Portfolio 21 Investments: PEAK > Investing at the edge of ecological limits.

16 01 2012

Congratulations to Portfolio 21 Investments in Portland for a remarkably blunt, clear and inspiring strategic approach to managing investments in “the age of volatility.”

In one of the most compelling presentations regarding the need to re-think investment criteria in a world of ecological crises, Portfolio 21 Investments calls for re-thinking traditional criteria for investment and puts forward a unique pov to navigate a new landscape.  They are making a commitment to factor in new levels ecological risks and to seek the rewards from those that are bringing forward innovation and new ways to confront new realities.

By evaluating companies’ energy and resource efficiencies as well developing new strategies for operating in an ecologically limited world, Portfolio 21 is bringing timely and refreshingly enlightened thinking to the investment sector.

Portfolio 21’s report cautions:  “Investors must be aware of a stark and fairly recent truth:  Our economic system has become so large that is is overpowering and threatening the natural systems that support it.  Our failure to anchor the economy within the earth and its systems facilitates a fallacy:  the belief that the economy can grow infinitely, regardless of the planet’s physical limits.”

Kudos to Portfolio’s 21 fresh and importantly provocative pov.  Let’s hope investors listen and companies heed the wisdom.

Get the PEAK report here.

Consumer Environmental Behaviors Have Shifted For Good.

30 11 2011

In a recent survey revisiting consumer attitudes toward environmental issues vs. 20 years ago, GfK Roper and S.C. Johnson demonstrate how much progress has been made.


The research study reports that 73 percent say they know a lot or a fair amount about environmental issues and problems, up from 50 percent earlier. Compared to 20 years ago, twice as many Americans are taking proactive steps to help the environment. Today, 58 percent of Americans recycle, 29 percent buy green products regularly and 18 percent commute in an environmentally friendly manner.

And the impact can be dramatic.  According to Kelly M. Semrau, Senior Vice President of Global Corporate Affairs, Communication and Sustainability at SC Johnson, “Simply recycling one aluminum soda can yields enough energy to power my laptop for five hours or light up my office for 20 hours using a 60-watt energy-saving light bulb. These individual steps are made possible because individuals have a desire to modify their behavior, but also because businesses and governments have taken a leadership role in facilitating these changes by providing the right tools, products and processes.”


Three-in-four respondents agree that “a manufacturer that reduces the environmental impact of its production process and products is making a smart business decision.” Those are much higher marks than Americans gave business in 1990. Individuals place themselves higher at 38 percent and rank businesses lower at 29 percent when asked who should take the lead in addressing environmental problems and issues.

Said Semrau, “We all have a role to play to protect our earth, and 75 percent of American consumers say they feel good when taking steps to help the environment. That’s huge. Through increased environmental knowledge and with the right products and tools, we can all appeal to that sentiment to make smarter choices for a greener lifestyle.”

Green shopping photo via Shutterstock.

Sweet Sixteen: World Economic Forum finds New Sustainability Champions

19 09 2011

Congratulations to the World Economic Forum and Boston Consulting Group for their work in identifying 16 companies in emerging markets that are setting new standards for sustainability.

In the new report by WEF and BCG, they highlight that Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, the Russian Federation and South Korea will account for more than 50% of the world’s economic growth by the year 2025.

From the Executive Summary of the report:

“The World Economic Forum and The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) set out to seek unconventional, practical solutions to the current challenges of growth, aiming to identify and support key business practices, and to relay them to the global community. This project deliberately did not look to governments, environmental organizations or multinational corporations from advanced economies – all sources of well- practiced but as yet insufficient answers. Instead, it went to agents who deal with a wide range of constraints in their daily business: rapidly growing companies originating and operating in the emerging markets, where economic prosperity and populations are growing fastest, and where environmental constraints and stresses are often highest.

As a result of a rigorous research process, the project identified and assessed 16 emerging market-based companies that share a unique mindset and set of best practices: these are the New Sustainability Champions.

