To make ESG investing work, Swiss Re focuses on diversity

July 31, 2017 by  
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How Swiss Re, the world’s second-largest reinsurer, is shifting its entire $130 billion portfolio towards ethical indices.

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To make ESG investing work, Swiss Re focuses on diversity

Natural material palette brings warmth to minimalist Swiss home

December 12, 2016 by  
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Proving that minimalist design doesn’t have to sacrifice warmth, Wohlgemuth & Pafumi Architekten designed their latest project, Swiss Simplicity, to be a contemporary, yet comfortable family home. The architects incorporated basic elements of traditional Swiss construction, but broke away from the mold by using a variety of natural materials to bring a soothing harmony to the design. Located in Seltisberg, Switzerland, the home was designed as a comfortable haven for a family of four and their beloved cats. Keeping in mind the homeowners’ vision of “Switzerland style,” the architects used a sophisticated combination of wood, concrete, stone, steel, and glass throughout the design. Simple volumes and sharp angles pay homage to local building traditions, which, combined with some thoroughly modern twists, give the structure a unique character. Related: Branching addition cuts through existing Swiss farmhouse to increase structural integrity On the interior, a beautiful open floor plan was carved out for the living space, giving precedence to the communal family areas. The living room, kitchen and dining room are all seamlessly combined into one large airy space in order to create a strong sense of togetherness. Additionally, the simple color pallet of white walls and hard wood floors, along with the sleek industrial wooden and concrete staircase, creates a soothing living space. + Wohlgemuth & Pafumi Architekten Images via Wohlgemuth & Pafumi Architekten

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Natural material palette brings warmth to minimalist Swiss home

22 insurers seriously assess climate risk — does yours?

October 25, 2016 by  
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Munich Re, Swiss Re, Liberty Mutual, Nationwide, Prudential, Travelers and the Hartford are found to give high-quality assessment of climate risks. But most insurers do not.

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22 insurers seriously assess climate risk — does yours?

22 insurers seriously assess climate risk — does yours?

October 25, 2016 by  
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Munich Re, Swiss Re, Liberty Mutual, Nationwide, Prudential, Travelers and the Hartford are found to give high-quality assessment of climate risks. But most insurers do not.

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22 insurers seriously assess climate risk — does yours?

Is your company leaving value on the table?

October 17, 2016 by  
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Corporations need a 360-degree view on risk and opportunity. Leaders like SwissRe and Interface already operate in the new era of business value creation.

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Is your company leaving value on the table?

Switzerland unveils cloud-like pavilion at Venice Biennale

July 26, 2016 by  
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Kerez’s pavilion is an attempt to think about, construct, and experience architecture differently. This experimental work designed for a specific location and occasion is an autonomous piece that, trying to avoid a conventional design framework, seeks greater innovation. Done to stand only for itself, and not to represent any other work of architecture nor a tendency or any other specific construction or design method, the Swiss pavilion is an abstract experience that boldly stands out from other Biennale participants showcasing conventional models, drawings and photographs. Related: Thousands of keys strung from blood-red yarn evoke Japan’s Great Tohoku Earthquake The interior of the artificially formed cloud realized in fiber cement evokes a natural geological structure. In addition to resembling a real cloud, the Swiss pavilion is itself a huge cloud of data – the result of coupling and sequencing craftsmanship and digital processes to create a complex architectonic space. + Christian Kerez + Venice Biennale Images via Maria Novozhilova for Inhabitat

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Switzerland unveils cloud-like pavilion at Venice Biennale

Nissan is gifting gilded Leaf EVs to winning Olympic Athletes

July 26, 2016 by  
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Who would even want to win a gold medal when you could have a golden electric car? Some gold medal winners at the upcoming Summer Olympic Games hosted in Brazil will also take home a special prize from Nissan : a shiny gold Leaf EV . The gilded electric cars will be offered to any of the 16 athletes sponsored by the automaker’s British office, provided they earn a gold medal in their sport first. At the Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro starting in just a few weeks, Nissan is already providing a fleet of 4,200 vehicles , including the Leaf and the new SUV model Kicks . Once the games begin, scores of athletes from around the world will compete for a shot at the gold, silver, or bronze medals traditionally awarded at the Olympics. Nissan’s British office is sponsoring ten Olympic and six Paralympic athletes in this summer’s games, and hopes the added allure of a shiny gold electric car will be enough to help them bring home the gold (medal, that is). The car is subtly emblazoned (if that’s a thing) with the words “Rio 2016 Gold Medalist” on the hood, both sides, and the rear bumper, so that passersby from every angle will know who is at the wheel. Related: New 2016 Nissan Leaf can travel up to 107 miles on a single charge The Leaf EV is Nissan’s answer to the affordable electric car. First introduced in 2010, the Leaf quickly became the world’s all-time best selling highway-capable all-electric car. As of April of this year, nearly 220,000 Leafs have been sold worldwide, and it’s no wonder. The EV has an impressive 107-mile range and an MSRP under $30,000. Combined with federal and state tax credits, the Nissan Leaf represents a great deal on a zero emissions vehicle. Via Carscoops Images via Nissan

