Thursday, March 23, 2017

Water Management: Industries Showing Leadership

The business case for aggressive water management is building. Increasing interest in water management is a function of the powerful combination of cost savings through risk mitigation, good ROI, and the advantage of being first to market in this critical space. Businesses that tackle water conservation and replenishment will be working to provide critical solutions to a serious problem. They will also be well-positioned to take a leadership role in the industry.

The costs associated with inaction and the drivers supporting action make water stewardship an imperative for businesses. Water related issues represent a $63 trillion risk. The actual costs are increasing each year. According to CDP water-related impacts cost companies $14 billion in 2015, or more than five times more than they did the previous year ($2.6 billion).

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Water Scarcity and the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse

The importance of water cannot be overstated. It is vital to every aspect of our civilization from the survival of our ecosystems down to our own biological needs. It is intertwined with energy and agriculture, both of which are inextricably tied to climate change. On World Water Day we are called to recognize the fundamental importance of this crucial resource. In 1993, the United Nations General Assembly officially designated March March 22 as World Water Day. This day is a call to action on behalf of the 1.8 billion people who are at risk of contracting cholera, dysentery, typhoid and polio because they are forced to drink contaminated water. This is the white horse, also called disease, the first of the four horsemen of the apocalypse.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Trump's Budget is a Declaration of War Against Environmental Protections, Climate Action and Scientific Research

Donald Trump has released his first official budget proposal and it affords a window into his administration's determination to eradicate environmental protections, climate action, and scientific research. The proposed cuts are both a public health issue and a threat to national security. This budget is intent on killing the Obama administration's investments in climate change and clean energy. This budget is unprecedented as proposed cuts are far worse than those of previous Republican administrations.

Trump wants to eliminate funding for mitigation, adaptation, and science related to climate change. He wants to slash funding to climate science agencies by 17 percent. The fact that this includes climate research is a bitter irony. Republicans have falsely claimed that there is not enough evidence to support action on climate change. Now Trump wants to end government support for climate research that would add to the already considerable body of evidence. Trump wants to eliminate government funding of science altogether so that he can control the narrative by depriving Americans of the facts.  

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Event - Innovating Alberta's Energy Future: Energy Futures Lab Showcase

Innovating Alberta's Energy Future: Energy Futures Lab Showcase will take place on Wednesday, April 19, 2017 - 1:00pm to 5:00pm at the Jack Singer Hall, in Calgary, Alberta. Innovating Alberta’s Energy Future Showcase event will feature leaders and influencers from across Alberta and inspiring talks by EFL Fellows.

As polarized debates over energy continue, thinkers, officials, innovators, and investors are helping to shape Alberta’s energy future. They operate between the ‘black and white’ polarized sides of the debate in the very colourful middle ground, and have come together to find ways to help Alberta transition to a low carbon future.

Event - Environmental Leader 2017 Conference

The Environmental Leader Conference 2017, featuring the Energy Manager Summit, will take place on June 5-7, 2017 at the Hyatt Regency Denver Tech Center in Denver, Colorado. It will take a look at what the next four years look like for the business community in terms of regulatory mandates. Early actions taken by Trump indicate he intends to keep his campaign promises to reduce regulations and slash funding for the Environmental Protection Agency.

Event - WSBE17 Hong Kong

The World Sustainable Built Environment Conference 2017 (WSBE17) will take place on June 5-7, 2017 at the at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (HKCEC).

This is the preeminent global conference on sustainable building and construction. Themed "Transforming Our Built Environment through Innovation and Integration: Putting Ideas into Action", this event is focused on both innovation and integration.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Irish Parliament Votes to Fully Divest from Fossil Fuels (Videos)

Ireland leads the world in its effort to become the first nation on Earth that completely stops funding fossil fuels. A divestment bill recently passed by a vote of 90 to 53 in the Irish Parliament. It will end public funding of fossil fuels like coal, oil, and gas from the €8 billion (US$8.6 billion) Ireland Strategic Investment Fund, part of the Republic’s National Treasury Management Agency.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Ireland Illustrates the Benefits of Going Green

In Ireland, green has many meanings. It can be seen as the color of their national symbol, a way of describing the government's environmentally responsible initiatives and the economic benefits the nation gleans from sustainability.

