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Impact focus – Trends and technology that offer sustainable, breakthrough solutions

Shanghai, the world’s third-largest city, has been frantic about garbage sorting tips since July 1, when the so-called “strictest garbage regulation in the history” became law. It will soon spread to 45 other Chinese cities. 
Ethan Brown, the founder and CEO of Beyond Meat, does not seem fazed by intensifying competition in the plant-based industry, from either food tech startups or industry giants like Tyson Foods Inc. “Our biggest...
From waste-sorting robots to a 3-D food printing appliance that cuts waste, Closed Loop Partners is backing products that aim to redefine recycling. The investment firm’s driving force is Ron Gonen, who founded the company in 2014...
Many teachers around the country struggle to purchase a home. In wealthy districts where educators face expensive real estate options, the problems magnify.  In 50 of the country’s largest districts, it would take at...
Clean energy pundits vouch that solar power will eventually leave its dirtier counterpart -- coal -- in the dust.  But as it stands, dust is the solar industry’s biggest enemy. Urbanization,...
As the earth grows hotter, cities are trying to stay cooler -- and the solution so far has been to add more fossil-fuel burning air conditioners, and hasten global warming. This conundrum is perhaps...
The biggest opportunity in space travel may be in the smallest end of the market.  With its seventh successful rocket launch into low-Earth orbit last week, Rocket Lab -- which is billing itself as...
The electric motorcycle industry, mostly populated by startups so far, is getting new interest from old-guard manufacturers like BMW, which Tuesday unveiled its vision for an electric bike, the Motorrad Vision DC Roadster.  BMW,...
Billionaire investor Mark Cuban, who recently softened his diehard free market views of capitalism to make room for social consciousness, is investing $1 million in a company whose software is warning Syrian citizens of impending air raids.
A grim U.N. report detailing the effects of climate change on food production warns that without large-scale change, food across the globe will become scarcer, more expensive, and contain less nutritional value. To break...
Unilever, whose 400 brands range from Popsicles ice pops to Dove soap, is reviewing its product line with an eye toward selling those that don’t meet social impact standards. CEO Alan Jope saie on...
This week Amazon unveiled plans for a wind farm in Ireland and a solar project in the U.S., the latest steps by the technology giant in its goal of using 100% renewable power for its data centers....
Sound Businesses: Profiles of companies and business models we are keeping an eye on. Taranis combines military-grade optics with machine-learning imaging to provide farmers with millimeter-level insights into their fields, knowledge that can...
BlackRock’s fossil fuel investments cost its investors $90 billion in lost value and missed opportunities over the last decade, according to a report that gives support to social impact and sustainable-energy strategies. The world’s...
A report in the magazine Science this month made headlines around the world: planting one trillion trees might curb climate change. Less well-publicized are the growing number of companies, startups, funds and investors betting they can pair trees with profitability. That itself...
In a scene with echoes of the space race, American and Russian tech giants are competing to send cutting-edge technology to a tiny slice of real estate. This time, their aim is not to land a craft...
DoorDash overtook GrubHub as the top online food delivery company in the U.S. amid accusations from restaurants that DoorDash didn’t get permission to post their menus or deliver their food to customers. DoorDash topped...
More than 600 million people in sub-Saharan Africa -- nearly half the continent’s population -- live off electrical grids. Yet tackling the problem has been challenged in part by financial institutions’ maintaining a high bar for lending...
The spark came when Rafael Jorda Siquier was still a teenager, in his first year at the Polytechnic University of Catalonia in Barcelona. With some friends, he had mounted a camera on a helium balloon and sent...
Regenerative farming –– using practices that refresh the soil in ways that fight the effects of climate change –– is gaining the attention of investors, who have poured about $47.5 billion in money and assets into the...
Uber earlier this month was reported to be adding financial services to its ride-hailing business and that it was hiring engineers with finance experience  in New York City. But the move may have...
As peas and soy, crickets and fungus are increasingly eyed as sustainable protein sources, a group of entrepreneurs is looking a little lower on the food chain -- at piles of waste. Sunflower tailings are among the...
With the increasing pace of natural disasters worldwide, the time is ripe for investors to act on climate change, according to Georgie Benardete, co-founder and CEO of Align17. Align17, a marketplace connecting private wealth...
When China banned the import of 24 types of solid waste last year, the action disrupted $5.6 billion in exports from the U.S. The ban also jumpstarted innovation in the U.S. waste management industry.
The next Beyond Meat success story could come from the fishing industry. As concerns grow about the cleanliness and sustainability of farm-grown fish, startups are employing stem cells and plants to create substitutes they...
Slavery in its modern forms like forced labor and debt servitude persist despite efforts to stamp them out. Despite a ban by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948, inadequate laws around the world fail to...
The fight against climate change may be collateral damage in the escalating trade war between the U.S. and China. If warming is going to be limited to 2 degrees Celsius or less, there will...
While political debates over climate change rage without apparent movement from either side, investors dealing in real estate are taking these risks more seriously. What’s driving these investors aren’t studies or scientific opinion. It’s more basic: a...
While 15-year-old Joshua Gao sees a future in his sound waves-based fire extinguishing company, many steps lie ahead before its ready for the market. Gao founded SAFE (Sound: The Alternative Fire Extinguisher) in 2018...
Amazon may be taking a huge step into India’s bustling food delivery market, seeking to improve its mixed record in deliveries. The largest online retailer is in talks to acquire Uber Eats’ operations in...
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