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Articles

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What the President's focus on climate change means for cleantech

by Jill Bunting and Michael Ellis

January 24, 2013

In his second inaugural address Monday -- and in sharp contrast to his first -- President Obama focused more on climate change and energy technology than any other single policy area. This signals a new opportunity for sustainability and cleantech innovation.

But to ensure real progress, it's critical that politicians and business leaders alike frame the issue effectively and emphasize priorities that are relevant to all Americans -- like competitiveness, innovation, and quality of life.

In Monday's speech, the president already began framing the issue along these lines. First, while asserting that climate change is happening, he focused on the human consequences by mentioning "the devastating impact of raging fires, and crippling drought, and more powerful storms" like Sandy.

Second, rather than push new climate legislation per se, he said our efforts will "power new jobs and new industries," positioning America for success in the 21st century. In broadening the climate change frame, the president is attempting to disarm some critics who seemingly believe that any significant action on environmental topics represents job-killing environmental extremism.

The Obama administration is focusing on initiatives with broad economic and health benefits, not just environmental ones. According to the New York Times, strategies ranging from increasing appliance efficiency to further reducing emissions from power plants are all on the table. This strategy led to the adoption of a 54.5 miles-per-gallon CAFE standard by 2025 and EPA regulation of coal power plants.

Such executive action is not only a way to bypass a potentially deadlocked Congress occupied with other pressing matters like the federal budget. It's also a way -- if the framing is done right -- to convince Congress that progress on the environment and progress on competitiveness, innovation, and quality of life go hand-in-hand.

The private sector is also more closely connecting sustainability to business drivers. In our work with hundreds of leading corporations, we are increasingly seeing sustainability moving out of dedicated functions, for example, and becoming more integrated across corporate functions and into the business units.

Large corporations are also increasingly interested in cleantech startups. According to data from our i3 platform, around 20 percent of cleantech venture deals in 2012 had some corporate participation. While overall investment in cleantech is down from its peak, the number of deals with corporate participation roughly doubled from 2006 to 2012. Corporations see more and more strategic and economic value from cleantech.

Our findings dovetail with those of GE's Innovation Barometer, which found that two of three global executives believe coming up with new business models is important for a company to innovate successfully. Cleantech sub-sectors like cleanweb -- the intersection of digital and cleantech, yielding more effective and efficient home energy controls, for example -- are ripe for producing new business modelsand powering innovation.

Nevertheless, the shadow case by Solyndra may loom large in the coming years. To some, the solar panel manufacturer's failure marred the Department of Energy loan grant program and cleantech more broadly. While Solyndra is indeed a cautionary tale, any business leader who supports new business models recognizes failures are necessary on the road to success. As a panel manufacturer, Solyndra represented just a small portion of the solar value chain. Downstream solar services are booming. And despite losses in the manufacturing, overall solar jobs in the U.S. grew by 13.7 percent in 2012.

This is to say nothing of the soaring investment in other cleantech sectors like transportation, where the all-electric Tesla S was named 2013 Motortrend Car of the Year. Regardless of one’s opinion of cleantech generally, successes in job growth and vehicle technology are areas everyone can relate to and celebrate.

Now is the time to refocus on the environmental strategies and technologies that will spur innovation, improve U.S. competitiveness, and improve our quality of life. The challenge lies in continuing to appropriately frame the issue and effectively connect environmental improvement with these drivers of growth.


As originally published on GreenBiz.

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Is the EV market at a tipping point?

by Adam Happel

December 28, 2012

Could the introduction of more affordable electric vehicles to the consumer market push the EV industry to a tipping point?

With plug-in hybrids leading the way and a new wave of EVs hitting the streets earlier this month at the North American auto show in Los Angeles, the possibilities seem bright. Given their price point and performance, these new cars could jumpstart the more widespread adoption of electric vehicles.

