MVRDV unveils sustainable Chengdu Sky Valley masterplan

November 24, 2020 by  
Filed under Green

MVRDV has revealed designs for Chengdu Sky Valley, a competition entry for the Future Science and Technology City, which is a planned district on the outskirts of Chengdu, China. Guided by sustainable and placemaking principles, the masterplan seeks to differentiate itself from the country’s other high-tech cities with an emphasis on retaining the existing agricultural landscape, promoting self-sufficient lifestyles and designing with site-specific analyses in mind. Developed as part of Chengdu’s Eastward Development Strategy, the planned Future Science and Technology City will be developed on a rural swath of land adjacent to the new Tianfu International Airport with access to the city’s Metro Line 18. Rather than raze the rural area, the architects sought to retain and enhance the existing landscape — characterized by agricultural fields, rolling hills and scattered villages — while embedding new areas of development in between preserved farming areas.  Related: MVRDV designs a sustainable “urban living room” for Shenzhen “The dichotomy between the existing rural landscape and the future science and technology campus demands a solution that balances tradition and innovation, past and future, young and old, East and West, technology and agriculture,” MVRDV explained. “The design therefore preserves the agricultural valleys, incorporating this activity as a key component of the Future Science and Technology City. New buildings are clustered on the hills, and shaped in a way that amplifies the valley skyline, augmenting the appearance of the Linpan landscape.” MVRDV’s tech taskforce, MVRDV NEXT, developed a series of digital scripts to analyze the site’s topography. The site analyses informed decisions on several parts of the design: which areas should be designated for agricultural zoning versus new building development; the optimization of pathways and bridges to ensure accessibility across the entire site while never exceeding a slope of 4%; the shape and height of human-made hills; and building height limits. As a result, the design features three main valleys — the Knowledge Valley, the Experience Valley and the Venture Valley — around which seven mixed-use developments will be clustered. + MVRDV Images via MVRDV and Atchain

See original here:
MVRDV unveils sustainable Chengdu Sky Valley masterplan

A lakeside, prefab home in Quebec aims for LEED Gold

November 24, 2020 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

After purchasing a humble country home 25 years ago in the village of Ivry-sur-le-Lac, architect-owner Richard Rubin of Canadian firm Figurr Architects Collective wanted to treat himself and his family to a new second home with an extremely low environmental impact. Key to the creation of this low-impact holiday home was the use of prefabrication. The residence consists of five custom, prefabricated modules, each approximately 50 feet in length. With a reduced environmental footprint achieved through an airtight envelope, use of sustainable and local materials, and large, insulated glazing, the modern, energy-efficient home is currently being submitted by Rubin for LEED Gold certification. To ensure that his family wouldn’t lose more than one season of enjoying the country, the architect began construction on the new house in late summer, before the demolition of the existing home. Prefabrication not only helped to speed up the construction process, but the modular design also allowed for indoor construction without fear of inclement weather conditions. The five custom prefab modules were assembled with insulation, windows and flooring intact before they were transported to the site — a challenging undertaking due to the size of the giant, factory-built modules and winding country roads. Related: Work from home in this minimalist, modular 15-sided cabin Conceived as a nature retreat, the new country home is punctuated with floor-to-ceiling glazing that brings in views of the forest as well as direct sunshine, which helps reduce the heating and lighting costs. A natural materials palette blends the building into the landscape, while the warm timbers used indoors create a welcoming feel. The home brings the family together with an open-plan kitchen and dining room along with a cozy living room and a three-season, screened-in porch that looks out to the lake and woods. The architect has also carved out more intimate spaces for each of the family members, such as the ground-floor atelier for painting and carpentry. + Figurr Architects Collective Photography by David Boyer via Figurr Architects Collective