Ireland's investments in sustainability are paying off. Ireland continues to have the fastest growing economy in the European Union. In 2015 the country led the EU with a 6.9 percent growth rate and in 2014 the country led with a 4.8 percent growth rate. As reported in the Irish Times, the European Commission has indicated that it expects Ireland will continue to lead the EU with 4.5 percent growth in 2016.

The government is engaging a number of sustainability related programs and they rank very favorably on a number of green indices.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Sustainability Leadership: 500 Companies, 50 Drivers, 5 Reasons and 5 CEOs

Sustainability is a mainstream phenomenon that has become an imperative. Driven by a powerful logic it has taken root in the US and around the world. Many CEOs and businesses in the United States are already fully engaged. The business case for sustainability has never been stronger. Businesses are moving forward despite the fact that the Trump administration is a serious impediment to the growth of sustainability.  However, contrary to the assertions of this administration the evidence shows that sustainability is a boon and not a liability.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Trump Orders an End to Vehicle Emissions Standards

With an order to end car emissions standards, Trump has removed another pillar of US environmental protections. It is hard to keep up with the Trump administration's steady stream of climate assaults. On March 15 in Detroit, Trump announced that he has directed the EPA to dismantle the Obama administration's vehicle emissions standards for cars.

Tailpipe emissions are one of the largest source of carbon pollution in the US. Vehicle emissions standards have reduced carbon pollution by 50 percent since they were introduced in 2010 and it has saved billions of dollars a year on fuel.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Sustainability is an Economic Boon not a Liability

If you believe the rhetoric coming out of the Trump administration you may be inclined to think that environmental regulations that compel corporations to invest in sustainability are undermining economic prosperity, however the facts show just the opposite.

The Trump administration has premised its anti-regulation stance on the false belief that government regulations undermine economic growth.  The facts reveal that there is a very substantial economic windfall associated with corporate investments in sustainability.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Event - Financing the 21st Century (GLOBE Capital)

This event will take place April 4 - 5, 2017 in Toronto, Canada at the Four Seasons Hotel.

Financial markets and policy decision-makers will come together to make better-informed decisions and pursue better returns for risk profiles. Leaders will discuss how to mobilize and accelerate the capital necessary to transform our economy.

Event - Sustainability Across Disciplines Conference

This interdisciplinary conference will take place March 16 - 17, 2017, 9:15 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. at Concordia University, Room GN M-100 and MB 6th & 2nd floor, Grey Nuns Building (Main Entrance 1190 Guy St.; Class Entrance 1175 St-Mathieu St.), Sir George Williams Campus. The Sustainability Across Disciplines Conference will examine sustainability research across disciplines and will feature faculty, graduate student, and undergraduate student work from across Concordia University.

Event - EMA Impact Summit 2017

This event will take place in Los Angeles, California or March 23 and 24, 2017. This Summit includes keynotes, panels and the EMA Future Innovator of The Year Challenge. Storytellers, Investors, Innovators, Activists and Visionary Executives are coming together with the shared goal of helping to create a path to a better tomorrow.

Friday, March 10, 2017

The Importance of Fact Based News to Combat Trump's Lies

Love and truth are the best weapons we have to resist Trump. This is about love for America's democracy and exposing the dark truth of this administration's efforts to destroy it. It is the exclusion of vast swaths of people that give tyrants their power. We need to provide a platform for competing views and we must also expose lies. As long as false narratives are allowed to flourish we are doomed to fall prey to the dystopia of the Trump administration.

Perhaps the most dangerous aspect of Trump's narrative is the false insinuation that the media is treating him and his administration unfairly. This is blatantly untrue if anything the media has failed to expose all of this administration's lies (however, there are so many lies that it is impossible to challenge each and every non-factual statement).  To help advance false narratives over fact-based reporting Trump has begun to shut down press access.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

20 Inspiring Posts to Celebrate Women's Day


Impediments to Women in the Workforce Inhibit Environmental Action

Decreasing barriers to women in the workplace can shift the balance of power and help us to move forward on a host of sustainability issues. 

Women’s Day was celebrated on March 8, so this is an opportune time to review the importance of women to the health of the planet. While women represent roughly half of the population, they have yet to assume their rightful role at the highest levels of decision making.

