Energy

49 Results

 

The Business of Climate Change

What is the role of business and its leaders in creating positive climate change? In the middle of Climate Week, Six Harvard Business School faculty provide different perspectives. Closed for comment; 4 Comments posted.

The ABCs of Addressing Climate Change (From a Business Perspective)

How can business leaders cut through the noise and actively address climate change from an economic perspective? John Macomber proposes a list of ABCs. Closed for comment; 0 Comments posted.

Stop Thinking of Climate Change as a Religious or Political Issue

Private and public innovation around cleaning up our environment will be motivated only if prices reflect the true state of the world, says Forest Reinhardt. Open for comment; 1 Comment posted.

Tackling Climate Change Will Cost Less Than We Think

Yes, addressing climate change will be expensive, but not nearly as much as the costs of delaying action, argues Rebecca Henderson. Open for comment; 6 Comments posted.

The Climate Needs Aggressive CEO Leadership

History will judge CEOs not just on their stewardship of firm growth, but also on whether they effectively used their clout to address one of the greatest societal challenges of our time, say Michael Toffel and Auden Schendler. Open for comment; 3 Comments posted.

Take a Trim Tab Approach to Climate Change

Often depicted as greedy and shortsighted, business leaders face a crucial opportunity on the issue of climate change to change that perception, says Amy Edmondson. Open for comment; 1 Comment posted.

We Need a Miracle. New Nuclear Might Provide it.

New nuclear power technology could be the miracle we need to combat dangerous carbon emissions, says Joe Lassiter. Open for comment; 5 Comments posted.

Learning From Japan’s Remarkable Disaster Recovery

Harvard Business School students make an annual trek to businesses in the Japanese area wrecked by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. Their objectives: learn all they can about human resilience and share their own management knowledge. Closed for comment; 0 Comments posted.

When Do Alliances Make Sense?

Analyzing drilling leases in the Gulf of Mexico, John Beshears explores a question as old as business itself: When does it pay to make an alliance? Open for comment; 2 Comments posted.

Response to Readers: Combating Climate Change with Nuclear Power and Fracking

Following a contentious online debate, Professor Joe Lassiter expands his argument that nuclear power and fracking are the lesser evils when stacked up against coal power, and presents a way forward. Open for comment; 4 Comments posted.

The Case for Combating Climate Change with Nuclear Power and Fracking

Joseph B. Lassiter explains why he believes that nuclear power and shale gas are on the right side of the fight against climate change, and why markets have a better shot at winning the fight than governments do. Closed for comment; 18 Comments posted.

From Green Users to Green Voters

Does the diffusion of technology affect voting patterns? Technology is usually not aligned with a specific ideology or political party. Indeed, to the extent that technology raises living standards, all parties tend to favor technology diffusion. However, in some cases, voters may associate a political party with a specific technology. Green parties, for example, advocate for the diffusion of green energy technologies and pursue policies that foster the diffusion of green energies. This paper finds a significant effect of photovoltaic (PV) adoption on the increase in the share of votes for Germany's Green Party. In particular, the increase in the diffusion rate of PV systems between 1998 and 2009 led to an increase in the fraction of green votes of 1 percent, which represents 25 percent of the actual increase in the voting rate experienced by the Green Party between 1998 and 2009. Read More

LEED-ing by Example

When a local government decides to pursue environmentally aware construction policies for its own buildings, the private sector follows suit, according to new research by Timothy Simcoe and Michael W. Toffel. Closed for comment; 7 Comments posted.

Funding the Design of Livable Cities

As a burgeoning global population migrates to the world's urban centers, it's crucial to design livable cities that function with scarce natural resources. John Macomber discusses the critical connection between real estate financing and innovative design in the built environment. Open for comment; 4 Comments posted.

New Agenda for Corporate Accountability Reporting

Professor Karthik Ramanna explains three ways to make corporate accountability reports potentially more useful to constituencies that include shareholders, communities, bondholders, and customers. Open for comment; 2 Comments posted.

