Recent crisis in Africa about food and population raises the question about sustainable agriculture.
But what is it and how innovation can help ? Quick overview.
Sustainable agriculture integrates three main goals--environmental health, economic profitability, and social and economic equity.
A/ Plant Production Practices: Selection of species and varieties that are well suited to the site and to conditions on the farm; Diversification of crops (including livestock) and cultural practices to enhance the biological and economic stability of the farm; Management of the soil to enhance and protect soil quality;
B/ Efficient use of inputs. The goal is to develop efficient, biological systems which do not need high levels of material inputs.
C/ Animal Production Practices: Animal Selection, Animal nutrition. Reproduction. Grazing Management.
What will life be like in the 2050s? How we will use and value water?
I recently read a very interesting study about water demand in the 2050s.
What interested me was the prospective approach, based on scenarios, mixing quantitative and qualitative hypothesis.
When thinking about the demand for water in the future we have to make assumptions about how people will live and work, the technology that will be available, how people will use their leisure time and how they’ll value the environment.
The study proposes four possible scenarios built around
two axes of uncertainty but extended out to the 2050s.
The simulation is based on 4 drivers :
- gouvernance : sustainability vs growth
- consumption patterns: dematerialised (services) vs products led consumption (resources)
Each scenario is supported by a narrative and a description of important areas such
as technology and the prevailing economic model. What interested me was the key issues ralated to social life and economic acceptance.
- societal inequality
- economic life increasingly challenging
- quality of service provision
Read the full study here : http://bit.ly/gEdsUk
I recently read an article from a global packaged goods company about the way they see their contribution in tackling climate change and enenhance sustainability. The main topics were about:
- Sustainable agriculture
- Eco efficiency in manufacturing
- Workplace impact
Very good approach, indeed, and with some many transversal impacts within any company. But what about the way the goods are purchased (including supply chain and retail) and also how they are used and recycled by the end customer ?
This leads to a global lifecycle approach to really evaluate its footprint ?
I've read, for example, that the carbon footprint of ice cream (only based on milk, excluding other ingredients) is 1.2-1.8 kg CO2 equivalent per litre and energy use is 5.8-10.5 MJ per litre. But what about storage at home in the fridge ?
Analysis and numbers are easy to rpduce, but we may try to give a real meaning to those figures in order to launch innovative programs. What do you think ?
Do you know this French website (and app) where you can learn more about impacts of 50,000 products based on environment/social/health assessments. Interesting rankings...
RTE, the French electricity transmission system operator, published today a report of electricity in France in 2012. Key findings are:
- Lower temperatures have led to higher consumptions in 2012, + 2,1% compared to 2011
- Industries have lower consumptions due to economic turndown
- SME: -1 %
- major acounts : -4%
- individuals : +2,4 %
- GEOGRAPHY: Various trends by regions. East is down to 4% and West up to 5% betwen 2006 and 2011
- PEAK date: 8 February 2012
- Renewable is around 14% of electricity generation
- Wind turbine fleet is 7 500 MW. +23%
- Solar panels: 3 500 MW +40%
- France is #1 in electricity export in west Europe
- France imports electricity from Germany, > 8 TWh
- Have you tried the mobile app that monitors energy production in France? here
Read the full presentation (in French) here
Customers engagement in the nuclear space: is a 2.0 approach a good solution ?
Nuclear industry faces great stakes. Public opinions are key and acceptance is now a critical point for any government to design a energy mix strategy.
In this "post Fukushima" context, communication and engagement with end customer is crucial.
This presentation I made explore some high level aspects of the subject and points out some tools to launch innovative strategies : can internet be a suitable media? Yes, it can help.
I was recently asked questions about the future of travels. Here are some thoughts.
What is the next thing that will change the travel experience?
I would name 3 key areas:
1/ Seamless digital experience
Travel time is sometimes seen as a wasted time.
Airports, taxis and hotels are discontinuities in my digital world.
The next think will be when the customer will experience a seamless digital experience from home to his destination.
On the other hand, there are emerging trends around "tech break" or "digital detox" in the travel experience :-)
2/ Tools to organise the travel
a) New tool will also help by bringing transparency to travel pricing,
b) at the airport: more services + Holographic airport staff
3/ faster and easier experience and ubiquitous check in process.
Personalisation essential to the future passenger experience
Passenger in any mode will require quicker process. This is where automation technologies can help. perators will have to redefine he notion of check-in = not any more an airport process. Same for baggages with home-printed bag tagging.
And you, what are your best travel experiences and expectations ?
Energy in 2050: trends, scenarios and ideas.