We have good reason to believe that as the power of women grows, they will be a civilizing force in business. There are a number of female environmentalists who have played pivotal roles over the years. There are also a number of studies which show that women are better for the environment than their male counterparts.

Read more »

Emails Reveal Pruitt's Anti-Regulation Industry Advocacy

As revealed by thousands of emails Donald Trump's pick to head the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is an enemy of the planet and a friend of the fossil fuel industry. Pruitt was forced to release his emails by a court order just days before he was confirmed by the Republican-controlled Senate. The emails were released in response to a request from the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD). To no one's surprise, these emails reveal the close collaboration of Pruitt with industry and fossil fuel interests in particular.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Shareholders Calling for Sustainability at Kraft Heinz Co

Kraft Heinz shareholders have drawn up a few sustainability motions ahead of a forthcoming shareholders meeting. Kraft Heinz is the third-largest food and beverage company in North America and the fifth-largest food and beverage company in the world. The two companies have engaged in a range of sustainability measures.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Event - International Conference on Environment and Renewable Energy

The International Conference on Environment and Renewable Energy (ICERE) will take place on May 2 - 4, 2017 in Venice Italy at the Best Western Hotel Bologna. This is the fourth ICERE event and it follows the success of ICERE 2016 in Munich, Germany. Previous conferences have taken place in Paris and Vienna.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Event - Sustainability Summit 2017 (Video)

The Sustainability Summit 2017 will take place on March 23 and 24 at the St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel in London, UK.

This Economist Event will address what COP21 and the push for greater environmental sustainability means for business. It will bring together key thinkers, policymakers and business leaders, who will deliver strategies, ideas and solutions to decision makers, helping them to turn challenges into new opportunities and prepare for the future.

Friday, March 3, 2017

The Trump Administration Begins Shutting Down Press Access

Trump's White House has barred a number of media outlets for fact based reporting and this constitutes one of the most serious assaults against democracy from an American administration in modern history. This is an extension of the exclusion of certain reporters who wrote unflattering articles about Trump during the campaign.

To support their subterfuge the White House announced that they will no longer give daily on-camera press briefings. However, selected members of the press were invited to White House press secretary Sean Spicer's office for a lecture on media coverage of Trump.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Trump Addresses Congress and Offers More Environmental Doublespeak

If one did not know better, Trump's first address to the joint session of Congress could almost offer a glimmer of hope. However, his pledge to work with both parties to "promote clean air and clean water" is the same old doublespeak. This is not the first time he has insinuated that he will actually protect the environment. There is method to saying one thing while doing another, it allows him to give the impression that he is doing something even when he is doing the opposite. Trump maligns traditional media so that he can control the narrative or distract people's attention.

Just hours before he promised a bipartisan environmental effort, Trump signed an Executive Order (EO) instructing his EPA chief Scott Pruitt to kill President Obama's 2015 Waters of the United States rule. Trump wants to remove federal protection for the water supply of more than 100 million Americans. If Trump has his way major bodies of water, streams and wetlands will be vulnerable. Trump is expected to sign a similar EO trying to kill the Clean Power Plan.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

A Less Environmentally Harmful Mardi Gras

Mardi Gras party celebrations are an environmental nightmare but steps have been taken in recent years to make the event less environmentally destructive. Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday, in English, (aka Shrove Tuesday) is the day before Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent. The day after the party when the cleanup begins and in New Orleans has been dubbed "Trash Wednesday," due to the massive amount of garbage left behind by party goers on the streets.

While there are similar events called Carnival celebrations, in the Caribbean, Mexico and Brazil, New Orleans is in a class of its own in terms of its environmental impact. These celebrations commonly begin on the Christian feasts of the Epiphany (Three Kings Day) and culminating on the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Pruitt to Decimate Environmental Protections and Climate Action

Scott Pruitt was picked by Trump to eviscerate the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and eradicate climate action and other environmental regulations. The fact that Pruitt and all of Trump's cabinet were picked to dismantle the departments and agencies they were charged to head was confirmed by Stephen Bannon at CPAC in February, 2017.

