To Restore Biodiversity, Embrace Biotech’s ‘Intended Consequences’

It’s a new conservation framework that emphasizes innovation and boldness

— Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

#medicalbiotech, #sustainability

0

Hurricane Damage Would Be Less with Stronger Building Codes

Florida’s codes rank high but Texas, Mississippi and Alabama’s are low

— Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

#natural-disasters, #policyethics, #sustainability

0

On the Louisiana Coast, an Indigenous Community Loses Homes to Erosion

For the Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaw, climate change has forced a permanent retreat inland

— Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

#climate, #sustainability

0

Giant Ice Shelf Crumbling Faster than Expected

Antarctica’s enormous Pine Island Glacier could follow right behind it, raising global sea level significantly

— Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

#climate, #earth, #sustainability

0

Saving New York City’s Last Wildernesses

Added up, the natural areas in the five boroughs equal more than a dozen Central Parks

— Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

#conservation, #sustainability

0

Invasive Species Can Sometimes Help an Ecosystem

In Hawaiʻi, imported birds have taken on some of the roles once performed by those that have gone extinct—but there’s a catch

— Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

#conservation, #sustainability

0

Any Reform of Federal Oil and Gas Leasing Must Include Environmental Justice

Drilling and refining has often come at the expense of Black communities, engulfing our neighborhoods with massive amounts of toxic pollution

— Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

#policyethics, #sustainability

0

Electric Vehicle Orders Are Zooming at Ford

Consumers want the racy Mustang Mach-E coupe and the powerful F-150 Lightning pickup truck

— Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

#automotive, #sustainability

0

These Alternative Economies Are Inspirations for a Sustainable World

Making peace with the biosphere will require building communities and relationships that are focused on protecting life—human and nonhuman

— Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

#conservation, #features, #sustainability

0

Saved from Shuckers, Oysters Fight Rising Seas

New York City is building protective reefs with farmed oysters restaurants do not want

— Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

#conservation, #sustainability

0

Military Operations Will be Strained by Climate Change

U.S. adviser says “It is our duty to warn the public about this threat”

— Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

#climate, #sustainability

0

Let’s Rebuild the U.S. Jaguar Population–Yes, Jaguars

Most Americans are probably surprised that we still share a country with these magnificent big cats. But they need help to survive

— Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

#conservation, #sustainability

0

Founders must show investors that sustainability is more than lip service

Ending years of debates over environmental sustainability, the United States officially declared a climate crisis earlier this year, deeming climate considerations an “essential element” of foreign policy and national security. After recommitting the U.S. to the Paris Agreement, President Joseph R. Biden announced an aggressive new goal for reducing U.S. greenhouse gas emissions and pushed world leaders to collectively “step up” their fight against climate change.

At the same time, consumers are increasingly looking to do business with brands that align with their growing environmental values, rather than ignoring the climate consequences of their consumption. Even without regulation as a stick, consumer demand is now serving as a carrot to increase sustainability’s impact on public companies’ agendas.

Startups have already followed suit. Investors today view sustainability as an important pillar of any business model and are looking for entrepreneurs who “get it” from the beginning to build and scale next-generation companies. Startups interested in thriving cannot treat sustainability as an afterthought and should be prepared to enter the public eye with a plan for sustainable growth.

Today, companies of all sizes are being held to a higher standard by consumers, employees, potential partners and the media.

So what exactly do founders need to put in place to demonstrate that they’re on the right track when it comes to sustainability? Here are five attributes that investors are looking for.

1. A truly customer-centric feedback loop

It’s fairly easy for any company to claim that it understands customers’ wants and needs, but it’s challenging to have the tech stack in place to prove a company actually listens to customer feedback and meets those expectations.

Investors now expect startups to have both platforms and solutions — social listening channels, relationship management tools, surveying programs and review forums — that allow them to hear and act on the needs of their customers. Without the proper communications tools and actual people using them, your eco-friendly efforts will likely appear to be merely lip service.

Take the example of TemperPack, which manufactures recyclable insulated packaging solutions for shipments of cold, perishable foods and pharmaceuticals. The direct relationship between a packager like TemperPack and the end consumer is often invisible. But as we were looking into investing in the company, some of its life sciences customers told us about comments they had received from end users — people who were receiving medicine twice per day. Another supplier’s packaging required them to visit a recycler for disposal, a real-world pain point that was causing them to consider switching to a different medication.

