Business that adapt to climate change are more likely to be successful in the coming years, and business that basically cut their carbon footprint to zero will thrive. This is the thinking behind a growing field that helps companies reduce their consumption and waste while increasing their profits. With the likelihood of global warming reaching two degrees above normal companies will have to change their practices regardless of their industry. It’s good to see that some business are planning beyond the next quarter.
“Sustainable strategy is just that — it’s a strategy. It’s not a function, it’s not an industry, it’s not just recycling. That’s a very, very small piece of a much bigger movement for business,” Loinaz says. “We’re a launching pad for future industry leaders to solve the world’s problems, particularly the most pressing social and environmental ones.”
The health of a company’s labor force is inextricably linked to its environmental practices. Oftentimes the people who extract the resources companies use are underrepresented, marginalized, or disenfranchised. Nearly all smartphones, for instance, are made from mining rare metals and rare earth elements. As investigations show, it’s incredibly dangerous work that often requires miners — many of them children — to hand-dig tunnels hundreds of feet underground, with few safety precautions in place. Local communities are often exposed to poisonous levels of toxic metals and waste as a result.
Yancey Strickler is the CEO and cofounder of Kickstarter he sees the future of work and the economy different than most CEOs. Strickler sees a future with people working jobs that actually matter for causes that make the world a better a place. Instead of profit over people, we can have people who all profit.
He suggests many alternatives to the bland, “normal”, work life of 9-5 in a depressing office. You can work for a co-op, a charity, a benefit corporation, or do your own thing!
This is a talk about what happens when a culture is driven by the need for money to make more money.
Don’t sell out your values, don’t sell out your community, don’t sell out the long term for the short term. Do something because you believe it’s wonderful and beneficial, not to get rich.
And — very important — if you plan to do something on an ongoing basis, ensure its sustainability. This means your work must support your operations and you don’t try to grow beyond that without careful planning. If you do those things you can easily maintain your independence.
Years of car-focused suburban designs have unleashed problems in the 21st century that we will have to deal with and accommodate. The years of the suburbs are coming to an end and it can’t be soon enough. With every passing years more and more municipalities discover that urban design is the better choice.
The above image is composed of data taken from a report done by Halifax in 2005. Undoubtably the costs of supporting suburban households has only increased relative to urban housing.
Recently, the New Climate Economy released a report titled Analysis of Public Policies that Unintentionally Encourage and Subsidize Sprawl and advocates for a change to policies to encourage better urban design.
The report, Analysis of Public Policies that Unintentionally Encourage and Subsidize Sprawl—written for the New Climate Economy by the Victoria Transport Policy Institute, in partnership with LSE Cities—details planning and market distortions that foster sprawl, and smart growth policies that can help correct these distortions.
Sprawl increases the distance between homes, businesses, services and jobs, which raises the cost of providing infrastructure and public services by at least 10% and up to 40%. The most sprawled American cities spend an average of $750 on infrastructure per person each year, while the least sprawled cities spend close to $500. In its Better Growth, Better Climate report, the New Climate Economy has found that acting to implement smarter urban growth policies on a global scale could reduce urban infrastructure capital requirements by more than US$3 trillion over the next 15 years.
The New York Times ran an article on urban versus suburban costs back in 2010.
So we set out to do the math, based on an apartment and a house in the New York metropolitan area. Here’s what we found: a suburban lifestyle costs about 18 percent more than living in the city. Even a house in the suburbs with a price tag substantially lower than an urban apartment will, on a monthly basis, often cost more to keep running.
It’s very clear that as we populations grow urban design needs to focus on sustainable infrastructure planning and all of us should encourage it.
Spain makes use of a plethora of energy sources and they are leaders in Europe when it comes to utilizing solar and wind energy. Energy policy is always under debate in the country and hopefully they will continue their overall trend of helping sustainable energy develop.
Wind accounted for 20.9 percent of the country’s energy last year — more than any other enough to power about 15.5 million households, with nuclear coming in a very close second at 20.8 percent. Wind energy usage was up over 13 percent from the year before, according to the report.
The news is being hailed by environmental advocates as a sign that Spain, and perhaps the rest of the world, is ready for a future based on renewables. But the record comes at the end of a very rocky year for Spain’s renewable energy sector, which was destabilized by subsidy cutbacks and arguments over how much the government should regulate renewable energy companies.
Despite the flaws in Spain’s system, the numbers are promising for green energy fans. The renewable push brought down Spain’s greenhouse gas emissions by 23 percent, according to another industry report from Red Electric Espana (REE).
For years China has been trying to improve its sustainable energy production but to do so Chinese companies had to rely on patents and techniques from the rest of the world. Due to an increase in demand (and production knowledge) China is now poised to make the best, most efficient, and easiest to maintain wind turbines.
Already, the amount of wind energy outputted in China puts the rest of the planet to shame.
However, since China’s total generation is more than that of all European Union countries combined, wind’s percentage is large in absolute terms.
Liming Qiao, China director of the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC), said: “Two per cent sounds small but it’s not when you consider China’s total electricity.
“In fact, last year wind surpassed nuclear to become number three after coal and hydro, and it’s got a lot more potential.”
The sheer scale of the wind market is encouraging mass production which has lowered prices and fostered innovation.
Until recently, Chinese wind manufacturers produced Western-designed turbines under licence. Some acquired a reputation for turning out inferior products.
Now, the wind boom has led to a flurry of new designs. Goldwind, for example, offers a turbine which does not need a gearbox but instead has a “direct drive” system designed to be cheaper to maintain.
Read more at the BBC.