Sustainable Innovation in Review

 An occasional curation of sustainable innovation and business transformation news, postings, et cetera…

Greener companies outperforming their peers?

Companies sourcing renewable electricity outperform their rivals financially, according to a new report released Tuesday from RE100, the initiative from the Climate Group that encourages firms to commit to using 100 percent renewable power.

Virgin Atlantic flies the first ever commercial flight using sustainable jet fuel

Over at the Virgin blog, Richard Branson informs us that Virgin Atlantic has completed the first ever commercial flight using LanzaTech’s innovative new sustainable aviation fuel.

Appalachian Ohio could get a giant solar farm, if regulators approve

Appalachian Ohio, a region hurt by the decline of coal, may become home to one of the largest solar projects east of the Rockies.

How tech is turbocharging corporate sustainability

At the recent Global Climate Action Summit (GCAS) in San Francisco, 21 companies, including Bloomberg, Cisco, Hewlett Packard, Lyft and Salesforce, announced the launch of the “Step Up Declaration,” a new alliance dedicated to harnessing the power of emerging technologies to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions across all economic sectors.

The State of Sustainable Business 2018

BSR and GlobeScan have released “The State of Sustainable Business 2018,” an interesting insight into the world of sustainable business and identified common perceptions and practices of corporate sustainability professionals.

In addition to measuring shifting priorities and challenges in corporate sustainability, this year’s survey presented a unique opportunity to understand how business is responding to the changing social landscape.

To hone in on actions of companies within the sustainable business community, this year’s data draws from the responses of one sustainability practitioner at each of 152 BSR member companies who participated.

The survey results can be viewed and downloaded here.

Vermont Business Accelerator Launched for Climate Change-Focused Entrepreneurs

A new business accelerator program, aimed at supporting entrepreneurs and startups focused on technology, services, and products addressing climate change challenges — particularly in the area of energy — has been launched in Vermont following the recent national Catalysts of the Climate Economy Summit held here in early September.

Accel-VT is inviting startup or seed stage ventures from across North America interested in solving one of the most pressing electric grid issues facing the U.S.—integration of distributed renewable energy, efficiency, and storage technologies with the grid — to apply. Participants will be selected based on their ability to help solve the challenges related to the monitoring and control of distributed energy (e.g., storage, electric vehicles, solar, community scale wind, combined heat and power) to improve their value while providing safe, reliable, and affordable electric service to all customers.

“We’re building a cluster of climate innovation companies and we offer an entrepreneurial support system that includes access to business planning services, networks, and growth capital—in a state known for its high quality of life in an idyllic and recreational setting in the Green Mountains,” says Geoff Robertson of Accel-VT.

Read the full press release. Or, learn more about Accel-VT.

From the Web: Government isn’t enough. Will Business step up?

Businesses can make up for inaction on climate by government by investing in energy and fuel efficiency.

With President Trump’s announcement to pull the United States out of the Paris Agreement, many other countries around the world — and cities and states within the U.S. — are stepping up their commitments to address climate change.

But one thing is clear: Even if all the remaining participating nations do their part, governments alone can’t substantially reduce the risk of catastrophic climate change.

We’ve studied the role of the private sector in addressing climate change, and we’re convinced that the next stage is going to require more than just political agreement. What is needed is a concerted effort to mobilize private action — not just corporations but also religious and civic organizations, colleges and universities, investors and households — to help narrow the gap that remains after the Paris Agreement.

Learn more (via SALON) >>

From the Web: The World’s First Multi-Turbine Tidal Energy Field

Tidal Energy Company Atlantis is the largest of its kind in Europe. And right now it is focusing on completing a four phased MeyGen Tidal Energy Project in coasts of Scotland. The project is one of a kind Multi Turbine Tidal Energy field that will be powering nearly 175,000 Scotland houses after its completion. Right now the project is in the first phase of its development but it has already received a funding of €37 million from EU for its second phase.