Based in countries such as Brazil, Costa Rica, Egypt and Kenya, these companies provide inspiring examples for any corporation around the world interested in tackling the challenges of performance, innovation, growth and sustainability. Specifically, the New Sustainability Champions:

1. Proactively turn constraints into opportunities through innovation

2. Embed sustainability in their company culture

3. Actively shape their business environments

Moreover, they demonstrate superior financial performance when benchmarked against their peers.

The mindset, practices and business models of these New Sustainability Champions offer critical insights for emerging market-based businesses, established multinationals and governments. They could provide multiplier effects and create the basis for replication and extension among companies operating in emerging markets. They also serve as a starting point for redefining the future of growth: one that is robust and efficiently binds together all elements of sustainability – economic, environmental and social”

Here are the 16 companies that the report highlights.

Download a copy of the report here

Global Research: People are divided over concern about climate change.

20 04 2011

A survey of more than 18,500 people across 24 countries has revealed that concern over climate change is eclipsed by other environmental concerns such as energy security and waste disposal.

Global warming was voted a top priority in just four of the nations polled – South Korea, India, Japan and Mexico.

Energy security is the leading environmental issue for Britons, over and above climate change, according to the new international Ipsos poll of working age adults.

Half of Britons (50%) feel that future energy supplies and sources is one of the most important environmental issues facing the nation. Other leading issues are waste management (48%); overpopulation (41%).

Only a quarter of Britons (25%) believe climate change is their leading environmental concern.

Of the 24 nations polled across the globe, Britain is in the bottom third in terms of prioritising climate change. Lower placed nations include South Africa (23%), China (21%), Poland (19%) and Russia (9%).

In contrast the UK is in the top three nations most concerned about energy security, behind Sweden (58%) and Germany (56%).

Ipsos MORI’s Head of Environment Research, Edward Langley, said: “The public are cautious about climate change. They feel there is a lack of consensus on whether it is man-made and the degree to which it will impact their lives.

“In contrast, our dependency on fossil fuels is a more immediate and tangible risk that they can get their heads around, and one where they see an obvious need to take action to maintain living standards.”

The survey was conducted last month in 24 countries around the world via the Ipsos Online Panel system. The countries included Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Great Britain, Germany, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Poland, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Turkey and the United States of America. The international sample included 18,675 adults. Those interviewed were aged 18-64 in the US and Canada, and 16-64 in all other countries.

According to Ipsos MORI, the survey results reveal a number of potential implications for environmental campaigners. Firstly, it is important for the public to realise that the science community is in broad agreement that man-made climate change is happening, and to link the impacts with risks the public care about, that is, economic prosperity and that of future generations.

Secondly, campaigners need to consider the degree to which energy security can be used as a hook to encourage participation in sustainable behaviours.

Looking further afield, campaigners may also consider why other nationalities are more likely to feel Climate Change is a key environmental issue. For example, Japan (48%), Canada (40%), Spain (40%) and Germany (38%) are much more likely to say climate change is a key issue for them. Are there lessons which can be learnt in terms of how the public have been engaged there?

Reposted from Clickgreen.org.uk


Congrats to Nissan and TBWA/Chiat Day: Nissan Leaf

10 09 2010

Nice new spot launching the Leaf – the all-electric car from Nissan.

Seventy percent of major companies plan to increase climate change spending.

25 05 2010

Here’s a report on the recent Ernst & Young survey about companies intentions to invest in climate change initiatives.  We love the idea that 89% report the efforts are driven by changing customer demands.

Seventy percent of major companies plan to boost spending on climate change efforts in the next two years, according to a new report from Ernst & Young.

Of the 300 corporate executives surveyed this spring, 89% said their green activities were driven by changing customer demands while 92% also pointed to energy costs as a driver. The fact that 43% of those surveyed said that equity analysts will soon consider climate change actions while valuing companies was also a factor.

Thirty percent said their company had a staffer in charge of climate change initiatives, a trend The Times explored in December.

