From the Web: Circular Economy Framework Could Give India a Competitive Advantage

A new report  by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and the United Nations Conference for Trade Development (UNCTAD) has found that adopting circular economic principles would put India on a path to positive regenerative and value-creating development with annual benefits of US $624 billion in 2050 compared with the current development — equivalent to 30% of India’s current GDP.

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“Traditionally, the Indian economy has been one where reusing, re-purposing and recycling has been second nature. In a world that is increasingly running out of natural resources, this thinking is an asset that must be leveraged by businesses, policymakers and citizens in an organized manner and expanded to include other elements to make the economy truly circular,” says Shankar Venkateswaran, chief of Tata Sustainability Group.

As a result of unprecedented economic dynamism and a rapidly expanding population, India — which is slated to become the fourth-largest economy in the world if current economic growth trends continue — faces significant questions about urbanization, resource scarcity and high levels of poverty, and will be required to make profound choices regarding the path to future development.

The emerging powerhouse market could embark upon an industrialization path comparable to that of mature markets — albeit faster — complete with all of the associated negative externalities it entails. But this scenario is not inevitable. With its young population and emerging manufacturing sector, the country is well positioned to make systematic choices that would put it on a trajectory towards positive, regenerative and value-creating development.

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Unilever Acquires Seventh Generation: What This Means For Sustainable Business

Written by Jason Wiff, SEMBA ’17, and previously posted on Impakter.com

In 2000, Unilever widened its umbrella of novelty brands and purchased the widely-popular, Vermont-based Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. With much domestic speculation over multi-national changes in business practices, Ben & Jerry’s remained untouched and continued business as usual. Just weeks ago Unilever announced that it was purchasing another sustainable, Vermont-based company, Seventh Generation.

When Unilever originally purchased Ben & Jerry’s it was noted that some of the ice cream companies’ controversial business practices could be in jeopardy, but the opposite seemed to be the outcome. Many conservational, societal and political impacts that were at the core of Ben & Jerry’s business model have not only thrived under Unilever, but have become a core part of Unilever itself.

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PHOTO: CSR OUTLINE, SEVENTH GENERATION PHOTO CREDIT: SEVENTHGENERATION.COM

 

A purchase price has not been released, but sources say Unilever purchased Seventh Generation for a price somewhere between $600-$700 million. Since 2011 Seventh Generation has been lead by CEO, John Replogle, a former Unilever executive and past CEO of Burt’s Bees. During this time, Seventh Generation has seen extreme growth with a revenue over $200 million in 2015.

Continue reading “Unilever Acquires Seventh Generation: What This Means For Sustainable Business”

Entrepreneur in Residence: Kate Williams

This story was written by Ted Carrick, SEMBA ’17. 

In the most recent installment of SEMBA’s Executive in Residence speaker series, the CEO of 1% for the Planet, Kate Williams, detailed how she has turned a passion for the outdoors and leadership into a successful career in the non-profit sector. I, too, share a love of the natural environment; it was the driving force for me in seeking out SEMBA.  In doing so I aspired to gain the skills necessary to use business to benefit the environment.

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Continue reading “Entrepreneur in Residence: Kate Williams”

From the Web: Revising the Higg Materials Sustainability Index (Higg MSI)

The Sustainable Apparel Coalition is the apparel, footwear and home textile industry’s foremost alliance for sustainable production. Its main focus is on building the Higg Index, a standardized supply chain measurement tool for all industry participants to understand the environmental and social and labor impacts of making and selling their products and services.

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Now, the Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC) has launched a new version of its Higg Materials Sustainability Index (Higg MSI), a cradle-to-gate scoring tool that measures and communicates the environmental performance of thousands of materials used in creating apparel, footwear and home textile products.

The original version of the Higg MSI was developed by Nike and later adopted by the SAC in 2012 and incorporated into the SAC’s Higg Index.

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Burlington, Vermont: Sustainable by Design

Burlington, Vermont — home to the University of Vermont and our beloved Sustainable Entrepreneurship MBA (SEMBA) — recently earned the distinction of being the first city in America to draw 100 percent of its power from renewable sources.

And it wasn’t an accident.

A recent Politico Magazine article profiles how we got therepolitico, through decades of deliberate effort and planning by people who understood — and continue to understand — that sustainability is not a fad, but an important ethic in building livable communities.

It is the same ethic that drives SEMBA to educate and launch the next generation of leaders who will leverage business to solve the world’s most pressing economic, environmental, and social challenges.

It’s another reason to come learn and live with SEMBA, in a place where sustainability is a way of life, and not a marketing slogan.

From the Web: Synthetic Process Converts CO2 Faster than Nature

Scientists have managed to make a synthetic process that converts CO2 into organic compounds faster than plants.

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In a study published in Science, the researchers detail how they managed to make a synthetic pathway that converts CO2 into organic compounds faster than plants. In order to find an enzyme to improve CO2 fixation, the researchers carefully selected 17 enzymatic compounds from nine organisms. These were engineered together using stepwise optimization to form a synthetic pathway that converts CO2 into organic molecules.

The technology is still under development, but holds great promise for carbon fixation.

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From the Web: What Tesla’s new Gigafactory means for electric vehicles

Tesla‘s new Gigafactory opened at the end of July in Nevada, with much excitement from both the media and the general public. Only 14 percent of the massive structure has been built, with the rest of the $5 billion project to be concluded by 2020.

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According to Tesla, battery cell production will start in 2017; by 2018, the Gigafactory should be cranking out cars to the tune of 500,000 Model 3s per year. A big part of Tesla’s need to build the Gigafactory lies in the reduced expenses for lithium-ion battery production it provides.

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From the Web: Dutch parliament votes to shut down all of the country’s coal plants

The Dutch parliament voted recently to shutter the nation’s coal industry in order to achieve a 55-percent cut in carbon dioxide emissions by 2030. The vote, which is not yet binding, would require shutting down the five coal power plants currently operating in the Netherlands, three of which just came online in 2015.

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Slashing CO2 emissions by 55 percent would bring the country’s emissions in line with the targets set by the Paris climate deal last December, and set a strong precedent among European nations for policies to slow the effects of climate change.

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From the Web: Renewable Energy Can Improve Lives Of Agri-Food Chain Poor

A new study by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) describes the role renewable energy can have in elevating the livelihoods of the millions of rural poor, specifically in terms of the impact it can have on the billions of people employed in the agri-food chain.  In the study, the agency uses data from the Solar Electric Light Fund (SELF), a SEMBA Advisory Board member.

SELF has pioneered the use of solar power for a wide range of applications including household lighting, water pumping, school electrification, drip irrigation and wireless Internet access.

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Off-grid renewables can support productive activity at all stages of the agri-food chain, from irrigation to support food production, through post-harvest processes, including agro-processing and food preservation for storage and transport. Modern renewable technologies also allow sustainable food preparation and cooking.