Is ‘net-zero’ greenwash?

November 17, 2020 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

Is ‘net-zero’ greenwash? Joel Makower Tue, 11/17/2020 – 02:11 This year, there has been much ado about zero. It’s becoming hard to read the green media, or even the mainstream media, without seeing new net-zero commitments from companies, governments, institutions and others. Indeed, “net-zero” is the new “zero waste” — remember way back in 2019 when everyone was making that commitment? — which is the new “100 percent renewable,” which is the new “ISO 14001 certified,” and on and on, all the way back to when announcing a LEED-certified building was widely considered to be media-worthy . Now, net-zero is the flavor of the month. Global net-zero commitments doubled in less than a year and commitments by companies more than tripled, rising from 500 at the end of 2019 to more than 1,500 by September. In addition to net-zero companies, there are also net-zero buildings , communities , products , farming , factories , supply-chains , even ships . One large financial institution set forth a commitment to net-zero client emissions . There’s also net-zero water and waste . There are net-zero-committed oil companies , utilities and airlines . Earlier this year, the United Nations formed a Net-Zero Asset Owner Alliance of institutional investors. The Trump administration even has funded the development of net-zero coal plants . You can’t make this stuff up. So, you’d think all this talk about “zero” would add up to something, right? It’s hard to know, according to a new report, ” Navigating the nuances of net-zero targets ,” by the NewClimate Institute and Data-Driven EnviroLab . You’d think all this talk about ‘zero’ would add up to something, right? Not neccessarily. As the report notes, net-zero commitments vary widely in terms of their metrics and transparency, among other things. That is, no single standard governs the way net-zero is defined or measured, or even how it should be communicated. For example, companies may refer to becoming “carbon negative” or “climate positive”; or that they seek to achieve “net-zero” or “net-negative” emissions or “deep decarbonization”; or that they plan to become “emissions-free” or achieve “zero emissions”; or that they are committed to a “1.5 degrees C pathway.” It’s not just language. Another issue is the lack of standardization about goals. For example, according to the report, some companies aim to fully decarbonize their own operations along with those of their supply chain, while others have no target for reducing their own emissions. Net-zero goals range from commitments to reduce emissions by a specific percentage by a target year, which are reported through platforms such as CDP, to more general announcements of net-zero ambition. Target practice And then there’s the issue of target dates — and, even more so, interim targets. Setting 2050 as the year for achieving net-zero emissions (or some other goal) is one thing — that date aligns with the goals of the Paris Agreement — but that 30-year horizon is a bit far off to enable reasonable accountability, perhaps deliberately so. What progress can we expect to see in, say, 2025 or 2030? Relatively few companies have committed to such accountability: Only 8 percent of companies’ net-zero targets include interim targets to chart a decarbonization pathway, according to the NewClimate Institute and Data-Driven EnviroLab report, which notes, “Interim targets offer clarity and guidance on how particular targets should be implemented. They provide the transparency necessary to ensure accountability.” Reliance on offsets is yet another issue. Some experts have deemed it appropriate for companies to invest in emissions offsets once they have made all of the other appropriate emissions reductions — such as through efficiency measures or by buying green energy — but offsetting one’s emissions without really cutting them is another thing altogether. According to the report, only about half of the companies and one-quarter of the subnational governments “are transparent about their intention to use offsets for their net-zero targets. The number of actors that explicitly rule out using offsets is limited.” Moreover, it added: “Without a radical transformation of the offsetting market and the types of activities it supports, offsetting cannot be considered an equivalent alternative to an actor’s own emission reductions in 2020.” Even that’s not the end of the issues that companies need to consider. Getting to “zero,” it turns out, is no small thing. And it will loom larger in the coming months, as calls for increased corporate ambition grow, the United States (presumably) rejoins the Paris Agreement, governments edge closer to putting a price on carbon or creating other market mechanisms — and the ravages of a changing climate continue to be felt around the world. Increasingly, the makers of all those net-zero commitments will need to demonstrate that they truly are making significant progress, and fast. I invite you to follow me on Twitter , subscribe to my Monday morning newsletter, GreenBuzz , and listen to GreenBiz 350 , my weekly podcast, co-hosted with Heather Clancy. Pull Quote You’d think all this talk about ‘zero’ would add up to something, right? Not neccessarily. Topics Commitments & Goals Climate Change Net-Zero Featured Column Two Steps Forward Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off GreenBiz photocollage, via Shutterstock

See original here:
Is ‘net-zero’ greenwash?

