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What I’m Reading: Andrew Winston’s The Big Pivot: lucid, practical, scalable solutions to sustainability & climate hurdles http://amzn.to/1cZGAFr

Also Reading: Jeana Wirtenberg’s Building a Culture for Sustainability: People, Planet, and Profits in a New Green Economy http://amzn.to/1kcwF1n

Comprehensive overfishing piece by Triple Pundit http://t.co/GOJUSQeqFU + my 2012 personal essay http://t.co/pPZ0SvhZAc

Discuss: Are business schools a “silent but deadly barrier to the sustainability agenda”? http://t.co/xbrANY2JOK

Provocative read: “Your Theory of Human Nature Predicts Your Policies  http://t.co/MIiK5IyrSq

Analysis of SEC’s role and climate change disclosure: this is about following the spirit *and* the letter of the law http://t.co/xEMATnNfTs

New CSR book by BP insider Christine Bader examines “doing the right thing” complexities http://t.co/vhP08Ug4SD

Really good read w/solid examples: “Flipping Sustainability” http://t.co/1orWCxBQS2

Amy Larkin’s “Environmental Debt” book: counting cause & effect as well as profit & loss. http://amzn.to/1fxiUT4

Recommended reading for latest climate science as frame for systems thinking change, from Alnoor Ladha http://t.co/DrNQsbO85N

Mar. 12 Forum for the Future event with Guardian Sustainable Business kicked off with Helen Clarkson: “A sustainable future is desirable, exciting and possible.”

Feels like a big deal. Vatican calls sisters, priests to live modestly for economic equality http://t.co/4kmX5zbMVh

“Economists take the public’s decency out of the equation.” Fairtrade & socent put it back in. http://t.co/ExgISPSu3o

“Science is not there for you to cherry pick” http://t.co/4u8CHFYJGY

Nice sharpen-the-saw tips for all sustainability folk http://t.co/HKs6Ar0cxp

LOVELY systems thinking essay http://t.co/QkEEPvIvrX

My NJ Senator Cory Booker stayed up all night for climate action. Thank you! http://t.co/Z9iB6D58kh

40% to go. 60% of Americans now believe climate change caused by human action http://t.co/CdxZrKWgnf

My latest: The ‘CVSEffect’: Apple, Disney & Chipotle Step Up http://t.co/W3GBiyp95n

Great reporting with lessons for climate communications on #plastics, BPA & health http://t.co/ykg1OZIgia

Terrific green- ing ideas for your campus or facility by my friend Lew Blaustein http://t.co/zZW9DfZIox

Thoughtful essay on Congressional climate action from a Brown Universty http://t.co/0BRuMCY0g7

Bike-sharing on a roll: Great where-things-stand in U.S. cities by Marc Gunther http://t.co/bnbYxa2wME

Sounds like #flourishing! “We’ve stopped looking for more. We just want enough and better.”  http://t.co/9j1PKJttzL

Here’s my Storify for John Ehrenfeld’s “Flourishing” Mar. 5 Talk  http://t.co/BKWLlsQgFG

VIDEO: John Ehrenfeld, Fall 2013 real #sustainability as #flourishing lecture video http://t.co/EuaOxawov3

On pricing externalities by Gil Friend: The price is not right, and that’s a big problem http://t.co/2IZz9oKbyk

Great Climate March steps off to a beautiful start. http://t.co/rkTpQXe5dP

Kudos Tim Cook: ” “Many things Apple does because they are right and just” http://t.co/shLkRf8UuI

“CVS Effect” in motion? “Disney to pull Boy Scouts funding by 2015” bc it’s the right thing to do? More to come? http://t.co/ycFiuHFY0x

Microbeads: Helpful post w/beads product list & non-beady alternatives http://t.co/yAADskgh33

My latest for Sustainable Brands: Testing the ‘CVS Effect’ on Microbeads: Could L’Oreal & @Unilever Be Bolder? http://t.co/menwewKs7B

