03 August 2010

Carbon policies that save money, greening Wal-Mart, Nissan iCar and other sustainability news for business

Top Stories

The 23 Most Cost-Effective Policies for Stopping Climate Change.reliability medium.
"The Center for Climate Strategies has issued a report  laying out in detail the cost/benefit analysis underpinning 23 policy options and their expected net cost per ton of greenhouse gases removed. Like the three climate bills that would have reduced the deficit by about $20 billion by 2020, these 23 carbon reduction policies would also save Americans money – $5 billion a year – while reducing carbon emissions." From CleanTechnica. Access report here. [Policies that pay for themselves (have negative marginal cost per ton of CO2 emission avoided) could provide 20% reduction in GHG emissions by 2020 compared to business-as-usual projections.

"Findings show potential national improvements from implementation of a top set of 23 major sector-based policies and measures drawn from state plans. If implemented U.S.-wide at all levels of government, the measures yield: 2.5 million net new jobs in 2020 and a $159.6 billion (in 2007$) expansion in GDP in 2020; Over $5 billion net direct economic savings in 2020, at an average net savings of $1.57 per ton of GHG emissions avoided or removed; and Consumer energy price reductions of 0.56% for gasoline and oil; 0.60% for fuel oil and coal; 2.01% for electricity; and 0.87% for natural gas by 2020."
This is if these state-level policies were applied nationally. Given the gridlock in Washington they probably will not be. But even applied at the state level significant progress is possible. This is one reason the Obama administration can make the assertion below.]

Why I'm Doing Business with Walmart.reliability medium.
Seventh Generation chief Jeffrey Hollender posts about why his green-products company decided to sell through Wal-Mart. "I say that knowing that a lot of people, some of them among our most loyal long-time customers, will raise an eyebrow (at least!) at this news." But "Walmart is not the same company it was even five years ago. It's a much different organization that has fairly dramatically and with little fanfare transformed itself into a serious sustainability leader." And "Walmart's size means we'll reach people and places we couldn't reach before and help countless more families lead safer, healthier lives." See 7GenBlog. [Making the case to perhaps-skeptical Seventh Generation customers and stakeholders. No longer exclusive to the favored few, green products go main stream. This also says that Wal-Mart believes that its customers are ready for explicitly green products.]

Companies, Industries, Markets and Supply Chains

The Nissan LEAF: Connected by AT&T.reliability medium.
Nissan "is working with AT&T to provide a connection for digital services for the car, like battery charge monitoring and being able to find the nearest charging station. There is a carrier signal that is actually transmitting the information up to a satellite and then to Nissan’s data centers said Perry, who also confirmed with us that the cars will use AT&T’s cellular network for that connection. When I asked why did Nissan choose to work with AT&T, Perry explained that AT&T uses the global standard for mobile communications known as GSM, which can be used internationally." From earth2tech. [An iPhone with wheels? An iCar?]

For the World’s Ills, 'Trickle Up' Solutions.reliability medium.
Stuart Hart "suggests that new advances in clean technologies can quickly take hold in developing markets like India and China ... Once these new solutions are tested and proven in the poorest communities, the theory goes, many can 'trickle up' to the developed world, where features can be added for more affluent markets. 'In fact, the farther down the income pyramid the technology begins, the more upside growth potential exists over the life of the innovation,' Mr. Hart said in a telephone interview." Gives examples from companies like like Selco and d.light in India, Grameen Bank and Kiva, and even General Electric. See New York Times Green blog. [Discusses potential green markets at the bottom of the pyramid, or at least closer to it, and how they can drive innovation by squeezing out cost and complexity.]

BP: the landmine ESG investors avoided.reliability medium.
"A handful of top investment managers, experts in integrating environmental, social and governance analysis with traditional financial analysis, saw the holes in BP's reputation and dumped the stock early on, saving their investors millions in avoided losses." Notes several specific investment funds that use ESG investment screens that dumped BP before the spill. From Thomas Van Dyke blog.

GT Solar turns on to LED manufacturing opportunity.reliability high.
"US-based GT Solar bought itself a place in the burgeoning market for energy-efficient lighting technology late last week, announcing its acquisition of light-emitting diode (LED) substrate manufacturer Crystal Systems. GT Solar paid $57.8m (£36.3m) in a mixture of cash and stock for the 40-year-old company, which makes sapphire, a substrate commonly used in LED systems." See BusinessGreen.

Government and Regulation

U.S. keeps climate goal despite Senate setback.reliability high.
"top U.S. climate envoy ... Todd Stern told Reuters a U.S. proposal, made last year ahead of U.N. climate talks, to reduce emissions roughly 17 percent by 2020 compared to 2005 levels or 3 percent from 1990 levels was still on the table. 'We're not moving away from what we submitted last year,' Stern said in an interview. ... Stern said a combination of regulation and legislation would help achieve the U.S. goal but he declined to lay out specifics to quantify how the reduction target would be met." See Reuters story.