Imagine H2O to launch inaugural Water Policy Challenge with $25k prize

PrintProgram sources policies that accelerate the use of water tech to combat California’s drought.

By Nimesh Modak

Imagine H2OTM, a leading accelerator for water innovation, today announced its 2015 California Water Policy Challenge. The Challenge aims to identify policy approaches that help California’s cities, farms and industries deploy water technologies. The winning entry will receive up to $25,000 in support. Students, faculty and other groups affiliated with Wharton IGEL are encouraged to apply today.

According to a recent UC Davis study, California’s drought has already resulted in an estimated $2.7bn in lost revenue and 18,600 lost jobs. Water available to agriculture in 2015 will be 67% below average. Policy that enables the deployment of water technology can not only address the state’s pressing water needs, but also create new economic opportunities, now and in the future.

Imagine H2O, whose accelerator portfolio represents over $1 in every $10 of early­ stage financing in the water sector, will work with some of the state’s leading water experts to identify policy ideas that effectively balance impact and political feasibility to drive the market for water innovation.

“This is an original, constructive approach to support the adoption of technology which will allow our economy to produce more with less water,” said AG Kawamura, Challenge Judge and former California Secretary of Agriculture.

Many of the technologies required to reduce the water intensity of California’s economy already exist. The problem has been incentivizing water users to deploy them. Policy improvements could remove obstacles to using worthy water tech solutions and create incentives for broader adoption of water tech.

“California’s success in renewable energy is largely a result of forward thinking policy,” said Buzz Thompson, Professor at Stanford Law School and Director of the Woods Institute for the Environment who will also be judging the Challenge. “It’s time California gave water the same attention it has given energy. Imagine H2O’s approach allows us to identify practical, intelligent policy solutions that can get technology deployed in California.”

Winners will be determined by an independent panel of California water experts. Finalists will participate in a showcase event in Sacramento in early 2016 after receiving mentorship from leading water policy practitioners. The winning entry will receive up to $25,000 in support to develop the policy idea.

Please visit to learn more and register online today.


About Imagine H2O

Imagine H2O inspires and empowers people to turn water problems into opportunities. The Imagine H2O Accelerator has helped over 60 innovative water companies win customers and receive more than $1 in every $10 of early stage financing in the water sector. To learn more about Imagine H2O’s global ecosystem for water innovation and connect with water entrepreneurs from around the world, please visit

Environmental Safeguards: Is AIIB Going to Follow the Rules?

by Tao Hu, Yanyang Wu, Li Zhu

Representatives of the 57 Prospective Founding Members (PFMs) of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) signed the Articles of Agreement of AIIB in Beijing on June 29th, 2015. Now AIIB has entered a more substantive preparatory stage that will lead to its operation at the end of 2015.

Is AIIB going to adopt the environmental safeguards comparable to those of the existing multilateral development banks? Will AIIB follow the World Bank and Asian Development Bank to implement the safeguards rigorously in its planned operation?

Environmental Safeguard Policies of Multilateral Development Banks

The World Bank, Africa Development Bank (AfDB), Asian Development Bank (ADB), and other multilateral development banks have over the years developed a series of standards and policy requirements for environmental protection, known as the “best practices”.

The World Bank requires its clients to implement the Environmental and Social Assessment and Management System (ESMS), in order to identify and manage potential environmental and social risks. AfDB requires its clients to conduct environmental assessment in accordance with its Environmental and Social Assessment Procedures (ESAPs). While both the World Bank and AfDB require all their investment projects to follow similar environmental assessment procedures, ADB classifies its projects into 4 categories based on their potential environmental impacts and applies different levels of environmental assessment requirements, including Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), Initial Environmental Examination (IEE), and Environmental and Social Assessment and Management System (ESMS). There are also some projects with moderate or negligible environmental impacts, for which environmental assessment is not required according to the classification of ADB. China is a member state of these three banks, so making a comparison between their environmental standards is beneficial and informative for this new China-led development bank (Table 1).

