6 Ways To Move Your Company Toward Carbon Neutrality In 2022

Eliminating sources of carbon and greenhouse gas emissions at the corporate level is simply good business. Organizations can take several practical steps to ensure their place in a greener future.

Working toward carbon neutrality is a moral imperative for nations, corporations and individuals. The fact that sustainability is also a good business practice should convince business owners that it is well worth the effort.

This year will see many more organizations make strides to clean their workflows and processes of waste. As of June 2021, 59 countries—representing more than half of the globe’s greenhouse gas emissions—have ratified carbon-neutrality goals. Change is necessary and quickly unfolding at every level of society and government. Here’s how companies can begin going carbon-neutral and creating lasting value that’s independent of their balance sheets.

1. Define and Target

In the rush to adopt new technologies, it’s easy for organizations to sometimes forget to define what they intend to do. Even modestly sized companies benefit from taking stock of their workflows, divisions and footprints before setting out to adopt zero-carbon or carbon-reducing measures.

The CarbonNeutral Protocol is a certification standard for companies that want the following things for their carbon reduction goals:

  • Transparency
  • A clearly defined roadmap
  • An understanding of the business benefits
  • Internationally recognized credentials for steps taken

Like many “go green” efforts, decarbonization can also be a boon for business if company representatives are thoughtful about the roadmap. The CarbonNeutral Protocol isn’t the only certification process of its kind, but what they all have in common is a set of practical steps for companies just beginning this process.

Above all, these steps emphasize defining, measuring and targeting the easiest wins and the areas with the greatest opportunities for waste-cutting and growth. A company can’t become carbon-neutral without laying the groundwork with a full inventory of its existing environmental footprint.

2. Install Clean Energy On-Site

Solar energy usually becomes a major part of the conversation when companies pledge to take their supply chains and physical infrastructure in a sustainable direction.

For example, retailer Lidl GB has pledged to become carbon-neutral by 2022 and intends to do so by installing solar energy systems onsite at all of its new stores. By 2030, these and other changes should yield an 80-percent savings in the company’s total operational emissions.

Solar energy is the cheapest source of electricity ever, making it a vital part of a company’s energy portfolio—if that company truly intends to take sustainability seriously. 

3. Electrify the Fleet

By 2025, electric vehicles will be cheaper to own than light-duty vehicles with internal combustion engines. One case study involved replacing the United States Postal Service (USPS) fleet with electric cars. The financial savings could save taxpayers $4.3 billion by 2030.

This large-scale case study reveals just how cost-effective electric vehicles can be, whether the buy-in is one delivery van or a fleet of repair trucks. Over time, EVs are a vital part of trimming waste and making organizations carbon-neutral. They have the added benefit of being cheaper to maintain over time compared to gas-fueled equivalents, too. An automobile running on electricity is almost $1,000 less expensive per year to own and operate than one powered by gasoline.

4. Think Globally

Thinking locally is one of the major mistakes businesses make when it comes to environmental stewardship and corporate citizenship. Customer privacy is a parallel example that proves this point. For example, due to the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), California and European Union residents now expect higher transparency regarding their online data.

What happens when those rules and expectations expand nationally and globally? This is not the only area where forward-thinking territories are helping to set new examples and precedents; they are also setting them for carbon neutrality.

International corporations and those thinking of expanding need to know what awaits them regarding local environmental practices and rules. The EU has a carbon trading system that outlines emissions caps in several sectors. Another prime example of an international standard serving as a sustainability tastemaker is PAS 2060. This standard and others like it represent a growing set of expectations and business citizenship standards against which expanding companies can judge themselves. Companies lacking a global focus could soon be left behind.

5. Purchase Carbon Offsets

Not every company has the capability to immediately transition its physical infrastructure and footprint to more efficient or carbon-neutral equivalents or models. The carbon market offers an alternative for cases like this: carbon offsets.

If a company cannot remove as much carbon from the atmosphere as it contributes, it can purchase carbon offsets to close the gap. In the simplest terms, this means businesses contribute funds to outside efforts working to mitigate climate change, such as the South Pole Group. The goal of creating a carbon market is to make this exchange rate—money for tons of carbon—easy to understand and navigate.

6. Reconsider Materials and Assets

The physical assets and materials a company leverages to complete its work and contracts are a wide and varied subject of conversation. It’s also an essential one. For example, up to 60 percent of a building’s greenhouse gas emissions, including carbon dioxide, can be traced to the construction phase. The materials themselves account for up to 40 percent.

There are lower-carbon alternatives for almost every material a given company relies on during their standard operations:

  • Paper vs. digital spreadsheets
  • Timber vs. concrete
  • Aluminum roofs vs. asphalt shingles
  • New fabrication vs. recycled materials
  • Cellulose insulation vs. fiberglass insulation
  • Reclaimed paper and cardboard vs. newly printed materials

More customers prefer to see transparent efforts by companies to reuse materials when they can and use low-carbon materials when they cannot. A post-COVID-19 survey revealed that supply chain uncertainties have not dulled interest in sustainable products. Two-thirds of polled consumers expect companies to be fully transparent about their products’ ecological benefits and impacts. Another survey showed that 64 percent of consumers would pay a premium if it meant buying from an ecologically minded company.

Meeting these demands is good optics as well as a net positive for the planet. Becoming carbon-neutral requires a full accounting of the material goods businesses rely on and an understanding of how low-waste, low-carbon alternatives fit into the picture.

Becoming Carbon-Neutral Is Good Business

Whether due to day-one savings, a more balanced budget over time or improved PR and customer sentiment, eliminating sources of carbon and greenhouse gas emissions at the corporate level is simply good business. Organizations can take several practical steps, such as the ones listed above, to ensure their place in a greener future.

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6 Ways To Move Your Company Toward Carbon Neutrality In 2022

Eliminating sources of carbon and greenhouse gas emissions at the corporate level is simply good business. Organizations can take several practical steps to ensure their place in a greener future.

COP26 Was a Warning. Digital Technologies Can Help

Industrial tech shows a proven pathway towards net-zero emissions while driving profitable sustainability for companies. The Internet of Things, AI, and digital twins are critical tools.

The recent urgent climate discussions at COP26 in Glasgow reinforced our understanding that current climate pledges by countries do not go far enough. Even with the latest Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) from 192 territories, the world can expect a mean temperature increase of 2.7°C by 2100 and likely a 16% rise in global greenhouse gas emissions (GHGEs). Every tenth of a degree of warming makes a difference if we are to avoid catastrophic climate change. Governments and businesses must act urgently to accelerate the transition to a net-zero carbon economy.

