Day: April 12, 2011

Can Climate Capitalism Save the World?

Read the full post at GreenBiz.

For roughly three decades, L. Hunter Lovins has been a clear and provocative voice on business and sustainability — first at the Rocky Mountain Institute, which she co-founded in 1982 with Amory Lovins, and later through her own organization, Natural Capital Solutions.

Along the way, she has been a prolific writer, speaker, educator and a globally recognized consultant on sustainability to companies, governments and others.

On the occasion of the publication of her latest book, “Climate Capitalism: Capitalism in the Age of Climate Change,” coauthored with Boyd Cohen, I recently sat down with Hunter to discuss her book (the first of several excerpts can be found here) and her vision of what’s possible.

Read an excerpt from Lovins’ latest book here. This is the first in a series of excerpts that GreenBiz will publish.

GE Invests $600M to Build Largest US Solar Plant

Read the full story at GreenBiz.

Looking back it’s easy to pinpoint the moment the U.S. wind industry came of age: April 12, 2002, when General Electric won Enron Wind Corp.’s wind assets in a bankruptcy auction.

The conglomerate’s $358 million bid has since mushroomed into a $6 billion dollar business and the fastest-growing electricity generation technology in the U.S.

Now GE is hoping to repeat that trick in solar energy. GE announced yesterday a $600 million investment to start manufacturing solar panels in a new factory slated to be the largest in the U.S.

Avon, Dunkin’ Among Firms Enlisting in EDF’s Climate Corps 2011

Read the full story at ClimateBiz.

This summer, 57 EDF Climate Corps fellows will develop practical, actionable energy management plans for leading companies across the United States.

Will American Consumers Ever Go Green?

Read the full post at GreenBiz.

It’s been another action-packed day at FORTUNE’s Brainstorm Green conference on business and the environment. Lively conversation about the future of coal (it’s not going away), sustainable seafood (about which more another day), geoengineering and marketing to the green consumer.

The “green consumer” panel featured SC Johnson’s CEO H. Fisk Johnson, Steve Wenc of UL Environment and marketing guru Suzanne Shelton. It was moderated by my friend and colleague Joel Makower, the founder and editor-in-chief of GreenBiz.com. They all agreed that much of corporate America has moved ahead of its customers when it comes to embracing green products.

The Consumer Behavior Gap: Lessons from 3CS Conference

Read the full post at GreenBiz.

According to the Corporate & College Collaborative for Sustainability (3CS), millennials — the demographic ranging from late teens to late twenties — will make up 50 percent of the workforce in just four years.  With a mission of leveraging the role of millennials as future leaders of more sustainable business, 3CS focuses on enhancing sustainability curriculum in undergraduate education.

Last week, BSR had the opportunity work with a group of millennials by leading a session at 3CS’ conference in New York. The format of the event was designed for interactive discussion — both in-person and via Twitter — and presentations set up a specific problem or question for roundtable discussions.  At the conclusion of each session, all participants sent their key takeaways to event’s Tumblr blog, where the virtual discussion continues.

Why Entrepreneurs Beat Business Leaders for Green Cred

Read the full story at GreenBiz.

Here is the good news for companies investing in integrating sustainability into their business: You are perceived much more favorably than government leaders and multilateral organizations in advancing the sustainability agenda.

But here is the bad news: Less than one fourth of experts and practitioners think that corporate leaders are doing a good job of it, placing them well behind social entrepreneurs, NGOs and scientists.

ReMakes: Old Billboards, Reborn

Read the full post at Good.

The advertising world moves quickly. So those huge billboards and posters that blanket the city one day are passé the next. And that creates a lot of waste. A single old billboard makes for to up to 100 lbs of plastic trash in the landfill. But a company called ReMakes has found a way to reuse those large-scale ads.

Guide to Corporate Ecosystem Valuation: A Framework for Improving Corporate Decision-making

Download the document.

The Guide to Corporate Ecosystem Valuation (CEV) offers a framework companies can use to make better business decisions and manage risks and opportunities. Fourteen companies road-tested CEV, including AkzoNobel, EDP, Eni, Eskom, GHD, Hitachi (Chemical), Holcim, Lafarge, Mondi, Rio Tinto, Syngenta, Veolia Environment, Weyerhaeuser, and U.S. BCSD…

Human activity incurred $6.6 trillion in environmental damages in 2008, according to research firm Trucost. By 2050, the environmental costs for greenhouse gas emissions, water scarcity and other types of degradation could top $28.6 trillion, or 18 percent of global Gross Domestic Product…

Companies can use CEV to evaluate a product, service, project, asset or incident. During the test run, Mondi used CEV to map and value water dependencies in a South African watershed, while Weyerhauser compared the economic value of ecosystem services under different management scenarios for forested land. US BCSD / CCP used CEV to evaluate the benefits of using constructed wetland to replace a storm-water management system.

The factors contributing to the value of an ecosystem are two-fold: the benefits provided by ecosystems, such as water or flood protection; and the cost of ecosystem degradation. Yet few companies completely grasp either.

Dataset: Vulnerability to Climate Change

Via Center for Global Development.

Senior fellow David Wheeler quantifies and makes available in this dataset the vulnerability of 233 countries to three major effects of climate change (weather-related disasters, sea-level rise, and reduced agricultural productivity).

The dataset is discussed in his working paper, “Quantifying Vulnerability to Climate Change: Implications for Adaptation Assistance,” and informs his project mapping the impacts of climate change.

EPA Recognizes Leaders in Energy Efficiency

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is honoring 111 Energy Star partners who have demonstrated leadership and commitment in protecting American’s health and the environment through energy efficiency achievements. 2011 Energy Star award winners include manufacturers, retailers, public schools, hospitals, real estate companies and home builders. Organizations are recognized in one of three award categories: Sustained Excellence, Partner of the Year, and Excellence.

“Year after year, Energy Star award winners reflect American ingenuity at its highest level,” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. “The innovations at work in the Energy Star program are cost-effective ways to reduce pollution, improve our health and grow our economy all at the same time. Those who have invested in these energy saving technologies display economically-sensible solutions that are good for our communities and our future.”

The forty-six Sustained Excellence winners have continued to exhibit leadership year after year in the Energy Star program while remaining dedicated to environmental protection through energy efficiency. 2011 Sustained Excellence award winners include 3M, Bosch Home Appliances, Ford, GE, J.C. Penney, KB Home, Lowe’s, and PepsiCo.

Forty-four organizations have received Partner of the Year for strategically and comprehensively managing their energy use. These organizations promote Energy Star products and practices in their own operations, and provide efficient products and services to consumers within their community. 2011 Partner of the Year award winners include Boeing, Cleveland Clinic, Colgate-Palmolive, Hanesbrands, HEI Hotels & Resorts, Kohl’s, Panasonic, Sears, and Staples.

Twenty-one organizations are recognized with an Excellence award for a specific activity for promoting energy-efficient products, homes, or buildings, helping to expand the reach of the Energy Star program. 2011 Excellence award winners include Canon, DirectTV, Lennox, Menards, and Sharp Electronics.

Last year alone, Americans, with the help of the Energy Star program and its 20,000 partners, saved approximately $18 billion on their energy bills while preventing greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to the annual emissions of 33 million vehicles. To date, nearly 1.2 million new homes and more than 12,600 office buildings, schools, hospitals and public buildings have earned the Energy Star. Since 2000, approximately 3.5 billion Energy Star qualified products have been sold.

More information and a full list of 2011 award winners: http://www.energystar.gov/awards

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