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Greener Hospitals: Building Consensus for Health Care Sustainability

March 5, 2015 Comments off

Greener Hospitals: Building Consensus for Health Care Sustainability
Source: Knowledge@Wharton (University of Pennsylvania)

Until recently, health care was not a major part of the sustainability discussion. And the reverse was just as true: Few within the health care industry thought much about sustainability. Yet the two fields overlap in many important ways.

Health care has a sizeable impact on the environment. In her book, Greening Health Care, Kathy Gerwig, vice president of employee safety, health and wellness at Kaiser Permanente, notes that hospitals are the second-most energy-intensive commercial buildings in the U.S. and that the industry is responsible for 8% of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions. “Health care institutions are consistently among the top 10 water users in their communities,” she writes, and they are “the single-largest users of chemical agents.” The volume of waste flowing out of hospitals is mammoth — more than 2.3 million tons per year — including everything from paper and cardboard to infectious materials and radioactive waste.

Options for Improving Conservation Programs: Insights from Auction Theory and Economic Experiments

February 25, 2015 Comments off

Options for Improving Conservation Programs: Insights from Auction Theory and Economic Experiments
Source: USDA Economic Research Service

USDA spends over $5 billion per year on conservation programs, mostly on voluntary programs that pay farmers and landowners to provide environmental services. This report studies the use of auctions in conservation programs to determine if auction design can reduce Government expenditures or encourage landowners to provide greater environmental services.

2014 NHL Sustainability Report

January 5, 2015 Comments off

2014 NHL Sustainability Report
Source: National Hockey League

Perhaps more than any other sport, hockey is impacted by environmental issues, particularly climate change and freshwater scarcity. The ability to skate and play hockey outdoors is a critical component of the League’s history and culture. Many of the NHL’s players, both past and present, learned to skate outside on frozen lakes, ponds and backyard rinks. The game of hockey is adversely affected if this opportunity becomes unavailable to future generations.

With this 2014 NHL SUSTAINABILITY REPORT, the first of its kind for the League, we address head-on the connection between hockey and the environment, and the impact we have on our planet. It is in our best interest to confront this challenge, to be transparent with our impacts and to discuss and explore with all of our stakeholders a strategy for long-term environmental sustainability.

In this report, we put forth our first carbon inventory, which details the greenhouse gas emissions associated with the many facets of our operations, including energy and water use, waste and travel. We acknowledge that NHL hockey games are energy intensive. We also acknowledge that the geographic locations of our Clubs require a substantial amount of travel over the course of a season. Like the other professional sports, these business operations affect the air we breathe and our supplies of clean, fresh water. We are determined to address these environmental challenges without sacrificing the integrity of our game.

While we have made some progress to date, we concede there is still much to do. Our plan for the years ahead, given our unique constrains, is to capture additional data and information related to the impacts of our business and to create meaningful goals to reduce those impacts. It is our objective to raise the level of environmental consciousness among our fans and arena operators, and encourage improvements within our Clubs’ buildings, our operations, employees, partners, vendors, fans and communities.

Tidal Wave or Drop in the Bucket? Differences in Water Use Across the United States

January 2, 2015 Comments off

Tidal Wave or Drop in the Bucket? Differences in Water Use Across the United States
Source: Brookings Institution

A serious drought in the American West has called national attention to our country’s water resources. U.S. businesses report substantial concerns over water supply, while the current drought in California has cost the state billions of dollars in economic losses. Not all regions of the United States, however, have the same water needs. Understanding how our nation uses water, and how these needs vary across the country, will be an important piece of the solution to the water puzzle. Using newly released data, The Hamilton Project presents an economic analysis and accompanying interactive feature to illustrate the great variation in the level and nature of water use across the country.

2014 Environmental Finance Innovation Summit (White Paper)

October 14, 2014 Comments off

2014 Environmental Finance Innovation Summit (PDF)
Source: Goldman Sachs

The underlying thesis for investing in solutions that benefit the environment is increasingly compelling, given the macro trends of a rapidly growing population and increased urbanization, the social pressures to more effectively manage the environmental spillovers that come with growth, and the security imperatives of protecting against extreme weather. At the same time, capital flow into environmentally beneficial opportunities is often constrained by uncertainties around public policy, budgetary challenges, and the natural fits and starts of nascent technologies. In response to the opportunities and challenges, a number of innovative financing mechanisms and capital markets solutions are being deployed to scale-up investments in clean technology, energy efficiency, water and green infrastructure solutions.

To raise awareness about these developments and to facilitate dialogue, Goldman Sachs hosted the Environmental Finance Innovation Summit on February 13, 2014. The Summit coincided with the powerful nor’easter Pax, which underscored the importance of the topic at hand. With a group of nearly 200 participants, the Summit provided a forum to discuss emerging innovative financing vehicles, identify obstacles and solutions to scaling up these financing mechanisms, offer policy input, and foster partnerships to drive further progress.

The following paper summarizes key takeaways from the summit.

Making the Atom Work for the Environment; New IAEA Publication Explains How Nuclear Techniques Support Sustainable Development

October 13, 2014 Comments off

Making the Atom Work for the Environment; New IAEA Publication Explains How Nuclear Techniques Support Sustainable Development
Source: International Atomic Energy Agency

Environmental degradation is a major development challenge for many of the IAEA’s Member States, affecting local, national, regional and global communities. Nuclear techniques can play an important role in addressing such challenges, contributing to sustainable development and environmental protection. A new IAEA publication, The Atom, the Environment and Sustainable Development, describes how nuclear-related technologies, such as isotopic analysis, can be used to monitor and understand environmental processes. Ultimately, such technologies advance innovative medical treatment methods, increase food security and help manage scarce natural resources.

CFOs and Sustainability: Shaping their roles in an evolving environment

September 26, 2014 Comments off

CFOs and Sustainability: Shaping their roles in an evolving environment
Source: Deloitte

Deloitte’s new whitepaper, CFOs and Sustainability: Shaping their roles in an evolving environment, reveals numerous trends in the environmental, health, safety, and social impacts of the enterprise:

  • CFOs are becoming more involved in setting and executing sustainability strategy.
  • The impact of sustainability on key financial decisions has increased in M&A, capital allocation, and capital raising.
  • Compliance with new energy efficiency and carbon regulations remain areas of high concern.

Many additional insights may be found in the whitepaper, which summarizes Deloitte’s most-recent survey; puts the findings in context with similar surveys from prior years; and provides Deloitte’s analysis and suggestions regarding potential action steps.

In addition, the paper can enhance a CFO’s understanding of his or her role in sustainability by providing a window on the sustainability activities of peers and competitors.

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