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Sustainability News

ASU scientists gather in D.C. to tackle phosphorus sustainability

Institute Press Releases

May 18, 2015

sustainable-phosphorous-conferenceTempe, Ariz. — Researchers from Arizona State University, along with more than 40 other scientists, engineers, technical experts and policy makers from around the world, are convening in Washington, D.C. May 18-21 to study ways to create a sustainable phosphorus (P) fertilizer system.

The use of phosphorus, a key component of fertilizers, is increasing around the world. As a result, the runoff of phosphorus from farms and cities is creating noxious algal blooms, which often lead to "dead zones" in rivers, lakes and coastal oceans.

Furthermore, the price of phosphate rock used for fertilizer production is increasing and uncertainty surrounds the long-term reliability of these rock supplies, as they are distributed from just a few countries. Many experts believe humanity's phosphorus use has already exceeded "safe boundaries" and are calling for solutions both to protect water quality and assure long-term reliable supplies of P for fertilizer.

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SD Mines, Arizona State University Pave Way for Cooperative Research

Institute Press Releases

April 23, 2015

sustainability-asu-south-dakota-miningRAPID CITY, S.D. and TEMPE, Ariz. (April 23, 2015) – The South Dakota School of Mines & Technology and Arizona State University (ASU) have entered into an agreement to promote cooperation on research and other joint projects.

A memorandum of agreement signed by the universities will encourage and promote cooperation in research, long distance learning, student success and other services particularly, though not exclusively, relating to sustainability, energy and natural resources.

“We have complementary strengths and a similar set of values,” said Michael Crow, president of Arizona State University. “It makes sense for us to collaborate more closely.”

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Online education is key driver in university sustainability strategies

ASU Sustainability News Institute Press Releases

April 6, 2015

net_positive_ict_and_online_edA new report from Arizona State University indicates that the development of online education programs can be a significant component of an institution’s sustainability strategy based on greater socio-economic impact for a smaller environmental footprint per degree.

Using ASU Online as a case study, the Walton Sustainability Solutions Initiatives’ Global Sustainability Solutions Services determined that the increased access to degrees through online education creates socio-economic benefits of as much as $545,000 or more per undergraduate degree over the lifetime of the graduate while also reducing the carbon footprint by at least 30 metric tons of carbon dioxide.

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ASU launches academy to educate young students about sustainability

Institute Press Releases

February 26, 2015

sustainability-education-academyToday’s students will become tomorrow’s leaders, and educating them about sustainability is increasingly important in light of the complex social, economic and environmental issues the world faces.

Arizona State University’s new National Sustainability Teachers’ Academy aims to bring teams of elementary, middle and high school teachers from across the nation together to establish an educational task force for sustainability.

As a program of ASU’s Rob and Melani Walton Sustainability Solutions Initiatives, the teachers’ academy will focus on solutions-based curriculum with an emphasis on urban systems. ASU sustainability scientists and scholars will help coach and lead hands-on sessions on solutions surrounding food, water, energy and climate.

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Walmart Expands Online Sustainable Shopping Offering

ASU Sustainability News Institute Press Releases

February 24, 2015

Walmart-Sustainability-ConsortiumSAN BRUNO, Calif., Feb. 24, 2015 – Walmart announced today the debut of its Sustainability Leaders shop, an online shopping portal on Walmart.com that helps customers identify and purchase products from suppliers that are leading in sustainability.

The launch of the Sustainability Leaders shop builds on the company’s ambition to provide customers more information about the products they purchase at Walmart. The new portal helps to advance Walmart’s goal to offer customers a way to choose products they can afford, and that are produced in an environmentally and socially responsible way.

The Sustainability Leaders shop is the customer-facing iteration of Walmart’s Sustainability Index, launched in 2009 in collaboration with The Sustainability Consortium (TSC), an independent, third-party organization of academic-based scientists and more than 100 member organizations that creates tools and strategies to drive more sustainable consumer products. Over the last several years, Walmart and TSC have worked with suppliers, several leading non-profit organizations and TSC to build the Sustainability Index.

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Second annual shadow conference brings sustainability leaders to ASU

ASU Sustainability News Institute Press Releases

February 17, 2015

greenbiz-forum-sustainability-ASUTEMPE, Ariz - The power of global business leaders discussing the latest trends, challenges and opportunities in sustainable business is returning to Arizona State University for GreenBiz U, a shadow conference of the 2015 GreenBiz Forum taking place in Paradise Valley, AZ, Feb. 17-19.

