Posts in Water
Water Institute, US Business Council for Sustainable Development Form Strategic Alliance

water_institute_600x500      US BCSD with Text

BATON ROUGE, La. and AUSTIN, Texas (February 9, 2015) — Nearly a decade after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, and five years after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill ravaged the Louisiana coastline, two groups that have separately tackled a number of issues involving the protective role played by the region’s eroding wetlands and the importance of Louisiana’s water resources are now joining forces.

The Water Institute of the Gulf and the United States Business Council for Sustainable Development (US BCSD) today announced an agreement that will allow the organizations to collaborate on applied research aimed at finding solutions to water challenges in the region and around the world.

The agreement creates an alliance between two groups that have been working to help industries and their surrounding communities find sustainable solutions to water resource issues. It joins The Water Institute, a Louisiana-based non-profit research institute, and the US BCSD, a Texas-based non-profit that uses collaborative projects and partnerships to develop, deploy and scale solutions to ecosystems, energy, materials and water challenges.

The US BCSD is composed of 55 U.S. companies sharing a commitment to pursuing sustainable development. It is a member of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, a global network of more than 200 international companies that serves as the umbrella organization for 65 similar national business councils worldwide.

"We're extremely excited to add the US BCSD to our strong network of partners,” said Chip Groat, Ph.D., president and CEO of The Water Institute. “The council’s relationships with the private sector will add valuable capacity to efforts to meet challenges and develop solutions across the Gulf Coast, the nation and beyond.”

“This collaboration will provide valuable technical expertise to project participants as they tackle water challenges that are key to their businesses and communities,” said Andrew Mangan, Executive Director of the US BCSD. “Together, our two organizations will seek ways to convert water challenges to economic opportunities in ways that benefit people, ecosystems and businesses.”

The US BCSD’s Louisiana Water Synergy Project will serve as the platform for the organizations’ initial cooperative venture. The project, which began in May 2012, provides a forum for business leaders with infrastructure investments in southern Louisiana to collaborate on efforts to help ensure sustainable water supplies while protecting wetlands and improving water quality in the region.

The project involves 21 companies representing a wide range of industrial sectors, including manufacturing, beverages, oil and gas, chemicals and utilities. Participants also include representatives from the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation, The Nature Conservancy, Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality, and Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry.

A key objective for the pilot is to develop a replicable work process that can be applied in other watersheds and regions.

About The Water Institute of the Gulf The Water Institute of the Gulf is a not-for-profit, independent research institute dedicated to advancing the understanding of coastal, deltaic, river and water resource systems, both within the Gulf Coast and around the world. This mission supports the practical application of innovative science and engineering, providing solutions that benefit society. For more information, visit www.thewaterinstitute.org.

About the United States Business Council for Sustainable Development (US BCSD) The US BCSD is an action oriented and member-led nonprofit 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. For more information, visit www.usbcsd.org.

Blog, WaterDaniel Kietzer
Louisiana Water Synergy Project highlighted in The Advocate

Advocate

Industries in Louisiana have been working with environmental groups, state agencies and university scientists to brainstorm potential solutions addressing water quality issues. Ranging from wetlands restoration to reducing the size of the annual low-oxygen “dead zone” in the Gulf of Mexico, the collaboration through the Louisiana Water Synergy Project is meant to deal with potential risks to water in the Baton Rouge-New Orleans industrial corridor and beyond.

The project got started several years ago through the efforts of the nonprofit United States Business Council for Sustainable Development, said Susan Fernandes, manager of the project with the council. “Water is critical to business, but it’s also critical to agriculture, the cities where we live and the environment,” Fernandes said Wednesday. Fernandes’ comments came on the first day of the Louisiana Mid-Continent Oil and Gas Association annual meeting in New Orleans. Read more.

Blog, WaterDaniel Kietzer
New USCCF Report Highlights the US BCSD’s Industrial Scale Water Collaboration

usccf On March 20th the US Chamber of Commerce Foundation released a new report titled “Achieving Energy and Water Security: Scalable Solutions from the Private Sector.” Featuring more than 25 business success stories, the report shows how companies solve energy and water challenges in their operations and supply chains. The US BCSD’s Louisiana Water Synergy Project is highlighted as one of the 25.

For the past two years, the United States Business Council for Sustainable Development (US BCSD) has worked with 21 diverse companies in the lower Mississippi River watershed to address a range of water issues. Coca-Cola is working with Mosaic Fertilizer to address water quality concerns. Valero Energy and Nucor Steel Louisiana LLC have explored new options for wetlands restoration through changes in water management. Projects and policy recommendations have emerged that have been greeted with high interest by the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality and from a concurrent public sector regional water planning effort.

This multi-sector teaming demonstrates that there is considerable regional interest in using the speed and efficiency of market-based institutions to seek out ways of converting water problems into economic opportunities, and to develop a collective capacity for conserving watershed systems as both private and public goods. (Page 40)

Visit the USCCF’s website to download the report and learn more about how the private sector leverages new technologies, innovation, partnerships, and other approaches to help achieve greater energy and water security. The report also features best practices from leading companies including FedEx, Shell, Ford, Microsoft, Office Depot, and more.

Blog, WaterDaniel Kietzer
Voluntary Action Leads New Louisiana Nutrient Management Strategy

NutrientThe Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority of Louisiana (CPRA), the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry (LDAF), the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (LDEQ), and the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources (LDNR) are working together to create a new Nutrient Management Strategy for the state of Louisiana. Their purpose is to manage nitrogen and phosphorous to protect and restore water quality in Louisiana’s inland and coastal waters – using incentives and voluntary action to get there. The task force released a review draft of the strategy in December 2013, calling on numerous state and federal agencies and stakeholders from the watershed to play a part in implementing the strategy.

