The latest products, services and cleantech applications and how they are tackling some of our most pressing social and environmental issues.

d.light Continues to Drive Increased Energy Options to Billions Without Reliable Access

In an effort to expand quality solar home system solutions to the 2.3 billion people worldwide without reliable access to power, d.light - a manufacturer and distributor of solar lighting and power products providing access to reliable, affordable, renewable energy for people in the developing world - is licensing its pay-as-you-go financing technology to partners and distributors around the world. d.light is the market leader in solar lighting and home system solutions in the developing world, as well as one of the early pioneers of the PayGo model.

ReGen Villages: Behind the Design of Self-Sustaining Eco-Communities

ReGen Villages is a tech-integrated and regenerative residential real estate development company. The Dutch holding company, in collaboration with Danish architecture firm EFFEKT, was founded by serial entrepreneur James Ehrlich, who describes his brand as “engineering and facilitating the development of off-grid, integrated and resilient neighbourhoods that power and feed self-reliant families around the world.”

Furniture Store-Turned-Solar-Firm Invents Solar Wallpaper

Sometimes innovation comes from unexpected places — a father-son duo in Chino Hills, California has transformed a family furniture business into Sunflare, a solar energy company that produced solar “wallpaper,” among other high-efficiency PV products. For more than a decade, Len Gao and his son, Philip Gao, used the furniture business to finance their research on flexible solar panels. After much trial and error, they developed solar panels that are so lightweight and flexible they can be installed on nearly any building surface with little more than double stick tape.

HP, Apple Leading Action on Forced Labor, But ICT Sector ‘Must Do Far More’

The information and communications technology (ICT) industry is an at-risk sector for forced labor, and while most of the world’s largest ICT companies have publicly demonstrated awareness of the issue, far fewer have strong processes in place to address it.

Offshore Wind to Take Off in Taiwan

Almost 40 percent of the world’s CO2 emissions come from the countries in East and Southeast Asia, and it is expected that the emissions will increase in pace with the region’s economic boom. From a climate perspective, renewable energy, rather than fossil fuels, should meet the region’s growth and increasing energy demand. The good news is that the prospects for more renewables in the region are promising. In 2015, more than half of the global investments in clean energy came from East and Southeast Asia. Increasing interest for offshore wind For a long time, solar has dominated the East- and Southeast Asian clean investments. But, offshore wind power has attracted increasing interest in recent years.

The Internet of Things: Net Positive or Negative for Sustainability?

Despite the hype surrounding the Internet of Things (IoT), its promise of enabling smart connected products, new business models, and delivering better customer experiences is undeniable. Combining physical products with sensors, software, storage, and connectivity will also enable exponentially more “products as a service.” Besides providing unprecedented opportunities for transforming brands’ relationships with customers, it’s also a promising portal to a more sustainable world – reducing waste, emissions and natural capital dependencies. Implicit is the hopeful and exciting potential for improving environmental and, in some cases, social footprints of both consumer and industrial products.

New Palm Oil Risk Tool Allows Companies to Better Identify Deforestation Risk

Global Forest Watch’s new PALM (Prioritizing Areas, Landscapes and Mills) Risk Tool, released by the World Resources Institute (WRI) and freely available through its open-source Global Forest Watch Commodities platform, includes information about over 800 palm oil mills in Southeast Asia, along with regularly updated satellite imagery and spatial data.

Apple Quietly Launches ‘Apple Energy’ Subsidiary to Sell Renewable Energy Back to the Grid

Apple seems to be embedding its renewable energy commitments into its corporate structure. The company recently created a new wholly-owned subsidiary known as Apple Energy LLC and filed an application to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), which regulates power companies, to be able to sell electricity and other power grid services to non-utility customers. The move is a strong sign that Apple will not only fulfill its plans to operate on 100 percent renewable energy through net-metering, but plans to generate and sell renewable energy back to the grid.

New Track and Trace Tool Enables Transparent, Circular Supply Chains

A new cloud-based platform for supply chain management promises to enhance transparency and help producers transition to circular models, starting with the apparel industry. In collaboration with software provider Improvement IT, Netherlands-based Dutch Awearness has launched an online software tool called the Circular Content Management System (CCMS) to help track and trace garments and their materials.

