Associations Raise the Bar for Sustainability

Boost renewable energy; every bottle recycled; zero-emission government cars; supporting global goals; 1 million bison; modern energy; sustainable showers; more solar by 2030; carbon-neutral flights.

Clearing a Path to Clean Energy

Sustainability • Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance

More than 300 companies—including Facebook, General Motors, Walmart, and Google—joined the Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance to make it easier for them to buy renewable energy. They aim to overcome built-in barriers that prevent direct access to different sources of energy.

REBA Board Chair Michael Terrell, the head of Google’s energy market strategy, says, “Every enterprise—whether it’s a bakery, a big-box retailer, or a data center—should have an easy and direct path to buy clean energy.”

REBA comprises large clean-energy buyers, energy providers, service providers, and others that are unlocking the marketplace for all nonresidential energy buyers to lead a rapid transition to a cleaner, prosperous, zero-carbon energy future.

The new organization builds on a prior group that included the Rocky Mountain Institute and World Wildlife Fund. With its reboot, the alliance hopes to launch 60 gigawatts of new renewable energy resources by 2025. — Lisa Boylan


Every Bottle Back

Sustainability • American Beverage Association

Plastic beverage bottles are designed to be 100 recyclable, even their caps, says the American Beverage Association. But only about a third of plastic bottles produced in the U.S. get recycled.

ABA’s Every Bottle Back initiative has a lofty goal: for every plastic bottle to become a new bottle—and not end up in oceans, rivers, beaches, and landfills. Along with building public awareness, the $100 million campaign is investing in modernizing recycling infrastructure and making it more widely available.

“Every Bottle Back will ensure that our plastic bottles are recovered after use and remade into new bottles, so we can reduce the amount of new plastic used to bring our beverages to market,” says ABA President and CEO Katherine Lugar. “This is an important step for our industry, and it builds on our ongoing commitment to protecting the environment for generations to come.” — Samantha Whitehorne

Getting to Zero

Sustainability • National Conference of State Fleet Administrators

The National Conference of State Fleet Administrators is spearheading a seismic shift in helping state government vehicle fleets become completely sustainable by employing only zero-emission vehicles, which will drastically reduce the states’ carbon footprints.

“This is the first step in the transportation industry really becoming serious about zero-emission vehicles,” says NCSFA Executive Director Tommy Morrison. The organization is partnering with the National Governors Association and other stakeholders to realize the goal of helping each state transform its fleet to sustainable energy.

Morrison says, “It’s the future of our environment. It’s what our kids will inherit. If NCSFA can play a small role in ensuring a cleaner future for our kids—one where state governments have more funds to put toward key areas that do not include internal-combustion-engine vehicles—then our states are going to be better.” — Lisa Boylan

(Talaj/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Supporting Global Goals

Sustainability • Project Management Institute

In 2015, the United Nations adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which includes 17 Sustainable Development Goals addressing major global challenges from poverty and inequality to climate change, education, and peace. The goals are ambitious, and “effective project management, led by [Project Management Institute] members and volunteers, will be critical to delivering successful outcomes,” says Michael Carvill, director of brand at PMI.

One measure of its members’ commitment to that work is their participation in PMI’s Global Celebration of Service in support of the Sustainable Development Goals. Last year, PMI members pledged more than 150,000 hours of service to local nongovernmental organizations around the world.

“Whether that’s helping to reverse climate change, transitioning organizations—or whole countries—to renewable energy, or building more sustainable cities, the members we serve will be at the forefront of helping to make new, innovative ideas that can dramatically improve the world we live in a reality,” Carvill says. — Julie Shoop

Return of the Bison

Sustainability • National Bison Association

Bison once roamed nearly all of North America, numbering in the tens of millions. But at the turn of the 20th century, there were fewer than 1,000.

In 2017, even though that number had grown to 391,000, the National Bison Association set an ambitious goal to increase the North American bison population to 1 million by 2027.

According to NBA, accomplishing the goal will require a collaborative commitment among private ranchers, public herd managers, tribal leaders, First Nations communities, conservationists, government agencies, and other stakeholders in the United States and Canada. Three years in, the group is making steady progress, with 500,000 bison currently on North American lands. — Samantha Whitehorne

Modern Energy

Sustainability • Smart Electric Power Alliance

The Smart Electric Power Alliance is one of four organizations selected by the U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative to lead an effort called Orange Button, which will streamline the way the solar industry establishes and manages data.

“The world has benefited immensely from declining solar costs, which includes technology advancements, new innovative business models, and lowered soft costs such as standardized formats and standards for data sharing. SEPA will continue working collaboratively with our members and industry to facilitate a smart transition to a clean and modern energy future for all,” says Ben Ealey, SEPA’s principal of grid integration. — Lisa Boylan

(Angelo Cavalli/Stone)

Sustainable Showers

Sustainability • Seattle Hotel Association

The next time you stay in a Seattle hotel, a few things are likely to be missing. Among them: single-use plastic bottles in guest room showers. In January, the Seattle Hotel Association announced an initiative to replace single-use containers with larger-format dispensers. A quarter of SHA’s 80 members have already converted, with all expected to meet the goal by the end of 2021.

“We believe our guests and associates appreciate these waste-reducing efforts, and every change sends a powerful message of how every individual can do their part to support sustainability,” says SHA President Sean O’Rourke. — Samantha Whitehorne

(Steven Puetzer/The Image Bank)

The Solar+ Decade

Sustainability • Solar Energy Industries Association

The Solar Energy Industries Association wants solar power to reach 20 percent of all U.S. electricity generation by 2030 and named the 2020s the “Solar+ Decade.” SEIA hopes that by 2030, the industry will double the U.S. solar workforce, add $345 billion in private investment, and offset electricity sector emissions by 35 percent.

“We are excited to work with anyone who shares our vision for job-creating, equitable, climate-conscious, economy-building energy policies that will lead us through the Solar+ Decade and to a new energy paradigm for our nation and the world,” says Abigail Ross Hopper, SEIA’s president and CEO. — Lisa Boylan

Low-Carbon Flight

Sustainability • International Air Transport Association

Last December, the International Air Transport Association published data showing that carbon emissions from air travel and transport had decreased by 50 percent per passenger since 1980.

The COVID-19 crisis has not dampened IATA’s resolve to push further. “We plan to achieve carbon neutral growth by 2021 and halve emissions from 2005 levels by 2050,”says Michael Gill, IATA director of aviation environment.

The industry has already exceeded its 2020 goal for fuel efficiency improvement, IATA says, and carriers are investing in new technologies, including the development of low-carbon fuels. IATA is counting on these innovations, along with infrastructure improvements like updated air traffic management systems, to help it achieve its 2050 goal. — Rasheeda Childress

The National Conference of State Fleet Administrators aims to go zero-emission in the near-future. (boonchai wedmakawand/Moment)

Associations Now Staff

By Associations Now Staff

The Associations Now team of editors covers all aspects of association management in print, blogs, and daily news. MORE

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