Water testing group, Alpha-Screen Wins $25,000 Sabin Prize

photo (2)The four teams waited anxiously. They had spent months preparing for today, beating out 12 other teams for the chance to present. Standing in front of an audience of peers, faculty, and a panel of investment experts, the teams pitched their ideas for new sustainable ventures, hoping to walk away with 2014′s $25,000 Sabin Sustainability Venture Prize.

sabinAfter careful deliberation, the panel, made up of authorities from real estate (Dan Emmett), green banks (Bryan Garcia), venture capital (Rosemary Ripley), philanthropy (Sabin Prize donor Andrew Sabin), and entrepreneurship (Kyle Jensen), announced that, by a vote of 3-2, water testing team Alpha-Screen had won their support.

The winning idea:

Alpha-Screen: Led by Yale Ph.D candidate Monika Weber, MBA/Ph.D candidate Seyla Azoz, and MBA candidate Anthony Lynn, the Alpha-Screen team is developing a portable device designed to radically improve our ability to test for environmental contaminants in water and blood. Right now, it takes multiple days for water samples to come back from a lab. Armed with patented chip technology developed at Yale, the Alpha-Screen team brings that timeframe down to 30 minutes while improving accuracy, sensitivity, user-friendliness, and portability. As recipients of over $4 million to date, Weber and her team now seek an additional $400,000 in funding to transform their ideas into a testable handheld prototype.

The other finalists: Continue reading

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Still looking for a great summer opportunity?

CBEY is excited to be offering a number of opportunities this year for summer internships linked to our programs at the intersection of business and the environment.

In 2014, we launched two new partnerships to create bespoke opportunities for Yale students.

  • For students interested to gain international experience, we have developed a partnership with WWF for students to work with WWF’s Asia Pacific Growth Strategy team on corporate engagement programs to advance conservation goals, as well as innovation programs such as Payments for Ecosystem Services. In 2014, placements will be based with WWF China, WWF Singapore, WWF Mongolia and WWF Vietnam.
  • In collaboration with the Center for Industrial Ecology at Yale and the Alcoa Foundation, we have established the “Alcoa Fellowship – Leadership in Municipal Recycling”. With up to 4 summer interns placed with the City of Austin and City of Boston, the Fellowship aims to study and enhance municipal recycling programs across the United States, with a particular focus on building capacity around best practices and effective implementation.

For Yale students who are looking to stay closer to home, we also have some exciting opportunities linked to leading-edge research programs:

  • Supporting a three-year, Department of Energy-funded research project on the Diffusion of Solar Technology, interns will join a team of CBEY research assistants working with Professor Kenneth Gillingham and project partners at NYU, The Clean Energy Finance and Investment Authority (CEFIA), and SmartPower. This major research initiative, entitled “The Influence of Novel Behavioral Strategies in Promoting the Diffusion of Solar Energy” is examining community based marketing approaches for solar across a number of Connecticut towns in coordination the Solarize CT (www.SolarizeCT.com) program.
  • Data-Driven Measurement of Corporate Sustainability: Under the guidance of Professor Dan Esty and David Lubin, research assistants will help scope and research a new framework for understanding corporate sustainability . With the limitations of the existing structure of sustainability metrics in mind, this project aims to develop and test a new framework for measuring corporate sustainability in ways that will demonstrate the “materiality” of this agenda to the investor community. The initial phase of the project will focus on the electricity utility industry within the United States. 

If you are interested to apply for any of the open positions listed below, and would like further information, please contact Jennifer.OldhamRogan@yale.edu or Stuart.DeCew@yale.edu at the Center for Business and the Environment.

  • WWF Mongolia – 6 weeks internship
  • WWF Vietnam – 10 weeks internship
  • Diffusion of Solar Technology  -  CBEY Research Assistants, 10-12 weeks.
  • Data-Driven Measurement of Corporate Sustainability – YCELP Research Assistants, 10 weeks
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New partnership expands Yale’s business and environment connections

Running a successful business is no easy feat. Tackling sustainability in a meaningful way can be a daunting task, and many think that accomplishing both is wishful thinking. Here at the Yale Center for Business and the Environment, we’re always seeking to find transformative, effective, and efficient ways to disprove those doubters and make sustainable business the norm.

l-r: Sir Peter Crane (Dean, Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies), Edward Snyder (Dean, Yale School of Management) and Peter Bakker (President, World Business Council for Sustainable Development) sign off on their exciting new venture.

l-r: Sir Peter Crane (Dean, Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies), Edward Snyder (Dean, Yale School of Management) and Peter Bakker (President, World Business Council for Sustainable Development) sign off on their exciting new venture.

