Orchard House honors the past while building a brighter future

March 11, 2021 by  
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Many buildings are designed to fit into the natural world around them. Orchard House was built to pay homage to it. Designed by  Seattle -based architecture firm Fivedot, the house resides on the site of a former orchard. In fact, the heritage trees of the orchard are still in the property’s rear yard. Located in the Greenlake area of Seattle, Orchard House includes 3,320 square feet of amazing design. Stacked volumes create different  indoor and outdoor  spaces, and different overhangs and intersections give the home various areas of interest. The home builds a connection to the outside world through large windows everywhere and big doors that lead to the outdoors. It’s a great blend of manmade and natural beauty and a perfect way to honor the 1900s-era orchard that once sat onsite. The sustainable design includes three large water cisterns arranged in front of the house to block street noise. These cisterns catch rainwater from the roof so that it can be used in the home’s plumbing. Orchard House also sits against a backdrop of  trees  and landscaping, a building made with a variety of natural, sustainable, local and  reclaimed materials  that blend in beautifully with the surrounding world. Additionally, the large windows provide natural light and  passive cooling . In the bathroom, the vanity is made from a large, live-edged slab milled from a tree that was removed during the construction of the local courthouse. Throughout the interior, polished concrete floors lead to sliding doors made from surplus doors that came from a local  salvage  yard. For a final unique touch, tucked among the property’s existing trees is a rain garden that creates the border for the rear patio. The green design from  Fivedot  exemplifies the studio’s commitment to sustainable architecture. For more designs from Fivedot, you can check out the studio’s Instagram  @fivedotarch . + Fivedot Images via Fivedot

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Orchard House honors the past while building a brighter future

Amazon unveils spiraling, tree-covered skyscraper for Arlington HQ2

February 16, 2021 by  
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Amazon has unveiled images of The Helix, a LEED Platinum-targeted, spiraling tower that will serve as the centerpiece building for the Amazon HQ2 in Arlington, Virginia. Like The Spheres, Amazon’s first headquarters in Seattle, the new building takes inspiration from biophilia with a form that mimics the shape and beauty of a double helix. Designed by international architecture firm NBBJ , the 350-foot-tall building — dubbed The Helix — will run entirely on renewable energy sourced from a solar farm in southern Virginia that will be used to power an all-electric central heating and cooling system. Located in Arlington’s Crystal City, the Amazon HQ2 is a planned corporate headquarters and expansion of the company’s existing Seattle headquarters and is expected to consolidate 2.8 million square feet of offices, public gathering areas and street-front retail distributed across three 22-story buildings. The recently unveiled Helix building is part of Amazon’s recently submitted development proposal for HQ2’s second phase of new construction. All new buildings are designed to meet LEED Platinum standards. Related: Amazon’s incredible plant-filled biospheres open in Seattle Described by the tech giant as “an alternative workplace integrating work with nature,” The Helix prioritizes healthy work environments with its indoor-outdoor design that includes a pair of spiraling, fresh-air “hill climbs.” The unique building will be open to the public on select weekends every month. In addition to the LEED Platinum-targeted office buildings, Amazon HQ2’s second phase also calls for 2.5 acres of public space with a dog run as well as an outdoor amphitheater that seats over 200 people; three retail pavilions that comprise 100,000 square feet of new space for restaurants, shops and plentiful outdoor seating; and a dedicated 20,000-square-foot community space that can support educational initiatives and an artist-in-residence program. All vehicular access will be tucked underground wherever possible to prioritize pedestrian- and bicycle-friendly paths. + NBBJ Images via NBBJ

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Amazon unveils spiraling, tree-covered skyscraper for Arlington HQ2

Sustainable Brook Hollow homes feature unexpected pops of color

February 16, 2021 by  
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Jeannie and Daryl Losaw, owners of Texas-based Losaw Construction and IBS Homes, have begun construction on their affordable and sustainable homes at Brook Hollow Club Estates in San Marcos, Texas. The Brook Hollow homes will have playful, brightly colored exterior accent walls to give them a touch of extra character in the Texas Hill Country. The company, which owns and developed the Brook Hollow Club Estates, has been in operation since 2006. During that time, it has focused on sustainable and affordable homes in Central and South Texas, especially near the state’s capital of Austin. Related: Solar-powered dome in the Texas desert is the perfect place to go off the grid Surrounded by willow trees on a quarter-acre of land, the group of 25 houses will include shed roof styles with clean lines, multiple windows and front porches . The light gray paint on the outside of the homes is accented by a bright splash of color, giving these structures a unique style in an otherwise contemporary design. There are four models available ranging from 1,400 to 1,700 square feet: the Stanton, the King, the Chavez and the Ginsburg. Homes cost anywhere from $220,000 to $259,000, but the many green features included in the design will likely help reduce customer costs in the long run. These include an efficient residential air conditioning system taken from a commercial method where air is exchanged and treated. The system, which also helps keep the interior free from outside allergens, is complemented with spray foam insulation. Aside from this high-performing HVAC design, the Brook Hollow homes use a steel foundation that is more carbon-friendly than concrete, according to the company. These helical pier foundations are easily recycled and moved from place to place if need be, taking up less resources. Additionally, the metal roofing used in construction is also recyclable, highly durable and comes prepared for solar installation. + Brook Hollow Club Estates Images via IBS Homes

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Hard truths about tough times

