Andy Mangan at Better Business, Better World: Mainstreaming the Circular Economy

US BCSD Executive Director Andy Mangan presented the Materials Marketplace platform at the US Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s “Better Business, Better World: Mainstreaming the Circular Economy” event on May 16, 2016. Watch Andy’s presentation in the recording above, courtesy of the USCCF.

Andy makes a “call for action” at the end of the video, inviting companies, organizations and government entities to get involved in our efforts. If you’re interested in learning more, join us at “Pathways to Impact: Driving Scale & Aligning Values” this June at Yale University. Four sessions and workshops will focus on the Materials Marketplace and Sustainable Materials Management; and you’ll also be exposed to a number of other exciting projects and programs happening at the WBCSD, US BCSD, and Yale University. Learn more at impact.usbcsd.org.

Agenda is Live! Pathways to Impact: Driving Scale & Aligning Values

impact

We have an exciting mix of plenary sessions and deep-dive workshops planned for Pathways to Impact: Driving Scale & Aligning Values this June – our annual US BCSD, WBCSD and Yale University conference. Our agenda, just posted at impact.usbcsd.org will examine key sustainability drivers through the lens of existing initiatives run by the US BCSD and WBCSD, as well as from the leading academic vantage point of Yale University faculty. Learn more and register at impact.usbcsd.org.

Pathways to Impact: Driving Scale & Aligning Values

impact

Join us on June 14-15, 2016 at Yale University for Pathways to Impact: Driving Scale & Aligning Values

2016 is the year of implementation. Companies are putting into place the ambitious commitments they made in Paris during COP 21. They are scaling initiatives that succeeded in pilot trials last year. Businesses are figuring out what the Sustainable Development Goals mean for their industries, and aligning their sustainability objectives with these global priorities. Momentum grew during 2015 and, now in 2016, we – business leaders, financiers, risk auditors, government officials, conservationists, academics – have our boots on the ground and we’re working together to implement and scale sustainability solutions.

Multiple factors contributed to the momentum of 2016 – circular economy, climate action, climate risk & adaptation, and systemic transparency & reporting – and more will emerge over the course of this year. The 2016 US BCSD-WBCSD-Yale University Summer Conference, Pathways to Impact: Driving Scale & Aligning Values, will dive into these drivers, looking at what caused the sustainability sea change of 2015 to swell and how the big ideas are being put into action and brought to scale. We will look carefully at the hard work of 2016, with a lens toward each sustainability driver and how we expect it evolve over the next year.

Learn More & Register Today

United States Materials Marketplace: Q1 2016 Update

circulars winnerMOMENTUM BUILDS POST-DAVOS
As you’ve probably seen by now, the U.S. Materials Marketplace was recognized with a prestigious “Circulars” Award at this year’s World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in January, kickstarting a considerable amount of momentum for the project both in the US and around the world. Scroll down through our past postings to see recent news articles and social media activity.

SHARE THE NEWS
This award is unique in that it’s shared not only by our three organizations; but also by each of you as project participants and supporters. We want to help you share this achievement both within your organization and externally through your media channels and CSR reports. Contact us for a press package with badges and a brief description of the award.

PROJECT SPONSORSHIP
We’re asking all companies participating in the US Materials Marketplace to help offset costs for project administration, data analysis, ongoing software improvements, and program expansion with a participation fee. Three tiers of sponsorship are outlined on our website – click here for more information.

NEW REUSE IDEAS EMERGE FROM GREENBIZ CONFERENCE
PVC anti-chip paste: GM has a good amount of unwanted PVC paste materials from their manufacturing processes, and Armstrong is interested in exploring the possibility of reusing this material in various flooring products (such as vinyl composition tile).

Limestone powder: Automobile manufacturers generate a paint overspray byproduct and use limestone to absorb extra paint. This byproduct is 90-95% limestone and 5-10% paint overspray. Armstrong flooring is exploring the possibility to feed this material into their production process to replace virgin filler for their flooring products.

SAVE THE DATE: JUNE 14-15 AT YALE UNIVERSITY

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Move ‘Ideas to Action to Scale’ this summer with the US BCSD, WBCSD and Yale Center for Business and the Environment. Open up your calendars now and add June 14-15, 2016 in New Haven, Connecticut; and stay-tuned for more information as the date gets closer.

