By Silvia Schmid
William McDonough at the Sustainable Brands Conference “From Revolution to Renaissance” in San Diego (Courtesy of Sustainable Brands)
Sustainable Brands’ 2013 Conference “From Revolution to Renaissance” took place this past week in San Diego, bringing together hundreds of professionals and thought leaders in sustainability and corporate social responsibility. Sustainable Brands is a supporting member of the Wharton Initiative for Global Environmental Leadership (Wharton IGEL).
Though many topics were addressed, three of the most salient themes from the conference were:
- Transitioning towards transparency and full disclosure
- Maintaining initial values while navigating through big data
- Changing perspectives on sustainability
Posted in business sustainability, CSR, events, Sustainability, Wharton IGEL
Tagged business, corporate sustainability, environment, leadership, management, metrics, supply chain management, Wharton
by Samantha Guidon*
Robert Stavins, Albert Pratt Professor of Business and Government, Harvard University. Courtesy of Stephanie Nam/Penn Law.
On February 27, 2013, Harvard University’s Albert Pratt Professor of Business and Government Robert Stavins came to Penn for a presentation entitled “Climate Change, the IPCC, and International Policy Architecture” as a part of the Risk Regulation Seminar Series, an initiative jointly sponsored by the Penn Program on Regulation, the Wharton Risk Management & Decision Processes Center, and the Wharton Initiative for Global Environmental Leadership (Wharton IGEL). Continue reading
Posted in climate, economics, Investing, Risk Management, Sustainability, Wharton IGEL
Tagged climate change, environment, leadership, Spring 2013, sustainability, Wharton
by Silvia Schmid*
To some, the idea of a sustainable paper and packaging company can produce an uncomfortable cognitive dissonance, perhaps conjuring up imagery of clear cutting and Styrofoam. Yet as much as we would like to think, do not print emails and traveling mugs are hardly going to replace the paper and packaging products that consumers want, firms demand, and on which the economy relies every day. Although this doesn’t mean that there is nothing being done. There are plenty of efforts to nudge consumer behavior toward the more sustainable, and, as attendees at a recent lecture at Wharton found out, the paper and packaging industry itself certainly considers issues of sustainability.
The Wharton Initiative for Global Environmental Leadership (Wharton IGEL) invited David Kiser, Ph.D., Vice President, Environment, Health, Safety, and Sustainability at International Paper (IP) and a member of the IGEL Corporate Advisory Board, to speak about the company’s sustainability initiatives. The lecture was cosponsored by the Institute for Environmental Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. Continue reading
Posted in business sustainability, events, forests, resource use, Sustainability, sustainable forestry, water, Wharton IGEL
Tagged corporate sustainability, environment, leadership, Penn, resource use, Spring 2013, sustainability, sustainable supply chain, Wharton
by Sharon Muli*
Water covers 70.9% of the Earth’s surface. However, only 3% of the Earth’s water is freshwater, and 68.7% of this freshwater is in glaciers, 30% is ground water, and 0.3% is surface water. Humans depend on freshwater for a wide variety of uses, and this finite amount of water must be properly managed and allocated.
The chart below shows the uses of freshwater in the U.S. The chart highlights the nexus between water, food, energy –the focus of the upcoming Wharton IGEL Conference on March 20-21, 2013. The two leading uses of freshwater withdrawals in the U.S. are thermoelectric power and irrigation, and any significant change in water use in these sectors will likely have an impact on the other categories.
How do droughts affect our country? As part of a group project for the Wharton course Risk Analysis and Environmental Management, Penn students Sharon Muli, Brent Ginsberg, Zenia Zelechiwsky, and Yaowen Ma are gathering data on how individuals perceive the risk of drought. The focus of this project is to investigate the likelihood of more droughts occurring in the United States in the future and to shed light on their associated impacts.
Please click here to take a survey to help us with our investigation. The survey takes approximately 2-3 minutes to complete. Thank you for your participation.
*Sharon Muli is enrolled in Penn’s Master of Environmental Studies program with a concentration in Environmental Policy. She has a background in Biology, is particularly interested in water issues and corporate sustainability, and currently works as a Product Sustainability Co-op at Johnson & Johnson.
Posted in resource use, student projects, students, water, Wharton IGEL
Tagged IGEL, leadership, resource use, Spring 2013, students, sustainability, water
by Yixiu Zheng*
I started working on this project last semester, while taking a course in environmental economics.
