Women Driving Change in Clean Tech

Yesterday, Intel hosted the first west coast summit of the Women’s Network for a Sustainable Future at our offices in Santa Clara. The day brought together a mix of women (and a few brave men) from across the spectrum of the sustainability field in Silicon Valley – from business (including Intel, HP, Symantec, Adobe, and Applied Materials) to government to academia – to talk about the potential of clean tech to help businesses reduce their environmental impact and drive economic recovery and to network with other women leaders working on these issues.WNSF2.jpg

The panel included Intel’s own Lorie Wigle, General Manager of our Eco-Tech program office, Bonnie Nixon of HP, Nancy Parmer of UPS, Mary Dent from SVB Financial (a lender for clean tech companies), and Margaret Bruce from The Climate Group. Lorie and Bonnie shared their views on the opportunity for technology companies to help reduce the environmental impact of computing activities (which accounts for about 2% of worldwide emissions according to recent studies). They spoke of the impact and strategic opportunities associated with more energy-efficient processors and products, including significant advances in data center efficiency. More importantly, they talked about the opportunity to drive significant energy reductions (and new market opportunities for tech companies) by addressing “the other 98%” – whether it’s applying technology and new processes to the printing industry, to construction and manufacturing.

Nancy talked about UPS’s efforts to use data to help their customers reduce their own carbon footprints as well elaborating on the oft-cited example of how they used technology to optimize their delivery routes to eliminate left hand turns, saving 3 millions of gas a year. Mary provided a different perspective from a financial organization that works with clean tech companies on funding and the need for finding the right incentives and market mechanisms to encourage innovation. Margaret talked about the need for collaboration and highlighted the recent Smart2020 report which talks about opportunities for ICT to help reduce carbon emissions across the economy.

The panel and audience also engaged in a discussion about career opportunities for women in the clean tech and sustainability areas, and whether women were inherently “better” at thinking about solution to sustainability issues or whether they had a unique role to play, particularly at the senior executive and board level. Others felt that there was no real difference between men and women on this issue, but that there was value in finding new opportunities to increase representation of women in the industry. I personally found it inspiring to be surrounded by that many accomplished women from my chosen field in one room for an afternoon, to share best practices and brainstorm on new ideas and solutions.

We were also very fortunate to hear from Mary D. Nichols, the Chairman of the California Air Resources Board, who spoke about the role that government and policymakers are playing (working with companies and other organizations) to address climate change and support the clean tech industry. She noted in her remarks that California received about 60% of all clean tech investment last year in the U.S.

And no summit on technology these days is complete without tweets and blogs – we were fortunate to be joined at the event by a number of bloggers from the technology and environmental areas, including triple pundit and greenbiz.

3 Responses to Women Driving Change in Clean Tech

  1. This is a general comment. I am not a techie but enjoy using my PC!
    I just saw the Intel Advertisement on TV featuring Ajay Bhatt as a “Rock Star”. I cannot remember the last time I enjoyed an ad that much! Terrific Ad. Would love to meet Ajay Bhatt, Bala Cadambi, Josh Smith and Stephen Whalley in person! They truely are “Rock Stars” :O)
    I have used PC’s with Intel, currently have one with the Core2Duo. Go Intel!

  2. PRB says:

    For a company that is so open to women advancing their careers, how can the company continue to advertize on the David Letterman show? When is a joke about rape ever funny? How about raping someone’s daughter?
    Letterman has the right to his sick, sexually perverted and anti-woman ideas, and to voice them. He has no right to be paid for that. Intel, as an advertiser, pays him. As a company how can you continue that? How can the female employees tolerate it? Tell them a rape joke, even one about their grown daughters, and see how that goes down.
    Please stop enabling this hate speech. Only together can we bring the toleration of this speech to an end.

  3. sanja1 says:

    I am writing to each corporate sponsor of the Dave Letterman show requesting the withdrawal of advertising dollars to CBS. My concern is not which political party anyone belongs to, but how women have become the brunt of nasty jokes. I also am not concerned if Dave was thinking it was the 18 year old or the 14 year old, this is nothing to be said about any woman of any age! Your company is a promoter of youth and should therefore be very concerned how women and girls are being treated with this type of supposed comedic license. I will appreciate your taking a stand against this type of treatment to any girl or woman, as we are a very important and viable fabric of our society. Thank you for your time and consideration of withdrawal from CBS.