Tuesday, January 23, 2018

US’s first all-solar community

Babcock Ranch, near Fort Meyers, Florida, is a new community designed to run entirely on solar, including the autonomous public transit. The developer also returned a lot of the land to the state for a nature preserve.

Welcome to America's first solar-powered town - ABC News https://apple.news/AmZ4XU_R2TkGJKrYPvfPMdQ

I’m not sure why they took up acres of land for the solar panel farm when they could have built net zero homes, using the acreage on the roofs. It might have cost more for all those inverters but each homeowner would be responsible for managing their energy use. I wonder if they have thought about how to manage this shared energy system. To avoid the Tragedy of the Commons, you need social systems and mores to manage the resource.

Monday, January 22, 2018

NIKE half way to 100% renewable power goal

Nike was one of the early corporate leaders in sustainability. First they got embarrassed by social conditions in their contract factories. Next they wondered what else might cause a PR disaster and they started looking at their environmental impacts. Now they see a clear interdependency between social+environmental issues and their business: fossil fuel driven air pollution has cancelled marathons and climate change is undermining traditional winter sports.

Among other things, they’ve signed onto the RE100, a commitment to get all of their energy from renewables. In this latest power purchase deal, they are half way there.


It’s good news, but there’s also something that troubles me. They are in effect paying to put up a wind farm in Texas. Should we let corporations off the hook by building renewable energy facilities in someone else’s backyard? In the long run, if we only can allocate so much land to make energy, is this the best use? Expensive running shoes and apparel? Some day we may have to answer that question.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Conservative registers for climate class as a joke, becomes advocate

At the Alliance, we avoid painting sustainability as a conservative or liberal issue. It’s divisive and unhelpful. After all, Nixon, a Republican, created many of the environmental laws we have benefitted from: the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act and the EPA. The politicization of climate change is unfortunate. Perhaps it started when Al Gore decided to be the spokesperson for the issue. But never forget that people on both sides of the political spectrum cherish the environment. Whether they hike or hunt, they’re all trying to reconnect to Nature.

Here’s a story of a Montana hunter who signed up to a Climate course as a joke, to heckle the professor. Find out what happened next.

Don’t Let Anyone Fool You: There ARE Environmental Conservatives - Mother Jones https://apple.news/A0Zw6S4TGTlWlhkS7UCSSvA

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Diversity can make companies more profitable

In this recent follow-up study by McKinsey, its clear that a diverse management team can make a significant difference in the financial health of large companies. It's likely also true of small to medium sized companies, in part because it better reflects the population the company is serving.

In the original research, using 2014 diversity data, we found that companies in the top quartile for gender diversity on their executive teams were 15 percent more likely to experience above-average profitability than companies in the fourth quartile. In our expanded 2017 data set this number rose to 21 percent and continued to be statistically significant. For ethnic and cultural diversity, the 2014 finding was a 35 percent likelihood of outperformance, comparable to the 2017 finding of a 33 percent likelihood of outperformance on EBIT margin; both were also statistically significant.

Take a look at the study to unpack what gender vs ethnic diversity can do for your business.


Evian closing loop on plastic or greenwashing?

Evian is committing to using 100% recycled plastic in their bottles by 2025. Ok.....

 On the positive side, they are collaborating with Ellen MacArthur’s circular economy and a group that pulls plastic from the ocean.

But this hardly makes me eager to encourage people to buy bottled water.


0.5 degree C doesn’t sound like much but with climate it is huge

You may have heard scientists argue about 1.5 or 2 degrees Celsius global temperature change. But what are the implications of shooting past 1.5? There’s a wonderful table in this article that shows the difference. The impact on crop yields is especially concerning.

Then look at the chart with concentric circles. It shows how many years at current emissions we have to stay at those levels and at what probability. We have 6 years to have a 66% probability of staying within 1.5C.

This graphic explains why 2 degrees of global warming will be way worse than 1.5 - Vox https://apple.news/A32SzyjRiR6OYXIjpj7XevQ

But all organizations and individuals can fix this NOW! TODAY! Solar panels, changing your diet, buying an electric car, all those things are great. But they might take a little time. But you can buy carbon offsets to eliminate your carbon impact today.

Calculate your carbon emissions from last year and donate to a certified carbon credit. I just did it for my household and it cost me $68. For the year. We have solar panels and one electric/hybrid car but we did go to Europe. It might cost your household a couple hundred dollars. Isn’t it worth it?

EPA carbon calculator for households: https://www3.epa.gov/carbon-footprint-calculator/

Choose your carbon offset project here: https://www.cooleffect.org/content/projects

Find other certified offset brokers: https://www.green-e.org/certified-resources/carbon-offsets

NRDC explanation of carbon offsets: https://www.nrdc.org/stories/should-you-buy-carbon-offsets

Now you have no excuses. Offset your emissions and then tell us what it cost and what project you supported. Let’s make this a social norm: did you get your flu shot, did you offset your climate impact?

Friday, January 19, 2018

World’s largest investment fund tells CEOs to get on sustainability bandwagon

Larry Fink, the head of Blackrock, the world’s largest investment fund, just put corporations on notice that they need to do a lot more for society and stop fixating on quarterly returns.

“To prosper over time, every company must not only deliver financial performance, but also show how it makes a positive contribution to society,” Fink said in a much cited letter to CEOs. “Companies must benefit all of their stakeholders, including shareholders, employees, customers, and the communities in which they operate.”
In a Deloitte Survey, fully 92% of the CEOs supported working toward the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals but only 17% already had work underway to address them by 2030.

Awareness precedes action. Now a very powerful individual is telling public companies to get their act together.