Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Executives Underestimate Investor Interest in Sustainability

Executives are out of sync with what investor interest in environmental, social, and governance (ESG) metrics. There are dozens of ESG criteria, including greenhouse gas emissions, energy efficiency, data protection, and corruption. Investors are increasingly attracted to sustainability because it contributes to financial performance.  Despite the unprecedented growth of sustainability focused investing and reams of evidence making the business case, executives still don't get it. Many executives under value investor interest in the ROI of ESG.  These execs are leaving money on the table as sustainability-oriented investment funds are now worth trillions of dollars.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

6 Steps to Building a Sustainability Focused Corporate Culture

A sustainability focused corporate culture seeks to preserve and protect vital resources for future generations. A corporate culture refers to beliefs and behaviors, it can be supported through white papers, charters, philosophies, vision and mission statements but it is ultimately about people. Sustainability is rooted in a sense of kinship with people, a deep affection for the planet and a keen focus on financial viability. However, there is an all important caveat that is also a key success factor. The viability of a sustainability focused corporate culture depends on being able to encourage employees to buy-in to a company's sustainability efforts.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Businesses Urge Trump to Respect the Paris Agreement

President-elect Donald Trump has said that he will pull the United States out of the Paris Climate Agreement and ramp-up domestic fossil fuel production, however, big business is urging him to stick with the UN accord. While installing climate deniers in some key positions Trump has claimed he will "keep an open mind" about the Paris deal. The election of Trump has cast a shadow over COP22 and world leaders warned the President-elect to respect the Paris Agreement. As reported by Chris D’Angelo in the Huffington Post, some leading names in the American business community wrote an open letter to the President-elect and other leaders. They say that withdrawing from the Paris Agreement "puts American prosperity at risk."

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Event - Workshop on Financing for Renewable Energy in Small Island Developing States

This event will take place on December 1 – 3, 2016 in Nadi, Fiji. The event is co-organised with Japan’s Ministry of the Environment, the USA’s Departments of Energy and State, the Pacific Community, the Asian Development Bank, and the Green Climate Fund, IRENA will host a three-day workshop on renewable energy finance, in Nadi, Fiji.

Event - Global Renewable Energy Forum 2016

Global Renewable Energy Forum 2016 will take place on December 1 2016 in Bonn, Germany at the Hilton Hotel, Berliner Freiheit 2, 53111 Bonn.

In light of the adoption and entry into force of the Paris Agreement, the Embassy of the Republic of Korea, Bonn Office, and its partners will convene a one-day expert conference to identify innovative ways to realize a swift transformation towards a low-carbon energy industry.

Event - Panel Session at the PV Operations & Maintenance and Asset Management USA Conference

This conference will take place on December 6, 2016 at the Hotel Kabuki, 1625 Post Street, San Francisco, CA, United States.

This conference will put O&M under the spotlight, and eliminate the challenges that are preventing your plant reaching its full potential. The experts speaking at PV O&M USA have extensive experience in the market, and exclusive knowledge of the O&M workings of their industry-leading companies – if you want to grow your O&M strategy, improve your knowledge and get the most out of your PV plants, this is the conference for you!

Event - Isolated Power Systems Connect 2016

This ISP forum will take place from November 28 to December 2nd 2016, on Flinders Island in Australia. This 5 day Isolated Power Systems Connect technical event is organized by Hydro Tasmania and The University of Tasmania. IRENA will facilitate a session on ‘Planning the operation of grids in small island developing states’ and sponsor the participation of five engineers from power utilities of Member Countries from the Pacific Islands.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

What We Have to be Grateful for this Thanksgiving (Videos)

As this is the last Thanksgiving before we enter the dark days of a Trump presidency many are feeling hopeless. However, this is a good time to take stock of just how far we have come on climate and environmental action. So many dedicated people and organizations have fought hard to get where we are today.  Before the Trump administration assumes power we should reflect on what has been accomplished, what we stand to lose and we must strive to defend.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Mustering Thanksgiving Gratitude

This year the United States celebrates Thanksgiving under the dark cloud of President-elect Trump who has promised to stop climate action and roll back environmental protections. Being grateful this year is harder than ever. However, we have reason to celebrate the Paris Agreement and the climate leadership of President Barack Obama. We can be thankful for more traditional reasons like the fall harvest and the bounty that nature provides.

We can also remember the origins of this holiday, specifically how the early European settlers were welcomed by Native peoples who helped them to survive and showed them how to live in harmony with nature. Although white people have proven to be very poor students, indigenous people continue to show the way, this includes ongoing efforts to protect the planet from the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL).

Engaging Boards of Directors on Sustainability is a Key Success Factor

Boards of directors can play an invaluable role helping a company to inculcate sustainability into their DNA. Because of their unique position, boards of directors are well placed to integrate sustainability into business strategies and practices. This supports both the long-term profitability and the viability of an enterprise.