Learn more (via Green Diary) >>

From the Web: No more business as usual: the corporates stepping up to save the planet

When the US president, Donald Trump, announced his intention to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement, one might have anticipated a hearty cheer from industry around the world relieved that business as usual could continue.

Instead the opposite has happened. Across the United States, the business community is taking it upon itself to implement the measures needed to address climate change. And in Australia an increasing number of major companies are publicly stating their commitment to addressing climate change, even as the federal government drags its heels on implementing policies to address the crisis. Companies around the world – from small family-run enterprises to Fortune 500 firms – are not only calling for action on climate change but also putting their money where their mouth is.

Lou Leonard, the senior vice president of climate change and energy at WWF, says companies are coming to understand the impact of climate change on their businesses.

“If you’re a company that either grows food in the heartland of the United States or ships it down the Mississippi and out to other countries, or you’re a company that builds the components of wind turbines and solar panels, or you’re a company that has a big retail footprint all over the world, climate change has come to you already,” he says. “I think that the understanding of those impacts has led those companies to again take action to begin to green their own footprint, and their supply chains.”

This understanding has also led to initiatives such as We Are Still In, an open declaration of continued support of climate action to meet the Paris agreement. The letter has now been signed by 1,565 companies and investors, including giants such as Apple, Walmart, Microsoft, Adidas, Facebook and Google, as well as leaders from 208 cities and counties, nine US states and 309 colleges and universities.

Learn more (via The Guardian) >>

From the Web: Green-roofed desalination plant is world’s first to treat both fresh and saltwater

Desalination is an important component of Singapore’s water supply – and the island country has a new desalination plant in the works decked out with green features. The large-scale facility can treat both freshwater and saltwater, and according to Today Online and other local news outlets, it’s thought to be the first one of its kind in the world.

The Keppel Marina East Desalination Plant will be the first of its kind in Singapore, and some publications say in the world. It will be the country’s fourth desalination plant, but the first large-scale dual-mode one. It will treat water from the sea or the Marina Reservoir, depending on whether the weather is dry or wet. Keppel Infrastructure is constructing the plant under a 25-year Water Purchase Agreement with Singapore’s national water agency, PUB.

Learn more (via inhabitat) >>

From the Web: Take A 3D Tour Of A Vertical Farm Packed Inside A Shipping Container

In a huge warehouse just outside downtown Los Angeles, a startup turns recycled shipping containers into vertical farms. A new digital tour shows what the farms, which are each equivalent in size to a four-acre outdoor field, look like inside.

Inside one 40-foot container, trays of butter lettuce glow brightly under LED lights. Another container grows baby greens. The startup, Local Roots Farms, began as a producer, selling produce to local restaurants like Tender Greens. But when others saw how the company’s custom-designed systems outperformed other shipping container farms—growing as much as five times more produce—they started getting requests to build farms as well. The empty space in the warehouse serves as a staging ground to retrofit other containers before they are shipped around the country.

Learn more (via FastCompany) >>

From the Web: 6 million people in China went a week without fossil fuels

A vast Chinese province of nearly 6 million people has generated all the power it needed for an entire week without using any fossil fuels, according to state-run Chinese media.

Qinghai, a Tibetan plateau province in the country’s northwest, derived all of its power from wind, solar, and hydro-electricity from June 17 to June 23. The experiment was part of a trial run by the government to see if the electricity grid could cope without the kind of constant, reliable energy normally provided by fossil fuels. The Chinese government claims that Qinghai’s week without fossil fuels sets a new global benchmark. In May last year, Portugal (population 10 million) ran its electricity for four consecutive days without fossil fuels.

But Qinghai had some advantages. It’s sparsely populated, compared to other Chinese provinces. As the source of China’s three mighty rivers — the Yellow, Yangtze, and Mekong — it has an unusually large number of hydroelectric facilities. Nearly 80 percent of the energy used during the test week came from hydro. But the plateau is also bathed in sun, making Qinghai a prime site for the expansion of the Chinese solar industry. China completed the world’s biggest solar farm there earlier this year.

Learn more (via Grits) >>