Tuesday, November 11, 2008

What happens to green in an economic downturn?

The DOW continues to plunge. The $700B economic bailout begins. GM is screaming for assistance. CitiGroup files for bankruptcy. We have elected a new president. Words like recession, depression, deflation are making newspaper headlines. With the economic downturn what happens to all of the efforts and corporate commitments to green? Will green still be seen as gold, or just a waste of precious financial resources? President-elect Obama supported green during his campaign and it will be interesting to see how he could use governmental assistance as a means to promote green industry. He has close to $700B to make the greening of Corporate America a reality.

One consideration is to assist GM (and other US auto manufacturers) with government loans that require the auto giant to re-invent itself and re-tool so that it can manufacture energy efficient automobiles that people will actually want to buy. The factories could also become a target for green technologies that reduce waste and promote sustainability. Such an arrangement could reach far into the supply chain, labor force, and even dealerships.

GM has been in a death spiral for many years and is burdened with legacy costs that adds to cost but not to value.However, it is beyond this blog to say whether it should receive government assistance or not. GM has shown some efforts toward producing green autos with the introduction of the new environmentally friendly Chevy Volt . However, it is hard to forget that it was GM's Chairman of the Board, Bob Lutz who said that global warming was a "crock of shit". I wonder if Lutz still thinks American car-buyers are not ready for anything other that our SUVs.

This situation could turn out a few ways. The price for a barrel of oil is now again under $60 and with inexpensive gasoline flowing again, perhaps the Lutz legacy will be SUVs and Bankruptcy. However, House Speaker Pelosi, and Senate Majority Leader Ried are days away from proposing such a bailout and perhaps, just perhaps the legacy will go the other way and Lutz will transform GM into a big green car-making machine. Time will tell.

# 9 Google

Google has several "Green" efforts. The one that seems to be of most interest and applicable to the industry is its commitment to sustainable computing.

Google's mission is to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful. Hundreds of millions of users access these services through the web, and supporting this traffic requires lots of computers. Google strives to offer great internet services while taking energy use very seriously. Almost a decade ago, they started efforts to make computing infrastructure as sustainable as possible. Today they operate the world's most efficient data centers.

Google-designed data centers use considerably less energy - both for the servers and the facility itself - than a typical data center. As a result, the energy used per Google search is minimal. In fact, in the time it takes to do a Google search, your own personal computer will use more energy than they will use to answer your query.

At Google, sustainability is about more than electricity, so they've gone beyond just reducing energy consumption. Before the end of 2008 two of their facilities will run on 100% recycled water, and by 2010 they expect recycled water to provide 80% of their total water consumption. They also carefully manage the retirement of our servers to ensure that 100% of this material is either reused or recycled. Finally, They are engaging users and peers to help build a clean and efficient energy future. They understand that the broader impact could be significant; if all data centers operated at the same efficiency as Google's, the U.S. alone would save enough electricity to power every household within the city limits of Atlanta, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Washington, D.C.

Sustainability is good for the environment, but it makes good business sense too. Most of their work is focused on saving resources such as electricity and water and, more often than not, we find that these actions lead to reduced operating costs. Being "green" is essential to keeping their business competitive. It is this economic advantage that makes our efforts truly sustainable.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

110th Congress Climate Change Bills

Several climate change bills have been introduced during the 110th Congress aimed at reducing Greenhouse House Gas (GHG) emissions. All of the proposed legislation amends the Clean Air Act and vests the President and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) with responsibility for instituting a program of carbon caps and complimentary policies. This paper will focus on two of the most recent bills - - Senate bill S.3036, the Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act of 2008 and House bill H.R. 6186, Investing in Climate Action and Protection Act or “iCAP.”

S. 3036 and H.R. 6186, as well as the other previously introduced bills, focus on the adoption of mitigation strategies but for the most part fail to include any mechanism for measuring and/or monitoring of GHG levels now and in the future. A comprehensive national climate change policy needs to be comprised of two goals: 1) mitigation strategies to include emissions reductions, renewable energy and efficient technologies and 2) measurement and monitoring protocols to collect climatological data. Such data is necessary in order to establish current baselines and evaluate future performance of mitigation strategies and well as provide climatalogical forecasts so that adaptation strategies can be adopted. Two standalone bills introduced in the Senate, S. 2307 and S. 2355 do call for measuring and monitoring activities and are discussed in detail in Section II below.

S. 3036 Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act of 2008

· Requires the Administrator of the EPA to establish: (1) a federal GHG registry, for which certain facilities must report information regarding fossil fuels and GHGs produced and consumed; (2) specified quantities of GHG emission allowances, which decline for each of 2012 to 2050; and (3) a GHG emission allowance transfer system for specified covered facilities, including facilities that use more than 5,000 tons of coal in a year, facilities in the natural gas sector, facilities that produce or entities that import petroleum- or coal- based fuel the combustion of which will emit a group I GHGs, facilities that produce or entities that import, in any year, more than 10,000 carbon dioxide equivalents of chemicals that are group I GHGs, and facilities that emit as a byproduct of the production of hydro chlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) more than 10,000 carbon dioxide equivalents of HFCs in any year.

  • Annual caps on covered sectors combine to equal an overall goal of reducing total U.S. emissions through a combination of a cap on about 87% of emissions (includes a separate cap on HFCs in commerce) and complementary policies (e.g. low carbon fuels standard and energy efficiency standard). However, emissions from uncovered sectors may continue to grow.
  • Provides for the allocation and distribution of emission allowances to states and facilities on the basis of emission reductions, energy savings, state programs that exceed federal emission reduction targets. Allocates free allowances of 75.5% to power plants, manufacturers, electricity and natural gas and states. 4.25% set-aside for domestic agriculture and forestry.

