Saturday, April 22, 2017

Earth Day 2017: We Have Met the Enemy and it is the U.S.

Earth Day is celebrated around the world but the election of the Trump administration and Republican lawmakers changes everything. Earth Day has been celebrated every April for almost half a century, during that time we have made considerable progress. The high point occurred exactly one year ago, today when the leaders from 175 countries formally signed the historic Paris Agreement.

As we reflect on this Earth Day 2017 we should realize that the event was born in the U.S. and it has grown to become the largest civic observance in the world. These celebrations have contributed to a movement that ultimately gave birth to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Clean Air Act, the Water Quality Improvement Act, the Endangered Species Act and several other environmental laws. It also contributed to the Paris Agreement, the most important climate agreement in human history.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Price Declines Driving Solar's Energy Leadership

The declining costs of harvesting energy from the sun mean that market forces will drive the ongoing growth of solar energy. As predicted by GMO at the beginning of 2016 market forces are driving the growth of renewable energy. By the end of last summer, GMO reported that solar was emerging as the least expensive source of energy on Earth. By the end of last year, these expectations were confirmed by a Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) report.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Event - CLIMATE MARCH (Peoples Climate Movement)

The Peoples Climate March will take place on April 29th, 2017 in Washington, D.C. and across the country. It takes place on the 100th Day of the Trump Administration and the goal is to stand up for our communities and our climate and to show the world and our leaders that we will resist attacks on our people, our communities and our planet.  People are coming together from across the United States with solutions to the climate crisis they are also demanding that Congress act.

This effort is even more important in the context of the Trump Administration’s and the Republican Party's climate denial. Congress must protect the gains made in recent years and move our nation to a new, clean energy economy. This is a moment to bring the range of progressive social change movements together. Pushing back against the Trump agenda and at the same time pushing forward on our vision of a clean, safe world where the rights of all people are protected and expanded. This means we all must work together and now, more than ever before, because everything is at stake.

Event - SWR Annual Evening of Recognition Celebrating Sustainability

The Sustainable Waterloo Region (SWR) 8th Annual Evening of Recognition Celebrating Sustainability will take place Thursday, April 27th, 2017 from 4:30 PM to 7:00 PM at Maxwell's 35 University Avenue East, Waterloo, Ontario. SWR will release their 2016 Year End Report and present this year’s awards. The evening will also feature opportunities to hear local sustainability stories and celebrate the winners of our 2016 awards.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Figueres on Mission 2020 and The Climate Turning Point Report (Videos)

As part of the 'Mission 2020' campaign, Christiana Figueres is working to advance climate action and safeguard the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Figueres is the former Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
The new 'Mission 2020' campaign advocates progress in a few key areas by the end of the decade. The goal is to keep us on track in the race to tackle climate change within the rapidly closing window of opportunity.

Friday, April 14, 2017

PR Case Comparisons: The Bad the Good and the Tragically Funny

While United is stealing headlines for its appalling conduct, there are other corporations that have shown tremendous leadership in response to a public relations crisis. Some leaders have the good sense to respond quickly to get ahead of a problem, others, well not so much.

When United opted to forcibly remove Dr Dao they made a decision, they followed that up with a series of bad decisions. Now the victim is all lawyered-up and counting the days until his big payday. The United debacle is a nightmare that has only just begun and it will likely take a very long time to fade from public memory.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

United Failed to Inculcate Sustainability into their Culture

The event aboard United Flight 3411 on April 9th is not just a PR crisis, it represents the company's failure to inculcate sustainability into their corporate culture. Dr. David Dao was bloodied by security agents as he was violently removed from the flight to make room for company staff members.

It is worth noting that like most corporate giants United claims to take sustainability seriously. United's corporate responsibility report talks about the diversity of its employees and their code of ethics.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Writing a Sustainability Focused Charter: Mission, Vision, and Values

A sustainability charter is an important precursor to executing a sustainability initiative or program. A charter often serves as an organization's constitution and its contents are commonly included in the Executive Summary of a business plan. A charter spells out an organization's structure and goals. It provides a framework for identifying areas of focus, mapping strategy, making decisions, and actionable planning. A charter can include a mission, vision and values statement all of which formalize the actions and objectives of an organization. It can also outline the geographical scope and the organizational culture.

Monday, April 10, 2017

How to Combat Digital Media's Promulgation of Fake News

The web of lies spun on social media are challenging fact-based renditions of reality.  The resistance to the truth undermines science-based policy including environmental protections and climate action.  However, there are ways that we can use digital media to combat alternative facts rather than memeify them.

We must start by acknowledging that fake news disseminated through digital media has been used to pull off one of the biggest scams in human history. The result is our current dystopia.  This president and his party have made good on their threats to decimate environmental protections, climate action, social justice and even government itself.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Event - California Energy Summit 2017

This event will take place on May 16 to 18, 2017 in Santa Monica, California, USA. The California energy market is at the center of a maelstrom of change that will have profound impacts on strategic directions and opportunities for utilities, power producers, preferred resources providers and customers on multiple fronts:

Event - International Student Energy Summit 2017

The Student Energy Summit (SES) will take place June 13-18, 2017 in Mérida, Mexico. SES is a global event that brings together the world’s brightest students to learn and discuss the current issues and trends in energy. The event is planned completely by students and brings together 700+ young energy leaders from over 100 countries as well as renowned energy experts from across the globe.

