Bruce Klafter

Served as head of Corporate Responsibility & Sustainability.
Applied Materials

The Collaborative Economy and the Planet

Can sharing goods and services help save the planet?  That was one of a number of provocative questions posed by Van Jones in a Master class offered by the Presidio Graduate School.  You may recall Jones as the passionate human rights and green jobs proponent who served briefly in the Obama Administration.  The problem statement with which he launched the class was that consumerism is threatening the planet’s future as we extract more and more resources and throw away more and more things, i.e. waste.  Collaborative economics was described as a “nation of neighbors”, where we share with one another and rely more on our social capital than strictly upon financial capital.  Jones capsulized it as follows:  “do we want to treat our planet as if we are locusts (consuming the planet) or as honeybees (living, building and producing together)?”Sharing can be part of the solution to the ecological problems that come from excess consumerism.
Green Power is Golden

Green Power is Golden

Applied Materials is pleased to be recognized once again for our commitment to green energy. In the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s recent Green Power Partnership report, Applied ranked no. 15 on the list of the Top 20 Tech and Telecom companies and no. 35 on the Fortune 500 list.As I’m caught up in Olympic fever at the moment, this feels like winning a medal!
Applied Materials

Energy Efficiency Standards Revisited

There is compelling new evidence that well designed standards for energy consuming products can drive innovation and save consumers enormous amounts of money over the life of those products. This is a thesis that I have expressed support for on more than one occasion.A new report entitled “The Efficiency Boom” is the work of the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) and a multi-stakeholder group called the Appliance Standards Awareness Project (“ASAP).The report takes a retrospective look at the various energy standards that have been adopted since the 1980s as well as potential new or updated standards in 34 categories (e.g. industrial boilers, dishwashers, microwaves, computers, televisions, lighting fixtures and so on). The energy and dollar savings from these standards are truly impressive.
Applied Materials

Life in the Fast Lane – Electric Vehicle Observations

Recently I had the opportunity to use a Nissan Leaf™ for several full days, a much more interesting exercise than a simple test drive. As someone working in the sustainability area, as a co-chair of the California Clean Cars campaign and as a likely car buyer in 2012 (my current vehicle has over 230,000 miles on it) I am very interested in the electric vehicle (EV) market.Nissan’s Leaf™ is among the handful of low emission cars that are presently authorized to carry a Clean Air Vehicle Sticker, entitling a single occupant to use the carpool lanes during rush hours – a very nice side benefit to EV ownership that helped speed my commute this week.My general impression of EV driving is very favorable.
Applied Materials

Reflecting on the 41st Anniversary of the Clean Air Act

At this time of year, when many of us will be traveling to visit families--either by plane, train or automobile, it is worth reflecting upon one of the United States’ seminal pieces of environmental legislation, the Clean Air Act. The Clean Air Act, established in 1970, is celebrating its 41st anniversary this December 17. In 1970, California’s population was only 20 million. During that same decade, in 1975, the Los Angeles basin recorded 118 Stage 1 smog alerts. By 1980 the state’s population had reached 24 million and 17 million automobiles racked up over 155 billion vehicle miles (!) By 2010 our population reached over 38 million, a doubling from 1970, but many air quality statistics demonstrate some remarkable improvements: the number of smog alerts in the South Coast has fallen by over 95% and some years have seen zero such incidents; emissions of nitrogen oxides and hydrocarbons from cars are down 200,000 tons from the peak in 1990 despite vehicle miles growing to 280 billion miles annually.
Applied Materials

The Future of Social and Environmental Responsibility

A gathering of 2000+ twenty-somethings these days is usually a rave party or another edition of Occupy Wall Street. The gathering I attended last week in Portland, Oregon, however, was something much different, it was a convening of young people from universities around the country and abroad, all of whom are vitally interested in using business skills to tackle the world’s toughest problems.
Applied Materials

Applied Materials Named to Newsweek’s Annual Green Rankings

For the third year in a row, Applied Materials has been named to NEWSWEEK Magazine’s Green Rankings – an annual environmental ranking of the 500 largest U.S. companies.Newsweek made some significant changes to the ranking methodology this year and, consequently there was quite a bit of musical chairs in the results. One change in the methodology that undoubtedly proved important was the elimination of a reputation score and the addition of a disclosure score (evaluating the breadth and quality of company environmental reporting).