Can sustainability save capitalism?

March 30, 2021 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

Can sustainability save capitalism? Joel Makower Tue, 03/30/2021 – 02:11 My inbox and bookshelf have been groaning lately under the heft of some weighty books, essays and reports heralding a kinder, gentler era for capitalism. This idea isn’t exactly new. For years — decades, even — there has been a steady stream of visions and proposals aimed at, variously, reforming, rethinking, reimagining, reinventing, redefining and rebooting the operating system that drives capitalist economies. For most of those years, those visions and proposals were relegated to a relatively small group of academics and activists toiling in a world unto themselves. Few were taken seriously outside those circles. But it’s a different time. The conversation is growing, and not just among those selfsame insiders. It has broadened to include global business groups, investors, entrepreneurs and even some big-company CEOs, who believe that many of the woes facing the world — and especially the planet — can be linked directly to capitalism’s excesses. And that it may be time for a rethink. To be sure, few of these individuals and organizations are advocating for a sharp turn to socialism, communism or any other alternative-ism. Indeed, many claim to be diehard capitalists. And there’s a clear appreciation of the role capitalism has played in advancing food production, healthcare, transportation, industrial productivity and other quality-of-life aspects of our 21st-century world. For years, there has been a steady stream of visions aimed at reforming, rethinking, reimagining, reinventing, redefining and rebooting the operating system that drives capitalist economies. There is also a growing understanding that these advances haven’t been spread equitably — that vast swaths of the global economy lack adequate food, healthcare, housing, work, education and other basic human needs. And that while many at the lower rungs of the economic ladder are slowly moving up, those on the upper rungs are moving up much, much faster. Enter the alternatives: stakeholder capitalism; inclusive capitalism; regenerative capitalism; responsible capitalism; and probably a few others. Each has a slightly different take but a similar goal: to ensure that capitalistic economies and companies lift all boats and consider the interests of a broad range of stakeholders and interests, including the environment. Why now? I probably needn’t recite the current litany of global challenges — just peruse the 17 Sustainable Development Goals , perhaps the most comprehensive inventory of what needs to change or improve. The past year has laid bare a number of global and local problems and inequities, many of which were hiding in plain sight — most lately, the inequitable distribution of vaccines to combat the global pandemic, overwhelmingly favoring wealthier countries and populations, and growing “more grotesque every day,” according to World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. It’s become clear that the current system works only for a relatively small slice of humanity, and that the planet and vast populations are suffering as a result. Biblical proportions Amidst all this, the sustainability agenda has continued to gain steam, including recognition by heads of state, corporate chieftains, religious leaders and others of the urgency of addressing the climate crisis, the biodiversity crisis, the hunger crisis and the healthcare crisis, among others. Today, the notion of providing a universal basic income, wiping out poverty, protecting human rights, ensuring clean water and sanitation and mitigating climate change are no longer seen as do-good fantasies. They are viewed as moral and economic imperatives for living gracefully on a planet inexorably creeping its way toward 10 billion human inhabitants. As I said, there is no shortage of ideas. Both the World Economic Forum (WEF) and The Conference Board have weighed in with their Davos Manifesto and Purpose of a Corporation treatises. BSR has advocated Creating a 21st-Century Social Contract . The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) is focused on Reinventing Capitalism . Perhaps most intriguing of all is the new Council for Inclusive Capitalism with the Vatican , which describes itself as “a movement of the world’s business and public sector leaders who are working to build a more inclusive, sustainable and trusted economic system.” The group, whose global membership includes dozens of corporate CEOs and board chairs, launched in December but its roots emanate from the publication of Laudato si’ , Pope Francis’ 2015 encyclical on climate change. The pope’s emissary on the council is Cardinal Peter Turkson, who heads the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development at the Vatican. According to the council’s launch press release, its emergence “signifies the urgency of joining moral and market imperatives to reform capitalism into a powerful force for the good of humanity.” (We’ll host a keynote conversation with the council’s leadership at next month’s GreenFin 21  event.) The council, which is partnering with WEF and WBCSD, among others, aims to be the “convener of conversation,” as one of its leaders described to me, and intends to encourage CEOs to make public commitments about sustainability and social purpose. The business execs share a mission to “harness the private sector to create a more inclusive, sustainable and trusted economic system,” according to the council’s website . It remains to be seen whether the pope’s influential voice can help transform today’s capitalist model, or merely encourages companies to continue to make commitments already within their comfort zone. And what kind of pushback will the council encounter? Will the Vatican find itself in a standoff of biblical proportions with some of the world’s largest companies and investors? It will be fascinating to watch where this goes. What’s significant is that all of these efforts to tame capitalism’s worst impulses stem from the basic tenets of sustainability — full-spectrum sustainability, that is, not just the environmental stuff: That economies, and the companies and institutions that drive them, must ensure that their benefits extend broadly and deeply through society, and that they promote the well-being and prosperity of all living systems and species, human and not. I invite you to follow me on Twitter , subscribe to my Monday morning newsletter, GreenBuzz , and listen to GreenBiz 350 , my weekly podcast, co-hosted with Heather Clancy. Pull Quote For years, there has been a steady stream of visions aimed at reforming, rethinking, reimagining, reinventing, redefining and rebooting the operating system that drives capitalist economies. Topics Finance & Investing Featured Column Two Steps Forward Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off GreenBiz photocollage, via Shutterstock

Excerpt from:
Can sustainability save capitalism?

Can sustainability save capitalism?

March 30, 2021 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

Can sustainability save capitalism? Joel Makower Tue, 03/30/2021 – 02:11 My inbox and bookshelf have been groaning lately under the heft of some weighty books, essays and reports heralding a kinder, gentler era for capitalism. This idea isn’t exactly new. For years — decades, even — there has been a steady stream of visions and proposals aimed at, variously, reforming, rethinking, reimagining, reinventing, redefining and rebooting the operating system that drives capitalist economies. For most of those years, those visions and proposals were relegated to a relatively small group of academics and activists toiling in a world unto themselves. Few were taken seriously outside those circles. But it’s a different time. The conversation is growing, and not just among those selfsame insiders. It has broadened to include global business groups, investors, entrepreneurs and even some big-company CEOs, who believe that many of the woes facing the world — and especially the planet — can be linked directly to capitalism’s excesses. And that it may be time for a rethink. To be sure, few of these individuals and organizations are advocating for a sharp turn to socialism, communism or any other alternative-ism. Indeed, many claim to be diehard capitalists. And there’s a clear appreciation of the role capitalism has played in advancing food production, healthcare, transportation, industrial productivity and other quality-of-life aspects of our 21st-century world. For years, there has been a steady stream of visions aimed at reforming, rethinking, reimagining, reinventing, redefining and rebooting the operating system that drives capitalist economies. There is also a growing understanding that these advances haven’t been spread equitably — that vast swaths of the global economy lack adequate food, healthcare, housing, work, education and other basic human needs. And that while many at the lower rungs of the economic ladder are slowly moving up, those on the upper rungs are moving up much, much faster. Enter the alternatives: stakeholder capitalism; inclusive capitalism; regenerative capitalism; responsible capitalism; and probably a few others. Each has a slightly different take but a similar goal: to ensure that capitalistic economies and companies lift all boats and consider the interests of a broad range of stakeholders and interests, including the environment. Why now? I probably needn’t recite the current litany of global challenges — just peruse the 17 Sustainable Development Goals , perhaps the most comprehensive inventory of what needs to change or improve. The past year has laid bare a number of global and local problems and inequities, many of which were hiding in plain sight — most lately, the inequitable distribution of vaccines to combat the global pandemic, overwhelmingly favoring wealthier countries and populations, and growing “more grotesque every day,” according to World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. It’s become clear that the current system works only for a relatively small slice of humanity, and that the planet and vast populations are suffering as a result. Biblical proportions Amidst all this, the sustainability agenda has continued to gain steam, including recognition by heads of state, corporate chieftains, religious leaders and others of the urgency of addressing the climate crisis, the biodiversity crisis, the hunger crisis and the healthcare crisis, among others. Today, the notion of providing a universal basic income, wiping out poverty, protecting human rights, ensuring clean water and sanitation and mitigating climate change are no longer seen as do-good fantasies. They are viewed as moral and economic imperatives for living gracefully on a planet inexorably creeping its way toward 10 billion human inhabitants. As I said, there is no shortage of ideas. Both the World Economic Forum (WEF) and The Conference Board have weighed in with their Davos Manifesto and Purpose of a Corporation treatises. BSR has advocated Creating a 21st-Century Social Contract . The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) is focused on Reinventing Capitalism . Perhaps most intriguing of all is the new Council for Inclusive Capitalism with the Vatican , which describes itself as “a movement of the world’s business and public sector leaders who are working to build a more inclusive, sustainable and trusted economic system.” The group, whose global membership includes dozens of corporate CEOs and board chairs, launched in December but its roots emanate from the publication of Laudato si’ , Pope Francis’ 2015 encyclical on climate change. The pope’s emissary on the council is Cardinal Peter Turkson, who heads the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development at the Vatican. According to the council’s launch press release, its emergence “signifies the urgency of joining moral and market imperatives to reform capitalism into a powerful force for the good of humanity.” (We’ll host a keynote conversation with the council’s leadership at next month’s GreenFin 21  event.) The council, which is partnering with WEF and WBCSD, among others, aims to be the “convener of conversation,” as one of its leaders described to me, and intends to encourage CEOs to make public commitments about sustainability and social purpose. The business execs share a mission to “harness the private sector to create a more inclusive, sustainable and trusted economic system,” according to the council’s website . It remains to be seen whether the pope’s influential voice can help transform today’s capitalist model, or merely encourages companies to continue to make commitments already within their comfort zone. And what kind of pushback will the council encounter? Will the Vatican find itself in a standoff of biblical proportions with some of the world’s largest companies and investors? It will be fascinating to watch where this goes. What’s significant is that all of these efforts to tame capitalism’s worst impulses stem from the basic tenets of sustainability — full-spectrum sustainability, that is, not just the environmental stuff: That economies, and the companies and institutions that drive them, must ensure that their benefits extend broadly and deeply through society, and that they promote the well-being and prosperity of all living systems and species, human and not. I invite you to follow me on Twitter , subscribe to my Monday morning newsletter, GreenBuzz , and listen to GreenBiz 350 , my weekly podcast, co-hosted with Heather Clancy. Pull Quote For years, there has been a steady stream of visions aimed at reforming, rethinking, reimagining, reinventing, redefining and rebooting the operating system that drives capitalist economies. Topics Finance & Investing Featured Column Two Steps Forward Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off GreenBiz photocollage, via Shutterstock

Read the rest here:
Can sustainability save capitalism?

