Behind Microsoft’s bold plan to build social equity into clean energy buying

August 6, 2020 by  
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Behind Microsoft’s bold plan to build social equity into clean energy buying Heather Clancy Thu, 08/06/2020 – 00:45 There were plenty of juicy news tidbits in Microsoft’s recent progress report about its goal to become carbon negative over the next decade. But its new goal to link at least 500 megawatts of forthcoming solar energy contracts to environmental justice considerations is bold for many reasons.  For context, the total pledge amounts to about a quarter of the capacity that Microsoft already has signed (1.9 gigawatts) in solar and wind contracts. This is the largest commitment it has made to a single portfolio investment, so it isn’t some side project. Nor is this a reaction to the nationwide protests triggered by the death of George Floyd this spring — the active planning has been under way since December.  “We spend a lot of time talking about the energy transition needed if our society is going to transition to a net-zero economy by 2050,” Microsoft’s environment chief, Lucas Joppa, told me. “Microsoft’s position is that the transition has to be an inclusive and just one.” The arrangement, with project financer, investor and developer Sol Systems , will prioritize opportunities and investments in communities “disproportionately affected by environmental challenges.” What does that mean more specifically?  The installations could be in urban neighborhoods that haven’t typically had access to economically priced clean energy resources or that historically have been disproportionately affected by pollution. But they also might be sited in rural communities that have been negatively affected by job losses triggered by the closure of fossil fuels plants or extraction operations, notes Sol Systems co-founder and CEO Yuri Horwitz. “We think it’s equally important that we engage all segments of society,” he said.  As anyone responsible for renewable energy knows, it historically has been very difficult to build metrics around the social impacts of projects. The arrangement also will prioritize buying from minority and women-owned businesses. And it will provide at least $50 million in the form of grants to support educational programs, career training, habitat restoration and initiatives that provide low-income communities with access to clean energy and energy efficiency programs. “Solar is, and should be, an economic engine for everyone,” Horwitz added. To make this work, the two companies created a framework power purchase agreement to cover individual projects as they are identified with the intention of getting them validated and approved more quickly. Among the terms: A certain portion of the revenue that’s generated will be reinvested back into the community where a solar farm is located. “You can do this at scale and at a price point that is economically doable,” Joppa said. Microsoft will use third-party evaluators to help quantify and document both the social and environmental outcomes.  Lily Donge, a former principal in the energy practice at Rocky Mountain Institute and now director of corporate innovation for communities with Groundswell, believes Microsoft’s deal with Sol Systems is a sign of things to come. “We do not know whether the community process will be equitable, transparent or consultative,” she wrote on the community solar organization’s blog. “But this is a signal that a giant tech company is willing to understand the demands of the community, under-served customers and the public at large.” As anyone responsible for renewable energy knows, it historically has been very difficult to build metrics around the social impacts of projects, but Sol Systems has been focusing on methodologies for doing so for the past 12 years — it already has about 800 MW of similar projects in its portfolio , including deals it has done for Amazon and Under Armour . The latter project was built in Maryland on land that couldn’t be used for residential development; it will contribute about $1.4 million in tax revenue to the local community. Another Sol Systems ally is Nationwide Insurance, its financing partner . This isn’t the only relationship Microsoft will use to procure energy in the future, so it will be important to watch how that consideration bleeds into other contracts. I’ll definitely be asking. You should do so, too. This article first appeared in GreenBiz’s weekly newsletter, VERGE Weekly, running Wednesdays. Subscribe  here . Follow me on Twitter: @greentechlady. Pull Quote As anyone responsible for renewable energy knows, it historically has been very difficult to build metrics around the social impacts of projects. Topics Social Justice Renewable Energy Corporate Procurement 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 Sol’s 196-kilowatt solar installation at Christ Church apartments, a low-to-moderate income senior living facility located on the Baltimore Harbor.  Courtesy of Sol Systems Close Authorship

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Behind Microsoft’s bold plan to build social equity into clean energy buying

BMW, Ford, other automakers rev up carbon commitments

July 29, 2020 by  
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BMW, Ford, other automakers rev up carbon commitments Katie Fehrenbacher Wed, 07/29/2020 – 02:00 The world’s biggest automakers are ramping up their carbon commitments even as they struggle to build back in the wake of the pandemic.  This week, Germany’s BMW took the plunge and set a goal to reduce its carbon emissions per car by at least one-third by 2030. Like its peers, BMW plans to reach those targets through a combination of developing and selling electric vehicles (including newly announced electric versions of the 5 Series sedan and X1 compact SUV), combined with incorporating more sustainable materials, working with its supply chain vendors and adopting clean energy for facilities. Last month, Ford announced that the company would become carbon neutral by 2050, a striking commitment for an American automaker. Mary Wroten, director of sustainability at Ford, told GreenBiz that Ford is aiming for 2050 to align with the Paris Commitments and because “anything after 2050 is unacceptable climate change risk.” Several big European and Asian automakers already have started down this road. Volvo Cars — owned by China’s Geely Holding and not to be mistaken with Volvo Group — is pledging to become carbon neutral by 2040. By 2025, Volvo Cars plans to reduce the CO2 footprint of each car it makes by 40 percent.  We have an obligation to get electrification right.   Volkswagen, which has linked electric vehicles to its comeback following the emissions scandal, says it’ll be carbon neutral by 2050. “We have an obligation to get electrification right,” Volkswagen Group of America CEO Scott Keogh said in a release last year.  So what’s behind this carbon car company tipping point, even as automakers are expecting slower sales this year due to a global recession? Three macrotrends: Regulators in Europe and China are tightening emissions rules and driving automakers that sell into those markets to launch zero- and low-emissions vehicles. The U.S. at a federal level is lagging behind this movement, but states such as California have been acting much more aggressively to mandate emissions reductions targets for vehicles (such as the new Advanced Clean Truck rule). In general over the years, the auto industry has been slow to adopt zero-emission vehicle technologies. That has created an opening for upstart automakers such as Tesla, Rivian and Nikola Motors to emerge and gain customers from big auto. Rivian won a 100,000 electric delivery and freight truck deal with Amazon. Tesla is eligible to join the S&P 500 after four profitable quarters. Losing marketshare, and fear of losing marketshare, is a key driver of remaking the auto industry around sustainability.  Some automakers are using the struggles of the pandemic to lean into sustainability goals. “Build back better” is a refrain I’ve heard from a variety of transportation companies in recent weeks. In Europe, there’s a major push to fund clean transportation infrastructure, both EV chargers and hydrogen fueling, in stimulus packages.  What do you think? Are the automakers doing enough when it comes to carbon emissions? Love to hear your thoughts: katie@greenbiz.com . This article is adapted from GreenBiz’s weekly newsletter, Transport Weekly, running Tuesdays. Subscribe  here . Pull Quote We have an obligation to get electrification right. Topics Transportation & Mobility Automobiles 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 The BMW 7 series electric car at Bangkok Motor Show 2020.

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AMD’s energy-slashing feat

July 17, 2020 by  
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AMD’s energy-slashing feat Heather Clancy Fri, 07/17/2020 – 01:00 It isn’t often I have the mindspace to proactively follow up on every commitment proclaimed by the companies I cover. But I recently paused to catch up about one that has particular relevance as more companies act to address their Scope 3 emissions reductions, those generated by supply chains and customers: AMD’s bold pledge back in 2014 to improve the energy efficiency of its mobile processors — the components used in notebook computers and specialized embedded systems, such as medical imaging equipment or industrial applications — by 25 times by 2020. Not-so-spoiler alert: The fact that I’m bringing it up should be a big hint that the company has delivered. In fact, AMD overachieved the goal, delivering a 31.7 times improvement with its new Ryzen 7 4800H processor. In layperson’s terms, that means that the chip consumes 84 percent energy, while taking 80 percent less compute time for certain tasks. For you and me, that means batteries last longer. For companies buying entire portfolios of devices based on these processors, they will see their electricity consumption reduced. (The specific reduction you’d see by upgrading 50,000 laptops would be 1.4 million kilowatt-hours.) Consider this perspective from tech research analyst Bob O’Donnell, president of TECHnalysis Research: “Lower energy consumption has never been more important for the planet, and the company’s ability to meet its target while also achieving strong processor performance is a great reflection of what a market-leading, engineering-focus company they’ve become.” Indeed, when I chatted with Susan Moore, AMD’s corporate vice president for corporate responsibility and government affairs, she told me it took “a full company focus and a lot of innovation” by the AMD engineering team to make the goal happen. Note to others attempting the same sort of thing. Although the company had pretty good visibility into what it would be able to pull off early on during the six-year period, there were plenty of questions marks, and it took unwavering support (and faith) from AMD CEO Lisa Su to keep true, Moore said.  Actually getting there took some very specific design changes, outlined in a blog by AMD Chief Technology Officer Mark Papermaster. Here are some of them: Investments in new semiconductor manufacturing processors (specifically 7 nanometer technology) Changes to the real-time power management algorithms The integration of the central processor and graphics architecture into a common “system on a chip” (among other architecture changes) Changes to the interconnections between the components (its proprietary approach for this is called the Infinity Fabric) Moore said close collaboration with customers (such as the original equipment manufacturers using AMD chips for their computers) was also critical. “A large part is the ability to sit down with likeminded organizations,” she noted.  Plus, disclosure. AMD decided to declare its progress year to year. (Here’s the report card from 2018, for an idea of how it shared the information.) “That was definitely a risk, but we thought it was very important that is was something that we talk about along the way, so we did measurements every year,” Moore said.  I wish every company were that transparent. Topics Information Technology Energy & Climate Energy Efficiency Featured Column Practical Magic Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off Courtesy of AMD Close Authorship