Table 1


Since this is the first time China has led a multilateral financial mechanism, whether the Chinese government will follow the international standards and principles has been the center of attention for the international media. The United States has seen the AIIB as a potential competitor and challenger to the West-dominated international financial institutions established after the World War II, such as the World Bank and IMF where the US has the veto power, and the US/Japan-led Asian Development Bank (ADB). In one statement in response to UK’s move to join AIIB, the White House National Security Council said: “Based on many discussions, we have concerns about whether the AIIB will meet these high standards, particularly related to governance, and environmental and social safeguards … The international community has a stake in seeing the AIIB complement the existing architecture, and to work effectively alongside the World Bank and Asian Development Bank.”[i] In a similar fashion, the United States Treasury Department has also raised its concern that AIIB might not meet the environmental standards, procurement requirements and other safeguards embraced by the World Bank and the ADB.[ii] Many other interested parties in the West continue to watch the progress of AIIB closely to see how it will be structured and governed so that it doesn’t undercut the existing environmental standards. Because they believe failure to do so will likely prompt multilateral development banks to race to the bottom in weakening environmental safeguards in order to attract clients.

AIIB’s Pledges and Actions

Mr. Jin Liqun, the secretary-general of the AIIB’s interim secretariat and possibly first president, clearly stated that the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank would ensure that projects it funds are sustainable and environmentally friendly. At a think tank summit in Beijing last week, he said that “the regulations on AIIB lay out a set of environmental criteria for projects it will fund. It will explore a new development model that will try to address the conflict between improving people’s livelihood and environmental protection.” He also said that the “green” principle is to design a set of “high-standard” rules: “The bank has already drafted an environment-related document to be approved by member countries. It will also promote adoption of energy saving and environmentally-friendly technologies in its projects”. Mr. Jin also mentioned that the AIIB’s headquarters in Beijing will be an eco-friendly building.

AIIB is also actively cooperating with its international peers. Since last year, AIIB has been exchanging experience and lessons learned actively with the World Bank, IMF and ADB. In 2014, AIIB also invited former World Bank senior official and well-respected impact assessment expert, Stephen F. Lintner, to assist in crafting its environmental and social sustainability criteria. This gesture is very much an indication of AIIB’s intention to adopt high standards for environmental assessment, procurement process, and social impact of investment projects from the beginning.[iii]

Is AIIB Going to Fulfill its Pledges?

One major aspect of China’s mission to establish AIIB is to create a new governing model for multilateral financial institutions in contrast to the existing models of the World Bank and Asian Development Bank. Given the extraordinarily high stakes China has in this ambitious undertaking, China has every intention to ensure the success of this endeavor. And China has a very good track record in delivering such success stories, where it clearly has the political will and determination to deploy all resources at its disposal. The 2008 Beijing Olympic Games and Shanghai WorldExpo 2010 are perfect examples. Therefore, when the international community raises concerns over AIIB’s environmental and social safeguards, China listens and responds. For the Chinese policy makers, AIIB is as much a political and symbolic proposition as an economic and substantive one. Given this broad political context, it is therefore fair to say that to think that AIIB tends to automatically downgrade the environmental and social safeguards is purely speculative and misguided.

Also China’s credibility and reputation is staked on stewarding AIIB into an inclusive, transparent, and efficient multilateral organization that is built on a solid suite of policies, procedures, and best practices that have proven to stand the test of time. Without such building blocks in place, it would be very hard for AIIB to attract AAA rated countries, or to borrow competitively in the credit market. Given this, the belief that AIIB would be the convenient cash machine to finance China’s newly unveiled “One Belt One Road” Strategy is also unsubstantiated. For project financing that involves higher environmental and social risks under the “One Belt One Road”, it’s reasonable to believe that AIIB would tread very cautiously and exercise abundant restraint. From China’s perspective, it has ample choices in terms of financing vehicles in their toolbox, ranging from the China Development Bank, China ExIm Bank, to the Silkroad Fund, for such more contentious projects.

