Congratulations to ebbf member Sandya Abrar (pictured in the bottom left of this image) on winning the #YPGEA15 Young Professional Green Energy Academic Award.
She won this prize after submitting here thesis titled: The impact of bioenergy development on the climate resilience of vulnerable communities in Kenya.
She offers here an interesting summary of her findings:
The purpose of this project was to examine whether bioenergy developments has an impact on the climate resilience of vulnerable communities in Kenya. Interviews were conducted with professionals and several projects and programmes were visited on site. The research, based on evidence, shows that traditional use of solid biomass, which is the most popular source of energy in Kenya, is believed to have a negative impact on climate resilience.
However, most of the interviews and projects visited have also demonstrated that, in certain conditions and under specific circumstances, bioenergy developments can reveal strong climate resilience characteristics. If they cannot by themselves improve considerably the resilience to climate change, some of them, when combined with measures and initiatives aimed at improving the life of the most vulnerable, do achieve this purpose.
This study also demonstrates, once again, how important it is for any project, programme or technology to address the specific needs and tastes of the populations they intend to serve and how engagement, empowerment and ownership by the communities is key to achieve success.
A higher consideration and respect for local cultures and ways of living, promoting a grass-‐root approach, encouraging collective actions through capacity building and awareness raising, and finally providing financial and political support, will help generate more suitable and targeted technologies and programmes, including those related to bioenergy, that would improve the climate resilience of vulnerable communities in Kenya and elsewhere.
Joey is a forward thinking student and business dreamer who always wants to innovate things to be better. He characterizes himself as “ambitious and optimistic” and carries the feeling that he can make his hopes come true.
Arthur, Former Deputy Assistant Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and consultant to the World Bank, spoke at CSR Meetup Geneva about ‘The impact of climate change and pollution on the global economy’.
I have followed the work of the IPCC for many years and participated in one of their earlier meetings as part of my responsibilities for the UN System-wide Earthwatch. I helped to create and oversee the Global Climate Observing System and the Integrated Global Observing Strategy Partnership with all the space agencies and international research programmes, and have collaborated with a number of the scientists involved in the IPCC at various times. I have great admiration for the scientific processes behind the IPCC, and full confidence in its results, acknowledging that it always errs on the conservative side to avoid any criticism. The meeting I attended in Bern immediately after the report was finalized was organized by the Swiss researchers who led one of the main IPCC working groups.
Iko Congo is finalizing a project that consists in trying to study the effectiveness of the use of stickers in reducing electric consumption in student households.
Imagine a neighborhood where nobody has to pay for their energy bill. Imagine a community that sustains its own energy needs, not needing to rely on any external fossil fuel. Imagine the vast amount of resources that would be made available through this independence. Imagine the amount of sustainable human, social and financial capital available to communities to ensure they can develop themselves, educate themselves, and create true sustainable value for all!
Seven years ago I had a dream of a disruptive new business, an ‘inverse energy company’ that would render existing fossil fuel suppliers obsolete. Four years BAS (Beneficial to All Stakeholders) was founded and we started to materialize this dream together with a few great people. Right now we have grown to a team of around 30 fantastic persons that all chose to spend their days and many nights to fulfill their wish for a world running on clean energy.
Together we have developed our first product: the Path to Zero. The Path to Zero ensures your own personal transition to energy independence at a fixed monthly fee, similar to your current energy supply contract, without any hassle. Basically, you become independent of fossil fuels by clicking “yes”. We are now successfully implementing the Path to Zero for many businesses and an increasing number of households, and have decided to take it all one step further:
Our plan is bring entire cities around the world to energy independence and we will do this on three levels: carbon neutrality, energy neutrality and energy cost neutrality. With this plan we have been selected as a finalist of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Climate CoLab Challenge in two separate categories: Creating Public Demand for Green Buildings and Energy Supply. More than 600 proposals are submitted to the challenge every year with only a handful reaching the finals.