By nominating Pruitt to head the EPA Trump has put the fox in the hen-house. Pruitt opposes environmental and climate action he also opposes science. Like Trump, he also opposes facts when they refute his agenda. He has a track record of undermining the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, and anti-pollution programs He has spent much of his time as the former Attorney General of Oklahoma fighting the EPA in the courts. He has sued the EPA multiple times mostly on behalf of the fossil fuel industry.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Event - Berlin Energy Transition Dialogue

This event will take place 20 – 23 March 2017, in Berlin, Germany. Berlin Energy Transition Dialogue follows IRENA’s November workshop that discussed key energy challenges, current energy status, and frameworks for promoting renewable energy in Thailand.

This consultation workshop will engage experts and government officials in the preparation of a joint REmap-RRA report — aimed at accelerating renewable energy deployment in Thailand.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Bannon: Why Environmentalists are not the Only Ones who Should be Terrified (Videos)

Donald Trump may not be very bright and some have even questioned his sanity, however, the real madman behind this administration's crazy conspiratorial agenda is his chief strategy advisor Stephen Bannon. At the recent Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), Bannon admitted what we already knew, namely that the Trump administration has a plan to tear down not only environmental regulations but all regulations along with a host of government institutions and agencies. This administration has already started to dismantle environmental regulations but this is just the tip of the iceberg.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Business Action on Climate Change

There are hundreds of companies that have committed themselves to achieving ambitious sustainability goals. Here are five corporate leaders who stand apart. Together these five companies represent $1,062,338,000,000 in revenue, which if they together formed a country would be the 19th-largest economy in the world. This list of companies leading the sustainability movement is excerpted from the Fortune 25 list:

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Progressive Climate Action Will Win in the End But it may Come Too Late

With enough distance we can see that the political philosophy of the alt-right movement is a reaction to the inexorable movement towards progressive leadership including climate action. In the arc of history the alt-right's climate denial is a brief detour.

On the one hand this is comforting but on the other hand we have to acknowledge that this reprieve from responsible governance may slow us down just enough to make it impossible for us to keep global temperatures from warming beyond prescribed scientific limits.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Republicans Pushing a Carbon Tax

A group of prominent Republics with decades of experience in government has urged the Trump administration engage climate change. This group includes former cabinet Secretaries James Baker, George Shultz and Hank Paulson. The latter is one of the authors of the Risky Business report. This report and others show that the costs of inaction far outweigh the costs of action. The argument put forward by these Republicans is simple, we cannot afford to take the risk of delaying climate action.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Sustainability is not Impervious to Trump

Trump will not be able to stop sustainability or arrest the production of renewable energy, he may not even kill the Paris Climate agreement. There are clear market incentives that will continue to drive the green economy forward.  Optimism abounded at this year's World Economic Forum in Davos.  However, at some point we will have to face the bitter truth that market forces alone are not enough. 

Nor should we ignore just how far we have come. Sustainability is now a market dictate and a mainstream phenomenon. There are powerful drivers that make sustainability an unstoppable force. The business case has been made and a plethora of studies have demonstrated the ROI on sustainability.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Event - March for Science: Science Not Silence

The March for Science will take place on Earth Day, Saturday, April 22 in Washington, D.C. There will also be satellite marches on the same day in cities across the U.S., Canada and around the world. This march will include scientists but it is for everyone. The event is a celebration of science and a call to support and safeguard the scientific community. The slogan for this event is, "SCIENCE, NOT SILENCE" and the hashtag for is  #marchforscience.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Why Trump Hates Traditional Journalism and Loves Digital Media (Videos)

Trump despises traditional media for exposing his lies and he loves digital media because it can be spun to support his false narrative. The post factual reality, fake news and alternate facts being spun by the Trump administration reads like an Orwellian nightmare.  If this sounds like hyperbole you have not been following closely.  If you need more proof simply watch Trump's most recent tirades against the press. Trump needs to deride fact-based reporting as a matter of survival. He must discredit the press if he is to have a hope of fulfilling his dark agenda. This is a man who has declared war on the EPA. He wants to take away regulations that protect the air that people breathe and the water that people drink. This is a man who wants to remove sanctions against Russia so that Exxon can drill for oil in the Arctic.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Liberals Give Canada's Oceans More Protections

