National Climate Economy Summit Comes to UVM

This post was written by Sam Carey, Sustainable Innovation MBA ’18

Entrepreneurs, policymakers, and folks from around the United States interested in a transformation of the economy gathered at the University of Vermont September 6 – 8 for the Catalysts of the Climate Economy National Innovation Summit.  Students from The Sustainable Innovation MBA Class of 2018 took a break from the classroom to attend the conference, and network with climate economy thinkers, innovators, and business leaders.

The Summit was sponsored by the Vermont Council on Rural Development. Presentations and sessions highlighted the work of entrepreneurs, leaders, and visionaries who view climate change as an enormous business and economic development opportunity.  The conference focused on what is currently being done, inherent challenges, and ways to meet ambitious targets.  For example, Vermont has been working towards 90 percent renewable energy by 2050; meanwhile California is pushing for total electrification and complete clean energy by 2030.

The climate economy conference kicked off Wednesday evening with a keynote speech by noted entrepreneur and environmentalist Paul Hawken, who presented a comprehensive new approach to reversing climate change, central to his new book Drawdown.  

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Innovator in Residence: Laura Asiala

This post was written by Keil Corey, Sustainable Innovation MBA ’18

Recently Laura Asiala, Senior Fellow at PYXERA Global and a Sustainable Innovation MBA Advisory Board member, joined this year’s cohort for an in-class discussion on the role that business can play in addressing some of the world’s most intractable challenges.

Before joining the PYXERA team, Asiala had been the Director of Corporate Citizenship at Dow Corning Company. Over three decades in the corporate sector taught her that environmental and social sustainability are not hindrances to business; rather, they can ensure long-term success and profitability. She carries that vision forward in her current role at PYXERA, where she works to leverage the strengths of corporations, governments, social sector organizations, educational institutions, and individuals to solve complex problems in inclusive and sustainable ways.

Of particular interest to Asiala is how corporations can and must play a role in achieving the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), also known as the Global Goals. Adopted in 2015, the Global Goals identify specific targets and timelines that aim to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all. At PYXERA, she is working on aligning multi-sector stakeholders toward those ends.

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Global Evolution and The Sustainable Innovation MBA Explore Link between Sustainable Investing and Development

Editor’s Note: This post is taken from the text of a news release issued by Global Evolution. Global Evolution serves on our Advisory Board, and hosted a student practicum during the 2016-2017 academic year.

Global Evolution partnered with the University of Vermont Sustainable Innovation MBA program to offer a unique learning experience for students pursuing a career in the growing field of sustainable business and impact investing.

The leading emerging and frontier markets investment manager hosted two students in a practicum project to gain hands on experience with investing in emerging and frontier markets. The students, Mike Rama and Ted Carrick, worked closely with Ole Jørgensen, Global Evolution’s Research Director, at headquarters in Denmark. Together, they developed recommendations to enhance Global Evolution’s ESG model and offering in North America, where the company is currently expanding.

“Sustainable investing is in our DNA, and we are committed to supporting the best talent that is interested in our field,” said Robert Morier, managing director and head of North America for Global Evolution. “Working with the University of Vermont was a great way to do that, and we are excited to see how these students contribute to our industry in the future.”

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UVM Rated A Top Green University by Princeton Review

From the Editors

The University of Vermont is one of only 24 universities nationwide to make the Princeton Review’s “Green Rating Honor Roll” in recognition of sustainability-related practices, policies and academic offerings. From the University’s press release:

“The schools on our Green Rating Honor Roll demonstrated a truly exceptional commitment to sustainability across critical areas we looked at — from course offerings and recycling programs to plans for reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” said Robert Franek, the Princeton Review’s editor-in-chief. “We salute their administrators, faculty and students for their collective efforts to protect and preserve our environment.”

Franek noted the increasing interest among students in attending “green” colleges. Among nearly 10,500 college applicants the Princeton Review surveyed in 2017 for its College Hopes & Worries Survey, 64 percent said having information about a college’s commitment to the environment would impact their decision to apply to or attend a school.

“UVM’s Green Rating scores show the results of our individual and collective decisions to live more sustainably,” Gioia Thompson, UVM’s director of the office of sustainability, said. “The interviews of students show how strongly students identify UVM as a place where people act in support of sustainability locally and globally.”

“UVM’s status as a green school is a core part of our identity and definitely contributes to our appeal for prospective students,” said Stacey Kostell, vice president for enrollment management. “The Princeton Review Honor Roll designation is a confirmation of what those of us who are part of the university see every day.”

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What Are The 10 Key Things That Make A City Smart?

This article was written by Brian Lakamp, founder and CEO of Totem, and originally appeared at readwrite.com. Totem is working to combine modern communications, advanced energy, and distributed intelligence into a single, powerful platform for modern campuses, retail centers, commercial facilities, cities and beyond. Brian participated in a workshop for Sustainable Innovation MBA students in the Spring of 2017.

After Mobile World Congress and IoT World earlier this year, there was a lot of buzz about 5G, smart mobility, general IoT, and smart cities. It feels like we’re entering the future, and the excitement is palatable.

Unfortunately, there are many soldiers on the battlefield without a plan.

Smart cities need an orchestration framework. The smart cities of tomorrow require more than simply deploying connectivity, sensors, and devices. Incrementalism will not serve cities well. Foresight and planning are necessary to build cities that are truly smart.

Here are 10 key elements that are required for truly smart cities and for understanding any smart city initiative in context.

#1: Ubiquitous connectivity

It’s tough for a city to be smart without redundant, high-speed, low-latency wireless communications. That’s why 5G has so much attention and is so exciting.

For 5G to be maximally effective, the deployment strategy needs to bring 5G closer to the “action” than where a lot of 4G currently resides. To support real-time decisioning for autonomous vehicles, for example, 5G needs to live on the streets. It needs to be directly paired with curbside cameras, sensors, and processing that can, without a nanosecond of delay, support high-speed vehicles in motion.

Smart city architectures must also include low-power wireless access (LPWA) that supports power-limited devices. For things like battery-powered devices floating in wells that report water level once a day, an energy-efficient communication protocol is paramount in such scenarios.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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) >>