It’s time for Silicon Valley to start buying electric commuter buses

January 14, 2020 by  
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Many big Bay Area companies such as Facebook and Genentech use large fleets of private commuter buses. This year more of these vehicles will run on batteries.

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It’s time for Silicon Valley to start buying electric commuter buses

Episode 202: GreenBiz community shares 2020 ambitions, Dalkia’s energy services rebrand

January 10, 2020 by  
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Listen up for audiograms from 10 corporate sustainability professionals including Google sustainability officer Kate Brandt, Unilever diversity champion Kamillah Knight and strategy guru John Elkington.

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Episode 202: GreenBiz community shares 2020 ambitions, Dalkia’s energy services rebrand

Live Now on Google Assistant: Earth911 Recycling Search

December 9, 2019 by  
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Last week, Google announced its partnership with Earth911 to bring … The post Live Now on Google Assistant: Earth911 Recycling Search appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Live Now on Google Assistant: Earth911 Recycling Search

Google and WeWork are building workplaces of the future

August 19, 2019 by  
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The best of live interviews from GreenBiz events. This episode: How to preserve meaningful human connections in tech-infused workplaces of the future.

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Google and WeWork are building workplaces of the future

Google promises carbon neutral shipping and recycled plastic products

August 6, 2019 by  
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In an attempt to keep up with customer demands and industry competitors, Google announced a loose plan to reach carbon neutral shipping and incorporate more recycled plastics into their Made by Google products. These gadgets include Pixel phones and Pixelbooks as well as Google Home speakers, phone cases and charging devices. Google did not give a specific timeline for carbon neutral delivery but plans to increase their use of cargo ships instead of air vessels. The company committed to include recycled plastic in 100 percent of their devices by 2022. Related: Athlete and activist runs across the US to raise awareness of plastic pollution Apple and Samsung are out-competing Google for sustainability pledges. Apple, for example, has at least 50% recycled plastic in some of their gadgets and at least 11 products with recycled aluminum. Samsung also recently pledged to increase their use of sustainable packaging. According to Anna Meegan, head of sustainability for Google, the company’s transportation-related carbon emissions decreased by 40% between 2017 and 2018. Google also promised to purchase carbon offsets for the emissions that they will not be able to reduce through strategies such as using more ships. “We are fundamentally looking to build sustainability into everything we do. It’s going to take us time to demonstrate progress,” said Meegan. Since cargo ships take longer than planes, Google will need to find ways to streamline their development and production processes so they do not lose customers due to longer wait times. Currently, only a third of all google products with public material disclosures contain recycled plastic. For example, Google Home speakers contain approximately 20 to 40% recycled plastic in their casing. Google also has a Recycling Partnership program where they provide a free shipping label to previous customers who have devices they no longer use. Google is able to collect and recycle components of the devices for future gadgets. Interested customers can check out the Partnership information here . Via CNBC Image via Andres Urena

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Google promises carbon neutral shipping and recycled plastic products

See the forest for more than the trees why reforestation isn’t working

August 6, 2019 by  
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We can all agree planting a tree is good for the environment — right? According to a recent study in Nature , the global crusade for reforestation as a remedy for climate change is largely missing the mark. So where did it go wrong? The new evidence reveals that most of the countries with large-scale tree-planting programs are actually developing tree plantations, which might help the economy but fail to sequester the carbon that the countries originally pledged to. The Bonn Challenge promises 350 million hectares of trees In 2011, the international Bonn Challenge was announced as an ambitious plan to plant 150 million hectares of trees by 2020. In 2014, more than 100 nations signed on under the New York Declaration of Forests, increasing the target to 350 million hectares by 2030. Unlike many lofty development goals, most countries are actually on track to exceed their promises, at least at first glance. In fact, the world actually has more forest cover now than it did in 1982. So, what’s the problem? Related: The ‘Billion Tree Tsunami’ is transforming northwestern Pakistan Well, the majority of countries have been using the incentives and global momentum to back monoculture farms and counting trees that will be logged within years in their Bonn Challenge totals. According to the assessment, 45 percent of trees planted were species that will be quickly harvested for paper production. Another 21 percent were tree farm species, like fruits, nuts and cocoa . Only 34 percent of trees planted were part of so-called “natural forest,” even though the original intention of the Bonn Challenge was that all hectares planted should be natural forest. “Policymakers are misinterpreting the term forest restoration [and] misleading the public,” argued the study authors, Simon Lewis of Leeds University and Charlotte Wheeler from Edinburgh University. While agroforestry trees do provide important benefits to the environment and economy, monoculture plantations (especially when farmers clear natural forests for crops) fail to provide anywhere close to the same benefit in terms of sequestration and biodiversity . The value of natural forest A general definition of a natural forest is a “multilayered vegetation unit dominated by trees, whose combined strata have overlapping crowns, and where grasses are generally rare.” In general, a natural forest will store up to 40 times more carbon than a plantation that is harvested every decade. Related: How forest bathing can profoundly improve your health and well-being More than just trees , forests are important and intricate ecosystems. They are home to incredible biodiversity and provide sanctuary and habitat for thousands of species. They are also critical to the climate, because forests maintain rainfall and prevent desertification. Because clouds accumulate over forests, places that have destroyed all of their major forests often experience low rainfall, drought, desertification and other climate-related issues. Reforestation pledges around the world Even before the Bonn Challenge, China launched a massive reforestation program in response to flooding along the Yangtze River. Despite over two decades of reforestation, the report claims that 99 percent of all trees planted have been within monoculture plantations. Related: Philippine students must plant 10 trees to graduate, new law says In Niger, after years of complying with foreign and government extension officers who advised farmers to remove trees, farmers have finally argued that native trees serve an important purpose right where they are. Trees stabilize soil, produce nitrogen, buffer strong wind and improve organic matter in the soil. As a result of the farmers’ knowledge, deforestation has decreased, although the majority of farmers now wisely plant trees that will supplement their incomes rather than simply sequester seemingly abstract carbon. Yale Environment 360 reported that in Brazil, up to 82 percent of the forest restoration work is developing monoculture plantations and not natural forests. How to plant a forest? “Get out of the way.” According to National Geographic’s investigative article, “ How to regrow a forest: Get out of the way ,” even specific efforts by the U.S. Forest Department to plant natural forests have not worked the way they were intended to. For ease of planting and eventual use as lumber, the Forestry Department had a long-term tradition of planting native trees in neat rows at 12-foot gaps. Though the majority of trees were then left to develop into natural forests, the meticulous spacing has since exacerbated fire risk. The Department now opts for more irregular spacing and species biodiversity. Although it is more time- and cost-intensive, it ends up saving the department in firefighting costs later. Similarly, in Canada, a study found that a government campaign to drain wetlands thought to be smothering spruce trees caused a fire that destroyed 2,400 homes in 2016. Under the pretense of growing larger trees to store more carbon, peatlands were systematically destroyed. However, it is now recognized that peatlands ultimately store enormous amounts of carbon naturally and were more resilient to fires. “If you take the perspective that no matter what, more trees are better, that’s going to have unintended consequences,” said Sofia Faruqi from the World Resource Institute. “In the case of the West Coast, restoration may mean removing trees from the landscape.” Turning over a new leaf on reforestation pledges According to Faruqi, policies must acknowledge both what kind of tree is planted and how the tree “jibes with the larger health of the forest, the amount of water available or the needs of local people.” As we approach the start of the United Nation’s declared Decade of Ecosystem Restoration, many forestry experts agree that reforestation solutions must be localized — both at a national level and at the individual forest level. While the need for income, especially sustainably sourced income, is paramount, cash crop trees should be planted in addition to the 350 million acres of natural forest. Tropical forests are particularly important, because they have the potential to capture more carbon than any other forest type in the world. In many equatorial regions, where there are large amounts of land available and a high need for economic stimulation, healthy tropical forests can provide jobs, support indigenous traditions and capture an estimated 3 billion tons of carbon annually. That’s the equivalent of taking 2 billion cars off the road every year. Blanket pledges of specific tree planting targets have not worked and leave the door open for damaging misinterpretation. More research and awareness is needed to understand the importance of different ecosystems and more priority given to protecting and keeping natural ecosystems intact. The idea that any tree planted helps is simply outdated and misleading. A quote by American poet, environmentalist and farmer Wendell Berry sums it up nicely: “Say that your main crop is the forest that you did not plant, that you will not live to harvest.” + Nature Via Yale Environment 360 and National Geographic Images via Michael Benz , Marc Pell , Jesse Gardner , Janusz Maniak , Steven Kamenar and Zoer Ng

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See the forest for more than the trees why reforestation isn’t working

DoneGood challenges Amazon Prime Days with rival discounts that help the planet

July 15, 2019 by  
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DoneGood, an e-commerce platform, is taking the ‘high road’ by offering exclusively ethical brands, but it isn’t above aiming to steal the loyalty of its competitor’s customers on the highly anticipated Amazon Prime Day. On July 15 and 16 — the same days that Amazon will offer major Prime discounts — DoneGood is hosting “Better Days.” According to DoneGood representatives, using this site instead of Amazon is a no-brainer. The sales are “better than Prime Day — you get great deals and create ‘Better Days’ for people and the planet.” DoneGood is an e-commerce platform that only includes socially responsible brands that have been vetted and tagged for searchable categories like environmentally friendly, vegan or women’s empowerment. The site conveniently knocks out hours of due diligence and research that well-intended customers have had to do in order to find eco-friendly brands that pay fair wages and treat workers with respect. The site contains hundreds of brands and a wide variety of projects, including sunglasses made from ocean plastic and candles that give refugees a fair wage. By contrast, workers at Amazon have filed lawsuits for mistreatment, including long hours and limited water breaks. Some Amazon workers are planning a strike during Amazon’s Prime Days. Related: Carbon footprint breakdown: Pros and cons of online versus in-store shopping DoneGood also offers a downloadable plugin that users can run simultaneously with their regular searches on Google, Amazon or other major retailer sites. The plugin will highlight the items within the user’s search that are approved as ethical, mission-driven items. “The dollars we all spend are the world’s most powerful force for change ,” Cullen Schwarz, founder of DoneGood, said. “Americans donated $400 billion to charity last year but spent $130 trillion buying stuff. If even a fraction of that spending is diverted to brands that are reducing poverty, protecting the environment, making the world better, the impact of that is huge.” + DoneGood Image via PhotoMix

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DoneGood challenges Amazon Prime Days with rival discounts that help the planet

Episode 177: Sounding off at Circularity 19

June 21, 2019 by  
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Highlights from keynotes by Google’s Kate Brandt, Ellen Macarthur Foundation’s Andrew Morlet, and Cradle to Cradle co-founder Bill McDonough. Plus, on-the-spot interviews with UL engineer Bill Hoffman, General Motors materials guru Lauren Smith and World Wildlife Fund research Erin Simon.

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Episode 177: Sounding off at Circularity 19

The circular designer’s secret weapon: policy

June 21, 2019 by  
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Smart policy can inspire better material choices, innovative business models and the continual circulation of value.

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The circular designer’s secret weapon: policy

A conversation with Google’s circularity maven, CSO Kate Brandt

June 10, 2019 by  
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A Q&A with Google’s resident circular economy expert and Circularity 19 advisor on how tech matters to new systems.

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A conversation with Google’s circularity maven, CSO Kate Brandt

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