Monday, October 31, 2016

The Horrors of Halloween Waste

While Halloween may be a retailers dream, from an environmental perspective it is a nightmare. On this day consumers generate a mountain of waste including tons of non-biodegradable candy wrappers and plastic items like decorations and costumes. Halloween appears to be growing in popularity and it is expected that Americans will increase their spending in 2016. 

During the period between October and December, retailers make up as much as 30 percent of their yearly sales numbers. According to the National Retail Federation (NRF). As reported by Fortune, Americans are expected to spend a record 8.4 billion on costumes, candy, decorations and greeting cards this year.  The two worst Halloween buys for the environment are decorations and costumes. Both are commonly made of plastic that end up in landfills and do not break down. Plastics also contain endocrine-disrupting phthalates toxins including bisphenolic compounds like BPA.

Countries Leading the Renewable Energy Revolution

According to the Renewables 2016 Global Status Report, as of early 2016, there was a total of 173 countries that had renewable energy targets in place. China is leading renewable energy growth, followed by the US, Japan, the UK, and India. China also leads in non-hydro renewables, followed by the US, Brazil, Germany, and Canada. However, the per capita renewables is led by Denmark, Germany, Sweden, Spain, and Portugal. When country's GDP are factored, the biggest investors were small countries like Mauritania, Honduras, Uruguay and Jamaica.

Europe is showing that 100 percent renewable energy is possible. The Renewables 2016 Global Status Report shows that in Europe green energy is now the leading source of electricity, providing 44 percent of total EU capacity in 2015. Germany is one of the world's renewable energy superpowers. The country generated so much renewable energy last spring that utilities paid users to consume electricity.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Event - Renewable Energy World International

This event will take place on December 13-15, 2016 in Orlando Florida at the Orange County Convention Center (North and South Halls). Renewable Energy World International tracks are designed to be made horizontally applicable across all technology sectors. Hear from our track champions on what is being covered during these impactful conference sessions.

Building Relationships

Make connections with 20,000 other renewable energy professionals from around the globe. Learn from each other during multiple networking events.

Event - Smart City Expo World Congress: Projects and Urban Solutions

Smart City Expo World Congress(SCEWC) will take place on November 15-17, 2016, in Barcelona, Spain at the Gran Via Venue. This event will offer insightful debate, exclusive networking and experience exchange, that's driving Smart Cities forward. The are a vast array of inspirational sessions, keynotes and roundtables. Gain extensive know-how from the more than 50 cities, countries and joint pavilions striving to shape the cities of the future. WSCEWC is the international summit of discussion about the link between urban reality and technological revolution. Since its first edition in 2011, it has succeeded to become a referential global event to support the development of our cities.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Green Buildings Deliver Results (Videos)

Green buildings deliver climate friendly results. A green building can reduce greenhouse gasses, minimize waste, and decrease water usage. A number of studies have independently documented measurable results.

A California study by William Eisenstein, Ph.D. of UC Berkeley indicated that green buildings are associated with much lower GHG emissions as compared to traditional buildings. Certified commercial green buildings cut greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from water consumption an average 50 percent. Green buildings reduce solid waste management-related GHG emissions by 48 percent and lowered transportation-related GHG emissions by 5 percent.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Climate Gets Woefully Little Time in the Presidential Debates

Over the course of the four debates (three presidential and one vice presidential) environmental and climate issues have been all but ignored. The first debate spent the most time on climate change, although that was less than a minute and a half and unsurprisingly, Hilary Clinton did most of the talking.  Donald Trump has avoided the topic altogether.