Go here to read the rest: 
A lakeside, prefab home in Quebec aims for LEED Gold

You say old coal plant, I say new green hydrogen facility

November 24, 2020 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

You say old coal plant, I say new green hydrogen facility Lincoln Bleveans Tue, 11/24/2020 – 01:30 Relics. Environmental hotspots. Or maybe reminders of a simpler time. Good or bad, no one views America’s old coal-fired power plants with indifference.  In their day, they were reliable, cost-effective backbones of America’s economy, driving some of the most spectacular growth the world has seen. Powering industry, commerce and society, they generated not just electricity but economic ecosystems that stretched far beyond the plants themselves and often served as the mainstay for thriving middle-class communities.  But then the environmental realities came into sharper focus: air, soil, and water pollution and greenhouse gases at the smokestack. At the same time, advances in natural gas production such as fracking (controversial in their own right) have made natural gas-fired power a better economic choice than coal-generated power. Recognition of those externalities, especially GHG emssions, further erodes coal’s competitiveness. More broadly, expanding renewable energy further divides the pie, while increasing energy efficiency keeps the pie from growing or even makes it smaller.  As a result, coal-fired power plants are closing and those economic and social ecosystems collapsing around the country. Jobs are lost, communities are imperiled and hard-earned skills are suddenly obsolete, sacrificed to the altars of economics and sustainability. “Sad but inevitable,” goes the collective sigh, “wrong place, wrong time.”  Like natural gas, that hydrogen contains heat that can be released with combustion to drive a generator. Unlike natural gas, that combustion is GHG-free. I disagree. We can and must do better. Much better.  That’s not just idle hope: My utility, Burbank Water and Power (BW&P) in California, is on the frontline of these transformations. Every day, our company manages a long-term commitment to a large coal-fired power plant in rural Delta, Utah, while it races towards a zero-GHG future — and not just by abandoning the old for the new. Together with our neighbors, Los Angeles and Glendale, and our partners in Utah, BW&P is bringing that old coal-fired power plant (and its local and regional ecosystem) along into the sustainable future — even though we will retire the coal plant itself in 2025. But to what? And when and why and how? You see an old coal plant and an obsolescent workforce; I see a superb opportunity for green hydrogen. Green? Hydrogen? Let’s start with hydrogen. Hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe, but just coming into its own as a versatile fuel for a world moving away from hydrocarbons. Capturing hydrogen is simple in theory: just apply a lot of energy to water to break the two H’s (hydrogen) from the O (oxygen) to create pure hydrogen. Like natural gas, that hydrogen contains heat that can be released with combustion to drive a generator. Unlike natural gas, that combustion is GHG-free. The technology is proven. Until now, though, the cost of that energy has kept hydrogen from widespread adoption. That’s changing fast; it’s also the “green” in “green hydrogen.” In the Age of Renewables, electricity is increasingly abundant and cheap (or free or even negatively priced, as in you get paid to take it) when solar power dominates the midday grid. In turbine-generators, an evolution of the ones currently powered with natural gas, that green hydrogen produces the holy grail of a zero-GHG power system: dispatchable renewable electricity ready to turn intermittent renewables such as solar and wind into a reliable power supply. The physics of solar are transforming both the economic and environmental feasibility of green hydrogen. Back in Delta, Utah, I see an industrial site and a community ready for redevelopment. I see a skilled and experienced industrial workforce ready to build, operate and optimize complex systems. I see transmission lines to bring in the renewable energy needed for green hydrogen production. And I see the water rights, in mind-boggling amounts, that are a prerequisite for both today’s coal-fired power generation and tomorrow’s green hydrogen production.  The physics of solar are transforming both the economic and environmental feasibility of green hydrogen. That transformation is already underway in Delta. We are replacing the coal plant with state-of-the-art natural gas turbines ready for 30 percent green hydrogen co-firing right off the bat. Those turbines and the rest of the plant are being future-proofed, engineered by turbine manufacturer Mitsubishi Power to be ready for each technological advancement, step-by-step, to 100 percent green hydrogen by 2035. (Mitsubishi is no outlier in this regard: General Electric is on a similar innovation path for its machines.) That green hydrogen, in turn, will be produced on-site using renewable energy (especially that midday solar) imported by the same transmission lines that export power to California, Utah and Nevada. Soaking up that excess solar power, in turn, helps the entire Western electric grid keep costs down and reliability up. And the workforce is top-notch: Coal plants are complex and demanding and they are the best in the business.  But the key is water. The coal plant uses up to 26 million gallons every day to generate electricity but has rights to far more. That’s a lot of low-cost, zero-GHG green hydrogen. That’s also lot of skilled jobs and tax revenue: the durable foundation for thriving, hard-working communities. Now pan back from Delta to the other 350-plus coal-fired power plants dotting the map of the U.S. Every one of those dots represents communities, economic ecosystems, workforces, water and transmission surrounded by ever-increasing renewables. Every one of those dots can be an opportunity to flip the script: Rather than left behind, they can be hubs for a thriving and inclusive transition to a zero-GHG future. Pan back even further to the 2,400-odd coal plants in the world. Do you see what I see? Let’s transition to a sustainable future together. Pull Quote Like natural gas, that hydrogen contains heat that can be released with combustion to drive a generator. Unlike natural gas, that combustion is GHG-free. The physics of solar are transforming both the economic and environmental feasibility of green hydrogen. Topics Energy & Climate Utilities Jobs & Careers Hydrogen Coal Solar Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off Courtesy of Burbank Water & Power Close Authorship

Read the original post:
You say old coal plant, I say new green hydrogen facility

