Tag Archives: Second Nature

NU to offer more transparency about investments amid calls to divest from fossil fuels

By Chris Dunker, Lincoln Journal Star

Students across the University of Nebraska system have called on administrators to fully divest from fossil fuel companies, part of a nationwide movement in higher education. Ted Carter, NU’s system president, said achieving that goal would be difficult in a short time frame.

There’s no way to flip a switch and immediately divest, he said, as investments are often intertwined across various funds in complicated ways. But Carter, who is wrapping up his first year at Nebraska, said the university will begin looking for opportunities to do so, citing the passion students have demonstrated for the issue. Read more here.

Referenced in the article: Carbon Underground 200

Additional Resources

As You Sow
Our mission is to promote environmental and social corporate responsibility through shareholder advocacy, coalition building, and innovative legal strategies. Our vision is a safe, just, and sustainable world in which protecting the environment and human rights is central to corporate decision making. Corporations are responsible for most of the pressing social and environmental problems we face today — we believe corporations must be a willing part of the solutions. We make that happen.
Resources Include: 

As You Sow has seven Invest Your Values online tools, including Fossil Free Funds, which provide a searchable database for each value.
Resources on Climate Change

Billion Dollar Green Challenge
The Billion Dollar Green Challenge (The Challenge) encourages colleges, universities, and other nonprofit institutions to invest a combined total of one billion dollars in self-managed revolving funds that finance energy efficiency improvements. Participating institutions will achieve reductions in operating expenses and greenhouse gas emissions, while creating regenerating funds for future projects. In 2011, The Sustainable Endowments Institute launched The Challenge in collaboration with 16 partner organizations to help nonprofit institutions achieve sizable energy savings through the use of green revolving funds. Green Revolving Funds: A Guide to Implementation & Management

CDP
Formerly the Carbon Disclosure Project, CDP is a not-for-profit charity that runs the global disclosure system for investors, companies, cities, states and regions. We believe that improving corporate awareness through measurement and disclosure is essential to the effective management of carbon and climate change risk. We request information on climate risks and low carbon opportunities from the world’s largest companies on behalf of over 515 institutional investor signatories with a combined $106 trillion in assets.

Ceres
Ceres is a sustainability nonprofit organization working with the most influential investors and companies to build leadership and drive solutions throughout the economy. Through powerful networks and advocacy, Ceres tackles the world’s biggest sustainability challenges, including climate change, water scarcity and pollution, and inequitable workplaces. Our mission: Ceres is transforming the economy to build a sustainable future for people and the planet.
Initiatives include: Commit to Climate, We Are Still In, Climate Action 100+ and Clean Trillion

Proxy Preview
Proxy Preview is a collaboration between three organizations: As You Sow, Sustainable Investment Institute, and Proxy Impact. The annual Proxy Preview report is the #1 resource for shareholders looking to align their values and corporate engagement. Proxy Preview is the most comprehensive data on hundreds of shareholder resolutions – including environmental, corporate political spending, human rights, diversity, and sustainable governance issues. Shareholder resolutions are a key form of engagement for U.S. investors interested in changing the environmental and social impacts of companies. Register for a free account to view the 2020 Proxy Preview report and watch a webinar at the above website link.
Shareholder Resources
Proxy Voting 101

Second Nature
Since 1993, Second Nature has worked with over 4,000 faculty and administrators at hundreds of colleges and universities to help make the principles of sustainability fundamental to every aspect of higher education. In late 2006, twelve visionary college and university presidents initiated the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC). They were motivated by their conviction that higher education had the capacity and responsibility to lead on climate and sustainability action for the sake of their students and society.
See: The Presidents’ Climate Leadership Commitments
University Climate Change Coalition (UC3)
Resource Library

Commentary: With battery technology ready, regulatory framework must catch up

By Rafael Esteban, CEO of Acciona’s energy division in the
United States and Canada, Energy News Network

The energy sector sits on the cusp of a truly transformative change: Utility-scale ready battery storage technology has arrived. As is with the case with many disruptive technologies, before reaping the benefits of energy storage — which are many — we need modernization of the regulatory framework. This work is well underway. In 2018, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued Order 841, requiring regional energy agencies to adopt rules for energy storage.