The L.A. debuts

The Chevrolet Spark EV is an all-electric version of GM's current mini car, offering a "20-plus" kilowatt-hour battery and fast charging onboard. The SAE combo system will produce an 80 percent charge in just 20 minutes. All of those electrons will flow to a 130 horsepower motor with 400 pound-feet of torque, only slightly less than the 420 pound-feet in a Camaro SS. The Spark EV will go on sale in California and Oregon in summer 2013, priced at $32,500, or right around $25,000 after Federal electric vehicle credit.

Staying in the micro-car segment, Smart showed off its recently priced ForTwo ED. At $25,000, or $17,500 after tax incentives, it is a reasonably priced alternative for urban dwellers or those without the need for a back seat.

Finally, Fiat unveiled its 500e car.

It has a reported 80-mile range from a 24 kilowatt-hour battery pack that will charge in 4 hours using 240 volts.

Fiat is reportedly pricing the EV at $45,000, though that price has yet to be publicly confirmed. While certainly not inexpensive compared to the Spark, the Fiat does have a distinct Italian flair absent in many other cars on the road.

The auto industry is at a critical point, where sales of EVs and PHEVs need to ramp quickly to shore up the finances of electric ecosystem players, including battery suppliers, charging infrastructure players, and utilities. Battery maker A123 recently filed for bankruptcy, highlighting the struggles of prominent auto suppliers as adoption rates remain relatively low.


The importance of inexpensive EVs to the ecosystem

Innovative infrastructure companies like ChargePoint, the operator of a network of charging stations, and Evatran, the maker of Plugless Power wireless EV charging stations, require a significant volume of EVs on the road before they can generate meaningful sales volumes. The success of these types of companies is tied very closely to automakers' ability continue growing EV sales at rapid rate, and vice versa. This kind of circular relationship has created a chicken-and-egg challenge, and the problems at companies like A123 and Better Place only emphasize the need for a quick solution.

Luckily, with lower-priced EV options coming online from Smart and Chevy, manufacturers have the potential to reach a broader customer base. In turn, this could drive additional demand for the components and peripherals that propel, charge, and serve EVs and their drivers. With the average cost of a new car topping $30,000, the availability of sub-$30,000 EVs may be the spark the segment needs to reach volumes where suppliers can find economies of scale big enough to build out the EV ecosystem to self-sustaining numbers.

Evidence the market for electrics is trending up

According to Ward's Automotive, electric and plug-in electric hybrid vehicles made up about 0.6 percent of all U.S. light vehicle sales through November, tripling the segment's market share from one year ago. While the Nissan LEAF's sales numbers are down slightly on the year, the pure EV market has grown 15.5 percent, year-over-year with the addition of the BMW 1 Series, Ford Focus EV, Honda Fit EV, Mitsubishi i-Miev, and the Toyota RAV4 EV.

The real success story is evident in the PHEV segment, where Chevrolet has sold more than 20,000 Volts in 2012, a 240 percent increase over last year's sales numbers. With the introduction of the Toyota Prius plug-in and the Ford C-MAX earlier this year, there is real momentum in the segment. Since these vehicles require charging infrastructure like pure EVs, they are encouraging the build-out of the ecosystem with each additional car sold.

As momentum grows in this segment and the ecosystem becomes more extensive, cost-effective, and reliable, the most common arguments against EV purchases will be crowded out.

Range anxiety disappears when charging stations are easily accessible. Cost complaints are addressed when component costs are driven down through scale of production. It remains to be seen whether or not the introduction of moderately priced EVs will propel that segment, or if PHEV sales will continue growing at this pace, but the upward trend in sales should give many players in the market hope.


As originally published on GreenBiz.


How Utilities Can Better Source Innovation

by Jill Bunting and Raphael Tehranian

The speed of innovation outside the walls of utilities outstrips the speed of innovation within. As new and disruptive vendors, technologies, and business models enter the market, many utilities have seemed unsure about what their role is or should be. In the third in our four-part series (See Part I by Mat McDermid, Finding the Regulated Utility Role in a Shifting Energy Landscape; and Part II by Sam Shrank, How Behavioral Science Can Increase Energy Efficiency Adoption), we discuss how utilities can and should leverage their unique position to accelerate and manage the deployment of innovations for the benefits of all customers.