According to Grist the conversation on climate in the first presidential debate amounted to just 82 seconds! By the fourth debate it declined to around 2 seconds.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Renewable Energy Business Leadership: Tools and Guidance

Corporations are moving in droves to secure a supply or renewable energy to power their operations. Whether they build renewable energy generation capacity onsite or they source that power from a third party, the trend is unmistakable. There are a number of good reasons why corporations are doing so, the attractiveness of the environmental benefits are buoyed by the fact that renewable energy pricing is far less volatile than fossil fuels. The move towards renewables is being driven by the realization that such acquisitions benefit the bottom line.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Trump's Energy Lies from the Second Presidential Debate

Donald Trump has been lying his way through the entire presidential campaign.  A position could not be considered distinctively Trump's unless it was supported by lies and energy is no exception. By way of supporting his energy policy Trump has rattled off a long list of falsehoods.

Now that Trump's political obituary is  being written and we are all catching our breath after dodging his fossil fuel powered bullet, lets take a look at some of Trump's energy lies.

As reported by Ben Adler in an October 10th Grist article, here is a review of some of Trump's energy lies from the second debate.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

GRI's New Sustainability Reporting Standards are Leading the Way Into the Future

GRI is the gold standard in sustainability reporting and they have just updated their guidelines. GRI is the world's leading sustainability reporting organization their state of the art guidelines are the most widely used in the world. GRI was founded in Boston in 1997, its roots lie in the US non-profit organizations the Coalition for Environmentally Responsible Economies (CERES) and the Tellus Institute. GRI regularly updates their reporting guidelines.

According to Environmental Leader, sustainability reporting is now a mainstream practice with 81 percent of S&P companies publishing such reports.  Research published in the MIT Sloan Management Review, suggests that three quarters of senior executives in investment firms agree that a company’s sustainability performance is important to consider when making investment decisions.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Sustainability Professionals Discuss the Benefits of Constructive Disagreement

If you want the best to come out of your sustainability efforts subject them to scrutiny and invite diverging views. The world in which we live is full of echo- chambers when what we need is sustainability thought leadership that invites dissenting points of view.  We should welcome debate that leaves no stone unturned and no sacred cows unchallenged. We should be leary of fulsome exchanges that do not deepen or broaden our understanding of an issue. The goal is to arrive at the best possible strategy and the best possible practices.

This train of thought was precipitated by a recent LinkedIn thread which made a similar point. The thread occured on a Sustainability Professionals board and it was started by Hamish Taylor. "Constructive disagreement is so much more powerful than passive collaboration," Taylor said.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Event - The Green Expo

This event will take place Wednesday to Friday, October 26 to 28, 2016 at the WTC in Mexico City. Exhibition hours are from 12 to 19:00 hrs. Congress Hours are from 8:00 to 18:00 hrs.

The Green Expo® is the leading Exhibition and Congress where solutions and new technologies presented by ecological and sustainable companies to the public and private sectors, who are looking for up to date products and services, thus creating a profitable sustainable industry. The technology and solutions presented by companies in the environmental, renewable energy, water and green housing are generating economic benefits and are setting the standards for the future in Mexico.

Event - Green Schools Summit

The tenth anniversary of the Green Schools Summit with take place on November 2 - 3, 2016 in Pasadena, California. The first - and the largest - statewide green school event, the summit provides a unique opportunity for leaders from the nation's largest public education system to discover new ways to create healthy, efficient learning environments.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Best Practices in Green Schools (Video)

The creation of best practices for the green school movement may be among the most important things we can do to curtail environmental degradation and slow climate change. The green schools movement combines a healthy learning environment, science-based information, and nature focused pedagogy that instills motivation.

Ignorance impedes the widespread adoption of sustainability because the children of today are the adults of tomorrow, it is essential that these kids are given the tools they need to understand and act in a way that contributes to a more sustainable society. To raise a generation of children who understand how to be good stewards of the earth we need a compendium of best practices.

Friday, October 21, 2016

The Climate Implications of Dodging Trump's Fossil Fuel Powered Energy Bullet

Donald Trump's policy positions are about as erratic and dysfunctional as his speaking style, however, from the beginning he has consistently indicated his support for fossil fuels.