Besides, eight of the nine countries rated AAA by all main rating agencies (Standard & Poor’s, Moody’s, and Fitch) are AIIB members. These include Australia, Denmark, Germany, Luxembourg, Norway, Singapore, and Sweden. Given their shared values on and approach to environmental and social safeguards, they will likely act in unison when reviewing and deciding on such issues. Together their combined voting shares would enable them to effectively veto any lending proposals under AIIB they deem inappropriate or unacceptable. Therefore the alleged scenario where China would abuse its vetoing power to push through environmentally damaging projects is more a myth than reality.

Others in the US argue that AIIB would export the adverse side-effects of China’s industrialization to other parts of the region. Again this is highly speculative and unfounded. If we take a look at China’s commitment and performance under many international environmental treaties, China is doing quite commendably. China is one of the countries in the world that have signed most of the multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs), which is quite remarkable even compared to many Western countries.

Based on the analysis above, it is our belief that the environmental performance of AIIB in the future should be much more encouraging and positive than many people currently believe. Of course, for anything that’s just emerging, there is still a steep learning curve ahead.




Let Your First Credit Card Really Matter

By Arthur Newman

SustainGreen logo

Do you prefer organic food and support local farmers? Do you look beyond pretty packaging to seek out natural beauty products and household cleaners? Do you prefer to buy from companies that support social causes? If so, you are part of the majority of American consumers who are becoming socially and environmentally conscious shoppers. While this ethos has become commonplace in consumer goods, it is about time that the same scrutiny be applied to consumer financial products. Credit cards, those incredibly useful and ubiquitous rectangles of plastic, are an excellent starting point, particularly when you are seeking your first card. Look beyond the financial fine print to see if your credit card company shares your values.

While most credit cards work the same way, there are substantial differences in their commitment to social good. Your benefits can extend beyond airline miles and cash-back, which are often minimal and unsatisfying. Not surprisingly, a recent study showed most consumers place little value on traditional reward programs. Instead, consider a socially responsible credit card that gives back to a cause you support. Additionally, consider the environmental damage caused by the roughly 500 million credit and debit cards that end up in dumps each year – that’s a lot of plastic that will remain long after most of your purchases. Make a difference by getting a biodegradable credit card. It will not dissolve in your wallet, but once cut up and buried it will decompose. Finally, look into the issuing bank’s record on sustainability initiatives and social programs. Do their values coincide with yours?

Currently there are a limited number of credit cards tied to social causes and only one biodegradable credit card. Maybe the options are limited because banks underestimate the demand. It is up to consumers to drive change in this category, just as they have in consumer products. Not so many years ago, organic food was a fringe category, but last year Whole Foods had over $12 Billion in revenue. You can help drive a new revolution with your choice. Let your first credit card really matter.

About the author: Penn alumnus and eco-entrepreneur Arthur Newman is founder and CEO Sustain:Green. He combined his background in finance, green technology, and carbon markets with a passion for sustainable living to create the Sustain Green MasterCard®, biodegradable credit cards that reduce the cardholder’s carbon footprint with every purchase, while additionally funding rainforest preservation. Newman is now re-launching Carbon Rally, an information rich web-based gamification platform designed to reduce your CO2 footprint and save you money through individual and group challenges.

The Economic Power of Water

By Eugene Wu-Bin Chao

More and more communities are facing acute water scarcity issues due to population growth, urban sprawl, resource overuse, and climate change. In the past two decades, water demand has exponentially increased and this trend will continue. By 2050 the world will demand 55 percent more water and 70 percent more energy. Water reuse, recycling, and other innovative water treatment technologies and emerging solutions have been well-presented, discussed, and received on June 3 Wharton Initiative for Global Environmental Leadership (IGEL) and General Electric (GE) The Economic Power of Water Conference at Wharton EMBA San Francisco office.

The conference serves as a multilateral dialogue platform for government officials from Department of Interior, USAID, SF Public Utilities Commission, Orange County Water District., decision-makers and CEOs from GE, Electronic Recyclers Intl’., water entrepreneurs from WaterSmart Software, World Research Institute (WRI), scientists, water solution developers, to exchange ideas and form strategic partnership.