Here are three roles utilities can play to better manage innovation in a changing market.

The ambassador: help customers understand the benefits of new innovations

Technology advancements are broadening customer access to a wide range of new energy services. But technology alone is never enough: customers must feel comfortable incorporating these advancements into their daily lives. Utilities are well-suited to providing customers with answers on a wide range of energy services and moving them up the adoption curve. They have already achieved significant success in areas such as energy efficiency, where the average cost per kWh saved through utility energy efficiency programs is just 2.5 cents. Areas such as electric vehicles are opportunities for utilities to build on this success as ambassadors for new energy services.

Many customers are already somewhat familiar with the host of benefits promised by electric vehicles, such as lower fuel costs, greater energy independence, and reduced emissions. However, as new charging technologies and batteries enter the market, customers have many questions about adoption expense, reliability, and technical feasibility.

Instead of navigating through car dealerships, government incentives, and other disaggregated resources, utilities can serve as a one-stop shop for customers as they assess and manage their vehicle options. A program for EV adoption could combine in-person touch points like garage visits (similar to those offered by Best Buy's Geek Squad), as well as tools for calculating cost of ownership based on current rate plans and information about incentives. In addition to providing immediate customer benefits, these services also represent an opportunity for utilities to strengthen and expand their customer relationships.

The strategist: take the 10,000 foot view to maximize benefits

Start-ups may each have a piece of the puzzle when it comes to energy innovation, but utilities can see the entire board. Leveraging their customer relationships, regulatory mandate, and growing data fluency, utilities can enhance the value of innovations for customers in ways that independent start-ups cannot.

In the solar market, SunRun, First Solar, Solar City, and a myriad of other companies are finding effective ways to meet individual customer needs, whether through new financing mechanisms, enhanced customer service, or simply an accessible brand. But there's no reason for third parties to have all the fun. Utilities are singular in their ability to promote installations and approaches that enhance efficiency, reliability, and cost-effectiveness across the entire customer base.

For example, utilities can work with regulators and third parties to prioritize distributed generation projects in their service territories. This could include doing a "hot spot" analysis of areas of local congestion, aging infrastructure, and high distributed generation potential. Playing the role of the strategist will require utilities to develop new and stronger relationships, but a collaborative approach can create wins for all stakeholders by meeting policy goals, reducing price separation, and improving the interconnection process.

The matchmaker: enhance synergies across the board

What seems new is often an unexpected combination of the old. Because of their breadth of capabilities, utilities are often best positioned to maximize synergies between smart technologies, energy efficiency programs, renewable energy, alternative fuel vehicles, and so on. They also have the ability to anchor cross-industry partnerships that support these synergies.

This is an emerging area, but some encouraging pilot programs have already taken off. In California, the SMUD Anatolia pilot examined how distributed solar, smart meters, and community battery storage can work together to better integrate renewables onto the grid and meet "super-peak" demand. As part of Envision Charlotte, Duke Energy is providing smart infrastructure, energy dashboards, and an online platform for monitoring and acting on energy insights in support of a 20% community energy reduction goal. Deployed at scale, these pilots have the potential to disrupt the current models for energy supply and delivery for the better.

Don't wait on innovation

As we've seen in the first articles in this series, the power sector is evolving from a focus on commodity delivery to a new emphasis on customer needs. Formulating the optimal response to this evolution can be complex, and involves a comprehensive understanding of technology benefits, customer expectations, and the regulatory and market dynamics. But by formulating a response, utilities not only have the opportunity to define their role in the market, they have the ability to proactively shape the energy landscape in a way that optimizes benefits for all stakeholders.


As originally published on Consumer Energy Report.


How Behavioral Science Can Increase Energy Efficiency Adoption

by Sam Shrank

December 10, 2012

Utility operations are being forced to evolve as customer expectations shift, technological change continues, and new players enter adjacent markets. As utilities chart their courses in areas such as energy efficiency, smart grid, and distributed generation, they find themselves in unfamiliar positions. The second in our four-part series (See Part I by my colleague, Mat McDermid, Finding the Regulated Utility Role in a Shifting Energy Landscape), we discuss how utilities can leverage behavioral science research as they expand into markets where they are not a monopoly and customers need to be convinced about the benefits of the products and services offered.

