02 December 2009

Panasonic's new strategic direction, and other company, supply chain, industry and government green news

Top Stories

Panasonic Will Invest $1 Billion in 'Green Home' Plan.reliability high.
"Panasonic Corp., the world’s biggest plasma-TV maker, will invest $1 billion by 2012 in a plan to make its principal business equipping homes and buildings with solar power and energy-saving technologies, the president said. The move focuses on solar-panel and energy-storage technology that Panasonic will gain from its purchase of Sanyo Electric Co., coupled with systems that Panasonic has invented" "Our growth is not enough compared to Samsung, so we want to change our fighting ring from our current categories to a different field." From Bloomberg. [Does the tightening of energy efficiency standards for TVs (as in California), which disadvantages plasma technology, have anything to do with this? Or is it just an industrial giant moving faster-growing, less technologically mature industries?]

Companies, Industries, Markets and Supply Chains

Naya Going to 100% Recycled Water Bottle.reliability high.
Canadian water bottler Naya "said it is the first to use a 100-percent recycled polyethylene terephthalate (rPET) bottle. The bottle is made from plastic that previously was used as packaging, then recycled." Roll-out will start in NYC and expand across all of North America by early next year. Comments on recycled content of some other beverage bottles. From Environmental Leader.

Global Salmon Life-Cycle Assessment.reliability high.
Ecotrust, Dalhousie University and The Swedish Institute for Food and Biotechnology have issued some of the findings of their life cycle assessment of salmon. They found that airfreighting fresh salmon rather than ocean-shipping frozen fish had a profound life cycle impact, much more than the choice between organic vs. conventional or wild vs. farmed. Also, "Growing organic salmon using fish meals and oils from very resource intensive fisheries results in impacts very similar to conventional farmed salmon production." "Catching salmon in large nets as they school together has one tenth the impact of catching them in small numbers using baited hooks and lures." See Ecotrust site. Access report here. [Shows that you have to look at the whole supply chain--life cycle analysis--to see where real impacts are. "Food miles" or "organic" don't necessarily give useful comparisons. Salmon was chosen just as an example of such analysis in the food system.]

Big Utility to Close 11 Plants Using Coal.reliability high.
Progress Energy, based in Raleigh, North Carolina, said it would close 11 coal-fired power plants built between the 1950s and 1970s by 2017, "a step that represents a bet that natural gas prices will stay acceptably low and that stricter rules are coming on sulfur dioxide emissions" "The plants being closed, at four sites, have a combined capacity of nearly 1,500 megawatts."  "the long-term plan is a nuclear backbone for the company’s generating system" See New York Times.

World Packaging Organization Honors Bunge Alimentos with WorldStar Packaging Award For its Biodegradable Margarine Packaging.reliability high.
"Bunge Alimentos in Brazil has received a 2009 WorldStar Packaging Award for its biodegradable margarine packaging derived from a renewable source. The thermoformed packaging used for the Cyclus margarine tub is 100% based on Cereplast Compostables ® resins." From PR-inside. Check here to see how Bunge is positioning this product (Portuguese). [Of course if it is biodegradable it must go into the composting stream (see SF item below) rather than the landfill stream if it is not to end up in the atmosphere as methane or CO2.]

Marks & Spencer Expands Renewable Energy Mandate.reliability high.
British retailer Marks & Spencer, which is already committed to getting all of the electricity for its stores in England and Wales from renewable sources, "has signed a four-year deal with SmartestEnergy to purchase enough renewable energy to run all its Scottish stores and offices. The deal takes effect in April of 2010" See Environmental Leader. [Is all this demand for green power driving up the price of renewable energy in the UK?]

Government and Regulation

Ontario gets new green license plates.reliability high.
Ontario will offer special license plates for plug-in hybrids and battery-powered electric vehicles entitling them to travel in carpool lanes until 2015 — even if only one person is in the vehicle, and to other benefits. From CBC News.

SF Composts More Than 620,000 Tons of Food and Other Scraps.reliability high.
Facts and figures about San Francisco's "green cart" compost collection system, in place since 1996 and mandatory since October. From GreenBiz.

UK Government promises energy labellings crackdown.reliability high.
"The study from the Department of Environment, Farming and Rural Affairs (Defra) tested 24 of the best-selling washing machines, 24 ovens and 265 different light bulbs. . . .  it revealed that a large number of mandatory energy-efficiency labels could be based on misleading information." "According to the spokesman for Defra, the recently-appointed [National Measurement Office] is expected to lead a crackdown on firms found to be in breach of labelling rules. 'Responsibility for energy labelling used to lie with Trading Standards, but they have lots of responsibilities and this was not their top priority,' he said. 'From now on the enforcement of labelling rules will be a lot tougher.'" See Business Green.

[Crossposted from HaraBara.com courtesy of HaraBara, Inc. Copyright © 2009 HaraBara, Inc.]