Friday, November 24, 2017

Corporations Giving Hope this Unhappy Thanksgiving:

The Trump administration and the GOP give Americans no reason to be happy this Thanksgiving. Resistance from citizens and corporate leaders offer a shining ray of hope in an otherwise bleak picture.

America's greatness is now being systematically dismantled. Its institutions, its democracy, and its moral center are under siege. What makes this enemy especially pernicious is the fact that unlike previous adversaries, this threat comes from within Congress and the Oval Office itself.

While nobody was listening Trump's former chief strategy advisor Steve Bannon made it clear that the goal of this administration is the deconstruction of government. Even though Bannon has been pushed out his influence remains.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Amadeus Sustainability Gains are a Win for Investors

In addition to celebrating its 30th birthday, Amadeus is also celebrating its sustainability efforts in 2017. Amadeus IT Group (AMS) is a major Spanish IT Provider for the global travel and tourism industry. The company was founded in 1987 and their headquarters are located in Madrid. They currently operate in 190 markets, with a worldwide team of 15,000 people. They have invested over €4 billion in R&D since 2004. In 2016, they reported revenues of €4,473 million. As of November 22, 2017 their market cap was $27 Billion.

Monday, November 20, 2017

The Cost Saving Tesla Semi is Poised to Revolutionize Truck Transportation

The recently launched Tesla Semi is an emissions-free fully electric class 8 truck that is far less expensive to operate than comparable diesel-powered trucks. The Semi consumes less than 2 kilowatt-hours per mile and uses no fossil fuels resulting in significantly reduced operating costs. Tesla claims the savings could amount to more than $200,000 per vehicle in fuel costs for every million miles on the road.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Event - Shareholder Activism Unlocking Shareholder Value

This event will take place on January 25, 2018 at the Time Warner Center, 10 on the Park, 60 Columbus Circle, New York, NY.  The Shareholder Activism  Unlocking Shareholder Value conference brings together activists, board directors and corporate management to discuss the state of play in activist engagement and what to expect in the upcoming shareholder season. The event includes full day of interviews, panel discussions, presentations by practice experts, strategists, advisors, activists and investors makes this one-day program an invaluable gathering, needed to effectively manage through the ever-evolving landscape of proxy fights and settlements.

Friday, November 17, 2017

KXL Pipeline Leak Highlights Serious Dangers and Questionable Economic Value

A leak in the Keystone XL (KXL) pipeline occurred just days before Nebraska decides on the fate of a pipeline expansion. The tar sands oil that would be carried by the pipeline are currently being shipped by rail but not at the rate they would be if the $8 billion KXL expansion were built. If the KXL runs at full capacity it could ferry up to 830,000 barrels per day.

There are many reasons to oppose the KXL. The tar sands require more energy to transport by pipe and more energy to refine.  As revealed by oil spills in 2015 and 2016, oil pipelines leak. Tar sands pipelines are even more likely to leak than those that transport conventional oil and when they do, they are harder to clean up. This puts dozens of critical waterways at risk. Tar sands also emit at least 20 percent more greenhouse gases than conventional oil. That is why tar sands pipelines are often referred to as carbon bombs. We can ill afford a surge in greenhouse gases as we ebb ever closer to the upper threshold temperature limits.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Scientists Issue Dire Warnings about Climate Change

A new US report and a recent warning from 17,000 scientists adds to the chorus of those calling for climate action.  On November 3, 2017, US government released its most significant and conclusive climate change report yet. The U.S. Global Change Research Program's fourth National Climate Assessment (NCA4) is a comprehensive review of leading climate science that was compiled with contributions from 13 federal agencies under the direction of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Further, it was reviewed by the independent National Academy of Sciences and approved by the National Economic Council.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Corporate Actions that Combat Trump's Climate Ignorance

Corporations are opposing the Trump administration and embracing both science and sustainability. Corporations are increasingly adopting science-based emissions reduction targets and increasing their renewable energy investments. Many of these companies also support President Obama's Clean Power Plan which the Trump administration is in the process of dismantling. As part of their efforts to dismantle regulations Trump and the GOP are at war with science.

The position of the current US government is in stark contrast to business leaders who acknowledge that climate change represents a serious material threat. This includes vulnerabilities to resource scarcity and supply chain disruptions. Corporations also have to contend with reputational threats from consumers who may punish laggards.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

The Economist Events Sustainability Summit 2018

The Sustainability Summit 2018 will take place on March 22nd 2018 in London. The event is subtitled, "from responsibility to leadership". If you are only able to attend one major event in 2018 this is one of the events you will want to consider.

