Investors call on major US polluters to clean up lobbying activities

October 29, 2020 by  
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Investors call on major US polluters to clean up lobbying activities Cecilia Keating Thu, 10/29/2020 – 00:10 Carbon intensive companies in the U.S. are facing growing pressure to clean up their lobbying activity, with a host of institutional investors this week issuing an urgent call to 47 of the largest greenhouse gas emitters to disclose how their corporate advocacy aligns with the most ambitious climate goals of the Paris Agreement. BNP Paribas Asset Management, Boston Trust Walden, California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS) and the New York City Comptroller’s Office are among institutional investors which have signed an open letter calling on greater climate lobbying transparency and accountability from their U.S. portfolio companies, in a move spearheaded by the Climate Action 100+ initiative. The letter, sent to 47 company chairs and chief executives, calls on emissions-intensive firms to align all direct corporate lobbying activity and indirect lobbying activity managed by trade associations with the Paris Agreement goal to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, noting that any advocacy inconsistent with climate goals presents a raft of regulatory, economic, reputational and legal risks for investors. “The private sector cannot address the full range of impacts from climate change without strong public policy designed to help stabilize the climate. Companies should establish the Paris Agreement’s goals as their North Star when meeting with regulators and legislators,” said Adam Kanzer, head of stewardship for the Americas at BNP Paribas Asset Management. “Their lobbying activities should be consistent with the Paris Agreement and the best available science, well governed and transparent.” It is just the latest intervention from Climate Action 100+, which is backed by more than 500 global investors representing $47 trillion of assets worldwide and aims ramp up climate ambition from companies it has identified as collectively responsible for up to 80 percent of global industrial greenhouse gas emissions. Companies targeted by the campaign span a number of polluting sectors, including oil and gas, consumer goods, power and transportation, and have been identified as “systematically important” to the net zero transition by the campaign. Companies have an important and constructive role to play in enabling policy-makers to close the ‘ambition gap’ which would also contribute positively to the long-term value of our investment portfolios. Investors signing this week’s letters have called on the 47 U.S. companies to leave trade associations unable or unwilling to ensure their advocacy activity is compliant with global climate goals. While trade associations will not always speak for all of their members on some issues, climate change on the other hand represents “a unique challenge that requires alignment at all levels of an organization,” the letter argues. Companies therefore have a responsibility to their investors to encourage climate-friendly government policies, the letter emphasizes. “Currently, there are critical gaps between the pledges and commitments national governments have made and the actions required to stave off the worst effects of climate change,” the investors write. “Companies have an important and constructive role to play in enabling policy-makers to close the ‘ambition gap’ which would also contribute positively to the long-term value of our investment portfolios.” Climate Action 100+ is also working on a report set for publication next year aimed at benchmarking how 161 of the world’s most polluting companies are faring on climate action, with Paris-aligned corporate lobbying a “key indicator” in the metric, it said. The letters come as firms worldwide face growing pressure from investors to ensure that corporate engagement with policymakers helps advance a resilient, net zero economy. Shareholder proposals that demand companies disclose how their climate lobbying aligns with the Paris Agreement reached a record high in 2020, with Chevron shareholders approving such a proposal in a landmark vote in June. In Europe, meanwhile, oil firms such as Equinor, Shell, BP and Total have published the results of internal audits of their trade association memberships following long-running investor pressure, detailing where groups’ climate policies were misaligned with their internal goals. There also have been instances of companies exiting trade groups over disagreements over environmental policy in recent years. Unilever, Nestle and Mars left the Grocery Manufacturers Association in 2018 over disagreements on sustainable food policy, while Coca-Cola and PepsiCo cut ties with the Plastic Industry Association one year later over green policy issues. “The urgency of the climate crisis means that companies must not only take bold in-house actions to reduce emissions to net-zero and improve governance of climate risk, they must also look beyond their four walls and publicly advocate for federal and state policies to mitigate climate change,” said Ceres CEO and president Mindy Lubber, a member of the Climate Action 100+ global steering committee. “Investors are looking at those advocacy efforts and if corporate trade association lobbying matches what companies are publicly stating.” Pull Quote Companies have an important and constructive role to play in enabling policy-makers to close the ‘ambition gap’ which would also contribute positively to the long-term value of our investment portfolios. Topics Finance & Investing Risk & Resilience GreenFin Investing Greenhouse Gas BusinessGreen Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off Photo by  worradirek  on Shutterstock.