While disruption is inevitable, this moment offers an opportunity for incredible innovation. Research increasingly indicates the path to continued profitability lies in pivoting to sustainable growth.

Getting the U.S. on the road to a carbon-free economy will require $2.5 trillion in spending over the next decade, one authoritative study concluded. But we’re already seeing the results of early investments: clean technologies created $1 trillion in value for investors in 2020, reports the World Economic Forum. New investments aside, efficiency improvements can improve sustainability indicators across existing value chains by optimizing performance and identifying areas to reduce waste and GHGEs. Technology offers the toolkit for both use cases, and crucially for industrial leaders mapping a course for a sustainable future.

This mission for industry has been my passion for most of my professional career. It’s been particularly prominent for the last decade at Schneider Electric, where I was EVP for industrial automation until last May when I took the role of CEO at AVEVA, whose industrial software helps leading multinationals save 15-30% in energy costs, reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 9-15%, and cut industrial downtime and waste by 25%. AVEVA’s experience working with over 20,000 industrial customers across more than 40 countries has given us extensive insights on the data-led innovation critical to driving performance, profitability and sustainability. Here are three ways industrial companies are doing so.

Leveraging data to optimize the entire value chain

Aker, a Norway-headquartered leader in sustainable energy solutions, created the first plant of its kind in transforming captured carbon dioxide into fertilizer. The result not only enables Aker to significantly reduce CO2 emissions from industrial flue gases, but it has turned those emissions into actual productive assets. The captured CO2 can also be transported via ship or pipelines for permanent storage elsewhere. Aker is now sharing that know-how as an offering for other companies.

This innovation could have only happened by embedding digitized data across the entire operations lifecycle, and then using it to optimize production, improve efficiencies, and design new processes. AVEVA worked closely with Aker on this carbon capture engineering technology, and we extended our partnership this year so that other companies can leverage it at a global scale.

These types of innovations are possible and practical at a time when 80% of instruments in plants are connected to the internet of things (IoT). This data is essential currency for industrial enterprises in mapping every step of the production process, allowing complex businesses to develop a meaningful digitization strategy and execute it on the ground. Platforming this data across the organization and applying predictive artificial intelligence (AI) is also helping industrial companies and manufacturers optimize operational performance and reduce downtime while tracking for sustainability goals.

Digital Twins help map sustainability metrics to industrial data

We already appreciate that data-led technologies can similarly be put to work in the battle against climate change. What is harder to do is to track and monitor greenhouse gases across the value chain, enabling industries to reduce carbon emissions with a systematic, comprehensive strategy designed to meet net-zero targets and incorporating sustainability into all facets of the business and drive meaningful innovation.

To help calculate risk/reward scenarios both for financial gain and for ESG benchmarks, we employ Digital Twin technologies, which create a virtual representation of physical assets so that companies can predict the outcome of various operational changes. Digital Twins are vital in enabling step-by-step strategies toward measurable improvement for long-term change. The results also give stakeholders across the organization a common goal.

A good example is Henkel, a manufacturer of household products such as washing liquid Persil. To support its customers and align with its sustainability commitments, Henkel built a digital backbone that connects its global operations in the cloud; that’s 3,500 sensors in each site providing 1.5 billion data points to meet fluctuating demand while reducing energy usage. To date, Henkel has reduced its environmental footprint by one-third, using less energy, less water and producing less waste.

Partnerships across the ecosystem to realize economies of scale

Technology cannot win the battle on its own. Alongside digitalization and innovation, cross-sector partnerships are fundamental in supporting organizations as they develop, invest and deploy technology to meet the world’s net-zero climate ambitions. Accelerating progress on sustainability requires breakthrough collaboration with suppliers and competitors to innovate at scale.

I’m particularly proud of AVEVA’s long-standing partnership with Microsoft to help customers facilitate sustainable business outcomes in industry by leveraging cloud technologies and big data analytics. The two companies, for example, support the energy transition vision of TechnipFMC, a leading technology provider to the energy industry. We work together on a range of sustainable implementations including green hydrogen, floating liquefied natural gas and other global projects. A joint solution deploying the AVEVA E3D software ran a dynamic flare header simulation that helped reduce the amount of steel used in the ultimate design by 34%. The exercise saved TechnipFMC €20 million, helped optimize the value chain and minimized the use of carbon-intensive resources.

These digital tools support collaboration across organizations and have proved their worth over the pandemic. Leveraging these solutions to partner organizations can help business leaders drive innovation, achieve systemic gains, and deliver enhanced value for stakeholders.

Make the choice to prioritize sustainability

Regulators and consumers are already pressing brands to embed sustainability across their operations. About 80% of major international companies now report on sustainability, and thousands of enterprises have committed to net-zero emissions by 2050 through initiatives such as the Race to Zero and Business Ambition for 1.5°C, including AVEVA. Now comes the hard part of achieving those objectives.

COP26 has made it clear that we must act now to protect the planet for ourselves and for our children.  UN General Assembly President Abdulla Shahid’s words from the opening of the conference still ring true: “We are entirely capable of turning this around, if we so choose.” We do. And we must.

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Elizabeth Warren’s Bitcoin Climate Crusade

The crypto industry has been on a global lobbying offensive this year, successfully circulating the message that blockchain technology could help boost growth in renewable energy. Senator Elizabeth Warren is not having it. Plus, Wise storms the US market.

This piece originally appeared in FIN, James Ledbetter’s fintech newsletter.

It’s merely an impression, but it feels like the climate criticism of cryptocurrency mining has been less prominent in the second half of 2021 than in the first half, even as cryptocurrency itself has continued to skyrocket. In May, for example, the New York State legislature considered a bill that would have imposed a three-year moratorium on cryptocurrency mining until an environmental impact study could be concluded. That bill died quickly, and there’s been not much formal action since then. In part, this may be because the crypto industry has been on a global lobbying offensive this year, successfully circulating the message that blockchain technology could help boost growth in renewable energy.

US Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), however, is not having it.