A part of the second annual Sustainability Solutions Festival, a program of the ASU Rob and Melani Walton Sustainability Solutions Initiatives, GreenBiz U will bring GreenBiz Forum keynote speakers to the ASU Tempe campus for three days of insights and discussions with sustainability business, education and thought leaders such as Carter Roberts (President and CEO, World Wildlife Fund), Aaron Hurst (Author of “The Purpose Economy”), Jackie Prince Roberts (Chief Sustainability Officer for the Carlyle Group), and Sheila Bonini (CEO of The Sustainability Consortium).

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Feeding the world sustainably: Can science sustain us?

Institute Press Releases

February 13, 2015

turner-AAAS-sustainabilityHow will we feed a world population that is predicted to grow to 9.6 billion people by 2050, using only the resources that are available to us today?

The answer may be what scientists call sustainable intensification. Arizona State University geographer B. L. Turner II was a discussant at a panel symposium on that topic at the 2015 annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), held in San Jose, Calif.

Sustainable intensification refers to increasing food production without reducing environmental quality, and takes into account a broad range of factors including a changing climate, changing patterns of consumption, and the need to sustain both natural resources and human livelihoods.

Turner, a distinguished sustainability scientist in ASU's Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability, is an expert in human-environment relationships, both modern-day and historical. Part of his extensive body of work includes examining how climate change affects a civilization's ability to feed its people, and conversely, how changing patterns of farmland cultivation affect climate through things like deforestation and desertification.

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White House to honor veterans as "Champions of Change" for advancing clean energy and climate security

Institute Press Releases

November 4, 2013

WASHINGTON, DC — November 4, 2013 — On Tuesday, November 5th, just days before Veterans Day, the White House will honor 12 local heroes as "Champions of Change." The event will celebrate American veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan who are doing extraordinary work to advance clean energy and increase climate resilience and preparedness in their communities.

In a Presidential Proclamation on National Energy Action Month, President Obama challenged the Nation to build a clean energy economy and increase energy security. Noting that we now import less oil than at any point in the past 20 years, the President stressed the need to keep moving forward to protect these gains and fuel growth for decades to come. Additionally, the President’s Climate Action Plan maps out a way to drive advancements in the energy sector, add thousands of jobs to strengthen the American economy, and lead efforts to address climate change globally. The President has stated that developing clean energy technology and preparing for the effects of climate change are crucial to ensuring America’s continued growth and the health of future generations.

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School of Sustainability teaches impact of climate change to International Finance Corporation members

Institute Press Releases

October 22, 2013

TEMPE, Ariz. — October 22, 2013 — Tasked with determining how best to invest global money in developing countries, the International Finance Corporation (IFC) consulted Arizona State University (ASU) for expert sustainability advice, October 15-16 at ASU.

"Our scientists and faculty bring transdisciplinary expertise, applied research and solutions to global challenges, turning knowledge into action," said ASU President Michael Crow. "We are honored to contribute that level of experience and applied science to support the exceptional work of World Bank President Jim Yong Kim and to help the IFC."

More than 40 IFC Climate Business Group members from around the world gathered in Tempe for the two-day "short course" about implications of climate change, presented by various experts from ASU’s Global Institute of Sustainability and School of Sustainability.

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Peace conference cultivates sustainable agriculture

Institute Press Releases

October 15, 2013

TEMPE, Ariz. — October 15, 2013 — The annual Empowerment for Peace through Leadership in Agribusiness and Sustainability (EmPeace LABS) conference takes place October 19-26 in Maharashtra, India to connect global farmers in a network that will further sustainable farming methods and establish peaceful communities in developing countries.

The EmPeace LABS conference is coordinated by Arizona State University (ASU), Jain Irrigation Systems, Ltd., and the Gandhi Research Foundation. Mahatma Gandhi’s peaceful perspective is a core inspiration for the conference’s curriculum.

“When people are hungry, they fight for resources,” says Marek Wosinski, conference organizer, senior sustainability scientist in ASU’s Global Institute of Sustainability, and senior lecturer in ASU’s Department of Psychology. “If you want to create stability, you need to secure food.”