Revolution Growth decided to add TemperPack as a portfolio company after directly seeing its customer feedback loop in action: End-user requests informed product development, proving both a market need and customer demand on the sustainability front. This firsthand example demonstrates how an investor, a packaging maker, a life sciences company and an end user are now interconnected in one relationship while underscoring how end-user feedback can connect the dots for sustainable product development.

2. Public commitment to sustainability goals

Over the past several years, we have seen millennials and Gen Z consumers demand transparency in sustainability efforts. As these generations grow in purchasing power, investors will look for startups that make their commitments to eco-friendly goals as transparent as possible to satisfy shrewd consumer needs.

For many VCs, making public commitments to sustainability goals is a sign that your startup is working toward becoming a next-generation company. Investors will look for goals that are thoughtful, with a clear understanding of where your company will have agency and influence, and that are S.M.A.R.T (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely). They will also expect regular reports on progress.

Although a company’s management establishes these goals, its board should play a behind-the-scenes role in driving the goals forward, keeping leadership on track and setting the playing field so executives understand that they’re being evaluated on criteria transcending positive EBIDTA.

Taking these steps will ensure goals are responsible and ambitious while also holding the company accountable to consumers and stakeholders to see the initiatives through to completion.

3. Purpose-driven culture

Even the best-laid sustainability goals will go unmet without a strong culture designed to guarantee leadership and employee alignment. Sustainability must be ingrained in a startup’s culture — from the top down and bottom up — and there’s a lot at stake if it’s not.

Another Revolution Growth portfolio company, the global fintech-revolutionizing startup Tala, demonstrates how young companies can imbue their cultures with purpose-driven values. While Tala’s mission is to provide credit to the unbanked, the company believes that the consumer’s best interests should always come first. During 2019’s holiday season, Tala contrasted with businesses fueling consumption by instead urging customers in Kenya to not take out loans, protecting them from predatory unregulated lenders amid a lack of functioning credit bureaus and loan-stacking databases. This forward-looking approach ultimately safeguarded Tala’s customers and its vibrant digital lending industry.

Beyond determining what they stand for, many of our portfolio companies face challenges securing talent. People have choices about where they want to work, and those with intrinsic motivations — such as concerns about the environment — will feel uncomfortable if their employers do not share their values. Regulatory risks and customer attrition pale in comparison to the human cost of losing star performers who seek other work cultures that better align with their values.

A clear values system should embed sustainability into the decision-making process, make obvious imperatives and empower employees to follow through.

4. Accountability

Companies aren’t only judged by their own initiatives — they’re also judged by their partners. As startups build new relationships or expand to work with new suppliers, investors will be keen to know that these outside parties align with their stated sustainability philosophies.

Before becoming publicly involved with another company, a startup should gauge each new supplier’s reputation, including insights into their employment practices. Take leading Mediterranean fast-casual restaurant Cava or healthy-inspired salad-centric chain Sweetgreen, both Revolution Growth portfolio companies; neither will source proteins from farms with inhumane policies. If companies are not aware of these factors, their customers will eventually let them know, and likely hold them accountable for the oversight.

Think of it this way: If a diagram of your partnerships and supplier relationships was printed on the front page of The New York Times, would you be comfortable with what it shows the world? Today, companies of all sizes are being held to a higher standard by consumers, employees, potential partners and the media. It’s no longer possible to fly under the radar with relationships that are antithetical to a company’s sustainability goals. So take a hard look at your supplier and partner ecosystem, and make clear that you are bringing your green vision to life through every extension of your business.

5. Financial realism

Financial realism acknowledges that a company can want to do good, but unless they have the economics, they won’t survive to make an impact. For most startups, beginning with financial realism as a mindset and incrementalism as an approach will be key to success, enabling all businesses to contribute to a more resilient planet. For startups that prioritize environmentally friendly business practices alongside a product or service, this strategy can prevent goodness from becoming the enemy of greatness. Founders in this position can commit to a stage-by-stage sustainability plan, rather than expecting an overnight transformation. Investors understand the delicate balance between striving to meet green goals and keeping the lights on.

Entrepreneurs looking to build a business that not only adopts eco-friendly practices but also has sustainability at its heart may have to consider starting in a niche industry or market that is less price-sensitive and ready for a solution today. Once that solution is firmly established, the business can build upon what they’ve created, rather than going big with something that doesn’t scale — and failing fast. Without an initial set of customers that value and love what you’re doing, you won’t get to the bigger play.

As the public and private sectors continue to address the climate crisis, sustainability will increasingly become a mandate rather than an option, and funding will increasingly flow to startups that have addressed potential environmental concerns. Unfortunately, pressure for companies to meet sustainability demands has led to “greenwashing” — the deceptive use of green marketing to persuade consumers that a company’s products, aims and policies are environmentally friendly.

