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

Lexmark Predicts Connected Future Built on ‘Economy of Use’

The emerging Internet of Things (IoT) space represents one of the most disruptive, yet lucrative, forces in the business world today. Research by McKinsey & Co estimates that IoT technology offers a potential economic impact of $3.9 trillion to $11.1 trillion a year by 2025. At the top end, that level of value would be equivalent to about 11 percent of the world economy.

Measurabl, Optoro Partner to Pilot Improved Sustainability Data Collection

This week, startup Measurabl, a provider of sustainability data management and analytics software, announced a partnership with Optoro, a technology company focused on supply chain sustainability for retailers. The “We Are Measurabl” pilot program allows Optoro and other companies to track and validate their corporate sustainability performance to their stakeholders.

A Lamp That Collects Energy, Sells It Back to the Grid, and Invests Your Earnings for You? Aspirational, Indeed

Welcome the latest innovation that might up the ante for “smart” in-home electronics: The Aspirational Lamp is a solar-powered desk lamp that, in addition to shining light, aims to generate its own return on your investment. The truly smart lamp has the ability to twist toward the sun to gather — and store — the maximum amount of energy; when not in use, it then sells excess energy back to the grid, and invests earnings in the stock market, with the goal of earning itself enough money over time to pay for upgrades and new parts for itself (but not enough to enable early retirement).

Can a Tuktuk Ride Change the World?

If changing the world for the better was easy, we'd all be doing it. But thinking that you can make a difference is audacious. It takes a sort of beneficent arrogance to set out to push humanity in a positive direction. To believe you will succeed is madness, but to believe otherwise is to surrender. I think of giving up as a form of death, so I'll gladly side with the crazy ones who are trying to make things better.But the world needs change as we’re headed toward multiple planetary boundaries, so someone needs to take the wheel and point us in a better direction.I was invited to an intriguing event last week, where I learned about the plans for something audacious.Let’s start with the details:

How Big Data Can Enable a Transparent Marketplace for Consumer Goods

Today we can access vast quantities of information from countless sources to help us make better decisions quickly.My cell phone can help me find a restaurant with the type of food I like, at a price I like, and with a customer satisfaction rating. I can get directions to the restaurant, including current traffic conditions. And if I don’t want to drive myself, Uber can take care of that.All of this is possible, yet when I go to my grocery store I’m still unclear as to what’s in the products I buy and where they came from.Is this can of soup lined with BPA? Are there GMOs in it? What’s the environmental impact of this product? Can I recycle it?

How Sierra Nevada Is Brewing a Better Business

Few things are more disruptive to a processing facility than losing power – especially if several weeks’ worth of work is lost each time it happens. Facing this risk helped drive Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. to embed sustainability into the way it does business.

How Digital Mapping Is Helping Detroit Fight Urban Blight

As previously functioning urban areas fall into disrepair, urban blight increasingly is afflicting cities across the United States. Characterized by high local unemployment and crime, political disenfranchisement and depopulation, in some of these areas the endless blocks of abandoned buildings seems like scenes out of a post-apocalyptic movie.

Water/Energy Nexus Hackathon Seeking Solutions to Critical Drought, Energy Issues

California is experiencing a significant paradigm shift around water and energy, and the 2015 Water/Energy Nexus Hackathon, coming to San Francisco in mid-August, intends to bring some of the smartest minds together to help address these complex issues. This two-day event will allow students, professionals and enthusiasts to experiment, improve and unveil new methods to help manage, interact and understand the growing relationship between water and energy, which is ever more critical given the current drought situation.

Carnival to Build Cruise Industry's First LNG-Powered Ships

Carnival Corporation & plc, the world's largest travel and leisure company, announced Monday it has signed a multibillion-dollar contract with German shipyard Meyer Werft to build four next-generation cruise ships with the largest guest capacity in the world. The four new ships will also be the first in the cruise industry to be powered at sea by Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) — the world’s cleanest-burning fossil fuel.The company said two of the ships will be manufactured for AIDA Cruises at Meyer Werft's shipyard in Papenburg, Germany. Additional information about the ships, including which new ships will be added to each brand, will be made available at a later date.