This week, we’re thrilled to announce a new partnership that will help students and businesses tackle these challenges on a macro level. Together, the Yale School of Management, the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development have aligned to directly connect business leaders with future sustainability leaders of tomorrow. In addition to the natural synergies between the three organizations, the partnership’s impact is particularly poised to have meaningful impacts on business practices through the SOM-established 25-school-strong Global Network for Advanced Management.

According to Bakker, “the world needs action on sustainability issues, and more importantly, action that can be scaled up. We’re partnering with Yale University to better leverage the worlds of science and management schools to scale up ideas and create new ways of approaching how business can positively contribute to a sustainable future.”

The work is already getting started. Already in progress – an online course, Natural Capital: Risks and Opportunities in Global Resource Systems, taught by CBEY co-director Brad Gentry. Coming up – targeted internships and research opportunities for students interested in the connections between business and the environment, as well as workshops, curriculum development, and a speaker series drawing on the experiences of the CEOs who make up the WBCSD.

Learn more about Bakker’s vision for sustainable business development in his Yale Insights conversation. You can also view “The Path to Resilient Prosperity,” a discussion between Bakker, NRDC President Frances Beinecke, and GIST Advisory Founder and CEO Pavan Sukhdev, and keep an eye out for updates on upcoming partnership initiatives!


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A Splash of Beer, A Ripple of Awareness: Sustainability at New Belgium Brewing

by Ryan Withall

Jenn VervierJenn Vervier, Director of Strategy & Sustainability at New Belgium Brewing knows firsthand the potential craft beer has to create profound and lasting change. Since starting part-time on the bottling line more than twenty years ago as a graduate student, Jenn has gone on to serve as CFO, COO, and the company’s first Director of Strategy & Sustainability. She spearheaded the development of the brewery’s sustainability management system and has pushed for greater advocacy for environmental regulation. Jenn’s crusade at New Belgium focuses on overall business sustainability that, along with environmental initiatives, includes employee ownership, fair employment practices, and active engagement with suppliers, distributors, and the greater community. As Jenn would say, great beer is made by passionate and considerate people. By attracting customers to their product, New Belgium is hoping to turn the tide in the beer industry towards greater concern for the environment, the community, and for employees.

I got to sit down with Jenn to talk about New Belgium’s social and environmental leadership when she came to Yale to participate in the Yale Colloquium on Sustainability Marketing sponsored by Dekra. Here are some highlights of our conversation:

When your position was created at New Belgium, how did you go about developing a set of sustainability priorities and goals based on the company’s core values and beliefs?

In creating the Sustainability Management System we sat down and asked, “How does the brewing industry contribute to the world’s environmental woes, and how can we help change the industry?” Through our conversation we identified the areas we wanted to focus on; water stewardship, carbon and climate change, waste, and, also very importantly, advocacy. When we looked at the possibilities at the time, we thought, “Even if we became a net-zero brewery in water use, waste, and energy, would the world be so much better off?” While we are the third largest craft brewery in the country, we are still a small player on the scene. And that’s when the value of our brand became very apparent to us. We realized we could use our brand awareness to turn the little splash we create when we operate according to our values into a ripple, raising awareness around the issues, and highlighting what people can do to tackle those issues.

Sustainability is a theme that seems to come up very often in the craft brewing industry. What is it about beer making that leads to such awareness and concern for environmental issues?

Continue reading

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FES students take top DOE Better Buildings honors for 2nd year in a row

Ken Shipp/DOE PhotoMore good news from Yale students! Just weeks after their fellow Yalies garnered a spot in the Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon, fellow FES students won Duke’s inaugural Energy in Emerging Markets case competition, two teams of FES students came away with wins at the DOE Better Buildings Case Competition in Washington, D.C. While most students were enjoying exotic spring break vacations, the two teams went head to head with other schools on the subjects of energy use in public buildings and utility solar investment strategies.
Team members included: CBEY research assistants Emily Greenlee (MEM ’14), HilaryKen Shipp/DOE Photo Staver (MESc ’14), Rob Youngs (MEM ’15), Marley Urdanick (MEM ’15), Benjamin Butterworth (MEM ’14), as well as FES students Truman Mak (MEM ’14), Michael Brod (MEM ’14), Jorge Enrique Lopez (MEM ’15), Robert Orvis (MEM ’14), and Simon Gore (MEM ’15). This is the second year in a row that FES teams have won the national contest.



Read more about their experience on the FES blog.

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