Celebrate Earth Day by Riding a Bike!

Nearly two years ago, I did a series on how ICT services change our daily lives.  One of my favourite posts from that series was this one on the Capital Bikeshare program and how well planned program that leverages smart technologies can make a real impact on how we live.  Since I first wrote about the program in 2011, it has grown from strength to strength both in the number of bikes and stations in operation, but also in the number of areas served.  

Today, as we mark Earth Day, I think it’s important to remember that doing something

read more

Net Good is Positive News for All: How Business Can Effect Sustainable Growth

On Monday March 4th Green Monday is focusing on Net Positive. I will be watching the live stream and running a virtual roundtable after the events.  In addition, some of my BT colleagues will be there in person to talk about our net good programme. I wrote this post to set the scene…

Reducing environmental footprint is essential, but not enough, to bridge the chasm between a global population that is growing in size and affluence and available resources to meet their needs.

Businesses are at the nexus of that challenge as we depend on natural resources to create and …

read more

Sustainability Gets a Seat at the Table: Why Including Climate Change in the Inaugural Address is a Momentous Event

 

 

Inauguration speeches are a bit of a conundrum, really.  All at once they are meant to set a vision and inspire a nation, yet avoid partisanship, or anything that might be too controversial from the current political agenda.  The sameness of inaugural addresses even inspired a mashup of inaugural addresses from the last 50 years that was broadcast widely online in the days leading up to President Obama’s inauguration last week.

Whether Republican or Democrat the inaugural address follows a comforting formula noting the new beginning, but acknowledging the foundation of tradition; praising the quintessential American values of …

read more

Making the Grid Smart and Secure

In a great example of using ICT services to address sustainability opportunities, a few weeks ago my colleagues Ed Hicks, Bryan Fite, and Michael Trofimoff attended the TM Forum Management World event in Orland FL.  The team exhibited BT’s Smart Grid Interoperability Lab as part of the TM Forum’s catalyst program that highlights innovation and new technologies.  They also participated on several panel discussions and hosted a workshop on Smart Grid.

It was a busy few days, but it was a great way to connect with lots of people as many people stopped by to view the demo.  But for …

read more

Valuing Natural Capital – A Double Edged Sword

I was in London last week and attended a very stimulating Green Monday evening that got me thinking about the term ‘value.’   Value can be defined as both:

  • The regard that something is held to deserve
  • The monetary worth of something

In a roundtable session after the presentations I joined a discussion about valuing natural capital. I hold natural capital in high regard. Natural capital has a monetary worth for sure. But it has an intrinsic value in its own right –to our own and to future generations — that potentially goes beyond its monetary worth as set by …

read more

Carbon Accounting – The New Frontier

Back in the early 1990’s at BT we started by measuring and reducing our absolute carbon footprint and energy usage.  In financial terms this parallels assessing the total cost base of the operations of the company. As we improved our understanding of our carbon cost base, we have been able to break it down into its components such as travel, network, datacenters etc etc.  Just like a company can break its cost base into different components of its operations.

A few years ago, we made our analysis of our carbon cost more sophisticated, by assessing it on a per unit basis.   …

read more

Hurricane Sandy and the Lexicon of Sustainability

It’s been a tough  week.  I lost 24 hours of it to Sandy. But when my power came back on and I switched on the TV I was able to see just how lucky I had been – dark for only 24 hours and no damage of flooding. The photo is of the New Jersey home of a friend and colleague from BT who was less fortunate.   Luckily no one was hurt.

The range of potential and actual corporate responses we are seeing to the storm is an informative way to distinguish the lexicon of our sustainability landscape.  A little …

read more

Watching the Water Run Out of the Tub and Other Analogies: Making the Challenge of Sustainability Tangible

Last week in London I delivered a presentation on sustainability to about 120 middle and senior managers from within BT.  Afterwards we explored climate change, at the new and very impressive Atmosphere Gallery  in the Science Museum.

Recently I have taken to introducing my presentations using the measure of how many planets worth of resources humanity is using and how that number is growing.   If you are not familiar with it, this web site from Global Footprint Network explains the concept.

Another analogy I like to use to illustrate the concept is a bathtub with water running in from the tap …

read more

At Last – Something That Could Change Consumer Behavior

Only last week I wrote a post that questioned whether we can pin our hopes on an expectation that consumers will purposefully behave in a green manner. There are loads of great ideas out there that provide sustainability information, but nothing I have seen that grabs me by the throat. Until last night!

Last night I went to Bethesda Green for an event organized by the Energy and Environment Committee of the DC chapter of the British American Business Association.

Bethesda Green is a green business incubator, based, not surprisingly, inBethesda,Md.

I talked to a number of people and …

read more

Connecting the Dots – Cities and Sustainability

My last post referred to the workshop I attended at Verge DC to discuss the recent Citystates paper from SustainAbility and GreenBiz.

Environment once meant something we went to visit on a weekend hike to a national park. But that type of thinking is counterproductive.  It separates the daily actions of the majority of people, who live in urban environments, from the environment.    This interview with Harvard economist Edward Glaeser addresses why urbanization could be a solution to many intractable sustainability problems:

It is somewhat counterintuitive but all that is leafy is not necessarily green – living around

read more