However, there is a disconnect between what is good for a firm and what they are actually doing. Most boards of directors are not engaged in sustainability even though almost all managers and directors think they should be.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

The Coming Darkness: What the Election of Trump Means for our Planet

We need to take stock of where we are if we are to have any chance of getting to where we need to go. After years of slow but steady climate action, the U.S. now has a climate and environment destroying president and legislature. Although Hilary Clinton won the majority of votes, under the collegiate system --which was designed to protect slave owning states--Donald Trump won the election and will be president. Under Trump, Republicans will reverse everything that President Obama has achieved on energy, the environment, and climate. While this is bad, it gets worse, far worse.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Managing Sustainability Data: Challenges and Resources

Sustainability data can deliver meaningful results to organizations’ sustainability initiatives. Sustainability data has the ability to profoundly alter the economy in the future. Globally big sustainability data can help us tackle some of the world’s most pressing environmental issues. Sustainability data that has the capacity to dramatically improve business and sustainability initiatives.

Sustainability professionals face a number of challenges. It is not always easy to know how to use data to develop a strategy and track their sustainability efforts. To help with these efforts there are now a number of tools, technologies, and data used to measure program success.

Monday, November 21, 2016

The Implications of the Trump Administration's Disdain for Science

Prior to the Trump administration, science informed government policy decisions. Nowhere is a science-based approach more necessary than in the realm of climate action. However, president-elect Trump has made it clear that he has a very little understanding of both science and scientists.

Consequently, climate scientists working for government agencies in the US are bracing for budget cuts and interference from the incoming administration.

The Trump Administration and the Coming Kakistocracy

As of January 20, 2017, the most powerful nation on Earth will be governed by the least qualified and most unprincipled citizens in the land.  It did not take long for Trump to be accused of corruption. Daily Kos reports that within a week of his victory the president-elect has created a scheme to make money from foreign diplomats who want to curry favor. These "guests" are charged a fee to stay at one of Trump's hotels.

A Vox article by David Roberts and Brad Plumer acknowledges the gravity of the threat posed by the incoming administration. As stated in the article, "Most people are wildly underestimating what Trump’s win will mean for the environment."

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Event - The Sustainability Summit 2017

This Summit will take place on March 23-24, 2017 in London. What does COP21 and the push for greater environmental sustainability mean for business? The Sustainability Summit 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.

Event - PV O&M and Asset Management Conference and Exhibition

The 3rd Annual PV O&M and Asset Management Conference and Exhibition from PV Operations & Maintenance USA will take place on December 6-7, 2016 in San Francisco, California.

The event is Subtitled, O&M and Asset Management to Optimize Performance and Maximize ROI.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

World Reacts to Trump's Win and Warn Him to Respect the Paris Climate Agreement (Videos)

Following Donald Trump's unexpected win, world leaders are warning the president-elect to honor US climate commitments

The world was shocked by the news the Trump was to be the next head of the most powerful nation on the planet. It almost seemed as though there was a moment of stunned silence as people around the world tried to fathom what the world will be like under a Trump administration. When the news of Trump's victory broke markets tumbled and world leaders issued muted and conditional congratulatory messages.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Facing the Truth About What A Trump Administration Means for Climate Action

I have always been an optimist, in fact I have railed against pessimism. Despite the progress we have made, the election of Donald Trump has crushed any hope that we may be able to reign in climate change. Even if we get back to sensible government in four years time we will likely be too late.

I realize that this is not what climate advocates want to hear at this time. However, we have to be real if we are to develop cogent strategies and tactics. Perhaps if enough people make the case, we can find a way influence this administration. At the very least Trump's supporters need to be continually reminded that they have invited a climate apocalypse.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

A Climate Primer for Americans Looking to Canada

Americans looking to emigrate to Canada need to understand that the great white north is not much better on the climate front. Canadians who support climate and environmental issues understand what it feels like to be governed by an anti-science federal government with a fossil fuel agenda. Canadians empathize with those who feel trapped by the alt-right political takeover of the US, however, Canadians have only very recently emerged from a decade of fossil fuel powered Conservative rule.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Drilling Down on Sustainability

So you think you know what sustainability means? While the general definition is widely understood, there are many facets of sustainability that are not as well known. Understanding sustainability is more important now than ever and it is essential that we comprehend the different definitions and applications. 