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Investors call on major US polluters to clean up lobbying activities

Gillette plans to shave use of virgin plastics by 50% by 2030

October 27, 2020 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green, Recycle

Gillette plans to shave use of virgin plastics by 50% by 2030 Deonna Anderson Tue, 10/27/2020 – 02:17 Personal care products brand Gillette, known for its razors, set out to become a more sustainable company one decade again. And over the past 10 years, it has reduced its energy consumption by 392,851 gigajoules and its greenhouse gas emissions by 26 percent. The company has also reached zero-manufacturing-waste-to-landfill status across all of the plants in its global network. On Monday, Gillette announced its 2030 goals to uplevel its sustainability ambitions. Building on the 26 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions — and using a 2009-2010 baseline — Gillette plans to boost that number to a 50 percent reduction by 2030. “We’ve done a lot over the 10 years. But we’re not complacent,” said Gary Coombe, CEO at Gillette. “And we recognize there’s still a lot to do.” One of Gillette’s 2030 goals is to maintain zero-waste-to-landfill status. To achieve that designation at its World Shaving Headquarters in Boston, Gillette worked with local recycler Rand Whitney Recycling to do an in-depth assessment on all of its waste streams, with a goal of ensuring all would be either reused, recycled or incinerated for energy recovery. P&G Corporate, Gillette’s parent company, doesn’t release numbers about how much waste is reused, recycled or incinerated across its brands. From there, the company worked to reduce scrap waste and engaged employees to help improve recycling rates. Gillette said because the assessment of its waste streams, which helped determine how to treat the waste, was effective, it was later implemented at other plants globally. Another one of Gillette’s goals is to reduce water consumption related to production by 35 percent. The company has been cutting its water consumption by using more recycled water at its sites and through water conservation projects. The company shared its Milenio plant in Mexico as an example. At that plant, it said it has zero water discharge, meaning 100 percent of its wastewater is treated and reused onsite. What’s more, Coombe said when Gillette thinks about reducing water consumption, it also considers how to reduce the amount of water people who use its razors consume when shaving.  To that end, it designed razors to be easier to rinse hair from, enabling people to use less water. It also recently released a “waterless” razor for “assisted shaving,” or shaving someone else. that product was designed with caregivers in mind, with a shave gel tube attached directly to the razor.  Gillette’s other 2030 goals include: Use 100 percent renewable purchased electricity: The company has created an energy task force team at each of its sites to help identify and improve its energy footprint. Reduce absolute virgin plastic by 50 percent. Provide 100 percent transparency about the ingredients in its formulas: Gillette is part of the Smart Label program in the U.S. to promote ingredient transparency for people who use its products. Additionally, its parent company P&G provides product ingredient information through its product ingredient transparency page . Responsibly source animal, plant and mineral-derived materials, backed by supporting credentials (e.g. Forest Stewardship Council) Use 100 percent recyclable packaging. Increase the amount of PCR content used in its blades and razors by 2023. To help support the recyclability of its products, in 2019, Gillette in partnership with TerraCycle, launched a razor recycling program in the U.S., Canada, UK, Australia and New Zealand, which allowed its customers to recycle any brand of used razor handle or blade along with its packaging.  “This is a program that we felt was very important and, you know, necessary to give consumers that option, should they wish, to recycle the product,” Coombe said. “That’s a partnership that continues to grow. And we’re going to leverage it further, as we launch new products and products that are even more specifically designed to improve the environmental profile of the razor.” Since the program’s initial launch, the partnership has established over 21,000 public razor recycling locations globally, according to Gillette. Once the disposable razors, replaceable-blade cartridges and their packaging are collected, they are broken down and separated by material. The plastics are cleaned and turned into pellets to be recycled into new products like picnic tables and park benches and the metal materials are smelted and converted into alloys.  Aside from its 2030 goals, Gillette this week is releasing results of a global survey it conducted with research firm Lucid. The survey, which polled about 5,500 men aged 18 to 50 in 11 countries, showed more than half of the men surveyed (54 percent) care about sustainability and more than half (58 percent) say plastic waste in the environment is a very important issue to them.  Coombe said that while the survey results didn’t influence Gillette’s 2030 goals, “it’s given us even more encouragement and energy to get to stay on this journey and accelerate the journey that, frankly, we’ve been on for 10 years already.” Topics Corporate Strategy Commitments & Goals Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off Gillette’s World Shaving Headquarters in Boston, Mass. Courtesy of Gillette.

