Smart thermostat company ecobee has launched a first-of-its-kind program inviting its customers to voluntarily contribute their home heating and cooling data to advance energy and climate change science.
Historically, studies using home energy use data have been limited to small groups of homes, but smart homes could allow far more information to become available for research. With over one million customers, ecobee is hoping many of them will opt-in to sharing their data, anonymously and securely, to advance innovations in energy efficiency.
The host of food and drink company members of the United Kingdom’s (UK’s) Food and Drink Federation (FDF) have developed a series of new sustainability commitments. The newly-released “Ambition 2025” document builds on the group’s previous “Five-Fold Environmental Ambition” and includes goals related to climate change, food waste, packaging, water, transport, supply chains and natural capital, as well as case studies highlighting some of their members’ best practices.
PRODUCT, SERVICE & DESIGN INNOVATION -
As much of the Southeast U.S. is still cleaning up from Hurricane Matthew, the country’s 13th billion-dollar weather disaster this year, a new Ceres report ranks the nation’s largest insurance companies on their responses to escalating climate risks, including severe weather events. The report finds that while more U.S. insurers are improving their disclosure and management of climate risks, most are still giving it minimal attention, both in terms of risks and opportunities.
During Climate Week NYC 2016 this week, several companies made bold commitments through The Climate Group’s two leading corporate energy campaigns: RE100, which is focused on transitioning to 100 percent renewable power, and EP100, a new initiative focused on doubling energy productivity.
CHEMISTRY, MATERIALS & PACKAGING -
Business magnate Bill Gates and energy giant Total have backed biofuels company Renmatix in a $14 million investment round. Renmatix developed a new process called Plantrose® that makes converting biomass into cellulosic sugars – the critical intermediary for second-generation biochemicals and biofuels – more affordable for biorefineries.
The investment will help fund the process’ commercialization, which will expand the supply of cost-competitive alternatives to petroleum-derived molecules.
THE NEXT ECONOMY -
Three of the world’s largest insurers have called on G20 leaders to implement a timeframe for the end of fossil fuel subsidies when they meet in China this week.
The G20 has already committed to phase out “inefficient fossil fuel subsidies that encourage wasteful consumption” over the “medium term.” In May, the G7 nations pledged to achieve this by 2025.
While the challenges of climate change are undeniably global, politics and measures to actually solve them remain largely local. Last year’s Paris Agreement was a landmark moment for this issue. Now comes the difficult task of putting words and treaties into action.
The IUCN World Conservation Congress, set to begin in Honolulu this week, seeks to do just that. In order to be successful, it’s critical the delegates representing government, business, NGOs, the scientific community and indigenous people from more than 160 countries embrace not just the hard work ahead, but also the urgent need for meaningful collaboration.
The California State Assembly last week approved sweeping legislation that extends the state’s targets for reducing greenhouse gases from 2020 to 2030. Under SB 32, California would reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030.
The new legislation builds off of the projected success of AB 32, the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, which calls for California to reduce greenhouse gases to 1990 levels by 2020 — a target the state is expected to reach.
We are in the midst of a metamorphic period of change unlike anything the world has seen since the Late Middle Ages. With “meta” (meaning “form”) and “morph” (meaning “change”), the word suggests the transformative change in form of human institutions now emerging as we awaken to the realities of climate change and the destruction of ecosystems we have long relied upon for our survival. As the organization specialist Peter Drucker insightfully said, ‘In times of turmoil, the danger lies not in the turmoil but in facing it with yesterday’s logic.’
BEHAVIOR CHANGE -
A decade ago something remarkable happened: Business leaders watched Al Gore present An Inconvenient Truth, and accepted that man-made climate change was real and catastrophic.
CEOs said that something must be done and embraced carbon pricing and emissions trading. These same captains of industry were further encouraged when the UK Stern Review explained that early investment in low-carbon solutions would outweigh its costs and boost economic growth.
On April 22 – Earth Day 2016 – a record 175 nations agreed to keep this century’s global temperature rise below 2 degrees Celsius by signing the Paris Agreement, conceived at last year’s Paris Climate Conference (COP21). While unclear what country-level solutions will emerge, we know moving towards a low-carbon future is a critical component.
Transportation accounts for around one-seventh of global greenhouse gas emissions, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. And globally, greenhouse gas emissions are rising faster in transportation than in any other sector, with rapid motorization — more cars and trucks — being the principal cause.
NEW METRICS -
In this series of articles, the team at the Carbon Trust outlines the reasons for businesses to adopt science-based targets on climate change.
News Deeply, in partnership with Sustainable Brands, is producing a series of profiles looking at how brands are tackling some of the world’s biggest challenges. The goal is to examine trends and gather insights from a new wave of corporate citizenship – in an era in which the private sector is increasingly expected to play a positive role in improving our lives and societies. This, the 1st article in the series, features additional reporting by Mike Hower.
BEHAVIOR CHANGE -
The time has come to revisit REDD+ — the UN initiative that attempts to create financial value for the carbon locked in forests — to ensure that it is truly delivering on the momentum from Paris 2015.
PRODUCT, SERVICE & DESIGN INNOVATION -
The Spring 2016 proxy votes supporting the 2°C stress test resolutions at last week’s Annual General Meetings of ExxonMobil (38.2%) and Chevron (41%) give cause for both celebration - and concern. These votes suggest that key asset managers are recognizing (and others seem to be willfully ignoring) climate risk inherent in the business-as-usual practices of the largest U.S. oil and gas corporations and their downstream value chains.
More than half of the world’s population currently lives in cities and this is expected to reach 66 percent by 2050, according to the United Nations, when 2.5 billion people will be added to urban populations — with close to 90 percent of the increase concentrated in Asia and Africa.
In the fight against climate change, cities represent the greatest challenge and opportunity — while they generate a vast majority (70 percent) of global greenhouse gas emissions, those who live in them actually have smaller carbon footprints than the national averages.
MARKETING AND COMMS -
Academy-Award nominated filmmaker Josh Fox’s latest documentary opens with Fox dancing to The Beatles to celebrate a victory over the gas industry following the production of his startling previous release, Gasland. The new film, entitled How to Let Go of the World and Love All the Things Climate Can’t Change, is a journey across 12 countries on 6 continents that highlights the communities that are fighting back against fossil fuel extraction.
As the legal briefings pile up over the EPA’s Clean Power Plan (CPP), I’m inspired by the growing number of companies and business organizations standing up for the most significant step in U.S. history toward reducing climate pollution.
The bar continues to rise for companies that want to lead on sustainability, and it’s great to see companies aligning their corporate sustainability strategy and policy advocacy. Today’s corporate-led amicus briefs in support of the Clean Power Plan and smart climate policy are the latest example.
BEHAVIOR CHANGE -
Duke Energy, PG&E, National Grid and TransCanada Pipelines are among the 41 energy companies that have accepted a challenge from the EPA to reduce their methane emissions.