Learn more about environmental innovation and business strategy through media coverage of GreenOrder’s perspective and articles authored by our team. Attend an upcoming conference or event and hear from our firm leadership in person.
Announcing 10×13: Ten Interviews with Thought Leaders in 2013
In March 2013, over 700 cleantech investors, sustainability professionals, startups, and international delegates gathered at Cleantech Forum in San Francisco to discuss the critical global energy and resources challenges that we face today and the ways technology can promote resiliency and efficiency in the built environment.
We handpicked ten interviewees from the diverse set of speakers and panelists, who are leaders in their respective industries, and brought them backstage to explore their perspectives in more detail. 10×13 looks at innovation across a range of industries including commercial property management, consumer resource sharing, transportation and future mobility services, government, telecom, and utility-scale solar.
Episode 1: How is technology shaping the role of the built environment?
Why the Big Apple Can Be the World's First VERGE City
A full summary of Andrew Shapiro's panel, "Can New York Be America's First VERGE City?" at GreenBiz Forum NYC.
As if recent football results weren't enough to heat up the rivalry between New York, Boston, and San Francisco, add to the contest the quest for title of "greenest city."
Full article: GreenBiz
IF11: 4 Ways to Find Innovation Outside Your Company
A full summary of Michael Ellis's workshop "Finding Innovation Outside Your Walls" held at GreenBiz Innovation Forum.
In many ways, a culture of collaboration helps to propel companies along their own personal environmental innovation journeys. While much of it takes place behind the scenes, a growing number of companies are reaching beyond their four walls to find sources of innovation.
Full article: GreenBiz
What the President's focus on climate change means for cleantech
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.
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.Tweet
As originally published on GreenBiz.
How Utilities Can Better Source Innovation
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.Tweet
As originally published on Consumer Energy Report.
Conferences & Events
Cleantech Forum Europe 2013
April 16-18, 2013 | Bilbao, Spain
Cleantech Forum Europe is the only genuinely pan-European conference of its kind. This year, over 400 leaders of the European business community and beyond - including corporate executives, investors, entrepreneurs and policy-makers - will convene in Bilbao to network and dig into the challenges facing our industry.
Click here to learn more, register, or become a sponsor.
Cleantech Forum SF 2013
March 18-20, 2013 | San Francisco, CA
Sustainability Meets Innovation: Reigniting Cleantech
Global energy and resources challenges have never been bigger, and the stakes are clear. Corporate business leaders worldwide are learning how environmental innovation will help drive future profitability, whereas technology investors are nervous after numerous company failures and weak public exits.
How can environmental sustainability and innovation be top of mind for customers and corporations, but not deliver the right returns for investors? Cleantech Forum 2013, Sustainability Meets Innovation: Reigniting Cleantech, will tackle this disconnect by convening cleantech's most prominent investors, entrepreneurs, and supporters with the world's largest corporate strategics, sustainability leaders, and technology buyers.
The two and a half day Forum will showcase the sector's most important startups, encourage frank conversations, and create opportunities for participants to get to know each other, the influencers, and the issues and that will reshape their worlds. Gain insights from sustainability leaders in major corporations, innovators in the Oil & Gas industry, as well as technology developers from the consumer web and retail worlds.
Join us in March for Cleantech Forum 2013—a unique, thought-provoking, and catalytic event.
Click here to learn more, register, or become a sponsor.
Past Conferences, 2012
Cleantech Group and LRN Announce Merger of Cleantech Group and GreenOrder
Cleantech Group and LRN Announce Merger of Cleantech Group and GreenOrder
Leading Firms to Join Forces, Offering Corporations Insight into Sustainability and Innovation
October 2, 2012, San Francisco, CA and New York, NY– Cleantech Group, a leading market intelligence and advisory firm focused on innovation, and LRN, a company that helps corporations foster ethical, winning cultures and inspire principled performance in their operations, today announced that they have entered into a definitive agreement to merge Cleantech Group and GreenOrder, formerly a sustainability strategy consulting subsidiary of LRN. LRN will become a major shareholder and long-term partner in the combined company—under a broad new partnership agreement that will extend the reach of both LRN and the newly formed firm. Additional financial details of the transaction were not disclosed.
"Leading enterprises are increasingly trying to understand how sustainability challenges will impact their growth and profitability, and they are looking for innovative technologies and business models to turn those challenges into opportunities," said Sheeraz Haji, CEO of Cleantech Group and the CEO of the newly formed company. "By joining forces, Cleantech Group and GreenOrder will be uniquely positioned to assist executives in both developing strategies that address sustainability issues, as well as sourcing the innovative technologies, partnerships, and investments that will transform these strategies into reality."