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How to advance equity in energy solutions in the COVID-19 era

July 6, 2020 by  
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How to advance equity in energy solutions in the COVID-19 era Daphany Rose Sanchez Mon, 07/06/2020 – 02:01 During the day I work in the energy sector supporting government and utilities design programs to perform outreach to and educate low-income and diverse communities. At night, I go back into my neighborhood, one thriving with diverse residents. Sitting on both sides of the table, I’d like to share what you need to pay attention to in order to be part of the solution on the interconnected fronts of energy efficiency and social justice. If 2020 has shown residents in the United States something, it’s the dire need to understand historical barriers, immediately stop our current way of working and deliver energy solutions. As a New York City resident, director of an energy consulting organization, an advocate of energy equity and a third-generation resident of public housing, I have a unique view of the structural barriers we must break down to solve the global climate crisis. As energy consultants developing energy solutions, it may feel difficult to look away from the bombardment of messaging about death and economic downfall, and videos of divisiveness and hatred. More than 122,000 U.S. residents — our neighbors, friends and family members — have died from COVID-19. Witnessing a family member or a friend die so suddenly is new to most of us. It may feel difficult to look away from the bombardment of messaging about death and economic downfall, and videos of divisiveness and hatred. But the worst part is that our country has had not one pandemic, but two rising. We are seeing on social media people of color — specifically, Black people — murdered time and time again. As with COVID-19, families are worried about how many times they have to see a son, daughter, nephew or friend die so suddenly. They’re also the target of hatred from people they’ve never met, feeling the pain, worry and stress of being judged by their skin color. Communities in the crosshairs Meanwhile, COVID-19, just like other structural inequalities, has had the most profound impact on communities of color. Low-income Black and Latinx folks already quarantined within disinvested neighborhoods are seeing rampant infection and death. They’re vexed with the choice of working as essential workers, risking getting sick or dying, versus losing income and risking eviction from an already overpriced apartment. But this isn’t new. Black, Latinx, Indigenous and other marginalized communities have long been resilient against natural disasters, racism, environmental toxicities and gentrification. What should energy professionals who care about these interconnected crises and operate in historically underserved communities do? What’s the best way to look at COVID and racial injustice, and focus the negative emotions and stress onto positive, equitable energy solutions towards climate change? You can start with the following steps: Understand the connections and empathize I have had conversations with many among the majority of people who live outside of yet sympathize with marginalized communities, and with others who demand justice but have a hard time understanding the relationship between equity and race. I’ve heard and seen the juxtaposition, and the idea that climate and racial justice are two separate issues. Others are aware of what actions are required but fearful of losing power obtained through an “injustice” system. Americans are divided on how antiracist measures are critical to dismantling structural barriers, just as they are divided on the urgency to fix our planet in a way that minimizes the collateral damage of leaving the few behind for the greater good. The worst part is that our country has had not one pandemic, but two rising. To those of you who have a hard time understanding what we fight for or why we are so loud about climate justice and racial equity, think about how you feel during the rise of COVID: trapped at home, worried about your future. You’re frustrated, angry, depressed, stressed out. You want life to return to normal. That’s how many of us feel who were raised as “different” races, ethnicities, cultures and identities. If we’re born in subsidized housing, others see us as less than human. It is a quarantined site whose children go to schools that receive less funding. We’re worried we won’t be able to make rent because we earn less. We’re afraid we can’t exercise outside for being mislabeled as a criminal and even killed. We’re worried our parents and grandparents will fall sick without a place for us to take care of them. We’re concerned about our future. We walk a thin line — between being the person our employer wants (providing ideas only when asked) and being the person our parents raised us to be (outspoken, providing perspective based on our diverse understanding and experiences). Listening and empathizing will bring you closer to understanding a community’s needs. Assess the situation Next, assess how you have engaged in the community. Assess who you are in relation to it. What has been done to support the local economy?  Have you or your company accelerated injustice? If so, how do you stop and promote equity within your organization? How do you resist selfishness and step down when someone else with a necessary perspective can be elevated? How do you release your power to support a cause? Self-change and organizational change is the first step to address inequity within the workplace. Let communities lead To assess low-income communities, examine what organizations already exist there. What type of outreach have they done, and how can you provide fiscal resources and collaborate with them on programming? Nonprofits, unions and coalitions within those communities have decades of experience engaging and communicating successfully with their neighbors. They have built trust and know what works and what does not. They are familiar with how to tailor government programming specifically for groups with different cultural backgrounds and energy-use needs. Nonprofits, unions and coalitions within those communities have decades of experience engaging and communicating successfully with their neighbors. To all energy firms: Actively investigate how you are supporting these organizations. Consider mandating a percentage of community