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Archive for June, 2012

PowerMatching City Honored at Rio+20

June 26, 2012 | No Comments →

This week, former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, sustainability legend Gro Harlem Brundtland, Media guru and philanthropist Ted Turner, and 150 VIP guests celebrated the first concrete outcome at Rio+20, the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: The launch of Sustainia100. PowerMatching City, the world’s first total-concept smart grid deployment project, has been chosen for this prestigious list of solutions.

PowerMatching City — a live smart grid project involving 25 households in the Hoogkerk district in the Northern part of the Netherlands — has demonstrated that it is possible to create a smart grid with a corresponding market model, using existing technologies. The system enables consumers to freely exchange electricity and keeps the comfort level up to par. Being the first real-life smart grid community in the world and having delivered the world’s first results from a total-concept smart grid deployment project, PowerMatching City is playing an important role in the development of smart grids and the transition towards a sustainable energy system.

Twenty-five homes were connected with each other as part of the trial, and equipped with micro combined heat and power systems (High Efficiency boilers), hybrid heat pumps, smart meters, PV panels, charging stations for electric vehicles and other smart household appliances. These homes collectively constitute a smart energy system. The project is conducted by distribution system operator Enexis, energy company Essent, gas infrastructure company Gasunie, system integrator ICT Automatisering and knowledge institute TNO, led by energy consulting and testing & certification firm DNV KEMA Energy & Sustainability. Knowledge partners of PowerMatching City are Delft University of Technology, Eindhoven University of Technology and Hanze University of Applied Sciences Groningen.

In view of the successful results, the project has been continued and expanded. This follow-up phase is focusing more on the effects of the expansion (from 25 to approximately 70 households), consumer involvement (via an interactive interface) and the effect of the introduction of real-life propositions to the customer, developed by the energy company.

Gathered from 56 countries spread over six continents, Sustainia100 is a complete guide to innovative and scalable solutions instrumental in creating sustainable societies. Building on ready and available solutions only, Sustainia100 is as a tangible tool for sustainability professionals — from politicians to CEOs — dedicated to create desirable and sustainable societies.

Individually, the solutions represent sustainable innovation in areas such as city planning, energy, fashion, water and waste management, high-tech and transportation. Collectively, they provide a guide of the building blocks available for transforming our societies.

Sustainia100 is a cornerstone in Sustainia. A construction site for the desirable society we could live in if we implemented ready and available solutions. Developed by world-leading companies, organizations and experts in close collaboration with UN Global Compact and former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s initiative Regions20, Sustainia is the first holistic introduction to the attractive sustainable future.

Sustainia100 solutions are nominees for the Sustainia Award, which honors outstanding performance within sustainability. The winner will be announced at a ceremony later this year in Copenhagen.

Sustainable Brands ’12 Conference Closes With First-Ever Collaboration Project Commitments

June 19, 2012 | No Comments →

On June 7, the sixth annual Sustainable Brands conference concluded after four days of insightful plenary sessions, workshops and discussions. More than 1,300 sustainability, brand and design leaders gathered in Paradise Point Resort & Spa in San Diego, CA to hear from 180 of the world’s leading thinkers and practitioners of sustainability and social innovation. The conference theme, “The Revolution Will Be Branded,” focused on the role brands can and will play in driving a response to growing environmental concerns and consumer activism worldwide and culminated in six project commitments that will move forward over the next year.

This year, they introduced a new dimension to the conference — a convening of conversations and commitments by a broad range of stakeholder in meeting challenges with a cross-industry, cross-sector approach. The community will continue to collaborate to drive impact from six key areas going forward, with plans to report out progress as appropriate throughout the year on our site (sb.com) and at other SB events including SB London, and SB’13.

The six co-create activations include initiatives aimed at employee engagement, leadership, reforming Wall Street, well-being and happiness, break-through brand promises and creating the model factory. More details and updates will be available from Sustainable Brands newsletters and future event sessions.

Throughout SB ’12, each day of plenaries was devoted to examining a major overlying factor currently influencing the sustainable brand revolution. The first day focused on sustainability trends and drivers, featuring speakers from technology, mass retail, brand management and consulting companies. Hunter Lovins, President & Founder, Natural Capitalism Solutions, set the stage by discussing why sustainability is not only necessary for future business success, but logical. Other speakers included Andrew Winston, author of Green Recovery, Jeff Rice, Director of Sustainability, Walmart, Sean Gourley, CTO and Co-founder of Quid and many more.