On February 15, 2017, the Government of Canada announced a partnership with the Province of B.C. and coastal First Nations to protect coastal ecosystems and the communities that depend upon them. This follows a November 7, 2016, announcement in which Justin Trudeau pledged $1.5 billion national Oceans Protection Plan. The plan creates a marine safety system, it restores and protects marine ecosystems and it strengthens the partnerships with Indigenous communities. The government also pledged to invest in evidence-based oil spill response methods.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Aussies Feeling the Heat of Global Warming

Australia continues its warming trend and scientists know that this is due to anthropogenic climate change. Even though carbon emissions were flat for the third straight year, 2016 was still the hottest year on record. Sixteen of the 17 hottest years on record have occurred since the dawn of the new millennium. According to the World Meteorological Association, 2016 was 1.2 degrees Celsius warmer on average than temperatures for the preindustrial Earth. That is only .3 degrees Celsius below the upper threshold limit of 1.5-degree-Celsius. Extreme heat is not just a source of discomfort it can be deadly. The Australian Climate Council says that more people have been killed by heat in the last century than any other natural disaster.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Resist Trump: Why Boycotts and Business Leadership Matters More than Ever

The business community is joining citizens in rising up and taking on Donald Trump and the GOP. Rather than being cowed by this new government, the voices of dissent are increasing. With growing boycotts of Trump-related products, people are challenging this administration in ever increasing numbers. Hundreds of America's leading companies are actively resisting Trump. Hotels and buildings have dropped the Trump brand, and now retail outlets and others are also coming together to say "no" to the new administration and the GOP.

Monday, February 13, 2017

50 Sustainability Drivers for 2017

This will be a challenging year for sustainability but there are reasons for optimism. Sustainability will not be killed by the new American administration and this post contains fifty compelling reasons why it is unstoppable. Despite some disconcerting global events, optimism pervaded the World Economic Forum earlier this year in Davos, Switzerland.

The sheer size of the opportunity is a powerful incentive. A report called The Death of Environmentalism: Global Warming Politics in a Post-Environmental World says that the UN's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) could unlock $12 trillion in market opportunities by 2030 and create up to 380 million jobs.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Event - Sustainable Brands 2017 Detroit

SB'17 will take place on May 22-25, 2017 in Detroit, Michigan at the Cobo Convention Center, conveniently located in downtown Detroit's dynamic civic center and overlooking the Detroit River, with views of neighboring Windsor, Canada.

Learn from Today's Change Agents Over 300 speakers will join us at SB’17 Detroit to jump start conversations around the potential for business success through purpose driven, sustainability-led innovation that creates scalable positive impact and profitability.

Event - Indonesia Renewable Power Summit 2017: Partnering Investment, Technology and the FIT for Capacity Growth

This summit will take place on February 27, 2017 - 01 March 1, 2017 at the Jakarta Le Meridien, Jakarta, Indonesia.  This renewable power event will focus on opportunities and ongoing developments in renewable power projects, infrastructure, generation & transmission, the prospects for solar, hydro and wind power in Indonesia as well as other sources of new and renewable energy.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

The Ads at Super Bowl LI Offer A Counter Narratives to Trump's Dystopia (Videos)

The Super Bowl ads show what businesses can do to oppose the dark narrative coming from Washington Republicans. This is the world's most watched sporting event and with over 100 million viewers it is the highest profile advertising platform in the world. Corporations invested millions of dollars ($5 million for a 30-second spot) for Super Bowl commercials. This year advertisers used the premium venue to air ads with a social and political purpose.

While some made commercials that were simply designed to sell product, others crafted profound messages that speak to the darkness of our times. This year five stand out for providing narratives that squarely refute the positions of both Trump and the GOP.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

The NoDAPL Protest's Last Stand

As the Dakota Access Pipeline is about to resume construction protesters have taken to the streets in 55 cities and 26 states across America. These protests are in response to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announcement that they will forego an environmental impact statement and grant the final easement needed for the pipeline to proceed. Now that the Army Corps of Engineers has given the green light there are no immediate obstacles preventing the pipeline from being built. All legal options have been exhausted. The Indigenous Coalition at Standing Rock called Wednesday's protest, "an international day of emergency actions to disrupt business as usual and unleash a global intersectional resistance to fossil fuels and fascism."