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Leadership through a sustainability lens: The Walton Sustainability Solutions Initiatives to host Twitter chat

Institute Press Releases

October 2, 2013

Walton-GIOS-logo-vertJoin us for the #sustleadership chat w/ @bruno68 @WSSIatASU @triplepundit & @CSRwire on Oct 15 at 3:30pm EST! http://bit.ly/asu_csr #csr

TEMPE, Ariz. – October 1, 2013 – The Walton Sustainability Solutions Initiatives, a program within the Global Institute of Sustainability at Arizona State University, will convene a Twitter Chat on Leadership Through a Sustainability Lens. The chat will be co-hosted by professors George Basile, Senior Sustainability Scientist with the Global Institute of Sustainability and Professor of Practice at ASU’s School of Sustainability, and Bruno Sarda, Director of Global Sustainability Operations at Dell and professor and consultant for ASU.

Sustainability enables a more complete understanding of the world around us. What kind of leadership is needed not only for individuals to succeed, but for organizations, communities and societies to thrive well into the future? Traditional MBA programs have taught future leaders to externalize problems, how to account for some things and not for others, and how to maximize profit and push risk off on society. Now, in order to address sustainability and the need to make businesses and organizations thrive into the future we need a new kind of exec/Master’s model.

In partnership with TriplePundit and CSRwire, experts from the nation’s leader in sustainability education will share their perspectives and seek feedback from the sustainability community.

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Arizona State University announces new Executive Master's for Sustainability Leadership

ASU Sustainability News Institute Press Releases

August 15, 2013

TEMPE, Ariz. – August 15, 2013 – Recognizing a gap in sustainability leadership education and development, Arizona State University, the nation’s leader in sustainability education, is launching a new executive master’s program focusing on organizational leadership. This new program will equip professionals with the skills to effectively integrate sustainability throughout all facets of their organizations.

Developed by ASU’s Rob and Melani Walton Sustainability Solutions Initiatives, a program of the Global Institute of Sustainability, and housed at the School of Sustainability, the new Executive Master’s for Sustainability Leadership (EMSL) is a 13-month program designed for mid-career professionals currently employed in or near sustainability roles with its first class commencing in January 2014.

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Act on Climate PHX: Day of information, inspiration, and action

Institute Press Releases

August 2, 2013

PHOENIX, Ariz. – July 31, 2013 – Local elected officials, business owners and advocates held a press conference today to highlight the impacts of climate change – including extreme heat, drought and air and water quality – on Arizona’s environment, economy and public health.

“The issue of climate change is big and daunting, it’s true,” said State Senator Katie Hobbs.

“But working together, we can create the change necessary to protect our home. It begins with simply caring for each other. When we care for each other, as fellow human beings, caring for our planet becomes a natural progression. I urge you to act with me today to move toward a healthier and brighter future.”

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GreenBiz Group, The Sustainability Consortium, and ASU Global Institute of Sustainability partner on weeklong Sustainability Solutions Festival

Institute Press Releases

June 12, 2013

OAKLAND, Calif. and PHOENIX, Ariz. – June 12, 2013 – GreenBiz Group, The Sustainability Consortium, and the Rob and Melani Walton Sustainability Solutions Initiatives, a program of the Global Institute of Sustainability at Arizona State University, will be coming together for the Sustainability Solutions Festival, a unique and powerful partnership among three leadership institutions.

The three entities have agreed to align interests and audiences as part of the weeklong series of events to be held in Phoenix, February 15-22, 2014. The week will include the 2014 GreenBiz Forum, sustainability-focused innovation fairs, a green "Un-gala" and meetings and workshops for the board and network of The Sustainability Consortium and other events.

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Navajo Generating Station fuels discussion at ASU April 30

Institute Press Releases

April 24, 2013

TEMPE, Ariz. – April 24, 2013 – According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the largest coal-fired power plant in the west needs to improve its pollution controls.

Located near Page, Ariz., the 2,250-megawatt, 40-year-old Navajo Generating Station (NGS) provides electrical power to customers in Arizona, California and Nevada and for pumping Colorado River water for the Central Arizona Project, which delivers water to central and southern Arizona. It is also Arizona’s “largest single source of climate-disrupting pollution,” according to a report published by the Sierra Club.

The EPA gave an extended deadline of 2023 for installation of emissions reduction equipment, with a goal of reducing the visibility impact of the NGS required by Congress under the Clean Air Act and to protect public health. The EPA’s proposed emission limits would reduce emissions by 84 percent, or 28,500 tons per year.

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ASU appoints leading documentary filmmaker, sustainability expert as Professor of Practice

Institute Press Releases

April 18, 2013

peter byck-RTTEMPE, Ariz. – April 18, 2013 – Arizona State University has appointed documentary filmmaker Peter Byck to jointly serve as Professor of Practice for the Global Institute of Sustainability’s School of Sustainability and for the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communications.