· Establishes: (1) a domestic offset program to sequester GHGs; (2) the Bonus Allowance Account for carbon capture and sequestration projects; (3) the Carbon Market Efficiency Board, which shall analyze the national GHG emission market and implement cost relief measures if the market poses significant harm to the U.S. economy; (4) the Climate Change Credit Corporation, to which specified percentages of emission and remainder emission allowances for 2012-2050 shall be allocated and which shall auction such allowances annually; and (5) the Deficit Reduction Fund into which auction proceeds shall be deposited.

· Requires the President to establish: (1) an interagency group to determine whether foreign countries have addressed GHGs; and (2) an Interagency Climate Change Task Force.

  • No monitoring or measuring requirements per se. Closest provision, Section 7001, requires the National Academy of Science Review to issue reports to Congress no later than January 1, 2012 and every 3 years thereafter to evaluate the latest scientific information and data relevant to global climate change. Specifically cites NOAA ocean and wildlife concerns but not weather.
  • S. 3036, originally introduced as S. 2191 was approved by Environment and Public Works Committee and was sent to Senate floor for consideration. Failure to gain cloture resulted in no further action for this legislation.

H.R. 6186 Investing in Climate Action and Protection Act or “iCAP Act

· Allows EPA to designate new greenhouse gases and directs EPA to determine the quantity of each greenhouse gas that makes the same contribution to global warming as one metric ton of carbon dioxide. EPA is also directed to establish a national greenhouse gas registry.

· Subtitle A establishes a process through Subtitle B directs EPA to establish a separate quantity of emission allowances for each calendar year from 2012 through 2050. The bill covers emissions of carbon dioxide. The bill requires the owner or operator of each ``covered entity,'' at the end of each calendar year from 2012 through 2050, to submit to EPA one emission allowance for each metric ton of carbon.

· A covered entity may submit domestic or international offset credits approved by EPA in lieu of emission allowances to satisfy up to 15 percent of its compliance requirement. A covered entity may also submit destruction credits--issued by EPA to entities that convert a greenhouse gas (other than methane) to a gas with a lower global warming potential--in lieu of emission allowances.

· Annual caps on covered sectors to equal an overall goal of reducing 85 percent of emissions. HFC emissions are not covered until 2020, which increases to 87 percent overall reductions.

· Directs EPA to auction virtually all of the emission allowances each year, beginning with 94 percent auction from 2012-2019 and transitioning to 100 percent auction in 2020. Six percent of allowances from 2012 through 2019 will be distributed to U.S. manufacturers of trade-exposed primary goods (such as iron and steel, cement, aluminum, bulk glass, and paper) as a transitional measure to avoid shifting production abroad.

· Directs EPA to promulgate performance standards for certain sources not included under the cap--such as coal mines, landfills, wastewater treatment operations, and large animal feeding operations--that emit at least 10,000 metric tons CO

· Title II creates a new Office of Carbon Market Oversight (``OCMO'') within the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which is charged with ensuring transparency, fairness, and stability in the market for emission allowances, offset credits, and derivatives thereof (collectively referred to as ``regulated instruments''). The OCMO will establish rules requiring registration of (1) self-regulating ``registered carbon trading facilities'' on which regulated instruments are traded, (2) ``carbon clearing organizations'' that provide clearing services to trading facilities, and (3) brokers and dealers trading in regulated instruments.

· Under Subtitle B, an estimated $963 billion (12.5 percent of auction proceeds) will be used to fund low-carbon energy technology programs administered by the Department of Energy. These include existing RD&D programs for renewable electricity generation, carbon capture and sequestration (CCS), electric transmission and distribution efficiency, cellulosic ethanol, low-emission vehicles, building and industrial efficiency, energy storage technologies, and the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy. Subtitle B also establishes new programs to promote the deployment of large-scale and distributed renewable energy generation and to provide cost-sharing grants to cover the incremental costs of implementing CCS technology at coal-fired power plants that commence construction before 2020.

· Under Subtitle D, an estimated $378 billion (4.5 to 5 percent of auction proceeds) will be used to fund a program, administered by the Department of Agriculture, to support projects by U.S. farmers and foresters that increase biological sequestration of carbon and reduce greenhouse gas emissions through improved agricultural soil management and forest management practices. USDA is also directed to undertake a supporting program of research, education, and outreach.

· Under Subtitle F, an estimated $185 billion (2 to 2.5 percent of auction proceeds) will be used to support a comprehensive program to increase America's resilience to the impacts of climate change. Under this program, NOAA will periodically assess America's vulnerability to such impacts and provide assistance to federal, state, local, and tribal decision makers in developing adaptation strategies. Subtitle F directs federal agencies to develop and implement plans to address climate change impacts within their jurisdictions and provides funding for State, local and tribal government projects to reduce vulnerability to climate change impacts.

· Under Subtitle G, an estimated $147 billion (1.5 to 2 percent of auction proceeds) will be used to support measures, implemented by federal land and natural resource management agencies, the States, and Indian tribes to protect U.S. natural resources, wildlife, and fisheries against adverse impacts from climate change.

· Title VII establishes a comprehensive framework for periodic review and reports to Congress, by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), the Government Accountability Office (GAO), and relevant federal agencies, of all major aspects of the bill. Every five years, an interagency body will make recommendations to the President, and the President will in turn make recommendations to Congress, on changes to the framework established by the bill. Title VII also provides for expedited Congressional consideration of a presidential recommendation to tighten the bill's emissions cap if the NAS's findings indicate such action is necessary.

· Status –The bill has been referred to several house committees with jurisdiction. On June 12, 2008, referred to Subcommittee of Energy and Environment of the House Science and Technology Committee.