US formally exits Paris climate agreement

November 5, 2020 by  
Filed under Green

Comments Off on US formally exits Paris climate agreement

One of President Trump’s early moves in office was to announce the United States’ withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement . Now, amidst the election, the full exit process is over, making the U.S. the first country to officially leave the Paris Agreement. The Paris Agreement, written in 2015, states that all the signatories will work together to limit global warming . The aim is to keep this century’s temperature rise below 2° Celsius, or, ideally, 1.5° Celsius. While the Paris Agreement puts a kind of public moral pressure on countries, it’s a nonbinding agreement that doesn’t legally require its signatories to do anything. Related: UN report shows global warming could pass 1.5°C limit before 2030 If you’re wondering why it took so long for Trump to get out of the agreement, it’s because those who drafted the Paris accord expected trouble from the U.S. Global climate change pacts have been stymied in the past by warring U.S. politicians. As such, then-President Obama instructed his negotiators to make it hard to back out. The treaty went into effect in November 2016, after at least 55 countries responsible for 55% of global greenhouse gas emissions ratified it. No signatory was allowed to give notice for at least three years after the ratification date, and then it had to give a year’s written notice. “The decision to leave the Paris agreement was wrong when it was announced and it is still wrong today,” said Helen Mountford from the World Resources Institute. “Simply put the U.S. should stay with the other 189 parties to the agreement, not go out alone.” People around the world wonder if the U.S. withdrawal will inspire other countries to leave the agreement or perhaps strengthen the ties of those that remain. A few countries, notably Kuwait, Russia and Saudi Arabia, have also shown a tendency to dispute climate change science . While it took four years to extract the U.S. from the Paris Agreement, it will take less time to rejoin if a future American president decides to realign with the international coalition of countries fighting climate change . Via BBC Image via Markus Spiske

More here:
US formally exits Paris climate agreement

HSBC is latest bank to pledge net-zero financed emissions by mid-century

October 13, 2020 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

Comments Off on HSBC is latest bank to pledge net-zero financed emissions by mid-century

HSBC is latest bank to pledge net-zero financed emissions by mid-century Cecilia Keating Tue, 10/13/2020 – 00:46 HSBC has become the latest bank to commit to achieving net-zero financed emissions, announcing Monday that it intends to align its portfolio of investments and debt financing with global climate targets by mid-century. The bank, currently Europe’s second largest financier of fossil fuels, has committed to reaching net-zero across its supply chain and operations by 2030, before reaching net-zero across its customer portfolio 20 years later. The pledge does not include any firm commitments to phasing out support of fossil fuel companies, but confirms the bank’s plans to channel between $75 billion and $1 trillion of financing and investment over the next 10 years to support its customers’ transition towards net zero emissions. In an open letter to its clients, HSBC CEO Noel Quinn said the bank had been motivated to ramp up its environmental ambition by customer concern about climate change. “We know this is an issue that many of our 40 million customers care deeply about, particularly in our retail and private banking businesses,” Quinn wrote . “They care as citizens, consumers and business owners. We are committed to developing products that allow them to invest or participate in efforts to bring about a more sustainable global economy.” While the pledge provides limited detail on the measures it will take to slash the carbon emissions of its portfolio or operations, the bank said it would establish “clear, measurable pathways” to net-zero using the Paris Agreement’s Capital Transition Assessment Tool (PACTA). We know this is an issue that many of our 40 million customers care deeply about, particularly in our retail and private banking businesses. HSBC said it would “apply a climate lens” to all its financing decisions and disclose its climate risk in line with the recommendations of the Taskforce on Climate-related Financial Disclosure (TCFD). It also said it would work with the broader finance sector to create a standard to measure financed emissions and support a functioning carbon offset market. Ben Caldecott, director of the Oxford sustainable finance program and COP26 strategy adviser for finance, hailed the announcement as a “big deal,” noting that HSBC faced particular challenges due to its being more exposed to emerging markets than many of its peers. Elsewhere, the news elicited a more lukewarm response, with a number of environmental campaigners slamming the commitment as “empty” due to its lack of a phaseout timeline for its support of fossil-fuel companies and businesses responsible for deforestation. “HSBC’s net-zero commitment is a bit like saying you’ll give up smoking by 2050, but continuing to buy a pack a week or even smoking more,” said Becky Jarvis, coordinator of campaign group network Fund Our Future UK. “Any further financing of oil, gas and coal expansion today is utterly at odds with a net-zero commitment by 2050. That’s just science, not finance.” Adam McGibbon, energy finance campaigner at Market Forces, said the proposals represented “zero ambition, not net-zero ambition.” “If you want to know what HSBC’s stance on climate change really is, look at what they fund, not their fluffy marketing,” he added. “This is a bank that owns stakes in companies seeking to build enough coal power plants to emit carbon emissions equivalent to 37 years of the UK’s annual emissions.” HSBC, which provided $87 billion in financing to top fossil fuel companies since the Paris Agreement and nearly $8 billion in loans and underwriting to 29 companies developing coal plants between 2017 and Q3 2019, has faced growing pressure from shareholders to cease financing companies heavily dependent on fossil fuels. In May, 24 percent of shareholders voted in favor for an independent resolution that called for clear phaseout targets and in 2019 a group of investors, including Schroders, EdenTree and Hermes EOS, wrote a letter to the bank’s then-CEO urging him to end support of companies dependent on coal mining or coal power. This week’s announcement is the latest in a growing wave of pledges from across the financial sector from banks and investment firms looking to fully decarbonize not just their operations but also their portfolios. In the past month alone, Morgan Stanley and JPMorgan Chase have made similar pledges, while earlier this year Barclays and Natwest promised to move their investment activities into line with the Paris Agreement. Pull Quote We know this is an issue that many of our 40 million customers care deeply about, particularly in our retail and private banking businesses. Topics Finance & Investing Corporate Strategy Net-Zero BusinessGreen Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off