The vision for SES 2017 is an event that will build on the success of past conferences and inspire students to play a role in transitioning the world to a sustainable energy future.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Sustainability Leadership at BMW (Videos)

BMW is a leading force in sustainable mobility and modernity. They have show leadership in the electric vehicle space by investing in EVs. They have also produced industry leading results. The BMW iSeries is a technologically sophisticated luxury electric car. In 2011 they announced plans to partner with GM on hydrogen fuel cell development.

On 21 March 2017, the BMW Group published its current Sustainable Value Report detailing the company’s sustainable operations. The report reveals the ways the sustainability has been sewn into the DNA of BMW. The depth of this engagement is explained in the following video by Ursula Mathar, BMW's Head of Sustainability and Environmental Protection:

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Business Leaders Advocate for Sustainability and Refute Trump

Sustainability is a megatrend that will outlast the current political dystopia. The Trump administration's opposition to sustainability is on the wrong side of history and forward looking business leaders know it.  Trump's agenda is being countered by businesses and investors.

As quoted in a New York Times article, Danielle Fugere said, "In many cases, I think businesses disagree with the administration."  Fugere is president of As You Sow, a nonprofit group that uses shareholder resolutions to advocate for greater corporate environmental and social responsibility. No matter what Trump does, business will not be deterred.

Monday, April 3, 2017

The Courts Offer the Best Hope for Environmental and Climate Justice

The courts have defended environmental protections and advanced climate action. They have already played a pivotal role and they will play an even bigger role in the wake of the GOP and the Trump administration's war on the environment and climate action. A number of groups are preparing legal challenges to the Trump administration. As reported by the Hill, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) said, "The heart of the battle is going to be litigation."  As explained in the Washington Post, Trump could face the biggest trial of the century over climate change. Here is a summary of rulings related to both climate action and the environmental justice.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Event - Impact Capitalism Summit: Building An Economy That Works For All

The 8th annual Impact Capitalism Summit will take place on April 25 - 26 in Chicago Illinois. This is the largest convening of investors focused on maximizing impact and maximizing return across asset classes. This event is brought to you by Big Path Capital which is celebrating its 10th anniversary.

Event - Sustainable Purchasing Summit

The Sustainable Purchasing Leadership Council's 2017 Summit (SPLC Summit 2017) will take place on May 8 - 10, at the Sheraton Downtown 1550 Court Place, Denver Colorado.

The Summit will bring together more than 400 leading procurement and sustainability professionals, suppliers, and NGO experts from diverse sectors and regions to share, simplify, and spread the best sustainable purchasing practices across the whole economy.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Trump Seeks to End Climate Action in America

On March 28th 2017, Trump signed an Executive Order (EO) that represents his most significant and far-reaching attack against climate action to date. His new EO is directed at the Environmental Protection Agency and to a lesser extent the Department of Interior. The EO seeks to do away with the Clean Power Plan, methane regulations, mining restrictions on federal land, and emissions reductions efforts in the federal government.

Monday, March 27, 2017

How to Fight the Trump Administration and Fake News

Here are 11 strategies to challenge Trump and his lies. Resistance to the ruling Republican administration is both appropriate and necessary. All who care about the environment, climate change or social justice are called to peacefully and lawfully oppose this government.

Trump is increasingly vulnerable in the wake of his unprecedented unpopularity, the ongoing investigation into his team's collusion with Russia, and his inability to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

Trump has publicly lied more than 4 times every day since becoming president (according to a recent Washington Post article he has lied 317 times since becoming president).

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Event - VERGE Hawaii 2017 Accelerate Showcase

Have a solution in energy, transportation, agriculture, water or infrastructure resilience? The VERGE Accelerate Showcase is a fast-pitch competition on the main stage of VERGE Hawaii, giving selected finalists the opportunity to pitch to a live audience of ~1,000 business leaders, government officials, investors, and a global online audience.

Event - Collision & Planet:tech (Accenture Strategy)

This event will take place in New Orleans on May 2-4, 2017. Collision is America’s fastest growing tech conference. This event was created by the team behind Web Summit. In two years, Collision has grown to over 20,000 attendees from more than 110 countries. Attendees include CEOs of both the world’s fastest growing startups and the world’s largest companies, alongside leading investors and media.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Corporate Water Risk Assessment Tools (Videos)

Assessing water risks is the first step towards developing strategies and there are a number of tools that can help. This post explores the cost of water risks, it then explores some of these risks and concludes with a review of five assessment tools.

Water related issues are a significant and growing risk and corporations are stepping up. They represent a $63 trillion risk and the actual cost of these risks increased five fold last year ($14 billion in 2016 compared to $2.6 billion in 2015). These risks include drought, flooding, tightening environmental regulation and the cost of cleaning up water pollution and fines.

Businesses need to start by quantifying water requirements then they must examine the hydrological and ecological characteristics of the local systems in which they operate

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 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 Mileage Standards

With an order to end vehicle mileage 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.