NOAA report shows climate change is killing Floridas coral reefs

November 20, 2020 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

A status report released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency (NOAA) shows that overall, coral reefs in the U.S. are currently in fair condition, but these reefs are vulnerable to severe decline in the near future. This threat is the worst along the Florida coast, where few corals remain, and about 98% of the dead corals in this area were lost because of climate change. Prepared in collaboration with the Maryland Center for Environmental Science, the report provides a clear picture on the status of the country’s reefs. The report looks at the coral reefs along the Pacific and Atlantic coasts and is the first of its kind to take a comprehensive look at major coral reefs in the U.S., including around the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa and Hawaii. Researchers analyzed reef data collected between 2012 and 2018. Related: The Great Barrier Reef has lost 50% of its corals to climate change The main threats to the coral reefs in the U.S. include disease, fishing and ocean warming and acidification . NOAA officials say that although the corals are in a fair condition as a whole, their future looks dire. The state of ocean warming and acidification is on the rise in most coastal regions. At the same time, other threats, such as coral disease, are also worsening. To retain and revive the country’s corals, measures need to be put in place to curb the threats. Jennifer Koss, director of NOAA’s Coral Reef Conservation Program, said that the threats to coral reefs have increased due to climate change. “It used to be mostly water quality … but now it’s pretty well accepted that it’s predominantly climate change ,” Koss said. Coral reefs are biologically rich zones and account for about 25% of all marine life. They also help protect shorelines from hurricanes and storms. Reefs are even economically beneficial, because they are a rich source of fish and serve as vibrant tourist attractions. NOAA researchers have now expressed their concerns about the future of corals in the U.S. Following the report, experts are urging agencies, individuals and the federal government to take actions that will protect the remaining coral reefs before it’s too late. + NOAA Via The Guardian Image via NOAA

Continued here:
NOAA report shows climate change is killing Floridas coral reefs

How Biden’s election could kickstart U.S. adoption of zero-emission vehicles

November 11, 2020 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

Comments Off on How Biden’s election could kickstart U.S. adoption of zero-emission vehicles

How Biden’s election could kickstart U.S. adoption of zero-emission vehicles Katie Fehrenbacher Wed, 11/11/2020 – 00:15 Relief. Most of us in clean economy circles are feeling it after the historic and protracted win by America’s President-elect Joe Biden and VP-elect Kamala Harris over the weekend.  The industries that make up the zero-emission vehicles sector — infrastructure providers, automakers, mobility startups — are one of the sectors that could gain the most from the Biden win. Transportation is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States, and a Biden administration that takes the threat of climate change seriously will make it a priority to tackle transportation emissions.  Here are five things I’m watching for in a Biden bump that would accelerate ZEVs across the U.S.: Trump’s weakening of the auto emissions standards is toast: Earlier this year, the Trump administration officially weakened the federal auto emission standards that the Obama administration had enacted. The Trump administration called for just a 1.5 percent increase in carbon emissions standards per year through model year 2026, while the Obama plan called for a 5 percent yearly increase.  Expect a Biden administration to not only revert back to the Obama-era emissions standards but potentially strengthen them considerably, moving more aggressively toward zero emissions. California also sued the Trump administration, attempting to protect its right to set stricter auto emission standards than the weakened one. You can expect this battle, too, to die on the vine as the Biden administration is not likely to challenge California’s clean air waiver.  The U.S. could follow California’s ZEV mandates: If the federal government follows California lead, it already could use enacted ZEV mandates and incentives as a model for the U.S. The World Resources Institute’s Dan Lashof advocates that the Biden administration should set a clean car standard that models California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s recently enacted executive order to ban new gas car sales by 2035. The U.S. also could implement zero-emission commercial vehicles through legislation such as the Advanced Clean Truck Rule, WRI notes, that would set timelines to convert trucks and buses to zero emissions. Aggressive? Yep. But we can hope! Look for new transportation and clean air leadership: With a new administration comes new leaders that will have a dramatic effect on the shape of building back climate and environmental regulations. Politico has a great rundown on some potential Biden appointees. The ones that sustainable transportation advocates will be most interested in: California Air Resources Board Chair Mary Nichols told GreenBiz at VERGE 20 last month that she’d say “yes” if Biden called on her to help rebuild the EPA. She’s supposedly the front-runner. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti is reported to be the leading candidate for Transportation Secretary. Garcetti has committed to moving Los Angeles to zero-carbon transportation by 2050. Ernie Moniz and Arun Majumdar , two former Department of Energy leaders, are reported to be in the running for top spots in the DOE.  Watch for a ZEV infrastructure build-out: Earlier this year, the Biden administration revealed a $2 trillion climate plan that specifically calls out investments in electric vehicle charging infrastructure to help build back the economy. On Biden’s transition website , the administration says it will create millions of new jobs funding new infrastructure and investing in the future of a domestic auto industry. The administration says it also will fund zero-emission public transit in cities — from light rail to better bike infrastructure to buses.  Anne Smart, vice president of public policy for EV charging company ChargePoint, said: “In his campaign platform, President-elect Biden called for the deployment EV charging stations across the nation. Now we have the opportunity to turn this promise into action through legislative initiatives such as the Clean Corridors Act , which will drive significant investment in EV charging and create jobs across the country.”   Non-profit Veloz, focused on electric vehicle advocacy in California, said it hopes to see a Biden administration overcome the three remaining barriers to the electrification of transportation; upfront cost; building out charging infrastructure; and increasing public awareness. Hope for stimulus for EV buses: If the federal government were able to provide stimulus incentive money for cities to convert their bus fleets to electric, it could be an effective stimulus strategy, noted WRI’s Lashof in a call with media Monday. Why? EV buses already can save cities money on fuel and maintenance costs, and also reduce air pollution, but it’s just the upfront cost of the EV bus that’s the barrier. If stimulus money can eliminate the extra cost between a diesel bus and an EV bus — the way incentives do in some states such as California — the ZEV transition could happen more quickly. What do you think? How do you think a Biden administration could kick start the zero-emission vehicle revolution? Drop me a note: katie@greenbiz.com . Topics Transportation & Mobility Carbon Policy Zero Emissions Electric Vehicles Public Transit EV Charging Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off President-elect Joe Biden walking with supporters at a pre-Wing Ding march from Molly McGowan Park in Clear Lake, Iowa, in May 2020. Shutterstock Pix Arena Close Authorship