See below my recent presentation based on recent papers and article. Key things are :
Act on Both sides : supply and demand
Focus on sober homes and sober industries
Empower energy efficiency
Anticipate impacts of any policy or economic initiative on jobs, CO2 emissions, investment capabilities, balance of trade
Need for costs and prices transparency
Work at continent level (Europe)
Establish world standards for nuclear safety
Keep the doors opened and keep an eye on any trends and technologies. Meanwhile use current technologies to remain nimble + flexible to face demand.
Robotics are quickly becoming a normal part of our everyday life.
I had a recent discussion about robotics and new trends. It seems robots are more and more embebed in our environment and not sure we really are prepared to face these technologies.
First of all, what is a robot? It is a machine that can:
- sense the environment
- think about what to do
- execute an action in the real world
Example of existing and future robots:
- humanoïds robots
- automated cars
- consumers robotocs
- pets and toys
- smart environments
- Industrial robot as defined by ISO 8373: An automatically controlled, reprogrammable, multipurpose manipulator programmable in three or more axes, which may be either fixed in place or mobile for use in industrial automation applications.
- Service robot : a robot which operates semi- or fully autonomously to perform services useful to the well-being of humans and equipment, excluding manufacturing operations.
According to the International Federation of Robotics, the total number of professional service robots sold in 2010 rose by 4% compared to 2009 to 13,741 units. The value of sales increased by 15% to US$3.2 billion.
Smart homes and connected cities will bring on board more and more robots. You can re-read isaac asimov's "Robots" or get prepared to face these machines.
Start by watching this video :-)
Talking about sustainability and adoptions of innovations is all about Behaviour.
DECC has recently published a very interesting paper about ‘Energy Behaviour’ and how this can be impacted by public policies.
There are different Theories of ‘Energy Behaviour’
- Economic Theories: Energy is a commodity and consumers will adapt usage in response to price signals
- Psychological Theories: Energy use can be affected by stimulus-response mechanisms and by engaging attention
- Sociological Theories: Energy use is largely invisible, energy systems are complex, and daily practices are significant
- Educational Theories: Energy use is a skill that is learned through experience in specific situations
These four types of theories highlight how energy behaviour can be seen through very different lenses
According to the report, 4 possible ways in which it might be helpful to discriminate between behaviours are:
- The actors of the relevant behaviour and target of any policies may range from single individuals, families and households, small social networks, wider communities and so on, up to whole sectors of society.
- The scopes of behaviour of concern might range from isolated behaviours, to behaviours which structure or circumscribe subsequent behaviours, to interrelated or co-dependent behaviours, and so on, up to lifestyles as regularised patterns of behaviour. Do the means towards emission-reduction ends entail meat-free Fridays, vegetarianism, low impact living, or complete self-sufficiency?
- The durability of the behaviour relates to whether it is a “one-off” behaviour (such as getting loft-insulation fitted), through to repeated behaviours that require sustained policy intervention (such as the need to keep financial measures e.g. a congestion charge in place), to behaviours with successively less required reinforcement (short-term provision of a free bus pass in the anticipation that a new habit may form), and so on, up to enduring behaviours (routinely turning off lights or appliances when not in use).
- The domains of relevant behaviour refers to where the core target of change is thought to reside. Is the intention to simply change the way someone thinks or makes decisions, how the physically carry out a task, what equipment or technology they use to do something. Do the changes in behaviour rely on changes to institutions or infrastructures, or at scales of social, national or global? For example, might the aim of a policy be positive attitude formation towards substitutes for air travel, improved infrastructure for long-distance trains, or much wider reassessment of fashionable clothing that would permit lower internal building temperatures.
The paper describes a number of approaches to understanding human behaviour and social practices, particularly in the context of activities that have significant environmental impacts and, especially in the context of energy usage.
None of these approaches alone can provide a full and complete account of how and why people act as they do. It is unlikely that they can do this even if used together.
The challenge for the policy-maker is to use these ideas, theories, and tools to understand the behaviours of concern, and to help develop and implement effective, efficient and legitimate policies to change the way people do things.
Examples and more details => read full report here
Aircrafts, bridges, buildings, water networks, wind turbines, etc.
Here are some of the assets that could be affected by corrosion, leading to costly and severe damages.
- Did you know that in the US, there are 200,00 bridges built in steel and that approximately 15% are structurally deficient because of corroded steel and steel reinforcements?
- Did you know that the Navy spend billions every year just to mitigate corrosion impact on aircrafts?
- Did you know that coating techniques and maintenanceare critical in offshore wind energy projects?
I see 4 areas of investigation:
- design: how to take into account corrosion in asset lifcycle? example of Offshore Wind turbines.
- Finance: how to anticipate the cost and collateral impacts of corrosion (service disruption, pollution, accidsents, etc.)
