17 June 2010

Plan for long-term risks and costs, Shanghai GM's supply chain, surprising water savings and other green news for business

Top Stories

Met Office warns of long-term extreme weather risks.reliability high.
"British businesses need to invest in adaptation measures to cope with flooding and drought in the coming decades even if substantial reductions in greenhouses gas emissions are achieved. That is the stark warning from the insurance industry today after a new report from the Met Office warned that global water cycles will continue to be disrupted in the coming decades even if average temperatures stabilise and begin to decrease. ... 'The debate surrounds aspects of climate change, but there are indisputable facts that weather patterns are changing,' said Malcolm Tarling, spokesman for the Association of British Insurers (ABI). 'Despite everything we do now [to cut greenhouse gas emissions], climate change is already in the system so we need to make the right steps to reduce the risks going forward.'" See BusinessGreen. [Of course these concerns are not confined to Britain. Weather knows no borders.]

Freak floods in US predicted by 2009 climate change report.reliability medium.
"A rash of flash floods has struck the US during this spring: Rhode Island, Tennessee, Arkansas, and most recently Oklahoma have all faced devastating floods that have resulted in the loss of property and in some cases tragic deaths. While flash floods have occurred throughout US history, the number of big floods this year appears abnormal at best, but not unexpected by researchers. Climatologists warned last year that an increase in floods and severe storms is very probable as the world warms. ... The report, which looked at the US regionally, predicted that more precipitation in winter and spring in the Midwest would lead to increased flooding. In addition, the report predicted increases in flooding and severe weather for the Southeast." From Mongabay. [There have also been recent deadly flash floods in south-eastern France--pictures here.]

Companies, Industries, Markets and Supply Chains

Foreign firms eye India's solar power market.reliability high.
"India's drive to ramp up solar capacity may trigger a stampede of firms from Asia, Europe and North America, chasing a share of the $3.5 bn of business up for grabs by 2013 and trampling over smaller domestic players. Arizona's First Solar and China's Suntech Power Holdings are working on plans to enter the market as India commits to an ambitious $70 bn program to build 20 gigawatts (GW) of solar capacity by 2022, from about 30 megawatts (MW) now. 'Solar is the new activity. It is absolutely a game changer for the country,' said Anil Srivastava, CEO at French group Areva's renewable energy unit, which is scouting for solar project contracts in India." Story in The Economic Times.

IKEA to phase out traditional incandescent light bulbs, and that's just the beginning.reliability medium.
"IKEA’s announcement today that its 48 U.S. and Canadian stores will stop selling incandescent light bulbs by year’s end has sustainability bloggers buzzing, but the real story isn’t the bulbs. It’s the broader change that will follow in lamp design. ... When IKEA says goodbye to the incandescent light, it’s essentially saying so long to lamps, sconces and chandeliers designed for the bulb of years past. Mona Astra Liss, U.S. corporate public relations director for IKEA, declined to give specifics but did confirm that the company will be reviewing and revising its lineup of lighting fixtures." See Los Angeles Times blog.

Companies conserving water surprised by savings.reliability high.
"A survey conducted by research analyst Ethical Corporation in May 2010 found that 99 percent of corporate sustainability managers saw water becoming a top priority for businesses in the next 5 to 10 years. The report "Unlocking the Profit in Water Savings" found that 52 percent of sustainability managers ranked "water stewardship" within the top five most important issues they now deal with. But more interesting is the hard data supporting the trend. Companies have found that saving water equates with saving money even when including initial infrastructure investments, according to the report." Some highlights and interview with SABMiller. See CNET News.

Sainsbury's tests new technology to trim food waste.reliability high.
"Sainsbury's has invested in new technology that will allow the retailer to make real-time supply chain decisions aimed at reducing food waste caused by unexpected weather. ... Unpredictable weather, however, wreaks havoc on the plans of its company buyers, often resulting in perishable food left languishing on shelves, uneaten. There were six periods of unexpected weather last year, Sainsbury's said. The supply chain technology will give Sainsbury's the ability to make real-time decisions on where to send food from its warehouses, rather than changing course overnight. It has the potential to reduce food waste by 15 per cent during unexpected weather, while also reducing its carbon footprint by an estimated 1,400 tonnes." Story at BusinessGreen. [Tightening up supply chains=savings. No surprise.]

Shanghai GM Green Supply Chain Program Saved $19M in 2009.reliability high.
"A major initiative to help Chinese auto industry suppliers reduce their environmental impacts successfully improved productivity and generated annual savings worth millions of dollars. Shanghai General Motors (SGM) partnered with the World Environment Center (WEC) for a "Greening the Supply Chain Initiative" targeting 125 suppliers. The 50/50 joint venture between General Motors and Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp. is one of China's largest vehicle producers; it also imports and sells Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet and Saab products. The program focused on reducing water, waste and energy use, while also boosting competitive advantage. It demonstrated a strong business case for efficiency: The 125 suppliers invested about US$21 million in 498 projects, generating annual cost savings of roughly US$19 million. Many projects had ROIs of less than a year." From GreenBiz.

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