09 April 2010

The zero-impact company, Pepsi's new green energy strategy, and other company, industry and supply chain selections

Top Stories

Sony Sets Goal of Zero Environmental Footprint by 2050.reliability high.
"Taking the long view, Sony is instituting its 'Road to Zero' plan, which would see the company have zero environmental footprint by 2050. The company is looking at not only reducing its waste and emissions, but also at its use of materials such as petroleum-based virgin plastics. Generally, Sony is aligning its goals in four areas: climate change, resource conservation, control of chemical substances and biodiversity. To get the company started, it has set short-term goals for the end of FY 2015 (March of 2016), against a 2008 baseline". From Environmental Leader. [A new standard? Could your company do this?]

Why PepsiCo is Changing its Renewable Energy Strategy.reliability medium.
PepsiCo's director of energy and resource conservation posts: "This month, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will release its quarterly Green Power Purchasers list. After a long run as a top purchaser of Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs), PepsiCo  will not be on the list. ... After thorough review at the highest levels of our company, we have made the strategic decision to reduce our participation in the RECs market in order to focus on direct investments that will accelerate our use of alternative energy sources to power operations at the facility level throughout the PepsiCo network. As part of this, we will be investing more than $30 million dollars in the next three years to develop new renewable energy projects in the U.S. ... This decision emphasizes our commitment to reduce our environmental footprint through direct actions and investment in our own facilities and where possible, those of our suppliers." See GreenBiz blog. [PepsiCo is coming to grips with the underlying problem of greening via RECs: Can you claim carbon reductions or carbon neutrality based on REC purchases? PepsiCo says it has decided that it can reduce its environmental impact more by investing in carbon-reducing technologies at its own facilities rather than spending that money on RECs. Also, maybe it thinks the price of RECs will increase. (More about RECs in this earlier post.)]

Companies, Industries, Markets and Supply Chains

Malaysian Loggers Try to Improve Their Image.reliability high.
"Malaysia is working to become the first country in Asia to sign a voluntary agreement with the European Union guaranteeing that all timber exports to the bloc have been harvested legally. The Union says the agreement is likely to give Malaysia, and other countries that sign similar pacts, a competitive advantage as the bloc pushes for tighter regulation of timber imports because of environmental concerns. Last year, countries in the 27-member Union imported wood, wood charcoal and cork worth an estimated €8.5 billion, or $11.4 billion, 4.6 percent of it from Malaysia. ... The Union has no region-wide law preventing the importation of illegally logged wood products, although in response to consumer demand, some companies voluntarily buy timber from sources certified by various groups as sustainable. The Union is considering legislation that would require all importers in the bloc — from furniture companies to those buying raw materials like boards — to conduct due diligence to show that the timber they bought had been legally harvested." Story in The New York Times. [The market at work.]

Greener Restaurants National Recognition Program Pilot Launches.reliability high.
"The National Restaurant Association has launched the pilot of Greener Restaurants—a new national program to recognize restaurants' environmental sustainability efforts. A limited number of restaurants have signed on to participate in the pilot that will open to industrywide participation in the next few months. Greener Restaurants will show operators how to save money while 'going greener' and share their successes with guests." See Green Lodging News. [Another certification developed by the industry, for the industry. No wonder consumers are confused by all these seals, certificates and badges.]

65% Say Americans Not Willing To Make Major Lifestyle Changes To Help Environment.reliability high.
"The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey shows that only 17% of adults believe most Americans would be willing to make major cutbacks in their lifestyle in order to help save the environment. Most (65%) say that’s not the case. Another 18% are not sure. ... But 51% of adults believe major lifestyle cutbacks are necessary in order to help the environment. Thirty-two percent (32%) disagree, with 16% more undecided. The number of adults who see this need is up from 49% in July and 42% in May of last year." Other poll results. From Rasmussen.

Cost of Driving Up Almost $400 for 2010.reliability high.
The most recent AAA analysis of the cost of car ownership shows a sharp rise over the past year. "The 2010 edition of AAA’s annual “Your Driving Costs” study estimates the overall cost of owning and operating a typical new sedan at 56.6 cents per mile, up 2.6 cents compared to 2009. For a car driven 15,000 miles a year, that amounts to $8,487 annually. That’s $392 more than last year’s estimated cost of $8,095. AAA estimates driving costs based on an extensive list of factors including gasoline, maintenance, tires, financing, depreciation and insurance. Gas prices in the study are based on the late 2009 AAA Fuel Gauge Report price per gallon of $2.60". From AAA site. [Gas prices are now over $3.00 in California, according to AAA, which will drive ownership costs higher than this estimate. Part of this increase is from the more rapid depreciation being suffered by large, inefficient vehicles. As the costs of owning and driving a car increase, the value of homes at the end of long car commutes may decrease.]

North American investors support BP oil sands resolution.reliability high.
Press release from Boston Common Asset Management says "Top U.S. pension funds including CalPERS, CalSTRS, Connecticut Retirement Plans & Trust Funds (CRPTF), New York State Common Retirement Fund, the Vermont Pension Investment Committee, which is responsible for the investments of the Vermont State Teachers' Retirement System, the Vermont State Employees' Retirement System, and the Vermont Municipal Employees' Retirement System, have today declared that they are voting in favour of the BP oil sands resolution. ... Through the PRI Clearinghouse, international investors joined together to publicly support a vote in favour for the oil sands risk assessment resolution tabled for BP's annual general meeting on April 15th as well as for Shell’s upcoming meeting in May." See CSRWire. [The market at work.]

Science and Economics

French study says land use may cut biofuel benefits.reliability high.
"Changes in land use linked to the growing of crops like soybeans and palm oil may cancel out the benefits of biofuels in terms of emissions savings, according to an official French study released on Thursday. Biofuels may even have a worse emissions profile than traditional fossil fuels, said the authors of the study commissioned by French energy and environment agency Ademe. Factors such as the clearing of forests to grow crops could cut the emissions benefits of both non-European biofuel production, and also output in Europe through the indirect effect of importing biofuel components, they said." From Reuters.

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