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California’s new truck rule: It’s big, it’s bold, it’s controversial

July 1, 2020 by  
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California’s new truck rule: It’s big, it’s bold, it’s controversial Katie Fehrenbacher Wed, 07/01/2020 – 00:30  California’s epic clean truck rule has arrived. It’s big. It’s bold. It’s controversial.  After months of discussion, last week the California Air Resources Board (CARB) unanimously approved the Advanced Clean Truck rule, which says that more than half of the trucks sold in California have to be zero-emission by 2035. By 2045, all new commercial trucks sold in California must be zero-emission.  The truck rule follows another California law ( passed in 2018 ) that says all new public transit buses sold must be zero-emission starting in 2029. The combination of these policies makes California one of the most aggressive regions in the world pushing electric trucks and buses.  Environmentalists hailed the decision , calling it a win that will help clean up the air for disadvantaged communities that live in areas with a large amount of trucks. For example, in the Inland Empire in Southern California, where there’s an Amazon distribution hub, growth in e-commerce has led to tens of thousands of trucks per day on the roads. CARB estimates that 2 million diesel trucks cause 70 percent of the smog-causing pollution in the state. Transportation emissions represent 40 percent of California’s greenhouse gas emissions, and without taking aggressive steps the state will not be able to meet its climate goals.  The rule also could help kick-start an electric truck market, which has been slow to emerge.   The rule also could help kick-start an electric truck market, which has been slow to emerge. Adoption has been delayed partly because of costly and short-range batteries, and hesitancy from many traditional commercial automakers. But in the past year, truck makers such as Daimler and Volvo Trucks have started to take electric trucks much more seriously.  Nonprofit CALSTART predicts that 169 medium and heavy-duty zero-emission vehicle models   will be available by the end of 2020, growing 78 percent from the end of 2019. All-electric truck companies such as BYD, Rivian and Tesla are set to capitalize on the trend.    So who’s not so enamored with the rule? Some traditional truck and auto parts makers:  The Truck and Engine Manufacturers Association  has been pushing against more stringent regulations in the face of COVID-19, citing concerns over added costs.  Some oil industry and low-carbon fuel companies:  The Western States Petroleum Association, an oil industry lobbying group, has opposed the rule , saying it would eliminate promising efficiency and low-carbon fuel technologies.  Smaller truck fleet operators: Many are worried about the higher upfront costs to buy zero-emission trucks and new fueling infrastructure. It’ll be a challenge no doubt. And potentially might be challenged itself.  But I’ll leave you with a quote from CARB’s Mary Nichols  about the rule (from The New York Times). This might be Nichols’ last major regulation before she retires later this year:  This is exactly the right time for this rule. … We certainly know that the economy is in a rough shape right now, and there aren’t a lot of new vehicles of any kind. But when they are able to buy vehicles again, we think it’s important that they be investing in the cleanest kinds of vehicles. This article is adapted from GreenBiz’s weekly newsletter, Transport Weekly, running Tuesdays. Subscribe  here . Pull Quote The rule also could help kick-start an electric truck market, which has been slow to emerge. Topics Transportation & Mobility Clean Fleets Zero Emissions 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 Trucks – CC license by Flickr user Andrew Atzert

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This coastal Louisiana tribe is using generations of resilience to handle the pandemic

July 1, 2020 by  
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This coastal Louisiana tribe is using generations of resilience to handle the pandemic Barry Yeoman Wed, 07/01/2020 – 00:15 When the COVID-19 outbreak first reached Louisiana and residents were  ordered  to stay at home, Marie Marlene V. Foret tapped into some skills she learned seven decades ago. Foret chairs the tribal council of the  Grand Caillou/Dulac Band  of Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaw, which has lived along the bayous south of Houma, Louisiana for generations. When Foret was a child in the 1940s and ’50s, her family packed up every fall and moved to a trapping camp at the edge of the Gulf of Mexico. Her father caught mink, otter and muskrat, which he sold to traders for their pelts. During trapping season, the family lived in a wood-frame house, insulated with newspaper and illuminated with coal-oil lamps. They ate what they grew and hunted: garden vegetables; ducks; and the coots French-speaking Louisianans call  pouldeau . Self-isolation was the norm. “We stayed weeks and weeks and weeks without seeing anybody,” said Foret, 73. “So we were secluded from the get-go.” Then the land around the trapping camp started to disappear. The engineering of waterways, oil and gas development and sea level rise have  erased 2,000 square miles  from the Louisiana coastline since the 1930s. As the Gulf swallowed the wetlands the tribe relied on, families moved inland, using traditional knowledge to gauge how far they needed to travel to protect themselves from the worst flooding while still supporting some of their foodways. The engineering of waterways, oil and gas development and sea level rise have erased 2,000 square miles from the Louisiana coastline since the 1930s. Foret lives in Bourg, about 20 miles north of where she grew up. On this shape-shifting edge of Louisiana, the Grand Caillou/Dulac Band has developed a set of practices to survive the slow corrosion of land loss and sudden disasters such as hurricanes. It has built cyclicality into its culture, assuming hardship will follow abundance and require periods of hunkering down. Tribal members make do with less and develop new ways to produce and share food. They also recognize that not everyone is equally self-sufficient, so younger members check in with elders to make sure their needs are met. The coronavirus pandemic is testing how well these systems work. The Houma-Thibodaux metropolitan area, which has about 208,000 residents and includes the bayou country where tribal members live, has incidence and mortality rates well above the national average: 1,248 reported cases and 100 deaths as of May 12. Last month, Houma-Thibodaux briefly  ranked 15th nationwide  in a New York Times listing of metro and micro areas with the most cumulative COVID-19 deaths per capita.  By contrast, Shirell Parfait-Dardar, the Grand Caillou/Dulac Band’s traditional chief, said she knew of only one case among her tribe’s 450 members: a young man who worked at a shipyard and recovered after quarantining at home. While many Native American communities have high  risk factors  — overcrowding, chronic medical conditions and underfunded health care systems — and the pandemic has slammed  Navajo Nation  in the American West, Louisiana’s tribes appear to have been spared the brunt so far. The U.S. Census designates 0.8 percent of Louisianans as American Indian or Alaska Native, but those two groups account for just  0.04 percent of COVID-19 deaths  statewide as of May 11. Parfait-Dardar hopes the practices handed across generations will keep that number down and help her tribe and others emerge from the outbreak with minimal harm. “We have to have a really tight community system, and it has to function perfectly,” said the 40-year-old chief. “If it doesn’t, people die.” We have to have a really tight community system, and it has to function perfectly … If it doesn’t, people die. The past 15 years have tested the resilience of everyone living along Louisiana’s Gulf Coast, including the Grand Caillou/Dulac Band and the four other state-recognized tribes that live nearby. Increasingly destructive hurricanes have pummeled the coastline. Pollution plagues the region: The 2010 BP oil spill contaminated the Gulf, destroyed marshlands and shut down commercial fishing harvests on which many rely. Both the storms and the spill are inextricably tied to coastal erosion caused by a century of human activity. The oil and gas industry has cut 10,000 miles of canals through marsh ecosystems, funneling saltwater inland and destroying freshwater root systems. Levees along the Mississippi River have prevented sediment from naturally replenishing wetlands. As those wetlands disappear, hurricanes deliver more storm surge and accelerate land loss.  Climate change caused by greenhouse gas emissions threatens to raise the sea level by more than six feet this century. Even outside hurricane season, the tribe contends with periodic flooding that damages septic systems, threatens cars and traps residents inside their homes. It’s a continuous onslaught.  After Hurricane Gustav in 2008, residents were blindsided by how high the water had risen, even in homes that were inland and elevated. They had to salvage property and dispose of dead chickens and goats. “That hurts to have to do that,” said Parfait-Dardar. “Your heart breaks.” She remembers seeing anguish among her neighbors — but not paralysis. “We’ve been dealing with this forever,” she said. “We don’t have time to wait for [federal] funds to come in… We go to the elders. We clean out their houses. We start doing what we know we need to do. And we start getting things back to the way that they need to be.” Parfait-Dardar became chief in 2009, and has spent much of her tenure thinking about longer-term adaptation. Hurricane Gustav confirmed that raising livestock is no longer viable for many people. “We will not suffer any animal,” she said. “The chickens and things that we once kept there are subject to random flooding. We’re not going to do that to them.” Some members live further inland and can continue to raise animals safely, she added. They share the products, mostly eggs and goat milk, with those in low-lying areas.  Parfait-Dardar is secretary of the First People’s Conservation Council, a collaboration of six Louisiana tribes whose representatives meet periodically to strategize about sustainable food production as the land disappears and soil is more frequently flooded and contaminated. Drawing from the council’s discussions, she encourages her tribe to create raised-bed and box gardens. In her own backyard, she built a raised-bed garden that uses a recycled trampoline as a trellis for green beans. Others are planting tomatoes, bell peppers and parsley in portable containers that can be moved if necessary.  “I’ve even seen somebody grow potatoes in a five-gallon bucket,” said Michael Gregoire Sr., a tugboat captain and tribal member. The tribe is exploring the option of planting in straw bales, which are movable and easily raised. Flooding also has forced the Grand Caillou/Dulac Band, along with others on the Louisiana coast, to elevate their houses. They are considering other types of homes, too, including houseboats. We’re having to try to navigate ourselves according to Mother Nature and how she’s changing. These are 21st-century versions of what Foret learned about nimbleness as a child. “We’re having to try to navigate ourselves according to Mother Nature and how she’s changing,” said Parfait-Dardar. “We’ve thrown her off, and now we need to adjust what we’re doing in accordance with her.” For many middle-class Americans, the COVID-19 pandemic is a first reckoning with food not being immediately accessible. Kinks in the supply chain, strained delivery services and fears of contagion inside supermarkets has made shopping a fraught experience. Foret, however, opened her freezer and started cooking. There were lima beans, green beans and mustard greens she had bought from her neighbors’ gardens last summer, as well as shrimp from relatives’ boats, purchased 50 to 100 pounds at a time. Foret’s stepson, who lives with her, supplemented meals with curbside pickup at Walmart. But much of the dinner plate came from the tribe’s informal economy. This strategy, designed to get Foret through the winter, is getting her through the pandemic. The acknowledgment of seasonality is common to Louisiana’s tribes, said Rev. Kristina Peterson, facilitator at the Lowlander Center, a Native-led nonprofit that promotes resilience in Louisiana’s bayou country. “The Hebrew tradition of sabbathing is also an indigenous way of being with each other and the Earth,” she said. While others are having trouble hunkering down, the coronavirus outbreak has “allowed the indigenous to be the indigenous without being [seen] as peculiar or weird.” Tribal members have continued to take care of each other. Early in the outbreak, Parfait-Dardar shut down the sewing shop she owns and focused on tribal affairs. When Gov. John Bel Edwards issued his March 22 stay-at-home order, the chief, who chairs the governor’s Native American Commission, communicated by phone and email with a contact in the governor’s office. She urged strict enforcement to slow the spread of the virus.  Parfait-Dardar checked on tribal members and identified those most vulnerable because of their age or health conditions such as diabetes. Those who needed daily phone calls received them. Those who need live-in help got it from a relative. “Some [people] will put their mama or their daddy in an old-folks home,” said Gregoire, the tugboat captain. “That’s not us. Our parents took care of us when we were little. Now that our parents are older, we take care of our parents.” Despite their isolation and self-sustaining practices, tribal members are affected by the economic downturn during the pandemic. Some work for the oil and gas industry, building and repairing vessels, and have seen their hours cut. Others do commercial shrimping, although demand for domestic seafood is down and many processors have closed temporarily.  In response, Parfait-Dardar reached out to U.S. Rep. Garret Graves, a Louisiana Republican who secured the federal purchase of 20 million pounds of Gulf Coast shrimp last month to help sustain businesses. Along with representatives from four other tribes and the Lowlander Center, the chief has asked Graves to help direct 60 percent of the purchase to indigenous and other traditional harvesters. In an email to Southerly, Graves spokesman Kevin Roig said the congressman will “continue to encourage the U.S. Department of Agriculture to acquire the shrimp from diverse sources across our communities.” But another Graves staffer, Dustin Davidson, notified Parfait-Dardar in an email that USDA was planning to buy shrimp landed in 2019.  Parfait-Dardar said she’s trying to follow the lead of older tribal members who have survived other catastrophes and intend to survive this one. “It’s amazing here in bayou country,” she said. “Our elders are the ones that are most at risk for this virus. But yet they’re so calm. They’re like: Look, do not let this overwhelm you. We know that it’s a virus. We know that it needs people to spread through. We are used to being isolated. We are used to being away from everyone else. We just keep those same practices going.” This story was originally published by Southerly and was supported by the Solutions Journalism Network. Pull Quote The engineering of waterways, oil and gas development and sea level rise have erased 2,000 square miles from the Louisiana coastline since the 1930s. We have to have a really tight community system, and it has to function perfectly … If it doesn’t, people die. We’re having to try to navigate ourselves according to Mother Nature and how she’s changing. Topics Food Systems COVID-19 Cities & Communities Resilience Supply Chain Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off Bayou Black in Houma, Louisiana Shutterstock Realest Nature Close Authorship

