HBR: Why Sustainability Is Now the Key Driver of Innovation

Cisco, for example, had traditionally regarded the used equipment it received as scrap and recycled it at a cost of about $8 million a year. Four years ago it tried to find uses for the equipment, mainly because 80% of the returns were in working condition. A value-recovery team at Cisco identified internal customers that included its customer service organization, which supports warranty claims and service contracts, and the labs that provide technical support, training, and product demonstrations. In 2005 Cisco designated the recycling group as a business unit, set clear objectives for it, and drew up a notional P&L account. As a result, the reuse of equipment rose from 5% in 2004 to 45% in 2008, and Cisco’s recycling costs fell by 40%. The unit has become a profit center that contributed $100 million to Cisco’s bottom line in 2008.


Nice, published in 2009 though, wonder how their ideas have held up.

Engadget: White House fights climate change with data sharing


Hack the planet!

The Partnership for Resilience and Preparedness (PREP) will give organizations access to troves of environmental information so they can make their own plans to counter climate change.


Joint Declaration on Harnessing the Data Revolution for Climate Resilience (state.gov)

  • Organizations involved:
  • Amazon Web Services
  • Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean
  • Future Earth
  • Google
  • Group on Earth Observations
  • IBM
  • Microsoft
  • World Bank
  • World Resources Institute

The Verge, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Climate Change

I’m a fan of the intersection of the tech world and “climate change”. Here’s a review from tech powerhouse The Verge on ❤️Leonardo diCaprio’s❤️ “Before the Flood”. Although the film sounds like the usual “gloomy” side of climate change, it’s nice to see the coverage by technology media. Tech Crunch announces a “enivornmental hackathon” yesterday, The Verge today. Leo getting involved is great too! Am gonna see about watching this.


Climate Labs Update #1

Thank you all for inspiring me this past month and beyond as I started working in the climate change/sustainable energy field. I wanted to give an update on the past month, and share with you the fascinating stuff going on.

2 big wins from this month:

– I’ve been accepted as a Fellow at Manylabs, an open science skunkworks funded by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation (Moore co-founded Intel and coined Moore’s Law). Thanks to all of you who talked the app over with me and helped me get it together! The application pushed me to make a “project” out of this, so now there’s a plan (here’s my application). So what does all this mean? The big value is recognition — a “thumbs up” from Manylabs and the Moore Foundation that this idea is worth pursuing. In addition Manylabs offers a desk to work and a venue to host events
– 15 others and I are now part of the “Climate Change + Tech” Meetup in SF, check it out here: http://www.meetup.com/Climate-Change-plus-tech/ Thanks to Dan for help designing it and marketing it. This is a great way to meet more people in the space and learn about the big factors shaping the industry.
6 climate change terms that I’ve found from discussions and reading:
detect-analyze-attribute-1Detect, Analyze, Attribute: 3 types of climate change research studies. Detect and analyze is about gathering data ie temperature, sea level, to answer the question “is the earth heating up?”. Attribution studies are about figuring out the cause, “why?”, is the changing climate because of a hotter sun, zombies, or carbon dioxide from human causes?
Sustainable, Sequester, Adapt: this is where the action is — Sustainable is tech to speed the transition from the fossil fuels era to the sustainable era (for example, Telsa or Solar City), Sequester is about sucking CO2 out of the environment, and Adapt is about building seawalls, raising up houses
I’ve included 2 sketches that helped my understanding, thanks to Matt Inouye for the suggestion on drawing it out.


sustainable-sequester-adaptRecommended Book and Project:
Book: Sustainability Without the Hot Air, all the details behind what our future “Sustainable Era” will look like. Thanks to Bill for the recommendation!: http://www.amazon.com/dp/0954452933/tag=davidmackayca-20 (or free legal PDF on http://withouthotair.com)
Project: Marin Carbon Project, incredible tech to pull atmospheric carbon deep into the soil/clay where it is effectively removed from the carbon cycle for millenia. Using cow pastures and compost, which could generate $$ for farmers through carbon credits. Shova organized this SF Zero Waste Youth event I went to, and MCP was the keynote http://www.marincarbonproject.org
Many thanks to Eri for connecting me with a bunch of cool people in the climate change/sustainability field. Discovering neat topics like biotechnology to turn the ocean into a giant carbon sequestration machine, biological air filtering systems, and startup accelerators working on sustainability tech. Meeting new ideas and talking with others is essential because it fights my “gollum” tendency to take an idea and hide it away :B
I would love to have more chats with people working on sustainable energy or climate change. Do you know people working in climate change or sustainable energy who I should talk to? Email tito@impossiblelabs.io