Old Business Paradigm vs. New Business Paradigm

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During the last couple of month we RESD Students had an interesting time while following our course in Green Strategy and Sustainable Innovation. In this course we talked a lot about generic stuff like “What is sustainability for a company?!”, and we were surprised that it is not so easy to answer this question. In fact, we learned that in todays world it is difficult to follow a business paradigm that is different from the established way of doing business.

The slogan the business of business is business seems outdated nowadays, because if the performance of a company gets measured only by its financial terms a lot of things get missed on the way. A company is a lot more than only shareholders that want big dividends for their trust and CEOs doing literally anything to reach this goal; all the other stakeholders have not such an importance. Environment, personell, customers, do not get a treatment like they should in a society where money rules them all.

What we learned in this course is that there exist some people out there that are working hard on new business paradigms that could break the supremacy of shareholder primacy and short-termism. Here I will provide you the most important ones so you can check them out!

  • The Circular Economy (link), an economy without waste or pollution
  • Sharing Economy (link) based on collaborative consumption
  • The Purpose and Gift economy
  • B-Corps and Social Business
  • The Economy for the common good (link)

Give em a look, it will be worth your time!

 

 

Loccioni Group – Sustainable&Innovative

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Last Thursday was a very exiting day for RESD Students: We had the opportunity  toloccioni resd visit the Loccioni Group Company in the Marche region. What we saw there was impressive, they call them self an Open company, that enables to all its stakeholders (customers, suppliers, competitors, the public community, visitors) to enter in the company ant interact with it. This Openness is key when it comes to the creation of new business opportunities and enhances networks and technology applications.
In fact, when we arrived there at 9:30 am after a 1,5 h bus ride from Rimini, we were welcomed in a very open way. No visitor badge, no security check, no stickers on the cameras of our smartphones that would prevent taking pictures of the production site. Our guides told us that Loccioni was founded in 1968 and offers today measures and test solutions to improve the quality of products and processes for the manufacturing and service industry. Around 400 employees build up products like in a “tailor’s shop”, which means that Loccioni offers tailor made solutions for their customers, where every product is customized. What really impressed me were some numbers about the company, with 33 as average age and more than 50% of all employees with a university degree, Loccioni is definitely not like the average Italian company.
After visiting the production site  and a super tasty pizza offered by them, RESD students participated in a group work that was somehow a simulation of what the working day in such a company looks like.

The trip to the Loccioni company was a good opportunity to see how a modern buisiness approach can substitute the so called dominant business paradigm, and that also other companies could follow an approach like them.

A big THANK YOU to all the people that helped to make this trip possible!

Is online shopping sustainable?

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I personally considered Online shopping to be very sustainable. Saving a trip to the store and getting some serious discount was the highlight for online shoppers. I stopped buying online lately due bad experience with the quality of the product but I always thought that at least it saves you time via e-commerce.

But what about the emissions from fleets of delivery vehicles bringing orders to houses? Delivery trucks also contribute substantially to the burden of fine particulate matter, known as PM2.5, in the air, which is associated with many effects on human health. Especially when the product is returned (which happens in great number) there is likely to be more trips from the firm’s driver and not to mention, sometimes you are not at home and they have to return to your house again.

An increase in the number of home shopping purchases increases travel time, traffic delays, and vehicle emissions of the transportation network as a whole, the researchers say. While some previous studies suggest that e-commerce is associated with lower carbon emissions than traditional retail, other researchers have warned of a “rebound effect,” which occurs when gains in efficiency merely stimulate new consumption. Something similar may be going on in Newark, the results suggest.

But a recent study in Newark, Delaware suggests that the knock-on effects of online shopping may worsen traffic congestion and transport-related carbon emissions.Researchers at the University of Delaware conducted a survey of downtown Newark residents’ shopping habits and preferences and used the responses to calculate the quantity of goods purchased through home shopping.They also got information from delivery companies about the number of trucks on the road and the number of packages per truck, and used this to determine how many delivery trucks are required to distribute home shopping purchases.Finally, the researchers used transportation simulation software and data from local transportation authorities to determine the effect of delivery trucks on the transportation network, focusing on an area of downtown Newark that includes a portion of the university’s campus.They conducted similar analyses in 2001, at the dawn of the online shopping era, and again in 2008. They reported their results in a recent paper in the International Journal of Sustainable Development & World Ecology.

Read this journal to know more about the ill effects of Online shopping.

 

Source: Laghaei J. et al. “Impacts of home shopping on vehicle operations and greenhouse gas emissions: multi-year regional study.” International Journal of Sustainable Development & World Ecology

meet NOOR, the largest concentrating solar power plant on Earth

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Two weeks ago, the moroccan King Mohammed VI opened the biggest solar power plant on earth: a 3500 football-field area covered with solar power plants called Noor (arabic for light).