CALL TO ACTION: ADD NEW MATERIALS & NEW LOCATIONS
We’re looking to significantly increase the number of materials and locations in the Materials Marketplace database, which will in turn allow our team to identify more opportunities and create a greater impact. Adding new materials information and bringing more facilities online is a fairly straightforward process, and we’ve put together this quick tutorial to make it even easier.

We’re also moving forward toward a goal of having 100+ companies participating in the US Materials Marketplace by this time next year and will be updating you as new companies sign up.

NEW WEBSITE UPDATES
We made some major updates to our project website – materialsmarketplace.org – in January 2016 to better communicate the scope of the project; share resources, news and updates; and capture new leads on new project participants. Click on the link to take a look, and feel welcomed to share it with your colleagues and linkedin connections.

MATERIALS MARKETPLACE SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENTS
The Materials Marketplace software will be getting some improvements this summer as it moves ahead on a continuous improvement path. We will be in touch to invite your contributions as the software improves and evolves.

G7 ALLIANCE ON RESOURCE EFFICIENCY
The Materials Marketplace is being recognized during a G7 Alliance on Resource Efficiency Workshop in Washington, DC on March 22-23, hosted by the US EPA. The event theme is the Use of Life Cycle Concepts in Supply Chain Management to Achieve Resource Efficiency. This workshop offers US Marketplace exposure at the ministerial levels in all G7 countries and will help foster dialogue about innovative practices, key challenges, and highlight areas of opportunity related to life-cycle based approaches. Stay tuned for key outcomes and action items.

U.S. Materials Marketplace Wins Prestigious “Circulars” Award at World Economic Forum Annual Meeting

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US BCSD, Corporate Eco Forum and WBCSD partnership recognized for “disrupting business as usual by enabling the circular economy with data driven technologies”

20 January 2016/Davos, Switzerland: Selected from an impressive group of more than 200 entrants, the U.S. Materials Marketplace was recognized with a prestigious “Circulars” Award at this year’s World Economic Forum Annual Meeting. The Circulars, the world’s premier circular economy award program, is a collaboration between the World Economic Forum’s Young Global Leaders and Accenture and recognize individuals and organizations from commerce and civil society that have made a notable contribution to driving circular economy principles – where growth doesn’t depend on the use of scarce natural resources.

circulars winner

Niall Dunne, BT Group, presents the award to Andrew Mangan and Peter Bakker.

Awarded the BT Award for Circular Economy Digital Disruptor, the Materials Marketplace is a joint project of three business organizations that together represent hundreds of companies worldwide: the U.S. Business Council for Sustainable Development (US BCSD), the Corporate Eco Forum (CEF) and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD). Andy Mangan, Co-founder and Executive Director of the US BCSD, and Peter Bakker, President and CEO of the WBCSD accepted the award yesterday evening at an event in the UN World Food Programme Tent.

“While materials matching has been tried many times before, several developments make now a good time for tipping it toward normal business practices,” said Mangan, who has decades of experience working with businesses on sustainable materials management. “These include the growing corporate buy-in, the evolving sophistication of intelligent software and the momentum for climate change solutions coming out of the Paris Agreement.”

Participants in the Marketplace work with materials experts to comb through an online database seeking ways to reuse or exchange unwanted materials, from textile scraps to hydrochloric acid to off-spec wood flooring. Companies not only save money as they acquire cheaper raw materials and dispose of less waste, but also use significantly less energy and emit lower levels of greenhouse gases.

MR Rangaswami, Founder of the Corporate Eco Forum, praised the companies who led the charge: “The Materials Marketplace is an amazing example of what companies can do when they collaborate. The pioneering companies who sparked this initiative have paved the way for hopefully hundreds of more companies to reduce their footprints and move toward more circular business models.”

The Marketplace is developing a tiered cooperative model that would allow for big and small marketplaces to share their outcomes. As other countries implement their own marketplace programs, this co-op structure would connect them while allowing participants to retain control and ownership of their country’s data and activities. WBCSD’s Global Network, comprising of 70 national business councils would help facilitate the expansion.

