Innovation in Forest Carbon Solutions

July 9, 2020 by  
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Innovation in Forest Carbon Solutions Join us for a conversation on the role of forests in addressing climate change and how technology can make forest carbon projects more credible. In this one-hour webcast, GreenBiz Editorial Director Heather Clancy will moderate a discussion of World Resources Institute Deputy Director of Forests Fred Stolle, Verra Chief Innovation Officer Toby Janson-Smith, Pachama CEO Diego Saez-Gil, and Microsoft Carbon Program Manager Liz Willmott on key trends in the use of technology to improve forest carbon projects. Among the topics:  The rationale for investing in innovative forest projects How to participate in innovative solutions for climate change  The top criteria for vetting forest carbon solutions  How technology can help de-risk and scale forest carbon projects  Moderator: Heather Clancy, Editorial Director, GreenBiz Group Speakers:  Fred Stolle, Deputy Director, Forests, World Resources Institute Diego Saez-Gil, CEO & Co-founder, Pachama Toby Janson-Smith, Chief Innovation Officer, Verra Elizabeth Willmott, Carbon Program Manager, Microsoft If you can’t tune in live, please register and we will email you a link to access the archived webcast footage and resources, available to you on-demand after the webcast. taylor flores Thu, 07/09/2020 – 10:19 Heather Clancy Editorial Director GreenBiz Group @GreenTechLady Fred Stolle Deputy Director, Forests World Resources Institute Diego Saez-Gil CEO & Co-founder Pachama @dsaezgil Toby Janson-Smith Chief Innovation Officer Verra Elizabeth Willmott Carbon Program Manager Microsoft gbz_webcast_date Tue, 08/04/2020 – 10:00 – Tue, 08/04/2020 – 11:00

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Innovation in Forest Carbon Solutions

Women in Sustainability: Moving from Beginner to Badass

July 7, 2020 by  
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Women in Sustainability: Moving from Beginner to Badass Some positive news: Recent GreenBiz research finds the number of women in sustainability leadership positions has grown dramatically over the past decade — today, 58 percent of sustainability executives in large companies are female, as are 54 percent in smaller firms. Participation rates aren’t the only change: Pay gaps between genders have narrowed. But there are still plenty of systemic challenges to navigate — from breaking the glass ceiling into the C-suite to proactively addressing the lack of ethnic diversity on sustainability teams. What does it take to succeed as a woman in corporate sustainability? This intimate conversation  will offer insights about a range of topics such as how to lead compassionately in a time of crisis, how to navigate systemic corporate obstacles such as pay equity and lack of diversity within management, and how to develop effective mentoring networks for women and people of color. If you can’t tune in live, please register and we will email you a link to access the archived webcast footage and resources, available to you on-demand after the webcast. Moderator: Heather Clancy, Editorial Director, GreenBiz Group Speakers: Eunice Heath, Corporate Director of Sustainability, Dow Taylor Price, Sustainability Professional & Global Manager, Aptar Ritu Sharma Tue, 07/07/2020 – 11:03 Heather Clancy Editorial Director GreenBiz Group @GreenTechLady Eunice Heath Global Director, Sustainability Dow Chemical Company @euniceheath5 Taylor Price Global Manager, EHS & Sustainability Aptargroup Inc. gbz_webcast_date Thu, 08/13/2020 – 10:00 – Thu, 08/13/2020 – 11:00

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Lyft’s 100% EV strategy requires a policy blitz