The US BCSD’s Water Synergy Project is highlighted for proactively addressing nutrient management issues and is cited for providing input to the Louisiana Statewide Nutrient Management Strategy. The project's focus on stakeholder engagement, voluntary action, and cross-sector collaboration provided examples of nutrient management efforts already at work.

Implementation of the multi-component strategy includes creating river diversions, using best management practices and conservation practices at non-point sources, promoting wetland assimilation at point sources, providing incentives to practice stewardship, taking advantage of opportunities to leverage current efforts, and utilizing new science-based technologies and applications.

The state of Louisiana is currently accepting comment on the review draft of the strategy through January 31, 2014. To view the draft yourself, visit http://www.lanutrientmanagement.org/. For more information on the Louisiana Water Synergy Project, visit http://water-synergy.org/.

Blog, WaterDaniel Kietzer
Water Quality and Nutrients Management Unites Industry, Regulators and the Agriculture Community

In a multi-part release over the next few weeks, we’ll be posting a series of updates exploring key themes and recent outcomes from the Louisiana Water Synergy Project. While these themes are Louisiana-specific, all of them can be applicable to most watersheds in the US. During the July 30th Louisiana Water Synergy Project meeting, guests from the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (LDEQ), the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry (LDAF), and the Louisiana State University AgCenter joined project participants to discuss nutrients management and water quality in watersheds across the state of Louisiana.

LDEQ, the Coastal Protection & Restoration Authority (CPRA), LDAF, and the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources (LDNR) are working on a comprehensive Louisiana nutrient management plan with the goal of managing nutrient levels in inland and coastal water bodies.

AgricultureThe nutrient management plan will be released by the end of 2013, and includes water quality monitoring, point source wetland assimilation, coastal river diversions, and best management practices. LDEQ is seeking to incentivize non-point sources – like municipalities and agricultural operations – to adopt best management practices. They also encourage industry in LA to openly communicate what they’re already doing to manage nutrients in an effort to foster a positive relationship between point and non-point sources.

Farmers and ranchers face significant challenges to produce more and impact less in this era of rapidly increasing global population. While interested in using best management practices, producers look to their consumers for help getting there. An example of such collaboration is Kellogg’s Rice Master Grower program, a joint effort between the Kellogg Company, the Louisiana Rice Mill, and the Louisiana State University AgCenter. The program recognizes farmers based on their growing practices, giving the highest honors to those who utilize best management practices most extensively.

Discussions between regulators, industry, and the agriculture community at Water Synergy Project meetings have proven the common goal of managing nutrients and water quality unites the sectors - with all sides interested in collaboration. One pilot project currently being explored would focus on an impaired inland lake where facilities and farmers operating in the region could work together to identify needs, take action, and possibly engage in environmental markets where the costs and benefits of the project are shared among participating parties.

Collaboration between regulators, industry, and the agriculture community has the potential to comprehensively improve water quality in Southern Louisiana and the Gulf of Mexico, and replicating the project process in other watersheds has potential to improve water quality throughout the country. Visit our water page or contact Susan Fernandes for information.

Blog, WaterSusan Fernandes
WBCSD Business Guide to Water Valuation

water valuationThe WBSCD has launched a Business guide to water valuation in recognition of the difficulty businesses face in accurately measuring the importance of water. This new publication aims to provide business guidance on how to assess the value of water to their operations but also to society as a whole. Better valuing water can in fact help companies better manage water, thus reduce water stress and ensure the sustainability of their future operations. The guide shares best practices concepts and techniques to help managers commission, manage and review water valuation studies, and make the best use of the findings. It draws upon 25 business-related valuation cases that demonstrate how water valuation can be used to reach different goals, and that illustrate the valuation concepts and techniques. Peter Bakker, President, WBCSD said,

“There is a global recognition that water is rarely valued appropriately and as water demand continues to stretch and stress our water supply, businesses will increasingly need to account for the real value of water they are using in order to inform decision-making. And more broadly, greater practical collaboration and local participation is needed in the collective management of water to ensure long-term access to the resource in the context of competing demands."

This collaboration is a key part of the WBCSD's Action 2020 framework to achieve core societal and planetary goals through business solutions by 2020. Click here to download the full report.

Blog, WaterSusan Fernandes
Impacts of Industrial Development on Water Resources

In a multi-part release over the next few weeks, we’ll be posting a series of updates exploring key themes and recent outcomes from the Louisiana Water Synergy Project. While these themes are Louisiana-specific, all of them can be applicable to most watersheds in the US. On July 30th, the Louisiana Water Synergy Project held its quarterly meeting in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, bringing over 35 representatives of academia, industry, service companies, and regulators together to discuss their shared interests in water quality, quantity, storm water management, and coastal resiliency.

LSU(1)The LSU Center for Energy Studies estimates $62 billion in industrial investments are planned for Louisiana including new facilities and expansions of existing facilities, with a large portion coming from the chemical, refining, and manufacturing sectors. The Center predicts most of the development will occur along the Mississippi River corridor between Baton Rouge and New Orleans - the heart of the Water Synergy Project area.

David Dismukes, Associate Director at the Center, is examining the potential economic impacts associated with these planned capital investments in Louisiana over the next nine years, which are driven in large part by the increased availability and low cost of natural gas.

Facilities highlighted for expansions or new construction include liquid natural gas (LNG), gas to liquid (GTL), and chemical production including methanol, ammonia, and polymer. Water is used to re-vaporize LNG, as a feedstock for chemical production, and in the transport of goods to terminals. Each use is accompanied by potential water management challenges; and as industry grows, water use will intensify.