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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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The 2020 GreenBiz 30 Under 30

June 22, 2020 by  
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The 2020 GreenBiz 30 Under 30 GreenBiz Editors Mon, 06/22/2020 – 02:30 If you’re looking for the light of inspiration during one of the darkest periods the world has seen in decades, you’ve come to the right place. We are proud to introduce our fifth annual cohort of twentysomethings who are sustainability leaders within — and without — their companies, nonprofits and communities. The Class of 2020 hails from seven countries, including Switzerland, the Netherlands, Brazil and Taiwan, and they are tackling diverse challenges — from cultivating a more sustainable food system to advocating for climate justice on behalf of disadvantaged communities to testing best practices for circular cities to negotiating impactful renewable energy contracts. The list of their accomplishments is long and growing longer by the day, and they’re just getting started. NIne members of this year’s cohort work are affiliated with some of the world’s most influential companies, including Allbirds, Amazon, Goldman Sachs, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, MetLife, Moody’s Investor Services and Saint-Gobain. Others are making waves in the business world from other perches, including government, consultancies, startups and environmental justice advocacy groups. The GreenBiz 2020 30 Under 30 honorees were nominated by GreenBiz readers and community members around the world and selected by the GreenBiz editorial team. Grateful appreciation to the World Business Council for Sustainable Business and the Yale Center for Business and the Environment for helping us spread the word. Please join us in congratulating and celebrating the best and brightest of 2020 — at a time when we all could benefit from approaching challenges with fresh eyes. Here they are, in alphabetical order: Emily Adams, 27  Senior Sustainability Lead, MetLife; New York LinkedIn   Emily Adams’ parents impressed on her the beauty and fragility of our planet at a young age, pushing her into Girl Scouts and pulling her along on family hiking trips to national parks. Her experience with an aboriginal tribe while studying abroad in Australia recontextualized the power and importance of the environment across cultures. To turn her love of nature from a hobby into a career, Adams joined MetLife as a sustainability intern in 2014. Her crowning achievement, so far at least, was building Our Green Impact. The program offers discussion forums, a speaker series and volunteering opportunities to encourage MetLife’s 49,000 employees — whether they work from home or in small offices in other countries — to reduce their environmental footprint, at the office and at home. (Approximately 10,000 of them participate.) “Our mission is to help people protect their families, protect their finances, be confident for the future — and a large part of that is reducing risk,” Adams says. “All aspects of sustainability are pretty core to that.” Adams also vets MetLife’s office suppliers, staffing companies and consulting agencies for aligned values. Sustainability questions are being embedded into requests for proposal documents and onboarding materials. These efforts by Adams’ team helped MetLife become the first U.S.-based insurer to achieve carbon neutrality in 2016.  — Jesse Klein Jennifer Ballen, 28   Head of Global Market Operations, Indigo Ag; Boston LinkedIn Jennifer Ballen thrives at being busy. “I’m always doing six things at once,” she says. “That’s just my personality.” It’s also how she grew up. Both her parents worked a lot, and they chose to spend their family time doing something meaningful, such as volunteering at a homeless shelter in Boston.  Drawn to finance, Ballen started her career at Morgan Stanley in traditional asset management. She became intrigued by her clients’ requests for investments with a triple bottom line — and the very notion that profitability and impact needn’t be mutually exclusive.  Delving into the sustainability world, Ballen trained with Al Gore’s Climate Reality Leadership Corps in Rio de Janeiro, where she got her first taste of inspiring people to act, and her zeal for public speaking. Now she calls herself a “corporate change agent.” While working towards an MBA at MIT’s Sloan School of Management, Ballen met and was inspired by Anheuser-Busch InBev Chief Sustainability and Procurement Officer Tony Milkin. When he offered her a job leading the company’s global sustainable packaging initiative, she jumped at it. Later, she led sustainability at Drinkworks , the company’s joint venture with Keurig Dr Pepper. Ballen, who recently took on her new role at Indigo Ag, says her time working in the food and beverage sector shed light on “just how important agriculture is to a sustainable future and the climate change battle.” — Meg Wilcox Charlotte Bande, 29 Senior Sustainability Consultant — Climate Strategy Lead, Quantis International; San Diego LinkedIn Belgium-born strategist Charlotte Bande connects her career in sustainable business to two incidents: an encounter on vacation in Egypt as a preteen with a young boy brushing his teeth with mudwater, and her father’s decision to leap into a sustainability role while she was pursuing her degree in commercial engineering and sustainable development. The first inspired her quest to find a job with “purpose” while the second woke her to the possibility of bringing that mission to a corporate role.  During her five years with Quantis, Bande has advised some of the world’s largest companies in the food, cosmetics and apparels sectors, helping them define science-based targets, insetting initiatives and carbon pricing approaches. She’s an advocate of ” Absolute Sustainability, ” a Quantis philosophy that challenges businesses to take planetary boundaries into account not just for carbon emissions but also for biodiversity, land use, freshwater consumption, the phosphorus cycle and the nitrogen cycle.  “She’s an incredibly clear and transversal thinker, works hard to know the facts and the science that underlie her advice, has a strong sense of purpose,” observes one of the half-dozen people who nominated Bande to this list.  Passionate about kite-surfing and wakeboarding, Bande describes herself as a “slow traveler,” someone who enjoys learning new cultures. Her frequent travels have taken her to Croatia, Morocco and Australia, and she’s starting a personal blog to explore changes she can make to her lifestyle to support the sustainability cause. “Learning, thinking and teaching; that gets me moving,” she says.   — Heather Clancy Oliver Camp, 2 6   Senior Associate, Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition; London LinkedIn   Oliver Camp is passionate about food waste, which he calls a “terrible indictment of our ability to manage our food and supply chains.” But he also sees ample opportunity for reducing it, and for redistributing this “waste” to hundreds of millions of malnourished people worldwide. Health, wellness and nutrition are Camp’s key interests.  He majored in languages in college because, he says, “Languages really help you connect with people and build relationships.” But the primary focus of Camp’s work has been to harness the power of big corporations to improve people’s quality of life. For the past two years, Camp worked on Unilever’s Sustainable Living Plan team to help the company’s brands find new technologies, services and products that would support the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. He also worked with Nestlé while at McCann Enterprise to develop a low-technology platform for communicating nutrition and health information to low-literate consumers in equatorial Africa. Now, Camp is starting a new role with the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition, a foundation that addresses malnutrition in low- and middle-income countries. He’s excited to bring his skills for channeling innovation and building partnerships to achieve broader impact. Indeed, his former employer Unilever is a key strategic partner. “The thing about these roles with NGOs and foundations is you can use your convening power to bring together a whole host of public and private institutions. And for me, that feels like impact at the biggest possible scale,” he says. — Meg Wilcox Alexis Cureton, 27 Clean Energy and Equity Advocate, Natural Resources Defense Council; Oakland, California LinkedIn  | Twitter For Alexis Cureton, the pandemic has underscored that those left behind need advocates. Championing the needs of underserved communities is something he does on a daily basis through the lens of clean and efficient energy at the largest U.S. environmental organization, the Natural Resources Defense Council.  Cureton’s work touches California’s disadvantaged communities through initiatives such as those providing energy retrofits at multi-family buildings and funding for resiliency plans during wildfire season for those who live in utility power shutoff zones. Before he joined NRDC, he helped low-income families gain greater access to electric vehicles and chargers through the nonprofit Greenlining Institute.  