Advent Of A Sustainable Economy


There is a symbolic movement of our times that is promising a new lifestyle. A lifestyle that is not only transforming the vision of the future but changing the way we do business and invest. It is a possibility where the energy is produced and consumed sustainably, the environment is clean, and all of nature is in its healthy state. I know this could sound very idealistic when we are constantly bombarded by bad news. But if we look deeper the sustainable revolution has inspired and compelled governments and corporations to make goods and services such as clean power, extend green tax credits and encourage local recycling mandates that affect our day to day lives. This trend has also resulted in a new race to create better and more efficient cars and buildings which consume less energy and resources. New and advanced methods of growing food, and developing medications with organic ingredients are influencing nutrition and health care sectors as well. More humane procedures, like using fewer chemicals and minimizing animal testing’s has been advocated by consumers and activists alike. Even Local counties and schools are encouraging their constituents to recycle and conserve, this has resulted in many of us reusing shopping bags, using public transportation paying a premium for locally grown organic food and driving a fuel-efficient car.

But then we must also pay attention as to who are joining the movement to “LOOK” good and who are actually participating to” DO” good. Green washing is another technique where many may use to fit and conform into the new trend. Following the investments and the money chasing green projects is one way to keep abreast with what’s happening in the world of sustainability. As an entrepreneur or consumer pputting your money where your heart is another way to ensure the brightest idea will not get anywhere with the wrong funders. Don’t get intimidated by traditional start-ups and their glamorous image. You are not in the business of looking good, you’re in the business of doing good! And this is particularly what makes you stand out from the crowd. Invest in your purpose, put your heart and mind to nurture that big idea. Slowly, but surely, you can get the ball rolling further than you would have ever imagined.

Many VC monies may come with lots of strings attached and loss of creative liberty to steer businesses in the right direction hence not getting get stuck on the idea of VCs and cash in the bank but with key partnerships and  resources instead could be essential. People, skills, relationships that bring the right mix together to co-create things which at the end of the day may increase capacity to help move businesses further that otherwise would have been paid for. The right partners will embark on a journey with you because they believe in what you do and will give time, skills, networks and passion. That may be worth a whole lot than just cash!. If we must need to go the traditional route and go for the big money – VCs, grants etc – being picky about who we are pitching to may be critical. Research the VC’s or foundation’s history of giving, their pre-existing conditions and their relationship with their beneficiaries. Before pitching, try to meet with them informally and see if you click on the same things. Do you trust that person after you have left the meeting? Would they be an enjoyable teammate? Do you want to share more with them and value their advice, beyond just the business side of things? If your answer is yes, then go for it. Investments will come pouring.

In short align your values and stay true to yourself, your mission and your vision.  Never compromise and never lose sight of the purpose of your business, organizations or projects. Be authentic in everything you do!  Authenticity reinforces your purpose. Funding will only make it flourish. But if the Mission of sustainability is not there then there is nothing that can flourish.

Curated By Naved Jafry & Garson Silvers

What Enterprises Need To Know About Creating Sustainable Development Goals

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Which goals are key for businesses? What sectors do they address? Will they make any difference? Here are some insights on many of the 169 SDG targets which can come handy when building a SDG compatible organization. Where the millennium development goals were seen as applying principally to developing countries, the sustainable development goals will apply globally. What do businesses need to know about them? Ahead of the formal adoption of the sustainable development goals (SDGs) at the UN’s Sustainable Development Summit in New York, we wonder what are the SDGs, what do they mean for business and what impact will they have?
What are they?
The SDGs effectively replace the millennium development goals (MDGs), which were in place from 2000 to 2015. Whether you believe the MDGs were a success or not, they certainly became a fulcrum for global development. In 2012, at Rio+20, it was agreed that a new set of goals would be drawn up, based on widespread stakeholder engagement. The final 17 goals as agreed by all 193 member states of the UN cover a 15-year timeframe to 2030 and include 169 targets. “Unlike the MDGs, the private sector has been very involved in their creation,” says Simon Kingston, global development practice lead at Russell Reynolds Associates.
Which goals are most business-specific?
MDG sceptics long argued that the only reason people were lifted out of poverty from 2000-2015 was the economic growth of developing and middle-income markets, most notably China and India. In a sense, the SDGs build on that argument and embrace private sector growth as a means for development and poverty reduction. Goal 8 includes targets to achieve full employment for all, protect labour rights and tackle the Neet (people not in education, employment or training) crisis, the last of these by 2020. It also includes the memorable phrase “decouple economic growth from environmental degradation”, which could become the slogan for sustainable business.Goal 9’s “sustainable industrialisation” talks of a need to significantly raise “industry’s share of employment and gross domestic product, and double its share in least developed countries” – a pro private sector stance (and arguably anti public ownership). “The important elements for business is that their role has been recognised,” says San Bilal, head of the economic transformation and trade programme at the European Centre for Development Policy Management. “They are not considered the bad guys any more. The discourse has changed – seeking to make profit is not seen as [incompatible] with development.”However, Rob Cameron, executive director of SustainAbility and former CEO of Fairtrade International, says: “Don’t overlook Goal 1, end poverty in all its forms, everywhere … the question becomes one of equity, and business will need to address that.”