Two bills have been introduced in the Senate that would require the implementations of national programs to undertake climate monitoring - - S. 2355, introduced on November 14, 2007 by Senator Cantwell cited as the “Climate Change Adaptation Act” and S. 2307 introduced by Senator Kerry on November 5, 2007 and cited as the “Global Change Research Improvement Act of 2007.”

S. 2355, Climate Change Adaptation Act

Senator Cantwell’s bill would amend the National Climate Program Act and require the President to provide Congress with a 5-year strategic plan to address the impacts of climate change within the United States. The plan must identify opportunities to utilize remote sensing and other geospatial technologies to improve planning for adaptation to climate change impacts. The bill would establish a National Climate Service to be established within the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. S.2355 remains in Committee.

S. 2307, Global Change Research Improvement Act of 2007

Senator Kerry’s bill would amend the Global Change Research Act of 1990 to provide for the continuation and coordination of a comprehensive United States observation, research, assessment and outreach program to better understand the effects of climate change. To accomplish this goal the bill would require the development of a strategic plan for the United States for a 10 year period beginning in 2008. The plan must incorporate observing systems for collecting data relevant to global and regional climate change research and prioritize additional observation systems that may be needed to ensure adequate data collection and monitoring of global change. This bill would also require the development of indicators, baseline databases, and ongoing monitoring to document global change, including species distribution and behavior, changes in oceanic and atmospheric chemistry, extent of ice sheets, glaciers, and snow cover, shifts in water distribution and abundance, and changes in sea level. This bill remains in Committee.

Source( The Alliance for Earth Observation )

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Cisco # 8

Cisco Green LeadershipVision

Cisco’s approach of “Changing the Way We Work, Live, Play, and Learn” extends to its ability to reduce the effects of the company’s operations and products on the environment. Cisco’s vision is to combine the power of innovation with collaboration to create the most sustainable model for addressing global climate change. Innovation is at the heart of what Cisco does, and collaboration – internally and externally – is what fuels its ability to drive new ideas across Cisco and with its customers. Cisco believes that the network can become a “green platform” for technology to help transform how we manage global environmental challenges.

Currently, Cisco is driving environmental initiatives in four key areas:

• Responsible operations: Working to lessen Cisco’s environmental footprint by using power in a more sustainable manner and by reducing the greenhouse gas emissions that result from business operations. Strides are also being made to better manage resources and waste, along with ensuring Cisco’s supply chain adheres to the company’s environmental and diversity goals.

• Product stewardship: Commitment to optimizing the functionality, accessibility, and performance of Cisco products while reducing the amount of power they need to operate. Cisco has also instituted strong recovery and recycling programs.

• Architecture: Developing networking architectures and solutions to enable customers and employees to mitigate their environmental impact and achieve their green goals.

• Advocacy: Acting as a catalyst for change with partners in industry, government, and among influencers.

Clinton Global Initiative

Carbon to Collaboration Launched in 2005, the Clinton Global Initiative’s (CGI) mission is to solve global problems that affect the quality of human life. Cisco is a CGI partner as
it aligns with the company’s strategy to reduce dependency on physical travel by investing in collaboration technologies that help reduce carbon emissions. This is demonstrated by Cisco’s commitment to reduce its C02 emissions by 10 percent, primarily through a 20 percent reduction in employee travel. During Fiscal Year 2007, Cisco successfully decoupled its growth in employees and earnings from an increase in carbon emissions due to air travel, which fell 14 percent over the previous year, normalized by sales revenue.
Cisco is also investing $15 million through its Connected Urban Development initiative to create urban communications’ infrastructures that demonstrate how network connectivity can reduce carbon emissions for cities, countries, and individuals.

Connected Urban Development

What: In its first phase, Connected Urban Development consists of building partnerships with three pilot cities—Amsterdam, San Francisco, and Seoul—to apply information and communications technology to promote innovative practices for reducing CO2. Each of the pilot cities will focus on excelling in one or two key areas.

Why: The result will be a blueprint of best practices and methodologies that can be used as a reference by other cities. These blueprints will be replicated to additional cities during the second phase and scaled on a global basis in the third phase.

Future: The scope of Connected Urban Development is expected to go beyond the environmental dimension, delivering innovative and sustainable models for urban planning and economic development. CUD recently announced that it will work with four additional cities on specific programs: Birmingham, England; Hamburg, Germany; Lisbon, Portugal; and Madrid, Spain.

Cisco EcoBoard

The Cisco EcoBoard was formed in the beginning of FY07. Made up of 14 leaders from departments across Cisco, the group has collaboratively developed an innovative corporate green strategy to reduce the company’s carbon footprint and deliver ecologically sound products and opportunities to customers.

Mission:Impact how we operate as a company Create efficiencies and innovations in our products. Provide solutions to customers to address global environmental issues. Inspire employees and people around the wolrd to take action

Members: The board is chaired by Laura Ipsen, SVP, Global Policy and Government Affairs; John McCool, SVP, GM of Campus Switching Systems Technology Group; and Ron Ricci, VP,
Corporate Positioning. In addition, EcoBoard membership includes senior leaders from each
functional area within the company.

Green Leadership in the Information/Communications (ICT) Industries

Cisco believes information and communications technology can play a large role in how the world addresses its environmental challenges. Cisco is innovating in its operations, products, and customer solutions to address environmental issues and is collaborating with employees, customers, partners, and governments to create a sustainable ICT model for addressing climate change. To guide these efforts, Cisco has hired a Vice President of Green Engineering, Paul Marcoux, a founding member of The Green Grid initiative. Cisco has also played a leadership role in the development and consistent application of environmental standards.