Going! Mar. 7 Tri-State #Sustainability Symposium! http://t.co/o558YTQL1O

Interesting petition, we need the same in the US: UK media should move #climate debate to response https://t.co/mCYipFC7pZ

From the always on-target @blindspotting: “So how do you change paradigms?” http://t.co/18HrjlzhK4

Simple advice for having more of what matters: You don’t need it. http://t.co/MpgSYDJk9h

Truth: “Climate change deniers have grasped that markets can’t fix the climate” http://t.co/6Wii7crdRr

ENJOYING Jeana Wirtenberg’s new “Building a #Culture for #Sustainability” book. Features 7 NJ business case studies. https://t.co/rS7k5EvmTw

MAY 2014 Classes Scheduled: Transitioning to Green’s NEW #Leadership for #Sustainability (grad myself) http://t.co/yHd0YjPtYy

Intriguing peek at an upcoming book — It’s All My Fault — here: http://t.co/M0laYHAFiy

All about NJ’s climate plan inadequacy: http://t.co/EhUbH1lvhr. And shorter by me: http://t.co/TlXq1ug3Bu 

Here’s hoping we’re at a tipping point where climate action becomes the norm for business-forward action http://t.co/garojSvH8v

Worthy and worth sharing: The “St. Francis Pledge”? http://catholicclimatecovenant.org/the-st-francis-pledge/

Laudable but wondering: Does microbead “phasing out” by 2017 signal consumers that green & climate action can wait? http://t.co/COUVKM5HEU

Appreciating Alex Steffen ‘s “attention philanthropy,” ie, the gift of pointing out something worthwhile http://t.co/Zm0Rn7aT38

On steroids & quarterly reports: short-term fixes can really screw up systems thinking http://t.co/OsIQAifXjJ

Nicely put on climate change denial http://t.co/V98v64IB8f

Score! Check out this post on climate change action & sports http://t.co/HDR1ZDxAr4

Maybe a boat instead? (tongueincheek) “Miami Luxury Condos Come w/Free Tesla” http://t.co/yz5BNXQ715

John Kerry warns on catastrophic  climate change http://t.co/ZOUYIaO4hL

Must-Read, Long:

Trusting Harvard: The Cost of Unprincipled Investing [$2.99 on Kindle], by Robert A.G. Monks & Marcy Murninghan http://amzn.to/1aw1iLP

 

Green Links:

At WEF14, Lord Stern says he wishes he’d been more fierce on climate action and recommends the @NewClimateEcon group. http://t.co/iuRsV9cEa2

NYT piece shows business catching up on climate change risks. http://t.co/OW4lUVUj2E

Phoenix is planning for 100F nights. And others cites are too, because it’s a lot less expensive to plan for resilience than pay for repair. “Federal taxpayers spent $6 on disaster cleanup for every $1 spent on community reliance” http://t.co/gGpprMRdcD

Trust Across America’s 2014 Top Thought Leaders. Some people I already look up to, and others I’m looking forward to learning from. http://t.co/XQ9br0H20d

Cogent explanation about why risk is “uncertainty that matters” and must be counted for sustainability decisions.
http://t.co/VPkP8aKbeq

By me: 5 NJ Climate Change Resources That Are Completely Under the Radar and Shouldn’t Be. http://t.co/o06BwU8H2N

Word out of Davos is that businesses are realizing they can gang together for real climate action. http://t.co/dUVA6Pu6cR

Last week’s 4-hour U.S. Senate climate change hearing. http://t.co/H7MPDW2tA8 and http://t.co/Y8mASZq3X9

Sanity from Andrew Winston: If We Don’t Tackle #Climate Change, The Rest of Our Problems Are Moot. http://bit.ly/KWwEiQ

Masterful job by Elaine Cohen to explain GRI v. IIRC.v. SASB http://t.co/LJygdMj0GZ

Smart read from Thomas Kolster “Nobody cares about sustainability.” http://t.co/SMug8BKQmR

