Get outdoors: There is no better way for children to appreciate the world we live in than to experience it. Walk, hike, bike, kayak, boat, ski, snowboard — you name it. The more you experience the outdoors, the more important it becomes to preserve and protect it. Another benefit — it will bring you closer as a family and create lasting bonds and memories. Each of our children have hiked the Grand Canyon rim to rim. It’s a hike I’ve done over a half dozen times and one I never get tired of (after it’s complete that is!). If you want to get inspired, there’s no better place.
As part of my series about what we must do to inspire the next generation about sustainability and the environment, I had the pleasure of interviewing Todd Brady. Todd Brady is the Director of Global Public Affairs and Sustainability for Intel Corporation. In this role he leads state and local government affairs, media and community relations, corporate volunteerism and sustainability at the company’s major manufacturing and office locations around the globe. In addition to overseeing regulatory and community engagement strategies in the US, China, Southeast Asia, Israel, Ireland and Latin America, he directs Intel’s global initiatives to make Intel “smart & green” by leading corporate-wide sustainability programs such as climate, energy and water conservation, green design and the integration of internet of things (IoT) solutions to create smart and green offices, buildings and facilities of the future. During his 20+ years at Intel, Todd has represented the company publicly in numerous forums and led industry-wide initiatives in many national and international committees. He has authored more than 20 papers in scientific journals and conference proceedings on a variety of sustainability topics. In 2009, he was named by Scientific American as one of ten outstanding leaders involved in research, business or policy pursuits that have advanced science and technology. Todd holds a BS in Chemical Engineering from Brigham Young University and a MS in Environmental Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit more. Can you tell us a bit about how you grew up?
I grew up in the suburbs of Memphis, Tennessee. My father was a professor at the local university. My mother was a school teacher until the kids came along and come along we did — all nine of us! I had a modest but very fulfilling childhood — never went without, even if split nine ways. My first two jobs at 10 years old were delivering the East Memphis Shoppers News during the week and collecting used newspapers and cans from the neighborhood on the weekends. My father put a hitch on our riding lawnmower to which my brothers and I attached a small trailer and drove around the neighborhood collecting recyclables. We sold the items to the local recycling center to earn baseball card money. Baseball cards came with bubble gum back then — times were good! Looking back, I do have to admit that our carbon emissions from the lawnmower likely offset all of the goodness from recycling!
Was there an “aha moment” or a specific trigger that made you decide you wanted to become a scientist or environmental leader? Can you share that story with us?
Growing up I loved sports, math and science. When it became clear professional sports would not be in my future (by about age five), I realized math and science provided a much more promising career path. I declared electrical engineering as my major when I left for college. Computers were new and exciting. One of my best friends had a TI TRS-80 microcomputer which used a cassette tape as its storage mechanism. We played games for hours (actually, it took hours to load the games and we played for a few minutes!). The first computer in my home came a few years later, the IBM PCjr. I think my dad still has it somewhere around the house.
After taking my first circuits class, I quickly determined that electrical engineering wasn’t for me and switched to chemical engineering. I always enjoyed chemistry and physics and felt much more at home. My senior year, two electives changed my view of the world and put me on my career path — Atmospheric Chemistry and Air Pollution Control.
I attended Brigham Young University, a beautiful campus set against the majestic Wasatch Mountains of Utah. In the winter time, air quality was very poor due to emissions trapped by inversions from the cold mountain air. I hadn’t yet learned to ski, so I spent my final winter semester engrossed in this real-life problem that had science, engineering and policy implications. Our classes were lively, identifying and debating solutions, and I was hooked. It was at that point I knew I wanted to go to graduate school to study environmental engineering and pursue a career in the environmental field. I could use my education to solve real-world problems.
Is there a lesson you can take out of your own story that can exemplify what can inspire a young person to become an environmental leader?
I encourage all young people, including my own children, to find a topic that excites them. What is it that you like to do? What gets you excited to learn and then apply that knowledge? Doing something you love is what will lead to extraordinary results — at that point it’s no longer work. We need great minds in the environmental field, but we also need great minds in many other areas of our society. What is exciting about the environmental field today is that there are so many applications and opportunities to have a positive impact.
Can you tell our readers about the initiatives that you or your company are taking to address climate change or sustainability? Can you give an example for each?
