San Francisco leads the U.S. in environmental sustainability
San Francisco grabbed the mantle of “greenest” major city in the U.S. and Canada Green City Index, with New York, Seattle, Denver and Boston rounding out the top five U.S. cities. The unique study conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), and commissioned by Siemens, assesses and compares 27 major U.S. and Canadian cities on environmental performance and policies across nine categories – CO2 emissions, energy, land use, buildings, transport, water, waste, air quality and environmental governance.
“The Green Cities Index demonstrates that America’s cities are the driving force behind the nation’s sustainability efforts,” said Eric Spiegel, president and CEO, Siemens Corp. “Despite the fact that we do not have a federal climate policy in the United States—and no federal carbon standard—21 of the 27 cities in the index have already set their own carbon reduction targets. Cities are creating comprehensive sustainability plans, utilizing current technology and proving everyday that we don’t have to wait to create a more sustainable future.”
The study of U.S. and Canadian cities provided some important key findings. Notably, cities that performed best in the rankings are the ones that have comprehensive sustainability plans that encompass every aspect of creating a greener future including transportation, land use, energy use, carbon dioxide emissions, and water. And while there is a correlation between wealth and environmental performance, it is weaker in the U.S. and Canada than in Europe and Asia.
“City budgets are as tight as they have ever been, but mayors are leading the charge around making their cities more sustainable because they know they can’t afford to push these decisions off until tomorrow,” said Alison Taylor, Chief Sustainability Officer for the Americas, Siemens Corp. “Our goal with the Green City Index is to identify best practices, advance good ideas and provide a baseline for cities to help them set targets for themselves so that they can serve as role models for others with their innovative policies.”
The scope of the U.S. and Canada Green City Index is unique. The nine categories are based on 31 individual indicators — 16 of which are quantitative (e.g. consumption of water and electricity per capita, recycling rate, and use of public transportation) and 15 qualitative (e.g. CO2 reduction targets, efficiency standards and incentives for buildings, and environmental governance). A key element of the study is the comparability of the results from each city — within the individual categories and in the overall evaluation. The study also includes in-depth city portraits that reveal the strengths and weaknesses of each urban center, while also highlighting initiatives and projects from which other cities can learn.
“Generally speaking, American cities fared well as compared to other global regions in the areas of air and waste policies as well as recycling and water infrastructure,” said Tony Nash of the Economist Intelligence Unit. “While public transportation was well-supported and incentivized in a number of cities, it was clear that take up is limited outside of the most densely populated cities. CO2 emissions and electricity use are also notably higher in the U.S., but the evolving policy environment at local, state and national levels are opening up significant areas for improvement.”
A panel of global experts in urban environmental sustainability advised the Economist Intelligence Unit in developing the methodology for the study. The 27 cities selected were chosen to represent a number of the most populous metropolitan areas in the United States and Canada. The list includes the top 20 U.S. combined statistical areas, and the top 5 Canadian census metropolitan areas. Expert panelists suggested the addition of Miami and Phoenix due to population and growth rates. Portland did not make the list based on the ranking criteria, but is highlighted in the report.
Announced at the 2011 Aspen Ideas Festival, the U.S. and Canada Green City Index is the fifth study in the Green City Index series. Other indices in the series cover Europe, Latin America, Asia, and Germany.
More information on the U.S. and Canada Green City Index: www.siemens.com/press/greencityindex
MasterCard and Brighter Planet Announce New Offering to Help Companies Manage Their Environmental Footprint
First-of-its-Kind Offering Answers Demand for Real-Time Sustainability Data
MasterCard and Brighter Planet today announced a new program to help make travel carbon emissions analysis easier – and more accurate – for the businesses worldwide that use MasterCard corporate cards.
“Our work with MasterCard is about giving companies deeper insights on travel purchasing so they can make smarter decisions”
Developed in response to the nearly 80 percent1 of companies expressing an interest in green travel initiatives, the MasterCard Carbon Emissions Reporting feature represents the first time that automatic reporting and analysis of estimated travel-related carbon emissions data will be available to corporate cardholders based on their card transactions.
“We continue to innovate and expand our enhanced data initiatives to help businesses more efficiently manage their corporate card programs and meet current and future analytical needs,” said Jay Singer, group head of U.S. Commercial Products at MasterCard Worldwide. “This collaboration with Brighter Planet will help companies with MasterCard corporate card programs continue to evaluate the impact their travel activities and corporate buying decisions have on their broader sustainability initiatives.”
Increased Focus on Corporate Environment Impact
With consumers and businesses alike becoming more sensitive about costs as well as carbon footprints, the launch comes at a critical time. According to the National Business Travel Association, U.S. business travel generates $240 billion in annual spending.
The Carbon Emissions Reporting program provides access to new data that is increasingly valued by companies as they strive to benchmark sustainability goals and initiatives, confront sustainability standards on their supply chains, and address the environmental concerns of stakeholders. The new initiative represents a novel model, implemented on an unprecedented scale.
