Detecting Underground Leaks as the Value of Water Rises

From watershed to water glass, water flows so freely into American homes and work places that it is easy to take for granted all of the steps involved in delivering clean water. The ease of supply also hides a fragile and “at risk” delivery system. Attention to the delivery system is urgently needed to fix aging infrastructure and automate the control and monitoring.…

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Investors Begin the Push for Natural Capital Transparency

As reported by the New York Times Exxon Mobil recently agreed to inform investors of the risks carbon emission limits would have on their business. This agreement comes in response to a resolution submitted by a group of shareholders from the corporate responsibility advocacy group, “As You Sow.” This is part of a growing trend of shareholder groups urging companies to be more transparent...

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If you think consumers won’t pay for sustainable delivery, think again

Given the prominence of e-commerce and trends such as same or next-day delivery, order fulfillment has a significant impact on the environment. At the same time, the concept of sustainability is gaining more play in every facet of life, including business. So when it comes time to check a box and select a delivery option, are customers actually willing to sacrifice to have products delivered...

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Is sustainability for me?

Being passionate about sustainability comes with a lot of baggage.  There is a lot of misinformation and opinions out there to cloud what is important.  Those that are skeptical or uninformed constantly expect you to back up what you support and why you support it with evidence (more so even than politics!).…

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Chicago Energy Benchmarking Ordinance – Coming to a Building Near You

For years, the Chicago skyline has been known for its tall buildings. The Willis Tower, the John Hancock Building, Two Prudential Plaza, and the Trump Tower are all admired for their impressive size, unique architecture, innovative engineering, and beautiful interior aesthetics. Starting this year, these buildings, along with the rest of Chicago’s largest Class A buildings, will begin to be...

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Natural Capital: Finding the Benefits in a Sea of Risk

As I previously discussed in my introduction to Natural Capital, the natural capital dependencies of your business can create risk across a variety of areas, including: Financing: Increased lending requirements for firms with unstable flows of natural capital Regulatory: Fines or lawsuits from degradation of shared natural capital Customer: Customers switching to products with less natural...

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Sustaining Smart Grid Value: Tapping into Customer Energy Management (CEM) Benefits

Yesterday, I attended the 2014 Clean Energy Challenge, an annual clean energy competition hosted by the Clean Energy Trust. The audience and judges were treated to 15 student and start-up Midwest cleantech companies that were vying for $500,000 in prizes. Not surprising, two of the companies centered around utility customer usage feedback: MeterHero is a Milwaukee-based early stage start-up...

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The Power of Transparency

Companies are facing increasing pressure to share information with the public about their internal processes, where (and how) they source their materials, and the impact on the environment.  Frequently accompanying this pressure is the underlying fear that the more information a company shares, the more likely they are to come under scrutiny from the public. …

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The What and Why of Natural Capital

In your first week of Econ 101 you were probably introduced to the idea of capital. To a firm, capital represents the physical equipment or inputs that are used in the production of a good or service; basically capital is what you use to run your business. Traditionally, economics has separated this type of capital from natural resources primarily because natural resources were always...

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West Monroe Partners helps City of Chicago and ComEd improve local solar market conditions

The City of Chicago made a timely announcement yesterday (10/21/2013) to kick off the start of Solar Power International 2013, an international conference with over 12,000 attendees hosted at McCormick Place this week. In Mayor Emanuel’s press release, he announced the culmination of nearly 2 years of work performed by the City, Commonwealth Edison (ComEd), the Environmental Law & Policy...

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