SUPER explanation of SRI investing: “Buy green. Sell stranded.” http://t.co/Ba1q28IsX6

Must Reads:

Grist’s Ben Adler asks: Why is Chris Christie silent on climate change, even as New Jersey is threatened by rising seas? Includes good background on how New Jersey used to be a leader for clean energy and climate action planning

New York Times front-pages leaked IPCC draft, highlighting mounting costs of climate inaction: http://nyti.ms/1asqoc3

 

Green links:

Four great (tree-free!) ebooks for your new-to-green friends & colleagues from Julie Urlab at Taiga Company http://t.co/6DcVe5pNsc

Pondering ways to connect the “Blackfish Effect” to climate action. Similar in cognitive dissonance? http://t.co/mMIhlMBGw9

Why storytelling matters. Required reading from Seth Godin for the sustainability and climate action worlds. http://t.co/aoFXqhxNSW

Great analogy for restoring & protecting: “broken windows” theory from Hudson Riverkeeper http://t.co/u47t5C6kbw

Just a super share from Susan McPherson on how to be your best on social media https://t.co/yRfnCK31RP

My take on NY Comptroller DiNapoli’s climate action win: http://t.co/TVJCuOXcFC

A solar car! Future-fiction or not-so-far-off? https://t.co/438krn5ZC0

Are your U.S. Sens on the Boxer/Whitehouse Act on Climate taskforce? Mine are. Thanks to Senators Booker and Menendez http://t.co/at5ImiqB7p

My “5 Things #Climate Skeptics are Right About” | Feb 20 event w/ Yale Center for Climate Change Communication’s Geoffrey Feinberg http://t.co/0bQ7KFcX4a

Terrific essay: The sociology of climate change http://t.co/bo1k7YuDc5

Check out this SRI blueprint from Marcy Murninghan and Bob Monk: Trusting Harvard: The Cost of Unprincipled Investing http://t.co/VGVmORLVhm

Green Links: Friday Round-up

October 18th, 2013 | Posted by Claire Sommer in Green Links - (0 Comments)

So much good stuff.

DVR Alert! A new “Climate Tipping Points” TV series starts Sunday at 9pm EDT http://wxug.us/18tli 

If you want great cities, grow good citizens. Cogent truth from future-thinker Alex Steffen http://www.alexsteffen.com/2013/10/reboot-the-civic-sphere/ …

Super piece on perverse outcomes of pay & price transparency, for corporate responsibility and metrics folks
http://www.thelowdownblog.com/2013/10/open-season-on-ceo-pay.html …

Incongruity meet sustainability: Sustainable business leaders call on Obama to approve Keystone XL pipeline?
http://goo.gl/fb/72A6K

Meme tracker: Carbon Tracker says that climate communication memes like “unburnable” and “stranded assets” are showing up in sell-side conversations. http://shar.es/EEMKp

Air pollution causally linked to cancer. What are the implications for the U.S. EPA, climate action and sustainable business? http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2013/10/17/2795791/air-pollution-cancer/ …

Fuzzy and unclear no more. A new Green Building certification puts rigor to Net Zero Energy certification http://fb.me/10D8PuPMc 

Financial astrologers? Surely it’s snark? http://on.ft.com/GSItEp  Or a re-tread of this 2007 article?: http://on.ft.com/1hZJWEG

 

Links for Climate Change Adaptation plans around the country:

Resilience and Climate Change (Via dailykos.com)

NOAA’s Coastal Climate Adapation Plans

 

 

Inspiring.

Last night’s Bard MBA in Sustainability’s program called The Frontiers of Sustainable Business was that, and more.

Hunter Lovins and Andrew Winston talked expansively about everything from proving the sustainable business case and setting science-based goals, to planetary limits and compelling narrative storytelling. And the role that business must play to stave off global climate catastrophe.

