ASU Wrigley Institute News

Corporate Sustainability: The Challenge of Achieving More with Less

Thought Leader Series

June 27, 2012

A Thought Leader Series Piece

By Kasper Rorsted

Note: ASU and Henkel have a long relationship on issues of sustainability, beginning with ASU’s collaboration with the Dial Corporation, now a Henkel company. More recently, Rob Melnick, executive dean of the Global Institute of Sustainability and the School of Sustainability, was an advisor to Henkel in the development of the company’s current sustainability strategy.

The Earth’s resources are finite – the faster we expand, the faster we use them up. This idea was central to the prescient 1972 study, “Limits to Growth,” commissioned by the Club of Rome.

Forty years later, it is now obvious that human consumption is exceeding these limits. Our population of more than seven billion people devours many resources more quickly than they can be renewed.

What will happen in another 40 years when the world’s population expands to a predicted nine billion people? Consumption and resource demand could grow faster than ever before. Will the people on this planet willingly forego a higher quality of life and the level of consumption that goes with it? Not likely.

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Sustainability alum named to Phoenix '40 Under 40'

June 26, 2012

Colin Tetreault is not one to sit around and wait for something to do. He’s the senior policy adviser for sustainability at the Phoenix Mayor’s office. He’s a faculty associate with ASU’s School of Sustainability. He’s the inaugural president of the school’s alumni chapter, having earned his master’s here in 2010. He is secretary of the board for the Greater Phoenix Green Chamber of Commerce and a director of the Valley Forward Association.

Perhaps more telling of his bustling nature, Tetreault managed in one weekend to squeeze in his wedding rehearsal, a presentation atTEDxPhoenix, his rehearsal dinner, his wedding, and an Ironman Triathlon.

It’s fitting that the dynamic Tetreault, dressed in suit and green tie, graced the cover of the Phoenix Business Journal’s special 40 Under 40 superhero section.

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UN names ASU sustainability dean a ‘Champion of the Earth’

June 4, 2012

sander_van_der_leeuwSander van der Leeuw, the dean of the School of Sustainability at Arizona State University, is among the six winners of the 2012 United Nations Champions of the Earth award. Professor van der Leeuw, an archaeologist and historian by training, was recognized in the science and innovation category for his research in human-environmental relations and the scientific study of innovation as a societal process. He is one of 51 champion laureates who have received the UN award since it was launched in 2005.

The Champion of the Earth honor is the UN flagship environment award that recognizes outstanding visionaries and leaders for their inspiration and action on the environment. A feature on the ASU News website includes a video and a photo slideshow.

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Practicing Sustainability: From Measurement to Progress

Thought Leader Series

May 30, 2012

A Thought Leader Series Piece

By Ralf Wilde

Note: ASU and TÜV Rheinland in 2009 established a commercial joint venture in Tempe, Arizona – the TÜV Rheinland Photovoltaic Testing Laboratory. It is currently the world’s leading provider for PV technology testing.

Our modern definitions of sustainable development have come a long way from the earliest 18th century German paper about sustainable forestry. Over the last 25 years, however, the concept of sustainability has been stretched considerably to encompass a growing number of issues, ideas, and processes.

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Crow, faculty present ideas at American Innovation for Sustainability forum

May 2, 2012

Dan O'Neill, a lecturer and program chair at ASU's College of Technology and Innovation, moderated a panel on the nitty-gritty of sustainability during the recent American Innovation for Sustainability forum in Washington, D.C.

Research universities – and notably their students – were singled out by administrators from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and the Environmental Protection Agency during an American Innovation for Sustainability forum that took place recently in the nation’s capital. Among the speakers at the forum were faculty members from Arizona State University, including ASU President Michael M. Crow.

“Students can increase the ability of research universities to organize research, coursework and experiential learning around the great challenges of the 21st century,” said Tom Kalil, deputy director for policy for the White House OSTP.

“This is important because universities conduct $55 billion in research every year,” Kalil said. “They have strong ties to government, industry and philanthropists. They have expertise that spans science, engineering, social and behavioral sciences, the humanities, business, policy and law. So if more of this intellectual horsepower can be focused on important problems at home and abroad, I think this would be a good thing.”

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Sustainable Army: Creating a Net Zero Bootprint

Thought Leader Series

May 1, 2012

A Thought Leader Series Piece

By Richard Kidd

Note: ASU was selected by the Army National Guard to partner in the development and delivery of an online Graduate Certificate in Sustainability Leadership designed exclusively for Soldiers and Army-related civilians. Classes are offered through the School of Sustainability.

Imagine the U.S. Army called to war with no fuel, no supplies, and no training.

You can’t. To safeguard against such a scenario, the Army embraces sustainability as a foundation of its global mission, operations, and strategic management. As a matter of preparedness, sustainability is integrated across the Army’s four lines of operation – material, military training, personnel, and services and infrastructure.