Peter Bakker, President and CEO of WBCSD, sees enormous promise in the Materials Marketplace model: “Business has a critical role in making the transition to a sustainable and thriving economy. New business models based on the principles of circular economy will accelerate this shift allowing companies that use them to capitalize on new economic opportunities. The Materials Marketplace is a clear demonstration of this potential as it turns waste into an engine for creating value. With support from WBCSD’s Global Network, we will work towards replicating this model around the world.

Founding companies in the Marketplace include Alcoa, Armstrong World Industries, BASF, CH2M, Dow Chemical, Essroc, Fairmount Santrol, General Motors, Goodyear, Greif, LafargeHolcim, Nike, Novelis, Procter & Gamble, Starbucks, Swisstrax, Tetra Pak, Veolia and Waste Management.

For more information, visit https://thecirculars.org

News from Austin: [Re]verse Pitch Finalists Compete for $10,000 Innovation Prize

reversepitch

Eight Austin entrepreneurs will compete for a $10,000 innovation prize on December 9th.

The finalists are competing to present the best idea – and business concept – that repurposes a byproduct from a local organization into a viable business with social benefit.

The [Re]Verse Pitch Final Competition will be from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Dec. 9 in the Bass Lecture Hall at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs, 2300 Red River St. The event is free and open to the public. RSVPs requested. Austinites may vote for their favorite idea by 5:00pm on Dec. 9th by signing up for a free account or through a handful of social media platforms, including Facebook and Twitter.

The top five vote-getters will earn “People’s Choice” points added on top of the judges’ scoring.

“We are thrilled to see so many [Re]Verse Pitch concepts that solve for real needs in the community and reduce waste at the same time,” said Bob Gedert, Director of Austin Resource Recovery. “We encourage Austinites to check out the ideas and vote.”

Ideas range from re-purposing waterproof clog shoes into safer slip-resistant high heels and using leftover vinyl for new products like backpacks.

“Challenging and enabling entrepreneurs to work with hard-to-recycle materials is a key step in the evolution to a circular economy in Austin – one where locally generated waste becomes the new engine for creating value,” said Daniel Kietzer with the U.S. Business Council for Sustainable Development.

Proposals for spent grains, a brewery byproduct, include “brewnola” granola bars and “brew biscuits” for dogs. And what could possibly be done with a room-full of wicker baskets? Find out by browsing the proposals. KXAN interviewed each of the finalists this morning, which you can view on their website.

[RE]verse Finalists

Eight finalists will pitch their ideas at the final competition Dec. 9:

  • Sue Sende Cole, Working with Wicker (repurposing wicker baskets)
  • Santiago Diaz, Austin Building Materials Depository and Working Space (repurposing books, spent grain, vinyl banners, water proof clogs, canvas, and decorative glassware)
  • Joe Diffie, The Table to Bacon Feed Company (repurposing spent grain)
  • Aaron Pierron, Non-container Glass Recycling (repurposing decorative glassware)
  • Melissa Rothrock, Calling All Seamstresses (repurposing vinyl banners)
  • Cory Skuldt, Brew Biscuits Expansion (repurposing spent grain)
  • Renata Sturdival, Safe Innovative Heels (repurposing vinyl banners and waterproof clogs)
  • Brandon Ward, Brewnola Bars (repurposing spent grain)

Judging will be based on business viability, sustainability impact, economic impact and social impact, along with effectiveness of pitch delivery.

Background

The [Re]Verse Pitch Competition is a one-of-a-kind social innovation program to turn valuable raw materials that are currently leaving local businesses, nonprofits and institutions as waste into the foundation of new social enterprises. The first-ever “reverse pitch” Nov. 3 drew more than 85 social entrepreneurs and Austinites at Vuka to hear pitches from local businesses and nonprofits that have materials up for grabs.

The [Re]Verse Pitch Competition is a collaboration between the City of Austin, the U.S. Business Council for Sustainable Development, Impact Hub Austin and the RGK Center for Philanthropy and Community Service with additional support from a wide variety of community partners. Learn more at ReversePitch.org.

