Friday, May 31, 2013

CSR Briefing Pack and Webinar

Here is an analysis of the latest reporting and communication trends in CSR from the Ethical Corporation. In addition to the briefing pack you will find a recording of a webinar detailing how the company of 2020 will operate in a resource constrained world. You will also find 10 pages of high quality CSR analysis and a free presentation from last year’s summit.

Five Groups Urging Support for US Energy Efficiency Bill

A number of groups have written joint letters demanding that the federal government pass energy efficiency legislation currently working its way through Congress. On April 18, 2013, Mrs. SHAHEEN (for herself, Mr. PORTMAN, Mr. COONS, and Ms. COLLINS) read the bill known as the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act of 2013. It was read twice and referred to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resource.

The five groups that signed the letter are:
The Alliance to Save Energy
The Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC)
Business Roundtable
The National Association of Manufacturers
US Chamber of Commerce’s Institute for 21st Century Energy

The letters state that the Act enjoys strong, bipartisan support and should serve as the foundation for a comprehensive national energy policy.

UN's Global Development Goals are Important for the US

Despite the resistance of many Americans, UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) should matter to the US. This is the conclusion of a report from the Center for Strategic & International Studies' (CSIS) Global Health Policy Center. This non-profit, non-partisan, research group released a report at the end of May 2013 titled “Do UN Goals matter to the United States?” This report is relevant because many Americans have questioned the effectiveness of the UN and the value of global development goals for the US. In recent years the US has has an increasingly ambivalent relationship with the UN and Congress even withheld its dues from the organization. In the last decade the UN has also figured less prominently in US foreign policy than in previous decades.

A March 2013 Gallup Poll indicates that two thirds of Americans believe the UN is needed. Resistance to the UN comes largely from Republicans and older Americans. Only 46 percent of Republicans indicated they believe the UN is necessary compared to 80 percent of Democrats. The split between older and younger Americans is less pronounced but there is still a 20 point spread. A total of 76 percent of young Americans (18 - 29 years of age) feel that the UN is necessary, while only 56 percent of Americans over 65 share that view.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Complimentary Green Plastics Report

This Environmental Leader complimentary green plastics report includes 43 pages and 5 charts. The report provides research on green plastics, including both biodegradable and bio-based materials.

The report also provides:

  • Vendors and Products
  • Benefits and Challenges
  • Standards and Certifications
  • Projections

Webinar - How the Company of 2020 Will Operate in a Resource-Constrained World

How the Company of 2020 Will Operate in a Resource-Constrained World is a complimentary, one hour, on demand webinar from the Ethical Corporation.

In this presentation you will find our about:

  • Twenty of the most valuable selected findings from the discussions.
  • Results to our industry polls and surveys ran during the webinar.
  • Key topics covered in the webinar:
  • How to transition to a new “green” business model.
  • How to drive behaviour change using the latest green technology and engage managers and front-line staff to deliver efficiency gains.
  • Frontline supply chain engagement, how to engage and incentivise your suppliers to deliver change where it yields the greatest impact.
  • How to encourage a more sustainable consumption model among consumers.

Whitepaper - Best Practices in Sustainable Procurement of Paperboard

This whitepaper focuses on global trends in sustainable measures related to paperboard packaging. It outlines different measures of sustainability and the various steps that have to be taken to ensure sustainable procurement of paperboard packaging.

To access this whitepaper click here.

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Introduction to (Sustainable) Supply Chain Management
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The Rise of Sustainable Supply Chains
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Video: Ten Steps To A Greener Supply Chain
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The Supply Chain of CO2 Emissions (White Paper)
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Video: Future Supply Chain 2016

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Sustainable Australia Report 2013

According to a new report, crowded cities and bigger regional centers will drive sustainability in Australia. On 9 May 2013 The National Sustainability Council presented a landmark report titled Sustainable Australia 2013. According to the report an ageing population, rising health costs, growing cities and changes in traditional work and family roles are key issues.

The report provides a picture of Australia and tells the story of how the nation has changed over the last three decades. There has been significant progress (life span, health, education, economy, and employment), however inequality has increased and the health of Australia's natural environment has continued to decline in some key areas.

Webinar - Why GRI G4 Will Trigger New Directions In Sustainability Reporting

The Verdantix webinar, "Why GRI G4 Will Trigger New Directions In Sustainability Reporting," will take place on Thursday, May 30, 2013. In this complimentary webinar you will learn the new best practices for sustainability reporting and how to link mandatory reporting, voluntary frameworks and financial reporting.