This is not a fad, but serious business. Army leaders have been working since 2000 to embed sustainability into the Army’s culture. Through collaborations with academia, federal agencies, and other organizations, and by emphasizing the key role sustainability plays in enabling operations at home and overseas, the Army has shifted its behavior. A strong culture of sustainability now ensures that the Army of tomorrow has the same access to energy, water, land, and other natural resources as it does today.

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High school students show off research experience, win big

April 23, 2012

Since 1998, local high school students have had the opportunity for advanced study in cutting-edge research labs with talented mentors from ASU. This opportunity is possible through the Southwest Center for Education and the Natural Environment (SCENE), an organization within ASU’s Global Institute of Sustainability that links science expertise and resources at Arizona State University with the community at large, and with schoolchildren and their teachers.

This year, all eleven high school student participants in the SCENE research program won at least one award at the Arizona Science and Engineering Fair.

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President's Awards honor leading sustainability programs

April 23, 2012

In recognition of ASU employees’ efforts and achievement, ASU President Michael Crow presented select employees with President’s Awards at a reception April 18. Among the awards were the President’s Award for Innovation, the President’s Award for Sustainability, the President’s Medal for Social Embeddedness, and Top Multiple SUN Awards for Individual Excellence – all part of the 2011-2012 Employee Recognition Program.

The President’s Award for Sustainability recognizes ASU teams that have demonstrated excellence in fostering the successful development, implementation, and promotion of sustainability principles, solutions, programs, and services in the teaching, learning, research and business missions of the University. The 2012 winners of this award were Farmers Market @ the ASU Tempe campus and the Sustainable Cities Network.

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The Sustainability Consortium’s tools used by product buyers

Institute Press Releases

April 20, 2012

Walmart integrates TSC’s Knowledge Products to guide supply chain engagement

TSC_logo_cmykTEMPE, Ariz,- April 20, 2012 – During its annual Global Sustainability Milestone Meeting on April 18th, Walmart announced that it is integrating the knowledge products produced by The Sustainability Consortium (TSC) into the retailer’s Sustainability Index and Live Better Scorecard. Walmart will use these tools to help its merchants evaluate suppliers and their products and collaborate to make the products on Walmart shelves more sustainable.

Walmart representatives expressed that they are particularly excited about integrating TSC’s Category Sustainability Profiles (CSPs) and corresponding Key Performance Indicators into their Sustainability Index this year. Both Walmart and Sam’s Club will be using these tools as a basis for ranking suppliers in a particular category according to their sustainability progress and to inform buyers about actionable opportunities for improvement.

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ASU, EPA partner to engage students in green careers

April 18, 2012

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Arizona State University signed a Memorandum of Understanding designed to increase their outreach to diverse and underserved communities by offering internships, joint projects, and scientific research opportunities to ASU students and faculty.

“EPA will benefit from the tremendous pool of talent, energy and commitment offered by Arizona State students,” said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA’s regional administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “This collaboration will enhance participation in environmental studies by students from every corner of the state.”

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Ostrom among 100 most influential people of 2012

April 18, 2012

Along with Barack Obama and Stephen Colbert, ASU’s own Elinor Ostrom was named among TIME Magazine’s 100 most influential people of 2012.

Ostrom, a research professor and distinguished sustainability scientist at ASU and the founding director of ASU’s Center for the Study of Institutional Diversity, was the first woman to receive the Nobel Prize in Economics for her analysis of economic governance.

“Ostrom’s work sheds light on the direction society must follow to avoid misuse of shared resources, ‘the tragedy of the commons,'” writes TIME writer Robert Johnson.

Read the TIME profile »
See our interview with Ostrom »

ASU sustainability experts weigh in on 'Net Zero' energy concept

April 10, 2012

InBusiness magazine writer Sue Kern-Fleischer noted that the “Net Zero” energy concept is getting “a lot of buzz lately.” She spoke with Arizona State University’s Mick Dalrymple and Harvey Bryan for a story in the April issue of the magazine, which is a collaboration of business organizations and entities in the metropolitan Phoenix area.

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Mission critical: Species explorers propose steps to map biosphere

April 2, 2012

Scientists say worldwide collections, existing experts and technology make charting 10 million species in less than 50 years achievable; a necessary step to sustain planet’s biodiversity

systematicsbiodiversity_march2012_coverTEMPE, Ariz. – An ambitious goal to describe 10 million species in less than 50 years is achievable and necessary to sustain Earth’s biodiversity, according to an international group of 39 scientists, scholars and engineers who provided a detailed plan, including measures to build public support, in the March 30 issue of the journal Systematics and Biodiversity.

“Earth’s biosphere has proven to be a vast frontier that, even after centuries of exploration, remains largely uncharted,” wrote the authors, who include biodiversity crusaders Edward O. Wilson and Peter H. Raven.

“Exploring the biosphere is much like exploring the universe,” the authors argued. “The more we learn, the more complex and surprising the biosphere and its story turn out to be.”