This week she sent a remarkably detailed letter to Jeffrey Kirt, the CEO of Greenidge Generation Holdings, a publicly traded Bitcoin mining company headquartered in Dresden, New York, in the Finger Lake region. Warren asked for information about Greenidge’s operations and “the resulting impacts on the environment and local communities.” What makes Greenidge especially interesting—and this is starting to become common among large Bitcoin miners—is that the company doesn’t merely use energy by mining Bitcoin, it also produces the energy, in its case primarily through natural gas, and sells some to state residents.

For Warren, this might represent the worst of both worlds, energy and crypto. The Senator strongly implied that Greenidge’s stated commitment to sustainability is, at best, lip service: “Your company claims carbon neutrality through the purchase of carbon offsets, but its Dresden facility is still putting hundreds of thousands of metric tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere that would not be emitted otherwise.”

Greenridge is, to put it mildly, an unusual company. It describes itself as a “vertically integrated Bitcoin mining company,” but Greenidge only began commercial Bitcoin mining last year. It grew out of a consortium of coal plants in upstate New York that date back to the 1930s. A lack of electricity demand bankrupted the plant in 2011, but it reopened a few years later and converted to natural gas. The company has faced pressure around the state air permits for its main plant but, intriguingly, it has strong public support from the local electrical workers’ union. Earlier this year, Greenidge also purchased a public company called Support.com, which operates remote call centers.

You might think that a company at the heart of the cryptocurrency explosion would be, well, minting money. In reality, though, Greenidge is fairly small and, while growing fast, unprofitable. In the third quarter, Greenidge mined 729 Bitcoins, not quite 3x what it mined the year before. At current prices, that comes out to about $36 million. Given Bitcoin’s market capitalization of about a trillion dollars, you get a strong sense of how decentralized Bitcoin mining is. Greenidge is not only far from being a global leader in Bitcoin mining, it’s not even the largest in the US. (That honor would appear to belong to the Whinstone mine in rural Texas; in October CNBC.com reported that it was mining more than 500 Bitcoin a month.) Greenidge’s most recent earnings statement showed a Q3 loss of about $8 million on revenues of $35.75 million. Greenidge did not respond to FIN’s request for comment.

Nonetheless, the company clearly plans for meteoric growth, which provides some basis for Warren targeting it; Greenidge is also planning to open a power/mining plant in Spartanburg, South Carolina. FIN predicts that it’s going to be a while before Greenidge responds. Warren’s six-page, single-spaced letter delves pretty deeply into the details that one might expect from a former law professor. For example:

How does your impingement data compare to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed numeric performance standard of limiting fish impingement mortality to no more than 12% on an annual average and 31% on a monthly average, and how does your entrainment data compare to the EPA standard for new units of reducing entrainment mortality to the equivalent of 90% of reductions achieved by closed-cycle cooling?

Warren’s legislative goal here is unclear, especially because this Congress seems unlikely to pass any new laws cracking down on crypto mining. Still, it’s far from impossible to envision a future in which large renewable energy companies generate power for free for their local grids, and subsidize that social goal by mining cryptocurrency. After all, cities like Miami have already made millions by issuing their own crypto coins. If Warren’s grilling can push toward that outcome, then let’s see more of it.

Wise Storms the US

Wise is one of Europe’s most successful fintech startups (OK, it’s based in London, but back when it launched in 2011 and was known as TransferWise, London was still part of Europe, plus the founders are from Estonia). Wise made a splash by offering crossborder currency exchanges at rates far lower than traditional banks and, while the company has had a bumpy ride since going public in July, it’s been profitable for years and is one of very few European fintechs worth billions of dollars.

Now, Wise is making a serious push into the North American market. This week, the company launched a “Wise card” in Canada that allows customers to spend money in US dollars and other currencies without any transaction fees. Wise also announced that it is opening a major office in Austin.

Currently, about a fifth of Wise’s business is in North America, but the company is pushing for more. Wise CTO Harsh Sinha told FIN “the US is one of our fastest-growing markets, and obviously a very large market.” Sinha says Wise chose Austin in part because “there are a lot of people who are a little bit fed up with the Bay Area.”

How much does it matter to Wise that, especially since the COVID pandemic, Americans travel less outside their own monetary borders than Brits and Europeans do? Sinha acknowledges the issue, but argues that 1) younger Americans are more internationally focused, and 2) Leisure travel per se is a limited use case. Wise will focus on businesses and remittance payments in the US market.

Even so, N26’s very recent abandonment of the US market has to give any outside fintech companies pause. Sinha makes a very reasonable point that for a banking relationship to work, many people psychologically need to feel that their money is somehow close by (there are a few large multinational banks with prominent roles in the US, including Banco Santander and HSBC, but Sinha maintains that they function as if they were domestically controlled). By contrast, he argues, a payments/transfer business is intrinsically virtual, and consumers will be attracted to a good deal.

This piece originally appeared in FIN, James Ledbetter’s fintech newsletter. Ledbetter is Chief Content Officer of Clarim Media, which owns Techonomy.

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You Can’t Beat Climate Change Without Tackling Disinformation

Over more than a century, PR firms built and fine-tuned a machine to deceive the public. (From the Covering Climate Now series.)

This story originally appeared in The Nation and is part of Covering Climate Now, a global journalism collaboration strengthening coverage of the climate story.

In the past month or so, climate disinformation has been making its way into the news more than usual. There was the House Oversight Committee’s climate disinformation hearing in October, and then, just days later, leaked documents from Facebook revealed its role in spreading climate denial. The Oversight Committee’s investigation continues, as does the work to fully understand social media’s role in disinformation, about climate and otherwise.

But for all we know about disinformation and how dangerously effective it can be, tackling the problem rarely makes its way into conversations focused on climate solutions. This raises the question: How are you going to implement new green technology or policies without eliminating the obstacle that’s helped block both for decades?

Last week at COP26 in Glasgow, a group of organizers, brands, and advertisers published an open letter calling for disinfo to be on the negotiators’ agenda. Signatories included climate leaders like May Boeve, the executive director of 350.org, and Laurence Tubiana, the CEO of European Climate Foundation; NGOs, like Friends of the Earth and WWF; and brands like Ben & Jerry’s and Virgin Media O2. They had straightforward asks: an agreed-upon definition of climate disinformation, action against climate dis/misinformation to be included in the COP26 Negotiated Outcome, and for tech companies to adopt policies that would crack down on the spread of climate disinformation in both content and advertising.