Since setting up auto-pay the day I moved into my apartment, I've given no thought to my utility bill. Given that my job is to analyze and advise utilities, I'd venture to say most people are no more engaged. However, with an evolving set of customer offerings—energy efficiency (EE), alternative fuel vehicles, demand response, and the like—many utilities are realizing that they may require better, different, or more communication. In short, they are discovering what it means to sell.

And not only are they beginning to market things customers may not feel they need, they now have competitors as well, particularly in the EE market. Various other entities are looking to advise large electricity and gas users about how to lower their bills and provide help with financing, sell devices directly to customers that increase automation, and control, or take over the utility's role as the provider of EE offerings funded through utility bill surcharges. All of these reduce both the direct benefit to utilities from performance incentives and the indirect benefits from higher customer satisfaction, improved regulatory relationships, and perceived leadership.

Mining the extensive body of knowledge on consumer behavior provides insight on how utilities can more effectively communicate the benefits of EE and raise awareness of their changing offerings, and therefore attract more customers. Understanding how consumers behave and react to different sales tactics can help utilities stay ahead of their new competitors by more clearly demonstrating the value proposition of their EE efforts.

1. Convenience over cost

We all hate transaction costs, the costs incurred in dealing with the logistics of purchasing something or reaching a deal. Sometimes they can be just as important as the price itself (why we don't all cook our own dinners, for example). The true price of a good, from a consumer's perspective, can be thought of as the sum of the money, time, and mental energy required to acquire it. There is one exception to this rule, however, that is very pertinent to EE: rebates. Though of course it would be easier just to pay less for that cell phone from the outset, the idea of getting paid money to spend money seems to have a visceral appeal. Investing in EE, whether as a consumer or a business, usually incurs significant transaction costs. Audits require time, understanding savings potential of retrofits requires mental energy, and incorporating EE into new construction requires both.

Making things simpler almost goes without saying. But when allocating resources, it is worth considering that it may be more cost-effective to reduce the number of necessary forms associated with a program than to allocate equivalent money to increasing the incentive.

2. The power of More

Recent research in the Journal of Marketing demonstrates how our minds can play tricks on us. Consumers are unable to properly compare the savings from receiving a discount and from receiving extra product for the listed price, consistently favoring receiving more product even it is not in their financial best interest. EE is inherently a discount, allowing users to get the same energy service for a lower price. Framing it as getting something for free is an uphill battle, and saying "two loads of laundry for the price of one" defeats the purpose. Finding ways to do so, however, would increase uptake. Increasing the availability of on-bill financing immediately reduces transaction costs, but it also has the potential to change the way people think about EE. Marketing a more efficient washing machine as "a free washing machine with two years of electricity payments" rather than "saving you $10 on your electric bill" would position EE as a bonus rather than a discount.

There are other ways to frame EE as an extra service. For example, loans that allow lessees to pay off their debt through energy savings, but without the on-bill aspect, or marketing emphasis on the higher quality of efficiency equipment or building design rather than the energy savings. Both of these would help change perception.

3. Benevolent deception

For all the surveys demonstrating consumers' stated interest in reducing energy consumption and spend, EE is rarely top of mind. Utilities struggle to get consumers to pay attention. If the customer won't come to them, perhaps it is time for utilities to go to their customers. By combining EE measures with offerings that have higher intrinsic appeal and shifting marketing focus from saving energy to the benefits of the other measure, utilizing a concept known as goal substitution, utilities can attract more customers. In one initiative in Britain, an attic insulation provider offered to remove and dispose unwanted clutter, solving a problem more likely to resonate with a homeowner. This also reduced consumer time and mental energy required. Uptake of the insulation incentive rose threefold.

There are many opportunities to combine residential EE interventions with complementary offerings that should be considered. Retrofits that require moving furniture could be combined with repainting, perhaps, or work that involves breaking into walls coupled with cleaning out pipes.