Supporting multimodal public transit in a post-pandemic future

March 30, 2021 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

Supporting multimodal public transit in a post-pandemic future Shin-pei Tsay Tue, 03/30/2021 – 01:45 This article first appeared on Meeting of the Minds. Cities have been severely impacted by COVID-19 on a number of fronts, and it has laid bare the severe disparities that result from ever-dwindling budgets. The pandemic has also dramatically changed how we experience the urban environment and required us to re-envision how people navigate and interact with their locales. On a regional basis, commutes to central business districts have dropped dramatically, while surrounding town centers, however small they may be, have gained more activity. For the privileged, who have the ability to shelter-in-place and are supported by flexible work-from-home policies, trips have become more concentrated near their homes and rarely reach beyond neighborhood amenities. As a result, open-street networks have blossomed to allow more space for walking and biking, and cities have pivoted to allow restaurants to expand outdoor dining and retail areas into the public right-of-way (ROW). As a fundamental public service, public transit should be conceived as a scalable, resilient and adaptive system … A map released by Lime , a scooter-share company, showed that over the summer, trips have become more concentrated within neighborhoods, rather than sprawling across the city. Meanwhile, Apple Mobility Data showed that private driving returned to pre-COVID levels, after a brief reprieve in April 2020, while transit ridership is still well below normal. It is clear that this crisis has affected communities in different ways. While central business district commutes might have fallen during the pandemic, cross-town trips persisted, and these are more representative of essential workers’ routes. Cities have adjusted their transit systems, cutting some routes in order to ensure more resources for higher volume routes or contracting out late night or expanded service areas in order to ensure that all customers can be continuously served. These changes in transportation patterns should inform how we analyze and address old problems. A longstanding challenge has been how to meet the growing transportation demand across an entire region and during traditionally off-peak times, while also ensuring that neighborhoods, town centers and other nodes outside of the central business district can be supported with sustainable mobility options. Historically, and more than ever today, the most convenient way to travel within a region is by private car. But, as we look forward to a post-pandemic public realm, could emerging mobility technologies help? More than ever, urban transit services are in need of sustainable and affordable solutions to better serve all members of our diverse communities, not least among them those that are traditionally car-dependent. New mobility technologies can be a potential resource for local transit agencies to augment multi-modal connectivity across existing transit infrastructures. As we all witnessed in the last decade, technological innovation (such as transportation network companies and micro-mobility) has triggered a profound transformation of the urban mobility ecosystem, enabling new shared, on-demand and multi-modal transportation options. By being open to new technologies in the realms of both operations and vehicles, transit agencies can establish a more resilient and sustainable urban mobility ecosystem and even remove some friction in payment and trip-planning. We envision a new decentralized and distributed model that provides multi-modal access through nimble and flexible multi-modal Transit Districts, rather than through traditional, centralized and often too expensive Multi-modal Transit Hubs. Working in collaboration with existing agencies, new micro-mobility technologies could provide greater and seamless access to existing transit infrastructure, while maximizing the potential of the public realm, creating an experience that many could enjoy beyond just catching the next bus or finding a scooter. So how would we go about it? Step 1: Identify an area of the city with the highest concentration of transit services (local bus stops, light rail, etc.). For many communities, multi-modal transit services, when provided, come in the form of uncoordinated schedules, infrequent service, and physically disjointed and often unsafe stops located across multiple city blocks. While such areas are served by a certain level of multi-modal transit, the physical conditions in these public realms make the user experience unappealing for most, which results in low transit ridership, a deserted public realm and an increase car traffic (along with attendant pollution). Step 2: Define the most convenient path to access each transit mode available within walking or biking distance. What are the most trafficked and convenient routes to get from one mode to another for a local transit rider? Can we determine an area within walking or biking distance that includes the most comprehensive range of local transit options available? And are there specific landmarks, destinations and ground floor activities that could enhance these commutes? Step 3: Provide the glue. Provide micro-mobility services and enhanced public realm solutions that enable easier, more convenient and more desirable access to local transit. Imagine an open-air concourse: an area of the city geared to best serve pedestrians and transit commuters alike, where wider sidewalks clearly and intuitively lead you from one transit mode to another; where shared bicycle and e-scooter services are readily accessible near each local transit stop and have safe and dedicated lanes. This would be an area of the city with existing landmark destinations, active ground floors and tailored wayfinding strategies are all coordinated to support a convenient and attractive mode transfer; where each single strategy that best serves the commuter also has positive outcomes for local residents and businesses by way of providing a more vibrant, pedestrian-oriented and safe public realm. The measures listed above range from low-cost, temporary solutions to permanent, long-term investments, and this range is key to a step-by-step implementation approach that should benefit communities with limited financial resources. To start, temporary parklets, paired with shared bike and e-scooter docking stations, could be next to key local transit stops, serving commuters and providing opportunities to engage with existing ground-floor businesses. An easily identifiable network of paths comprised of easy to deploy low-tech way-finding solutions and dedicated micro-mobility lanes could allow commuters to intuitively find their way to the next stop. Tactical urbanism strategies, many of which we have seen deployed in cities as a response to the current health crisis, have demonstrated how big changes can happen with small budgets when there is the will and the support of local communities. In the long term, access to efficient multi-modal services and the resulting vibrant public realm could represent a catalyst for new urban development infill to support long term capital investments.   As the network expands beyond the central district, there are opportunities to meet demand more easily, particularly through the use of on-demand, shared transportation that is integrated with fixed route transit. Beyond the initial identification of one area that has a concentration of transit and micro-mobility, there may be several nodes throughout a region that have been reinvigorated post-COVID, and thus could benefit from the distributed transit network model as well. This coincides with shifts away from traditional “hub-and-spoke” transit models and towards an approach that allows greater lateral movement outside the city center. Imagine regions that are no longer concentrated around a single anchor of the central business district, but that have multiple anchor districts that connect to one another. And within those nodes, many points of connection could allow people to move around freely along an enhanced public realm. Crises expose and deepen underlying societal inequity. Urban residents are more than ever relying on the public realm to access jobs and services, conduct a healthy lifestyle and nurture social relations. The current crisis is causing us to reconsider both the nature of transit and the role of the public realm. As a fundamental public service, public transit should be conceived as a scalable, resilient and adaptive system that helps communities where they are, from large cities to small towns; a system that relies on affordable and easy to deploy solutions that is at the foundation of more equitable and thriving urban communities. Pull Quote As a fundamental public service, public transit should be conceived as a scalable, resilient and adaptive system … Contributors Luca Giaramidaro Gerry Tierney Topics Transportation & Mobility Cities Infrastructure COVID-19 Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off

See more here:
Supporting multimodal public transit in a post-pandemic future

25 badass women shaping climate action in 2021

March 8, 2021 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green, Recycle