U.S. Materials Marketplace selected as a finalist for The Circulars Awards 2016

Project selected from an international pool of candidates in the “Circular Economy Digital Disruptor” category

circulars with logos

Nationwide, December 1, 2015: The United States Materials Marketplace project, a groundbreaking company-led “waste-matching” initiative led by the U.S. Business Council for Sustainable Development (US BCSD), Corporate Eco Forum (CEF) and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), was selected as a finalist in The Circulars Awards 2016 under the “Circular Economy Digital Disruptor” category. The Circulars, the world’s premier circular economy award program, offers recognition to individuals and organizations from commerce and civil society across the globe that have made a notable contribution to driving circular economy principles.

The project, piloted in the summer of 2015, sought to assess the feasibility of a national “Materials Marketplace” to match traditional and non-traditional industrial waste streams with new product and revenue opportunities. 23 major companies participated in the first phase of the pilot, representing 78 industrial facilities across the U.S. The project plans to expand to over 100 participating organizations in the US, and scale to other regions through combined organizational networks by the end of 2016.

The results reveal significant opportunities to eliminate corporate waste and by-product streams. From June through August 2015, participants uploaded 2.4 million tons of underutilized materials to the marketplace, and sought 59 materials via a unique “wishlist” function. The Marketplace team, leveraging more than two decades of experience, recommended 68 matches and initiated 19 transactions.

A comprehensive report presenting the outcomes, challenges, lessons learned and path forward for the U.S. Materials Marketplace pilot is available at http://materialsmarketplace.org.

By participating in the Materials Marketplace, companies can lower operational costs and waste disposal expenses while reducing energy consumption and GHG emissions. Additionally, they will spend less for raw materials, create new business opportunities and jobs to implement them, and join a respected collaborative network of diverse like-minded companies that are eager to explore new pathways to more efficient production and environmental protection.

Companies participating in the 2015 U.S. Materials Marketplace pilot project include: Armstrong World Industries, CH2M, BASF, Dow Chemical, Essroc, Fairmount Santrol, General Motors, Goodyear, Greif, LafargeHolcim, Nike, Novelis, Procter & Gamble, Swisstrax, Tetra Pak, Veolia, Waste Management, and others. In 2014, these companies accounted for over $600 billion U.S. in revenue, operated over 600 facilities in the U.S., and employed over 1.7 million people worldwide.

Pilot project implemented in the US by 23 leading companies reveals promising opportunities to eliminate industrial waste

New report details early results and outlines a path forward for a national-scale Materials Marketplace

Today, the U.S. Business Council for Sustainable Development (US BCSD), Corporate Eco Forum (CEF) and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) announced the results of a groundbreaking company-led “waste-matching” initiative. The project sought to assess the feasibility of a national “Materials Marketplace” to match traditional and non-traditional industrial waste streams with new product and revenue opportunities. 23 major companies participated in the first phase of the pilot, representing 78 industrial facilities across the United States.

The results reveal significant opportunities to eliminate corporate waste and by-product streams. From June through August 2015, participants uploaded 2.4 million tons of underutilized materials to the marketplace, and sought 59 materials via a unique “wishlist” function. The Marketplace team, leveraging more than two decades of experience, recommended 68 matches and initiated 19 transactions.

A comprehensive report presenting the outcomes, challenges, lessons learned and path forward for the U.S. Materials Marketplace pilot is available at http://materialsmarketplace.org.

Andrew Mangan, founder and Executive Director of the US BCSD, likens the process to pulling open curtains that have long been closed. He summarizes the vision of the project, “The increasing pressure on our natural resources sends a clear message: we need to find value in discarded materials. Growing cross-industry collaboration for the efficient use of our resources opens up new business opportunities while creating economic, environmental, and societal benefits.”

Added Amy O’Meara, Director of the Corporate Eco Forum, “The pilot clearly demonstrated that an expanded U.S. Materials Marketplace with hundreds of companies reusing their material flows could significantly reduce the waste currently going to landfills. With increasing numbers of companies aspiring to more circular business models, the Marketplace also plays an increasingly important convening role for likeminded business leaders.”