If you click just one link in this post, watch this: Unilever’s Lifebuoy: Help a Child Reach 5 Years

Three minutes. Then Share, Link, Tweet, Tag it to your networks.

 
The following is presented as things came up in conversation, more or less:


Books (Amazon links noted for easy reference. Buying used and local are always better):

Green to Gold, Andrew Winston

Natural Capitalism: Creating the Next Industrial Revolution, Paul Hawken, Amory Lovins, L. Hunter Lovins

Saving Capitalism From Short-Termism: How to Build Long-Term Value and Take Back Our Financial Future, Alfred Rappaport

Factor Five: Transforming the Global Economy through 80% Improvements in Resource Productivity,  Ernst Ulrich von Weizsacker

The Necessary Revolution: How Individuals and Organizations Are Working Together to Create a Sustainable World
Peter M. Senge, et al

Winning the Story Wars, Jonah Sachs

Bury the Chains: Prophets and Rebels in the Fight to Free an Empire’s Slaves, Adam Hochschild


Ideas/Articles (Wiki links for convenience; caveat emptor):

Michael Porter: Climate Change is unlike any other challenge the world has ever faced. (citation needed)

Not if. When. Make that now. Business leaders need to set science-based carbon goals. Setting targets based on prior business performance is irrelevant–and dangerously naive. It ignores the external realities of irreversible, inevitable global resource scarcity, social and climate disruptions.

Bhutan’s journey to Gross National Happiness

The evolution of the UN Millenium Development Goals to the new Sustainable Development Goals framework

Hunter Lovins’ work with the United Nations Development Programme

Planetary Boundaries

“Earth’s Tipping Point”, article in the journal Nature (June 2012)

“Global Warming’s Terrifying New Math”, Bill McKibben, Rolling Stone magazine (July 2012)

“Time to Wake Up”, Investor Jeremy Grantham on the price of everything going up (May 2011)

Unreasonable Institute partnering with Semester at Sea to offer Unreasonable at Sea

“The Elephant in the Room is Growth”, Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard lays it out. (GreenBiz Forum SF, March 1, 2013)

“The Fallacy of the China Defense” (Stop claiming that China isn’t doing anything about climate change. It’s not true.) (March 2013)

“The fossil fuel industry is a rogue industry.” McKibben (December 2012)

David Keith on Tar Sands and CO2 Capturing Technologies (January 2013)

“The Tar Sands Disaster” What if Canada becomes like the U.S? (March 2013)

Unilever’s CEO Polaman Quit Reporting Quarterly in 2009. Long-term corporate stewardship is possible. It takes leadership. So let’s stop saying it can’t be done.

Earnings guidance is not a necessary evil to be endured. Coca-Cola, Google and Costco shun quarterly guidance and reporting too.

Systems Thinking as a core sustainability professional competency

“Looking Back on the ‘Limits to Growth'” Smithsonian Magazine looks back at the 1970s prescient description of our world’s current state. (April 2012)

Unilever Sustainable Living Plan

Buckminster Fuller’s Trimtabs

Mondragon Cooperative in Spain


On the power of conversations to change the world:

Daniel Ellsberg meeting Gary Snyder

Joyce LaValle gives Ray Anderson a copy of Paul Hawken’s The Ecology of Commerce


People:

David Brower

Paul Hawken

Ray Anderson

Michael Porter

Kees Kruythoff (Unilever President North America)

 

Numbers are neutral.

It’s how we interpret and apply them that gets us into trouble.

When metrics go bad, they can cause good projects to go off the rails. Lose sight of their original goals. Worst case, bad metrics inform bad decision making that leads to human fatalities and environmental catastrophes.

As research for the Greenbiz.com sustainability metrics series I’m writing with Matt Polsky, I keep an eye out for people who think deeply about what, why, and how we measure our impact on the earth. In business particularly.

Well, I’ve got a blog for you.

Management specialist Jonathan Low’s blog: The Low-Down.

