Ceres Sustainability Podcast (general)
An ongoing conversation with investors, corporations, policy makers and public interest groups about how they are adapting business strategies and financial markets to address the risks and opportunities of climate change and other sustainability issues.

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Syndication

The future of global energy production is shaping up to be one of the most important and complicated issues of our time. From limited traditional fuel sources like oil and coal to newer, cleaner energy like wind, solar and bio-mass, nothing is off the table when it comes to meeting the growing global demand for energy. And while the energy market is increasingly global, the debate over the sustainability of our energy use is rooted in regional geographies, statewide politics and local communities – those affected by discreet projects and those that will be most affected by climate impacts.

To shed some light on just how complex and nuanced these energy issues are, we focus on the state of Montana – which shares the largest coal deposits in the U.S. (along with Wyoming), is at the top of ranks in terms of wind generating capacity and is home to one of the largest shale oil deposits in the country.

In the third and final episode of our Montana Energy Series, speak with Tom Darin, Western Regional Representative for the American Wind Energy Association – AWEA. Despite Montana's wind generating potential, project developers are wary of building large wind farms where there isn't enough infrastructure and power lines to properly distribute and export clean energy. Darin is working with everyone from policymakers to local farmers to help create a viable wind market that would bring jobs and investments to Montana's economy.

[Music: Phillip Aaberg, "Keep Walkin" from Blue West (Sweet Grass, 2005); Broadcast, "Tender Buttons" from Tender Buttons (Warp Records, 2005)]

Direct download: Tom_Darrin_102611.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:54am EDT

Growing water scarcity in many parts of the United States is a hidden financial risk not only for companies who rely on massive amounts of water to operate their business, but also for investors who buy the water and electric utility bonds that finance much of the country's vast water and power infrastructure. Las Vegas, which gets 90% of its water from nearby Lake Mead, could lose their entire drinking supply overnight due to receding lake levels and increased drought – affecting the communities and industries that rely on that water for everything from drinking to generating enough power to light up the strip. Similar scenarios across the country are forcing companies, municipalities and investors to re-evaluate current and future risks to our water supply, including the high costs associated with finding new and better ways to get water to the places that need it.

This episode, we are joined by Ceres’ own Sharlene Leurig, senior manager of Ceres’ insurance program and author of the report The Ripple Effect: Water Risk in the Municipal Bond Market. The report evaluates and ranks water scarcity risks for public water and power utilities in some of the country's most water-stressed regions, including Los Angeles, Phoenix, Dallas and Atlanta. Listen in as Sharlene explains the findings of the report and the hidden risks that water scarcity poses to investors, companies and municipalities.

[Music: Gramatik, "Afternoon Soul" from Water 4 Soul EP (Cold Busted, 2009); I am David Sparkle, "Dance of Death" from This is the New (KittyWu Records, 2007)]

Direct download: Boiling_Point_020111.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:23pm EDT

In the aftermath of the financial collapse, big investors are returning to some market fundamentals -- abandoning flimsy derivatives for tried and true physical assets. One of the concrete investments investors are eyeing is infrastructure. Specifically, renewable energy infrastructure.

The renewable energy market is poised to explode in the coming years, and is already booming in countries like China, Brazil and Germany. And investors are eager to tap into it. Although a price on carbon -- which would give renewables the punctuated equilibrium needed to free up investment dollars and scale up new energy sources in the U.S. -- is currently on the back burner, the renewable energy market hasn't stalled out. It's not even slowing down.

In this episode, Bill Green, Managing Director of Macquarie Capital's renewable infrastructure investing team, explains the world of renewable energy infrastructure and makes the business case for why scaling up the physical infrastructure for renewable energy is a good bet for investors even in the absence of an immediate price on carbon.

[Music: Mr. Lif, "Ol' Crew" from Superrappin Vol. 2 Instrumental (Groove Attack, 2004); Guns and Roses, "Rocket Queen" from Appetite for Destruction (Geffen, 1987)]

Direct download: Bill_Green_080510.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:39pm EDT

In Hot Water: The Trouble with the Virtual Water Trade and the Role of Corporations, Investors and Governments in Solving the World Water Crisis.

Water is essential for life, but it's also essential for our economy. We all use water for drinking, bathing, watering crops and gardens, and so on. But a surprising amount of water use is bound up in the products we purchase and consume from corporations. Chemical manufacturing, energy production, mineral extraction and commercial farming all require massive amounts of water to run viable businesses, and they often take water locally to make products that get sold internationally.

But countries and companies have few contingency plans for what happens if this virtual trade in water runs dry -- which could happen sooner rather than later according to a recent World Bank report that predicts the demand of water will outstrip supply by 40% in the next 20 years.