Climate disinfo, unfortunately, did not make its way into the COP26 negotiations. Had the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports included contributions from social scientists on the role of media and information in tackling climate before the conference instead of next year, as they’re scheduled to be, perhaps that would have been different. In the lead-up to the event, though, Google did announce a new policy aimed at addressing this problem. In partnership with the Conscious Advertising Network, the tech giant said that it will now “prohibit ads for, and monetization of, content that contradicts well-established scientific consensus around the existence and causes of climate change.” That policy doesn’t just affect Google advertisers but YouTube creators as well, which is a big deal given that YouTube has been pushing climate disinformation to millions of viewers for years.

But one policy at one tech platform is not a systemic solution. When pressed about potential outcomes of the House climate disinformation investigation, congressional representatives seemed at a loss about what they could even be proposing to grapple with the threat. There’s a lot of talk of fining the oil companies, of Department of Justice investigations, and of providing more fodder for the two dozen or so climate lawsuits currently in state courts, but nothing around changing the system that enables disinformation in the first place—nothing that would stop the next strategy from working or keep the next industry from lying to the American people. Instead, the focus remains on making Big Oil the next Big Tobacco. But after its momentary embarrassment and a few fines, tobacco went on to profit and, perhaps more importantly, to keep deceiving the public about other products. And the oil companies, many of which were codefendants with the tobacco companies, for their role in developing the cigarette filter, watched that and learned. They pivoted almost immediately away from litigating the science. One former Shell employee told writer Nathaniel Rich, for his story “Losing Earth,” that the oil companies “didn’t want to get caught in our lies the same way the tobacco guys did.” So all that supposed accountability for disinformation just resulted in making companies better at spreading it.

To solve the disinformation problem, we have to understand that it, too, is an industry. PR firms, hired to help companies and industries avoid regulation and circumvent democracy, built and fine-tuned the disinformation machine over more than a century. The House Oversight Committee has said it will broaden its investigation of climate disinformation beyond the fossil fuel industry to its enablers—PR firms chief amongst them. The activist campaign Clean Creatives has been pressuring the PR industry to own its role in crafting and spreading disinformation, and to ditch fossil fuel clients altogether. In response to recent criticism of its work with ExxonMobil (after decades spent helping oil companies and their trade groups create and spread both disinformation and greenwashing), Edelman PR announced it will be undertaking a 60-day review of its client roster.

Some academics and advocates have begun calling for more than public shaming. “I think that their past actions provide justification for holding them to a higher standard than you would normally hold a company,” Stanford University researcher Ben Franta said. “They need to come under some level of special scrutiny, something that goes beyond mere transparency, that goes beyond disclosure. It’s almost like an information receivership.”

We don’t necessarily have a solution to climate disinformation yet. But it’s clear it will not be dismantled by a company policy here and a congressional investigation there. A problem this large and complex requires concerted effort to solve—and we can’t even start until a critical mass of people realize that doing so is critical to the success of any climate solution.

This story originally appeared in The Nation and is part of Covering Climate Now, a global journalism collaboration strengthening coverage of the climate story.

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Amyris at COP26: Sustainability on a Molecular Level

This company synthesizes engineering, design, and biology to make abundant that which is scarce in nature. Its chief sustainability officer explains how environmental responsibility is built into its DNA.

Amyris, a small but fast-growing synthetic biology company, first created the position of chief sustainability officer (CSO) just this year, but the company has environmental sustainability in its DNA going back to 2003 when it was founded. CSO Beth Bannerman is now helping guide and maintain that responsible heritage.

Amyris uses synthetic biology to develop molecules that are analogous to those found in nature for a wide range of uses. Applications range widely, including anti-wrinkle skin cream, fragrances, a zero-calorie sweetener, life-saving medications, and polymers for manufacturing industries. The company says it is using biology to make abundant that which is scarce in nature. I interviewed Beth on a rainy day under the roof of a bicycle shelter across the River Clyde from the COP26 conference in Glasgow, Scotland. This is an edited version of our conversation.

Steve: For those who don’t know what synthetic biology is, please describe it.

Beth: Synthetic biology is a discipline within biotechnology that synthesizes engineering, design, and biology. Our technology enables us to produce novel molecules in addition to molecules that already exist in nature. In order to produce novel molecules, we first produce known molecules that exist in nature via fermentation and then use chemistry to convert them into novel molecules. We can also produce novel molecules by combining naturally occurring enzymes and molecules that wouldn’t typically interact together in their natural state, but our technology allows us to bring them together in a unique fashion.

Steve: One of your company’s tag lines is that you’re using biology to make what is scarce in nature abundant for all. Please explain. How does that make society more sustainable?

Beth: That comes from the idea that we can create molecules that exist in nature while avoiding depleting Earth’s resources, whether that be animals or vulnerable plants. We do this by using sugarcane as a feedstock – it’s responsibly sourced and sustainably grown from Brazil, where there’s abundant sunshine and rain water minimizes the need for additional irrigation. We can create molecules with yeast, which we program just like you program a computer. You feed the yeast sugarcane and it excretes the target molecule. We use artificial intelligence to design the target molecule. Through this process you can see how we’re able to protect the scarcity of Earth’s resources, because through synthetic biology we’re able to create an abundance of bioidentical molecules rather than harvesting them from raw sources. We have a proprietary Lab-to-Market system that enables us to scale from two liters to 200,000 liters of our target molecule. Access and scalability are key. The world needs to shift to more sustainable consumption and synthetic biology is a critical part of accelerating that transition.

Let me give you an example: One of our molecules, Squalane, is commonly used in skincare products as a moisturizing ingredient. With our fermentation-based approach, it requires the size of an 8x10ft. rug of sugarcane to produce one kilogram of Squalane. To harvest the same amount of Squalane in nature would require killing three sharks because Squalane is naturally found in the livers of sharks.

Steve: How does your high-throughput system work?

Beth: It started back in 2003 when we received a $45 million grant from The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to develop our first molecule. That molecule was a replica of the artemisinin, which is found in the sweet wormwood tree of China and is used to treat malaria. We partnered with Sanofi to commercialize our artemisinin molecule and it went on to save over a million children’s lives. We learned a lot from that project, and since then we have improved and optimized our platform through high-throughput screening and artificial intelligence to increase the speed of the process. In the last five years, we’ve reduced the speed of taking a molecule to market by 80% and reduced our cost by 90%. Before we made these improvements, it would take several years to develop one new molecule. We’re now at a stage where we are able to commercialize 4 to 6 molecules per year.

