12 August 2010

Sustainability case studies from Canada, cheaper LED bulbs, and other green news

Top Stories

LED Bulb Edges Below $20.reliability medium.
The Home Depot "began selling one of the light bulbs in its highly energy-efficient lineup at a surprisingly affordable price of just under $20 online. Bricks-and-mortar stores will follow in September." More on increasing acceptance of LED bulbs, whose prices are dropping more rapidly than anticipated. From New York Times Green blog.

Walmart Canada, Green Business Partners Provide Progress Reports on Sustainability Commitments.reliability high.
"Walmart Canada and some of Canada’s largest corporations including Heinz Canada, Frito-Lay Canada, and Coca-Cola Canada have provided progress reports on their sustainability initiatives that they committed to six months ago at the Walmart Canada Green Business Summit. ... The latest updates are available at the ShareGreen.ca Website, home to case studies/progress updates of partner companies that demonstrate their sustainable business initiatives that also deliver to the bottom line." More at Environmental Leader. Case studies here.

Companies, Industries, Markets and Supply Chains

Analysis: Indonesia forest moratorium to stymie palm oil firms.reliability high.
"Indonesia's plans to halt forest clearing will slow the aggressive expansion of plantation firms in the world's top palm oil producer, leading to higher costs as firms will need acquisitions or improved yields to boost growth. The two-year moratorium on new permits to clear natural forest from 2011 will increase land prices, pushing some to consider following industry leader Wilmar in expanding overseas to Africa or to diversify into food crops." More on expanding palm oil production without clearing more forest. From Reuters.

Related: Audit finds palm oil company destroyed peatlands, but not primary forest.reliability medium.
"An environmental audit of palm oil company, PT SMART, found that the company had not cut primary rainforest, yet had destroyed carbon-rich peatlands; however the audit analyzed only 40 percent of PT SMART's holdings and investigated none of its plantations in New Guinea." Greenpeace had criticized the firm for deforestation. "Greenpeace's reports caused both food giants Unilever and Nestle to drop PT SMART as a supplier of their palm oil, while Cargill stated it would wait to hear the results of the audit. Given the audit's results, both sides are claiming victory." See Mongabay.

China's energy giants join solar gold rush.reliability high.
"Fifty companies are in the running for 13 large-scale solar power projects in China totalling 280 MW of renewable energy capacity, according to reports yesterday. The China Securities Journal reported that the proposed projects have attracted 135 bids with the nation's five biggest power producers, including China Huaneng Group and GD Power, all joining the race for the flagship contracts to build the new solar farms." Article at BusinessGreen.

Analysis: Rare earth monopoly a boon to Chinese clean tech firms.reliability high.
"This little-known class of 17 related elements is also used for a vast array of electronic devices ranging from Apple's iPhone to flat screen TVs, all of which are competing for the 120,000 tons of annual global supply. China controls 97 percent of rare earth production. ... China's domestic consumption of the metals poses the biggest threat to global supply. The country, which holds a third of the world's reserves, eats up to 60 percent of global rare earth supply for a wide range of applications from consumer gadgets and medical equipment to defense weapons." More on the advantage dominance of rare earth metals trade gives to Chinese cleantech companies. From Reuters.

Government and Regulation

Analysis: China eyes local carbon trade.reliability high.
Discusses China's developing plans for circumscribed carbon markets. The evolution of the Clean Development Mechanism, part of the Kyoto agreement that has earned China billions, is an important consideration affecting plans for domestic carbon markets in China. From Reuters.