representatives on all committee programming boards, regardless of technical expertise, developing materials that are culturally and linguistically representative of the community. Eliminate the transactional relationship with the community. Develop a communal process where you are supporting participants with their mission, helping them build wealth and create a sustainable future for their neighborhoods. Developing long-term community relationships can help us collectively tackle climate change. Evaluate information access Energy consulting firms are also evaluating methods of operation and delivery of energy outreach programming and design. The first thing that comes to everyone’s mind in light of COVID-19 work-from-home quarantine is virtual access as in-person meetings, audits and processes move online. Just as equitable engagement begins with collaborating across sectors to achieve an overarching goal, the clean energy sector must think about collaborating with internet providers while developing outreach and incentive programs that advocate for equipment that requires WiFi. If your energy program incorporates such incentives, think about the additional burden to low-income customers. How can your funding expand to provide an internet connection to residents? At Kinetic Communities Consulting, our projects have shown that if you provide a separate incentive that improves qualify of life, people are more inclined to pursue energy efficiency. Providing internet at a low or no cost with a solar or air source heat pump project provides a quality-of-life improvement. How can your funding expand to provide an internet connection to residents? Roughly three in 10 adults with household incomes below $30,000 a year (29 percent) don’t own a smartphone, and more than four in 10 don’t have home broadband services (44 percent) or a traditional computer (46 percent). And a majority of lower-income Americans are not tablet owners. Collaboration with local internet providers, nonprofits supporting low-income Americans and local government can help close the communication gap. Partnerships with internet providers removes one barrier to energy efficiency programs invested in installing new climate-friendly technologies. Using community aggregation engagement also provides customers the opportunity to obtain a lower internet bill cost and entice customers to complete projects. It gives residents a platform to learn more about their utility usage and lifts a concern of access and awareness. Consider equitable hiring and training COVID has exposed how people of the global majority — that is, people of color — are the first to be laid off, as the latest U.S. employment numbers bear out. Black and Latinx workers are hit the hardest in clean energy, with Latinx workers comprising 14 percent of the industry but 25 percent of its job losses. For energy consultants, the automation of audits and processes can further exacerbate layoffs. When energy consulting firms develop automated methods to accelerate energy outreach and program development; they must consider equitable hiring and training practices. Think about what you have learned in your own position — the relationship of your skillsets and a job’s requirements — to be mindful of whom you are rehiring and who your job postings reach. Consider developing gender-neutral job postings and removing a candidate’s education to avoid unconscious bias. Not only is hiring and training critical, but understanding the work culture you have created can nudge diverse candidates either to grow within or leave your organization. An equitable path forward allows the energy industry community to become more robust and unified. These types of efforts pay off.  Companies with the most diverse executive teams were 21 percent more likely than others to enjoy above-average profitability, according to a 2018 study by McKinsey & Company. For executive teams with ethnic and cultural diversity, this likelihood rose to 33 percent. A study by the Boston Consulting Group found that revenue tied to innovation, in terms of products and services launched in the past three years, was 19 percent higher for companies with above-average diversity in management. Spend time creating and maintaining professional development opportunities for staff to learn and grow within the industry. Be mindful of who you believe should be in the position and be open to the skillsets people have, regardless of the industry standards. Educate yourself Below are some amazing people of color/people of the global majority articles you can read to understand the importance of the intersection in energy and social justice:  •     Black environmentalists talk about climate and antiracism •    Climate activists: Here’s why your work depends on ending police violence •     Why every environmentalist should be antiracist •    How racism manifests in clean energy •     The climate movement’s silence •    How to help Black employees •     Felecia Hatcher: Tech community must do more than tweet support. It needs to invest •    I’m a black climate expert. Racism derails our efforts to save the planet •    Hold my earrings: Black women lead on systemic solutions in the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond People are dying, and some may not psychically see it, unlike hurricanes or wildfires. U.S. society is in a state of shock and feels a sensation of dystopian reality. An equitable path forward allows the energy industry community to become more robust and unified, giving people who are hit the hardest the opportunity to engage, participate and create a unified solution for a climate-resilient future. The first step is to become aware, and the next step is action. Pull Quote It may feel difficult to look away from the bombardment of messaging about death and economic downfall, and videos of divisiveness and hatred. The worst part is that our country has had not one pandemic, but two rising. Nonprofits, unions and coalitions within those communities have decades of experience engaging and communicating successfully with their neighbors. How can your funding expand to provide an internet connection to residents? An equitable path forward allows the energy industry community to become more robust and unified. Topics Social Responsibility Cities & Communities Environmental Justice Equity & Inclusion Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off Lady Liberty and New York City at sunset. Shutterstock rudall30 Close Authorship