According to the order, rules must allow energy storage to participate in the wholesale, retail and capacity markets. Then came FERC order 845, which asked for interconnection standards and clarity on how storage would participate in capacity markets. Across the nation, regional transmission organizations and independent system operators are developing plans to come into compliance with this order. Interestingly, the pitched battles at FERC around policies for fossil fuels and renewable energy have been absent from discussions about storage. Read more here.

Previously Posted 

  • ACCIONA acquires 3,000 MW in photovoltaic projects being developed in the USA, Acciona News Release, October 21, 2019. ACCIONA today announced the signature of an agreement with the [Nebraska-based] company Tenaska to acquire a portfolio of photovoltaic projects in seven states across the country.
  • ACCIONA buys solar + storage on a national scale, PV Magazine
    The Spanish company has purchased 3 GW of solar projects and 1 GW of solar + storage from developer Tenaska, with all of the projects concentrated in non-traditional solar markets.
  • The Midwest’s solar future will be unlike anything seen before, PV Magazine
    Fitch Solutions Marco Research has boldly predicted the region will be a main driver towards the 100 GW of solar power capacity expected to hit the U.S. over the next 10 years. The procurement will be led by city and utility commitments to renewable energy, the falling costs of solar and the continued expansion of popular community solar programs.

Acciona & Tenaska Job Opportunities

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

GREEN CAMPUSES

These Pa. colleges are going all in on renewable energy — with a little help from a Texas solar farm, The Philadelphia Inquirer

Four Pennsylvania schools have teamed up to support a Texas solar farm that will supply them with “virtual” renewable energy, joining a trend among institutions of higher education to address climate change. Lehigh University, Lafayette College, Muhlenberg College and Dickinson College announced the partnership Monday to collectively purchase solar power. They signed a virtual power-purchase agreement to support production from a 45.9-megawatt share of a new 200-acre solar farm that will be built at an undisclosed location [in] Texas. The schools announced the agreement at Second Nature’s 2020 Higher Education Climate Leadership Summit in Atlanta.

NEW INITIATIVE ADDRESSES CLIMATE CHANGE

Inside Bill Weihl’s quest to give employees and job seekers a ‘ClimateVoice’, by Joel Makower, Chairman & Executive Editor, GreenBiz Group

ClimateVoice, launched this weekend at the ClimateCAP conference in Charlottesville, Virginia, is the brainchild of Bill Weihl, who led Facebook’s sustainability team until leaving the company in 2018. Prior to that, he served as Google’s “energy czar” during the early days of that company’s ambitious clean-energy push. Weihl’s new initiative is aimed at activating college students and rank-and-file employees to persuade their current or would-be employers to take a public stand on federal, state and local initiatives that address the climate crisis.

NEW ENVIRONMENT AMERICA REPORT

New report provides roadmap to achieve carbon-free transportation, Environment America News Release

A new report from Environment America Research & Policy Center and Frontier Group describes how we can build a zero-carbon transportation future – all while cleaning our air and creating safer, healthier communities. Entitled Destination: Zero Carbon: Three strategies to transform transportation in America, the report looks at the factors underlying high transportation emissions, and proposes new policy solutions. Americans drive more than 10,000 miles a year on average, often in inefficient gas-burning vehicles. Poor public transit and unsafe conditions for walking or biking leave many Americans with few good low-carbon transportation options.

EV NEWS

Inside Clean Energy: Tesla Gets Ever So Close to 400 Miles of Range, Inside Climate News
The increased range is a step toward bringing EVs—and their contribution to combating climate change—into the mainstream.

Iowa Farmers Union takes aim at climate change

By Perry Beeman, Times-Republican

The Iowa Farmers Union has launched a farm by farm attack on climate change, hoping to persuade its members to plant crops that can help sweep heat-trapping carbon from the air. IFU President Aaron Heley Lehman said the federal government’s failure to set up a system that would allow farmers to sell pollution-fighting credits to large companies and others that emit greenhouse gases have forced the group to turn to its independent farmer-members to see if they can fight the problem at home. “Farmer policy has been to recognize climate change and to look for farmer solutions,” Lehman said. Read more here.

NATURAL CLIMATE SOLUTIONS

Trend: Companies warm to nature-based solutions, by Joel Makower, Chairman & Executive Director, GreenBiz Group. A study led by Ohio State University found that in 75 percent of the countries assessed, it was cheaper to use plants to mitigate air pollution than using technological inventions such as smokestack scrubbers.