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Nissan is gifting gilded Leaf EVs to winning Olympic Athletes

SOM designs pedestrian-friendly revamp for the heart of Philadelphia

July 26, 2016 by  
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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wTtsmrT7y6k SOM’s masterplan for Philadelphia’s 30th Street Station Precinct was selected by Amtrak and designed in collaboration with Parsons Brinckerhoff, OLIN , and HR&A Advisors. The beautiful Beaux Arts 30th Street Station—the third busiest transit hub in the U.S.—will retain its architectural magnificence but be expanded to improve accessibility and comfort for the 30,000 passengers that use the trains every morning. New public plazas and pedestrian-friendly elements will be added, along with a new underground concourse connecting 30th Street Station with the city subway system. Related: Mecanoo designs gorgeous green-roofed train station for Kaohsiung The masterplan will cover 175 acres and connect Philadelphia’s Center City and University City downtown districts. “Through bold development, an activated public realm, and an expanded transit network, the masterplan creates a viable framework for Philadelphia’s next great neighbourhood,” said SOM. New buildings for the expansion of Drexel University will also be added. + SOM Via ArchDaily Images via SOM

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SOM designs pedestrian-friendly revamp for the heart of Philadelphia

8 memorable milestones of the first solar-powered flight around-the-world

July 26, 2016 by  
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The Solar Impulse project began in Switzerland in 2003, when Bertrand Piccard—a veteran balloonist and also a psychiatrist—began designing and building a one-man airplane that could fly without fossil fuels, using only the sun’s energy. After five years of development, Piccard joined forces with Swiss pilot and businessman André Borschberg to finish the aircraft and help organize the project to circumnavigate the globe in their experimental solar-powered plane. The first version of the plane, Solar Impulse 1, became the first solar-powered aircraft to fly for 26 consecutive hours, as well as the first to cross two continents. Solar Impulse 2 would blow those records out of the water, if not out of this world. Leg 1: The adventure begins in Abu Dhabi The experimental aircraft began its round-the-world solar-powered journey on March 9, 2015 lifting off from Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates. From there, Borschberg piloted Solar Impulse 2 in the early morning hours for what would be a relatively short flight in comparison to other legs of the journey. He flew 13 hours and 1 minute before touching down in Muscat, Oman for the first scheduled stop of the journey that would ultimately take more than a year to complete. Related: Zero fuel Solar Impulse 2 takes off on world’s first round-the-world flight powered entirely by sunlight Leg 3: Longest solar-powered flight in aviation history The 15-hour, 20-minute flight from Oman to Ahmedabad, India on March 18, 2015 marked the first of many world records on the Solar Impulse journey. With Piccard in the cockpit, the experimental aircraft flew longer than any other solar-powered plane had before that date. This set an exciting precedent for the project early in the RTW adventure, as the SI2 would beat its own record several times over before landing back at its starting point more than a year later. Leg 7: Unscheduled landing in Japan After multiple weather-related delays, SI2 took off from Nanjing, China on May 31, 2015 with Borschberg in the cramped cockpit and headed east toward Hawaii. However, it soon became apparent that the chosen route for the longest leg of the round-the-world trip was not meant to be. The poor weather forecast forced the ground team to scramble to make arrangements for Borschberg to detour the aircraft for an unscheduled landing in Nagoya, Japan. The plane was grounded for several weeks while the crews waited for the weather forecast to improve. Solar Impulse 2 was finally cleared for take off again on June 28. Related: Solar Impulse could be grounded for a whole year in Japan Leg 8: Pacific Ocean crossing The longest leg of the round-the-world journey also marked two of the most significant world records for the project: the longest continuous flight by a solar-powered aircraft as well as the longest solo flight in aviation history . Borschberg piloted the SI2 on the 117-hour, 52-minute flight, covering the 4,819 nautical miles between Nagoya, Japan and Oahu, Hawaii. To endure such a long flight in a cramped cockpit, the pilot employed yoga and meditation techniques to encourage circulation in his extremities. After the first 24 hours of the flight, he was also able to take 20-minute catnaps while the plane’s autopilot system kept it on course. As Borschberg landed in the plane in Hawaii on July 3, 2015, thousands of viewers around the world watched the live streaming webcast on the Solar Impulse website. Leg 9: Grounded in Hawaii Although the record-setting longest flight went smoothly, the SI2 had to be grounded after landing in Hawaii due to an overheated battery. As experimental aircraft go, SI2 encountered relatively few technical difficulties along its journey, but this one was a show-stopper. Once ground crews examined the battery, it was determined that the best course of action for the project was to put the journey on hold until replacement batteries could be produced and tested to ensure subsequent flights would be safe. Testing on the new batteries began in early February 2016, and the plane was finally cleared for takeoff in April, and Piccard flew the airplane to California without further incident. Leg 14: SI2’s shortest flight Lasting a mere four hours and 41 minutes, the 14th leg of the solar-powered flight was the shortest by far. After making several stops in its eastbound journey across the continental United States, Solar Impulse 2 took off from Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania on June 11 and touched down just a few hours later at its final U.S. destination: New York City’s JFK Airport . A remarkable milestone, SI2 flew over the Statue of Liberty during its approach to the airport, creating an iconic image that represents the ability of clean energy to grant freedom from dirty fossil fuels. Leg 15: Crossing the Atlantic Ocean Flying a 100-percent solar-powered airplane across the Atlantic Ocean was perhaps an easier feat than the Pacific crossing, but secured Solar Impulse 2 yet another world first record. Piccard took off in the early morning hours of June 20—the longest day of the year—from NYC’s JFK airport and successfully flew for 71 hours and eight minutes, landing in Seville, Spain on June 23. Leg 17: Back to Abu Dhabi When Piccard landed SI2 in Abu Dhabi on July 26 , a few things happened. First and foremost, the team nabbed a major victory in achieving the goal of flying a solar-powered airplane around the world. Secondly, Solar Impulse 2 secured an esteemed place in clean energy history, proving the awesome potential of solar power and, with any luck, inspiring engineers around the world to discover new innovations in renewable energy applications. The final leg of SI2’s circumnavigation was a tricky one, occurring during one of the most intense heat waves the world has seen in recent decades. Weather patterns forced Piccard to fly in a holding pattern soon after take off, lengthening the expected 40-hour flight to a final duration of 48 hours and 37 minutes. Although the journey’s last leg was one of the shorter flights, the obstacles only served to enhance the anticipation as the solar-powered electric airplane zeroed in on its ultimate goal: a 26,744-mile trip around the world without fossil fuels. This won’t be the last we hear from Piccard, Borschberg, and the rest of the Solar Impulse support team. A plan has already been discussed to use SI2’s proven technology to create solar-powered drones , and nobody would be surprised if a Solar Impulse 3 were to emerge in the coming years as a bigger, better version of the sun-powered airplane. For now, the pilots will celebrate this enormous victory for clean energy, and perhaps take a little time off after spending so many hours in the SI2’s cramped cockpit. + Solar Impulse Lead image via Abu Dhabi Government , all other images via Solar Impulse