An influx of industrial development comes with a substantial increase the number of jobs, and workers to fill those positions. Louisiana will not only experience economic development, but also infrastructure challenges as the population rises. Non-point source pollution is often solely attributed to agriculture, but according to the EPA, the second leading source of water quality impairment in the United States is municipal point sources, followed by changes in land use and urban runoff. (source) As neighborhoods expand, impacts to water quality and quantity will follow.

The scale of the development projected for Louisiana is unprecedented and exponentially raises the importance of cross-sector communication and management of water resources. The Louisiana Water Synergy Project is led by members of oil and gas, chemical, energy, alumina, steel, cement, fertilizer industries and service companies. Representation from the agriculture sector is expected to join soon. Through our meetings individual water challenges are revealed to be common issues, best management practices are shared, and unified strategies are developed; strategies that will be crucial for effective water management in the years to come.

Blog, WaterSusan Fernandes
Texas Gov. Rick Perry Approves PACE Program for Low-Cost Financing of Water, Energy Conservation Projects

Texas Gov. Rick Perry has signed legislation allowing local property taxing authorities to enact ordinances enabling Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) programs across the state. PACE financing will allow commercial and industrial building owners to obtain low-cost, long-term private sector financing for water conservation and energy-efficiency improvements. With Gov. Perry’s signature, the PACE program is effective immediately. The Texas PACE Act places emphasis on energy and water saving retrofits in industrial and commercial properties, effectively incentivizing some of the largest energy consumers in the country to reduce their consumption. Texas consumes more electricity than any other state, and industry accounts for almost half of that energy use, according to the United States Energy Information Administration.

New efficiencies in equipment and processes - including some efficiencies identified through the US BCSD's By-Product and Water Synergy methodologies - will dramatically lower water usage, energy needs and costs, as well as reduced waste and disposal costs. PACE districts have been authorized in 30 states, with impressive financial benefits already apparent. Recently in Ann Arbor, Michigan, a $65,000 project to improve lighting, insulation, heating and cooling systems and reducing water use at a commercial property was completed and projected savings for tenants in energy costs range from $500 to $5,000 a year.

For the last nine years, CEOs have ranked Texas as the best state in which to do business. “PACE will help Texans meet the conservation goals in our State Water Plan and reduce demand on our electric grid,” says Sen. John Carona, sponsor of SB 385. “These savings will benefit the building owners directly and help keep the Texas economic engine primed for growth and prepared for the continuing influx of people moving to Texas to share in our prosperity.”

Experts to help us move from Vision 2050 to Action 2020

Joining us for Action 2020 at Yale University on July 17-18, 2013?

Actions led by business to achieve one or more societal or planetary goal in the Action 2020 framework will be assisted and scaled up through collaboration with industry peers, academic experts, and government representatives. Action 2020 organizers at the Yale Center for Business and Environment have assembled an esteemed group of colleagues to join us at Yale University, each committed to helping us understand the complexities of our efforts and continue driving to action. See a few standouts below, and visit our website to learn more.


Paul Anastas

Paul T. Anastas is the Teresa and H. John Heinz III Professor in the Practice of Chemistry for the Environment. He has appointments in the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, Department of Chemistry, and Department of Chemical Engineering. In addition, Prof. Anastas serves as the Director of the Center for Green Chemistry and Green Engineering at Yale.

Anastas took public service leave from Yale to serve as the Assistant Administrator for the US Environmental Protection Agency and the Agency Science Advisor from 2009-2012. From 2004 -2006, Paul Anastas served as Director of the ACS Green Chemistry Institute in Washington, D.C. He was previously the Assistant Director for the Environment in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy where he worked from 1999-2004. He is credited with establishing the field of green chemistry during his time working for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as the Chief of the Industrial Chemistry Branch and as the Director of the U.S. Green Chemistry Program.


John Bradburn

John is manager of waste-reduction efforts at General Motors. In this role, he leads the company's landfill-free initiative, which has resulted in 99 GM operations around the world that reuse, recycle, and convert to energy all wastes from daily operations. John is an established expert in waste reduction and recycling, and frequently mentors other companies pursuing zero-waste goals. John's responsibilities also include directing the company's design-for-the-environment program, implementing sustainable processes and technologies that reduce the company's environmental impact and costs.

He collaborates with suppliers, product and manufacturing engineers, and external stakeholder groups. Under John's leadership, GM recycled or reused 90 percent of waste generated globally through various resource conservation efforts in 2011. Between 2000 and 2010, the company reduced non-recycled manufacturing waste by 73 percent.


Marian Chertow

Marian Chertow is Associate Professor of Industrial Environmental Management and has been Director of the Industrial Environmental Management Program at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies since 1991. Her research and teaching focus on industrial ecology, business/environment issues, waste management, and environmental technology innovation. Primary research interests are 1) The study of industrial symbiosis including geographically-based exchanges of wastes, materials, energy, and water within networks of businesses. 2) The potential of industrial ecology to underpin ideas of the proposed Circular Economy law in China. 3) The application of innovation theory to the development of environmental and energy technology.

Prior to Yale, Marian spent ten years in environmental business and state and local government including service as President of the Connecticut Resources Recovery Authority charged with developing a billion dollar waste infrastructure system for the state. She is a frequent international lecturer and has testified on waste, recycling and other environmental issues before committees of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives.


Richard Kidd

Richard Kidd became the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army (Energy & Sustainability) on October 25, 2010. This is his third assignment as a Senior Executive within the Federal Government. In this position he is responsible for overall program direction, establishment of policies, development and refinement of strategies, and oversight for implementation of all programs and initiatives related to Energy Security and Sustainability within the Army. As the Army's Senior Energy Executive, Mr. Kidd coordinates and integrates both installation and operational energy programs and strategies.