Greenwashing has forced investors to look beyond mere words for action. As we move toward a more sustainable future, startups pursuing VC funding will need to prove to investors that sustainability is a priority across their entire organizations, aligning their outreach, public commitments and cultures with accountability and concrete examples of sustainable activities. Even if those examples are just steps toward larger goals, they will show investors and customers that startups are ready today to contribute to a greener and better tomorrow.

#business-ethics, #column, #entrepreneurship, #greentech, #startups, #sustainability, #united-states, #venture-capital

0

Poor Homeowners Will Pay Less after Flood Insurance Overhaul

New risk ratings will improve economic equity

— Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

#natural-disasters, #policyethics, #sustainability

0

Coastal Arctic Sea Ice Is Thinning Faster Than Previously Thought

Old maps of snow depth on the ice had led researchers to underestimate melting

— Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

#climate, #environment, #sustainability

0

It’s Time For Congress to Support Fusion Energy

Fusion devices for clean, safe, and affordable electricity and industrial heat are making advances and need a push

— Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

#energy, #policyethics, #sustainability

0

National Park Nature Walks, Episode 6: Yellowstone Bison and Marsh Birds

Here is our next installment of a new pop-up podcast miniseries that takes your ears into the deep sound of nature. Host Jacob Job, an ecologist and audiophile, brings you inches away from a…

— Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

#environment, #sustainability

0

Record Heat Bakes Drought-Stricken West

Blistering temperatures add to concerns of a potentially devasting wildfire season

— Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

#climate, #sustainability, #weather

0

Hurricanes Threaten 32 Million U.S. Homes

The at-risk properties have a combined value of $8.5 trillion, according to a new report

— Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

#natural-disasters, #sustainability

0

Biden Budget Includes Plan to Help Poor Buy Flood Insurance

The money comes as FEMA looks to revamp its insurance program to better reflect flood risks

— Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

#natural-disasters, #policyethics, #sustainability

0

Pesticides Are Killing the World’s Soils

They cause significant harm to earthworms, beetles, ground-nesting bees and thousands of other vital subterranean species

— Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

#environment, #sustainability

0

That “Obama Scientist” Climate Skeptic You’ve Been Hearing About…

His track record on getting climate science right is extremely poor

— Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

#climate, #sustainability

0

Methane Power Could Come from Lakes and Reservoirs

The gas is making climate change worse. Can we harness it instead?

— Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

#advances, #energy, #sustainability, #tech

0

Struggling Seabirds Are Red Flag for Ocean Health

These sentinels of marine ecosystems point to the damage climate change, overfishing and other human pressures are causing

— Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

#environment, #sustainability

0

Court Orders Shell to Slash Emissions in Historic Ruling

The Dutch verdict is the first to compel a private company, rather than a government, to curb greenhouse gases

— Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

#environment, #sustainability

0

Will Probiotics Save Corals or Harm Them?

Bacteria are helping corals in lab tests, but risks rise as treatments are applied in the wild

— Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

#conservation, #features, #sustainability

0

A Better Way to Cool Ourselves

A new technique doesn’t deprive us of fresh air—and because it uses less energy, it’s good for the climate as well

— Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

#climate, #sustainability

0

Deal Sets Stage for U.S. Floating Wind Turbine Boom

Wind production in California waters could produce far more electricity than current East Coast projects

— Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

#energy, #sustainability

0

The Longest-Known Earthquake Lasted 32 Years

The “slow-slip” event preceded a devastating 1861 quake, at least an 8.5-magnitude, in Sumatra

— Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

#natural-disasters, #sustainability

0

Greenland Glaciers May Be Leaking Mercury

The toxin’s presence in meltwater raises concerns for fishing, a primary food source for Indigenous communities

— Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

#environment, #sustainability

0

De-Ratting Rat Island Brought Silent Ecosystem Back to Life

The impact was clear up and down the coastal food chain

— Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

#advances, #conservation, #sustainability

0

Yellowstone is Warming at Its Fastest Rate in 1,250 Years

The summer of 2016 was the hottest in the nation’s first and oldest national park since 770

— Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

#climate, #environment, #sustainability

0

Biden Executive Order Targets Climate Financial Risks

The directive charges federal agencies with assessing the potential economic toll of warming and urging regulators to it

— Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

#climate, #policyethics, #sustainability

0

Cuba’s Economic Isolation Protected Its Environment

The island nation has fewer nonnative plants than other Caribbean islands

— Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

#conservation, #sustainability

0

Used Car Exports Threaten Climate Goals

The U.S. ships hundreds of thousands of its oldest and dirtiest cars overseas to poorer countries each year

— Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

#climate, #sustainability

0

World’s Largest Iceberg Breaks Off of Antarctica

The chunk of ice is larger than the state of Rhode Island

— Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

#earth, #sustainability

0

Biden Touts Electric Vehicles Amid Negotiations on Infrastructure Spending

Congressional Republicans have balked at White House proposals to boost EV use

— Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

#automotive, #sustainability

0

Net-Zero Emissions by 2050 Are Possible, Landmark Report Says

The International Energy Agency outlines the steps needed to overhaul energy systems to meet global warming goals

— Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

#climate, #energy, #sustainability

0

Climate Change Added $8 Billion to Hurricane Sandy’s Damages

New research shows how much warming is costing society by exacerbating disasters

— Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

#climate, #natural-disasters, #sustainability

0

Climate Change Added $8 Billion to Hurricane Sandy’s Damage

New research shows how much warming is costing society by exacerbating disasters

— Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

#climate, #natural-disasters, #sustainability

0

‘Tree Farts’ Increase Carbon Emissions in Ghost Forests

Trees killed off by encroaching seawater because of sea-level rise are a previously unappreciated source of greenhouse gases

— Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

#environment, #sustainability

0

What I Learned in Space about the Climate Emergency

It’s the planet’s greatest threat, and fighting it should be our 21st century moonshot

— Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

#climate, #sustainability

0

Exxon Mobil’s Messaging Shifted Blame for Warming to Consumers

An analysis of the fossil fuel company’s documents also found it tried to downplay the dangers of climate change

— Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

#climate, #environment, #sustainability

0

World’s Oldest Cave Paintings Are Fading–Climate Change May Be to Blame

Repeated shifts between wet and dry conditions boost the growth of salt crystals that destabilize the rock canvas

— Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

#artsculture, #climate, #sustainability

0

A New Book Manages to Get Climate Science Badly Wrong

In Unsettled, Steven Koonin deploys that highly misleading label to falsely suggest that we don’t understand the risks well enough to take action

— Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

#climate, #sustainability

0

Republican Infrastructure Counterproposal Mostly Eliminates Climate Spending

Climate has emerged as a key sticking point in talks between President Biden and Republican leaders

— Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

#climate, #environment, #policyethics, #sustainability

0

Military and Environmentalists Align to Protect Key Coastal Salt Marsh

Development and sea-level rise threaten this crucial habitat and natural line of defense against storm surge

— Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

#conservation, #environment, #sustainability

0

Biden’s Climate Bet Rests on Enacting a Clean Electricity Standard

It is uncertain if a highly divided Congress will pass such a mandate

— Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

#climate, #energy, #policyethics, #sustainability

0

Biodiversity Conservation Should Start in Biden’s Backyard

The president can set a powerful example for the U.S. and the world by filling the White House grounds with America’s native plants and animals

— Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

#conservation, #sustainability

0

How one founder realized the potential of sustainable energy stored deep below our feet

On this week’s Found podcast, we sat down with Dandelion co-founder and President Kathy Hannun. Kathy came up with the idea for Dandelion while working at Google X, tackling some of the world’s most intractable problems, and making them tractable through the application of technology. Kathy realized that harnessing geothermal energy was a way to make an entirely new category of sustainable energy accessible at scale to markets where it makes the most sense over other green energy options.

Kathy told us all about how she ended up with her dream job at X, and then decided to make the leap from that to building her own company from the ground up to address a solution she saw an obvious need for. She also explains how despite dealing with some natural imposter syndrome finding herself at Google’s moonshot division solving problems with some of the smartest people in the world, but also how her natural inclination is to believe that she can solve any challenge she’s faced through, through a combination of dedication and learning.

We also heard from Kathy about making the difficult decision to change a fundamental element of how Dandelion’s business works, fairly late in the game, after realizing that the existing strategy wasn’t working. Her tough call literally came while she was scaling a mountain — it’s hard to get more allegorical than that.

We hope you enjoy our full chat with Kathy, which you can get below, or by subscribing to Found in Apple Podcasts, on Spotify, on Google Podcasts or in your podcast app of choice. Please leave us a review and let us know what you think, and send us feedback either on Twitter or via email. Tune in next week for yet another great conversation with a founder all about their unique experience creating something new.

#dandelion-energy, #entrepreneurship, #found, #geothermal-energy, #startup, #sustainability, #sustainable-energy, #tc

0