Friday, November 10, 2017

HSBC Taking its Sustainability Commitments to New Heights

London-based sustainability leader HSBC, is one of the world’s largest banking and financial services companies. The banking giant is helping the world to transition to a low-carbon economy and promoting sustainable growth. The company's updated climate plan enhances and already strong commitment to meet their social, environmental and governance (ESG) responsibilities. The new plan includes $100B for sustainable financing by 2025.

Over the last ten years HSBC has financed some of the biggest climate-focused infrastructure projects in the world. They are also focusing on reducing their in-house footprint. In the past year alone HSBC has reduced carbon emissions by 9 percent, water usage by 9 percent and energy consumption by 13 percent. HSBC is consistently ranked in the top ten for the financial sector in both performance and disclosure according to CDP Global 500 Climate Leadership Index.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Election Defeats Intimate an End to Trump and the GOP

Voters from Florida to Washington state have rejected Trump's vision by embracing diversity over division. One year after a minority of voters elected Trump, Republicans have been handed a string of electoral defeats. In what is being called a blue wave, women, minority and LGBT candidates secured historic wins.

The elections that took place on November 7, 2017 were a referendum on the performance of both the commander and chief and the GOP.  Americans used the opportunity to reject Trump's vision for the country. In a stunning rebuke, Democrats won decisive victories on a range of social and cultural issues.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Climate Evidence Makes Trump Irrelevant at COP23

As the Bonn Climate Talks commence the world seems to be increasingly ignoring a US commander and chief who does not seem to have the faintest understanding of the most basic aspects of climate science.

At last year's Conference of the Parties (COP 22) delegates in Marrakesh were reeling in the wake of the election of Donald Trump. This is in stark contrast to the euphoria post COP 21 when delegates in Paris were celebrating the momentous achievement of a climate deal. As expected Trump announced that he was withdrawing from the Paris Agreement, however, rather than unravel the deal, nations, cities, corporations, and others steeled their resolve to abide by the accord.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Ceres Company Network Gains Two High Profile Members

Ceres is a sustainability non-profit that is host to a Company Network of responsible businesses. The members of this Network are committed to achieving sustainability goals and improving resiliency in their operations and supply chains.

These efforts offer a competitive advantage to companies that are serious about sustainability. Network members also benefit from unique access to investors and other stakeholders who are seeking opportunities in the low-carbon economy.

CERES has engaged in a number of efforts in recent years including calling out the fossil fuel industry, tracking investor resolutions and showing support for the Clean Power Plan. They have also produced a number of publications including a report on the cost of financing the low carbon economy and another that offers risk guidance.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Event - Sustainable Innovation Forum 2017 (SIF17)

The eighth Sustainable Innovation Forum 2017 (SIF17), will take place on November 13th and 14th, 2017 in Bonn, Germany – the home of the UNFCCC.  SIF17 is succinctly described as two days of green economy deal-making. This event gives business leaders and entrepreneurs the chance to meet  face to face with key stakeholders. This event has a proven track record of facilitating relationships between businesses, governments, the UN and NGOs.  The Forum fosters partnerships that accelerate climate change solutions and bring scale to low carbon innovation. Many of the deals forged at this event are helping to make our future more sustainable.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Puerto Rico's Renewable Energy Opportunity (Video)

The devastation to Puerto Rico's energy infrastructure caused by Hurricane Maria opens the door to a powerful opportunity.  The storm wiped out more than 2,400 miles of aging power transmission lines leaving people without power. Almost 80 percent of Puerto Ricans still have no electricity. This gives the people of Puerto Rico a blank slate to imagine the future of energy on the island.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Criticisms of Sustainability Offset by Tangible Results

The growth of sustainability has been nothing short of spectacular but some question the depth of the engagement. Some cynics dismiss it altogether saying sustainability amounts to little more than a public relations exercise. Sustainability is no longer a niche project it is now a mainstream phenomenon.

