Day: August 2, 2011

Renewable Energy’s “Footprint” Myth

AUTHOR: Lovins, Amory
DOCUMENT ID: E11-07
YEAR: 2011
DOCUMENT TYPE: Journal or Magazine Article
PUBLISHER: The Electricity Journal

Many nuclear advocates argue that renewable electricity has far too big a land ‘footprint’ to be environmentally acceptable, while nuclear power is preferable because it uses orders of magnitude less land. If we assume that land-use is an important metric, a closer look reveals the opposite is true.

Download the article here.

EPA Publishes Rule to Improve Reporting of Chemical Information

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is increasing the type and amount of information it collects on commercial chemicals from chemical manufacturers, allowing the agency to better identify and manage potential risks to Americans’ health and the environment. The improved rule, known as the chemical data reporting rule (CDR), also requires that companies submit the information electronically to EPA, rather than on paper, and limits confidentiality claims by companies. The changes are part of EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson’s commitment to strengthen the agency’s chemical management program and increase the transparency of critical information on chemicals.

“Collecting this critical information on widely used chemicals will enable EPA to more effectively identify and address potential chemical risks,” said Steve Owens, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. “The new electronic reporting requirement and limits on confidentiality claims also will bring EPA’s data collection effort into the 21st Century and give the American people greater access to a wider range of information on chemicals to which their children and families are exposed every day.”

The CDR rule, which falls under the Toxic Substances Control Act inventory update rule (IUR), requires more frequent reporting of critical information on chemicals and requires the submission of new and updated information relating to potential chemical exposures, current production volume, manufacturing site-related data, and processing and use-related data for a larger number of chemicals. The improved information will allow EPA to better identify and manage risks associated with chemicals.

EPA is requiring companies to submit the information through the Internet, using EPA’s electronic reporting tool. On-line reporting will improve both data quality and EPA’s ability to use the data, as well as make it more accessible to the public.

Companies will be required to start following the new reporting requirements in the next data submission period, which will occur February 1, 2012 to June 30, 2012.

More information about the CDR Rule and reporting program is available at www.epa.gov/iur.

How GRI Can Bring the Other 90% of Companies to the CSR Table

Read the full story at GreenBiz.

I attended today a GRI webinar for Organizational Stakeholders in which Mike Wallace, who heads up the GRI U.S. Focal Point, presented an update of what is happening with GRI U.S. I was very impressed. (Disclosure: I don’t impress that easily).

GRI is taking a very strategic approach to advancing sustainability reporting in the U.S. and it sounds as though it will make a difference. With 90 percent of U.S. companies not reporting, clearly there is a big opportunity.

A considered, strategic approach to broadening awareness, providing platforms to help companies get on the reporting map and reinforcing the strong business case for reporting will surely deliver a return for the GRI. And for sustainability.

Why Sharing Even the Messiest Sustainability Story is a Good Idea

Read the full post at GreenBiz.

We all know that a picture tells a thousand words and creative visuals are a powerful way to engage audiences around an issue of concern. In the world of sustainability communications, slideshows, video documentaries, and case study success stories are common — and often very effective — tools to highlight the many environmental, social, and economic challenges and opportunities facing global business today.

So the question becomes, in the midst of all this creative cacophony for the greater good, how will your company’s own sustainability story stand out from the crowd?

I had an ah-ha moment about this challenge today while reading social media guru Beth Kanter’s excellent blog, How Networked Non-Profits Are Using Social Media to Power Change. In a recent post, Kanter describes the “living case study,” a work-in-progress that shines the light on an issue or cause by sharing the ride, not simply celebrating the arrival.

As Kanter writes, “While the traditional case study is tidy, packaged, and finished — the living case study is open to input, questions, reflections, and most of all, empowerment of peers.”

Seeking Saponins and Other Compounds To Fortify Crops

Read the full story in Agricultural Research magazine.

The perennial herb soapwort, Saponaria officinalis, owes its prized cleansing foam to detergent-like compounds called “saponins.” But soapwort isn’t the only plant that produces the compounds; nor are their properties limited to removing dirt and grime.

In studies at the Agricultural Research Service’s National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research (NCAUR) in Peoria, Illinois, scientists are spiking laboratory diets fed to corn earworm and fall armyworm with saponins from soybeans, switchgrass, yerba maté, and other sources to determine what effects the compounds have on the caterpillar pests’ growth and survival.

California says yes to recycled water

Read the full story in the Los Angeles Times.

The state Senate today passed a bill allowing so-called graywater systemsin homes and commercial buildings.

The bill, AB 849, is aimed at clarifying a patchwork of local regulation that has at times prohibited these “non-potable water reuse systems,” which divert drain water for irrigation and other purposes.

6 Things You Need to Know to Get Certified Under ISO 50001

Read the full story at GreenBiz.

During a free webcast organized by GreenBiz.com this week, representatives from the US Department of Energy and Underwriters Laboratories walked through the details of the just-released energy management standard, and how companies can get on board, quickly.

Toyota is ranked as world’s greenest brand

Read the full post at SmartPlanet.

You might not be surprised to see Toyota, the Japanese automaker behind the pioneering Prius hybrid, rank amongst the most environmentally conscious car manufacturers.

But a recent study by brand monitoring company Interbrand found the company to be the world’s greenest brand overall, besting multinational corporations like 3M, Siemens, and Johnson & Johnson.

The report was based not only on publicly available information but also on public perception of the brands’ sustainability efforts. The study surveyed 10,000 consumers in the top ten global markets: the U.S., Japan, China, Germany, France, U.K., Italy, Brazil, Spain, and India.

Toyota was not the only automaker to receive high sustainability marks in the report. Volkswagen, Honda, Hyundai, BMW, Mercedes and Ford all made the top 20 green brands.

e-Cycle Launches “Get Started e-Cycling” Kit to Help Enterprises Initiate a Wireless Mobile Phone Buyback and Recycling Program

Read the press release.

In response to client feedback and qualitative research, e-Cycle LLC has developed a comprehensive “Get Started e-Cycling” digital tool kit to assist large businesses and organizations initiate and manage an environmentally responsible, secure and profitable wireless mobile phone recycling program.

After conducting personal interviews with representatives from more than 500 leading U.S. enterprises, e-Cycle management discovered that while many organizations are aware of the escalating electronics waste problem in the U.S., as well as the financial and environmental benefits of wireless buyback, many lack the knowledge and/or resources to initiate a secure asset recovery and recycling program. According to e-Cycle VP of Sales Steve Clark, mobile data security is the main constraint enterprises face in starting a mobile phone recycling program.

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