Peter Bakker, President and CEO of the WBCSD, said “The Materials Marketplace project pilot has revealed major economic opportunities for companies to close material and waste loops. In collaboration with our 70 Global Network Partners across the world, we will identify ways to bring these projects to scale and accelerate the transition to a circular economy.”

The project received a major boost from the early and enthusiastic enlistment of General Motors and Nike. In recent years, General Motors has generated nearly $1 billion in annual revenue through reuse and recycling of its by-products, which enabled the corporation to avoid releasing 10 million metric tons of CO2-equivalent emissions in the atmosphere.

In January 2016, the pilot will be extended for another three months to finish transactions in progress and recruit additional companies. By participating in the Materials Marketplace, companies can lower operational costs and waste disposal expenses while reducing energy consumption and GHG emissions. Additionally, they will spend less for raw materials, create new business opportunities and jobs to implement them, and join a respected collaborative network of diverse like-minded companies that are eager to explore new pathways to more efficient production and environmental protection.

Companies participating in the 2015 U.S. Materials Marketplace pilot project include: Armstrong World Industries, BASF, CH2M, Dow Chemical, Essroc, Fairmount Santrol, General Motors, Goodyear, Greif, LafargeHolcim, Nike, Novelis, Procter & Gamble, Swisstrax, Tetra Pak, Veolia, Waste Management, and others. In 2014, these companies accounted for over $600 billion U.S. in revenue, operated over 600 facilities in the U.S., and employed over 1.7 million people worldwide.

ABOUT THE US BCSD: The US BCSD is an action-oriented and member¬-led business association that harnesses the power of collaborative projects, platforms and partnerships to develop, deploy and scale solutions to ecosystems, energy, materials and water challenges. US BCSD activities are designed to generate economic returns and address environmental and societal challenges. The US BCSD is one of 65 national councils affiliated with the World Business Council for Sustainable Development.

ABOUT THE WBCSD: The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), a CEO-led organization of some 200 forward-thinking global companies, is committed to galvanizing the global business community to create a sustainable future for business, society and the environment. Together with its members, the council applies its respected thought leadership and effective advocacy to generate constructive solutions and take shared action. Leveraging its strong relationships with stakeholders as the leading advocate for business, the council helps drive debate and policy change in favor of sustainable development solutions.

The WBCSD provides a forum for its member companies – who represent all business sectors, all continents and a combined revenue of more than $8.5 trillion, 19 million employees – to share best practices on sustainable development issues and to develop innovative tools that change the status quo. The council also benefits from a network of 70 national and regional business councils and partner organizations, a majority of which are based in developing countries.

ABOUT THE CORPORATE ECO FORUM: The Corporate Eco Forum (CEF) is an invitation-only membership organization comprised of Fortune and Global 500 companies from 18 industries with combined revenues of over $3 trillion. CEF’s mission is to help accelerate sustainable business innovation by creating a neutral “safe space” for influential business leaders to strategize and exchange best-practice insights. Participants are exclusively top-level executives, including chief sustainability officers, chief financial officers, and chief technology officers, and other VP-level executives with responsibilities affecting the supply chain.

National Materials Marketplace Pilot Project Update: August 2015

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As we near the end of August 2015, the National Materials Marketplace pilot has nearly wrapped up the initial data collection phase and has marched forward into analysis, synergy identification and the early stages of synergy facilitation. This positions us well to close out the pilot phase of the project in mid-September and launch a formal report with our results, learnings and path forward.

Materials Available

materials

So far there are 140 material available listings in the marketplace from 20 out of 22 participants, totalling around 2.3 million tons/year of underutilized materials available for higher and better use. This figure alone demonstrates a tremendous opportunity for environmental, social and economic impact; and as a part of the final report, we’ll be conducting deeper analysis on potential impacts in each of these three areas.

Actionable Opportunities

Select, preliminary results from the initial round of materials analysis are summarized below. In addition to this, nearly all of the 140 materials available have been matched with some sort of reuse idea, which we’ll be sharing directly with participants over the next week or two.