Stop Talking About the Weather and Do Something: Three Ways to Finance Sustainable Cities

How do we ensure that our cities are resilient in the face of inevitable future weather events like Hurricane Sandy? John Macomber offers three ways that the private sector can take action. Open for comment; 6 Comments posted.

Why Good Deeds Invite Bad Publicity

Many executives assume that investments in corporate social responsibility create public goodwill. But do they? Felix Oberholzer-Gee and colleagues find surprising results when it comes to oil spills. Closed for comment; 21 Comments posted.

“Power from Sunshine”: A Business History of Solar Energy

In each generation, the concept of getting "power from sunshine" has attracted entrepreneurial visionaries who encountered a perennial problem: Solar energy was expensive compared to conventional fuels that were not priced to incorporate wider environmental costs. This paper by Geoffrey Jones and Loubna Bouamane provides a business history of solar energy between the nineteenth century and the present day. Its covers early attempts to develop solar energy, the use of passive solar in architecture before World War II, the subsequent growth of the modern photovoltaic (PV) industry, and alternative non-PV technologies such as parabolic collectors. As the authors argue, building viable business models proved crucially dependent on two factors: the prices of alternative conventional fuels and public policy. Read More

Unplugged: What Happened to the Smart Grid?

Replacing the antiquated electrical system in the United States with a super-efficient smart grid always seemed a surefire opportunity for entrepreneurs. So what went wrong? asks Professor Rebecca M. Henderson. Open for comment; 14 Comments posted.

What Impedes Oil and Gas Companies’ Transparency?

Oil and gas companies face asset expropriations and corruption by foreign governments in many of the countries where they operate. In addition, most of these companies operate in multiple host countries. What determines their disclosure of business activities and hence transparency? Paul Healy, Venkat Kuppuswamy, and George Serafeim examine three forms of disclosure costs that oil and gas managers could potentially consider. Both the US government and the European Union are currently considering laws that would require oil and gas companies to disclose information about operations in host countries. Read More

Historical Trajectories and Corporate Competences in Wind Energy

Analyzing developments in the wind turbine business over more than a century, Geoffrey Jones and Loubna Bouamane argue that public policy has been a key variable in the spread of wind energy since the 1980s, but that public policy was more of a problem than a facilitator in the earlier history of the industry. Geography has mattered to some extent, also: Both in the United States and Denmark, the existence of rural areas not supplied by electricity provided the initial stimulus to entrepreneurs and innovators. Building firm-level capabilities has been essential in an industry which has been both technically difficult and vulnerable to policy shifts. Read More

The Untold Story of ‘Green’ Entrepreneurs

The history of entrepreneurs in green industries is largely unwritten, a fact that Harvard Business School business historian Geoffrey Jones is trying to remedy. In a new paper, Jones explores the edge-of-society pioneers who created the wind turbine industry. Open for comment; 16 Comments posted.

Twenty-first Century Skill: Trading Carbon Credits

As cap and trade becomes an increasingly popular mechanism for governments to cut corporate pollution, students at Harvard Business School use a simulation to learn how it works. An interview with professor Peter Coles. Open for comment; 7 Comments posted.

HBS Faculty Comment on Environmental Issues for Earth Day

Harvard Business School faculty members offer their views on the many business facets of "going green." Open for comment; 4 Comments posted.

Will the Japan Disaster Remake the Landscape for Green Energy in Asia?

Entrepreneurs at the recent Asia Business Conference at Harvard Business School said the disaster in Japan could accelerate the move toward "green" energy sources in Asia, opening opportunities. Read More

When Should the Public Sector Take Over in a Meltdown?

Summing Up Jim Heskett's readers have wildly differing opinions as to what extent governments should step in to remedy public sector "meltdowns." Closed for comment; 39 Comments posted.

Water, Electricity, and Transportation: Preparing for the Population Boom

By 2050, the world's cities will have to support 3 billion more inhabitants, mostly in developing countries, with crucial investments needed in three areas: water, energy, and transportation. Several of the planet's top city planning and environmental business experts gathered at Harvard Business School earlier this month to discuss available options. Closed for comment; 18 Comments posted.