The field can veer into off-putting territory (for example, one branch looks at how to take advantage of the way consumers judge value to steer us towards more expensive items); regulated utilities especially would need to steer clear of tactics that could be perceived as exploitative. Given the well-accepted societal benefits of EE, however, all stakeholders should support leveraging the more innocuous insights, such as those discussed above, to increase participation and savings.

All of these interventions would require regulator input. With regulators understandably wary of utilities asking for more money to spend on what could be deemed overhead, demonstrating the benefit of investing resources in areas other than beefed up incentives is an almost necessary prerequisite. Using the rich literature on consumer behavior and biases to engage regulators is a good place to start.

As originally published on Consumer Energy Report.

Finding the Regulated Utility Role in a Shifting Energy Landscape

by Mat McDermid

December 3, 2012

Energy is being reshaped as more than just a commodity: evolving customer expectations, new technologies and market entrants, and vying interests are challenging the traditional regulated utility model.  However, regulated utilities possess an inherent advantage other industries could only dream of – a largely protected customer base. The first in our four-part series, we set the stage for how focusing on the customer can provide the pathway to growth and reinforce the relevance of the utility role in the future energy landscape.

For decades, end users' relationship with energy (whether gas or electricity) has been relatively constant: our lights and stove work on demand, we receive a bill every month (that we don't understand), and occasionally the power goes out. Regulated utilities earn reliable returns for keeping this system humming, which regulators make sure they actually do. This model is now being challenged, however.

Energy is being reshaped as more than just a commodity:

Customer expectations are evolving: Many customers' primary concern remains cost, but what they seek and expect isn't as simple as it used to be, whether it is the desire for more convenience and control over their energy use or concern for the environment and economic development. Additionally, the expectation of instant gratification and tailored/customizable solutions is increasingly creeping into the utility world, which is challenging for an industry that is structured to be slow-moving.

New technologies and market entrants are emerging: Infrastructure is aging as utilities look to meet high loads, satisfy cost-sensitive consumers, and provide unprecedented levels of reliability and quality to high-tech C&I customers. Meanwhile, their traditional monopoly is being threatened by a host of new technologies and deregulated market entrants, providing solutions such as third-party energy efficiency or distributed generation systems that could effectively take customers off the grid – and thus remove a contributor to maintenance of the overall system.

Numerous interests are vying for representation: If market pressures weren't enough, many utilities are now investor-owned, forcing them to balance consumer interests (including their evolving expectations) and public interests with those of their shareholders, while numerous state and federal policies go beyond the required cost-effective, safe, and reliable energy delivery to include various incentives and requirements for energy efficiency, renewable energy, and grid modernization.

Given these trends, utilities may be inclined to protect a model that has been reliably profitable for decades, but they should instead look to shape their role in this emerging energy landscape. To do so they can draw on an inherent advantage that other industry leaders could only dream of: a largely protected customer base.

How can utilities turn these trends into opportunities?

Have customers, not ratepayers: If utilities are going to succeed in expanding their energy services, they will have to speak the language of customer needs. The more utilities can engage customers on what they seek and expect from their utility—and learn about the non-traditional ways to engage them—the better they can develop and deliver new solutions, as well as shape their overall customer strategy. To borrow from Google, a company known for continuously deepening their customer services: “Focus on the user and all else will follow.”

Shape the market for new technologies: While a host of new players and technologies enter the market, utilities still have the greatest oversight of—and insight into—the system. Utilities are not just uniquely placed to better understand and serve their customers' individual needs; they are uniquely placed to determine how new technologies can best serve the overall customer base, and thus, the utility's role with new technologies. Whether it is rethinking the interconnection process to support congested areas or addressing an individual customer's higher power quality needs, utilities can play a unique role in shaping the new energy market and the appropriate socialization of costs.

Move from stakeholder engagement to engaging partners: Utilities have a curious mix of stakeholders to please, and the changes taking place present an opportunity to go a step further to engage them as partners – especially the customer. Through partnerships, utilities can gain a deeper understanding of customer needs, new market entrants and technologies, and better assess the balance between the individual and collective customer.