November 18, 2020 by  
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Hard truths about tough times Kathrin Winkler Wed, 11/18/2020 – 02:00 I’m struggling. Back in the day, I had a reputation as someone who always offered to my team a positive interpretation or hopeful outcome to supposed bad news. A Pollyanna, perhaps. It wasn’t deliberate. In fact, I didn’t realize I was doing it until a senior engineer on my team told me, “You’re always so [expletive deleted] positive, it makes me want to puke.”  I wasn’t trying to spin the truth, either. When there is change — that is, nearly always — people often imagine the worst possible outcomes and the most deplorable motives by those in power. People help bring one another down as they wallow in the fear and anger, and sap their own and each other’s energy. I was just trying to get people to consider alternative possibilities, to help them find their motivation, stay focused and know that their work was valued. Play devil’s advocate to their negativity. And maybe convince myself, a bit, too.  My husband thought the accusation was funny, though. Because when I was at home and I wasn’t feeling the weight of responsibility for the team, I gave my own negativism free rein. The angel on one shoulder went to work; the devil on the other came home. The thing is, I’m home all the time now.  I’m impatient with those ‘fighting the good fight.’ They (you!) are undeniably heroes. But it’s not enough. And we’re not often telling the whole truth. I’m not sure how to characterize exactly how I feel. Impatience is a big part of it. We’re obviously not doing enough fast enough to address climate change and systemic societal issues. I can see evidence with my own eyes every time I walk out the door (masked, of course) and encounter the homeless struggling on the street. But I’m also impatient with those “fighting the good fight.” They (you!) are undeniably heroes. But it’s not enough. And we’re not often telling the whole truth. That’s creating a cognitive dissonance in me that is literally keeping me up at night. I know we have to show optimism, but I also see us avoiding the bare facts. People talk about “stopping” (or worse, “stopping and reversing”) climate change. The more circumspect just say “addressing” climate change. But in addition to the climate damage that already has occurred, more is locked in even if we were to stop emitting today. Will the next generation feel betrayed if we “win” the fight and things keep getting worse anyway? People do need hope and to feel that they have agency — that what they do matters. Every degree of global temperature rise that we prevent reduces the long-term risk. No matter what, I know we cannot stop acting and encouraging others to join us. I don’t know how to square this circle.  As for agency — I’m feeling pretty helpless. Not that I tell people that. I absolutely mean it when I passionately express how important it is that they vote, make thoughtful decisions about what to buy and from whom, think about the sources of their food, raise their voices against injustice. But it just doesn’t feel like enough. Once I get going on a task, I’m all in. But when I settle down to work, I find it hard to get started. That’s just me, of course. There are people out there doing critically important things — innovating in technology and business, running for office, motivating others and changing minds. Thank goodness for them. But we’re not all extraordinary, and I imagine I’m not alone.  I am also experiencing huge frustration from the Manichaean nature of public discourse on, well, everything. Truth is gray, but we only discuss black and white. Both sides tick me off. Op-ed pieces in the Wall Street Journal interpret reduced emissions during the most stringent lockdown as proof that major personal sacrifice is required if we (“the greenies”) act on climate. The sustainability community argues that we can make the changes we need without sacrificing. As usual, the truth is somewhere in between (depending, I suppose, on how you define “sacrifice” — and “happy,” for that matter). For me, the pandemic has highlighted what’s really valuable: human connection; love; health; safety. But yeah, there are things people will have to give up. They are mostly things that won’t truly make them happy in the long run, but that can feel pretty good about in the moment (flying off to the tropics, buying a new car, chomping down on a juicy burger, going to the movies), and relinquishing some of those will feel like a sacrifice for many.  Yet, I’m disgusted with selfishness. There’s a woman in our building who complains that, when the sun is at a certain angle, she can’t get the temperature in her unit below 71 degrees Fahrenheit. Climate change is making air conditioning a matter of life and death in some parts of the world, but 71 degrees in Seattle? Sheesh. Talk about privilege. Maybe I’m just afraid to be optimistic; afraid of a huge disappointment. Scared. Not that I’m not hopeful — I fervently hope things will move, and move quickly, in the right direction. I’m just reluctant to expect it. The political situation isn’t helping. I don’t know the answers. I hate not knowing the answers. It makes me grumpy.  I do find real moments of joy. They come from my friends, my colleagues, my family and nature. From humor and beauty. From gratitude for all that I have been given in life. So, I am coping. I hope you are, too.  Pull Quote I’m impatient with those ‘fighting the good fight.’ They (you!) are undeniably heroes. But it’s not enough. And we’re not often telling the whole truth. Topics Leadership Health & Well-being Featured Column Getting Real Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off Shutterstock

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Fleet leaders share four recommendations for driving toward zero emissions