Here is the original:
How Biden’s election could kickstart U.S. adoption of zero-emission vehicles

These are the winning environmental measures on ballots across the US

November 9, 2020 by  
Filed under Green

Comments Off on These are the winning environmental measures on ballots across the US

While it took a long time to determine the new president of the U.S., the environment was a clear winner in many smaller elections this year. Many of the 49 conservation-focused measures on the ballots in 19 states have passed. The year of sheltering in place seems to have heightened people’s appreciation of open space for recreation. “During the current pandemic we have seen that our parks and public lands are more important than ever for people to safely get outside for their physical and mental health,” Will Abberger, director of conservation finance at the Trust for Public Land, said in a statement. Related: Gray wolves at risk after being delisted as an endangered species This love of land took many forms. In Denver, voters approved a “climate sales tax” that could generate $800 million over the next two decades. The tax is earmarked for climate projects in minority and/or low-income communities. Oakland passed a $725 million school bond for green schoolyards. Montana voters endorsed legalizing recreational marijuana, with taxes going to land conservation .  “The ballot measures approved by voters will provide more equitable access to parks, protect air and water quality, help address climate change , and protect critical wildlife habitat in communities across the country,” Abberger said. In Colorado, one conservation measure was running about as close as the presidential race. Proposition 114 would reintroduce gray wolves into Colorado’s western mountains. This measure was more popular with urban environmentalists than with the ranchers and hunters likelier to encounter the wolves. Critics called the measure “ballot box biology.” When opponents conceded the race, the wolves were leading by half of one percentage point. Colorado is the first state to decide to reintroduce gray wolves by popular vote rather than by a decision by the federal government. It’s a sweet victory for the wolves after Trump axed them from the endangered species list. Somewhere in the west, you might hear a celebratory howl about who won … and who lost. Via NPR and Yale Environment 360 Image via Huper

View original here:
These are the winning environmental measures on ballots across the US

Serif + Sero modular furniture is made of 100% upcycled cardboard

November 9, 2020 by  
Filed under Eco, Green, Recycle

Comments Off on Serif + Sero modular furniture is made of 100% upcycled cardboard

Australia-based design studio SODO – SOPA has introduced a furniture set made completely out of upcycled cardboard that is also modular and customizable. The series, called Serif + Sero, helps promote waste repurposing and consumer awareness for a more sustainable future. The furniture set features a series of coffee tables that can be modified to become stackable storage units, the studio’s way of introducing flexibility in function and form. Pieces are available in square or circular versions and assembled through interactive cuts, scores, flips and folds to lock into place. Assembly ranges in difficulty depending on the set. Related: Parent shares process of making life-size board game from cardboard Inspired by the studio’s award-winning project where it constructed a 100% upcycled cardboard installation using 1,800 hand-cut modules sourced from waste, Serif + Sero advocates for inclusive upcycling. The previous project allowed the public to shape and mold cardboard themselves to create unique designs, proving that every type of household has the ability to reduce its waste in imaginative ways and contribute toward a circular economy. A common shipping material often used by electronic companies to protect products, thick, corrugated cardboard boxes don’t get recycled nearly as much as they should due to size and weight. Especially among average households, these boxes are routinely discarded as waste in landfills, or they end up in the oceans. Even worse, as certain types of cardboard decompose, they can generate methane, a greenhouse gas that pollutes the environment. SODO – SOPA’s designs are minimal and practical, and the ability for the furnishings to convert into modular , stackable storage units provide an additional perk. Once stacked, storage towers may be used inside closets or as a decorative bookshelf in the home, and the neutral, organic color is attractive in a range of décor themes. In an effort to get the community to embrace the power and accessibility of upcycling in everyday life, the studio plans to release the design as an open-source project available to the public after prototyping additional designs with fabricators. + SODO – SOPA  Images via SODO – SOPA

