Posts Tagged ‘Green business’

posted by | on , , , | Comments Off on Urban Climate Innovations

By: Ambika Chawla

As the Biden-Harris administration designates climate change as a policy priority, increasing attention will be given towards advancing federal legislation on climate change, while also strengthening the capacities of city governments to introduce ambitious climate mitigation and adaptation policies/initiatives. The Biden-Harris administration has also promised to make environmental justice a priority.   

Indeed, city governments are uniquely positioned to tackle pressing challenges as they are in closer proximity to their communities. In this way, city governments can more effectively develop policies, programs and other initiatives which respond directly to the concerns of their communities.  

In the United States, and globally, we find that cities are implementing innovative climate action plans. Not only are cities playing an important role in developing strategies to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, but they are also introducing creative actions to build urban resilience to climate change. 

Boulder, Colorado, for example, has adopted its “Climate Action Plan (CAP)” with the goal to reduce carbon emissions by 80% by 2050, while transitioning to 100% renewable electricity by 2030. Boulder is also home to the nation’s first voter approved tax dedicated to addressing climate change, known as the Climate Action Plan Tax. 

The city of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil aims to become carbon neutral by 2050 and recently developed a city-wide “Resilience Strategy” with the aim to diminish the city’s vulnerabilities while increasing its resilience. 

And, Da Nang, which is one of the fastest growing cities in Vietnam, has designed its Green Growth City Development Strategy (GG-CDS), an urban masterplan which aims to create the first climate resilient city in Vietnam and in the Asia-Pacific region. 

These colorful and exciting examples demonstrate the many ways in which city governments, globally, are taking bold actions to tackle climate change. 

In tandem, we live in a rapidly urbanizing world. By 2050, 70% of the world’s population is predicted to be living in towns and cities, with almost 90% of this increase taking place in Asia and Africa. Fast-growing megacities include Karachi, Dhaka, Shanghai, and New Delhi. Chinese cities are also growing at breakneck speed.

Finally, environmental justice organizations across U.S. cities are taking bold actions to address environmental inequalities in their communities. For example, organizations such as Groundwork USA are working to ensure that communities of color have greater access to green space in cities, particularly given the considerable health benefits (both psychological and physical) that urban nature brings to city residents.

Urban Climate Innovations

Based on my expertise in urban development and climate change, I recently developed my company “Urban Climate Innovations,” a woman-owned business which aims to catalyze low carbon, climate resilient, and equitable cities around the world. 

When I worked as a youth ambassador on climate change for UN-Habitat (the cities branch of the United Nations) I became passionate about raising policymaker and public awareness about the role of city-level governance to tackle pressing challenges. 

In this role, I had the wonderful opportunity to represent the concerns of young people, globally, at the UN climate conferences in Bali, Indonesia, Copenhagen, as well as in Bonn, Germany.  

My collaborative relationship with UN-Habitat continued and led me to Hanoi, Vietnam, where I led the development of the UN’s official policy report on cities and climate change for Vietnam. This was a wonderful and fulfilling role where I worked closely with UN officials from Vietnam, South Korea, and the Netherlands. 

I continue to engage with UN-Habitat as a member of the steering committee for the Urban Economy Forum, a coalition of city leaders, UN representatives, and urban development practitioners working to develop urban economies that adhere to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 

More recently, I have become passionate about informing the public about environmental injustices occurring in communities. I have also written about how we can create a more diverse and inclusive environmental movement. My work has been published by Yes! magazine, Ensia, Environmental Health New, Green Biz, Daily Climate, Next City, among other media.  

My company, Urban Climate Innovations (UCI), excels at designing compelling and engaging policy reports which inform decision makers and the public about transformative solutions to our world’s most challenges. 

At the heart of Urban Climate Innovations (UCI) is a process of listening to the voices of underrepresented communities and including their opinions in policy documents.

UCI also possesses expertise on all facets related to climate change law and policy, including legal issues in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, renewable energy law and policy, and climate adaptation policy. 

If you are connected to an organization working on any of the above issues, please do not hesitate to contact me to learn more about the services offered at UCI, or if you would like me to be a guest speaker!  

You can learn more about Urban Climate Innovations at my website: www.urbanclimateinnovations.org. The site includes my policy reports, articles, and testimonials from colleagues, globally, who have collaborated with me in the past.   

Thank you to Eco Women for giving me the opportunity to share my story about my career and about my company! Keep up the great work! 

