How emerging technologies are driving circularity, electric transportation and more

This article originally appeared in GreenBiz and can be seen here

When I was a kid, my dad told me that his favorite technological advancements were the automatic garage door and the automatic ice maker. I didn’t fully understand why at the time. But I get it now.

When I leave my office today, I will pull out my mobile phone, order a Lyft and walk out to meet the driver within a minute. While in the car, I’ll use Seamless to have my dinner delivered at my exact arrival time, and the Nest thermostat in my apartment automatically will adjust to my desired temperature once I am within a mile.

Technology continues to make our lives easier. But, besides convenience, it has the incredible potential to reduce our day-to-day impact on the environment. And that’s why I look forward to the VERGE conference each year.

This year, VERGE is focusing on how technology is supercharging sustainability in three areas in particular: circularity; energy; and transportation.

In my role with EDF Climate Corps, I’m seeing greater interest from companies wanting to use innovative technologies to accelerate sustainability and scale solutions across nearly every sector. Here are some ways I’ve seen it happening across those three areas in particular.

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How hyperlocal air pollution monitoring will create smarter, healthier cities

Right outside my window in Washington, DC, there is a hill where trucks accelerate towards the north, and buses idle to pick up tour groups. Even when the air looks clear, it may be hiding an invisible danger. Air pollution kills 4.5 million people a year and costs the world $225 billion a year in economic damages. These global figures mask what can be a highly local, personal risk. Recent studies show that air pollution varies as much as eight times within one city block. We also now know that living by streets with the most elevated pollution can raise the risk of heart attack or death among the elderly by more than 40% – suggesting air pollution is far more dangerous than previously understood.

The good news is we are on the cusp of generating widespread hyperlocal insights into air pollution. Understanding for the first time at a local, personal level where pollution is, where it comes from, and its impacts could shine a spotlight on the problem and increase the urgency and motivation for action. Because the best actions will protect health and mitigate the risk of climate change, local insights can provide the springboard for local, regional, national and even global impact.  Read more

Inquiring minds want to know what’s going on with your fleet greening initiatives

Are you actively measuring your fleet emissions? Thinking about using medium-duty hybrid trucks?

We want to know what’s going on with your fleet greening initiatives!  To that end, we’re asking everyone we know that has a fleet to take 5 minutes to  fill out the 2010 PHH survey on fleets and the environment.

Now in is fourth year, the survey has become a valuable tool for tracking trends in fleet environmental management. For example, thanks to the survey, we know that the percentage of fleets measuring their emissions has been growing each year, which is good news for those businesses as well as for the environment. Read more

Lessons Learned for Reducing Transportation Emissions in the Supply Chain

“How are companies addressing the environmental impact of transportation in their supply chains?” This was the leading question of a recent article in the MIT Sloan Management Review business journal. Its well worth reading for anyone interested in corporate transportation emissions.

The article is wide-ranging; covering air, rail, long-haul trucks, and light-duty fleets. Read more