See the original post: 
Serif + Sero modular furniture is made of 100% upcycled cardboard

Denmark to cull millions of minks to prevent spread of mutant coronavirus

November 6, 2020 by  
Filed under Green

Comments Off on Denmark to cull millions of minks to prevent spread of mutant coronavirus

The Danish government has announced plans to cull all of the minks in the country’s mink farms to reduce the risk of spreading the coronavirus to humans. On Wednesday, Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said that the minks are transmitting a new form of the coronavirus to humans, a situation that could spiral out of control. According to Frederiksen, a coronavirus-mapping agency has detected a mutated virus in several patients. Twelve individuals in the northern part of the country were diagnosed with a mutant form of the coronavirus, which is believed to have been contracted from the minks. Related: 1 million minks culled in Spain, the Netherlands Denmark is among the leading countries in mink farming. Its minks are used to produce fur , which is supplied to other parts of the world. These animals have been found to be a cause for concern relating to the transmission of the virus. According to Health Minister Magnus Heunicke, about half of the 783 humans infected with the coronavirus in northern Denmark have links to the mink farms. “It is very, very serious,” Frederiksen said. “Thus, the mutated virus in minks can have devastating consequences worldwide.” The government is now estimating that about $785 million will be required to cull the 15 million minks in the country. According to Mogens Gensen, Denmark’s minister for food, 207 mink farms are now infected. This number is alarming, considering that by this time last month, 41 farms were infected . Further, the virus has began spreading throughout the western peninsula. To date, Denmark has registered 50,530 confirmed coronavirus cases and 729 deaths. It is feared that if the situation is not contained, the numbers may get worse. To avoid this, Denmark started culling millions of minks last month, and the same is expected to continue for some time. Via Huffington Post Image via Jo-Anne McArthur

Read the original:
Denmark to cull millions of minks to prevent spread of mutant coronavirus

4 ways businesses can connect with their communities to create a clean economy

November 6, 2020 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

Comments Off on 4 ways businesses can connect with their communities to create a clean economy