Based on multiple Verdantix benchmarks covering stock exchanges, responsible supply chain assessments and a global survey of 250 heads of sustainability, this webinar helps heads of sustainability to chart out the best practices for sustainability reporting in a post GRI G4 world.

IPCC Report Predicts More Frequent and More Intense Extreme Weather

In 2012 a special report on extreme weather from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concluded that we are likely to see coastal flooding and more extreme precipitation linked to human-induced climate change.

The report indicates that unusually high temperatures as well as more frequent and more intense precipitation and drought can be expected in most parts of the world by the end of the century.

Contributors to the report include experts on disaster recovery and risk management, together with members of the physical sciences and climate change mitigation and adaptation disciplines. The report marked the first time that the scientific literature on extreme events has been synthesised by a single team, It offers "an unprecedented level of detail regarding observed and expected changes in weather and climate extremes, based on a comprehensive assessment of over 1,000 scientific publications".

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

New Report on Extreme Weather in Australia

This 2013 report from the Climate Commission offers a review of the current state of our knowledge about different types of extreme weather events in Australia. These events include extreme temperatures, rainfall, drought, bush fires, storm surges, cyclones and storms. Here is a summary of some of the key findings from the report titled The Critical Decade: Extreme Weather.

1. Climate change is already increasing the intensity and frequency of many extreme weather events, adversely affecting Australians. Extreme events occur naturally and weather records are broken from time to time. However, climate change is influencing these events and record-breaking weather is becoming more common around the world.

CO2 Will Adversely Impact Rainfall Around the World

Climate change causing greenhouse gases, particularly carbon dioxide (CO2), will cause less rain in areas that need it most and more rain in areas that need it least. According to recent NASA findings areas that get a lot of rain will get more, those areas that get moderate rainfall will get less, and those areas that get little rainfall may get none at all.

NASA's research is the product of an analysis of the computer simulations from 14 climate models. They span 140 years and they show that warming from carbon dioxide will change the frequency that regions around the planet receive rain.

What is Environmental Migration and Who are Climate Refugees

Climate change and environmental degradation will make life unlivable for many people and this will force them to move. Whether in response to floods, droughts or extreme heat or to find water and food people all around the world will be displaced by the changing climate. These people are known as climate refugees and they are part of a new wave of environmental migration.

According to the United Nations' definition from the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees (1951) a refugee is a person who "owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group, or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality, and is unable to or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country". In 1967 Protocol the definition of a refugee was expanded to include persons who had fled war or other violence. At present the United Nations does not formally provide long-term legal protection to refugees due to environmental factors and climate change.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Event - TBLI (Triple Bottom Line Investment) CONFERENCE™

TBLI (Triple Bottom Line Investment) CONFERENCE™ will take place on Monday and Tuesday, June 17-18, 2013 at the United Federation of Teachers (UFT), New York, NY.

The TBLI conference is unique event in that it offers finance professionals a global perspective on a comprehensive range of ESG and Impact Investment topics, covering all asset classes. Over 15 years, it has built an international reputation as the platform to learn and find business partners. TBLI offers access to the largest network of thought leaders in the sustainable finance industry.

Theme for 2013: "Rethink the Past and Move on"

❖ Attendees remain able to determine their workshop choice at the conference

❖ Please note: This program is subject to change without notice.

For more information click here.

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Event - Creative Disruptive (Water) Leadership Workshop

Creative Disruptive (Water) Leadership workshop will take place Friday May 31 to Sundany June 2, 2013, in Wyebridge, Ontario.

Great leaders learn to develop a capacity to navigate through complexity, to facilitate collaboration and to disrupt when the time is right. This workshop will focus on offering important techniques to move you along the spectrum of your leadership journey. We will offer you the inspiration and tools to become more creative, more innovative, and to build your leadership potential.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Event - Building Lasting Change: CaGBC National Green Building Conference and Expo 2013

Building Lasting Change: CaGBC National Green Building Conference and Exp will take place on Tuesday June 4 to Thursday June 6, 2013, in Vancouver, BC. Without staying informed, expanding traditional thinking, and adapting to new ideas – no real change is possible. Our industry is constantly pushing itself forward with new thinking that is changing the built environment in ways that will impact generations of Canadians. This is why in 2013 the CaGBC National Conference and Expo will be focused on not just building sustainably, but Building Lasting Change.