Day two of the plenaries was dedicated to sustainability innovation. Attendees heard from CNN International’s Mike McCarthy about how the media company is transforming journalism into a force for good with the CNN Freedom Project. John Lyell Clarke, President and CEO, Clarke, awed the audience with his company’s story of transformation towards more sustainable offerings. Christiaan Maats, Founder, OAT Shoes, inspired attendees with his journey taking a radical idea — shoes that bloom –and turning it into a reality. Later that day, the annual Sustainable Brands Innovation Open Finals took place, where four finalists made their case before the judges and attendees. After much deliberation, the judges named Ecofiltro as the SBIO winner for its efforts in creating sustainable water filters that provide inexpensive and clean drinking water to communities in the developing world.

Day three highlighted sustainability communications and how companies can best convey their sustainability efforts to the public. Ford’s John Viera presented the company’s “Go Further” campaign, which brings the power of choice to consumers, alongside a commitment to going above and beyond government clean air regulations. Christopher Arnold, Communications Director, Chipotle Mexican Grill, set forth an example of using the creativity of animation to approach a problem largely unrecognized by their consumers — reformed food sourcing.

Adhering to its sustainability principals, SB’12 strove to be a zero-waste event. Disposable materials were eliminated as much as possible in the planning process and on site. Clearly marked recycle and compost bins were strategically placed to encourage attendees to reduce waste as much as possible. Glad Bags provided special recycling and compost bags at check-in to encourage zero waste practices by those staying on property. A squad of volunteers called “The SB’12 Sustainability Team” patrolled the conference grounds and re-sorted waste at the back of the house to make sure all waste was diverted to recycling and compost streams. Thanks to these efforts, 3,429 pounds, or 97.3% of conference waste was diverted from landfill, and the total waste from the 4 days, 1,300 attendees conference equaled 139 pounds — less than one bag per day.

With events like SB’12, we are excited to see a growing commitment to new sustainability ideas and opportunities in the business community beyond simple “green washing”.

Intersecting Lean, CSR & Procurement – It’s the Network

June 14, 2012 | No Comments →

Courtesy of Jason Busch, Spend Matters:

At Forrester’s recent Sourcing and Vendor Management Summit, Jason Busch of Spend matters fame  presented a hypothesis that supplier networks, collaborative groups and even social applications will play an increased role in how we manage global suppliers. Among these, he cited Aravo Assure (a supplier network), Achilles (a shared-service BPO offering for supplier management) and SAP Supplier InfoNet as examples as to where the market is likely to move in the future.

While we could spend thousands of words just scratching the surface of the different types of supplier network operating models focused on compliance, it’s our general view that this evolution is significant because it markets a fundamental change away from looking at supplier CSR and broader management initiatives on a one-to-one basis and instead considers such programs on a many-to-many one, creating new economies of scale. To eliminate duplication of effort, some of these services will provide a single location for non-procurement (and procurement) stakeholders to manage up-to-date supplier information for special initiatives like CSR, diversity, risk, etc.

Spend Matters believes, as they’ve stated before, that these collaborative and networked supplier management applications will increase productivity, potentially by an order of magnitude, for both buyer and supplier relationship management. Duplication of effort, whether it involves suppliers uploading certifications or buyers searching for a niche supplier that meets a specific regional environmental standard will be eliminated. Most important, suppliers will provide and update administrative information once — which will cascade across all of their customers.

If you’re curious about learning more, check out their supplier management research on Spend Matters PRO (which is free to qualified practitioners).

Linking Executive Compensation to Sustainability Performance

June 01, 2012 | No Comments →

As sustainability issues become more common in the boardroom and the volume of shareholder proposals related to those issues grows, the link between corporate sustainability performance and executive compensation is expected to become more important, according to the latest Director Notes report from The Conference Board.

Interest has grown among shareholders in recent years about the inclusion of sustainability performance as part of the compensation formula, notes the report, “Linking Executive Compensation to Sustainability Performance.” The growing value that shareholders are placing on long-term performance and corporate sustainability serves as an indicator for directors that nonfinancial performance may become a more prominent topic in future proxy seasons.

“Today the vast majority of executive compensation schemes are based almost exclusively on companies’ financial performance, rarely taking into account performance on increasingly important environmental and social issues,” says Thomas Singer, a research associate at The Conference Board and author of the report. “However, we are seeing a gradual shift toward a notion of performance assessment that incorporates nonfinancial elements, and there are a few leading companies that offer great examples of what this looks like in practice. The growing importance of sustainability in the boardroom means we can expect nonfinancial performance to play a greater role in future executive compensation schemes.”

The report discusses corporate directors’ increasing interest in sustainability matters, progress being made toward a notion of performance assessment that incorporates nonfinancial elements and efforts by some companies to explain how they link incentive awards to sustainability targets in response to shareholder proposals on this topic. “Linking Executive Compensation to Sustainability Performance” provides data on and examples of companies that are already tying executive compensation to sustainability performance. It also highlights the challenges involved in creating a compensation framework that incorporates sustainability performance, and provides data and voting results for shareholder proposals linking sustainability performance to executive compensation since 2009, and board responses to such proposals.

For complete details: