21 June 2010

Boom in EVs and hybrids, carbon competition in India, UN gets on BP's case and other green business news

Top Stories

EU sees solar power imported from Sahara in 5 yrs.reliability high.
"Europe will import its first solar-generated electricity from North Africa within the next five years, European Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger said in an interview on Sunday. 'I think some models starting in the next 5 years will bring some hundreds of megawatts to the European market,' Oettinger told Reuters after a meeting with energy ministers from Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia. ... He said those initial volumes would come from small pilot projects, but the amount of electricity would go up into the thousands of megawatts as projects including the 400 billion euro Desertec solar scheme come on stream." Reuters story. [EU has a renewable electricity standard it is trying to meet. A new category of international trade?]

UK execs voice fears over energy crunch.reliability high.
"Over 80 per cent of British firms expect energy and fuel prices to rise sharply, with nearly half expressing fears that the UK could face serious energy supply shortages within five years. That is the conclusion of a new survey of more than 210 executives carried out by the Economist Intelligence Unit, which revealed growing interest in smart meter and microgeneration technologies as a means of mitigating against rising energy bills." See BusinessGreen article.

Companies, Industries, Markets and Supply Chains

Marcal Adds Environmental Facts Panel on Paper Goods Packaging.reliability high.
"Marcal Manufacturing claims to be the first U.S. paper goods brand to add an environmental facts panel on its packaging. The manufacturer of 100 percent recycled paper now highlights environmental data critical to its products manufacturing process on every Marcal Small Steps package. Similar to a nutrition facts-style panel, the environmental panel includes information about recycled paper content (100 percent), how much chlorine bleach was used for whitening (zero percent) and use of chemical-based additives like fragrances and dyes (zero percent)." With image of panel. Story in Environmental Leader. [The display broadly imitates the government-required "Nutrition Facts" panel found on food products. What will this imply to consumers?]

How CEOs can win in a carbon-regulated world.reliability medium.
"As countries like the US, China and India step up efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, companies will increasingly have to prepare for a carbon-constrained future. ... Increasingly, the battle over carbon competitiveness pits one company against another." See Economic Times. [Interesting assessment from an Indian point of view.]

J.D. Power: Hybrid and EV Cars Will Be 3.5% of Sales by 2015.reliability medium.
"'Concerns about the cost and environmental effect of gasoline, rising worries and energy security in many countries, and the improving performance of alternative fuel vehicles are resulting in rising sales of gas/electric, hybrid, plug-in and battery powered cars worldwide,' the report says. ... J.D. Power’s report estimates that global sales of these alternatively-powered vehicles this year will reach 940,000 units, up 28 percent over the 732,000 units in 2009. It also projects that by 2015  hybrid and electric vehicles will surpass three million units each year, representing 3.4 percent of global light-vehicle sales." See triplepundit.

UN calls on BP to restate CSR pledge.reliability high.
"The office of the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC) has called on BP to step up its "lagging" commitment to the initiative in the wake of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The oil giant is signed up to the high-profile corporate social responsibility (CSR) scheme, which requires firms to adhere to 10 principles regarding human rights, labour policy and environmental responsibility. In particular, the principles require firms to take a precautionary approach to environmental challenges, promote environmental responsibility, and encourage the development of clean technology. The oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico appears to provide evidence that the company has not adhered to the principles and could undermine its credibility as a signatory to the compact." From BusinessGreen. [BP signed up during an earlier period of greater focus on environmental issues and alternative energy, but never withdrew as its strategy changed. Make a big enough mess and your company can draw the attention of the United Nations.]

Science and Economics

Arsenic in water poisoned 77 million Bangladeshis: report.reliability high.
"Up to 77 million Bangladeshis have been exposed to toxic levels of arsenic  from contaminated drinking water, and even low-level exposure to the poison is not risk-free, The Lancet medical journal reported. Over the past decade, more than 20 percent of deaths recorded in a study that monitored nearly 12,000 people in the Araihazar district of the capital Dhaka appear to have been caused by arsenic-tainted well water. ... The UN's World Health Organisation (WHO) has called Bangladesh's arsenic crisis 'the largest mass poisoning of a population in history.'" See Space Media from AP. Access report in The Lancet.

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