18 June 2010

China supplier savings, video revolution, ROI of supply chain moves, and other business sustainability news

Top Stories

Unlocking Energy Efficiency in China: A Guide to Partnering with Suppliers.reliability high.
"While energy-efficiency investments in China are cost-effective, challenges related to the country's regulatory structure, professional energy-service-provider industry, and lack of information about opportunities and standards for measuring emissions often prevent companies from capitalizing on this opportunity. This new report from BSR provides a clear outline for how leading companies how to launch supply chain energy-efficiency programs in China." Story at Greener World Media. PDF of report here. [Yesterday's Shanghai GM item shows the magnitude of potential savings in Chinese supply chains.]

The oil well and the damage done.reliability high.
Latest on the oil spill. Presidential, Congressional and media scrutiny continue to generate bad news for oil companies, especially BP. Article focuses on the consequences for BP. "After adjusting for declines in the wider stockmarket, about $90 billion has been wiped off the combined value of BP (which has a 65% stake in the stricken field), its two minority partners, Anadarko and Mitsui, and the rig’s owner, Transocean. ... A BP insider says that what has spooked investors is the prospect of unlimited liability." Article in The Economist. [If you haven't heard enough already, this is a good update. President Obama will continue to beat the BP drum to focus the public's attention on an identifiable villain, while trying to prevent such damage to BP that it might have trouble paying for cleanup, fines and economic harm. (The "escrow" deal actually eased pressure on BP because it spreads the payments out over three years rather than demanding it all up front.) Media and some Congress members in the U.S. are forgetting that BP hasn't had "British" in its name since 1998. This mess will continue to be a center of public attention until something new comes along, and will be a long-term influence on U.S. energy policy.

Companies, Industries, Markets and Supply Chains

Incremental change is no longer good enough - Coca Cola.reliability high.
"Coca Cola's European recycling director Patrick McGuirk said stand alone initiatives that each did their bit for the environment would not cut it any more and responsible corporations needed to look beyond the four walls of their own factories, warehouses or retail outlets. ... He said the single largest sustainability issue he had to consider was what happened to plastic Coke bottles once drinks have been consumed." See edie.net.

ROI Driving Supply Chain Sustainability.reliability high.
"Return on investment is the second-highest driver of supply chain sustainability initiatives among shippers, third party logistics companies and supply chain solution providers, according to a recent survey by eyefortransport. According to the report, which surveyed more than 600 professionals, almost 80 percent of the respondents said that ROI was an important driver of sustainability initiatives. Improving customer relations was seen as a slightly more significant driver, while increasing supply chain efficiency was seen as slightly less significant." Story at Environmental Leader. PDF of "North American Sustainable Supply Chain Report" here.

Sealing Deals in Virtual Space.reliability high.
"New technologies that rely on broadband Internet have so improved the video conference experience that even major companies doing major deals are sealing them in virtual space. That means less airline travel and fewer of the greenhouse gas emissions that scientists say are warming the planet." Some results of CDP study. Video about impacts with demonstration. See Environmental Leader. PDF of "The Telepresence Revolution" report here. [Article doesn't emphasize the concomitant savings of time and improvements of business efficiency. Telepresence-type technologies could change business the way the telegraph, telephone and personal computer did.]

10 Innovations Changing the Way Products Are Packaged and Shipped.reliability medium.
"We've seen no shortage of packaging improvements by companies over the past decade, but these 10 packages and concepts represent some of the most innovative, far-reaching and promising efforts we've come across. ... The Smallest Detergent Bottle ... HP's Boxless Laptop ... Plant-Based Plastics ... Non-Foam Cushioning" and others. Greener World Media article.

Water Savings a Top Business Concern.reliability high.
"Water stewardship is one of the top five business concerns among 52 percent of sustainability professionals, according to a survey by Ethical Corporation, while 99 percent believed water will become a priority in the next five to ten years. Water savings can result in significant cost savings for businesses, according to a CNET report." Examples of savings at several companies. From Environmental Leader. Press release on this commercial report here. [And saving water also saves energy needed to pump, heat and treat it, reducing carbon intensity.]

Government and Regulation

Security Tops the Environment in China’s Energy Plan.reliability high.
"while Mr. Obama voiced goals of addressing climate change and improving national security at the same time, the discussions in China have been focused almost entirely on security issues, people inside and outside the government said. In other words, as China counts on more years of global leadership in economic growth, global warming remains a secondary concern. ... The proposed law, which is expected to be adopted by early next year, says that 'energy supply should be where you can plant your foot on it,' meaning that as much as possible should come from within China, said Li Junfeng, a senior energy policy maker and member of the interagency committee drafting the law. That belief has underpinned China’s rapid expansion in renewable energy, because it tends to be made in China, Mr. Li said. China has just emerged as the world’s largest manufacturer of wind turbines and solar panels, and plans to be the world’s biggest builder of nuclear power plants in the coming decade. It invested nearly twice as much as the United States last year in renewable energy." Story in The New York Times. [Totally unsurprising. Any country would put energy security above longer-term benefits. Especially China. The article emphasizes that this means China will burn more coal. But in fact China is a coal importer--Renewables and nuclear are more secure.]

Sweden gives green light to new nuclear reactors.reliability high.
"Sweden's parliament voided a 30-year-old ban on building new nuclear reactors on Thursday after a debate pitting the country's need for low-carbon energy sources against environmental concerns over atomic energy." See Reuters.

Valley Fill Permitting to Become More Difficult.reliability high.
"Companies conducting surface mining in Appalachia will be required to undergo a lengthier permitting process for valley fills following the suspension by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers of the use of its Nationwide Permit 21 in the region. ... NWP 21 is the Corps of Engineers’ streamlined dredge-and-fill permit for surface mines. ... But within Appalachia, mining companies now will be required to use the lengthier individual permit process." Story in State Journal. [Obama administration is gradually increasing regulation of dirty energy. This move tightens the Corps of Engineers permitting process for dumping surface mining spoil in waterways. Now individual permits for each project will have to be obtained under the Clean Water Act, which allows more public comment and takes longer.]

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