NuClean, a Center of Excellence for Nuclear Waste Safety and Remediation, is an effort Ms. Beloff initiated and now chairs to build a neutral forum for a wide variety of stakeholders to develop trust and a common understanding of concerns and expectations associated with nuclear waste management. It will help identify technology selection criteria, needs and solutions regarding activities including waste characterization, monitoring, handling and storage, mitigation and remediation of pollutants, and risk communication. At core it will seek to improve trust between stakeholders through dialogue and by providing timely and reliable information to concerned citizens. Toward this end, it will first develop an information clearinghouse of reliable data regarding nuclear waste migration and risks in various regions, as well as viable mitigation solutions. While this is, in large part, a response to the nuclear waste issues identified in New Mexico by affected pueblos and other community groups downstream of LANL, it will develop applications nationally and internationally. The American Institute of Chemical Engineers hosted an organizational workshop for NuClean at its Annual Meeting in November 2013 and remains a significant partner.
Building the Future Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) through Sustainable Tourism
This project has been developed by Ms. Beloff in collaboration with the grassroots leader Neema Namadamu in the DRC and the non-profit organization, Sustainable Travel International. It seeks to support the intent of grassroots leaders to establish a shared vision and demonstration project for sustainable tourism in South Kivu Province. If successful, this model will be rolled out in other provinces in the DRC, building on the successes and collaborative relationships developed. Enabling grassroots Congolese leaders to build the future DRC through sustainable tourism can provide many building blocks for peace, income development, and help to build national pride in the cultures and fauna and flora of this majestic country.
BEYOND THE DIVIDE — CONNECTING TO SPIRIT
In 2010 Beth initiated a project to address the common thread between cultures in which peoples seek to protect the Earth. It looked at those who live closer to the earth, indigenous peoples, who follow traditions to honor and protect the Earth, recognizing that our health depends on its health. Regardless of where in the world they live, or the details of the traditions they follow, indigenous people have a commonality of beliefs and values that they pass onto the next generations through storytelling in song and dance to connect to spirit. Beyond the Divide was an effort to share those connections through song and dance, in a series of multi-media performances and related films. In particular, the project was focusing on the impacts of climate change on indigenous communities and their efforts to survive in the face of these global challenges.
The mission was to educate – to share and revitalize the deep lessons to be learned from traditional indigenous cultures and their values. Additional objectives included raising awareness about the values and wisdom regarding sustainability shared by most indigenous peoples around the world, to educate about how to get beyond our cultural perspectives and barriers, and to contribute to important community development activities for Native Americans.
NiSource, a public utility company
Beth Beloff & Associates worked with the NiSource team to develop its first Sustainability Report.
Beth Beloff and her team, Bridges to Sustainability at Golder Associates, co-developed with the Global Environmental Management Initiative (GEMI), a consortium of approximately 40 major companies, a strategic sustainability metrics roadmap. The tool, called the GEMI Metrics Navigator™, assists companies in identifying triple bottom-line issues and metrics that are relevant and material to their business and to stakeholder concerns, and use them effectively to drive performance improvement and organizational change. The roadmap was developed through close consultation with the GEMI members. To maximize the value of the tool to a broad spectrum of businesses, the team organized a stakeholder engagement process to inform the project with the experiences and opinions from key thought leaders and pertinent non-governmental organizations. Three external advisory group meetings were held in the United States and Europe. The meetings brought together over 30 business, academic, community, and government representatives.
The tool includes worksheets for identifying material issues; developing key performance indicators, metrics and targets; implementing the metrics system; and evaluating its effectiveness. More than a dozen business case studies were developed to illustrate best practices in sustainability performance measurement and the various steps in the development and implementation of sustainability metrics.
"In working with GEMI on the Metrics Navigator™, I was impressed by the depth and breadth of knowledge and expertise Beth provided, and the ease with which she could shift gears to converse at the practitioner or board room level as needed. She was masterful at facilitating the multi-sector business approach, listening to our diverse needs and incorporating them into a logical flow of process steps. Unlike many sustainability tools encumbered by jargon, the result was a final workbook with a highly pragmatic approach to metrics that can be easily understood by and applied across any business discipline." — Leslie Montgomery, Environmental Stewardship Program Manager, Southern Company, and Co-Chair GEMI Sustainability Metrics Work Group
BRIDGES to Sustainability, in collaboration with Rice University, was engaged in a project for the United States Environmental Protection Agency to perform a risk assessment on the manufacture and use of nanomaterials with near-term applications.
A number of risks areas were considered, including risks to human health, to the environment, to security, and of public backlash. However, much uncertainty remained regarding the fate of nanomaterials in the environment, exposure to humans and other organisms, and the effects of the exposure. Thus, the Project primarily focused on risks in the manufacturing of nanomaterials and in the application of nanomaterials for industrial uses.
Five nanomaterials were selected for this analysis, based on their current or near term potential for large-scale production and commercialization: single walled carbon nanotubes, bucky balls (C60), one variety of quantum dots, alumoxane nanoparticles, and nano-titanium dioxide.
A representative synthesis method was selected for each nanomaterial based on its potential for scale-up. A list of input materials, output materials, and waste streams for each step of fabrication was developed and entered into a database that included key process characteristics such as temperature and pressure. The physical-chemical properties and quantities of the inventoried materials were used to assess relative risk based on factors such as volatility, carcinogenicity, flammability, toxicity, and persistence. These factors were combined using an actuarial protocol developed by the insurance industry. This protocol ranks three categories of risk relative to a 100 point scale (where 100 represents maximum risk): Incident Risk, Normal Operations Risk, and Latent Contamination Risk.
Results from this analysis determined that relative environmental risk from manufacturing each of these five materials was comparatively low in relation to other common industrial manufacturing processes.
In the production of ceramic membranes, where nanomaterials are used for another industrial process, alumoxane nanoparticles reduce the time and energy required and eliminate the use of organic solvents in the fabrication of ceramic membranes. Thus, the use of alumoxane nanoparticle in the manufacture of ceramic membranes reduces the relative risk scores in all categories in comparison with conventional alternatives.