Tag Archives: Environment

Updates from McKinsey

Five ways that ESG creates value
Getting your environmental, social, and governance (ESG) proposition right links to higher value creation.
By Witold Henisz, Tim Koller, and Robin Nuttall – Your business, like every business, is deeply intertwined with environmental, social, and governance (ESG) concerns. It makes sense, therefore, that a strong ESG proposition can create value—and in this article, we provide a framework for understanding the five key ways it can do so.

Just as ESG is an inextricable part of how you do business, its individual elements are themselves intertwined. For example, social criteria overlaps with environmental criteria and governance when companies seek to comply with environmental laws and broader concerns about sustainability. Our focus is mostly on environmental and social criteria, but, as every leader knows, governance can never be hermetically separate. Indeed, excelling in governance calls for mastering not just the letter of laws but also their spirit—such as getting in front of violations before they occur, or ensuring transparency and dialogue with regulators instead of formalistically submitting a report and letting the results speak for themselves.

Thinking and acting on ESG in a proactive way has lately become even more pressing. The US Business Roundtable released a new statement in August 2019 strongly affirming business’s commitment to a broad range of stakeholders, including customers, employees, suppliers, communities, and, of course, shareholders.

Of a piece with that emerging zeitgeist, ESG-oriented investing has experienced a meteoric rise. Global sustainable investment now tops $30 trillion—up 68 percent since 2014 and tenfold since 2004.

The acceleration has been driven by heightened social, governmental, and consumer attention on the broader impact of corporations, as well as by the investors and executives who realize that a strong ESG proposition can safeguard a company’s long-term success. The magnitude of investment flow suggests that ESG is much more than a fad or a feel-good exercise. more>

How do we get people to care about the environment?

By Brooke Jarvis – What if we’re asking the wrong question?

His job wasn’t to be transformed by fire or to find a hidden door to hope: “We have this cultural obsession with hope. I’m not sure how useful hope really is.”

To give them an easy answer, he says, would be “like pulling the plug in a bathtub: the feeling all drains out. My job is to help people connect with what they feel, even if it’s uncomfortable.”

David Kidner, the psychologist, posits that we avoid painful truths about environmental collapse at our psychological peril.

We blame ourselves for our discomfort and anxiety, instead of recognizing that well-being is tied up with “participation in a healthy eco-cultural context,” and that we’re losing both the health of the natural world within which we evolved and our sense of connection to it. more> http://tinyurl.com/ptg2mf4

The only way to stop climate change now may be revolution

By Eric Holthaus – If global CO2 peaks in 2013—that is, sometime in the next week or so—followed by drastic reductions, we’re still locked in to climate change of 1°C or so until about 2100. If we delay this peak until 2030 (the green line in the chart on the right above), Hansen projects extensive climate-change impacts will continue for a further two centuries. If we delay until 2050 (the red line), dangerous climate change will be locked in until past the year 3000.

Basically, if we wait even a few years to implement anything less than a fossil-fuel starvation diet, momentum already built into the system nearly guarantees the climate is toast. more> http://tinyurl.com/k6oruqf

Team developing new monitoring tools for hydropower generation

Queens Museum of Art | The Relief Map of the N...

Queens Museum of Art | The Relief Map of the New York City Water Supply System
(Photo credit: Chris Devers)

R&D – Instead of creating large amounts of power in one place—from large dams or even small turbines in water treatment plants—there’s value now in making tiny amounts of electricity anywhere there is a water source, from streams to water faucets.

Carnegie Mellon Univ.’s Diana Marculescu is leading a multidisciplinary team of industry and academic researchers to develop novel monitoring tools for placement and control of hydrokinetic generators throughout river systems nationwide. more> http://tinyurl.com/oc53cry

BMW Has Seen the Future, and It’s Carbon

By Chris Reiter – The strategy was hatched six years ago, when executives at the luxury automaker concluded that increased environmental awareness would likely prompt tougher emissions regulations for autos. “Looking forward to 2020, we saw threats to our business model,” says Chief Financial Officer Friedrich Eichiner. BMW concluded it needed a viable electric vehicle to meet demand from the growing ranks of city dwellers€”and to offset the emissions of its gasoline-powered large sedans.