June 24, 2020 by  
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Lyft’s 100% EV strategy requires a policy blitz Katie Fehrenbacher Wed, 06/24/2020 – 02:00 ICYMI, ride-hailing biggie Lyft announced last week that it plans to electrify every single car offering services on its platform by 2030, including both those that Lyft owns and rents to drivers and ones that its drivers own. It’s a colossal task for an 8-year-old company that says it won’t be profitable until at least 2021 and plans to slash hundreds of millions of dollars in costs this year.  Why will it be so hard? Because the vast majority of cars on the Lyft platform are owned by drivers, many of which drive for less than 10 hours a week for Lyft. So essentially Lyft has to act as a catalyst — using policy, economic and industry tools — to spur the broader transportation ecosystem to more rapidly adopt zero-emission vehicles. In particular, the unprecedented move will require an unprecedented leap forward in policies that can make electric vehicles affordable and beneficial for Lyft drivers within the next 10 years. On a media call last week, Elizabeth Sturcken, managing director at the Environmental Defense Fund, put it this way: “Lyft is committed to using the most powerful tool we have to fight climate change: policy influence.” One of Lyft’s strategies will be to work with regulators across city, regional, state and even federal levels to create an environment that reduces the upfront costs of EVs and helps drivers save money fueling them compared to gasoline cars. Lyft already has tested out creating this kind of environment in a couple of microcosms in the United States.  Lyft Director of Sustainability Sam Arons pointed to Lyft’s policy work in Colorado during the Political Climate podcast last week. Arons said Lyft was able to work with Colorado Gov. Jared Polis to modify the state’s law around Colorado’s electric vehicle tax credit and make it available to ride-hailing fleets.  As a result of the changes in the Colorado law, Lyft was able to roll out what it says is the largest electric ride-hailing deployment in the U.S. — with 200 EVs — in the Denver area of Colorado. “We want to replicate that with other policymakers in the country,” said Arons on the podcast .  Lyft is committed to using the most powerful tool we have to fight climate change: policy influence. Lyft also mentions in its white paper that the company has been working closely on policies such as California’s new law creating a Clean Miles Standard, under which ride-hailing companies soon must submit plans to introduce targets for zero-emission vehicles. Lyft says it’s been working with partners on similar legislation in other places such as Washington state. In the same vein, Lyft also has been advocating for more states to adopt laws such as California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS). That’s California’s mostly-loved law that generates LCFS credits for companies providing low carbon fuel, whether that’s from electricity, renewable diesel or renewable natural gas. Revenue from selling LCFS credits can be used to support low carbon projects in California such as EV rebates for buyers, community-based EV programs and deployment of high-speed charging stations. At the federal level, Lyft plans to try to help maintain and expand the federal zero-emission vehicle tax credits, which can be as large as $7,500 but are being lowered and phased out for some automakers that have reached the limits, such as Tesla. Beyond policy influencing, Lyft also will need to work closely with automakers to reduce EV prices and optimize new electric vehicles for ride-hailing drivers. Lyft plans to start this work by leveraging its bulk purchasing power when buying EVs for its Express Drive program, which rents cars to Lyft drivers across the country. In addition to automakers, Lyft will need to collaborate with EV infrastructure providers and utilities to get more EV chargers deployed and to create better rate designs for EV charging. There’s a whole lot of work to do, and it’ll take the entire ecosystem to get Lyft where it wants to go. Good luck, and we’ll be following along with the ride-hailing company as it leads the industry toward electrification.  Pull Quote Lyft is committed to using the most powerful tool we have to fight climate change: policy influence. Topics Transportation & Mobility Policy & Politics EV Charging Electric Vehicles Featured Column Driving Change Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off All of the initial projects will be in the United States. Courtesy of Lyft Close Authorship

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Episode 225: Lyft’s electrifying declaration, please open the windows

June 19, 2020 by  
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Episode 225: Lyft’s electrifying declaration, please open the windows Heather Clancy Fri, 06/19/2020 – 02:30 Week in Review Stories discussed this week (4:27). To make offices safe during COVID-19, buildings need a breath of fresh air Unilever unveils climate and nature fund worth more than $1 billion How Perdue, Smithfield and Silver Fern Farms are reducing packaging waste The unmasking of Corporate America Features Moving from analysis to action on circular food (29:10) Emma Chow, project lead on the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s Food initiative, chats about the role menus play in counteracting food waste and sharing practical steps for addressing the “brittleness” of the existing food system. ESG and the earnings call (39:40) Most companies don’t directly address environmental, social and governance concerns on their quarterly earnings calls. That needs to change. Tensie Whelan, director of the NYU Stern Center for Sustainable Business, offers tips for how companies can buck that trend most effectively.  Lyft drives toward electric vehicles (49:30) Ride-hailing service Lyft has committed to electrifying all of its cars by 2030. GreenBiz Senior Writer Katie Fehrenbacher has the scoop. *Music in this episode by Lee Rosevere:  “4th Avenue Walkup,” “Arcade Montage,” “I’m Going for a Coffee,”  “Here’s the Thing” and “As I Was Saying” Happy 20th anniversary , GreenBiz.com! Virtual conversations Mark your calendar for these upcoming GreenBiz webcasts. Can’t join live? All of these events also will be available on demand. Supply chains and circularity. Join us at 1 p.m. EDT June 23 for a discussion of how companies such as Interface are getting suppliers to buy into circular models for manufacturing, distribution and beyond.  Fleet of clean fleet . Real-life lessons for trucking’s future. Sign up for the conversation at 1 p.m. EDT July 2. In conversation with former Unilever CEO Paul Polman . One of the most influential voices in sustainability joins Executive Editor Joel Makower at 1 p.m. EDT July 16 for a one-on-one conversation about redesigning business and commerce in the post-pandemic era to better address sustainability and social challenges. Resources galore State of the Profession. Our sixth report examining the evolving role of corporate sustainability leaders. Download it here . The State of Green Business 2020. Our 13th annual analysis of key metrics and trends published here . Do we have a newsletter for you! We produce six weekly newsletters: GreenBuzz by Executive Editor Joel Makower (Monday); Transport Weekly by Senior Writer and Analyst Katie Fehrenbacher (Tuesday); VERGE Weekly by Executive Director Shana Rappaport and Editorial Director Heather Clancy (Wednesday); Energy Weekly by Senior Energy Analyst Sarah Golden (Thursday); Food Weekly by Carbon and Food Analyst Jim Giles (Thursday); and Circular Weekly by Director and Senior Analyst Lauren Phipps (Friday). You must subscribe to each newsletter in order to receive it. Please visit this page to choose which you want to receive. The GreenBiz Intelligence Panel is the survey body we poll regularly throughout the year on key trends and developments in sustainability. To become part of the panel, click here . Enrolling is free and should take two minutes. Stay connected To make sure you don’t miss the newest episodes of GreenBiz 350, subscribe on iTunes . Have a question or suggestion for a future segment? E-mail us at 350@greenbiz.com . Contributors Joel Makower Katie Fehrenbacher Deonna Anderson Topics Podcast Transportation & Mobility Food & Agriculture Circular Economy Electric Vehicles Supply Chain Collective Insight GreenBiz 350 Podcast Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 56:15 Sponsored Article Off GreenBiz Close Authorship

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Episode 225: Lyft’s electrifying declaration, please open the windows

Air pollution climbing back to pre-pandemic levels

June 5, 2020 by  
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Last month, news media around the world heralded cleaner skies as a byproduct of the pandemic-induced quarantines. Alas, as lockdowns are lifted, air pollution is climbing back to pre-COVID levels in  China . Several European countries may soon follow suit. Concentrations of fine particles and nitrogen dioxide (NO2) are back to where they were a year ago, according to data from the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air (Crea). In early March, when China was suffering the worst of the  pandemic , the particle count was down by 34%, while nitrogen dioxide levels had fallen by 38%. Related: Air pollution could make COVID-19 more dangerous “The rapid rebound in air pollution and coal consumption levels across China is an early warning of what a smokestack industry-led rebound could look like,” said Lauri Myllyvirta, Crea’s lead analyst, in an article from  The Guardian . “Highly polluting industries have been faster to recover from the crisis than the rest of the economy. It is essential for policymakers to prioritise clean energy.” Wuhan, the pandemic’s ground zero, is still experiencing lower than usual nitrogen dioxide levels — 14% lower than last year. However, Shanghai’s NO2 level has soared to 9% higher than in 2019. Wood Mackenzie, an energy consultancy group, expects that the second quarter of 2020 will see China’s  oil  demand recover nearly to its normal level. European cities are still enjoying significant dips in air  pollution . The Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (Cams) shows that 42 of the 50 European cities it tracks had below-average NO2 levels in March. This pollutant, which is largely produced by diesel vehicles, dropped by 30% in Paris and London during the pandemic. How fast and how much European air pollution will rebound depends on the decisions of citizens, companies and government officials. “We do not know how people’s behaviour will change, for example avoiding public transport and therefore relying more on their own cars, or continuing to work from home,” Vincent-Henri Peuch, the director of Cams, told  The Guardian . Environmentalists hope that people will choose to  walk  and cycle more and drive their cars less. + The Guardian Images via Pexels