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Which sectors are addressed?
There’s a fair bit in the goals for the food and drink industry. Goal 12 includes halving per capita global food waste at the retail level and reducing food losses along production and supply chains. Goal 2 also seems to favour smallholder farmers over large-scale agri-business – “double the agricultural productivity and incomes of small-scale food producers … including through secure and equal access to land”. For the energy industry, fossil-fuel subsidies are to be phased out “where they exist, to reflect their environmental impacts”, while increasing “substantially the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix”. Water and utilities obviously have a direct interest in Goal 6 (ensure access to water and sanitation for all), while the fishing industry is targeted by Goal 14(conserve oceans, seas and marine resources).
Recurring theme of trade liberalisation
The removal of subsidies and trade barriers recurs throughout. As well as fossil-fuel subsidises, the prohibition of fisheries subsidies is called for in Goal 14. Goal 17 gives robust support to global business and free trade, and calls for meaningful trade liberalisation under the World Trade Organisation (WTO), while the “means of implementation” section of the SDGs twice describes international trade as an “engine for inclusive economic growth”. We can expect to see the Doha Development Agenda come back to the fore.“Governments cannot ignore their responsibilities,” says Cameron. “There is no such thing as a free market, there never has been – government sets the rules by which commerce is done … that regulation has to shift.”
Sustainable business becomes mainstream
The circular economy, supply chain auditing and sustainability reporting – all come out of the shadows and into the limelight.Goal 12 calls for the 10-year Framework of Programmes on Sustainable Consumption and Production to be implemented, which promotes whole life cycle, cradle-to-cradle approaches among other things. Target 12.6 calls on member states to encourage companies to “integrate sustainability information into their reporting cycle”. Expect to see a lot of activity around reporting standards such as the Global Reporting Initiative.
Will the SDGs make any difference?
Not everyone thinks so. These are aspirations, not legally binding commitments. Bill Easterly, co-director of New York University’s Development Research Institute, has called the SDGs “a very big container of verbal fudge”. Many,including David Cameron, have decried the sheer number of goals and targets. “Let’s not be naïve,” says Bilal. “The SDGs provide a nice framework but in themselves are not sufficient to change approaches and attitudes … with 169 targets, the full implementation of the SDGs will not be possible.”However, even if they do preach to the converted, Kingston believes converts can now increasingly “influence their supply chain, through contractual arrangements, expectations and scrutiny. That’s the next generation of this agenda … What we’ve learned from the MDGs is having a shared framework and shared language is something one shouldn’t be too cynical about … and it is a revelation to see people like Paul Polman now in the middle of this, rather than the outside looking in.”
What happens next?
Following the UN summit, multi-sector working groups will form for each of the 17 goals. A UN business advisory council will also launch their website that will offer businesses a step-by-step guide to how they can address the post-2015 agenda and the International Chamber of Commerce has launched a guide to help companies contribute to the SDGs for a much promising future.

