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Sustainability News for Technology Partners, Business Management Consultants & CXOs: 29 March 2023

March 29, 2023 by Joe Panettieri

Here is today’s sustainability, Net Zero and circular economy news, research and analysis. This daily update is designed for technology partners, management consultants, CIOs, chief sustainability officers (CSOs) and c-suite members.

Send Us Your News Tips: Got news or chatter to share? Please email me.

Our updates for Wednesday, March 29, 2023 include…

A. Sustainability and Net-Zero News and Research

1. Net-Zero Buildings: Johnson Controls has opened an OpenBlue Innovation Center in Rotterdam, Netherlands. The center allows partners and customers to "experience net zero-focused building solutions in a real-time operating environment."

2. Government IT Consulting: The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations (OCED) has selected Parsons' energy advisory services to "accelerate clean energy technologies from the lab to market." The new $14 million ceiling-value task order contract includes a one-year base period with two option period years and was awarded under the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) Enterprise Construction Management Services contract that the company was awarded in June 2022, the company said.

3. Hospitality & Hotels - Carbon Capture Technology: Radisson Blu Mall of America, part of Choice Hotels International, is the first hotel to install CarbinX, a carbon capture appliance developed by CleanO2. CenterPoint Energy, Minnesota's largest natural gas utility, was involved in the project.

4. Branding - Electric Mobility: Elektros has launched a new clean energy technology brand, Elektros Energy. The new bland will "better reflect its focus on such areas as Lithium mining, EV charging, solar energy, and innovative solutions to help accelerate the world's transition to a cleaner and more sustainable energy future," the company said.

5. Energy Star Awards: The winners are listed here.

6. Research - Power Grid Market Forecast: Global electric grids will require investments of $21.4 trillion by 2050 to support a net-zero trajectory for the world, according to a BloombergNEF (BNEF) report.

7. Research - Sustainability Rating Costs: Companies are spending up to $500,000 a year on a sustainability rating to meet investor demands for such data, yet are often dissatisfied with the results, according to ERM research, as reported by Reuters.

8. Research - ESG Budgets: Amid recession concerns and high inflation, 84% of CEOs in a recent KPMG survey said that they had cut or were considering cutting ESG programs, according to KPMG research. However, a separate survey by Esker suggests that U.S. employees want their employers to prioritize sustainability.

9. Focus Debate: The Bank of England was distracted from its main mission of taming inflation by additional objectives and risks damaging its credibility by working on climate-related goals, according to two of the central bank’s former senior staff, Bloomberg reported.

B. Sustainability and Net-Zero Government Policies

1. United States - Kansas: Prairie Village is exploring ways to make its city operations more environmentally sustainable, according to the Shawnee Mission Post. The city council in March 2023 approved a $50,000 agreement with Keramida, an Indiana-based consulting firm, to create a sustainability program for Prairie Village.

2. United Nations: The United Nations General Assembly on March 29 will vote whether to ask the world's top court to define the obligations of states to combat climate change, a legal opinion that could drive countries to take stronger measures and clarify international law, Reuters noted.

3. European Union: European Union countries gave final approval on March 28 to a landmark law to end sales of new CO2-emitting cars in 2035, after Germany won an exemption for cars running on e-fuels, Reuters reported.

4. Sweden - Wind Power: Wind turbines generated more than a quarter of Sweden’s power in February 2023 (a second consecutive month), further evidence that the nation’s renewables push is paying off, Bloomberg reported.

5. Isle of Man - Paris Agreement: The Isle of Man government has joined the Paris Agreement and committed to reaching net-zero emissions by 2050, BBC reported. The Paris Agreement, signed by 196 countries, is a commitment to keep global temperature increases well below 2C above pre-industrial era levels, the report noted.

C. Sustainability Funding, Financing, Mergers & Acquisitions

1. M&A - Sustainability Consulting: Environ, an energy management company specializing in sustainability consulting services and carbon reduction services, has acquired Best Practice Energy (BPE), which specializes in energy procurement strategies for manufacturing and technology companies, healthcare organizations and commercial enterprises.

2. Funding - Financial Services Sustainability: Spiral, which positions itself as an "Impact-as-a-Service" provider, has raised $28 million in Series A funding -- bringing total funding to $42 million. The round was led by Team8 with additional funding from Euclidean Capital and Intuition Fund, Communitas Capital, Phoenix, and Nidoco AB. Spiral, founded in 2019, helps banks, credit unions, and financial institutions to embed sustainability, social impact, and ESG into their core businesses and "amplify their community impact and customer engagement," the company asserts.

3. Funding - Sustainability Data: Connect Earth, founded in 2021, has raised $5.6 million in seed funding. The company, based in London, develops an software that allows customers to "easily access to sustainability data." The round was led by Gresham House Ventures with participation from Love Ventures, Global Brain and its CVC partner The Norinchukin Bank, Portfolio Ventures, Super Capital and strategic angel investors. The existing investors Market One Capital, Mustard Seed MAZE and Venista Ventures joined the round as well.

4. Investment - Australia Wind Power: Brookfield Asset Management Inc. will prioritize wind power projects over solar farms as it begins an A$20 billion ($13.4 billion) renewables investment blitz in Australia following the takeover of utility Origin Energy Ltd., Bloomberg reported.

5. Research - ESG Fund Trends: Fund managers offering strategies that target biodiversity have expanded their asset base by 15% in two months, as the industry builds a new ESG market despite an absence of standardized data, Bloomberg reported.

6. Greenwashing Concerns - Vanguard Financial Services: New Zealand's financial markets regulator issued a greenwashing deadline warning to U.S. fund giant Vanguard Group, according to Reuters.

D. Sustainability Partnerships, Alliances and Associations

1. Partnership - ESG Software: MetricStream and Greenly have partnered to accelerate their sustainability and ESG goals and "connect their carbon emission initiatives to their ESG strategy automatically by including carbon accounting into the creation of holistic disclosure reports, the two companies said."

2. Wind Power Contract - United Kingdom: Iberdrola SA’s ScottishPower unit signed a £1.5 billion ($1.9 billion) deal with Siemens Gamesa to supply wind turbines for an offshore project in a boost for the UK’s stalling renewable-power sector, Bloomberg reported.

E. Sustainability Conferences, Summits and Events Calendar

Here are five upcoming sustainability conferences and ESG events for business and technology partners:

F. Send Us Your News Tips

Got news tips, research or data to share? Please email me the details.

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