First Annual West Coast Summit: Women and Sustainability: Clean Tech’s Advantage for Growth

West Coast Summit – May 21, 2009

Hosted by Intel
Sponsors: Intel, HP, Adobe, Symantec, Applied Materials
Special Thanks to: Framework:CR, Steve Voien

Introduction & Welcome

Shelly Esque, Vice President, Intel, and WNSF Board Member, welcomed attendees. Kathy Robb, Partner, Environmental Practice, Hunton & Williams, and Chair, WNSF Board What is WNSF? WNSF = women + business + sustainability

  • Women in particular want to make a difference at work
    • Help business understand sustainability
    • Create business opportunities, contribute expertise
    • Help people connect
  • Broader value of WNSF: Cited valuable WNSF training programs such as in China for women entrepreneurs

Ann Goodman, Ph.D., WNSF Executive Director

  • Welcomed participants to first West Coast summit, thanked the sponsors, and, in particular, the Intel staff who worked for months to help put this event together – Shelly Esque, Suzanne Fallender, and Grace Davis
  • The goal of the WNSF’s first West Coast Summit is to zero in on the contributions the technology industry can make in advancing sustainability
  • The potential benefits we can help create are many, including: reducing carbon footprint, lowering energy costs, engaging employees, and enhancing company reputations
  • We gravitated to the topic of ‘clean tech’ for three reasons:
  • First, the West Coast has a record of and a vision for innovation in sustainability
  • Second, technology is a driver of the economy here; the industry is increasingly using its expertise to come up with sustainability solutions.
  • And third, clean tech is now becoming a key policy issue at the local, state, national and international levels.
  • So this combination of factors helped us home in on the theme of how ‘clean technology’ can help increase efficiency, reduce waste and boost productivity–not just in the Information, Communications and Technology (ICT) sector, but in others, too.
  • Our speakers–leading women in the technology industry–will address the challenges they face in implementing new clean technology operations, products and services.
  • We’ll also get some insights from a non-technology company on how it has used clean-tech measures to advance sustainability, as well as a representative from civil society.

Panel Discussion

Moderator: Dr. Goodman

  • Lorie Wigle, General Manager, Eco-Technology Program Office, Intel
  • Nancy Parmer, Senior Director of Sustainability, Customer Solutions Group, UPS
  • Mary Dent, General Counsel, SVB Financial Group
  • Bonnie Nixon, Director of Environmental Sustainability, HP
  • Margaret Bruce, Western Regional Director, The Climate Group, and board member, Sustainable Silicon Valley (nonprofits)

Ms. Goodman posed the following questions to the panelists:

1: How can technology in general–and clean-tech solutions in particular–help companies improve energy efficiency, reduce their carbon footprint, and achieve their larger sustainability goals?

Ms. Wigle: We take a team approach as to how products contribute to the environment
We talk about “sustainable manufacture and use”
Look at the entire product cycle
Our internal rule of thumb is 2%-98%

  • Studies from Gartner and the Climate Group showed that information and communications technologies contribute 2% of global CO2 emissions
  • Other industries account for the remaining 98%
  • Our role
    • How to optimize that 2%?
    • For example, reduce energy use in data centers
    • How do we use our 2% to benefit the 98%
    • We determined which industries emitted the most CO2
    • Three biggest: construction, manufacturing, transportation
    • Correlates with how much they spend on information and communications technology as a percent of revenue
    • Q: Does Intel place a special focus on these industries?
    • Intel is examining and working with partners to focus on those industries
  • Examples/opportunities
    • We see the potential to do 3-D simulations of prototypes for these industries–cuts energy/time spent on developing prototypes
    • Buildings are responsible for 70% of U.S. emissions
    • Design in air flow and sunlight
    • More efficient electricity delivery through the Intel Open Energy Initiative
    • As we build Smart Grid with $4B in Recovery and Reinvestment funding, help put infrastructure in place to make sure that money is well spent
    • We’re pushing for open architecture and standards to leave room to innovate