Jon Freedman, a member for Wharton IGEL, co-author with Colin Enssle, released a white paper: Addressing water scarcity through recycling and reuse: a menu for policymakers. The paper analyzes a broad range of international practices and identifies appropriate policies, which serves tremendous value across government agencies and water industries. In the paper, water reuse policy focuses on four categories: education and outreach, removing barriers, incentives, mandates and regulations. This helps governmental authorities form and think through their options and great practices for increasing recycling and reuse of water.

Wharton IGEL is dedicated to help government, private sectors, and global leaders, etc. to develop long-term partnership, to build coalition, and to provide access to public engagement in sustainable solutions across energy and water industries.



Helping Business Adapt to Climate Change

By Anthony Wagar

Corporations are keenly concerned about climate change. This was one of the conclusions that came out of an earth day conference panel at Wharton School of Business in conjunction with the Initiative for Global Environmental Leadership (IGEL).

The conference was entitled “Business Takes the Lead: How Innovation Will Drive Our Mitigation and Adaptation to Climate Change.” I was involved in the “Innovative Capital Deployment – Helping Business Adapt to Climate Change” panel session with business leaders from other industries.

Our discussion explored the role of capital in climate change mitigation and adaptation and discussed the potential business opportunities and risks associated with climate change and extreme weather-related events. There were essentially two main points that came out of our discussions.

Climate Change is High on Corporate Risk Concerns

Climate change continues to rank among the top 10 corporate risk concerns. Businesses feel a host of climate change concerns, but they tend to center around these five:

  • financial risk (in the form of legal liability and defense costs)
  • potential fines and penalties
  • government or regulatory concerns
  • financial disclosure requirements
  • reputational risk and public relations surrounding good corporate citizenship
Climate Change Represents a Huge Unknown

Investors and those involved in the deployment of capital don’t like unknowns. They like certainty and risks that can be managed. We demonstrated the supporting role of insurance and how the absence or presence of insurance can either deter or attract investments. In its simplest form, insurance exists to help manage/transfer risk and protect against the potential financial downside due to loss(es) so that businesses feel more comfortable operating and continue to invest in the future.

As one of the world’s largest industries, insurers are best positioned to assess and analyze risk, influence risk reduction behaviors and develop products and solutions to respond to risk (all the while managing their underwriting and investment income risk from loss and setting aside enough financial reserves/surplus to ensure sustainability of their business).

An effective response to climate change requires a combination of emissions reductions coupled with risk mitigation and loss prevention so everyone needs to do their part—including the insurance industry.


– See more at:

The New Insider Trading: Environmental Markets within the Firm

By As originally posted on Columbia Law School’s The CLS Blue Sky Blog

Global climate change is the most pressing environmental problem of our time. This fact has led legal scholars and policymakers to debate the relative environmental effectiveness, efficiency, and justice of different public policy instruments such as carbon taxes, cap-and-trade systems, and prescriptive regulation. Such scholarship tends to assume that the government is the key (or only) player setting and enforcing environmental standards against private firms, which are regulatory targets.

In a recent article, entitled, The New Insider Trading: Environmental Markets within the Firm,[1] (available here) I challenge these assumptions through a close examination of British Petroleum’s (BP’s) use of a private carbon emissions trading scheme and Microsoft’s use of a private carbon fee. I argue that this new “insider trading” should be considered as part of an expanded toolkit of options to address climate change. However, some caution is warranted when evaluating these forms of private environmental governance along various normative dimensions to ensure that they are not merely greenwashing. This argument fits within an emerging literature recognizing and assessing the role that private actors, including business firms and non-governmental organizations, may play to address environmental problems like climate change.[2]