While California is where his work is currently focused, Cureton’s upbringing traversed him across the U.S. South and Midwest via Tulsa, Oklahoma; Duluth, Georgia; and Indianapolis, Indiana. He attributes his ability to see a broader national perspective, and not just a local one, to his childhood growing up across diverse regions. Cureton says his father — a public health professional who would go above and beyond for his patients — inspired him to embrace a profession of helping others and “fighting on behalf of community members that look like me.” He also looks to the teachings of scholars that advocated on behalf of those less fortunate, including W.E.B DuBois and Martin Luther King. But he notes: “It just so happens that my muse is clean energy.” — Katie Fehrenbacher Mateo Dugand, 28  Technologist, IT Efficiency and Sustainability (EMEA), Hewlett Packard Enterprise; London LinkedIn  | Twitter At age 25, Mateo Dugand had a big job, running waste management for the United Arab Emirates. Starting out as an intern while working on his thesis about organic waste management, he rose meteorically in a few short years to a position of leadership, with 600 people behind him. Dugand, an engineer with a master’s degree in energy management, says he learns quickly, “by going on the ground, engaging [people], and not just sitting behind a computer.” Today, he works on Hewlett Packard Enterprise’s corporate sustainability team, overseeing the company’s efforts to help customers in Europe, the Middle East and Africa use IT solutions to reduce their energy and water use. It’s a key part of HPE’s sustainability strategy, given that nearly 60 percent of its environmental footprint comes from customer use of its products. Dugand finds it “fascinating, working in an industry combining sustainability and technology fields that are both changing so fast, every single day,” he says. “You somehow become an expert very quickly because not a lot of people know about it.” Optimism drives Dugand, who grew up in Paris, the son of Colombian emigres. Looking forward, he says he wants to “bring his joy and motivation to solve some of the most pressing sustainability challenges,” and that he believes we’re “strongly capable” of leaving our kids a brighter future. — Meg Wilcox Arturo Elizondo, 2 8  CEO, Clara Foods; San Francisco LinkedIn  | Twitter As a Mexican from Texas, Arturo Elizondo sees food at the center of family, culture and tradition. But after witnessing the practices of America’s massive animal production industry as an intern at the Department of Agriculture, he became convinced the foods he loved needed a 21st-century upgrade. Elizondo abandoned his plan for a career in the public sector and booked a one-way ticket to San Francisco, with no job and nowhere to live.   Six years later, he is CEO of Clara Foods, a biotech food company that uses fermentation to create egg proteins without involving chickens. The potential is not chicken feed: the U.S. industry produced almost 100 billion eggs last year , and per capita consumption of eggs has increased over 16 percent in the past 20 years.   Elizondo knows firsthand that it’s almost impossible to get people to change their habits, especially around something so personal and ingrained as food. His mother and grandmother have been buying not only the same food but the same brands for decades. So he focused his company on a business-to-business model, making the right choice easy for consumers.  “If we are this niche product in the corner of a grocery store, it defeats the purpose of what we are doing.” he says. “For me, it’s the scalability and efficiency in the company that really, really drives me.” — Jesse Klein Katerina Fragos, 2 8 Manager, Sustainability and Climate Change Consulting, PwC; Montreal LinkedIn | Twitter If Katerina Fragos could grant humanity a superpower, it’s the ability to think in systems, being able to understand the complexities within an ecosystem or a city and map out unintended consequences. “If I could just have a perfectly systemic mind that’s able to make these connections … it would make all these global challenges easily digestible with the snap of your fingers,” she says. In that spirit, Fragos helps guide some of Canada’s largest, most impactful organizations toward their sustainability and ESG objectives. Her clients at PwC include corporations from the energy, transportation and retail sectors, government agencies and nonprofits with goals in biodiversity, circular economy, climate change, social inclusion and human rights. They turn to Fragos’ team for tasks such as assembling metrics for CDP disclosures, developing science-based targets, penning sustainability reports or helping a board tie emissions reductions to C-suite performance incentives. On the side, Fragos teaches a sustainability course at McGill University and offers pro bono support to help local startups and social enterprises embrace sustainability principles. Her desire to make an impact warmed up in college after hearing activist environmentalist author David Suzuki speak. Working as an account executive at Procter & Gamble, she joined and later co-led the company’s Canada sustainability network, eventually pursuing sustainability as a full-time focus. Fragos savors her dream job at PwC for the tangible change it can spark. “Any time you’re tired, you think about the possible impact and it’s so energizing. Coffee can’t do that experience justice.” — Elsa Wenzel Alyssa Harding, 29 Executive Director, Sustainable Food Trade Association; Boulder, Colorado LinkedIn   When Alyssa Harding was tapped in early 2019 to serve as executive director at nonprofit Sustainable Food Trade Association (SFTA) she was working as the sustainability and external relations manager at Justin’s, a food company in Boulder, Colorado, that makes nut butters. Harding says living in a food desert while attending university in Gainesville, Florida, where she studied environmental science, inspires her work.  While some companies have made attempts to increase access to nutritious food in these underserved areas, those efforts have so far fallen short, she notes. “If it’s outside the price point that the average person can access, then we’re still not addressing the appropriate equity that we need to be doing in these conversations.” In her previous role at Justin’s, Harding developed all of the company’s community impact programs “from the ground up.” She says her favorite initiative focused on pollinator conservation, a program that required her to engage with people on a national and local level.  “Not only were we affecting our supply chain, we were finding a way to trickle down into infrastructure and policy reform and give back to our community in a way that engaged our employees,” Harding recalls. At SFTA, which aims to build the capacity of food companies to transition to sustainable business models, Harding has the opportunity to make even more impact. One current focus: The organization is seeking ways to scale collective impact to redefine food packaging. “You can move the needle so much further with all of these players and all of these stakeholders working together. So to be able to facilitate some of that is really for me, so inspirational.” — Deonna Anderson Hana Kajimura, 28 Sustainability Lead, Allbirds; San Francisco LinkedIn   Hana Kajimura built footwear company Allbirds’ sustainability framework from the ground up after joining the organization nearly three years ago as its first full-time sustainability hire. And every day on the job looks different for Kajimura. “I think that’s what’s really unique about my role in sustainability is that it’s not just crunching numbers or creating climate strategy,” she says. “We’re testing products. It’s writing copy, storyboarding videos. And I really get to take the work from initial science all the way through to customer-facing marketing.” In 2013, while studying environmental science at Stanford University, Kujimura interned at the Environmental Defense Fund in its corporate partnerships program. While there, she says: “I really became convinced of the power and swiftness of business to bring about change, but knew very little about how a business was run or what drove CEO decision-making.” Working at Allbirds marries her experience at EDF and as a senior associate consultant, working with Fortune 500 companies on high-level business strategy, at Bain & Company, where she spent three years just before joining Allbirds.  At Allbirds, Kajimura works closely with co-CEO Joey Zwillinger and vice president of innovation Jad Finck on direct environmental initiatives. For example, on Earth Day 2019, Allbirds committed to carbon neutrality from that year forward through an internal carbon tax. Kajimura says that decision came about organically as a result of “being more or less an outsider” of both the fashion industry and corporate sustainability. “We would hear people talking about the need to be carbon neutral by 2050,” she says. “If we all agree that we have to buy offsets or insets in 2050, why aren’t we buying them today for 100 percent of our footprint?” — Deonna Anderson Matt Kuchtyak, 29 Assistant Vice President, ESG and Sustainable Finance, Moody’s Investors Service; New York LinkedIn In March, Matt Kuchtyak saw something important happening that most of us likely missed: as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, social and sustainability bond issuance was surging. For this tiny sliver of the bond market, the jump was significant, because even within the realm of environmental, social and governance investing, “the focus has always been more on ‘G’ and ‘E’ but less on ‘S’,” Kuchtyak says. Investors often view social risk — things such as poverty, inadequate healthcare and gender inequality — as less tangible and harder to measure. With the pandemic, “That’s certainly been flipped on its head,” says Kuchtyak, who started with Moody’s Investors Service as an analyst in the rating agency’s public finance unit, after graduating from Rutgers University.   Now, as a lead analyst on Moody’s ESG team, it’s his job to help investors make sense of the risks companies take when they don’t, for example, seriously consider threats posed to their business by the climate crisis or the next pandemic. Working for a credit rating agency may not be the kind of job one dreams of as a kid, the New Jersey native admits. “It’s not like being an astronaut,” he says. But there’s no doubting the sky-high impact of his role, especially as ESG investing edges into the mainstream, and Moody’s has charged Kuchtyak’s team with further integrating ESG analysis into its broader credit risk assessments.   Kuchtyak sees the ESG debt market moving toward a more holistic approach, as people realize the interconnectedness of various sustainable development issues. “I think [the COVID-19 crisis] will just help accelerate that,” he says. — Carol J. Clouse Hilda Liswani, 28 Founder and CEO, WeBloom; Zurich, Switzerland LinkedIn | Instagram Africa counts more entrepreneurs than any other continent. Yet its women have limited access to the usual support systems for startups, such as accelerator programs and funding, which is painfully clear to Hilda Liswani. She launched her first social enterprise there at age 14, and has assisted Siemens, Mastercard Foundation and the European Union with rural development projects — even accepting a youth leadership award from Queen Elizabeth II. Less than two years ago, Liswani founded WeBloom , a nonprofit grooming women innovators in Africa to be investor-ready. When a Nigerian venture capitalist told Liswani it didn’t make sense to invest in women, it spurred her on even more. Now, WeBloom is cultivating a group of Namibian “bloomers” in the circular economy and regenerative agriculture. For example, Ochanya makes chicken feed from seaweed, and iFarming enables people to invest in a farm’s output without managing the livestock or crops.  