Episode 242: Responsible mining, the politics of clean energy

October 23, 2020 by  
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Episode 242: Responsible mining, the politics of clean energy Heather Clancy Fri, 10/23/2020 – 02:00 Week in Review Stories discussed this week (7:25). Microsoft, Tiffany help carve out new responsible mining standard Green 2.0: Corporate advocacy and the environmental movement’s racial justice reckoning How big-time investors think about deforestation: Q&A with investment manager Lauren Compere Features 5 questions with renewable fuels company Neste (20:40)   Jeremy Baines took on his role as president of Neste U.S. a little more than a year ago. He joins us to answer five questions about the organization’s strategy. The clean energy voting bloc (27:50)   GreenBiz senior energy analyst Sarah Golden offers an inside view to Clean Energy for Biden, which is raising visibility for the economic potential of clean energy industries ahead of the presidential election.  *Music in this episode by Lee Rosevere: “More On That Later,” “Night Caves,” “New Day,” “Curiosity” and “Sad Marimba Planet” *This episode was sponsored by WestRock and MCE, and features VERGE 20 sponsor Neste. Resources galore Lessons in resilience from the produce industry. Subject matter experts from Kwik Lok, Walmart and Second Harvest Food Bank join us at 1 p.m. EST Nov. 10 to discuss responding to disruption and how to balance food safety and security to minimize food waste. Behavior change and the circular economy. How innovation and new business models alter people’s relationship with waste. Join the discussion at 8 p.m. EST Nov. 12.  Do we have a newsletter for you! We produce six weekly newsletters: GreenBuzz by Executive Editor Joel Makower (Monday); Transport Weekly by Senior Writer and Analyst Katie Fehrenbacher (Tuesday); VERGE Weekly by Executive Director Shana Rappaport and Editorial Director Heather Clancy (Wednesday); Energy Weekly by Senior Energy Analyst Sarah Golden (Thursday); Food Weekly by Carbon and Food Analyst Jim Giles (Thursday); and Circular Weekly by Director and Senior Analyst Lauren Phipps (Friday). You must subscribe to each newsletter in order to receive it. Please visit this page to choose which you want to receive. The GreenBiz Intelligence Panel is the survey body we poll regularly throughout the year on key trends and developments in sustainability. To become part of the panel, click here . Enrolling is free and should take two minutes. Stay connected To make sure you don’t miss the newest episodes of GreenBiz 350, subscribe on iTunes . Have a question or suggestion for a future segment? E-mail us at 350@greenbiz.com . Contributors Joel Makower Sarah Golden Topics Podcast Renewable Energy Supply Chain Policy & Politics Mining Collective Insight GreenBiz 350 Podcast Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 37:26 Sponsored Article Off GreenBiz Close Authorship

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Episode 242: Responsible mining, the politics of clean energy

Florida to release millions of genetically modified mosquitoes

August 21, 2020 by  
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It sounds like the premise for a 1950s horror movie: release 750 million genetically altered mosquitoes in the Florida Keys and see what happens. But Florida and the federal government have approved this plan for 2021 and 2022. “What could possibly go wrong? We don’t know, because EPA unlawfully refused to seriously analyze environmental risks, now without further review of the risks, the experiment can proceed,” Jaydee Hanson, policy director for the International Center for Technology Assessment and Center for Food Safety, said in a statement. Related: Rare blue bee spotted in Florida The GMO mosquito, named OX5034, is a modified version of Aedes aegypti developed by the biotech company Oxitec . This species carries dengue, Zika, chikungunya and yellow fever. The new-and-improved mosquito produces female offspring that die while still in the larval stage. For mosquitoes, females feed on blood and males on nectar. So, female babies born to OX5034s will die before they mature enough to bite humans and spread disease . The EPA approved the pilot project for the Florida Keys in May to test whether the OX5034 approach will work better than controlling Aedes aegypti by spraying insecticide. The project just received final approval by local authorities — often over the protests of residents worried about the implications of modifying mosquitoes. Some Floridians have called OX5034 a “Robo-Frankenstein” mosquito and a “superbug” and worry that it will endanger the birds , insects and mammals that eat mosquitoes. While dengue fever is uncommon in the U.S., local outbreaks occasionally occur. Hawaii, Florida and Texas have suffered the most cases. Outbreaks in the Florida Keys in 2009 and 2010 strapped the Florida Keys Mosquito Control District, which budgets upward of $1 million per year — a tenth of its funding — to fight Aedes aegypti . This species accounts for only 1% of the area’s mosquito population. Harris County, Texas, also plans to release OX5034 in 2021. Both Florida and Texas officials are basing their decisions on field tests Oxitec conducted in Brazil, Panama and the Cayman Islands. In a trial area of Brazil, OX513A, a predecessor to OX5034, reduced the Aedes aegypti population by 95%. Via CNN Image via Hans Braxmeier

