10 reasons green leases create value for tenants and landlords

Read the full story at GreenBiz.

Many corporate tenants have heard about green leases, and almost as many might wonder whether they should consider one. The answer, for a variety of reasons, is an overwhelming “Yes!” It is a real-estate opportunity that truly benefits everyone: tenants, landlords and not least, the environment.

Researchers Focus on Dairy’s Carbon Footprint

Read the full story from the University of Arkansas Fayetteville.

Researchers at the University of Arkansas are attempting to help the U.S. dairy industry decrease its carbon footprint as concentrations of carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere reach record levels.

In 2007, Americans consumed approximately 17.4 million metric tons of fluid milk – milk consumed as a drink or with cereal, rather than milk used in dairy products such as cheese, yogurt and ice cream. The dairy industry has set a goal of 25 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020.

The U of A researchers’ “cradle-to-grave” life-cycle analysis of milk will provide guidance for producers, processors and others in the dairy supply chain and will help these stakeholders reduce their environmental impact while maintaining long-term viability.

Molecular switch for cheaper biofuel

Read the full story in R&D Magazine.

Biofuel is often obtained from starchy plants—but this places fuel production in competition with food production. At the Vienna Univ. of Technology, genetically modified mold fungi are created, which have the ability to break down long cellulose and xylan chains into smaller sugar molecules. This could make the production of biofuel a lot cheaper.

Walmart’s $81 Million Fine for Toxic Dumping Undermines Sustainability Promises

Read the full story at BrandChannel.

Walmart’s brand has taken a steady battering over the past year, and part of it is related to sustainability.

Last March, the Institute for Local Self-Reliance issued a report called “Walmart’s Greenwash” that said the leading retailer’s sustainability campaign “has done more to improve the company’s image than to help the environment.” According to the report, Walmart’s greenhouse gas emissions are increasing rapidly and its energy efficiency and renewable projects are “too modest” for the size and scale of the company’s operations.

Add to that Walmart’s latest environmental slap in the face: On May 28, the company pleaded guilty to dumping hazardous waste in California and Missouri, agreeing to pay more than $81 million in fines. In the greater scheme of things, the money is the least significant portion of the problem for Walmart. With $27.87 billion of operating profit last year, The Atlantic estimates that $81 million is little more than a single day’s worth of profit for the retailer.

The larger impact is on the credibility of Walmart’s sustainability initiative. According to the company’s sustainability website, Walmart has a “zero waste” goal. “Walmart has reduced waste in our US operations by more than 80 percent, returning more than $231 million to the business last year,” according to the site. “The reduction, which brings Walmart closer to our goal to create zero waste, has the potential to prevent 11.8 million metric tons of CO2 emissions annually.”

Better by Design: Evolving EPR fees call for better design choices.

Read the full story in Recycling Today.

Does establishing fees in EPR systems effect whether producers choose to manufacture their products using materials that have a smaller environmental impact?

Groundwater study reveals climate-model variability

Read the full story at Environmental Research Web.

A comprehensive study of renewable groundwater resources has highlighted the variability between different climate models. The research, which used five climate models to project future levels of groundwater recharge under four greenhouse-gas scenarios, found large discrepancies between the models.