Mr. Kidd graduated from the United States Military Academy in 1986 and served as an Infantry Officer until 1991. After receiving a Masters Degree in Public and Private Management from Yale University, he joined the United Nations in 1993 and served in a variety of international assignments, principally in war affected regions of the world.


Anthony Leiserowitz

Anthony Leiserowitz, Ph.D. is Director of the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication and a Research Scientist at the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies at Yale University. He is a widely recognized expert on American and international public opinion on global warming, including public perception of climate change risks, support and opposition for climate policies, and willingness to make individual behavioral change.

His research investigates the psychological, cultural, political, and geographic factors that drive public environmental perception and behavior. He has conducted survey, experimental, and field research at scales ranging from the global to the local, including international studies, the United States, individual states, municipalities, and with the Inupiaq Eskimo of Northwest Alaska. He also conducted the first empirical assessment of worldwide public values, attitudes, and behaviors regarding global sustainability, including environmental protection, economic growth, and human development.

Finding Common Ground on Water in Louisiana

Participants of the Louisiana Water Synergy Project met Monday, May 6th at Loyola University, New Orleans. As many participants come from different sectors of industry but face similar challenges regarding water quality and quantity issues, collaborative thinking led to creative actions to address those challenges. For example, a user of traditional water treatment shared that monitoring dissolved oxygen levels in their mixing tanks helped reduce Nitrogen output, while those experienced with using wetlands as a natural nutrient and sediment removal process extolled the nutrient-cleaning benefits of their approach. Despite different approaches to treatment, both expressed interest in nutrient credit trading.

Dr. Gerard Learmonth of the University of Virginia showcased the UVA Chesapeake Bay Game. The game allows players to take on the role of a farmer, waterman, land developer, or a regulator and make land management decisions. These decisions produce true-to-life results enumerated in a Bay health grade, Nitrogen levels, and wildlife subsistence, as well as giving a profit and loss report. After playing a round of the game under different roles, Dr. Learmonth explained the process of designing a watershed collaboration tool for Louisiana. Discussion ensued regarding who the stakeholders would be, what environmental factors would be included, and where the requisite data would come from.

Dr. Mark Davis of the Tulane Institute on Water Resources Law and Policy highlighted the urgency of making proactive water management decisions in his presentation on the Mississippi River and the state of water law across the United States. Dr. Davis challenged meeting attendees to recognize how much water they use, how much they have, and how much they have to share as freshwater becomes an increasingly sought-after resource.

This meeting is an example of how the Louisiana Water Synergy Project brings together representatives from multiple industries to create a forum for regional collaboration to address water quality, quantity, and storm water challenges in southern Louisiana. Collaboration opportunities have already been identified regarding water reuse, use of wetlands for water quality improvement, and water transfer strategies. This project will be used as a format to be replicated in other regions, as water is a rising topic of concern in the US and around the globe.

Want to get involved? Plan to join us next at Action 2020 at Yale University, July 17-18, 2013 in New Haven, CT. Or, visit water-synergy.org for more information on the project.

Accelerating Sustainable Solutions through Transformative Business Education

The US BCSD, WBCSD, and deans and professors from Yale School of Management and the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies met last week to accelerate sustainable solutions through business education. This partnership opportunity aligns the WBCSD global business community, its Regional Network, and the Global Network for Advanced Management to pursue co-development of transformative business education, extensive research opportunities, and regional project collaboration.

In the complex world of scaling up business solutions to sustainability, top universities, particularly business and management schools, have a key role to play in educating the leaders of today and tomorrow. Partnership with the WBCSD provides access to senior executives of companies who are at the forefront of corporate sustainable innovation and practices, and equally important, access to its Regional Network which provides regionally specific insights on corporate sustainability project opportunities and barriers.

The Global Network for Advanced Management brings together 23 universities from 23 countries of varying regions, cultures, and economies in different phases of development. The coalition of universities work together on four key goal challenges, one of which is sustainability. Students from participating schools travel for a week of intensive study organized around a theme, company visits, and networking. Geographically, 20 of the 23 universities are located in countries with strong WBCSD Regional Network affiliates.

By partnering with a university consortium like the Global Network for Advanced Management that shares our sense of urgency on sustainability, we're providing our members with a groundbreaking new opportunity create innovative sustainability solutions and foster the appropriate framework conditions to bring them to scale.

Business outlines a Smarter, More Sustainable Water Management Approach

A changing climate with more frequent extreme weather events requires today’s businesses to plan for an unpredictable and inconsistent water supply via more sophisticated water management practices, according to a new report released on April 15th by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development. The report, Sharing Water: Engaging Business, emphasizes the crucial role of business in ensuring responsible management of water resources and encourages greater collaboration across sectors. The report finds that leading companies have begun shifting their perspective beyond merely managing operational water use to becoming more conscious of how corporate actions impact local and regional water resources and, conversely, how water resources and watersheds impact business.

The US BCSD's Louisiana Water Synergy Project is featured as an example of community and stakeholder engagement in the New Orleans to Baton Rouge Mississippi River Corridor.

“Increasing global demand and the impacts of climate change are placing unprecedented strain on freshwater resources,” said WBCSD President Peter Bakker. “In order to ensure a viable business future, companies are calling for collective management and collaboration at the watershed level to ensure continued access to water supplies among competing demands.”

Visit the WBCSD's website for more information.