In the absence of sensible leadership from Republicans and the newly elected president of the United States, sustainability is our best hope to keep growing the green economy. Business leaders know that administrations come and go, but sustainability is here to say.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Trump's Victory Increases the Urgency of Climate Action

There was a time when it could have been considered strategic to downplay the apocalyptic truth about climate change. The concern was that pessimism can be harmful to the environmental movement. People are not yet ready to embrace the scientific consensus about climate change. Many are too fearful to countenance the impacts it will augur  However, the election of Donald Trump changes the calculus. This is a global emergency of unprecedented proportions. We no longer have the time to pander to people's delicate sensibilities.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Trump Casts a Dark Shadow Over COP22

As the world comes together for COP22 in Marrakech, Morocco, everyone who has even a passing interest in climate action is gravely concerned about the election of Donald Trump. This year's U.N. climate conference is in stark contrast to last year's conference in Paris where almost every nation on Earth agreed to emissions reduction. The deal officially came into force last month.

A Climate Change News article by Thomas Hale, professor of public policy at Oxford University quite correctly says, "The election of Donald Trump as President of the United States is a disaster for our climate and everything under it." Although he qualifies his statement saying that it "will not be as bad as it might have been."

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Event - Cleantech Forum San Francisco

The 15th Cleantech Forum will take place on January 23 - 25 in San Francisco. This annual gathering of the global cleantech community offers a comprehensive, three-day program along with exclusive opportunities to network, learn, and get deals done.

Event - Student Sustainability Summit

The annual Student Sustainability Summit takes place in January at the University of Alberta. This gathering offers students from across Alberta the resources and networks they need to join the next generation of sustainability leaders.

This weekend event includes sessions and panels designed to provide students with personal and professional development opportunities. Students will delve into topics including social justice, change management, local economies and campus sustainability. The summit is hosted by the Office of Sustainability, Sustain SU and the Students' Umbrella for Social Justice.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Sustainability Education: Teaching for sustainability (Videos)

Educating future leaders about sustainability is key to solving the increasingly interconnected challenges facing humanity. The practice of teaching for sustainability is known as sustainability education (SE), it is also called education for sustainability (EfS), and the United Nations calls it education for sustainable development (ESD). More generally we need to appreciate the importance of education as it relates to sustainable development. Education is one of the sustainable development goals (SDGs) and it is a fundamental right. Investing in a quality education for all is essential to realize the other SDGs and targets. It is also the most powerful tool we have for sustainable development.

Environmental Economics and President Trump: Market Forces are Not Enough (Video)

The world has changed with the election of Donald Trump. On January 20th the US will say goodbye to President Obama a champion of climate action. He will be replaced by Donald J Trump, a climate denier and champion of fossil fuels. Many including Leon Kaye have argued that market forces will somehow save us. While this is a hopeful message it is tragically naive. Market forces are indeed moving sustainability forward and this is especially true of energy.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Trump's Victory Must Not Cause us to Lose Hope We Must Continue to Fight for the Health of our Planet

In the wake of the electoral victory of Donald Trump we must not lose hope nor can we afford to abandon the fight for climate action, clean air and clean water. We owe this to future generations. Although Trump managed to win the presidency due to the archaic collegiate system, it is important to remember that the majority of Americans stand with us. The majority voted for the most progressive environment and climate agenda ever in the US. Now more than ever we must find the courage to fight on. Those of us who took up the fight during the Bush administration remember what it was like to be an advocate under a less than receptive presidential administration.

Bill McKibben, the founder of, had this to say: "If Trump wins, it savages the planet's chances of dealing with climate change. In the (very) long run, the biggest result of a hideous night."  Climate scientist Michael Mann's Tweet sums it up perfectly: "When nightmare becomes reality." Following Trump's win there were protest marches in a number of cities including New York, Chicago, Boston, Berkeley, Portland, Austin and Los Angeles. We are not alone, the majority stands with us and we hope that we can peacefully make our voices heard.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Trump's Energy and Environment Agenda will be Countered by Businesses and Investors

What happens now that we have a Climate Denier as President of the wealthiest and most powerful nation on Earth? The situation is bleak and the future is dark. However, while a Trump presidency is indeed devastating for the climate and the environment, there is a bulwark in place that may help to offset his policy agenda. Driven by opportunities in cleantech, companies, investors, states and cities will continue their push forward. It is easy to understand why so many are disheartened. A science-based review of what needs to be done to tackle climate change suggests that a Trump presidency will push us past tipping points from which we may not be able to recover. Trump will be able to leverage the Republican's control both the House and Senate.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Donald Trump Laid Bare: Comprehensive Summary of Reasons Why Trump is a Disaster

Donald Trump may be the worst person ever to seek America's highest office. The litany of lies and concerns about his sanity are among a number of issues that is so voluminous that it is hard to keep track. It is important to appreciate that people condemning Trump include those who have worked with. Mark Cuban is among those who once supported Trump that indicate he is unfit to lead.