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Labels: Disdain them — except one

July 6, 2020 by  
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Labels: Disdain them — except one Bob Langert Mon, 07/06/2020 – 01:45 A longtime friend told me he was Christian and couldn’t support Democrats because it violated his principles. Then I heard a news update that Republicans were trying to ax Obamacare. I think I’m an Independent.  I’ve been spending more time contemplating the racial problems our country faces. I admire the friends and family that have posted Black Lives Matter signs. I just read “White Fragility,” and it infused me with thoughts that challenged my privileged white life. I hadn’t thought I was a racist, but I now realize I am because I’m part of a systemic white-dominant society by default. Truly. And it’s got to change, including me. I’ve thought of myself as young. But now I get up in the morning and hobble about until I’ve warmed up my body to stand straight. Labels. Can’t stand them. Listening to the radio the other day I heard an ad that said, “All of us use social media way too much.” How do they know that about me? I’m not too married to Twitter. I self-label myself as “athletic.” Yet I played a bocce match the other day against an 80-year-old woman who’d recently had surgery on her arm and had to toss the bocce ball with her odd hand. I lost. By a lot. There is one label I genuinely like and admire: ‘I’m a seasoned corporate sustainability leader.’ Another good friend of mine told me on the phone that he never thought I was a radical, “so liberal,” after reading my book about corporate sustainability (“The Battle to Do Good”). I don’t think of myself as liberal, but I’m finding in my daily conversations with friends that maybe I really am. Just yesterday, a good friend of mine said he doesn’t like the politics of Starbucks. And I’m thinking, “This is a company that is really trying to do good.” I passed on a very interesting New York Times article about health care to a buddy. He told me the article was narrow-minded and wrong because — well, it’s from the New York Times. He gets his news from Fox. We’re still buddies, although sometimes I wonder where to draw the line on sharing similar values. He said I’m a CNN person. I do watch/listen to it the most. I find myself labeling others and am ashamed that I do. He is a bully. She is slovenly. And I thought I was a good Catholic. There is one label I genuinely like and admire: “I’m a seasoned corporate sustainability leader.” I started this work by addressing the Big Mac polystyrene clamshell some 32 years ago. Finding the good intersection of business and society has grabbed my heart and mind ever since. But now I am mostly retired. It’s yet another label I disdain. If anything, I feel like I’m accelerating, not stepping back. Even though I made the choice to wind down my sustainability career, I have lots yet to give to my family, friends, neighbors and community. The couple of Myers-Briggs tests I’ve taken have labeled me an introvert working in an extroverted field. My safe haven is to be alone. But what I find I miss the most about working in the day-to-day of corporate sustainability is the gobs of good people I got to know, share, laugh, commiserate with and share a passion to change the world for the better. You are my good friends. I like being with you. Which brings me to my very least favorite label: “Retired from GreenBiz.” My regular writing for GreenBiz has seen its better days. I love writing about sustainability, but now that I’m not in the frontlines, I find I have little to write about. So this is my final column. I love the GreenBiz community, starting with Joel Makower, who I met 30 years ago when I bought a bunch of his books for McDonald’s people. His integrity and caring attitude permeate the whole organization. John Davies is full of bright insight and even better wit. Twenty-four hours at a GreenBiz Executive Network meeting was like filling up the tank with high-octane gas. I was ready to rock and roll after every meeting I attended. Everyone I meet at GreenBiz is an awesome person. How do you do it, GreenBiz? Thank you for the opportunity to write a column with my thoughts for the past five years. As you can tell, I’m not one for being labeled. It irks me. But you can label me a “big sap” for how much I care about the entire sustainability movement — and the special people that make it happen. Pull Quote There is one label I genuinely like and admire: ‘I’m a seasoned corporate sustainability leader.’ Topics Leadership State of the Profession Featured Column The Inside View Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off GreenBiz photocollage

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First CLT Passive House project in Boston breaks ground

February 24, 2020 by  
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Move over steel and concrete — a pioneering cross-laminated timber (CLT) project that’s set to break ground in Boston could spearhead a greater adoption of mass timber across the country. Local startup  Generate Architecture + Technologies  has teamed up with progressive developer Placetailor to lead the project — the city’s first-ever CLT Cellular Passive House Demonstration Project — and provide live/work spaces in Lower Roxbury. Developed with the startup’s Model-C system for prefabricated kit-of-parts construction, the building will forgo conventional concrete and steel materials in favor of carbon-sequestering engineered wood products. Expected to break ground in June of 2020, the CLT Passive House demonstration project will comprise five floors with 14 residential units as well as innovative and affordable co-working spaces for the local community on the ground floor. In addition to introducing low-carbon, mixed-use  programming to the neighborhood, the project will be a working prototype for Generate’s Model-C, “a replicable system for housing delivery methods designed to address climate and community.”  The Model-C system is not only designed to function at net-zero carbon levels, but is also Passive House certified and built to the new Boston Department of Neighborhood Development “Zero Emissions Standards,” which were developed with Placetailor. As a result, the demonstration project is expected to have a significantly reduced carbon footprint as compared to traditional construction. The  CLT  rooftop canopy is also engineered to make it easy to mount solar panels. Modular units, like the bathrooms, can be prefabricated offsite and then plugged into the building to reduce construction time and waste.  Related: This student housing is the largest Passive House-certified building in the Southern Hemisphere Thanks to  prefabrication  methods and the reduction of interior framing, the Model-C prototype is expected to completed by the end of 2020 and will be available for tours at the Industrial Wood-Based Construction (IWBC) conference in Boston on November 4. Generate is also exploring the possibility of applying the Model-C system to projects that range from six to 18 stories across the U.S. + Generate Images by Forbes Massie Studio

