Xerox wants to be carbon-neutral … and that’s not all.
The company also wants to:
Eliminate the use of hazardous chemicals to achieve a zero toxic footprint.
Develop a “zero waste to landfill” goal for its company-wide operations.
Insure that 100 percent of its paper, by volume, meets stringent requirements for a sustainable paper cycle.
Ambitious goals for the world’s leading document management, technology and services enterprise, wouldn’t you say? But, take a look through the 2009 Report on Global Citizenship that Xerox released on Tuesday, and you’ll see that the company is well on its way to making significant progress in each of these areas.
“We view environmental sustainability not as a cost of doing business, but as a way of doing business,” the report says. “For us, it’s an integral part of developing products, serving customers and posting profits.”
Nick takes his sustainability seriously- from his head down to his toes. He let Ecouterre take a tour of his closet and he let it all hang out. Click the link to see his labels and his adorable message tees.
I haven’t been blogging too much ’round these parts lately, mostly because I’ve been busy creating the types of videos and films I’m about to feature, but Liberty Mutual’s latest short, “Good Vibrations” made me stop in my tracks so I decided to make the time to share it with all of you. (No need to thank me.)
It’s part of their Responsibility Project to get consumers to act more responsibly. Obviously, it serves an insurance company well to have responsible policy holders, but if you look deeper, you’ll realize that these messages, ensconced in entertainment, actually serve the greater good, too.
The video below had me positively riveted for the full four minutes, a mix of that awkward laughter that unexpectedly bursts out when someone trips and the cringe of the inevitable guilt that follows. It’s funny and sweet, and leaves you newly inspired to keep the karmic flow of the universe going.
The Export-Import Bank of the United States has established a $250 million credit facility aimed at helping to promote and finance renewable energy exports, including solar, wind and geothermal energy products and projects.
The move this week makes Ex-Im the world’s first Export Credit Agency to fashion that kind of credit assistance and also the first to adopt an actual “carbon policy” to guide the financial support of U.S. exports “in light of climate change concerns,” the agency says.
Concern for the triple bottom line — it’s what pushes companies to shrink their environmental footprint and make restitution for past negative impacts. And yet, as progressive as this ideal seems, its time has already passed. It’s time to put a fourth P alongside people, planet, and profit: perspective.
Adopting a truly future-focused perspective is the next step in sustainability. The goal is more than securing present conditions or making amends for missteps — it’s working today to make businesses, communities, and the environment stronger with respect to tomorrow’s conditions. The key to future sustainability is understanding the forces causing change and taking advantage of them to equip our businesses, communities and ecosystems for the future.
By David Witzel, Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) Innovation Exchange
Several people pointed me to Mary Tripsas‘ post in the New York Times called “Everybody in the Pool of Green Innovation” this weekend – it really struck a chord. The article focused on two initiatives involving major corporations to share patents that protect the environment and foster new innovations. Through the Eco-Patent Commons companies like Xerox, IBM, Nokia, and Ricoh, working with the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, pledge to make environmentally beneficial patents available in the public domain. The Eco-Patent Commons now includes 100 patents from eleven participating companies.
Meanwhile, Creative Commons, the innovative engine behind CC licensing for content sharing, is helping launch a new initiative to increase patent-reuse called GreenXchange. Partnering with Nike and Best Buy, they have a “vision of creating an open innovation platform that promotes the creation and adoption of technologies that have the potential to solve important global or industry-wide challenges” and are using their expertise in crafting licenses and legal language to both protect patent-holder interests while enabling easy reuse.
As the last round of “intersessional” climate talks before Copenhagen opened on Monday in Barcelona, all eyes were looking in the same direction they were when we left Bangkok three weeks earlier: at the United States. Without American numbers on mitigation (or emissions reductions) and finance (for developing nations to build their own clean energy economies, and also to adapt to the impacts of climate change), any real forward progress in the talks is just about impossible.
“We need a clear target from the United States in Copenhagen,” urged Yvo de Boer, who’s charged with steering this UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) process to some kind of December resolution.” “That is an essential component of the puzzle.” The problem is that the U.S. isn’t putting anything out there. At least not yet. Not while the Kerry-Boxer bill limps through Senate subcommittees back on Capitol Hill.
And that’s really where De Boer’s comment – and most criticism of the American position – is directed. Not at the negotiating team here, but towards Washington. In the U.S. delegation’s defense, their hands have been tied pretty tight. The State Department hasn’t wanted to write a check that our domestic politics can’t cash. If Kyoto taught us anything, it’s that nobody can trust the U.S. until they see what’s actually written into law. (Quick history lesson–the U.S. signed the Kyoto Protocol back in 1998; eleven years later, it still hasn’t been ratified. At least 185 countries have ratified the Protocol, from Russia to Rwanda to Australia to Iraq. Iraq!) So there’s a massive trust gap. To be a credible player going into Copenhagen, the U.S. has to show something concrete coming from the home front. Lead negotiator Jonathan Pershing has not been at all coy about the fact that he needs to bring home a treaty that will be signed and ratified. (And, yes, if all this sounds familiar, that’s because it is. The story was more or less the same last month in Bangkok.)
