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TED Talks Sustainability: Christiana Figueres – The Inside Story of the Paris Climate Agreement

The SSC Team May 12, 2016 Tags: , Strategic Sustainability Consulting No comments

Nothing inspires us like a good TED talk, and here’s one of our favorites. Enjoy it! 

About the speaker: Christiana Figueres is the executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). She led the December 2015 climate talks in Paris, bringing 195 global leaders to make steps toward slowing climate change.

About the talk: Christiana Figueres talks about her work in bringing the leaders of 195 countries together – and to agree – on steps to slow climate change. Starting from a place of skepticism, not believing that she could even accomplish bringing the leaders together, much less coming to an agreement. 

Don't forget to check out an opposing view - Paris climate agreement called "a fraud" by a climate activist and former NASA scientist during the GreenBiz 2016 conference.

Were the Paris climate talks and subsequent agreements truly impactful, or just another delay toward the goal of meaningful change? Let us know in the comments.

Must Watch: Paris Climate Accords “a Fraud”?

The SSC Team May 3, 2016 Tags: , , Strategic Sustainability Consulting No comments

If there is one video you should watch this month about climate change, it’s the closing segment of the Green Biz 2016 conference. Speaker James Hansen, the former chief climatologist at NASA and a climate change expert, calls out pretty much everyone by pointing out how government inaction, as he sees it, is limiting progress on climate change.

So, if Paris is a “fraud,” then what will actually help combat climate change? Don’t worry, Hansen has the answer.



TED Talks Sustainability: Tshering Tobgay: This Country Isn’t Just Carbon Neutral – It’s Carbon Negative

The SSC Team April 21, 2016 Tags: , , Strategic Sustainability Consulting No comments

Nothing inspires us like a good TED talk, and here’s one of our favorites. Enjoy it!

About the speaker: Tshering Tobgay is the prime minister of the Kingdom of Bhutan. He is the second democratically elected prime minister, a social media star, and is leading his country based on principles of sustainability, well-being, and “Gross National Happiness.” Tobgay, an optimistic leader in tumultuous global environment, is focused on stability and sustainability in Bhutan.

About the talk: The Kingdom of Bhutan is a small Himalayan country of 700,000 people centered between China and India. The small nation has a commitment to remaining carbon neutral “for all time.” Learn about how the monarchy, and now this new democracy, has adopted a holistic look at development, favoring “Gross National Happiness” over gross national product.  

Report Worth Reading: 2016 State of Green Business

The SSC Team April 14, 2016 Tags: , , Strategic Sustainability Consulting No comments

Green Biz delivers again on its 2016 State of Green Business report, assessing its own predictions and setting out 2016 trends. 

We love this report, both for its exciting and optimistic look at what we should see in the coming months, and for the critical look at how companies are actually performing on sustainability metrics.

  • Trends to look out for in 2016:
  • Talk about the circular economy
  • Increased focus on green infrastructure
  • Carbon recycling
  • Microgrids
  • The b-to-b sharing economy
  • Intense focus on our oceans

Corporate performance gets a mixed bag. As we all know, we’re nowhere near where we need to be to consider human activities sustainable, so look at this report to see where gains are being made (and where they’re still not enough).

Finally, what’s going to continue to drive sustainable investment? In part, the money.

Check out the State of Green Business

What is the trend you’re most excited to see come to the center of the sustainability conversation?  Let us know in the comments. 

Sustainability Regulation and Reporting Refinement: More of Everything in 2016

The SSC Team April 12, 2016 Tags: , , , Strategic Sustainability Consulting No comments

From the Paris Climate Talks to changes in the GRI, we keep seeing the needle move toward regulation and refinement in sustainability reporting. We’ve said it before, and we will say it again, sustainability reporting is no longer optional.

Companies that aren’t aligning their strategy around sustainability now are soon going to be left in the dust – or maybe even taken to court as governments are increasingly enacting legislation that requires companies to report on sustainability factors.

Here are three solid examples of this trend, and three good reasons that every organization should be collecting data on sustainability for the inevitable day that the reporting becomes a business requirement.

1.     Governments: We recently wrote about the UK’s Modern Slavery Act. This is just one of dozens of national-level legal requirement cases around the globe. From Japan to Norway, governments are using laws and the courts to push toward transparency – and action – on sustainability issues.

2.     Reporting Trends: A recent article series from GreenBiz compared different environmental reporting tools – GRI vs SASB vs IR – and their various focus areas. In Part 2 of the series the author analyzes how different “sustainability topics” have shifted between the annual financial report and the sustainability report. Essentially, annual financial reports have consistently been held as required documentation to give insight into company performance. As sustainability topics become material to a company’s financial position, these topics are shifted from the sustainability report and into the annual report. Our thought: Soon sustainability as a whole will be material to investors, so you better be reporting.

