30 August 2010

Glaciers of Asia retreat, FTSE companies ranked on green risk and other sustainability news for business

Top Stories

Good Companies Guide: easing the planet's growing pains will help business to profit.reliability high.
"The Observer has commissioned in-depth research from The Co-operative Asset Management  into how the UK's leading companies might be affected by five key sustainability issues: resource depletion, climate change, pollution, demographics and resource distribution. Its analysis suggests that 56%, or more than half of the FTSE 350 by weight, will suffer negative financial effects from depleting resources, climate change and pollution. Only 10% stand to gain by providing solutions." See The Guardian. Related item: Good Companies Guide: Winners and losers in the corporate sustainability stakes, Also at The Guardian. See full list of FTSE companies and ratings here.

Glaciers Retreating in Asia.reliability high.
"Many of Asia’s glaciers are retreating as a result of climate change. This retreat impacts water supplies to millions of people, increases the likelihood of outburst floods that threaten life and property in nearby areas, and contributes to sea-level rise. The U.S. Geological Survey, in collaboration with 39 international scientists, published a report on the status of glaciers throughout all of Asia, including Russia, China, India, Nepal, Bhutan, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Kazakhstan. 'Of particular interest are the Himalaya, where glacier behavior impacts the quality of life of tens of millions of people,' said USGS scientist Jane Ferrigno. 'Glaciers in the Himalaya are a major source of fresh water and supply meltwater to all of the rivers in northern India.'" See USGS site. Access the report here. Also see USA TODAY news story on the report.

Companies, Industries, Markets and Supply Chains

1,000-Megawatt Plant in Calif. Marks New Milestone in Solar Expansion.reliability high.
"The Bureau of Land Management has issued a final environmental impact statement  (EIS) for the Blythe Solar Power Project in southeast California. When fully operational, the solar thermal power plant would have the capacity to produce 1,000 megawatts of electricity ... . The final EIS, which is considered the last federal regulatory hurdle before a record of decision authorizing construction, is open for public comment through Sept. 18. The California Energy Commission, which must also render a decision on the Blythe plant, formally recommended this month that the project be approved." More on the 4,580 megawatts of solar developments on BLM land in California that are being fast-tracked. At The New York Times from Greenwire. [One gigawatt is half the electric generation capacity of Hoover Dam, and about the capacity of a new Westinghouse AP1000 nuclear reactor.]

Minding the Sustainability GAAP.reliability medium.
"examples of how environmental degradation can hit home for companies. The global environmental crisis, including climate change, water scarcity and ecosystem degradation, isn’t just a problem for 'greens.' It also creates significant financial risks for companies and their investors. ... Worldwide, current financial accounting standards and generally accepted accounting principles (known as GAAP) fail explicitly to address such risks, which often derive from unsustainable business strategies. They can also miss the opportunities that such challenges create. ... A solution may finally be on its way. A coalition of businesses, regulators, accountants, securities exchanges and not-for-profit groups recently launched an International Integrated Reporting Committee initiative to 'create a globally accepted framework for accounting for sustainability.'" At WRI site.

How Can 'Power IT Down Day' Help Your Company Save Money?reliability medium.
"It's the third annual Power IT Down Day, a global effort to get workers to turn off their computers, monitors, printers and other peripherals before they go home. And though it may be a small action to take, the rewards are potentially huge." More about IT power wastage and what you can do. See GreenBiz blog.

Government and Regulation

New Yorkers Begin to See How Much They Have to Lose From Climate Change.reliability high.
Although New York City is already more energy efficient than other U.S. cities, its infrastructure and buildings are old and it is at risk from sea level rise. Article discusses various legislation and programs to adapt to climate change impacts and upgrade built environment. See The New York Times from Climartewire.

France seeks bids for 3,000MW of offshore wind.reliability high.
"France is rumoured to be seeking bids to construct 3,000MW of offshore wind farms just days after it has agreed to commit €1.35bn towards renewable energy but cut solar feed-in tariffs. ... The newly-revealed offshore wind projects are due to cost in the region of $12.7bn to construct, according to an unnamed official". From NewNet.