With a huge investment of about 3,9 billion dollars the moroccan government build up this huge plant, which is so special because of its moving mirrors, that heat up liquid salt up to 400 °C which then power a steam turbine to create energy. The most awesome feature of this kind of technique is that this heat can be stored up to 8 hours and produce energy also during nighttime. The overall power capacity of the plant is 580 MW, but it wont finish here, up to 2020 Morocco wants to produce up to 2000MW of electric power coming from solar energy.

Morocco is with is 3000 hours of sunlight annually a perfect place for this kind of energy production. The fact that Morocco has to import nearly 97 % of its energy consumption makes this kind of investment also a big step of the countries energy independence.

Have some nice pics here:

“M’illumino di meno” day

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Today an article written by our fellow RESD student Ruggiero Rippo! Enjoy it as much as we do!

This year on the 19th of February all of us can make a big difference. On this day the

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©RAI 2016

largest broadcasting initiative takes place, to raise awareness about energy consumption and sustainable mobility. The event, called “M’illumino di meno” (“I enlighten myself less”), is at its 12th edition and speaks to all of us: citizens, private associations and public institutions. The campaign is supported nation wide and on a European level by different public authorities, such as the Presidency of the Italian Republic, the Italian Senate and the Chamber of Deputies, and the European Parliament. Participating is very easy. Just take some simple actions that affect our daily routine: turn off all the unnecessary lights, ride the bike on your way to work or to the university, minimize the use of electric appliances. Basically, have a zero energy impact for one single day! The people involved in the project have achieved sensational goals through the years; for example: they organized concerts where the spectators cycle to produce electricity; they managed to “switch off” the main monuments in our cities like the Eiffel Tower in Paris or the Coliseum in Rome. Even Hans-Gert Pöttering, the President of the European Parliament in 2008, declared that “the event has a symbolic value with a tangible effect”. In fact, even if the event has a short length, it achieved to drastically reduce the energy waste. In 2007 and 2008 the demand of energy, few minutes after the event has started, was respectively 300 MW and 400 MW lower than usual. This is a huge amount of energy saved! Therefore, the possibility to make a difference, even if just for one day, is concrete. As the slogan of the campaign recites: “Sol Omnia regit”, “Everything depends on the sun”, we are all summoned to a conscious use of our resources, starting with changing our habits.

 

For more information just follow the link : http://caterpillar.blog.rai.it/milluminodimeno

Thanks and big thumbs up to Ruggiero Rippo for your partecipation on SteamGreen!

Exotic Renewable Energy Plants: Tidal Energy

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Tidal Energy power plants are definitely some kind of an exotic form for energy production. That’s because most tidal power plants are just pilot projects that are only build for research purposes and do not create a very big amount of energy in their lifetime. Tidal energy is one form of hydropower energy that gets obtained from tides and is then converted in useful electricity. In ancient times and in the middle ages tide mills have been used to mill grain, and nowadays axial or cross flow turbines are used to produce the electrical energy that is needed in modern times. As the gravitational attraction of the moon moves huge amounts of ocean water on certain coastlines or trough lagoons, tidal power plants were build in this strategic positions, there are 4 main types of tidal power generators: Tidal stream generatorstidal barragesdynamic tidal power and a tidal lagoon.

Unfortunately the issues that come with tidal energy are fairly big, from environmental concerns on marine life (also given the danger of blade strikes and the acoustic output). From a technical and maintenance point of view corrosion in salt water and fouling have a big impact on the plants and make them hardly economically efficient.

Even tough there are some massive problems to face when it comes to significant tidal power generation, there are some steps in the right direction, like a 3,4 MW tidal power generator in the East China Sea.

Check out tidalenergytoday.com for more news on the argument!

 

Life transitions can help to instil better environmental behaviours

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You are most likely to change your habits if you are changing your city, a job or even a country. Maybe that’s why people say that their life changed once they moved to some other country. Different language, people or food can have a very positive effect on you. At least the researchers of University of Bath (Bath?! Really??) think so too.

“The study tested the habit discontinuity hypothesis, which states that the behavior change interventions are more effective when delivered in the context of life course changes. This assumption was that when habits are (temporarily) disturbed, people are more sensitive to new information and adopt a mind-set that is conducive to behavior change. A field experiment was conducted among 800 participants, who received either an intervention promoting sustainable behavior, or were in a no-intervention control condition. In both conditions half of the households had recently relocated, and were matched with households that had not relocated. Self-reported frequencies of twenty-five environment-related behaviors were assessed at baseline and eight weeks later. While controlling for past behavior, habit strength, intentions, perceived control, biospheric values, personal norms, and personal involvement, the intervention was more effective among recently relocated participants. The results suggested that the duration of the ‘window of opportunity’ was three months after relocation.”

Check the link below to read the actual scientific paper for more details.

We all can’t move to other location but we can try to change our lifestyle to be more sustainable. Maybe following Meatless Monday’s or going to office twice in a week by public transport, walking more or using less plastic.

Source: ScienceDirect, University of Bath