- prevention : inspection techniques, no invasive inspections, modelling, sensors
- treatment : Coating techniques, repair planning, workforce skills
See below a short presentation about corrosion in 2 business areas: water networks and Wind turbines.
Happy to discuss and see where you see application in real life.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) published a study wich highlights these key figures about endangered species:
- 12% of the world’s 10 000 known bird species
- 23% of its 4 776 mammals,
- 46% of its fish,
- 33% of all reptiles
- 70% of all known plants.
- Humankind is the cause of 99% of these threats.
- Endangered species, according to IUCN
- 24 endangered species in 1975,
- 1000 in 1985
- 16 306 in 2007.
What can YOU do about this ? Any ideas ?
More? Visit http://www.iucn.org/
I was retently invited in a school in Wandsworth (London) to make a presentation about water. It is a bilingual class of Year 5. The conversation was in French.
What a huge suggest for kids of 9! I've tried to concentrate on the "big picture" : origin, usages.
Other issues such as drought and water pollution were also part of my presentation.
See my slides below. Happy to discuss.
As more and more studies show the emerging trend of new energy, I was recently thinking about HR impacts in utilities. From my past experience, it seems that energy companies are facing 3 main issues on the way to implementing the smarter energy paradigm.
- ageing workforce: In may utilities, more than 30% employees will retire in the next 8 years. Impacts go from knowledge management to talent management. These industries need to attract young people. As a consequence, a massive programme dedicated to campus and graduates is to be launch. Attractive? See here the list of the top 10 star employers in the UK. None from utilities...
- knowledge transfer and new skills: new energy, new technologies, new processes require new skills. Renewable, maintenance, IT, etc.
- health and safety: the utilities have an Accident rates are three to four times greater than the national average. The number of fatal incidents in the utilities is over five to ten times the national average.
- More stats about health and safety here.http://www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/index.htm
- Case study about safety at scottish Power: http://www.hse.gov.uk/comah/case-studies/case-study-scottish-power.pdf
- About ageing workforce here: The Employment Relations
Challenges of an Ageing Workforce
- Ageing workforce and consequences in general: http://www.ncl.ac.uk/nubs/assets/documents/events/new_perspectives_2.pdf
- Best place to work: survey 2012 here
France has launched many Green Taxation policies in order to support economy and tackle climate change. But is it always good, in the long term? Not sure...
I have read a recent evaluation paper based on green taxation on old cars.
Since January 2008, less polluting cars benefit from a price reduction of up to 1,000 euros, while the most polluting ones are subject to a taxation of 2,600 euros.
The author says "We show that if the shift towards classes benefiting from rebates is spectacular, the environmental impact of the policy is negative. The reform has notably increased sales, leading to an important increase in manufacturing and travelling emissions."
- the impact of the policy is much disappointing.
- such policies should be designed with care to achieve their primary goal.
Read the full paper here: http://bit.ly/yUgRTq
(French version: http://www.insee.fr/fr/ffc/iana/iana3/iana3.pdf)
Today, 18th of Octobre opens the tenth global biodiversity conference ata Nagoya (Japan). Representatives from governments around the world are meeting to agree how to tackle biodiversity loss, and to set biodiversity targets.
2010 is the international year of biodiversity. Did you know that ?
What can we do for biodiversity as an individual ?
Does it exist understandable, pragmatic and simple day to day actions to undertake now ?
Here are 9 things everyone of us can do to save biodiversity.
- Love the birds and the bugs : Put out food and water for garden birds. Let a bit of your garden grow wild and create your own wildlife haven Make or buy a bee box to help bees survive the winter
- Be Plant Wise: Choose pond plants with care – some can take over the pond. When you are clearing out old pond plants remember to compost them carefully – some can harm native species if thrown into rivers or waterways
- Shop and grow green. Use peat-free compost and green manures in your garden. Always buy fish or wood products from certified sustainable sources.
- Get involved with nature. Volunteer to improve your local environment: it’s fun, healthy and free. Find your local volunteer group and see what you can do.
- The Big Tidy Up :Help at a litter-pick event, or start your own litter collection group with family and friends.
- Count the birds and bees. Take part in a wildlife survey or citizen science project, there are lots of different types to do all year round.
- Explore the great outdoors. Enjoy the green spaces in your area; go for a walk in your local park or wood with friends and family, and see the best of autumn.
- Protect endangered plants and animals. Don’t buy gifts or souvenirs made from animals or plants as they could be from an endangered species
- Add your voice. Join or support an organisation working to protect wildlife and the natural environment by giving your time, or money to help their efforts.
More about 2010, year of biodiversity ? visit UN dedicated website:
To know about locl events click here