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

Why the US-China trade war is leaving firms vulnerable to soy risk

June 10, 2019 by  
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China’s growing demand for soy is leaving billions of dollars of investments exposed to deforestation risks, CDP report finds.

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Why the US-China trade war is leaving firms vulnerable to soy risk

Google is celebrating Earth Day with a new addition to its interactive app

April 22, 2019 by  
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In an effort to create an entertaining, easy way to learn about eco-friendly living, Google paired up with the California Academy of Sciences and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation to create Your Plan, Your Planet for Earth Day. Using interactive quizzes, tips and visual aids, Your Plan, Your Planet gives users a concise set of messages that will help anyone understand the simple ways they can do their part in helping save the planet’s precious resources. With a trusted name like Google behind Your Plan, Your Planet , you know it will be both accurate and user-friendly. For example, the water pillar explores all the ways, both obvious and not-so-obvious, that we waste water every day. The app gives specific, sourced facts for elements to consider all over the home, from how much water is wasted by having a drippy faucet each year to how much water can be saved from using a dishwasher instead of hand-washing. Related: Google Street View cars will map air pollution in cities worldwide The other pillars focus on two equally as important angles to help the environment: energy and food. Did you know that keeping your lights on for four hours per day in a two-bedroom home annually produces the CO2e (“carbon dioxide equivalent,” a unit for measuring carbon footprint ) as driving a car for 40 hours? The energy pillar lets you pinpoint exactly how many kilowatt hours of energy your own home produces in a year, and that is only one section of the pillar. Among other things, the food pillar shares helpful ways to store food properly to prevent wasted groceries (“Two-thirds of the food tossed out at home could have been eaten if it had been stored properly,” the app explains). Once you’ve reached the end of each pillar, a choice of pledges awaits with links to share on social media and a chance to add reminders of the pledge to your calendar. In order to unlock all the tips, you have to make it through the entire interactive program (it only takes a few minutes, and there is plenty of helpful advice along the way). Users can sign into their Google accounts to save their progress and track pledges. The original three pillars — water, food and energy — are now being joined by stuff on Earth Day 2019 to raise awareness of detrimental “ fast fashion ” as well as many people’s affinity to throw their stuff away without a second thought. These bad habits have lead to the equivalent of one garbage truck full of clothing (2,625 kg) being burned or sent to the landfill every second, a fact revealed early on in the app. On average, a piece of clothing that is made poorly is tossed in the trash after being worn just seven or eight times. The pillar was designed to help users understand the circular economy — the system aimed at managing ways to minimize waste and find better ways to expend the earth’s resources. Instead of the former mindset of “make, use, dispose,” circular economy is designed to keep resources in use as long as possible, rather than just throwing things away after we’re done with them. The facts revealed throughout the app are based on extensive Ellen MacArthur studies, such as The New Plastics Economy: Rethinking the future of plastics & catalysing action and A New Textiles Economy: Redesigning fashion’s future . Some examples of the pledges on Your Plan, Your Planet include: “I pledge to take part in Fashion Friday — Every Friday pledge to wear clothing you haven’t worn in a while. After wearing it, decide whether to keep, resell, reuse or donate your clothing.” “I pledge to prevent single-use plastics — Pledge to limit the purchase of single-use plastics, invest in reusable shopping bags, water bottles and straws, and reuse your plastic to keep it in use.” A simple change in just one of these patterns can have a considerable impact on your carbon footprint and contribution to the decay of the planet’s environmental resources. Related: Google hits its incredible 100% renewable energy goal Some of our favorite tips? Get inventive when it comes to recycling ! “Donate extra toys to a daycare, drop off old hangers to your local dry cleaner or advertise items on your neighborhood social media channels.” These are just a few ways to cut out the middleman and make sure that the items you don’t need anymore wind up in the hands of someone who could really use them. Another good tip from the app: “Choose to buy from a company that takes your products back [after you’re done with them].” Doing a little extra research before making a purchase can be the difference between trash and treasure. It’s no secret that minimalism and environmental awareness is gaining popularity. Videos and articles on sustainable fashion and eco-friendly options for waste have been popping up more and more as the plight of the earth’s resources is worsening. The stuff pillar has been available for teachers to use as a lesson plan since April 15, but Google has now made it available to everyone to celebrate Earth Day. Your Plan, Your Planet is great for both adults and children and an excellent way to learn together! You can access the program via g.co/yourplanyourplanet . + Your Plan, Your Planet Images via Your Plan, Your Planet