Before, the process was extremely manual, with scientists relying on handheld pipettes, for example, which is resource-intensive, leaves more room for inconsistencies, and doesn’t easily scale. So with over $500 million of investment in our technology, including both AI and machine learning and robotics that were designed by Amyris in house, we have significantly improved our speed. Now, we can put hundreds of thousands of yeast strains through high-throughput screening and are able to test those strains at a dramatically faster rate. The other thing that the company did was invent a Genotype Specification Language (GSL), which is a DNA programming language-based design tool invented at Amyris to accelerate the design of molecules.

Steve: What are you doing at COP26?

Beth: This is the company’s first visit to a COP summit. Ahead of the conference, they hired me as the first chief engagement and sustainability officer, and earlier this year we published our first ESG report, which many companies now do to inform investors about their environmental, social, and governance programs. The timing is good for us because we have built out a family of nine consumer brands and our consumer revenue is going to outpace our B2B ingredients revenue this year.  This is an opportunity to get the attention of manufacturers and to help them disrupt the way they make ingredients. We have a climate crisis that’s not going away. Consumers are demanding sustainability – they’re much more comfortable with food and fashion and skincare that is made with biology. And, finally, we have a stage to have a conversation.

Steve: What have you achieved here that you can talk about?

Beth: We have had meetings with a variety of interesting folks who we sought out. These are manufacturers and NGOs (non-government organizations) that we’re talking to about future long-term partnerships. The surprising development is that we have received attention from manufacturers that we didn’t reach out to before the conference. We can’t claim success yet, but it starts with a conversation.

Steve: Among the people in Glasgow who are not allowed inside the gates of the official Blue and Green zones, there’s a lot of skepticism about both government and business. We hear a lot of pledges, but will action really follow? Do you think that the business community is doing enough about making the world a safer and more survivable place?

Beth: The answer is unequivocally “No.” Businesses can do a lot more than they’re doing right now. Before we published our ESG report, we were concerned that it might be seen as a veneer trying to get approval for work that actually wasn’t getting done. Potentially, it was a vanity exercise. But after talking to a number of ESG investors and listening to what consumers are demanding in the way of transparency, we decided that in order for us to tell our great story, we needed to back it up with data. So we have done that. We not only set our three goals but laid out a road map for achieving them. One of our goals is to get to net zero carbon emissions by 2030. We spelled out all the steps we need to take to get to that place.

Another thing we did is launch our first ESG council, which is made up of executives from across the enterprise. This is a group of folks who have very clear accountabilities to help drive toward the goals. This is our opportunity, win or lose.

Steve: Are you saying that other companies should do the same?

Beth: Yes. We have a market cap of $3.7 billion. We’re not one of the big players yet. It’s difficult for a small company to split its focus and focus on sustainability. That said, I would encourage small companies to do this. Investors are no longer just looking at growth plans. They want to see sustainability plans, and these things can’t just run in parallel; they have to be integrated and woven together.

Steve Hamm is a freelance writer and documentary filmmaker based in New Haven, Connecticut, USA. His new book, The Pivot: Addressing Global Problems Through Local Action, about the journey of Pivot Projects, was published in October by Columbia University Press. This is one of a series of dispatches from COP26.

Read more from Steve Hamm’s COP26 Dispatches

October 29th: COP26: Let’s Pivot to Save the Planet

November 1: SustainChain: a Collaboration Platform for Do-Gooders

November 3: How Oil-Rich Aberdeen is Pivoting Away from Fossil Fuels

November 5: Glasgow Dispatch: Startup Funding Encourages Sustainability

November 8: Can Better Town-Gown Relations Help Save the Planet?

November 8: Young People Are Watching, and They’re Pissed Off

November 9: Piloting Big Technologies On a Tiny Scottish Island

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Piloting Big Technologies On a Tiny Scottish Island

The Orkney Islands may seem like the end of the earth, but hydrogen power projects launched there could help usher in a new era for marine transportation.

The Orkney Islands, just above mainland Scotland, may seem like the end of the earth, but hydrogen power projects launched there could help usher in a new era for marine transportation. A consortium of government, business, and community organizations is developing programs to test hydrogen as fuel for a ferry that runs between the Orkney mainland and the tiny island of Shapinsay. This could be the beginning of a massive global shift from diesel power to renewable energy for short- and medium-haul ships.

The UN Climate Champions have designated “transport” as a theme for the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow, Scotland. Much of the attention is on efforts of national leaders to address climate change, but in fact, much of the innovating that could eventually lead to massive shifts in energy use is happening in small, out-of-the-way places.

Orkney is an archipelago of 70 islands with a population of just 22,000, but it has an abundance of wind, waves, and tides—all of which are being tapped to produce energy. Alternative-energy sources on the islands produce more than 120% of the electricity consumed there. A number of municipalities there have created community-owned businesses that provide energy locally and to the UK national grid.

One such place is Shapinsay. With a population of just 315 people, it’s a micro community, but one that looms large as a model for how local authorities can produce their own energy on behalf of citizens. If many other communities followed suit around the world, it could have macro impact. “It’s a dream that communities can generate their own energy to run their own transport. You don’t have to be dependent on fossil fuels and the multinational energy suppliers,” says David Hibbert, a technical superintendent for the Orkney Harbour Authority, which runs nine ferries between the islands.

Shapinsay Turbine (Credit: Adrian Bird)

The all-volunteer Shapinsay Development Trust decided in 2006 to erect a wind turbine on the island. The plan was to make the island more self-sufficient energy-wise and to sell excess energy to the grid—using the profits to pay for local services. “They wanted to use the money to improve the quality of life for people on the island, to make it more attractive to live here, and to help repopulate the island,” says Adrian Bird, the manager for Shapinsay Renewables, which runs the turbine and sells the energy it produces.

The plan worked, but perhaps too well. The electricity that Shapinsay and other Orkney communities supplied to the grid soon overwhelmed the capacity of the two distribution cables connecting the islands with the Scottish mainland. Frustrated, those involved began exploring other ways of using their resources. Quickly, with the help of technology and maritime experts, they spotted hydrogen power for ships as a potentially lucrative market. Their electricity could be harnessed using electrolizers to produce hydrogen, which would power ships when they’re tied up on shore, and, potentially, move them across the water.