US BCSD Winter Meeting 2013 Recap

US BCSD members and other sustainability experts came from around the country to the University of Texas at Austin to grapple with the complexities of scaling up solutions to Vision 2050 through collaborative learning and real, actionable regional projects.

The US BCSD Winter Meeting was unique this year in its diverse assembly of participants, creating a rare opportunity for sustainability professionals from multiple industries to collaborate and learn alongside cutting edge researchers and federal, state and local policymakers. A number of highly actionable outcomes were created as a result.

Read the rest of this entry →

Thanks for Coming: Winter Meeting 2013

Special thanks to all our members and colleagues who made the trip down to Austin, TX for our Winter Meeting 2013.  Look for meeting notes and presentations to be posted later next week, and keep an eye out for specific follow-ups from our staff shortly.

Please mark your calendars for our Summer Meeting at Yale University in New Haven, CT - scheduled for July 17-18, 2013.  We'll send more information as it becomes available.

Scale up Solutions: Winter Meeting 2013

Join us this February 6-7, 2013 for our Winter Meeting in Austin, Texas. Collaborate, share, and build strategies with US BCSD members and other sustainability experts to tackle sustainable development challenges impacting your business. Grapple with the complexities of scaling up solutions to Vision 2050 through collective learning and real, actionable regional projects in the US. Join together here to learn from one another and apply our collective expertise in groundbreaking new ways.

Click here to visit our meeting website, and register today.

Operationalizing Vision 2050: First Quarter Report

On June 27-28, 2012, US BCSD and WBCSD members, government, academic, NGO, and other sustainability thought leaders gathered at Yale University’s Center for Business and the Environment to define directions to reach a sustainable world in which nine billion people can live well and within the planet’s resources by 2050. Meeting attendees worked on partnerships, synergies and projects that combined US BCSD regional implementation strategies with the WBCSD’s global business solutions, using the framework of the WBCSD’s Vision 2050 sustainability pathway. Attendees discussed examples of successful activities already under way to achieve Vision 2050 “must haves” and sought out ways to help articulate, acknowledge and scale those activities. They then joined forces in an innovation workshop aimed at seeking out and encouraging step changes towards the Vision 2050 in the US.

Organized under four Vision 2050 focus areas, below are updates from regional US BCSD projects, new developments from the WBCSD work program, and member case studies from around the US.

We'd love to feature your organization's good work in our next quarterly report - respond to a our survey questions here and let us know what you've been up to.

Ecosystems

US BCSD and WBCSD members participating in the Yale meeting identified three high priority action items, responding to Vision 2050 “must haves” calling for deeper local environmental understanding, using ecosystems and enterprises to help create value, and building commitment to true value pricing.

Engage with US BCSD members to design a Business Ecosystems Training (BET) workshop (using the WBCSD BET modules) to enable decision makers in your organization to identify business opportunities available through an understanding of ecosystem services.

The US BCSD and WBCSD, with key partners, are customizing the WBCSD BET training modules for the U.S. business audience. Several regional workshops are being planned throughout the US in 2013. The workshops will be delivered via interactive webinars and 1-day in-person intensive workshops. The goal of the BET workshop is to enable EHS and sustainability professionals to integrate ecosystems thinking into their company’s operations to manage ecosystem services opportunities and risk associated with their company operations and supply chains. This program builds on several WBCSD-led business training sessions held around the world in 2012. For more information please contact Kieran Sikdar at sikdar@usbcsd.org or Jessica McGlyn at mcglyn.us@wbcsd.org.

Utilize the US BCSD’s Eco-Green Brownfield process to capture economic value from ecosystem services for your company’s operations through biodiversity and ecological restoration projects.

In August 2012 the US BCSD and cement manufacturer Essroc began development of a pilot project within the Delaware River Watershed to restore ecosystem services related to water quality through stream restoration, reforestation and other ecological restoration techniques. The project will be conducted in collaboration with the Wildlife Habitat Council to achieve the Wildlife At Work and Corporate Lands for Learning certifications and increase the wildlife habitat and biodiversity of the site. The US BCSD will utilize ecosystem valuation techniques to capture the full value of the ecosystem goods and services provided through the project. A case study will be prepared in 2013 for replication at other US BCSD member company sites.

Contribute to the US BCSD & WBCSD’s case study library of successful projects with an emphasis on measurable results and innovative collaborative business solutions.

On September 8, 2012 the WBCSD introduced solutions from some of the largest companies in the world with the launch of Biodiversity and ecosystem services: scaling up business solutions. The report, featuring 25 case studies, sends a strong business message that companies are scaling up solutions to ecosystems challenges and demonstrating a positive response to achieving global biodiversity targets. Peter Bakker, WBCSD President, noted: “Business is a major player in helping to minimize negative impacts on our ecosystems and this new publication gives real examples from our member companies, showing how it can be done. While there is no doubt that the challenges associated with ecosystem degradation and biodiversity loss are huge and complex, our case studies collection shows that business is starting to tackle them. We need to now focus on scaling them up and implementing them at speed.”Click here to access the full report. WBCSD members also featured additional case studies at the World Congressional Congress, available at this link, and at the WCC WBCSD-IUCN Business and Ecosystems Think Tank which focused on scaling up business and public policy solutions.

Energy

US BCSD and WBCSD members participating at Yale identified two action items for Energy, responding to Vision 2050 must haves calling for demand-side efficiency, infrastructure investment, corporate leadership, new financing models, and water efficiency.

Take Action on Energy in Buildings with the WBCSD’s EEB 2.0 project.

