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As we briefly mentioned in this post, the Rio+20 climate summit being held in Rio de Janeiro is kicking off next week. A story from BusinessGreen looked at the upcoming Rio summit, reporting that nearly 7,000 companies worldwide have committed to infuse sustainability practices into their business models ahead of Rio+20. Based on the UN’s latest Annual Global Compact survey, this number is more than 50 percent greater than the number of committed companies in 2010. In addition to this growth, the UN’s report demonstrated that the number of companies filing progress reports as part of the commitment increased by 46 percent and that 70 percent of the new signatories are expected to follow through on their commitment to file these reports.
Also this week, a story in GreenBiz looked at the benefits linked to implementing energy efficient solutions at a large scale. Based on a report from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) report, the article relayed that by substituting 22 percent of the U.S.’ traditional energy consumption with more intelligent efficiency solutions like IT and communication technologies, the U.S. can minimize its carbon footprint and also drive significant cost savings. According to the story, three particular case studies – the Department of Defense, Opower, and a city-wide initiative in North Carolina – prove these possibilities as each expect to yield sizable differences in their bottom lines.
Finally, The Atlantic Cities explored the advent of the “meta-city,” which it described as a “networked urban world of smart infrastructure and ubiquitous data that could soon become the typical city experience.” Information technology and “big data” will play a key role in making these cities a reality, from helping a city manage its energy consumption to letting a person walking down the street look at a building and learn which offices are in it. Check out the video created by Urban Times and design mind and embedded in The Atlantic post, for their take on what a smart city of the future might look like.