Greenland Enterprises is a strategic sustainability consulting and freelance services firm providing strategies and solutions for the unique social and environmental challenges of today’s world, helping organizations profit in their move towards sustainability.

See below for news, events, and announcements from Greenland Enterprises...

The Intentional Endowments Network

The Intentional Endowments Network has taken off -- growing in 18 months from an idea to an active community of learning and action made up of contributions from hundreds of participants.

We have hosted five major forums, and convened a Steering Committee of leaders from higher education, the investment industry, non-profits, and philanthropic organizations.

We have pulled together key reports and resources on financial performance, fiduciary duty, ESG integration, shareholder engagement, and more. We've also highlighted several examples of what campuses across the country are doing to more closely align their endowment investing practices with their institutional mission, values, and sustainability goals.

There is a sea change underway in terms of how endowments - and all institutional investors - think about the risks and opportunities that 21st century sustainability challenges present.


Journal of Cleaner Production article

For several years I had the privilege of working with amazing people at Second Nature, our partner organizations, and colleges and universities across the country to launch, grow, and support the American College & University Presidents' Climate Commitment (ACUPCC) -- now referred to as the Climate Commitment.

In August 2015, we published a case study looking at that initiative, and how it was informed by the Framework for Strategic Sustainable Development, in the Journal of Cleaner Production, titled:

In the article we explore how a common vision and a shared framework can promote collective leadership toward a sustainable future. 


Why Intentionally Designed Endowments Matter for Business

Head on over to to see my latest article titled:

Why intentionally designed endowments matter for business

March 19, 2015 

The Intentionally Designed Endowment

I am working with Second Nature and Hampshire College to host an event -- not quite a conference, but more of a participative stakeholder engagement gathering -- on the topic of endowment investment practices in April 2014.

We will be hosting about 100-150 college and university presidents, business officers, trustees, endowment managers, private foundation officers, investment professionals, and other key stakeholders.

While the movement encouraging endowments to divest from fossil fuel holdings is a strong driver of action in this space at the moment, this event will not be about divestment.  It will be a chance to learn about a range of investment strategies that can help institutions more closely align their investments with their values -- from positive or negative screening, to shareholder engagement or activism, integrating environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors, social finance, and more.

We have engaged a great group of advisors to serve as a Steering Committee for the event, and will have Bob Litterman, a risk expert and former Goldman Sachs partner provide a keynote.  We see this as an initial step in developing a broader initiative for fostering collaboration and action on effective, feasible and strategic approaches to responsible endowment investing.

Norway's International Climate & Forest Initiative

I spent the past week in New York and DC for a project I'm working on with Jonathan Lash, former president of the World Resources Institute.  We are conducting a strategic evaluation of Norway's International Climate and Forest Initiative (NICFI) for the Norwegian Government.

In 2007 at COP 13 in Bali, the Prime Minister of Norway made a big commitment to support the development of REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation).  Since then they've pledged $1B each to Indonesia and Brazil through pay-for-performance agreements where funds are provided for demonstrated emissions reductions. NICFI has also provided support for developing the REDD mechanism through multilateral organizations (UNEP and UNDP, World Bank) and other countries including Guyana, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Mexico, the DRC, and more. 

The following video provides a basic overview of the REDD mechanism. It's not without controversy, but an effective mechanism for protecting the world's great forests will have to be part of the climate solution.  Emissions from deforestation and forest degradation make up about 15% of global emissions; on the order of those from the entire transportation sector. Refining and improving the REDD mechanism could be the best way to do that. 

The Global Institute of Sustainability at Arizona State University

For the past few months Tony Cortese and I have been conducting a high-level assessment of the Global Institute of Sustainability (GIOS) at Arizona State University for its Board of Directors.

It's been about ten years since ASU's president Michael Crow and his team conceptualized GIOS, and the progress they've made since has been impressive.  I don't know of any other large university that is tackling the challenge of education for sustainability (EfS) in such a comprehensive way.

A few data points to highlight ASU's progress on EfS from their latest AASHE STARS report:

  • 5 sustainability degree programs
  • 33 departments offering sustainability courses
  • 101 departments engaged in sustainability research
  • 120 sustainability focused courses
  • 457 sustainability related courses
  • 762 faculty involved in sustainability research
As one of the largest universities in the US with more than 72,000 students, ASU is working at scale.

Financing the Future of Energy Efficiency Summit

I have been working with the Sustainable Endowments Institute in supporting the Billion Dollar Green Challenge for the past few months.  The BDGC is a national effort with the goal of having $1 billion cumulatively invested in campus Green Revolving Funds (GRFs) geared towards financing sustainability projects on campuses for projects related to energy efficiency, renewable energy, water conservation and the like.

Last week, we were at the University San Diego for the Financing the Future of Energy Efficiency Summit.  It was a great event, and an excellent venue for participants to learn from each other and the speakers.

To date, 39 colleges and universities have joined the BDGC, committing a total of $79 million to GRFs that will support their institutions for years to come.  The projects funded by these GRFs will provide solid financial returns to the institutions - the recently published "Greening the Bottom Line" report from SEI found that on average GRFs are realizing returns of 28%.

These projects will also help schools meet their sustainability goals, and perhaps most importantly make campuses living labs for sustainability -- providing students with valuable experiential education opportunities that will help them internalize sustainability concepts and practices, so they can apply them throughout their personal and professional lives.

With the fossil fuels divestment campaigns building steam across the country, the BDGC provides a very compelling alternative with multiple ancillary benefits for endowment managers looking for ways to get out of fossil fuel investments without sacrificing returns.