Day: November 14, 2013

Cleaning Industry Benefits from Color Coding

Read the full story in Environmental Leader.

In the professional cleaning industry, color coding is a way of telling workers what product or process is to be used where. The goal is “mistake-proofing” cleaning, and in an industry where English is increasingly a second language, this is becoming more and more necessary…

We can also apply colors to help identify what electronics, mechanicals, and other power-using systems can be turned off when a building is not in use and over the weekend, and this is where custodial workers come in.

Impacts of Ethanol Policy on Corn Prices: A Review and Meta-Analysis of Recent Evidence

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The literature on the impacts of biofuels on food prices is characterized by contradictory findings and a wide range of estimates. To bring more clarity to this issue, we review studies on U.S. corn ethanol production released between 2008 and 2013. Normalizing corn price impacts by the change in corn ethanol volume, we find that each billion gallon expansion in ethanol production yields a 2-3 percent increase in corn prices on average across studies. We also conduct a meta-analysis to identify the factors that drive the remaining variation in crop price impacts across studies. We find that the baseline and policy ethanol volumes, projection year, inclusion of ethanol co-products, biofuel production from other feedstocks, and modeling framework explain much of the differences in price effects across studies and scenarios. Our study also distinguishes between analyses that estimate long-run equilibrium impacts of biofuels and short-run studies that consider the effects of unexpected policy or weather shocks, which can lead to temporary price spikes. Preliminary findings from the gray literature suggest that short-run impacts on corn prices per billion gallons of corn ethanol production in response to unexpected shocks are higher. Last, we examine a small number of studies that consider the implications of biofuel policies for food security worldwide. The literature suggests that biofuels expansion will raise the number of people at risk of hunger or in poverty in developing countries. Updated version posted 10-31-2013

Ranking Distributions of Environmental Outcomes Across Population Groups

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This paper develops methods for evaluating distributional impacts of alternative environmental policies across demographic groups. The income inequality literature provides a natural methodological toolbox for comparing distributions of environmental outcomes. We show that the most commonly used inequality indexes, such as the Atkinson index, have theoretical properties that make them inappropriate for analyzing bads, like pollution, as opposed to goods, like income. We develop a transformation of the Atkinson index suitable for analyzing bad outcomes. We also show how the rarely used Kolm-Pollak index is particularly convenient for ranking distributions of both good and bad health and environmental outcomes. We demonstrate these methods in the context of emissions standards affecting indoor air quality.

Do EPA Regulations Affect Labor Demand? Evidence from the Pulp and Paper Industry

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Many believe that environmental regulation must reduce employment, since regulations are expected to increase production costs, raising prices and reducing demand for output. A careful microeconomic analysis shows that this not guaranteed. Even if environmental regulation reduces output in the regulated industry, abating pollution could require additional labor (e.g. to monitor the abatement capital and meet EPA reporting requirements). Pollution abatement technologies could also be labor enhancing. In this paper we analyze how a particular EPA regulation, the “Cluster Rule” (CR) imposed on the pulp and paper industry in 2001, affected employment in that sector. Using establishment level data from the Census of Manufacturers and Annual Survey of Manufacturers at the U.S. Census Bureau from 1992-2007 we find evidence of small employment declines (on the order of 3%-7%), sometimes statistically significant, at a subset of the plants covered by the CR.

How to make product manufacturing greener

Read the full post at Greener Ideal.

Manufacturing can produce high wastage of materials, time, labour and energy making it harmful to the environment. By making the manufacturing process of your product greener, you will end up with reduced carbon dioxide emissions and costs. Here are 5 tips on making your product manufacturing process greener.

Reframing sustainability: the five hallmarks of ‘beautiful business’

Read the full story in The Guardian.

Sustainability should be part and parcel of managing a business professionally and profitably. As such, there is an opportunity to reframe sustainability in more positive, more aspirational terms. There are five hallmarks that collectively describe a more enlightened approach to business. These are the distillation of Dragon Rouge’s decades of experience working with businesses to make their brands simultaneously more sustainable and more desirable.

New UI institute to focus on environmental efforts on, off campus

Read the full story in the Champaign-Urbana News-Gazette.

Throughout the decades, several different committees, offices and centers at the University of Illinois have launched with intentions of greening the campus and bettering the environment — and many have come and gone.

The most recent iteration, which evolved from campus planning exercises led by Chancellor Phyllis Wise, promises to boost environmental efforts on campus and in the surrounding cities, promote education and outreach in sustainability and support research in broad areas from agriculture to water.

The Center for a Sustainable Environment, soon to be the Institute for Sustainability, Energy and the Environment pending approval from the UI Board of Trustees and Illinois Board of Higher Education, is the new campus-level unit that debuted last month.

Climate change affects flavor, production of Great Lakes wine

Read the full story in Great Lakes Echo.

If you sip your favorite wine and it tastes a bit funny, climate change may be the culprit.

More extreme weather, like unpredictable springs and long summer droughts, is to blame for changes in grape production, said Duke Erwin, a small fruit educator for Michigan State University.