"As a major shareholder and close business partner, LRN is inspired by the way this new company will reinforce our commitment to environmental sustainability," said LRN's founder and CEO, Dov Seidman. "Culture as a deliberate strategy for resiliency, innovation, and growth is becoming a focus for more of the companies LRN works with, creating significant opportunities for LRN. Together, Cleantech Group and GreenOrder will also yield greater depth and breadth of new knowledge that will help LRN power clients' sustainability and innovation strategies."
GreenOrder brings respected management consulting capabilities, along with a deep understanding of how sustainability initiatives can create substantial enterprise value. The combined advisory team will leverage Cleantech Group’s expertise in helping clients identify and adopt leading innovative technologies to address sustainability challenges.
"By uniting the worlds of sustainability and cleantech, we will provide a broad array of data, networking, and advisory services to a joint client roster that includes General Electric, Veolia, Électricité de France (EDF), HP, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), and many other leading enterprises, investors, and government agencies," explained Michael Ellis, Principal of GreenOrder.
"Our clients are operating supply chains and dealing with environmental issues around the world," stated Truman Semans, Principal of GreenOrder. "Leveraging Cleantech Group's global footprint and unparalleled network, our new firm will be well positioned to navigate the regulatory and business climates that organizations are facing at both the international and local level."
The new company will have a powerful data and knowledge management foundation anchored by i3, Cleantech Group’s market intelligence platform that provides insight into transactions, companies, and partnerships. Joint clients will also benefit from Cleantech Group Forums and Executive Summits, where key corporate leaders, policy makers, investors, entrepreneurs, and industry influencers regularly gather to examine trends, source new investments, and forge strategic relationships.
"Corporations need an integrated view of complex resource issues and their impact on business performance," said Hank Habicht, Managing Partner at SAIL Capital Partners and former Deputy Administrator (COO) at the U.S. EPA. "The impressive teams coming together in this merger have proven their ability to add significant value to clients over the past ten years. The merger combines a disruptive market intelligence platform and the premier global event series with premier consulting services, creating a firm uniquely positioned to help the world's largest companies in the decade ahead."
Three major offices—San Francisco, New York, and London—and a network of partners in regions around the world will provide the company the ability to support its global customer base and maintain the broadest visibility on cleantech innovation.
The transaction is expected to close in October 2012.
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About Cleantech Group
Cleantech Group's market intelligence, events and advisory services accelerate market adoption, stimulate demand, and remove barriers to cleantech innovation. A global company with offices in North America and Europe, we connect business leaders with cleantech innovation through the i3 Platform, the most comprehensive, vetted, up-to-date source for insights into companies, investors, financing and relationships across the clean technology ecosystem. Cleantech Group also produces the premier Cleantech Forum® and Focus™ events worldwide. Details at www.cleantech.com.
Since 1994, LRN has helped over 20 million people at more than 700 companies worldwide, simultaneously navigate complex legal and regulatory environments, foster ethical, winning cultures, and inspire principled performance in their operations. LRN's combination of practical tools, education and strategic advice helps companies translate their values into concrete corporate practices and leadership behaviors that create sustainable competitive advantage. In partnership with LRN, companies need not choose between living principles and maximizing profits, or between enhancing reputation and growing revenue: all are a product of principled performance. LRN works with organizations in more than 100 countries, and has offices in New York, Los Angeles, London and Mumbai. For more information, visit www.lrn.com.
GreenOrder is a strategy and management consulting firm founded in 2000 that helps companies gain competitive advantage through environmental innovation. Called "the go-to consulting firm for green business" by Fortune, the company's groundbreaking work has demonstrated that environmental leadership can be a driver of billion-dollar growth. GreenOrder is headquartered in New York City, with offices in Washington, D.C. and San Francisco. GreenOrder offers practical tools that help companies integrate environmental values throughout an organization. For more information, visit www.greenorder.com.
Whitney Bennett Michael
Press release | 205 KB (PDF)
GreenOrder Recognized as "Smart Innovator in Independent Research Report"
August 23, 2010
GreenOrder, an LRN company, is recognized as a "smart innovator" in a new research report on environmental sustainability consultants. The "Smart Innovators: Specialist Sustainability Consultants" report - which provides a detailed independent assessment of leading firms that provide sustainability consulting services - was released by Verdantix, a research firm focused on climate change, carbon markets and business sustainability.
Press Release | PDF 94KB
US PREF: Top Banks and Investors Partner to Inform Energy Policymakers
September 14, 2009
Alliance of Finance Experts to Act as Resource to Federal Government on Renewable Energy Policy
Press Release | PDF 156KB | www.uspref.org