Blog

How we helped NRDC complete its first GRI report

by Ryan Meinke on July 25, 2014 , No comments

GRIReportWe are happy to announce that our client, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) has just released its first sustainability report! We applaud NRDC for “walking the talk” and demonstrating the transparency that they demand from private sector companies. Among major environmental advocacy non-profits (think Sierra Club, Greenpeace, World Wildlife Fund, Environmental Defense Fund, etc.), NRDC is the first in the U.S. and one of the first worldwide to produce a comprehensive sustainability report covering their own operations.

GRI FORMAT NRDC’s report is a Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) G3.1 Level A report – and includes extensive disclosure of their environmental, social and economic impacts. GRI was identified as the best reporting framework for NRDC by a team of Columbia University Sustainability Management graduate​ students in a “Capstone” project for NRDC’s leadership, which Closed Loop Advisors helped coordinate. The graduate student team determined that GRI is the most comprehensive framework, is used across sectors, and is fast becoming the global standard for sustainability reporting.

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Companies and regional governments could take lead on carbon costs

by Kate Burrows on November 27, 2013 , No comments
Tar sands - before and after

Image source: Peter Essick, National Geographic via treehugger.com

Shell has a new policy that could lead to investing in lower carbon projects. The company announced last spring that it would be using a carbon cost of $40 per metric ton when evaluating new projects (2012 Sustainability Report).  This means that when Shell assesses the cost of a new project, it will incorporate a $40 dollar charge per ton of carbon, making plans that result in high emissions too costly for investment.

Such a practice for capital allocation, if adopted on a large scale, could help to shift investment patterns and emissions worldwide. Companies that apply this type of policy would make different decisions – potentially passing up on carbon intensive projects because the self-imposed cost renders them uneconomical.

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Top 5 Themes that Emerged from Greenbuild 2013

by Eileen Quigley on November 26, 2013 , 3 comments

GreenbuildLast week 28,000 people poured into the city of Philadelphia to learn about the latest surrounding sustainable buildings. Abundant amounts of information was shared but these are the main things I took away from Greenbuild 2013:

1. The evidence behind human caused climate change has never been clearer
In the wake of typhoon Haiyan, it’s impossible to ignore the obvious that anthropogenic climate change is happening and the effects are real. Hundreds of thousands of deaths per year are climate change related and the U.S. government is spending more money than ever on disaster recovery.

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Helping NRDC Breathe Easier by Achieving a Global First

by Eileen Quigley on November 20, 2013 , No comments
Steve Hall © Hedrich Blessing, Courtesy of Studio Gang Architects

Steve Hall © Hedrich Blessing, Courtesy of Studio Gang Architects

Do you know that new car smell? And the odors present in new construction from things like carpet and paint? Those odors result from the off-gassing of toxics. Doesn’t it seem backwards that buildings are full of them?

Facilities staff at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) know how detrimental off-gassing is to human health and did something about it in their Chicago office fit out by achieving one of the loftiest green building standards. In late October, they became the first tenant improvement project in the world to be awarded the Living Building Challenge Petal Certification. Closed Loop Advisors served as sustainability advisor to help NRDC achieve this first.

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Closed Loop Advisors is Now a Certified B Corporation!

by JD Capuano on July 11, 2013 , 2 comments

Stamp_B_Circle_Version02The entire team at Closed Loop Advisors was thrilled to become a Certified B Corporation! Becoming a B Corp was one of our objectives when planning the formation of our company, and we’re very excited to have fulfilled that objective. Find our B Impact Report on the B Corporation site.

We are proud to join the B Corp community. Certified B Corporations meet higher standards of social and environmental performance, transparency,
and accountability. B Corporations are a new kind of company which uses the power of business to solve social and environmental problems. Check out the B Corp Declaration!

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Etsy leveraged data to lead on sustainability

by JD Capuano on June 28, 2013 , No comments

etsy's DUMBO office

Our client Etsy deserves a lot more attention than it’s getting for it sustainability efforts. We want to point out a few things they’re doing that could be instructive for others.

The Closed Loop team began working with Etsy last fall to measure, diagnose and explain their ecological impact. Check out their blog post about how we were able to simplify this process for them. That first project we partnered with them on raised a few aha moments. We’re excited to still be working with them on their sustainability strategy and a host of initiatives. This relationship puts us in a position to point out some examples of their leadership.

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Energy Efficiency: Basics You Need to Know!

by Matt Codner on June 22, 2013 , No comments

Efficient Tree

Energy efficiency offers plenty of benefits, so how do you unlock them?

First, recognize that any organization can benefit from energy efficiency.  It doesn’t matter how big or small your organization is, or how much energy it consumes.  You can reduce the amount of energy wasted and cut costs, while contributing to lower demand from the grid and reduced emissions along the way.

Swapping out inefficient devices with energy-saving ones seems like a no-brainer.  Some basic due diligence will help you decide what energy conservation measures (ECMs) to adopt.

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Data Centers in the Arctic? Not for everyone. But that doesn’t mean you don’t have options.

by Larry Cheng on October 25, 2012 , No comments

Much ado is being made about the massive data centers being run by the Googles, Facebooks, and Amazons of the world. As these data centers began springing up they were touted as the medicine to cure the economic woes in America’s small towns. Jobs were being created and tax revenues generated. But recently, The New York Times has released a series of articles highlighting the extensive energy use and lack of energy efficiency existing within these data centers. The direct cause being the need to provide on-demand, anytime internet access that you or I require in this ever more connected world.

Now the debate is raging. Whether this wasteful and inefficient depiction is accurate (IT experts have been quick to refute), the argument should not keep you and your organization from taking a look at the available technologies that suit your needs. If you run or work at a small- or mid-sized business, chances are high that you don’t own massive data centers in the Pacific Northwest or even the Arctic. You won’t demand instant access to your data servers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and 52 weeks a year. Leave Facebook to worry about that for their consumers. Take a look at what your needs are and work from there.

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Redefining the Three R’s for Buildings: Reuse, Repurpose, Refurbish

by Eileen Quigley on September 20, 2012 , No comments

Credit: (Dexter Moren Associates)

Out with the new, in with the old. Rearranging this well-known adage reminds us that newer is not always better.

The common perception that buying or building new and in a “green” way will reduce ecological footprint is often backwards. Although it may seem counterintuitive, your company can avoid making substantial new purchases and still reduce environmental impact while strengthening its bottom line.

Many companies think that to be sustainable they need to make a transformation in a major way by investing in green buildings. When it comes to business’ operations, buildings are where the greatest environmental (and subsequently, financial) impact is felt. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), in 2006, buildings accounted for 72% of the electricity consumption in the United States. Energy, water and resource use in buildings might be excessive just to keep your business in motion.

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Everything I Ever Needed to Know About Sustainability, I Learned From My Great-Grandparents

by JD Capuano on August 29, 2012 , No comments

Well, my great-grandparents didn’t teach me everything I ever needed to know about sustainability, but they did teach some important guiding principles that apply beyond personal life to business as well.

These principles could help usher any organization through their sustainability decision-making process. My great-grandparents learned to live by these principles because of the circumstances of their formative years.

My Dad’s grandparents, Dominick and Louise, were born in Italy and emigrated to America. They knew hard times in both countries. They lived through WWI (my great-grandfather fought) and the Great Depression, and achieved the post-WWII American Dream of a middle-class life.

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