Smarter urban planning, making ethics part of all curricula and corporate-government relations
The world’s cities are expanding. Today’s urban population of 3.6 billion is expected to hit six billion by 2050. Providing basic services will be critical if city life is to remain liveable. Businesses need functioning cities if they are to operate efficiently and grow. No one wants urban basket cases ‒ but that’s the way things are going in many parts of the world.
Governments lack the will, money and managerial skill to provide the smart sustainable solutions necessary. All eyes are turning to the private sector, which has the technology (or the innovative capacity to develop it) that’s required.
This fascinating paper draws attention to some of the most exciting company-led responses currently unfolding around the world, with particular focus on the fields of electricity, water and transportation. The most convincing examples are the business opportunities around resource efficiency.
Take demand-response contracting. All urban electricity providers struggle with demand spikes when heat waves hit. Building additional generating capacity just to cover these infrequent events is prohibitively expensive. Instead, intermediaries such as Boston-based EnerNOC are cutting deals with high-energy users to reduce their consumption at critical moments. The participants receive regular “commitment payments” and the utility avoids the need for expensive...