3.     Reporting Framework Refinements: Has anyone looked at the new CDP reporting requirements? The days of ‘interpretation’ may be coming to a close as organizations like CDP start to require clarification and specificity in reporting impact. The most significant change in the CDPs reporting this year, in terms of data, is the reporting of Scope 2 emissions based on the new GHG Protocol Scope 2 Guidance. By factoring in market-based and location-based electricity information to calculate a CDP score, companies will be called out for which energy providers they choose – and will be rewarded for choosing green energy (or in some cases, building green energy into their own grid).

Sustainability reporting requirements keep on coming, pushing the field far from the bad old days of greenwashing and closer and closer to the heart of what it means to integrate sustainability into core strategic planning for lasting, long-term impact.

Partnering with an experienced consulting firm like SSC, with the background knowledge and experience, to understand legislative impact, stay ahead of reporting trends, and choose the appropriate reporting framework is crucial. Contact us today to talk about your CDP report or carbon footprint analysis. 




TED Talks Sustainability: Jill Farrant – How we can make crops survive without water

The SSC Team February 11, 2016 Tags: , , Strategic Sustainability Consulting No comments

Nothing inspires us like a good TED talk, and here’s one of our favorites. Enjoy it!

About the speaker: Jill Farrant is a professor of molecular and cell biology at the University of Cape Town (UCT) in South Africa. She researches resurrection plants plants that can survive extreme drought, “resurrecting” when moistened or irrigated.

About the talk: Farrant believes that if we can better understand the natural preservation mechanisms of “resurrection plants,” we could better understand and develop more drought-tolerant crops to feed populations in increasingly dry and arid climates around the world. 


TED Talks: Luciana Walkowicz of NASA – Let’s not use Mars as a backup planet

The SSC Team January 12, 2016 Tags: , , , , , , Strategic Sustainability Consulting No comments

Nothing inspires us like a good TED talk, and here’s one of our favorites. Enjoy it!

About the Speaker: Lucianne Walkowicz works on NASA's Kepler mission, searching for places in the universe that could support life.

About the Talk: Walkowicz spends her days looking for planets like our own, but as she does this challenging work, she us to think carefully about how we treat our own home world. In this short talk, she suggests that we stop dreaming of Mars as a place that we'll eventually move to when we've messed up Earth, and to start thinking of planetary exploration and preservation of the Earth as two sides of the same goal. As she says, "The more you look for planets like Earth, the more you appreciate our own planet."


Moody’s releases assessment of environmental risk by sector

The SSC Team December 15, 2015 Tags: , , , , Strategic Sustainability Consulting No comments

Moody’s, the bond credit rating agency, recently published two new reports, their global assessment of how environmental risks affect credit ratings and a report that shows how these risks vary across industry sectors (registration required to view).

It’s great to have both reports published because one can see how Moody’s approaches the data and then the results of applying their assessment standards.

Essentially, the agency looked at direct environmental impacts AND consequences of regulatory/policy impacts, crunched those numbers with materiality and timing projections, and, voila – they’ve published a risk profile by industry of 86 global sectors.

The highest risk sectors are projected to hold more than $2 trillion in debt with material credit exposure to environmental risk.

Which sectors are at the highest level of risk? Of course, coal is up there on the top, but some of the others are bound to surprise you.

Check out Moody’s assessments and let us know if you see any surprises on the high-risk list.

If your organization is looking to assess its own climate risk, or perform a materiality assessment to help prioritize sustainability efforts, contact us today.

Listen: Jennifer Woofter talks about individual impact in our interconnected world

The SSC Team November 17, 2015 Tags: , , , , Strategic Sustainability Consulting No comments

In a recent podcast with 1000 Leagues Across the Sea (an effort to row across the North Atlantic and share a variety of perspectives about the experience), our own Jennifer Woofter addresses how daily activities impact the environment.

"There is only so much our societies can take from the Earth before the Earth is unable to rebound," she says. 

Part of the journey of being more sustainable, both as individuals and in organizations, is striking a balance between making sustainable choices and still being able to participate in the world as it is. 

Jennifer speaks about how global politics, individual consumption, and the natural world are intricately connected, and how our our interconnectivity in this unsustainable world is being examined by entities big and small.

This examination - by corporations, by scientists, by governments, by NGOs - is a combined effort to help all of us determine how much the Earth can truly take, how to put on the brakes before we come close to those limits, how conserve so our resources are replenished or preserved, and how to 'live a little.'

At SSC, our job is to help governments, non-profits, and corporations understand how to make incremental change that add up to big impact. Check out our service offerings, and let us help you start making sustainable choices. 


TED Talks Sustainability: Barton Seaver, Chef: Sustainable seafood? Let’s get smart

The SSC Team November 10, 2015 Tags: , , , Strategic Sustainability Consulting No comments

Nothing inspires us like a good TED talk, and here’s one of our favorites. Enjoy it!

About the Speaker: Barton Seaver is an advocate of sustainable seafood and a chef in Washington DC. His work tells the story of our common resources through the communion we all share – dinner.

About the Talk: Chef Barton Seaver presents a modern dilemma: Seafood is one of our healthier protein options, but overfishing is desperately harming our oceans. He talks about the costs of overfishing - costs hidden underneath the waves. His suggestion on how to restore seafood? Focus on changing the “fundamental meaning of dinner.”