Report: How Digital Solutions Can Drive Progress Toward the UN SDGs

The information and communication technologies (ICT) sector can play a vital role in helping achieve the objectives of the United Nation’s (UN) 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030, according to new analysis prepared for the Global e-Sustainability Initiative (GeSI) by Accenture Strategy. This would involve deploying an array of digital solutions to improve the quality of people’s lives, achieve equitable growth and protect the environment.

How Tesla's Stationary Energy Storage Is Makin' 'Bacon' for Jackson Family Wines

“Facility managers are at a premium these days and are overtaxed,” said Julien Gervreau, director of Sustainability at Jackson Family Wines (JFW) during a Thursday breakout session at SB'16 San Diego. That’s why the winery is benefiting from Tesla Energy’s stationary energy storage systems, which currently stores 4.2 MW of electricity. Partnering with Tesla has been helpful because the energy innovator understands how the winery is trying to be disruptive, Gervreau said.

A World First: Step Inside Heineken's Zero-Carbon Brewery

In the postcard-perfect town of Göss, a two-hour drive south of Vienna, something very interesting is brewing.

New Levels of Connectedness: Applying IoT to Global Sustainability Challenges

The Internet of Things (IoT) is changing the way we connect with each other and the world around us. While creating new opportunities for business engagement and new systems for developing data, complex and challenging questions about privacy and security are deeply intertwined.

Schneider Electric Helping MBTA Drive Energy Savings

Schneider Electric, global specialist in energy management and automation, today announced it’s working with the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA — aka “the T”) to cut utility bills and carbon emissions tied to public transportation in the greater Boston area. Together, the organizations will develop a comprehensive energy management plan and implement technology to help the MBTA reach its goal of reducing energy costs 12 percent next year.

Can Danish Enzyme Technology Help Alleviate Asia’s Waste Problems?

Today, large quantities of CO2 are emitted when we extract raw materials for the production of consumer goods. After use, most of these products end up in landfills as wasted resources. Among other drawbacks, this linear, take-make-waste system harms local environments and economies, and exacerbates climate change.

How Cisco Is Using Its Unique Capabilities to Drive Breakthroughs in Supply Chain Sustainability

As the world’s largest designer, manufacturer and seller of networking equipment, Cisco Systems faces many supply chain sustainability issues, including energy, waste and climate change impacts, among others. To address these challenges, Cisco has worked to improve energy efficiency, implemented circular economic methods to turn waste into resources and recently announced a new goal to avoid one million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions from its supply chain operations by 2020.

Toyota Advances Safer, Longer-Lasting Rechargeable Batteries

Earlier this month, engineers at the Toyota Research Institute of North America (TRINA) announced they made a breakthrough in magnesium battery technology that could lead to smaller, longer-lasting rechargeable batteries for “everything from cars to cell phones.” Magnesium metal has long been theorized as a much safer and more energy-dense alternative to current lithium battery technology, but research on magnesium-based batteries has previously been limited by a lack of suitable electrolyte.

Dow Teams Up to Advance Renewable Energy, Circular Economy Goals

This week, The Dow Chemical Company launched two new partnerships aimed at advancing two of its seven 2025 Sustainability Goals, launched last year.

Digital Risk Assessment Tool Wins $250K to Screen for Slavery in Seafood Supply Chains

Yesterday, the Partnership for Freedom announced the winners of Rethink Supply Chains: The Tech Challenge to Fight Labor Trafficking, a competition seeking technological solutions that help fight modern-day slavery in global supply chains. Earlier this year, five finalists were announced; each was awarded $20,000 and participated in a Finalist Accelerator program to help them refine and develop their ideas.

Schneider Electric Partnering with Silicon Valley Startups to Spur IoT Solution Development

Schneider Electric has announced a new Silicon Valley Innovation program designed to scout and develop startups focused on applications related to the intersection of energy and the Internet of Things (IoT). The first phase of the program will identify and develop 10 startup companies by the fourth quarter of 2016, three of which have already been selected.

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