Cement kiln Co-processing
Waste co-processing (pre-treatment and co-incineration) in cement kilns takes advantage of the high heat and long retention time already used in the cement production process. Out of all the materials that can be technically reused in the cement kilns, we have prioritized those that adhere to the “highest and best use” principle of our work. This includes many of the non-metallic mineral materials from aluminum industry, and organic by-products with high calorific value from chemical industry.

Chemicals
By-products from the chemical industry are generally reused in four ways: 1) reuse as it is 2) reuse after purification/treatment, 3) reuse the chemical property of the material in other applications, or 4) reuse of the heat value in the material. Many of the chemical materials in the marketplace fall under one or more of these categories, including: propanol heads (direct reuse), spent sulfuric acid (direct reuse or pH adjustment), methocel, resin oil, spent solvents, and lubricants (btu value).

Red Mud
One chemical and one sand/mining company have expressed interest via the marketplace software in reusing red mud (bauxite residual) as Phosphorus removal media and sand production additive, and are in the process to acquiring test samples. We are also working to identify interested parties – in particular, those with operations along the Gulf Coast and Mississippi River – to reuse red mud as levee construction materials. Research from the EPA’s Region 6 office is also being leveraged for this idea.

Drums and Totes
Some participants have used shipping containers like totes and drums in the marketplace, and are in discussions to recondition and reuse them for their original purpose.

Steel Offal
The steel offal from one auto industry company has caught great interest from multiple participants, all of whom are scoping reuse of these high quality materials directly in their production.

Fibrous Material
Fibrous material makes up a significant part of the packaging materials available in the marketplace. Our reuse idea is to work with a ceiling tile manufacturer to incorporate these materials into their ceiling products.

Materials Highlights

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Below are four especially interesting materials available now in the marketplace. Visit http://marketplace.usbcsd.org to login and view these materials and more.

Natural Leather Scrap
Natural leather from footwear manufacturing component cutting. Good for direct reuse.

Quantity:
5200 tons/year

Silica Sand
Crystalline silica is hard, chemically inert and has a high melting point. It is used for a wide range of applications, e.g. glass, casting, molds production, etc.

Quantity:
4200 tons/year

Hardwood Flooring
Off-spec unfinished and finished hardwood (mostly red and white oak) flooring.

Quantity:
960 tons/year

HITEC Solar Salt
Mixture of water soluble, inorganic salts of potassium nitrate, sodium nitrite and sodium nitrate. It is a heat transfer medium for heating and cooling between 300-1100 F.

Quantity:
368 tons/year

Emerging Connections

The Ellen MacArthur Foundation is a global circular economy thought leader; leveraging education, business innovation and analysis to accelerate the transition from linear to circular systems. Their Circular Economy 100 platform brings together leading companies, emerging innovators and regions to work towards this end goal. The overlap between our efforts is clear, and we’ll be presenting our action-oriented project methodology to CE100 companies this October in Milan to explore how they can join the effort.

Our collaboration on Sustainable Materials Management with the US EPA’s Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response (OSWER) is moving forward, and through this collaboration we’ll be involved in an upcoming workshop with G-7 Alliance on Resource Efficiency.

Scaling this project and our successes to the European Union is looking very likely, spearheaded by the WBCSD’s Global Network. We’ll be presenting the project via webinar to over 20 Global Network leaders across the EU in late August. We’ll also be presenting at a European Commission circular economy workshop in mid-September.

Collaborating to Achieve Scale: Conference Highlights

Can business make real progress on global environmental and social issues? Can businesses positively influence environmental and social trends while strengthening their own resilience to issues like climate change and resource scarcity? Can we collaborate to translate great ideas into great actions, and scale them up to have meaningful impact?

Can business make real progress on global environmental and social issues? Can businesses positively influence environmental and social trends while strengthening their own resilience to issues like climate change and resource scarcity? Can we collaborate to translate great ideas into great actions, and scale them up to have meaningful impact?

Overview

Over 100 WBCSD and US BCSD members, business leaders and sustainability professionals gathered in New Haven on July 16-17, 2015 to try to answer those questions. The setting was a unique collaboration in itself: a joint working meeting of the US Business Council for Sustainable Development (US BCSD), the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) and the Yale Center for Business and the Environment (CBEY).