By most estimates, about 2 million of Earth’s species are known, with about 18,000 new plants and animals discovered each year. Experts estimate at least 10 million species on Earth are yet to be discovered or accurately classified. These species are tiny, large, buried, hidden in collections, or in plain sight.

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ASU to use $27.5M Walton investment to accelerate sustainability efforts

March 29, 2012

Investment to ASU’s Global Institute of Sustainability will educate future leaders

WaltonsandCrow[1]The Rob and Melani Walton Fund of the Walton Family Foundation is providing $27.5 million to Arizona State University’s Global Institute of Sustainability (GIOS) to develop and deploy promising solutions to sustainability challenges including energy, water, environment, climate, urbanization, social transformation and decision-making in local, national and global contexts and to educate future leaders in sustainability. The investment to ASU is designated entirely for program support.

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Sustainability Waits: Doomsday Clock Ticks Forward

Thought Leader Series

March 29, 2012

A Thought Leader Series Piece

By Lawrence M. Krauss

Shortly after the end of World War II, Albert Einstein uttered his now famous warning about the new global danger of nuclear weapons: “Everything has changed, save the way we think.”

In the intervening sixty-odd years, the world has continued to change and become even more dangerous. And still, there is no great evidence that our way of thinking about global catastrophes has evolved to meet the challenges.

I am currently honored to be co-chair of the Board of Sponsors of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists – a body created by Albert Einstein and Robert Oppenheimer in 1946 to help warn the public about the dangers of nuclear war.

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Sabo to direct research development for GIOS

Institute Press Releases

March 27, 2012

John-Sabo2John Sabo, an expert in ecohydrology and water resource management, has been named director of research development for the Global Institute of Sustainability, a transdisciplinary unit in the Office of Knowledge Enterprise Development. OKED is responsible for advancing research, entrepreneurship, innovation and economic development at Arizona State University.

Sabo is also a senior sustainability scientist in GIOS and an associate professor in the School of Life SciencesCollege of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

“Dr. Sabo has a collaborative and entrepreneurial approach. I’m confident his leadership will greatly benefit sustainability-related research and researchers across ASU,” said Rob Melnick, executive dean with GIOS and the School of Sustainability.

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ASU researchers, Nobel laureate have stake in ‘Planet under Pressure’ forum

Institute Press Releases

March 22, 2012

The future of the oceans, poverty alleviation, global trade, biodiversity and food security are among research areas that will be at the core of the “Planet under Pressure” (PUP) conference this month with more than 2,500 participants, including several scientists from Arizona State University’s Global Institute of Sustainability.

“The agenda for worldwide sustainability science will be set at this conference,” stressed Sander van der Leeuw, dean of ASU’s School of Sustainability and a PUP conference participant. “The whole of the research agenda for sustainability science for the next several years will be recast and the funding reorganized to take account of the discussions at this conference,” he said.

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What’s the Big Deal About “Resilience”?

March 19, 2012

sanderFrom, this interview with Torie Bosch features Sustainability Scientist Sander van der Leeuw, dean of the School of Sustainability. Van der Leeuw will be a panelist at this weekend’s Future Tense event, Defining Resilience, where academics, policymakers, and other experts will discuss resilience in the environment, business, national security, even the Constitution. Bosch spoke to van der Leeuw about resilience in the Roman Empire, prehistoric Australia, modern ecology, and more.

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Fundamental steps needed now in global redesign of Earth system governance

Institute Press Releases

March 16, 2012

32 leading experts from around the world argue for immediate ambitious reforms

TEMPE, Ariz. – Some 32 social scientists and researchers from around the world, including a Senior Sustainability Scholar at Arizona State University, have concluded that fundamental reforms of global environmental governance are needed to avoid dangerous changes in the Earth system. The scientists argued in the March 16 edition of the journal Science that the time is now for a “constitutional moment” in world politics.

Research now indicates that the world is nearing critical tipping points in the Earth system, including on climate and biodiversity, which if not addressed through a new framework of governance could lead to rapid and irreversible change.

“Science assessments indicate that human activities are moving several of Earth’s sub-systems outside the range of natural variability typical for the previous 500,000 years,” wrote the authors in the opening of “Navigating the Anthropocene: Improving Earth System Governance.”

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Higher ed presidents say teaching sustainability is good business

March 9, 2012

Achieving carbon neutrality on American college and university campuses is not a matter for science alone. It has to be taught. And, in dealing with budget reductions coupled with enrollment growth, college and university presidents have learned that sustainability is also a good business model.

“We’ve all faced one big dilemma in the past few years,” said David Schmidly, president of the University of New Mexico, noting that UNM experienced budget cuts of about 20-22 percent, while at the same time enrollment increases of 15 percent.

“What we found is sustainability can be useful for teaching not only a paradigm to be a better citizen; we have found that sustainability is good business. It’s a good way to contain cost and save money,” he said, adding that UNM’s energy conservation program saved more than $8 million over just a few years.

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