4 ways businesses can connect with their communities to create a clean economy Marian Jones Fri, 11/06/2020 – 01:00 Companies often struggle with building community trust as they navigate between profit-making and authentically engaging on climate change and environmental justice matters. Last week at GreenBiz Group’s virtual conference and expo on stimulating the clean economy, VERGE 20 , community leaders and businesses from across the country came together to network, share insights and explore solutions to these challenges. During the panel “Connecting Communities to the Clean Economy,” experts shared their experiences working with private companies, their fights for green jobs and why businesses need to think of themselves as part of the community. The talk featured two women of color and leaders within the environmental and economic justice movement: Elizabeth Yeampierre, executive director of UPROSE (founded as the United Puerto Rican Organization of Sunset Park); and Rahwa Ghirmatzion, executive director of PUSH Buffalo (People United for Sustainable Housing); with Heather Clancy, editorial director at GreenBiz, acting as moderator. PUSH Buffalo is a nonprofit grassroots community organization working to build and execute a comprehensive revitalization plan for West Buffalo’s West Side. This stimulus plan includes affordable housing rehabilitation, building weatherization and other green infrastructure projects. UPROSE is Brooklyn’s foremost Latinx community organization. Its work involves community organizing, supporting sustainable development and community-led climate adaptation in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. Communicating genuinely and authentically listening are two key components. Panelists explained how their community organizations and business partners have successfully collaborated in the past. The conversation provided an insight into how companies can understand the communities they serve, the area they’re in and the people they employ. Communicating genuinely and authentically listening are two key components . Here are four key takeaways: 1. To build real, authentic community trust, businesses must be willing to listen to community concerns and respond with effective community-oriented solutions. Ghirmatzion talked about PUSH Buffalo’s work with a local hiring hall that connects New Yorkers to jobs. This initiative provides both hands-on training for people in the Buffalo area who have been underemployed for long periods of time and employment opportunities in renewable energy projects and green construction. According to Rahwa, at least “99.9 percent of them were folks of color.” For example, a few years ago, about 24 of PUSH’s trainees experienced racist harassment and open hostility from their white coworkers and supervisor. When PUSH brought their concerns to the company’s CEO, the organization investigated the matter and fired the supervisor. Workers and community members alike appreciated the company’s quick action and zero tolerance, Ghirmatzion said. Listening to the community and taking their issues seriously is crucial for building trust, she observed. 2. Private entities should think of themselves as community members and view local residents as political and economic partners. For Yeampierre of UPROSE, the most successful partnerships have been ones in which businesses joined local initiatives and shared the same political and environmental goals as the community. According to Yeampierre, UPROSE has had excellent relationships with some companies and terrible relationships with others. The excellent relationships have been with businesses that seek input from UPROSE on climate adaptation and embrace UPROSE’s best practices for environmental justice and community resiliency. Yeampierre cited two successful partnerships. Sims Recycling Solutions worked with UPROSE from the beginning to become a carbon-neutral state-of-the-art facility that would serve community needs but not be an eyesore or polluting facility on the industrial waterfront. Additionally, UPROSE has received support from Patagonia since 2011. In this mutually beneficial relationship, Patagonia also provides financial support for UPROSE’s environmental work. UPROSE has helped Patagonia have an office culture in which its employees join in UPROSE’s grass-roots organizing. As Yeampierre said, “Sometimes businesses don’t see themselves as part of the community, and see our community as a front for wealth for them.” She encouraged private businesses to view the community they operate in not as a resource but as a partner. 3. Businesses and developers need to embrace resilient thinking rather than viewing job creation and profit-making as their key goals. Yeampierre got a chance to provide a brief overview of UPROSE’s work to protect Sunset Park’s industrial waterfront from land speculation. UPROSE was at the center of a triumphant seven-year-long struggle against the rezoning of Industry City in Brooklyn. However, the rezoning would have created thousands of jobs. Developers viewed this project as a win-win, but activists and community leaders opposed it because the jobs would have been mostly low-paying. Plus, the influx of high-end retail and new office jobs would spur gentrification. Yeampierre argued that waterfronts such as Sunset Park are where we need to start building for “climate adaptation, mitigation and resilience.” “It’s what we call a green reindustrialization of our industrial waterfront,” she added. Businesses should avoid trying to fight long, drawn-out battles that ignore the wishes of the community. Making a resilient New York means investing in renewable energy, energy efficiency retrofits, construction, sustainable manufacturing and food security, all of which would create thousands of jobs. We need these things now, because as Yeampierre said, “We know that climate change is here.” The campaign to preserve the waterfront was a significant victory for industrial communities all over the U.S., who are told they ought to accept new jobs that rely on the extraction of fossil fuels and displacement. Sunset Park’s future could become a model for converting an industrial zone into an environmentally friendly infrastructure through green manufacturing. Businesses should avoid trying to fight long, drawn-out battles that ignore the wishes of the community. Instead, it’s vital to support community-led proposals consistent with a resilient green future from the beginning. 4. Companies can use their communications resources to showcase community climate activists’ voices and a voice in the fight for a just transition . Both UPROSE and PUSH Buffalo are a part of NY Renews, a coalition of over 140 community, labor and grassroots organizations working to end climate change in New York while safeguarding workers. Moderator Clancy asked how being members of this coalition amplifies their work. Both panelists agreed that the legislation NY Renews fights for, such as the Climate Mobilization Act, which passed last year, makes it easier for smaller social justice-based organizations to show their communities it’s possible to have a just transition. This legislation would generate thousands of jobs, lower greenhouse gas emissions and lower energy prices. Companies also can benefit from supporting the work of NY Renews because a just transition is an idea that appeals to workers and communities who fear that the process of reducing emissions could lead to a future with fewer jobs and more poverty. For UPROSE, being in NY Renews “helps us build locally, but it also helps us build the scale, and it helps us create the kind of regional impact that climate change demands. We need to be thinking big and locally,” Yeampierre declared. Supporting or doing similar work as NY Renews, creating green and decent jobs, can help private enterprises show that they want to support resiliency and want communities to thrive. In their closing remarks, both panelists reiterated their earlier comments on authenticity and seeking community input as soon as they start planning a project. Authentic was the word the panelists most used to describe the kind of relationship and behavior they would like to see from businesses. “Authentic” is the characteristic you should want the community to think of your company as, and you should meet that expectation, the tow community organizers observed. That is, authentic businesses genuinely communicate; they find out what their community wants and take the impact they have on the community seriously. People who live in the community can offer many solutions and critical perspectives because they’ve been working on these issues for generations, they concluded. Pull Quote Communicating genuinely and authentically listening are two key components. Businesses should avoid trying to fight long, drawn-out battles that ignore the wishes of the community. Topics Cities Social Justice Corporate Strategy VERGE 20 Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off A scene from a youth climate protest in San Francisco, California. Photo by Li-An Lim on Unsplash. Close Authorship

