28 January 2010

SEC advises disclosure of climate risks, and other company, industry, and government news

Top Stories

S.E.C. Adds Climate Risk to Disclosure List.reliability high.
"The S.E.C., on a party-line 3-2 vote, issued 'interpretive guidance' to help companies decide when and whether to disclose matters related to climate change. The commission said that companies could be helped or hurt by climate-related lawsuits, business opportunities or legislation and should promptly disclose such potential impacts. Banks or insurance companies that invest in coastal property that could be affected by storms or rising seas, for example, should disclose such risks, the agency said. . . . According to an S.E.C. staff paper, the new guidance urges companies to consider, for example, whether any new law or international treaty limiting carbon dioxide emissions might increase operating costs and prompt a disclosure requirement. A company might also be well positioned to take advantage of a new law mandating increased production of renewable electricity, again requiring disclosure." From The New York Times.

Ranking The World's Most Sustainable Companies.reliability high.
Top 10 "most sustainable" companies, according to one new ranking: General Electric, Pacific Gas and Electric, TNT NV, Hennes & Mauritz, Nokia, Siemens, Unilever, Vodafone, Smiths Group and Geberit. "A Toronto media company called Corporate Knights has tried to make the idea clear and measurable by collecting data on 3,000 global public companies and evaluating them according to 11 different metrics. Today, as a result of that research, it published its first-ever ranking of the world's 100 most sustainable companies. Corporate Knights' editor-in-chief Toby Heaps says that to be considered sustainable, companies must 'squeeze four times more wealth out of every resource they use.'" See Forbes (skip ad). Ranking report accessible here. [Ranking also considered social factors, downgrading non-union companies for instance. Wal-Mart and Whole Foods didn't make the list, while Royal Dutch Shell and Duke Energy did.]

Companies, Industries, Markets and Supply Chains

Kraft Sheds 150 Million Pounds From Products, Meets Packaging Goal 2 Years Early.reliability high.
"Kraft Foods has met its goal to reduce its packaging by 150 million pounds two years ahead of schedule with a variety of lightweighting and material replacement efforts." Gives examples of packaging changes. For instance, "A redesign to the zipper on Kraft Natural Cheese bags has eliminated more than 1 million pounds of material a year." From GreenBiz. [Think how much extra diesel would have been burned moving that surplus 1 million pounds of cheese-pack-zipper through the distribution chain. One million pounds is about 25 semi trailers full.]

Interest in voluntary carbon credits picks up.reliability high.
"'Since this year started we have seen a huge amount interest -- mostly from the U.S. -- in carbon credits and it won't be long before the voluntary market worldwide begins really to gain some momentum,' said Matthew Sullivan, chief executive of carbon offset retailer the Carbon Advice Group. The unregulated voluntary market operates outside mandatory emissions cut schemes such as the United Nations' Clean Development Mechanism or the European Union's Emissions Trading Scheme. It relies on businesses to self-regulate their carbon emissions in the absence of a legally binding climate agreement and individuals' need to offset their carbon footprint." More about voluntary carbon markets. See Reuters story.

But Copenhagen dampens banks' green commitment.reliability high.
"Banks and investors are pulling out of the carbon market after the failure to make progress at Copenhagen on reaching new emissions targets after 2012. . . . Anthony Hobley, partner and global head of climate change and carbon finance at law firm Norton Rose, said: 'People will gradually start to leave carbon desks, we are beginning to see that already. We are seeing a freeze in banks' recruitment plans for the carbon market. It's not clear at what point this will turn into a cull or a rout.'" See The Guardian.

Stater Bros. Paid $250K For Reducing Peak Energy Use.reliability high.
"Stater Bros. Markets earns about $250,000 a year for reducing non-essential electricity use during peak demand periods, reports Supermarket News. Stater Bros. started earning the payments after enrolling in a demand response system from EnerNOC in 2008. . . . The store achieved its electricity cuts by making minor adjustments to store lighting, air conditioning and other power draws during demand response events, which are called for by regional electricity grid operators, according to a press release." See Environmental Leader. Press release here.

New Technology Saves Dow Plant One Billion Gallons of Water – and $4 Million.reliability high.
"The Dow Chemical Company and Nalco Company announced today their cooperative efforts have resulted in annual water savings of one billion gallons of fresh water at Dow's largest production site. . . . At the Dow Freeport facility it all translates to a $4 million per year reduction in maintenance costs, reduced energy cost, reduced water use and reduced greenhouse gas emissions". From CSRwire.

Government and Regulation

High Speed Rail, Jobs, and the Recovery Act.reliability high.
"Development of America’s first nationwide program of high-speed intercity passenger rail service is being spurred by $8 billion in Recovery Act grants.  The awards will go toward developing or laying the groundwork for 13 new, large-scale high-speed rail corridors across the country." See White House site. Check here for state and regional releases.

[Crossposted from HaraBara.com courtesy of HaraBara, Inc. Copyright © 2010 HaraBara, Inc.]