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Google is celebrating Earth Day with a new addition to its interactive app

This futuristic, solar-powered travel trailer can be pulled by small cars

April 22, 2019 by  
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There’s no dispute that travel trailers are gaining popularity among those looking to get off the grid and use fewer natural resources, especially while enjoying activities such as camping and road tripping. At 760 pounds and just over 12 feet in length, the Polydrop trailer is an impressive option for your next adventure. Created by architectural designer Kyung-Hyun Lew, this travel trailer has a lightweight frame and sleeps two people comfortably. For the minimalist traveler, it has pretty much all the essentials. The 2017 prototype was so lightweight that the designer was able to travel for an entire year with the personal trailer hitched to a small 4-cylinder car. The attention gained from Lew’s initial 2017 trip influenced the newer 2019 version with improved parts. Inside the wooden cabin bolted to the aluminum frame, there is a three-quarter-sized mattress, three sections of storage cubbies, two USB outlets and a vented roof. The interior is lit with recessed  LED lighting , and thick insulation protects inhabitants from all sorts of weather while saving energy. Heating (controlled by a thermostat), lighting and the electronic system are all powered by a solar panel. Related: Lume Traveler offers panoramic sky views from an open roof There is also a kitchenette with cabinets for electric hookups as well as two storage drawers in the rear. Unlike other travel trailers , the Polydrop doesn’t leave much room for the kitchen space, but the makers insisted that it has all the essentials for a camping trip at a site with separate facilities, like restrooms and benches, available. This isn’t your grandfather’s travel trailer — the Polydrop makes use of a polygonized teardrop shape with a super modern design and a futuristic feel. Safety wise, Timbren Independent suspension and hydraulic disk brakes get the job done for safe driveability. For the unfussy traveler who just needs a place to rest and some storage, the Polydrop certainly offers a successful approach to camping and road-tripping. The simplicity with a sleek, modern design is perfect for those looking for something not quite as bulky as a traditional travel trailer but more comfortable than a tent. + Polydrop Via Curbed Images via Polydrop

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This futuristic, solar-powered travel trailer can be pulled by small cars

7 predictions for mobility’s next 7 years

April 2, 2019 by  
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A former Lyft investor and entrepreneur looks ahead at what the next decade of mobility holds.

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7 predictions for mobility’s next 7 years

Earth Day and the polling of America 2019

April 2, 2019 by  
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Is it hot in here or is it us? Pollsters take Americans’ temperature on climate.

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Earth Day and the polling of America 2019

Creating the workplace of the future

October 31, 2018 by  
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How Google and WeWork are creating spaces that enable workers to thrive – varied approaches and solutions, lessons learned and their visions for the future of work.

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Creating the workplace of the future