Byck focuses on issues of environmental sustainability and he has more than 20 years’ experience as a writer and producer. His most recent documentary, the widely acclaimed Carbon Nation™, is a “climate change solutions movie (that doesn’t even care if you believe in climate change).” The film was recently featured during an interview with Byck on HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher” show. Byck’s new installments in the “Carbon Nation 2.0” film series will be co-branded with ASU.

Byck will teach a short film documentary course to educate and provide hands-on experience to students on communicating contemporary principles, ideas, concepts, and issues of sustainability; documentary film-making and marketing; and storytelling on sustainability-related topics. The course will be offered in the fall semester of 2013.

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Secure Food and Water Supply Depend on Phosphorus

Institute Press Releases

April 18, 2013

TEMPE, Ariz. — April 18, 2013 — The Phosphorus Sustainability Research Coordination Network (RCN) kicks off its first meeting in Washington, D.C. May 14-16 to address ongoing challenges in producing a sustainable global phosphorus system.

This is the first of five annual meetings of the Phosphorus Sustainability RCN designed to connect scientists and stakeholders across the world to find sustainable solutions that provide a secure food supply, protect fisheries, and maintain clean drinking water.

James Elser, a sustainability scientist at ASU’s Global Institute of Sustainability, serves as principal investigator of the RCN. Elser is also a Regents’ professor at ASU’s School of Life Sciences, with more than twenty years’ experience in phosphorus research.

“Phosphorus is a naturally occurring element essential for all life, including crops,” explains Elser. “The availability of cheap phosphate rock used to make fertilizers is increasingly uncertain. Meanwhile, phosphorus runoff from farms and cities pollutes lakes, rivers, and coastal oceans, causing harmful algal blooms that impair drinking water and kill fish and shellfish. Neither of these situations is desirable, but it would seem that by solving one, we might solve the other. For long-term sustainability, we need to make fertilizer by efficiently recycling phosphorus from the food system instead of mining increasingly scarce rocks. This will also keep our lakes and oceans clean.”

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ASU features science historian and author Naomi Oreskes

Institute Press Releases

April 16, 2013

OreskesTEMPE, Ariz. – April 16, 2013 – American historian of science and author Naomi Oreskes visits Arizona State University on Monday, April 22 as a Wrigley Lecture Series speaker, hosted by ASU’s Global Institute of Sustainability.

Oreskes will speak about climate change and how consensus forms around scientific issues. The event is free and open to the public, held at ASU’s Tempe campus, Old Main building in the Carson Ballroom, 4:00 - 5:30 p.m., followed by a reception.

Please RSVP at: http://sustainability.asu.edu/events/rsvp/naomi-oreskes

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Gary Dirks, director of Arizona State University’s LightWorks and former president of BP China, appointed director of ASU’s Global Institute of Sustainability

Institute Press Releases

March 14, 2013

Gary-Dirks-12-cropped2TEMPE, Ariz. – March 14, 2013 – Gary Dirks, director of Arizona State University’s LightWorks Initiative and former president of BP China and BP Pacific-Asia, has been appointed director of ASU’s Global Institute of Sustainability (GIOS), with the goal of expanding the global impact of ASU.

“GIOS’s charter is to advance research, education, business practices and global partnerships that aid in the transformation of today’s world into a more sustainable endeavor,” said ASU President Michael Crow. “With the appointment of Gary Dirks as director of GIOS, we look to increase the global impact of our work and surge ahead as a leader in sustainability.”

Dirks was chosen for this role to help GIOS solve global sustainability challenges. Dirks is a distinguished sustainability scientist, Julie Ann Wrigley Chair of Sustainable Practices, and teaching faculty member in the School of Sustainability at ASU.

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U.S. EPA honors Arizona State University’s Sustainable Cities Network

Institute Press Releases

March 4, 2013

SCN-EPA-Award-20130304-029-RT croppedSAN FRANCISCO, Calif. – March 4, 2013 – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Regional Administrator Jared Blumenfeld today recognized Arizona State University’s Sustainable Cities Network in a short ceremony.  The Pacific Southwest Region’s 2012 Green Government Award was presented to Anne Reichman, program manager for the Sustainable Cities Network at ASU’s Global Institute of Sustainability. 

“EPA applauds the Sustainable Cities Network and its work to bridge the gap between ASU’s sustainability research and the front-line communities facing sustainability challenges,” Blumenfeld said.  “The dialogue and actions fostered by the Network are crucial to the development of green and sustainable future for Arizona.”

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