4 Ways Technology Can Help Scale Up Sustainable Supply Chains

In a world where more people have access to mobile phones than to safe water, how can technology help scale up sustainable supply chains? Here are four suggestions from an expert panel at the Sedex Global Responsible Sourcing Conference, held in March 2015.

Ceres Releases Water Risk Disclosure Search Tool

Ceres has released a new search tool that enables users to access water risk disclosures in company filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).The SEC Sustainability Disclosure Search tool allows users to find disclosures in 4,500 U.S. companies’ annual filings relating to water availability, scarcity, quality, pollution, regulation and innovation. The tool covers 10-K filings from 2009 to the present and helps stakeholders, including investors, companies, academics and analysts, better understand how businesses are measuring, managing and disclosing material water risks and opportunities.

Greenpeace ‘Click Clean Scorecard’ Rates Top Websites on Renewable Energy Use, Transparency

If you’ve ever wondered about the energy powering your favorite websites, a new tool from Greenpeace is here to help. On Thursday, the advocacy group released a new browser extension tool that shows which of the most popular websites are moving most ambitiously towards renewable energy use. Users that download the extension (compatible with Google Chrome) can distinguish leaders from laggards by the color of a cloud icon that appears green, yellow, or red whenever they open a new site.

IoT Technology Helping AT&T, IBM Revolutionize City Water Management

AT&T, IBM and Mueller Water Products have teamed up to use Internet of Things (IoT) technology to address water sustainability in cities. Their partnership combines Echologics sensors and sound technology from Mueller Water Products with AT&T’s LTE wireless network to detect water pressure, temperature and leaks in urban water systems. The IBM Water Management Center helps aggregate the water data, providing a complete view of past, present and future performance.

Amazon Announces Solar Deal in Virginia, Greenpeace Urges Further Transparency

Today Amazon Web Services (AWS) announced a solar farm project in Virginia that will advance the company’s progress towards its recent commitment to powering its data centers with 100 percent renewable energy.

#SB15SD: How to Inform Supply Chain Engagement Strategy with the Latest Data

With nearly 500 eco-labels in 200 countries and across 25 industry sectors, it is easy for both consumers and producers to get confused. A Thursday morning panel at SB ’15 San Diego featuring Sheila Bonini, CEO of The Sustainability Consortium (TSC), and Adam Gordon, Supply Chain Account Manager at CDP, shared two innovative ways of addressing that challenge.

Taking Notes on Humanity: Harnessing Big Data to Drive Social Good

Given the rate at which big data is evolving — it is being generated from multiple sources at such speed and volume that the term itself is becoming overexposed — it is little wonder that corporations are struggling to figure out how best to mine it for the type of information that can help enable a better world.

Report: UK Public Sector Embracing Smart Tech, But Financing and Implementation Hurdles Remain

A majority (87 percent) of public sector sustainability professionals in the UK have begun to embrace smart technologies, but future projects are stymied by lack of finance and poor implementation strategy, according to new research by GE Lighting and the Carbon Trust.The most common areas where there has been significant smart technology adoption are building efficiency (77 percent), LED lighting (57 percent) and water and waste technologies (24 percent). The smart technologies most commonly installed include intelligent features such as sensors, which combined with internet connectivity and control systems, enhance performance and efficiency and reduce resource consumption, costs and carbon emissions.

You Can't Manage What You Don't Measure

When it comes to water usage, most industries today still pay little attention to managing their most precious raw material.

GRI: Info Tech Will Lead to Real-Time Sustainability Reporting by 2025

Future improvements in information technology will lead to greater transparency, with sustainability reporting moving fully into the digital realm and occurring in real-time instead of annually, according to a new paper by the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI).Sustainability and Reporting Trends in 2025: Preparing for the Future examines future trends in sustainability and corporate reporting and disclosure following a series of thought-leadership interviews.

Ford Continues Development of Smart Mobility Plan with Research Partnerships, Enhancements

Earlier this week, Ford’s vision for the future of personal mobility was on display at CES Asia in Shanghai.