Friday, June 6, 2008

U.S. carbon-capping climate bill dies in Senate

Fri Jun 6, 2008 9:38am EDT

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. legislation that would have set up a cap-and-trade system to limit climate-warming carbon emissions died on Friday after a procedural vote in the Senate.

The bill aimed to cut total U.S. global warming emissions by 66 percent by 2050. Opponents said it would cost U.S. jobs and raise fuel prices in an already pinched American economy.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

# 7 Procter and Gamble (P&G)

P&G is committed to social responsibility. We are always seeking ways to better integrate economic progress, social development and environmental concerns to ensure a better quality of life for future generations.

We demonstrate our commitment to social responsibility by providing products and services that improve consumers' lives, in terms of health, hygiene and convenience. On a smaller scale, we contribute to the economic and social well-being of our employees, our shareholders and the local communities in which we operate. On a larger scale, we are involved in regional, national and international development. P&G contributes to social responsibility both in principle and in action.

1. What is "Sustainability," and what does this mean to P&G?
P&G embraces the UK government definition of sustainability, which says: "Sustainable Development is a very simple idea. It is about ensuring a better quality of life for everyone, now and for generations to come." This definition speaks to a better quality of life for everyone, both in the developed and the developing world. It also is aspirational and aligns very well with our Statement of Purpose.

Sustainability integrates economic development, environmental protection and social responsibility. For P&G, sustainability provides us with a holistic approach to address the moral and ethical values of our consumers and other key stakeholders, along with their simultaneous desire for a higher and more rewarding quality of life. Sustainability provides an opportunity to build our business by bringing P&G technologies and innovation to address the values, concerns and frustrations that consumers face in their everyday lives. . .nutrition, litter, water-borne diseases, sanitation, health care, time available to spend with family, etc.

2. What is P&G's position on Sustainable Development?
P&G believes that improving the lives of the world's consumers encompasses the three pillars of Sustainability: Economic Development, Environmental Protection and Social Responsibility. We contribute to improving quality of life for people around the world both through what we do (providing goods and services to improve lives) and how we do it (through Corporate Social Responsibility).

There are two key focus areas that are integral to the success of P&G's business:

  1. Corporate Social Responsibility
  2. Sustainable production and consumption of products

To support these areas, the Company upholds the following basic principles:

  1. Conducting business with integrity and a core value to "do the right thing"
  2. A global free market, governed by the rule of law
  3. A climate of innovation
  4. Decisions based on sound science
  5. Freedom of consumer choice

3. How is P&G organized to meet Sustainability requirements?
P&G Global Sustainability was formed in July 1999 as a global organization. The Global Sustainability department focuses on defining P&G’s overall Sustainability policy, identifying emerging Sustainability issues, managing Corporate Sustainability Reporting, building external relation and assisting the business units to incorporate Sustainable Development into their businesses.

4. What is the vision of P&G Global Sustainability?
Our vision is to help P&G become a Sustainable Corporation by delivering unique solutions to improve lives, protect the environment and build shareholder value with the support of our consumers, employees, communities, shareholders, governments and thought leaders.

5. How is this concept being used in P&G's business?
We decided to focus on areas where we can make a positive difference. We chose two key themes, significant to a variety of P&G's businesses. They are (1) water and (2) health and hygiene. These focus areas support our ongoing work to understand issues concerning water availability, quality and quantity, and health, hygiene and nutritional issues.

6. Does P&G report on Sustainability topics?
Yes, we produce an annual Internet-based global Sustainability Report. P&G prepared its first Sustainability Report in October, 1999. Previously, we had been producing separate reports on environmental, economic and social performance for several years, but we now have linked these issues together in a Sustainable Development report. We are using a report format developed by the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI). Copies of our Sustainability Reports are available at http://www.pg.com/sr.

7. What is the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI)? Why is P&G following their guidelines?
The GRI provides a common format for Sustainability Reporting that assists both the organization providing the report and those using the report as a key source of data. The GRI consists of multinational corporations, Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), international associations, universities and other stakeholders from around the world. More information can be found at their Web site at: http://www.globalreporting.org.

P&G decided to pilot the GRI guidelines for its first Sustainability Report because it offered a consistent format for gathering economic, social and environmental performance trend data and reporting this information on a global basis.

8. Has P&G been rated by the Dow Jones Sustainability Group Index (DJSI)?
For 2007, P&G is ranked as the leading company in the consumer, non-cyclical market sector of the Dow Jones Sustainability Group Index. This is the seventh year in a row that P&G has been ranked first.

Friday, March 28, 2008

1st Green Stadium in the US

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Washington Nationals' gleaming new baseball park that opens Sunday night will be the first green professional stadium in the United States, the U.S. Green Building Council said Friday.

The Nats' stadium received a LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, certification from the council on Friday for its energy-conserving and environmental design.

To earn the certification, the ballpark was outfitted with energy-saving light fixtures, water-conserving plumbing, drought-resistant plants, and a green roof over the concessions area.

It was also erected on a restored brownfield that once had contaminated soil, and it has special systems in place to keep stormwater runoff from polluting the nearby Anacostia River.

"One of the things that really strikes me about stadium facilities is that they directly touch millions of people over the course of their existence," the council's Brendan Owens said.

The stadium's eco-friendly design would encourage visitors to preserve the environment in other ways, Owens said.

The stadium will use air-cooled chillers for concessions instead of water-cooled ones, as well, which will likely save six million gallons of water each year.

The city spent $611 million to build the stadium, selling $535 million in bonds in 2006. The DC Sports and Entertainment Commission said construction alone cost $311 million.

ayor Adrian Fenty, who had questioned using public funds for the ballpark when he was a member of the city council, touted the stadium's accomplishments.

