Cleantech

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

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“C” Is For Cognitive Learning: IBM Watson, Sesame Street Team Up to Advance Childhood Education

The first five years of a child’s life are a critical window for learning and development, but we have yet to master how best to teach and engage children throughout that time. Hoping to advance preschool education, Sesame Workshop, the non-profit educational organization that produces Sesame Street, has partnered with IBM to develop new educational platforms and products using Sesame’s early childhood expertise and IBM Watson’s cognitive computing technology.

UPS Hits '1B Cleaner Miles' Goal a Year Early, Shares Other Highlights in Latest Sustainability Report

UPS today announced it has achieved its goal of driving 1 billion miles in its alternative fuel and advanced technology fleet one year earlier than planned, and marked more than 10 years of learning from its “Rolling Laboratory.” UPS’s long-term commitment to sustainability is helping to transform commercial transportation and logistics, spurring growth in the clean fuels market and powering critical engineering advances. The company’s wider sustainability progress is detailed in the 14th annual Sustainability Report, released today.

ICT4Ag: How Tech Is Helping to Empower Smallholder Farmers

Sustainability is the new key driver to innovation these days and ICTs play quite a pivotal and influential role in enhancing and boosting productivity of agricultural value chains that are responsible to uplift the process, smallholder farms in particular. E-agriculture has fast gained popularity since the rise of e-commerce, e-fashion, and e-detailing; practically everything has been transformed to apply to the digital world.

Trending: Bayer, DuPont Back $15M Ag-Tech Fund; Ag-Tech Used by Walmart Raises $7M Series A

Information and communications technology (ICT) is expected to play an influential role in the future of agriculture. News this month provides some insight into just how significant it could be: Bayer and DuPont have joined what Reuters is calling an “ag-tech investment boom,” while the startup creating artificial intelligence-based solutions for farms that supply Walmart and other major retailers has completed a $7 million Series A funding round.

Veolia Powering UK Homes with Inedible Ice Cream Waste; Chocolate Still a Favorite

Not only is chocolate ice cream one of the most popular flavors worldwide, it has now emerged as the most powerful flavor: A new partnership between the world’s third-largest ice cream manufacturer, R&R Ice Cream; resource management company, Veolia; and Iona Capital is turning inedible ice cream waste into biogas for the National Grid, with chocolate producing the most energy of any flavor.

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Are Your Retirement Funds Destroying Rainforests? This New Web Tool Can Tell You

For the eco-conscious American, it may seem counterintuitive to invest in companies notorious for deforestation. Unfortunately, they may be unknowingly supporting such corporations through their retirement funds. “When Americans put their hard-earned money in savings and retirement accounts, they believe they are preparing for a better future. But large asset managers undermine that very future, globally speaking, by putting this money into destructive agribusiness firms, generally through complex investment chains and failures in due diligence,” said Jeff Conant, the senior international forests program manager at Friends of the Earth.

Schneider Electric Launches Network to Help Companies Discover, Vet Energy Prospects

Today, energy management and automation specialist Schneider Electric launched a collaborative online platform to help commercial and industrial companies find the right tools and financial vehicles to meet their sustainability goals.

AT&T’s Roman Smith: Here’s How We Can Bring About Tomorrow’s Smart Cities

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.

California's RPS Generating Thousands of Clean Energy Blue-Collar Jobs

California’s aggressive climate policies — combined with the sheer size of its economy — have helped it create the most clean energy jobs of any state in the country, according to a new study by the UC Berkeley Labor Center. The report, The Link Between Good Jobs and a Low Carbon Future, says the Renewables Portfolio Standard (RPS) — California’s principal climate policy — has created 25,500 blue-collar job years — or around 53 million hours of blue-collar construction work. Many of these jobs have been created in regions of the state where they are most needed, with high unemployment and low income.

Five Ways to Cheaper Offshore Wind – and More Clean Energy

The cost of black energy has now got ‘green’ competition. Solar power and onshore wind are already cheaper than fossil alternatives and according to DONG Energy, offshore wind must follow the same development. DONG Energy aims to make clean energy from offshore wind turbines at least as cheap as black energy from fossil fuels in ten years. The Danish energy company, which is among the global leaders within offshore wind power, gives five specific examples of how that is going to happen.

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World’s First Full-Scale Bio Plant Will Sort Waste from 110,000 Homes Annually

Danish cleantech company DONG Energy is constructing the world’s first full-scale bio plant capable of handling household waste by means of enzymes. The REnescience plant in Northwich, in the North West of England, will be able to sort 15 tonnes of waste per hour or 120,000 tonnes per year – equivalent to the amount of waste from almost 110,000 homes in the United Kingdom (UK).

What Did the "Three Amigos" Just Commit To? (Hint: Lots of Renewables)

In the spirit of "showing your work" in progress, I'm posting some info on the big new clean economy agreement announced by the so-called "three amigos" -- i.e., the leaders of Canada, the U.S., and Mexico.

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.

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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.

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