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Sustainability and Green IT News for Technology Partners: 01 August 2023

August 1, 2023 by Joe Panettieri

Here is today’s sustainability news, research and analysis for technology partners, renewable energy and green IT companies, management consultants, CIOs, chief sustainability officers (CSOs) and c-suite members.

Got News to Share? Email me the details.

A. Sustainable Technology, Talent, Partnerships and Alliances

1. Corporate ESG Reports: Our database of corporate sustainability reports now spans 261 companies. The latest additions include insurance firm Aviva Canada, global investment bank Houlihan Lokey, energy company Kinetik, lithium technology provider Livent, government environmental consultancy Montrose Environmental.

2. Toxic Lead Cables Statement?: It's a safe bet Lumen Technologies will discuss the status of lead cables during the company's earnings call this evening. The background: Numerous U.S. telecom companies are under the microscope after a July 2023 Wall Street Journal report suggesting that hundreds of toxic lead cables potentially pose health and environment risks. In late July, the CEOs of AT&T and Verizon offered these lead cable statements during their respective company earnings calls.

3. Generative AI and ESG Reporting Software: Workiva has added Generative AI capabilities to its cloud-based ESG software platform. The company’s "open ecosystem approach" will let customers select from various large language models -- including those from Google Cloud and Microsoft Azure. Also of note: Neither Workiva nor its technology partners will store or use customer data to train models.

4. Cloud Services - Sustainable Manufacturing: Fujitsu became a Microsoft Cloud for Manufacturing Partner in July 2023, launching the Fujitsu Digital Factory solution on Microsoft commercial marketplace. Dig a little deeper, and much of the Fujitsu solution focuses on sustainable manufacturing priorities. The effort surfaces roughly two months after Microsoft and Fujitsu inked a five-year sustainability partnership involving Microsoft's cloud services and Fujitsu's Uvance business.

5. Consulting - Real Estate Investment Management: JLL has named Paul Stepan as head of sustainability consulting for Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA). Stepan previously was JLL’s client sustainability solutions lead for investor and occupier clients in EMEA. Stepan reports to Greg Bolino, global head of sustainability consulting. JLL is a global commercial real estate and investment management company. The firm helped clients buy, build, occupy, manage and invest in a variety of commercial, industrial, hotel, residential and retail properties.

6. Earnings - Residential Solar Solutions: SunPower's total revenue was $463.9 million in Q2 of 2023, up from $417.8 million in Q2 of 2022. Net loss was $33.1 million -- far smaller than a $62.3 million net loss in Q2 of 2022. The company saw "a softer market for residential solar taking shape as higher interest rates create near-term stress on the value proposition in regions with comparatively lower utility rates such as the Southeast and Southwest." Still, SunPower continues to outperform competitors in customer experience as well as customer acquisition, according to CEO Peter Faricy.

7. Wind Farm - Renewable Energy Contract: Steel Dynamics has signed a Renewable Product Purchase Agreement (RPPA) with a subsidiary of NextEra Energy Resources. A new wind farm in Scurry County, Texas, will supply renewable energy to the steel producer.

B. Sustainability M&A, Investments and Funding

1. Investments - Fossil Fuels vs. Green Companies:  Large U.S.-based asset managers have shown waning interest in encouraging companies in which they invest to phase out fossil fuels since 2021, while their European counterparts have remained more active, an InfluenceMap report recapped by Reuters said. Managers globally hold almost three times more equity in fossil fuel companies than in green investments and have not made significant progress toward commonly agreed goals such as cutting carbon emissions to net zero by 2050, the Reuters summary added.

2. Funding - Solar Company Reboot: Solar startup GlassPoint has raised $8 Million in new funding after a company reboot, The Wall Street Journal reported.

3. M&A - Electric Vehicle (EV) Charging Infrastructure: Charge Enterprises has acquired Greenspeed Energy Solutions, a consulting firm and integrator focused on EV (electric vehicle) charging infrastructure, efficient commercial lighting, solar energy and battery storage.

4. All M&A Activity: Our M&A database has now tracked 114 mergers and acquisitions involving sustainability so far in 2023. See all M&A deals involving sustainability listed here.

C. Regional and Global Sustainability Policies and News

1. United States - Climate Credit Rating Risks?: With 46 straight days of 100-degree heat and coastal waters approaching hot-tub temperatures, Miami can seem like a clear example of the costs of a warming world. But analysts at S&P Global Inc. aren't sweating it, Bloomberg reports. They recently upgraded Miami’s credit rating, citing a robust tax base and labor market. The city’s “elevated” environmental risks, S&P says, are offset by mitigation projects such as those designed to counter rising sea levels.

2. Puerto Rico - Solar Energy and Battery Storage: The U.S. Department of Energy has announced over $450 million to increase access to rooftop solar power for Puerto Rico residents. Also of note: Sunnova Energy International, Puerto Rico’s largest residential solar and battery storage Energy as a Service provider, plans to participate in the Battery Emergency Demand Response program in Puerto Rico. This program "revolutionizes the way distributed solar and storage customers contribute to grid stability during periods of high demand and are financially compensated for their contribution," the company said.

3. European Union - ESG Reporting Standard: Tens of thousands of companies operating in Europe face new requirements to report their operations’ ESG impacts as the European Union pushes ahead with a plan to address climate change and environmental degradation through increased transparency and market pressure, Bloomberg reported. The European Commission has adopted a new European Sustainability Reporting Standards for implementing the EU’s Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive, the first initiative globally to take a so-called double materiality approach, the report said.

4. United Kingdom: The cost of UK pollution rights slumped to a two-year low, with prices now almost half those of their European Union counterparts, Bloomberg reported. The decline in carbon permits has accelerated since early July 2023, when the government unveiled its plans for reforming the country’s emissions market, the report said.

5. India - Federal Express: FedEx has launched a new tool in India to help customers understand carbon emissions data associated with their shipments, Economic Times reported.

D. Sustainability and Green Technology Conference Calendar

  1. ASES Solar 2023 Conference (August 8-11, Boulder, Colorado)
  2. MEMA Sustainability Summit (August 15, Troy, Michigan)
  3. World ESG Summit 2023 (August 21-22, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)
  4. Google Cloud Next 2023 Partner and Customer Conference (August 29-21, San Francisco)
  5. Sustainability Live 2023 (September 6-7, London, United Kingdom)
  6. International Conference on Sustainable Development - ICSD 2023 (Rome, Italy)
  7. Complete Calendar of Sustainability Conferences

E. Previous Updates & Future News

1. Did You Miss Yesterday's Daily Update?: Here is our previous sustainability, green IT and renewable energy news for technology partners.

2. Future Updates: Send Us Your News Tips. Please email me the details.

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