By Naved Jafry & Garson Silvers

Can The World Go 100% Renewable

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A new report from Greenpeace says the world can be 100 percent renewable by 2050, and 85 percent renewable in just 15 years. The 2015 Energy [R]evolution report, the latest in a series that has offered the most accurate projections of any major analysis, worldwide, says that for the first time, the path to 100 percent renewable is cost-neutral. In addition, no new technological advancements are needed, the report says. “It’s basically political will,” Emily Rochon, a global energy strategist at Greenpeace, told ThinkProgress. “The primary premise of the Energy [R]evolution scenario is we have all of the solutions already on the table to get there.” Under the scenario outlined in the report, global CO2 emissions would be stabilized by 2020 and would approach zero in 2050. Fossil fuels would be phased out, beginning with the most carbon-intensive sources. By 2030, two-thirds of the world’s electricity could come from renewable sources such as wind and solar.
Transitioning to renewable energy is the only way to significantly decrease carbon emissions. In the United States, a third of emissions come from the electricity sector, another quarter comes from transportation, and industry largely through electricity use and fossil fuel consumption accounts for another 20 percent. The United States has committed to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 26-28 percent by 2030, as part of its participation in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Global leaders will meet in Paris in December with the goal of developing a broad climate treaty to prevent average global temperatures from climbing past 2°C.
Economic considerations are often cited as a major hurdle to transitioning to renewable energy, but the Greenpeace report found that at every point during the transition, there would be more energy jobs than before. Rochon pointed out that during the economic downturn, the solar industry saw double-digit job growth. “Renewable energy definitely means more on the jobs front,” Rochon said. By 2030, renewable energy will account for 87 percent of the jobs in the energy sector, the report says. The authors estimate there will be 9.7 million people working in solar PV. The cost of developing renewable energy sources has fallen steeply in recent years, and, at this point, the fuel savings are “cost neutral” with investment in renewable energy, Rochon said. Amazingly, this is possible even though worldwide, governments pay $5.3 trillion annually to subsidize fossil fuels, according to a study by the International Energy Agency. “Despite the fact that the playing field isn’t level and is tilted in the favor of fossil fuels, renewable energy sources are still winning,” Rochon told Think Progress.
Policies that support renewable energy, such as federal tax credits and net metering for residential solar installations, are considered critical drivers of renewable industries in the United States. The solar industry’s tax credit is set to expire at the end of 2016. None of the fossil fuel tax credits are set to expire at this time. “A renewable energy future is within reach,” Rochon said. “It’s really up to our political leaders to say, yes, and we can do the work to get there.”What ever the future hold, predicts or promises the question is not if off the grid Zero carbon future is going to be a reality anymore but when will and how it will shape our lives the era of our NEXT.

Opinion By Naved Jafry & Garson Silvers

THE UNSTOPPABLE RENEWABLE MOVEMENT

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The clean energy revolution is facing an old enemy again. Just as clean alternatives to fossil fuels pick up speed, they confront a powerful old nemesis: oil, now cheaper than ever. Petroleum prices have plummeted since late summer 2014, declining by more than 60% to a record low below $40 per barrel, before recovering slightly. low oil prices could constitute a threat to electric car companies such as Tesla, which may sell fewer vehicles when conventional cars are cheaper to operate than they otherwise would be. People tend to be pragmatic and vote with their wallets more often than their consciences; when oil becomes cheaper, the demand for alternative fuels, including biofuels and electric vehicles, falls. Even worse, the support for policies that push for the use of such alternatives also can decline. Policies set in Washington and at the state level can cause politicians enthusiasm for clean energy technologies and more stringent fuel economy standards to ebb. This may also result in a decline in government tax credits for wind and solar, which could render these sources of energy less cost competitive with natural gas-generated electricity. For example, the astounding drop in the cost of rooftop solar panels in recent years is aided by a 30% federal tax credit that expires in 2016. Without the credit, the cost calculations of many families may change. There is a huge policy piece in here Hence there’s a lot at stake when cheaper oil robs alternative energy of customers and political support. On the flip side major policy change could also greatly expand the use of renewable energy nationwide is the federal administration’s Clean Power Plan, which would reduce greenhouse gas emissions through EPA-mandated cuts to power plant emissions, while offering states incentives to meet requirements by expanding clean energy. According to the Energy Information Administration, these regulations could result in 283 gigawatts of cumulative additions of renewable electricity generation capacity through 2040, compared to only 109 gigawatts without the plan. The plan is being challenged in the courts, but if it survives largely intact, it could maintain renewable energy growth despite a continued slump in oil prices.
unstop renewable 2But the clean energy Industry is on the march, from rapidly expanding distributed solar installations to wind turbines that have been sprouting up like summer corn among the fields of Iowa and Nebraska. Today, America is number one in wind power, generating three times as much wind energy as we did in 2008. Renewable energy use grew an average of 5% per year during the period from 2001 to 2014, with major growth seen in wind and solar in particular, the Energy Information Administration, or EIA, reported. Renewable energy accounted for nearly 10% of the energy Americans used in 2014 the highest usage since the 1930s, when many people still burned wood for heat. According to the White House, the wind industry now supports more than 50,000 jobs in the U.S., and supplies enough energy to power 16 million homes. As well as we’re doing in wind, we’re also making even more progress on solar. America generates 20 times as much solar power as we did in 2008 imagine 20 times the growth in less than 7 years. Last year was solar’s biggest year ever. Prices fell by 10%; installations climbed by 30%. Every three minutes, another home or business in America goes solar. Every three weeks, we install as much solar capacity as we did in all of 2008. . It is important to note that cost savings is not the only motivator for people to purchase electric vehicles, given that they have other advantages over conventional cars, like faster acceleration and a prestige factor that is hard to measure. The federal administration, for its part, is also determined to push for continued government support for clean energy that help many innovations.