Originally posted here:
4 ways businesses can connect with their communities to create a clean economy

Bill McKibben reflects on brand advocacy, the final frontier of climate leadership

November 3, 2020 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

Comments Off on Bill McKibben reflects on brand advocacy, the final frontier of climate leadership

Bill McKibben reflects on brand advocacy, the final frontier of climate leadership Mike Hower Tue, 11/03/2020 – 01:30 Four years ago today, many corporate sustainability professionals — regardless of political leanings — stood shocked as they watched Donald Trump clinch the presidency in one of the biggest upsets in American presidential history. Many of us feared for the future of climate action, and pretty much every other social and environmental issue. We were right to worry — things are, to be blunt, looking pretty terrible from a federal climate policy perspective. The Trump administration has abandoned all semblance of U.S. leadership on the climate crisis during the very years when we needed to be taking the most decisive actions to curb emissions. It axed the Clean Power Plan, gutted the National Environmental Policy Act, weakened the role of scientific evidence in environmental policy and withdrew the United States from the historic Paris Agreement — a decision that takes effect Nov. 4 — among an endless list of other anti-climate actions. Meanwhile, the climate crisis has continued to devastate communities across the country with record-shattering extreme weather events — from hurricanes and floods to droughts and wildfires. With the latest science telling us that we have until 2030 to take the necessary actions to limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius and avoid the worst impacts of the climate crisis, we can’t afford four more years of what we’ve seen — or, rather, haven’t seen — over the past four years. I think probably corporations would be wise to be very humble in their storytelling. “If we don’t get much of the work done by 2030, we probably aren’t going to get a chance to do much afterward because it’ll be too late,” said Bill McKibben, founder of 350.org , last week during a VERGE 20 keynote. While McKibben praised the proliferation of voluntary individual and corporate actions to address the climate crisis, he emphasized that this wouldn’t be enough. “It’s very good that corporations are moving to electrify their delivery fleets, but I will tell you … the fleets I care about most are the fleets of lobbyists being deployed on Capitol Hill,” McKibben said. “It’s time to make sure those guys aren’t spending all their time trying to get the next tax break and to make sure they are falling in line behind the things we need to do to have a liveable planet.” While it’s true corporate sustainability continued to advance climate action even during the Trump administration — and likely will continue to do so regardless of who sits in the White House over the next four years — the climate crisis won’t be solved by a hodgepodge of voluntary actions. It will require sweeping policy change, and businesses can and must play a central role in making this happen. “I do think that it’s most impressive when you get people cooperating across industries to tell a story together,” McKibben said. “But I also think that companies can really start … if they really have a genuine story to tell, as part of the story of their own progress towards understanding what justice and solidarity are coming to mean. We’ve got to move out of a world where we see it simply as a zero-sum game where companies fight with each other to be the biggest or the best or grow the fastest, or whatever. People have to understand that at this point in Earth’s history and human history, this requires something much deeper, more profound. I think probably corporations would be wise to be very humble in their storytelling.” Change the narrative, change the game One of the most powerful ways businesses can help advance climate policy is by helping to counter the false narrative that climate action and economic prosperity are mutually exclusive. Years of misinformation campaigns bankrolled by Big Oil first worked to sow doubt over whether the climate crisis was even real. While the United States still has a significant number of people who downplay or deny the climate crisis, six in 10 Americans view it as a major threat — up from 44 percent from 2009, according to Pew . This change in opinion is likely in large part because the impacts of the climate crisis — such as extreme weather, floods and wildfires — have been too gargantuan to ignore more than a sudden increased love for science. Meanwhile, those who oppose climate action have shifted their strategies. The narrative has changed from denying the climate crisis outright to acknowledging its existence while claiming that taking action to address it would hurt the economy. “The big issue on climate is getting influential companies to influence policymakers and counteract the negative influence of those who are trying to preserve the status quo,” said Bill Weihl, executive director at ClimateVoice , recently during a thinkPARALLAX Perspectives virtual panel event, ” Brand Advocacy: The final frontier of climate leadership ,” which I moderated. There’s plenty of negative influence to be countered — since the Paris Agreement was signed, companies such as Chevron, BP, ExxonMobil and others have spent over $1 billion in direct lobbying against climate policy in the United States. “The big challenge big companies face as they think about brand advocacy is political risk,” Weihl said. Many companies fear that if they speak up on an issue such as the climate crisis, they might draw unwanted regulatory attention to another aspect of their business, which could hurt their bottom line, he added. Moving forward, companies must find