The respondents hail from 16 countries, representing firms in 18 industry sectors that pull in at least a billion dollars a year in revenue. Nearly half said they intend to shell out between half a percent to more than 5% of that revenue – or about $5 million to $50 million each year – for climate change initiatives.

Two-thirds said they are talking with their suppliers about programs to limit carbon emissions; 36% said they are already in the process of cutting greenhouse gases from their supply chains.

Nearly 95% said national policies played a critical role in their company’s climate change strategy and 81% said the same of global laws. But in countries such as the U.S., Japan and Germany, regulatory and compliance issue was ranked as the largest challenge to accomplishing environmental goals.

The study was conducted by the research group Verdantix.

Tiffany Hsu, The Los Angeles Times

Watch post-Copenhagen fall-out on The Age of Stupid Show

19 12 2009

The last team standing (sort of) at the end of the Copenhagen Climate Summit was The Age of Stupid TV Show production team.

The Stupid Show Recaps Copenhagen

You can watch a post -conference Age of Stupid Show with hosts Franny Alexander and Mark Laynas featuring interviews with attendees, dignitaries and others who left with strong opinions about the “agreement”.  A re-freshingly non-American-centric perspective.

Fighting climate change would also benefit human health.

25 11 2009

Measures to combat climate change could have appreciable direct as well as indirect benefits for public health, say authors of a series of six papers and four comments in The Lancet Online First.

In the first comment, authors from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine say that many policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions can also have a range of ancillary effects, including effects on health. The authors of the first paper in the series looked at the effects of two hypothetical interventions: to improve the energy efficiency of UK housing stock (combined fabric, ventilation, fuel switching and behavioural changes); and to introduce 150 million low-emission household cookstoves in India. The UK housing changes were estimated to cut disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) by 850 and to save 0.6 megatonnes of carbon dioxide per million population in one year. Introducing cookstoves was calculated to result in substantial reductions in acute lower respiratory tract infection in children, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and ischaemic heart disease resulting in 12,500 fewer DALYs and a saving of 0.1-0.2 megatonnes of carbon dioxide per million population per year.

A further paper modelled the health and environmental effects of changes to urban land transport in Delhi and London, which included lower-carbon-emission motor vehicles and a higher level of active travel. Increasing active travel – in either city – gave rise to more health as well as environmental benefits than increasing use of lower-emission motor vehicles. Much of the benefit arose from a reduction in the number of years of life lost from ischaemic heart disease, by 10-19% in London and 11-25% in Delhi. Other papers looked at the health effects of strategies linked to low-carbon electricity generation, short-lived greenhouse pollutants, and food and agriculture. In his own comment, Richard Horton, editor of The Lancet, points out how this research could help combat the public’s negative perception of initiatives to combat climate change: “The overwhelming impression among the public is that any response to global warming will be negative … We will have to drive less, fly less, eat differently, change the way we generate energy, and alter our lifestyles in ways that will limit our freedom to do as we please … Not surprisingly, this political message is hard to sell to a public already struggling during a time of global financial insecurity.” “Health is likely to become an increasingly important concern, not only for a public anxious about the impact of climate-change mitigation policies on their lives, but also for politicians eager to sweeten the climate-change policy pill. This latest report aims to accelerate political and public assent for large cuts in greenhouse-gas emissions.”

Professor Vivienne Nathanson, head of science and ethics at the British Medical Association, said of The Lancet’s papers: “Climate change not only contributes to disease and premature death but exacerbates existing health inequalities in the UK and globally. Today’s research shows that a reduction in emissions will have a positive effect on health in both high and low-income settings, and that lifestyle changes made by all us will have direct health benefits.”

Help fund The Stupid Show Webcast from Copenhagen.

25 11 2009

The filmmakers behind the groundbreaking documentary on climate change–The Age of Stupid—hope to webcast The Stupid Show live from the United Nationals Climate Summit in Copenhagen in December.  To make this happen, they need your support.

