From the Web: Digital Marketplace Turns Rooftop Solar Into A Virtual Power Plant


When temperatures surged well over 100 degrees in Australia during a heat wave in February, the electric grid couldn’t handle the demand from air conditioners, and 90,000 people lost power. Normally, the government would fire up a backup gas power plant to meet surges in demand. But instead, new software could let rooftop solar power do the same thing.

The Decentralized Energy Exchange, or deX, is a new digital marketplace that links homeowners or businesses with solar panels and batteries to the grid, letting them trade power with neighbors or with utilities. At times of peak demand, someone with stored solar power can make extra money.

Learn more (via Fast Company) >>

New England MBA Forum: March 7, 2017

Join our very own Joe Fusco at The University of Massachusetts Club on Tuesday, March 7, 6 pm-8:30 pm to learn more about SEMBA.

Free Registration >>

Continue reading “New England MBA Forum: March 7, 2017”

Coal: An Unsustainable Future

This post was written by Mike Rama, SEMBA ’17.

On Wednesday, February 1, the Senate passed a resolution to remove the Stream Protection Act, a decision that is certain to be stamped with the seal of approval by President Trump in the coming weeks. As summarized by Coal Age, a pro-coal mining news source:

“The final rule (Stream Protection Act) updated the 33-year-old regulations with stronger requirements for surface coal mining operations. The rule would require companies to restore streams and return mined areas to the uses they were capable of supporting prior to mining activities, and replant these areas with native trees and vegetation, unless that would conflict with the implemented land use. The rule requires the testing and monitoring of the condition of streams that might be affected by mining — before, during and after their operations — to provide baseline data that ensures operators can detect and correct problems that could arise, and restore mined areas to their previous condition.”

54 senators opposed the Stream Protection Act, arguing that the law was too burdensome and would kill jobs in the coal industry.

Continue reading “Coal: An Unsustainable Future”

From the Web: Is this the year smart businesses tackle the SDGs?

The Sustainable Development Goals read like the best-intentioned New Year’s resolutions: End poverty; promote peace and justice; cooperate and partner with others for the greater good; and so on. Makes you wonder if the resolutions will stick.

Yet corporations that have begun to pursue the SDGs see business advantages unfolding that will reap benefits in 2017 and beyond. They are expanding markets, attracting talent and eliminating some risk from operations.

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Microsoft, Google, Unilever, Tata, Siemens and others are seeing expanded markets, new recruits and risk reduction. Learn more >>

From the Web: Patagonia Challenges Businesses to Support Regenerative Agriculture

US outdoor clothing giant Patagonia is calling for business leaders to back regenerative organic agriculture, claiming that certain textile standards are “not going far enough.”


Patagonia CEO Rose Marcario blogs about regenerative agriculture:

A growing number of corporations, researchers, journalists and practitioners have also started using the term “regenerative”—as well as “restorative,” “sustainable,” “ethical,” and others—almost interchangeably, without any clear sense of what we’re talking about. Even worse, we’re increasingly seeing “sustainable” claims combined with conventional (non-organic) farming, which defeats the purpose entirely. How can you rebuild soil ecosystems while simultaneously pumping the soil with pesticides and herbicides?

We shouldn’t tolerate the watering down of agricultural practices that hold potential for enormous benefit to our suffering planet. The risks are simply too great. Meaningless terms with little or no concrete definition inundate consumers at every turn (even the label “organic” can be slippery), causing confusion at best. And some existing standards don’t go far enough. For example, many companies have signed onto the Better Cotton Initiative—a program that includes some important environmental and social provisions but ultimately still perpetuates some harmful conventional practices, including use of synthetic pesticides and GMO seeds.

Learn more >>

From the Web: Wind Generation in Texas at Record 45% of Total Electric Demand

Boom!

Texas grid operator Electric Reliability Council of Texas announced that wind electricity generation hit a new peak record and represented approximately 45% of total electric demand, topping 15,000 MW for the first time.

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Read all about them wind-farms >>

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.

Learn more >>

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.

Learn more >>

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.