UN: 18 nations have gone green on climate, raked in green

Read the full story from the Associated Press.

Proponents of clean energy and thinks tanks have long said it’s possible to reduce emissions and keep an economy growing. Now the latest report from the world’s top climate scientists says 18 countries have done just that, sustaining emissions reductions “for at least a decade” as their economies continued to grow.

The United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) did not name the countries, citing inconsistency in the data.

But using figures from Global Carbon Project, which are not part of the report, The Associated Press found 19 nations where the pre-pandemic annual carbon dioxide emissions were at least 10 million metric tons less in 2019 than in 2010. They are the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, Japan, Italy, Ukraine, France, Spain, Greece, Netherlands, Mexico, Finland, Singapore, Denmark, the Czech Republic, Belgium, Poland, Romania and Sweden.

Corporate Sustainability and Firm Performance: The Moderating Role of CEO Education and Tenure

Ghardallou, W. (2022). “Corporate Sustainability and Firm Performance: The Moderating Role of CEO Education and Tenure.” Sustainability 14, 3513. https://doi.org/10.3390/su14063513

Abstract: The aim of this research is to investigate the impact of corporate sustainability on a firm’s financial performance. It particularly investigates the effectiveness of CEO characteristics as a moderator on corporate social responsibility (CSR)–firm financial performance linkages. This study is unique since it sheds new insight on how a CEO’s attributes may influence the relationship between CSR and financial performance. The evidence so far is sparse, since previous studies have investigated the direct effects of CEO or CSR on corporate performance. We look at a sample of 34 Saudi publicly traded companies from 2015 to 2020. Data on financial, accounting, and sustainability variables are collected from the Bloomberg database and the annual reports of the selected companies. Findings reveal that firms engaged in corporate social responsibility practices tend to have better financial performance. More importantly, it is found that in the moderation relationship of firm financial performance with corporate sustainability, CEO education and tenure act as positive moderators. In particular, results indicate that CEOs having an engineering- or a science-related degree positively affect the relationship between CSR and business performance. The relationship is further enhanced when the CEO holds an MBA. Finally, longer tenured CEOs play a positively moderating role in the association between firm performance and CSR.

Americans love recycling — they have no idea how it works

Read the full story at GreenBiz.

If you’ve been following our posts and talks, then you’re already up to speed on this: Americans love recycling. It’s the No. 1 thing they think companies should be doing to positively affect purchase decisions by the consumer. And 85 percent of our fellow citizens agree that recycling is the bare minimum that we can each do for the environment.

But there are some cracks in this belief system. And brands, materials manufacturers and packaging makers need to pay attention.

Latest UN climate change report highlights urban mitigation strategies, circular materials management

Read the full story at Waste Dive.

Urban planning that incorporates widespread electrification and carbon-sequestration while increasing density is the best way cities can slash emissions within the next decade to limit global warming, according to authors of the highly anticipated United Nations climate change mitigation report released Monday.

The report, the third release from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Sixth Assessment Report, addresses buildings, transportation, and energy systems, as well as entire urban systems. It also delves into the importance of “using materials more efficiently, reusing, recycling,” as well as minimizing waste and encouraging circular material flows in the industrial sector, which are “currently under-used in policies and practice.”

“Without a strengthening of policies beyond those that are implemented by the end of 2020, GHG emissions are projected to rise beyond 2025,” the IPCC laid out to policymakers. Some of the authors said the report ought to gravely reinforce to leaders the importance of making changes immediately, even though the information and strategies it contains largely are not new and the IPCC isn’t meant to be a prescriptive body.

The secret to better coffee? The birds and the bees

Read the full story from the University of Vermont.

A groundbreaking new study finds that coffee beans are bigger and more plentiful when birds and bees team up to protect and pollinate coffee plants.  

Without these winged helpers, some traveling thousands of miles, coffee farmers would see a 25% drop in crop yields, a loss of roughly $1,066 per hectare of coffee.  

That’s important for the $26 billion coffee industry—including consumers, farmers, and corporations who depend on nature’s unpaid labor for their morning buzz—but the research has even broader implications.  

The forthcoming study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences is the first to show, using real-world experiments at 30 coffee farms, that the contributions of nature—in this case, bee pollination and pest control by birds—are larger combined than their individual contributions. 

Saving the future of chocolate: New research aims to stop loss of cacao plant

Read the full story from the Agricultural Research Service.

Black pod rot is responsible for the greatest production losses in cacao, primarily because it can be found in every region where cacao is commercially grown. The disease is caused by several species of fungal-like organisms called oomycetes that spread rapidly on cacao pods under humid conditions. Within days of being infected, cacao pods turn black and rotten, rendering them useless for harvesting. An ARS research team found that black pod rot in Hawaii and Puerto Rico is caused by an oomycete called Phytophthora palmivora, which is relatively less aggressive than the oomycete species known to cause black pod rot in other parts of the world. However, Phytophthora palmivora is capable of surviving higher temperatures and is expected to become an increased problem as temperatures rise due to climate change.

The importance of carbon pricing for small business owners

Read the full story at GreenBiz.

While carbon pricing may have the biggest near-term effect on larger companies, the direction of travel suggests all business owners will increasingly need to understand carbon pricing, the costs associated with it and the consequences upon their profits.

There are several key items that business owners, of any sized company, need to know now as carbon markets evolve and their business adapts.

Lendlease Chicago high-rise employs low-carbon concrete

Read the full story at Construction Dive.

The new mix uses 60% less Portland cement and could last 30 years longer than conventional concrete, according to its creators.

How better data can help carbon-belching buildings reduce their impact

Read the full story from Fast Company.

Tracking power sources on an hourly basis has helped companies and cities find new ways to cut their emissions.

A flying microchip for advanced data-collection

Read the full story from ASME.

Creating equipment that could monitor the air for contamination, weather patterns, or even airborne diseases meant thinking small, really small. Engineers from a Northwestern University research group bandied [sic] together to design such a miniaturized device.