October 29, 2020 by  
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Fleet leaders share four recommendations for driving toward zero emissions Mike DeSocio Thu, 10/29/2020 – 01:45 The transportation industry is at a turning point: Ever-more ambitious climate goals are combining with the dropping cost of electric and low-carbon vehicles to make sustainable fleets more of a reality. It’s still early days, but public and private sector organizations alike — all recognized on our top 25 most sustainable fleets list this week — are making the transition, and solving thorny infrastructure and workforce challenges along the way. “It’s tough to do, it takes a huge concert of effort to do it, but it’s been able to happen,” said Philip Saunders, deputy division director of the green fleet program for the city of Seattle, at VERGE 20 conference. We felt it was important to walk the talk, to spend the money, to go through the pain of the transition really, because the infrastructure is the biggest issue even as costs come down on the vehicle side. Seattle’s fleet is already 80 percent electrified, driven by a mandate to be fossil fuel-free by 2030. Saunders joined experts from municipalities and corporations around the country to discuss the strategies of these top sustainable fleets. Here are four takeaways from the conference: 1. Combine near-term efficiency with long-term electrification Even for Seattle, where Saunders has managed to electrify a majority of the city’s fleet, the path to carbon reduction isn’t simple. “At this point, it takes a combination of everything to reach that sustainable goal. We’re electrifying first, as always, but it takes quite a bit. We’re still using renewable diesel … We’re also using renewable gasoline,” Saunders said. He’s not alone in that strategy. Zach Freeze, senior director for sustainability at Walmart, is also looking at renewable natural gas and efficiency improvements on the road to broader electrification. “We have to be able to make our fleet as efficient as possible while we still make those long-term bets on what the technology will be,” Freeze said. Walmart has set a goal for zero emissions companywide by 2040, which means tackling a huge fleet of long-haul trucks that are not easily electrified right now. “While we think that that is absolutely part of the solution, it’s hard to tell if that’s going to be the only solution to play out,” Freeze said. Seattle’s new EV charging stations, powering the city fleet with electricity provided by the nation’s greenest utility. Courtesy, city of Seattle 2. Make it about the total cost of ownership Describing the financial case for sustainable fleets is essential for both executive boards and city councils. Angie Slaughter, vice president of sustainability, logistics, SVC and capabilities procurement for Anheuser-Busch InBev North America, is learning to find the right metrics — beyond just fuel savings — to create buy-in for a more sustainable fleet. “In every situation you have to be very careful to take a total cost of operation approach and make sure that you’re drawing the box big enough,” Slaughter said. In Seattle, Saunders baked that total cost of ownership into his green fleet plan from the beginning. He includes upfront capital investment, electricity costs and vehicle replacement cycles into his budget. 3. Remember, it will take a village Designing a strategy and buying the vehicles isn’t where the challenges end. “There’s really this huge change management and workforce development piece of the transition that we’re sort of living through. I think first-movers especially are starting to help work out some of the kinks,” said Christine Weydig, director of environmental and energy programs at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. For example, some of the agency’s vehicle maintenance partners are unfamiliar with the new technology, which means it’s difficult to make timely repairs on the Port Authority’s fleet of electric buses in particular. “Having an executive order, leadership at the top is fantastic, but if you really don’t have that whole ecosystem that’s prepared to support the fleet owners, than that can certainly be an issue,” Weydig said. On the corporate side, biotech firm Genentech is using its progress on electrifying commuter vehicles to help smaller companies in its own business district who can’t afford to do so. “As we start opening up our programs, and we’ve started sharing our shuttles to the local transit stations, as well as actually selling the surplus seats we have on our off-peak buses, these other companies are starting to participate in this. And it’s a win-win,” said Andy Jefferson, director of transportation for site services at Genentech. One of Genentech’s electric commuter buses. Media Source Courtesy of Media Authorship Genentech Close Authorship 4. Build on the examples of big players At the Port Authority, which operates five airports and eight seaports, one of Weydig’s big motivations for electrifying the fleet was to blaze a path that the agency’s partners could follow. “We felt it was important to walk the talk, to spend the money, to go through the pain of the transition really, because the infrastructure is the biggest issue even as costs come down on the vehicle side,” Weydig said. That gives the Port Authority the credibility to encourage air and marine terminal operators to start electrifying their equipment, too. Andrew Savage, vice president and head of sustainability at Lime, sees his company’s efforts along similar lines. Lime is best known for its global network of 100,000 electric scooters and bikes, but it also manages a fleet of vehicles tasked with repairing and rebalancing those units. While Lime works to electrify most of those vehicles, it’s encouraging its partners to do the same by sharing their total cost of ownership model — and even their purchasing power — to show the financial benefits of electrification. “It’s thinking one step beyond our scope to the partners that we work with, and how do we get them to electrify as well?” Savage said. Pull Quote We felt it was important to walk the talk, to spend the money, to go through the pain of the transition really, because the infrastructure is the biggest issue even as costs come down on the vehicle side. Topics Transportation & Mobility Shipping & Logistics VERGE 20 Clean Fleets Zero Emissions Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is began operating 36 electric buses at Laguardia, Newark Liberty and JFK airports this month. Courtesy of the PA of NY and NJ

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Startup Phood tackles food waste at the top of the food chain