Collaboration

Participants from different sectors and roles worked together in a variety of settings. People selected their own sessions, no barriers based on roles. Sessions combined “veterans” and those with hands-on involvement with others with a stake in the issue, expertise in key disciplines, experience in parallel issues or simply bringing fresh perspective. Together, these diverse groups produced insights, actions, pathways forward and new collaborations.

Connections

One emerging theme was connections, including:

  • Between needs and solutions
  • Between science and business
  • Between different projects (e.g. agriculture and water, materials and forestry)
Collaborating to Achieve Scale: Conference Highlights

Guiding Principles

The two-day event was designed to connect thought leadership, breakthrough ideas, and realistic business approaches to action-orientated projects and implementation platforms. We explored existing and emerging projects that demonstrate how collaborations work in practice; discussed what’s needed for scale in the context of finance, communications, policy and technology; and created opportunities for peers across sectors to learn and gain from one another.

Media and Resources

US BCSD: http://usbcsd.org/blog for project updates, social media summaries, video links, and in-depth session write-ups. @usbcsd on twitter.

Yale Center for Business and the Environment: http://cbey.yale.edu for video links and in-depth session write-ups. @YaleCBEY on twitter.

WBCSD: http://wbcsd.org for project updates, and social media conversations. @wbcsd on twitter.

Click here for a social media recap of the event.

VIDEO

Professor Marian Chertow (Yale) and author and global expert Andrew Winston explore why new models of collaboration are needed to scale the solutions to our sustainability challenges.

Lynda Clemmons from NRG and Jonathan Atwood from Unilever discuss how they’re using renewable energy to redefine customer relationships and grow their businesses.

PROJECT WORK SESSIONS

Financing Coastal Resiliency

Challenge: design a pathway to engage new financing mechanisms to scale-up wetland restoration and increase coastal resiliency.

  • Capital markets are watching and waiting. Need methodology to build the case for private investment including data about both the effectiveness of solutions and savings (in construction and O&M costs, insurance claims, capital investment avoided, etc.)
  • Avoid “barrier language.” Consider regulator education including agreement on terminology.
  • Without a baseline/inventory for natural capital, it is hard to quantify (or monetize) losses or gains.
  • There are real examples of private sector costs that could have been avoided (e.g. $100MM to restore pipeline integrity to avoid risks and assure business continuity).
  • Green infrastructure: much cheaper, lighter and less disruptive/destructive. Long term advantages: grow instead of settle, can appreciate rather than depreciate.

Climate Smart Agriculture

Challenge: scale-up production systems that sustainably increase productivity, resilience (adaptation), reduce/remove GHGs (mitigation), and enhance achievement of national food security and development goals.

  • Different vocabulary used in agriculture and climate sectors. Climate speak is dramatic – “catastrophic event.” We are close to the brink in terms of negative impacts, but need to come up with our own vocabulary in the agriculture sector that speaks to farmers.
  • Paradigmatic change – producing the food, feed and fiber we need while addressing climate change.
  • No changes in farming practice will happen until we generate stable financial support How to finance large­-scale technology improvements and promote access to new technologies from the private sector.
  • Increase productivity, reduce waste, and rehabilitate degraded agricultural land.
  • Use non-­productive land areas to sequester carbon or designate them for ecosystem services.

Energy Efficiency in Buildings

Challenge: trigger motivation for wide-scale market transformation in the buildings sector.

  • How do we translate technical language for the finance community? Is there a way to drive the market via valuation?
  • Where do green banks come into the picture on energy efficiency? Can we animate the markets and mobilize private capital?
  • Focus on both the broad stakeholder engagement process and also the actual implementation of energy efficiency measures on a building level.
  • Banks are ready with capital to invest at scale, but often don’t have time or resources to help create scale.

National Materials Marketplace

Challenge: scale up business-to-business materials reuse to the national and international stage.

  • Language, if used incorrectly, can be a huge barrier: the word materials (vs. “trash”) changes the conversation.
  • Raising awareness within the business community is key. Creating awareness of value and cost savings generates conversations between businesses.
  • Nonprofits can be the boots on the ground.
  • Need to have the right platform for scale to happen, but that takes resources to make the platform work and ensure good communication
  • Need a financing model after the pilot to sustain the operation and grow the network.
  • Need to get the right group of people engaged internally, e.g. procurement, technical experts, and public communications.
  • The national project should interface with US BCSD’s various regional materials marketplace projects.
  • Policies uniform across multiple states would enable easier reuse of materials across different states.
  • Success stories, business cases, and related metrics are the key for scaling up.