In short even against all odds the love and romance for clean tech is still in the air and if this growth continues the oil based culture we see today may go to the way of horse carriages or firewood. Maybe this adverse pressure from oil may propel the clean tech to be leaner meaner and efficient.

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By Naved Jafry & Garson Silvers

WIND TEXAS

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The impossible just happened in Texas. The so-called spot price of electricity in Texas fell toward zero, hit zero, and then went negative for several hours.As the Lone Star State slumbered, power producers were paying the state’s electricity system to take electricity off their hands. At one point, the negative price was $8.52 per megawatt hour. Impossible, most economists would say. In any market — and especially in a state devoted to the free market, like Texas — makers won’t provide a product or service at a negative cost. Yet this could have happened only in Texas, which (not surprisingly) has carved out a unique approach to electricity.
Consider these three unique factors about Texas.
wind texasFirst, Texas is an electricity island. The state often behaves as if it were its own sovereign nation, and indeed it was an independent republic for nearly 10 years. Alone among the 48 continental states, Texas runs an electricity grid that does not connect with those that serve other states.Texas is an electricity island thus the grid is run by Electric Reliability Council of Texas, or Ercot. By contrast, most states are part of larger regional bodies like PJM (which covers 13 states in the Midwest and Middle Atlantic) or MISO, which oversees the grid in a big chunk of the middle of the country. Being an island has given Texas has greater control over its electricity market: Texas won’t suffer blackouts if there are problems in Oklahoma or Louisiana. But it also means electricity produced in the state has to be consumed in the state at the moment it is produced it can’t be shipped elsewhere, where others might need it.
WIND TEXAS 8Second, Texas has way more wind power than any other state. In 2014, wind accounted for 4.4% of electricity produced in the US. Texas, which has more installed wind capacity (15,635 megawatts) than any other state and is home to nearly 10,000 turbines, got 9% of its electricity from wind in 2014.But that understates the influence of wind. Demand for electricity varies a great deal over the course of the day it rises as people wake up, turn on the lights, and go to work; peaks in the late of afternoon; and then falls off sharply at night. The supply of wind can change a lot, too, depending on how much the wind is blowing. So in the middle of the night, if the wind is strong, wind power can dominate.On March 29 2015 at 2:12 a.m., for example, wind accounted for about 40% of the state’s electricity production. There’s another nice feature about wind. Unlike natural gas or coal, there is no fuel cost. Once a turbine is up and running, the wind is free.
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Third, Texas has a unique market structure. It’s complicated, but Ercot has set up the grid in such a way that it acquires a large amount of power through continuous auctions. Every five minutes, power generators in the state electronically bid into Ercot’s real-time market, offering to provide chunks of energy at particular prices. Ercot then fills the open needs by selecting the bids that are cheapest and that make the most sense from a grid-management perspective i.e., the power is being fed into the grid at points where the distribution and transmission systems can handle it. Every 15 minutes, the bids settle at the highest price paid for electricity accepted in the round. So if 100 MW of electricity are needed, and some producers offer 60 MW at $50 per megawatt-hour, some offer 30 MW at $80 per megawatt-hour, and others offer 40 MW at $100 per megawatt-hour, all the bidders will receive the highest price of $100. (Note: The price Ercot pays is the wholesale generation charge.)
WIND TEXAS 4After midnight on Sunday, the combination of these three factors pushed the real-time price of electricity lower. Demand fell at 4 a.m., the amount of electricity needed in the state was about 45% lower than the evening peak. The wind was blowing consistently much later in the day Texas would establish a new instantaneous-wind-generation record. At 3 a.m., wind was supplying about 30% of the state’s electricity, as this daily wind-integration report shows. And because the state is an electricity island, all the power produced by the state’s wind farms could be sold only to Ercot, not grids elsewhere in the country.That gave wind-farm owners a great incentive to lower their prices. The data shows that the clearing price in the real-time market went from $17.40 per megawatt-hour for the interval ending 12:15 a.m., to zero for the interval ending 1:45 a.m. Then it went into negative territory and stayed at zero or less until about 8:15 a.m. For the interval that ended 5:45 a.m., the real-time price of electricity in Texas was minus $8.52 per megawatt-hour.
WIND TEXAS 9How could this be? I mean, even the most efficient producer couldn’t afford to provide electricity free or pay someone to take it.Well, there’s one more wrinkle. Typically, wind is bid at the lowest prices because you don’t need fuel, it doesn’t really cost that much money to keep wind turbines moving once they have been built. But wind operators have another advantage over generators that use coal or natural gas: A federal production tax credit of 2.3 cents per kilowatt-hour that applies to every kilowatt of power produced.
And that means that even if wind operators give the power away or offer the system money to take it, they still receive a tax credit equal to $23 per megawatt-hour. Those tax credits have a monetary value either to the wind-farm owner or to a third party that might want to buy them. As a result, in periods of slack overall demand and high wind production, it makes all the economic sense in the world for wind-farm owners to offer to sell lots of power into the system at negative prices.
Only in Texas, folks. Only in Texas. Great policies and the leverage of new technology may be the reason Texas will always continue to host the present and future energy capital of the world ( Houston).

