08 July 2010

Green "megatrend", CDM alternative, DOE squanders energy, and other sustainability news for business

Top Stories

Record proxy season as shareholders crank up climate demands.reliability high.
"Pressure on US firms to develop climate change policies has reached record levels, according to new figures from ethical investor coalition Ceres showing that more than 100 climate and energy-related shareholder resolutions were filed during this year's proxy season. The lobby group said shareholders filed an unprecedented 101 climate and energy-related resolutions with 88 US and Canadian companies, marking an increase of nearly 50 per cent on 2009. The resolutions are having a clear impact on the environmental policies of many firms with half of those facing resolutions agreeing to the proposals put forward by shareholders without taking the resolution to a vote at their annual general meeting (AGM)." More at BusinessGreen.

Japan asks firms to find clean tech projects abroad.reliability high.
"Japan, the world's fifth largest greenhouse gas emitter, wants to encourage the use of home-grown technologies in projects that cut greenhouse gas emissions in developing countries, investments that could be worth billions of dollars. In return, the offsets could be used to help Japan meet a pledge to cut its emissions by 25 percent from 1990 levels by 2020. A senior government official has said domestic measures alone would make it very hard to meet the target. Japan's trade ministry said on Thursday is it is recruiting up to 10 firms to study the feasibility of emission-cutting projects abroad." See Reuters story. [Voluntary commercial efforts as alternative to Kyoto's tarnished CDM.]

Companies, Industries, Markets and Supply Chains

Next-Gen Lights Inching Into Homes, Taking Over Government.reliability high.
Highlights of "a report out today from Lux Research. The firm anticipates that by 2020, LEDs will provide 60 percent of low bay lighting for commercial, industrial, government and public buildings, while advanced lighting controls will be put to work in an impressive 90 percent of government and public spaces. Advanced lighting tech will be less dominant in homes, according to Lux, with LEDs providing 42 percent of the lighting in the residential market " From earth2tech.

But: Energy Department Lags in Saving Energy.reliability high.
"the department is having trouble taking its own advice, according to an internal audit released on Wednesday; many of its offices are still installing obsolete fluorescent bulbs. And very few have switched to the most promising technology, light-emitting diodes, which the department spent millions of dollars to help commercialize. Many of the changes would generate savings that would pay back the investment in two years or so, according to the report, by the department’s inspector general." See New York Times story. PDF of IG's report here.

Where the Quality and Sustainability Movements Converge.reliability medium.
"David Lubin and Daniel Esty highlight commonalities in a recent Harvard Business Review article, which is good reading for executives and sustainability leaders. Highlights include: Most corporations are flailing around with a hodgepodge of sustainability initiatives; Sustainability, like quality, is a mega-trend for corporations for which adoption moved from defense to offensive tactics; The sustainability movement, like the quality movement, will follow four stages . . . ; Value creation is driven through executive buy-in and execution throughout the organization". See Greener World Media blog post. Underlying HBR item here. ["Our research into the forces that have shaped the competitive landscape in recent decades reveals that 'business megatrends' have features and trajectories in common. Sustainability is an emerging megatrend, and thus its course is to some extent predictable. Understanding how firms won in prior megatrends can help executives craft the strategies and systems they’ll need to gain advantage in this one."]

In a World of Throwaways, Making a Dent in Medical Waste.reliability high.
The trash problem created by the health industry's switch to disposables, and various efforts to deal with it. "Only recently has the industry begun grappling with the amount of waste it generates, and one reason is that financially stressed hospitals are seeking ways to cut costs. ... Ascent estimates that its 1,800 hospital clients diverted 2,650 tons of garbage from landfills in 2009; one major customer, the Hospital Corporation of America, which owns 163 hospitals, eliminated 94 tons of waste last year through reprocessing." Story in The New York Times.

Government and Regulation

CBO says climate bill would cut deficit by $19B.reliability high.
"Congressional budget experts say a climate and energy bill now stalled in the Senate would reduce the federal deficit by about $19 billion over the next decade. The report by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office was the second positive analysis of the bill by a government agency in a month, but is likely to carry more weight than a similar report issued by the Environmental Protection Agency. ... the CBO said the energy bill would increase federal revenues by about $751 billion from 2011 to 2020, mostly though the sale of carbon credits in so-called a cap-and-trade plan to be applied to utilities and other sectors of the economy." See MSNBC from AP. [Analysis isn't on CBO site yet. Will post when it shows up. CBO still confused about intertubes.]