the courage to overcome this fear because they are uniquely positioned to help change the national conversation on the climate crisis. Today, Americans are more likely to trust companies than the federal government, a factor largely influenced by the corporate response to the pandemic, according to an Axios-Harris poll . Values-driven policy action Many companies abstain from brand advocacy out of fear of alienating employees or customers by being “too political,” said Will Lopez, vice president of Customer Success at Phone2Action , a digital advocacy company, during the thinkPARALLAX virtual panel. But brand advocacy done correctly is a natural outgrowth of a company’s values that inspire employees or customers to act. “When we work with organizations that talk about brand advocacy, we’re looking at organizations that are mobilizing their customers or internal employees on policy issues that are relevant to their values and policy initiatives,” he said. “Your customers already value your product and values.” Martin Wolf, director of sustainability and authenticity at Seventh Generation , concurred. “Companies should advocate for issues and policies that align with their mission and values,” he said. This shouldn’t be done to sell more product, Wolf said, but to put in front of the public who you are so that consumers can join you in advocating for some endpoint. “Make sure that what you do advocate for is aligned with positions you’re taking outside of the consumer space because if there’s a lack of alignment, you are going to be subjecting yourself to criticism.” During the thinkPARALLAX panel, Michael Millstein, global policy and advocacy manager at Levi Strauss & Co . said that, before advocating on an issue, the company puts the policy up to a test of whether it is consistent with its core values and if the benefits of weighing in on this outweigh costs and risks. “Climate policy clearly passes this test,” he said. Uniting sustainability and government relations In many large corporations, corporate sustainability and government relations operate in separate siloes. This lack of unity leads to, at best, disjointed and, at worst, contradictory policy actions. As I wrote in GreenBiz earlier this year, one of the best ways to ensure alignment in corporate sustainability and government relations teams is by making sustainability central to business strategy. One way Levi’s does this, Millstein said, is by holding both its policy and corporate sustainability teams responsible for addressing sustainability goals. While materiality assessments, for example, typically are the domain of corporate sustainability teams, at Levi’s the policy advocacy team also has a mandate to address material issues. “This helps us all be on the same team,” he said. Business schools and sustainability people are taught to speak the language of finance and the CFO, but the CFO and other people aren’t taught how to speak the language of morality, humanity and ethics. If a company effectively makes sustainability core to business strategy, there naturally won’t be a conflict between departments, said Darcy Shiber-Knowles, director of operational sustainability and innovation at Dr. Bronner’s , during the thinkPARALLAX panel. If capitalism is a force for good, then the term “corporate sustainability” shouldn’t even exist, she said. “Corporations ought to be sustainable and inherently socially responsible,” Shiber-Knowles said. “So to have one department that is not in alignment with another department focused on long-term sustainability doesn’t make good business sense.” Yet many companies operate far from this ideal — the financial bottom line trumps the sustainability team’s agenda every time. “Business schools and sustainability people are taught to speak the language of finance and the CFO, but the CFO and other people aren’t taught how to speak the language of morality, humanity and ethics,” Weihl said. The next four years While uncertainty shrouds the future political environment around the climate crisis, one thing companies can bank on is growing expectations from all stakeholders to better engage on climate policy, among other issues. Just as silence is complicity in the ongoing movement for racial equality, the same could be said of the climate crisis. “The No. 1 thing that will come out of the election, regardless of who wins, is that the appetite will still be there from consumers and organizations to do something about climate change,” Lopez said. Millstein agreed. “The outcome will influence what’s on the table, but there will be opportunities regardless,” he said. Remember to get out there and vote — and don’t stop there. We are the last generation that can do something about the climate crisis before it’s too late. Another four years of a Trump administration certainly would be a setback for the planet and everyone living on it, but it doesn’t mean game over — any more than a Biden victory means we can sit back and relax. Democracy is difficult and demands our constant civic engagement in order to realize desired outcomes. We owe it to ourselves and everyone who comes after to fight for policy change that addresses the climate crisis and secures a better future for all. Pull Quote I think probably corporations would be wise to be very humble in their storytelling. Business schools and sustainability people are taught to speak the language of finance and the CFO, but the CFO and other people aren’t taught how to speak the language of morality, humanity and ethics. Topics Policy & Politics Marketing & Communication Corporate Strategy VERGE 20 Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off Courtesy of Nancie Battaglia Close Authorship

Read the original here:
Bill McKibben reflects on brand advocacy, the final frontier of climate leadership

Next Page »

Bad Behavior has blocked 1920 access attempts in the last 7 days.