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Heimplanet celebrates 9 years of innovative inflatable tents

June 5, 2020 by  
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For almost a decade, Heimplanet has offered adventure-seekers an option for quick and easy tent set up in a variety of environments. The company first released a line of inflatable tents in 2011; now, with summer 2020 approaching, Heimplanet is reminding  outdoor  enthusiasts that there has never been a better time to go camping. Founders Stefan Clauss and Stefan Schulze Dieckhoff got the idea for the inflatable tents while on a trip to Portugal in 2003. Traveling along the coast to surf, the two often found themselves setting up their  camp  late at night and experiencing the inconveniences of conventional tents, such as fussing with poles in the dark and the rain. Related: The North Face unveils a geodesic tent that can withstand 60 mph winds The company offers four regular tent models that sleep one to six people and are built to tolerate 80 mph winds. The four models include Fistral, The Cave, Backdoor and Nias. Those seeking a  tent  developed for more extreme use can also splurge for the Maverick, which features room for up to 10 people and the capacity to handle wind speeds up to roughly 111 mph. The inflatable tents incorporate an “Inflatable Diamond Grid” consisting of an inflatable,  modular  cage-like structure that works as a geodesic dome and says goodbye to traditional tent poles. This design allows for high stability even in volatile weather conditions — the company’s Maverick model has even protected researchers and equipment in Antarctica. Thanks to the patented multi-chamber system, the tent’s entire frame is inflated and divided into separate chambers with one easy step that takes under one minute. This multi-chamber system gives the tent its stability, while also ensuring that if one air chamber is damaged the other chambers will keep the rest of the tent erect. Separate chambers can also be replaced or repaired individually, prolonging the life of the whole structure. Resistant double-layer construction combining an airtight thermoplastic polyurethane bladder on the inside and strong polyester fabric on the outside keeps the tent  insulated  and protected. Heimplanet is also part of the 1% For the Planet community, pledging 1% of sales to environmental preservation and restoration. The company has also recently implemented a “re-store” program that  restores  and repairs used models. + Heimplanet Images via Heimplanet, Luca Jaenichen, Sondre Forsell, Kevin Ellison, and Thibault Bevilacqua

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Episode 223: Climate action and racial justice must converge, urban forest credits