“Our work with MasterCard is about giving companies deeper insights on travel purchasing so they can make smarter decisions,” said Patti Prairie, CEO of Brighter Planet. “Travel is a huge driver of costs and carbon emissions – as much as 30 or 40 percent of total operations for some companies.”
Sustainability in Action
Detailed estimated data on flights, rental cars, hotels and other travel purchases will be automatically processed by Brighter Planet’s CM1 calculation platform, which will integrate carbon scores into MasterCard smartdata.gen2™, MasterCard’s industry-leading, web-based expense management and reporting solution. The carbon scoring, which uses independently validated, standards-compliant calculation methodologies, will let companies benchmark, track, compare, and report various emissions metrics across organizational divisions.
“The MasterCard Carbon Emissions Reporting program is a remarkable step forward in accelerating the availability of information for companies on their carbon footprint,” said Mindy Lubber, president of Ceres, a leading coalition of investors and environmental groups working on sustainability issues. “As we all know, in the business world, what gets measured gets managed.”
Since 2002, MasterCard’s suite of enhanced data management solutions has provided companies with the ability to help effectively track and manage corporate travel spending, reduce costs and improve efficiencies.
The Carbon Emissions Reporting program will initially be launched in the United States later this year.
Caesars Entertainment Commits to Honor Earth Hour 2011 as Part of Ongoing Sustainability Efforts
Caesars Entertainment Corporation has committed for the third consecutive year to participate in the World Wildlife Fund’s Earth Hour by shutting off non-essential exterior lighting and marquees at more than 40 of its worldwide resorts and casinos from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m. local time on March 26.
“Caesars’ leadership in the gaming industry and its steadfast commitment to environmental sustainability and stewardship are reflected in our resorts’ continued participation in Earth Hour,” said Gary Loveman, chairman, president and chief executive officer, Caesars Entertainment.
Earth Hour is an event in which millions of people turn off their lights for one hour in support of action on climate change and toward creating a cleaner, safer and more secure future. Now in its fifth year, Earth Hour is asking people the world over to go beyond the hour and see what else they can do to make a difference when the lights come back on.
In addition to Earth Hour, Caesars engages in sustainable business practices and environmental programs through CodeGreen, its comprehensive environmental strategy that focuses on critical issues of energy, waste, water and carbon management throughout the company’s casino resorts. Each resort in Caesars’ U.S. portfolio has CodeGreen teams that implement a corporate strategy through grassroots programs aimed at engaging employees to enhance energy efficiencies, reduce the impact on natural resources and improve waste streams at Caesars’ resorts and in their communities.
Loveman noted that the company continues to grow its guest programs through partnerships with EPA WasteWise, Green Meetings Certification with Esty Environmental, and Clean the World that collects, sanitizes and redistributes in room amenities for developing countries. For Earth Hour, Caesars is encouraging guests to turn off their hotel room lights for one hour. Internally, the company is running a simultaneous “Power Down” campaign that drives incremental habit changes in the workplace such as turning off nonessential equipment and lighting in meeting rooms, kitchens and office space to reduce energy usage.
Through energy-efficiency programs and efforts such as the “Power Down” campaign, from 2007 to 2009 the company effectively reduced electricity use by 2 percent and reduced greenhouse gases emissions by 5 percent. Caesars has cut its energy use by nearly $20 million dollars annually.
Sustainable Food Consultants Bring the Food Revolution to Schools Across the Nation
Healthy School Lunch is on Everyone’s Plate
The media is ablaze with talk of childhood obesity, parents demanding healthier lunch choices, farm-to-fork programs, the revamping of the Childhood Nutrition Act and more. These topics might be fresh and new to many, but not to John Turenne, President and Founder of Sustainable Food Systems, http://www.sustainablefoodsystems.com, who has been championing the sustainable food movement for years. Turenne and his team are determined to continue to bring about positive changes and healthier food options for all while advancing the Food Revolution across the nation.
In fact, just last year Turenne worked directly with Jamie Oliver on the Emmy-winning show Food Revolution. Behind the scenes, Sustainable Food Systems worked hand-in-hand with Oliver, the school cooks and administration, and the community to transition the food service in the 26 schools in the Cabell County, WV school district. The results not only won an Emmy for the show, but continue to bring about positive changes in schools. Jamie Oliver says, “John Turenne and the team at Sustainable Food Systems were a massive help. I absolutely couldn’t have done it without them. I wish we had Sustainable Food Systems here in the UK.”
Turenne was also invited to work with White House Chef Sam Kass and a small group of chefs nationwide to create the national Chefs Move to Schools initiative, part of Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move Campaign to address the childhood obesity epidemic.
In recent months, Turenne and his team have visited public and private schools in Ohio, New York, Massachusetts, his home state of Connecticut and culminating in the Kanawha County, West Virginia, school district, which caught the attention of the local media (http://tinyurl.com/3xthcyv) and others. This assessment was funded with $12,000 raised by a group of parents, along with a local chef and parent, April Hamilton. After following the Food Revolution in Cabell County last year, Hamilton shared concerns with fellow parents about the lack of fresh food in the schools and the impact that it had on the families and the community. By bringing in Sustainable Food Systems, the hope was to learn how to bring improved change and provide healthier and more sustainable options. Sustainable Food System’s assessment is presently being considered by the school board.