By possessing the most comprehensive view of the energy system, and owning the physical connection and relationship with their customers, utilities are in a unique position to not just serve their customers, but better understand their energy needs—both the collective territory-wide base and diverse needs of individual customers and segments—arguably even better than the regulator. This can help build regulatory support, while concurrently growing the utility’s purview and contributing to more robust investment proposals.

Over the next few weeks, my GreenOrder colleagues will dive deeper into the opportunities listed above, where focusing on the customer can provide the pathway to growth and reinforce the relevance of the utility role in the future energy landscape.

As originally published on Consumer Energy Report.


American Pain at the Gas Pump is Self-Inflicted

By Simon Lim

September 20, 2012

American drivers feel less "pain at the pump" than all but a handful of other nations – most of which are major oil producers that heavily subsidize fuel prices. That's the conclusion of Bloomberg.com's quarterly gasoline price ranking, and one that’s at odds with the experience of many Americans.

If filling the tank in the U.S. is as relatively painless as the ranking shows, why do many Americans say it hurts so much?

Read more: Bloomberg.com

For more insights, follow Simon Lim on Twitter.

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Right Hand, Meet Left: How to Align Your Message, Avoid Risk

By Emily Chan & Mahima Sukhdev
August 10, 2012

If you think all of the sustainability messages your company is sending come from your marketing department, think again. Other parts of your business are likely also sending messages to the marketplace on sustainability, perhaps without even being aware of it. This chorus (or cacophony) of messages can have a critical impact on your company’s reputation.


Read more: GreenBiz

For more insights, follow Emily and Mahima on Twitter

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Can We Share Our Way to Sustainability?

By Brad Bate
June 21, 2012

Sharing has been receiving a lot of attention recently, thanks to a wave of startups with alternative business models designed to deliver value to customers in new ways. In many cases, these models of collaborative consumption make more efficient use of existing resources.

Take, for example, Getaround, which aims to make better use of the 92 percent of the time that most cars sit idle, or Airbnb, which helps people rent out their apartments while out of town. These companies are using technology to bring scale and transactional efficiency to an old idea -- sharing -- that just might change the way we interact with physical goods and with each other.

Read more: GreenBiz

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Turning good data centers into better neighbors

By Jill Bunting
June 4, 2012

To keep up with rising data storage demands, tech companies accustomed to thinking about their resources in terabytes are now racing to build data centers by the hundred-thousand square feet. As these companies start owning assets, they face new challenges and opportunities inherent in operating in local communities. Tech companies can learn a lot from their brick-and-mortar peers about the benefits of being good neighbors.

Full article: GreenBiz

For more insights, follow Jill on Twitter.

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3 Rules for Creating Smart Marketing for the Smart Grid

By Yakov Berenshtyen
May 2, 2012

Once seemingly distant from consumers, utilities are now fighting for customers' attention and developing business models to improve engagement. Increasingly aware that they need customers on their side to deploy smart meters and other infrastructural upgrades, utilities are expanding their marketing programs, signaling a fundamental shift in the way utilities have traditionally done business.

Read more: GreenBiz

Green Lessons from Military Leaders


By Dan Saccardi
April 27, 2012

Gas prices continue to be a central focus on the presidential campaign trail, as demonstrated by last month’s posturing over oil subsidies. Regardless of your politics, however, the taxpayer dollars at stake pale in comparison to the benefits of energy policy choices now being made by our military leadership.

The U.S. military is the world’s largest industrial consumer of oil, so a major shift in its energy policies would have an impact not only on the amount of oil consumed today but also on technologies that could begin to replace fossil fuels tomorrow.

Full article: Politico

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NY Auto Show: Cleaner, high MPG cars have staying power

By Adam Happel
April 19, 2012

The 2012 New York International Auto Show featured some exciting new car reveals and awards, including "World Green Car of the Year." A key message in New York was that plugs are not going away, but the introduction of new clean diesel models and overall increased fuel efficiency from traditional engines gives a glimpse of the variety in high-efficiency, low carbon emissions vehicles to hit the market in the coming years.