 Sustainability has grown by leaps and bounds in recent years. This is the finding in a survey by Fundação Dom Cabral . This study and many like it point to explosive growth.  We have come so far so quickly. Five years ago sustainability was virtually nonexistent, since then sustainability has grown exponentially.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Puerto Rico Relief Efforts: Companies Doing What Trump Won't

The Trump administration has done very little to help Puerto Ricans after Hurricane Maria so corporations are stepping in to help fill the void. In the face of widespread devastation, thirst, hunger and homelessness, Trump handed out paper towels and attacked San Juan's mayor. Despite the deluded,  narcissistic self-promotion that is Trump's MO, his efforts (or lack thereof) have been a disaster for the island territory.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Mars' Sustainability Leadership Through Science Based Climate Action

While some companies merely pay lip service to sustainability, corporations like Mars are walking the talk and showing others the way forward. Mars Inc. is a company that has shown corporate leadership on a number of fronts. In 2015 Mars was among the companies that endorsed President Barack Obama's Clean Power Plan saying it is "good for business". The same year, Mars was one of 10 global food companies who jointly published a letter in which they pledged to accelerate business action on climate change including reductions in greenhouse gases (GHGs). Mars supported supported a positive outcome at COP21 and they were among the signatories of a letter that urged Trump to respect the Paris Climate Agreement.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Tesla is Bringing Renewable Energy to Puerto Rico

In the wake of the federal government's inaction in Puerto Rico, Tesla CEO Elon Musk is trying to fill the void. Early in October Musk said he was prepared to do what Trump won't. Musk said he could restore Puerto Rico’s severely damaged energy grid with solar panels and batteries. The island territory is ideally suited for renewable energy systems. Musk is putting his money where is mouth is by supplying free batteries and donating $250,000 of his own money to support relief efforts. To reinforce the extent of his commitment Musk postponed Tesla's electric semi truck reveal event to focus on battery systems destined for Puerto Rico.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Event - National Summit of Conscious Leadership

This event will take place on November 1, 2017, at the Montreal Convention Centre in Quebec, Canada.

This unique and innovative event, organized by the International Centre for Conscious Leadership, will bring together 500 business leaders, thought leaders, political figures and other community organizations to embrace Conscious Leadership as a key pillar of Conscious Capitalism, in Canada and throughout the world.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Energy Justice for Puerto Rico: Abandon Fossil Fuels and Adopt Renewables

Hurricane Maria decimated Puerto Rico's fossil fuel powered energy grid making this an ideal time to redraw the territory's energy map using renewable energy. More than 90 percent of Puerto Rico's energy is derived from fossil fuels and around 70 percent of the territory's electricity is generated from imported oil.

Energy is at the heart of the island's economic woes. Electricity is so expensive that some of the territory's leaders have singled out dependence on foreign oil as the greatest barrier to economic development. Moving towards renewable energy is crucial to Puerto Rico's future.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Trump's Climate Denial Makes Storms and Wildfires Worse

Against the backdrop of an eerie post-apocalyptic sky Trump fiddles on Twitter as California burns. As one of the worst humanitarian crises in modern American history unfolds Trump hands out paper towels in Puerto Rico declaring, "let them eat cake". 

Trump and the GOP's climate denial stands out in stark relief against the backdrop of increasingly fierce wildfires and severe weather.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Event - DC Climathon at Gw: Hack Resilience

This event will take place on Friday, October 27, 2017, 3:00 PM – Saturday, October 28, 2017, 3:00 PM EDT. It will take place at Duquès Hall, George Washington University, 2201 G Street Northwest, Washington, DC. The 2017 Climathon: Hack Resilience is produced by GW Office of Sustainability in partnership with Resilient DC and 100 Resilient Cities.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Event - 2017 Cleantech Open - Midwest Innovation Showcase

The 2017 Cleantech Open - Midwest Innovation Showcase will take place on November 2 - 3, 2017 at 1000 Lasalle Ave, Minneapolis, MN, United States.Cleantech open finds funds and fosters the most promising cleantech startups on the planet. This event is the culmination of 2017 accelerator, celebrating innovators and promoting investments in clean technology startups. At the event, attendees will have the chance to find out about 24 clean technology startups from across the 13-state Midwest Region. There are also opportunities to learn about trends and opportunities for cleantech innovation from the panel of distinguished associates.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Evidence Linking Wildfires and Climate Change

A hotter world is also a drier world. Less precipitation in the form of rain and snow. Warmer temperatures also contribute to earlier snowmelt and more evaporation. Climate change also augurs infect infestations that kill trees and provide more fuel for wildfires. Increasingly severe storms also contribute to more lightening and this is yet another wildfire risk factor associated with climate change. Here is a brief primer reviewing some of the evidence linking wildfires to climate change.