Now that it is all but certain that Donald will not be the 45th President of the United States, lets peer into the dark dystopia of a world in which Trump would have been the chief architect of America's energy policy.  The following is a brief summary of the consequences of Trump's energy platform with an emphasis on what this would have meant for climate change.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Trump's Political Obituary and Life after Being Pummeled by Hilary

A review of the litany of egregious comments from Republican Presidential nominee Donald Trump, his historic failure to secure support, the mindset of those that do support him and the damage he can still wreak on America's Democracy.

The three debates are over and the sun is setting on Donald Trump's foray into politics. It is fitting that Trump's political career comes to an end where it started. Trump rose to prominence as a personality in the casino industry, cutting his teeth first in Atlantic City and then in Las Vegas.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

A List of Canada’s Top 25 Brands for 2017

A national survey of Canadian consumers reveals Canada's best brands for 2017. The leading 25 companies have won over the hearts and minds of Canadians. These brands have done this by forging customer loyalty that also contributes to their bottom line.

The list of the 25 Best Brands in Canada is the result of a survey of a nationally representative sample of 1,503 Canadians by Rogers Consumer Insights Team. Performed online in July 2016, the poll sought opinions on five key aspects of a company’s reputation (the quality of its products and/or services; its customer service; its commitment to innovation; community involvement; and the person’s overall view of the brand) from people who profess familiarity with the brands.

CIWM Sustainability & Resource Awards Finalists

Earlier this month, the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management (CIWM) announced the finalists for its Sustainability & Resource Awards. year. These long-standing and well-respected awards are given for outstanding achievement in the sustainability, resource and waste industry.

CIWM is a professional body representing over 6,500 waste professionals working in the sustainable resources and wastes management sectors, predominantly in the UK and overseas.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Sustainability and Life Cycle Assessment (Infographic)

Major corporations are showing serious interest in sustainable product design. Driven by the desire to be more energy and resource efficient corporations are changing the way they design their products. They are investing massively in sustainability for reasons ranging from the bottom line to brand reputation.

There are a lot of good reasons why corporations are increasingly adopting sustainability. There is a plethora of research that makes the business case for sustainability.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Groundbreaking Montreal Protocol Agreement Cuts Climate Pollution

There was some momentous climate news this weekend, yet it slipped under the radar and was barely noticed by the popular media. An agreement was signed that will eradicate one of the most potent greenhouse gasses in the world. At a UN-sponsored Montreal Protocol meeting in Kigali, Rwanda, 197 nations came to a legally binding agreement to phase down hydrofluorocarbons or HFCs.

Many years before the Paris Climate Agreement in 2015, the Montreal Protocol was a global deal to eliminate chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), also known as Freon. These chemicals were found to be eating away at the ozone layer. CFCs and the HFCs that replaced them are used in fridges and air conditioners.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Event - Distributech Conference and Exhibition

This event will take place from January 31 - February 2, 2017.  Distributech Conference and Exhibition is succinctly described as, "Perfect Content For Bringing Renewables To The Grid".

DistribuTECH is the leading annual electric power transmission and distribution conference & exhibition event that addresses technologies used to move electricity from the power plant through the transmission and distribution systems to the meter and inside the home. Bringing together 11,300+ individuals from 78 countries, DistribuTECH offers industry professionals from electric utilities, water utilities, and other municipal utilities more information and networking opportunities than any other annual T&D event.

Event - EcoCareer Conference: Buidling Pathways to Sustainable Careers

This online event will take place on February 22 & 23, 2017. Increasingly, companies are integrating sustainability into their business operations. Are you or your students interested in career opportunities that are good for people and good for the planet? If so, consider participating in this two-day virtual event to hear from leading experts and:

Event - Central Coast Sustainability Summit

The sixth annual Central Coast Sustainability Summit will take place on Monday, October 17th, 8 AM - 4:30 PM, in Santa-Barabara California at the Loma Pelona Conference Center, UCSB. This event will be attended by representatives from government, chambers of commerce, nonprofit organizations, campuses, utility companies and private industry. Participants will discuss common sustainability issues, share best practices, and seek partners. The event aims to inspire action and regional collaborations that may seed potential solutions to environmental issues in the area.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Elon Musk's Innovative Vison and Tesla's Sustainability Leadership (Videos)

There are very few companies that have a more expansive green mission than Tesla.  We cannot mention Tesla without mentioning its owner and CEO,  Elon Musk. He is not just an innovative genius, he is a world leading champion of the low carbon economy.  Musk has instilled a vision for Tesla the encompasses a wide range of climate friendly products. This includes electric vehicles, home battery technology and solar energy.