June 5, 2020 by  
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Episode 223: Climate action and racial justice must converge, urban forest credits Heather Clancy Fri, 06/05/2020 – 02:00 Week in Review Commentary on this week’s news highlights begins at 13:00. This moment: An open letter to the GreenBiz community Al Gore: Climate action is “bound together” with racial equality and liberation How the Navajo got their day in the sun It takes a village to succeed in climate tech Features The quest for net-positive buildings (22:35) The pressure for companies and cities to consider the climate crisis — and associated risks — in post-COVID 19 recovery strategies is increasing. How feasible are net-positive buildings, and how might our new economic landscape affect their development? We discuss the issue with Ryan Colker, vice president of innovation for the International Code Council; and Andrew Klein, a professional engineer who is a member of ICC and code consultant for the Building Owners and Managers Association International. Growing a carbon market for urban forests (34:45) The process of issuing carbon credits for reforestation projects in places such as rainforests as well established — not so much when it comes to trees growing in the shadow of skyscrapers. Mark McPherson, executive director of City Forest Credits, talks about the nonprofit’s mission to plant and preserve more trees to towns and cities, and how companies can get involved. Extending the life of medical equipment (43:25) The iFixit repair site just added the world’s largest medical equipment repair database, a free resource for hospitals having trouble fixing equipment quickly — a problem exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. The site’s CEO and founder, Kyle Weens, joins us to chat about the project and why more product vendors should rethink their repair and service policies. *Music in this episode by Lee Rosevere:  “Southside,” “More On That Later,” “Night Caves,” “Curiosity” and “As I Was Saying” *This episode was sponsored by UPS. Virtual conversations Mark your calendar for these upcoming GreenBiz webcasts. Can’t join live? All of these events also will be available on demand. The future of risk assessment. Ideas for building a supply chain resilient to both short-term disruptions such as the pandemic and long-term risks such as climate change. Register here for the session at 1 p.m. EDT June 16. Supply chains and circularity. Join us at 1 p.m. EDT June 23 for a discussion of how companies such as Interface are getting suppliers to buy into circular models for manufacturing, distribution and beyond.  Resources galore State of the Profession. Our sixth report examining the evolving role of corporate sustainability leaders. Download it here . The State of Green Business 2020. Our 13th annual analysis of key metrics and trends published here . Do we have a newsletter for you! We produce six weekly newsletters: GreenBuzz by Executive Editor Joel Makower (Monday); Transport Weekly by Senior Writer and Analyst Katie Fehrenbacher (Tuesday); VERGE Weekly by Executive Director Shana Rappaport and Editorial Director Heather Clancy (Wednesday); Energy Weekly by Senior Energy Analyst Sarah Golden (Thursday); Food Weekly by Carbon and Food Analyst Jim Giles (Thursday); and Circular Weekly by Director and Senior Analyst Lauren Phipps (Friday). You must subscribe to each newsletter in order to receive it. Please visit this page to choose which you want to receive. The GreenBiz Intelligence Panel is the survey body we poll regularly throughout the year on key trends and developments in sustainability. To become part of the panel, click here . Enrolling is free and should take two minutes. Stay connected To make sure you don’t miss the newest episodes of GreenBiz 350, subscribe on iTunes . Have a question or suggestion for a future segment? E-mail us at 350@greenbiz.com . Contributors Joel Makower Topics Podcast Carbon Removal Equity & Inclusion Offsets Collective Insight GreenBiz 350 Podcast Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 56:55 Sponsored Article Off GreenBiz Close Authorship

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Episode 223: Climate action and racial justice must converge, urban forest credits

Real-life Lessons for Trucking’s Clean Future

June 1, 2020 by  
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Real-life Lessons for Trucking’s Clean Future Having flown under the radar for decades, the trucking industry more than proved its value during the COVID-19 crisis as hospital, grocery and e-commerce deliveries became critical. With more attention on the industry and its current practices, we want to focus on its future as well. Trucking is ready for a transition to electric vehicles, and that transition is primed to start in the urban and regional-haul segments that’s been so essential for us during the pandemic. This webcast will dive into trucking’s role in our supply chain, how it has evolved since March, and how the industry will evolve into its green future. Hear from industry leaders from Hirschbach, United Parcel Service, Shell and NACFE/RMI. Moderator : Katie Fehrenbacher, Senior Writer & Analyst, Transportation, GreenBiz Group Speakers :  Mike Roeth, Executive Director, NACFE; Truck Operations Leader, Rocky Mountain Institute John Vesey, Professional driver, Hirschbach saracefalu2 Mon, 06/01/2020 – 14:07 Katie Fehrenbacher Senior Writer & Analyst, Transportation GreenBiz @katiefehren Mike Roeth Executive Director Carbon War Room and North American Council for Freight Efficiency @mikeroeth John Vesey Professional driver Hirschbach gbz_webcast_date Thu, 07/02/2020 – 13:00 – Thu, 07/02/2020 – 14:00

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Episode 221: Mapping biodiversity, repair and the circular economy

