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February 16, 2018
Sustainability meets business with supply chain lecture

Sustainability and business are often juxtaposed as two ideals on opposite sides of the spectrum. A robust attendance of campus and community members turned out to learn about this timely topic from Caitlin Clarke, Senior Fellow for Corporate Supply Chains at The Nature Conservancy, and Daniel Hutter, Chief Sustainability Officer for Spectrum Brands, Inc., two experts in sustainability management. Clark and Hutter were invited to speak about sustainable business practices at the “Sustainability, Supply Chains, and Earth Stewardship: Convergences and Conflicts,” lecture on Thursday, February 15, 2018.

Both Hutter and Clarke have extensive expertise finding solutions to solve large-scale environmental problems within corporate management. In addition to his sustainability role, Hutter is a member of Spectrum Brand’s legal team and brings 20 years of experience in corporate citizenship, international trade, government and regulatory affairs, and risk and compliance management. Clarke’s work focuses on finding ways to solve large-scale environmental problems by aligning corporate procurement decisions with the Conservancy’s long-standing expertise in land management and conservation science.

They both see a clear path for sustainability and conservation to direct successful business strategies. For Hutter, sustainability means doing things more efficiently, and doing things more efficiently means higher profits for the bottom line. Although he thinks sustainability and business are currently a bit at odds, he believes sustainability will be a catalyst for profit in the future.

“People want to know what’s in their product, people wants to know where their product came from and people want to know they’re not being greenwashed,” Hutter said. Greenwashing is the practice of promoting environmentally friendly programs to deflect attention from an organization's environmentally unfriendly or less savory activities.

Clarke was concerned with the system of consumer choices which ultimately lead to business models that aren’t friendly to the environment. She believes business leaders should look towards innovations that don’t involve selling more products, but rather increasing market place value. “We have an economy that is very much built on selling people more things all the time. I don’t think we can keep that up indefinitely,” Clarke said.

The public event was hosted in partnership with the Wisconsin School of Business Grainger Center for Supply Chain Management. Paul Robbins, Director of the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, and Jake Dean, Director, Grainger Center for Supply Chain Management, Wisconsin School of Business, served as co-moderators.

February 15, 2018
Holloway Receives Award for Mentoring Undergraduates in Research, Scholarly and Creative Activities

Professor Tracey Holloway has been selected to receive the UW's 5th Annual Award for Mentoring Undergraduates in Research, Scholarly and Creative Activities. The award consists of a certificate, recognition at the Friends and Family reception, and $2,000 of university expendable funds for professional activities. A large number of very strong nominations were received and only a small percentage of nominees will receive awards. Congratulations, Tracey!

 

January 29, 2018
Gibbs Publishes Paper in Nature Climate Change

A major reduction in global deforestation is needed to mitigate climate change and biodiversity loss. Recent private sector commitments aim to eliminate deforestation from a company’s operations or supply chain, but they fall short on several fronts. Company pledges vary in the degree to which they include time-bound interventions with clear definitions and criteria to achieve verifiable outcomes. Zero-deforestation policies by companies may be insufficient to achieve broader impact on their own due to leakage, lack of transparency and traceability, selective adoption and smallholder marginalization. Public–private policy mixes are needed to increase the effectiveness of supply-chain initiatives that aim to reduce deforestation. We review current supply-chain initiatives, their effectiveness, and the challenges they face, and go on to identify knowledge gaps for complementary public–private policies.

 

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January 13, 2018
Jonathan Patz Delivers TEDx Oshkosh Talk "Climate Change is Affecting Our Health. Is There a Cure?"

Public health is being impacted by climate change via many pathways - from alterations in infectious disease transmission to water-source compromise, malnutrition, air pollution, and other factors. This talk includes recent analyses that show how mitigating global warming provides extensive health opportunities, as well as major savings in healthcare costs.

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December 11, 2017
New Gibbs Paper Published

UW professor of Geography and Environmental Studies, Holly Gibbs, co-authored a new study published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences provides novel insight into how voluntary corporate sustainability policies can conserve tropical forests. The study’s authors estimate that sustainability certification by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO)significantly reduced deforestation in Indonesian plantations — but that the actual area conserved was surprisingly small. These findings demonstrate the potential value of certification as a tool for conservation, while highlighting what changes are necessary to improve on-the-ground impacts.

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November 29, 2017
Congratulations to SAGE's Newest PhD, Dr. Tyler Lark!

Tyler's advisor is Professor Holly Gibbs. 

November 22, 2017
Tyler Lark's PhD Defense on Wed, Nov 29: AMERICA'S FOOD- and FUEL-SCAPES

 

Please join us for Tyler Lark’s exit seminar next Wednesday at 1:30pm in room 1115 of the Wisconsin Energy Institute (1552 University Ave., Madison WI).  Tyler  is a PhD candidate in the Nelson Institute’s Environment and Resources graduate program.
 
The title of his presentation is “America’s Food- and Fuel-scapes: Agricultural Land-Use Change Across the United States”.  
The talk should be of interest to anyone curious about land conservation, biofuels, or US agricultural policy.  
A sneak peek is available here.

 

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November 15, 2017
Seth Spawn Presents New Research at the 2017 America's Grassland Conference

GLUE researcher Seth Spawn presents new research at the 2017 America's Grassland Conference, where he and Tyler Lark participated in press event with the president of the National Wildlife Federation about their work tracking cropland expansion and carbon emissions.  Read the summary of the preliminary results here and see map of results here.  

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