Trendster: Smart Receipts and Sustainable Shopping

What if, with every purchase you made, you got a receipt indicating not just the price you paid, but the energy that was used to get that product to you? Chirayu Belthur, senior analyst at Ugam Solutions, in conjunction with SUMANI’s own Aksheya Chandar, briefs us on an emerging concept in retail analytics.

On her way back from work at a consulting firm in New York City, Lisa decides to swing by the nearby Walmart in North Bergen to pick up groceries for the family as well as cup of yogurt on the go. She swipes her credit card for $48 and heads on home, happy that she was able to make the most of the everyday low price deals. But does $48 account for everything Lisa and her family have consumed?

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Trendster: Big Data and Sustainability

Decision Scientist and current SUMA student Aksheya Chandar sheds light on the connection between massive data sets and sustainable development in business and beyond.

Sustainability entails decisions that are socially, environmentally and economically equitable. This isn’t a new concept, but rather a different way of approaching traditional decision making at the residential, commercial, industrial, and political levels. Once we are able to appreciate this fact, it naturally follows that information is critical to enabling sustainability in the same way it has traditionally been used for decision-making. The question then is- what information is required for sustainable development and where is it available?

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Messages from our departing Board Members

At the end of this semester, the SUMANI Board will have a “changing of the guard”, as certain members of the Board will be graduating, and a sincere and hardy “CONGRATULATIONS!” to them. Here they have remarks about their SUMA Net Impact experience and remind all of you that SUMANI Board Applications are out! For more information, join us Wednesday, 11/09 at 12 noon in Nous Espresso bar in Philosophy Hall for a casual, informational meeting.

From outgoing SUMANI President, Avantika Goswami

In my role on the SUMANI Board, some of my main duties were 1) strategizing and planning with the team for each semester (Spring/Summer/Fall), 2) playing an active role in taking key ideas to varied stakeholders (at the Earth Institute, Net Impact, other Columbia bodies and beyond to develop mutually beneficial partnerships, 3) coordinating the Board’s activities and ensuring that our initiatives are moving along as planned, being communicated widely and given sufficient visibility.

This 12-month experience has been special to me for many reasons. Continue reading “Messages from our departing Board Members”

SUMANI Trendster: Interview with James Robinson of GI Energy

James Robinson spoke with SUMANI about his road to and through the MS Sustainability Management Program at Columbia and how it has helped him in his current role at GI Energy, and his blog can be read here.

What is your academic/professional background?

I graduated from Johns Hopkins University in 2010 after completing a 5 year bachelor’s/master’s degree in Chemical Engineering and Environmental Engineering.  My focus was on water and wastewater treatment.  After graduation, I moved down to North Carolina and worked briefly for the EPA as a pre-doctorate fellow.  I decided that the academic life wasn’t for me, so I changed jobs and worked for almost 3 years for a startup in the wastewater treatment equipment supply business, Entex Technologies.

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SUMANI Trendster: Editor’s Note

To SUMANI Readers

Last week, SUMANI hosted David McConville of the Buckminster Fuller Institute on campus for a workshop in Systems Thinking. It was an enlightening and evocative two hours that reminded us of how far human scientific knowledge has advanced, but also how far off it still is from answering our questions to the big, global issues that challenge us.

This morning, Earth Institute Executive Director, Steve Cohen, addressed the pressing need for movement on climate change adaption in his blog on the Huffington Post.

In this time of midterms, holiday season anxiety creep, changing weather, and the last tortuous weeks of a hellish U.S. Election, it’s normal to rub one’s eyes and pull one’s hair, hit the snooze button and surrender. Continue reading “SUMANI Trendster: Editor’s Note”

SUMANI Trendster: A Push for a Sustainable Aviation Industry

President of Alternative Aviation Fuels, LLC and SUMA Student, Michel Delafontaine, writes about the latest international movement on sustainability in a growing market: commercial aviation.

In 2008, the European Commission initiated an emission trading system (EU ETS) for the 28 EU members plus Iceland, Lichtenstein and Norway[1].

The initiative would impose the ETS to all flights originating in or landing in the European Economic Area, legislation that applied to EU and non-EU airlines alike. This regulation was rejected by non-EU members and the EU had to suspend the ETS in 2012 to allow for the international community to negotiate a new agreement.

After years of international haggling, the new agreement was recently passed.

Continue reading “SUMANI Trendster: A Push for a Sustainable Aviation Industry”