Friday, October 14, 2016

The Terrifying Truth about the Rising Seas

Rising levels of greenhouse gases are increasing global temperatures and this is causing sea levels to rise. Global warming causes sea levels to rise by melting ice sheets, glaciers, and sea ice, it also causes water to warm and expand. Although we face a number of threats, sea-level rise may be the most daunting and intractable of our climate challenges. Scientists agree that sea levels will rise and much of the most recent research suggests that this rise will be larger and faster than originally thought.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Adapting to Sea Level Rise

We will need to adapt to rising sea levels, even if we do what we must to curb GHG emissions. Things like sea barriers and flood-prevention efforts would help minimize the risk in some areas. There are places in the world where this work is already beginning. Miami Beach is spending hundreds of millions of dollars to install pumps and raise sea walls and roads.

Jakarta is investing $40 billion to build temporary protection measures for the short term while they build a new enclosure dam. U.S. cities are also beginning to work on projects to adapt to rising sea levels.

The Economics of Sea Level Rise

The seas are rising and along with massive displacement, there will be massive costs. A 2015 study showed that sea-level rise is accelerating at a rate of about 12 percent a year. Christopher S. Watson, a climate scientist at the University of Tasmania in Australia and co-author of research published in the journal Nature. This research suggests that we will see more deaths and injuries from storm surges and flooding as well as radically increasing rates of property damage over the next several decades.

"In Australia, there’s about $226 billion worth of infrastructure in the way of that sea-level rise, and that’s before you take into account the ecosystems," Watson is quoted as saying in a Takepart article. Looking to the northern hemisphere, "Hurricane Sandy is a good example [that] the previously once-in-a-lifetime floods are going to become a lot more frequent."

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

The Right Wants to Crush Climate Science in Our Schools

There are a number of individuals and organizations that would like to see climate skepticism (aka denial) taught in schools.

Our schools are places where we hope our children will be taught our best understanding of the issues. However, there are those who want to expose kids to partisan, agenda-laden perspectives that oppose our best scientific understanding.

An article by Nicole Hasham in the Sydney Morning Herald, reveals that there are climate deniers working to gerrymander the educational system in Australia. Hasham mentions some Australian politicians who want skepticism taught in schools.

Canada's Pyrrhic Climate Victory

Early this autumn the Canadian government led by Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau formally announced Canada's first nationwide carbon pricing. This is an important milestone in Canada's pursuit of a low carbon energy strategy.

Securing a carbon deal was no easy feat for the Canadian Prime Minister. When carbon pricing was first announced in a meeting with the provinces in Montreal, the environment ministers of Saskatchewan, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland, all walked out. However, even in these provinces, we are seeing serious emission reduction efforts take hold.

Monday, October 10, 2016

World Leading Canadian Sustainability Focused MBAs

Canadian universities are leading sustainability education. Canadian Universities are not only focusing on sustainability, they are among the very best in the world. As part of Better World MBA ranking of universities around the world, Corporate Knights magazine has evaluated universities on their commitment to sustainability education in both teaching and research. Canadian universities took three out of the top five places for the best university programs for sustainability in Canada as determined by Corporate Knights magazine rankings.

While there are other lists of colleges and universities with a sustainability focus, the Corporate Nights Better World MBA rankings highlight MBA programs that give students the skills they need to make a difference by giving them the skills to address key sustainability challenges. Of the 121 schools that were assessed by Corporate Nights in 2015, Canadian learning institutions took three of the top five spots with a total of 9 schools making the list. The rankings assessed schools in terms of their curriculum; the number of affiliated sustainability-oriented institutes; and citations of relevant peer-reviewed faculty research.