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Florida to release millions of genetically modified mosquitoes

HIVE Project proposes biophilic, self-sufficient homes of the future

August 21, 2020 by  
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As part of RIBA’s The Home of 2030 design competition, Gianluca Santosuosso Design has created The HIVE Project, a honeycomb-inspired modular solution for lower carbon and low-energy housing. Developed for scalability, the prefabricated timber-framed hexagonal structures would offer residents a great degree of flexibility in customizing their homes throughout different stages of life. The honeycomb-inspired homes are also designed for energy self-sufficiency via renewable energy sources and would be integrated with a water recycling strategy that sustainably handles wastewater as well. The HIVE Project — short for ‘Human-Inclusive & Vertical Ecosystem’ — is a scheme for a circular economy that includes residences as well as shared facilities and onsite food- and energy-generating systems. This “Socio-Eco-System” promotes social cohesion and nature regeneration by incorporating the needs of not only humans, but also the existing site and local flora and fauna. For instance, the ideal starting site for the HIVE Project would be a brownfield that would be rehabilitated and enriched as the community grows. Related: Green-roofed Hive home opens and closes with the sun The hexagonal modules would be prefabricated offsite, where they would be bound together with a mix of locally sourced industrial hemp and natural binder that also provides strong insulation properties. As the community expands, more modules can be quickly added with minimal site impact. At the end of the solar-powered building’s lifecycle, the biodegradable construction materials can be easily disposed of while the remaining elements can be reused for new construction. “HIVE combines the properties of the honeycomb with the shape of the archetypal house and creates a new hybrid type of living space able to merge nature’s efficiency with the ingenuity of humans,” the architects explained. “We intend to provide the HIVE with a wide spectrum of co-owned and shared facilities that will empower individuals, families and communities to be self-sufficient while allowing local authorities and administration to limit the need for public investments. … Using these ‘Kits-of-Parts’, every single plot development will be unique and diverse.” + Gianluca Santosuosso Design Images via Gianluca Santosuosso Design

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HIVE Project proposes biophilic, self-sufficient homes of the future

Silvr offers smart alternative to single-use utensils

July 31, 2020 by  
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Sometimes the best ideas are the simplest. Silvr’s innovative design team proves this with the new Silvr portable fork. Compact enough to slip into a pocket, purse, lunchbox or backpack, the sleek bullet design can stay with you on-the-go. A lightweight aluminum handle hides a full-size fork inside and doubles as storage and a base. The actual fork uses durable anti-microbial 304 stainless steel, rounding out this  waste-free  alternative to single-use plastic utensils.  Related: This sleek, reusable cutlery set can fit right inside your pocket While other brands on the market provide plastic silverware substitutes, Silvr offers an option that keeps you from toting around a full set, when you only need a salad fork. The portability makes Silvr a long-lasting option for work lunches, picnics or backpacking trips. Silvr is even TSA-approved so pack it along for longer trips too. When it’s time to clean up, simply give Silvr a rinse and place it back into the handle for storage . No need to dry it off — three holes at the handle’s base allows airflow to finish the job. Silvr is also dishwasher safe, so you can toss it in with your lunch dishes. Just remember to pack it again the next day. Five color options let you match the utensil to your personality. Hello Pretty offers a basic white design, while Drunken Zebra, Porcelain’s Cousin, Gagarrazzo and Lush provide more flair. With conscientious production in mind, Silvr ships in plastic-free packaging. Founder Olivia Gossett Cooper developed the product while earning her MBA in Sustainability, after looking for a suitable alternative to single-use plastic that was not only functional but fun. Personal Review The Silvr team sent me a product to try. It came in the mail within about 10 days, with its low environmental footprint packaging. The product’s weight indicates durability — nothing flimsy about it. While it takes a good tug to pull the cap off, this works to its favor when reinserting the fork into the handle. Once popped into place, the fork won’t fall apart when aggressively diving into food. Plus, the robust handle allows for a full-handed, tight grip. The tines themselves mimic a salad fork’s size rather than a dinner fork’s. This may seem small for some people, but I like that it does double duty by being small enough to pick up  rice, tiny noodles or baked beans .  When finished using the fork, it also takes a pretty strong yank to separate the pieces, but they easily secure back into place for storage. + Silvr Images via Silvr and Dawn Hammon