Originally posted here:
HSBC is latest bank to pledge net-zero financed emissions by mid-century

Third Nature imagines a zero-emission regenerative city district in Bergen

September 28, 2020 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Comments Off on Third Nature imagines a zero-emission regenerative city district in Bergen

An old logistics port and ferry terminal in Bergen, Norway has been reimagined into an inspiring zero-emission district where nature-based climate adaptation, a community-based sharing economy and renewable building materials will take center stage. Copenhagen-based architecture studio Tredje Natur (Third Nature) is the mastermind behind this grand vision, a 40-hectare mixed-use development known as the future Dokken. The design follows principles of a regenerative city, from the emphasis on public transportation and pedestrian-friendly spaces over car-oriented transit to the inclusion of low-carbon construction strategies, such as adaptive reuse and building with renewable and reusable materials. Developed for the Bergen Municipality in close collaboration with Entasis, Matter by Prix and MOE, the future Dokken regenerative city concept seeks to fulfill the goals of the Paris Agreement . Located along the water, Dokken is continually being expanded upon with surplus materials, such as granite rubble, from infrastructural works around the city. The architects aim to better connect the area’s enlarged footprint with two primary elements: a new urban “allmenning,” a climate streetscape that builds on Bergen’s existing urban fabric with unique public spaces, and an all-encompassing, nature-based loop that would create a new 4.5-kilometer coastline. The coastline would introduce a massive, publicly accessible green space connected to the natural harbor-front. Related: Futuristic eco-city powered with renewable energy is unveiled for the Maldives To inject new life into the area, the first phase of the Dokken development would include The Sea Quarter, which comprises the Institute for Marine Research, the Directorate of Fisheries and the new Bergen Aquarium housed within the old Harbor Warehouse; The Sugarhouse Square, a new public space; and Under the Bridge, a place for experimental urban interventions and grass-roots initiatives located under the Puddefjord Bridge. New housing would be built of renewable and reusable materials, while car parking would be tucked underground to create a pedestrian- and cyclist-friendly area with close access to light rail. In total, the urban development encompasses 535,000 square meters of mixed-use, cultural and civic buildings.  “Creating a regenerative city is about integrating sustainability into all the discrete parts if the city, great or small,” the architects said. “In a sustainable future, everything — from our everyday consumer habits to the total ecological footprint of the city — must work together in circular processes, which won’t destroy our nature and climate. The sustainable city must correct the sins of the past by recreating lost narratives and reuniting separate areas and processes — and, in the case of Dokken, by creating new connections and reuniting Bergen with the water.” + Tredje Natur Images via Tredje Natur