To reduce the size€”and cost€”of the power pack and improve handling, the body of the car had to be slimmed down. The lightest and strongest material available for the job: carbon fiber. more> http://tinyurl.com/k8o79lb


We Are All Climate Change Deniers


The Green Boat: Reviving Ourselves in Our Capsized Culture, Author: Mary Pipher.

By Mary Pipher – Our denial is understandable. Our species is not equipped to respond to the threats posed by global warming. Humans are built to find food and shelter, reproduce, and enjoy each other. We are genetically programmed to react to threats by fleeing or fighting, and at first, our environmental crisis does not seem to allow us to do either.

We’re better at dealing with problems that are concrete, close-at-hand, familiar and require skills and tools that we already possess. Our global storm is invisible, unprecedented, drawn out, and caused by all of us. We have Paleolithic arousal systems, Neolithic brains, medieval institutions and 21st century technology–not a good mix for solving our climate problems. more> http://tinyurl.com/q38d4dd


The darkness behind fracking’s silver lining

By Richard Schiffman – Climate change may have reached the point of no return last month.

CO2 levels in the atmosphere topped 400 parts per million on May 19, for the first time since the Pleistocene era, over 2.5 million years ago.

Climate scientists have long regarded that 400 number as the symbolic threshold. One step beyond, and it would be virtually impossible to put the brake on human-generated climate change. The bad news escalated last week when the International Energy Agency reported that global emissions of carbon dioxide rose 1.4 percent in 2012, the largest annual increase on record. more> http://tinyurl.com/nwrh6my

Removing carbon from emissions

By David L. Chandler – The system uses a solution of amines, injected at the top of an absorption column in which the effluent gases are rising from below. The amines bind with carbon dioxide in the emissions stream and are collected in liquid form at the bottom of the column. Then, they are processed electrochemically, using a metal electrode to force the release of the carbon dioxide; the original amine molecules are then regenerated and reused.

As with the conventional thermal-amine scrubber systems, this technology should be capable of removing 90% of carbon dioxide from a plant’s emissions, the researchers say. But while the conventional carbon dioxide-capture process uses about 40% of a plant’s power output, the new system would consume only about 25% of the power, making it more attractive. more> http://tinyurl.com/otvsb4y

Global Warming Is Changing U.S. Daily Life

A male polar bear

A male polar bear (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By Seth Borenstein – A special panel of scientists convened by the government issued Friday (Jan 11) a 1,146-page draft report that details in dozens of ways how climate change is already disrupting the health, homes and other facets of daily American life. It warns that those disruptions will increase in the future.

“Climate change affects everything that you do,” said report co-author Susan Cutter, director of the Hazards and Vulnerability Research Institute at the University of South Carolina. “It affects where you live, where you work and where you play and the infrastructure that you need to do all these things. It’s more than just the polar bears.” more> http://tinyurl.com/ckgn2hp

Obama’s climate change quandary

By Sarah Laskow – Whether or not climate change made Sandy the beast it was, this latest storm was a preview of what global warming has in store for us ‑ big storms, with big storm surges, made worse by rising sea levels. But there will be no Pearl Harbor for climate change ‑ no one event that will allow a president to get on television the next day and say: Climate change has officially breached American defenses.

Climate change is more like an insurgent group that will not take credit for its attacks. It is a dangerous enemy, but when it strikes, it is hard to pin down, immediately, who is to blame. The best intelligence on its movements is no good. Analysts are sure it will strike—but they cannot predict when. When the attacks come, they might suspect climate change.

What is a president to do? more> http://tinyurl.com/aott7y9