Passenger service Gett launches carbon-free travel in the UK

September 14, 2018 by  
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The global, on-demand transportation service Gett is embarking on a new endeavor — implementing carbon-free and carbon-positive rides for all of its passengers. The company’s announcement features several initiatives to help accomplish this benchmark, and Gett’s success would make it the first major taxi app in the U.K. to attain a carbon-neutral status. With air quality continuously deteriorating to dangerous levels in several U.K. cities, the company is proud to become a first responder to the growing crisis. “Air quality is increasingly becoming more of an issue, not just in London, but across the U.K.,” Matteo de Renzi, CEO of Gett U.K., said. “By becoming carbon neutral, we’re incredibly proud to be helping cities achieve cleaner air and reduce pollution levels. By offsetting the CO2 our U.K. rides produce, we will positively impact multiple climate projects across the globe.” Related: Lyft is making all its rides carbon neutral In partnership with Carbon Clear, a global provider of energy and carbon sustainability solutions, Gett plans to ensure carbon neutrality by offsetting 7,500 tons of carbon dioxide — the amount of carbon dioxide emissions the company projects to release within the next 12 months — through various international programs. “The science tells us that carbon neutrality is necessary to protect the planet and sustain our livelihoods,” said Mark Chadwick, CEO of Carbon Clear. Together, the duo will be reducing pollution levels through a Wind Power Generation project in India that displaces the burning of fossil fuels. The team will also be supporting the Madre de Dios Project in Peru’s Amazon jungle to reduce deforestation. “The offsetting projects that Gett is supporting are subject to rigorous international standards to ensure they deliver the promised emissions reductions,” Chadwick said. “As well as this, these projects support sustainable development in international communities and have a tangible impact on people’s lives.” Related: Google Street View cars will map air pollution in cities worldwide Riders will also have the option to offer their own contribution of 20p ($0.26) to their Gett Green journeys if they wish, an action that will make each ride a carbon-positive experience on a long-term scale. The donations will be used to fund London schools that have been identified by the mayor’s school air quality audit program . This initiative is set on reducing emissions around London schools and mitigating youth exposure to heightened nitrogen dioxide levels. Gett will also continue to support electric and hybrid taxi conversions in cities such as Coventry, Edinburgh, Glasgow and London. The fully-certified electric taxis , made specifically to address growing pollution problems, are the first ever to be introduced on U.K.’s streets. Mindful to the core, Gett will not be adding extra vehicles to already-congested roads. Instead, the company wishes to continue its efforts in urban mobility improvement by reducing the amount of vehicles in circulation through its black car service gone green. + Gett + Carbon Clear Images via Gett

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Passenger service Gett launches carbon-free travel in the UK

Google Street View cars will map air pollution in cities worldwide

September 13, 2018 by  
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Air quality sensors are coming to a Google Street View car near you. The tech giant just announced plans to introduce sensors from a San Francisco company called Aclima that test air quality in cities and towns all across the globe. The Google Street View cars take photographs and incorporate them into Google Maps. Aclima is installing the air quality sensors in Google vehicles based in Mexico City, Houston and Sydney. The sensors will detect amounts of carbon dioxide , nitric oxide, carbon monoxide, ozone, particulate matter and nitrogen dioxide wherever the cars go. The goal is to map out where pollution is becoming a problem and inform users about which areas of towns and cities have the poorest air quality. Related: Google hits its incredible 100% renewable energy goal A few months ago, Aclima installed some air quality sensors in London to test whether or not they would work with Google’s vehicles. All of the company’s hard work paid off and directly led to the partnership and expansion. This is not the first time Aclima has worked with Google and its Street View division. In 2015, Aclima helped Google determine the air quality on the company’s campus in California . Aclima has also used the cars to test air quality around the Bay Area. Since collaborating with Aclima three years ago, Google’s cars have traveled about 100,000 miles in California. So far, the sensors have generated more than a billion points of data, a lot of which can be used to plan future urban development projects. For example, developers can use the data to pinpoint where pollution problems exist and build neighborhoods in places where the air quality is higher. Google plans to have the sensors installed in its fleet by the end of this fall. Google Earth Outreach manager Karin Bettman said, “These measurements can provide cities with new neighborhood-level insights to help accelerate efforts in their transition to smarter, healthier cities .” + Aclima + Google Via Tech Crunch , Fast Company Image via Aclima

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Google Street View cars will map air pollution in cities worldwide

Disrupting corporate food procurement, as usual

July 9, 2018 by  
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The best of live interviews from GreenBiz events. This episode: Helene York, global director of Google’s foodservice, on global, tech-enabled sustainable food procurement.

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Disrupting corporate food procurement, as usual

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