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Center for Environmental Policy

EPA Technology Market Summit - May 14, 2012

U.S. trade representative Ron Kirk speaks at the Technology Market Summit. Seated from left: EPA administrator Lisa Jackson, Agriculture secretary Tom Vilsack, and Commerce secretary John Bryson. (Photo: Jeff Watts)
U.S. trade representative Ron Kirk speaks at the Technology Market Summit. Seated from left: EPA administrator Lisa Jackson, Agriculture secretary Tom Vilsack, and Commerce secretary John Bryson. (Photo: Jeff Watts)

On May 14, 2012, the Center for Environmental Policy at American University co-sponsored and hosted a major conference in cooperation with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions at Duke University, and the Environmental Defense Fund. The purpose of the EPA Environmental Technology Summit was to convene a range of experts and organizations with a role in financing and promoting innovations in environmental and energy technologies. The Summit brought together some 200 people from the financial, venture capital, business, government, and research communities for a dialogue on ways of accelerating the pace of investment and innovation in environmental technology. In addition to the EPA, the Departments of Commerce, Agriculture, Energy, and U.S. Trade Representative were actively involved.

Morning sessions

After opening remarks by American University President Neil Kerwin, the highlight of the morning session was presentations by four members of President Obama’s Cabinet: EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson; Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack; Secretary of Commerce John Bryson; and U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk. Each of the speakers emphasized the opportunities for linking environmental and economic goals through enlightened and progressive approaches to investment and economic development. All four stressed the critical role that their agencies should play in this process and committed to engaging with each other and the private sector in accelerating the pace of innovation.

The luncheon keynote speaker for the Summit was Mark Fulton, the Managing Director and Global Head of Climate Change Investment Research for Deutsche Bank. The topic of his speech was “How Transparency, Longevity, and Certainty Can Drive Investment.”

Afternoon sessions

The afternoon sessions consisted of breakout groups focusing on three areas of opportunity for environmental and energy innovation: biogas and bio-digesters, innovations in the automotive supply chain, and fence line air quality monitoring. These sessions included presentations by experts from all of the field represented at the Summit and active discussion by participants of (1) ways of overcoming barriers to investment (2) approaches for facilitating the process of brining innovative technologies to scale and to market and (3) steps that participants could take to bring these ideas to fruition over the next few years.

The afternoon plenary session was comprised of “market talks” by six leaders in the areas of environmental innovation and investment: Gwen Ruta, Vice President for Corporate Partnerships, Environmental Defense Fund; Mindy Lubber, President of CERES; Roger Platt, Senior Vice President, Green Building Council; Kathleen McGinty, Senior Vice President, Weston Solutions; and Mark Tercek, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Corning Environmental Technologies.

Center Director Daniel Fiorino was actively involved in planning the substance of the Summit and organizing the sessions and the follow-up activities. Critical support for the Summit was provided by Center staff, including Carrie Moore, Carley Wigod, Kim Richards, and Manjyot Bhan. Center Post-Doctoral Fellow Jennifer also provided support on documenting the results of the Summit.

Event follow up

The interest in following up on the outcomes and connections from the Summit are strong enough that Center Director Dan Fiorino is participating as part of a steering committee to explore means of institutionalizing the process. Also participating in this effort are the key private sectors organizers of the Summit—the Nichols Institute and Environmental Defense Fund—and the Heinz Center for Science, Economics and the Environment. EPA and the other federal agencies involved in the Summit retain a strong interest in the outcomes of these discussions.

Read more

For complete information on the Summit, including videos and materials from the speakers, please go to the EPA Web site.

Read the story on the Department of Public Administration and Policy Web site.

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Policy and Management Options for Chemicals Issues in the Semiconductor Industry - July 2011

In July 2011, the Center began a project to work with the semiconductor industry on options for managing and anticipating chemicals issues that affect the industry and its products. The industry is committed to safely and effectively managing the full range of chemicals that are critical to continued innovation in that sector. The challenge the industry faces is how best to anticipate and manage the many sources of pressures—from both government regulation and supply chain sources—in ways that comply with these requirements, manage the chemicals safely and responsibly, and facilitate the pace of innovation that has allowed the industry and its products to contribute to benefits in such areas as energy efficiency, health care, environmental monitoring, renewal energy development, and others.

This project was supported with funding from the Intel Corporation and the Semiconductor Industry Association. It consisted of three phases: (1) a process of data collection by the Center, focusing largely n the results of 23 interviews with experts working in or in close association with the semiconductor industry; a one-day policy dialogue held at the Semiconductor Industry Association, in Washington, D.C., on October 26, 2011; and a final report on the results of the interviews and policy dialogue, with findings and recommendations for responding to the issues raised by the Association.

Evaluating policy

The purpose of the dialogue was to evaluate policy and management options that will allow the industry to better anticipate and manage regulatory and supply chain pressures and expectations on the use of critical chemicals. In recent years, the number and variety of both regulatory and supply chain pressures has grown. This presents challenges not only to the industry’s use of existing chemicals but to longer-term industry innovation. The industry is seeking ways of meeting these expectations responsibly, using chemicals safely, and maintaining a capacity for innovation.

The perspective proposed in the background paper was to view these issues in the context of sources of uncertainty. The objective of the dialogue and actions coming out of it are to determine how best to manage the sources of uncertainty coming from regulators, firms in the supply chain, and the public. Because this project was aimed at informing the industry and those closely affiliated with it, the project deliberately did not involve a broader range of stakeholders in the discussion. In the longer-run, however, the Center advises and the industry agrees on the need to conduct a broader process of consultation and dialogue. The Center remains available to the industry for further advice and dialogue opportunities coming out of the project.

Conclusions

The summary that was prepared for the industry describes the overall conclusions from the dialogue, focusing on areas for which the dialogue group agreed on follow-up action. The first part of the summary presents three priority options for consideration in the near term. The second part presents conclusions on several other issues discussed in the dialogue.

The project began in July 2011 and concluded with a final report in December 2011. Center Director Daniel Fiorino directed the project with the assistance of PhD candidate Manjyot Bhan.