Sustainability Science
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Sustainability Science
How might we keep the lights on, water flowing, and natural world vaguely intact? It starts with grabbing innovative ideas/examples to help kick down our limits and inspire a more sustainable world. We implement with rigorous science backed by hard data.
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New ratings system at Audi: sustainability is decisive for placing orders with suppliers 

New ratings system at Audi: sustainability is decisive for placing orders with suppliers  | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
AUDI AG has introduced sustainability ratings for its suppliers this April. The objective is that in the future, orders will only be placed with suppliers that obtain a positive rating. Audi is therefore increasing its commitment to achieving a sustainable value chain. The ratings are based on checks carried out at the suppliers’ production plants as well as on self disclosure.

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New documentary uncovers Singapore’s dirty little waste secrets

New documentary uncovers Singapore’s dirty little waste secrets | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
Where do your coffee cups, clothes and household appliances go to die? New documentary Trash Trail traces the afterlife of consumer goods in Singapor
PIRatE Lab's insight:
I've not seen these videos in person yet, but the descriptions look great.  Another example of the "hidden" costs of our traditional economic/development pathways.
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The batteries in your favorite devices are literally covering Chinese villages in black soot

The batteries in your favorite devices are literally covering Chinese villages in black soot | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it

Tracing the origins of the graphite in a phone, for example, requires finding out where the ­phonemaker obtains batteries, where the battery makers acquire the portion of batteries known as anodes, and where the anode producers get their graphite. Moreover, because there are multiple suppliers at each step and various types of graphite, it is difficult to know where any given batch of the mineral ends up.
Several companies declined to disclose the origin of their graphite. For example, Tesla, perhaps the best-known electric-car maker, uses Panasonic batteries. Tesla said those batteries have never included graphite from the Chinese company BTR, but it declined to identify its graphite source.


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EcoVadis's curator insight, December 20, 2016 8:55 AM

Air pollution drifts across the ocean and raises ozone levels in the western part of the U.S. How safe are we all with regards to this issue?

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Economic Input-Output Life Cycle Assessment - Carnegie Mellon University

The Economic Input-Output Life Cycle Assessment (EIO-LCA) method estimates the materials and energy resources required for, and the environmental emissions resulting from, activities in our economy.  The EIO-LCA method was theorized and developed by economist Wassily Leontief in the 1970s based on his earlier input-output work from the 1930s for which he received the Nobel Prize in Economics.  Researchers at the Green Design Institute of Carnegie Mellon University operationalized Leontief's method in the mid-1990s, once sufficient computing power was widely available to perform the large-scale matrix manipulations required in real-time.  This website takes the EIO-LCA method and transforms it into a user-friendly on-line tool to quickly and easily evaluate a commodity or service, as well as its supply chain.  The results from the EIO-LCA model and this website are free for non-commercial use and may not be used in other derivative works or websites without permission.
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NREL: U.S. Life Cycle Inventory Database Home Page

NREL and its partners created the U.S. Life Cycle Inventory (LCI) Database to help life cycle assessment (LCA) practitioners answer questions about environmental impact. This database provides individual gate-to-gate, cradle-to-gate and cradle-to-grave accounting of the energy and material flows into and out of the environment that are associated with producing a material, component, or assembly in the U.S.
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10 ways to improve your recycling

10 ways to improve your recycling | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
Here are some tips for taking your recycling to the next level.
PIRatE Lab's insight:

Much of this is old hat or obvious, but there are some pearls in here in the specific suggestions at the bottom of the article.

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Cambodia's 'better factories' are getting a lot worse

Cambodia's 'better factories' are getting a lot worse | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it

diaThe Southeast Asian nation was once a leader in the drive for cleaner sweatshops. How did mass faintings and union busting become the new normal?

PIRatE Lab's insight:

Cambodia was once en route to becoming a model for the garment industry, union activists and factory owners say.

 

Instead, collective swoons have now become a regular part of industry life in Cambodia.