The WBCSD Energy Efficiency in Buildings 2.0 project works with key decision-makers who are responsible for, or have influence over, substantial building portfolios in the public and private sectors. Over the course of up to 10 selected engagements, the project will develop a replicable process for bringing key decision-makers and relevant stakeholders together to identify practicable energy efficiency solutions in the portfolios they control, and leverage these solutions as examples for others.

The Take Action on Energy in Buildings flyer was produced to summarize EEB 2.0’s approach and objectives. The project begins with a “Phase 0” period during which the working group has been finalizing the project’s objectives and scope, the company mix and the partnerships. The companies involved in phase 0 so far are: AGC Asahi Glass, EDF, GDF SUEZ, Lafarge, Schneider Electric, SGS, Skanska, United Technologies (Project Chair) and Saint-Gobain. These companies have been working with key partner organizations that are critical in executing EEB 2.0’s objectives including the International Energy Agency (IEA), the World Green Building Council (WGBC) and its regional network, and the Urban Land Institute (ULI).

Promote understanding and growth of PACE and other innovative financing models through expert examination and distribution of program results.

In late 2011, US BCSD member and PACE financing provider Ygrene Energy Fund signed a contract with the City of Sacramento to provide no-risk administration of the city's first-ever Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program for commercial building owners. Concurrently, in September 2012 the US BCSD began development on a By-Product Synergy project in the region, which will leverage PACE financing as a valuable solution to overcome capital barriers in implementing identified synergy opportunities. US BCSD and WBCSD members with facilities in the East Bay and Sacramento area are encouraged to contact us for more information.

Sustainable Consumption

Yale meeting participants identified four action items for Sustainable Consumption, responding to Vision 2050 must haves calling for collaboration, innovation, systems thinking, shift to value net models, and business leadership.

Engage with trade associations to gain commitments and better integration of sustainability goals into supplier relationships.

The WBCSD released a how-to guide to increase business competitiveness with sustainable value chains in early 2012 titled “Collaboration, innovation, transformation. Ideas and inspiration to accelerate sustainable growth – A value chain approach”. The guide was developed by the WBCSD’s Sustainable Value Chain Workstream, with leadership from Unilever and The Coca-Cola Company; and includes case studies from AkzoNobel, The Coca-Cola Company, Henkel, Philips, Procter & Gamble, SABIC, Solvay, Sompo Japan Insurance, TNT, Umicore and Unilever. Sustainable Consumption was a key focus of the WBCSD-US Annual Meeting, which emphasized the critical role that business must play in innovation, choice editing and choice influencing to increase sustainable consumption across the entire value chain. WBCSD members will be scoping out the next phase of this effort at their annual meeting in Seoul, Korea.

Help US BCSD members publicize and share successful programs.

The Journal of Industrial Ecology - a peer-reviewed, international bimonthly journal that examines the relationship between industry and the environment from the perspective of the growing field of industrial ecology - released a special issue focused on industrial symbiosis. The issue shows that more systematic empirical work is emerging on the various forms of symbiosis, and points to the need for industrial symbiosis to become more widespread. The JIE also compiled a selection of previously published articles on the topic to accompany this special issue, which can be found at http://jie.yale.edu/symbiosis.

The JIE is currently seeking articles for a special issue on Industrial Ecology as a Source of Competitive Advantage in Business by June 1, 2013. (Submission of abstracts for review and feedback prior to that date, while not required, is strongly encouraged.) The goal of the special issue is to explore how the concepts and tools of industrial ecology can and do serve as a source of competitive advantage for firms, groups of firms and industry sectors. The complete call for papers can be found at http://www.yale.edu/jie/CFPs/CFP_IE4comp_ad.html.

Capture the approach outlined by the innovation team to establish a national materials organization to be used internally with CEO-level leaders to seek their input.

The US BCSD is working to create a National By-Product Synergy Network to engage more companies and communities to achieve their sustainability objectives through collaboration. With appropriate policy and a multi-industry US Council for Resource Recovery chaired by senior company leadership, a critical mass of companies can create a resilient national network to implement synergy projects and disseminate BPS best practices that are scalable. The US BCSD will strategically engage industries from all parts of a supply chain from raw materials, intermediate and final products, retail and end of life to participate in the National BPS Network. The US Council for Resource Recovery will provide guidance, vision and strategy to create a thriving collaboration that meets the sustainability demands of U.S. businesses.

Determine what’s usable data and how much data is needed in order to gain more participation in material reuse markets.

The cornerstone of the By-Product Synergy collaborative process is confidentiality. The US BCSD has developed project agreements as a part of the BPS process with the appropriate level of confidentiality to maximize company protection and participation while sharing the necessary data to identify and implement synergy projects. The US BCSD Expeditor model has been developed to provide additional facilitation of synergy identification, barrier resolution and project implementation in order to maximize the economic and environmental benefits for participants who may not have all the resources or expertise to implement synergy projects.

Initial data collection has been optimized to collect the minimum data for the synergy identification process in order to minimize resources spent on data gathering. The improved cirrus™ interface facilitates this process through two phases of data input to give participants the appropriate level of data for the synergy process. The US BCSD continues to develop new methods to search and extract useful synergy information to facilitate the synergy implementation process.

Water

And last, updates on action items from the Yale water breakout group. Actions respond to Vision 2050 must haves for increased attention on water, increase in water efficiency, local and corporate leadership, integrated urban management, and infrastructure investment.

Extend the US BCSD Water Synergy Project to more locations, offering a platform for working beyond your fenceline with other watershed users to identify and address issues related to water quality, quantity, and resiliency.