I appreciate  how Low marries the science of intangible human behavior with the tangibles of business performance. He talks about how technology, business and public policy interact in ways that get beneath surface appearances.

This post on how measurements can go awry caught my eye:

Measures That Mislead: False Efficiencies and the False Hopes They Beget

In this post, Low touches on the balance between private and public sector responsibility for getting a nation’s business done. Who’s best at what jobs, and why? How is success measured? Who benefits, and in what ways? Interesting stuff.

Low included a  New York Times economics article I’d missed by Eduardo Porter on this issue. Porter’s article examines BP’s 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster as a case study of privatization gone wrong.

When Public Outperforms Private in Services

BP’s bumpy ride is recorded in “The Org: The Underlying Logic of the Office,” a compelling new book by Ray Fisman, a professor at Columbia Business School, and Tim Sullivan, the editorial director of Harvard Business Review Press. “The Org” aims to explain why organizations — be they private companies or government agencies — work the way they do.

One of the authors’ chief insights is that every organization faces trade-offs — inherent conflicts between competing objectives. The challenge is to manage them. This is way more difficult than it sounds.

Those difficulties include deciding what gets measured. Because what gets measured, gets managed.

When profits count more than safety, for instance, the results can be disastrous for the public.

On the flip side, companies that strive for a balance between financial gains, social responsibility and environmental stewardship have the opportunity to do well in both the public and private spheres.

 

 

What a great, memorable, accessible concept.

Think Bright. Not Brown.

“Brownfields into Brightfields” means means transforming unproductive industrial spaces into energy-producing solar power installations.

As a NJ native, I grew up on the concept of brownfields. These are spaces that have already been used for commercial or industrial use. They are “brown” in that they are usually cemented over.  They aren’t green, haven’t been for a long time and they won’t ever be again.

No trees. No shade. Cracked cement. High chainlink fences.

Often contaminated, making them unsuitable for many purposes.

Usually close to densely populated areas, but not in the middle of things.

Which makes them perfect sites for energy-producing, job-creating, renewable energy projects.

The EPA has been on this idea for years.

Via epa.gov:

Brightfields Initiatives

Brightfields is a revolutionary concept that addresses three of the nation’s biggest challenges — urban revitalization, toxic waste cleanup, and climate change — by bringing pollution-free solar energy and high-tech solar manufacturing jobs to brownfields.

The Brightfields approach offers a range of opportunities to link solar energy to brownfields redevelopment and thereby transform community hazards and eyesores into productive, green ventures.

This unprecedented campaign will help our nation put its hundreds of thousands of brownfields back into productive use and at the same time create high-tech jobs in blighted urban neighborhoods, improve air quality, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

With thanks to National Geographic writer Christina Nunez, I learned about about a Brightfield project in Hackensack, NJ.

Via theenergycollective.com:

Turning Brownfields Into Brightfields With Solar Energy

Thousands of contaminated tracts of land labeled brownfields by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency may eventually provide the valuable real estate needed for renewable energy projects, and New Jersey is at the forefront of using such sites to bolster its status as a leader in solar energy.

The utility PSE&G is installing 4,000 solar panels on a six-acre site in Hackensack, N.J., that was once the home of a gas plant and then gas storage facilities. For this site and many others, cleaning up the land for traditional development is prohibitively expensive and time-consuming.

This is another one of these private-public-industry partnerships that have the power to actually work.

I wrote about a similar project back in May 2012.

Green Government: NJ Dump Gets New Life as Solar Farm

New Jersey’s newest solar farm is located on a 13-acre closed landfill in Kearny. From fallow to flourishing, the site is expected to power 500 homes.

A key success here in my mind–and hopefully a model for future development–is that this project required a lot of people with their own agendas and motivations to work together. It could not have been easy to coordinate this first-in-class project between a state-regulated public utility (PSE&G), a joint government/business  commission, private industry, and state government officials.

Brownfields seemed like places beyond repair. Turns out they are part of a brighter future.