Read more here: 
Third Nature imagines a zero-emission regenerative city district in Bergen

Strategy firm BCG pledges net-zero impact, eyes ‘carbon positive’ future

September 1, 2020 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

Comments Off on Strategy firm BCG pledges net-zero impact, eyes ‘carbon positive’ future

Strategy firm BCG pledges net-zero impact, eyes ‘carbon positive’ future Heather Clancy Tue, 09/01/2020 – 00:02 Business strategy organization Boston Consulting Group will use remote workplace lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic to reduce per-employee travel by at least 30 percent by 2025, one key element of the $8.5 billion company’s new commitment to achieve net-zero status for its own operations by the end of this decade.  It’s also planning an investment push that will see it fund carbon removal projects at a starting cost of $25 per metric ton in 2025, increasing to $80 per metric ton in 2030 — far higher than the amount companies traditionally pay to purchase carbon offsets on voluntary markets.  Both declarations are notable, for different reasons. The consulting industry traditionally has relied heavily on travel to deliver services — it represents 80 percent of BCG’s total footprint, for example. Reducing that activity is something that neither the consulting sector nor its clients would have imagined was possible at the end of 2019, BCG CEO Rich Lesser told GreenBiz. “We are in a period of unbelievable learning,” he said. “My expectation is we will find different kinds of models with less travel intensity.” While BCG hasn’t made any specific commitments about what that model might look like, Lesser said it could include using videoconferencing for certain sorts of engagements in the future rather than sending someone for an on-site meeting or arranging for consultants to work at client locations on a staggered, rotating basis rather than all at the same time. Within its own operations — it has 21,000 employees and offices in 50 countries — BCG is aiming to reduce direct energy and electricity emissions by 90 percent per full-time employee against a baseline measurement of 2018, according to the new set of commitments the company announced Tuesday. It previously committed to purchasing 100 percent renewable energy and will use energy-efficiency measures to fill the gap. Beyond 2030, BCG aspires to be “climate positive” — by removing more carbon dioxide emissions from the atmosphere on an ongoing basis than it actually emits through its own activities. While the company didn’t publicly identify projects in its press release about the new commitments, those investments will be for both nature-based and “engineered” solutions. “I suspect it will be a mix of both,” Lesser said, adding that BCG will prioritize “change the game” kinds of solutions. One example of an organization with which BCG already works is Indigo Ag, the company behind the Terraton Initiative, an effort to draw down 1 trillion tons of atmospheric CO2 through regenerative agriculture and soil wellness initiatives. Indigo is growing fast both in terms of funding and connections with farmers, which are hoping to get credit for the carbon sequestration potential of their agricultural practices. In early August, it added $360 million in new financing, bringing its overall total to $535 million. The Indigo Marketplace, where it links growers prioritizing sustainability practices directly with grain buyers, has completed more than $1 billion in transactions since September 2018. ‘The model has yet to be fully proved out, but there is massive capacity,” Lesser said. Aside from its own commitments, BCG also has pledged up to $400 million in services — such as research or consulting support through its Center for Climate Action — to support environmental organizations, industry groups, government agencies and others working on net-zero projects. It works on more than 350 such projects with more than 250 organizations, including the World Economic Forum, WWF and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development. How does BCG’s new pledges compare with other leading business consulting firms? McKinsey & Company declared carbon neutrality in 2018 and has set emissions reductions in line with the Paris Agreement, including a 60 percent reduction in purchased energy by 2030 and by 90 percent by 2050. It also has been active in engaging its suppliers — including 50 of the world’s largest airlines and five of the biggest hotel groups — on how to improve environment performance. And it has a large sustainability practice, focused on helping other businesses reduce their own impact. Another business consulting heavyweight, Bain & Company, was declared carbon neutral by Natural Capital Partners in 2012. It has reduced its direct emissions by 70 percent since 2011, with a pledge to reach 90 percent by 2040. It committed to delivering up to $1 billion in pro bono consulting work for social impact projects between 2015 and 2025. (So far, it has delivered about $335 million.) Topics Corporate Strategy Carbon Removal Net-Zero Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off