"It was put on a schedule so tight that most people thought the stadium would never be ready," he told reporters. "It only took 724 days to build the ballpark."

In preparation for Sunday's inaugural game against the Atlanta Braves, construction workers bustled past photographers and camera crews on Friday to add touches of blue paint to seating and decor to the restaurant overlooking center field.

Construction cranes swept through the skies at building sites nearby -- signs of the development the stadium has inspired in the surrounding area.

Monday, February 25, 2008

GM's Lutz says Global Warming is a Total Crock...

DETROIT (Reuters) - General Motors Corp Vice Chairman Bob Lutz has defended remarks he made dismissing global warming as a "total crock of s---," saying his views had no bearing on GM's commitment to build environmentally friendly vehicles.

Lutz, GM's outspoken product development chief, has been under fire from Internet bloggers since last month when he was quoted as making the remark to reporters in Texas.

In a posting on his GM blog on Thursday, Lutz said those "spewing virtual vitriol" at him for minimizing the threat of climate change were "missing the big picture."

"What they should be doing in earnest is forming opinions, not about me but about GM and what this company is doing that is ... hugely beneficial to the causes they so enthusiastically claim to support," he said in a posting titled, "Talk About a Crock."

GM, the largest U.S. automaker by sales and market share, has been trying to change its image after taking years of heat for relying too much on sales of large sport-utility vehicles like the Hummer and not moving faster on fuel-saving hybrid technology.

"My thoughts on what has or hasn't been the cause of climate change have nothing to do with the decisions I make to advance the cause of General Motors," he wrote.

Lutz said GM was continuing development of the battery-powered, plug-in Chevy Volt and other alternatives to traditional internal combustion engines.

GM is racing against Toyota Motor Corp to be first to market a plug-in hybrid car that can be recharged at a standard electric outlet.

Lutz has previously said GM made a mistake by allowing Toyota to seize "the mantle of green respectability and technology leadership" with its market-leading Prius hybrid.

A 40-year auto industry veteran who joined GM earlier in the decade with a mandate to shake up its vehicle line-up, Lutz is no stranger to controversy.

As part of a campaign against higher fuel economy standards, Lutz wrote in a 2006 blog posting that forcing automakers to sell smaller cars would be "like trying to address the obesity problem in this country by forcing clothing manufacturers to sell smaller, tighter sizes."

Automakers ended their opposition to higher fuel standards in 2007 when it became clear that proposed changes would become law with or without their support.

In December, President George W. Bush signed a law mandating a 40 percent increase in fleetwide fuel economy by 2020, the first substantial change in three decades.

(Reporting by Kevin Krolicki, editing by Toni Reinhold)

Sunday, February 24, 2008

#6 Bank of America - Climate Change Policy

At Bank of America, our environmental policies are shaped by our conviction that the health of our company is dependent on the health of communities and our society. Understanding that every part of our business has a potential impact on our environment, we commit to integrating environmental policy into our company's operations at every level.

Bank of America's goal is to be the leading financial services company in this country, and to be recognized as one of the world's great companies. We know that these goals come with a responsibility to serve as a leader on issues of great importance.

- Ken Lewis
Bank of America Chairman and CEO

Scientists have concluded that human activities, primarily from the burning of fossil fuels has an effect on earth's climate due to the resultant "greenhouse effect" from the emissions of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide. If not checked, climate change and atmospheric pollution could alter the natural, social, and economic systems that support a growing global economy and sustain the quality of life for all of us on earth.

As a corporation, Bank of America has the responsibility to address climate change and the service sector has a role in promoting and implementing reductions of greenhouse gas emissions that extends beyond its own operations, including relationships with customers and suppliers.

We, at Bank of America, recognize that climate change and atmospheric pollution represent a risk to the ultimate stability and sustainability of our way of life. Bank of America is committed to addressing climate change issues even more so today, when we believe we can set real and achievable targets for greenhouse gas reductions in both our operations as well as investment opportunities.

- Anne Finucane, Global Marketing and Corporate Affairs Executive
Chair, Bank of America Environmental Council

Bank of America will take the following actions, recognizing that climate change and atmospheric pollution represent a major risk to the ultimate stability and sustainability of our way of life:

  • Assess, set goals and reduce Bank of America's direct effect on greenhouse gases; including benchmarking and reporting on direct emissions of greenhouse gas (GHG) from its operations. Bank of America was the first financial institution to become a partner in the EPA Climate Leaders program and has set a target to reduce our GHG emissions 9% by 2009.
  • Assess climate change risk on our business and take necessary action to limit risk and invest in change where appropriate; beginning this process with an assessment and reporting on GHG emissions from the energy & utilities portfolio. The goal is to realize a 7% reduction in indirect emissions in accordance with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change targets within our energy & utility portfolio. Also, Bank of America will commission an independent research paper through one of our environmental alliances using industry expertise to evaluate the level of financial sector risk through the finance of GHG emission intensive industries. Through this research and independent efforts, the bank will continue to evaluate methods of reducing GHG emissions in Bank of America's chain of activities including investment in renewable energy and energy efficiency.
  • Maximize investment return through energy and resource efficiency.
  • Share our position and build partnerships to work on solutions with customers, government and other stakeholders.
  • Utilize Bank of America's position as a community and industry leader to serve as an agent of change in elevating the public and private sector's commitment and approach to addressing climate change.
  • Take advantage of market-based environmentally beneficial business opportunities.
  • Inform our associates and provide information for how they can take action at work and in their personal lives.

Report on goals, actions and progress, and continue to monitor the issue and as needed make adjustments to our position and actions.