Comments Off on 25 badass women shaping climate action in 2021

25 badass women shaping climate action in 2021 Heather Clancy Mon, 03/08/2021 – 02:00 Given the devastating economic toll the COVID-19 pandemic has had on women and girls, the imperative to mark International Women’s Day carries more weight than usual this year.  The idea of a day celebrating the accomplishments of the female gender in the U.S. reaches back to 1909. Throughout the subsequent decade, the concept was embraced by countries including Austria, Denmark, Germany, Russia and Switzerland, but it wasn’t until 1975 that the first International Women’s Day was celebrated and adopted by the United Nations. As I began identifying leaders to include on this third annual list, I was inspired by the introduction to ” All We Can Save ,” an essay and poem collection co-edited by marine biologist Ayana Elizabeth Johnson (who you can find on this year’s list) and Katharine Wilkinson (who we recognized on the first Badass Women list in 2019).   They celebrate a rise in climate leadership distinguished by four important characteristics: it is focused on “making change rather than being in charge”; it is committed to responding in ways “that heal systemic injustices rather than deepening them”; there is “an appreciation for heart-centered, not just head-centered, leadership”; and there is “a recognition that building community is a requisite foundation for building a better world.” By not including women at equal levels — in companies, in government, in NGOs and elsewhere — the climate movement is itself experiencing a crisis, they argue. “As the saying goes, to change everything, we need everyone … We need feminine and feminist climate leadership, which is wide open to people of any gender.” When it comes to those shaping the corporate climate movement — either from within companies or as part of NGOs and policy organizations that recognize the critical role businesses must play in addressing the climate emergency — I’m grateful to say it’s becoming easier to find women with a seat at the decision-making table. This list, selected subjectively, celebrates a diverse, intergenerational set of leaders. Speaking of giving credit where credit is due, nominations are open for the seventh annual Women in Sustainability Leadership Awards, to be conferred by the Women in Sustainability Alumnae Group at a virtual ceremony May 19. Nominees must have at least seven years management and leadership experience, and have made a noteworthy contribution to the cause of corporate climate action. I can think of plenty of worthy candidates, how about you? You’ve got until March 24 to suggest them. And now, I invite you to meet the 2021 class of Badass Women. Jacinda Ardern, Prime Minister, New Zealand LinkedIn | Twitter New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern wasted little time raising the stakes in her nation’s fight against climate change after handily winning re-election in October. Drawing on that mandate, Ardern declared a “climate emergency” and set the wheels in motion for New Zealand’s public sector to become carbon neutral by 2025. “This declaration is an acknowledgment of the next generation,” she told parliament early in December. “An acknowledgment of the burden they will carry if we do not get this right and do not take action now.”  New Zealand, a nation of about 5 million people, in late January reported progress toward its goal to cut emissions by 30 percent over the next decade compared with 2005 levels — but recognized current measures won’t be enough to meet the Paris Agreement goals. Ardern was praised for her government’s aggressive containment of the COVID-19 pandemic last year — her country reported just 25 deaths. She passed a Zero Carbon Bill during her first term that mandates net-zero emissions by 2050 and campaigned on tougher action this term.  Ardern is being watched closely : Her administration has been criticized for being lenient on reducing biogenic methane from agricultural production — notably dairy cattle and sheep — which accounts for almost half of New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions and roughly 6.6 percent of its GDP . Her idea is to phase in reductions. Farmers could face higher taxes or the elimination of irrigation subsidies as early as 2022 if they don’t act to reduce their impact.  Alyssa Auberger, CSO, Baker McKenzie LinkedIn | Twitter Over the past year, many professional services organizations that previously had little to say publicly about their climate change strategy — from law firms to management consultants to ad agencies — found themselves under closer scrutiny not just for their own footprint but for supporting some of the biggest climate deniers around. Amid that soul searching, one of the largest law partnerships in the world, Baker McKenzie, named its first chief sustainability officer, Alyssa Auberger. A partner in the firm’s Paris office, with more than 20 years’ tenure, Auberger previously led Baker McKenzie’s consumer goods and retail practice. In that role, she was engaged in helping clients develop strategies for supply chain transparency disclosures and claim, emissions reporting and human rights.  “In terms of our partnership with our clients, this means being able to understand what sustainability means to their businesses across all industries and identifying how we can help them with their environment, social and governance needs,” she said. “For our own people, it means a focus on nurturing a business that aligns with and respects our own unique values, cares about communities and gives us all a sense of purpose that goes beyond the billable hour.”  Baker McKenzie established its climate change practice two decades ago, one of the first firms to do so, and it is one of the largest law organizations to belong to the United Nations Global Compact, which it joined in 2015. It uses the Sustainable Development Goals as a guidepost for many of its policies and has aligned its business with eight of them.  Boma Brown-West, Director of Consumer Health, EDF+Business LinkedIn | Twitter A mechanical engineer by training who spent the early part of her career in the private sector at Whirlpool, Boma Brown-West leads the Environmental Defense Fund’s work to eliminate toxic chemicals and other substances with questionable consequences for human health from consumer products and retailer store shelves — everything from paints to makeup to baby food. As part of her role, Brown-West manages the NGO’s Five Pillars for Safer Chemicals Leadership program. She is at the center of the NGO’s working relationship with Walmart , among other retailers and consumer brands, helping it launch in 2017 an expansive strategy to reduce its chemical footprint for consumables by 10 percent by 2022.  Promoted to her current position in October, Brown-West — a prolific EDF author based in Washington, D.C. — last year drew attention to the disproportionate impact that cosmetics and beauty products have on women of color. Her team in August expanded its relationship with beauty retailer Sephora, which has committed to reducing certain high-priority chemicals in the products it sells by 50 percent in the next three years.  One other recent crusade is pushing e-commerce retailers such as Amazon, eBay and Walmart to disclose more about the climate effects and chemical compositions of the millions of products they sell, which EDF supported with a roadmap of suggestions in summer 2020. “We want to call attention to how the biggest environmental impacts and the biggest health impact of products is really due to the products themselves and the creation and the use of a product,” Brown-West noted at the time. Martina Cheung, President, S&P Global Market Intelligence; Head of ESG, S&P Global LinkedIn | Twitter When it comes to market intelligence, S&P Global — the New York-based parent company to Dow Jones, Trucost and soon-to-be IHS Markit — is a familiar, respected name in boardrooms. Martina Cheung is the executive driving the growth strategy across S&P’s portfolio of ESG ratings, benchmarks and data products. After a career as a consultant, Cheung joined S&P in 2010 and has led diverse strategic initiatives and titles including vice president of operations, chief strategy officer and head of risk services. Drawing on that perspective, she encourages sustainability leaders to spend more time with their counterparts in finance. As she observed during GreenBiz 21 in February: “I think the partnership with the CFO is incredibly important, the partnership with investor relations because sustainability goes to the heart of performance.”  A new parent, Cheung has been outspoken about the need for more flexibility and support for women who choose to juggle careers and family responsibilities, a message she has amplified during the COVID-19 pandemic. In other words, one of the “S” factors in ESG.  “As employees work from home, children and family members have become regular fixtures in the background of online meetings,” she wrote in an editorial for NBC. “Their increased visibility can lead to better communication about the burden of family care, more expansive family-leave policies and reduced stigma around taking such leave.” Debra Haaland, Congresswoman; Secretary Nominee, Department of the Interior Twitter As of this writing, New Mexico Congresswoman Debra Haaland has yet to be formally confirmed as Secretary for the U.S. Department of the Interior, but she already has a long history of championing climate-related causes. Raised in a military family, Haaland identifies as a 35th generation New Mexican and an enrolled member of the Pueblo of Laguna. Before entering public service, she oversaw the second largest tribal gaming enterprise in the state, where she focused on the creation of earth-friendly business practices. There are many “firsts” on her resume: the first Native woman to lead a state party, the first to serve in Congress and, if successfully confirmed, the first Native person to hold a U.S. Cabinet position. Those critical of her appointment point to Haaland’s support of the Standing Rock pipeline protests as extreme — she brought food to the tribes camped out to protect their territories’ natural resources and heritage. “When we’re thinking about our environment, you can destroy faster than you can rebuild,” she said at the time. “You can cut down a 500-year-old tree. That tree is never going to grow back like that again. Climate change is real, and I’m going to fight to the bitter end to protect our environment because it’s the only one we have and our environment gives us everything.”  Last year, Haaland led a coalition that proposed the 30 By 30 Resolution to Save Nature, aimed at creating a strategy for the U.S. to preserve at least 30 percent of the ocean and land by 2030. President Joe Biden announced his support for that philosophy just one week after taking office in January. Celine Herweijer, Partner, Global Innovation and Sustainability Leader, PwC LinkedIn | Twitter The newly anointed group sustainability chief for one of Europe’s largest banks, HSBC — a role she will assume in July — London-based Celine Herweijer is a familiar feature in the continent’s corporate climate movement. In her current position as innovation and sustainability leader for consulting firm PwC, Herweijer has advised some of the world’s largest financial services organizations and asset management companies on climate risk strategy and sustainable finance initiatives. She has served on numerous committees for the World Economic Forum and the United Nations, among other groups, and is co-chair of the We Mean Business Coalition. Like many other banks, HSBC has pledged to step away from its funding of fossil-fuels interests and other high-carbon industrial activities with a pledge to achieving net-zero financed emissions across its customer portfolio by 2050. (It aims to reach net-zero for its own operations and supply chain by 2030.) Skeptics have criticized its commitment for not going far enough.  Still, the company is stepping out as an innovator in sustainable finance — it was the first buyer into a new reef credits system in Australia , and Herweijer’s innovation lens and ongoing research into risks associated with nature and biodiversity loss no doubt helped land her new job.  “The cascading physical, regulatory and legal, market and reputation risks we see mean nature risk now needs to be a mainstream issue for corporate enterprise risk management,” Weijer said last year . “We have an opportunity to extend the recent response of regulators, businesses and investors on climate change to nature; both are interrelated and both pose a systemic risk to the global economy.” Mellody Hobson, Co-CEO and President, Ariel Investments LinkedIn | Twitter Mellody Hobson joined Chicago-based Ariel Investments, one of the largest African American-owned mutual funds in the United States with more than $15 billion in assets under management, as an intern. Today, she is co-CEO, responsible for strategy and planning. Ariel’s focus is on nurturing small and midsize capitalization stocks, and in mid-February, the firm announced a bold new initiative — Ariel Alternatives , aka “Project Black.” The goal is to invest in businesses owned by Black or Latinx entrepreneurs, as well as middle-market companies that are not minority-owned, with the goal of helping them change their ownership model. Its partner is JPMorgan Chase, which has committed to co-investing $200 million. One of Hobson’s convictions is that American’s must be “color brave,” a phrase she coined in her 2014 TED Talk . She commented in a February interview : “I’m going to always take the hopeful route here and say we have become more brave, but we have to be much braver than we are.” In “Civil Rights 3.0” corporations need to step up much more proactively, Hobson observed. We’ve had plenty of talk, and now we need elbow grease and accountability, she said.     An active outside director, Hobson chaired DreamWorks Animation up until its sale to NBCUniversal, and in March became chairperson of Starbucks. In October, her alma mater announced plans for a new residential college. The new facility, Hobson, the first to be named for a Black woman at Princeton, will appropriately be built on the former site of a building previously named for Woodrow Wilson, whose name was removed in June because of his racist views and policies. Kara Hurst, Vice President, Head of Worldwide Sustainability, Amazon LinkedIn | Twitter Now in her seventh year with Amazon, Kara Hurst — the company’s first sustainability executive via previous gigs with The Sustainability Consortium and BSR — leads the team that helped orchestrate many ambitious commitments that the giant company has made in the past two years. She was instrumental in designing Amazon’s signature program, The Climate Pledge, launched with Global Optimism in September 2019, which includes a commitment to earn net-zero carbon status by 2040 — 10 years ahead of the Paris Agreement timeline. As of Feb. 17, there were 53 signatories representing 18 industries.  “The Climate Pledge is a call to urgent action,” Hurst said in a February interview . “I think one of the things that also distinguishes the pledge is a commitment to sending these market signals, the demand for the products and services that companies need to help us decarbonize.”  For Seattle-based Amazon, that includes a plan to invest $2 billion in climate tech and decarbonization services; a $100 million fund to support reforestation and urban greening projects; the purchase of 100,000 electric vehicles for the company’s delivery fleet; and the creation of the Climate Pledge Friendly labeling program, which makes is easier to research the sustainability attributes of products. Hurst’s causes outside Amazon include board positions with Stolen Youth, an organization dedicated to eradicating sex trafficking; as well as with the roundtable for sustainability that’s part of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine. Ellen Jackowski, Chief Sustainability and Social Impact Officer, HP Inc.  LinkedIn | Twitter For HP Inc., sustainability strategy isn’t just a source of operational or ESG differentiation, it’s a revenue driver  — $1 billion in customer contracts for the past two fiscal years. Ellen Jackowski is the Palo Alto, California, company’s long-time sustainability innovation champion, who ascended to her current position in June. Jackowski was at the center of HP’s ongoing project in Haiti to collect ocean-bound plastic waste and incorporate the material into the company’s printer cartridges and, as of May, into some of its personal computers. So far, that effort has diverted 1.7 million pounds of plastic, or 60 million bottles. Like many consumer products companies, the HP sustainability team is also focused on reducing the impact of its packaging — its goal is to eliminate 75 percent of single-use plastics by 2025.  She also leads the company’s work on fighting deforestation, through efforts such as a partnership with the World Wildlife Fund to restore and manage up to 20,000 acres in Brazil’s endangered Atlantic Forest, or through the HP Sustainable Forests Collaborative, which includes Chenming Paper, Domtar Paper and New Leap Paper.  One of Jackowski’s latest initiatives is a program, HP Amplify Impact, that calls upon HP’s expansive partner network — including the companies that resell its computers — to set sustainability goals. “Our team is not just tracking how partners select their suppliers — we’re measuring the carbon reductions across the value chain,” she wrote in February. “We’re also tracking the overall impact on people and on communities, collectively with our partners. That’s where we will find real inspiration and momentum.” Image by Landon Speers Ayana Elizabeth Johnson, Co-founder, Urban Ocean Lab and Ocean Collectiv, All We Can Save LinkedIn | Twitter Marine biologist Ayana Elizabeth Johnson has lived at the intersection of practical environmental conservation strategy and social justice for years, through her consulting work with Ocean Collectiv, dedicated to addressing issues such as overfishing and habitat destruction. Her research on the role coastal communities can play in climate solutions — including policy work on offshore wind development and the Blue New Deal — is supported by her second venture, Urban Ocean Lab. Last year, the New York-based scientist tapped into her experience and her friendship with climate solutions expert and author Katharine Wilkinson of Project Drawdown to co-launch a project dedicated to amplifying the work of women in the climate movement — scientists, policymakers, activists and, notably, BIPOC. All We Can Save , the book they birthed in September, features 41 powerful voices. Johnson and Wilkinson have spun the dialogue into a nonprofit focused on supporting — financially, intellectually and otherwise — female climate leaders.  Johnson’s own voice has become far more familiar. In November, she began co-hosting a Gimlet Media podcast, ” How to Save a Planet .” Her passionate call for the climate movement to confront racism was prominently published in the Washington Post in June. “To the white people who care about maintaining a habitable planet, I need you to become actively anti-racist,” she wrote . “I need you to understand that our racial inequality crisis is intertwined with our climate crisis. If we don’t work on both, we will succeed at neither.”  Rose Stuckey Kirk, Senior Vice President, Chief Corporate Social Responsibility Officer, Verizon LinkedIn | Twitter Rose Stuckey Kirk, who spent much of her career as a journalist, has been more visible than ever during the COVID-19 pandemic. Much of her attention over the past year has been surfacing ways for Verizon to help support struggling small businesses.  Two notable efforts include a $1 million grant for the We Mean Business coalition, aimed at helping up to 1 million small and midsize enterprises (SMEs) with carbon footprinting tools; and its $10 million commitment in February aimed at supporting SMEs in historically underserved communities. Both fall under Citizen Verizon , the Basking Ridge, New Jersey, teleco’s initiative for economic, environmental and social advancement. The pandemic didn’t stop Verizon from advancing its sustainability strategy significantly over the past 12 months, with a pledge to become carbon neutral by 2035 and the pricing of a second $1 billion green bond meant to support the construction of renewable energy resources for its telecommunications networks. Raised in Arkansas with seven siblings, Kirk serves on the board of numerous organizations, including the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Leadership Council and the C-200 women’s leadership initiative. She was executive producer of the 2017 documentary “Without a Net: The Digital Divide in America.”  “Whether in education, nonprofit, business, media, policy or another industry, the individuals who have influenced me the most are the innovators — the leaders and change-makers who are pulsing the world forward,” Kirk said in a 2017 Forbes interview . “Those who don’t just talk — who act.” Jill Kolling, Vice President, Global Sustainability, Cargill LinkedIn | Twitter Jill Kolling, a former entrepreneur and management consultant who hails from Minneapolis, joined the agricultural giant in 2015. Over the past six years, she has been at the center of the strategy to build a global sustainable team focused on climate science, water and sustainable agriculture practices.  As one of the largest private companies in the U.S. — and a huge buyer of commodities such as soybeans, which have been linked to deforestation — Cargill’s work on climate action is highly scrutinized, and Kolling’s team has been pushed to set ambitious, transparent commitments. Among the initiatives that have emerged under Kolling’s leadership include the company’s science-based climate commitments, which include a target to reduce operational GHG emissions by 10 percent by 2025 and those from the Cargill supply chain by 30 percent per ton of product by 2030.  Her team also last year set context-based water targets that aim to restore 158 billion gallons of water and reduce about 5,500 tons of water pollutants in priority watersheds. And like many agricultural companies, Cargill is investing in regenerative agriculture, with the goal of advancing practices such as planting cover crops or rotational grazing on 10 million acres.  “I think farmers are starting to realize that it’s ultimately the consumer who’s starting to care more and more about this,” Kolling told GreenBiz last summer. “Over the coming years, those pressures and those desires from consumers to want to know more about how their food was produced and having greater expectations, we believe it’s going to grow and will continue to trickle back to the farmer.” Yuko Koshiishi, General Manager, Corporate Sustainability, Suntory LinkedIn | Twitter With more than $21 billion in revenue as of 2019, Japan’s Suntory is parent to well-known water, tea, soft drink and spirits brands, including American bourbons Jim Beam and Maker’s Mark. Company veteran Yuko Koshiishi , who has held multiple communications and business development assignments over the past two decades, is the woman behind its sustainability strategy . The hallmarks of Suntory’s climate action plan include a high-level commitment to eliminate “petrol-based materials” from its PET bottles by 2030, a pledge it is supporting with a mechanical recycling process called Flake-to-Preform ; it’s also developing chemical recycling approaches. To address and decrease its heavy dependence on water , Suntory created a concept back in 2003 called Natural Water Sanctuary, which it uses to protect the watersheds near its production facilities in places such as Japan, India, Mexico, the United States and Spain. The goal: to cultivate more water — and habitat in those watersheds — than it uses in its plants by 2050. “Water is a very localized issue, which means we need a tailored approach for each site,” Koshiishi said late last year. Suntory also has embedded sustainability considerations into its procurement policies: All new suppliers are screened on criteria including environmental considerations such as emissions, as well as broader factors such as ethics, security and human rights.  “We have maintained the momentum behind our sustainability strategy during the pandemic,” Koshiishi said in October . “This includes working closely with our supply chain to make sure that we are promoting sustainability in the sourcing of raw materials, transportation and production processes.” Ellen MacArthur, Founder and Chair, Ellen MacArthur Foundation LinkedIn | Twitter It’s the rare corporate sustainability professional who doesn’t recognize the name Dame Ellen MacArthur. The British sailor-turned-circular economy strategist’s eponymous foundation has been instrumental in getting some of the world’s best-known, biggest brands to commit to moving away from linear models of economy production to processes that prioritize the recirculation and regeneration of materials and products. The Ellen MacArthur Foundation (EMF) was created in 2010 to inspire next-generation business leaders to rethink and redesign their approaches. The idea was born during MacArthur’s three-year-long “journey of discovery” around the world from 2006 to 2009.  “If we create a circular economy, if we use things rather than using things up, then why can’t we build a future that works,” MacArthur said at the EMF launch .    Since that time, EMF, based in Cowes, U.K., has orchestrated collaborative initiatives targeting everything from plastics to food waste and bringing together large companies, NGOs and policymakers. In 2018, it raised the stakes further, joining the World Economic Forum, World Resources Institute, the United Nations Environment Program and several dozen other organizations to create the Platform for Accelerating the Circular Economy. And last summer, it convinced 50 CEOs in food, fashion, finance and plastics — including the leaders of Danone, H&M, L’Oreal, Nestlé, PepsiCo and Unilever — to commit to making circular principles a fundamental part of their post-COVID economic recovery plans. Essentially, to push reset.  “This is something that’s moved phenomenally quickly in the last five years, and I think that’s because it has to,” MacArthur said during a presentation at Circularity 20. “The brands know it has to.” Roma McCaig, Vice President, Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability, Campbell Soup LinkedIn | Twitter With much of her early career focused on operational efficiency, change initiatives and stakeholder engagement, Roma McCaig brings a relatively unique point of view to her work on ESG strategy for food company Campbell Soup. She’s been influencing the Camden, New Jersey, company’s sustainability strategy for the past three years, first as head of responsible sourcing in the procurement function and for just under two years in her current role. Under McCaig’s leadership, Campbell is working to improve its transparency about progress — it hasn’t reached its renewable goal, for example, and that work continues. The company also identified 14 areas of ESG focus ranging from climate to human rights to board diversity — issues that are material to its business in the future. And it’s committed to reporting against those risks.    Among the new commitments McCaig has cultivated over the 12 months include a pledge to halve food waste and loss by 2030 as part of the 10x20x30 initiative ; a vision to transition 100 percent of its packaging to recyclable or industrial compostable materials by the same time frame; and a push to set science-based targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions across the company’s supply chain. As part of its COVID-19 response, it donated more than $8 million in cash and food to organizations across North America.  “During these challenging times, it is more important than ever that we continue to build a sustainable and resilient supply chain, while giving back to the communities that we call home,” McCaig told a consumer goods trade publication in May. Maria Mendiluce, CEO, We Mean Business LinkedIn | Twitter With more than two decades of experience in policy and sustainable development, energy economics expert Maria Mendiluce brings both private and public perspectives to her relatively new role as CEO of the We Mean Business coalition, with positions with the Spanish prime minister’s economic team and Iberdrola’s CEO office among her career highlights. The initiative, which focuses on coordinating corporate climate action, is a collaboration among BSR, B-team, CDP, Ceres, CLG Europe, The Climate Group and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD). It’s Mendiluce’s mission to orchestrate coordinated responses on key issues, including amplifying the voices of businesses that want national governments to deliver zero-carbon economic stimulus packages as part of the response to COVID-19. “Governments need to take confidence from the growing call from businesses for policies that will boost the economy and get us on track to halve greenhouse gas emissions by 2030,” she said in May. “By doing so, they will enable companies to invest now and innovate at the scale and pace that is necessary to build back better and create the future we all want.” A champion of women’s leadership in sustainability, prior to joining the coalition Mendiluce was with WBCSD. There she played a pivotal role in establishing the Alliance to End Plastic Waste; the Transforming Urban Mobility Project; and the Low Carbon Technology Initiative. Mendiluce also serves on the boards for organizations including the Science Based Targets initiative and the Energy Transition Commission. Rebekah Moses, Head of Impact Strategy, Impossible Foods LinkedIn | Twitter Just five years ago, Impossible Foods launched its plant-based (aka “fake meat”) burgers in a handful of specialty restaurants. Today, while the category it represents is still tiny — just 1 percent of the meat market — the company’s consumer brand recognition and its presence in mainstream supermarkets have grown by leaps and bounds. One of its first hires was Rebekah Moses, an agricultural and international development scientist who previously worked on numerous field projects domestically and in the Middle East. She’s head of impact strategy for the San Francisco-based company, valued at $4 billion in August. It’s her job to calculate the potential environmental outcomes associated with eating an Impossible Foods product versus the ones associated with meat cultivated from farmed animals. That’s not necessarily to “demonize behavior” but to raise awareness of habitat loss and other side effects of eating animal meat, and to keep that philosophy central within the company’s innovation process. While the health and agricultural impacts of the Impossible Burger have been criticized — after all, one of the main ingredients, soy, is closely linked with deforestation — Moses says it requires less land and water to produce, and the production process emits fewer GHG emissions than raising animals for meat.  