As reported in GreenBiz, AG Bayer has maintained last year’s levels of emissions and waste while still enjoying growth in production. In some cases emissions were actually lower. Bayer attributes the success mostly to improved efficiency, technology, and other innovations.
The inaugural issue of the new Progressive Investor newsletter has an interesting list of the World’s Top 20 Sustainable Stocks including Timberland, Sharp, Whole Foods Market, and Herman Miller among many others.
The Progressive Investor is a new monthly sustainable investment newsletter for socially responsible business people. It is created by founder of SustainableBusiness.com, Rona Fried. It draws on a group of world-class sustainable investment analysts from companies such as: Progressive Investment Management, Winslow Management, Adam, Harkness & Hill, Lowell, Blake & Associates, Trillium Asset Management, and others to produce each monthly issue.
Read the list and sign up for a subscription here.
Launched in May of this year, General Electric’s “Ecomagination” campaign continues to gain momentum and attention. Most recently, a short interview with Jeffrey Immelt in Industry Week highlights some of the basics. The choice quotes by Immelt:
This is not just good for society, its good for GE investors — we can solve tough global problems and make money doing it. GE aims to be the partner of choice for our customers around the world — whether homeowners, business leaders or government officials — by offering advanced technology to improve efficiency and reduce pollution in cost-effective ways. We intend to put our global capabilities, technology leadership and market knowledge to work to take on some of the world’s toughest problems — and we think we can make money doing it. This is good business.
The Australian reports that a secret pact has been signed between Australia, the US, China, South Korea, and India on Greenhouse Gas Emissions – those countries emit about 40% of the world’s share. The pact is known as the “Asia Pacific Partnership for Clean Development and Climate”, and is billed by its promoters as different from Kyoto because it emphasizes technological solutions and does not involve caps on emissions.
Details are scarce, but critics have quickly emerged calling the pact “business as usual” and potentially undermining to the Kyoto accord. Additional information on Google News, which has curiously few US news sources reporting at the time of this writing.
Sustainability Zone had a great article a while back about the basics of carbon emissions reductions. Check it out here. There are essentially two ways to deal with the problem – one is obviously to reduce emissions alltogether, via improved efficiency and voluntary reduction. The other, accepting the fact that we are inevitably wedded to fossil fuels in the short term, is sequestration.
There are thre basic kinds: Geologic – pumping C02 back into the earth, usually into former oil fields. Marine – seeding the ocean with fertilizer to promote plankton growth (an idea with rather unpredictable consequences), and Agricultural – basically planting forests.
Read the details here, but basically the last option, Agricultural, is suggested as the most viable.
Monday’s SF Chronicle reports on the rapid growth in solar nanotechnology. The hot item: Rolls of super-efficient plastic photovoltaics that can be spread on rooftops or gadgets. Production costs and energy distribution on incredibly tiny scales remain problems, but that hasn’t dampened optimism among investors. (Via Curt Rosengren)
The Royal residence at Windsor castle will soon be partly powered by a “mini-hydro” plant installed on an existing weir on the River Thames. A mini-hydro plant is a relatively low power generation station, though it does not require a massive dam. The four-turbine installation should power about a third of the castle. It’s an experiment worth watching, and a great example set by those in positions of leadership. The question that remains – could the White House pull this off?
In a shining example that going green can also mean going with the best of design, Chris Parlette’s fabulous Berkeley bungalow expresses the best of both sentiments. Bamboo flooring, recycled lumber, solar power partly paid for by state incentives… all wrapped up in a super hip home that, frankly, I wish I had! To me, it’s another example of how going green can benefit the asthetic, in addition to the pocketbook. Check it out here.
I got back from Alaska last week, and we’re in the process of pulling together our documentary film about the oil issure in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. If there’s anything I’ve learned from this experience, it’s that the issue is extremely complex. Still, we uncovered plenty of evidence that opening the refuge to drilling will have a trivial, at best, impact on gas prices. The only really positive outcome to drilling that I can think of is that it might allow oil sales to China that could play-down the US-China trade deficit to some extent. But amazingly, it’s more likely to have a negative effect on American business in the long-term because it discourages innovation at the very momment when we need it most.
As for the residents of the North Slope, who have found themselves dependant on what is essentially a welfare system handed out by the oil industry, there exists a great deal of untapped potential for non-oil-based economic growth. It just needs to be encouraged. Read the latest TAP press release “Debunking the Myth of Oil Dependency in Alaska” for a taste.
If you are in Boston or New York next week please come to our fund-raiser and presentations. For invite info click your city: [Boston][New York].
Daniel Akst has a great article in the last Sunday New York Times that offers up some innovative proposals for the American auto industry. The article suggests that Detroit is staring opportunity in the face – that “going green” can be achieved while similtaneously appealing to the “environmentally conscious” as well as “meat-eating SUV owners”. You’ve heard this sort of thing before, but I think that the more often it’s repeated, the more it will sink in.
Presidio World College, our future alma matter, and the first acredited MBA program specifically focused on sustainability will be having an open house this Thursday evening in San Francisco. Applications are still being accepted for the fall class.
Details: Presidio World College Main Office, Building 36 on Lincoln Blvd @ Graham Street – call (415) 561-6590 or email rashmi-at-presidioworldcollege.org to RSVP.
In an interesting twist for a major oil company, Chevron has launched a campaign asking consumers to join with the company in acknowledging the finiteness of the world’s oil supply and to practice conservation. The campaign is called “Will You Join Us?” and, it asks: “How can we make oil and gas supplies last longer as the search for other fuels continues?”
Some might pass this off as all a bunch of marketing, and sure, it is, but it’s still pretty darn significant. Joel Makower points out that this is one of the first times a big oil company has broken ranks and made public statements advising conservation and acknowledging that the future lies beyond fossil fuels. All in all, it’s a pretty honest assessment of the situation and a positive step in my book.
The first in what we hope to be a long list of MBA business case studies is one I helped lead recently on the financial benefits of flushless urinals. It’s a topic that most people think is rather funny at first, but one that has suprisingly positive environmental as well as financial ramifications.
Basically, my collegues (Kathryn Zender and Steve Kropfl) and I examined an existing facility – the Kaiser Permanente French Campus in San Francisco, and assessed their current water use costs. We then came up with a proposal showing how those costs would change if flushless urinals were installed (minus installation and maintenence). As you might expect, even our most pessimistic projection still turned out to have a positive ROI.
As reported in GreenBiz, a new WWF/SustainAbility report examines the degree to which company lobbying practices align with stated core business values. The report’s conclusions say that most companies have a least some degree of transparency on lobbying and public policy practices, but that a high degree of defensiveness remains.
Download the entire PDF on the SustainAbility website.
An initiative called “Wasteless in Seattle” launched by the city of Seattle’s Public Utilities is poised to become the first model for a “zero waste” city. To do this, Seattle plans on drastically reducing their need for landfills, as well as decreasing transportation and energy costs.
The key to their plan is waste prevention rather than just simply recycling. This idea includes default double sided copies for all city documents, more electronic documents, a move towards “Green Purchasing” for all city cleaning supplies, and encouraging businesses to adopt product “take back” campaigns.
Read full article in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.