Posts Tagged ‘environment’


Promoting U.S. Exports of Environmental Technology

May 31, 2013

On the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) blog, Marc Lemmond highlights the work EPA has done to promote exports of U.S. environmental technologies.

The environmental technology sector is a huge contributor to the American economy. It had an estimated revenue of $312 billion in 2012, employing 1.7 million Americans.

Another important note: promoting exports of environmental technology promotes environmental stewardship around the world. EPA partners with several federal agencies on its Trade and Economics Program to promote the trade and environment agenda globally.

This is important work, helping support the American economy and proliferating technology that helps preserve the world around us.

You can read more on the EPA’s blog, “It’s Our Environment.”


Under Secretary Sánchez Highlights the Commerce Department’s Environmental Export Initiative in Spring Issue of World Water

April 8, 2013

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Maureen Hinman is an Environmental Technology Trade Specialist in the International Trade Administration’s Office of Energy and Environmental Industries.

screenshot of environmental solutions exporter portal

ITA offers support to companies looking to export environmental technology.

The Water Environment Federation (WEF), a leading water industry association, recently interviewed Under Secretary Francisco Sánchez to discuss the Commerce Department’s ongoing Environmental Export Initiative (EEI). The interview is featured in the March/April issue of World Water– a leading water technology industry publication reaching 36,000 water quality professionals and 75 affiliated water industry associations around the world.

Sánchez highlighted the initiative’s new and enhanced programs that will help advance environmental exports in 2013. In particular, water technology companies can look forward to the launch of the fully mobile and interactive U.S. Environmental Solutions Toolkit. The Toolkit is an innovative online resource that provides foreign buyers with the U.S. model for solving environmental issues by marrying EPA research and regulatory guidance with a catalogue of U.S. technology providers. Sánchez emphasized the usefulness of the toolkit to water companies in particular noting that, “a second tranche of water modules will include solutions for arsenic in drinking water, biosolids treatment, and secondary wastewater treatment.”

The Under Secretary also relayed his enthusiasm for the Environmental Solutions Exporter Portal, which provides companies with a single window to access the full suite of U.S. government services in the environmental sector.

“It’s important to note that both the Portal and the Toolkit are demand-driven products that were conceived by industry,” said Sánchez, explaining that the tools will evolve as the government responds to needs of the private industry.

“The new Portal will offer options for real-time feedback on content and programs; it is designed to be both community- and results-oriented, offering a variety of avenues for information exchange and results tracking. The new platform will provide us with the ability to know what is working, what isn’t, and how best adjust to the changing needs of industry.”

You can read Under Secretary Sánchez’s full interview here.

Find out more about the Environmental Export Initiative here.


Green Build Road Show – Moving on to Denver

November 5, 2009

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Thomas Moore is Counselor for Commercial Affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Rome, Italy. Mr. Moore has previously served as the U.S. Commercial Service’s Deputy Director General, overseeing 2,000 employees in more than 80 countries.

After two successful days in Pittsburgh, the U.S. Commercial Service’s Green Build Road Show landed in an unseasonably sunny and warm Denver, Colorado, for another two-day program touting the unparalleled export opportunities in Europe’s green build and renewable energy sectors.

During the morning program, an audience member posed an interesting question:  Did we have any optimism that the United States would follow and match Europe’s current lead in the domestic deployment of these technologies?  As it turned out, the questioner had arrived late and missed most of the morning presentations.  Otherwise, he would have known that he was addressing a roomful of green entrepreneurs with strong confidence in an inevitable low-carbon future.

The Road Show had touched down in exactly the right place:  Denver is a hotbed of green technology development.  While the Road Show was conceived to educate U.S. companies on the European green build market, it has also been an eye-opening learning experience for the U.S. Commercial Service’s European officers and industry specialists.  We have found exactly what we were looking for:  A rich vein of new and innovative products and specialized expertise that should find an attentive market in Europe.

Pam Reichert, the State of Colorado’s Director of International Trade, opened the program with a description of Colorado’s strong commitment to what they have creatively coined the “New Energy Economy.”   “We’ve become a template for the rest of the nation for creating jobs, diversifying our energy portfolio, increasing energy security, and reducing our carbon footprint,” she said, citing the State’s success in attracting European investment in green technologies and in exporting nearly $2 billion last year to Europe.

The morning program featured presentations by two Colorado entrepreneurs who epitomize this success and should serve as encouraging role models – and mentors – for others to follow.

