Sustainable Development

Re-Imagine the Future of Urban Water in Bangalore

Apply today for HelloScience Live Lab in Bangalore.

 
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HelloScience is hosting a Live Lab in Bangalore on February 27 and 28, 2019, with the purpose to develop solutions addressing water purification, waste water, and water contamination. Applications are open to entrepreneurs and startups with innovative ideas and a collaborative mindset.

This opportunity will let applicants meet and work together with experts and change makers including engineers, scientists, and business developers. After showcasing solutions, individuals will receive direct one-on-one feedback from design, business, and tech development experts. Certain individuals will be able to launch their startup with a co-development partnership with either Grundfos or Novozymes. They may also receive a micro grant among other offers.

The experts working with HelloScience brings vast experience in working with global water challenges and developing solutions. At the live lab, individuals will work alongside local and global partners and experts to develop new innovations for water issues. Event partners include; Jaaga, Novozymes, Grundfos, Climate-KIC, and C-CAMP.

HelloScience was created by Novozymes to discover new sustainable solutions to the challenges of today. The platform encourages collaboration in technology and knowledge by posting ideas for sustainable solutions, which can in turn receive advice, microgrants, partnership opportunity, and more. The free platform is open to all people that are interested in developing solutions for water including innovators, experts, students, and individuals.

Applications close on February 15. Read more and apply here.

Hunting for “Landing Zones” at COP24 in Poland

USCIB and members attend the 24th UN Framework Convention on Climate Change Conference in Poland to report on and encourage business solutions towards climate issues.

 
Norine Kennedy at COP24

Norine Kennedy at COP24

 

The 24th UN Framework Convention on Climate Change Conference of the Parties (UNFCCC COP24) began on Sunday, December 2 and will run through December 14 under the Presidency of Poland, in Katowice, Poland.  On Saturday night, the negotiating groups delivered a first round of outcomes to be taken up by the Ministers arriving for the 2nd week.  Many key business issues remain incomplete or “in brackets” in the current draft “Paris Rulebook,” intended to guide putting the Paris Agreement into action.  For the week ahead, high level government representatives will be seeking “landing zones” to resolve remaining substantial divisions.

Over 30,000 are in attendance here, including USCIB members Arkema, Chevron, Mars, Novozymes and Salesforce, joining USCIB staff Norine Kennedy and Mia Lauter in tracking the complex discussions, meeting with U.S. and other government delegations and partnering with key business groups.  Here in Katowice, the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) serves as focal point for business, convening daily meetings to share intelligence and organizing the UNFCCC Business Day on December 6.

Sticking topics have included provision of how to treat compensation for loss and damage, financial support to developing countries for greenhouse gas reductions and technology cooperation, the design of elements relating to carbon markets and different rules and practices that would apply to developing and developed countries. Delegates are talking about the IPCC1.5 Special Report, worrying increases in greenhouse gas emissions and tensions in France sparked by the proposed fuel tax, since rescinded by the Government of France.

COP24 is to finalize a so-called Paris Rulebook, which will provide implementation guidance on how countries put the Paris Agreement into action.

“So far, negotiations have proceeded predictably, albeit too slowly to conclude in time,” observed Kennedy, who leads USCIB policy work on the environment and climate change. “The complexity of technical and political issues obscures the real challenge: mobilizing private sector investment and innovation at a pace and scale that would advance the UNFCCC and Paris objectives.”

According to Kennedy, the general feeling among delegates is that a fair amount of political will, particularly among high-level representatives and Ministers of Environment, will be required in order to successfully conclude.

“There is no one issue that is dominating conversations,” added Kennedy. “Rather, the sheer number of issues to be negotiated and the level of technicality those issues present is daunting for Parties to manage (or business representatives to track).”

The smaller than usual U.S. delegation here is led by Trigg Talley, and includes other State Department, Energy and EPA representatives.  Next week, Assistant Secretary of State Judy Garber and Wells Griffith (White House) arrive for the high-level portion of the negotiations.

Crucial to business will be outcomes on carbon markets. Countries seem to be falling into one of two camps:

  • The view of the U.S. is that any exchange – known as an ITMO (internationally transferred mitigation outcome) – should remain between the countries undertaking the transaction, and that both countries would agree their accounting and other arrangements accordingly.

  • Other parties take the view that ITMO approval should come through a centralized UNFCCC body, and that some share of the transactions (“a share of the proceeds”) should be allocated to a central fund or other UNFCCC-determined purpose.

Also crucial to business will be the potential adoption of the Silesian Declaration on Just Transition proposed by the Polish Presidency. Many parties support the Declaration, but others feel that they haven’t had enough time to examine the proposal.

“We are flagging the number of climate topics that are spilling into other forums and key issues, such as human rights and trade,” said Kennedy. “Following discussions with the U.S. Delegation here, USCIB has asked the State Department to stand firm against any intention to use participation in the Paris Agreement as a litmus test for trade policies among nations.”

Kennedy also observed that protesters and some social media accounts continue to complain about the presence of business at COP24, asserting that their involvement here constitutes a “conflict of interest” and interferes with the ability of governments to reach an ambitious agreement.  In the week ahead, USCIB members and staff will continue to express U.S. business priorities, working closely with the Administration to promote energy innovation and advance substantive business engagement.

Read more here.

Evolution of Corporate Sustainability

How Innovation in Infrastructure Can Help Advance the Sustainable Development Goals

In an article in Forbes on May 30, 2017, Tam Nguyen, global head of sustainability at Bechtel Corporation, describes how corporate sustainability is evolving with new technologies and innovation. Tam Nguyen leads and implements the corporate sustainability strategy throughout the company and their projects in 160 countries. As Vice-chair of USCIB’s Corporate Responsibility and Labor Affairs Committee, he works with member companies to communicate U.S. business action, manage risks arising from new regulatory and civil society expectations and channel USCIB member feedback into policy deliberations and standard-setting processes at international organizations. Nguyen also serves as a co-Chair of USCIB’s Working Group on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

In the interview, Nguyen indicates that technology and innovation can help corporate sustainability and companies use data and analysis to communicate actionable insights throughout their complex organizations. Such metrics will help advance the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which can be achieved by management systems and actions that companies take to become more sustainable in their operations and initiatives. By incorporating technology and innovation, companies are already implementing new practices and programs to advance the SDGs -- especially Goal 9 – Build Infrastructure, Foster Innovation. Nguyen notes that Bechtel relies on innovation to help achieve Goal 7 – Ensure Energy for All; Goal 8 – Promote Economic Growth & Decent Work; and Goal 12 – Ensure Sustainable Consumption & Production.

According to Nguyen, “sustainability is one of the biggest drivers of innovation today and into the future.” He goes on to express the significance of market and the public increasingly valuing and seeking out information on corporate sustainability performance. For Nguyen, technology and innovation help businesses function more efficiently across many sectors through sustainable methods, which will in turn help improve company reputation to customers and stakeholders. Sustainability challenges and business imperatives are opportunities for companies to align sustainability to risk management in a comprehensive way which will then help their bottom line and help business to achieve the SDGs.

Read the full interview with Tam Nguyen here.