Read more: GreenBiz

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How energy companies do (and don't) manage their water footprints

By Simon Lim
March 22, 2012

"If climate change is the shark, then water is its teeth," declares Paul Dickinson, CEO of the Carbon Disclosure Project. He paints a grim but appropriate picture of the linkages between water and carbon, and, less obviously, water and energy.

In a prior article, we explained why water should be integrated with energy strategies. Here we explore how different organizations, particularly oil and gas companies, have approached this.

Full article: GreenBiz

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Geneva Motor Show: Smaller--and greener--is better

By Ted Grozier
March 12, 2012

Green rhetoric gave way to genuine progress at the Geneva Motor Show this year. GreenBiz was invited to the press preview of the 82nd annual event before the public show, which runs from March 8-18th.

Driven in large part by tightening fuel economy regulations on both sides of the Atlantic, globally increasing oil prices, and some of Europe's "stairstep" policies to promote greener mobility, sustainability is being woven into every segment of the automotive business at an impressive rate.

Read more: GreenBiz

Responsible Supply Chain Leadership: Should Apple Just Do It?

By Brad Bate
March 7, 2012

Much has been written in the past month about Apple’s supply chain woes, as stories of Chinese labor issues have sent the company scrambling to release supplier names and join the Fair Labor Association (FLA). 

While challenges with supply chain responsibility are not unique to Apple, the company’s record profits and tremendous brand value make it an easy and highly-visible target.

Full article: Sustainable Brands

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Memo to the CEO: How to choose the right policy partners (part 4 of 4)

By Catherine Potter, Truman Semans and Scott Browne
March 5, 2012

4. Choosing effective partners can make all the difference.

Cross-sector initiatives, like the U.S. Climate Action Partnership or the U.S. Partnership for Renewable Energy Finance, help to advance common interests among different companies and across different sectors. Through these initiatives, policymakers are able to see that the policy objectives are not just pet projects or sweetheart deals for a single company, but market makers for whole segments of the economy.

Full article: GreenBiz

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Memo to the CEO: A Marketing Plan to Move Your Policy Beyond Spin (part 3)

By Catherine Potter, Truman Semans and Scott Browne
February 27, 2012

Welcome back to our series on "Memo to the CEO: Efficacy at the intersection of policy and business." Last week we shared our thoughts on creating an interdisciplinary team to address policy issues. This week we focus on our third principle:

3. An effective policy shop leverages business marketing best practices.

Full article: GreenBiz

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Memo to the CEO: Build a Balanced Team to Achieve Policy Successes (part 2)

By Catherine Potter, Truman Semans and Scott Browne
February 21, 2012

Welcome back to our series on "Memo to the CEO: How to be effective at the intersection of policy and business." Last week we shared our thoughts on how policy is just as much about offense as it is about defense. This week we focus on our second principle:

2. Pursue an agenda with a team that has balanced knowledge across business, innovation and policy.

Full article: GreenBiz

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Memo to the CEO: 4 Strategies for the Intersection of Policy & Business (part 1)

By Catherine Potter, Truman Semans and Scott Browne
February 13, 2012

Approaching your policy agenda from a business point of view -- and vice versa -- can improve your company's environmental innovation and effectiveness. Think about it: Smart environmental innovation uses insights and tools from the business, government and non-profit sectors, and policy weaves through all three.

Full article: GreenBiz

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The Crunchies Awards and The Best of 2011 Sustainable Tech

By Jill Bunting
January 24, 2012

Voting for the 2011 Crunchies is underway, and sustainability-enabling tech companies have snagged nominations across the board. The Crunchies gave shout-outs to the sleek Nest learning thermostat, the money-saving platform Airbnb, and the inspiring charity: water. This is in addition to nominees in the "Best Clean Tech Startup" category (we like Array Power in this group).

For your consideration, below are companies chosen by the GreenOrder Tech Team that didn't make the Crunchie list, but we're touting as ones that are poised to spark sustainable innovations in 2012 and beyond.

Full article: GreenBiz