In 1998, BP’s CEO announced publicly that BP would reduce its carbon emissions by ten percent (compared to a 1990 baseline) by 2010. To achieve this goal, BP created an internal emissions trading system. By 2002, BP terminated the program, having met its goal eight years ahead of schedule. BP adopted its emissions trading system for several reasons, including to develop expertise in emissions trading in anticipation of future public regulation, to reduce emissions at zero net cost to the firm in light of the firm’s decentralized structure, and to enhance its reputation – particularly at a time when many of its peer energy firms were continuing to oppose climate legislation vociferously worldwide. In creating its emissions trading system, BP faced many of the same challenges that public regulators face, including how high to set the cap, how to distribute permits/allocations among business units, how to enforce the trading rules, and how to set up the trading system.[3]

More recently, in 2012, Microsoft announced its intention to become “net zero” or carbon neutral in certain aspects of its business, including data centers, software development labs, offices, and employee business air travel.[4] To achieve this goal, Microsoft has implemented a tax-like private “carbon fee” on the emissions generated in these activities. Like BP, Microsoft faces many of the same issues that public regulators face in designing a carbon tax, including setting the right “price,” determining the scope of the program, and determining how to administer and enforce the program to ensure compliance by managers. In Microsoft’s case, the firm has touted publicly the benefits of adopting an internal carbon fee—which it still employs – in part because of strategic synergies with its software and cloud computing business. For example, if other firms adopted a carbon fee like Microsoft’s, Microsoft contends that they could reduce emissions by by transferring data to Microsoft’s cloud computing system or by using Microsoft cloud-based software to monitor and report emissions.[5]

Other private actors are now considering carbon charges and fees. For example, on April 20, 2015, Yale University’s Presidential Carbon Charge Task Force issued a report recommending that Yale adopt an internal carbon pricing system, with the charge set at the social cost of carbon, to properly align incentives for decision makers to reduce their energy use and carbon emissions.[6] The President and Provost of the University reported that Yale would begin with a pilot project. The full report of the Task Force is available here.

Such private environmental governance could potentially have a significant impact to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and that the impact could be global in scope. For example, BP’s global carbon footprint arising from its onsite activities and purchased electricity is comparatively larger than that of sixteen states.[7] Indeed, according to data reported by firms to the CDP (formerly known as the Carbon Disclosure Project), the top fifty reporting business firms accounted for approximately three-quarters of all emissions in 2013.[8] These firms have some degree of control over the reduction of emissions globally – when individual nation-states lack the jurisdiction to reach global emissions. In addition, public regulators and private firms may benefit from dialogue over issues of design in ways that improve the effectiveness or justice of climate policy and practice. Finally, I argue that private emissions trading and carbon taxes send an expressive message – that everyone, including the private sector, has an obligation to take action to address climate change. In the absence of a single “magic bullet” to combat climate change, action by multiple actors – public and private – may be the best option.


[1] 34 Stan. Envtl. L.J. 3 (2015).

[2] Michael P. Vandenbergh, Private Environmental Governance, 99 Cornell L. Rev. 129, 133 (2013) (arguing that private environmental governance should be recognized as a form of law); Sarah E. Light & Eric W. Orts, Parallels in Public and Private Environmental Governance, 5 Mich. J. Envtl. & Admin. L. (forthcoming 2015) (arguing that public and private actors employ parallel forms of the primary categories of instruments to address environmental problems, including prescription, property rights, market approaches, tradable permits, informational governance, procurement and insurance).

[3] Light, supra note 1, at 31-41.

[4] Tamara “TJ” DiCaprio, Microsoft Corp., Becoming Carbon Neutral: How Microsoft is Striving to Become Leaner, Greener, and More Accountable (2012), available at; Tamara “TJ” DiCaprio, Microsoft Corp., The Carbon Fee: Theory and Practice (2013), available at

[5] See Carbon Fee, supra note 4, at 15, 36 (recommending Microsoft cloud-based software to monitor and report emissions; discussing increased efficiency of using cloud computing).