Climate Change legislation on the Hill has proven to be exactly what we should have expected all along – a partisan bickering match comparable to playground scuffles I recall from my elementary school days.
On cue, the Republicans moved to boycott this week’s work session on a climate change bill, stating that they want more time to study the EPA’s economic analysis. Interestingly enough, these folks had nothing to say when the Bush Administration used the EPA as a pawn in the game of delaying serious climate change debate. But you know how it is – it’s all politics.
Certainly we saw much of this kind of behavior from the Democrats during the Bush years. It’s really not much different.
There are different estimates and projections regarding when, and if, electric vehicles (EVs) will transform our transportation infrastructure, but one thing seems certain: carmakers won’t be able to transform the infrastructure on their own.
Last month I attended a forum presented by Ford in which it previewed its upcoming electric vehicles—the battery electric (BEV) Transit Connect (a utility van) due in 2010, followed by BEV Focus sedan in 2011 and plug-in hybrid (PHEV) in 2012. Nancy Gioia, Ford’s director of global electrification, also provided an overview of the tooling and manufacturing systems that Ford has put into place in order to hit its production targets for EVs while also maximizing its current manufacturing models—i.e creating production lines that can be used for building vehicles with electric, hybrid or fuel-based engines.
But the real work starts where EV production ends.
Chevron Australia awarded a $400 million contract last month to General Electric (GE) for the world’s largest carbon capture and storage (CCS) project off the West Australia coast’s Gorgon natural gas field. Chevron estimates the CCS project will sequester four times more carbon than any other project. The project is a joint operation with the Australian subsidiaries of ExxonMobil and Shell, and is estimated to cost about AUD$43 billion for first phase of development. The Gorgon field is believed to contain about 40 trillion cubic feet of gas, about eight percent of the current global capacity.
GE will supply six units capable of injecting captured carbon 1.3 km underground the Gorgon field. GE will also supply three refrigerant units that will chill and pump 15 million tons of natural gas a year from the Gorgon field through subsea and underground pipelines to gas treatment and liquefaction facilities on Barrow Island off Australian coast. Before liquefaction, the carbon will be taken out of the natural gas and injected into depleted natural gas wells.
The best kept secret in the world of corporate social responsibility (CSR) is that CSR is an inside job. Many people who are heading up CSR departments (or are the CSR department) at their companies, were once regular employees who one day decided to start recycling at the office or organize volunteer days. What resulted was a snowball effect. Management saw the benefits of sustainability, clients became interested and engaged, the company re-branded and marketed its efforts, and these employees continued to develop more and more socially responsible initiatives. A new way of doing business had been born and a new social champion had arrived: the social intrapreneur.
How important is the social intrapreneur to business? Ninety-five percent of CEOs report that businesses must address the social and environmental pressures of society (McKinsey & Co., July 2007) and mounting evidence shows that employees will drive companies’ efforts to address sustainability (MIT Sloan Management Review, Sept 2009). Innovative and forward-thinking employees need to be encouraged and trained to bring their social vision to the workplace in a meaningful and compelling way. The success of social intrapreneurs lies not only in their passion for sustainability, but also in their ability to translate that passion into a great pitch, a solid business plan, and positive, measurable results.
Read on to find out about a cool, must-attend event!
Right before I boarded a plane recently, I noticed a Body Shop in the terminal next to the gate. The Body Shop has been a leading business that incorporates social and environmental values into its operations. It was founded by the late Anita Roddick, one of the emergent leaders in the expanding and evolving “green” business movement.
Roddick was a very influential and inspiring thought leader, she stood as a pillar of the socially and environmentally responsible business movement. As I thumbed through my reading materials I found an article in Resurgence Magazine by Roddick entitled “The Currency of Imagination.” This eloquent article laid out some of her guiding principles and reflections on being one of the only CEOs (if not the only CEO) in the crowd of human beings who raised their voices against the globalization paradigm represented by the 1999 WTO meeting in Seattle.
In the article she laid out a new vision for society, a vision which I share, where we place community and beauty as driving values for our individual and institutional decision making. I have learned that for any successful endeavor in new economic thinking to work, it must be built on a culture of trust and collaboration amongst the participants. Such ideas have inspired me in the efforts I have made in my region in co-founding Green Business Networking, a monthly networking event which brings together entrepreneurs and professionals who are committed to greening our economy through their businesses.
As we observe the anniversary of the financial crisis, taxpayers and executives have their eyes equally fixed on the government’s plans to regulate executive compensation in the financial industry. Their decision, after such a catastrophic event with such far reaching consequences, will have to be just as complex in order to placate the opinions of all the parties involved.
So where do they begin?
In case you’ve been under a rock, you may want to catch up on what’s been happening in the financial industry for the past two years. Part of the government’s response to the financial collapse was creation of the role of ‘Special Master for Compensation’ (aka, the “Pay Czar”) and appointment of Kenneth Feinberg. Congress passed a law saying that the Pay Czar will determine individual compensation for the top 25 individuals in the seven TARP companies, design compensation structures for individuals twenty six through one hundred and gives him the right to clawback, or recoup, compensation dolled out in the past. Feinberg’s team set to work and has now put together the executive compensation totals for the top 25 individuals and is working on the compensation plans for the top 26 through 100.
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