October 29, 2020 by  
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Startup Phood tackles food waste at the top of the food chain Jesse Klein Thu, 10/29/2020 – 01:00 Picture your local salad bar either at your school, grocery store or office. There are many options between the greens, toppings and dressings. At the end of each day, it’s the job of a kitchen worker to perform a “shrink analysis” on each ingredient — manually identifying, weighing and recording the leftover volume of each item. By comparing that number to initial inventory amounts, the kitchen tracks its food waste.  The process is a big hassle for the prepared food sector, but food waste is an even bigger problem for the planet, accounting for 8 percent of greenhouse gas emissions according to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization. Phood CEO Luc Dang hopes to solve both.  Phood’s main product, PhoodX, is a combination scale and camera that uses artificial intelligence and enhanced analytics to cut down on the time it takes to record data about the leftovers. The system uses that information to recommend changes within foodservice operations aimed at reducing food waste.  The technology is most appropriate in places where items are sold by weight, such as dining halls or the prepared food sections of grocery stores. The Phood system is integrated directly with the inventory system so it can use the data to calculate waste compared to the sold volume. Phood’s devices have been used in dining halls at Yale and Rhode Island School of Design, and in K-12 cafeterias. The company also has devices installed at 10 Whole Foods locations in Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island.  Even before Dang was infiltrating the foodservice industry of the North Atlantic region, he had a deep understanding of the agricultural supply chain from growing up on a small Connecticut farm. After working a few years in the financial sector, he read a statistic estimating that 40 percent of food is wasted. Dang couldn’t believe that headline: During his childhood on farms and near restaurants, he hadn’t noticed anything like that kind of waste. But when Dang called friends and restaurants that used to buy from his family farm, they told him they composted everything but didn’t and couldn’t actually track waste empirically.  Is it an operational management issue? Is it overproduction? Is it a weekend or weekday issue? Or expiration issues? Or a spoilage issue? We can identify each of those key areas and really drill down and cut back. According to Dang, the time-consuming, arduous and convoluted traditional method of tracking food waste is standard in about 85 percent of foodservice operations. The headline was right: According to data from Phood, most foodservice organizations throw away between 35 and 65 percent of their ingredient purchases.  According to Dang, Phood can reduce that food waste by 50 percent with a bonus of saving the kitchen staff time. The company said the algorithm, trained using millions of food items recognized by Amazon Rekognition and Google Cloud Vision, can identify food items with 98 percent accuracy in two to three seconds.  Aside from the relationships mentioned earlier, Phood recently started a partnership with two large food giants, Cargill and Gordon Food Service, which will see the system used in more kitchens, giving it access to more data to improve its artificial intelligence. The real value of Phood’s device isn’t the time-saving AI, it’s the data harvested from the device, which helps uncover habits that contribute to a business’s food waste issue, Dang said. “Is it an operational management issue? Is it overproduction? Is it a weekend or weekday issue? Or expiration issues? Or a spoilage issue?” he said. “We can identify each of those key areas and really drill down and cut back.” Many foodservice businesses tout their composting policies and donation rates for leftover food, but that doesn’t really address the bigger issue — wasting food in the first place. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency , composting isn’t much better than sending food to the landfill. Phood is helping companies attack the problem at the top of the food chain — source reduction — by helping operations become better informed about consumption habits. According to Dang, many parts of an industrial kitchen are siloed. The person ordering ingredients is different from the chef doing the cooking, which is not the same person recording the leftovers at the end of the day. And rarely are these individuals informed about the details of each other’s step in the process, so the purchasing and production habits never get adjusted.  Phood becomes a centralized system that connects each step. Dang suggests a three-week period of baseline analysis when customers first start using the system, but often they start making changes to their ordering earlier, he said.  “They start leveraging those insights and changing their ordering by week two,” Dang said. “We’ve seen waste reductions occur from the first week.” The food and restaurant business has extremely thin margins, and few companies have had access to this degree of detail before. Aside from cutting back on waste, Phood can help operations save money, which is often the impetus for an investment. Because source reduction has such strong economic benefits, the sustainability aspect gets to tag along. According to Dang, Phood can save up to 10 percent on annual food costs.  Pull Quote Is it an operational management issue? Is it overproduction? Is it a weekend or weekday issue? Or expiration issues? Or a spoilage issue? We can identify each of those key areas and really drill down and cut back. Topics Food Systems Food & Agriculture Information Technology Food Waste Food & Beverage Artificial Intelligence Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off Phood’s all-in-one scale and AI can identify food waste and make recommendations to kitchens to save money and reduce waste.  

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Startup Phood tackles food waste at the top of the food chain