Read the original here:
Strategy firm BCG pledges net-zero impact, eyes ‘carbon positive’ future

Ocasio-Cortez and Kerry co-chair climate change task force

May 15, 2020 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Comments Off on Ocasio-Cortez and Kerry co-chair climate change task force

By focusing on climate change and other issues important to progressive voters, Joe Biden is attempting to win over Bernie Sanders’ supporters and unify the Democratic Party. Biden has tapped Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and former Secretary of State John Kerry to co-chair a climate change task force. “She made the decision with members of the Climate Justice community — and she will be fully accountable to them and the larger advocacy community during this process,” Ocasio-Cortez’s spokesperson Lauren Hitt said in an email. Ocasio-Cortez was a staunch Sanders supporter until he dropped out of the race in April. Related: Rep. Ocasio-Cortez releases Green New Deal resolution Ocasio-Cortez serves as representative for New York’s 14th congressional district, which includes the eastern part of the Bronx and parts of Queens. At only 30 years old, she’s Congress’ youngest member and is known for advocating for working-class people and social and environmental justice; Ocasio-Cortez sponsored the Green New Deal. Kerry is known for his work on environmental improvements. He helped orchestrate the 2016 Paris Agreement, which addressed greenhouse gas emissions . Other panel members bring the perspectives of both rural and urban areas. “This is the Climate Dream Team for Democrats,” said Jeremy Symons, a Washington, D.C.-based environmental consultant, according to Inside Climate News . The climate policy panel is one of six task forces Biden convened to unify Democrats after Sanders left the presidential primary race. The other five panels focus on healthcare, immigration, the economy, criminal justice reform and education . The groups will meet before the Democratic National Convention to help set Biden’s campaign agenda. “A united party is key to defeating Donald Trump this November and moving our country forward through an unprecedented crisis,” Biden said in a statement. “As we work toward our shared goal, it is especially critical that we not lose sight of the pressing issues facing Americans.” Via NPR Image via Senate Democrats