I wish I could take credit for instilling sustainability into Intel, but it was here when I arrived 24 years ago. We have long believed that climate change is a serious environmental, economic, and social challenge that warrants an equally serious response by governments and the private sector. We work to reduce our own footprint and with others to influence the development of sound public policies. For instance, my predecessors led an initiative in the late 1990s to develop a voluntary agreement in the semiconductor industry to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases — long before international governmental agreements on the topic. This commitment evolved over the years into our current strategy to reduce our carbon footprint:
· Emission reduction: For two decades, we have set aggressive greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction goals to conserve energy and minimize our air emissions. We are on track to meet our goal 2020 goal to further reduce direct GHG emissions by 10% on a per unit basis from 2010 levels.
· Energy efficiency: Since 2012, we have invested more than $200 million in energy conservation projects and achieved our goal to achieve cumulative energy savings of 4 billion kWh two years ahead of schedule. We also work to increase the energy efficiency of our products — each generation of process technology enables us to build products with higher performance and improved energy efficiency, as compared to previous generations.
· Renewable energy: I’m proud to say that, at the end of 2018, 100% of our U.S. and European power use and approximately 71% of our global power use was from renewable sources. For more than a decade, Intel has been one of the top voluntary corporate purchasers of green power per the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. In addition, we invest in on-site alternative energy projects. We have nearly 100 alternative energy installations at 15 campuses across the globe using technology applications such as solar hot water systems, solar panel-covered parking lots, and mini bio-energy, geo-energy and micro wind turbine array systems.
· Enabling others to reduce their footprint: Our products enable consumers and businesses to reduce their carbon emissions through use of technology, such as smart homes, buildings, cities, industries and transportation. This is an exciting opportunity because the potential savings far outweigh anything we can do in our own.
Linked to climate change, the availability of water is a growing global challenge. Water is essential to semiconductor manufacturing and we are committed to sustainable water management practices to meet the needs of both our business and our communities. We’ve taken on this challenge at Intel by focusing on two areas:
· Water conservation: We are continually working to reduce water use in our operations and have saved over 60 billion gallons of water at our global facilities since 1998, enough to sustain more than 580,000 U.S. homes for a year. One way we accomplish this is by implementing water conservation projects on our campuses. We’ve implemented hundreds of these over the past decade, including a project last year in Israel that will enable us to reclaim additional water from cooling towers. We estimate this will allow us to reclaim nearly 94 million gallons of water per year while reducing chemical use by 25–30%.
· Water restoration: Our water conservation efforts have enabled us to conserve billions of gallons of water and return approximately 80% of our water back to our communities. We recently announced a goal to restore 100% of our global use by 2025 and close the gap in our water balance that is lost to evaporation or used on campus for things like landscape irrigation. To accomplish this, we are funding innovative, collaborative projects that put water back into local watersheds where we operate. To date, we have funded 19 water restoration projects in Arizona, California, Oregon and New Mexico that will restore an estimated 1.2 billion gallons per year of water, once complete. This work is exciting and the partners we have engaged are inspiring. You can read more about these projects at: www.intel.com/water.
Can you share 3 lifestyle tweaks things that the general public can do to be more sustainable or help address the climate change challenge?
As an engineer, I approach environmental issues from a very practical standpoint (my wife would say I take the same approach with relationships!). Here are three “tweaks” I’ve made in my own life:
· Be a little more efficient: If you haven’t switched to LED bulbs, bought energy efficient appliances, or made your home energy efficient, what are you waiting for? Most of these items have a quick return on investment and take very little time. That’s always made sense to me.
· Drive a little less: Get out and move — your heart will thank you for it as much as the environment. I bike to work when my schedule allows. I readily admit I’m a fair-weather cyclist, but it clears the mind, allows me to eat what I want and saves a few mobile emissions, which is the primary source of air pollution in most cities.
· Consume a little less: Yes, I can be a hypocrite based on the number of times the Amazon delivery truck stops by the house. But before you buy, stop and ask yourself — how much do I really need? Does it really make me happy? And if you’re really good at it — congratulations, you’re on your way to FIRE (Google it).
Ok, thank you for all that. Here is the main question of our interview: The youth led climate strikes of September 2019 showed an impressive degree of activism and initiative by young people on behalf of climate change. This was great, and there is still plenty that needs to be done. In your opinion what are 5 things parents should do to inspire the next generation to become engaged in sustainability and the environmental movement? Please give a story or an example for each.
How about three? I’m not sure your readers are going to last much longer! I have four children and there were times they thought I’d lost my mind as I composted the dinner scraps or installed a new solar hot water heater. While they may not follow me into the environmental field, they do have an appreciation and love for the world around them. Why? Three key things come to mind:
· Get outdoors: There is no better way for children to appreciate the world we live in than to experience it. Walk, hike, bike, kayak, boat, ski, snowboard — you name it. The more you experience the outdoors, the more important it becomes to preserve and protect it. Another benefit — it will bring you closer as a family and create lasting bonds and memories. Each of our children have hiked the Grand Canyon rim to rim. It’s a hike I’ve done over a half dozen times and one I never get tired of (after it’s complete that is!). If you want to get inspired, there’s no better place.
· Give back: Take the time to give back for causes that are important to you. Get involved and bring your children along — they will feel your passion. As with most things in my life, my wife is far better at this than I am. Fortunately, she lets me tag along and we’ve been able to give back to a variety of causes with our kids as active participants. I strongly believe this instills values in our children and helps them look outside themselves.
· Lead by example: No child likes a lecture. Instead, communicate through your daily actions. Where you spend your time communicates what is important to you. Your children are keenly aware of this, even if you do not realize it.
How would you articulate how a business can become more profitable by being more sustainable and more environmentally conscious? Can you share a story or example?
I’m a firm believer that environmental performance and profitable business go hand in hand. Let me give you a simple example. Roughly a decade ago, Intel established a central fund of one million dollars to pay for projects that saved energy while having a positive financial return. We called on engineers across the company to submit proposals for how they could use the funds. Projects were identified, funded and completed. I honestly thought we would run out of ideas and projects within a few years. Fast forward to today and our annual budget is $30 million, project ideas continue to pour in and most projects pay back within three to four years! Thousands of projects have been completed, resulting in a cumulative savings of nearly $500 million. Our environmental footprint has been reduced while creating direct value to the bottom line.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
Although there are many who have helped me along the way, one immediately jumps to mind — Terry McManus, who hired me into Intel and was the company’s first environmental manager. Terry was a passionate promoter of the environment. Despite his executive salary, he drove a 20-year-old, sun baked Toyota station wagon with a Phoenix Suns flag flapping from the rear window. Terry had two speeds — 100mph and zero. Get him to sit still in a taxi and he was sound asleep within a block. Exit at the destination and he was fully alert and ready to take on the world. He saw potential in me that I did not, and I will always be grateful for his mentorship early in my career.
You are a person of great influence and doing some great things for the world! If you could inspire a movement that would bring the greatest amount of good to the greatest amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
Unfortunately, I’m not that inspirational, influential or creative! Fortunately, many others are so I can draft off of their brilliance. So, how about a favorite quote from someone much more inspirational than myself?
Do you have a favorite life lesson quote? Can you tell us how that was relevant to you in your own life?
Be the change you wish to see in the world — Ghandi. Though I’ve read that these were not Ghandi’s exact words, the message is his. Start with yourself. As we change ourselves, the way the world sees us changes and the impact we can have expands. It’s impossible to get others to follow if we are not willing to role model and make the needed changes ourselves.
What is the best way for people to follow you on social media?
I’m a dinosaur when it comes to social media. Instead, follow along what we are doing at Intel on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Many of my colleagues are much more interesting than I am but on a slow news day, I may chime in with a few thoughts as well.
This was so inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!
About the author:
Penny is an environmental scientist-turned-entrepreneur. She’s worked as a climate scientist, an environmental planner, and a wilderness park ranger. Motivated by a passion to raise a generation of environmental leaders, in 2010 Penny founded Green Kid Crafts, a children’s media company that provides kids around the world with convenient and eco-friendly STEAM activities. Today, it’s become a leader in the subscription industry, with over 1 million packages shipped worldwide that have exposed a generation to think about and take a leadership role in sustainability. Penny, her husband Jeff, and her children Rowan and Declan live together in San Diego, California. She holds a B.A. in Environmental Management and an M.S. in Environmental Science. Penny has over 20 years of experience in entrepreneurship, management, strategy and finance. She’s a seasoned leader, an inspiring speaker, an encouraging business mentor, and a creative writer. You can learn more about Green Kid Crafts at https://www.greenkidcrafts.com/ and follow Penny’s stories and updates at https://www.instagram.com/greenkidcrafts/ and https://twitter.com/bauderpenny.