Sustainable Development News

Breakthrough Approaches to Create More Sustainable Cities

Guest blog by Mark Wallace, UPS

More and more of the world’s population is moving to cities. According to the UN, by 2050 nearly two-thirds of the global population will live in cities, and urban populations will increase by two billion people. While this mass migration will bring new, exciting opportunities for city residents, it also brings daunting challenges to urban environments and the businesses operating there.

Citizenship by Investment Helps Boost Economies in 12 Countries

(3BL Media/Justmeans) – Many countries grant residence to investors and high net worth individuals (HNIs), but a few small countries also offer citizenship by investment (CBI) programs. These programs provide a direct route to citizenship based on a certain minimum level of investment. The programs offer an opportunity to legally acquire citizenship in a simple way, and at the same time, benefit the economy of the host nation.  

Cities Pushing Beyond Climate Change

Guest blog by David Connor, UK Regional Voice Lead

As the world conversely becomes better connected in an increasingly uncertain future, we are seeing the roles of cities and governments fluctuate to meet the needs of their people and our environment.

How the Dutch Are Moved By Wind

(3BL Media/Justmeans) — Man’s first use of wind technology goes back some 5,000 years when wind-powered boats were first seen on the Nile. For centuries wind-driven ships plowed the waves, as some still do. In time, wind was put to work pumping water and grinding grain. The Dutch refined this technology in the 15th Century, using it to drain lakes and reclaim land that had eroded into the ocean, creating polders, where millions now live. The first wind turbine for electric generation was invented by Charles Brush, in Cleveland, Ohio in 1888.

Wind power. Transportation. Holland. In a nutshell, that’s our story for today.

The Royal Schiphol Group, the aviation company that owns and operates several major airports in the Netherlands, including the Amsterdam airport bearing its name, the 14th busiest in the world, has just made an announcement. As of January 1, 2018, all their business units will run on sustainable power.

The announcement states that the group will purchase 200GWh of electricity from Eneco Group of Rotterdam for the next 15 years. The intent is that, in time, all of the wind power will be produced in the Netherlands. Eneco, while not well known in the US, has interests in Germany as well. The company was ranked #8 in the 2017 Sustainable Brands Top 100.

Included in this agreement are Schiphol (Amsterdam), Rotterdam The Hague Airport, Eindhoven Airport and Lelystad Airport. All will receive sustainable power. Together, the airports consume around 200 GWh, which is roughly equivalent to the consumption of 60,000 households.

Renewables on the Rise: A Look at How Far We’ve Come

(3BL Media/Justmeans) — When you’re climbing a big mountain, sometimes it’s good to turn around and see how far you’ve come, even if you still have a long way to go. Certainly, the transition to a clean energy economy is a huge mountain, but the folks at the Environment New York Research & Policy Center, have given us a breathtaking look back on what has been accomplished on this climb over the past ten years. At a time when so little is getting done in Washington, and what little movement there has been, has been in the wrong direction, it’s heartening to see how much has been accomplished, primarily as the result of efforts by other actors.

The group reports in Renewables on the Rise, that “Clean energy is sweeping across America, and is poised for further dramatic growth in the years ahead. “

Here are some highlights.

  • America produced almost 8 times as much electricity from sun and wind as we did in 2007, and those two sources combined to produce 10% of the nation’s total for the first time this past March.
  • At the same time, the country is using nearly 10% less energy per capita than a decade ago. Nearly all of that decline was in fossil fuels. [in 2007, fossil fuel consumption was 85.927 quads, compared to 2016 when it was 78.569].
  • Breaking it down further, solar produced 43x more power than ten years ago, while wind produced 7x as much.
  • Energy consumption fell 14% relative to GDP, which should put to rest the idea that more energy is needed to grow the economy.
  • Electric vehicle sales surged in 2016 by 40% to 157,000 vehicles
  • Utility scale energy storage grew twenty-fold between 2007-2016.

The report also breaks down the data along several dimensions including geography. Not only did no one region of the country dominate the renewable scene, neither did political affiliation. A number of traditional “Red states,” including Oklahoma, Texas, Arizona and North Carolina played leading roles in the deployment of solar or wind technology.

How Green Mountain Power Makes Grid Defection Work for Them

(3BL Media/Justmeans) — Why would a utility company encourage its customers to produce their own power with the ability to completely disconnect from the grid? The fact that one New England power company is doing just that, and doing well as a result, is a testament to just how convoluted the electricity game has become, now that rooftop solar has literally turned everything upside down.

For starters, it’s not your average utility. Vermont’s Green Mountain Power (GMP) was founded in 1997 with the mission to “use the power of consumer choice to change the way power is made.” They are “committed to sustainability every step of the way,” and offer only products with an environmental benefit and … a zero-carbon footprint.”

Green Mountain Power, the first energy utility to become a certified B-Corp, is a wholly owned subsidiary of GazMetro, a publicly traded Canadian corporation. Earlier this year, GMP was named one of Fast Company’s ten most innovative companies in the energy sector.

On their website’s home page, they advertise Tesla’s Powerwall battery.

The idea of encouraging customers to put solar on their rooftops and install Tesla Powerwall batteries, so that they can run independently, was the brainchild of Mary Powell, who became CEO in 2008. Powell was recently named one of the 25 most influential women of the Mid-Market by CEO Connection, based on her ability to influence innovation and change. She recognized that by allowing customers to produce their own power during peak daytime hours, when the sun is shining, the utility could reduce the amount of external power that they purchase from the regional transmission system, at the time when it is most expensive. The utility also has the ability to draw power from the network of residential batteries when needed. This give-and-take system, in which provider and customers essentially work together to ensure that demand is met, also saves the utility the expense of investing in large scale energy storage.

GreenMoney Celebrates 25 Years of Promoting Sustainable Business and Impact Investing

(3BL Media/Justmeans) – In the early nineties, while “green” was still only a color for most businesses, institutions and media organizations, a few began to recognize that the achievement of sustainable development could not be left to the government alone. One of the earliest signs of support from the industry came in 1990 when the International Chamber of Commerce issued a “Business Charter for Sustainable Development.”

Sustainable Business Models to Generate 230M Jobs in Asia by 2030

(3BL Media/Justmeans) – The debate about sustainable development has gained traction in recent months, with advocates emphasizing that it could generate millions of jobs worldwide. In the face of growing populations, depleting natural resources, and global warming, companies have an increasingly responsible role to play.

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