16 April 2010

Doubts about EU Ecolabel, dropping wine bottles, cat food fumble and other company, supply chain and industry selections

Top Stories

Renewable energy investments could exceed $650bn by 2015, study says.reliability high.
"Global investments in the renewable energy industry are likely to increase to $653.35bn by 2015, according to figures released from intelligence provider GBI Research. Investments in renewable energy increased to $336.78bn in 2009 from $39.24bn in 2001 at a combined annual growth rate (CAGR) of 30.8 per cent. There was an increase in total investments in the renewable energy sector by 43.4 per cent in 2009 from $283.11bn in 2008, the report found." More highlights of report. From NewNet. [We are always fascinated by reports that predict future markets to five significant digits.]

Hitachi Embraces Green Technologies to Stay Afloat.reliability high.
"Alongside the countless new companies focused on environmental sustainability, add a very old one: the 100-year-old Hitachi, led by its new president, Hiroaki Nakanishi, will put environmental innovations at the core to the company's operations for the next 100 years. Hitachi, which has been a money-losing company in recent years, posting a $2 billion loss for the fiscal year that ended March 31, is shifting its focus to green technologies as a way to revive the company." From GreenBiz. [Putting the "hi" back in "Hitachi"? ("Hi" means "sun", and "Hitachi" means "rising sun" in Japanese)]

The deflowering of the EU's green logo.reliability medium.
"The European Union has an eco-label for green products. ... They include two widely sold brands of copying paper: Golden Plus and Lucky Boss. No doubt thousands of European office workers have bought the brands reassured that they are sustainably produced. So what a shame that it seems both are partly made from timber logged from one of the largest but fastest disappearing tropical rainforests, on the Indonesian island of Sumatra. The news of this gross deflowering of the EU's green logo is contained in a new report, EU Ecolabel Allows Forest Destruction, from the Forest and European Union Resources Network (FERN), an NGO set up by the World Rainforest Movement to track European policies on the world's forests." From The Guardian. PDF of report here. [Some office paper suppliers have dropped APP as a supplier because of its dubious pulp sourcing. Yet its own brands still carry the Ecolabel seal.]

Companies, Industries, Markets and Supply Chains

Whiskas offers Critically Endangered species-flavored cat food.reliability medium.
"In a truly bizarre product offering, WHISKAS® presented a new line of bluefin tuna-flavored cat food before quickly eliminating the product "due to public concerns", according to Greenpeace UK. Bluefin tuna is listed by the IUCN Red List as Critically Endangered due to overfishing. ... Earlier this month, Mars Inc. made news by stating it would use only sustainably-sourced seafood in its pet products, including Whiskas, by 2020. It is the first pet food company to make such a pledge." Story at Mongabay. [How a company can undo good green perception by poor internal communication. Two steps forward, one step back.]

P&G Announces U.S. Sustainability Expert Advisory Panel.reliability high.
"To further bolster its long-term corporate commitment to sustainability, the Procter & Gamble Company (NYSE:PG) today announced the composition of its U.S. Sustainability Expert Advisory Panel (SEAP). The panel's mission is to help further embed "sustainable thinking" into P&G U.S. business practices by evaluating specific initiatives, collaborating with P&G brand representatives and exploring opportunities to facilitate transparency with customers, consumers, and key stakeholder groups. ... The U.S. SEAP met twice in 2009 at P&G headquarters. It will continue meeting throughout the year to provide counsel to individual business units and brands within the company in order to share expertise on sustainability-related issues and evaluate upcoming consumer-facing initiatives." Lists panel members. Press release at CSRwire. ["Quick, we need a press release for Earth Day!" "Well, we've had this group of advisors for a year,  but why not trumpet it now?" "Great, what do they do?" "They meet." "Hmm. I'll see what I can do with it."]

Only 20% of Utility Supply Chain Measures Emissions.reliability high.
"Only 20% of suppliers to the electric utility industry measure their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and have established voluntary goals to reduce their emissions, according to an industry survey. In response, the Electric Utility Industry Sustainable Supply Chain Alliance announced that it has developed a strategic plan calling for voluntary, industry initiatives to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the supply chain." See Sustainable Business. More at Alliance site.

What's on tap? Wine.reliability high.
"Wine on tap is taking flight in Bay Area restaurants and bars as a cheaper, greener and fresher alternative to bottled wines served by the glass. ... Those in the industry estimate that kegging wine and serving it on tap cuts down production costs from 10 to 25 percent - savings that are passed on to consumers." See San Francisco Chronicle. [Since diners never see the bottles wine "by the glass" comes in, why not have it delivered in bulk? That's how you cut packaging waste and carbon footprint.]

Government and Regulation

US military warns oil output may dip causing massive shortages by 2015.reliability high.
"The US military has warned that surplus oil production capacity could disappear within two years and there could be serious shortages by 2015 with a significant economic and political impact. "By 2012, surplus oil production capacity could entirely disappear, and as early as 2015, the shortfall in output could reach nearly 10 million barrels per day," says the report, which has a foreword by a senior commander, General James N Mattis. It adds: "While it is difficult to predict precisely what economic, political, and strategic effects such a shortfall might produce, it surely would reduce the prospects for growth in both the developing and developed worlds. Such an economic slowdown would exacerbate other unresolved tensions, push fragile and failing states further down the path toward collapse, and perhaps have serious economic impact on both China and India." ... The warning is the latest in a series from around the world that has turned peak oil – the moment when demand exceeds supply – from a distant threat to a more immediate risk." Story in The Guardian.

Western Climate group sees carbon at $33/ton in 2020.reliability high.
"A cap-and-trade market to slow climate change in Western U.S. states and Canadian provinces expects carbon dioxide to trade for about $33 per ton in 2020, an economist for the group said on Wednesday, outlining highlights of a new, unreleased analysis. ... The WCI economic analysis, which is being finalized, projects carbon dioxide prices of $10 to $40 per ton in the first year of trade, 2012, rising to $20 to $80 by 2020, depending on the pace of economic growth, energy prices, and efficacy of energy efficiency and other measures, said British Columbia Climate Action Secretariat economist Jessica Verhagen, who is leading the economic analysis." Story at Reuters. [But rumor is that national energy/climate legislation may try to shut them down.]

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