The issue is not just that Trump would not be a good president, the concerns run far deeper.  We know that if Trump was president it would mean game over for climate action and this would augur an unprecedented catastrophe.  A New York Times opinion piece even called Trump an "existential threat".

Monday, November 7, 2016

Voting for Trump is Tantamount to Treason

Donald Trump's bid for the presidency is one of the worst things that has ever happened to America. Trump has demonstrated that he is dangerously unqualified to be president as he is profoundly ignorant about policy matters. As he derides American patriots, and America itself, he has revealed himself to be a self-serving pathological liar who may be suffering from narcissistic personality disorder.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Event - Green Aruba Conference and SIDS Workshop for Policy Makers

Green Aruba Vll is a three day event that will take place November 14 - 18, 2016 in Oranjestad, Aruba. This is the seventh Green Aruba meeting dedicated to countries transitioning to a sustainable energy. Since 2010, Green Aruba has served as a platform to showcase Aruba's progress in sustainable energy transition. Most importantly, this conference makes it possible for other countries, institutions and experts from all over the world to share valuable information, knowledge, experiences and best practices.

Event - COP 22 and IRENA Renewable Energy Side Events

COP 22 will take place November 7-18, 2016 in Marrakech, Morocco. The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), established in 1994, aims to stabilize the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere at a level that prevents "dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system".

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Is Trump Clinically Insane? (Videos)

Donald Trump is a strange man and his statements have caused many to question his competency.  More than a few have even called him crazy. His pathological lying is a matter of record and the question as to whether he is clinically insane is valid, particularly as we stand on the cusp of the possibility that this man may soon be America's commander-and-chief (God help us).  In this post we will explore some of the evidence to suggest that Trump may indeed be suffering from a mental illness.

He has taken a host of absurd positions the appear ludicrous, not the least of which is his insistence that climate change is caused by the Chinese to destabilize America (apparently he does not know that China is a world leader in clean-tech particularly renewable energy).

Trump's Litany of Lies Captured on Video

Donald Trump is a pathological liar. It is hard to review all of Trump's criminality, racism, sexism, bigotry, xenophobia, inhumanity, and depravity (although in the coming days I will try). In the interim take a look at these five videos of Trump and listen to his seemingly endless succession of lies. This summary of deceit records Trump in his own words during the primaries and in each of the three debates. Of course he has also lied about climate change but, given that he has lied about everything else that should come as no surprise. Here is a debate excerpt in which Trump denies denying climate change. Than the Tweet that confirms the lie.

Friday, November 4, 2016

It is Up to the Young to Secure their Futures this Election Cycle

Millennials are one of the keys to defeating Trump and they have a lot of skin in the game. Unlike their older cohorts, young people understand the science of climate change, they know what is at stake this election. Hilary will improve the odds that they may be able to live out their lives with minimal climate impacts, while a Trump presidency would guarantee a climate calamity that will make life very difficult for anyone on Earth. Trump does not have the support of the young, nor does he have the support of women, blacks, or Latinos, Those who have an education, those who know how to think critically, those with common sense. However, if the US is to avert an unparalleled catastrophe, they must turn out to vote. Never has it been more important to vote, never has the choice been more stark.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

The Rise of Renewables and the Fall of Fossil Fuels

Market trends like the volatility of fossil fuels and the declining costs of wind and solar, have driven a six-fold increase in non-hydro renewables in the last decade.  This growth has been prodigious, however, we can expect to see even more growth in the years to come.

This is another record breaking year for renewable energy in both the developed and developing world. All around the world, renewables are growing at a faster rate than ever before. In 2015, for the first time ever, renewable energy accounted for more than half of new power generation worldwide. Last year, we saw more investment capital being funneled into renewables than ever before and more installed capacity. Currently, renewable energy generates almost a quarter of the world's power demands.


Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Greenest Colleges in America: The Princeton Review

The Princeton Review has released its much-anticipated ranking of the greenest colleges in the US. This is the seventh annual free guide of  environmentally responsible colleges.

The 2016 edition of the Princeton Review Guide ranks a total of 361 Green Colleges. The leading colleges are models of sustainability. They have shown leadership in terms of their academic offerings, career preparation, campus policies, initiatives, and activities.

Each of the 361 schools in the guide gets a detailed write-up that focuses on things like energy usage, renewables, recycling and water conservation.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

How Sustainability has Become a Mainstream Phenomenon

Sustainability programs are not just for forward-thinking international conglomerates they are now part of mainstream practices for business both large and small. The data has convincingly made the case that sustainability is good for business and managers are integrating it into their strategies in ever increasing numbers.

There are a number of good reasons why businesses are embracing sustainability. In 2015 sustainability reached a tipping point and in 2016 it has become obvious that sustainability is a 21st-century megatrend. We are even beginning to conceive of a post sustainability world.