HBS Faculty on Revolution in the Middle East and North Africa

The historic events in North Africa and the Middle East are examined by three professors: Deepak Malhotra, an authority on negotiation strategy; Noel Maurer, an expert on the politics and economics of the energy business; and Magnus Thor Torfason, an authority on how behavior is influenced by the social structures of individuals and organizations. Open for comment; 7 Comments posted.

Managing the Support Staff Identity Crisis

Employees not connected directly to profit and loss can suffer from a collective "I-am-not-strategic" identity crisis. Professor Ranjay Gulati suggests that business managers allow so-called support function employees to become catalysts for change. Open for comment; 29 Comments posted.

Venture Capital’s Disconnect with Clean Tech

Clean-tech start-ups depend on patience and public policy to thrive—the Internet models for VC funding don't apply. That's why Harvard Business School professor Joseph Lassiter is making an unusual recommendation to his entrepreneurship students: Spend a few years serving time in a government job. Closed for comment; 18 Comments posted.

The Profits of Power: Commercial Realpolitik in Eurasia

The concept of good old-fashioned realpolitik-politics primarily shaped by practicality and power-has returned to Europe, clashing with the traditional ideologies of the European Union, says Harvard Business School professor Rawi Abdelal. Citing supporting evidence from the Russian gas giant Gazprom, he argues that scholars need to pay better attention to the role of large corporations in international relations. Read More

How to Speed Up Energy Innovation

We know the grand challenge posed by shifting away from dirty energy sources. The good news, says Harvard Business School professor Rebecca Henderson, is that we have seen such change before in fields including agriculture and biotech, giving us a clearer pathway to what it will take. Read More

Renewable Energy: Winds at Our Back?

It certainly stirred up controversy in 2001 when an entrepreneur proposed erecting 130 wind turbines off the coast of Massachusetts' Cape Cod. After nine years of struggle over regulatory, environmental, safety, and social issues, the plan appears closer to becoming a reality. HBS professor Richard Vietor reflects on wind energy and innovations in the renewable energy industry. Read More

The Empire Struck Back: The Mexican Oil Expropriation of 1938 Reconsidered

The Mexican petroleum expropriation of 1938 looms large as the beginning of Latin American resource nationalism and the apogee of America's "Good Neighbor" policy. In Mexico, the expropriation is viewed as a patriotic triumph, in which the federal government seized control of the country's most valuable natural resource. In the U.S., the temperate reaction of the Roosevelt Administration is seen as the decisive break with Washington's imperial relationship towards Latin America. Washington "curbed its finance capital," it is said, and downgraded the protection of American overseas private investments. In this paper, HBS professor Noel Maurer explains how the actual historical record diverges substantially from the accepted view. Read More

Accelerating Innovation In Energy: Insights from Multiple Sectors

How should the energy sector best respond to the threat of climate change? In this introductory chapter to a forthcoming book, Harvard Business School's Rebecca M. Henderson and Richard G. Newell of Duke University frame the discussion by highlighting the volume's contributions concerning four particularly innovative sectors of the U.S. economy: agriculture, chemicals, life sciences, and information technology. These four sectors have been extraordinarily important in driving recent economic growth. Henderson and Newell describe why accelerating innovation in energy could play an important role in shaping an effective response to climate change. Read More

Is a Stringent Climate Change Agreement a Pot of Gold?

Reading this month's comments, HBS professor Jim Heskett wonders if we even need a climate change agreement as a catalyst to foster innovation and the VC investment required to support it. (Online forum has closed; next forum opens February 4.) Closed for comment; 19 Comments posted.

Business Summit: The Coming World Oil Crisis

Without enormous changes the world faces an imminent oil crisis—and there are no silver bullet solutions. People must wake up to the sobering ramifications of peak oil, which may be the defining issue of this century. Read More

Business Summit: Business and the Environment

If the causes for global climate change are not addressed, the consequences for the planet are likely to be disastrous. Governments, business, and consumers must act. Read More

The Energy Politics of Russia vs. Ukraine

A recent Harvard Business School case looks at Russia's decision in 2006 to cut off supply of natural gas to Ukraine's energy company—a move repeated this year. Is Russia just an energy bully? Students of professor Rawi Abdelal learn there is nothing black and white when it comes to Russia's energy politics. From HBS Alumni Bulletin. Read More