Friday, February 22, 2008

#5 Citi Group - The Carbon Principles

Citi is one of three financial institutions that came together to create "The Carbon Principles"

Three of the world's leading financial institutions today announced the formation of The Carbon Principles, climate change guidelines for advisors and lenders to power companies in the United States. These Principles are the result of a nine-month intensive effort to create an approach to evaluating and addressing carbon risks in the financing of electric power projects. The need for these Principles is driven by the risks faced by the power industry as utilities, independent producers, regulators, lenders and investors deal with the uncertainties around regional and national climate change policy.

The Principles were developed in partnership by Citi, JPMorgan Chase and Morgan Stanley, and in consultation with leading power companies American Electric Power, CMS Energy, DTE Energy, NRG Energy, PSEG, Sempra and Southern Company. Environmental Defense and the Natural Resources Defense Council, environmental non-governmental organizations, also advised on the creation of the Principles.

This effort is the first time a group of banks has come together and consulted with power companies and environmental groups to develop a process for understanding carbon risk around power sector investments needed to meet future economic growth and the needs of consumers for reliable and affordable energy. The consortium has developed an Enhanced Diligence framework to help lenders better understand and evaluate the potential carbon risks associated with coal plant investments.

The Principles recognize the benefits of a portfolio approach to meeting the power needs of consumers, without prescribing how power companies should act to meet these needs. However, if high carbon dioxide-emitting technologies are selected by power companies, the signatory banks have agreed to follow the Enhanced Diligence process and factor these risks and potential mitigants into the final financing decision.

"There was full and frank dialogue around the table," said Matt Arnold, director of Sustainable Finance, which helped coordinate the development of the Principles and Enhanced Diligence process. "There was a remarkable amount of debate and exchange of information and views among the banks, power companies and environmental organizations. The dialogue resulted in a rigorous analysis of the carbon risks in power investments, and sets the stage for further discussion."

Citi, JPMorgan Chase and Morgan Stanley have pledged their commitment to the Principles to use as a framework when talking about these issues with clients. This effort creates a consistent approach among major lenders and advisors in evaluating climate change risks and opportunities in the US electric power industry. The Principles and associated Enhanced Diligence represent a first step in a process aimed at providing banks and their power industry clients with a consistent roadmap for reducing the regulatory and financial risks associated with greenhouse gas emissions.

The Principles are:
    Energy efficiency. An effective way to limit CO2 emissions is to not produce them. The signatory financial institutions will encourage clients to invest in cost-effective demand reduction, taking into consideration the value of avoided CO2 emissions. We will also encourage regulatory and legislative changes that increase efficiency in electricity consumption including the removal of barriers to investment in cost-effective demand reduction. The institutions will consider demand reduction caused by increased energy efficiency (or other means) as part of the Enhanced Diligence Process and assess its impact on proposed financings of certain new fossil fuel generation.

    Renewable and low carbon distributed energy technologies. Renewable energy and low carbon distributed energy technologies hold considerable promise for meeting the electricity needs of the US while also leveraging American technology and creating jobs. We will encourage clients to invest in cost-effective renewables and distributed technologies, taking into consideration the value of avoided CO2 emissions. We will also encourage legislative and regulatory changes that remove barriers to, and promote such investments (including related investments in infrastructure and equipment needed to support the connection of renewable sources to the system). We will consider production increases from renewable and low carbon generation as part of the Enhanced Diligence process and assess their impact on proposed financings of certain new fossil fuel generation.

    Conventional and advanced generation. In addition to cost effective energy efficiency, renewables and low carbon distributed generation, investments in conventional or advanced generating facilities will be needed to supply reliable electric power to the US market. This may include power from natural gas, coal and nuclear technologies. Due to evolving climate policy, investing in CO2-emitting fossil fuel generation entails uncertain financial, regulatory and certain environmental liability risks. It is the purpose of the Enhanced Diligence process to assess and reflect these risks in the financing considerations for certain fossil fuel generation. We will encourage regulatory and legislative changes that facilitate carbon capture and storage (CCS) to further reduce CO2 emissions from the electric sector.
"Leading utilities and financial institutions understand that the rules of the road have changed for coal," said Mark Brownstein, managing director of business partnerships for Environmental Defense, one of the NGOs that advised with the banks in creating the Principles. "These principles are a first step in facilitating an honest assessment of electric generation options in light of the obvious and pressing need to substantially reduce national greenhouse gas pollution."

Dale Bryk, senior attorney at the Natural Resources Defense Council added, "Expectations are rising fast for this industry. Global warming is changing the competitive landscape. Clean power is the name of the game today. Conventional coal facilities are already facing intensive scrutiny. We think the serious money is increasingly going to be on clean, efficient solutions."

Power Industry Comments on The Carbon Principles

American Electric Power (AEP), Columbus, OH:
"A rational set of carbon principles to help guide energy investment strategy is vital to our nation's energy and economic future," said Michael G. Morris, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of American Electric Power. "Recognizing that energy efficiency, renewables, cleaner fossil technologies and other diverse solutions all have significant roles in addressing climate challenges while maintaining economic and energy security establishes a framework for making the best decisions regarding our nation's energy future."

CMS Energy, Jackson, MI:
"The electric companies that serve America's families and businesses every day understand the need for a balanced approach to meet our country's energy needs. At CMS Energy, our objective is to provide reliable and affordable power to our customers through a prudent, environmentally responsible mix of conventional and advanced technologies that includes renewable energy and to work with customers to help them use energy efficiently. By adopting these principles, Wall Street is making an important and creative contribution to the ongoing effort to address climate change and a contribution that will be welcomed by those in the utility sector with similar concerns about the environment."