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Contributed by Naved Jafry & Garson Silvers

TALKING TREES AND FORESTS

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By The Numbers 31% of the world’s land surface is covered by forests. Imagine the massive impact it would have on our ecosystem, environment and wildlife if that number was reduced to, say, 25% due to deforestation?
7% of total forest cover is planted by humans, which can provide about two-thirds of global wood production!
How Trees Help:

treesMore than 210 gigatons (one gigaton is a billion tons) of carbon are stored in tropical forests alone – more than seven times of what humans produce annually . As deforestation continues, more carbon gets released into the atmosphere, increasing greenhouse gases that can contribute to extreme weather shifts and climate change.
Forests provide homes for millions of animals, with even more being discovered as 80% of the world’s plant and animal species living on land can be found in forests.
Providing For People
We depend on trees the same way animals do, so deforestation can devastate human communities as well. Despite forests’ important role in preventing climate change, humans are still cutting down forest areas roughly the size of England every year. Worse, cutting down these trees releases the CO2 they have stored.

Deforestation:
trees 3The top 3 countries for annual total deforestation were Brazil, Australia and Indonesia from 2000-2010.
232 million hectares (1 hectare = 2.47 acres) of forests could be lost by 2050 if we do not take action, versus only 55.5 million if we take action now to preserve forests.
15% of global greenhouse gas emissions come from deforestation. This type of gas is a key factor in climate change, which can lead to more extreme weather across the world.
Protecting Our Trees.

100% of agricultural raw materials, paper and board used should be sustainably sourced by 2020.
Trees and forests provide the resources to make many products, but there are countless other reasons to work to ensure that they’re around for future generations. Deforestation can lead to more extreme weather across the globe, endangered wildlife and impacting the livelihood of millions of people.

Protecting Wildlife

80% of the world’s land-dwelling plant and animal species live in forests, especially tropical rainforests. Forests also shelter many beloved creatures in the U.S., like deer, moose, and foxes. Just slightly more than a square half-mile of rainforest can be filled with more than 1,000 species, so protecting the forests means protecting countless creatures’ homes.

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Solutions
Every company and organization should plant at least one tree on behalf of each customer and employee they are engaged with.
Individuals could plant a tree against every 100 Sqft of household space they inhabit.
Get engaged or support your local institutions who share your values.