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Designer Dana Cohen creates unique, recycled fabric garments

February 24, 2020 by  
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It’s no secret that the United States wastes millions of tons of textiles every year. From fast fashion to unsustainable production to consumers simply choosing to throw out clothes instead of donating them, the environmental costs of fabric waste is starting to add up — and fast. A 2015 graduate of the Shenkar College of Engineering and Design, Dana Cohen is choosing ecological design methods and making waves in the sustainable fashion industry. Cohen’s first award-winning collection, Worn Again, was developed in 2015 using recycled materials. By taking discarded fabrics and shredding them into smaller monochromatic fibers, Cohen was able to create new felted textiles out of scraps that would usually be taken to the landfill. After the process was complete, the designer was left with a completely unique knit boasting a combination of colors and patterns produced by the different original fabrics. Related: The sustainable wardrobe — it’s more accessible than you think The process to create these eco-textiles combines machinery and hand work to help give each piece a one-of-a-kind look. The felting process also leaves the material extremely soft and durable. The Worn Again collection won both the Fini Leitersdorf Excellence Award for Creativity and Originality in Fashion and the Rozen Award for Design and Sustainable Technologies in 2015. In 2018, Cohen revealed the City Growth collection, which was featured in Tel Aviv Fashion Week and Vietnam International Fashion Week that same year. The collection was inspired by global urban development and the diminution of agriculture by city growth, something Cohen had seen first-hand as the daughter of a farmer. Unsurprisingly, the collection went on to also earn awards, including the Israeli Lottery Company Fashion Design Award, the “Mifal Hapais.” In 2019, the Israel Museum in Jerusalem displayed the City Grown collection as part of an exhibition on fashion statements. The designer’s mission is to help people feel good inside and out by providing exclusive and beautiful garments that have a positive impact on society while still maintaining style. Cohen’s inspirational designs prove that recycled products can be just as fashionable (if not more) than traditional clothing items. + Dana Cohen Photography by Rafi Deloya, Rotem Lebel and Ron Kedmi via Dana Cohen

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New BU academic tower will be 100% free from fossil fuels

January 29, 2020 by  
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To advance a Climate Action Plan to reach net-zero emissions by 2040, Boston University has recently broken ground on the Center for Computing & Data Sciences, a 19-floor complex expected to become the “University’s and Boston’s biggest and most sustainable, energy-efficient building” once built. Toronto-based firm KPMB Architects led the design of the 345,000-square-foot project, which will house BU’s mathematics, statistics and computer science departments under one roof. The tower, which will be the tallest building on campus , will feature a suite of energy-saving and energy-generating technologies, including geothermal wells, state-of-the-art shading systems and triple-glazed windows. Located at the heart of the campus, the Center for Computing & Data Sciences will be the university’s first major teaching center in half a century and is slated for completion in 2022. Key to the design of the tower is the “vertical campus” concept that encourages a sense of community over 19 floors. In addition to maximizing transparency and accessibility, the architects have strategically configured the building to house the most-trafficked areas — such as the classrooms, learning labs and functional spaces — on the lower levels, while the upper floors contain the university departments. The rooftop hosts quiet lunch and meeting spaces optimized for concentration. Collaborative spaces will be woven throughout, including expansive whiteboard walls and a series of terraced platforms for small-group interactions. Related: The new Center for Student Services is a sustainable gateway for Boston University “The new Center for Computing & Data Sciences building makes a dynamic urban place that is a crossroads and a beacon for Boston University’s central campus,” the architects explained in a project statement. “The design maximizes opportunities for mixing, interaction and interconnectivity. The building serves as a platform for innovation formatted as a vertical campus. Every element is integrated to establish Data Sciences as Boston University’s new iconic heart.” To meet net-zero energy standards, the Center will depend on a ground-source heat exchange system with 31 1,500-foot-deep geothermal wells for heating and cooling. Energy loss will be minimized with external sun shading devices, triple-glazed windows, enhanced heating and ventilation systems and LED lighting . The tower will also be built 5 feet above the city for Boston’s suggested level for sea level rise. + KPMB Architects Images via KPMB Architects

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Designer stylishly revamps a geodesic dome

