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White space ... by Joel Makower on the eve of the VEWRGE virtual conference

Burgess COMMENTARY

Peter Burgess
White space Joel Makower Unsubscribe 9:03 AM (2 hours ago) to me Joel Makower Chairman and Executive Editor @makower Monday, October 26, 2020 ForwardForward Visit GreenbizVisit Greenbiz EnvelopeSubscribe White space At VERGE this week, more than 10,000 professionals will be looking into the technologies that are enabling cars, buildings, factories, materials, agriculture and many other things to embrace and adapt to an emerging clean economy. Me? I’ll be looking at the white space. It’s not that these technologies and trends are uninteresting — quite the contrary. Many are visionary and disruptive. Some have world-changing potential. All of it is inspiring and hopeful. But that’s not necessarily what floats my boat. It’s the white spaces, the nooks in between the five major conferences that make up our annual VERGE event — clean energy, sustainable mobility, the circular economy, carbon removal and sustainable food systems — as well as the mashup of multiple technologies that I find most interesting: How they converge to create synergistic solutions beyond what the individual technologies can do. For example, how does the mashup of 3D printing, advanced materials, artificial intelligence and the internet of things transform manufacturing, anticipating exactly what goods will be needed in a particular place at a particular moment, with little or no waste or toxic ingredients? Or for connected vehicles, microgrids, blockchain, machine learning and energy storage to create an efficient and renewably powered system for powering cars, homes and communities, in which any of us could be buying or selling electricity at any given time? There’s lots more where those came from, some hiding in plain sight, others simply hiding. VERGE 20 Another white space is how all of these technologies and trends align with social justice and community resilience, and how companies — multinationals and startups — are embracing and leveraging the positive social impacts of their innovations along with the environmental and economic ones. Clearly, it’s no longer simply technology for technology’s sake, or social justice relegated to philanthropy or CSR. Consider a sampling of session titles culled from the 180 or so taking place over the next five days:
  • Connecting Communities to the Clean Economy
  • Investing in a Clean and Equitable Future
  • Building Equity and Justice into Carbon Removal
  • How Companies Can Address Energy Poverty
  • How Electrification Can Fix the Job and Climate Crises
  • Climate and Public Health
  • Meeting Climate Goals During Converging Crises
Individually and together, they speak to the growing understanding that to address the climate crisis, we also have to address racial and economic equity, environmental justice and other issues historically consigned to the “social” category inside companies but inextricably linked to sustainability: You can’t have a healthy economy in an unhealthy society. Social justice and equity will be woven throughout the program. Example: In the opening keynote session today, I’ll be interviewing Lisa Jackson, who leads sustainability at Apple, about how it is aligning its environmental ambitions — circular materials, emissions reductions, carbon removal, renewable energy and more — with addressing environmental justice. “Systemic racism and climate change are not separate issues, and they will not abide separate solutions,” Jackson said recently. I’m looking forward to discussing that. At VERGE, we’ll also welcome a new cohort of Emerging Leaders, a program we’ve institutionalized at all of our events, even online ones, where we grant scholarships and offer special programming to a diverse group of young professionals so they can experience the event and meet some of you. (Thank you to Verizon for sponsoring this year’s group.) There's also a clean energy equity showcase featuring community organizations leading the way to a more equitable energy future. There’s no end to technological innovation. That’s a given in our world. The challenge, and the opportunity, is to make it work for everyone — to enable that the promise of the clean economy is accessible and affordable by all. At this year’s VERGE, those challenges and opportunities won’t be mere sideshows. They’ll be part and parcel of everything we do. We Create Chemistry for a Sustainable Future Sponsored by BASF: At BASF, we combine economic success with environmental protection and social responsibility. We contribute to t­­­­­­­he success of our customers in nearly all sectors and almost every country in the world to enhance the quality of life. We source responsibly, produce safely and efficiently, value people and treat them with respect, and engage with our communities. LEARN MORE #Trending Now Razor's edge Gillette plans to shave use of virgin plastics by 50% Plate tectonics Parsing Panera's plan to nudge consumers toward low-carbon meals Root cause Love trees? Prioritize wildfire restoration and fighting deforestation Gaining agency EPA @ 50, and what it says about you and me Hope floats BP, Shell, oil giants fund research into mobile carbon capture from ships at sea Big deals Q3 2020: International corporate procurements mature as U.S. deals look to quality Sponsored by Ecolab Making your own map: Setting and operationalizing ambitious sustainability goals GreenBiz 350 podcast Episode 242: Responsible mining, the politics of clean energy s&pglobal_2020_newsletter_image_ad_4 LEARN MORE Together We Can Go Further Sponsored by The Climate Pledge: It’s going to take a herculean effort to slow down climate change and keep our world livable for future generations. As co-founder of The Climate Pledge, Amazon is creating the most collaborative and ambitious platform for businesses to tackle the most epic challenge of all—the sustainability of our planet and become net zero carbon by 2040. LEARN MORE New Research Sponsor Paper Corporate Clean Energy Procurement: State of the Market GreenBiz Report State of the Profession 2020 Report It’s time to refine the dialogue: While tree-planting events in parks or schoolyards make for great photo opps, we should devote far more time to acts of restoration and conservation. Quote arrow Heather Clancy, 'Love trees? Prioritize wildfire restoration and fighting deforestation' ForwardForward Visit GreenbizVisit Greenbiz EnvelopeSubscribe Copyright © GreenBiz Group Inc. All rights reserved. Our mailing address is: GreenBiz Group Inc. 350 Frank H. Ogawa Plaza Suite 800 Oakland, California 94612 Unsubscribe / manage email preferences from GreenBiz.com This email was sent to peterbnyc@gmail.com. If you no longer wish to receive these emails you may unsubscribe at any time.
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