14 May 2010

TV that watches you? Spill resized? Market manipulated? And other company, supply chain and government green news

Top Stories

Marine scientists study ocean-floor film of Deepwater oil leak.reliability high.
BP has grudgingly released video from its submersibles and academic experts are calculating that the flow from the Deepwater Horizon gusher is many times the 5,000 barrels per day that the U.S. Coast Guard has been using as an estimate. Estimates were in the range of 20,000 to 100,000 barrels per day. There are still many uncertainties. "The calculation is uncertain, but I am confident enough to say that this is one of the big ones. It is not 5,000 barrels a day. That much I can say." See The Guardian. [BP's black eye much bigger and blacker than it had let us be led to believe. BP has been hiding behind that Coast Guard estimate (a gift from the U.S. Government) but admitted a "worst-case" possibility of 60,000 barrels per day in recent testimony. Speculation is growing that we are not just dealing with a surface slick, but with a vast underwater plume which will be much more difficult to track and impossible to control.]

India's Supreme Court dismantles one obstacle to investment and erects another.reliability high.
The recent India Supreme Court ruling in the Ambani case that government can override contracts to set prices of natural resources may discourage overseas investors. "The idea that the government has the power to set prices for natural resources is naturally off-putting to oil and gas firms. It adds massive 'above ground' risks to the already considerable ones they face beneath the soil. Indeed, the ruling is likely to worry firms of all kinds in that it appears to undermine the sanctity of contracts in general." From The Economist. [This could affect clean energy investments too, as they depend on long-term power purchase agreements that could be threatened by government intervention in markets.]

Common Ground For Going Green.reliability high.
"there are no authoritative marketplace criteria to identify green, greener, or greenest. And for those who think they are green, there's uncertainty over the best way to communicate the supporting information. The solution: Develop a comprehensive voluntary industry standard that enables everyone from raw material suppliers and manufacturers to retail consumers and policymakers to exchange common information in a standard format on the environmental performance of chemical products and processes. ... To that end, the American Chemical Society's Green Chemistry Institute (GCI) is spearheading an effort to create the Greener Chemical Products & Processes Standard. This standard will provide data to allow anyone to evaluate the relative environmental performance of chemical products and their manufacturing technologies." See Chemical and Engineering News. [Excellent feature article with useful links.]

Companies, Industries, Markets and Supply Chains

Sony's energy saving TVs watch you while you sleep.reliability high.
"Sony last year launched a new addition to its Bravia range of TVs, which features facial recognition technology similar to that found in the electronics giants' most advanced cameras. As a result, the TV is able to "watch" you and can turn the picture off if you nod off in front of Match of the Day, saving the energy used by the backlight. The Bravia WE5 also features a heat and motion sensor that similarly allows the system to turn off the picture if it is left playing to an empty room, ... 'If you wander off to make as cup of tea you will still be able to hear the TV but it won’t be wasting energy showing the picture,' she said, adding that the picture returns as soon as someone walks into the room." From BusinessGreen.

Singapore sand imports threaten Cambodian ecosystem, report warns.reliability high.
"Singapore, which prides itself on being one of the most environmentally friendly nations in Asia, is expanding its coastline with irresponsibly dredged sand from Cambodia, according to a report from an environmental NGO. Global Witness says the lucrative sand trade devastates ecosystems, lacks regulatory oversight and enriches traders at the expense of local fishermen. ...  After local media reported the shrinkage of several islands in Indonesia, the government there banned sales of sand to Singapore in 2008. Malaysia and Vietnam have imposed similar controls. After the trade moved to Cambodia, the prime minister, Hun Sen, announced last May that his country too would restrict exports of sand. But Global Witness says coastal dredging operations have increased in the year since." See story in The Guardian. [Gives new meaning to the term "land use changes". Land is exported to be used elsewhere.]

Agencies Also on the Hook for P&G's Green Scorecard.reliability high.
"The world's biggest advertiser today unveiled its Supplier Environmental Sustainability Scorecard for key suppliers, with the first reports due July 1. And neither advertising agencies nor media companies appear to be off the hook. Indeed, a P&G spokeswoman noted that WPP participated in crafting the scorecard, adding that agencies and others won't be held accountable for answering questions that don't pertain to their industries. ... Clearly, ad agency holding companies and media players rank among P&G's biggest suppliers." "Hey you there, sitting in your Manhattan ad agency office in your organic cotton T-shirt sipping a latte from a cup made out of recycled paperboard as you book airline tickets online for Cannes: Procter & Gamble Co. would like to know more about your carbon footprint." See Advertising Age story. [If supplier scores can apply to ad agencies, will they not extend to other service suppliers like consultants, BPO and law firms?]

Infosys BPO awarded 5-Star rating by BEE.reliability high.
"Infosys BPO, the business process outsourcing subsidiary of Infosys Technologies, today announced that it has been awarded the 5-star rating for energy efficiency by Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) for its building located in its Phase 2 campus in Hinjewadi, Pune." From CIOL.

Some Businesses Will Cut Emissions With or Without a Climate Law.reliability high.
"For a growing number of U.S. companies, the potential failure of Congress to pass a law reducing carbon emissions will not be a disaster. They will continue reducing emissions anyway because it increases their profits and helps them find new and often lucrative markets. 'For some companies, lacking that kind of [regulatory] certainty makes it very difficult for them to plan. We don't need that,' explained Beth Shiroishi, who directs AT&T's sustainability programs. 'If it happens, it could be good for us or bad, depending on what they do. But we're in a nice spot.'" Gives examples from a number of big companies. In The New York Times from ClimateWire.

Government and Regulation

E.P.A. Unveils Rule to Regulate Greenhouse Gases.reliability high.
"The Environmental Protection Agency unveiled a final rule  on Thursday for regulating major emitters of greenhouse gases, like coal-fired power plants, under the Clean Air Act. Starting in July 2011, new sources of at least 100,000 tons of greenhouse gases a year and any existing plants that increase emissions by 75,000 tons will have to seek permits, the agency said. ... the rule would apply to sites accounting for about 70 percent of the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions." Story in The New York Times.

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