From China’s stand to Walmart’s wish list: A Climate Week news cheat sheet

September 25, 2020 by  
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From China’s stand to Walmart’s wish list: A Climate Week news cheat sheet Heather Clancy Fri, 09/25/2020 – 00:30 As with virtually all gatherings of the climate community during the COVID age, this year’s Climate Week was convened as an online event — one hosted from more than 20 countries across myriad time zones rather than its usual host city of New York.  Instead of running between Manhattan locations, attendees platform-hopped among more than 450 presentations, panels, screenings and other events, including those hosted by the World Economic Forum and the United Nations, while iconic structures such as the Empire State Building turned their lights green to recognize the urgency of the climate crisis. As is their wont, many companies used the occasion to proclaim updated commitments — the buzzword du la semaine was “net-zero” with Walmart declaring a zero-emissions target by 2040 along with a big clean fleet promise and a pledge to “protect, manage or restore” at least 50 million acres of land and 1 million square miles of ocean by 2030. GE made headlines with its decision to stop making equipment for new coal-fired power plants to focus on its renewables business (although it doesn’t say anything about fixing the old ones).  More than 1,500 companies are committed to net-zero emissions, triple the number that had made those pledges by the end of 2019. Morgan Stanley offered its own twist with a promise to reach “net-zero financed emissions” by the critical 2050 timeframe. The intention is to align its portfolio with the goals of the Paris Agreement. (Morgan Stanley, along with Bank of America and Citigroup, has agreed to deeper disclosure.) In other words, stop financing the emitting stuff, as it has been criticized for in the past. The biggest national-level news of the week came out of the United Nations General Assembly, where Chinese President Xi Jinping announced that the country aims to achieve carbon neutrality before 2060. Given the country’s status as the world’s largest emitter, the development is essential for progress against climate change.  While words aren’t action, the commitment stands in sharp contrast with the extensive environmental protection rollbacks adopted by the Trump administration, which has announced its plan to pull out of the Paris climate accord. At the state level, California Gov. Gavin Newsom put the transportation industry on notice with his executive order banning new gasoline-powered vehicles after 2035. Newsom also was named to a two-year term as co-chair of the Under2 Coalition, a network of states and regions looking to integrate the Paris Agreement goals with a mind to social justice.  On the other side of the U.S., New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo finalized a ban on hydrofluorocarbons, a superpollutant found in refrigerators, air conditioners and other cooling equipment. And the mayors of 12 cities — representing 36 million residents — announced their plans to divest from fossil fuels. Among the signatories to the C40 campaign: Berlin, Bristol, Cape Town, Durban, London, Los Angeles, Milan, New Orleans, New York City, Oslo, Pittsburgh and Vancouver. Throughout the week the heightened attention to supporting nature and biodiversity and to going beyond carbon emissions reductions was also a frequent theme — with a particular focus on the role of science-based targets in driving corporate action.  The Science Based Targets Network has created new guidance for companies interested in setting goals for land and freshwater use, biodiversity or ecosystem impacts using science-based principles, as many are doing to set emissions reduction targets.  “The best companies in the world are no longer satisfied with ‘doing better’,” said Andrew Steer, president and CEO of World Resources Institute, in a statement. “They insist on ‘doing enough’. That’s what science-based targets provide them.” Wondering what you missed from your home office? Below is a curated list of notable corporate commitments and campaign updates that emerged during Climate Week.  Accounting bigwigs suggest ‘universal’ ESG metrics Four iconic accounting firms — Deloitte, EY, KPMG and PwC  — teamed up with Bank of America to develop and release a set of standard metrics and disclosure frameworks that companies can use to report on environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues.  The new guidance, released by the World Economic Forum as part of the Sustainable Development Impact Summit , focuses on four pillars: Treatment of employees, including diversity, wage gaps, and health and safety Dependencies on the natural environment related to emissions, land and water use How a company contributes to community well-being, including what it pays in taxes Criteria for accountability  Amazon signs more Climate Pledgers, curates sustainable products shopping site Five more companies have signed the Climate Pledge, an initiative orchestrated by Amazon and Global Optimism : retailer Best Buy ; engineering firm McKinstry ; professional sports club Real Betis ; energy firm Schneider Electric; and manufacturer Siemens . This gesture commits them to reaching a net-zero carbon footprint by 2040, one decade before the deadline for the Paris Agreement.  The mighty e-commerce retailer also created a new “Climate Pledge Friendly” shopping section on Amazon.com dedicated to showcasing consumer products that hold one or more of 19 sustainability certifications such as Cradle to Cradle, Energy Star and Fairtrade.  The focus is on grocery, household, fashion, beauty and consumer electronics options — and some initial brands showcased are Burt’s Bees Baby, HP Inc. and Seventh Generation. Amazon also created its own externally validated certification, Compact by Design , which will recognize products designed to require less packaging, which makes them more efficient to ship.  Jenny Ahlen, director of EDF+Business, praised Amazon’s new strategy but said it doesn’t go far enough. “Certifications are a good starting point for companies to help shoppers make more informed and sustainable choices,” she wrote in a blog about the announcement. “But to truly make progress on creating safer, more sustainable products, retailers — Amazon included — need to work with their suppliers to improve the quality of all the products they sell and share that information with shoppers. Calling out a small portion of products that have met environmental standards isn’t enough.”  