The US BCSD’s Water Synergy Project demonstrates how a watershed project can be implemented in a region, in this case southern Louisiana. The project is off to a great start with participants from 24 organizations representing multiple industries working together under the US BCSD’s structured collaboration work process to address issues in five areas: Wetlands, Numeric Nutrient Criteria Issues, Switching Water Supplies, Water System Collaboration, and Alternative Levee Materials. The project held it’s second working meeting on August 8, 2012 at Marathon Petroleum’s Refinery in Garyville, LA. Participants discussed a number of topics, including the importance for Louisiana stakeholders to work together proactively to establish baseline nutrient contributions and work with Louisiana Dept. of Environmental Quality on establishing numeric nutrient criteria; coastal resiliency incentives for assimilated and constructed wetlands to handle storm water and process water; and potential areas in Louisiana for water supply collaboration.

Create a Water Technology R&D Clearinghouse for existing technologies to facilitate best practice sharing.

WBCSD’s work on “Scaling Up Industrial Water Reuse” is developing a website to provide clear definition of water reuse; synchronize information scattered in many places; and provide an inventory of case studies, best practices, solutions and resources. In 2013, this program will also create decision tools for water reuse and start implementing pilot projects across sector and geography to create a platform to scale-up water reuse.

Show leadership by collaborating across boundaries (NGO, public/private collaboration) to share risk and opportunities.

The WBCSD’s Water Stewardship pathway, led by PepsiCo, works to enhance members’ water stewardship practices by advocating for cost effective, credible and operational tools and accelerating watershed-level responses. They will be publishing a Corporate Watershed Engagement Brief in 4Q 2012 and are exploring opportunities to catalyze action through projects on the ground. Also, the WBCSD’s “Water, Energy, Food Nexus” program is using a multi-stakeholder process to understand linkages among water, energy, and food/fiber/feed at the global and geographic level and develop policy and technology options to address the identified challenges.

Veolia Water has been testing innovative models for cities, offering larger cities an attractive alternative to the traditional operations and maintenance model called Peer Performance Solutions. Peer Performance Solutions preserves a public workforce and public governance but infuses private-sector expertise, leveraging Veolia’s unique global strength to provide innovative, flexible and cost-effective solutions. The model is currently implemented in New York City and Winnipeg, Manitoba. In New York City, the Department of Environmental Protection expects to save more than $100 million annually in their operating budget for water and wastewater services. And in Winnipeg, Veolia is helping design long-term, wastewater treatment facilities capital solutions via a public workforce. For more information, visit http://www.veoliawaterna.com/media/newsletters/2012-july/innovation-helps-cities-meet-budget-goals/

Explore mechanisms to be sure water is part of any company innovation process, especially local issues.

On August 20, 2012, the WBCSD Water Stewardship pathway released Water for Business (W4Biz) Version 3. This upgrade to the e-report (first launched in 2009) covers 18 initiatives to support business in becoming responsible water stewards. Developed with IUCN and SustainAbility, this version includes key messages to tool developers and users, and a framework to connect tools to business needs, including research & development for new products. W4Biz helped structure a seminar at World Water Week, co-convened with WRI and WFN, calling for harmonization across initiatives. See the Water Management Tools section of the WBCSD website for more information.

Valuing water more effectively will facilitate integration of water into business innovation processes. In 4Q 2012, WBCSD’s “True Value of Water” program will be publishing “Water Valuation: Building the Business Case” and a complementary report on “ Valuing Water: an Introduction to Concepts and Techniques”, both of which are based on a collection of business valuation case studies.

We'd love to feature your organization's good work in our next quarterly report - respond to a our survey questions here and let us know what you've been up to.

Gulf Coast Leaders Urge End to "Constant Storm"

America's WETLAND Foundation releases "Beyond Unintended Consequences," providing the Gulf region a strong, unified voice in calling for action. Urgent federal action, innovation and cooperation among Gulf Coast states is critically needed to fight off the constant storm that threatens the region's $2.4 trillion combined Gross Domestic Product and the nation's energy security.

The America's WETLAND Foundation (AWF) today released a new report, "Beyond Unintended Consequences: Adaptation for Gulf Coast Resiliency and Sustainability," that offers 30 recommendations for Gulf Coast sustainability based on research and testimony from a series of leadership forums held in 11 communities from Texas to Florida during a 14-month period in 2011 and 2012. AWF's "BLUE RIBBON RESILIENT COMMUNITIES: Envisioning the Future of America's Energy Coast" initiative brought together policymakers and stakeholders from environment, business, government, NGOs and other sectors to outline a roadmap for a more resilient coast.

"The observations, testimony, research, honest dialogue and desire to reach consensus on critical issues resulted in a remarkable report that represents the voice of the Gulf Coast," said AWF Chairman R. King Milling at a Washington, D.C. press conference, when the report was officially released. "Instead of looking at the big picture and implementing a vision for long-term sustainability, the nation for too long has reacted to natural and man-made disasters alike with piecemeal, short-term fixes. The cost to the taxpayer for this reactive thinking has been tens of billions of dollars over the past decade, with little or no effort to address the cause of the problem to be found in these expenditures."

The report's recommendations fall into five distinct categories:

  1. Seek urgent federal action by resolving conflicting federal policies and practices. Contradictory rules, regulations and agency priorities impede coastal restoration by delaying projects and increasing costs. A more orderly, efficient process must be established to meet urgent needs.
  2. Deploy multiple lines of offense by decreasing regional vulnerabilities through cooperative action. Short-term thinking has led to consequence planning defined by inadequate, piecemeal fixes - mainly in the wake of disasters. The focus must shift to a long-term vision for the future that emphasizes adaptation by using innovative, systemic approaches that incorporate non-structural and structural elements.
  3. Allow innovation and enterprise to flourish by supporting strategies to facilitate regional stewardship. Bureaucratic barriers and a lack of smart incentives hinder the development of creative, efficient coastal restoration strategies. Unless policies and plans harness the power of new technologies, visionary research, market forces and local ingenuity, environmental degradation will continue to outpace restoration and protection efforts.
  4. Revitalize regional strengths and pride by empowering communities to practice self-determination. Coastal degradation and mounting vulnerabilities threaten entire communities, cultures and a valued way of life. Local citizens must adapt to changing circumstances to preserve their cultural heritage and build the foundation for a stronger future.
  5. Sustain action based on recommendations by communicating regional visions for resiliency. The degradation of the Gulf Coast will continue to accelerate without a robust, coordinated response that enlists all interested parties and every level of government.