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8 memorable milestones of the first solar-powered flight around-the-world

Swiss voters to decide on $2500/mo ‘unconditional basic income’ initiative this Sunday

June 2, 2016 by  
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Switzerland ’s proposed ‘ unconditional basic income ’ (UBI) could become an official policy as early as next week. On Sunday, voters will decide whether every Swiss man, woman, and child should receive a monthly no-questions-asked payment designed to help alleviate the stress of paying for basic needs. Campaigners for UBI have fought hard for several years to bring the question to the public, but analysts say it’s unlikely to pass. A recent poll showed 72 percent of voters are inclined to reject the proposal, following advice from the Swiss government and most of the country’s political parties. In an effort to rally support for the initiative, its campaigners hit people where they can feel it: their bank accounts. The campaign raised funds to hold a lottery of sorts, in which one citizen will be paid 2,500 Swiss Francs per month for a year—the amount proposed under the UBI policy. With a monthly check like that, supporters of the initiative argue that it would become much easier for Swiss citizens to have children, pursue higher education or job training, and it would diminish or potentially eliminate the need for some social programs geared toward low income residents. Related: Switzerland might pay all citizens a 2,500 Franc basic income every month The ballot measure for Sunday’s vote, if approved, would translate into a monthly payment of $2,500 for each adult citizen, as well as around $625 per month for each child. Foreign residents who have lived in Switzerland for more than five years would also be eligible for the payments, under the initiative. Finland and Holland are preparing to experiment with similar programs, and some cities in Canada and Spain are considering it as well. Imagine what your family could do, if you didn’t have to worry as much about paying for basic needs. Via Phys.org Images via Pixabay  and Peter Gronemann/Flickr

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Swiss voters to decide on $2500/mo ‘unconditional basic income’ initiative this Sunday

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