Event - Business for the Environment: B4E Climate Summit 2013

Business for the Environment: B4E Climate Summit, will take place on May 28 - 29, 2013 in London, England. The urgency of the global climate challenge demands ambitious goals and bold, coordinated action. The B4E Climate Summit 2013, themed “Net Zero, Climate positive”, will present growth strategies of leading global businesses committed to net zero carbon emissions and the most cutting edge innovations for climate positive impact.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Video - ALEC Bill on Capitol Hill

The Center for Media and Democracy, creator of ALECexposed, along with Alliance for a Better Utah, produced the following video with Pulitzer Prize winning cartoonist Mark Fiore illustrating, in “Schoolhouse Rock!” style, how a piece of legislation written by ALEC becomes a law. While leaving a legacy of pollution, the billionaire Koch Brothers, through groups like the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), are using their influence to spread climate doubt and weaken renewable energy standards.

Video - Water in the Anthropocene

Water in the Anthropocene (Ambient Version) from Globaïa on Vimeo.

Water in the Anthropocene is a 3-minute film charting the global impact of humans on the water cycle. Evidence is growing that our global footprint is now so significant we have driven Earth into a new geological epoch — the Anthropocene. Human activities such as damming and agriculture are changing the global water cycle in significant ways.

The data visualisation was commissioned by the Global Water Systems Project for a major international conference (Water in the Anthropocene, Bonn, Germany, 21-24 May, 2013).

Video - Using TED Fishing Nets to Save Endangered Sea Turtles

Turtles shown escaping from trawl nets fitted with Turtle Excluder Device (TED). Thousands of turtles are caught and drown each year in trawl nets. TED's can be fitted so that Turtles and other large marine mammals can escape. This film was shot and edited by Scubazoo for the Marine Research Foundation & Conservation International.

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World Oceans Day in America (2012)
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Friday, May 24, 2013

Twelve Online Tools for Greener Businesses

There are a growing number of online tools that make it easier for businesses to understand and assess their environmental performance and that of their peers. Here are a suite of 12 online tools from Environmental Leader. These tools run the gamut and deal with a wide variety of issues from construction to water. They are presented in the order that they were published.

RSK Tool Helps Construction Companies Manage Environmental Risk

RSK Business Solutions has launched a web-based tool to help UK-based construction companies mitigate environmental risk and drive legal compliance. For more information click here.

BASF Launches Sustainable Construction Website

BASF’s Green Sense Concrete reduced the carbon footprint of the One World Trade Center by 15,838,267 kg CO2 in the construction. For more information click here.

The 2013 World's Most Ethical Companies (Ethisphere)

Every year, the Ethisphere Institute reveals its annual World’s Most Ethical (WME) companies list. The companies on the WME list "truly go beyond making statements about doing business "ethically" and translate those words into action." WME honorees not only promote ethical business standards and practices internally, they exceed legal compliance minimums and shape future industry standards by introducing best practices today. In 2013, a record 145 companies made the list, which includes more than three dozen industries, from aerospace to wind power, with 43 of the WME winners headquartered outside the US. Since the list's inception, 23 companies have made the list all six years including: Aflac, American Express, Fluor, General Electric, Milliken & Company, Patagonia, Rabobank and Starbucks, among others.

Here is the WME list for 2013:

Adopt CSR or Risk a Consumer Boycott

A new survey shows that 90 percent of consumers indicate they would boycott a company if they learned of irresponsible behavior. Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is now de rigueur as consumers are increasingly demanding that companies assume responsibility for social and environmental issues. According to the 2013 Cone Communications/Eco Global CSR Study, 93 percent of those surveyed want to see more corporate social responsibility in the products and services they purchase.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

2013 World's Most Admired Companies (Fortune Magazine)

Fortune Magazine's 2013 list of "World's Most Admired Companies," is an annual ranking of the world's most admired and respected companies.

Companies are assessed based on their performance in several key areas including innovation and social responsibility.

This annual ranking from Fortune is widely considered a definitive report card on corporate reputations. According to Fortune, these companies have shown a commitment to social responsibility and high ethical standards.

Here are the rankings of the top 50 companies as assessed by Fortune Magazine:

Sea Turtles and the Commercial Fishing Industry

May 23 is World Turtle Day but due largely to commercial fishing many species of sea turtles are in trouble (six out of seven species are endangered). Climate change and pollution are destabilizing marine environments across the world, but fishing is by far the worst threat to sea turtles.. Turtles are being destroyed at alarming rates due to destructive fishing methods. In the US alone more than 250,000 sea turtles are accidentally captured, injured or killed by US fishermen. In 2004, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) identified more than 70 fisheries, operating in state and federal waters, as potentially harmful to sea turtles. Their fate is even worse in the national waters of other countries or in international waters.

