You all know the classic quip for our field:John: “My marriage is sustainable.”Jane: “Oh, I’m sorry to hear that…”You get it: The notion of “sustainability,” while vitally necessary, inspires enthusiasm like a hairshirt. What we humans really want to do is thrive! The problem sustainability confronts is that the human pursuit of thriving (as currently enacted) wreaks havoc — we overshoot planetary boundaries and erode social foundations.
In a whitepaper released this summer, JetBlue explores how building wider purpose into brands yields competitive advantage. “The Matter with Metrics: Measuring the ROI of Sustainability” presents a four-pronged framework to creating and measuring authentic sustainability programs and consumer messaging.I spoke with Nancy Elder, VP of Communications at JetBlue and co-author of the paper, about how to bake sustainability into business models and reap its multiple financial benefits.
California’s record-low snowpack this year actually may be far more historic than previously thought — at its lowest in more than 500 years, according to a paper published Monday in the journal Nature Climate Change, The Los Angeles Times reports.To reconstruct centuries-old snow conditions, researchers analyzed data from snowpack measuring stations in the Sierra Nevada, as well as two tree-ring studies. The first study used measurements from 1,500 living and dead blue oak trees to estimate rainfall back to the year 1400. The second included tree-ring data from a different group of trees to model temperatures for the same period.
After meeting its initial goal a year ahead of schedule, Carnival Corporation has renewed its goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent from its 2005 baseline by 2020, according to a recent announcement of the travel and leisure company’s 2020 sustainability goals.As part of the effort, the company and its 10 global brands have developed strategic energy reduction and conservation initiatives, many of which exceed current laws and regulations.
Investing in public and low emission transport, building efficiency, and waste management in cities could generate savings with a current value of $17 trillion by 2050, according to new research from the New Climate Economy, the flagship project of the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate.The report, Accelerating Low-Carbon Development in the World’s Cities, found that these low-carbon investments could also reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 3.7 gigatons of carbon dioxide equivalent (Gt CO2e) per year by 2030, more than the current annual emissions of India.
The Beverage Industry Environmental Roundtable (BIER) — a technical coalition of leading global beverage companies working to advance environmental sustainability within the beverage sector - has leveraged its expertise to develop a user-friendly tool to help facilities better estimate their “true cost” of water. This interactive tool can help facilities within the beverage industry and beyond better determine direct costs associated with their most water- and resource-intensive processes.
As El Niño continues to intensify in the coming months, it is expected that global drought losses will surpass the current forecast $8 billion in economic damage, according to a new report by Aon Benfield, the global reinsurance intermediary and capital advisor of risk management firm Aon.
In 16 earlier parts of this series, Claire Sommer and I developed 29 pitfalls in the sustainable business metrics field, based on the experiences of many mostly non-business fields. (Find them here.) From this point on, the series will be co-authored by Dr. Jill Lipoti.
Taking action to mitigate climate change by investing in a low-carbon energy mix will save more money in the long run than inaction, even before accounting for savings from avoided climate damage costs, according to a new report by Citi Global Perspectives & Solutions (GPS), a division within Citibank.
Today, PRé Sustainability, a sustainability software and consultancy firm with 25 years’ experience as leading voice in life cycle management, life cycle assessment and sustainability metrics development, launches SimaPro Share & Collect, a web-based platform developed to facilitate fact-based sustainable decision-making in an efficient, time-saving manner.
Way back in 1962, Nobel Prize-winning economist Milton Friedman famously proclaimed, “… there is one and only one social responsibility of business — to use its resources and engage in activities designed to increase its profits …” And while most of us in the CSR and sustainability worlds have tended to recoil in horror at those words, some of us have no less earnestly longed for a way to live up to them. Isn’t it possible, we’ve asked, for sustainability to be good for society, the environment and shareholder value, all at the same time? What better way to achieve sustainability in commerce, that is, than to disarm its most formidable foe - the presumed lack of a business case?
Just in time for World Water Week, the Water Risk Monetizer, industry’s first publicly available financial modeling tool that enables businesses to factor current and future water risks into decision making, now provides users with insights into how water scarcity impacts revenue. The tool’s new assessment helps water-dependent businesses better understand the full value of water to their operations and identify revenue at risk based on current and projected water scarcity.
The Product Environmental Footprint (PEF) approach is a game-changing standard in LCA, with effects and ramifications that we are only just beginning to understand. That’s why PRé is devoting an article series to PEF, discussing it one aspect at a time.Today: How did PEF come about? And what are some of the lessons we have learned so far?
Natural Capital Accounting (NCA) is an emerging methodology in the private sector, aimed at measuring the dependency and impact of companies on natural systems. NCA helps in quantifying the value of usually intangible assets from nature (such as water, pollination, etc). NCA allows mitigating risks but also identifies opportunities to reduce costs, innovate and become more resilient.
UPS logged 154 million miles in 2014 toward its goal of driving 1 billion miles with its alternative fuel and advanced technology fleet by the end of 2017 — an almost threefold increase from 2013, according to the company’s 13th annual Sustainability Report.To put this into perspective: it took 13 years for the company to drive the first 350 million miles with its alternative fuel and advanced technology fleet, but in just one year UPS was able to build dramatically on that number and is now more than halfway to its 2017 goal.
The Carbon Trust announced Monday it is piloting a new Water Footprint label and certification scheme. It is now inviting businesses to certify their water use assessments with the scheme, using the Water Footprint Network’s methodology or the ISO water footprint standard.