Schools everywhere can take part in the Food Revolution by contacting the company at http://www.sustainablefoodsystems.com or 203-294-9683. Turenne is also an inspiring and motivating speaker whose speaking engagements have changed many an attitude. Source WALLINGFORD, Conn.PRNewswire
Marriott Sustainability Report Tracks Reductions in Greenhouse Gas Emissions
First U.S. Lodging Company to Follow Global Reporting Initiative
Since 2007, Marriott International has reduced its energy consumption by 11 percent, reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 10.7 percent, and is on track to meet its aggressive goal of a 25 percent decrease in energy and water consumption per available room by 2017. These results are among those reported to shareholders, customers, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), associates and other stakeholders in the company’s first official Sustainability Report using the guidelines set forth by the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), making Marriott the first major U.S.-based hospitality management company to report in accordance with this initiative.
“We are committed to being a corporate social responsibility leader, benchmarking with like-minded companies, and providing the information and transparency that our stakeholders increasingly expect,” said J.W. Marriott, Jr., Chairman and CEO, Marriott International, Inc.
In the report, Marriott captures results from 2008 and 2009 in the areas of economic, environmental, and social responsibility performance. Highlights from the report include:
• Reducing water consumption per available room by 8.2 percent in two years.
• Increasing LEED® (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) registered and certified hotels from 18 to 67.
• Seeding $2 million to jumpstart an Amazon rainforest preservation project in Brazil and $500,000 to help protect access to fresh water in China.
• Surpassing the goal of 500 minority- and women-owned hotels a year early, reaching 525 in 2009.
• Reviewing community programs and NGO partnerships addressing poverty alleviation, disaster relief, education and children’s wellbeing.
Sustainability reports based on the GRI framework are used to determine the sustainability issues most pertinent to the organization; benchmark organizational performance with respect to laws, norms, codes, performance standards and voluntary initiatives; demonstrate organizational commitment to sustainable development; and compare organizational performance over time. The Sustainability Reporting G3 Guidelines are the foundation of the framework. For more information on the GRI, visit www.globalreporting.org.
Comments and feedback related to the report are welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about Marriott’s corporate social responsibility initiatives or for a full copy of the report, visit www.marriott.com/socialresponsibility. For more about Marriott’s environmental initiatives, visit www.marriott.com/environment.
Visit Marriott International, Inc. (NYSE: MAR) for company information. For more information or reservations, please visit our web site at www.marriott.com, and for the latest company news, visit www.marriottnewscenter.com.
IBM has got eco game
IBM’s new interactive ecosystems game CityOne is an innovative way to create collaboration among all the participants of our cities. Today announced the availability of CityOne, the world’s first Smarter Planet interactive simulation designed to help business and civic leaders discover how to make their cities and industries smarter by solving real-world business, environmental, and logistical problems. Historically, simulation gaming has been used extensively in the military, by athletes and by scientists to discover effective new strategies and techniques and develop the skills needed to implement them. Businesses have realized the value of this and are deploying their own games to create life-like simulations of real markets, customers and business situations that they deal with every day.
CityOne presents a unique opportunity for business leaders, city planners and government agencies to develop and budget improvements that address the challenges facing today’s global cities. Delivered as a simulation game, players have the opportunity to explore more than 100 real-world scenarios to transform cities through technologies that reduce traffic congestion, save water, streamline supply chains and tap alternative energy sources through a series of crisis scenarios. In all of the missions, players must determine the best way to balance the city’s financial, environmental and sociological interests. They are challenged with improving the city by attaining revenue and profit goals, increasing customer satisfaction, and making the environment greener with a limited budget. In parallel, players will learn how to embrace technologies such as business process management, service reuse, cloud computing and collaborative technologies to help make organizations in city systems more intelligent.
As urban populations continue to grow, civic and business leaders face an unprecedented set of problems. With an estimated one million people around the world moving into cities each week, experts predict the population in the world’s cities will double by 2050. Today, these cities consume an estimated 75 percent of the world’s energy, emit more than 80 percent of the greenhouse gases, and lose as much as 20 percent of their water supply due to infrastructure leaks. Within these cities, retailers will see global supply chains bloat with $1.2 trillion in excess merchandise, and bankers will see their trading systems subjected to extreme stress, handling more than 25 billion market data messages each day. So the idea of urban and vertical farming isn’t just a dream anymore as it has potential to reduce transportation cost and the reduce CO2 from urban environments. One of the businesses that piloted INNOV8 is the Farmer’s Insurance Group. The company’s national training facility, The University of Farmers, offers training to tens of thousands of Farmer’s employees and used INNOV8 with their call center agents. “We see serious gaming as an ideal delivery system for a number of learning opportunities,” said Mike Cuffe, VP of Learning at University of Farmers. “Since my team redesigned Farmers Claims’ curriculum to give it a learn-by-doing focus, our employees now achieve competence more quickly, serve our customers more effectively and compassionately, and are better prepared for advancement opportunities.” For more information on IBM serious games and details.