"The input that led to this report came from a diverse set of voices that engaged in an intense process of debate, compromise and consensus building," said Louisiana Lt. Governor Jay Dardenne, chair of the Blue Ribbon initiative. "This report lays out not only our challenges, but for the first time what can be done to meet them and move forward to restore our critical coastal landscapes."

U.S. Senator David Vitter said, "Getting the transportation bill done, which led to the passage of the RESTORE Act, was a signal that the Congress was concerned about the future of America's Energy Coast. As you can tell from this report, the clock is ticking and we are short on time to restore the values of our coast."

U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu added, "In the 10 years since America's WETLAND Foundation was founded, we have made great progress in educating our colleagues about the importance of America's Energy Coast and improving coastal flood protection. But as Hurricane Isaac has reminded us, too many of our coastal communities remain vulnerable. The findings and recommendations in this report detail better ways to protect our communities and promote the connected goals of economic progress and environmental sustainability. I look forward to working with America's WETLAND Foundation, and the many other wonderful partners committed to coastal restoration and protection, to turn these recommendations into policy to help build a stronger, more sustainable energy coast."

The Gulf Coast produces 30 percent of the nation's domestic energy, one-third of the seafood consumed in the U.S. and is home to critical habitats and ecosystems. Data from a $4.2 million study commissioned by Entergy and AWF quantified the economic value of what is at stake. The livelihoods of 12 million people, natural resources that support $634 billion in annual GDP, and assets valued at more than $2 trillion are increasingly vulnerable to storm surge, flooding, wind damage and the effects of sea level rise. The study also identified $49 billion in investments over the next 20 years that could avert $137 billion in losses.

The BLUE RIBBON RESILIENT COMMUNITIES effort was led by Dardenne as chair, Texas State Chair and Texas Railroad Commissioner Buddy Garcia, Mississippi State Chair and Department of Marine Resources Executive Director William Walker and Alabama State Co-Chairs State Senator Vivian Davis Figures and State Representative Randy Davis.

AWF Managing Director Valsin A. Marmillion praised the leaders of the effort along with the dedication of everyone involved. "The most important impact of this initiative might be community empowerment. The Blue Ribbon forums have mobilized the energy, expertise and dedication of an entire region to protect its heritage and secure its future," he said.

Information on the initiative, as well as a copy of the report is available at www.futureofthegulfcoast.org.

Blog, WaterSusan Fernandes
EPA Awards $100,000 to the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority to Reduce Hypoxia in the Gulf of Mexico

The Environmental Protection Agency has awarded the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA) $100,000 to reduce hypoxia in the Gulf of Mexico. This area in the northern Gulf of Mexico is known as the ‘dead zone.’ The funds will be used to develop a statewide nutrient reduction strategy for Louisiana which adopts strategic elements identified in action plans of the Gulf of Mexico Alliance and the Gulf of Mexico Hypoxia Task Force. Hypoxia means low oxygen and is primarily a problem in coastal waters. The Gulf of Mexico dead zone is an area of hypoxic waters at the mouth of the Mississippi River. Its area varies in size, but can cover up to 6,000 to 7,000 square miles. The zone occurs between the inner and mid-continental shelf in the northern Gulf of Mexico, beginning at the Mississippi River delta and extending westward to the upper Texas coast. The dead zone is caused by nutrient enrichment from the Mississippi River, particularly nitrogen and phosphorous.

Because of the devastation of hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005, the Louisiana Legislature restructured the state's Wetland Conservation and Restoration Authority to form the CPRA. The CPRA is the single state entity with authority to articulate a clear statement of priorities and to focus development and implementation efforts to achieve comprehensive coastal protection for Louisiana.

Additional Information on EPA grants is available at http://www.epa.gov/region6/gandf/index.htm, and more about activities in EPA Region 6 is available at http://www.epa.gov/aboutepa/region6.html

Blog, Press, WaterSusan Fernandes
Spring Meeting 2012: Collaborate Today, Change Tomorrow

What’s helping us achieve a sustainable world and how do we scale it, brought close to 100 US BCSD and WBCSD members, government, academic and NGO colleagues, and other sustainability thought leaders to Yale University's Center for Business and the Environment on June 27-28, 2012. The working agenda stressed collaboration first and foremost in defining directions to reach a sustainable world in which nine billion people can live well and within the planet’s resources by 2050. Meeting attendees worked on partnerships, synergies and productive work outcomes that combined US BCSD regional implementation strategies with the WBCSD’s global Vision 2050 sustainability pathway. Over two days, attendees discussed examples of successful activities already under way to achieve Vision 2050 “must haves” and sought out ways to help articulate, acknowledge and scale those activities. They then joined forces in an innovation workshop aimed at seeking out and encouraging step changes towards the Vision 2050 in the US. Interspersed in this engaging group discussion were presentations and panels from sustainability thought leaders focusing on new financing mechanisms, organizational design, new collaboration opportunities, and examples of groundbreaking innovations highlighted in the breakout group pages below.

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