The ferry projects date back to 2014, when Orkney Harbours Authority and the Orkney Council teamed up to commission a study to discover how the ferries could rely less on fossil fuels. The report suggested they switch to hydrogen power. As a first step, in 2019 the Authority began powering the ferries with hydrogen when they were tied up. Then they began exploring approaches for powering the ferries with hydrogen at sea, using the Shapinsay ferry as the pilot site.

That project has stalled, due primarily to the fact that government safety regulations have not yet been revised to accommodate hydrogen as a fuel—mainly over safety concerns. This is frustrating to the people involved. “We talk about an energy revolution but by definition the rules will have to change, and that’s a slow process,” says Neil Kermode, managing director of the European Marine Energy Centre, based in Orkney, which is a leader in testing marine energy systems.

Supporters of the ferry projects are hopeful that eventually, if they persevere, the Shapinsay ferry will be the first or one of the first ferries in the world to run on hydrogen. Chris Dunn, the principal naval architect for Malin Group, a Glasgow-based marine engineering firm, was involved in earlier stages of the project. He hopes to eventually help bring it to fruition. Hydrogen takes up a lot of space, so it’s unlikely to be viable for long-haul shipping, but he sees hydrogen as a potentially important alternative to diesel for powering short- and medium-haul boats and ships. “It’s an important step along the path of leaving fossil fuels, and a step we have to take,” he says.

In addition to the regulatory hurdles, another issue facing alternative energy champions is the high cost of producing hydrogen as a power source in places where electricity is less abundant than Shapinsay. To help deal with that, the United States Department of Energy last June launched Hydrogen Shot, which seeks to reduce the cost of hydrogen energy production by 80 percent to $1 per kilogram within the next decade. 

The latest challenge community energy producers on Orkney face is that the winds have been less intense over the past couple of years.  So now they produce less energy. “It’s shocking. Something’s going on here,” says Shapinsay’s Adrian Bird. Officials are hoping this is a short-term blip rather than a long-term shift caused by climate change.

Steve Hamm is a writer and documentary filmmaker based in New Haven, CT, USA. His book about Pivot Projects, The Pivot: Addressing Global Problems Through Local Action, has been published in the US and UK by Columbia University Press. This is one in a series of dispatches from the COP26 conference.

Read more from Steve Hamm’s COP26 Dispatches

October 29th: COP26: Let’s Pivot to Save the Planet

November 1: SustainChain: a Collaboration Platform for Do-Gooders

November 3: How Oil-Rich Aberdeen is Pivoting Away from Fossil Fuels

November 5: Glasgow Dispatch: Startup Funding Encourages Sustainability

November 8: Can Better Town-Gown Relations Help Save the Planet?

November 8: Young People Are Watching, and They’re Pissed Off

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The Orkney Islands may seem like the end of the earth, but hydrogen power projects launched there could help usher in a new era for marine transportation.

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The Orkney Islands may seem like the end of the earth, but hydrogen power projects launched there could help usher in a new era for marine transportation.

COP26: Let’s Pivot to Save the Planet

The Orkney Islands may seem like the end of the earth, but hydrogen power projects launched there could help usher in a new era for marine transportation.

Young People Are Watching, and They’re Pissed Off

The cracks are appearing in modern capitalism. Today, young people are demanding that corporations put saving the planet before profits. Will corporate bosses listen?

GLASGOW, Scotland – The host city for the UN’s COP26 climate conference was on fire last week—metaphorically speaking.  After the wakeup call from COVID-19, the pressure was on to finally do something decisive about global warming, and the city was bursting with energy, ideas, and great expectations.

The world’s leaders and climate conference delegates gathered in this post-industrial city flanking the River Clyde to negotiate agreements and announce new initiatives. Meanwhile, a host of executives from corporations large and small were on hand to boost their Green cred as tens of thousands of people protested in the streets. Seemingly everywhere I walked in the city there was some sort of climate-related activity.

In a city park, I saw about 20 5- or 6-year-olds participating in a climate-education program. They were wearing yellow t-shirts with the word “Disruptor” on their backs.

There was a lot of divergent messaging going on, but, to me, the most important signal I picked up was the shift in attitudes of young people. They are paying attention and they are pissed off. Business leaders would be smart to heed them.

I had a privileged vantage point from which to draw this conclusion. In addition to my duties as a correspondent for Techonomy.com and other media organizations, I led a small team from Pivot Projects, a global voluntary problem-solving group, to make two short videos capturing the voices of young people. We asked them two open-ended questions: 1) What is your dream of a more sustainable future and 2) What are you doing about it?

You can watch the finished videos here.

Of course, the climate movement has been something of a children’s crusade ever since teenage climate activist/icon Greta Thunberg in 2018 launched her famous “School-strike for Climate” protests, also known as “Fridays for Future.” Those weekly student “strikes” spread like TikTok amongst school children around the world. And during the first week of the two-week COP26 conference, there were plenty of young people in the mass protests that happened just about every day, too.

But what was particularly interesting about the 40-plus young people my video team interviewed was that while a handful were card-carrying climate activists, most were not. They were university and high school students, young professionals, and regular folks—including a barista and a restaurant dishwasher. Many of them, unprompted, voiced skepticism about the world’s bosses—both political and commercial. They called for businesses to step up and take aggressive action to reduce their carbon footprints, and they decried the thirst for profits at all costs that they said seems to drive many business leaders.

For example, Ewan Scholefield, an electrical and mechanical engineering major at University of Strathclyde, told us, “There’s a lot of waste and inefficiency in our system for the sake of profit. Also, more people are interested in appearing like they care about climate change than actually doing something about it.”

A design student said corporations should be “forced” to toe the environment line.

Capitalists have enjoyed a smooth ride since the collapse of the Soviet system left them without an alternative world economic view to grind against. Meanwhile, wealth is increasingly concentrated in the hands of a relative few, as a duo of media giants (Fox News and Facebook) control/poison minds on a mass scale, and a handful of tech behemoths (Amazon, Google, Apple, Netflix, etc.) control great swaths of commerce. Many regular people feel ignored, abused, or left out. I’m not suggesting I see an incipient mass uprising against capitalism, but cracks are appearing in the hegemony that modern capitalism—with its profits-at-all-costs ethic—has commanded for more than three decades.

The neoliberal embrace of unbridled capitalism—the idea that the sole task of leaders of publicly-traded corporations is to maximize profit—has enjoyed mass fealty since Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher in the 1980s declared war on labor unions and preached that businesses can do a better job of managing society than can government leaders. But we have seen how institutions and ideas with apparently unassailable dominance have cracked and teetered. (Think the music industry pre- and post-iPod). “When an industry gets disrupted, it is the most dominant players, blinded by their success, that are the last to see it coming,” says my friend Damian Costello, an Irish disruptive-innovation consultant.

