Tag Archives: biofuels

Ethanol Cook Stoves and Fuel for Haiti at the United Nations

by Ruchi Shah

Ruchi1Dr. Stillman and Fritz Clairvil (Path To Haiti) delivering introductory remarks about the project (Courtesy of PPAF Public Private Alliance Foundation)

On April 4th, 2013, The Public-Private Alliance Foundation (PPAF) convened a consultation on cook stove and fuel alternatives in Haiti, held at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, and hosted by the UN Office for Partnerships. The meeting had two purposes:

1) Advance the expansion of a pilot project by bringing together more partners and discussing the further steps
2) Promote the benefits of new cook stoves in Haiti and elsewhere

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Supply Chain Compliance: Addressing the Elephant in the Room

by Derek Newberry*

If events like Apple’s Foxconn debacle teach us anything, it is that even reputable companies with strong supplier codes of conduct can face serious compliance issues where regulatory mechanisms are lacking.  I reflected on this recently when leafing through the summary report from last year’s Wharton Initiative for Global Environmental Leadership (Wharton IGEL) Conference “Greening the Supply Chain”.  While I enjoyed reading about the participants’ experiences in sustainability management, I was struck by the short shrift they paid to the all-important question of compliance, despite acknowledging that when it comes to producing tangible results, this really is the “elephant in the room”.

Indeed, ensuring that suppliers adhere to social and environmental criteria and comply with applicable legislation is a thorny problem in settings where the boundaries of corporate responsibility are unclear and enforcement can be costly and onerous.  This is doubly true in production chains characterized by numerous small suppliers and sparse governmental regulations, as is the case in much of the global agricultural sector.  How can we create regulatory mechanisms that enable these sustainability programs to look as good in practice as they do on paper? Continue reading

IGEL’s Sixth Conference-Workshop

Save the date for IGEL’s Sixth Conference-Workshop on “The Nexus of Energy, food, and Water”, to be held on Thursday, March 21st, 2013. Objectives of the conference include providing an overview about sustainability as it relates to energy, food, and water, the multitude of strategies needed to evaluate water risk in the global economy, as well as the intersection between energy resources, food supply, and security. Speakers will include Andrew Winston, author of “Green to Gold”, Jeff Seabright of Coca-Cola, Perry Moss of Rubicon Global, Tamara Thies of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, and many more. The keynote address and prelude to IGEL’s conference-workshop will be delivered by General John Ashcroft, followed by a VIP Dinner the night before, Wednesday, March 20th, 2013. For more information, please view the conference agenda.

Can Venture Capital Really Influence Environmental Sustainability?

Robert MacDonald presenting

Panel at Wharton Global Alumni Forum

Can venture capital really lead to sustainable businesses, energy and products? Or is venture capital an outdated and inefficient means of funding sustainable enterprises?

We posed this question and more to a panel hosted by IGEL and Bank of America at the Wharton Global Alumni Forum in San Francisco.(1)

Venture capital is the only way to sustainability. – Ashmeet Sidana, Panelist, Foundation Capital

The panel’s consensus was a resounding yes – venture capital can lead to environmental sustainability.  Panelist Ashmeet Sidana of Foundation Capital went on to argue that venture capital is the only way to reach sustainable goals. Panelists highlighted their cleantech investments, including new methods of algae biofuels manufacturing, solar power, geothermal energy and smart grids.  Last quarter saw the most investments in cleantech ever, said Andrew Chung of Lightspeed. Robert MacDonald of Craton Equity Partners showed the optimism of the markets by remarking that investments in cleantech is nearly $200 billion worldwide.

Remarkably, these investments are largely consumer-driven with large corporations like GE, Chevron and Intel buying in. Consumer and corporate buy-in is crucial,  given the lack of policy-leadership in the U.S. on clean energy.  In fact, investors’ frustrations are only mounting from uncertainty in the political climate.

The panelists also discussed necessary steps for scaling up cleantech investments. Capital efficiency is crucial, said Cynthia Ringo of DBL Investors.  Also necessary is further advances in technology for renewable energy storage.

What are your thoughts?  Leave us a comment in the Comments section or connect with us on Facebook or Twitter.

The panelists were:

Ashmeet Sidana, General Partner, Foundation Capital

Mr. Sidana has investments in cloud computing, network efficiency and consolidation, and wireless monitoring.  He also is involved in solar power for India; he led the Foundation’s investment in and currently serves on the board of AzurePower, a solar power company in India. Foundation Capital also invests in such green and clean-tech such as smart grid technology, paper-less sharing systems, food and water sanitation systems, environmentally-friendly advanced materials manufacturing, energy conversion and efficiency technology, and thermal management.

Cynthia Ringo, Managing Partner, DBL Investors

Ms. Ringo is a board observer for LiveScribe, a new computer-version of pen and paper, as well as a board member for Solexant and Soladigm, two solar companies with new PV technologies. Prior to DBL, she was the CEO of CopperCom, a next-generation telecom equipment company. DBL also invests in electric cars and smart grid technology.

Andrew Chung, Principal, Lightspeed

Mr. Chung is a Principal at Lightspeed and has helped lead the firm’s entry into new areas of investment that include cleantech, education, genomics, and healthcare IT. Lightspeed’s investments include next-generation biofuels. Andrew chairs the Cleantech Advisory Board for The Indus Entrepreneurs (TIE), serves on the Advisory Board for Stanford Energy Crossroads, and is an advisor to the Clean Tech Open.

Jon Krahulik, Managing Director and Global Head of Clean Technology Investment Banking, Bank of America Merrill Lynch

Mr. Krahulik is responsible for growing the firms’’ coverage of companies across the clean tech sector globally. Mr. Krahulik joined Bank of America Merrill Lynch from Deutsche Bank Securities, where he served for four years, most recently leading clean tech investment banking.  Earlier in his career, Krahulik spent seven years in the global technology group at Lehman Brothers, most recently as a senior vice president.

Robert MacDonald, Managing Partner,  Craton Equity Partners

Mr. MacDonald developed Catalyst Energy Corporation into one of the largest IPPs in the country. Bob currently serves on the boards of EnLink Geoenergy Services, GigaCrete, Inc., Petra Solar, and RYPOS.

(1) Bank of America and IGEL have teamed up to create a speaker series on topics in business and environment.
Click here for SmartPlanet’s coverage of the panel.