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Conflict-free Fairphone sets the bar high for repairable, responsible electronics

Conflict-free Fairphone sets the bar high for repairable, responsible electronics | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
It's time for a more ethical smartphone, and the Fairphone, which puts social values first, could usher in a new era of transparency and openness in electronics.
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Elon Musk launching heaviest rocket in existence (can reach Mars)

Elon Musk launching heaviest rocket in existence (can reach Mars) | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
Elon Musk's SpaceX is on the verge of launching the heaviest rocket in existence. How green is that?
PIRatE Lab's insight:

This thought and notion seems off base.  To tag a developing technology with the "what are your carbon emissions" query seems a fool's errand. I would argue that this is more akin to movies, server farms for google, etc.

 

Of course it would be great if everyone did a Life Cycle Analyses of their products or activities.  And we should all strive to minimize/reduce our footprints.  But we also need to be inspired and captivated.  The way a great movie, a good book, or awesome record can.  To be targeting a minor contributor like Space X which offers so many potential benefits is misguided I think.

 

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This vs. That: Is it better to stream a movie or have a DVD shipped to you?

This vs. That: Is it better to stream a movie or have a DVD shipped to you? | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it

It seems like a no-brainer: Having a movie digitally delivered to your doorstep is the best choice when it comes to your carbon footprint, but is it? When considering the environmental benefits, most of us assume that not having a physical artifact automatically makes it more eco-friendly. As more and more “stuff” lives in the cloud, however, we must invest in more cloud infrastructure. Servers, buildings to house the servers and transmission capabilities all take energy and leave a footprint here on earth.

PIRatE Lab's insight:

Wow...I would have guessed the other way.  There is also the legacy impacts over time and physical pollution to consider as well, but this is interesting.

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Why This Mars Rover Has Lasted 3,560 Days Longer Than Expected

Why This Mars Rover Has Lasted 3,560 Days Longer Than Expected | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
The prolonged health of the rover "was not in anyone's wildest dreams," John L. Callas, a project manager for the Mars Exploration Rover mission, wrote in an editorial for Space.com.
PIRatE Lab's insight:

Well, this story is fairly light on the details.  But it does get me thinking about an important point about sustainability: longevity.  Even though we might have an impact from a particular activity, if that impact only needs to happen once a decade or so we are often better than an instantaneous impact which is smaller but (in aggregate) more impactful.  This is obviously at the core of Life Cycle Analyses.

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Shipping company Hapag-Lloyd connects first ship to shore power

Shipping company Hapag-Lloyd connects first ship to shore power | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it

When most small boats are at a dock, they typically make an electrical connection to shore power, obtaining 120-VAC from the marina or dock facility. Some larger boats may connect to 240-VAC shore power. Big boats typically can't access electricity that would be needed and so run their own power generation plants when connected to a dock during loading or unloading for a day or two. They just continue to run on electrical power they generate themselves, running their often dirty, diesel engines in port.  These emissions are historically not well regulated by local emissions laws as they are considered an itinerant emitter.

PIRatE Lab's insight:

The North Star is one of the first of this new breed of "plugable" cargo ships which can plug into special sockets when in port and so depower the entirety of its onboard generators.

 

There is an interesting episode airing on the Smithsonian Channel’s Mighty Ships series about this ship, but I can't find a full episode.  I only was able to find a few snippets (like this one), none of which show the electrical coupling aspects.  If you can find it, only the first 10 minutes are worth the watch (the rest is a typcial fake reality drama when no drama actually exists thing).

 

The Port of Los Angeles/Long Beach is moving full bore with adopting such requirements for long haul freighters/terminals amongst a host of approaches to minimize emissions (known as the Clean Air Action Plan) generally.  Lastly you might be interested in both a nice example of a Life Cycle Analysis for the goings on at the Port of Los Angeles and a guide for how entities can improve their emissions.

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Where Does Your T-Shirt Come From? Follow Its Global Journey

Where Does Your T-Shirt Come From? Follow Its Global Journey | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
Best viewed in full screen mode A simple cotton T-shirt doesn’t seem quite so simple when you try to trace the vast global process involved in making i
PIRatE Lab's insight:

Where does your t-shirt come from?