Cultivating a variety of plant protein sources will be crucial for the future of food systems, Moses said in a recent interview . She noted: “One of the really interesting questions for our industry is how do you actually biodiversify your protein and fat ingredient streams so that you support agricultural diversity within the system itself?”  Sunita Narain, Director General, Center for Science and the Environment LinkedIn | Twitter Indian environmental researcher Sunita Narain has been associated with the country’s Center for Science and Environment for close to 30 years, starting as an assistant and assuming the director general role in 2011. She’s also a prolific writer and the editor of a fortnightly magazine on politics and environment, Down to Earth , published in New Delhi. Narain’s work and recommendations have directly informed India’s policies including around air pollution, with a focus on how to learn from strategies used by the Western world and leapfrog them. One example is the adoption of buses that run on compressed natural gas (CNG) in India’s capital city.  Water is one of the issues about which Narain is most passionate; one of India’s largest rural economic development programs focuses on the ecological restoration of more than 1 million bodies of water. She has been recognized for her research on rainwater harvesting and local water management policies, and co-authored two books on the topic: “Dying Wisdom” and “Making Water Everybody’s Business.”  In November, Narain was recognized with the Edinburgh Medal, rewarded annually to scientists who have made significant contributions to the wellbeing of humankind. “We need cooperation, we need equity, and we need climate justice,” Narain said in her acceptance speech, pointing to the disproportionate burden that the world’s poor carry when it comes to the effects of climate change. Malin Nordin, Head of Circular Development, Inter IKEA Group LinkedIn | Twitter Sweden’s IKEA is at the leading edge of circular economy principles among retailers, through initiatives such as the furniture buyback program it tested last year on Black Friday in countries including Australia, Canada and Russia. The idea — to resell what’s still usable and recycle what’s not — was spearheaded by the team led by IKEA’s head of circular development, Malin Nordin. A chemical scientist by background, Nordin said the company’s vision to be 100 percent circular by 2030 starts with the design process. Through research in collaboration with the World Wildlife Fund, it has identified 32 priority materials in woods, plastics, papers, metals and textiles that have the most potential to stand up in a circular model, Nordin has noted .  “One aim of circular design is to develop products that can be useful throughout the changing lives of our customers,” she said, pointing to examples such as baby cots that can be transformed into toddler beds or modular storage systems.  One principle central to Nordin’s mission is upholding the company’s vision of creating products that are affordable, a principle it calls “democratic design.” “When you add the idea of circular design to the idea around democratic design, it makes the problem even better, even more valuable,” she said in a November interview with EMF. Damilola Ogunbiyi, CEO, Sustainable Energy for All; Co-Chair, UN-Energy LinkedIn | Twitter After years of focusing on energy access in Nigeria — where she was the first female managing director of the country’s rural electrification agency — Damilola Ogunbiyi stepped into her current position in early 2020. She’s also a commissioner for the Global Commission to End Energy Poverty . As CEO of Sustainable Energy for All in Vienna, Ogunbiyi is responsible for promoting the development of reliable, affordable and sustainable energy not just in Africa but globally by 2030, the mandate set out by U.N. Sustainable Development Goal 7. She has extensive experience in shaping policy to that end. In Nigeria, Ogunbiyi was instrumental in supporting the construction of solar mini-grids and home systems across the country, where her work was particularly focused on energizing universities and healthcare facilities. At Sustainable Energy for All, she’s prioritizing the “smart use of data, next partnerships and scaled involvement of the private sector.” Two core programs: the electrification of healthcare facilities and a focus on clean cooling, for which the organization estimates that more than 2.2 billion people globally lack access to clean, efficient options.  “To truly deliver the vision of SDG7 and universal energy access in a sustainable way, decentralized solutions must be our focus to reach the most vulnerable and remote populations,” Ogunbiyi said in a July 2020 interview. “We also need to build a bigger market for clean cooking fuels, so women don’t have to use dirty fuels to cook dinner for their family.” Sanda Ojiambo, CEO and Executive Director, United Nations Global Compact LinkedIn | Twitter Sanda Ojiambo has made a career out of cultivating effective partnerships between businesses and civil society.  Before she ascended to the CEO and executive director positions at the United Nations Global Compact last summer, she was head of sustainable business and social impact for Safaricom, the largest telecommunications service provider in Kenya. There, she managed multiple relationships between Safaricom and U.N. organizations.  During her initial months at the UN Global Compact, which now includes more than 12,000 companies and 3,000 other signatories, Ojiambo has urged business leaders to confront the issues of racial injustice that have surfaced more visible during the COVID-19 pandemic and to do their “due diligence” when it comes to establishing and enforcing human rights throughout their entire value chain.  One initiative designed to speed the response is the new SDG Ambition Accelerator, a six-month-long executive training program meant to help leaders more holistically incorporate the Sustainable Development Goals into business strategy — no matter their industry. “There has to be an ‘all of’ sector, a multi-sectoral approach to driving this [social] change,” Ojiambo said during a GreenBiz 21 keynote interview . “Each time I’m in a different sector, there’s different views, different challenges and certainly different opportunities.” Raised in Nairobi, Ojiambo earned international development and public policy degrees in the U.S. and Canada. She worked in Somalia before her Safaricom career, shaping programs for CARE International and the U.N. Development Program focused on issues including education, safe motherhood, environmental conservation and dismantling land mines. Maria Outters, Group Senior Vice President, Sustainability/Corporate Responsibility, Sodexo LinkedIn | Twitter Born in Africa and fluent in four languages, Maria Outters joined French food services company Sodexo 12 years ago and held positions in human resources, marketing and group strategic planning before becoming its sustainability and CSR lead in January 2020. She’s also part of the investment committee for Sodexo Ventures. It was an eventful year for many reasons, but Outters’ team used the economic, social and health crises brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic to “reaffirm” its sustainability commitments, including a commitment to reducing food waste by 50 percent at more than 1,500 sites. The program will continue as sites reopen: As of June, the company had saved the equivalent of 4.8 million meals. Sodexo is also prioritizing the adoption of alternatives to single-use plastics and a plan to raise the mix of plant-based foods on its menus to more than 30 percent globally. The company renewed a longstanding relationship with WWF centered, in part, on responsible sourcing of land commodities and seafood. “Underlying economic and social challenges ahead will magnify the need for economic models built on sustainable consumption patterns and solutions preserving natural resources,” Otters said in June . “These priority actions in the current environment are part of our pragmatic approach to work with our clients, suppliers and employees to bring back confidence and seize the window of opportunity to make the recovery a turning point when it comes to sustainability.” Katrina Shum, Sustainability Officer, North America, Lush Cosmetics LinkedIn | Twitter Katrina Shum is challenging the personal care industry to get naked.  As North American sustainability manager for 25-year-old U.K. company Lush Cosmetics, she leads a program working to doff single-use, plastic packaging across five manufacturing facilities, two distribution centers and 250 retail shops. Lush’s approach: Create solid versions of its products — from shampoo to toothpaste and more — that reach back to its roots more than 20 years ago, when the company’s founders “packaged” their soap in old pipes and other discarded containers. Its strategy is unique for an industry that creates an estimated 120 billion package a year, many of them impossible to recycle, if consumers remember to even try. Lush’s approach also conserves water. Plus, why not devote the millions if not billions of dollars consumer brands spend on packaging into true product innovation, Shum asked in an essay last year . What about labels with instructions and ingredients? “Leveraging technology, we have developed the Lush Lens App, which allows customers to use their phones to scan products and get the typical information they would find on a physical label, along with engaging and interactive content about the ingredients and stories behind them,” Shum wrote. For products that still require plastic or paper packaging, Lush has been sourcing post-consumer recycled content for more than a decade. The reverse logistics haven’t been easy, but Lush’s vertically integrated production model has helped, she wrote. One of Shum’s “pet peeves” is food waste, she revealed in an October interview, and she keeps close tabs on her habits at home in the Vancouver area. The focus isn’t surprising: Prior to Lush, Shum worked on a sustainability strategy for food service giant Aramark. Dawn Wright, Chief Scientist, Esri LinkedIn | Twitter Much of the ocean’s potential role in reversing climate change is unfathomable, literally — with just one-fifth of the its floor cataloged in maps. Dawn Wright, the first Black American woman to deep-sea dive in an Alvin submersible, is leading geographic information systems (GIS) company Esri’s quest to map the rest by 2030. “How can we take care of this planet, how can we understand this planet, how can we protect it if we don’t know the totality of it?” Wright said in a 2019 interview . “We have better maps of the moon, better maps of Venus and even Mars than we have of the oceans of the Earth, because the Earth is an ocean planet.” As chief scientist for the software company, Wright spearheads Esri’s work in the scientific and research communities, where she champions the use of GIS imagery and data in applications ranging from flood risk planning to fighting deforestation. The company’s partnership network is expansive: last year, it teamed with Microsoft on its ” Planetary Computer” initiative, aimed at helping protect biodiversity. A marine geologist and oceanographer by training, Wright was a full professor at Oregon State University for more than 25 years (she’s still on the faculty there) before joining Esri in 2011. Tae Yoo, Senior Vice President, Corporate Affairs, Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability, Cisco LinkedIn | Twitter One of Cisco’s earliest employees — she joined more than 30 years ago before the technology company went public — Tae Yoo has placed the concept of inclusion at the center of its CSR and sustainability initiatives with a goal to “positively impact 1 billion people by 2025.” She has also helped elevate this strategy to the company’s board of directors.  Reflecting on the COVID-19 pandemic in the San Jose, California, company’s 2020 CSR report, Yoo noted: “To avoid reinforcing prior inequities and vulnerabilities, it is critical that we apply significant effort on rebuilding … Living our purpose means continuing to get everyone involved, and that’s exactly what we intend to do.” For Cisco, making an impact takes many forms, such as the Cisco Networking Academy, a program Yoo established in 1997 that has helped more than 2.7 million people find jobs since 2005. She also leads Cisco’s work on other educational programs, such as the 21st Century Schools Initiative. The networking hardware giant first set a GHG reduction target in 2006, and as of its 2020 fiscal year, it had cut Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions by 55 percent, just shy of its upcoming goal in FY 2022. Elsewhere, Yoo’s experience as the co-founder of Cisco’s business development organization has doubtless helped inform her strategy about tough strategic decisions. One of her team’s top priorities is embracing circular economy business models (it’s an EMF founding partner), which calls for all of its new products to incorporate core principles such as reusability, recyclability and repairability by 2025. This, too, will require collaboration with the company’s expansive network of technology and service partners.  Topics Careers Leadership Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) On Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off GreenBiz Group Close Authorship