DTE Energy, Detroit, MI:
"DTE Energy is proud of its history of environmental stewardship and thus we applaud the Carbon Principles approach by leading banks recognizing that a broad range of energy solutions must be considered to address the climate change issue," said Anthony F. Earley Jr., Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of DTE Energy.

NRG Energy, Princeton, NJ:
"To move the needle on global warming, clean energy technologies need to be developed, demonstrated and deployed as quickly as possible," said David Crane, President and Chief Executive Officer of NRG Energy Inc. "Given the capital intensive nature of this challenge, we welcome these carbon principles as a sign that America's leading financial institutions are ready to support a massive increase of investment in clean energy solutions. With the support of both Wall Street and public policymakers in Washington, the American power industry can lead the way in achieving the dramatic GHG reductions that are critical to the health of both our economy and our planet."

Public Service Enterprise Group (PSEG), Newark, NJ:
"The Carbon Principles encourage all stakeholders to recognize that energy efficiency, renewables and new low-carbon power sources are all indispensable to meeting the nation's future energy needs while addressing climate change as one of the foremost policy and environmental issues of our time," said Ralph Izzo, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of PSEG. "PSEG is actively pursuing this overall goal, while recognizing that our efforts must result in a reasonable cost to consumers. We hope that the Principles will contribute to the national consensus that must be reached to deal effectively with these critical issues."

Sempra Energy, San Diego, CA:
"With its mix of energy efficiency, renewable energy and clean conventional generation, the Carbon Principles echo our view that to meet future US energy needs, a balanced portfolio approach must use energy efficiency, renewable energy, and natural gas."

Southern Company, Atlanta, GA:
Southern Company, along with our regulators and other stakeholders, has and will continue to undertake extensive evaluation of all generation resources including nuclear, coal, natural gas, renewables and energy efficiency, to maintain the balanced portfolio necessary to reliably meet our customers' growing electricity needs. We regard bank due diligence as a normal part of our business and we applaud the banks for seeking input from the electricity industry as they developed the Carbon Principles.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Winery Meets Sustainability...How Eco-Chic

Progressive Wine Company Leads the Industry with Eco-Chic Wines

ST HELENA, CA, December 7, 2007 --/WORLD-WIRE/--
Five years ago Three Thieves became known as the innovative trailblazers in the wine industry by being the first to introduce eco-friendly Tetra Pak aseptic packaging for its high-quality, smartly priced California wines. Breaking ground again, in both wine and environmentally conscious circles, the Three Thieves are the first U.S. wine company to introduce the eco-friendly 1 Liter Tetra Prisma™, comprised of 70% paper, a renewable resource, for its Bandit line. “The Three Thieves are all winemakers, so our focus on what’s in the box is just as intense as the box itself,” says Chief Thief Charles Bieler.

Aseptic packaging is far more efficient and lightweight to transport than bottles, reducing carbon dioxide emissions and saving fuel. In fact, it would take 26 trucks filled with empty wine bottles to equal just 1 truck filled with empty Tetra Pak cartons. “We’re happy to do our part to fight America’s oil consumption,” Bieler explains.

Less waste and saving energy are other benefits: Tetra Paks reduce the packaging waste associated with bottled wine by 90% and can be distributed, warehoused and displayed in stores with or without refrigeration, while maintaining full flavor. Shelf stability is crucial because the Thieves rely on their insider grower contacts to source from California’s elite cool-climate vineyards. As a result Bandit wines are consistently praised by wine critics nationwide.

The Three Thieves refuse to waver from their dedication to providing consumers with quality wine at a great value, selling these wines nationally for $8.99/liter. Bieler adds, “The savings that we pass along to the consumer are significant, considering that there are no corks, labels, or foils used, and the cartons are a fraction of the weight and cost of glass.”

The new packaging brings more varietals to the table—Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Pinot Grigio—and offers greater portability, durability and the ability to preserve the wine for future use. Some days less is more: With Mini Bandits, the Thieves’ single-serve 250 ml Tetra Prisma juice boxes, a glass of wine on the go is easy and enjoyable.

Three Thieves, developed by Charles Bieler, Joel Gott and Roger Scommegna, is the leading brand of Rebel Wine Company, a joint venture with Trinchero Family Estates. Known as much for their innovative packaging as for what is in it, the Thieves have distinguished themselves through their originality and vision.

Tetra Pak is the world leader in food processing and packaging systems. Best known for its aseptic technology innovations, Tetra Pak works for and with its customers to provide preferred processing and packaging solutions for food and is committed to making food safe and available, everywhere.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

#5 Citi Green Award for Data Center

Citi Data Center Wins Environmental Award For Green Design Recognized by Leading Industry Body
New York, NY – Dec 7, 2007 the new Citi data center under construction in Frankfurt, Germany, was given the Green Data Center Award 2007 by DatacenterDynamics, one of the world's leading sources of information on the design, construction and operation of IT facilities. At a ceremony in London, DatacenterDynamics recognized the facility, which will be the central IT-hub for Citi's Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region, and the biggest Citi data center outside United States, for demonstrating a vision of environmental impact as a critical driver in the design and operation of their data facilities.

The Datacentre Leaders' Awards recognize innovation, professionalism and achievement in the U.K. and European data center industry, and the Green Data Center Award seeks to emphasize the new reality of designing and operating data centers in the context of environmental scrutiny and to celebrate the success of those who have managed to balance their established responsibilities in providing a resilient and responsive facility with the consideration of wider corporate and environmental responsibility.

Upon completion in June 2008, this data center will save up to 25% on electrical energy consumption, compared to conventional data centers. In addition, 16,000 megawatt hours will be saved each year, the equivalent needed to power 3,000 average family homes. The amount of carbon dioxide escaping into the atmosphere will be up to 11,000 tons less annually than conventional centers of its size. Savvy water management, including natural drainage of almost 90% of the rainwater, will save up to 46.5 million liters in water usage every year.