May 22, 2020 by  
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Episode 221: Mapping biodiversity, repair and the circular economy Heather Clancy Fri, 05/22/2020 – 01:21 Week in Review Commentary on this week’s news highlights begins at 4:35. AB InBev VP: Our quest for “agile” sustainable development continues L et’s get together: Intel’s 2030 commitments include “shared” climate and social goals How coronavirus will affect 4 key environmental issues Features Esri and the science of corporate biodiversity (20:45) The sophistication of environmental monitoring tools continues to grow, with satellites, sensors and artificial intelligence all playing a role. We chat about potential business applications with Dawn Wright, chief scientist of geographic information systems software leader Esri.  Highlights from Circularity 20 Digital (32:45) Due to the pandemic, this week’s Circularity conference was postponed until August — when it will be held as a primarily virtual event . (Registration details here.) Here are some highlights from this week’s precursor, which featured an interview on the viability of reusable packaging, and two panel sessions — one on the future of recycled plastics in an age of cheap oil and one on the role of repair in circular economy strategies. TerraCycle CEO Tom Szaky on what goes into a life cycle assessment for reusable packaging Dell Senior Vice President Ed Boyd on how designing for repair can dovetail with a broader circular economy strategy *This episode was sponsored by WestRock.  *Music in this episode by Lee Rosevere and admiralbob77:  “Southside” and “Curiosity” (Lee Rosevere); “Two Guitars,” “Sax, Guitar and Organ at the Club” and “Confederation Line” (admiralbob77) Virtual Conversations Mark your calendar for these upcoming GreenBiz webcasts. Can’t join live? All of these events also will be available on demand. Scaling municipal fleets. Experts from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, ChargePoint, Smart City Columbus and the city of Oakland, California share tips at 1 p.m. EDT May 26.   This is climate tech. Join respected venture capitalists Nancy Pfund (DBL Partners), Andrew Beebe (Obvious Ventures) and Andrew Chung (1955 Capital) for a discussion at 1 p.m. EDT May 28 about compelling solutions and startups that address the climate crisis — and how big companies can play a role in scaling them. The future of risk assessment. Ideas for building a supply chain resilient to both short-term disruptions such as the pandemic and long-term risks such as climate change. Register here for the session at 1 p.m. EDT June 16. Resources galore State of the Profession. Our sixth report examining the evolving role of corporate sustainability leaders. Download it here . The State of Green Business 2020. Our 13th annual analysis of key metrics and trends published here . Do we have a newsletter for you! We produce six weekly newsletters: GreenBuzz by Executive Editor Joel Makower (Monday); Transport Weekly by Senior Writer and Analyst Katie Fehrenbacher (Tuesday); VERGE Weekly by Executive Director Shana Rappaport and Editorial Director Heather Clancy (Wednesday); Energy Weekly by Senior Energy Analyst Sarah Golden (Thursday); Food Weekly by Carbon and Food Analyst Jim Giles (Thursday); and Circular Weekly by Director and Senior Analyst Lauren Phipps (Friday). You must subscribe to each newsletter in order to receive it. Please visit this page to choose which you want to receive. The GreenBiz Intelligence Panel is the survey body we poll regularly throughout the year on key trends and developments in sustainability. To become part of the panel, click here . Enrolling is free and should take two minutes. Stay connected To make sure you don’t miss the newest episodes of GreenBiz 350, subscribe on iTunes . Have a question or suggestion for a future segment? E-mail us at 350@greenbiz.com . Contributors Joel Makower Topics Podcast Circular Economy Circularity 20 Collective Insight GreenBiz 350 Podcast Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 42:41 Sponsored Article Off GreenBiz Close Authorship

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Episode 221: Mapping biodiversity, repair and the circular economy