ENERGY STORAGE

HOME ENERGY STORAGE 

Creating Energy Independence With Solar Panels And Storage Battery Systems In The Home, contributed Forbes article by Sheri Koones, real estate expert and author of Downsize: Living Large in a Small House and six other books.

GREEN HYDROGEN

SOLAR SCHOOLS

New WI Program Aims to Boost Solar Power in Schools, WXPR
The Midwest Renewable Energy Association has announced a plan to provide grants of $20,000 each to up to 100 schools to install a solar [system] on their campus. Amanda Schienebeck, the association’s solar-program coordinator, said they hope to join the small but growing wave of states embracing this type of energy for academic structures.

ENVIRONMENT AMERICA 

Statement: Vanderbilt University announces first step in transitioning its campus to 100 percent renewable energy, Environment America News Release

Renewable Energy 101: Tools to Move Your Campus to 100% Clean Energy

ALSO OF POTENTIAL INTEREST

Bloomberg Green: Warren Buffett Is One of the World’s Richest Fossil-Fuel Billionaires

By Tom Metcalf, Bloomberg

The 10 largest fortunes with links to greenhouse gas emissions are valued at $537 billion. But while some on the list are digging in—the Koch family, for example, continues to fund politicians who resist climate change action—there are plenty of signs that the status quo is shifting, thanks in part to many of those on this very list. Volkswagen is targeting becoming carbon emission free by 2050, with planned investments and development costs in areas such as hybridization, electric cars and digitization expected to total roughly 60 billion euros between 2020 and 2024. Oil giant Lukoil saw the total amount of electricity it generated from renewable sources in 2018 increase by 30% compared to 2017, while its total investments in renewable sources in 2018 increased five-fold compared to a year earlier.  Sustainability is a strategic priority for Fiat Chrysler, which expects to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 25-30% between 2018 and 2024 across its four major regions. Buffett’s impact, too, is shifting. Read more here.

Photo Credit: Flickr / William Alden

Additional Recommended Reading

The nonprofit, CDP, is also referenced in the Bloomberg article. Read more about it and other organizations that provide climate action resources for individuals, groups and corporations, below:   

As You Sow
Our mission is to promote environmental and social corporate responsibility through shareholder advocacy, coalition building, and innovative legal strategies. Our vision is a safe, just, and sustainable world in which protecting the environment and human rights is central to corporate decision making. Corporations are responsible for most of the pressing social and environmental problems we face today — we believe corporations must be a willing part of the solutions. We make that happen.
Resources Include: 

As You Sow has six Invest Your Values online tools, including Fossil Free Funds, which provide a searchable database for each value.
Resources on Climate Change

Billion Dollar Green Challenge
The Billion Dollar Green Challenge (The Challenge) encourages colleges, universities, and other nonprofit institutions to invest a combined total of one billion dollars in self-managed revolving funds that finance energy efficiency improvements. Participating institutions will achieve reductions in operating expenses and greenhouse gas emissions, while creating regenerating funds for future projects. In 2011, The Sustainable Endowments Institute launched The Challenge in collaboration with 16 partner organizations to help nonprofit institutions achieve sizable energy savings through the use of green revolving funds. Green Revolving Funds: A Guide to Implementation & Management

CDP
Formerly the Carbon Disclosure Project, CDP is a not-for-profit charity that runs the global disclosure system for investors, companies, cities, states and regions. We believe that improving corporate awareness through measurement and disclosure is essential to the effective management of carbon and climate change risk. We request information on climate risks and low carbon opportunities from the world’s largest companies on behalf of over 525 institutional investor signatories with a combined US$96 trillion in assets. 

Ceres
Ceres is a sustainability nonprofit organization working with the most influential investors and companies to build leadership and drive solutions throughout the economy. Through powerful networks and advocacy, Ceres tackles the world’s biggest sustainability challenges, including climate change, water scarcity and pollution, and inequitable workplaces. Our mission: Ceres is transforming the economy to build a sustainable future for people and the planet.
Initiatives include: Commit to Climate, We Are Still In, Climate Action 100+ and Clean Trillion
Global Initiative: Ceres Investor Network on Climate Risk and Sustainability

Coalition for Green Capital 
The Coalition for Green Capital’s mission is to drive greater clean energy investment into existing and new markets, in the United States and in developing countries with the goal of creating a 100% clean energy platform. To realize this opportunity, CGC incubates local clean energy finance organizations – often called Green Banks – and structures public, private and mission-driven capital for investment through those organizations. A large network of local clean energy finance organizations can access hard-to-reach projects, expand clean energy equity, and provide a scalable model for a thriving network for clean energy investment.

Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility
Currently celebrating our 49th year, the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility pioneered the use of shareholder advocacy to press companies on environmental, social, and governance issues. Our coalition of over 300 global institutional investors currently represents more than $500 billion in managed assets. Leveraging their equity ownership in some of the world’s largest and most powerful companies, ICCR members regularly engage management to identify and mitigate social and environmental risks resulting from corporate operations and policies. While ICCR members never shy away from making the moral case for action, our fundamental proposition as investors is that responsible and sustainable business practices – and a strong corporate culture of ethics – are in the long-term interest of both companies and investors.
Resources include: 
ESG Investing & Financial Performance Reports

Proxy Preview
The annual Proxy Preview report is the #1 resource for shareholders looking to align their values with their investments. Proxy Preview is a collaboration between three organizations: As You Sow, Sustainable Investment Institute, and Proxy Impact. Proxy Preview provides the most comprehensive data on hundreds of shareholder resolutions – including environmental, corporate political spending, human rights, diversity, sustainable governance issues, and much more. Shareholder resolutions are a key form of engagement for U.S. investors interested in changing the environmental and social impacts of companies. Register for a free account to view the 2019 Proxy Preview report and watch a webinar at the website link above.
Shareholder Resources
Proxy Voting 101

Responsible Endowments Coalition
The Responsible Endowments Coalition works to build and unify the college and university-based responsible investment movement, both by educating and empowering a diverse network of individuals to act on their campuses, and by fostering a national network for collective action. We empower people to defend human rights and the environment while making both corporations and universities accountable to global stakeholders. Our goal is to foster social and environmental change by making responsible investment common practice amongst colleges and universities, and to support the next generation of activists for the endowment movement. Resources are available for: Students / Alumni / Committees, Administrators and Trustees. 

Second Nature
Since 1993, Second Nature has worked with over 4,000 faculty and administrators at hundreds of colleges and universities to help make the principles of sustainability fundamental to every aspect of higher education. In late 2006, twelve visionary college and university presidents initiated the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC). They were motivated by their conviction that higher education had the capacity and responsibility to lead on climate and sustainability action for the sake of their students and society.
See: The Presidents’ Climate Leadership Commitments
Additional Initiatives Include:
Carbon Offset Resources for Colleges and Universities
University Climate Change Coalition (UC3)
Resource Library

Sustainable Endowments Institute
The Sustainable Endowments Institute (SEI) conducts research, education, and outreach to advance resilient institutional responses to climate change. Initiatives Include:

  • The Billion Dollar Green Challenge (See above).
  • GRITS, an online platform designed to streamline the tracking and calculation of project-level energy, financial, and carbon savings data for all sustainability projects and efficiency improvements.
  • The Fossil Fuel Divestment Campaign: Since June of 2011, SEI has acted as a campus and endowment consultant for the Fossil Fuel Divestment Campaign, working with student groups and partner organizations to advocate for colleges and universities to divest their endowment funds from fossil fuel companies. For more information on the campaign, visit: Power Shift Network and GoFossilFree.org.

Additional Resources

Morgan Stanley Institute For Sustainable Investing’s Study & Survey

Billion Dollar Green Challenge

The Billion Dollar Green Challenge initiative advocates for the efficacy of green revolving funds (GRFs), and works to increase the number and size of self-managed green revolving funds at nonprofit institutions across the United States.

The Challenge provides support for new and established  green revolving funds at colleges and universities. A GRF is a financing mechanism targeted to campus climate action projects that lower emissions, increase capacity for future projects, and reduce operating costs.

The Billion Dollar Green Challenge was founded by the Sustainable Endowments Institute in 2011. Second Nature oversees and manages US colleges and universities within the initiative. Learn more.

Resources

Case Studies

Participate

US Higher Education institutions can get more information or choose to participate in the Billion Dollar Green Challenge by emailing rwoodside@secondnature.org