23 September 2010

Planting 56 billion trees, Arab world vulnerable, reporting plastic use, powering villages, greener supply chains and other sustainable business news

Top Stories

"Vulnerable Arab world lags on climate change action"reliability high.
A United Nations Development Programme regional meeting portrayed the Arab world as highly vulnerable to climate change, yet doing little to address coming problems. According to this story, Mostafa Tolba, former executive director of the United Nations Environment Programme, told Reuters: "They are leaving entire generations who will wake up and find a disaster on their hands that they will be completely unequipped to handle." Mentions reduced water availability and rising sea levels. From Reuters.

"Wal-Mart and H&M Commit to Greening Their Textile Supply Chain"reliability medium.
At the Clinton Global Initiative meeting, Walmart announced it would work with Chinese textile manufacturers to embrace better industry techniques, in cooperation with NRDC's "Clean by Design" program. NRDC launched similar initiatives with H&M several days ago in Shanghai. See NRDC blog.

"Nonconventional power to light up 2,000 villages"reliability high.
The Indian state of Orissa has provided electrification from solar projects to 395 villages and plans to complete renewable supplies to 600 villages by the end of the year. It is applying to the central government for support to electrify 1500 more villages by 2012 using wind, biomass and other renewable technologies. Some projects will be built with private participation. From ExpressBuzz.

Companies, Industries, Markets and Supply Chains

UK offshore wind half of global capacityreliability high.
With the opening of the Thanet 300 MW offshore wind farm off Kent Britain's total offshore capacity reached 1341 MW, more than half of the world total of 2400 MW. The UK now gets about 9% of its electricity from renewables, and hopes to reach 15% by 2020. Reuters story.

"Project Aims to Publicly Track Corporate Plastic Use"reliability high.
"The Plastic Disclosure Project is taking a page from carbon and water disclosure efforts by asking companies to report on their plastic use and management plans. The project was launched at the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) annual meeting and is focused on reducing the amount of plastic waste around the world." See GreenBiz.

"DuPont sees $1 bln solar market sales in 2010"reliability high.
"DuPont Co now expects $1 billion in photovoltaic market sales this year, up from a previous forecast to hit that mark in 2011, saying interest for solar materials continues to spike." Quotes DuPont spokesman Dan Turner: "No one can doubt the continued explosive growth in the industry." DuPont sells a range of materials used to make solar panels. From Reuters article.

"Another food goliath falls to palm oil campaign"reliability medium.
Jeremy Hance posts: "One of the world's biggest food makers, General Mills, has pledged to source only sustainable and responsible palm oil within five years time. ... In a statement General Mills said they planned 'to help ensure our purchases are not associated in any way with deforestation of the world’s rainforests—and to further reinforce the development of certified sustainable palm oil production practices.' " The Rainforest Action Network claimed some credit, and said it will now focus on agribusiness giant Cargill. See Mongabay.

"Staples Unveils Largest Solar Power System in [Maryland]"reliability high.
"Staples has unveiled a 1.5-megawatt (MW) solar power installation at its distribution center in Hagerstown, Maryland. ... Staples has a power purchase agreement with SunEdison  that requires no capital investment and no operating or maintenance expenses on the part of the retailer. Under the agreement, SunEdison designs, finances, operates, and maintains the solar installations and Staples buys the energy produce at or below price for grid power." More on Staples' solar energy. See Environmental Leader.

Government and Regulation

"Great Green Wall Rises, But Questions Remain"reliability high.
A look at China's massive afforestation efforts. "China already has the largest human-made forest in the world, covering more than 500,000 square kilometres, and the Communist Party this year announced it had reached its stated goal of 20 percent forest cover by 2010. The government envisions a line of trees stretching 4,480 km from Xinjiang province in the far west to Heilongjiang province in the east." Article notes some of the accomplishments and also some of the doubts and problems. From IPS. [China is certainly capable of doing things in a big way. But enormous projects of this kind can have unintended consequences. Science is generally not capable of accurately predicting the impacts of geoengineering. This is a leap of faith on a grand scale. But at least everybody can chip in. Maybe the social function is more important than the environmental benefits.]

"FERC chairman: Let EV owners sell juice to grid"reliability medium.
Martin LaMonica posts "Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) Chairman Jon Wellinghoff today said electric-car owners could make as much as $3,000 a year providing what are called ancillary services, such as frequency regulation, to stabilize the wholesale electric market. Those types of services are technically possible today but regulations need to be changed and new businesses need to be formed before EV owners are active sellers into the grid, Wellinghoff said. But he predicted that within three to five years, vehicle-to-grid services will be available throughout the U.S. 'There's a business model question but beyond that, there are no other barriers,' Wellinghoff said". At CNET News.