See more here:
Ocasio-Cortez and Kerry co-chair climate change task force

Watch for ADM to pioneer biofuels, more carbon capture projects

May 13, 2020 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

Comments Off on Watch for ADM to pioneer biofuels, more carbon capture projects

Watch for ADM to pioneer biofuels, more carbon capture projects Heather Clancy Wed, 05/13/2020 – 02:57 Although decarbonization of industrial processes remains a big technical challenge, food processing and commodities giant Archer Daniels Midland recently adopted new commitments to cut its absolute greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent by 2035 — with additional carbon sequestration projects and changes to its transportation fleet figuring largely in that strategy. ADM also has pledged to decrease energy intensity by 15 percent over the same timeframe. “Our new goals are ambitious yet achievable,” said ADM chairman and CEO Juan Luciano, in a statement when they were revealed in late March. “The greenhouse gas emissions we’ll save will be the equivalent of those from charging every single smartphone on the planet 250 times.” The new commitments , the culmination of a 1.5-year planning process, aren’t officially science-based targets but they are “more aggressive” than the 2 degrees Celsius reduction scenarios suggested by the Paris Agreement, according to ADM’s chief sustainability officer, Alison Taylor. The new commitments do not yet cover Scope 3 emissions, although that it is a forthcoming priority for the company, she said. We hope in this trajectory of 15 years there will be technologies that come online that we don’t even know about today. ADM’s new board-level sustainability and corporate responsibility committee — as well as the whole executive council — played a role in setting the new goals, she said. A feasibility study conducted by consulting and engineering firm WSP Global summarizes the best courses of action — now and over the next 15 years — that are most viable. “It gives me faith that this will be taken seriously,” Taylor told GreenBiz shortly after the new strategy was revealed. ADM’s list of potential options (as identified by that study) is comprehensive and includes many measures you’d expect for near-term improvement such as renewable energy procurement, investments (although limited) in on-site generation technology including solar, wind, nuclear and battery storage and ongoing energy “treasure hunts” for identifying energy efficiency and reduction opportunities. Flipping the switch Another major focus will be “fuel switching,” both for its industrial facilities and transportation fleet. This is a daunting task: ADM, which has about 40,000 employees in 200 countries, operates more than 330 food and ingredient manufacturing facilities worldwide. It owns more than 1,800 barges, 12,000 rail cars, 360 trucks, 1,200 trailers, 100 boats and 10 oceangoing vessels. Its leased fleet is just as massive. According to the WSP assessment, about 46 percent of ADM’s energy consumption in 2018 (28.6 million MWh) was attributable to coal and 33 percent (20.7 million MWh) came from natural gas. As of that time, about 8 percent (5.2 million MWh) came from biogenic sources such as biodiesel, ethanol, biogas and biomass — a percent you can expect to increase as ADM works toward its new reduction goals. And ADM is exploring all of its options including biomass, although that would require capital expenditures and the construction of substantial storage facilities to handle the feedstock. If ADM transitioned its industrial energy loads entirely to biomass, it would require more than 500 trucks daily of fuel, according to the study. It’s more likely, instead, that the company will opt for multiple options that also include biogas, renewable natural gas and — potentially in the future — hydrogen. “We hope in this trajectory of 15 years there will be technologies that come online that we don’t even know about today,” Taylor said. To see our company looking at the future, this was rewarding for employees. ADM is already testing emerging technologies within its transportation fleet. In late February, it announced a plan to outfit five trucks with a fuel system from Optimus Technologies that allows conventional engines to run on 100 percent biodiesel. They’ll be part of a year-long pilot: Each vehicle will travel an estimated 160,000 to 180,000 miles, with the technology expected to reduce CO2 emissions by up to 500,000 pounds on each truck. For perspective, that’s a reduction of about 80 percent over traditional diesel. The fuel itself will come from an ADM refinery in Jefferson, Missouri. Indeed, it’s worth noting that ADM is still one of the largest biodiesel and biofuels producers in the world. It stands to benefit from that sort of transition. An early adopter of industrial carbon capture When it comes to removing existing atmospheric carbon, ADM is digging into emerging carbon capture and sequestration solutions. It is already operating a commercial-scale installation at its corn processing and biofuels facility in Decatur, Illinois, that is capable of storing up to 1 million tons of CO2 annually. The CO2 is being injected into a saline reservoir that’s almost 1.5 miles underground. This isn’t something it can do indefinitely: The project can store up to 5.5 million tons in total, and it’s only slated to run up to five years initially. Realistically, this isn’t something that ADM can do everywhere. The right combination of geological considerations is necessary for this sort of installation. But the 45Q tax credit for carbon removal projects has made this more feasible, Taylor said, and the approach is being evaluated elsewhere. “We can demonstrate to our colleagues that this technology can be scaled up,” she said. When I spoke with Taylor in early April, I asked about whether the rollout of the new goals might be delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic. While the company could have waited until later this spring, she said the team decided to push forward to help keep the ADM workforce focused on the long term, even amid the short-term crisis. “To see our company looking at the future, this was rewarding for employees,” Taylor said. “It’s giving them confidence about the future.” Pull Quote We hope in this trajectory of 15 years there will be technologies that come online that we don’t even know about today. To see our company looking at the future, this was rewarding for employees. Topics Food & Agriculture Corporate Strategy Decarbonization Corporate Strategy Sustainability Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off An ADM carbon storage facility. Close Authorship

View original here:
Watch for ADM to pioneer biofuels, more carbon capture projects

Here’s what fringe consumers tell us about the post-pandemic marketplace

May 13, 2020 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

Comments Off on Here’s what fringe consumers tell us about the post-pandemic marketplace