Dan Kigar, CEO of The Colorado Yurt Company, described his experiences in exporting 25 tent-like yurts for a major cultural exhibition in Paris.  Dan plans to conquer the world with his tent structures based upon the famous design of Genghis Khan, updated to the 21st century and pushing the envelope in use of sustainable technologies and recycled products.  He also cautioned exporters to beware of “bumps in the road” such as EU standards conformity issues, and he thanked the Commercial Service in France for helping him overcome these obstacles when they arose.

Mark Chen, Marketing Director for Abound Solar, discussed his company’s success selling thin-film solar photovoltaic modules in Germany, the world’s largest solar market with 50 percent annual growth in recent years.  Mark elicited laughs from the audience when he compared the bureaucratic paperwork required by Germany for a solar installation – two pages – versus the tabletop full of paper required by California.  But he did caution companies that they would face difficulties, albeit surmountable, in dealing with the European Union’s regulatory regimes for chemicals and electronic products.  (FYI:  The Commercial Service can help!)

The keynote speaker at lunch was David Hiller, Executive Director of the Colorado Renewable Energy Collaboratory, a joint venture of four premier public research universities in partnership with the private sector, and an important element in the infrastructure that has attracted foreign investment to Colorado.  David highlighted the strong public support and commitment among Coloradans for clean energy solutions.

Will this public commitment be replicated nationally, as one audience member wondered?  We had a room full of people betting their sweat and financial equity that it would!  On a personal note, it was wonderful to renew acquaintances with our top-notch U.S. Commercial Service colleagues in the Denver Export Assistance Center.  Kudos for a fantastic job organizing this event!


The Road to Copenhagen

August 20, 2009

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Frank Caliva is an International Trade Specialist in the Office of Energy and Environmental Industries. He is also a former Presidential Management Fellow.

The international conversation regarding climate change, greenhouse gas emissions, energy usage, and environmental protection has taken on a heightened sense of priority lately.  These issues are on the front page of our daily newspapers, the topics du jour among academics and policymakers, and the increasing focus of global conferences and summits.  Our daily lives are starting to be impacted as well: more alternate-fueled cars on the road, more options for conserving energy and choosing the source of our electricity from our utility companies, and more ways for individuals to reduce our carbon footprints.

Making Progress

Some significant steps have also been taken by our national leaders.  Legislation has been introduced in Congress to put a cap on carbon emissions, increase funding for renewable energy, and encourage more efficient practices by U.S. companies to reduce waste.  Businesses are now more commonly implementing “green” strategies to lessen their impact on the environment.  We are taking steps in the right direction, but real change will require a coordinated effort on a global level.  To achieve this, we at ITA have been working with other federal agencies as participants in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) negotiations. These discussions are focused on writing a new international agreement on climate change.

In 2007, countries decided to shape an ambitious and effective international response to climate change, to be formally agreed to in Copenhagen in December 2009.  In the time since then, representatives from across the U.S. government have been talking with their foreign counterparts in preliminary meetings to lay the groundwork for the treaty.  Only a few months away, all eyes are now looking ahead to the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen this December.

Providing Input

Reducing greenhouse gas emissions is at the top of the conference agenda, but these negotiations will also touch on numerous other issues with significant implications for the U.S. business community—like intellectual property rights, research and development, technology sales, carbon financing, and energy efficiency.  As an analyst at ITA, it is my job to ensure U.S. industries’ voices are heard during these critical negotiations, so that a solution is found that is not only effective but also recognizes the critical importance of innovation and entrepreneurship to a successful response to climate change.

To accomplish this goal, we have scheduled meetings across the United States leading up to the Copenhagen conference, where industry leaders will have the opportunity to meet with government representatives—from ITA and other federal agencies—to learn how this new proposed agreement could impact their businesses.  These meetings will also help us prepare for the upcoming negotiations, by letting us hear the thoughts and concerns of the business community. The first of these meetings took place in Washington, DC at the Department of Commerce on July 16.

I hope to hear from many of you and would encourage your participation in upcoming events planned in Milwaukee on August 25, San Francisco on September 10, Pittsburgh on October 8, and Little Rock, with an additional option for firms nationwide to participate via webinar.

There are only a few months left before the Copenhagen conference.  This is an important opportunity to lay out a plan on climate change which will reduce carbon emissions, enhance energy security, and protect our environment, while promoting development and economic growth.