The decarbonization promise of indoor agriculture is still in the seed stage

May 22, 2020 by  
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The decarbonization promise of indoor agriculture is still in the seed stage Jim Giles Fri, 05/22/2020 – 01:18 Here’s a tale of two chefs. Both are based in the Midwest and both are preparing a Caesar salad. One uses lettuce shipped from where much of our lettuce is grown: The fields around Monterey, California. The other sources her greens from a nearby indoor farm. Out in Monterey, the farmer used diesel-powered machinery, pumped water, fertilizer and pesticides. At the indoor farm, precision systems provided the lettuce with exactly the amount of water and nutrients the crop requires — and no more. The pickers in California discarded lettuces that didn’t look perfect. That wasn’t an issue indoors: Conditions are so well controlled that almost all the crop met consumers’ exacting standards. Finally, when the crop was packed and ready, the indoor farmer drove 20 miles or so to drop the lettuce at our chef’s restaurant. The Monterey produce had to travel 2,000 miles. Which chef is preparing the more environmentally friendly salad? Let’s start with the bad news. The story above about indoor farming, a tale about a technology can produce dramatic environmental gains — it doesn’t hold true. The Monterey lettuce is currently the better bet, according to a new analysis from the WWF . For places that are food-insecure, this could be a real game-changer. The problem with indoor farming, also known as controlled environment agriculture, is the electric grid. Indoor farms use LEDs to light crops. In St. Louis, Missouri, the focus of the WWF study, two-thirds of electricity comes from fossil fuel plants that pump out health-damaging particulates and planet-warming carbon dioxide. The WWF team combined these and other impacts into a single score that captures total environmental harm. Lettuce grown in St. Louis greenhouses, which supplement LEDs with natural light, scored twice as high as the conventional crop. In a vertical farm lit entirely by LEDs, the difference was threefold. Now to the good news: Our chef who sources from a nearby indoor farm may not be making the best environmental choice today, but she likely will be soon. That’s partly because if we look beyond energy use, indoor ag delivers clear benefits. Indoor systems require little or even no pesticides and generate 80 percent less waste. They use less space, which can free up land for biodiversity. The WWF study found that precision indoor water systems use 1 liter of water to produce a kilogram of lettuce; for field-grown lettuce, the figure is 150 liters. Another reason is that indoor ag’s energy problem is likely to become less serious. Market forces are already adding renewables to the U.S. electricity mix and pushing out coal. Technology improvements in the pipeline also will cut energy use in indoor farms. PlantLab , a Netherlands-based startup, has developed an LED that’s more efficient in indoor ag settings because it emits light at the exact wavelengths used for photosynthesis. New crop varieties from Precision Indoor Plants , a public-private partnership that is developing seeds specifically for indoor use, may require less light to grow. This tech is at an early stage, which makes it tough to quantify future impact. But the data we do have shows that a combination of efficiency improvements and grid decarbonization can make indoor farms a much better environmental choice for some crops. Cutting energy use also will lower costs, making indoor farms competitive on price. It’s fascinating to speculate about what would happen if both these trends came to fruition. Indoor farms likely would diversify, for starters. At present, indoor farms in urban areas profitably can grow leafy greens but little else. If energy costs come down, cucumbers, berries and tomatoes also might make financial sense, suggests Julia Kurnik , director of innovation startups for WWF. When this project ends, key players will already be invested and ready to move ahead with building a pilot system that can be replicated worldwide … With more diverse output, the farms could become local hubs that would strengthen the food system’s resilience to extreme weather events and other shocks. “For places that are food-insecure, this could be a real game-changer,” Kurnik added. Venture capitalists already have seen this future; hundreds of millions of dollars have flowed to indoor farming companies in recent years. That’s essential if this industry is to grow, but it’s also great to see an organization such as the WWF in the mix. After studying the potential, the WWF has convened a diverse group of stakeholders to map out the expansion of indoor ag in St. Louis. In addition to business execs and investors, the group includes civic and community leaders. “By working as a group to make those decisions,” explains the report, “when this project ends, key players will already be invested and ready to move ahead with building a pilot system that can be replicated worldwide, making food production more environmentally sustainable.” I’ll certainly be keeping tabs on progress in St. Louis, and with indoor ag more generally. If you know of a particular project or related technology that deserves a mention, drop me an email at jg@greenbiz.com . This article was adapted from the GreenBiz Food Weekly newsletter.  Sign up here  to receive your own free subscription. Pull Quote For places that are food-insecure, this could be a real game-changer. When this project ends, key players will already be invested and ready to move ahead with building a pilot system that can be replicated worldwide … Topics Food & Agriculture Urban Agriculture Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off

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