The Future of Green Building is Called Sustainability Base

A new project called Sustainability Base draws on NASA's space experience to offer a futuristic look into sustainable building design. The prototype was designed by William McDonough and Partners. The building is ultra-efficient and far exceeds the necessary requirements to secure LEED® Platinum certification. It is designed to use renewable energy and closed-loop water maintenance facilities.

The building's design offers phenomenal structural stability thanks to an exoskeleton. Its is earthquake resistant and it was conceived in a wind tunnel so it can withstand high winds. It also offers glare-free daylighting and shading, natural ventilation and a connection to the outdoors.

The two-story building boasts more than 50,000-square feet. On the rooftop there is a solid-oxide fuel cell and solar arrays which supply all of the buildings energy. A central computer optimizes building performance and controls lighting, heating, and cooling, coordinating weather forecasts with scheduled usage of building facilities, adjusting its formulas to learn and improve.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

New Water Quality Runoff Tool from the USDA

A new online tool gives farmers and ranchers a better understanding of the quality of water flowing off their fields and into waterways. The new tool is called the Water Quality Index for Agricultural Runoff (WQIag) and was developed by scientists at USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service.

110 Water Conservation Tips for Businesses and Homes

Water is a precious natural resource. In the US at least two-thirds of the country have recently experienced water shortages. Conserving water also saves money. The first sections offers five tips for conserving water in a business context. The next section offers five easy ways to conserve water at home and the last section offers an additional 100 water saving tips.

Five Simple Tips to Help your Business with Water Conservation Practices:

1) Make a Plan. Share your commitment to water conservation with employees. Assign an employee as water conservation manager to monitor and implement your water conservation plan.

The International Day for Biological Diversity 2013

The United Nations has proclaimed May 22 The International Day for Biological Diversity (IDB) to increase understanding and awareness of biodiversity issues. The theme for this year is Water and Biodiversity. The International Day for Biological Diversity (or World Biodiversity Day) is a United Nations–sanctioned international day for the promotion of biodiversity issues. It is currently held on May 22.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Investing in Energy Efficiency

One of the most promising investment areas for 2013 may come from the area of energy efficiency. Unlike some other investments, this compelling investment opportunity is being driven by companies seeking immediate cost savings. For the investor this can translate to a shorter payback period. According to most estimates, global power needs are expected to rise more than 50 percent in the next few decades. This growing investment arena will increase the market demand for energy efficient lighting, engines and buildings.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Climate Change as an Investment Risk or Opportunity

Climate change is a material investment risk or opportunity and it has emerged as a strategic issue for asset owners and asset managers. The vast majority of investors now incorporate climate change into their risk assessments. This is the conclusion of a report, titled the Global Investor Survey on Climate Change, conducted by Mercer and commissioned by the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change (IIGCC), the Investor Network on Climate Risk (INCR) and Investor Group on Climate Change (IGCC). This report clearly illustrates that climate change is increasingly a salient part of the investment practices of asset managers and asset owners.

Based on survey responses from 44 asset owners and 46 asset managers with collective assets totaling more than $12 trillion, the report found that 87 percent of asset managers and 98 percent of asset owners now incorporate climate change risk assessments into their investment processes.

Tar Sands Reality Check Counters Misinformation

On May 16, 2013, (TSRC) was Launched in Canada, Europe and the US. TSRC provides reliable information on the Alberta tar sands.  This site is meant to counter misinformation from the Canadian government and oil sands lobbyists. The peer reviewed science provided on this site addresses topical issues like the Keystone XL pipeline in North America and the Fuel Quality Directive in Europe.

TSRC is designed for the public, media, politicians and the environmental community and includes groups like Environmental Defence Canada, Equiterre, Forest Ethics Advocacy, Greenpeace Canada, Natural Resources Defense Council (US),, Sierra Club U.S., and Transport and Environment (Europe).

The launch of TSRC coincides with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper's trip to New York where he tried to sell the Keystone XL to the Council of Foreign Relations. In addition to Harper's pro tar sands pitch, the Canadian government has launched a new website which tries to put a positive spin on Alberta's fossil fuel industry.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Program - Summer Institute in Sustainability Leadership (SISL)

Summer Institute in Sustainability Leadership (SISL) will take place on July 8-12, 2013 at UBC in British Columbia, Canada. SISL is an intensive one-week professional development program designed for those taking a leadership role in establishing policy, creating plans and implementing sustainability projects in businesses, colleges, universities, and across all levels of government. This award-winning program provides you the opportunity to engage in creative thinking about your role as a sustainability leader and the actions your organization can take to move the sustainability agenda forward.

