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The Next Economy

The myriad new models and processes aimed at fixing the flaws in capitalism and laying the groundwork for practical, alternative economic frameworks designed to benefit all stakeholders.

’10 Million Better’ Campaign Rallying Travel, Tourism Industries Around Protecting Destinations, Communities

Cross-Posted from Product, Service & Design Innovation. At the World Travel & Tourism Council 2015 Global Summit in Madrid today, Sustainable Travel International (STI) unveiled an industry-wide campaign, entitled “10 Million Better,” to monitor and scale up social and environmental benefits from travel and tourism.The 10-year initiative convenes leading tourism corporations, organizations and destinations around the globe with the goal of tracking and demonstrating improvements in the lives of at least 10 million people and their families by 2025. Improvements to be monitored include growth of income and opportunity, and better protection of destinations’ natural, cultural and heritage sites.

Report: Sustainability Should Take Priority Over Growth

This week, the WorldWatch Institute, an independent research organization that focuses on energy, resource and environmental issues, released State of the World 2015: Confronting Hidden Threats to Sustainability. The report details a diverse range of threats, driven directly or indirectly by growing stress on the planet's resources, which have the potential to upend social systems, environmental balance and even entire economies.

Why Urban Homesteading Could Be a Key to More Livable, Resilient Cities

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways ...There's been lot of love shown recently to the notion of cities being 'resilient,' 'good' … or just plain fabulous. Take, for example, The Rockefeller Foundation's well-known 100 Resilient Cities initiative, which offers support to cities attempting to become more resilient to the physical, social, and economic challenges being faced today.

To Recycle or Not to Recycle: The Economics of Garbage

People are confused about recycling because they complain that the entire process – from labeling, to which bin is which, to what your municipality accepts - makes it difficult to determine a material’s recyclability. This issue is especially common when consumers are dealing with some of the more complicated recyclable materials such as plastics, but the question persists: What exactly makes a material recyclable or not? Two very different lenses are often used to determine this: science and economics. Which of these factors is more relevant in revealing a material’s chance of being recyclable? Or is it a combination of both?

New Reports Say Sustainable Investment Can Stabilize Global Water Risk, European Economy

This week, non-profits Ceres and WWF published resources that provide guidelines for how strategic investment at the private and public level can help avert environmental and economic crises felt the world over. The reports also present compelling arguments for how said environmental crises fuel — and could easily eclipse — the global economic crisis.On Tuesday, Ceres released a report and cheat sheet (right) designed to help global investors improve their analysis and decision-making with regards to water scarcity.

Dell Identifies UK as 'Hotspot' for Circular Economy Conversation

Corporate circular economy strategies are starting to mature: A recent survey on this topic found that 28 percent of organizations now consider their own circular strategies to be highly advanced, and core to what they do. However, a significant number (19 percent) are just starting out on this journey and exploring ways in which they can integrate circular principles into their business models.

Sustainability Context: The Elephant Is the Room

“How far you can go without destroying from within what you are trying to defend from without?”Dwight D. EisenhowerThere is much more to be said on the issues of context-related sustainability, Planetary Boundaries and the multiple capitals approach than is included below. We intend to evolve and publish some further ideas on the challenges and opportunities of measuring and locating absolute sustainability in the context of the planet’s limits in further blogs in 2015 (and perhaps beyond).

Past, Present and Future: The Road to a Sustainable Agricultural Sector

Thick clouds of smoke, a suffocating heat. Forests, lush and green and bustling with all types of life, reduced to burned land and ashes. In Indonesia, in the 1997-98 fires, approximately 10 million hectares of rainforest, an area the size of Switzerland, were affected. The regional economic costs of the fires were estimated at $9 billion. These fires were set deliberately, by palm oil estates, to clear land for rapid and cheap expansion of their plantations, and to hide timber poaching and land theft.

Unholy Alliance: Why the Solar Industry's Continued Lack of Diversity Is a Win for Big Utilities

Environmental justice has been a small, but increasingly vocal, component of civil rights activism. After all, many organizations, including the NAACP, have documented the disproportionate health problems the United States’ 370-plus coal-fired power plants — which often happen to be located near neighborhoods in which the majority of residents are people of color — have had on minority communities.

B Team Calls for Business, World Leaders to Commit to Net-Zero GHG Emissions by 2050

Today, leaders of some of the world’s largest companies — collectively known as The B Team — called upon world leaders to commit to a global goal of net-zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2050 — and urged business leaders to match this ambition by committing to bold, long-term targets.

