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Sustainability News 18 April 2024: Apple, Forrester Wave, Siemens, Uniqus Consultech, More

April 18, 2024 by Joe Panettieri

Here is today’s sustainability news, research and analysis for technology partners; renewable energy and green IT service providers; Today's sustainability news also involves management consultants; CIOs; chief sustainability officers (CSOs), c-suite members and climate accounting professionals.

A. Sustainable Technology, Talent, Partnerships and Green IT Alliances

1. Energy Management Software Platform: Siemens has launched Electrification X -- which is designed to help modernize electrification infrastructure across commercial, industrial, and utility applications.

2. Research - Sustainability Management Software: Forrester is launching the Sustainability Management Software Landscape Report and an associated Wave evaluation...

3. Partnership - Private Equity Climate Investments: Fullerton Fund Management has partnered with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to develop a Sustainability Management Framework. The framework will "guide private equity climate investing in Asia, using UNDP's SDG Impact Standards as a foundation. The framework offers private equity companies a roadmap to adopting practices that can help to accelerate their net zero goals," the partners said.

4. Partnership - Microsoft and Carbon Capture Technology: CO280 and Aker Carbon Capture have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) agreement with Microsoft to "explore opportunities for scaling the full physical and digital value chain of carbon removal in the US and Canada," the companies said. Much of the effort involves North America's pulp and paper industry -- which represents a carbon removal opportunity of up to 130 million tons per year, the companies said. Related: Microsoft's sustainability strategy for partners is outlined here.

5. Apple - Net Zero Strategy: The company outlined several renewable energy and water resilience milestones as part of its Apple 2030 carbon neutral strategy. Related: Apple's sustainability strategy for partners is outlined here.

6. Google Software: Google Maps and Google Search updates will allow users to "find convenient public transit and walking routes, see alternatives to air travel and better understand the estimated emissions of flights," according to James Byers, group product manager for Google Search. Related: Google's sustainability strategy for partners is outlined here.

7. Talent - More EV Layoffs - Rivian: Electric vehicle maker Rivian cut about 1% of its workforce -- the second round of job cuts 2024 -- as it reduces cost amid a broader slowdown in EV demand, Reuters reported. Rivian previously cut about 10% of its staff in February 2024.

8. Telsa Layoffs - Solar and Dojo Supercomputer Staff?: Tesla's 2024 layoff plan will impact manufacturing plants in upstate New York -- where employees focus on solar roof tiles and fast-charging equipment, Reuters reported. The location also is "set to be the home of its Dojo supercomputer project," the report noted. Still, we don't know if or how many jobs that specifically involve solar roofs, EV charging and Dojo supercomputer experts will be cut. Related: Tesla's overall AI strategy is outlined here.

9. Executive Leadership - Financial Services: Barclays has hired Société Générale and Capgemini Consulting veteran Isabelle Millat to fill a dual role: Head of Sustainable Finance for Global Markets and Barclays Europe.

10. Talent - City of Boston: The city has hired Arup veteran Brian Swett as chief climate officer. Swett will lead Boston's Environment, Energy and Open Space (EEOS) Cabinet, Mayor Michelle Wu said. Swett was at Arup for nearly nine years. He previously worked for the City of Boston from 2012 to 2015, according to Swett's LinkedIn bio.

11. Executive Exits - Fossil Fuels: BP Executive VP Anja-Isabel Dotzenrath (head of natural gas and low carbon energy) and CTO Leigh-Ann Russell are exiting BP, according to Reuters. BP CEO Murray Auchincloss seeks to simplify its management structure in a cost-cutting drive, the report said.

B. Sustainability M&A, Investments, Funding and Green IT Business Launches

1. Funding - ESG Consulting and AI Software: Uniqus Consultech, a technology company and consulting firm focused on ESG accounting and reporting, has raised $10 million in Series B funding. On the consulting front, Uniqus now has 350 employees serving more than 150 customers. On the software front, Uniqus has launched an AI Assistant for financial reporting and ESG, and a tech platform for ESG data management and reporting, the company said. Nexus Ventures led the round with participation from Sorin Investments. Uniqus previously raised $12.5 million in Series A funding and acquired SustainPlus in 2023.

2. M&A - Engineering and ESG Consulting: CIMA+ has acquired Kozar Engineering Inc. as part of a strategy to "tackle ESG and decarbonization challenges for a sustainable future," the Canadian firms said. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

3. M&A - Sustainability and ESG Standards: Investment firm General Atlantic has acquired GRESB, a global provider of sustainability standards and benchmarks for real assets. The deal involve General Atlantic's BeyondNetZero climate growth fund. The seller, private equity firm Summit Partners, will retain a minority stake in GRESB. The GRESB management team will also reinvest in the company. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

4. M&A - Nuclear Energy Projects & Consulting: Private equity firm Bernhard Capital Partners has acquired Strategic Management Solutions, LLC (SMSI), a provider of expert management and technical consulting services for federal and large industrial clients focused on nuclear programs and projects, the buyer said. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Bernhard Capital previously acquired Boston Government Services (BGS) and Sterling Engineering & Consulting Group (SE&C) as part of a push to build a Department of Energy services platform.

5. Complete M&A List: Here's our database of all M&A deals involving green IT and renewable energy buyers, sellers and investors.

C. Regional and Global Sustainability Policies and News

1. United States - Climate Emergency?: White House officials have renewed discussions about potentially declaring a national climate emergency, an unprecedented step that could unlock federal powers to stifle oil development, Bloomberg reported.

2. United States - New York Electric: A newly opened 44-story tower -- known as 505 State Street -- is New York’s first all-electric skyscraper, Bloomberg reported.

3. United States - Texas Solar Energy Production: Solar power surpassed coal in electricity generation in Texas for the first time ever in March 2024, according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA), Solar Quarter reported.

4. United States - EV Charging Infrastructure: Nearly 600 public fast-charging stations were switched on for US drivers in the first three months of 2024, a 7.6% increase over the end of 2023, according to a Bloomberg Green analysis of federal data. There are now almost 8,200 quick-turn EV stations across the country, or one for every 15 gas stations, the report said. Tesla is responsible for slightly more than one quarter of them, Bloomberg noted.

5. United States - Solar Equipment Tariffs: The Biden administration is expected to grant a request by South Korea’s Hanwha Qcells to reverse a two-year-old trade exemption that has allowed imports of a dominant solar panel technology from China and other countries to avoid tariffs, Reuters reported.

6. Europe - Carbon Pricing: A drop in the European Union's carbon price in 2024 could mean that a fund intended to be among the world's biggest schemes for new green technologies will be smaller than budgeted for and potentially jeopardise some low-carbon projects in the EU, Reuters Reported.

7. China - Energy Consumption Questions: The boom in renewable energy installations in China is exacerbating a problem measuring power production data in the world’s second largest economy, Bloomberg reported.

8. South Korea - Carbon Credit Strategy: South Korea is planning its first fund that will seek to generate internationally exchangeable carbon credits that can be used to meet its climate goals, Bloomberg reported.

D. Sustainability and Green Technology Conference Calendar

  1. Caribbean Conference on Sustainable Tourism Development 2024 (April 22-24, Grenada)
  2. EarthX Congress of Conferences 2024 (April 22-26, Dallas, Texas)
  3. Hannover Messe 2024: Industrial Sustainability Conference (April 22-26, Germany)
  4. Scale Green 2024 (April 23, London, United Kingdom)
  5. Circular Computing Re: 2024 (April 23, UAE)
  6. 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: If you have news to share then please email me the details.
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