Barriers to Acting in Time on Energy and Strategies for Overcoming Them

What can the new presidential administration do to address our energy problems? For the past decade, most experts have accepted climate change as a fact, making the issue difficult to ignore—yet many politicians, and the voters who elect them, have done exactly that: ignored the problem. Scientists, policymakers, and others have come up with good ideas to address climate change and other energy issues. Many people seek to identify one cause of climate change, when it is abundantly clear that there are multiple causes. Cognitive, organizational, and political barriers exist that prevent us from addressing energy problems despite clearly identified courses of action. The creation and implementation of wise policy recommendations requires us to anticipate resistance to change and develop strategies that can overcome these barriers. Enacting wise legislation to act in time to solve energy problems requires surmounting cognitive, organizational, and political barriers to change. Read More

The Value of Environmental Activists

With decidedly non-profit goals leading them on, how do environmental protection groups such as Greenpeace and World Wildlife Fund create value? Can it be measured? A Q&A with Harvard Business School professor Ramon Casadesus-Masanell and case writer Jordan Mitchell. Read More

Innovation Corrupted: How Managers Can Avoid Another Enron

The train wreck that was Enron provides key insights for improving corporate governance and financial incentives as well as organizational processes that strengthen ethical discipline, says HBS professor emeritus Malcolm S. Salter. His new book, Innovation Corrupted: The Origins and Legacy of Enron's Collapse, is a deep reflection on the present and future of business. Read More

A Resource Belief-Curse: Oil and Individualism

Capitalism is not as widespread as economists would hope. Data from surveys of public opinion, as well as on the distribution of political parties, confirm the idea that capitalism doesn't flow to poor countries. In some countries, anti-market sentiment has increased in recent years, a period where the price of oil and other primary commodities have soared. This combination of anti-market sentiment and high oil prices has led to renegotiations of oil contracts and even nationalizations in some countries such as Bolivia and Venezuela. It is tempting for economists trained in the theory of political capture to argue that this is just another instance where special interests exploit the circumstances to make an extra dollar. Given that these nationalizations are often popular with the majority of voters, however, the researchers resist this temptation and ask if there are explanations where a positive correlation emerges between voter anti-market sentiment and dependence on oil. Read More

Climate Change Puts Heat on GMs

Ready or not, companies are being swept up in the increasing public debate over global climate change. How should firms respond? A case study exploring how financial service giant UBS thinks through the issues has students coming down on different sides. Read More

HBS Cases: Using Investor Relations Proactively

Investor relations has a delicate balancing act. It communicates with stakeholders, of course, but can also help employees take a step back and analyze their firm as outsiders do. Harvard Business School's Gregory S. Miller, Vincent Dessain, and Daniela Beyersdorfer explain where IR is going, with energy giants BP and Total leading the way. Read More

Teaching the Next Generation of Energy Executives

A new generation of energy industry managers will make decisions that affect the quality of life for hundreds of millions of people. At Harvard Business School, students in professor Forest Reinhardt's Energy course are learning the complexities and realities of developing and implementing strategy in such a complex environment. Read More

Will Market Forces Stop Global Warming?

HBS professor Jim Heskett sums up many creative responses from readers on the role of business in combatting global climate change. Online forum now closed. Closed for comment; 59 Comments posted.

Risky Business? Protecting Foreign Investments

After a string of forced nationalizations of private enterprises in the 1960s and 1970s, the pendulum swung back and companies were again encouraged by host countries to build and run major infrastructure projects such as power and water. But a set of new property protections has done little to manage the risk in many of these politically unstable environments. Professor Louis T. Wells, coauthor of a new book on making foreign investment safe, discusses the current landscape. Read More

Manly Men, Oil Platforms, and Breaking Stereotypes

Men who work in dangerous places often act invulnerable to prove their merit as workers and as men—objectives that can lead to decreased safety and efficiency. Professor Robin Ely and her team helicoptered to offshore oil platforms in order to understand "manly men" and how working environments can be changed to alter men's enactments of manhood. Read More