Learn more about how you can make The Stupid Show happen.

Age of Stupid Filmmaker Saved By Mayor of London from iron bar yielding girl gang.

25 11 2009

I can’t believe I just wrote that headline – but the truth is stranger than fiction.  The Guardian reported today:

Boris Johnson came to the rescue of a high profile climate change activist and filmmaker who was being attacked by a group of young girls brandishing an iron bar, it was revealed today.

Franny Armstrong, the director of The Age of Stupid, described the mayor of London as her “knight in a shining bicycle” after he came to her defence as she was walking home in Camden, north London, last night.

She called out for help to a passing cyclist after being surrounded by a group of hoodie-wearing young girls who pushed her against a car, one holding an iron bar.

She called out for help to a passing cyclist after being surrounded by a group of hoodie-wearing young girls who pushed her against a car, one holding an iron bar.

The cyclist turned out to be none other than Johnson, who has made tackling youth crime a key mayoral priority.

He stopped and chased the girls down the street, calling them “oiks”, according to Armstrong, who praised the mayor’s intervention.

Johnson returned and insisted on walking her home.

Armstrong is the founder of the 10:10 campaign, which aims to cut 10% of carbon emissions in 2010 and has attracted support from leading firms – including the Guardian – and personalities.

“I was texting on my phone so didn’t notice the girls until they pushed me against the car, quite hard,” she said.

“I noticed that one had an iron bar in her hand. It was very frightening. At that moment a man cycled past and I called out for help.

“He said to the girls: ‘What do you think you are doing?’ He picked up the iron bar, called after the girls and cycled after them. He returned a few minutes later and walked me home.

“He was my knight on a shining bicycle.”

Watch an interview with Franny Armstrong.

Six Powerful Voices

7 10 2009

Sign the petition, upload your photo and send a message about your concern for climate change.  Copenhagen is right around the corner.

Sign the petition.

Seeking an audience for The Age of Stupid

7 10 2009

“The first successful dramatisation of climate change to hit the big screen.”

– The Guardian

Last month saw the world premiere of The Age of Stupid on the eve of the United Nations conference on climate change.  The Age of Stupid’ is the new cinema documentary from the Director of ‘McLibel’ and the Producer of the Oscar-winning ‘One Day in September’. Filmed in seven countries over four years, this enormously ambitious drama-documentary-animation hybrid stars Oscar-nominated Pete Postlethwaite as an old man living in the devastated world of 2055, watching ‘archive’ footage from 2008 and asking: why didn’t we stop climate change while we had the chance?

Visit the world of The Age of Stupid

Watch a United Kingdom televised report on The Age of Stupid and other eco-documentaries soon to be released.

U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan at the world premiere event in New York on the eve of the United Nationals General Session on Climate Change.

Picture 2

The exterior of The Archive in which Pete Postlethwaite’s character, the archivist, lives.   This animation was produced by animator Greg McKnealley.

Picture 1

Abandon Ship! Follow-up on U.S. Chamber…

1 10 2009


The momentum of disengagement from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce based on their draconian position denying climate change continues. The chamber in recent weeks has challenged a federal Environmental Protection Act finding that greenhouse gases can be regulated by the Clean Air Act.

Nike announced Wednesday that it has resigned from the Board of Directors of the Chamber.  In a statement, Nike said “we fundamentally disagree with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce on the issue of climate change and their recent action challenging the EPA is inconsistent with our view that climate change is an issue in need of urgent action.”

Nike joins PG&E Corporation, PNM Resources and Exelon Corporation— all of whom have left the Chamber in the past week based on the Chamber’s position denying climate change.  Speculation continues that Chamber President Thomas Donohue will be forced to resign based on the defection of member companies and allegations of conflict of interest based on his board position at Union Pacific Railway, a company fighting climate change legislation in part based on the large amount of revenues they receive from the shipment of coal.