So we’ve done our part and now we would like your help to do yours. Vote for us so that we can win the challenge and present our plan at the MIT Conference in November. This will give us a global forum and will enable us to make individual buildings, households, neighborhoods, communities and eventually cities independent of fossil fuels. Help us in making this world a better place not only for our generation however for generations to come. All we ask of you is to follow these three simple steps:
1) Register on the MIT CoLab website by clicking on the following link –http://climatecolab.org/web/guest/loginregister?redirect=%2Fhome. You can also sign-in using your facebook account
2) Vote for our proposal: Path To Zero – Transforming energy inefficient buildings to green buildings – by clicking on the following linkhttp://climatecolab.org/web/guest/plans/-/plans/contestId/1300403/planId/1307702. You can click on the Vote for Proposal button
3) Vote for our proposal: Path To Zero – Energy Supply – by clicking on the following link http://climatecolab.org/web/guest/plans/-/plans/contestId/1300201/planId/1307701. You can click on the Vote for Proposal button.
We request you to ensure that you Vote for Us in the coming few days. Every vote counts and we appreciate your support and your trust and belief in us. Our ambition is to change the world and we thank you for joining us on this journey.
With kind regards and many thanks!
highlights from #ebbfjustice ebbf meaningful hangout: helping big business find ways to more just workplaces, serving society
During this latest ebbf meaningful hangout, Kami Lamakan (Principal at The Loop), was joined by participants from eight different nations to explore the theme of the keynote he will be giving at the next #ebbfjustice international event in Barcelona (where he also invited his work colleague Jelena Hercberga to attend) :
“Creating conditions for a just workplace today and in the future: challenges and opportunities for big business”
Before opening to the usual open meaningful exchange of ideas and questions with participants, Kami introduced a couple of key points starting from mentioning how his 7 and 9 year old kids replied when presented with the concept he would present “what should work look like in the future Daddy? well it should be different from school now”. This apparently unrelated comment allowed Kami to introduce how business, specially big business will offer a very different work environment when the children of today will enter the workplace.
My research at the University of Bologna this last year was focused on the cultural concepts of development and sustainable production and of “Life Cycle Thinking” approach.
This research program was concerned with the life cycle management of products aimed at designing and realising eco-compatible productions. It was intended to support the business decisions, both in the evaluation of investment projects and in the medium term projection of the choices taken for the analysis of the degree of effectiveness, efficiency and sustainability of eco-innovations of products and processes.
The promise of social innovation, enterprises as a source of social good. Interview with the author: François Couillard
“François you wrote about social innovation, what brought about your interest in this topic?”
This dates back to my corporate experience, I spent over 20 years in the private sector working for large companies such as Johnson & Johnson and then moved over to the non-profit sector working for large organizations such as the Red Cross and I became a somewhat disillusioned with both sectors.
In business I worked for high performing organisations but found that sometimes the motives behind the behaviours challenged me. Simply chasing shareholder value is not something that I found most rewarding.
So I left the for-profit sector to have a look at the non-profit side of the fence and here I found a very different world.
A world where for the most part I found high motives and very strong values, but the processes and the way the organisations were run were more rudimentary compared with the profit sector. Financial sustainability is a huge issue for them, with their organisational effectiveness often lacking full efficiency.
Two years ago when I left my last executive position I decided to set up my own consultancy and found this “area in between”. A space between for-profits and non-profits that combined the efficiency of business with the lofty goals of non-profits. A space where social innovation occured.
I met with the Grameen Creative Lab and found a new way of creating an enterprise, a social business: a company with a deep social raison d’être but which operated with the efficiency of a business.
A place where sound, lofty drivers, motivated people and good business sense allowed for financial sustainability.
I attended a number of social enterprise events and conferences where Muhammad Yunus and other leaders and pioneers in that area convened to see social innovation, social enterprise, social finance arise and spread.
I became involved with several social innovation initiatives likefor example The HUBs, a constellation of creative co-working spaces dedicated to the active development of social innovators, now present in the five continents.
“why do you think social innovation important today?”
It is important because it meets the aspirations of today’s society.
The time when large organisations could operate with the exclusive objective of trying to meet the needs of their shareholders is over in my opinion.
There are other stakeholders such as employees, customers, and special interest groups, that are putting a lot of pressure on enterprises-on the way they operate and their true purposes.
This requires companies to seek other motivations.
A watershed moment for business occured with the 2011 Porter and Kramer article that appeared in the HBR. Here they openly stated the need to deliver more than profit and contribute to “creating shared value” for society..