Today, young people are demanding that corporations put saving the planet before profits. Will corporate bosses listen? Clearly, some have their ear to the rails. Patagonia, the outdoor retailer, has long been committed to environmental sustainability; and Salesforce, the cloud computing giant, recently made a splash with its announcement that it is already carbon-neutral on an operating basis. But the pledges of many large corporations strike me—and young people we interviewed—as highly suspect.

Businesses that don’t operate sustainably risk losing young people as customers, but they also risk missing out on some of the best and brightest employees—those who insist that the organizations they work for must play a positive social role. For instance, 30,000 young people in France have already signed the Ecological Awakening pledge. “Unless they change, companies will not be able to attract the young talent they need,” says Peter Head, chairman of Resilience Brokers, a non-profit sustainability consultancy.

We stand at a crossroads. If business leaders make aggressive efforts to operate more sustainably, we have a chance to prevent temperatures from rising 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and to avoid global calamity and mass extinctions. Today’s young people will likely be alive when the first wave of even-worse climate disasters comes. The corporations that drag their feet may find they will not be forgiven, their treasured “brand equity” greatly devalued.

So, capitalists beware: today’s 6-year-olds wearing “Disruptor” t-shirts may come to get you, or turn their backs on you.

Steve Hamm is a freelance writer and documentary filmmaker based in New Haven, Connecticut, USA. His new book, The Pivot: Addressing Global Problems Through Local Action, about the journey of Pivot Projects, was published in October by Columbia University Press. This is one of a series of dispatches from COP26 for Techonomy.

Read more from Steve Hamm’s COP26 Dispatches

October 29th: COP26: Let’s Pivot to Save the Planet

November 1: SustainChain: a Collaboration Platform for Do-Gooders

November 3: How Oil-Rich Aberdeen is Pivoting Away from Fossil Fuels

November 5: Glasgow Dispatch: Startup Funding Encourages Sustainability

November 8: Can Better Town-Gown Relations Help Save the Planet?

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The cracks are appearing in modern capitalism. Today, young people are demanding that corporations put saving the planet before profits. Will corporate bosses listen?

How Oil-Rich Aberdeen is Pivoting Away from Fossil Fuels

The cracks are appearing in modern capitalism. Today, young people are demanding that corporations put saving the planet before profits. Will corporate bosses listen?

COP26: Let’s Pivot to Save the Planet

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What if universities collaborated with their local communities with the goal of helping cities become more resilient and sustainable? That idea is being tested in Exeter, England.

Universities are essential to progress. They prepare our young people for careers, train the workforce of the future, and foster research that advances knowledge. Yet many universities turn their backs on the residents of cities and towns where they are located. It’s almost as if town and gown occupy separate universes.

But what if universities entered into collaborations with their host places with the goal of helping cities and towns become more resilient and sustainable? That idea is being tested in Exeter, England, where the Global Systems Institute at the University of Exeter has launched a pilot project aimed at bridging the gap between academics and townies.

In the midst of the UN’s COP26 climate conference in Glasgow, Scotland, Techonomy is highlighting new approaches to addressing the climate-change crisis in Scotland and the rest of the UK that might catch on elsewhere. (Earlier Dispatches dedicated to COP26 coverage are listed at bottom.)

The Exeter project is called Exeter Living Lab and it’s the brainchild of Peter Head, a climate activist and chairman of Resilience Brokers, a UK-based sustainability consulting organization. At the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, he co-founded an organization, Pivot Projects, with the goal of helping society and communities pivot to more sustainable trajectories. One element of his vision was that universities could combine forces with local government leaders to help communities achieve net-zero-carbon goals. He calls these partnerships living laboratories.

Pivot Projects is a global all-volunteer collaboration aimed as using collective intelligence, systems thinking and modeling, and AI-assisted research tools to help communities identify and launch sustainability projects. The organization originally approached City of Exeter government officials, but they were too busy dealing with the COVID-19 crisis to engage, so the project instead established a beachhead with The University of Exeter. It found a willing partner in Tim Lenton, director of the Global Systems Institute there. “We hope this will become a good convening place to bring different social actors together and create opportunities for positive thinking,” Lenton says.

Exeter City. (Credit: Creative Commons Bill Boaden)

The Exeter Living Lab began to take shape in the late winter of 2021 when Head and James Green, a recent graduate of a masters-of-sustainability program, convened Zoom meetings involving faculty members, students, and representatives of community organizations in Exeter. Green, who serves as community manager, was tasked with training participants in the use of Pivot Projects’ systems-mapping and research tools, which included SparkBeyond’s Research Studio, and guiding participants week to week. The group also joined Pivot Projects’ collaboration platform, which includes Slack, Trello, Google Docs, and Zoom. The first order of business was for the group to create a systems map of Exeter using the Kumu visualization tool—which included concepts related to sustainability, organizations, and initiatives.

Like Pivot Projects itself, the Exeter group was voluntary and largely self-organizing. Typically, dozens of people attended early meetings, among them 25 students who were enrolled in the university’s one-year master’s program in sustainable development. “My goal was to help foster a creative environment, not to dictate or check boxes on expected outcomes,” says Green. “That gave the group space to see how they wanted to collectively move forward.”

As time went on, attendance dwindled. Only three of the students opted to build their master’s thesis around work in the Living Lab. One early participant, Exeter City Futures, an organization that had been formed to help Exeter achieve its net-zero carbon goals, did not become as engaged as the organizers had hoped.

But the three master’s students and a small core of faculty members and people from the community carried on. One of the  students was David Bacon. His master’s thesis grew out of the early Kumu mapping exercise. He invited a handful of the Living Lab participants to help him create a systems map focused on the energy sector—which helped him explore the opportunities for collaboration between energy distributors and community organizations at the local, regional, and national levels. The exercise also connected him with Exeter Community Energy, which manages community-owned renewable energy projects in the city. He liked the organization so much that he’s now its volunteer operations and maintenance director while he looks for a paying job in the renewables field.