This episode, we are joined by Maude Barlow, National Chairperson of the Council of Canadians, to talk about the virtual global water trade, how it affects local communities as well as multinational corporations and what companies, investors and governments need to do to avert the global water crisis.

[Music: Madlib, "Slim's Return" from Shades of Blue (Blue Note, 2003); Animal Collective, "Brother Sport" from Merriweather Post Pavilion (Domino Recording, 2009), Photo: Flickr user pdkliment]

Direct download: Maude_Barlow_062910.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:00am EDT

Climate change is forcing companies, investors, and consumers to change their behaviors and attitudes about a host of issues, ranging from production to consumption to pollution. As the negative effects of climate change heat up, fears about water scarcity are beginning to flow. Dwindling water supplies are causing governments, businesses and investors to rethink the way we value what was once an abundant resource.

This week we are joined by the Jason Morrison from the Pacific Institute and Brooke Barton from Ceres. The two groups recently released a new report, Water Scarcity and Climate Change: Growing Risks for Businesses & Investors that discusses the links between climate change and water supply, how it affects companies and investors, and ways to prepare for a world of increasing water scarcity.
Direct download: WaterRiskCast032009.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:40am EDT

As Congress gears up to debate some of the furthest reaching environmental legislation it’s faced since the creation of the Clean Air Act and the Endangered Species Act, proponents and opponents are lining up to make their case for why we should or shouldn’t aggressively address climate change. And support for strong action on climate is coming from unlikely places like the boardrooms of major U.S. consumer companies that are part of BICEP, a business coalition advocating for strong climate and energy policy.

The Ceres podcast caught up with representatives of the BICEP coalition at an event in Washington DC. Listen to this interview with Sarah Severn, Director of Horizons Corporate Responsibility, Nike.
Direct download: SarahSevernforiTunes.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:47am EDT

As Congress gears up to debate some of the furthest reaching environmental legislation it’s faced since the creation of the Clean Air Act and the Endangered Species Act, proponents and opponents are lining up to make their case for why we should or shouldn’t aggressively address climate change. And support for strong action on climate is coming from unlikely places like the boardrooms of major U.S. consumer companies that are part of BICEP, a business coalition advocating for strong climate and energy policy.

The Ceres podcast caught up with representatives of the BICEP coalition at an event in Washington DC. Listen to this interview with Jim Hanna, Environmental Affairs Manager at Starbucks Coffee Company.

[Music: Rattatat, "Wildcat" from Classics (XI Recordings, 2006) and Bonobo, "Transmission 94" from Days to Come (Ninja Tune, 2006)]
Direct download: JimHannaforiTunes.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:42am EDT

As Congress gears up to debate some of the furthest reaching environmental legislation it’s faced since the creation of the Clean Air Act and the Endangered Species Act, proponents and opponents are lining up to make their case for why we should or shouldn’t aggressively address climate change. And support for strong action on climate is coming from unlikely places like the boardrooms of major U.S. consumer companies that are part of BICEP, a business coalition advocating for strong climate and energy policy.

The Ceres podcast caught up with representatives of the BICEP coalition at an event in Washington DC. Listen to the interview with David Douglas, Senior Vice President of Cloud Computing and Chief Sustainability Officer, Sun Microsystems.

[Music: Rattatat, "Wildcat" from Classics (XI Recordings, 2006) and Bonobo, "Transmission 94" from Days to Come (Ninja Tune, 2006)]
Direct download: DaveDouglasforiTunes.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:38am EDT

As the U.S. and the world get serious about solving the energy crisis, new forms of renewable energy are being developed that could be key to eliminating our dependence on fossil fuels and ushering in a green economy. A new technology called concentrated solar power is emerging as a potentially-viable source of renewable energy and could transform the American Southwest into one of the most lucrative solar power markets around. But concentrated solar is not perfect yet.

To shed some light on the advantages and shortcomings of this new technology, we caught up with Reese Tisdale, Research Director for Renewable Power Generation at Emerging Energy Research.

Direct download: From_Concentrate__The_Next_Generation_of_Solar_Energy.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:16am EDT

Chances are your pants have probably been more places than you have. From cotton grown in India, zippers manufactured in China and apparel factories in Guatemala, the apparel industry relies on a complex and sophisticated series of relations to get their clothes to a store near you - the global supply chain. But global supply chains carry serious environmental and labor challenges that apparel and other industries must attend to if they truly want to be sustainable.

Michael Kobori, Vice President of Global Supply Chains at Levi Strauss & Co. spoke with the Ceres Podcast about how the company is incorporating these issues into its sourcing decisions in order to create a more sustainable supply chain for its products.

[Music: Jack Rose, "Linden Ave Stomp" from Two Originals of Jack Rose (VHF, 2004)]

Direct download: LevisSupplyChain.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:48am EDT