Ms. Nixon

  • 11 years at HP; in her most recent role, managed ethical sourcing
  • HP has become much bigger and more consumer focused since we purchased EDS, now we have 300K employees–we became a very large services operation, more along the lines of IBM
  • We do real research, some of it regionally customized
  • We are active in development of legislation
  • “We put the environment in a framework of ‘Our house, your house, our world”
  • Particularly in the last two years, we’re bringing out a lot of energy-efficiency products
  • We see our role as to help industry reduce impacts, e.g., dematerialization of newspapers * 30-70% of magazines and newspapers never get read–we have an initiative to digitalize these publications

Ms Dent

  • SVB Financial Group is primarily a commercial bank, focused on serving Silicon Valley and other entrepreneurial centers across the United States and abroad. SVB banks for 160-170 clean-tech companies
  • In addition to banking services, SVB sees an important legislative role for the private sector in turning policy from “Why we can’t do something, these are the problems” to “How can we make this happen?”

Ms. Parmer

  • One of our important roles is that when we identify energy saving-technologies we share them with our customers. We are seeing an increase in customers who benchmark what UPS is doing in the area of sustainability. Customers want to know their carbon footprint so they can set their baseline and identify ways to reduce their CO2 emissions

Ms. Bruce

  • The question for Sustainable Silicon Valley is how do we advance sustainability, how do we make improvements in critical issue areas, without command and control regulation?
  • With regard to The Climate Group, we have only a few years to beat climate change, and need to accelerate the process. It’s important to accelerate high-tech solutions, such as carbon capture and storage, solar, photovoltaics, and in particular how to make the Smart Grid work
  • We’re placing a big emphasis on Copenhagen. Also on legislation in the Midwest. We bring good news stories regarding the potential of clean-tech jobs

2: How can users, particularly those in non-tech industries, profit from clean-tech solutions? What are the potential benefits to the bottom line?

Ms. Nixon

  • For non-tech companies, these are some of the demands that clean-tech products can satisfy
    • How can we save variable energy costs–electricity and gas?
    • My data center is full up–how can I get more capacity out of it?
  • Many data centers are filled with unused capacity. Our paradigm shift–and this is pretty dramatic–is to move from the business of equipment sales into services, in which we own and manage all the equipment–servers, desktops, data centers–and use new security technology to protect data. This allows us to manage the entire center much more efficiently, reducing our footprint and that of our customers

Ms. Parmer

  • Clean tech has the potential to bring benefits to the bottom line. For example:
    • UPS has one of the largest alternative fuel vehicle fleets in the transportation sector. We have 1,819 AFVs in our network. In 2006 UPS purchased a hydraulic hybrid vehicle
    • How many of you have heard of our avoid-left-hand-turn policy? Our engineers figured out that if you avoid left turns and continue driving right in a looped pattern, you actually save time and fuel. This is part of a bigger software program developed by UPS called package flow technology, which maps the most fuel- efficient route for our drivers. Altogether, through this avoid-left-hand-turn policy we have saved 3 million gallons of fuel and reduced CO2 emissions by 32,000 metric tons in 2007. This is equivalent to removing 5,300 passenger cars from the road for a full year
    • We started installing Telematics technology in all of our new package cars. This technology draws a detailed picture of the drivers’ and package cars’ daily activities, from the number of times a package car moves in reverse to the amount of idle time. This technology has helped UPS reduce energy consumption and carbon impact by optimizing vehicle performance, fuel economy, improved maintenance, and optimized dispatch planning and driver routing to reduce overall driver miles
    • We understand the importance of fuel management and carbon efficiencies in today’s economy. In our engineering and automotive groups we have people that are dedicated to reducing carbon and improving fuel efficiencies. This is our commitment to a cleaner environment
    • In 1985 we made a decision to replace our 727s with the quieter and more fuel-efficient 757s. We retired our last 727 back in 2004. The 757s are 30% more fuel efficient than the 727s. LIDO is another technology UPS leverages to calculate the most efficient routes based on weather, winds, terrains, and other factors. LIDO was introduced in 2003 and has saved more than I million gallons of gasoline
    • We also use the continuous descent approach (CDA). Many airlines approach the airport taking a step approach. In order to reduce fuel emissions and noise, the CDA uses aircraft idle power for approaching the airport. The test data suggest that CDA reduces noise by 30% and nitrous-oxide emissions by 34% and saves 40-70 gallons of fuel per approach. UPS is awaiting FDA approval to implement this on a larger scale
    • Clean tech also creates opportunities for collaboration. We are a long time Charter Partner with the EPA Smart Way Program. In 2008, we won the Smart Way Environmental Excellence Award for conserving energy and lowering greenhouse gas emissions
    • UPS is also a member of Climate Leaders, an industry-government partnership that works with companies to develop comprehensive climate-change strategies. The companies commit to completing their greenhouse gas emissions inventory and setting greenhouse gas reduction strategies. If you would like to learn more about what UPS is doing, you can visit two websites: and

Ms Wigle

  • Whether it’s digitizing music or something else, clean tech can help us reinvent more and more of our daily life processes, allowing us to transform how we do things in ways that are more sustainable

Audience follow-up question: How do you deal with this tradeoff: That selling new products, even if they are more energy efficient, puts older equipment into landfills?

Response from Ms. Nixon:

  • We must all be clear that this is a journey. For example, we still need a device to connect to one another. Can we make it smaller and more efficient? Yes.
  • And the reality is that we’re a for-profit company – we’re going to go on selling things

Response from Ms. Wigle

  • A big focus for us is looking at the entire life cycle of a product. How do we optimize each stage?
  • One idea we had was: Why not have the equivalent of a “freshness date” on our products, when consumers might want to start thinking about whether it’s time to replace them?

NOTE: At about this point about 10 young women came into the room and sat down. Ms. Esque later told us that they had invited 15 women tech bloggers to join us, and that we were being blogged, twittered, and videoed

3: How can clean technologies boost economic recovery locally, regionally, and globally?

Ms. Bruce

  • Clean tech can boost economies from the local to national level. But I’m concerned that huge expectations are being placed on clean tech to save the planet. It’s a tall order for a young industry in which the different technologies aren’t fully differentiated. Is it going to be nuclear or clean coal?
  • How are we going to use our new understanding of what wasn’t clean tech and what is clean tech to create solutions from the local to national level?
  • How do we transform into more of an “eco-society”, in which we use more data and less stuff?
  • How do we use cloud computing to reduce the need for more computers?
  • There are some basic logistics and infrastructure questions. For example, San Jose (California) has a goal of having the equivalent of 100% of the city’s electricity come from clean, renewable energy. One goal for achieving this is to encourage the installation of 100,000 solar systems over the next 15 years (see San Jose Green Vision document for details). Fifty-two weeks per year = 780 weeks, which means 128 systems permitted and installed every week. There’s not enough capacity to do that (systems, installers, etc). What about the permit staff? There aren’t enough people to permit these projects
  • Yes, clean tech can boost economies so long as we recognize there are many steps along the way. And that companies need to be at the policy table to make sure this is done right
  • There are global challenges as well. There’s a huge push in China to develop solar production, but in the rush to do this toxic chemicals are being dumped on the land that are killing people, while we congratulate ourselves that we’ve bought our solar panels. One of the ways governments can help is to set and uphold baseline standards in these areas

Audience Question (Posed by a recent graduate who earned a Masters in Environmental Science): How do you deal with NGOs who think companies are the bad guys? A lot of my grad student buddies can’t believe I went into the private sector

Ms. Parmer

  • Measurement is critical. When you create a baseline, and can then demonstrate reductions in energy use, for example, that helps

Ms. Bruce

  • Transparency is important

Ms. Nixon

  • I started out as an activist many years ago. At some point you must be willing to go into the mouth of the lion – no one is evil in these corporations. laughter in the audience; Ms. Nixon also begins to laugh Oh, you know, some may be evil. But it’s phenomenal how much we can accomplish from the inside.

4: What are some new opportunities related to policy efforts underway that may be available to companies?