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Rec Room presents ethically produced dresses for summer

July 21, 2020 by  
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Comfort, style, equality, sustainability — these values encapsulate the essence of Rec Room and its products, including a new line of ethically crafted summer dresses you’ll want to wear every single day. The company’s newest release is a line of versatile and comfy dresses, constructed with Italian-made fabric that is antimicrobial and wrinkle-resistant, making it a performance fabric that is machine-washable and quick-drying. It’s also a forgiving fabric for any type of lifestyle. It packs well thanks to the wrinkle-resistance. It’s also stain-resistant. Related: These funky sandals upcycle fabric from the cutting room floor The dress line, called Summer of Comfort, offers a variety of style options such as tank, slip, strap, tie and open back, all made with the same silky, breathable fabric. Rec Room is a business partnership — and friendship — between two women, Dre and Val. Although the company has many goals around clothing quality and sustainability, it also recognizes the racial injustices of the world. In response, it contributes 1% of gross sales to organizations working to eradicate systems of racial injustice, including The Equal Justice Initiative and The Loveland Foundation. Rec Room chose a production facility in California , so all products are made in the U.S. by the same company that produces athleticwear for the U.S. Olympics teams. With that in mind, it makes sense that each dress is breathable and stretchy, and, as the company says, “puts the leisure back in athleisure.” Both the manufacturing plant in California and the fabric manufacturer in Italy have earned high marks for employee wages, hours and work environment, as well as water management and low environmental impact. However, every business has to measure its carbon footprint, so even though it has made an effort to create a brand that ethically and sustainably produced, Rec Room also gives back to reforestation initiatives via 1% For the Planet and One Tree Planted. Customers can purchase additional carbon offsets directly through the company website. Rec Room Review Rec Room generously offered to send me a sample dress, which I eagerly accepted. I chose the tie dress in burgundy. For reference, I stand around 5’6” tall and weigh around 140 pounds, carrying most of my weight around my waist. I received a large and could likely have been comfortable in a medium, but the tie feature really allows me to tighten and loosen the fit to where I feel comfortable. The fabric is divine — breathable, stretchy, very soft and very comfortable to move in. It offers a luxurious feel without any concern for damaging it while wearing it during activities. I love that it is machine-washable and releases wrinkles nicely, even right out of the package. The dress I selected allowed me to play around with how to use the tie, creating quite different looks that made me feel confident. My favorite was criss-crossing it in the front; I also tried it with different jewelry . It’s very adaptable to dressing up and dressing down with a change from tall boots to sandals to Keds. I’m no model, but I’ve included a few candid shots to show how it fit my body type. Honestly, I rarely even wear dresses, but this is the most comfortable and versatile item of clothing in my closet and will likely sub in for times I would typically wear shorts or jeans. + Rec Room Images via Rec Room and Dawn Hammon / Inhabitat

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Rec Room presents ethically produced dresses for summer