September 2, 2019 by  
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After more than 15 years styling vacation homes in Massachusetts’ Berkshires, Jess Cooney and her design team have become specialists in combining clean-line elegance with a space where kids, house guests and dogs can play, relax and have fun. But taking on a geodesic dome in the tiny Berkshires town of Becket was a new challenge for Jess Cooney Interiors — a challenge that the team overcame with much success. “This was the first we worked on,” Cooney told Inhabitat. “We liked the challenge of making the space really efficient while working with all the angles in the space.” Finding flat areas in the geodesic dome home for vanities and appliances proved especially tricky. Related: Escape the everyday in this Geodesic Dome House in Palm Springs The 2,567-square-foot lakefront cabin was built in the 1980s and is owned by a Boston couple. A central spiral staircase connects the main level, basement and loft. Buckminster Fuller developed the geodesic dome in 1954, seeking to enclose maximum space with minimal internal supports. During the 1960s and ‘70s, dome popularity grew. Cooney faced the challenge of making what looked like a futuristic design in midcentury appear elegant and modern today. When the Boston couple bought the geodesic dome , it was crying out for a makeover. Dark wood paneling, dated finishes and old heating and electrical systems were dragging it down. Plus, old wall-to-wall carpeting wasn’t friendly to the sandy feet of guests. The team got to work stripping finishes and carpeting. Walnut flooring is a key improvement. “The lower level has wood plank flooring that are tiles in place of wood flooring that work really well for people coming in and out of the lake,” Cooney said. The design team added radiant heat and new treads on the staircase. Cooney also saw the importance of balancing open space for family time with more private areas. The designer said the most interesting aspects of the project were “the windows and the different materials we brought in with bamboo , oak and the high level sheetrock we put in place of the old wood paneling on the ceiling.” Instead of dark paneling, the dome’s interior is now a stunning white, which makes the most of the vaulted ceiling and the large, striking triangular windows. Daylight fills the main living area, and views of the surrounding trees are a blink away. Cooney chose calming colors throughout most of the geodesic dome , such as a silvery velvet sofa and blue armchairs. Guests can relax around a fireplace complete with a floating oak mantel. “The kitchen was the most challenging for us,” Cooney said. “But by creating a pantry in the back, we were able to make the whole space work well.” The family can choose between eating in the larger main dining space, or a more intimate eating area with a circular table. Local, third-generation cabinet maker Erik Schutz custom-built both the dining table and the kitchen table. Upstairs is the light-filled master bedroom, illuminated by a hexagonal skylight and side windows. A slate bed frame by Old Bones Co enhances the clean, modern look. The guest bedroom incorporates concrete nightstands by Fourhands with a woven chair from Orient Express. The bathroom is the biggest splash of color, with gorgeous teal tiles made all the more eye-catching because most of the design is so neutral. The basement offers additional living space, with comfy chairs and ottomans. Cooney also fit in an office and mudroom. Now, the owners are adding an outdoor deck and new landscaping to truly make the most of the home, inside and out. + Jess Cooney Interiors Via Dezeen Photography by Lisa Vollmer Photography via Jess Cooney Interiors

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Designer stylishly revamps a geodesic dome