As a subfield of economics, environmental economics draws on both microeconomics and macroeconomics[i], but it also has unique concepts of its own. I have seen that students who have never studied economics before can find terms like “property rights” and “marginal abatement cost” overwhelming. While scholars of economics often use historical data and experiments, environmental economics is a relatively recent discipline, developed first in 1950s in the U.S.[ii] There aren’t many experiments to build upon; for instance, the water rights trade doesn’t have a large scope of application, except for some arid areas like California and Australia. So how are students supposed to fully understand and apply these concepts in the real world?
I learn best through direct experience. This type of teaching doesn’t seem boring to me. And in fact, it is suggested that people do have a better memory when they put teachings into practice, for example, by trying to cook a meal rather than just reading its recipe. This is why I want to create a game about environmental economics. Continue reading
Posted in business sustainability, economics, student projects, students, Sustainability, water, Wharton IGEL
Tagged business, energy, environment, IGEL, leadership, Spring 2013, students, water
by Samantha Guidon*
On February 8, 2013, with an imminent Winter Storm Nemo on the horizon, over 250 industry leaders and key players in the water sector came together at Goldman Sachs in New York City to begin the dialogue on addressing water risks throughout the country. Students from the Master of Environmental Studies at the University of Pennsylvania joined the Wharton Initiative for Global Environmental Leadership (Wharton IGEL) team in attending this event to gain key perspectives from leaders in the water sector. Entitled “Water: Emerging Risks and Opportunities Summit,” the conference identified areas in need of improvement and discussed opportunities from various points of view. A welcoming address from David Solomon, Co-Head of the Investment Banking Division at Goldman Sachs, established the overall goals of bringing together capital, technology, and policy in order to determine best management practices within the water sector. Continue reading
Posted in ethics, Investing, reduce, resource use, Risk Management, Venture capital, water, Wharton IGEL
Tagged climate change, conference, environment, leadership, resource use, sustainability, water, water supply
by Candice D. McLeod*
On February 6th, the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) held its 10th annual Renewable Energy Policy Forum on Capitol Hill. The event featured a host of industry, financial and government leaders, who spent the day discussing the progress of the renewable energy industry, from the industry’s current purgatorial state due to impending policy deadlines to the potential implications of the current fiscal and partisan climates.
The overall themes were clear – more financing options for renewables, renewable energy policy stability, and China setting the global rhythm.
Here are five main insights drawn from the forum:
- Renewable energy markets continue to grow significantly. Perhaps we should stop referring to them as “alternative sources” of energy
- Economic security -keep your eye on Iowa and rural America
- More policy stability, please
- More financing options -MLPs & REITs
- Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater
1. Renewable energy markets continue to grow significantly. Perhaps we should stop referring to them as “alternative sources” of energy
John R. Norris, Commissioner, U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) opened the panel Renewable Energy Market Growth with the statement, “[if] it wasn’t for an economy that’s walking with a limp and a dramatic decrease in natural gas prices, the renewable energy market would be twice the size.” Continue reading
Posted in Clean Tech, energy, ethics, Investing, Sustainability, Wharton IGEL
Tagged clean tech, climate change, energy, leadership, venture capital, Wharton
by Marissa Rosen
Collegiate athletics programs can provide experiential learning and engage a broad audience, thus serving as a particularly attractive educational vehicle. Athletic teams and their events can build a school’s community, appeal to donors, strengthen alumni connections, attract prospective students, and generate school pride. They can also send a message of environmental sustainability.
Wharton’s Initiative for Global Environmental Leadership (Wharton IGEL) sponsored last Tuesday’s official kick-off dinner for the University of Pennsylvania’s Athletics Eco-Reps program. Thirteen founding Varsity athletes, along with coaches and supporting staff, have been strategizing since last fall to reduce their teams’ environmental impact, addressing water and energy conservation issues, recycling rates, fan engagement, and responsible sourcing. Penn’s unique program is part of the Ivy League Conference’s collaboration with the Natural Resources Defense Council Green Sports group and the Green Sports Alliance.
Posted in business sustainability, events, reduce, students, Sustainability, sustainability in sports, Wharton IGEL
Tagged corporate sustainability, environment, IGEL, leadership, NRDC, Penn, students, sustainability, Wharton