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 10th 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 9, 2016

Event - Renewable Energy World Conference & Expo North America 2016

This event will take place from December 13 to December 15, 2016 in Orlando Florida. This BIG PICTURE' conference, will cover the full landscape of renewables. Attendees will hear from several Renewable Energy World International Committee Members about what HOT industry topics are being covered in this years conference.

Event - Green Sports Alliance Summit: College Sports Sustainability Summit

PAC-12 will host the first conference wide College Sports Sustainability Summit. It will take place on June 27th 2017 in Sacramento, California. This event is part of the annual Green Sports Alliance Summit.

The College Sports Sustainability Summit is part of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy's (OSTP) call to action to tackle climate through sports. This event is supported by member universities that have pledged to take a leadership position in promoting sustainability through sports.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

The Eye of the Storm: Hurricane Matthew, Attribution Science and Climate Change (Video)

It is widely accepted that warmer seas contribute to hurricanes but there are also a number of other factors that contribute to extreme weather events. Here is a review of the evidence linking climate change and Hurricane Matthew.

Matthew has already wreaked havoc in Cuba and the Bahamas and it has killed almost one thousand people in Haiti. Four Americans are known to have died due to the storm. There are currently states of emergency in effect in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina.

Although Matthew has been downgraded from a level 5 to a level 1 hurricane it still packs a punch.  It looks as though central Florida was spared the worst, but cities along the East Coast are bracing for the storm.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Making Wine More Sustainable: Jackson Family Wines Leads the Way

Climate change has a number of impacts and the wine industry is no exception.  Grape vineyards from the Champagne region of France are under siege from a volatile climate.  This could jeopardize the world famous bubbly.  Last spring frosts killed up to 70 percent of  champagne producing grapes. Other vineyards around the world are also under threat from climate change.

As reported by Grist champaigne may be the canary in the coalmine. “The early budding of the plant due to climate change makes them vulnerable to spring freezes,” Eric Fournel, director of the Duval-Leroy Vineyard, told PRI in 2014 — the same year Duval-Leroy lost over half their grape harvest to a freeze in May.

Climate change has significantly decreased the yield of grapes and therefore the quantity of champagne and other wines that are produced.

In the face of these pressures some producers like Jackson Family Wines (JFW) are responding with plans and goals to make their wines more sustainable.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Paris Climate Agreement Comes into Force

The world's first global initiative to reign in climate change has come into effect. On October 5, 2016, less than a year after the Paris Climate Agreement was signed at COP21, a critical threshold was passed. With the ratification of more than 62 countries, the pact will formally enter into force on November 4, 2016.

Many thought we would not be able to secure a deal in Paris at the end of last year. Then detractors doubted that enough countries would ratify it. The naysayers have been proven wrong.

This historic agreement is designed to combat climate change through drastic emissions reduction pledges known as the INDCs. To bring this carbon cutting global agreement into force 55 countries representing 55 percent of global emissions had to formally join.  The US, China and the EU have all signed onto the deal.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Investing in Education Pays Lucrative Dividends

Some recent reports indicate we are not spending enough on education and this may prove to be a costly oversight. Failure to invest in education increases costs down the road while investing in education translates to massive savings. \

Education is an essential part of a healthy society which is why education is one of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Education is not only a concern in the developing world. All around the globe education is the missing link required to grow support for climate action and steward pro-social change.

Science-Based Emission Targets are Essential for Climate Action

The importance of science-based emissions reduction targets cannot be overstated. Failure to adhere to these targets will augur a climate catastrophe. The first round of emission reduction targets agreed to at COP21 are laudable, but climate scientists tell us that we must be even more ambitious.  Even if all nations achieve the emissions reduction targets contained in the Paris Climate Agreement, we will fail to keep temperatures within prescribed limits.