Wildfires have always occurred in nature but human activities have caused the Earth to warm and this is increasing the number and intensity of fires. The world has warmed by an average of one degree Celsius since pre-industrial times, however, in some forests the temperature has increased by 1.5 degrees Celsius.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Trump's Climate Denial as Puerto Ricans Continue to Die in the Wake of Hurricane Maria

Hurricane Maria unleashed wind and rain not seen in Puerto Rico’s modern history. This storm is known to have killed at least 50 people. When all is said and done the actual toll is likely to be in the hundreds. Hurricane Maria the strongest storm to hit the island in a century and the fifth-strongest storm ever to hit the US. Maria ravaged Puerto Rico with strong winds and record-breaking rains. Before Maria hit, around 60,000 people on the island were still without power from Hurricane Irma. Parts of Puerto Rico saw more rain than Harvey dumped on Houston. The city of Caguas, in the mountains of eastern Puerto Rico, may have broken a world record for the most rain to have fallen in a single hour (14 inches). Over the course of the storm Caguas got more rain (nearly 40 inches) than Seattle does in an average year (37 inches).

Monday, October 16, 2017

Event - NAFTA's Environmental Side Agreement: Assessing the Past and Looking Towards the Future

 This open invitation event will take place on November 9, 2017 at the Courtyard Chicago Downtown/River, North Room, Michigan Avenue, 30 East Hubbard at State Street, Chicago, Illinois. People can also participate in this event online and in either English, French or Spanish.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Event - Net Impact Conference 2017

The 2017 version of the annual Net Impact Conference will take place on October 26 - 28, 2017 at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta Georgia. The conference is subtitled, "the path to purpose". Many people want to make a difference, but turning good intentions into tangible impact can be hard. This conference can give you the skills, experiences, and connections so that you can have the greatest impact now and throughout your career.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

California Fires are Part of a Global Phenomenon

The devastating fires in California are but the most dramatic example of a phenomenon that has ravaged many parts of the world in 2017.  At least 30 people have been killed by the fires in northern California and thousands are missing. Tens of thousands of others have either lost their homes or been forced to flee. Propelled by strong winds fires have destroyed almost 200,000 acres of land in California including ranches and businesses. Sonoma County and Mendocino County have been hit particularly hard and Redwood Valley has been reduced to ashes.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Pruitt Lies to Justify Killing the Clean Power Plan

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) chief Scott Pruitt's obfuscation is designed to kill the Clean Power Plan. Pruitt's decision to kill the Plan jeopardizes American lives and compromises their health. Pruitt's subterfuge ignores the fact that the EPA was created in 1970 to focus specifically on the environment and human health.

Prior to becoming EPA administrator Pruitt had amassed a long track record as a climate denier and fossil fuel advocate. As revealed by his emails and his calendar Pruitt's agenda is diametrically opposed to the EPA's mandate. When he was the Attorney General for Oklahoma Pruitt sued the EPA 14 times and disbanded the state's Environmental Protection Unit. The fact that he has received more than a quarter of a million dollars from the fossil fuel industry to support his political career is a matter of public record.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Celebrating Oxymorons: Canadian Thanksgiving and Columbus Day

Although they co-occur, in many respects Columbus Day and Canadian Thanksgiving are diametrically opposed to each other. While Canadian Thanksgiving is a harvest festival celebrating nature's bounty, Columbus Day marks the start of our systematic destruction of the natural world.

Monday October 9th is Canadian Thanksgiving, a time to be grateful, it is also Columbus day in most parts of the new world. It is hard to reconcile the start of our exploitation of the Americas and the expression of gratitude for the bountiful harvests nature provides. 

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Event - SRI Conference on Sustainable, Responsible, Impact Investing

The 28th SRI Conference on Sustainable, Responsible, Impact Investing will take place November 1-3, 2017 in San Diego, California. This annual event is Produced by The SRI Conference and Community, LLC. The SRI Conference is the industry’s seminal event. Thought leaders, investors, and investment professionals from all corners of the Sustainable, Responsible, Impact (SRI) investing universe convene to gain and share knowledge and strategies that align financial performance with positive change. We are catalyzing the shift to a more socially equitable and environmentally sustainable.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Carbon Budget Exposes the Energy East Pipeline and Reveals that Fossil Fuels are Uneconomical

In the context of our carbon budget, fossil fuels are anything but cheap. To illustrate this point consider the fact that market forces recently killed the largest tar sands pipeline ever proposed. When the Canadian government imposed a climate test on the Energy East pipeline project it ceased to be viable. TransCanada withdrew their application when they knew that the project would be subject to carbon accounting. TransCanada had no choice but to take the project off of life support because they knew that a scientific assessment reveals that the Energy East is terminal.