Sustainable Forestry

Challenge: bring more of the world’s forest under sustainable management and expand markets for responsible forest products.

  • The loss of forests is driven by more than just forest products. Increasing sustainable forests product output is different from reduction of destructive use of forested lands (slash/burn, etc.).
  • Forestry solutions contribute to forest restoration but other sectors, like agriculture, have to work to slow forest loss.
  • Still confusion on what counts as a natural vs artificial forest. Avoid over using words like natural/planted/wild/reclaimed. The issue gets even murkier when you consider how long it takes forests to grow and whether there is human involvement during this process. At what point is does a forest go from natural to managed to farmed to man­-made?
  • Invest in mitigation projects with an adaptation co­-benefit or the reverse (adaptation projects with an mitigation co­-benefit).
Collaborating to Achieve Scale: Conference Highlights

FINANCE, POLICY, COMMUNICATIONS AND TECHNOLOGY

Finance

  • Translate benefits into financial terms, both with language and with quantification/ monetization.
  • Chicken and egg problem: Banks won't invest until scale, but we won't get scale until banks invest.
  • Disaggregated benefits may be good for politics and public policy, but are a challenge for investors. Finding ways to collect, “stack” and monetize those benefits.
  • Need to focus on ways to structure leverage. For example, smart subsidies: Use public money to leverage private sector funding.

Communications

  • How do we reframe the sustainability challenge? How do we better explain a complex topic in ways that reach broader audiences?
  • Danger if conversation is meaningful to stakeholders involved, but fail to translate to the other critical players.
  • Traditionally, the role of messenger for these issues have been delivered by scientists, advocates and liberals. These groups are naturally seen as special interests, rather than having mass appeal.
  • We need to reframe these issues by focusing on a values based discussion that is delivered with sound science to targeted audiences.
  • Need sustained conversations with a particular audience.
  • Break out of silos. Develop broader narrative that needs to be communicated. Everybody that wants the same 2050, etc goal, needs to start telling the story on a consistent basis in a way people understand.
  • We need to be multi-lingual in order to reach a wide audience and speak in language that all audiences can understand on an issue of shared interest. One crosscutting issue for science and business is risk – we need to find language that can bridge communications between science, business and to some extent government.
  • Build a dialogue based on values focused decision making to build trust and understanding in the community.
    • Surface the values that are underscoring in initial conversation with those you would like to engage.
    • Be clear which stakeholders need to be involved, involve them, test your message with them and craft a story and a narrative that meets your audiences where they live.
    • Test the message with the group.
    • Identify the most creative and compelling vision to what the best ways to visualize that content.
    • Last step is figuring out who is going to produce the content? If not you, who is the right person?

Policy

  • Outdated policy hinders business innovation, fragmented politics, frustrates people.
  • Need to create safe space for collaboration, including standard disclosure mechanisms to drive to scale.
  • Outcome and measurement are the foundation.
  • Sector collaboration may be needed when no single company is willing to take the lead.
  • Trust is the key when attempting to work across business and policy makers. Many of the problems that we have discussed stem from this distrust.
  • Being focused on climate change broadly can work to the detriment of both policy and business. There are additional environmental issues such as fresh water rights/shortages that must also be addressed.

Technology

  • Incredible power to change what we do and how we do it.
  • Challenge of ensuring that we’re focusing technology on the right questions: e.g. is it how to reduce energy use or how to reduce the impact of the ways we produce and consume energy?
  • Technology leaps largely come from focusing on functionality – e.g. cell phones, not better telephone wires. Can we get color without dyes rather than better dyes?
  • Great technology upstream can enable great benefit downstream, but this benefit can’t be monetized. Finding the technology or applying it isn’t the problem. It’s addressing the combination of disaggregated un-monetized benefits.
Collaborating to Achieve Scale: Conference Highlights

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