No compromise

We cannot afford to compromise on emissions reduction. The goal of science-based targets is to keep temperatures from rising beyond the upper threshold limit (between 1.5 and 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial norms).

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Pence and Kaine on Climate and Energy

On Tuesday, October 4th the vice presidential candidates will come together to debate the issues. Former Virginia Governor, Democratic Senator Tim Kaine will go up against former member of the House of Representatives, Republican governor of Indiana, Mike Pence. There is a stark contrast between the two hopefuls, particularly when it comes to climate and energy issues. Although few expect climate change to be much of a hot topic at tonight's debate, the issue of energy is almost certainly going to come up.

CSR and Sustainability at St. Michael's College - University of Toronto

St. Michaels College, offers courses and workshops, and certificates including Corporate Social Responsibility Certificates. The CSR Certificate blended learning program allows students to work full-time while studying. The program consists of a total of eleven (11) contact days over a period of one year, plus distance education through teleconferences with your group, the Learning Management System and participation in at least one additional Best Practice Webinar.

Change Management for CSR & Sustainability Change Agents (Master Workshop)

Alumni of the Certificate in CSR/Sustainability have asked us to provide opportunities for further skill advancement and reconnection. Change management is a continuous challenge for Sustainability and CSR Change Agents, especially if we want to be true to the ethics of compassion, caring and engagement espoused in the Certificate in CSR/Sustainability Program, so we thought we would start here. In this Master Workshop you will have the opportunity to refresh your connection to the ethos of CSR & Sustainability, past Alumni and gain new change management approaches. Enroll on your own or bring a Team and work through a real world change management challenge. November, 2016.

Learn More & Complete the Course Survey

Monday, October 3, 2016

Businesses Adopting Science-Based Emission Reduction Targets

A number of business leaders are moving ahead with science-based emissions reduction targets. The Science Based Targets initiative is a joint effort of CDP (formerly Carbon Disclosure Project), World Resources Institute, World Wildlife Fund and UN Global Compact. These organizations work with companies to set science-based emissions targets and they only approve corporate targets that meet its strict criteria.

These emission reduction efforts are part of a wider trend. Corporations are embracing sustainability in unprecedented numbers. They are also adopting renewable energy and there are a number of good reasons for doing so. So far 81 companies have committed to go 100 percent renewable. A new RE100 initiative called the Corporate Sourcing of Renewables campaign seeks to entice 1000 businesses to go 100 percent renewable.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Event - 2016 New Energy Summit

This event will take place on Octobert 17-18, 2016 in Washington, D.C. This is the fourth annual New Energy Summit hosted by Distributed Sun, LLC. This year’s agenda will cover such topics as tax equity, community solar, and net metering. The agenda includes keynote guests, presentations and thought-provoking, informative discussions about the latest trends in finance, risk evaluation, regulatory developments and common practices. The partnerships formed at this summit can help you build your business and accelerate the growth of the renewable energy marketplace.

Event - RETA 2016 National Conference (Refrigeration and Refrigerants)

This refrigeration focused event will take place on October 4-7, 2016 at on the Rio Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. The theme of this year's conference is "All in For Education!"

RETA is one of the world's largest refrigeration conferences dedicated to the professional development of the industrial refrigeration industry, helping operators and technicians to keep up to date with new trends while honing their skills.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Climate Documentary from Leonardo DiCaprio: Before the Flood (Video)

Leonardo DiCaprio has made a new documentary that graphically illustrates climate change. The film brings to life the mountain of scientific research which tells us that the climate is changing and humans are the cause. Thgis is not his first documentary, he was also involved with 11th Hour and Carbon: Green World Rising.

Stars have used their celebrity to do great things for the environment and no one more than DiCaprio. His new climate documentary is a cautionary tale that is appropriately titled, "Before The Flood".

The documentary was screened at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) recently. Those lucky enough to catch the international premiere of the film at TIFF say it did not disappoint even though our failure to act on climate threats is profoundly disappointing.