Please join the Institute on the Environment (IonE) for the fall 2015 Frontiers in the Environment event series, in which we ask big questions in solutions-focused conversations about the next wave of research and discovery. Held at noon Wednesdays on the University of Minnesota Twin Cities campus and live online, each hour long session includes a lively 30-minute presentation followed by Q&A and a networking reception. Check the listings for locations; talks are free and open to the public.

12/2 – Does competition promote planet-saving innovation?
Can competition between companies encourage innovations in sustainability that have the potential to solve some of the world’s grand challenges? Using case studies from his recent book, Innovations in Sustainability: Food and Fuel, Alfred Marcus, professor and Edson Spencer Endowed Chair in Strategic Management and Entrepreneurship in the Carlson School of Management, will examine the progress, obstacles, competition and evolution of sustainable innovations in such companies as Tesla, General Motors, Toyota, General Mills, Kellogg, Whole Foods and Walmart in “Does competition promote planet-saving innovation?”

12/9 – Can energy use data reduce electricity costs and environmental impacts?
As state and local governments and electricity users attempt to improve the efficiency of their buildings, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and realize the promises of improved demand-side management of energy resources, the need for electricity and other energy-related data becomes ever more pressing. Yet current law allows companies to keep a significant amount of energy use data confidential. Alexandra Klass, IonE resident fellow and Distinguished McKnight University Professor in the Law School, and Elizabeth Wilson, IonE resident fellow and professor in the Humphrey School of Public Affairs, will draw lessons from the more sophisticated legal frameworks governing health care, education and environmental emissions data that balance public policy needs for data evaluation with privacy interests in “Can energy use data reduce electricity costs and environmental impacts?”