Fight food waste with these 11 ways to use leftover greens before they spoil

September 19, 2018 by  
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While they are chock-full of nutrients, greens such as spinach, kale, chard and romaine typically do not make for good leftovers. Luckily, there are plenty of uses for this tasty produce — even if it is soggy and nearly bad — that won’t make you feel like you’ve wasted money or contributed to the growing food waste crisis. Here are 11 different ways you can use leftover greens before they spoil. Sautéed Greens Certain types of greens, like arugula, kale , chard and spinach, are ideal for adding to a stir-fry or sautéing. Add these greens with shallots, peppers and garlic, and sauté them with a bit of olive oil. If you are making a traditional stir-fry, the ribs of romaine and iceberg lettuce are great for adding a crispy element to the dish. Kale Pesto Who knew kale could be incorporated into a spaghetti dish? Start by making a pesto with kale with a food processor. Then, boil some spaghetti noodles and combine them with the pesto. Add a few sun-dried tomatoes to the mix and top everything off with some goat or vegan cheese. Once you have mastered making kale pesto, you can use it in a number of different dishes, including raviolis and fish, such as tilapia. Lettuce Soup It might not sound good, but leftover greens actually make a great soup . You can make a delicious soup out of an assortment of leftover greens, including Boston, romaine, butter, Bibb and iceberg lettuces. You can also play with a variety of spices, like thyme, garlic and tarragon, until you find a flavor combination you like. Add in potato for a heartier meal. Lettuce Cups and Wraps You can put just about anything that you would put on a sandwich in a lettuce wrap, and it will taste good. If you are looking for something new, try wrapping a mixture of rice, spicy peppers and other veggies and proteins of your choice. Like wraps, lettuce cups are a great way to use leftover greens before they spoil. Romaine lettuce and iceberg are better for cups, because they have large leaves and are a little sturdier than their counterparts. There is an assortment of lettuce cup recipes on the internet, but our favorite combines pine nuts, tofu (or chicken, if you prefer) and peppers to create a tasty treat. Green Smoothies One of the quickest ways to use leftover greens is to incorporate them into a smoothie. Greens make excellent smoothies that are both tasty and nutritious. Add a bit of fruit plus ginger for extra flavor. You can also try your hand at making a detox smoothie. For this drink, use leftover kale, apples, ginger and lemon. Start by slicing six apples. Juice three of them, and add the juice to your blender. Then toss in the chopped kale, lemon and ginger. Once everything is mixed in, add the rest of the apple slices and blend. One tip for this recipe is to use apples that are crisp, which will help give the smoothie a good consistency. But if you are trying to use up nearly-expired apples, those will work fine, too. Mac & Cheese Leftover kale actually makes great mac and cheese and can help infuse nutrients into the dish. Just cook the dish as you normally would (we recommend homemade, not boxed!), and combine the chopped kale at the very end as you are mixing everything together. Place in the oven to soften the kale and you are good to go. If you prefer spinach, it also makes a great addition to this classic comfort dish . Rice With Greens Mixing rice, including fried rice, with greens is a great way to make a traditional dish healthier. Start by cooking the rice as you normally would. Mix in a cup or more of chopped greens and your preferred spices. Cook until the kale is soft and serve hot. Coleslaw Leftover greens are great for making a quick coleslaw. Hardier greens, such as kale, mustard, chard or turnip tops, are more ideal for coleslaw, because they generally stay fresher longer. If you notice some yellowing leaves, simply cut off these portions and cut the rest into small strips. Add a vinaigrette to the mixture and the result is a fresh slaw that is sure to please. Grilled Lettuce Grilling lettuce is a great way to use it up before it wilts away. Start by cutting lettuce into wedges and coat with olive oil, salt and garlic. The sugars in the lettuce, especially if you use iceberg or romaine, will caramelize in the cooking process. Once the greens are fully cooked, sprinkle them with some cheese of your choice and enjoy. Spinach Yogurt Dip Spinach and kale can be combined to create an amazing yogurt dip. Gather Greek yogurt, mayonnaise, honey, kale, spinach, green onions, red pepper, carrots, garlic and some paprika. The key to this dish is to make sure all of the ingredients are finely chopped so that they combine well with the yogurt. You can also add artichoke hearts or water chestnuts for a little more variety. Serve this dish with veggies or chips. Braised Lettuce Did you know that you can braise lettuce? Well, you can, and it is pretty delicious to boot. You can try different recipes with this dish, but braising lettuce in coconut milk and then adding some ginger, black pepper and garlic makes for an amazing appetizer. To braise lettuce, start by chopping it up and sauté it until the leaves are slightly brown. Then add some vegetable broth and bring everything to a boil. Cover and heat for around 15 minutes to finish the braise. Images via Chiara Conti , Tim Sackton , Alice Pasqual , Stu Spivack , Vegan Feast Catering , Kimberly Nanney , Jodi Michelle , Zachary Collier , Gloria Cabada-Leman and Shutterstock

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Fight food waste with these 11 ways to use leftover greens before they spoil

New study finds food waste will increase to 66 tons per second if left unchecked

August 21, 2018 by  
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A new analysis from Boston Consulting Group (BCG)  has found that global food waste will increase by more than 30% by 2030 if no action is taken. The figures themselves are even more alarming: a total of 2.1 billion tons of food is projected to be thrown away or, in the case of perishables, lost; this amount equates to a colossal 66 tons per second. Related: Dairy farmers’ excess milk gets a second life feeding the hungry Currently, about 1.6 billion tons of food goes to waste each year, which represents $1.2 trillion worth of food and accounts for 8% of yearly global green house emissions. And, while food loss awareness is on the rise, global attempts to deal with the issue are not. According to Shalini Unnikrishnan, a partner and managing director of BCG, attempts to deal with food waste are “fragmented, limited and ultimately insufficient given the magnitude of the problem,” In fact, the probelm will only get words as countries continue to industrialize. “As population grows rapidly in certain industrializing parts of the world, like in Asia, consumption is growing very rapidly,” Unnikrishnan observed. Related: The Agraloop turns food waste into sustainable clothing fibers One possible solution, according to BCG, is the creation of an ecolabel, such as those found on fair trade products. This ecolabel would let consumers know which companies have committed to reducing waste and make it easier to buy responsibly. However, “The scale of the problem is one that will continue to grow while we’re developing our solutions,” Unnikrishnan said. The UN hopes to halve food waste by 2030, but if governments, companies and consumers don’t make significant changes in the way they approach food – and work together to do it – there is little chance of this happening. According to Unnikrishnan, “It’s not an easy problem, no single country, no single entity can solve the entire problem on their own.” + Boston Consulting Group Via The Guardian

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New study finds food waste will increase to 66 tons per second if left unchecked

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