Read the rest here:
25 badass women shaping climate action in 2021

Jane Jacobs and leaf blowers

January 5, 2021 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

Comments Off on Jane Jacobs and leaf blowers

Jane Jacobs and leaf blowers Stephen Linaweaver Tue, 01/05/2021 – 01:00 Jane Jacobs, in her seminal 1961 work on urbanism, “The Death and Life of Great American Cities,” noted that what cities need above all else is “a constant succession of eyes”: Wherever the old city is working successfully is a marvelous order for maintaining the safety of the streets and the freedom of the city. It is a complex order. Its essence is intricacy of sidewalk use, bringing with it a constant succession of eyes. Anyone who has spent time in downtown centers during the past year will know Jacobs was right. Lockdowns have brought boarded-up shops with a trickle of passers-by. Trash builds up in pockets, junk gathers in piles and lights flicker. Anxiety follows. Carbon reduction goals, diversity targets or ESG leaderboard rankings cannot be achieved until we understand the human behavior and decision processes behind our current actions. Jacobs’ comment, however, applies to far more than buildings and urban centers. The fabric of a functioning and just society requires “a constant succession of eyes” on all fronts, in order to inspire and reinforce the keystone of progression: personal accountability. My most vivid memory of my first job, walking countless blocks in the city of Baltimore as a teenager campaigning for the mayor, was the constant, daily sweeping I witnessed in every neighborhood, dawn to dusk, whether in Little Italy, the Greek part of town or the predominantly African-American West side. On those impeccably clean stoops lay a deep personal accountability for one’s own house and an underlying respect for those who have to look at it. Successfully solving a public health crisis, tackling climate change, battling racism — all require, at the core, a personal commitment from each of us to do our part. That foundation of individual accountability is solidified by the acknowledgment and trust of our neighbors, families, business suppliers and colleagues who “see” us on a regular basis. Collective personal accountability leads to societal progress. Unfortunately, societies are more fickle than they appear, and the past year’s pandemic has turned millions inward. Whether literally or figuratively, we see less, acknowledge less, respect less and, as a result, trust less. Examples from politics to public health are too many to mention. Examples from front yards are too obvious to overlook. The leaf blower is a tool seemingly purpose-built for avoiding personal accountability. It expediently transports your problem to your neighbor’s lawn or a municipal street, generates more pollution in one hour than an economy car does in 1,000 miles and achieves a decibel level that causes damage to hearing after two hours, according to the CDC. Leaf blowers are ubiquitous in states red and blue alike, sales continue to boom and the United States is the world’s largest market. The lesson for business in all of this? Carbon reduction goals, diversity targets or ESG leaderboard rankings cannot be achieved until we understand the human behavior and decision processes behind our current actions: Why an aircraft manufacturer would mislead regulators during self-certification or why a pharmaceutical firm would misrepresent the risks of an opioid drug that since has ravaged the nation. In both of those examples, and many more across the corporate sector, the “constant succession of eyes” and the accountability that comes with it were missing. “Stakeholder Capitalism” is on the rise, not because capitalism is failing, but because personal accountability is. And it is far easier to look outward for a new constituency to serve productively than it is to look inward and stop serving existing ones destructively. While we certainly need directors of diversity and inclusion and green supply chain managers to help start new, overlooked initiatives, companies also desperately need behavioral psychologists to unravel why we already do what we do. Clean stoops, fewer leaf blowers, “freedom,” to use Jacobs’ term, and progress await. Pull Quote Carbon reduction goals, diversity targets or ESG leaderboard rankings cannot be achieved until we understand the human behavior and decision processes behind our current actions. Topics Leadership Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off GreenBiz photocollage, via Shutterstock

Here is the original:
Jane Jacobs and leaf blowers

Financing zero: The road to emission-free fleets

November 4, 2020 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

Comments Off on Financing zero: The road to emission-free fleets

Financing zero: The road to emission-free fleets Tali Zuckerman Wed, 11/04/2020 – 02:00 In recent years, electric vehicle (EV) adoption has accelerated in the world of personal cars. Now, as ambitious climate goals gain momentum and renewable energy prices drop, attention is turning towards scaling such systems for commercial transport. But before zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) fleets can hit the road, stakeholders must find innovative ways to finance them in a way that is accessible, affordable and attractive to corporate buyers.   At the VERGE 20 conference last week, industry experts working on this very question joined moderator Niki Okuk, alternative fuels program manager at CALSTART, to discuss the biggest financial barriers to making large-scale ZEV deployments a reality and the innovative financial tools being designed to address them. Challenges on the road to commercial ZEVs One key challenge addressed by the panelists is the volatility of renewable energy — both in price and physical availability. Vic Shao, chief executive of charging infrastructure company Amply Power, highlighted that while fossil-fuel prices typically fluctuate about 25 percent per year, renewable energy prices can experience shocks of up to 400 percent in just one day. For large-scale fleet managers, this makes adopting ZEV solutions incredibly tricky.  “The CFOs of the organization can’t really understand the cost structure over weeks, months and years,” said Chelle Izzi, executive director of NextEra Energy Resources. “That makes it difficult for us to scale up.” Prices also vary across countries and states, due to inconsistencies in taxes and policies. Pooling a bunch of these different challenges under 1 contract would manage some of that new technology risk and those demand charge risks. In terms of physical abundance of electricity, Izzi was quick to add: “I had a power outage this week — it’s not just theoretical.” She was referencing proactive power shutdowns in Northern California made in late October to prevent the spread of wildfires. When looking to transition fleets to vehicles that use renewable energy, owners and managers must plan such instability into their operations from the start — a fact that makes financial forecasts and plans quite difficult, the panelists said. This reality is compounded by the lack of expansive infrastructure to support large-scale fleets. While EV charging stations have been popping up around the country, they are not enough to reliably power full commercial fleets, the panelists noted. Developing an ZEV infrastructure requires an immense upfront investment and introduces operational risks related to the general uncertainty and immaturity of the market. Andrew Kessler, a managing director at the NY Green Bank who works on financing such projects, said this risk has translated to limited access to capital for small companies trying to scale innovative solutions. Finance to the rescue Despite these challenges, the panelists remained hopeful. Each has introduced innovative solutions that range from new financing models to investment in research for disruptive innovations and technologies.  Discussing ZEV fleets in New York state, Kessler said that his team hopes to push agencies to evaluate these investments using operational expense financing models rather than considering the cost solely from a capital expenditure perspective. Using an OpEx financing model could make fleet conversion more affordable by providing purchasers the opportunity to make smaller payments over time, he said. Battery leasing is another model gaining traction, according to the panelists. Currently, batteries are the most expensive part of an electric vehicle; this model allows customers to purchase a vehicle upfront minus the battery, which is paid for in small increments comparable in cost to purchasing fuel for traditional trucks or buses. Although battery-leasing programs are still mostly under development, Kessler pointed to one successful collaboration in the field by companies Proterra and Mitsui, currently leasing batteries for an all-electric bus fleet in Park City, Utah. Leasing batteries also could become more affordable for fleets if stakeholders can determine that batteries have a higher residual value (such as for reuse or recycling). If lenders can be guaranteed some value at the end of a lease period, they can charge less for individual lease payments without losing out on profit, the panelists said. Fleets of ZEVs also could become more attractive through innovative bundling of products and infrastructure services, which may help mitigate the current fluctuations in cost and supply of renewable energy. “Pooling a bunch of these different challenges under one contract would manage some of that new technology risk and those demand charge risks,” explained Izzi. We are comfortable with that risk, but how we work with the operators and the degradation as a result of how they actually use the vehicles is a different risk that we all have to figure out together. Shao said Amply aspires to develop software to better understand, monitor and plan a fleet’s energy use, something which also could lower operational risks and make investments easier to justify. Finally, each panelist stressed the importance of finding a way to properly distribute risk between operators, manufacturers and investors in order to unlock more stable financing mechanisms and returns in the future. “We are very comfortable with storage as a technology, understanding degradation and the forward cost curves,” Izzi said. “We are comfortable with that risk, but how we work with the operators and the degradation as a result of how they actually use the vehicles is a different risk that we all have to figure out together.” Key takeaways Throughout the session, several themes reverberated between speakers. First, each panelist stressed the need for public-private partnerships in the industry. While public subsidies have contributed to the preliminary infrastructure for fleet electrification, private investment is necessary to truly scale ZEV fleets. Second, they discussed the ROI of electric fleets, each comparing the current state of the commercial ZEV market to that of solar power in the early days. Although investments now are full of risk, they also promise high rewards over time. Conversely, as ZEVs become commonplace, investment costs will plummet, but so will payoffs.  Third, each panelist mentioned the importance of market-based tools and tactics to prove returns, attract private capital and achieve the flexibility needed to support a growing market.  The tone of the panel was undeniably one of confidence in the promise of innovative financing to get ZEV’s to the finish line. “The appetite for growth is there,” concluded Izzi. “We all believe that we can bring the scalability of what we have done in renewables to EV infrastructure … once the vehicles and pricing are there.” Pull Quote Pooling a bunch of these different challenges under 1 contract would manage some of that new technology risk and those demand charge risks. We are comfortable with that risk, but how we work with the operators and the degradation as a result of how they actually use the vehicles is a different risk that we all have to figure out together. Topics Transportation & Mobility VERGE 20 Electric Vehicles Fleet Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off Rendering of Amply’s Anaheim Transportation Network site. Courtesy of Amply Power Close Authorship

Read the original post:
Financing zero: The road to emission-free fleets

How to ensure circular fashion is good for people and the environment

October 9, 2020 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

Comments Off on How to ensure circular fashion is good for people and the environment