Climate Group tallies up more members for RE100, EP100  Beverage and snack company PepsiCo set a new global target to source 100 percent of its electricity for company-owned and controlled operations using renewable power by 2030, and across its entire franchise by 2040. (It expects to reach this goal for its U.S. operations by the end of this year.) This move could result in the equivalent of removing 2.5 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions. Meanwhile, pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca amped up its renewable energy with a deeper commitment to addressing industrial heat by joining the Renewable Thermal Collaborative, dedicated to decarbonizing tough-to-abate manufacturing and production processes. Currently, 13 percent of AstraZeneca’s power load comes from combined heat and power, and the company has committed to identifying renewable alternatives by 2025. Two energy-centric campaigns managed by the Climate Group welcomed new members this week. The EP100 initiative , which encourages companies to commit to higher levels of productivity and revenue while using less energy, has more than 100 members, with Japan’s Daito Trust Construction among the latest joiners. The RE100 , which represents more than 260 companies committed to using 100 percent renewable power, added new signatories including Intel , ASICS (the apparel company), pharma firm Sanofi and manufacturers SKF and VELUX .  Formidable food purveyors forsake food waste A group of powerful food retailers including Kroger , Tesco and Walmart and food service company Sodexo created the “10x20x30” initiative , which commits them to convincing at least 10 of their suppliers to halving food waste and loss by 2030. The effort is part of Champions 12.3, a group focused on addressing the challenge of United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 12.3, which calls for a 50 percent reduction in food loss and waste by the end of this decade.  One example of the actions we might see as a result is Walmart’s move to source cucumbers that use a coating provided by startup Apeel that extends their shelf life through a natural coating that extends shelf life. “Cutting food loss and waste in half  — from farm to fork — by 2030 will require ambitious, collection action,” said Jane Ewing, senior vice president of sustainability for Walmart, in a statement. “The 10x20x30 initiative is accelerating progress by aligning and training shareholders across the industry on how to dramatically reduce food waste.” IKEA, Unilever, others bring 1.5 Celsius mindset to supply chains The Exponential Roadmap Initiative in Stockholm launched the 1.5 Degrees Supply Chain Leaders initiative , a group of multinational companies that have set targets to halve their absolute GHG emissions by 2030 and reach net-zero emissions across their supply chains by 2050 — in line with the ambitions of the Paris Agreement. Initial supporters include BT Group , Ericsson , IKEA , Telia and Unilever . Among the commitments is making climate-related targets and performance a “key supplier purchasing criteria” by this time next year.  “To tackle the climate challenge, it is not enough for us to collaborate with the big global suppliers,” said Mikko Kuusisto, senior director of strategic sourcing for Telia, in a statement. “We need to engage also with the smaller, more local and often nonlisted companies to get them to commit to halving their emissions by 2030.” To help facilitate that transition, the Exponential Roadmap Initiative teamed up with the International Chamber of Commerce, the We Mean Business coalition and the United Nations Race to Zero Campaign to create the SME Climate Hub . The website will provide a set of resources intended to help smaller suppliers take these steps, including measurement tools, best practices frameworks and services.  Mars, Carrefour giants cultivate new coalition for forests The Forest Positive Coalition of Action, which includes close to 20 companies with a collective market value of $1.8 trillion, is a CEO-level group under the umbrella of the Consumer Goods Forum (CGF) vowing to address key commodity supply chains that often contribute to deforestation. Among the actions they are advocating include joining forces for forest conservation in “key production landscapes,” policy initiatives and regular reporting.  Aside from sponsors Mars and Carrefour , the list of participants includes Colgate-Palmolive, Danone, Danone, Essity, General Mills, Grupo Bimbo, Jerónimo Martins, METRO AG, Mondel?z, Nestlé, Procter & Gamble, PepsiCo, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Unilever and Walmart. The launch was greeted with skepticism by environmental NGOs including the Rainforest Action Network (RAN), SumofUs, Friends of the Earth U.S. and Amazon Watch, which notes that the involved companies so far have fallen short on deforestation commitments and on protecting the rights of Indigenous people. “We’ve see 10 years of inaction, half-measures and greenwashing from the CGF, while human rights defenders and frontline communities have been putting their lives on the line to defend forests from rampant corporate expansion,” said Brihannala Morgan, senior forest campaigner at RAN, in a statement. Microsoft shares ‘positive’ vibes for water Building on its “carbon negative” pledge in January, a goal that will see it remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere than it historically has emitted, Microsoft is applying that same mindset to its water strategy. Only in reverse. Its new commitment will see it reduce the per-megawatt consumption of water related to the energy that powers its operations and also focus on water replenishment in 40 “stressed” regions in which it operates. The goal is to replenish more water than it uses by 2030. That will inspire measures such as: Wetland restoration Removal of impervious pavement Installation of on-site rainwater collection and water recycling systems across its newest offices, including the new Silicon Valley campus, the redesign at its central campus in the Seattle area and facilities in India and Israel A heightened focus on evaporative and “adiabatic” (outside air) cooling technologies for its data centers AI for Earth technologies, such as a project called Vector Center, for helping measure water risk and scarcity  It’s worth noting that Microsoft’s new strategy prioritizes not just availability but also accessibility, the issue of safe drinking water and sanitation. Were there other announcements this week? Sure, and I’m also sure I’ll get plenty of emails about what I “missed.” While I am grateful for every company that commits to taking practical, meaningful, un-greenwashed action, the common thread of the visions advanced above is that they set the bar higher — even if just a little bit. That’s what we need to move entire industries to support taking action on the climate crisis. Topics Corporate Strategy Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off A moment in time for the climate clock on the metronome in New York’s Union Square.