For more information or to register click here.

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Event - International Conference on Sustainability (IMESH 2013)

The International Conference on Sustainability (IMESH 2013) will be held on 2th –3th Jun, 2013 at the St. Regis Hotel in Abu Dhabi under the headliner called, “Enhancing the concept of sustainability in governmental and private institutions.”

The concept of Sustainability in governmental institutions and private companies is considered to be a key index for identifying the significance of the institutional work and its ability to secure development and sustainable systems.  IMESH 2013 will exhibit speakers joined by top experts, academics and pioneers in the field of sustainability and its varieties. In addition, leaders from the public and private sectors will be presented. The conference will be covered by the multimedia, locally, regionally and internationally.

The conference will also feature an exhibition that demonstrates the most recent practices and innovations in sustainability presented by governmental institutes and private companies.

For more information click here.

Related Articles
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Corporate Sustainability Leadership in America
The Overwhelming Logic of Sustainable Business
Sustainability is an Unstoppable Megatrend
Adopt CSR or Risk a Consumer Boycott
Increasing Sustainable Innovation Demands Change
Video - Sustainability in a Business Context
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Event - 2013 ACEEE National Conference on Energy Efficiency as a Resource

2013 ACEEE National Conference on Energy Efficiency as a Resource will take place on September 22, 2013 in Nashville, TN. ACEEE’s (American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy) National Conference on Energy Efficiency as a Resource, a biennial event first held in 2001, is widely recognized as the premiere event for examining energy efficiency as a strategic and critical utility system resource. This conference draws together leading experts from a broad spectrum of energy industry stakeholders---including utilities, regulatory commissions, state government, consultants, manufacturers, environmental organizations, consumer groups and research institutes.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Video - International Day Of Protest Against Monsanto & GMO Foods MAY 25, 2013

An international protest is planned for May 25, 2013 against biotechnology company Monsanto in more than 250 cities in six continents and demonstrations are planned in tens of countries. Monsanto, a titan of the emerging biotech industry, has come under attack from environmentalists, agriculturalists and average consumers over the company's conduct in the realm of genetically-modified organisms and genetically-engineered foods. Monsanto has lobbied hard in Washington and around the globe to be able to continue manufacturing lab-made foods without the oversight that many have demanded. This protest comes in the wake of the passage of the "Monsanto protection act" that will protect GMO companies from assuming any liability.

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Video - The Passage of the "Monsanto Protection Act"

A new law protects GMO companies from liability and takes away American's right to know what is on their plates. Congress approved and President Obama signed a bill that gives Monsanto and other GMO companies immunity from liability against the deleterious effects of the foods that they provide. The Protect Interstate Commerce Act (PICA), is an amendment inserted into the 2013 Farm Bill passed by the House of Representatives' Agriculture Committee. It revokes the ability of individual states' lawmakers to pass GMO-labeling laws.

Video - Renewables to Eclipse Fossil Fuels in Europe, GE Wind Turbine, BP getting out of Renwables and Efficient Lithium Batteries

  • Europe's share of renewable energy will increase between 40 and 50 percent by 2020. Oil and gas will decline over that period which will enable renewable energy to eclipse fossil fuels in Europe by 2020.
  • New highly efficient GE wind turbine is using the internet to generate power more effectively.
  • BP is getting out of solar and wind to focus on oil and gas.
  • Vancouver based Perfect Lithium has developed highly efficient battery processing technique that can reduce energy storage costs by as much as 50 percent.

Video - The Tar Sands Give Canada the Worst Climate Record in the Western World

Due in large part to the tar sands, Canada's climate performance is worst in the Western world. If Prime Minister Stephen Harper has his way, it will get worse, far worse. As the debate on the Keystone XL pipeline rages in the US, Canada's fossil fuel industry is planning to triple production of the tar sands. This video provides facts that refute the spin coming from Canada's ruling Conservative party.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Guide - Green City Philosophy

There has never been a greater need for the people planning and running our cities, as well as the residents themselves, to understand the critical significance of green space in our urban environment. Working with green is a way to respond to the true needs of people when designing buildings, the public realm, transport and communications infrastructure. This is a goal to which every professional can apply themselves.