What nobody is talking about in the U.S. and everyone is buzzing about in the rest of the world.

15 09 2009

SEEEEEL THE DEAL ENGLISH 2D“Now is the time for decision-making. We must seal a deal in Copenhagen for a global, equitable and comprehensive deal for the future of humanity and the future of Planet Earth.”

– U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon

In December in Copehagen, the United Nations will host a global conference from governments around the world to achieve a comprehensive agreement on climate.

Reaching a deal by the time the meeting ends on December 18 will depend not only on complex political negotiations, but also on public pressure from around the globe.

The United Nations has launched “Seal the Deal” campaign that encourages users to sign an online, global petition which will be presented by civil society to governments of the world.

Visit the Seal the Deal website

Watch U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon talk about the “Seal the Deal” campaign.

CoolPlanet2009 is also on board to support the Seal the Deal campaign.

The week of September 21st has been desiganated as Global Climate Week.  Rallies in more than 100 cities across the global are being organized by young people as a major push to keep global warming high on the international agenda. More than 800 young people pledged a comprehensive campaign at the conclusion of the Tunza International Youth Conference in Daejeon, Korea at the end of August.

Learn more about Climate Week



Now is the time to spread the world about the United Nations’ Seal the Deal campaign.  You can follow them on Twitter or join a Seal the Deal group on Facebook. Let’s get Copenhagen and climate change on minds in the U.S. as it is across the world.

your pal…global warming.

27 08 2009

A fun user generated video contestant for the MTV Europe Play to Stop competition.


The Scopes Monkey Trial of the 21st Century?

27 08 2009

A report in The Los Angeles Times highlights how the U.S. Chamber of Commerce wants to put the science of global warming on trial.  


The Chamber is pushing Environmental Protection Agency officials to hold a rare public hearing on the scientific evidence of climate change with the goal of fending off potential emissions regulations.

The article cites EPA officials as calling such a hearing “a waste of time”.  A leading climate scientist said the proposal “brings to mind for me the Salem witch trials”.

At a time when the vast majority of business leaders in the United States recognize the serious impact of climate change and are exploring and implementing innovative new sustainability practices into all facets of their operations, we cannot fathom how the U.S. Chamber can be in denial and rationalize wasting the time and money of its members by pursuing such draconian tactics.  This after the heads of the top science agencies in leading countries have recently written to world leaders that  “the need for urgent action to address climate change is now indisputable.”

Read the Los Angeles Times article.

Play to Stop Europe For Climate

15 07 2009

Picture 1

We love the work MTV Europe is doing in partnership with the European Union announced today, kicking off a six month campaign to raise awareness and action among young people in Europe regarding climate change leading up to the Climate Conference in Copenhagen in December.  Stunningly, research from Europe indicates only a little more than half of people aged 15-24 have taken action to fight climate change, the lowest proportion of any age group.  The campaign is designed to give a voice to the age group to be most affected by climate change.  

“Events like this are vital, because young people are a tremendously important pressure group. They will be most affected by climate change — so their voices are the most important,” Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas said in a statement.

Moby will perform in Stockholm on August 20, with other artists taking to the stage in Budapest and Copenhagen in the coming months. Each concert will take place alongside a major climate change event in the respective cities.

The six-month campaign, to be held in the run-up to international climate talks in Copenhagen in December, will run in 11 EU countries and include TV spots, webcasts and games. MTV will provide editorial content on tackling climate change.

Watch the hilarious MTV Play to Stop Promo



“Events like this are vital, because young people are a tremendously important pressure group. They will be most affected by climate change — so their voices are the most important,” Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas said in a statement.
Moby will perform in Stockholm on August 20, with other artists taking to the stage in Budapest and Copenhagen in the coming months. Each concert will take place alongside a major climate change event in the respective cities.
The six-month campaign, to be held in the run-up to international climate talks in Copenhagen in December, will run in 11 EU countries and include TV spots, webcasts and games. MTV will provide editorial content on tackling climate change.