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From China’s stand to Walmart’s wish list: A Climate Week news cheat sheet

Walmart drives toward zero-emission goal for its entire fleet by 2040

September 23, 2020 by  
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Walmart drives toward zero-emission goal for its entire fleet by 2040 Katie Fehrenbacher Wed, 09/23/2020 – 01:50 If you needed any more evidence that America’s vehicle fleets are driving toward zero-emission status, it’s this: Walmart just announced that it will electrify and zero out emissions from all Walmart vehicles, including long haul trucks, by 2040.  That includes more than 10,000 vehicles, including 6,500 semi-trucks and 4,000 passenger vehicles. Up until this point, Walmart largely had emphasized fuel efficiency , although it also ordered several dozen Tesla electric semi-trucks for a Canadian fulfillment center.  Why the change? Zach Freeze, senior director of strategic initiatives and sustainability at Walmart, told GreenBiz that “more needs to be done,” and Walmart wanted to set the ambitious goal of zero emission “In order to get to zero, we need to transition the fleet,” Freeze said.  The semi-trucks will be the trickiest vehicles to adopt zero emission technologies, be that batteries, hydrogen or alternative fuels. Some heavy-duty truck fleets are opting for swapping in alternative fuels today, while the electric semi-truck market matures (check out this webcast I’m hosting Oct. 1 on the city of Oakland’s circular renewable diesel project). Expect Walmart’s 4,000 passenger vehicles to go electric much more quickly. Passenger EVs today can help fleets reduce their operating costs (less diesel fuel used) and maintenance costs, leading to overall lower costs for the fleets.  Walmart is just at the beginning of its zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) journey, but the strategy with its announcement is to “send a signal” to the market. “We want to see ZEV technology scaled, and we want to be on the front lines of that trend,” Freeze said.  Jason Mather, director of vehicles and freight strategy for the Environmental Defense Fund, described Walmart’s new goals in a release as “a critical signal to the industry that the future is zero-emissions.” However, these commitments only cover Scope 1 and 2 zero-emission commitments, not Scope 3. Of course, Walmart isn’t the only big company using ZEV goals to send market signals. Last year, Amazon announced an overall goal to deliver all of its goods via net-zero carbon shipments, and the retailer plans to purchase 100,000 electric trucks via startup Rivian.  Utility fleets will be another key buyer for electric trucks. Oregon utility Portland General Electric tells GreenBiz it plans to electrify just over 60 percent of its entire fleet by 2030. Utilities commonly use modified pick-up trucks, SUVs, bucket trucks, flatbed trucks and dump trucks. PGE says that 100 percent of its class 1 trucks (small pickups, sedans, SUVs) will be electric by 2025, while 30 percent of its heavy-duty trucks will be electric by 2030. Its entire fleet includes more than 1,000 vehicles. “It’s really important for us as a utility to be doing this. At the end of the day, we’ll be serving our customers’ electric fleet loads,” said Aaron Milano, product portfolio manager for transportation electrification at PGE. “It’s necessary that we learn and help our customers through this process.” I’ll be interviewing PGE CEO Maria Pope at our upcoming VERGE 20 conference , which will run half days across the last week in October, virtually of course. Tune in for a combination of keynotes and interactive discussions with leaders such as IKEA’s Angela Hultberg, Apple’s Lisa Jackson, Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs, Amazon’s Kara Hurst, InBev’s Angie Slaughter, the city of Seattle’s Philip Saunders and the Port Authority New York and New Jersey’s Christine Weydig.  Topics Transportation & Mobility Clean Fleets Featured Column Driving Change Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off Courtesy of Walmart Close Authorship

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Walmart drives toward zero-emission goal for its entire fleet by 2040

Walmart drives toward zero-emission goal for its entire fleet by 2040

September 23, 2020 by  
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Walmart drives toward zero-emission goal for its entire fleet by 2040 Katie Fehrenbacher Wed, 09/23/2020 – 01:50 If you needed any more evidence that America’s vehicle fleets are driving toward zero-emission status, it’s this: Walmart just announced that it will electrify and zero out emissions from all Walmart vehicles, including long haul trucks, by 2040.  That includes more than 10,000 vehicles, including 6,500 semi-trucks and 4,000 passenger vehicles. Up until this point, Walmart largely had emphasized fuel efficiency , although it also ordered several dozen Tesla electric semi-trucks for a Canadian fulfillment center.  Why the change? Zach Freeze, senior director of strategic initiatives and sustainability at Walmart, told GreenBiz that “more needs to be done,” and Walmart wanted to set the ambitious goal of zero emission “In order to get to zero, we need to transition the fleet,” Freeze said.  The semi-trucks will be the trickiest vehicles to adopt zero emission technologies, be that batteries, hydrogen or alternative fuels. Some heavy-duty truck fleets are opting for swapping in alternative fuels today, while the electric semi-truck market matures (check out this webcast I’m hosting Oct. 1 on the city of Oakland’s circular renewable diesel project). Expect Walmart’s 4,000 passenger vehicles to go electric much more quickly. Passenger EVs today can help fleets reduce their operating costs (less diesel fuel used) and maintenance costs, leading to overall lower costs for the fleets.  Walmart is just at the beginning of its zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) journey, but the strategy with its announcement is to “send a signal” to the market. “We want to see ZEV technology scaled, and we want to be on the front lines of that trend,” Freeze said.  Jason Mather, director of vehicles and freight strategy for the Environmental Defense Fund, described Walmart’s new goals in a release as “a critical signal to the industry that the future is zero-emissions.” However, these commitments only cover Scope 1 and 2 zero-emission commitments, not Scope 3. Of course, Walmart isn’t the only big company using ZEV goals to send market signals. Last year, Amazon announced an overall goal to deliver all of its goods via net-zero carbon shipments, and the retailer plans to purchase 100,000 electric trucks via startup Rivian.  Utility fleets will be another key buyer for electric trucks. Oregon utility Portland General Electric tells GreenBiz it plans to electrify just over 60 percent of its entire fleet by 2030. Utilities commonly use modified pick-up trucks, SUVs, bucket trucks, flatbed trucks and dump trucks. PGE says that 100 percent of its class 1 trucks (small pickups, sedans, SUVs) will be electric by 2025, while 30 percent of its heavy-duty trucks will be electric by 2030. Its entire fleet includes more than 1,000 vehicles. “It’s really important for us as a utility to be doing this. At the end of the day, we’ll be serving our customers’ electric fleet loads,” said Aaron Milano, product portfolio manager for transportation electrification at PGE. “It’s necessary that we learn and help our customers through this process.” I’ll be interviewing PGE CEO Maria Pope at our upcoming VERGE 20 conference , which will run half days across the last week in October, virtually of course. Tune in for a combination of keynotes and interactive discussions with leaders such as IKEA’s Angela Hultberg, Apple’s Lisa Jackson, Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs, Amazon’s Kara Hurst, InBev’s Angie Slaughter, the city of Seattle’s Philip Saunders and the Port Authority New York and New Jersey’s Christine Weydig.  Topics Transportation & Mobility Clean Fleets Featured Column Driving Change Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off Courtesy of Walmart Close Authorship

