30 April 2010

Green your date, greening the workplace, "Not So Green" news, and other Friday selections from GreenBase

Top Stories

Completely Confused by Green Labels? There's an App to Fix That.reliability medium.
"In the utterly confusing mass of green labels, there's a ray of hope. When you head to the store and start sifting through the stamps of "fair trade," "all natural," "organic," "certified," and so on, you need something on hand to help you make sense of them all and decide which are real and which are greenwash. Luckily, a new app by the Natural Resources Defense Council is helping you stay sane while searching for the most ecofriendly products. ... Label Lookup has a database of everything from food to cleaning products, from paper to personal care and the labels associated with them. Unfortunately, they don't cover electronics." See treehugger. [Cool.]

Guys Are Looking For Green Gals, Survey Finds.reliability medium.
"A new survey, sponsored by the sporting goods company Timberland, finds that eco-friendly girls are more appealing to guys--meaning men like women who recycle, turn off lights when they leave a room, and drive more efficient cars. And, as it turns out, being careless with trash is one of the best ways to turn guys off." From treehugger. Access survey details here.

Companies, Industries, Markets and Supply Chains

Why PepsiCo is Building Dams in India.reliability medium.
Guest post from Sanjeev  Chadha, the chairman and CEO of PepsiCo India, says "We launched a country-wide effort to achieve a Positive Water Balance in India by 2009. Essentially, this means that for all water used in our manufacturing process, we would give the same amount of water back to local communities, through in-plant processes to reduce our water use, as well as programs and interventions to create greater freshwater access in local areas. ... We determined that the creation of check-dams would be the best way to manage and rejuvenate the water supply. As an example, in Paithan we worked with the local Panchayat (municipality), as well as community members – mostly women – in planning and executing the project. This was key, as they assumed ownership of the maintenance of the 13 check-dams, or Water Harvesting Structures." More on the projects. In Marc Gunther's blog. [One has to ask, however, what the communities downstream from Paithan thought when less water got through to them.]

Softchoice 2010 Corporate Sustainability Report.reliability high.
"Softchoice is proud to release our second Corporate Sustainability Report! This report is for YOU. We’re opening up our notebook, and giving you full access to all our work in 2009. Throughout the report you’ll find links to tools that you can use to build your own Corporate Sustainability Strategy. Learn from our mistakes, copy our policies and surveys, and leverage all our hard work!" See Softchoice site. [Unusual among corporate sustainability reports in providing tools and best practices that other companies can use. Check out the "carbon calculator for employee commute" spreadsheet. These guys get it.]

Suzlon global headquarters 'One Earth' receives 'LEED Platinum' certification.reliability high.
"Suzlon Energy Limited ... accepted on Thursday, April 29, the Leadership in Energy and Environment Design (LEED) Platinum award for its new corporate headquarters in Pune, Maharashtra, India. ... Developed on an area of 41,000 square meters (10.13 acres) with a capacity to house 2,300 people, One Earth ranks among the largest green building projects in India." More on the features of the building. From CSRwire.

Greening the Workplace

Environmental leadership a draw for jobs.reliability high.
"'I would guess that within a decade the green revolution will be in full swing in corporate Canada,' says David Litherland, managing partner at The Summit Search Group in Vancouver. 'But it will be in response to what job candidates want from an employer and not the other way around. "Today what many of the job seekers we represent say they want from an employer is a commitment to the green philosophy. But right now that is hard to find among employers.'" Story in Vancouver Sun.

Office buildings waste energy and people's time.reliability high.
"Office buildings are still in the Stone Age when it comes to IT and efficiency, according to a survey of office workers done by IBM. Only about one third of the people surveyed from 16 U.S. cities said their building is "environmentally friendly" and conserves energy by automatically adjusting lights and temperature. About 65 percent of survey respondents would favor redesigning their workspace to be more environmentally responsible." A few highlights of survey. From CNET News.

ConAgra Foods Recognizes Sustainable Business Practices, Waste Reduction and Resource Conservation.reliability high.
"ConAgra Foods announced today the winners of its 2010 Sustainable Development Awards, an internal awards program created to recognize outstanding achievements integrating sustainability into business practices while also sharing best practices across the company. In total, these projects reduced carbon emissions by more than 27,000 metric tonnes, eliminated 18,000 tons of landfill waste and 3,400 tons of packaging material and conserved 128 million gallons of water during fiscal year 2010. These projects also delivered more than $28 million in savings, clearly demonstrating the economic value of the company's commitment to sustainable development." Examples of specific winning projects. In MarketWatch from Business Wire. [Company gave cash to community charities designated by winners.]

Facilities Get Social Network To Compare Resource Use.reliability high.
"Lucid Design Group unveils its Web-based Building Dashboard Network that enables users to view, compare and share building energy and water use information in a social networking environment. The dashboard also integrates with Facebook and Twitter to post updates to building profile pages and feeds, sparking energy use competitions among users. The real-time energy monitoring and display systems provider for buildings says that companies and schools can build their own profile pages with real-time energy and water use data, compare performance with other buildings, and set-up energy reduction competitions across the network." See Environmental Leader.

Not So Green Department

Spud Giant Closes Loop on Sustainability.reliability high.
A few highlights from J.R.Simplot's annual sustainability report. "By-products from potato processing plants are fed into anaerobic digesters to capture biogas, which is used in boiler systems at Simplot's plants in Aberdeen, Moses Lake and Portate La Prairie. The Moses Lake facility alone is able to reduce its annual emissions 15,000 tons a year because of this process. In 2008, Simplot began using oil from its french fry facilities to create biodiesel that is used in its transportation and mining equipment. The project has created more than 100,000 gallons of biodiesel." From Environmental Leader. [The actions mentioned seem very small and insignificant for the size of the business ($4.5 billion, 3 billion pounds of frozen french fries a year and the country's largest cattle feedlots). "By-products from the firm’s food processing and fertilizer plants are used to provide water and nutrients to neighboring farms via 'land application' that is tailored to meet the needs of the specific crop being grown." Translation: wastewater is spread on nearby farmland. This is one step up from running it into the nearest river. But it's a start.]

WWL Cuts GHG Emissions by 32%.reliability high.
"Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics (WWL), a global shipping and logistics company, reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by 32 percent in 2009, according to the company’s 2009 Environmental and Social Responsibility Report. Despite overall lower CO2 emissions in 2009, relative emissions per unit carried per kilometer increased 17 percent, which is above WWL’s goal to reduce g/tkm CO2 emissions by 10 percent compared to the company’s average in 2005-2006." From Environmental Leader. [Emissions only went down because business was in the toilet. Emissions per ton actually rose. Yet press release claims credit for reductions. Were headline writers at Environmental Leader asleep? Company should get points for transparency though.]

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