These guidelines are a starting point so interested parties can come together internationally and discuss techniques for urban development. What this set of guidelines shows is that the knowledge is already there. The theory, substantiated by empirical scientific research, proves that green infrastructure is a key element in constructing living spaces that work. This is powerful information at a time when budgets are being cut and every cost scrutinised. This set of guidelines and techniques will demonstrate to practitioners that investment and maintenance in green infrastructure is not a cost but brings value from a social, economic and environmental point of view – in summary the ‘Green City Philosophy’.

Guide - Environmental, Health, and Safety (EHS)

This guideline on Environmental, Health, and Safety (EHS) was prepared by International Finance Corporation (IFC) and World Bank Group. The health and well being of a workforce is a key part of corporate social responsibility (CSR) and it is crucial to the wider issue of sustainable development.

Research by Nuffield Health and Ashridge Business School asserts that “companies need to develop a strategic approach to health and well being and concentrate on building a ‘sustainable workforce’ if they are to remain competitive.” The UK-based report, Developing a strategy for employee wellbeing: a framework for planning and action, calls on companies to focus on improving employee well being as a way of strengthening an organization and reducing risk.

At a 2012 briefing in London, Nuffield Health chief executive David Mobbs said, “We already worry about the sustainability of the environment, but in the future it’s going to be about the sustainability of the health of your workforce. Health and wellbeing will become the new CSR,” said Mobbs.

Complimentary Webinar - Who Cares About Sustainability?

Environmental sustainability has been a recurring topic in the corporate world for the past few decades. Whether from internal or external pressure, organizations are being held accountable for their impact on the environment and the community in which they operate.

Join Greg Scandrett, VP of Product Development for Enviance in this groundbreaking webinar, where he discusses the current approach many organizations take on corporate environmental sustainability and why it is a failed model.

By comparing the similarities between the current corporate environmental sustainability model and the quality movement from the 20th century, you will be challenged to question some of your concepts on what organizations should be doing to achieve corporate environmental sustainability.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Genetic Engineering: The Dark Side of Climate Ready Crops

Climate change is already affecting food supplies around the world as heat waves and drought reduce grain harvests and food prices soar. For every 1˚ C rise above optimum growing season temperatures, farmers will likely experience a 10 percent decline in their yields. And with a growing global population expected to hit 9 billion by 2050, 80 million more people need to be fed each year.

Between 2008 and 2010, at least 261 patents were filed or issued related to “climate-ready” crops—seeds supposedly able to withstand extreme conditions like droughts and floods; of these patents close to 80 percent were controlled by just six agribusiness giants, (DuPont, BASF, Monsanto, Syngenta, Bayer and Dow). This represents an exclusive monopoly and control over the world’s plant biomass.

Organic Produce and Sustainable Seafoods

Organic and certified sustainability seafoods are increasingly popular, they are also healthier and environmentally less damaging than traditional foods. Organically grown foods are less destructive to the land, and because they do not require chemical fertilizers and they have a lower greenhouse gas profile.

According to a recent United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) report titled Green Economy and Trade-Trends, Challenges and Opportunities, The global market for organic food and beverages is projected to grow from $62.9 billion in 2011 to $105 billion by 2015.

The total value of seafood that has been farmed according to certified sustainability standards is forecast to increase to $1.25 billion by 2015, up from $300 million in 2008, according to the report.

Insects are a Sustainable Food Source

As the impacts of climate change worsen, extreme weather including drought will make it harder to grow enough food to feed the world. In addition, rising population levels, particularly in urban centers, will put added pressure on already constrained food resources.

By 2030, over 9 billion people will need to be fed, along with the billions of animals raised annually for food and as pets. Meanwhile, land and water pollution from intensive livestock production and over-grazing are leading to forest degradation, thereby contributing to climate change.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Why Oil Prices Matter for Renewable Energy

The long-term prospects of solar, wind and other clean sources of energy are tied to the cost of fossil fuels. The artificially low price of oil makes it harder for renewable sources of energy to compete. Subsidies drive down the price of petrochemicals, but the true costs are not reflected in crude oil prices.

Investors are also driving up prices. Not too long ago oil was a commodity that traded principally on the actual or the anticipated forces of supply and demand. However, new strategies are increasingly driving investments in petrochemicals which are designed to cash in on the economic recovery. (The simple logic being that coming out of recession the demand for oil will increase as the economy improves.)