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Walmart drives toward zero-emission goal for its entire fleet by 2040

A corporate water strategy manifesto: We can and will do better

September 23, 2020 by  
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A corporate water strategy manifesto: We can and will do better Will Sarni Wed, 09/23/2020 – 01:30 We have decided to craft this brief manifesto to challenge the status quo, accelerate innovation, solve wicked water problems and achieve United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6, “Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.” The pandemic has strengthened our resolve to do better. Our observations and point of view for 2020 so far are: The pandemic has been an accelerator of trends, such as the digital transformation of the water sector, attention on lack of access to safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene, and the appalling underinvestment in water infrastructure in the U.S. and globally. The recent interest and commitment to water pledges has diverted scarce resources and funds from actions such as watershed conservation and protection, reuse, technology innovation and adoption, public policy innovation, etc. The corporate sector has too narrow of a view of the opportunities to solve wicked water challenges. We no longer can be silent on the tradeoff between pledges versus actions. The belief that more of the same is unacceptable. We also believe that scale of investment in solving wicked water problems is grossly inadequate, whether at the watershed level, supply chain, operations or engagement on public policy and with civil society. The statistics on water scarcity, poor quality, inequity and lack of access to safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene remain appalling and unacceptable. We held these beliefs before the pandemic, which have only accelerated this year and prompted us to share our view. Most important, the statistics on water scarcity, poor quality, inequity and lack of access to safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene remain appalling and unacceptable. For example: About 4 billion people, representing nearly two-thirds of the world population, experience severe water scarcity during at least one month of the year ( Mekonnen and Hoekstra, 2016 ). 700 million people worldwide could be displaced by intense water scarcity by 2030 ( Global Water Institute, 2013 ). Globally, it is likely that over 80 percent of wastewater is released to the environment without adequate treatment ( UNESCO, 2017 ). The World Resources Institute has revised its predictions of the water supply-demand deficit to 56 percent by 2030. Our intention is not to offend or not acknowledge the work done to date by those dedicated to solving water. Instead, it is to push all of us towards doing better together, not more of the same. All of us means the private sector, governments and civil society (community groups, NGOs, labor unions, indigenous groups, charitable organizations, faith-based organizations, professional associations and foundations). None of us is doing the job required fast enough. We realize this is hard, complex work and that your efforts are important. We do believe the answers exist but not the fortitude to take on big water risks and make the necessary investments. So, consider the questions below and let’s do more, invest more and scale efficient and effective solutions. Less talk, more action. For businesses: Is sustainability and water stewardship integrated into your business or is it a fringe activity from a sustainability, corporate social responsibility or water team? Does it support your business strategy? If the answer is no, your efforts will be underfunded and understaffed because they, at best, create partial business value. How many “non-sustainability” colleagues from other areas of your business participated in sustainability or water-related conferences/webinars over the last five years? If not many, see the question above. Do you have a water replenishment/balance/neutrality/positive goal? If yes, why, and do you believe these goals actually solve water problems at scale and speed to have an impact? Did you commit to these goals because your competitors have done so, for communications, or to drive the needed improvements at the local level? Is your goal designed to improve access to water and sanitation for everyone at a very local level? Asked another way, in five or 10 years when you claim success, will you have really improved water security in that basin? Can you more effectively use your resources to improve water policies or leverage resources by working collaboratively with others? Water is not carbon, it isn’t fungible and as a result, achieving water-neutral or water-positive goals can be misaligned with watershed impacts. We believe these kinds of goals are complex and can lead to chasing numbers that may not yield the desired business, environmental and community benefits. See WWF for important considerations before developing and issuing them. For all: Are the pledges, memberships and carefully worded water stewardship statements and goals on path to produce the necessary long-term results? Do we really need more private-sector pledges? How about fewer pledges, more actions? In the last five years, from all the water conferences you attended, how many ideas did you take back and implement? Why not take those travel dollars you’re saving in 2020 and what you’ll save in the future because you found new ways to work and invest in actions with others at the basin level? We believe in learning by doing. When did you last talk with a government agency in charge of water or wastewater about improving policies (allocations, cost of water, enforcement of water quality standards, development, tax dollars for green and grey infrastructure, etc.)? We believe improving water-related policies is the ultimate prize, and we need to start taking action, now. How much time do you spend on positioning your organization as a water stewardship leader? Too often, we sustainability professionals at NGOs, businesses and trade organizations get bogged down with labor-intensive marketing and communication efforts instead of focusing on execution. Let your actions speak for themselves. The bottom line: Less talk, more action and investment. Let’s recommit and focus so we can solve water in our lifetime. It is possible. Pull Quote The statistics on water scarcity, poor quality, inequity and lack of access to safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene remain appalling and unacceptable. Contributors Hugh Share Topics Water Efficiency & Conservation Water Scarcity Water Operations Featured Column Liquid Assets Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off Shutterstock

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A corporate water strategy manifesto: We can and will do better

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