Head of Citi Realty Services for EMEA, John Killey, said, "Citi's commitment to ensuring sustainability lies at the heart of all its major projects and the new EMEA data center is no different. From inception, through construction to operation, a rigorous, resource-efficient, balanced and holistic approach has been adopted that integrates sustainability without compromise to performance or reliability. The result is a project that pioneers solutions transferable to other geographies and applications.

"The award also recognizes the role that outstanding cooperation between Citi's Real Estate and Technology groups along with their design and construction partners has played in ensuring sustainability is in the fore front of this project," Killey added.

The EUR 170 million data center is part of Citi's global $50 billion plan to address climate change. Citi has committed to achieving environmental certification globally (LEED – Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design – in the United States) for all new office buildings and operations centers and evaluation of existing larger facilities. This is a critical part of Citi's pledge to embed sustainable practices into its everyday business and reduce greenhouse-gas emissions by 10% by 2011 at its more than 16,000 facilities worldwide.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Greenie Only!

There is a large development taking place in Syracuse, NY called Destiny USA. One thing of interest is that the developer is promoting 100% sustainable development and building. The sign (below) secures parking spaces for green vehicles only. Not sure if it is being enforced or not yet...The following are some of the sustainable features:

Sustainable Features Destiny USA’s First LEED Platinum Hotel

  • Destiny USA is rehabilitating the contaminated soil that was left when “Oil City” was removed. By cleaning up and developing the hotel on this site called a “brownfield”, Destiny USA reduces the need to use other precious undeveloped land. By building the hotel on the existing land of the Carousel Center site, Destiny USA is encouraging urban development which protects our greenfields, preserves habitat and natural resources.
  • The building façade will be clad t with 400,000 sq. ft. of solar panels that would produce an additional 1.9 million KWH/Yr (2,200 KW). Using current electricity cost in NYS of $.14/KWH the energy cost savings would be $266,000 per year.
  • The hotel roof will be covered with 20,000 square feet of photovoltaic panels that will produce 24,000 KWH (16 KW).
  • A freestanding 23 MW Biomass Gasification Power Plant will utilize agricultural waste and solid waste from the hotel to produce electricity, steam and chilled water. The plant will run a turbine and fuel cells that will power the entire facility.
  • The hotel will capture and utilize as much storm-water as possible to be recycled for gray water use throughout the facility. Uses for gray water include toilet flushing, cooling tower makeup, irrigation, laundry, maintenance and evaporative roof cooling.
  • The hotel design will incorporate small hydroelectric turbines which will generate electricity from rainwater run-off.
  • A high density of buildings with black roofs can cause an ecological imbalance called a “heat island” which can increase the temperature in that area. The hotel roof will be covered with a solar reflective material that greatly reduced any potential for increased temperature change. Porous concrete paving will also be used in the reworked site around the hotel to reduce heat island effects and allow natural absorption of storm-water.
  • Each guest room within the hotel incorporates a hydronic vertical fan coil unit. The heating and cooling options exist within this unit to quickly control the room temperature upon the guest’s arrival. A high output ultraviolet light in each fan coil unit combats mold and mildew and other organic matter which greatly reduces coil pressures and provides a minimum energy savings of 8% per year.
  • During construction 95% of all construction debris will be diverted from going to a landfill. To accomplish this goal, waste materials will either be reused on-site or hauled to specified recycling facilities. The industry average for diverting construction debris from a landfill is 30%-40%.
  • The hotel will have secure bicycle storage and shower and changing facilities to encourage both guests and employees to use alternate transportation.
  • Preferred parking spaces will be offered for guests who drive fuel efficient and low emitting vehicles.
  • Low flow fixtures including showers and toilets will be specified to significantly reduce water demands.
  • The landscaping planned for the expansion will consist of a plants and trees well suited for this climate, thus eliminating the need for irrigation and future water use from any source.
  • More than 20% of the materials used in the hotel will be from recycled sources and 2.5% of the materials will be rapidly renewable.
  • A Construction Indoor Air Quality Management Plan will be implemented to help sustain the comfort and well-being of the construction workers and the building occupants by reducing or preventing the presence of dust, air pollutants, odor and moisture.
  • All adhesives, paints, carpeting and composite wood will have low or no VOC (Volatile Organic Chemical) emissions which are odorous, irritating and/or harmful to the installers and occupants of the building.
  • More than 20% of the materials will be sourced regionally to reduce greenhouse gases from transportation and shipping.
  • 50% of all the new wood used will be Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified. FSC wood meets a specific criterion that proves it was produced in a sustainable manner.
  • Small wind turbines will be incorporated into the hotel structure – Potential to utilize 15m wind turbines (50 KW rated, 10 KW at 12 mph).
  • 100% recycling will occur during operations.
  • In façade lighting high efficiency LED lighting will be specified to control light pollution and conserve energy. The lights will also be turned off after a certain time in the evening to conserve energy.
Additional Elements Being Researched:
  • An off-site wind farm will power Destiny’s fleet of electric vehicles.
  • Effluent from the Metro sewage treatment plant could be used in addition to stormwater run-off to supplement the gray-water demands for flushing toilets, cooling tower makeup, irrigation, laundry, maintenance and evaporative roof cooling.
  • Use wheatgrass carpeting instead of oil based conventional carpeting.
  • On premises laundry with water recycle, heat recovery, and ozone technology with 30% water savings and 25% energy savings during operation.
  • Solar panels will be directly connected to hotel cooling system actually cooling the areas that the sun heats, reducing peak load demands.