[7] BP Sustainability Review 2013 8 (2013), available at; CO2 Emissions from Fossil Fuel Combustion (2014), available at

[8] CDP Global 500 Climate Change Report 2013 8, 56 (2013), available at Sixteen American firms make the list of top fifty emitters of greenhouse gases (in alphabetical order): Air Products & Chemicals, American Electric Power, Apache, AT&T, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Devon Energy, Dow Chemical, Duke Energy, E.I. du Pont de Nemours, Exelon, ExxonMobil, FedEx, Occidental Petroleum, Praxair, and Wal-Mart.

The preceding post comes to us from Sarah Light, Assistant Professor of Legal Studies and Business Ethics at the University of Pennsylvania, WhartonSchool. The post is based on her recent article entitled “The New Insider Trading: Environmental Markets within the Firm”, which is available here.

Rethinking our Relationship with Resources

By Patrick Cairo, Senior Vice President, SUEZ Environnement North America

5 9674-2Humanity’s relationship with the environment has reached a turning point. Ecosystems and economies are in transition and in trouble. Growing populations are exhausting an increasingly degraded climate and environment. Overburdened and obsolete infrastructure is in desperate need of investment. Taken together, all of this amounts to a gathering resource crisis on a global scale.

At SUEZ Environnement we recognize this mounting resource crisis as an opportunity – to lead the way from a crisis to a resource revolution.

On a global scale, we are advocating for a transition to a circular economy. That transition from an economy that over-consumes natural resources to an economy that optimizes management and use of resources can make a strong contribution to carbon reduction goals and go a long way towards securing resources for the future.

On a local scale, we are implementing concrete and measurable resource management solutions in collaboration with citizens, governments and industries.

From my vantage point, we can’t talk about our natural resources without talking about infrastructure. Infrastructure is the conduit for all of our resources––for their capture, their transport and their delivery.

california water waste CaptureOur water infrastructure––which stretches more than 30 times the length of the interstate highway system––is aging and leaking. In some parts of the U.S. our water infrastructure wastes more water than it delivers. Shockingly every day, approximately 6 billion gallons of water are lost to avoidable leaks––enough water to supply the entire state of California.

IMG_2027Speaking of opportunities in challenges, over the next two decades, our nation needs to collectively dedicate some $4.8 trillion to our water infrastructure just to maintain a state of good repair––with nearly $400 billion needed just to maintain a safe supply of drinking water. SUEZ Environnement, in partnership with KKR, developed a framework to tap the billions in private capital that has been described as “waiting on the sidelines” to invest in infrastructure projects.

Specifically, in Middletown, PA, and Bayonne, NJ we have implemented a win-win solution that brings together city authorities and private equity funds to finance local infrastructure needs and improve water quality.

Combining our own operational expertise with private equity’s long-term investment power, we are rebuilding outdated water treatment and sanitation systems and installing state-of-the-art smart metering technology that reduces wasteful leaks.

We need to act now to make infrastructure the centerpiece of our resource revolution––the foundation upon which we secure a safer, more prosperous future for all.

Innovative Capital Deployment – Helping Business Adapt to Climate Change

by Dr. Sanjay Patnaik

Scientific research has provided clear evidence that anthropogenic climate change will become one of the most important challenges for mankind in the next century. Recent trends indicate unequivocally that many of the expected physical consequences of climate change are already occurring in various parts of the world (e.g., the melting of ice in the Polar Regions etc.). Our current economic system – highly dependent on carbon-intensive forms of energy production – will have to undergo significant changes if we want to mitigate climate change and adapt to its effects.

One of the most important roles for any mitigation and adaption efforts will fall on companies as they are our main organizational unit for conducting economic activities. Not only will firms have to carefully assess the risks associated with climate change, but innovative companies will be able to generate and exploit new opportunities that arise because of climate change. This is particularly relevant for investors who can foster the development of low-carbon technologies through the targeted innovative deployment of capital. While regulatory measures to establish a price for carbon will be crucial to provide necessary external incentives, private capital will play an even more important role in helping our economy adapt to climate change and foster mitigation efforts.