The EIA's Emissions Analysis by US States

In May, the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) released an analysis titled, State-Level Energy-Related Carbon Dioxide Emissions, According to the EIA's assessment, between 2000 and 2010, CO2 emissions fell in 32 states and rose in 18 states. However, from 2009 to 2010, only 14 states saw a decrease in emissions. This increase is attributable to the fact that the US was emerging from recession. The greatest percentage decrease in CO2 emissions occurred in Delaware at 27.9 percent, (4.5 million metric tons). The greatest absolute decline was 58.8 million metric tons in Texas (8.3 percent). New York experienced a decline of 38.6 million metric tons (18.3 percent). The greatest percentage increase was in Nebraska at 16.0 percent (6.6 million metric tons), while Colorado experienced the greatest absolute increase (11.8 million metric tons or 13.9 percent).

World Bank President Advocates Putting a Price on Carbon

Many believe that putting a price on carbon is the best way to combat climate change. Now the chorus of those calling for just that has been joined by World Bank President Jim Yong Kim. He recently urged the world’s environmental ministers to implement a five-point plan that includes putting a price on carbon dioxide emissions, improving agricultural practices and ending fossil fuel subsidies.

Kim urged more countries to roll out price mechanisms either through a tax on carbon, indirect taxation, regulation or creation of a carbon market. Kim made the remarks to 30 of the world's environment ministers gathered in Berlin for informal talks on a new global climate deal to take effect in 2020.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

A Large and Growing Chorus is Calling for an End to Fossil Fuel Subsidies

As we move past the threshold of 400 parts per million of atmospheric CO2, fossil fuel subsidies appear even more unconscionable. These subsidies could be used to finance energy efficiency and renewable energy. In addition ending subsidies could   decrease carbon pollution by 13 percent.

A number of prominent organizations including the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank, and the United Nations (UN) are calling for an end to fossil fuel subsidies.

In March, 2013, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) released a report that called for an end to fossil fuel subsidies. The IMF report titled, Energy Subsidy Reform: Lessons and Implications, indicates that these subsidies account for almost nine percent of all annual country budgets, amounting to a staggering $1.9 trillion.

Investing in the Green Economy: Leveraging Significant Private Investment through Modest Public Finance

Wide spectrum public investment is the key to growing the green economy. This augers three important questions: How can we attract adequate amounts of private investment to unleash the full potential of the green economy? What do we invest in? How do we scale-up finance from developing economies?

Investment in clean energy has increased, with global spending on renewable energy rising six-fold since 2004. Despite ongoing economic weakness around the world, much more needs to be done.

As much as $100 trillion is required by 2030 to finance global infrastructure needs if we are to avoid an unsustainable increase in global temperatures. A total of $140 billion annually is required just to green the estimated $15 trillion investment in energy generation by 2020.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Survey of Executives Views on Sustainable Supply Chains

Here is an overview of PwC‘s 2013 global supply chain survey, Next-generation supply chains: Efficient, fast and tailored. From May to July 2012, PwC surveyed 503 supply chain executives. Some 44 percent of them hold senior management positions, while 34 percent hold C-level posts. Here is a breakdown starting with the 42 percent of respondents who rated sustainability as highly important:

  • 87 percent named optimizing their carbon footprint as their top priority for green adherence in their supply chain,
  • 87 percent said that it’s best to reach an agreement with their suppliers on adhering to the highest ethical standards.
  • 81 percent favor collaborating with suppliers to create a responsible supply chain footprint and procurement framework.

Global Wind Energy at a Glance (China, EU, US)

Wind energy is one of the most significant renewable energy sources for electricity generation worldwide. Led by the EU, North America and China wind is one of the fastest growing clean energy sectors. In these three markets wind energy is expected to triple in the next ten years and in two decades it is forecast to grow 8 fold over current installed capacity (that does not include wind energy in other regions).

World wind generation capacity more than quadrupled between 2000 and 2006, and this capacity has doubled every three years. Worldwide there are now over two hundred thousand wind turbines operating, with a total capacity of 282,482 MW as of end 2012

According to a report titled "The Critical Decade: Global Action Building on Climate Change," in 2012 global wind capacity increased by 21 percent.

Prodigious Growth Predicted for the Global Green Economy

Over the next seven years the global green market will grow by almost one and a half trillion dollars. According to a new UN report the green market will be worth 2.2 trillion by 2020. This represents a threefold increase from where we are today. Trade in certified products and in environmental goods and services is on the rise but nowhere near where it is expected to be in the coming years.

