Most Clicked SmartBrief on Sustainability Stories

1. Self-healing concrete an emerging technology

SmartBrief on Sustainability | Mar 26, 2015

Researchers are using skin as a model and trying to develop concrete that can repair itself. The process could reduce greenhouse gas emissions and delays during construction. Researchers at the University of Cambridge are developing a microcapsule that can deliver "first aid" to concrete. University of Cardiff researchers are developing a different self-healing process. (03/24)

2. BP joins corporate exodus from ALEC

SmartBrief on Sustainability | Mar 24, 2015

BP has given up its membership in the American Legislative Exchange Council, a conservative legislation mill and lobbying group that opposes initiatives to address climate change. While BP says its exit was due to economic factors, a slew of other firms -- including Yahoo, Facebook, Occidental Petroleum and Northrop Grumman -- have also quit ALEC in recent months amid concerns over its stance on environmental and other issues. Guardian (London), The (03/23) National Journal (03/23)

3. The days of cheap fossil-fuel leases are over, Interior chief suggests

SmartBrief on Sustainability | Mar 23, 2015

The federal government will reform its current practices regarding cheap leases for fossil-fuel development, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell says, adding that the Department of the Interior will weigh climate factors in deciding whether to hand out leases. "As the person entrusted with America's biggest land-management portfolio, I've ... got to ask questions like: What are we doing to achieve a low-carbon future?" Jewell said. Grist (03/20)

4. Report: 100% of Costa Rica's electricity comes from renewable sources

SmartBrief on Sustainability | Mar 24, 2015

Costa Rica has been acquiring 100% of its total energy needs from renewable sources, including wind, for at least 75 days, according to a recent report. The Dutch-owned island of Bonaire, off of Venezuela, is also looking to achieve 100% renewable energy operation in the near future. Quartz (03/23)

5. Data could be the answer to grocers' food wastage

SmartBrief on Sustainability | Mar 26, 2015

Washington state startup WISErg has raised $11 million in venture funding to support its development of a data-based approach to reducing food waste in the retail sector. WISErg says its data tools could reduce waste by about 10%, putting a dent in the 10 pounds of food that grocers currently waste for every $1,000 of revenue. Wall Street Journal (tiered subscription model), The (03/24)

6. Give Wal-Mart's green marketing efforts a chance

SmartBrief on Sustainability | Mar 24, 2015

Wal-Mart's Sustainability Leaders eco-label isn't perfect, but it's a worthy attempt to get suppliers to take sustainability seriously, writes Joel Makower. "It's a noble effort that just might make a difference -- something that, to date, green marketing simply has failed to do," he writes. (03/23)

7. The case against fossil-fuel divestment

SmartBrief on Sustainability | Mar 25, 2015

Divesting from fossil fuels might sound like a good idea, but it's actually a strategy that could backfire, writes Jeremy Farrar, director of the Wellcome Trust. It's better to maintain investments in fossil-fuel companies and leverage that ownership stake to encourage responsible business practices, he argues. "Our responsibility is not to heed the catchiest slogan, but to make the most difference," he writes. Guardian (London), The (03/25)

8. Unilever exec: Marketing and sustainability are inseparable

SmartBrief on Sustainability | Mar 23, 2015

Increasing Unilever's global footprint while reducing its environmental impact is the company's top priority, and Unilever's marketing and sustainability teams are working together to accomplish that goal, says Keith Weed, the company's chief marketing and communications officer. Weed merged the company's marketing, social responsibility and communications teams into a single department in 2011. "We could not have tension between our marketing people and sustainability people if we were going to find ways to serve more people without increasing our impact on the earth," Weed says. Adweek (03/23)

9. Shareholder activism could force companies to go green

SmartBrief on Sustainability | Mar 23, 2015

Some progressive groups see shareholder activism as a key strategy for persuading or forcing companies to adopt more environmentally friendly business strategies. "It's not for everybody, but we think it's an important tool in a multilateral approach to changing some of the world's most intractable problems," said Laura Berry, executive director of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility. In These Times (03/2015)

10. In search of see-through solar panels

SmartBrief on Sustainability | Mar 23, 2015

Ubiquitous Energy is in the process of developing fully transparent solar panels, which absorb only the invisible parts of the light spectrum. The panels could one day be used on smartphone screens or as cladding for skyscrapers. "If solar is the future, transparent solar may be the future that actually works," writes Sam Grobart. Bloomberg (03/23)

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