Here’s what fringe consumers tell us about the post-pandemic marketplace Deonna Anderson Wed, 05/13/2020 – 00:06 For years, communications firm Shelton Group has been gathering data about “fringe” consumers through intensive, manual social media analysis about both environmental and social sustainability. Why? Because while the fringe tends to be ahead of the curve when it comes to the trends, eventually some ideals of fringe consumers become mainstream. As just one example of a once-nascent idea, Shelton Group pointed to the call by buyers for consumer brand companies and others in the consumer products value chain to transition away from plastics that eventually end up in the ocean. “The important piece of that is this is where you as a business and as a company and as a brand can take a look and understand something, that if it comes at you as a surprise, it’s a threat,” said Susannah Enkema, vice president of research and insights at Shelton Group, during last week’s GreenBiz webcast about what fringe consumers can tell us about the post-pandemic marketplace. “But if you understand it now, you can turn that threat into an opportunity, And that’s really the power of the fringe,” Enkema continued, before sharing findings from Shelton Group’s most recent report, ” Seeing into the Future: Leveraging fringe consumer insights to build a sustainable brand in a post-COVID world .” Between March and mid-April, Shelton Group observed trends on social media — including Twitter, Reddit and Instagram — to gather insights about what might happen after the COVID-19 pandemic. It first shared the findings during the webcast. The important piece of that is this is where you as a business and as a company and as a brand can take a look and understand something, that if it comes at you as a surprise, it’s a threat. In the report, Shelton Group defines the fringe as a “subset of individuals who live on the fringes of society in terms of their beliefs and behaviors,” also noting that they tend to be activist-oriented. Additionally, the firm polls mainstream consumers to further gather data about trends. “We have over the last few years seen a shift towards sustainability that we haven’t haven’t seen before, and it’s kind of two-fold,” said Suzanne Shelton, president and CEO at Shelton Group, during the webcast. “There’s a social proof or social pressure kind of aspect to this, in which pre-COVID, 42 percent of us wanted to be seen as buying green products,” Shelton continued. “But beyond that, we’ve also seen pre-COVID that 86 percent of us expect companies to stand for something more than just making money.” As the world grapples with the coronavirus pandemic and recession, fringe consumers can give businesses a sense of what their expectations might be when this is all over and we go back to a “new normal.” Here are a few key takeaways. Shelton said businesses have two options — return to “business as usual” or “embrace the responsibility consumers have given them to tackle large scale issues like climate change,” noting that business leaders should choose the second option for a number of reasons. Further, Shelton said, businesses need to get involved in the right way and start rethinking sustainability so that they’re not doing the bare minimum. Consumers need to know that businesses have some “skin in the game.” “In this new COVID world, what we’re seeing in the fringe that is quickly becoming mainstream is that those ideas are amplified,” she said. “What we’re seeing clearly in all this listening that we’re doing right now, again fringe and mainstream, is that businesses are sort of acting in one of four ways and therefore, they are getting categorized in one of four ways by consumers.” Shelton noted that there is a hierarchy in the four ways consumers are categorizing businesses. The businesses that are donating small aid that takes advantage of pandemic-induced losses are ranked low while those going beyond minimizing losses — such as those that shifted their manufacturing to produce masks or hand sanitizer — are ranked the highest. Consumers are paying attention to these actions, and as citizens, they’re paying attention to “the system” — the government, economic system, etc. — which the fringe has said needs to be changed for years. That idea is becoming more mainstream, as the pandemic has exposed the flaws of the current models and to point to a specific system, capitalism. During the webcast, Shelton said right now is the time for companies to step up their sustainability efforts. “As you think about your 2030 goals and 2040 goals, I think you need to go way beyond or else you’re going to live in this bucket forever and be seen as, ‘Yeah, they’re doing alright but they could be doing more,’” she said. Pull Quote The important piece of that is this is where you as a business and as a company and as a brand can take a look and understand something, that if it comes at you as a surprise, it’s a threat. Topics Consumer Trends COVID-19 Corporate Strategy COVID-19 Corporate Strategy Sustainability Strategies Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off Shutterstock Andrii Yalanskyi Close Authorship

View post:
Here’s what fringe consumers tell us about the post-pandemic marketplace

Downturn signals opportunity for climate-aligned investing

April 27, 2020 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

Comments Off on Downturn signals opportunity for climate-aligned investing

Several frameworks are emerging that sets performance thresholds identifying economic activities that align with the Paris Agreement emissions reduction targets.

Excerpt from:
Downturn signals opportunity for climate-aligned investing

Shell unveils net-zero emissions plan

April 20, 2020 by  
Filed under Business, Green

Comments Off on Shell unveils net-zero emissions plan

The oil giant updated investors on sweeping new strategy to deliver net-zero emissions across its entire value chain by 2050.

Here is the original post:
Shell unveils net-zero emissions plan

Next Page »

Bad Behavior has blocked 2882 access attempts in the last 7 days.