According to a United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) report titled Green Economy and Trade-Trends, Challenges and Opportunities, the green market is destined to be a major driver of economic growth.

This growth is forecast to take place in reduced carbon technologies, energy efficiency and renewable energy.The report specifically identifies six economic sectors where green trade opportunities exist: agriculture, fisheries, forests, manufacturing, renewable energy and tourism.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Event - Solar Energy & Technology 2013

Solar Energy & Technology 2013, will take place on Sunday August 25 to Thursday August 29 in California. Solar Energy + Technology 2013 is part of SPIE Optics + Photonics. At this event attendees can gain access to a focused program of 200+ technical presentations and courses on photovoltaic cell technologies plus R&D of solar concentrators, solar hydrogen and other illuminations systems. Hear leaders in the field address barriers and solutions for commercialization of solar-generated products.

Event - International Conference on Environmental Pollution and Remediation

The 3rd International Conference on Environmental Pollution and Remediation (ICEPR) will take place Monday July 15 to Wednesday Jul 17, 2013, in Toronto, Ontario. The International Academy of Science, Engineering and Technology (International ASET Inc.) is proud to present the 3rd International ICEPR.

ICEPR is a series of international conferences held yearly. These conferences focus on all aspects of Environmental Science, Engineering, and Technology. After successfully holding the second ICEPR in Montreal (Canada), International ASET Inc. will be hosting this conference in Toronto this year.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Video - Calling on Canadian Environment Minister to Apologize for Denying Climate Change and its Impacts

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Video - When is Canada's Environment Minister Going to Listen to Experts on Climate Change

In this video from Canada's Parliament, the minister of Natural Resources is asked when he is going to stop making embarrassing statements denying the dangers of global warming.

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Video - Advanced Energy Legislation (AEL) Tracker

Created by Colorado State University's energy policy center, Center for the New Energy Economy, the Advanced Energy Legislation TRACKER database contains information for clean energy legislation across all 50 states for free to any user. The TRACKER database provides current legislative language, recent actions, bill sponsor information, and policy trend analyses.

For more information about the Advanced Energy Legislation Tracker click here.

Related Article
New Tool Tracks State Energy Legislation Across the US

Friday, May 10, 2013

Leading Canadian Economist to Tell Europeans about the Climate Impacts of the Tar Sands

One of Canada’s top economists is traveling to Europe to warn them about the environmental impacts of the tar sands. Simon Fraser economist Dr. Mark Jaccard has worked with governments in Canada and the US to fashion climate policies. He suggested that the emissions reduction efforts by governments around the world will make it increasingly difficult to find markets for Canadian crude derived from tar sands.

He is also warning that current efforts to expand Canada's tar sands could leave billions of dollars in stranded assets, including pipelines like TransCanada Corp.’s proposed Keystone XL

Climate Scientists' Urge Canadian Minister to Back-off Expanded Fossil Fuel Production

Twelve climate scientists and energy experts sent a letter to Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver questioning his commitment to combating climate change. The letter also urged him to reduce the country's production of fossil fuels and increase support for cleaner sources of energy.

Dear Minister Oliver,

As climate scientists, economists and policy experts who have devoted our careers to understanding the climate and energy systems, we share your view that “climate change is a very serious issue.”

But some of your recent comments give us significant cause for concern. In short, we are not convinced that your advocacy in support of new pipelines and expanded fossil fuel production takes climate change into account in a meaningful way.

Canada to Fight EU Proposal Labeling Tar Sands as Dirty

The EU has proposed labeling Canada's tar sands as "dirty" which would result in an import tax on Canadian bitumen. If the proposal is successful, EU refiners who use Canadian tar sands crude would face extra costs as they are required to cut carbon content in fuels by 6 percent or pay a penalty.

The Europeans did not flinch when confronted by threats of a trade war from a Canadian cabinet minister. Canada’s Natural Resources Minister, Joe Oliver, said Wednesday Ottawa would consider launching a complaint with the World Trade Organization (WTO) if the EU proceeds with a fuel-quality directive that singles out crude from Canada’s oil sands as harmful to the planet’s climate.

If the trade referee were to side with the Canadian federal government he could grant Ottawa the authority to retaliate by slapping punitive tariffs on European imports.

However the Europeans do not think that Canada's case will sway the WTO. The European Union ambassador to Canada, Matthias Brinkmann, told reporters in Ottawa on Thursday that he believes the WTO would find no fault with the fuel-quality directive.