How to ensure circular fashion is good for people and the environment Annelise Thim Fri, 10/09/2020 – 00:15 This article originally was published in the BSR Insight . The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown the fashion industry into disarray, leaving supply chain workers without wages and causing major global brands to file for bankruptcy. In the United States alone, 2.1 million retail workers lost their jobs due to the crisis. In Bangladesh, the garment sector is expected to lose over a million jobs by December, with over 70,000 workers already laid off. While many underlying issues are not new to the industry, the unprecedented situation has made us acutely aware of the fragilities of our current economic system and of just how vulnerable people — especially workers and their communities — are to significant business disruption. As our society looks to build back better by emerging from the crisis with a more resilient and sustainable system, many industries are planning to integrate circularity into their recovery plans. Indeed, even before the COVID-19 outbreak, circular economic models had been sprouting up at increasing speed in the fashion industry, both to counter its enormous environmental impact and to respond to economic opportunities. The textile industry alone produces 1.2 billion tons of CO2 per year and accounts for around 20 percent of global industrial water pollution . Companies, brands and designers are increasingly looking to circular fashion models, including resale, rental and repair, to mitigate these impacts. A strong signal of the circular fashion opportunity: Resale grew 25 times faster than the overall retail apparel market in 2019. While the potential positive environmental impact of a shift to a circular economy is enormous, few organizations are considering the social implications for the more than 60 million people in its value chain . Given the sheer size of the industry and the many ways people intersect throughout production and consumption, social implications, whether positive or negative, are unavoidable. Women, who comprise between 60 to 90 percent of total apparel workers, of whom an estimated 80 percent are women of color , likely will take the brunt of the impact due to their precarious working conditions and existing gender-based discrimination. BSR’s new brief, ” Taking a People-Centered Approach to a Circular Fashion Economy ,” explores the potential social impacts that may emerge from a mainstream shift to circular fashion . The textile industry alone produces 1.2 billion tons of CO2 per year and accounts for around 20 percent of global industrial water pollution. Informed by BSR’s research and stakeholder engagement supported by Laudes Foundation , an independent foundation tackling the dual crises of climate change and inequality, the brief proposes opportunities for businesses, policymakers and advisers to design circular fashion business models to be inclusive and fair from the outset. In addition, we provide a set of guiding questions for companies and organizations to practically think through the social impacts of their shifts to circular fashion models, aiming to avoid and mitigate negative social impacts and more consciously target positive social impacts. “The vision of ‘circular economy’ presents an economy that is compatible with nature, but we cannot take for granted that it will be inclusive,” said Megan McGill, senior program manager at Laudes Foundation. “BSR’s work is enabling us to ensure that in our pursuit for a regenerative and restorative economy, we are actively managing and promoting the rights and equity of people touched by the fashion sector.” This current period of complex disruption presents a unique opportunity to leverage the shift to circularity to address some of the global fashion industry’s persistent and pervasive environmental and social issues. By taking a people-centered approach, we can build a more resilient industry and respond to the calls from stakeholders — through safer inputs that increase the health and safety of workers and production communities, enabling creative and dignified employment, and building inclusive models adapted to the needs of a diverse consumer base. Supported by Laudes Foundation, BSR is continuing to explore the impacts of the shift to circular fashion on job opportunities and quality — a topic largely ignored in the circular transition to date and which we begin to delve into in this brief. Our current work aims to explore and develop responses to these impacts in collaboration with fashion companies and broader industry stakeholders. In addition, we will leverage strategic foresight in developing and testing practical recommendations with special focus on the U.S., Europe and India. This brief was developed by Cliodhnagh Conlon and Annelise Thim, with input from Laura Macias and Magali Barraja and with the support of Laudes Foundation. As we delve deeper into this topic, we are keen to hear feedback and learn from others who are working to ensure that the circular fashion transition delivers benefits for people. If you are currently working on circular fashion or would like to learn more about our work, please reach out to connect with the team. Pull Quote The textile industry alone produces 1.2 billion tons of CO2 per year and accounts for around 20 percent of global industrial water pollution. Contributors Cliodhnagh Conlon Topics Circular Economy Supply Chain Fashion Supply Chain Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off Garment worker in Bangladesh, where the garment sector is expected to lose over a million jobs by December 2020, with over 70,000 workers already laid off. Photo by Jahangir Alam Onuchcha on Shutterstock.

Read the rest here:
How to ensure circular fashion is good for people and the environment

AI doesn’t have to be a power hog

July 30, 2020 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

Comments Off on AI doesn’t have to be a power hog

AI doesn’t have to be a power hog Heather Clancy Thu, 07/30/2020 – 02:15 Plenty of prognostications, including this one from the World Economic Forum, tout the integral role artificial intelligence could play in “saving the planet.”  Indeed, AI is integral to all manner of technologies, ranging from autonomous vehicles to more informed disaster response systems to smart buildings and data collection networks monitoring everything from energy consumption to deforestation.  The flip side to this rosy view is that there are plenty of ethical concerns to consider. What’s more, the climate impact of AI — both in terms of power consumption and all the electronic waste that gadgets create — is a legitimate, growing concern. Research from the University of Massachusetts Amherst suggests the process of “training” neural networks to make decisions or searching them to find answers uses five times the lifetime emissions of the average U.S. car. Not an insignificant amount.  What does that mean if things continue on their current trajectory? Right now, data centers use about 2 percent of the world’s electricity. At the current rate of AI adoption — with no changes in the underlying computer server hardware and software — the data centers needed to run those applications could claim 15 percent of that power load, semiconductor firm Applied Materials CEO Gary Dickerson predicted in August 2019 . Although progress is being made, he reiterated that warning last week. At the current rate of AI adoption — with no changes in the underlying computer server hardware and software — the data centers needed to run those applications could claim 15 percent of that power load. “Customized design will be critical,” he told attendees of a longstanding industry conference, SemiconWest . “New system architectures, new application-specific chip designs, new ways to connect memory and logic, new memories and in-memory compute can all drive significant improvements in compute performance per watt.” So, what’s being done to “bend the curve,” so to speak? Technologists from Applied Materials, Arm, Google, Intel, Microsoft and VMware last week shared insights about advances that could help us avoid the most extreme future scenarios, if the businesses investing in AI technologies start thinking differently. While much of the panel (which I helped organize) was highly technical, here are four of my high-level takeaways for those thinking about harnessing AI for climate solutions. Get acquainted with the concept of “die stacking” in computing hardware design. There is concern that Moore’s Law , the idea that the number of transistors on integrated circuit will double every two years, is slowing down. That’s why more semiconductor engineers are talking up designs that stack multiple chips on top of each other within a system, allowing more processing capability to fit in a given space.  Rob Aitken, a research fellow with microprocessor firm Arm, predicts these designs will show up first in computing infrastructure that couples high-performance processing with very localized memory. “The vertical stacking essentially allows you to get more connectivity bandwidth, and it allows you to get that bandwidth at lower capacitance for lower power use, and also a lower delay, which means improved performance,” he said during the panel. So, definitely look for far more specialized hardware. Remember this acronym, MRAM. It stands for magnetic random-access memory , a format that uses far less power in standby mode than existing technologies, which require energy to maintain the “state” of their information and respond quickly to processing requests when they pop up. Among the big-name players eyeing this market: Intel; Micron; Qualcomm; Samsung; and Toshiba. Plenty of R&D power there. Consider running AI applications in cloud data centers using carbon-free energy. That could mean deferring the processing power needed for certain workloads to times of day when a facility is more likely to be using renewable energy. “If we were able to run these workloads when we had this excess of green, clean, energy, right now we have these really high compute workloads running clean, which is exactly what we want,” said Samantha Alt, cloud solution architect at Intel. “But what if we take this a step further, and we only had the data center running when this clean energy was available? We have a data center that’s awake when we have this excess amount of green, clean energy, and then asleep when it’s not.” This is a technique that Google talked up in April, but it’s not yet widely used, and it will require attention to new cooling designs to keep the facilities from running too hot as well as memory components that can respond dynamically when a facility goes in and out of sleep mode. New system architectures, new application-specific chip designs, new ways to connect memory and logic, new memories and in-memory compute can all drive significant improvements in compute performance per watt.   Live on the edge. That could mean using specialized AI-savvy processors in some gadgets or systems you’re trying to make smarter such as automotive systems or smart phones or a building system. Rather than sending all the data to a massive, centralized cloud service, the processing (at least some of it) happens locally. Hey, if energy systems can be distributed, why not data centers?  “We have a lot of potential to move forward, especially when we bring AI to the edge,” said Moe Tanabian, general manager for intelligent devices at Microsoft. “Why is edge important? There are lots of AI-driven tasks and benefits that we derive from AI that are local in nature. You want to know how many people are in a room: people counting. This is very valuable because when the whole HVAC system of the whole building can be more efficient, you can significantly lower the balance of energy consumption in major buildings.” The point to all this is that getting to a nirvana in which AI can handle many things we’d love it to handle to help with the climate crisis will require some pretty substantial upgrades to the computing infrastructure that underlies it. The environmental implications of those system overhauls need to be part of data center procurement criteria immediately, and the semiconductor industry needs to step up with the right answers. Intel and AMD have been leading the way, and Applied Materials last week threw down the gauntlet , but more of the industry needs to wake up. This article first appeared in GreenBiz’s weekly newsletter, VERGE Weekly, running Wednesdays. Subscribe here . Follow me on Twitter: @greentechlady. Pull Quote At the current rate of AI adoption — with no changes in the underlying computer server hardware and software — the data centers needed to run those applications could claim 15 percent of that power load. New system architectures, new application-specific chip designs, new ways to connect memory and logic, new memories and in-memory compute can all drive significant improvements in compute performance per watt. Topics Information Technology Energy & Climate Artificial Intelligence Featured Column Practical Magic Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) On Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off