Another of the persistent attendees was David Pencheon, who before retiring had senior-executive roles in innovation and sustainability for the UK’s National Health System. He was drawn to the Living Lab after hearing from a friend that his 7-year-old son was terrified of climate change. The little boy had trouble sleeping at night. Pencheon thought the lab could start small but perhaps grow to have a substantial impact in the region. “Small collaborative actions are crucial. They give citizens agency and they can be steps to bigger system-wide changes,” he says.

Nicky Britten, a professor emerita at the University of Exeter Medical School, had hoped the lab would help her find sustainability projects in Exeter that she would want to join, but says that though the group conversations were often stimulating, her search hasn’t paid off yet.

But this is how self-organizing projects go, all three realize. They are sticking with the project for now. They hope that more of this year’s master’s students will use the organization as the basis for their thesis research. The three also say they will reach out to include more community organizations. “We need better connections to community groups in Exeter,” says Bacon. “This was academically led. Now it needs to be more community involved.”

University of Exeter’s Tim Lenton says he’s heartened by the first small wave of activities at the Living Lab. “It’s a worthy experiment, and it has yielded some encouraging results.” he says. “Now I have to find more resources to keep it flowing.” Meanwhile, the Pivot Projects team is reaching out to other universities to see if they want to try out the living lab model.

Not every seemingly good idea catches fire immediately. This one might need to smolder for a while. I live in the shadow of Yale University and have long believed that it should be much more active in the community—for the sake of students and residents alike. Maybe this is an idea whose time has not yet come, or it just has yet to find the right combination of place and people. Nonetheless, I’m convinced this sort of project is indispensable as the world seeks, in large ways and small, to prepare for and adapt to global warming.

Steve Hamm is a freelance writer and documentary filmmaker based in New Haven, Connecticut, USA. His new book, The Pivot: Addressing Global Problems Through Local Action, about the journey of Pivot Projects, was published in October by Columbia University Press. This is one of his dispatches from COP26.

Read more from Steve Hamm’s COP26 Dispatches

October 29th: COP26: Let’s Pivot to Save the Planet

November 1: SustainChain: a Collaboration Platform for Do-Gooders

November 3: How Oil-Rich Aberdeen is Pivoting Away from Fossil Fuels

November 5: Glasgow Dispatch: Startup Funding Encourages Sustainability

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Water & Climate: Wicked Problem Meets Threat Multiplier

Water insecurity due to climate change has the potential to uproot nearly every aspect of modern society: food production, urban and rural settlements, energy production, industrial development, economic growth, and natural ecosystems.

Water and climate change are wicked problems, independently and jointly. In a 1973 article in Policy Sciences, Horst W. J. Rittel and Marvin M. Webber introduced the idea of a “wicked problem,” a social policy dilemma that has no definitive scientific solution and is intertwined with other problems.

Where the two wicked problems of water and climate change overlap, climate change is a threat multiplier.

While water security and climate change have often been treated as separate problems, in reality they are inextricably linked.  As the impacts of climate change increase, so do the stressors that decrease water security.  A thoughtful evaluation of where these two wicked problems intersect will help guide the public sector, private sector, non-governmental organizations, and civil society towards enduring solutions.

The Wicked Problem of Water

Historically, water issues have not only plagued societies, but in some cases, brought them down. It’s not always drinking water but water as an agricultural issue, too (think: no food = no society). Today, a great number of regions and countries face issues of either excess water or aridification. Water quality and pollution issues are also often at play, adding another complicating element. In turn, agro issues are also intensified.

Drinking water is just part of a bigger set of problems. Economic prosperity itself is also hindered by problems with natural ecosystems, flooding, poor water quality, and inequitable access to water.

These water challenges can, in part or in entirety, be attributed to poor governance and public policy. Other contributing factors include aging water infrastructure and underinvestment, slow adoption of innovative technologies, and the gross undervaluation of water.

For millions of people globally who live without running water, accessing drinkable water also entails increased personal security risks, primarily for women and children.  Climate change creates additional pressures on often already tenuous situations. In other words, it amplifies and multiplies existing threats.

Climate + Water = Instability

In addition to the impacts of climate change and water instability on human health, the two are also increasing natural disasters and affecting food security, power production (e.g., thermoelectric power generation), business continuity and growth, and social well-being. Increased water insecurity due to the impacts of climate change has the potential to uproot nearly every aspect of modern society if left unchecked: urban and rural settlements, energy production, industrial development, economic growth, and natural ecosystems.

Stakeholders that are associated with all those issues have specific needs for amounts and quality of water. These needs are essential to how we regulate water systems and deeply affect the decision-making processes behind that regulation. But the needs of various stakeholders often conflict. And the majority of the world’s water systems are in some way threatened. (Only 23 percent of the world’s longest rivers (over 1,000 miles long) flow to the ocean uninterrupted.)

Consider a regulated reservoir with hydropower stations located along an upstream river, with agricultural fields located downstream (a very common situation). This reservoir is regulated with specific rules based on past water-related conditions, but climate change is changing these historical conditions. If water availability is reduced, the hydropower station would like to keep more water upstream to maintain a stable power production, but farmers downstream want more water to maintain crop production.

In addition, other stakeholders such as citizens, businesses, and natural ecosystems rely on surface water resources and its tributaries, and each one has their own interests and needs. Therefore, climate change has the potential to exacerbate water-related issues: it can increase the intensity and length of conflicts, increase poverty, increase food deserts, and disrupt access to education and knowledge.

Who solves wicked water and climate problems?

Wicked problems like those related to water and climate change rarely sit conveniently within the responsibility of any one organization. Yet everyone from individuals through multinational corporations and governments has a role to play in solving them. Solving such wicked problems begins with individuals understanding how their choices impact water and climate, and changing how they behave. Then those changes must typically be incorporated by numerous associated stakeholder groups.

All stakeholders need to engage, and be engaged, in solving wicked problems, because different organizations have different relative strengths. For example, entrepreneurs have speed and focus but not size and scale, while the public sector has size and scale but less speed and focus. All other stakeholders sit between these two extremes. Businesses, depending on their sector and company strategy and culture, can be a bridge between the entrepreneurial and public sectors.

The question of who solves wicked problems is illustrated in the below illustration (adapted from XGENESIS).

The way forward

The intersection between climate change and water is complicated. To address it, we need to solve multiple problems. These include, but are not limited to, water scarcity, increased flooding, quality and lack of access, climate impacts, and the intersection of the two. There are no simple answers, but clarity about the root causes of these problems is necessary if we are to begin to achieve an equitable, secure, and resilient future.

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