Did we mention Liswani’s day job as the Tech4Impact business development manager at the Vice presidency of Innovation at the prestigious Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne? She describes her “airport accent” as the result of straddling continents much of her life, reflecting time lived in South Africa, Ethiopia, Namibia, England, the United States and Switzerland. Her Namibian diplomat parents fought for that nation’s independence, won just before her birth. Liswani is motivated to advance sustainability before Africa stumbles too far down the developed world’s path of unsustainable industrialization. “People are experiencing climate change and environmental crises on a day-to-day basis. There is a real urgent need.” — Elsa Wenzel   Lilian Liu, 29 Sustainability Strategist, Futerra; Brooklyn, New York LinkedIn | Instagram   Before Lilian Liu’s current job as a sustainability strategist at “change agency” Futerra, she spent years in other sectors — as manager of partnerships and United Nations relations at the U.N. Global Compact, as co-founder of sustainable fashion company Fauna and as project manager for sustainable fashion at nonprofit Redress Asia, among other roles. Across these roles, Liu picked up skills she uses to help companies set and achieve their sustainability goals at Futerra. Liu says she’s very passionate about apparel, but over the years she’s thought a lot about the most effective way she can have an impact. That desire along with her global upbringing — growing up in Sweden with its egalitarian culture and spending summers in Shanghai where she saw aggressive growth that wasn’t always in balance — led Liu to her current role at Futerra. She says her multicultural background inspired her to get into sustainability and help create balance in society.  “So many industries need help and want to change,” she says. “Companies have huge impacts, sometimes more than governments because of their economic power.” On her first day on the job, Liu says her CEO told her that if they weren’t delivering change, they weren’t doing their jobs. “We’re really meant to push people and companies to make change happen, even if it’s at times uncomfortable.” While Liu was mum on the clients she’s working with, she says one of her most exciting projects so far is working with a materials innovation company. Although she’s not working in a fashion company directly, she still works with companies in that field and is thinking about ways the industry could improve by closing the loop through better waste management and recycling. That’s something Liu would fix if she had infinite resources. — Deonna Anderson Jasmine A. Lomax, 29 Manager, Sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility, Kilroy Realty; Los Angeles LinkedIn Jasmine Lomax grew up in the city but spent summers immersed in California’s wilderness. When she realized how we live — and where we live — is threatening the wild spaces she loves, Lomax knew she wanted to dedicate herself to sustainability.  Her passion for building — creating things and shaping the physical world — led her to study construction at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. Thankfully, her two callings are a perfect pairing for building things. “It was a total accident that I’m incredibly passionate about the survival of life on earth and that our built environment has the largest impact on our planet,” Lomax says. “This is everything I want to do.” In college, Lomax led a trip to Malawi, where she worked with Habitat for Humanity to rebuild three structures washed out by monsoon rains — a reminder of how climate change impacts vulnerable communities across the globe. The trip helped shape a philosophy she carries with her today.  In her current role, Lomax works at Kilroy Realty, where she calculates and manages the Scope 3 emissions in the company’s portfolio. Scope 3 emissions — those outside of electricity and gas consumption — are both the largest source of building emissions and the most difficult to calculate.  “Buildings are pivotal in our society, but we need to find a better way to build them and operate them,” Lomax says.  — Sarah Golden Robert Luo, 24 Founder and CEO, Mi Terro; Los Angeles LinkedIn   Robert Luo’s innovative approach for addressing food waste was inspired by time spent in 2018 on his uncle’s dairy farm in China. Luo said his uncle was frustrated by the buckets of spoiled milk he threw away on a daily basis because it represented profits he could have made. “He asked me to help him find a solution to get rid of the milk waste,” Luo remembers.  That’s when the idea for Mi Terro, his social impact biotechnology company focused on turning milk waste into fibers that can be used in apparel and packaging, started to bubble up.  Before starting Mi Terro, Luo founded two other companies that eventually were acquired, including Kuyi Network Technology, an app that lets users send videos and photos without using Wi-Fi or cellular service.  For his efforts, Luo has earned a spot in the Entrepreneur Hall of Fame at the University of Southern California Marshall School of Business, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration. Luo’s entrepreneurial spirit comes from his parents, who both have run companies of their own.  “Entrepreneurship is running in my blood,” Luo says, noting that if he were to ever leave Mi Terro, he’d likely start another company centered on sustainability and social impact. But for now, about two years after Mi Terro’s founding, Luo says the major goal for the company is to replace petroleum materials with protein-based materials made from food waste. So far, Mi Terro has done that by producing T-shirts, available on its website, made from milk waste sourced from organizations including food products giant Danone — and his uncle’s farm. — Deonna Anderson Liz Lyon, 29 Small Business and Circular Economy Manager, Plant Chicago; Chicago LinkedIn Liz Lyon believes in the value of small and mighty. While the dominant narrative of circularity centers on corporate and country leadership, according to Lyon, “Small businesses are left out of the conversation, but they have a lot to offer.” Having moved to Illinois to study public policy and environmental studies at the University of Chicago, Lyon accepted a internship in late 2013 with nonprofit Plant Chicago where she became entwined in the city’s robust local food movement that was taking root in the shadow of Chicago’s manufacturing giants. Part living lab and part business hub, Plant Chicago aims to cultivate local circular economies, and Lyon has been applying and accelerating this mission since she joined the team full-time in 2015.  Lyon established Plant Chicago’s year-round farmers market and learned from farmers and small businesses that for many, success was measured not by size but by better serving their immediate community through jobs and services. Lyon brings this idea to life by leading Plant Chicago’s Circular Economy Leaders Network, a cohort of small food businesses on the Southwest side of the city seeking to implement, measure and communicate the principles of circularity while better serving their communities.  Lyon champions a vision for local circular economies: “resources, materials, nutrients and money circulating within a local context so that as little as possible is wasted and as much as possible comes from and stays in that community.” Although the businesses she works with may have a smaller reach than the global food companies that share their ZIP code, they are a model for resource efficiency, sustainability and resilience.  — Lauren Phipps Priya Mulgaonkar, 27 Resiliency Planner, New York City Environmental Justice Alliance; Brooklyn, New York LinkedIn  | Twitter   Moving from the sweeping natural vistas of Seattle to the concrete urbanization of New York City wouldn’t cause most people to become more environmentally conscious. But for Priya Mulgaonkar, experiencing firsthand the destruction from Superstorm Sandy during her sophomore year at New York University lit the spark for a career in climate activism.   “Seeing how much devastation fell on the backs of low-income people and people of color, it just showed how starkly the inequality of climate change really is,” she recalls. “I got really passionate about environmental justice.” For Mulgaonkar, living in New York gave “the environment” an entirely different meaning. It’s not just about natural vistas and pristine mountains but also air quality, waste systems, stormwater runoff and whole urban systems.  As resiliency planner for the New York City Environmental Justice Alliance, Mulgaonkar works to ensure the city is healthy for all its roughly 8.4 million residents. She partners with grassroots coalitions across neighborhoods, has led numerous large climate marches, developed proposals and campaign strategies, and even helped pass New York’s most ambitious climate law, the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act .  Through her tenaciousness and marathon conference calls, Mulgaonkar secured a mandate in the bill ensuring that at least 35 percent of state spending on clean energy benefits disadvantaged communities. “Climate change might affect everyone,” she says. “But not everyone is affected equally.” — Jesse Klein Catherine Nabukalu, 28 Project Coordinator, District of Columbia Sustainable Energy Utility; Washington D.C.  LinkedIn   If you’ve seen Catherine Nabukalu’s name before, it may be because she was an Emerging Leader at GreenBiz Group’s 2017 VERGE conference. More recently, she co-wrote an article about the environmental impact of the charcoal supply chain. Nabukalu first learned about the environmental impacts of that supply chain — including how it leads to vast forest loss — when she traveled to Uganda in Sub-Saharan Africa as part of her master’s degree in environmental studies at the University of Pennsylvania.  Born in Kampala, Uganda, Nabukalu had roots in the region before earning her master’s degree. Separate from the work she did in the region while in her environmental studies program, she traveled to Kumi, Uganda, to lead a reforestation effort with the Green Teso Initiative. Her team planted more than 20,000 trees at five primary schools in the region.  “Our goal was to make sure that school children have trees so that they could play under the shade in eastern Uganda,” Nabukalu says. “That is one of the things that I’m most proud of in terms of philanthropy.” The project achieved a 90 percent success rate for seedlings within five months.  Raising awareness about the energy demand associated with forest loss is one of Nabukalu’s goals. She says even more important is figuring out how to replenish the world’s forests at a faster rate than we’re cutting them down. As project coordinator at the District of Columbia’s Sustainable Energy Utility, Nabukalu focuses on helping reduce energy demand for residents, businesses and institutions throughout the Nation’s Capital, working with the account management and engineering teams to reach that goal. — Deonna Anderson Kiera O’Brien, 21 Founder and President, Young Conservatives for Carbon Dividends; Ketchikan, Alaska LinkedIn | Twitter Growing up in coastal Ketchikan, Alaska, the “salmon capital of the world,” shaped Kiera O’Brien’s passions for conservation and policy. The Alaska Permanent Fund , which feeds proceeds from offshore oil drilling into residents’ bank accounts, helped pay O’Brien’s tuition at Harvard. Dividends of a different stripe are central to a climate movement O’Brien is helping build. In 2018, she co-founded Students for Carbon Dividends , enlisting campus support from a mix of Republicans and Democrats. It advocates a carbon price, which emitters pay. Proponents say that unlike a tax, it reframes climate progress away from the language of personal sacrifice, instead dangling a cash carrot to the populace. The student group’s booth had a warm reception at the Conservative Political Action Conference earlier this year, and O’Brien voiced its cause on CNN. “I really see this as a generational issue,” says O’Brien, who launched Young Conservatives for Carbon Dividends in December to continue the work post-graduation. “Young people just have so much more at stake and are so much less constrained by old party lines.” Aspiring to a behind-the-scenes policy career, O’Brien has interned for the U.S. Senate and American Conservative Union. Soon, she’ll pursue a master’s in climate and society at Columbia University. Her hope is that there’s something in carbon dividends for everyone, and that conservatives can reclaim environmental footing they lost in the 1990s. O’Brien says she asks herself, “What can I be doing to convince my camp to sit at the table and debate what we should be doing — not if we should be doing anything?” — Elsa Wenzel Goksenin Ozturkeri, 29 Senior Associate, CohnReznick Capital; San Francisco LinkedIn | Twitter Goksenin Ozturkeri’s interest in renewable energy dates back to his childhood in Turkey, a country that has long depended on natural gas imports, primarily from Russia, for much of its electricity. When Ozturkeri was a kid — in the late 1990s and early 2000s — oil and gas prices were volatile and the threat of power outages often hung over the country’s infrastructure. At the same time, “I would hear these stories about how our country is so suitable for solar and I couldn’t understand why we weren’t pushing for it,” he recalls. Ozturkeri’s interest in clean energy continued through college, but a fateful internship at a Belgian consulting firm transformed his interest into a career ambition. The firm’s biggest client was Gazprom, the Russian natural gas behemoth, and Ozturkeri was asked to research European solar and wind policy on its behalf. “They were concerned that Europe was moving ahead on renewable energy,” he says. “Because of them and what I learned doing that research, I got into this industry.” Not seeing himself as an engineer or technical type, Ozturkeri got a master’s degree in global energy policy and finance. After graduation, he landed a job as an analyst for the investment bank CohnReznick Capital, where he serves as a senior associate, working with developers to build financial models and obtain funding from investors. “I wanted to work in a profession where I would have a direct impact on climate change,” he says. “And moving that flow of capital is as close as it gets to having a direct impact.” — Carol J. Clouse Matt Panopio, 28 Program Manager, Energy and Sustainable Operations, Amazon; Seattle LinkedIn  | Twitter Born in the Philippines, Matt Panopio grew up bouncing between naval bases in San Diego and Okinawa, Japan. That means he also bounced between typhoons and wildfires. With such a global and visceral perspective of climate chaos from a young age, Panopio doesn’t remember making the choice to pursue a career in climate change. It was always clear (although it helped that he watched Al Gore’s documentary, “An Inconvenient Truth,” at peak-impressionable age). “Ultimately, it’s always just been an interest of mine,” Panopio says. “It is the most pressing issue of our time.” Fresh out of college, Panopio spent three years in the public sector, then became a consultant before setting his sights on an operational role within the private sector. “Businesses and corporations have the buying power to make lasting change beyond their operations and I saw they had massive profits that could really change carbon markets and renewable energy markets,” he says.  Today, Panopio is part of a team working towards Amazon’s ambitious climate goals. His team executes renewable energy deals; Panopio’s specialty is working with utilities to subscribe to green energy programs.  Before Amazon, Panopio was also an EDF Climate Corps fellow to Lyft, where he helped create the framework for the ridesharing company’s climate neutrality program.  — Sarah Golden Sasha Ponomareva, 28 Green Operations Specialist, San Francisco International Airport; San Francisco LinkedIn When Sasha Ponomareva was hired by San Francisco’s Department of the Environment as part of its school outreach team, she had some reservations about local government. However, after 18 months of talking to kids about recycling, composting and water conservation — and subsequently serving as director Debbie Raphael’s executive assistant — her perspective shifted. “You can grow up feeling jaded about government,” Ponomareva says, “and I really disproved that for myself. It was great to see a local government really work for its people and work on [sustainability] efforts that are valuable.” Today, Ponomareva works at San Francisco International Airport (SFO), another city department that is, in many ways, its own metro microcosm — complete with administrative employees, tradespeople and a business community. For her, learning how to collaborate and work with those diverse stakeholders has deepened her impact within the worlds of waste management and city government. Last summer, Ponomareva was part of the team that rolled out SFO’s plastic water bottle ban — the first such ban at a major U.S. airport — and she’s been an integral part of SFO’s effort to “spread the waste gospel” and to train its 1,000-plus facilities staff on waste diversion. It’s all part of SFO’s goal to be the world’s first zero-waste airport by 2021. While it’s been nearly three years since she worked under Raphael, Ponomareva still draws inspiration from her mentor.  “What inspires me most about her is her ability to listen and connect with people,” Ponomareva says, “because ultimately, you’re not getting anywhere if you’re not listening to people and hearing what they want and what’s doable.”  — Shane Downing Benjamin Price, 29 Venture Manager, Saint-Gobain NOVA; Boston LinkedIn Benjamin Price is helping a 355-year-old materials giant set the foundation for its future by embracing innovative young startups. Saint-Gobain, which supplied mirrors to the Palace of Versailles in the 17th century, sells $42 billion of construction essentials such as drywall and roofing, in addition to high-performance materials and other tools to improve indoor light, air quality and acoustics. Robotics, additive manufacturing, digital platforms, artificial intelligence, retrofits and prefabrication are all on the table. “It’s a really exciting time to be in this space,” Price says. His work within the small NOVA corporate ventures team differs from that of traditional venture capital: In addition to funding and supporting young companies, it offers access to Saint-Gobain’s massive global footprint of materials businesses and distributors. Price grew up outside Boston, and after college dove into consulting at PwC and Accenture, learning how big companies can drive change at scale. He was always interested in innovation, so in his spare time he created a “micro micro fund,” inviting people he knew to invest in startups. Pre-COVID-19, Price traveled to his company’s offices in Paris and Shanghai, spending half his time at startup events and pitch days, the other half meeting internally. He’s hoping to return to Kenya, where he spent two months several years ago. That led to serving on the board of a teacher-training and rural youth-mentorship organization, the Flying Kites School Network. Back home in Boston, he also volunteers with Caritas Communities, which provides jobs for people without homes. — Elsa Wenze Sarah Reed, 27 Program Manager, Electrification Coalition; Sacramento, California LinkedIn | Twitter Even as a child, Sarah Reed was at the forefront of electric vehicle (EV) innovation, albeit in the passenger seat of her father’s EV, one of the first in California. “Sustainability has just been part of me,” she says, “and it’s something I took with me and turned into a career.” As a 7-year-old, Reed didn’t spend much time thinking about her dad’s car, but she does remember how normal it felt. Today, as a program manager with the Electrification Coalition , which promotes policies and actions that facilitate the deployment of electric vehicles on a mass scale, she’s doing her part to elevate and expand that feeling of normalcy with local governments and universities seeking to electrify their fleet vehicles. Reed, along with her colleagues, works with more than 200 fleet managers in 42 states pushing toward a collective, electric future. Reed says those same fleet managers, including city officials, inspire her. “It’s easy to get bogged down by things that are happening nationally or internationally,” she says, “but I find a lot of strength and inspiration in what’s happening on the local and state level.” Not surprisingly, Reed’s career aspirations are centered around making EVs, such as the Chevy Bolt she recently purchased, the societal norm. “I hope to look back in many years when almost everybody has an electric vehicle, and think of when EVs weren’t commonplace,” she says. — Shane Downing Katie Riddle, 26 Sustainability Analyst, City of Charlotte, North Carolina LinkedIn When Katie Riddle majored in environmental studies and business at Sewanee: The University of the South, she envisioned a future for herself as a sustainability professional in the private sector. After graduation, she started down that path, working for the British pharmaceutical GlaxoSmithKline and ICF, a global consulting services company. In 2018, the opportunity arose to join the three-person team charged with leading her hometown of Charlotte, North Carolina, into a low-carbon future, and Riddle joined the frontlines of the climate mitigation and adaptation battle being waged by cities around the world.  “While I believe business can and does have an impact on sustainability,” she says, “I feel really passionate about the forward-thinking work being done in the public sector, especially at the local level.” The team’s first order of business was to develop Charlotte’s Strategic Energy Action Plan, which the city council subsequently approved. Since then, Riddle has served as project manager, overseeing the implementation of a plan that maps out how Charlotte will transform into a low-carbon city by 2050. Most recently, the team has been setting the stage for the development of a 35-megawatt utility-scale solar energy project, which will offset roughly 25 percent of carbon emissions from city-owned buildings over the next 20 years. The system, slated to come online in 2022, is expected to save $2 million in energy expenses over 20 years and create 428 jobs in the region, according to the city’s website. Working for her hometown may not have been what Riddle pictured in the beginning, but it “feels like a dream job to me right now,” she says. — Carol J. Clouse Mesbah Sabur, 27 Founder, Circularise; The Hague, Netherlands LinkedIn  |  Twitter Blockchain entrepreneur Mesbah Sabur learned the value of hard work as an Afghan refugee, whose family sought asylum in his adopted homeland of the Netherlands when he was just 7. He recalls the frequent advice offered by his father during the five years they lived in refugee camps before achieving resident status: “Remember that you need to earn everything you are doing.” That can-do philosophy — and his belief that it’s tough to solve big problems from inside big companies — inspired the creation four years ago of Circularise. The digital technology startup is using blockchain to create an open-source platform for sharing data across supply chains. The ambition is to improve transparency so that companies can move toward more circular production processes, starting with the plastics sector. Giant companies including Domo, Covestro and BASF are testing its approach, which they hope will help increase their use of verified recycled resins and decrease their use of virgin plastics. Better data is key to finding more appropriate applications for materials of all types, says Sabur, who earned his degrees in industrial product engineering at Delft University and co-founded Circularise fresh off earning his master’s. He also believes a reboot of industrial design principles is another pillar the circularity movement needs to embrace more vocally. “Plastics are really a material that can be used for thousands of years,” he says. “The problem is that right now, we don’t.” — Heather Clancy José Miguel Salazar Hernández, 29 Senior Specialist, Corporate Sustainability Services, CSRone (Veda International Corp.); Taipei, Taiwan LinkedIn | Twitter Growing up in San Salvador, José Miguel Salazar Hernández was quick to question the inequities he saw around him. When he was 6, he remembers asking his parents why they couldn’t invite all of the kids in his neighborhood to eat dinner together at the same table. Over time, Salazar’s early interest in social justice transformed into a desire to study business.  Salazar traveled to Taiwan thanks to a study-abroad scholarship that allowed him to get his undergraduate degree in business administration. He parlayed that into an MBA from National Taipei University of Technology. That’s where he was exposed to corporate social responsibility and the role businesses can play in serving social and environmental needs. Today, Salazar has what he calls his dream job. For the past three years, he’s worked at CSRone, a Veda international subsidiary that focuses on CSR and ESG issues, where he provides consulting services to corporate clients and helps to run an online resource center for practitioners. Despite Salazar’s admiration for his employer and his colleagues, he’d one day like to launch his own commercial sustainability startup and to potentially return to El Salvador. “At one point in the future, I would like to have the opportunity to go back and to bring the knowledge I have learned, as well as the skills, to help to develop the country,” he says. “I think that kind of [entrepreneurial] vision can be exported to other places.” — Shane Downing Daphany Rose Sanchez, 27 Executive Director, Kinetic Communities Consulting; Brooklyn, New York LinkedIn | Twitter Daphany Rose Sanchez already has experienced climate change as a matter of life or death. In 2012, Superstorm Sandy thrust a wall of brown water into her Staten Island bedroom. Sanchez clambered to the roof, where she was rescued eight hours later by boat. The first home her family had ever purchased was a total loss. Sanchez returned to the Brooklyn public housing flat where she was raised and lives today, “a tight-knit community with lots of caring people.” Her engineering professors at New York University helped assess the home’s structural damage, inspiring her to merge her technical and social service expertise to help New York City’s marginalized populations. “I’m sick and tired of our communities having to be resilient,” Sanchez says. “Why is it that they’re the ones to face the biggest threats?” In 2017, she founded Kinetic Communities Consulting, a B Corp that helps frontline New Yorkers transition away from fossil fuels through social services, energy efficiency and technical solutions. How does electrification happen in public housing? How can minority-owned contractors get their fair share of support from the state and ConEd? Such challenges are at the firm’s core. The pandemic is halting some projects while exposing the overlap on the map between historical, real-estate redlining and today’s high COVID-19 rates. Sanchez is posting resources for jobs and mutual aid online, yet points out the difficulty of engaging individuals who already live a “quarantine” lifestyle with limited digital tools. She urges businesses, when launching programs in energy and sustainability, to consider the grassroots experts and their existing infrastructure first. — Elsa Wenzel Macaulay Souza de Abreu, 26  Founder and CEO, Onisafra; Manaus, Brazil   LinkedIn Macaulay Souza grew up in a rural community in Amazonas state, Brazil. He’s a self-identified Caboclo (part-indigenous) whose parents had no formal education — that is, until his father attended school in his 40s. Souza wanted something better, so at age 14 he left home to attend high school, and later university, in the Amazonas state capital, Manaus. During university, Souza came to better understand the agricultural problems he’d observed growing up, in particular the inability of small-scale farmers to get a fair price for their products because they lacked direct access to markets. That motivated Souza to launch Onisafra , an online platform connecting Amazonian farmers directly to consumers. Farmers using Onisfra’s platform produce fruits and vegetables, or harvest brazil nuts, açaí berries and other forest products on plots smaller than 25 acres.   Souza partners with organizations such as the Amazonas Sustainable Development Agency to provide technical assistance to farmers. He’s received multiple impact investment awards from the Partnership Platform for the Amazon , which includes USAID and the International Center for Agriculture, recognizing his work as a social impact business helping conserve biodiversity in the Amazon. Ever entrepreneurial, Souza envisions expanding into other Latin American regions where farmers face similar problems. He says that the power of education to transform lives, and the novel ways technology can support people, inspire him. — Meg Wilcox Riddhima Yadav, 24 Analyst, Sustainable Finance Group, Goldman Sachs; New York LinkedIn Riddhima Yadav doesn’t wait around to be told when and how to make an impact. At 13, she started an organization called Youth for the Environment to advocate for community-level environmental initiatives. Yadav’s upbringing began in India, and later included stints in Indonesia and the United Kingdom. She witnessed firsthand the environmental issues present in these varied economies and cultures, such as water access issues in India and air quality problems in Indonesia. She says she felt “predestined” to work to connect people to a more sustainable lifestyle. Through her advocacy and her studies at Yale, the University of Cambridge and the London School of Economics and Political Science, Yadav came to see the power and necessity of the public and private sectors working together. Governments can operate at scale, but the private sector is often better built for speed, and the climate crisis requires both, she says. This revelation led her to join the sustainable finance team at Goldman Sachs, where she has worked on projects including a massive report requested by the United Nations on how private finance can accelerate climate action, the formation of Ecuador’s Sovereign Social Bond and a report on how Goldman Sachs plans to invest $750 billion in sustainable projects over the next decade. Her ultimate goal: mainstreaming sustainability: “That means it moves from being a special thing to just another thing,” Yadav explains. “That sounds counterintuitive, but I think that considering sustainability factors into everything that we do, that should be routine.” Ingraining sustainability into the very fabric of society takes extraordinary effort from both the public and private sectors, and Yadav says she is on a lifelong journey to bring that to fruition. — Owen Poindexter Topics Careers Corporate Strategy Corporate Social Responsibility Sustainability Environmental Justice 30 Under 30 Collective Insight 30 Under 30 Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) On Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off