Episode 219: Water, workplaces and well-being

May 8, 2020 by  
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Episode 219: Water, workplaces and well-being Heather Clancy Fri, 05/08/2020 – 02:33 Week in Review Commentary on this week’s news highlights begins at 4:35. Why global engagement is essential to sustainable supply chains Sustainable infrastructure investments can aid the post-COVID recovery Two ways P&G is working toward its packaging goals Features Intel’s water world (16:25) In 2017, semiconductor and technology manufacturing giant Intel committed to restoring 100 percent of its global water use. This year on Earth Day, the company said it had reached a milestone of 1 billion gallons restored. Todd Brady, director of global public affairs and sustainability, discusses the projects that got it there.  Workplaces and well-being (31:15) Last week, three respected real estate companies — Cushman & Wakefield, Hines and Delos — announced an initiative intended to help companies begin the process of reconfiguring their offices to protect employees’ health as they return to work. Here to discuss the project is Paul Scialla, founder and CEO of Delos, which founded both the International Well Building Institute and the Well Building Standard. On the fringe … consumers (40:45) A highlight from our ” Seeing into the Future ” webcast, featuring sustainability marketing guru Suzanne Shelton. *This episode was sponsored by Villanova University.  *Music in this episode by Lee Rosevere:  “Waiting for the Moment That Never Comes,” “Knowing the Truth,” “Southside,” “Start the Day,” “Thinking It Over,” “Curiosity” and “Introducing the Pre-Roll” Virtual Conversations Mark your calendar for these upcoming GreenBiz webcasts. Can’t join live? All of these events also will be available on demand. Moving to a regenerative food supply. Pioneering companies, NGOs and policymakers will discuss tracking technologies, regenerative agriculture projects and new collaborations that could make food systems more sustainable. Sign up here for the session at 1 p.m. EDT May 12. In conversation with John Elkington. Don’t miss this one-on-one interview featuring GreenBiz Executive Editor Joel Makower and well-respected sustainability consultant John Elkington, who recently published his 20th book, “Green Swans: The Coming Boom in Regenerative Capitalism.” Register for the live event at 1 p.m. EDT May 14. Circularity goes digital.  You don’t have to wait until August for three great discussions on the circular economy . We’ll debate “Reusable Packaging in the Age of Contagion,” “Can Recycled Plastic Survive Low Oil Prices” and “Repair, Resilience and Customer Engagement.” Register here for our half-day event starting at 1 p.m. EDT May 18. Scaling municipal fleets. Experts from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, ChargePoint, Smart City Columbus and the city of Oakland, California share tips at 1 p.m. EDT May 26.   This is climate tech. Join respected venture capitalists Nancy Pfund (DBL Partners), Andrew Beebe (Obvious Ventures) and Andrew Chung (1955 Capital) for a discussion at 1 p.m. EDT May 28 about compelling solutions and startups that address the climate crisis — and how big companies can play a role in scaling them. Resources Galore The State of Green Business 2020.  Our 13th annual analysis of key metrics and trends for the year ahead  published here . Do we have a newsletter for you!  We produce six weekly newsletters: GreenBuzz by Executive Editor Joel Makower (Monday); Transport Weekly by Senior Writer and Analyst Katie Fehrenbacher (Tuesday); VERGE Weekly by Executive Director Shana Rappaport and Editorial Director Heather Clancy (Wednesday); Energy Weekly by Senior Energy Analyst Sarah Golden (Thursday); Food Weekly by Carbon and Food Analyst Jim Giles (Thursday); and Circular Weekly by Director and Senior Analyst Lauren Phipps (Friday). You must subscribe to each newsletter in order to receive it. Please visit this page to choose which you want to receive. The GreenBiz Intelligence Panel is the survey body we poll regularly throughout the year on key trends and developments in sustainability. To become part of the panel, click here . Enrolling is free and should take two minutes. Stay connected To make sure you don’t miss the newest episodes of GreenBiz 350, subscribe on iTunes . Have a question or suggestion for a future segment? E-mail us at 350@greenbiz.com . Contributors Joel Makower Topics Podcast Water Efficiency & Conservation COVID-19 Buildings COVID-19 Collective Insight GreenBiz 350 Podcast Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 49:42 Sponsored Article Off GreenBiz Close Authorship

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Episode 219: Water, workplaces and well-being

Now is a great time to optimize energy in buildings. You’d think.