There is tremendous pressure to bring about innovation, and to do so in a way that delivers true value to society and not only to the shareholders.
“and you also mentioned the inefficiencies of the non-profit”
Non-profits are under huge pressure to operate more efficiently and create financial sustainability. They must find source of funding beyond grants and donations. This is where there is a lot if impetus for them to embark into social innovation, through new business models such as social enterprises.
“there’s a lot of publications about social innovation and social enterprise in what way is this different?”
The distinguishing point of this publication is that it looks at social innovation mainly from a business perspective, most other similar titles come from a not-for-profit or governmental point of view.
So what I am trying to do in this publication is to help business actors make sense of this relatively new concept of social innovation. Most of them are still struggling to find the best way to move in the areas of CSR and sustainability and are now faced with the urgency of learning the best ways to adapt to this whole new world of social innovation that is quickly developing.
“what kind of social innovation do you expect companies to embrace?”
In the book I talk about three pillars of social innovation, three areas where companies can make a difference.
The first one is through new products and markets, products that create social value or positive environmental impact
or new markets that have previously been served and where you can serve a new social need
e.g. Adidas who launched a new shoe in Bangladesh and in India that would sell for only 1$ – Their main goal was not pure profit, the main goal was a social goal: make people look after their feet by having an affordable shoe that would keep them clean and healthy.
The second pillar of social innovation for companies is to do things to reduce your footprint.
This can be achieved in a number of ways from reducing carbon footprint, to reducing waste, to increasing the use or development of clean energy or sustainable transport.
The third pillar is that of social wellbeing.
Improving the social wellbeing of employees but also of the people in the communities that surround your company.
It could be, for example, the creation of gyms, of stress management programs, of childcare centres.
In the publication I also give specific examples that include funding work of non-profits in your community, help libraries and educations projects etc.
“what is our role, as change makers, to make social innovation happen?”
If you work within an organization you can be a source of innovation yourself by being on the lookout for sources of social innovation.
Social innovation is unlike other forms of innovation. You discover them rather than inventing them.
I’ll give you an example, if you are doing a scientific or medical innovation, you work in a lab and create a molecule. You then develop it from there into a commercial product. But the process of social innovation consist in first identifying the social innovation wherever it emerges- which can be in a village, in a non-profit or in your own company. Then the challenge is to find ways to scale up that initial spark of innovation.
It really boils down to a mindset: becoming aware of the needs of society and then better match the activities at work with the needs of the community that surrounds you and that you can affect.
“do you have personal experiences of making this social innovation happen or helping it to happen?”
I mention many in the book.
For example, in Canada I worked with a large business development bank whose role was to foster and finance small and medium sized businesses. I was asked to develop a business case to help social enterprise. Their regular clients were mainstream businesses but they saw this growing group of social enterprises as an emerging phenomena. They were looking to change their lending patterns to adapt to these new entrepreneurial models.
I also witnessed how the mainstream financial world is interested and keen to learn how to adapt to social innovation.
For example the Royal Bank of Canada, Canada’s largest financial institutions created recently a social impact fund to support social innovation.
Another example is work I did for a University in Toronto where I was asked by professors to develop a business plan to scale up a healthcare technology platform they had created. The platform provides algorithms so that physicians can put their hands on real time data that predicts clinical outcomes.- They hope to be able to predict the onset of infections 24 hours earlier in neo-natal babies.
This data could allow physicians to put in place advance treatments, thus reducing adverse health effects on neo-natal babies and at the same time reducing the costs hospitals would have had to incur if they had to treat the budding infection.
The business model developed for them included a social enterprise platform to encourage the spread of this new technology around the world to other hospitals and researchers while creating a sustainable commercial funding model.
“On a final note”
I hope this book brings useful concepts and ideas to people who want to make meaningful work happen!
You can purchase, read, gift this ebbf publication clicking here to ebbf’s Amazon webpage
Arash Aazami innovating in sustainable energy and finance BAS Nederland accepts Bitcoin as a form of payment
THE NETHERLANDS – Arash is the CEO and founder of BAS Energy, one of the first energy companies in the world to accept Bitcoin as a form of payment. Bitcoin is a new kind of currency. It’s the first decentralized electronic currency not controlled by a single organization or government. It’s an open source project, and it is used by more than 100,000 people.