View original here:
AI doesn’t have to be a power hog

AI doesn’t have to be a power hog

July 30, 2020 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

Comments Off on AI doesn’t have to be a power hog

AI doesn’t have to be a power hog Heather Clancy Thu, 07/30/2020 – 02:15 Plenty of prognostications, including this one from the World Economic Forum, tout the integral role artificial intelligence could play in “saving the planet.”  Indeed, AI is integral to all manner of technologies, ranging from autonomous vehicles to more informed disaster response systems to smart buildings and data collection networks monitoring everything from energy consumption to deforestation.  The flip side to this rosy view is that there are plenty of ethical concerns to consider. What’s more, the climate impact of AI — both in terms of power consumption and all the electronic waste that gadgets create — is a legitimate, growing concern. Research from the University of Massachusetts Amherst suggests the process of “training” neural networks to make decisions or searching them to find answers uses five times the lifetime emissions of the average U.S. car. Not an insignificant amount.  What does that mean if things continue on their current trajectory? Right now, data centers use about 2 percent of the world’s electricity. At the current rate of AI adoption — with no changes in the underlying computer server hardware and software — the data centers needed to run those applications could claim 15 percent of that power load, semiconductor firm Applied Materials CEO Gary Dickerson predicted in August 2019 . Although progress is being made, he reiterated that warning last week. At the current rate of AI adoption — with no changes in the underlying computer server hardware and software — the data centers needed to run those applications could claim 15 percent of that power load. “Customized design will be critical,” he told attendees of a longstanding industry conference, SemiconWest . “New system architectures, new application-specific chip designs, new ways to connect memory and logic, new memories and in-memory compute can all drive significant improvements in compute performance per watt.” So, what’s being done to “bend the curve,” so to speak? Technologists from Applied Materials, Arm, Google, Intel, Microsoft and VMware last week shared insights about advances that could help us avoid the most extreme future scenarios, if the businesses investing in AI technologies start thinking differently. While much of the panel (which I helped organize) was highly technical, here are four of my high-level takeaways for those thinking about harnessing AI for climate solutions. Get acquainted with the concept of “die stacking” in computing hardware design. There is concern that Moore’s Law , the idea that the number of transistors on integrated circuit will double every two years, is slowing down. That’s why more semiconductor engineers are talking up designs that stack multiple chips on top of each other within a system, allowing more processing capability to fit in a given space.  Rob Aitken, a research fellow with microprocessor firm Arm, predicts these designs will show up first in computing infrastructure that couples high-performance processing with very localized memory. “The vertical stacking essentially allows you to get more connectivity bandwidth, and it allows you to get that bandwidth at lower capacitance for lower power use, and also a lower delay, which means improved performance,” he said during the panel. So, definitely look for far more specialized hardware. Remember this acronym, MRAM. It stands for magnetic random-access memory , a format that uses far less power in standby mode than existing technologies, which require energy to maintain the “state” of their information and respond quickly to processing requests when they pop up. Among the big-name players eyeing this market: Intel; Micron; Qualcomm; Samsung; and Toshiba. Plenty of R&D power there. Consider running AI applications in cloud data centers using carbon-free energy. That could mean deferring the processing power needed for certain workloads to times of day when a facility is more likely to be using renewable energy. “If we were able to run these workloads when we had this excess of green, clean, energy, right now we have these really high compute workloads running clean, which is exactly what we want,” said Samantha Alt, cloud solution architect at Intel. “But what if we take this a step further, and we only had the data center running when this clean energy was available? We have a data center that’s awake when we have this excess amount of green, clean energy, and then asleep when it’s not.” This is a technique that Google talked up in April, but it’s not yet widely used, and it will require attention to new cooling designs to keep the facilities from running too hot as well as memory components that can respond dynamically when a facility goes in and out of sleep mode. New system architectures, new application-specific chip designs, new ways to connect memory and logic, new memories and in-memory compute can all drive significant improvements in compute performance per watt.   Live on the edge. That could mean using specialized AI-savvy processors in some gadgets or systems you’re trying to make smarter such as automotive systems or smart phones or a building system. Rather than sending all the data to a massive, centralized cloud service, the processing (at least some of it) happens locally. Hey, if energy systems can be distributed, why not data centers?  “We have a lot of potential to move forward, especially when we bring AI to the edge,” said Moe Tanabian, general manager for intelligent devices at Microsoft. “Why is edge important? There are lots of AI-driven tasks and benefits that we derive from AI that are local in nature. You want to know how many people are in a room: people counting. This is very valuable because when the whole HVAC system of the whole building can be more efficient, you can significantly lower the balance of energy consumption in major buildings.” The point to all this is that getting to a nirvana in which AI can handle many things we’d love it to handle to help with the climate crisis will require some pretty substantial upgrades to the computing infrastructure that underlies it. The environmental implications of those system overhauls need to be part of data center procurement criteria immediately, and the semiconductor industry needs to step up with the right answers. Intel and AMD have been leading the way, and Applied Materials last week threw down the gauntlet , but more of the industry needs to wake up. This article first appeared in GreenBiz’s weekly newsletter, VERGE Weekly, running Wednesdays. Subscribe here . Follow me on Twitter: @greentechlady. Pull Quote At the current rate of AI adoption — with no changes in the underlying computer server hardware and software — the data centers needed to run those applications could claim 15 percent of that power load. New system architectures, new application-specific chip designs, new ways to connect memory and logic, new memories and in-memory compute can all drive significant improvements in compute performance per watt. Topics Information Technology Energy & Climate Artificial Intelligence Featured Column Practical Magic Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) On Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off

Original post:
AI doesn’t have to be a power hog

Advice for thriving amid crisis, from 14 sustainability vets

May 26, 2020 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

Comments Off on Advice for thriving amid crisis, from 14 sustainability vets

Advice for thriving amid crisis, from 14 sustainability vets Kathrin Winkler Tue, 05/26/2020 – 08:00 A few months back (and forever ago), our professional colleagues in our Sustainability Veterans group expressed their thoughts on the most important attributes for advancing a sustainability career. Our goal was to share lessons that we learned in the trenches to help those following us to build on our experiences. But we never experienced anything like the coronavirus pandemic. As unprecedented as these times are, and as uncertain as the near future may be, some past events offer small but important parallels that could yield tools and ideas for how to proceed. In your career, was there a crisis in which you learned something useful to pass on to those dealing with the current and unfolding situation created by COVID? To that end, we asked our vets to offer a succinct response to: “In your career, was there a crisis (such as the Great Recession or other major disruption) in which you learned something useful to pass on to those dealing with the current and unfolding situation created by COVID?” The answers are varied and disparate — and, in some cases, even contradictory. Together, they remind us that there is no one universal answer, that companies and cultures differ, and that while we may see echoes of the past in our world today, we are traversing entirely new territory, compass in hand, but without a map. About the Sustainability Veterans: We are a group of professionals who have had leadership roles in the world of corporate sustainability. We are exploring new ways to further engage and make a difference by bringing together our collective intellectual, experiential, emotional and social capital — independent from any individual company — to help the next generation of sustainability leaders achieve success. Here’s what they had to say: Observe to solve: On Sept. 11, I was in Malaysia watching events unfold from half a world away. I learned to take a step back, watch and then figure out where to have the biggest impact. We are still in crisis mode. Take time to be observant before deciding on how sustainability can be a solution.  — Dawn Rittenhouse was director of sustainable development for DuPont from 1998 until 2019. Up Is down: My favorite crisis example is Apollo 13. In my experience, successful crisis management forces organizations to see externalities and ecosystems which have not always been self-evident. “Normal” isn’t “normal,” “up” is “down” and crisis unleashes untapped human capital, innovation, creativity and laser-focus on what can be done versus what cannot. — Mark Buckley is founder of One Boat Collaborative and former vice president of sustainability at Staples. Shifting focus: During times of crisis we get a glimpse of the next emerging issue and how companies can impact for the long term. Following the financial crisis, we focused on more corporate transparency and accountability. Today, we have the opportunity to advocate for equity — in healthcare and access to resources. — Cecily Joseph is former vice president of corporate responsibility at Symantec. She serves as chair of the Net Impact board of directors and expert in residence at the Presidio Graduate School. Take the long view and put people first. Recognize that we are all part of an interdependent global community. Both are vital for dealing with the immediate crisis, and for ongoing and future crises.   — Bill Weihl was Google’s Green Energy Czar, leading climate and clean energy work, then spent six years at Facebook as director of sustainability. In 2020, he founded ClimateVoice. The calm voice : With all the uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 virus, sustainability managers should strive to be the calm voice of reason for the company. Help your company understand that how they respond to people in this time of crisis must continue to balance the people, planet and profit equation of sustainability. — Paul Murray , president of Integrated Sustainable Strategies, is retired vice president of sustainability at Shaw Industries and previously director of sustainability at Herman Miller. Follow the counterintuitive : Crises remind us that systems are complex, interconnected and difficult to “fix,” and yet there are leverage points which have disproportionate ability to move the system in the right direction. Unfortunately, because they are counterintuitive we almost always push on them the wrong way . In your rush to solve whatever problems COVID-19 has created for you, investing time and effort in a systems-thinking approach will always improve the outcome. — Sarah Severn is principal of Severn Consulting. She spent over two decades in senior sustainability roles at Nike, leading strategy, stakeholder engagement and championing systems thinking and collaborative change. A silver lining : For those of us working in corporate sustainability, one silver lining is that we’re comfortable with complexity and change, and our modus operandi is to plan for the long term.   — Ellen Weinreb is a sustainability and ESG recruiter, founder of Weinreb Group and co-founder Sustainability Veterans. Jump in : In a crisis, I always believed that our team should jump in big-time, especially if what’s happening is related to a social/environmental predicament. For example, in the early 2000s, my McDonald’s team got very involved in the obesity problem. I never thought I’d be spending 75 percent of my time for a few years on this, which also means you don’t work on other efforts that are important. — Bob Langert is retired vice president of sustainability, McDonald’s Corporation and editor at large for GreenBiz. The rest will follow : We were in the law library at Dell, watching the horror of the World Trade Center exploding with a plane. The room was full, but stunningly silent. However, within minutes, we had all hands on deck, locating our team members and confirming their safety. People came first, above all. As they should, and do, now. Take care of your teams, your family and those you love. Help others less fortunate. The rest will follow. — Trisa Thompson is a lawyer and former Dell Technologies chief responsibility officer. Volunteer and dig in : I learned an important lesson after the anguishing loss of Alaska Flight 261. Even if it’s not part of your normal job function, look for volunteer opportunities to dig in and help. Your day job is going to be there for you when you are finished. By helping others, you will help yourself deal with grief and anxiety, and the deep (and new) relationships forged with fellow volunteers will never be forgotten. — Jacqueline Drumheller evolved her career in corporate environmental compliance to a role launching and spearheading Alaska Airlines’ formal sustainability program. Stop. Look. Listen. A moment (or extended period) of crisis requires a deep breath, an assessment of impact and understanding of implication across the full stakeholder spectrum. One can’t always control the initial damage, but can manage emotions, actions and the example set for others to follow in charting the course necessary for recovery. — Mark Spears retired from The Walt Disney Company after nearly 30 years, spanning a series of finance, strategic planning and sustainability roles. He serves as founder and chief strategist at common+value, a sustainability consultancy. Go overboard : In 1986, I was working for Sandoz when we had the big warehouse fire in Switzerland that contaminated the Rhine River. We responded by coming up with the most stringent warehousing guidelines in the world; previously warehousing was viewed as a low-risk activity. The lesson learned was that we went overboard with our standards because we were under strict orders to make sure we never had another such incident. — Jim Thomas has led sustainability programs at Novartis, Gerber, JCPenney and Petco. Tone down the celebration : Though the scale differs, in 2008 people were losing their jobs and afraid for their futures. One of the best tools in our toolbox had always been the celebration of success, but we learned that it was not the time for self-congratulation. Rather, we needed to focus on listening, empathy and building personal, community and business resilience. — Kathrin Winkler is former chief sustainability officer for EMC Corporation, co-founder of Sustainability Veterans and editor at large for GreenBiz. Immediate vs. restorative : The 2008 financial crisis sparked hopes of a fundamental shift from short-term profits to longer-term values. As the economic downturn persisted, financially stressed companies and consumers made decisions more on value — what they could afford — than values. There is a lesson for we who hope for a different future coming from the COVID-19 crisis. We need to address immediate needs before building consensus on a restorative future. — Bart Alexander is former chief corporate responsibility officer at Molson Coors. He consults on leading sustainable change through Alexander & Associates LLC, and climate change action through Plan C Advisors. Pull Quote In your career, was there a crisis in which you learned something useful to pass on to those dealing with the current and unfolding situation created by COVID? Contributors Bob Langert Topics Leadership State of the Profession Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off

Originally posted here:
Advice for thriving amid crisis, from 14 sustainability vets

Next Page »

Bad Behavior has blocked 2251 access attempts in the last 7 days.