Ms. Wigle

  • In the private sector, we get the biggest wins when we go on the offensive, apply our tech understanding to identify which actions will have the biggest impact. We’re in a unique situation to do that, then to work with governments to create good policies

Ms. Dent

  • I think we have to step back and think about what the long-term role of the government is in clean tech, not just what it’s going to do in the next several years with the Economic Recovery and Reinvestment Act. What’s the government’s role for the next 20-30 years? There’s just not enough discussion about that
    • Looking at important policies, certainly cap and trade is important. But there are myriad ways the government is involved. For example, is the government using its purchasing power in a way that will help develop clean technologies?
    • China is putting enormous resources into clean technology, and into integrating clean tech into overall economic development–serving as both funder and consumer
    • What about the role of tax incentives? One problem is that Congress typically only authorizes tax credits over five years. There’s no certainty that these credits will be there for the long term
    • Can we create better collaborations between government and universities? Can the government help new technologies get over the “valley of death” and reach the scale where they can get commercial funding?
  • In Europe, for example, the governments (through high prices) create a market in which consumers are driven to move more rapidly toward alternative/reduced fuel consumption cars, which spurs the development of leading edge technologies

Audience question: How do you get employees educated and involved in sustainability?

Ms. Wigle

  • Intel has established environmental metrics as part of people’s bonus. People are rewarded for developing sustainable products and actions in the workplace. Employees also receive recognition, which is a big motivator

Ms. Nixon

  • HP has had employee sustainability chapters for a long time that look at multiple areas of sustainability. We also look at what employees do at home to reduce impacts
  • What can we do at the facility level? In our Corvallis, Oregon, facility, for example, the engineers worked with the IT people to put in clean-tech controls to manage HVAC. In San Diego, it was solar. The engineers especially get very excited about this stuff
  • How do we develop processes and products to bring to market?
  • How do we impact the world in a better way? Through volunteerism, social investment, promoting digital lifestyles versus cutting down trees?

5: How can women get more involved in this field?

Audience elaboration: How do we get the board asking the big questions? One of the biggest forces for change, according to a new study, is women in the boardroom

Ms. Nixon

  • I have a sense of urgency about this and see my role as a catalyst

Ms. Parmer

  • Women can take more of a leadership role in this evolving field. In general women are not only multidimensional but also multigenerational. On our sustainability committees, 60% are women. We understand the importance of pushing forward

Ms. Dent

  • I don’t agree as much regarding the difference in genders. The question is to stimulate action. Whether it’s women, men, young or old, all have the ability to contribute. How can we collectively find solutions?

Attendees then discussed the same questions in small groups, later reconvening to hear the Keynote address.

Keynote highlights Mary D. Nichols, Chairman
California Air Resources Board

  1. Women are uniquely skilled to help organizations address sustainability challenges. And in this exciting time–with far-reaching implications for how companies position themselves to take on such challenges–many of the decisions that business takes rest on women’s shoulders.
  2. California is leading the way on environmental issues such as emissions and climate change. And with the Obama Administration’s position on environmental leadership–that industry and government can work together to protect the environment while positively affecting job growth and the economy–California business, the technology industry in particular, can find innovative ways to lead positive environmental change.
  3. California is providing a model for the new green economy, transforming how we produce and consume energy and control and reduce emissions and spurring clean-tech investment. And you, California businesses, are the state’s essential partners.
  4. By joining California on the ground floor of this effort you will not only enjoy an early jump on opportunity, you will align your reputation with California’s.
  5. The state of California is helping small businesses reduce their energy use and will continue to do so. California could get as much as $50 billion of the ARRA funds to help small businesses reduce their energy use.
  6. Energy efficiency is key to reducing energy use and greenhouse gas emissions. ARB has produced a toolkit to help small business reduce their carbon footprint and save money. See ARB is also considering a similar toolkit for local governments.
  7. Cap and trade is a business opportunity. Companies that can figure out a way to cost-effectively give people the things they need and want, with the lowest overall life-cycle impact on the climate, will be the winners in this new economy.
  8. We all have a role to play in the transformation to a clean energy future. Leaders like you will be integral to leading us into a more sustainable future.
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