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The 2020 GreenBiz 30 Under 30

Finally, a one-stop shop for researching food systems data

June 19, 2020 by  
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Finally, a one-stop shop for researching food systems data Jim Giles Fri, 06/19/2020 – 00:15 Parts of our food systems are so bewilderingly complex that attempts to answer even basic questions can result in hours of frustrated searching. If you can relate to this, I have some good news for you — not quite a fully-fledged solution, but certainly a step toward one. The genesis of this solution dates to around six years ago, when Lawrence Haddad, who leads the nonprofit Global Alliance on Improved Nutrition , was editing an article on nutrition. “The authors had so little data to go on they had to make crazy assumptions about food systems,” he recalled when we spoke this week.  Haddad and his co-editor, Jessica Fanzo of Johns Hopkins University, set about assembling the people and funding needed to fix that. Earlier this month, they unveiled the Food Systems Dashboard . “It’s very much something we built in our garages in evenings and weekends,” Haddad said. “Much to our surprise, it has gathered momentum. We now see the potential is huge.” The dashboard is a data smorgasbord that covers everything from food waste and greenhouse gas emissions to food security and agricultural productivity. In total, there are more than 170 indicators, culled from 35 sources and covering nearly every country. There are gaps in the coverage, which Haddad says the team is working to fix, but the dashboard looks likely to become a first point of call for questions about food systems.  It’s for governments and businesses — the people who make decisions about actions. Poking around it this week, for instance, I found it easy to check something I had been curious about: Are young people in the United States eating more vegetables? Sadly not. Consumption hasn’t changed much in a decade. Presumably, this is related to other data I came across in the dashboard: The quantity of vegetables available per person in the U.S. food supply has been trending slowly down over the past 20 years. Businesses also can benefit from exploratory analyses such as these, suggested Haddad. There’s data on food infrastructure, government regulations and the amount of money that families have available to spend on food, all factors that guide decisions about whether to move into an emerging market. “If this is only for researchers, we’ve failed,” Haddad said. “It’s for governments and businesses — the people who make decisions about actions.” To make the dashboard more useful, the team is working on adding subnational data for large countries and developing guides for specific types of users. The dashboard also likely will be used by the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization as part of its 2021 Food Systems Summit .  If your organization has thoughts on data you’d like to see added to the dashboard, Haddad and the dashboard team invite you to drop them a line via the site’s contact form . As always, I’d also love to hear your thoughts on this project and other issues you’d like to see covered in Food Weekly. You can reach me 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 It’s for governments and businesses — the people who make decisions about actions. Topics Food & Agriculture Food Systems Technology Data Featured Column Foodstuff 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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Finally, a one-stop shop for researching food systems data

The time for electric trucks and buses is now

June 10, 2020 by  
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The time for electric trucks and buses is now Katie Fehrenbacher Wed, 06/10/2020 – 01:30 Despite the pandemic, sales of electric trucks and buses are expected to surge in the United States and Canada over the next couple of years. And perhaps, surprising to many, they’ll soar even within this year (the year that can best be described as WTF).  That’s according to new data released recently by the clean-transportation-focused nonprofit CALSTART. The organization expects there to be 169 zero-emission commercial vehicles available for purchase, or soon to be available, in North America by the end of 2020; that’s a 78 percent increase from the number of zero-emission commercial vehicles available at the end of 2019. What’s more, between 2019 and 2023, the amount of zero-emission commercial vehicle models is expected to double, to 195.  Why does this matter? Because diesel-powered trucks and buses are responsible for a disproportionate amount of transportation-related carbon emissions and are also a source of air pollution, much of it in disadvantaged communities, who live closer to industrial areas or freeways. In addition, commercial vehicles are offering a bright spot for automakers that are seeing slumping sales of passenger vehicles in the wake of COVID-19.  If data and analyst predictions make your eyes glaze over, you can look at the trend another way. Companies are increasingly making zero-emission truck and bus announcements. Every day when I skim Twitter or my inbox, I see more. Here are just a few from the past couple of weeks: General Motors is making an electric van to rival Tesla. Rivian is on track with its Amazon electric delivery vans. Nikola Motors will start accepting reservations June 29 for its electric pickup truck the Badger. Ford is making an electric transit van. CALSTART says that the surge is coming from a combination of market demand, policies and economics as EV battery costs continue to drop. Big companies such as Amazon , IKEA , UPS and FedEx are making big purchases (or working with partners to make purchases). But cities across the United States are also buying EVs, including electric transit buses, garbage trucks and pickup trucks. Substantial growth in the number of commercial EV models available is particularly important for the market because model availability has long been a major hurdle. The large automakers have been pretty slow to offer a variety of models, citing a lack of demand from customers. It’s a pretty standard chicken-and-egg scenario that happens in a nascent market. But as a result, much of the early commercial EV models on the market have come from startups such as Rivian , Nikola , Chanje and Arrival . The bigger automakers are entering the market and playing catch-up.  COVID-19 also has shone a spotlight on the need for a resilient and dynamic transportation supply chain, as shippers across the country have relied heavily on trucks and truck drivers to meet unusual spikes and valleys in demand. The trucking industry, like all operators of commercial vehicles, will need to become cleaner, too, as customer demand, policies and economics evolve. This article is adapted from GreenBiz’s weekly newsletter, Transport Weekly, running Tuesdays. Subscribe here . Topics Transportation & Mobility Electric Vehicles Electric Trucks Electric Bus Clean Fleets 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 The Nikola Badger pickup truck.

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The time for electric trucks and buses is now

The time for electric trucks and buses is now

June 10, 2020 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

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The time for electric trucks and buses is now Katie Fehrenbacher Wed, 06/10/2020 – 01:30 Despite the pandemic, sales of electric trucks and buses are expected to surge in the United States and Canada over the next couple of years. And perhaps, surprising to many, they’ll soar even within this year (the year that can best be described as WTF).  That’s according to new data released recently by the clean-transportation-focused nonprofit CALSTART. The organization expects there to be 169 zero-emission commercial vehicles available for purchase, or soon to be available, in North America by the end of 2020; that’s a 78 percent increase from the number of zero-emission commercial vehicles available at the end of 2019. What’s more, between 2019 and 2023, the amount of zero-emission commercial vehicle models is expected to double, to 195.  Why does this matter? Because diesel-powered trucks and buses are responsible for a disproportionate amount of transportation-related carbon emissions and are also a source of air pollution, much of it in disadvantaged communities, who live closer to industrial areas or freeways. In addition, commercial vehicles are offering a bright spot for automakers that are seeing slumping sales of passenger vehicles in the wake of COVID-19.  If data and analyst predictions make your eyes glaze over, you can look at the trend another way. Companies are increasingly making zero-emission truck and bus announcements. Every day when I skim Twitter or my inbox, I see more. Here are just a few from the past couple of weeks: General Motors is making an electric van to rival Tesla. Rivian is on track with its Amazon electric delivery vans. Nikola Motors will start accepting reservations June 29 for its electric pickup truck the Badger. Ford is making an electric transit van. CALSTART says that the surge is coming from a combination of market demand, policies and economics as EV battery costs continue to drop. Big companies such as Amazon , IKEA , UPS and FedEx are making big purchases (or working with partners to make purchases). But cities across the United States are also buying EVs, including electric transit buses, garbage trucks and pickup trucks. Substantial growth in the number of commercial EV models available is particularly important for the market because model availability has long been a major hurdle. The large automakers have been pretty slow to offer a variety of models, citing a lack of demand from customers. It’s a pretty standard chicken-and-egg scenario that happens in a nascent market. But as a result, much of the early commercial EV models on the market have come from startups such as Rivian , Nikola , Chanje and Arrival . The bigger automakers are entering the market and playing catch-up.  COVID-19 also has shone a spotlight on the need for a resilient and dynamic transportation supply chain, as shippers across the country have relied heavily on trucks and truck drivers to meet unusual spikes and valleys in demand. The trucking industry, like all operators of commercial vehicles, will need to become cleaner, too, as customer demand, policies and economics evolve. This article is adapted from GreenBiz’s weekly newsletter, Transport Weekly, running Tuesdays. Subscribe here . Topics Transportation & Mobility Electric Vehicles Electric Trucks Electric Bus Clean Fleets 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 The Nikola Badger pickup truck.

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