In Panel One of the 8th Annual IGEL Conference on April 22nd, we will explore how capital and smart investments in new technologies can become crucial tools for tackling the challenges presented by climate change. A distinguished panel of experts and thought leaders from a variety of backgrounds will provide their views on a range of topics such as what risks firms will face because of climate change, what role capital should play in addressing climate change and what business opportunities related to climate change are most promising for innovative investors and entrepreneurs. The theme of the panel aims to highlight that climate change can be as much an opportunity as a challenge and that firms will have to conduct a proper assessment of risks and potential benefits that arise from climate change if they want to remain competitive in a future low-carbon economy.

Sanjay Patnaik is a Visiting research Scholar at the Wharton School and an Assistant Professor of Strategic Management and Public Policy at the George Washington University.

Sustainable Goods, Renewed Lives

By Meredith Mosbacher

Every product has a story, whether we look for it or not. It has an origin, a maker, and a composition. Sometimes the origin of an item is vague: “Imported,” it might say. We are left to wonder (or maybe not) from where and whom it derives. Although becoming more common, it is relatively rare to find a product that has a backstory and additionally, may be environmentally sound and socially empowering.

TO THE MARKET (TTM), a socially inspired business, loves a story though—it’s what inspires us. We use the free market to address longstanding social justice issues by promoting goods made by and stories told by survivors of abuse, conflict, and disease. By working with more than 20 organizations (that we call Local Partners) from around the world that employ survivors to produce beautiful, compelling products, we’re trying to remind customers of the time when people knew their maker—and their maker’s family.

TO THE MARKET’s relationship with our Local Partners employing survivors is threefold. We assist them by (a) promoting their survivor-made goods through multiple distribution channels, including pop-up shops, custom sourcing, retail partnerships, and our online marketplace; (b) offering a platform for survivors and their champions to share their stories with a new, larger audience through the TO THE MARKET Stories and Huffington Post blogs; and by (c) providing tailored services, such as trend forecasting and basic mental health resources, to improve production and management.

Red Light-40The term “Local Partner” denotes TO THE MARKET’s relationship with these organizations, as well as describes the materials from which they source. For example, the women of All Across Africa, based in Rwanda, Uganda, Burundi, and Kenya, weave together baskets by winding stripped-down sisal leaves around bundles of sweet grass. TO THE MARKET partners with Kolkata, India-based Freeset to create custome bags and shirts; Freeset uses 100% organic cotton for their shirts and sews their bags using the Jute plant found on banks of the Ganges. To the North in Dehradun, India, JOYN employs one group of survivors to spin raw local cotton, another group of survivors to block print the cotton fabric, and a third group to sew the bags or home goods.   In Haiti, the artisans of Vi Bella upcycle discarded paper, plastic, and glass bottles and bottle caps to create jewelry

The materials used speak to a broader phenomenon. The use of indigenous and sustainable resources and the use of upcycling echo the renewal that is occurring in these artisans’ lives. They are women who have survived adversity and have found strength through the dignity of work. They have taken hold of their own lives and found economic independence. And with this independence they not only help themselves, but also their families and communities. An ecosystem of compassion is created and sustained, and we get to share that good news when people purchase their products. TO THE MARKET helps to expand this ecosystem. By assisting local partners around the world, TO THE MARKET takes an active role in equipping the survivor’s that they employ with economic independence while raising awareness of the challenges that they face.

To learn more about TO THE MARKET, or to explore sourcing eco-friendly, survivor-made custom products for your next event or corporate needs, email



Wharton’s Legal Studies and Business Ethics Department Welcomes Brian Berkey of Stanford University

Brian Berkey, Postdoctoral Fellow in the Center for Ethics in Society at Stanford University, will join the Legal Studies and Business Ethics Department at the Wharton School.

Brian is interested in a range of philosophical issues raised by climate change, including the grounds and extent of our collective mitigation obligations, whether individuals have potentially demanding obligations to reduce their personal greenhouse gas emissions, and the relationship between accounts of “climate justice” and broader theories of global and intergenerational justice. His article “Climate Change, Moral Intuitions, and Moral Demandingness” appeared in Philosophy and Public Issues in 2014.

More information on Brian’s work can be found here.