***

Ambika Chawla has professional experience in the areas of youth empowerment, climate change, urban development, and environmental law. She has collaborated with UN agencies, research institutes, and non-profit organizations in six countries across the globe. Ambika is passionate about advocating for healthy, equitable, climate resilient, and green towns and cities around the world.

posted by | on , , , , | 1 comment

By Maheen Ahmad

We all want to make smart, eco-conscious consumer choices. In the quest of becoming a conscious consumer, I began to do some digging. I was able to scope out some of DC’s greenest, most sustainable establishments. I used the following criteria to identify green businesses:

  • The business is certified by one or more third party organizations;
  • The business incorporates environmentally sustainable materials in their products and operations;
  • The business contributes to or invests in energy conservation causes.

Local, green eats

Veg

MOM’s Organic Market

Several locations in D.C.

MOM’s Organic Market stores named by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as one of its Top 30 Retail Green Power Partners.

Green initiatives: using low-watt LED light bulbs and sustainable building materials, and having charging stations for electric vehicles.In 2015, MOM purchased 8,300,000 kWh of Wind Power Renewable Energy Credits to offset 100% of the company’s electricity consumption.

Hot tip: MOM’s stores also collect items for recycling – including electronics, compost, and clothes.

Busboys and Poets

Several locations in D.C.

Busboys and Poets is a member of American Sustainable Business Council and Innov8energy.

Green Initiatives: using 100% renewable wind energy, reusing their cooking oil for biofuel, and using recycled materials.In addition, the restaurants locally source their ingredients and serve 100% fair trade coffee and tea.

Founding Farmers DC

Just across from the White House, Founding Farmers DC is LEED Gold-certified (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, rated by U.S. Green Building Council).

Green building features: efficient HVAC and lighting systems and building materials made from reclaimed wood and other recycled materials.

Green initiatives: The restaurant is owned by the North Dakota Farmers Union, and they source their food directly from family farms. They also use cooking oil for biodiesel and purchase carbon credits through carbonfund.org.

Fitness and sports

extendYoga

This yoga studio is an EPA Green Power Partner, running on 100% wind power provided by Ethical Electric. In addition, it is Green Certified by the Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection.

Green features: It uses energy-efficient HCAV systems and LED lighting as well as Eco-friendly yoga mats and cleaning products.

Washington Nationals Ballpark

The stadium is LEED-certified, with features including plumbing designed to conserve water and recycled building materials. In fact, approximately 10% of its building materials are recycled. To date, the stadium has recycled a total of 5,500 tons of construction waste.

Nats

Beauty and hygiene

Seventh Generation

Seventh Generation sells household cleaning products.

Green features: Good on the inside as well as outside, they use 100% recycled materials for packaging, and they source products from U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) certified Bioproducts. These are primarily U.S. suppliers. They also supply certified sustainable palm oil.

The Honest Company

The Honest Company sells baby, personal care, and cleaning products.

Green initiatives: It is a certified B Corporation, is Gold-certified by Green America, and is working towards LEED certification for all its facilities. Many of its products are BioPreferred by USDA and EPA’s Design for the Environment standards for use of safer, environmentally-friendly chemicals.

Zosimos Botanicals

soap-sudsZosimos Botanicals consists of an array of skincare, makeup, hair, and bath products.

Green features: The products exclude synthetic materials such as parabens, sodium lauryl sulfate, and fragrance oils, opting instead for naturally occurring ingredients such as shea butter and essential oils.

Green initiatives: The Zosimos Botanicals studio in Gaithersburg runs on 100% wind energy, is a certified by Green America as a green business, and recycles its materials and office supplies.

Nusta Spa

Nusta Spa is a LEED-certified spa.

Green initiatives: Nusta is committed to energy efficiency through use of LED lighting, fluorescent lamps, Energy Star appliances, and recycled materials. The spa also donated old furniture to Dinner Program for Homeless Women and DC Preparatory Academy and recycled the construction waste.

Clothes

Kohl’s Department Store

Green initiatives: A member of EPA’s Green Power Partnership, Kohl’s purchased 1.4 billion Renewable Energy Credits, making 106% of its power usage sourced from solar and wind energy. Its major providers are 3Degrees and Carbon Solutions Group. Many of its locations are also LEED and Energy Star certified.

The North Face

Green initiatives: Also a member of EPA’s Green Power Partnership, The North Face purchased over 17 million Renewable Energy Credits, allowing 106% of their power usage sourced from solar and wind energy. The North Face is also partnering with its Chinese suppliers in energy efficiency programs and with industry partners such as Bluesign Technologies to reduce water and energy in its manufacturing processes.

There are many more green, local businesses in DC. Share in the comments if I have left out any of your favorites!

Maheen Ahmad works in energy policy in the D.C. area.  She loves reading, writing, traveling, and finding new places to get coffee.  She has an M.A. in International Relations.