May 8, 2020 by  
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Now is a great time to optimize energy in buildings. You’d think. Sarah Golden Fri, 05/08/2020 – 00:43 Despite being mostly empty, commercial real estate energy bills are mostly unchanged.  Commercial buildings in the United Kingdom have reduced energy consumption only by 16 percent on average during the pandemic, according to analysis from Carbon Intelligence . The worst-performing buildings are only achieving a 3 percent reduction, according to the analysis. Anecdotal evidence suggests similar numbers in the United States.  What a waste of time and money.  With occupancy so low and energy bills so high, there may never have been a more persuasive argument — or a better opportunity — to optimize buildings. You’d think.  The (missed) opportunity for capital upgrades  With buildings empty, service providers hungry for work and capital cheap, it seems a great time to bring buildings into the 21st century.  But as we’re still grasping the extent of the economic fallout, commercial real estate owners are cautious. “The financial smoke will have to clear before many people will put project capital at risk there,” explained Steve Gossett Jr., operating partner at Generate Capital, via email. “Most landlords are likely to husband cash rather than invest in their assets right now because they aren’t sure how functional the capital markets will be for real estate in the near future or how stable their tenants are.” In the short term, landlords are worried struggling companies will renegotiate leases or shift to a work-from-home model, requiring less office space writ large. The result: Commercial office spaces could become stranded assets, subject to write-downs and operating losses.  Being able to have this time to find these deeper problems and being able to address them will have long-term savings, even when the building becomes occupied again.   “In the past, before COVID, we’d say, ‘Oh, if you do these improvements you can increase your rental rates and you can have higher-quality tenants,’” said Marta Schantz, senior vice president of the Urban Land Institute’s Greenprint, an alliance of real estate owners and investors. “But now that case sounds tone-deaf to the market. If folks are worried about people even being able to pay their rent, they’re less focused on increasing rental rates and more on just getting rent.” To say the least, this is a missed opportunity. About half of all buildings were built before 1980 , and many are old, dumb and wasteful. The U.S. building stock accounts for about 40 percent of the emissions. And the technology exists to change that; buildings could be optimized and transformed to be a resource for the electric grid. Buildings could be cheaper to run, provide healthier spaces and become more resilient. What building owners can do now: tighten operations  As occupancy drops close to zero, some building operators have been surprised at how little change there has been in their energy consumption.  “In general, some clients probably have been surprised to find that parasitic loads were higher than expected,” said Kyle Goehring, executive vice president of clean energy solutions at JLL, in an email.  Simply reviewing systems and buildings presets can save energy and money, according to Schantz.  For example, facility managers could reduce the run time of HVAC systems (responsible for about 40 percent of energy consumption), turn off lights in unoccupied spaces (lighting is responsible for 20 percent of energy use) or unplug appliances that aren’t needed (which account for about 33 percent of buildings’ energy use). For more specific ideas, check out Schantz’s blog or GreenBiz’s coverage . Investment in critical infrastructure focused on digitization and efficiency will be absolutely key for economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic and building resilience for the future. These ideas, which are of course important, sound like no-brainers. As the world is turned upside down, I’m craving a cataclysmic change, not energy efficiency 101.  But according to Schantz, the basics are revolutionary when facility managers never had time to examine operations in the before-time.  “I very much hope that as folks go through their buildings they will also find some red flags that they didn’t know existed,” she said. “Being able to have this time to find these deeper problems and being able to address them will have long-term savings, even when the building becomes occupied again.” The COVID-19 conundrum and financial solutions As people make sense of these crazy times, I often hear big ideas about how we could transform the future. As we emerge from this crisis, what type of world do we want to create? Simultaneously, it seems we’re also paralyzed by constantly constricting opportunities. The vanishing jobs, capital and resources are shifting mindsets to survival, not reinvention.  The good news is that the same financial mechanisms that allow building owners to upgrade without upfront costs are the same measures that would support broader economic development. This is especially true if the private sector partners with federal dollars to stretch capital further.  “Investment in critical infrastructure focused on digitization and efficiency will be absolutely key for economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic and building resilience for the future,” wrote Kevin Self, senior vice president of strategy, business development and government relations at Schneider Electric, in an email.  Schneider Electric is one service organization providing financing structures to move along projects without upfront capital. These include energy-as-a-service and energy savings performance contracting.  “Not only does digitization support resilience and sustainability, it saves on cost,” wrote Self.  Schneider Electric is not the only organization offering financial solutions for energy upgrades. Service providers and startups have emerged in this space over the last 10 years, vying for companies’ potential energy savings. Other X-as-a-service organizations include Carbon Lighthouse , Sparkfund , Redaptive , Parity , Measurabl and Metrus .  While many of these service providers are likely working hard to navigate these turbulent months, the role they play will be more important than ever as we rebuild our future. This article is adapted from GreenBiz’s newsletter Energy Weekly, running Thursdays. Subscribe  here . Pull Quote Being able to have this time to find these deeper problems and being able to address them will have long-term savings, even when the building becomes occupied again. Investment in critical infrastructure focused on digitization and efficiency will be absolutely key for economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic and building resilience for the future. Topics Energy & Climate Buildings COVID-19 Energy Efficiency COVID-19 Featured Column Power Points 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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Now is a great time to optimize energy in buildings. You’d think.

Episode 218: What’s next for sustainability careers, capitalism in a ‘world on fire’

May 1, 2020 by  
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Week in ReviewCommentary on this week’s news highlights begins at 7:05.

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Episode 218: What’s next for sustainability careers, capitalism in a ‘world on fire’

Episode 195: AI tale, Ceres tackles capital markets, the kids are more than alright

November 1, 2019 by  
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Week in ReviewCommentary of some of this week’s stories begins at 7:20.

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Episode 195: AI tale, Ceres tackles capital markets, the kids are more than alright

Episode 192: Ex-Google X engineer Tom Chi on planetary generation, Citi adds CSO role

October 11, 2019 by  
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Also, this week on the Week in Review: regulation looms and vehicle-grid integration progresses.

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Episode 192: Ex-Google X engineer Tom Chi on planetary generation, Citi adds CSO role

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