Shell Endorses Shareholder Resolution That 'Boldly Questions Its Own Business Model'

Cross-Posted from Organizational Change. Last week, Royal Dutch Shell’s board of directors ratified a shareholder resolution that commits the oil giant to investing in a low-carbon future. The resolution called for the company to commit to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions, invest in renewable energy, scrap bonus systems that are associated with climate-harming activities, and base its business model risk assessment against the widely considered “safe” warming limit of 2ᵒC (as signed by 141 governments at the UN’s Copenhagen Accord).

Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute, Autodesk Launch First-Ever Product Design Challenge

The Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute and Autodesk, a world leader in 3D design software, have teamed up to offer product designers a chance to win up to US$4,000 through the inaugural Cradle to Cradle Product Design Challenge. Participants are eligible to submit their design after completing the free 1-hour, online course, Designing Cradle to Cradle Certified™ Products for the Circular Economy. Submissions are due March 15, 2015 and winners will be announced in April.

Solomon to Sustainability Laggards: Catch-Up Will Become Harder to Play

Joel Solomon, a pioneer in social venture capital, is chairman of Renewal Funds, Canada’s largest organization in the sector.With $98m in assets under management, Renewal Funds invests in organic food, responsibly made products and environmental innovations. Its portfolio includes Alter Eco, Aquatic Informatics, Elevation Brands, Sensible Organics, Seventh Generation and Sweet Earth, to name a few.

Unilever Achieves Zero Waste to Landfill Across Global Factory Network, Creating €200M in Savings, Hundreds of Jobs

Consumer goods giant Unilever today announced it has achieved a key sustainability target of sending zero non-hazardous* waste to landfill from its global factory network. The company says the milestone not only represents a significant step towards its ambition to double its size while reducing its environmental impact, the effort has eliminated more than €200m in costs and created hundreds of jobs – once again proving the business case for sweeping sustainability initiatives.

Study Projects Creation of More Than 200,000 UK Jobs as Circular Economy Grows

The continued development of resource-efficient business activity, such as recycling, reuse and remanufacturing, could create demand for over 200,000 new jobs across Britain between now and 2030, according to a new study by Waste Resources Action Programme (WRAP) and UK charity and environmental think tank Green Alliance.

Diversity, Slavery, Future-Fit Workplaces: SustainAbility's 10 Trends for 2015

From historic climate change marches and bold advocacy by companies on the price of carbon to global economic volatility and heated debates on inequality, 2014 was a year of accelerated awareness and action for sustainable development.Our Ten Trends for 2015 distills SustainAbility’s thinking over the past year and forecasts the issues that will shape the sustainable development agenda in 2015.

Forbo Closes Loop on Its 'Back to the Floor' Recycling Scheme

Dutch flooring supplier and manufacturer Forbo Flooring has now closed the loop on its Back to the Floor recycling scheme, according to Environmental Expert. Now in its third year, the scheme now recycles Forbo flooring off-cuts into new products.

The 2014 Corporate Sustainability Awards: 5 Companies That Bravely and Brilliantly Led the Pack

2014 was a year of stunning statistics and some moments of brilliance from a few brands. Unfortunately, most of the numbers were of the gloom and doom variety: warmest year, worst drought, worsening economic inequality — not to mention Ebola, war, and a looming sixth Great Extinction. Was the business community’s response proportionate to the scale of the problems that were revealed? What actions stand out? I have five, admittedly subjective, awards to give out.

eBay Drops ALEC After Pressure From Environmental Groups; Activists Set Sights on AT&T, UPS

On Thursday, after months of pressure from climate change activists, eBay confirmed its departure from the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).“This is a major victory for those of us who have continued to pressure eBay executives to drop ALEC,” said Ryan Canney, Senior Campaigner with Forecast the Facts. “Denying climate change has no place in the modern economy, and this decision shows the credibility of eBay’s commitment to climate change.”

Peers Launches New Suite of Tools to Help Workers Overcome Challenges in Sharing Economy Landscape

Peers, an independent community whose mission is to make the rapidly growing sharing economy work for the people who power it, is today adding two new services to support its 250,000 members: Homeshare Liability Insurance — a comprehensive personal liability insurance for homeshare hosts/owners — and Keep Driving, a program for any sharing economy workers who rely on their vehicle, that provides a replacement vehicle if theirs is out of commission.