Every new fossil fuel project brings us closer to surpassing a threshold from which we may not be able to recover.

Friday, October 6, 2017

People-Powered Protest Kills the Energy East Pipeline

The death of the Energy East pipeline proves that people can change our world for the better. While it is easy to feel overwhelmed and impotent recent events prove once again that protest works. Last year around this time we saw how people-powered protest managed to kill the Dakota Access pipeline (DAPL). On October 5th the Energy East died when TransCanada announced that it was withdrawing its application for the pipeline.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Top 5 Countries for Green Masters Degrees (Sustainable Development & Environmental Management)

The majority of the world's green schools can be found in a handful of countries. According to Eduniversal rankings of the best sustainable development and environmental management masters degrees some countries stand out both for the number of schools offering green masters degrees and for their respective positions within this ranking system. When broken down into regions GreenMetric's top 50 gives Europe the edge with 22 universities followed by North America with 13 universities. The Far East has 9 universities in the top 50. Latin America, Australia and the Middle East came in 4th, 5th and 6th with 3, 2, and 1 universities respectively.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Top 50 Masters Degrees Focused on Sustainability and the Environment

There are a number of rating systems that rank schools on their environmental footprints and their academics. One example would be AASHE's ratings another is the Universitas Indonesia (UI) GreenMetric World University Ranking. UI has assessed green campuses and sustainability in colleges and universities all around the globe. Yet another ranking system is Eduniversal 2017 rankings of the best sustainable development and environmental management masters degrees. The list includes the top 50 sustainability-focused masters programs in the world. They are presented in the order of their ranking, the name of both the university and the program, and the country in which they are located.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Three Environmentally Themed Graduate Degrees

The Green Market Oracle has been following environmentally themed academics and sustainability focused curricula for more than five years. During this time we have reviewed hundreds of programs from primary school to post graduate education.  Environmental studies are of increasing interest to students and a growing number of schools are integrating sustainability into their curricula.  Here are three environmentally themed graduate programs that warrant special mention:

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Event - 2017 Sustainable Business Summit: London

The 2017 Sustainable Business Summit - London will take place on November 15, 13:00 - 17:00 and November 16 9:00 - 13:00 at Bloomberg LP, City Gate House, 39-45 Finsbury Square, London, UK. Sustainability is Good Business – and a Powerful Investment. Bringing business leaders and investors together has made Bloomberg’s Sustainable Business Summits a uniquely influential setting for sustainability dialogues across North America.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Portland School Boards Protect Fact-Based Climate Education (Video)

Portland school board is standing up to protect our children's access to the truth about climate change. The GOP has been behind consorted attempts to deny children access to a fact-based climate education. In some cases, educators are all that stand between our kids and Republican lies.

Last winter Idaho Republicans passed legislation that censors all reference to climate. However, teachers like Boise School District’s science curriculum director Chris Taylor vow to keep teaching the facts. "We will continue to teach climate change and investigate human impacts on biodiversity even though they are not mentioned in the standards," Taylor said.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Top 10 Money Earning Careers in Sustainability

With the right academic training careers in sustainability can earn you a lot of green. Sustainability is more than just a buzz word it is also an economic boom that has launched thousands of careers and promises to be at the center of many thousands more. These are career paths that can do more than just pay the bills, these are jobs that are imbued with a powerful sense of purpose. Jobs in sustainability can be found in both the private sector and the public sector and they can involve both outreach and activism. Whether in a nonprofit or a for-profit organization there are many sustainability-focused career opportunities. For a comprehensive review of sustainability including definitions click here.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Republicans Censor Climate Information in Schools

Climate denial is alive and well in the GOP. Republican legislators are conspiring to deprive kids of a science based climate education. In at least one state they have already succeeded. Earlier this year Republican lawmakers in Idaho voted to remove all fact-based references to climate from the state's science curriculum.

The state's House Education Committee voted for the new K-12 statewide science standards in February.  Republican legislator Rep. Scott Syme said he wanted the standard to include what he called "both sides of the debate". However, rather than invoke the baseless claims that constitute the other side of the argument lawmakers opted to excise all mention of climate change.