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GM invented planned obsolescence during the Great Depression, and we’ve been buying it ever since

GM invented planned obsolescence during the Great Depression, and we’ve been buying it ever since | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
If you asked Henry Ford, the Model T was good enough. In fact, it was pretty great. It was popular, dependable, and looked great in black, the only color offered at the time. If the car was selling…
PIRatE Lab's insight:
An interesting bit of history here in the context of technology.  While there are clearly other drivers, I had not heard this tidbit about GM in the 1920s.  We tend to think of the rapid pace of innovation as a primary pusher of our buy-buy-buy mentality...but we should not forget the often baked in failure rates and planned obsolescence crafted to keep you buys more (and wasting more).
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L’Oreal, Ben and Jerry’s, and more see benefit in “carbon insetting” | Ensia

L’Oreal, Ben and Jerry’s, and more see benefit in “carbon insetting” | Ensia | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
Insetting does more than just offset carbon emissions—it helps companies boost resilience and care for the ecosystems that provide their raw materials.
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Earthster: A Metric Tool for Leaders in the Age of Transparency

The age of ecological transparency is nigh. Business leaders now must learn to embrace “externalities” (like pollution) and work to lessen them, as Christopher Meyer and Julia Kirby argued in the Harvard Business Review last month. If this is our emerging business reality, here’s a hot tip: look into Earthster.org. Earthster represents an emerging generation […]
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The 2014 GreenBiz corporate sustainability Twitterati Index

The 2014 GreenBiz corporate sustainability Twitterati Index | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
Corporate sustainability pros are upping their game on Twitter. Our second annual look of who's got audience, activity and authority.
PIRatE Lab's insight:

The 2014 GreenBiz Twitter index ranks corporate sustainability executives active on Twitter. The index analyzes Klout, Kred and Peerindex scores to best develop a list based on audience, authority, and activity. 

With professionals that include Campbell Soup VP Dave Stangis, Nike CSO Hannah Jones, and MillerCoors Director Kim Marotta, the list is a great resource for those looking to get a frequent 140-character dose of thought leadership in corporate sustainability...if you're into that kind of thing.

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Arsenic poisoning in rural China - in pictures

Arsenic poisoning in rural China - in pictures | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
Mines and chemical plants mushroomed in the
realgar-rich area around Heshan from the 1950s. Shut down in 2011 due to the pollution they caused, dust and run-off plagues the village to this day

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Why Dell, Coca-Cola and Carlsberg are developing greener packaging

Why Dell, Coca-Cola and Carlsberg are developing greener packaging | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
Dell has bamboo and mushrooms in the mix, Coca-Cola is looking into potential of barks and fruit skins, while Carlsberg aims for packaging with afterlife warranty

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Jesus BECERRA's curator insight, May 17, 2014 4:24 AM

The green is on the air

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Pepsico Commits to Third-Party Environmental Audits of Top Supplier Countries

Pepsico Commits to Third-Party Environmental Audits of Top Supplier Countries | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it

Pepsico is committed to establishing a third-party audit program based on the social, environmental and human rights standards of its top sugar sourcing country, Brazil, by the end of 2014, according to the company’s new land use policy.


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U.S. paper industry get boosted from Shutterfly, Moo, Minted and Amazon.

U.S. paper industry get boosted from Shutterfly, Moo, Minted and Amazon. | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
Americans renew their relationship with paper, ditching the cheap stuff for reading news and record-keeping to buy expensive stock for photo-based cards and albums from online juggernauts like Shutterfly.com.
PIRatE Lab's insight:

How paper producers are persisting.

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Kellogg to Source Fully Traceable Palm Oil

Kellogg to Source Fully Traceable Palm Oil | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it

Kellogg Company says it will work with palm oil suppliers to source fully traceable palm oil, produced environmentally responsible, socially beneficial, and economically viable. Kellogg says it wants to ensure that palm oil it uses is sourced from plantations that uphold the company’s commitment tosustainable agriculture.


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Food, apparel vendors go sustainable

Food, apparel vendors go sustainable | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
Food, apparel vendors go sustainable The Strategic Sourceror (blog) Industry insiders can be tough in their criticisms of firms' sourcing and procurement practices, but consumers themselves are considerably more demanding in their expectations when...

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Getting Sustainability Assessment Right

Getting Sustainability Assessment Right | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
When we want to know how sustainable any specific product really is, where do we collect accurate and insightful information?
PIRatE Lab's insight:

General intro to LCA for those new to thinking about life cycles.

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